Thursday, November 29, 2012

Maple-Pecan Glaze on Pumpkin Cake

Last month, I posted a recipe for Pumpkin Spice Cake.  I suggested simply dusting with powdered sugar or topping with a cream cheese frosting.  While these are both delicious, I recently came across a recipe for a maple-pecan glaze.  I think this is the absolute perfect topping for this cake!!  It is nice to have options!

I also updated the cake recipe a little bit.  Originally posted, it was just cake mix and a can of pumpkin.  It baked up really well.  This time I added a little bit of oil.  Adding a little fat, enhances the flavor.  Veggies sauteed in oil do taste a bit more scrumptious than those that are simply steamed with water . . .  I was a little worried that the added oil would make the cake texture too heavy so I also added a little baking powder.  You can find the updated recipe here.

Maple-Pecan Glaze

4 T unsalted butter
3 T pure maple syrup
3 T heavy whipping cream
½ c confectioners' sugar
¼ c finely chopped pecan pieces, optional*

In a small saucepan, melt butter.  Stir in maple syrup and cream; bring to a boil. Continue to boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and sift the confectioners' sugar into the hot mixture. Whisk until smooth. Let cool for about 15 to 20 minutes, until slightly thickened. Stir in the finely chopped pecans, if using. Drizzle over the cooled cake.

*I used a mini food processor to make my pecans pretty fine.  I measured them after processing them.

Note:  I labeled this recipe as gluten-free, because the only actual recipe listed is the maple-pecan glaze.  The pumpkin cake I have linked to is not gluten-free.  If you have a gluten allergy, try this glaze on your favorite gluten-free cake.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Herb Turkey Breast {Slow-cooker}

I imagine me sharing my Thanksgiving turkey recipe after Thanksgiving isn't terribly helpful.  I just am not organized enough to make one before Thanksgiving in time to post.  So, hopefully someone out there will find this recipe helpful as we are still in the holiday season!  I hope to re-post this recipe next year before Thanksgiving.

I really don't enjoy dry turkey.  So, it is one of my missions in life to make a tender juicy turkey.  What is one of the best ways to cook tender meat? . . . in your slow-cooker!  Now the problem is that it is a little challenging to fit a turkey in the slow-cooker.  I have found the best way is to buy the breast only.  I buy one with bones and skin to add flavor.  The only problem is that it still doesn't always fit.  This year I cut out some of the rib bones with some heavy duty kitchen shears, similar to these.  That isn't a job for anyone with a weak stomach.  Honestly, cutting out the ribs of my turkey was kind of gross. But the resulting fall of the bone tender turkey was so worth it!!

The bigger slow-cooker you have the better.  I use the Crock-Pot® Stainless Steel 5.5Qt Oval Programmable Slow Cooker.  This slow-cooker is plenty big around for a turkey breast.  The problem usually comes with it being deep enough, hence cutting out or at least breaking the ribs.  I actually cooked mine overnight.  I set the timer for 10 hours on slow and then let it continue cooking at the warm setting for 2-3 additional hours.  Then I turned off all heat and let it set about an hour before cutting.  Note:  I am not trying to promote any particular brand of slow-cooker.  It is just the one that worked for me.


Herb Turkey {Slow-cooker}

8 lb bone-in, skin-on turkey breast
¼ c chopped fresh parsley or 2T dried parsley
2 T dried chives
1 t dried thyme
¼ t dried marjoram
¼ t dried rosemary
¼ t dried sage
½ t salt
¼ c butter or non-dairy margarine, softened
1 c chicken broth*
Freshly ground black pepper

Rinse turkey and drain off any excess liquid.  Put turkey in the slow-cooker making sure that the lid will fit without touching the turkey.  Mix all spices in a small bowl.  With your fingers, loosen the skin and spread the spices directly on turkey breast underneath the skin.  Then spread the softened butter under the skin on the breast meat.  Sprinkle the black pepper over the top of the turkey skin.  Pour chicken broth into the bottom of the slow-cooker around the turkey.   Cook on low in your slow-cooker for 10-12 hours until tender when pierced with a fork and juices run clear.  Turn off heat one hour before ready to serve.  Take off skin and slice.  Spoon some of the juice from the bottom of the slow cooker over the turkey to keep it nice and moist.
Serves 10-12

*If you are on a gluten-free diet, check your label to make sure the broth is gluten-free.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Slow-Cooker Chili

I have been making this White Chili for years but I was still wanting a good recipe for Red Chili.  I search all over the internet but didn't find exactly what I was looking for.  So, I kind of came up with my own recipe.  It is most closely inspired by Spicy Slow Cooked Chili on   It turned out great!  The recipe below is a little spicy.  If you don't care for spicy food, take out the cayenne pepper and slowly add it in ¼ teaspoon at a time until you have reached your desired level of spiciness.  We had this for dinner the first night topped with cheese and served with Cornbread.  The second night, we made chili dogs.  

[Recipe updated 10/02/2016 to make it a little more kid-friendly.]

Slow-Cooker Chili

1 lb ground beef
½ large yellow onion, chopped
1 can chili beans*, undrained
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can diced tomatoes with green chilies, drained
2 8 oz can tomato sauce
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 T chili powder
1 t cayenne pepper (optional)
½ t salt
½ t ground black pepper

In a skillet, brown ground beef and onion until beef is no longer pink and onion is tender.  Drain.  In slow-cooker, combine ground beef, onion, beans, tomatoes with green chilies, tomato sauce, garlic, chili powder, cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours. 
Serves 6

*Make sure the chili beans you use are dairy-free and gluten-free.  Bush's brand are both gluten-free and dairy-free.  I am not trying to promote this brand.  I just know they are allergy friendly. 

We made chili dogs(EF) with our leftover chili. 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Chocolate Chip Cookies {Egg-free, Dairy-free}

My husband loves chocolate chip cookies.  It is really hard on him when people bring them to work and he can't have any.  I came up with this recipe for chocolate chip oat cookies a few years ago.  I finally developed one for plain chocolate chip cookies.  He loves them both!  Which one do you like better?  Regardless, not much bests a delicious chocolate chip cookie and a glass of milk!


Chocolate Chip Cookies

½ c unsalted butter*
½ c vegetable shortening
½ c sugar
1 c brown sugar
1 t vanilla
2 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
½ t salt
2½ c flour
3 T milk*
1½ c semi-sweet chocolate chips*
1 c chopped pecans (optional)

Preheat oven to 375o.  Cream together the butter, shortening, both sugars and vanilla.  Add the baking powder, baking soda and salt mixing constantly.  Slowly mix in the flour.  Add milk one tablespoon at a time until dough starts to stick together.  Stir in chocolate chips and nuts.  Roll into balls and place two inches apart on a cookie sheet.  Bake for about 8-10 minutes.  Let cool for 2 minutes on cookie sheet before removing. 
Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

*Dairy-free notes:  I haven’t tried to make these dairy-free, but one of my readers did.  See her comment below.  She used butter flavored shortening in place of the butter and shortening combination used in my recipe.  She also replaced the milk with soy milk.  You would also need to ensure the chocolate chips used were non-dairy.

{UPDATE:  This was a good recipe, especially warm.  But they would harden once completely cooled.  So, I was always looking looking for a way to adjust them to improve the texture.  I finally figured it out!  One of my kid's teachers apparently makes better chocolate chip cookies than Mommy.  I found out that she puts pudding mix in the batter.  So, I adjusted my recipe to include some.  Ahhhh... cookie perfection!!  Try the new recipe here:  Best Chocolate Chip Cookies (EF)!} 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Chicken and Dumplings

My husband and kids love this recipe.  I pretty much make it according to Rachel Ray's instructions.  But it seems that I can't make much of anything exactly as written, so I have made a couple of minor changes.  I usually use two potatoes as opposed to just one because my kids really like them.  I also use dried celery flakes in place of the diced fresh celery.  That is due to my weird texture issues with celery, so I wouldn't necessarily recommend that change.  One more note, make sure the biscuit mix you use is egg-free!

Chicken and Dumplings - Please click to link to the recipe.

Note:  If you can't find a quick egg-free biscuit mix, try this recipe for my Wheat Biscuits (EF).  They can also be made with just all-purpose flour, if you don't like the wheat.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Smothered Shredded Beef Burritos

Enchilada versus burrito?  That is the question.  In some parts of the country, the difference is simple.  If the meat is rolled in a corn tortilla and covered in a red or green sauce, it is an enchilada.  But if the meat is rolled in a flour tortilla and covered in a red or green sauce it is a smothered burrito.

I have tried all kinds of rolled tortilla combinations, chicken or beef, corn or flour tortillas, and green or red sauce.  One of my favorite combinations is shredded beef, rolled in a flour tortilla, covered in a red chili sauce, topped with cheese.  Because I used flour tortillas, we will refer to them as smothered burritos but you can call them whatever you like.

Here is another delicious meal you can make with the leftover roast from my post:  Day 1 Roast, Carrots & Potatoes - Day 2 Shredded Beef Tacos.  If you would prefer to fill these with chicken, try this recipe for Slow-cooker Shredded Chicken.


Smothered Shredded Beef Burritos  

½ c margarine or butter
½ c flour
¼ c chili powder
1 T cumin
1 t salt
1 t black pepper
3 c water
12 fajita sized flour tortillas
2 c shredded cheddar-jack cheese

Preheat oven to 350o and spray a 10x15” baking pan with cooking spray.  In a sauce pan, melt margarine over medium heat.  Stir in flour, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper.  Once combined, slowly stir in water.  Simmer, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes or until sauce thickens.  Dip tortillas into sauce, place meat down the center and roll.  Place into the baking pan seam side down.  Cover with remaining sauce and cheese.  Bake for about 20 minutes or until cheese melts and sauce is bubbly.

Makes 12 burritos