Friday, October 24, 2014

Pumpkin Blondies

· 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
· 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
· ½ teaspoon salt
· 1 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
· 1 cup dark brown sugar
· ½ cup white sugar
· 1 egg
· 1 tablespoon vanilla
· 1 (15 ounce) can pure pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
· 1 cup butterscotch chips
· 1 cup white chocolate chips
· 1 cup chopped pecans

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8x8-inch, 9x9-inch or 9x13-inch, depending on preference of thickness of bars. Line the pan with parchment paper with an overhang on both sides. Set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, pumpkin pie spice and salt.
3. In a large bowl, mix together butter and sugars with an electric mixer until no lumps remain. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until combined. Add the pumpkin and mix to combine.
4. Slowly add the flour mixture until incorporated.
5. Fold in the butterscotch chips, white chocolate chips and chopped pecans with a spatula.
6. Pour batter into the prepared baking pan and bake for 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
7. Set the pan on a wire rack and let cool completely. To remove, lift the bars out with the parchment paper and cut into squares. Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

My Column in The Gainesville Times

Yesterday's column in The Times was all about my Halloween memories and a recipe for a really great cookie.    I was pleasantly surprised when it got some major front page attention.  Check it out!  By the way, the recipe for the Candy Corn and Peanut Cookies will run here next Friday but if you can't wait, check out Wednesday's paper or go here.


Layered Mexican Cornbread

I guess it comes as no surprise that I love cornbread.  So when I saw a recipe for layered cornbread, I knew I had to try it.  Of course, I had to make it my own with a pinch of sugar (if sugar in cornbread is against your religion, feel free to leave it out) and onion.  I've made this cornbread with and without the jalapenos and it's good both ways.  The photo below was jalapeno-less.  The cheese in the middle is just delicious.   This one is a winner!

· 1 cup all-purpose cornmeal
· ½ cup all-purpose flour
· 2 tablespoons baking powder
· 2/3 cup milk
· 2 eggs 

-Pinch of sugar, optional 
· ½ teaspoon salt
· 1/3 cup vegetable oil
· ½ cup chopped onion
· 1 (14 ounce) can creamed corn
· 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
· ½ cup chopped jalapeno peppers

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9x9-inch square pan or can use an iron skillet.
2. In a large bowl, mix together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, milk, eggs, salt and oil stir in onion and creamed corn. Pour half of batter into prepared pan. Top with cheese and peppers. Spread remaining batter on top of cheese and peppers.
3. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
4. Let cool slightly before cutting into squares. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Old Fashioned Beef Stew

· 3 tablespoons olive oil, divide
· 1 pound sirloin tip roast (cut into 1 inch chunks) or stew meat, fat removed
· Salt and pepper to taste
· 1 cup chopped onion
· 2 tablespoons minced garlic
· 2 ½ cups + ¼ cup beef broth, divided
· 1 bay leaf
· 4 medium red potatoes (about 1 pound) cut into 1-inch chunks
· 2 large carrots, sliced ¼ inch thick
· 2 ½ tablespoons flour

1. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a dutch oven over medium-high heat. Brown the meat on one side for 5 minutes and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
2. Turn meat over and add another tablespoon of oil; brown another 2-3 minutes. With the meat browned, reduce heat to medium. Add onion and garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes until onion is browned.
3. Add broth and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 2 hours. Then stir in potatoes and carrots. Cover and simmer 10 to 15 minutes until vegetables are done.
4. Combine flour with ¼ cup beef broth, whisking until there are no lumps. Stir into stew and cook 5 more minutes until thickened. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Italian Meatball Soup

· 2 (32 ounce) cartons chicken broth
· 2 (14 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
· 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
· 1 (16 ounce) package frozen mixed vegetables
· 1 (16 ounce) package small frozen meatballs, beef or turkey
· 2 cups elbow macaroni noodles


1. Combine broth, tomatoes, Italian seasoning, Italian seasoning, vegetables and meatballs. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
2. Turn the heat down to medium and add pasta. Continue cooking for about 10 minutes or until pasta is cooked and meatballs are heated through.