Pumpkin Spice Magic Bars

img_5969

It’s been a while since I posted but I’m back! I made this recipe for our Halloween Party at my new job. (Ok it’s not so new anymore) Everyone knows how much I LOVE to dress up (NOT!) so instead I made a dessert. Normally dessert is not my go to recipe realm but I keep trying! Never give up! Anyway…. I found this recipe on Taste of Home. It was originally called Pumpkin Delight Magic Bars. After reading the reviews I decided it would be a good choice. Though as the reviews do state, the toppings do tend to fall off a bit after it’s baked. Not a big deal but even when I was determined to ‘fix’ that by making sure I pressed the toppings into the cake before baking, it did no good. Oh well! I think the next time I make it I may put some of the topping inside instead. Either way, this recipe came out amazing! I didn’t have any leftovers at work! Score for the newbie! The recipe says it makes 24 bars. I thought they might be too big so I cut them in half and got 48 small bars. Worked out great. But what to do about keeping the topping under control? I put each bar into a cupcake liner! This way it kept everything neat! Easier to transport and display as well.

 

I kept the recipe the same except instead of the 1 cup of white baking chips it called for I used 1 cup of pumpkin spice chips. AMAZING! So experiment with different flavors! I think for Christmas I will use cinnamon morsels and maybe throw some toffee bits on as well! Can’t hurt right! And yes even though I am doing WW again, and yes these are many points I did eat a few. How could I not? And I definitely recommend keeping them in the refrigerator if you’re not going to devour them at one sitting. Chilled is definitely better! They will not disappoint! Moist, sweet, nutty, rich bites of heaven…

img_5960

 

INGREDIENTS: 

  • 1 package vanilla wafer cookies (11 ounces)
  • ½ cup butter, melted (1 stick)
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened (½ a brick)
  • 1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
  • ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 can (15 oz.) solid-pack pumpkin (NOT Pumpkin Pie filling)
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 ½ cups sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 cup pumpkin spice baking chips (or white if you choose)
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.  Great a 13×9 inch baking pan.
  2. Place the vanilla wafer cookies in a food processor* and pulse until coarse crumbs form. 
  3. Drizzle in the melted butter and pulse until blended. Press into the bottom of the baking pan.
  4. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, sweetened condensed milk and pumpkin pie spice until smooth. Beat in the pumpkin. Stir in cranberries.
  5. Pour over crust. Layer the coconut, baking chips and pecans.
  6. Bake 45-55 minutes (it took my oven 45 minutes) or until golden brown. Cook in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes
  7. Loosen the sides from pan with a knife of spatula. Cool completely. Cut into bars**and refrigerate leftovers.

* If you don’t have a food processor you can just put the cookies in a large Ziploc type bag and smash them until they are crumbs. 

** I recommend cooling completely in the refrigerator and then cutting them. Makes it easier to cut.

NUTRITION FACTS: (like we really care at this point)

1 bar: 299 calories, 17g fat (8g saturated fat), 25mg cholesterol, 144mg sodium, 35mg carbohydrates (28g sugar, 2g fiber), 4g protein.

Makes 24 bars (or 48 if you cut them in half)

 

Advertisements

Homemade Bagels Made Simple!

IMG_5577

This recipe is from Gina at Skinnytaste. I had made them once before and they were good but I used whole wheat flour. This time I made them with unbleached all-purpose flour and they came out so much better! Each recipe makes 4 bagels and for those following Weight Watchers and counting points, each bagel is only 3 Freestyle points! I put 2 tablespoons of greek style cream cheese for a total of 2 points, making the whole bagel 5 points! Amazing, since a normal bagel is 9-11 points, plain! So thank you to Skinnytaste for this delicious recipe! I used an “everything” seasoning (recipe to follow) on them but you can use whatever you like. 

These are really easy to make and have only 5 ingredients! I made mine in my Air Fryer and they came out great! I love my Air Fryer. I have a GoWise USA fryer in purple. But they can easily be made in the oven as well, they just take longer. Give it a try! You won’t be disappointed!

And please don’t forget to visit my other blog at Cruise Ship Recipes at Home!

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (you can use whole wheat or gluten-free if you want)

2 teaspoons baking powder (make sure it’s not expired)

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup non-fat Greek yogurt ( I used Fage, but use whatever you like, just don’t use regular yogurt, it can get too sticky)

1 egg beaten (or egg white if you choose)

AIR FRYER DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat the air fryer to 325ºF and set for 11-12 minutes. (My machine only had 320 or 330 so I set it for 330)
  2. In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt, mixing well. 
  3. Add the yogurt and mix with a fork until well combined. It should look like small crumbles. 
  4. Place the down on a lightly dusted work area and need it a bit until it is tacky but not sticky. About 15-20 turns, the dough should come off your hands easily.
  5. Divide the dough into four equal balls, rolling each ball into 3/4 inch thick ropes and join the ends to make the bagel shape.
  6. Brush the tops with the beaten egg and coat the top and bottom with your seasonings.
  7. Once the air fryer is heated, spray a little cooking spray on bottom of pan and transfer the bagels in batches but don’t overcrowd. I put 3 in at a time. If I had put all 4 in they would have been too crowded.
  8. Bake/Fry for 11-12 minutes. I put mine in for 12 minutes, 11 was good but the dough inside was still a little tacky. So 12 minutes worked for me. They should be golden brown. There is no need to turn them over either.
  9. Let cool at least 10 minutes or more before cutting, they will firm up when cooled.

OVEN DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Put parchment paper on a baking sheet and spray with oil to avoid sticking. (you can also use a silpat if you have one)
  2. Follow steps 2-6 as above.
  3. Bake on the top rack of the oven for 25 minutes. Let cool at least 10 minutes before cutting. 

Makes 4 bagels

EVERYTHING BAGEL SEASONING

Ingredients:

1/4 cup sesame seeds

1/4 cup poppy seeds (If using fine poppy seeds use only 1/8 cup)

3 tablespoons dried onion flakes

3 tablespoons dried garlic flakes (hard to find so I ordered on Amazon)

2 tablespoons coarse sea salt

DIRECTIONS:

Mix everything together and store in an airtight container.

Makes 1 cup

 

Guacamole Genua Style (revisited)

This post is from many years ago but since it is Cinco de Mayo I thought I’d repost it! Guacamole isn’t just for Cinco de Mayo either! Enjoy it every day if you want! Avocados are good for you! An update on the avocado “tree” I had all those years ago…It didn’t last. We don’t have the proper surroundings for it. Living with an extremely strict HOA we can’t have ANY kind of fruit trees outside our screen enclosure. So my little tree is no more. Very sad.

I love guacamole! (I think I’ll marry it!- inside joke) I always thought it was so hard to make until my cousins Linda and Kim showed me how when they were visiting me. Ever since then I was hooked on making it myself. I am always looking for the sale on the Hass avocados. They are the best to use. There are other larger avocados out there but they just don’t do it for me. The color is wrong too and the taste is bland. So stick to the Hass. They are usually from California but lately the ones I’ve bought have been from Mexico. Still really good. I make guacamole at least once a week! It goes great on so many things other than chips. Sandwiches, burgers, hot dogs, chicken, steak, you name it. I also bought one of those avocado slicers to make the slicing easier, but it’s just as easy to score and then scoop out the avocado with a large spoon. Though it is actually good for getting the pit out without cutting open your hand and getting blood all over the guac.  But you can just cut open an avocado by slicing all the way around the long way and twist the two halves apart. Then take a sharp knife and whack the seed with it till it sticks in and twist. Just don’t whack your hand in the process! The seed should come right out. And I planted one recently, I had to see if I could actually grow it. It works! Just waiting for fruit! (See picture below) Though that might not happen but we will see! As soon as I finish writing this I am going to make another batch as well! And when you buy avocados pick ones that are a nice color and firm. If they are already soft you will have to use them right away. They take a day or so to soften on the counter, once they do put them in the fridge and use in few days. They should not be mushy! Mushy is bad. I also make mine half mashed and half chunky. But if you don’t like chunks mash away!

 

INGREDIENTS:

2 large Hass avocados

1 large plum tomato (halved, seeded and chopped)

¼ cup chopped red onion

1 tablespoon cilantro (or ½ cup fresh chopped)

juice of 1 lime or lemon

¼ cup jalapeños, chopped (I use the pickled ones in the jar but fresh is good too!) If this is too hot for you lessen or leave out.

2 cloves garlic, minced or chopped

1 teaspoon kosher salt (regular will be fine if you don’t have the Kosher)


DIRECTIONS:

1. Cut open the avocado and slice and chop one of them and place in a large bowl. Do the same with the second one but set aside.

2. Mash the avocado in the large bowl with a fork till all mashed up. Add the rest of the ingredients as well as the unmashed avocado and mix gently so you don’t mash all the chunks. (Unless you want it all mashed!)

3. Chill and serve in a few hours. If you will be waiting longer to serve place a piece of wax paper over the top of the guacamole in a container and cover tightly. It will start to turn brown from oxidation if you don’t do this. Also adding a little more lime juice will help. If it does start to turn just mix it up, there’s nothing wrong with it, just won’t look as pretty.

Regular Avocado

Non-Hass Avocado

Pina Colada Cake

Pina Colada Cake

I BAKED!! I know what you’re all saying…(But you don’t bake!) But I tried yet again, I refuse to give in on this. And it’s not really from scratch, it’s semi-homemade. I added my own touches and it worked! It came out amazing! So moist, rich and tropical! Oh and I even made the frosting from scratch! It was so easy! Go figure!

Rum/Vanilla Frosting

I had this cake mix in my cabinet for months, I bought it online for like a dollar and it was past it’s “best if used by date” by a few weeks so I figured I’d be adventurous. Originally I was going to make cupcakes but I thought I better just stick with a sheet cake this time. I toasted up some sweetened coconut flakes I had in the pantry also (they came out a little darker than I wanted but they taste great so all is well), and topped the cake with them.

Toasted coconut

Toasted Coconut

After tasting a small piece I wanted to eat the whole cake! WOW! Success!! I can bake I can bake I can bake!!!!

 

So without anymore self-praise here is how I did it.

Cake Ingredients:

1 box pineapple cake mix (I used Pillsbury Moist Supreme Pineapple)

1 (8 oz) can crushed pineapple in juice, undrained (I used about 8 ounces of fresh crushed pineapple I had in the freezer and thawed)

1/2 cup butter, melted (1 stick)

1/4 cup coconut syrup (or you can just use water or even coconut water)

3 large eggs

1/2 teaspoon rum extract

Frosting Ingredients:

2 cups confectioners sugar

4 oz butter (1 stick), softened

4 oz. cream cheese, softened

1 teaspoon rum extract

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Extra Ingredients:

1/2-3/4 cup sweetened coconut flakes

Cake Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease bottom of 13 x 9 pan with cooking spray or butter with a dusting of flour.
  2. Beat cake mix, pineapple, butter, coconut syrup and eggs in a large bowl with mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes. (didn’t realize how long 2 minutes can be when you’re timing something!)
  3. Pour batter into prepared pan.
  4. Bake for 34-38 minutes. (Check after 30 minutes as all ovens can be different. I took mine out at 32 minutes)IMG_5193
  5. Let cool completely before frosting.
  6. Once cool, frost the cake.

Frosting Directions: (this recipe will frost the entire cake)

  1. In a large bowl beat(cream) the butter and cream cheese.
  2. With the mixer on low-speed add the sugar a little at a time until smooth and creamy.
  3. Add the extracts.

Toasted Coconut Directions:

Place the coconut on a cookie sheet in a 350°F oven for about 2-5 minutes. Check after 2 minutes so it doesn’t burn. It goes quick once it starts to toast. Cool before putting on cake.

Pina Colada Sheet Cake

 

French Onion Soup Pizza

IMG_5075

Finished product

As promised I am posting the recipe for the French Onion Dip/Soup Pizza I posted pictures of the other day. This recipe came from Rachael Ray. It actually aired on her show back in 2009 but I just came across it now. If you want to see the video and original recipe click on French Onion Dip Pizza. 

IMG_5076

Ready for the oven!

When I first saw this recipe I was hooked. If you love french onion dip or french onion soup and pizza then you will love this recipe. My one word of caution is to give yourself time to make it. Caramelizing onions is NOT a quick process. I would say this recipe took me a good 90 minutes from start to finish with all the prep and cooking. It’s not complicated at all either. Just time-consuming. I also made the recipe as instructed, for the most part. I did add an extra clove of garlic (duh!) and an extra onion. I also added a bit more on the cheese. (again, duh!) She also calls for Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, but come on, I’m not made of gold. I used Locatelli Romano. The Gruyère cheese in this recipe was my big splurge. And don’t leave out the thyme leaves. I actually have never cooked with fresh thyme before, I know, hard to believe. What was I thinking? It totally made the pizza. The flavors just exploded in my mouth.

I will be making this pizza again for sure. Another thing I learned when pre-baking the crust, I will also poke tiny air holes in it with a fork before baking. I didn’t do that when I made this and it puffed up so big all I could think of was that Little Rascals episode with the cake that kept expanding on the sides. I was able to flatten it but I was nervous. Baking the crust prior is definitely  a must otherwise the pizza will be very soggy.

So if you like onions and cheese and pizza try this recipe. You will NOT be disappointed. If you don’t like any of those things then I feel sad for you. (Sorry Biz, way too many onions for you)

IMG_5073

Double Yummmm

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons (approximately) extra virgin olive oil
  • 2-3 large sweet onions, thinly sliced
  • 2-4 cloves garlic finely chopped or grated
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 ball/package fresh pizza dough (I buy mine at Wal-Mart in their deli section, $1!)
  • 1 cup sour cream or creme fraiche (I used sour cream)
  • 3/4 cup shredded sharp white cheddar cheese
  • 3/4 cup shredded Gruyère cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (I used Locatelli Romano, use what you have)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F.
  2. Using a large skillet, on medium, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and garlic and gently cook, stirring occasionally until the onions are soft and deep golden brown. This takes about 25 minutes. Be careful not to let the onions get crispy.
  3. As the onions are cooking prep your pizza dough on your pizza pan, baking sheet or whatever you use. Poke tiny air holes with a fork through the dough. (remember we don’t want a balloon to appear!) Bake the dough until light golden brown, about 15 minutes. Keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t get too brown.
  4. When the onions are done, season them with salt and pepper and stir in the sour cream or creme fraiche.
  5. Spread this mixture over the pre-baked crust. Sprinkle the cheeses over the onions. Sprinkle the thyme over the cheese.
  6. Bake until golden brown and bubbly about 10 minutes. Keep a watch on it so the cheese doesn’t burn. (I placed it on the middle rack because it was so dense. Normally my pizza is baked on the bottom rack)
  7. Remove from oven carefully and let sit for a couple of minutes. Slice it up and serve! Be careful it’s HOT! Enjoy!

Buttery Garlic Parmesan Chicken Wings (revisited)

(This recipe is my most viewed post and I thought it was worth reposting for any newcomers! Enjoy!)

I think just about everyone loves chicken wings. But after a while they can get a little boring. Same thing all the time…We have a favorite wings place here in Florida called Hurricane Wings. (They’re on Long Island in NY now too!) They have lots of different flavors along with the usual hot stuff. So the other night I remembered I had a bag of frozen wings and wanted to make up a batch. Well as most of you know, I love garlic. Can never have too much if you ask me. I also love butter and parmesan cheese. So why not combine them all with the chicken wings! Wonderful idea. What I liked most about this is that I didn’t have to defrost the wings first. I just followed the directions on the bag. Baked them for 45 minutes at 400ºF. My oven also has a convection option so I used the convection roast setting. I also turned them over a couple of times during the cooking. We love crispy wings and if you do them this way you won’t have all the extra fat from deep-frying. I am happy to say they came out awesome! We also served them with the usual blue cheese dressing. I also didn’t have any celery so I cut a cucumber into long slices and that worked just fine.

I’m thinking of making up another batch for tonight! 

INGREDIENTS:

2-4 lbs. uncooked chicken wings (frozen or unfrozen)

6-8 cloves garlic minced (cut back if you don’t like a lot of garlic)

6-8 tablespoons butter, melted

½ cup of grated parmesan cheese of choice

½ teaspoon each dried basil and oregano

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Follow cooking directions on bag of chicken. Different cooking times for frozen or thawed. Place the chicken wings on a cookie sheet or roasting pan and cook as directed. This will take 30-45 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile in a medium bowl combine the melted butter, garlic, basil and oregano. Add ¼ cup of the parmesan cheese. Mix well.

  3. When the wings are done to your liking, we like them crispy, remove from cookie sheet and put them in a large bowl. Add the butter, garlic mixture to the wings and mix well.

  4. Put the wings back onto the cookie sheet, making sure you get all the mixture on them. Sprinkle with the remaining ¼ cup of parmesan cheese.

  5. Broil for about 5 minutes about 3-4 inches from the broiler element. Keep an eye on them so the cheese doesn’t burn.

  6. Remove from oven and transfer to a platter and dig in!

Fun With Couscous! (revisited)

(This post was previously published several years ago but I thought it was worth repeating…Enjoy!)

Yes I said “fun with couscous”. Recently I discovered Israeli Couscous or Pearl Couscous. I had seen it in a recipe some time ago and had a hard time locating it so I gave up. Then I was in my favorite Italian grocery and came across it. It was also a BOGO so I bought it! Of course by now I couldn’t remember or find the recipe I originally wanted it for! But it didn’t matter, I was all about finding a new recipe or recipes. For those of you who say you don’t like couscous, this is a great variety to try. It’s much larger than normal couscous and had a wonderful silky texture. It’s not grainy like the regular variety.

First time I made it I served it cold! I had some leftover tomatoes and cucumbers and made a Mediterranean style cold salad with it. It was a huge hit! I served it at a barbecue at my house and people were asking for 2nd and 3rd helpings! So of course I’ve made it several times since!

Not to get into a rut with my new-found side dish I decided to make a hot side dish last week. This time it came out like a creamy cheesy risotto! OMG it was incredible! And it only took about 10 minutes to make! Did I mention this couscous only takes 8-10 minutes! No constant stirring, no long drawn out process, just a quick and easy side dish that you can add ANYTHING to. I’ve even added it to a soup instead of noodles! I am all about the couscous these days!!

It’s possibilities are endless! So today I am going to include both my cold recipe and my hot risotto style recipe. Enjoy and go buy some couscous!

Recipe #1:

Mediterranean Couscous Salad

1 cup uncooked Israeli/Pearl couscous

1 ¼ cup liquid (water, chicken broth, veggie broth, etc)

Chopped tomato, about ¼ cup(remove seeds and insides, gets too watery)

Chopped cucumber, about ½ cup

1 cloves garlic, minced (or you can use garlic powder)

¼ cup finely chopped red onion

t teaspoon dill (optional)

salt and pepper to taste

extra-virgin olive oil

Directions:

1: Boil liquid and add couscous. Cover and simmer 8-10 minutes. Watch it carefully so it doesn’t overflow. Stir occasionally.

2. When the liquid is all gone, drain and rinse well under cold water.

3. Add rest of ingredients, mix well and add a little olive oil (1-2 tablespoons). Mix again and chill.

4. When ready to serve place in serving bowl and drizzle a little more EVOO over the top and mix.

Makes 2-4 servings

Recipe #2

Couscous Risotto

*This recipe I used what I had leftover in the fridge to add to the couscous. I had made broccoli rabe the night before so I chopped it up and used that. You can also add chopped mushrooms or anything else you wish. Even change the cooking crème variety. Make it yours!

1 cup uncooked Israeli/Pearl couscous

1¼ cup liquid (water, broth, etc.)

leftover veggies, chopped well

Few tablespoons Savory Lemon & Herbs Cooking Creme (Philadelphia brand)

¼-½ grated parmesan cheese

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Boil liquid and add couscous. Cover and simmer 8-10 minutes. Stir occasionally.

2. When liquid is gone, keep heat on low and add the veggies, cooking crème and parmesan cheese. Stir well till heated through.

3. Serve immediately.

Makes 2-4 servings

1 2 49
Dining with Donald

Donald on dining in and out

Cruise Ship Recipes at Home

How do I Make That?

Rachael Ray

It's Not Just Popcorn!

Joanne Eats Well With Others

It's Not Just Popcorn!

Garlic Girl

It's Not Just Popcorn!

BuzzFeed - Tasty

It's Not Just Popcorn!

An Edible Mosaic™

It's Not Just Popcorn!

StephenKing.com - Latest News

It's Not Just Popcorn!

Food52

It's Not Just Popcorn!

Big Bear's Wife

It's Not Just Popcorn!

Cinnamon-Spice & Everything Nice

It's Not Just Popcorn!

The Weekend Gourmet

It's Not Just Popcorn!

Skinnytaste

It's Not Just Popcorn!

What's Cooking at the Genua's?

It's Not Just Popcorn!

MarlaMeridith.com

Delicious healthy recipes, exclusive travel, stunning photography, fashion, lifestyle & more!

Chef in Training

A great place to find easy, delicious and family friendly recipes.

The Pioneer Woman

Plowing through Life in the Country...One Calf Nut at a Time

that's what she eats.

if you want to know what she said, you have to know what she eats.

Simply Recipes

It's Not Just Popcorn!

It's Not Just Popcorn!

overdeepblueseas

OVER DEEP BLUE SEAS BLOG @ WordPress.com

Sluggo's Escapades

What's Sluggo up to today?

My Bizzy Kitchen

A healthy balance of food and exercise . . . while keeping blood sugars normal! #igotsthesugars

RavieNomNoms

A Girl, Her Blog, and Lots of Food Pictures!

%d bloggers like this: