Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Pumpkin Favorites

Fall is by far my favorite time of the year. I’ll admit. I am a little nerdy when it comes to my love for this season. The weather…wearing boots with jeans….putting my orange fall mums out in front of the house, and finally… drinking that delectable and expensive Pumpkin Spice late from Starbucks! But what I love the most is cooking and baking anything with pumpkin. I mean, is this not the perfect season to do it?!  Although I’m aware of pumpkin being incorporated into savory dishes, the recipes I am sharing today are all sweet…and delicious. Last year, I shared a recipe for pumpkin empanadas and while I was putting the pieces together for this post, I thought, revisiting this recipe would be perfect. The second recipe I am sharing is for pumpkin muffins. I’ve tried a pumpkin muffin…or two, and really these muffins are moist and full of pumpkin deliciousness. These muffins are soooo good on their own, but the cinnamon cream cheese frosting and candied pecans only make them better! The last recipe I am sharing is one that I created in my kitchen, kind of by accident. I had ½ of a can of pumpkin puree left from trying out another pumpkin recipe I had seen online. Considering that I really did not want to throw it out, I decided I would add it to whatever I was making for breakfast or dinner that day. I ended up using the pumpkin puree and adding it to my pancake batter. It was so easy and a nice change to the ordinary pancakes that are whipped up for Sunday breakfast! These are my favorite pumpkin treats and they just may become some of yours too!

Pumpkin Empanadas

For complete Pumpkin Empanadas recipe refer back to Beef Empanadas post.

Source: Sweet,Spicy,and Sassy

Pumpkin Muffins
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin (from a 15 ounce can)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pumpkin-pie spice
1 1/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon

1.  Preheat oven to 350 and fill muffin tins with cupcake liners.
2. Whisk together pumpkin, oil, eggs, pumpkin pie spice, 1 1/4 cups sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl until smooth, then whisk in flour mixture until just combined.
3. Divide batter among muffin cups, Fill 3/4th full and bake for 25 minutes.
Note: muffins may be either topped with one tablespoon of sugar mixed with cinnamon. Top muffins with the sugar cinnamon mix BEFORE putting them in the oven, or top muffins with cinnamon cream cheese frosting and candied pecans.

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
1 stick of butter, room temperature
1 8 oz package of cream cheese
2 cups powdered sugar
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
Splash of vanilla

Mix butter and cream cheese, cinnamon and vanilla first then add powdered sugar to the mix.

Candied Pecans
1 cup pecan halves
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons brown sugar

Melt butter and sugar in a skillet. Add pecans and stir until all combined. Pour and spread pecans out onto wax paper to cool before serving.
Source: . Originally from American Club,in Kohler, Wisconsin via Gourmet Magazine.

Pumpkin Pancakes
½ cup pumpkin puree
3 tablespoons white granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Splash of vanilla
1-2 cups of pancake mix (I used Krusteaz Honey Wheat Pancake mix)

  1. In a small bowl combine pumpkin puree, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla and set aside.
  2. Prepare pancake batter according to the box. Fold in pumpkin mix and pour batter onto a warm griddle. Cook pancakes according to the box.
  3. Serve warm pancakes with maple syrup and your favorite toppings.

Source: Sweet,Spicy,and Sassy

Monday, September 2, 2013

Zucchini And Shrimp Stir Fry

There is this little farmers market down the street from my house that sets up every Thursday. Not only is this little market so cute, but all of their products are organic and home made. I love it so much sometimes I wish I could be one of the sellers there too! What would I sell? I have no idea, but this place is really cute. You get the point, right? Anyway, I know I’ve mentioned in previous post about my love for buying fresh vegetables. Whether I am at a farmers market or at my grocery store I always load up on certain vegetables, in particular, yellow squash and zucchinis.  Lets face it…my time is so limited that lately I find myself having little to no time to really make dinner. So…I often find myself buying food that I can make multiple meals out of. This post is a good example of what I am talking about. Last week, I bought a little more zucchinis than what I normally buy and knew right away at least two ways I’d be cooking these. The first recipe I am sharing is actually from Rachael Ray (who I loooooovvvvee!). These stuffed zucchini boats are seriously so frikin’ good! This dish is so good that you really don’t mind skipping the ‘meat’ part of your meal. Now, the second recipe I am sharing is a combination of two recipes. My father makes this delicious fried pork dish with zucchinis, tomatoes, and onions which is one of my favorite meals he makes. However, with me trying to shake off this stubborn baby weight, fried pork is not on my list of things to eat right now! Well, while watching an episode of the Pioneer Woman I noticed she too made a dish similar to my dads, but….she used shrimp instead! I was like “man…why did I not think of that?!” What I love about this zucchini and shrimp stir fry is the sweet and spiciness you get from using fresh corn and jalapeños. And really…go for the fresh corn with this recipe. You may think that canned corn will taste the same, but it really does change the flavor completely! Both of these recipes are a great way to turn all of those vegetables sitting in your fridge into a fabulous and simple meal!

Zucchini and Shrimp Stir Fry

Serves 4

1 lb raw or frozen shrimp, cleaned and tails removed
2 medium size zucchini’s, cut in half moons
1 large tomato, seeded and chopped
½ an onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 ½ cups fresh corn (roughly two ears of fresh corn)
1-2 jalapeños, seeded and chopped
½ tsp. ground red pepper
½ tsp. garlic powder
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. parsley flakes
¼ cup parmesan cheese


  1. Heat medium size skillet over medium heat. Season shrimp with ground red pepper, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper and cook until they turn orange.
  2. Once shrimp have cooked, remove them from the skillet and cook onions, jalapeños, and garlic until onions are soft and translucent.
  3. Add in the zucchini, tomatoes, and corn to the skillet and continue to cook until the zucchini has softened and cooked through.
  4. Add in the parsley and season vegetables with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Mix in the shrimp with the vegetables and add in parmesan cheese.
  6. Can be served with white or brown rice, or couscous.
Source: Recipe inspired by Pioneer Woman and M. Martinez. Both recipes were slightly modified.

Stuffed Young Zucchini

Serves 4


4 small zucchinis
2 tablespoons virgin olive oil
12 crimini mushrooms, chopped
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, grated or minced
Salt and pepper to taste
2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
½ cup bread crumbs
Handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
¾ cup parmesan cheese


  1. Heat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Cut zucchinis length wise and scoop out center flesh to create a shallow center and set flesh aside.
  3. Arrange zucchinis in a baking dish and drizzle olive oil and salt and pepper.
  4. Heat remaining olive oil in a skillet and sauté mushrooms, onions, and garlic until onions are translucent.
  5. Chop reserved zucchini and add it to the skillet along with the chopped tomatoes and cook until zucchini is tender. Remove from heat.
  6. Add in parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs to the stuffing.
  7. Spoon stuffing into zucchinis and bake for 18 minutes.

Source: Rachael Ray