Pumpkin Dump Cake

Tomorrow is the start of fall, and that my friends, is my favorite season. I’m going to kick off fall by giving you this great pumpkin recipe. Most of you might already know that pumpkin is something I’m very fond of. I have some great pumpkin recipes planned for the next couple weeks.

I will start you out on this dump cake. This recipe couldn’t be any easier, take a boxed cake mix and pour it over a delicious pumpkin concoction and top with crushed graham crackers, toffee bits, and butter. YUM! There is a tiny story behind me making this cake. The night before I began to heat up the broiler and heard a pop. My oven has decided to stop heating up. This is very sad news for any baker. Thankfully my parents now live very close to me and I was able to go over to their house and bake this cake for our Sunday dinner. Now I sit and hope that the oven won’t cost a fortune to fix. I can’t wait to get it back!

Other pumpkin recipes for you to enjoy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pumpkin Cookies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pumpkin Cheesecake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pumpkin Scones

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pumpkin Bread

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pumpkin Bars

 

Pumpkin Dump Cake:

  • 1 15 oz can Pumpkin Puree
  • 1 10 oz can Evaporated Milk
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter melted
  • 1 cup coarsely crushed graham crackers or pecans
  • 1/2 cup toffee bits (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and spray a 9×13 baking pan lightly with cooking/baking spray
  2. In a large bowl combine the pumpkin, evaporated milk, sugar, eggs and pumpkin pie spice. Stir to combine and pour into the prepared pan.
  3. Sprinkle entire box of cake mix on top, followed by the graham crackers or nuts and toffee chips.
  4. Pour the melted butter evenly on top.
  5. Bake for 45-50 minutes until center is set and edges are lightly browned.

Source: Slightly adapted from Cookies and Cups

 

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Herb Dip and a Sweet 16 birthday party

 

This is what I’ve been busy with the past couple weeks. My daughter will be turning 16 this week and we wanted to give her a party she won’t ever forget. As you can see, it was a Mad Hatter Tea Party theme. It turned out exactly how I had imagined (despite the rain). Our menu consisted of the chicken salad sliders, spirals (Sam’s Club), salmon and cream cheese tea sandwiches, caprese skewers, fruit and cheese platter, and herb dip served in individual bread cups.

 

This was the closest shot I got of the herb dip in bread cups. The rain finally stopped after the party was getting started and I was rushing to get the food out while I had a crowd around me cheering me on. The herb dip was a huge hit and went fast. It’s perfect to serve a crowd and with football starting, perfect for your game watching. I took baguettes and cut the ends off, then sliced the bread into 4-5 inch pieces. With those pieces, I sliced them at a diagonal in the middle of the slices, to create the angled bread cups. Hollowed out the inside (leaving enough bread so the dip won’t fall out) then piped the dip in the holes. It looked so beautiful, definitely my favorite part of the food table.

We put drink me tags on all the water bottles. They looked so cute!

The table settings were beautiful even after the rain hit.

My parents were kind enough to get her birthday cake for us. I was planning on making it but was quickly realizing I would have no time to do exactly what I wanted.

I did however make cookies for everyone to take home. I realized the day after the party that I had not taken any pictures of the cookies. I quickly gathered the leftover cookies so I could take a quick photo.

I can’t believe she’s going to be 16!

Happy Birthday to cutest Mad Hatter ever!

Herb Dip:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 4 scallions, white and green parts, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill, minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Place the cream cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, scallions, parsley, dill, salt, and pepper in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and blend. Refrigerate overnight or for up to at least 6 hours.

 

Source: Ina Garten via Food Network

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chipotle Chicken – Copycat Version

It’s a rare thing for me to make exact copycat recipes. But I’m a huge fan of the popular chain, Chipotle. I’ve already made a cilantro-lime rice that rivals theirs, and a corn salsa. Now it’s time for the main ingredient, the chicken. This chicken is full of strong flavors and you can turn up the heat or turn it down by how many chili’s you put in it. I didn’t put the whole 7oz of chipotle peppers in because I didn’t want it too spicy. I was able to find dried ancho chiles in my local Walmart’s produce department. You should also be able to find the chipotle peppers in adobo in Walmart’s Hispanic section. When you make this, use the leftover peppers in adobo in my hot corn dip. It’s to die for!

I will admit, that while these were really good, nothing can beat the actual burrito’s at Chipotle’s. Maybe it’s the atmosphere. But you can have fun with your family making them at home. I put everything together and then set everything out on a table so people could make their own burrito’s. Make sure you have plenty of lettuce, cheese, sour cream, guacamole, and of course, the cilanto-lime rice and corn salsa. It’ll make your burrito’s shine!

Chipotle Chicken:

  • 5-6 boneless and skinless chicken breasts, pounded flat (about 1/2 inch thickness)
  • 1 (2 ounce) package dried ancho chiles or 4-6 ancho chiles
  • 1 (7 ounce) can chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (discard chipotle pepper, skim out seeds)
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons cumin powder
  • 2 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 red onion, quartered
  • 1/4 cup oil (canola/vegetable/olive)

 

  1. Soak the dried chilies overnight in water, until soft. Remove seeds. (If you forget to do this part, like me, pour boiling water over chiles and let soak till soft, about 30 minutes)
  2. Add chilies and rest of the ingredients in blender or food processor. Puree until smooth. Place chicken in a ziploc bag and pour marinade over chicken. Let refrigerate and marinate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  3. Once chicken is ready, prepare your gas or charcoal grill. Cook over medium-high heat until cooked through, about 8-10 minutes per side. Make sure the chicken is cooked thoroughly. When done, take off heat and chop into small dices. Enjoy!

Source: slightly adapted from Chipotle Fan

Snickerdoodle Muffins

Oh, how I’ve missed all of you. We just recently got back from a much needed vacation. It was great seeing family and old friends. We went to Florida and met our new nephew, and I can’t even begin to explain how lucky all of us are to have this precious boy in our lives. I am missing him like crazy!

Look at this face and try to tell me you wouldn’t miss it.

Along with spending time with family we were able to go to Disney World, Legoland, and best of all, a Tampa Bay Rays game. Here are a few pictures of our trip.

Of course you know these famous faces. Mickey was so much fun and gave us lots of kisses.

My kids at Legoland. We had such a great time here. Of course my son loved it most of all. He’s a big Lego fan and has tubs of them in his room. I think he might end up working here one day.

Here is my grandmother and myself getting ready to go into the Rays game. We had the best time here, even with the game going into 14 innings. Thankfully, my Rays won so it was worth staying till Midnight.

How cool is this Mickey?

No trip to Florida would be complete without seeing the beaches. We went to Siesta Key in my hometown, which by the way, was awarded the best beach in the United States.

Now we are back to the normal grind of everyday. So I should probably let you know all about these awesome muffins. If you like snickerdoodle cookies, you are going to LOVE these muffins. They taste exactly like the cookies, they are moist and you won’t be able to stop at one.

Snickerdoodle Muffins:

  • 1 cup Butter, Softened
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 2 whole Eggs
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla
  • 2-1/4 cups Flour
  • 3/4 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 3/4 teaspoons Baking Soda
  • 3/4 teaspoons Cream Of Tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoons Salt
  • 1 cup Sour Cream
  • 1/4 cups Buttermilk

For the Topping:

  • 2/3 cups Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Cinnamon
  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Prepare a muffin tin with 12 liners. (I was able to squeeze out about 14 muffins)
  2. In a mixer, combine the butter and sugar and cream until fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla and combine.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Add half of the dry ingredients to the mixing bowl and stir to combine. Add the sour cream and buttermilk and mix to combine. Add the rest of the dry ingredients and mix until you have a smooth batter.
  4. In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon for the topping.
  5. Use an ice cream scooper and put a scoop of batter into the bowl with the sugar and cinnamon. Gently roll the batter in the sugar and cinnamon. Place the ball into the muffin liner.
  6. When you have completed all of the muffins, sprinkle the leftover cinnamon sugar onto the tops of all of the muffins.
  7. Bake the muffins for about 15-18 minutes or until they are golden on top and just baked through.

Source: Slightly adapted by Heather Christo via Tasty Kitchen

Red White and Blue Whoopie Pies

Happy Independence Day! Today is the day we celebrate our nations independence. I’m sure many of you will be out with family and friends celebrating. We are planning to go to my sister-in-laws house for swimming and of course food and fireworks. Earlier in the week I brainstormed on what I could bring that would showcase our nations colors. I started thinking about whoopie pies. I live in Pennsylvania and whoopie pies are a staple here. I decided that I could make a vanilla whoopie pie and dye the batter to make the blue and the red and have the frosting as the white. I was so happy that they turned out exactly like I had imagined.

Here are a few tips to create perfect looking whoopie pies

Start out drawing 2 1/4 inch circles on the parchment paper. I used a glass to trace the circles. Turn the paper over when you put it on your baking sheet. That way you don’t have traces of pencil getting on your batter.

Next you will pipe out the batter within the circles. I used a Wilton 2A tip.

They are now ready to go into the oven and get baked.

Red White and Blue Whoopie Pies

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 1/2 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • Red and Blue gel food coloring. (I use Ameri-color and Wilton gel)
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a pencil, outline 2 1/4 – 2 1/2 inch circles spacing them a few inches apart.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and baking powder and set aside.
  3. In a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or hand mixer), cream together the butter and sugar, till light and fluffy. Once combined; add the eggs, one at a time, scraping the bowl after each addition. Add the vanilla and mix till just combined.
  4. Add the flour to the wet ingredients alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour. Be gentle and do not overmix. Divide the batter into two bowls. In one bowl add the blue coloring, till desired color is reached, and mix till combined. Repeat with the red coloring in the other bowl.
  5. Place batter into a large piping bag (I used 16 inches) fitted with a large round tip. (I used Wilton 2A). Pipe the batter within the circles on the parchment paper.
  6. Bake for 6-8 minutes or until the center is just firm. Remove from oven and transfer to cooling rack. Cool completely before frosting.
  7. Once the pies are cooled and ready; match up the pies and spread or pipe the icing on one side then sandwich with the matching piece.
Frosting:
  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 TBS vanilla
  • 4 cups Confectioners sugar
  1. In a bowl fitted with paddle attachment (or hand mixer), cream together the butter, milk, flour and vanilla. Add the confectioner sugar and beat together till light and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes.

Source: slightly adapted by King Arthur Flour frosting from the Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Corn Salsa

This is the time of year for corn and we eat it at least once a week during the summer. Sometimes it’s nice to have corn in different ways other than right off the cob. This salsa tastes like the one from chiptole and you can pair it with the cilantro-lime rice I already posted about. You could also use this salsa to go with any grilled meats. It would be great with steak. I cooked the poblano chile pepper on the grill while I grilled chicken. But if you aren’t making this when you were planning to grill, you could easily put the pepper under the broiler. Just be to sure to turn the pepper every couple minutes and watch it closely so it does not burn.

Corn Salsa:

  • 1/2 small poblano chile pepper, seeded
  • 3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 cup fresh corn kernels (from 2 ears), or 1 cup frozen corn, thawed
  • 1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons chopped red onion
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  1. Preheat a grill to medium high. Brush the poblano with 1 teaspoon olive oil and grill, skin-side down, until charred but still firm, about 5 minutes. Cool slightly; peel and finely chop.
  2. If using fresh corn, bring a small pot of salted water to a boil. Add the corn and cook until tender, 2 to 3 minutes; drain. (You can use leftover corn and just cut it off the cob without having to re-heat it)
  3. Mix the corn (if using frozen, add it here), poblano, jalapeno, cilantro and red onion in a bowl. Stir in the remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil, the lime juice, sugar and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Serve and enjoy

Source: Food Network

Cilantro-Lime Rice

If you have ever eaten at Chipotle’s you know all about their cilantro-lime rice. Awhile back I decided to attempt making homemade versions of these yummy burritos. In the next couple posts, I’ll be posting 3 of the main ingredients you need to make burritos like theirs.

I am going to start with my favorite ingredient, the cilantro-lime rice. It was very easy to put together and would go great as a side dish to any grilled/roasted meat. I always cook the rice with 1/4 cup less water than what is normally recommended. I find it helps the rice not get too clumpy. I’ve included the difference in my recipe below.

Cilantro-Lime Rice:

Serves 4

  • 1 cup Basmati white or brown rice
  • 1 3/4 cup water
  • 2 limes
  • 3-4 tbs chopped cilantro
  • 2 tbs vegetable oil
  • Salt
  1. In a medium saucepan heat water to boiling. Stir in rice, juice of 1 lime, and pinch of salt. Cover and turn the heat to low and let simmer till rice is tender, about 15-18 minutes. (Can be cooked in a rice cooker)
  2. Remove from heat and transfer rice to bowl. Add the cilantro (as much as you like to taste), juice of second lime, (I recommend tasting after putting in half of the lime to see if it’s enough for you), vegetable oil, and salt to taste. Stir till combined and serve.