Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Tasty Tuesday Pumpkin Casserole!

Recently, I've been delving into Indian cuisine while researching a new book. I've learned to make all sorts of interesting things, but along the way, the spices have crept into my everyday cooking repertoire. Not long a go, I baked a pumpkin. I froze most of the puree, but had about a cup or so left over and figured I would use it for something--hopefully before it went bad on me. A day or two later, it occurred to me to substitute the pumpkin for the asparagus in my asparagus pudding recipe and add some Indian spices. I thought it turned out rather well. 

Pumpkin Casserole  

1 egg
1 cup pumpkin puree
dash of cayenne
2 tsp garam masala  (If you're not in the mood for Indian spices, you could substitute 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice)
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup flour
3/4 cup grated colby jack cheese
3/4 cup milk

Place all ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth. It will look like really thick pumpkin soup. Pour into greased casserole dish and bake at 400 degrees for 45 min until the middle puffs up (it will sink a little after you take it out of the oven) and the top is lightly browned.

I'm also blogging on Casablanca Authors today, and I posted my hash brown potato casserole recipe there. Check it out if you're feeling hungry! http://casablancaauthors.blogspot.com/

Tasty Tuesday Tuscan Beef with Penne Pasta!

Thanksgiving is only two days away, which means I should probably be posting recipes for leftover turkey. However, I made this dish about a week ago out of what I happened to have on hand, and it was pretty good, so I'm posting it now. That way you'll have it for when you're sick of turkey sandwiches. *:D big grin

Tuscan Beef with Penne Pasta

1 lb lean ground beef
1 tsp salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder mixture
1 tbsp olive oil
1/3 cup roasted red bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes, chopped (I use the kind packed in oil)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1 cup (dry) penne pasta cooked according to package directions and drained
1 tbsp or more of pesto
1 to 2 handfuls of fresh spinach
crumbled blue cheese (or Gorgonzola) 

Season ground beef with salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder mixture, then brown in olive oil in a large skillet. Add peppers, tomatoes, onion, garlic and mushrooms and saute until onions are soft and translucent. Add the spinach and cook until wilted. Add the pasta and pesto and mix well. Top with crumbled cheese and enjoy!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Tasty Tuesday Orange Crunch Cake!

I know. I'm a bad, bad blogger. The truth is, I've been too busy working on home improvement projects and writing new books to do much blogging. Aside from the fact that blogging without the naked hunks just isn't the same. *:-&lt sigh

That being said, I still do the occasional bit of cooking, and not long ago, my friend Susan Clement sent me this recipe. She'd recently been to Sanibel Island, which is where The Bubble Room is located. Budley and I vacationed on Sanibel twice when we were MUCH younger, and we had dinner in that same restaurant a few times. Seeing this recipe brought back some seriously old (but good) memories! Thanks, Sue!

1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 (18.25 ounce) package yellow cake mix
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup orange juice
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
2 tbps grated orange peel

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour two 9 inch pans. Combine the graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, walnuts and butter. Divide mixture evenly between the prepared pans. Set aside.
2.In a medium bowl, mix together the cake mix, water, orange juice and oil until blended. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in the orange zest. Pour the mixture evenly over the crunch layer in the pans.
3. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack and cool completely before frosting. Frost (crunch side up) between layers, on top and sides. Refrigerate.
1/2 cup softened unsalted butter
8oz softened cream cheese
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups sifted 10x confectioner's sugar
1 tsp. orange juice
1/2 tsp grated orange peel. Many users double the icing recipe.

Note: Some users add orange extract to the cake(1 tsp) and frosting(1/2 tsp) to increase the flavor. Others decrease the water to ¼ cup and increase the orange juice to ¾ cup.
At The Bubble Room this is a 3 layer cake so I might play with this to make it so…great reviews on allrecipes and food.com. Duncan Hines also makes an orange supreme cake mix that should work well, too.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Tasty Tuesday Cheesy Hamburger with Potatoes and Onions!

I know. I've been amazingly lax about blogging lately--this from someone who once blogged every single day for more than four years. The truth is, I simply haven't had anything new to report. Yes, I've been helping my husband replace a bunch of windows, and I've been working on several home and farm maintenance projects that I've let slide for years, but I'm not sure any of it is worth more than a few Facebook posts and pictures.

But during that time, I've also been writing. A lot. With the result that I'm at least halfway through the first book in a paranormal romantic suspense trilogy about three survivors of a plane crash at sea.

Not my usual genre, I know, but it has stimulated my interest in a horde of new things, and those things have been keeping me busy. The amount of research I've done for this first book is staggering. Without internet access, I doubt I could've written it unless I'd spent an inordinate amount of time in the library, and even then I probably wouldn't have found what I needed. Call Google all the names you like, but it is still a valuable research tool.

In other news, my Sourcebooks editor called yesterday. She'd finished reading the erotic contemporary manuscript I sent her a while back, and she still likes it well enough to make a very nice offer for it, plus a second book to go with it. She didn't ask for much in the way of revisions, but I'm going to edit the entire book anyway. I first wrote that story several years ago, and my writing skills have improved since then, so I see no point in putting it out there for you to read without giving it a significant facelift. Since she wants two books, I'll probably have to drop the romantic suspense story for a while to revise the first book and then write the second. I can probably keep going on both, but there will be deadlines to meet, which will place greater demands on my time. Either way, blogging may continue to take a back seat to other projects.

That being said, here's a recipe you might enjoy. Last night, my husband wanted something made with hamburger that was creamy and cheesy. He claimed this was exactly what he'd had in mind. I didn't take a picture, but it tasted better than it looked anyway.

Cheesy Hamburger with Potatoes and Onions

2 medium potatoes, peeled, chopped and boiled in salted water until tender
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 lb lean hamburger
3 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp thyme
1/3 cup burgundy
1 tsp instant beef broth
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 tbsp ketchup
1 tsp dry mustard
1/2 cup sour cream or plain nonfat Greek yogurt
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese

Prepare the potatoes and cook until tender. Heat oil in a large skillet and saute until the onions are translucent. Add the hamburger and sprinkle it with salt and pepper. Cook until browned and add the garlic, beef broth powder, thyme, and burgundy. Let it cook down a little, then add the drained cooked potatoes, mushroom soup, ketchup, and dry mustard. Reduce the heat and let it cook for about five or ten minutes. Add more salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the yogurt and heat for about two minutes, then add the cheese. Stir until cheese is melted and serve.