Thursday, November 28, 2013

Pumpkin Waffles

So today we wake up to a glorious Thanksgiving morning. The sun is beginning to rise over the distant hills and surrounding tree tops. There is a heavy frost on the ground and a wonderful day awaits of feasting and being with family. Ahhh, what a day!
In preparation for today's festivities, I roasted some fresh pumpkins yesterday for delicious puree; can you say pumpkin pie???? The great thing about making your own puree is that you get so much more bang for your buck and you know that there is only one ingredient, pumpkin! In honor of the fresh pumpkin puree and the indulgence of the holiday, this morning was the perfect time for pumpkin waffles.
These waffles are a variation on my popular Lighter-Than-Air Waffles. The pumpkin replaces the melted butter, reducing the fat even more. The addition of nutmeg and ginger increases the warmth of the recipe. Although I made these for Thanksgiving morning, they are perfect for anytime.
1 1/3 Cups All-Purpose Flour
4 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Salt
4 teaspoons Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon Ground Ginger
1/4 Cup Pumpkin Puree
1 3/4 Cup Whole Milk
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla
2 Eggs, Separated into Yolks and Whites

Yield: 6 Large Waffles
1. Preheat your waffle iron to the setting you prefer. I like a darker, crisp waffle so I go on the darker setting. Lightly spray with non-stick cooking oil.
2. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and spices.
3. In large measuring cup, combing pumpkin, milk, vanilla, and egg yolks.
4. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the egg whites until fluffy and stiff. This step is crucial for getting a light waffle!
5. Create a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and slowly whisk the wet ingredients into the dry. Stir to remove lumps.
 6. Gently fold the whipped egg whites into the flour mixture. Make sure to FOLD into the waffle batter in order to not deflate the air from the egg whites.
7. Fill your waffle iron and cook according to manufacturer's instructions.
8. Serve hot with your choice of toppings---syrup, butter, whipped cream, fruit.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Turtle Corn

When I think about this time of year, I think about making caramel corn as a young girl. We made caramel corn at least once a year and it was always around the holidays. So, to me, caramel corn is a holiday tradition.
However, the inspiration for this recipe goes one step further. I was at work a few weeks ago and suddenly craved a candy bar, and not just any candy bar, but the one that is supposed to satisfy. You know what I mean? Well, I never got the candy bar so I wanted to make something at home to satisfy the craving. On the way home, I picked up some popcorn and cashews, knowing I had everything else at home, in order to make this delicious treat.
This recipe takes the classic caramel corn a few steps further. Not only do you have the sweet homemade caramel covering the tender popcorn, but I added salty cashews with decadent chocolate. AMAZING! So now when I have a craving, all I have to do is go to the pantry and grab a handful of this Turtle Corn to calm my salty, sweet desires. Enjoy!
2 Sticks Butter
2 Cups Light Brown Sugar, Packed
1/2 Cup Light Corn Syrup
1 teaspoon Sea Salt
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
6 Cups Popped Corn
3 Ounces (weight) Cashew Halves
1/3 Cup Milk Chocolate Chips

1. Melt butter, sugar, corn syrup and sea salt in a large pot over medium heat. Allow the sugar mixture to come to a gentle boil. Once the syrup begins to boil. set the kitchen timer for 5 minutes. During this time, do not stir the pot. Allow it to boil and foam on itself.
2. While the caramel is boiling, line a roasting pan or cookie sheet with wax paper. Place the popped corn on the pan. Sprinkle with cashews.
3. After 5 minutes, remove the caramel from the heat and carefully stir the baking soda into the pot.
4. Immediately pour over the popcorn and cashews. Stir to coat.
5. Place in a 200 degree preheated oven and bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
***NOTE: If you want a crisper finished product, add an additional 15 minute interval to the baking for a total of 75 minutes.***
6. After 45 minutes, sprinkle the chocolate chips over the caramel corn. Return to the oven for the final 15 minutes.
7. Remove from the oven and gently stir.
8. Pour onto another wax paper lined pan and allow to cool for at least 30 minutes.
9. Store any leftover turtle corn in an airtight container at room temperature.

Note: I made this using old fashioned popping corn on the stovetop, popping 1 cup of kernels in 1/4 cup oil. You can make it with plain microwave corn or air-popped corn as well. All that matters is that the popcorn is fresh and plain.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Game Day Chicken Skewers

So this week we continue with our theme of easy game day recipes. In an effort to continue our streak of a "No Repeat Recipe Season," this recipe was developed out of the need for something quick, easy, and, perhaps best of all, inexpensive. The great thing about this recipe is that you probably already have all of the marinade ingredients in your kitchen and the boneless chicken thighs are a very economical selection at your local grocery store. This recipe can also be doubled or even tripled for a large gathering.
4 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs
1/4 Cup Low Sodium Soy Sauce
2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
1 Lime, Juiced
1/2 teaspoon Ground Ginger
4 Tablespoons Light Brown Sugar
12 Wooden Skewers

1. Place the wooden skewered in a shallow dish and cover with water. Allow to sit while preparing the remaining ingredients.
2. Lay the chicken thighs on a large cutting board. Unroll each thigh and slice lengthwise to make 3 strips.
3. In a separate bowl, combine the soy sauce, garlic, lime juice, ginger and brown sugar. Stir well.
4. Carefully thread a strip of chicken onto each soaked skewer and place in a shallow dish. Cover the chicken with the marinade. Allow to marinade for at least 3 hours or up to overnight.
5. When ready to cook, place on a the skewers grill pan or hot grill over medium heat, making sure to completely coat the chicken in the marinade as it is transferred from the marinade pan. Turn frequently to prevent burning of the sugars. Cook for 10 minutes, or until cooked throughout, and deeply browned.
6. Remove from the heat and enjoy.

Note: I wrote this recipe for easy transport to the tailgating site. The skewers do get a little sticky from the marinade. If you are cooking these at home, I would marinade the strips and then place on the skewers right before cooking.