Sunday, November 30, 2014

Pumpkin streusel muffins

These muffins taste just like eating pumpkin pie! I like the strong pumpkin flavor.

Pumpkin streusel muffins
1 cup self-rising flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp apple pie spice mix (or 1/2 tsp each cloves and nutmeg)
1/2 tsp ginger
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup oil
1 tsp vanilla

Streusel topping:
1/4 cup flour
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tbsp butter

Preheat oven to 350.
Combine dry ingredients, then add in wet ingredients. Stir until mixed. Scoop mixture into greased muffin tin.
For streusel, mix together flour, sugar, and cinnamon. Cut the butter into small pieces with a knife or fork, then use your fingers to rub the mixture together until butter is evenly distributed and mixture looks like wet sand.
Sprinkle streusel over muffin batter in tins, and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until streusel is light brown and a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Pumpkin crumble bars

Tis the season for all things pumpkin spice, right? Although I guess I'm a little late, seeing as it's November already.

These bars were inspired by the fact that the only cans of pumpkin puree at the grocery store were those ginormous ones. 28 oz maybe? Definitely at least 4 cups of pumpkin. Anyway, I had opened the can for another recipe and wanted the use the rest of the pumpkin for something else. I brought these to a friend's house for a football gamewatch, and they got rave reviews. They're not too sweet -- you could easily eat them for breakfast. (In fact, I'm about to do just that!)

Pumpkin Crumble Bars
3/4 cup butter
2 cups flour (could make gluten-free by substituting oat flour)
2 cups slow-cooking oats
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp vanilla

6 oz. softened neufchâtel cheese
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp apple pie spice mix (pumpkin pie spice mix would probably be better, but this is what I had!)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9 X 13 pan with parchment paper or tin foil.
Place the butter in a large, microwave-safe bowl and head it for about 45 seconds, until softened but not completely melted. Add all other crust ingredients. Mix the butter into the dry ingredients with a pastry cutter or your fingers until butter is evenly distributed and mixture looks like wet sand. Reserve one cup of the crust mixture and pour the remaining crust mixture into the prepared pan. Press down hard to make sure the crust sticks together. Back for 12 minutes (try not to over bake).

Meanwhile, blend filling ingredients together. (Make sure your neufchâtel cheese is softened so your filling doesn't get lumpy.) Remove crust from oven and pour filling mixture over it. Top with the remaining cup of crust mixture. There should be enough to cover the filling with a single layer of crust, without any gaps.

Bake for 25 minutes or until the top crust is light golden brown. Allow to cool to room temperature before eating.

Adapted from Joy the Baker, Ambitious Kitchen, and Kraft recipes.

Slow cooker barbecue chicken

I've made this recipe twice now, once just for LC and me, and once for company -- when a priest came over for dinner and to bless our house. :) It's deliciously sweet and just a little spicy. The leftovers are great too!

The steps are pretty simple. Just dump everything in a crock pot! My only advice for prep is to measure all of the spices (salt, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, paprika, chili powder, and cinnamon) into a large liquid measuring cup, like so:

Then pour in a bottle of beer, and 2 tbsp honey and stir with the spices. That way you can make sure the spices are evenly distributed around the chicken.

Serve with some hamburger buns and some type of creamy salad (caesar, cole slaw...). You'll definitely want something to cut the rich tangy sweetness of the chicken!

Crockpot Barbecue Beer Chicken

2 pounds chicken breasts (could use thighs)
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp paprika
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp chili powder 
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes 
1 bottle of beer (around 1 1/2 cups)
3 cups of bbq sauce (OR one 28-oz bottle of bbq sauce, for example, Sweet Baby Ray's)

Place chicken in crock pot. Mix honey, paprika, garlic powder, chili powder, cinnamon, red pepper flakes, and beer together, then pour over chicken. Add the bbq sauce.
Cook for 5-6 hours on low or 3-4 hours on high. 
Before serving, remove chicken from crock pot and shred it with two forks. Return the chicken to the sauce in the crock pot, and stir.

Adapted from Halfbaked Harvest.  (My biggest change was upping the amount of garlic powder, and lowering the amount of chili powder, and I'm very glad I did -- there's a definite kick to this version of the bbq sauce, and I think more chili powder would've made it too spicy for me and LC.