Author Archives: nancyc

Cranberry Pecan Muffins

I’ve been so glad to see fresh cranberries at the grocery store these past few weeks! I just had to make something with fresh cranberries and muffins seemed like a good idea. I added some orange extract to give these muffins a subtle orange flavor. You could also add some orange zest if you wanted to.

These muffins bake up with nice rounded tops and have lots of cranberries and pecans in every bite! These are great for a Thanksgiving or Christmas breakfast or brunch, or for anytime in the fall or winter, for that matter. They also make a nice snack or dessert if you’re wanting something a little less sweet. You could probably substitute dried cranberries for the fresh, but I’ve always made these with fresh–I like their slightly sweet, tart flavor!

CRANBERRY PECAN MUFFINS by NancyC

Makes 24 muffins

  • 4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon pure orange extract
  • Optional: 2 teaspoons orange zest
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 1/2 cups chopped fresh cranberries (or substitute dried cranberries)
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line 24 muffin tins with paper liners; set aside.

In large bowl, blend flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

In medium bowl, mix milk, butter, orange extract, and eggs. Add this mixture to the flour mixture, stirring until just combined, then fold in chopped cranberries and pecans and stir until evenly distributed in batter (be careful not to overmix). Batter will be thick!

Spoon batter into the lined muffin cups. Bake at 350˚F for 22 to 25 or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool muffins in pans for a few minutes, then remove and cool completely on wire rack, or serve warm.

Do you have your Thanksgiving menu planned out? Are you making anything with fresh cranberries for your special meal?

Sharing at Weekend PotluckMeal Plan MondayFiesta Friday.

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Easy Corn Casserole

It’s not often that you find a recipe that is wonderful comfort food, inexpensive, and easy to make–like this Easy Corn Casserole. Friends have told me about this recipe and I also did a search in the web comparing recipes, and most of them have these ingredients in common: a can of corn, a can of cream-style corn, corn muffin mix, butter, and sour cream. Most recipes call for anywhere from one to three eggs, but some don’t. Since this kind of casserole is so widely made, I guess you could call this a well-loved comfort food classic.

When I made mine, I decided to use two eggs, and it turned out really well. This is a creamy, full-of-corn casserole that has a delicious corn muffin-like crust on top. A perfect side dish for a big meal. If you’re looking for something to add to your Thanksgiving menu or any holiday meal, this would be a great dish to add! It makes a 9×9″ pan, or about 6-8 servings, but you can easily double it and bake it in a 9×13″ pan for a larger crowd.

EASY CORN CASSEROLE

Makes a 9×9″ pan, or 6-8 servings

  • 1 (15-ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 (14.75-ounce) can cream style corn
  • 1 (8.5-ounce) box Corn Muffin Mix (I used Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix)
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream, light sour cream, or plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten (you can omit eggs for a denser casserole, or you can use 1, 2, or 3 eggs)

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Lightly grease an 9×9″ baking pan with butter or cooking spray; set aside.

In large bowl, combine the corn with the cornbread muffin mix, then add melted butter and sour cream. Add in the eggs, mixing everything well. Pour into prepared 9×9″ baking pan.

Bake at 350˚F for 45 minutes, or until casserole is set. Remove from oven and serve while hot or warm.

I’ve also seen some recipes that just use an 8-ounce can of corn and an 8-ounce can of cream corn, with 1 or 2 eggs and 1/4  or 1/2 cup butter. One even used plain Greek yogurt instead of sour cream. So, there are lots of variations on this recipe! Have you ever made corn casserole as a side dish for any of your meals?

Sharing at Happiness is HomemadeMeal Plan MondayWeekend PotluckFiesta Friday.

Pumpkin Pound Cake

The cooler autumn weather is great for baking and I love to bake pumpkin-flavored things this time of year. I wanted to make something fairly simple and this Pumpkin Pound Cake recipe I found at the Taste of Home site sounded like just the thing to bake! I made a few changes to the original recipe and may have over-baked it slightly because the edges came out a little dark, but otherwise I thought this pound cake was really good. It has a good buttery flavor and the dusting of powdered sugar on top adds just the right amount of sweetness. The cake itself has a lighter pumpkin flavor and isn’t overly spicy, so even if you or your family aren’t crazy about pumpkin bread, you make like this pound cake.

Another nice thing about this recipe is that it makes two loaves! One for now, one for later, or one to keep and one to give. I’m sure this would also make a nice bundt cake, too. The baking time might be a little longer, but you can check it after 60 minutes and see how it’s doing!

PUMPKIN POUND CAKE by NancyC, adapted from Taste of Home

Makes two 9×5″ loaves

  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, softened
  • 2 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 6 large eggs
  • 3 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • Optional: powdered sugar for dusting on top

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Grease and flour two 9×5″ loaf pans; set aside.

In large bowl, cream softened butter and sugar. Add vanilla, then eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Add dry ingredients, half at a time, to the butter/sugar mixture in large bowl, then stir in the pumpkin puree until just combined.

Pour batter into prepared loaf pans and bake at 350˚F for 60 to 62 minutes, or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean or almost clean. Cool 10 minutes in pans, then remove to wire rack to cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar if desired.

I have lots of other pumpkin recipes I want to try–way more than I will have time to make! What kind of pumpkin-flavored desserts have you been making?

Sharing at Weekend Potluck.

Yummy Vegetable Pasta (Slow-Cooker Recipe)

Cooking in a crock pot is so easy and convenient, and there are lots of great recipes you can make. I found some really good ones to try in my review copy of the new cookbook Stock the Crock by Phyllis Good. There are lots of great full-color photos in this book that has 100 slow-cooker recipes which include:

  • Vegetable Pot Pie with Biscuits
  • Lasagna in a Soup Bowl
  • 4-Cheese Artichoke Dip
  • Honey Baked Chicken
  • Holiday Ham with Apricot Glaze
  • Garlicky Mashed Red Potatoes
  • Cider-Baked Apples
  • Pumpkin Spice Créme Brûlée

Such a great variety of recipes to choose from! I decided to try the Yummy Vegetable Pasta because I was in the mood for something comfort food-like, and this sounded like just the thing to make! The recipe was easy to follow and the only thing I did differently was add a cup of chopped zucchini, since I happened to have that already. Fresh sliced green beans would be a nice addition, too, if you want to add in an extra veggie or two.

This pasta dish smells great while it’s cooking. And you do have to stir it well before serving, since the spaghetti may clump together a little. But it’s very good and cheesy and yummy, just like the recipe name says! 🙂

YUMMY VEGETABLE PASTA from Stock the Crock (with a few little changes)

Makes 6 to 7 servings

  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 2 (14.5-ounce) cans stewed tomatoes, with juice or 1 quart canned stewed tomatoes, with liquid (I cut the stewed tomatoes into large chunks)
  • 2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
  • Optional: 1 cup chopped zucchini and/or 1 cup sliced green beans
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 pound spaghetti or fettuccine, divided
  • 2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese, divided (if you want this dish to be extra-cheesy, use 3 cups!)
  • 1 (10 3/4-ounce) can Cream of Mushroom soup
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 Tablespoons sliced fresh chives, for garnish

Grease the interior of the slow cooker crock with butter or non-stick cooking spray.

In medium bowl, stir together the chopped onion, chopped green bell pepper, stewed tomatoes with their liquid, sliced mushrooms, and oregano (also stir in the chopped zucchini and/or green beans, if using).

Place 1/4 of the vegetables in the bottom of the crock. Top vegetables with half of the pasta, breaking pasta, as needed, to fit. Sprinkle the pasta with half of the Cheddar cheese.

Spoon in half of the remaining vegetables. Top with the remaining pasta, breaking the pasta as needed; the remaining Cheddar cheese, and the remaining vegetables.

In the bowl used to mix the vegetables, whisk together the soup and milk. Pour over the ingredients in the crock.

Cover and cook on low 3 1/2 to 4 hours, or until the vegetables and pasta are tender.

Before serving, stir the sauce through the pasta and vegetables. Sprinkle with the grated Parmesan cheese.

Scatter fresh chives on top just before serving.

Another nice thing about this recipe is that it doesn’t take super-long to make–3 1/2 to 4 hours isn’t bad for a slow-cooker recipe. Have you been making any great-tasting meals in your slow-cooker?

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Granola-Carrot Bread

I’ve never heard a quick bread being described as “rustic,” but I think that’s the perfect description for this Granola-Carrot Bread. It’s a real down-to earth quick bread, made with whole wheat flour, grated carrots, granola, light olive oil, and chopped nuts. And it looks kind of rustic, with the texture of the nuts, carrots and granola showing inside and out. It’s a very lightly sweet quick bread, getting  it’s sweetness from the brown sugar and bits of granola (I used 1/2 cup of packed brown sugar in my loaf; for a sweeter loaf, increase the brown sugar to 3/4 cup). Adding raisins is optional, but they would add a little to the sweetness, too.

I first saw this recipe in an old cookbook and, since I’m a big granola fan, thought it was definitely worth trying. I made a few small changes and liked the way it turned out. When I first tasted it, I thought it might not be sweet enough, but by the second slice, I decided I liked the lightly sweet taste of it. I used some of my homemade granola in this recipe, my Apricot-Honey Granola, but you can use any kind of granola, homemade or store-bought. This quick bread is great for breakfast or for a healthy afternoon snack!

GRANOLA-CARROT BREAD by NancyC, adapted from Breads, Quick Breads, and Coffee Cakes

Makes one 9×5″ loaf

  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar (1/2 cup will give you a lightly sweet loaf)
  • 1 1/2 cups of your favorite granola (homemade or store-bought)
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups grated carrots
  • 1/2 cup light olive oil or non-GMO canola oil
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk or buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans, walnuts, or almonds
  • Optional: 2/3 cup dark or golden raisins

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Grease and flour a 9×5″ loaf pan; set aside.

In large bowl, add the brown sugar, granola, flour, and grated carrots, stirring with a large spoon to combine. Add the oil and blend ingredients together. Then add the baking powder, vanilla extract, salt, eggs, and buttermilk, stirring everything until just combined (do not overmix). Fold in the chopped pecans.

Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and bake at 350˚F for 42 to 45 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean or almost clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and cool completely on wire rack.

I love that this quick bread has carrots in it, because I never eat as many carrots as I should. So this is a tasty way to add some beta-carotene into my diet! 🙂 It’s always nice when you can bake a treat that is good for you too. Have you been baking any healthy goodies lately?