Halloween Recipe Roundup

Hi, kiddos!!!

Can you believe that it’s the last Monday in October?

And that Halloween is on Saturday?

Which means that Halloween can be an all-day affair!! (so invite all your favorite people over and let the festivities begin!)

In honor of Halloween falling on the weekend, I have rounded up some of my favorite recipes that you can serve throughout the day to your costumed, candy cravin’ crew.

For Breakfast:

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Pumpkin pancakes are a simple breakfast that can be whipped up in no time, feeds a crowd, and highlights the star of the season – definitely a family friendly Halloween breakfast!

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If you want something pumpkin-free for breakfast, these Banana Walnut Pancakes are a sure-fire hit (plus they still have all the delicious fall spices inside).

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Pumpkin bread may not seem like breakfast fare for many people, but there is nothing better than having a slice with a cup of coffee or tea before all the Halloween craziness begins…

For Lunch/Dinner:

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This Spicy Butternut Squash soup is simple to throw together earlier in the day, pop into the fridge, and then reheat for lunch or dinner. This soup is spicy, so if you’re serving it to people who are sensitive to spice, pull back a bit on the cayenne pepper.

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If you want to fuel up your little trick-or-treaters before a night of candy hunting, these Stuffed Acorn Squash Halves fit the bill. They are full of the flavors of the season and are absolutely delicious.

For Dessert (because candy can’t be the only thing sweet!):

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Mini Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins are my go-to, absolutely favorite dessert for Halloween. Pumpkin + Chocolate = Friends Forever.

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If you want a fancier dessert for your Halloween table, Apple “Jack” Donut Cake is not only delicious but beautiful as well. Bonus? You can make it the day before – it gets better as it sits!

 

Have a great week leading up to Halloween, everyone!

oxox,

C

Apple “Jack” Donut Cake

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As you have learned from the past few weeks of blog posts, I love fall. From the changing leaves to the pumpkins everywhere to the seasonal foods, fall is definitely my favorite season.

One of my favorite fall traditions is going with my family to a local farm to buy apples, look at all the different pumpkins and gourds, and dig into fresh apple cider donuts. A relaxing day spent with the people I love… and cider donuts.

Apple cider donuts are an interesting food. They are soft, cake-like, and spiced on the inside with a firm outer crust that is covered in sweet sanding sugar… basically the perfect balance of textures and flavors. I love apple cider donuts so much that I actually had them instead of cake for my 6th birthday!

The apple farm is usually swamped on weekends, so apple cider donuts have been hard to come by this season. But when my mom showed me a recipe that she saw on Facebook for APPLE CIDER DONUT CAKE, I was sold. We had to make it and we had to make it now.

With a few tweaks, I think we made a pretty delicious cake. There are a couple stages of ingredients and steps, but the results are definitely worth it.

It starts with the dry ingredients.

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In a large bowl, I combined flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Then set the bowl aside as I got the wet ingredients together.

The first component of the wet ingredients is an apple puree that is made from boiling cubes of apple in apple cider until they are soft and tender.

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Any firm apple works here – I personally like granny smith or gala apples the best!
When the apples are tender, let the mixture cool slightly before transferring it to a blender or food processor. NOTE: when blending a hot liquid, only fill the blender up halfway and crack the top open and cover with a tea towel. This will prevent the top from flying off and hot apples going everywhere.

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Puree until completely smooth. Pour out one cup of the apple puree mixture – if there is not enough apple puree, add in some more apple cider to make up the difference. Then add in a ¼ cup skim milk – stir to combine and then set aside.

Now it’s time to bring out the big guns… your stand mixer!

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In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine some butter (okay, one stick), some granulated sugar, and some brown sugar. Beat until fluffy.

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Then slowly add in three eggs, some vegetable oil, and some vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract and stir until combine. Then, with the mixer on low, add in the dry ingredients alternatively with the apple puree – starting and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. I recommend using a spatula to do one last mix to combine anything that is stuck on the bottom of the bowl.

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Pour the batter into a bundt pan, preferably one without a fancy pattern – this is a donut, after all! Bake the cake for 35-40 minutes until it is golden brown and a toothpick inserted inside comes out clean.

While the cake is baking, you can whip up the two “toppings” for the cake – a glaze and a cinnamon sugar sprinkle.

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For the glaze, heat butter, sugar, and water in a small saucepan over medium heat. When the mixture comes to a boil, let it cook for 1-2 minutes. Remove the syrup from the heat and add in some…

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… whiskey! Apples and whiskey (just like bananas and whiskey) go together really well. If you don’t like whiskey, you can substitute some apple cider instead. Then set the glaze aside until the cake is done.

Now, all that’s left is to make the cinnamon sugar.

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In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Screw on the lid and shake vigorously until combined.

Now we assemble!

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When the cake is done, cool it for a few minutes in the bundt pan then turn it out onto a cooling rack set over a wax paper-lined baking sheet. Let the cake cool slightly.

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When the cake has cooled, start to brush the cake with the whiskey syrup. I do this in several stages to allow for maximum syrup soakage.

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When all the syrup has been brushed on the cake, sprinkle on half the cinnamon sugar mixture onto the cake, making sure to cover the top and the sides. Wait 10 minutes and repeat with the other half of the cinnamon sugar.

Now it’s time to dig in!

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Not quite the same thing as a cider donut, but delicious nonetheless… A perfect homage to a childhood favorite!

So, kiddos, do you like cider donuts? What’s your favorite fall food? Let me know!

Your cider donut obsessed friend,

C

  • Servings: 12 people
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

Ingredients:

For the cake:

1 firm apple (I like granny smith), peeled and chopped

¾ cup apple cider

¼ cup skim milk

2½ cups all-purpose flour

1½ teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

⅛ teaspoon ground allspice

1 stick unsalted butter, softened

¾ cup granulated sugar

½ cup brown sugar, packed

3 eggs

¼ cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract

For the glaze:

½ stick unsalted butter

¼ cup granulated sugar

⅛ cup water

¼ cup whiskey

For the cinnamon sugar:

6 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

⅛ teaspoon nutmeg

 

Steps:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease your bundt pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In a small sauce pan, combine the chopped apple and cider. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, and cook for about 10 minutes until the apples are tender. Remove from heat and let cool slightly before blending. If you are using a conventional blender, fill only halfway, slightly crack the lid (to prevent the top from blowing off), and then cover the lid with a towel before blending. If you are using a food processor, only fill to the max liquid line. Blend until completely smooth.
  3. Measure out one cup of the apple puree – if you do not have enough liquid, add in additional apple cider to make the full amount. Add in the skim milk, stir to combine and set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Stir to combine and set aside.
  5. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add in the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar. Beat until light and fluffly, about 2 minutes. Add in eggs one at a time, followed by the vegetable oil and vanilla bean paste/extract. Stir to completely combine, stopping to scrap down the sides.
  6. With the mixer on low, alternate adding the flour mixture and the apple puree, starting and ending with the flour. Mix until just combined.
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan and bake for 35-40 minutes until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.
  8. While the cake is baking, make the glaze. In a small saucepan, combine the butter, sugar, and water and bring to a boil. Let the mixture boil for 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and add in the whiskey – be careful because the mixture will bubble up! Set aside.
  9. While the cake is baking, make the cinnamon sugar. In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine the sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Screw on the lid and shake vigorously. Set aside.
  10. When the cake is finished, allow it to cool for about 5-10 minutes in the pan. Turn the cake out onto a cooling rack set over a wax paper-lined baking rack. Let the cake cool completely.
  11. When the cake has cooled, brush the cake with the glaze – work in batches to cover the top and sides, allowing one coat to sink into the cake before adding in another. When all the glaze has been brushed onto the cake, sprinkle the cake with the cinnamon sugar – I recommend sprinkling half the cinnamon sugar onto the cake, waiting ten minutes for it to set, and then sprinkling on the second half.

Serve alongside a cold glass of milk. Enjoy!

 

Recipe lightly adapted from: https://leaandjay.wordpress.com/2014/11/07/apple-cider-donut-cake/

 

Nutrition Information (1 serving):

391 calories Ÿ• 54gm carbohydrates Ÿ• 1gm fiber Ÿ• 4gm protein •Ÿ 17gm fat Ÿ• 8gm saturated fat Ÿ• 330mg sodium Ÿ• 77mg cholesterol Ÿ• 2mg iron Ÿ• 68mg calcium

Spicy Butternut Squash Soup

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Butternut squash and I are not friends.

We have tried to make it work, but it just isn’t happening.

Three years ago, I bought a beautiful butternut squash and ended up cutting myself with a knife as I tried to peel it (epic fail).

Two years ago, I bought a beautiful butternut squash and ended up hurting myself with a vegetable peeler as I tried to peel it (again, epic fail).

One year ago, I stared at the beautiful butternut squashes at the farmer’s market and decided that it was safer that I avoided them all together (*sob*).

BUT, this year my mom decided that it was time to get back on the horse and try making butternut squash again. So I let her do the peeling!

I love roasted butternut squash by itself and in many different dishes, but I think my favorite butternut squash recipe is a beautifully simple butternut squash soup. No muss, no fuss, and it’s absolutely delicious.

It starts with butternut squash.

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This is one medium-sized butternut squash that my mom peeled and I chopped into about 1-inch cubes. With the squash all prepped, you can move forward with the soup.

In a large, heavy soup pot set over medium heat, add in some butter.

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And then toss in some chopped onion and cook until the onion becomes soft and translucent.

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Now, it’s time to throw in the squash. Toss it around in the butter and onions to get everything combined.

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To pump up the orange color and add a touch of sweetness, we added in some carrot. This is one soup that is loaded with vitamin A (which is important for healthy skin and eyes!).

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Then all that’s left is to add in some chicken broth and water, bring the soup to a boil, and then simmer it for about 30 minutes until the squash becomes fork tender.

Now comes the slightly dangerous part – the pureeing of the soup. If you have an immersion blender, I am super jealous. You can puree the soup right in the pot and be done with it. If you don’t, grab your blender or your food processor. Working in small batches (either filling only half the blender or filling to only the max liquid line of a food processor), puree the soup until smooth. I transferred the pureed soup to a big bowl so that I could reuse my soup pot – it made it a little easier!

Pour the pureed soup back into the pot and then season with salt, pepper, a touch of nutmeg, and the one surprise ingredient – cayenne pepper! It doesn’t overpower the flavor of the squash, but it adds another dimension to the soup.

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All that’s left is to heat the soup through and then serve it up.

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We garnished out soup with some diced apple and a sprinkle of nutmeg, but if you want to be really bold, add in a sprinkle of cayenne too!

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A perfect soup for a chilly fall day.

(And a hopeful future for a friendship between butternut squash and I!)

Happy Tuesday, kiddos!

oxox,

The Girl Who Is Frenemies with Butternut Squash

Spicy Butternut Squash Soup

  • Servings: 4 people
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Print

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 medium onion, chopped

1 medium-sized butternut squash, cut into 1-inch chunks (about 4 cup of squash)

1 cup carrots, chopped

3 cups low sodium chicken broth

1 cup water

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper – use less if you’re more sensitive to heat

Salt and pepper to taste

 

  1. In a large, heavy-bottom soup pot set over medium heat, melt the butter. When the butter is melted, add in the onion and cook until they become soft and translucent, about 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add in the butternut squash and the carrots and stir to mix all the vegetables together. Pour the chicken broth and water over the vegetables and bring the mixture to a boil. When the liquid is boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes or until the squash is fork-tender.
  3. To puree the soup, use an immersion blender, conventional blender, or a food processor. If you are using an immersion blender, you can blend directly in the soup pot.

 

If you are using a conventional blender, fill only halfway, slightly crack the lid (to prevent the top from blowing off), and then cover the lid with a towel before blending. If you are using a food processor, only fill to the max liquid line. Working in batches, puree the soup and then pour into another soup pot.

 

  1. Return the soup to medium heat and stir in the nutmeg, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.

Serve immediately with a fresh chopped apple garnish and an additional sprinkle of nutmeg.

Enjoy!

Recipe lightly adapted from Simply Recipes: http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/butternut_squash_apple_soup/.

Nutrition Information (1 serving):

168 calories •Ÿ 24gm carbohydrates Ÿ• 4gm fiber Ÿ• 6gm protein Ÿ• 7gm fat Ÿ• 4gm saturated fat Ÿ• 322mg sodium Ÿ• 84mg cholesterol •Ÿ 2mg iron Ÿ• 93mg calcium

Pumpkin Bread

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It has been officially October for over a week and all I can think about is pumpkins, pumpkins, pumpkins. From picking the perfect pumpkin for a Jack-o-Lantern to finding armloads of mini pumpkins to place all over my house to whipping up our favorite pumpkin recipes, the orange fruit is forefront in my mind.

Of all the pumpkin-related activities that you can do this fall, my favorite thing to do is make pumpkin baked goods. You all know that my absolutely, positively, #1 go-to pumpkin baked good is Mini Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins, but today I’m sharing my family’s ultimate pumpkin treat.

Good Old Fashion Pumpkin Bread.

I always notice that around Labor Day, boxed pumpkin bread mix starts appearing on store shelves in anticipation of the holiday baking rush. As much as I love and use boxed bread/muffin/cake/brownie mix, I think that some things taste better when you make them from scratch… and this pumpkin bread is one of those things. Try it once, and you’ll be hooked (promise!).

This bread has three teams of ingredients and comes together very quickly in the stand mixer. You can also use a hand mixer if that’s what you have.

The first team is the dry ingredient team.

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Flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Blend those together and set aside while you get the second team together.

The second team is the wet ingredient team.

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In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine eggs, vegetable oil, and pumpkin puree. If you have homemade pumpkin puree, you are my hero and please use it here (and can you please send me some?). I always have canned pumpkin puree in my pantry from September thru January, so that’s my go-to. Beat the eggs and pumpkin together until combined.

Then, get together the third team… which is water. Yep, measure out ⅔ cup of water into a measuring cup with a spout.

And now you’re ready to make pumpkin bread (and yes, I may have forgotten to take photos but it’s easy!). With the mixer on low, add in the dry ingredients and water alternately, starting and ending with the flour.

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Mix the batter until just combined and pour it into two greased loaf pans with a sheet of parchment on the bottom (for easy removal). All that’s left is to bake them at 350 degrees for about 45-60 minutes.

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Divine!

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All that’s left is to let it cool slightly in the pans, turn it out onto a cooling rack to cool completely, and then slice up for your family to enjoy.

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Or you could keep it all to yourself (I won’t judge!).

 

So, kiddos, what’s your favorite pumpkin baked good?

Your pumpkin obsessed friend,

C

Pumpkin Bread

  • Servings: 20 slices
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

3½ cups all-purpose flour

2 cups granulated sugar

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon allspice

4 eggs

1 cup vegetable oil

1-15oz can of pumpkin pureed – about 1⅓ cup homemade pumpkin puree

⅔ cup water

 

Steps:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Spray two loaf pans with cooking spray and place a rectangle of parchment paper on the bottom of each pan. An easy way to measure a piece of parchment that will fit is to outline the bottom of the loaf pan on the parchment and cut it out.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Whisk to combine. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl with a hand mixer), beat together eggs, vegetable oil, and pumpkin puree. With the mixer on low, add in the dry ingredients and water alternatively, starting and ending with the flour. Mix until just combined.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pans and pop the pans into the oven. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick in the center of the bread comes out clean. Cool the bread in the pans for 10 minutes and then turn them out onto a cooling rack to allow them to cool completely.

Enjoy!

 

Nutrition Information (1 slice):

274 calories Ÿ• 39gm carbohydrates •Ÿ 1gm fiber Ÿ• 4gm protein Ÿ• 12gm fat Ÿ• 1gm saturated fat Ÿ• 313mg sodium Ÿ• 37mg cholesterol Ÿ• 2mg iron •Ÿ 29mg calcium

Banana Walnut Pancakes

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Happy Saturday, kiddos!

The temperatures outside are now officially fall-like (yay!), which means that it is totally appropriate to bring out all the apple-, pumpkin-, and spice-flavored baked goods that go into hiding the other 8 months out of the year. Fall is definitely my favorite season for food (anyone else?).

To honor the descent of the temperature into the low-60s, I want to share with you a pancake recipe that I tried out a week ago (when it was still 80 degrees outside). You all know my love of banana nut muffins (I’ve made them twice on the blog), so when I had some overripe bananas and the hankering for a spice-flavored breakfast item, inspiration struck.

And Banana Walnut Pancakes were born!

The pancakes start with my regular ‘ole pancake batter.

First, assemble the dry ingredients in a big bowl.

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Flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg all get added and then thoroughly whisked together. And perfumes the kitchen with the smell of fall!

The wet ingredients – skim milk and eggs – are whisked in a separate bowl…

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… and then poured over the dry ingredients. Gently mix the wet into the dry until just combined. Please don’t overmix your pancake batter – it will never forgive you!

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The last two additions to the batter are two overripe bananas that have been thoroughly mashed and some delicious flavorings. You also know that I think whiskey and bananas are a great combo, so I added in some whiskey to the batter along with some vanilla. If you don’t like cooking with alcohol, you can leave it out!

And now, it’s time to cook.

I set a pancake griddle over medium-low heat and sprayed it with cooking spray.

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When the griddle was hot, I poured ¼ cup scoops of batter onto the griddle. (this makes the perfect size pancakes)

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Then sprinkle on some finely chopped walnuts. I love walnuts in my banana nut muffins, but pecans work here too!

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**Side Note: This pancake recipe is great as is, but sometimes you want to be a little extra sweet. I added in some mini chocolate chips to some of the pancakes to try and yep, they were delicious too! **

When the pancake starts to bubble, flip them over.

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Allow the pancakes to cook for an additional minute on the other side. And then they’re done!

I usually pop the cooked pancakes onto a wire baking rack set in a 185 degree oven. The pancakes stay warm, but don’t dry out.

When all the pancakes are made, then it’s time to eat!

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Serve them up with your favorite pancake syrup!

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And dig in.

I hope you enjoy this pancake recipe that will warm you up on a chilly fall morning!

Your pancake flippin’, banana nut muffin lovin’ friend,

C

Banana Walnut Pancakes

  • Servings: 6 people
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

2¼ cups all-purpose flour

4½ tablespoons sugar

3½ teaspoons baking powder

1½ teaspoons salt

1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

3 eggs

1¾ cup skim milk

1½ teaspoons vanilla extract

1½ teaspoons whiskey, optional

2 overripe bananas, mashed

½ cup walnuts, finely chopped

Mini chocolate chips, optional

Cooking spray

 

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 185 degrees. Place pancake griddle over medium-low heat.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Whisk to combine.
  3. In a small bowl, combine eggs and milk. Whisk to combine.
  4. Slowly pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix gently to combine – don’t over mix! Add in the mashed bananas, vanilla, and whiskey. Stir to combine.
  5. Grease preheated pancake griddle with cooking spray. Ladle batter onto the griddle in ¼ cup measures. Sprinkle chopped walnuts over each pancake. Add chocolate chips if desired. When the pancake begins to bubble, flip over and cook for an additional minute until the underside is golden brown. Store cooked pancakes on a wire rack and place rack into the preheated oven.

Serve the pancakes with warm syrup.

Enjoy!

 

Nutrition Information (3 pancakes):

354 calories Ÿ• 57gm carbohydrates Ÿ• 3gm fiber Ÿ• 12gm protein •Ÿ 9gm fat Ÿ• 1.5gm saturated fat Ÿ• 854mg sodium Ÿ• 95mg cholesterol Ÿ• 2.6mg iron Ÿ• 231mg calcium

Lazy Girl Huevos Rancheros

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This recipe was born in the tiny galley kitchen of my sister’s apartment. The two foods that E loves the most are eggs and avocados, so she always has a carton of eggs and ripe avocados in her apartment.

During one sister visit, we needed (okay, wanted) to have a hearty breakfast before she headed off to work and I dove into my RD exam studying. Since we were leaving the next day to come back to the homestead, we needed to clean out her fridge. While rummaging through her fridge, we found an almost empty carton of eggs (the horror!), an avocado that was on the verge of going bad, and a jar of salsa.

And Lazy Girl Huevos Rancheros were born.

Huevos Rancheros is a Tex-Mex breakfast dish that consists of sunny-side up or fried eggs that are topped with salsa and/or guacamole and served alongside rice and beans. Our version is the lazy cousin of this breakfast staple – just simple fried eggs topped with avocado and salsa. The essence of the traditional dish is there, but with a speedier, more pantry-friendly twist.

It starts with two fried eggs.

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Heat a non-stick skillet with some butter and crack in two eggs. Season with salt and pepper and allow the whites to begin to firm up and bubble on the edges. You can make this dish with sunny side up eggs if you want – this dish is versatile!

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Flip the eggs over and cook them to your preferred level of done-ness. I like my whites more firm with the yolk still a little runny.

Then it’s time to build the Huevos Rancheros!

Gently plop the eggs on a plate…

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… and add on a few slices of ripe avocado.

And a dollop of salsa (I like either medium or hot salsa on my Huevos Rancheros).

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Then you’re DONE!

Yes, it’s that easy.

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An easy morning breakfast that is big on flavor, but quick to make! (psst… make it for breakfast today!)

Happy Tuesday, kiddos.

Your lazy breakfast maker,

C

Lazy Girl Huevos Rancheros

  • Servings: 1 person
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

2 teaspoons unsalted butter

2 large eggs

Salt and pepper to taste

¼ medium-sized ripe avocado, sliced and drizzled with lime juice to prevent browning

1-2 tablespoons salsa, homemade or store-bought

 

Steps:

  1. In a medium-sized, non-stick skillet, heat butter over medium-low heat. When the butter is melted, gently crack the eggs into the skillet. Cook the eggs until the white becomes opaque on the bottom and begins to set, about 1-2 minutes. Gently flip the eggs over and allow the other side to cook, about 1-2 minutes.
  2. Remove the eggs from the skillet and gently place them on a plate. Top the eggs with the avocado slices and salsa.

Serve immediately alongside toast, or for a more traditional breakfast, with rice and beans. Enjoy!

 

Nutrition Information (1 serving):

288 calories Ÿ• 6gm carbohydrates Ÿ• 3gm fiber Ÿ• 14gm protein •Ÿ 26gm fat Ÿ• 9gm saturated fat Ÿ• 322mg sodium •Ÿ 393mg cholesterol Ÿ• 1.5mg iron Ÿ• 65mg calcium

Hunger Action Month: Fiesta Corn Salad

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Happy Tuesday, kiddos! Hope you are having a good week.

This is the last full week of Hunger Action Month, which means this is the final food pantry-friendly recipe that I am sharing with all of you ( 😦 ) . While you can alter ingredients in the two soup recipes I shared earlier this month, this salad is truly versatile. It can be served as a hearty side to grilled meats or can be transformed into a complete meal when it is spooned over rice. Versatility is always a good thing (and makes leftovers seem a bit more imagined!).

What makes this salad so great is that it is a true open-dump-mix kind of recipe. Crack open the cans, dump them into a bowl, and you’re ready to eat. A quick meal that can be on the table in ten minutes but is still packed with good nutrition (music to this RD’s ears).

This Fiesta Corn Salad begins with beans.

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I chose to use a combination of black beans and dark red kidney beans, but if you like a particular bean better, it’s totally cool to use that (pinto beans, anyone?). Just make sure that you drain the beans and rinse them very well to remove the salty packing liquid.

Then you need to dump in some corn kernels.

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Again, make sure they are drained and rinsed well – studies have shown that draining and rinsing canned vegetables and beans reduces the amount of sodium they contain (!). So not only are you removing the gloopy “sauce” the veggies are canned with, you are also removing some of the sodium! Because who needs extra sodium in their diets (no one!).

The final canned good in this recipe is canned diced tomatoes with chilies.

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I cracked open a can and poured it over the corn and beans – this time I did not drain the liquid off… this helps create the “sauce” for the bean salad.

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Look at those big chunks of chilies! The basic canned chopped tomato with chilies is fairly mild but you can always buy a brand labeled “hot” if you want your salad to have a little bit of a kick.

All that’s left is to squeeze over some fresh lime juice.

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It adds some acidity to the salad that makes all the flavors brighten.

Then it’s time to serve it up and dig in!

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I hope you enjoy this food pantry-friendly recipe and share it with your family, friends, and community! If you try this recipe or donate its ingredients to your local food pantry, let me know using the hashtag #GSFfightshunger.

Because together, we can end hunger.

oxox,

C

Fiesta Corn Salad

  • Servings: 6 people
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

1-15oz can corn kernels, drained and rinsed thoroughly

1-15oz can black beans, drained and rinsed thoroughly

1-15oz can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed thoroughly

1-150z can diced tomatoes with chilies

1 lime

 

Instructions:

In a large bowl, combine the corn, beans, and tomatoes (juice and all!). Squeeze the juice of the lime over the salad. Stir gently to combine.

 

Nutrition Information (1 serving):

Calories: 184 kcal Carbohydrates: 33gm Protein: 10.5gm Fat: 0.3gm Dietary Fiber: 9gm Sodium: 775mg

Cost per recipe: $4.76

Cost per serving: $0.79

Hunger Action Month: Bean and Pasta Soup

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Happy Wednesday, everyone! I hope you are having a great week.

We are now halfway through Hunger Action Month (!), which means that I want to share my absolute favorite recipe that I developed for my local food pantry – Bean and Pasta Soup. This soup was my lunchtime staple during my study abroad in Italy because it was delicious and nutritious (and cheap!). Re-creating it for the food pantry brought me back to those simpler times and the Italians’ food philosophy that everyone should have access to good, healthy food (no matter what their socio-economic status was).

This soup is chock full of beans, pasta, and tomato, which makes it a perfect, hearty meal for a chilly fall day. Plus, it utilizes pantry staples that are cheap, easy to purchase, and available all year round.

And it starts with adding some vegetable oil to a medium-to-large soup pot set over medium heat…

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… when the oil heats up, I tossed in some diced onion and let it cook until it became soft and translucent.

When the onion was all cooked, I added in a can of whole tomatoes (juice and all!) that I broke into pieces with my wooden spoon.

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You can totally cut the tomatoes in the can with a pair of kitchen shears (like my mom) or crush the tomatoes into the pot with your hands (like my grandma) if you want an easier tomato “chopping” method. But the side of a wooden spoon works too (if you’re lazy like me!).

Then I chucked in a couple cans of drained (and rinsed) beans – cannellini and garbanzo (chickpeas).

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My soup in Italy only had garbanzo beans, but I like the texture differences between the soft, creamy cannellini beans and the more hearty, firm garbanzo beans. If you like one bean more than the other, feel free to use just one type (the soup will be just as delicious).

Now for the liquid. I poured in some low sodium chicken broth and water, cranked up the heat, and brought everything to a boil.

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When the liquid was at a boil, I tossed in half a box (what was remaining from the Vegetable Soup with Pasta) of ditalini pasta. Any small pasta shape works here, but I just love these little tubes!

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Cook the pasta according to the package instructions. When the pasta is done cooking, the soup is finished – how easy was that? All that’s left is to serve up…

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And chow down!

I hope you enjoy this food pantry-friendly recipe and share it with your family, friends, and community! If you try this recipe or donate its ingredients to your local food pantry, let me know using the hashtag #GSFfightshunger.

Because together, we can end hunger.

oxox,

C

Bean and Pasta Soup

  • Servings: 6 servings
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

1 small onion, chopped small

1 teaspoon vegetable oil

1-15oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed thoroughly

1-15oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed thoroughly

1-15oz can no-salt added whole tomatoes

2-14oz cans fat-free, low sodium chicken broth

8oz small tube pasta (ditalini)

Additional water

 

Instructions:

  1. In a large soup pot with a lid, heat the oil over medium heat.
  2. Add in the chopped onion and cook until the onion becomes soft.
  3. Add in the beans and the canned whole tomatoes (juice and all!). Stir to combine and to break up the tomatoes into smaller chunks.
  4. Add in the chicken broth, plus an additional 2 cans full of water. Bring the broth to a boil. When the water is boiling, add in the pasta. Cook according to the package directions.

Serve immediately or let cool completely and refrigerate for 2-3 days or freeze for 1-2 months.

 

Nutrition Information (1 serving):

Calories: 274 kcal Carbohydrates: 55gm Protein: 14gm Fat: 4gm Dietary Fiber: 10gm Sodium: 829mg

Cost per recipe: $6.42

Cost per serving: $1.07

Recipe from Confessions of A Grad School Foodie – confessionsofagradschoolfoodie.com for Hunger Action Month 2015.

Hunger Action Month Recipe: Vegetable Soup with Pasta

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Happy Tuesday, everyone! How was your Labor Day Weekend? Did you enjoy the last bit of summertime and sunshine? Good, I’m so glad you did!

Today, one week into Hunger Action Month, I would like to share my first food pantry-friendly recipe with all of you! This recipe was developed when the director of my local food pantry asked me to find a way to use up canned vegetables, which the clients get an unlimited supply of (yay!). But after a while, eating sides of different vegetables can get boring.

But do you know what’s not boring? Vegetable soup!

What I love about vegetable soup is that you can change up the vegetables you put in it to fit your personal preferences. Don’t like carrots? Leave them out! Like garbanzo beans better than pinto? Switch it up! Want to use chicken broth instead of vegetable broth? Go for it! Versatility is a good thing.

This easy Vegetable Soup with Pasta starts with a large pot set over a medium heat.

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Add in some vegetable oil and a small chopped onion and cook until the onion begins to soften.

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When the onion is soft, pour in a 32oz carton of low sodium vegetable broth and 1-2 cups of water, depending on how you like your soup consistency. One cup of water creates more of a stew-like consistency, while the two cups of water creates a more traditional soup consistency. Bring the liquid to a boil over medium-high heat. When the liquid is at a boil, it’s time to add the pasta.

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I chose to use the little tube pasta, or ditalini, but any small pasta shape works here! Carefully dump 8oz of the pasta into the boiling liquid (half a regular box) and cook the pasta according to the package directions.

When the pasta cooking time is half over, it’s time to add in the vegetables. I chose to use carrots (for something bright), green beans (for something green), and pinto beans (for protein).

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To add in some additional color and provide a boost of flavor, I also added in one can of diced Italian tomatoes – diced tomatoes with garlic and oregano.

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An extra vegetable that makes the soup extra delicious. Now you just need to stir everything together and let the pasta finish cooking and the vegetables heat through.

All that’s left is to dish it up…

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And dig in!

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I hope that you enjoy and share this recipe with your family, friends, neighbors, and community. Check out the bottom for the handy dandy printable that can be shared with your local food pantry. If you try this recipe, or donate this recipe’s ingredients to your local food pantry, let me know on Instagram by using the hashtag #GSFfightshunger.

Because together we can end hunger.

oxox,

C

Vegetable Soup with Pasta

  • Servings: 6 people
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

1 small onion, chopped small

1 teaspoon vegetable oil

1-15oz can sliced carrots, drained and rinsed thoroughly

1-15oz can cut green beans, drained and rinsed thoroughly

1-15oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed thoroughly

1-15oz can diced tomatoes with basil, garlic, and oregano

1-32oz carton low sodium vegetable broth – Kitchen’s Basics

8oz small tube pasta (like ditalini)

Additional water

 

Instructions:

  1. In a large soup pot with a lid, heat the oil over medium heat.
  2. Add in the chopped onion and cook until the onion becomes soft.
  3. Add in the stock and about 1-2 cups of water. Bring the liquid to a boil. When the broth is boiling, add in the pasta. Cook according to the package directions.
  4. When the pasta cook time is half over, add in the carrots, green beans, pinto beans, and tomatoes (juice and all!). Stir to combine and add in a little bit more water if you feel like the mixture is too thick for your liking. Continue to cook until the pasta is finished cooking.

Serve immediately or let cool completely and refrigerate for 2-3 days or freeze for 1-2 months.

 

Nutrition Information (1 serving):

Calories: 247 kcal Carbohydrates: 49gm Protein: 10gm Fat: 1.5gm Dietary Fiber: 8.5gm Sodium: 918mg

 

Cost per recipe: $9.72

Cost per serving: $1.62

Recipe from Confessions of A Grad School Foodie – confessionsofagradschoolfoodie.com for Hunger Action Month 2015.

MOW Eggplant Parmesan

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Happy Saturday, everyone!

We are now five days into Hunger Action Month and it has really made me think about all the different ways we can reach out and fight hunger in our communities.

Food pantries are one way that communities can support our neighbors in need, but it’s another food outreach program that has captured my heart… Meals On Wheels (MOW).

Meals On Wheels is a nationwide organization that provides meals to homebound seniors to help them remain independent and stay in the comfort of their own homes for as long as possible. Caring volunteers not only provide a nutritious meal, but also a friendly visit (and conduct a much needed safety check). It is a great organization that is staffed by great people who are passionate about taking care of their neighbors.

During graduate school, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to volunteer at the local Meals On Wheels program. This program was housed in the basement kitchen of a public housing complex, which allowed them to cook all the food they served their MOW clients. It was my first experience in a restaurant-grade kitchen and my first experience working with massive quantities of food. It was AMAZING.

My friends and I were tasked with assembling meal trays for delivery and dividing large batches of salads, desserts, and rolls into single-serve portions (not much cooking) and it really made us focus on our food service and food safety skills. Our reward after a long morning of serving up food was being able try the leftovers on the hot food line. My absolute favorite hot item that they made there was eggplant parmesan. But this was not just any eggplant parmesan… it was eggplant parmesan rounds.

What I love about this version of eggplant parm is that it is super simple (and breading-free), allowing the eggplant to really stand out and shine – the way eggplant parm should be (in my opinion). I never got the official recipe, but this recipe is the closest to that eggplant parm I ate during graduate school at Meals On Wheels.

It all starts with an eggplant that’s been sliced in ½ inch slices.

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Then placed in a colander and salted with some kosher salt – this step seems unnecessary but it really helps the eggplant have a better texture and removes some of the bitterness (yay!). Let the eggplant sit for about fifteen minutes, which is about the time it takes my oven to reach 400 degrees.

When the oven reaches temp, thoroughly rinse off the eggplant, pat it dry, and coat it with some olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Then place it on a greased cookie sheet.

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Pop the eggplant into the oven for 20 minutes, flipping the eggplant rounds over halfway through.

When 20 minutes is up, pull the eggplant out of the oven.

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And spoon on a bit of your favorite marinara sauce – this is some really good jarred stuff.

Then sprinkle on some part-skim mozzarella cheese.

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And then the secret ingredient….

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… some seasoned bread crumbs. Just a small sprinkle (about ¼ teaspoon per slice) does the trick – it adds a little texture and crunch to the dish.

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Now, just pop the eggplant back into the oven for 5-6 minutes until the cheese is melted and turning golden brown.

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Perfection!

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It is a memory of a wonderful volunteer experience (and a fitting dish to enjoy during Hunger Action Month).

 

So, kiddos, what have you been up to during the first four days of September? Anything fun? Let me know!

Your eggplant parm makin’, Meals On Wheels lovin’ friend,

C

MOW Eggplant Parmesan

  • Servings: 4 people
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

1 large eggplant, sliced into ½ inch sliced width-wise

1 teaspoon kosher salt – for salting the eggplant

1 tablespoon olive oil

½ teaspoon table salt

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

½ to ¾ cup marinara sauce

¾ cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

1 tablespoon seasoned bread crumbs

Red pepper flake and dried oregano for serving

 

Steps:

  1. Salt eggplant slices with kosher salt and place in a colander that is set in a sink. Let the eggplant sit for about 15 minutes to allow for some of the water and bitterness to leave.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease a high-sided cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
  3. When the oven reaches temperature, rinse the eggplant under cold water, pat dry, and coat both sides with the olive oil, table salt, and black pepper. Place the slices in one even layer on the cookie sheet (if your slices are big in diameter, you may need a second cookie sheet). Pop the eggplant into the oven and bake for 20 minutes, flipping the eggplant slices over once in the middle of cooking.
  4. After 20 minutes, remove the eggplant from the oven. Spoon about a tablespoon of marinara sauce on each slice and then sprinkle on about 1 tablespoon of shredded mozzarella per slice. Finally, sprinkle over some seasoned bread crumbs – about ¼ teaspoon per slice.
  5. Place the eggplant back into the oven for 5-6 minutes until the cheese is melted and starting to turn golden.

To serve: sprinkle on some red pepper flakes and/or dried oregano as desired.

Enjoy!

 

Nutrition Information (1 serving):

166 calories Ÿ• 16gm carbohydrates Ÿ• 5gm fiber Ÿ• 8gm protein Ÿ• 9gm fat Ÿ• 3gm saturated fat Ÿ• 629mg sodium •Ÿ 11mg cholesterol Ÿ• 1mg iron Ÿ• 183mg calcium