Pumpkin Chess Pie

“Dessert is like a feel-good song and the best ones make you dance.”

Normally I am not one for desserts whether it be eating them or cooking them …. however, when I spotted this recipe in the Holiday Cottage 2013 issue of The Cottage Journal magazine I knew I had to give it a try and I’m certainly glad that I did. Although I do enjoy pumpkin pie during the holidays, at least to me it typically tastes like it just came out of a can of pumpkin filling and it seems too heavy and too solid. Well, this recipe provides you with a pumpkin pie that is light, almost fluffy, and it is very, very delicious.

Ingredients:

Hot, right out of the oven and smelling unbelievably good!

Hot, right out of the oven and smelling unbelievably good!


6 T butter, softened
1 ½ cups sugar
4 tsp corn meal
1 cup canned pumpkin (15oz, not pumpkin pie filler)
½ cup heavy whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp fine sea salt
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp ground cloves
3 large eggs
1 (9-inch) prepared pie crust, deep dish (or you’ll have lots of batter leftover)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Bake the pie crust per the package instructions.
2. In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar, and cornmeal at medium speed until combined. Add pumpkin, cream, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves, beating until

The first slice still warm and ready to enjoy.

The first slice still warm and ready to enjoy.

combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Pour mixture into prepared pie crust.
3. Bake for 60-70 minutes or until center is set and does not move when pan is lightly shaken. Let cool completely.

Slow Cooker Balsamic Chicken

“Keep calm and crock on.”

The original recipe that inspired this one came from the website, skinnyms.com. I replaced their chicken breasts with chicken thighs and their onion with a shallot. They recommended serving it over angel hair pasta but I thought there was way too much liquid so I served it over rice the first time and orzo pasta the second time … both were very tasty. Folks, this is an unbelievably fantastic meal and involves so little effort on the cook’s part!

Ingredients:

Balsamic Chicken over Orzo pasta

Balsamic Chicken over Orzo pasta


6-8 boneless, skinless, chicken thighs (about 40 ounces)
2 14.5 oz. cans of diced tomatoes
1 medium to large shallot thinly sliced (not chopped)
4 garlic cloves
½ cup balsamic vinegar
1 T olive oil
1 tsp each: dried oregano, basil, and rosemary
½ tsp thyme
ground black pepper and sea salt to taste

Directions:

Pour the olive oil in the bottom of the slow cooker, add the chicken after you salt & pepper each thigh, put the sliced shallot on top of the chicken and then add all the dried herbs and garlic cloves. Pour in the balsamic vinegar and then top with the tomatoes.

Cook on low for 8 hours, serve over rice or orzo pasta sprinkled with fresh parmesan.

Chicken Thighs with Pasta & Vodka Sauce

“If you drink enough vodka, it tastes like love.”

Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman, recently presented a dish named Rigatoni with Chicken Thighs. This was the inspiration for my dish only I greatly simplified hers and was still able to come out with a very tasty dish. The important ingredient with this recipe is Chicken Thighs. Most people (especially those who say they hate dark meat) don’t realize how much more flavorful thigh meat is over breast meat. I dare you … take the challenge, be honest, and the thigh meat will win out!

Ingredients:

Salt
16 oz. package rigatoni (or your favorite pasta)
Olive oil, as needed
8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into small pieces
3 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup shallots, chopped
1 ½ jars (24 oz. jars) prepared Vodka Sauce (I prefer Prego)
Fresh basil, as needed
Grated Parmesan, for topping

Directions:

Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil and put the pasta into it. Cook according to package instructions.

Heat a large skillet until very hot and then generously drizzle in some olive oil. Swirl to coat the skillet, and then add half of the cut-up chicken pieces, spreading them out as you put them in. Do not begin stirring the chicken immediately as you want to get them nice and brown. After a minute or two, flip over the chicken with a spatula and let brown on the other side. Remove to a plate and set aside. Repeat with the second half of the chicken pieces.

Add a tablespoon or so of olive oil, if needed, into the hot skillet and throw in the garlic and chopped shallots and give them a stir. Now add the Vodka Sauce, whisking to deglaze the bottom of the skillet. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

Add the chicken (and don’t forget all of those yummy chicken juices on the plate) to the sauce mixture and continue simmering for another 15 minutes. Toward the end of the cooking process, chop up your fresh basil and add it to the sauce, stirring to combine.

Put the pasta on a platter or in a large bowl and smother with the sauce. Top with grated Parmesan cheese.

(Note – be sure to refrigerate and save the unused half jar of Vodka sauce because you’ll want to use it to provide additional liquid when you warm up the left-overs.)

(Note2 – Photos will be posted as soon as possible.)

Baked Chicken with Dijon & Lime

“Food is essential to life; therefore, make it good.”

Originally this was a Paula Deen recipe and then it was “lightened up” by Gina at www.skinnytaste.com to be acceptable as a Weight Watcher Recipe.

Servings: 4
Serving Size: 2 thighs
Calories: 210 Points: 4.25

Ingredients:

Baked Chicken with Dijon & Lime

Baked Chicken with Dijon & Lime


8 Chicken Thighs, small, skinless, boneless
3 T Dijon Mustard
1 T Light Mayonnaise
1 clove Garlic crushed
Juice of 1 Lime
Zest of 1 Lime
¾ tsp black Pepper
1 tsp Sea Salt
1 tsp Parsley, dried or fresh

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400-degrees. Rinse the chicken and trim fat if necessary. Pat dry. Place in a large bowl and season generously with salt. In a small bowl combine Dijon, mayonnaise, lime juice, lime zest, garlic and pepper. Mix well. Pour over chicken tossing well to cover.

Spray a large baking pan or dish with a little Pam to prevent sticking. Place chicken to fit in a single layer. Top the chicken with parsley. Bake until cooked through, about 30 minutes. Finish the chicken under the broiler for about 12 minutes until it is golden brown. Serve chicken with the pan juices drizzled over the top.