Thursday, December 19, 2013

WINNER ANNOUNCED & Pumpkin Crunch Cake

SARAH GRAY, you are the winner of your very own Pampered Chef Mix 'n Chop!  Congratulations! Contact me at pithyskitchen (at) gmail (dot) com with your address and I'll send it your way!!!

This giveaway was so fun!  I loved reading your entries - I love knowing everyone's favorite holiday dishes!  So fun!  I have several favorite holiday dishes...all traditional in my family!  Cheese grits, roasted beef tenderloin, my mom's lasagna made with fresh pasta, breakfast enchiladas (I'll have to share that recipe mom makes the best!), Sweet Spots.  It's hard to pick just one!!!  I love it all!!!

I made a pumpkin crunch cake awhile back and forgot to share it with you...this is a recipe that everyone knows about but it's just so good!  Great flavors and texture.  I'm not a huge pumpkin person but topped with cake mix and butter?  Seriously???

All you do is mix up a pumpkin pie filling-like mixture, pour it into a baking dish...

And then you sprinkle on a dry yellow cake mix, pecans and toffee chips.

Oh, and then cover the whole thing with melted butter.

How bad does that sound?

Just don't bake it too long.  We want this to be nice and moist, not dry and cake-like.

So take it out of the oven when it's still jiggly, because it will set up as it cools.

Which goes along with my motto: DON'T OVERBAKE IT.  And you're good.

Pumpkin Crunch Cake

15 oz. can pureed pumpkin
12 oz. can evaporated milk
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp salt
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
18 oz. yellow cake mix
2 sticks butter, melted
1 cup finely chopped pecans
8 oz. bag toffee chips

Whisk together the pumpkin, evaporated milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla, salt and pumpkin pie spice.  Pour in a greased 9x13 baking dish.  Sprinkle the dry cake mix on top.  Sprinkle the pecans and toffee chips evenly on top and then pour the melted butter evenly on top.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes or so - you want it to be jiggly (not set); it will set up as it cools and you want it to be a nice moist texture (not too cake-like).  Cool to room temp and serve!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Pampered Chef GIVEAWAY & Cheeseburger Casserole

Hey Y'all!  I am excited about this post because I have a GIVEAWAY!!!

It's a first.  And I'm doing this just in time for Christmas...but this is one of those gifts that you'll want to keep for yourself.

Because we all know that everyone shops for themselves while they're supposed to be Christmas shopping for others.

So! I teamed up with Erin Helbig, my Pampered Chef consultant friend, and the prize is this:

Pampered Chef's Mix 'n Chop.

When Erin asked me what Pampered Chef item I'd like to give away, I did not hesitate.  The Mix 'n Chop is my absolute favorite Pampered Chef of my favorite tools in the whole kitchen, as a matter of fact.

It's awesome.  I mainly use it when browning ground beef or turkey sausage...because nothing gets those tiny crumbles like this tool.  (Because we all know that big chunks of ground beef are gross.  The finer the better, in my world.)  But I also use it for banana bread (it squishes the bananas perfectly).  It works like a chopper or a whisk.  Or a stirrer.  It's multi-purpose and everyone needs at least one.

I'll show you how I made this cheeseburger bake which, by the way, is delicious.  And it's fun to make!  And husbands and kids love it.

And I love using my Mix 'n Chop.  And so will you.  If you're the lucky winner.

Brown some beef with onions and then add the normal things you'd find in a cheeseburger!  Tomatoes, ketchup, mustard, Worcestershire sauce...the usual.

Toss with pasta (it's a starch...sort of like the bread on a cheeseburger, I guess) and top with a mound of cheese.

I always serve this with green beans.  I don't know why.  I like the way they look together, I guess.

So here's how to enter: Leave a comment and tell me your favorite thing to eat in December.  It could be beef tenderloin, cookies, cranberry sauce, Snickers or Cheerios.  Or tomato soup.  Or smoked turkey.  Or mac 'n cheese.  I don't know what your favorite December food is, so that's up to you.

By the way, this Mix 'n Chop also makes great smashed potatoes, it chops cooked chicken perfectly for tacos or pasta pretty much chops anything you need to break up, crush or smash.

Winner will be chosen Thursday at noon.  Your very own Mix 'n Chop will be shipped on Thursday afternoon and (hopefully) will arrive by Christmas!  I'm only shipping to the lower 48, though (consider yourself warned).

Thanks a bunch, Erin, for the fabulous product to give away!  If you need Pampered Chef stuff, definitely contact Erin.  She's awesome.  She has a Facebook page, you can call her (859.537.8809) or email her at eeturtle06 (at) gmail (dot) com.

Pampered Chef sponsored this post but all opinions are mine.  Nothin' new there.

Cheeseburger Casserole
Adapted from Bakerette

1 lb ground beef
1 onion, chopped
3 T ketchup
2 T Dijon mustard
2 T Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp seasoned salt
1 tsp garlic powder
15 oz. can diced tomatoes
8 oz. (about 2 1/2 cups uncooked) rotini pasta, cooked in salted water and drained
2 cups (8 oz.) shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Brown the hamburger and onion in a large skillet, breaking up the meat with the Mix 'n Chop.  Drain any excess grease and return to the burner over medium heat.  Add the ketchup, mustard, Worcestershire, salt, garlic powder and diced tomatoes (not drained).  Cook for a couple of minutes.  Remove from the heat and stir in the pasta.

Pour into a greased 7x11 baking dish (or a 2 1/2 quart baking dish) and top with cheese.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes, until cheese melts.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Cranberry White Chocolate Cookies

It's that time of year...where I take cookies everywhere I go.  To Bible study.  To my daughter's school.  To multiple cookie exchanges.  To my children...because they want to "bake something fun."  I've taught them well.

But I get bored with the same 'ol, same 'ol cookies.  So I made up a new one.  White chocolate cranberry cookies!

Of course.  The tart, red Craisins are so good with the sweetness from the white chocolate.

These were great and extremely easy. Beat the butter and sugar, add the eggs and vanilla, dump in the remaining ingredients and mix until just combined (if you overmix your dough, your cookies will taste like cake instead of soft, fluffy cookies) and scoop on a baking sheet.

I always line my baking sheet with parchment paper so I don't have to scrub my baking sheets.  It makes cookie-baking less annoying.

Pillowy, tender and soft on the inside, a little crunch on the outside...chewy Craisins and melty white chocolate chips.  You really should make these soon.  Your kids will love them, I promise.

Cranberry White Chocolate Cookies
Adapted from my White Chocolate-Macadamia Nut Cookies

2 sticks butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
3 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
12 oz. bag (about 2 cups) white chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups dried cranberries (I used Craisins)

Beat together the butter and sugars until combined and fluffy.  Add the vanilla and eggs and mix until combined.  Add the remaining ingredients and mix until just combined.  Don't overmix at this point.  Drop on a baking sheet and bake in a 350 degree oven for 8-10 minutes, until just done.  They will look a little underbaked when you take them out but will set up as they cool.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Turkey, Swiss & Cranberry Panini

You've just got to make this sandwich.  I promise you won't be disappointed.

And if you are, don't blame me.  It was all Pioneer Woman's idea to begin with.

In theory, this is the perfect sandwich for leftover turkey and cranberry sauce.

Which therein lies the problem.  I did not roast a turkey this year, as I never roast a turkey for Thanksgiving. Fortunately, I'm still in the stage of my life where I go to other people's houses for Thanksgiving dinner.  Like my aunt & uncle's.  Like my in-laws.

By default, I have no Thanksgiving leftovers.  But that's okay!  Because I went to the deli and got some sliced turkey and Swiss cheese and then I made my own cranberry sauce.  Only for this sandwich.

It's so worth it.

You can use a panini press or you can just toast the sandwich in a skillet like a grilled cheese.  I actually own a panini press but was too lazy to get it out.   Maybe I was tired from not cooking Thanksgiving dinner?  Not sure about my excuse on that one.

Just layer together butter (essential), bread, Dijon mustard (don't make the sandwich without'll totally regret it for the rest of your life), Swiss cheese, turkey, cranberry sauce and more Swiss.  Don't skimp on the Swiss or the mustard.  But don't overdo the cranberry sauce or you'll have a sliding mess of a sandwich.

Wow.  That was a lot of rules.  It really is an easy sandwich.  And absolutely delicious.  Worth making even if you have no Thanksgiving leftovers.  Worth making for the homemade cranberry sauce, actually.

I think I'm done now.

Turkey, Swiss & Cranberry Panini
Adapted from Pioneer Woman

2 slices bread (something good...this is not the time for squishy white that for PB&J)
Dijon mustard
2 nice slices of Swiss cheese
2-3 slices turkey
Cranberry sauce

Butter the bread on one side.  Smear Dijon on the other side.  Lay the bread, butter-side down, in a skillet (or in a panini press).  Layer on the Swiss, turkey, cranberry sauce, Swiss.  Smear Dijon mustard on the other piece of bread and place butter-side up.  Cook for about 5 minutes, medium-low heat, on each side.  You want the cheese to be melty, so you may need to cover it while it cooks to trap the heat and melt the cheese.

Serve immediately.  Then leave a comment that you loved it.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Cranberry Sauce

I almost forgot where my blog was.  It's been awhile, y'all.  Hope you had a great Thanksgiving.  I'm sad it's over!  One of my favorite days of the year; definitely one of my favorite meals of the year!

Growing up, I thought cranberry sauce came out of a can.  You know the round tube of congealed cranberry sauce with the can ridges down the side?

It weirded me out.  It still does, actually.

But!  Last year, I saw Jamie Deen make a homemade cranberry sauce.  I thought it looked really good. Cranberries, orange juice, sugar and cinnamon?  I mean, how could that be bad?

So I made it. And I LOVED it.  So very delicious.  Very simple.  But I never wrote about it...probably because I had no confidence that it would be edible.

But here we are, a year later...and I just made it.  After Thanksgiving.  I know.  My timetable is a little skewed this year.

It's just as wonderful as I remembered!  Maybe even better.

And I can't wait to share this panini recipe with you...beyond delicious.  This is my lunch for the next week.

Here's the recipe.  I didn't change a thing, which may be the first time in history I haven't made some change to a recipe.  There's no room for improvement here.

Cranberry Sauce
From Bobby & Jamie Deen

12 oz. bag fresh cranberries
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup orange juice (100% juice)
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Pinch of salt

Place all ingredients in a medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer and cook 15 minutes.  Chill completely before serving.