Spiced Pumpkin Bread

I had a can of Libby’s Pumpkin in my cabinet taking up some space, so I decided to make something with it. I figured the perfect thing to make would be a loaf of Spiced Pumpkin Bread. This is the perfect thing to grab for breakfast while heading out the door for work. And it’s such an easy thing to make since I always have all of the ingredients on hand.

 

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 5 teaspoons ground allspice or pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup LIBBY’S® 100% Pure Pumpkin
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup Apple NESTLÉ® JUICY JUICE® All Natural 100% Juice
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

PREHEAT oven to 350° F.

SIFT flour, allspice, baking powder, baking soda and salt into medium bowl.

Combine pumpkin, sugar, Juicy Juice, eggs, oil and vanilla extract in large bowl;  Stir well.

Stir in flour mixture just until moistened.

Spoon into greased 9 x 5-inch loaf pan.

BAKE for 65 to 70 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes; remove to wire rack to cool completely.

This was my first time using this recipe, and it wasn’t that bad. I added in a little extra spice to mine, and I’m so happy that I did. It calls for 5 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice, which may sound like a lot, but it’s really not. If you think about the canned Pumpkin doesn’t give it any spice; just a subtle pumpkin flavor. So you need the spice to come from somewhere.  So I used the 5 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice (all Penzeys, of course!) plus I used 1 teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg, about 1/2 teaspoon of ginger and a sprinkle of cinnamon. I used regular Apple Juice and that worked out fine.  I think next time I’d use a little bit more brown sugar because I think it could be a tad sweeter. I baked mine for 58 minutes, which I think was plenty! So keep an eye on it. But for the first time making this, I was pretty happy with the result.

Roasted Tomato Sauce

I had quite a few Tomatoes from my CSA box. Every week I’d get more and more tomatoes. I just didn’t know what to do with them all.  They were all a beautiful shade of red, but you can only eat so many Tomato, Basil and Mozzarella salads before you go crazy!  So I decided to make a Roasted Tomato Sauce out of them. I had a bunch of onions, garlic and fresh oregano from my CSA also, so it worked out quite well.

There are so many different things you can do with tomato sauce. It’s so versatile. We chose to have this sauce on some pasta, but it works so well for pizza, chicken, etc. Adjust the ingredients as you see fit – some people don’t like sweet sauces, some do. I love sweet sauce! So add in more brown sugar if you please!

 

  • 8 large tomatoes
  • 2 small onions
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 6 oz can tomato paste
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • dash of balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon + 1 teaspoon fresh oregano
  • salt
  • pepper

 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut the tomatoes into quarters, and lay them skin side down. Cut up the onions and smash the garlic and put them on the baking sheet with the tomatoes, making sure it’s all in a single layer. Drizzle with olive oil.  Season with salt, pepper and 1 teaspoon of the fresh oregano.

Single layer on baking sheet

Up close and personal

Roast for about 1 hour and 15 minutes. You want the edges of the tomatoes and onion to start getting brown. Carefully put everything in a blender (Vitamix!!)  or food processor, and pulse until smooth.

Fresh out of the oven

Transfer the pureed contents to your favorite Le Creuset dutch oven and heat over medium heat. Add in the red wine, brown sugar, and dash of balsamic vinegar. Stir. Add in the can of tomato paste and stir until all of the lumps are out.

Let simmer

The tomato paste should thicken it up a bit. Turn the heat down to low. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the 1 teaspoon of fresh oregano and let the sauce simmer for about 25-30 minutes.

Serve with your favorite pasta, or use on some homemade pizza!

 

 

5 Ingredient Friday: Baked Acorn Squash

So as you are well aware, I belong to a CSA program. I got a Green Acorn Squash in this week’s CSA Box, so I figured I should do something with it! Now I’ve never had Green Acorn Squash before; I’ve only had Butternut Squash.  So I kept the Acorn Squash so that I could try it out. I wanted a pretty easy recipe to try, so I tried the Baked Acorn Squash recipe from Simply Recipes. I made a few changes to the recipe, so if you want to see the original recipe, click here.

 

  • 1 Acorn squash
  • 2 tablespoons Butter
  • 4 tablespoons Brown Sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Maple Syrup
  • 2 teaspoons Honey
  • dash of salt (freebie)

 

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Using a strong chef’s knife, cut the acorn squash in half, lengthwise, from stem to end.

Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and stringy stuff in the center of each half.  Score the insides of each half several times with a sharp knife.


Place each half in a baking pan, cut side up. Add about a 1/4 inch of water to the bottom of the baking pan so that the skins don’t burn and the squash doesn’t get dried out.

Coat the inside of each half with one tablespoon of butter. Add a dash of salt if you are using unsalted butter (I still used a dash, even though I used salted butter). Add two tablespoons of brown sugar to the cavity of each half.  Drizzle on a teaspoon of maple syrup to each half. Do the same with the honey.

Bake in the oven for about 1 hour 15 minutes, until the squash is very soft and the tops are browned. Do not undercook. When finished, remove from oven and let cool a little before serving.


Spoon any buttery sugar sauce that has not already been absorbed by the squash over the exposed areas. Serve!

 

I love brown sugar, maple syrup, and butter, so I did enjoy this dish. I thought the honey gave it a nice flavor. I wish everything got a bit more syrupy, but it’s not a big deal that it didn’t. I think the next time I may try a little bit of cinnamon in there as well. I think that would definitely boost the flavor a bit!  It was a good recipe, but I can’t see myself running out to buy an Acorn Squash anytime soon. Especially since I’d only be making it for myself; Mr. Curly Fry turned his nose up at it. ;)

5 Ingredient Friday: Sauteed Peaches

This week’s 5 Ingredient Friday recipe was inspired by my Fruit Share from the CSA. I got a bunch of Peaches in my Fruit Share this week that have ripened up very nicely, so I wanted to saute some of them to serve with dinner. I love this recipe because it can be used with dinner OR dessert! I’ve served this on top of some chicken breasts before, and let me tell you how amazing it was! This time I served it as a side dish. It’s been so hot here in Philly that I have been trying to use the stove top instead of the oven whenever I can.  So I decided to throw this together! It’s so simple and you can use whatever spices you want. I happen to love Cinnamon and Nutmeg, but Allspice and Ginger is wonderful in it as well.

Ingredients

  • 3 Peaches; peeled & sliced
  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup packed Dark Brown Sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon Cinnamon (I recommend Penzey’s extra fancy Vietnamese Cinnamon)
  • 1/8 teaspoon Nutmeg (I recommend Penzey’s Fine Ground Grenadian West Indian Nutmeg)

Directions

If you haven’t already, peel the peaches and slice them up

Melt the butter in a pan

Add in the Peaches and stir around;
let cook for about 10 minutes until softened

Add in the Brown Sugar

Stir the Brown Sugar until incorporated;
Let cook for a bit until the sugar starts to caramelize

Add in the Spices and cook for 3-4 minutes.
Serve!

These Peaches are great served with a Protein (Chicken, Pork, etc), served as a side dish, or even for Dessert! They go great over Pound Cake, on top of Vanilla Bean Ice Cream, etc. The possibilities are endless! Be creative and have fun with it.

5 Ingredient Friday: Grilled Balsamic Skirt Steak

This week’s 5 Ingredient Friday recipe is Grilled Balsamic Skirt Steak from Cooking Light, May 2010. I saw this recipe and thought it would be a wonderful “welcome to summer!” recipe since we just celebrated Memorial Day earlier in the week. I already had everything but the Skirt Steak on hand already so that’s always a plus.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 pound skirt steak, trimmed and cut into 4 pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided (freebie)
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper(freebie)

Preparation

1. Combine first 4 ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag. Add steak, turning to coat; seal and marinate at room temperature 25 minutes, turning once. Remove steak from bag; discard marinade.

2. Heat a large grill pan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Sprinkle both sides of steak with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Add steak to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Remove steak from pan; sprinkle with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Tent with foil; let stand 5 minutes. Cut steak diagonally across the grain into thin slices.

Marinating


Cooking away


Ready to Eat


My thoughts…

I was very happy with how this came out. I let it marinate for about an hour in the fridge, and then I took it out of the fridge and let it rest on the counter for about 15 minutes. I have a grill pan, but I used my Le Creuset instead.  I cooked it on each side from about 3 minutes, and then I let it finish off in the oven for about 15 minutes. We like our meat well done – no pink over here! I let it rest for about 5 minutes before serving and we each sliced our own pieces. I thought it was very flavorful and oh so tender. It literally melted in your mouth. Mr. Curly Fry thought that it had a very strong flavor, but his taste buds are just very sensitive. I would highly recommend this recipe, as well as adding in your own changes to create new, bold flavors. This is definitely a keeper.