Kitchen Creations

Thursday, January 31, 2013

On the subject of pudding....

Earlier this week I used homemade pudding to make the Blueberry Banger Trifle.  I had to refer back to this recipe for homemade "Banana Pudding".  My mom made this every Thanksgiving since I can remember.  I love it.  I made it recently to alleviate a little spell of homesickness.  It's that kind of comfort food; rich, creamy and delicious.  Again, this is a layered dessert and doesn't take long, except for the pudding thickening part.

Find some old-fashioned comfort with this dish today!

Banana Pudding      
3/4 cup of sugar
2 Tbsp. all purpose flour
2 cups milk (I use 1%)
2 egg yolks, beaten
1/4 cup butter
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 box Nilla Wafers
2-3 large bananas, sliced

  • Mix together sugar & flour in a medium saucepan, over low heat. 
  • Gradually add milk, whisking constantly
  • Allow the sugar/milk mixture cook on low, stirring often, until it thickens and starts to bubble (Watch carefully and make sure you keep it over low.  Milk scalds easily.  This part feels like it takes forever, which it kinda does.  It's worth it though and I promise, it does eventually thicken!)    
  • Once the mixture thickens, add 4 Tbsp. of the thickened mixture to the beaten eggs (this acclimates the eggs to the pudding temperature, slowly).
  • Add the eggs to the milk/sugar mixture and stir.  Allow to cook over low heat for 2 more minutes, stirring constantly.
  • Remove from heat.  Add butter and vanilla, mix well.
  • Now you are ready to layer!  Nilla Wafers, Banana Slices, Pudding, Nilla Wafers, Banana, Pudding Nilla Wafers.

Click here for printable recipe         

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Chasing the "chill" away

This past fall I scoured recipe sites for a squash stew of sorts in order to use up an ENORMOUS squash given to us by our friends, the Weavers.  I had an idea of the flavors I wanted to combine and since none of the recipes fulfilled all of them, I decided to take some basic ideas and trek out on my own.  I was amazingly happy with the result and tried it out on my mom when I visited for my dad's surgery this past November.  She became its biggest fan and she doesn't even like sweet potatoes!  It's packed with good vitamins and protein.  The protein in my recipe comes from the beans and quinoa.  I didn't add meat, but some roasted chicken could easily be added and would taste great in this "chili/stew".   You can combine it with a nice cornbread or a crusty loaf of french bread and a green salad, to have the perfect soul-warming winter meal.

Chase away some winter chill with this delightful meal!

Squash-Sweet Potato & Quinoa Chili

4 medium sweet potatoes (you can use any variety - yellow or orange)
1 medium squash (butternut is one of the best for this - any squash with a nice "meaty" center, not stringy)
4 Tbsp. Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper 
1 large sweet onion, chopped 
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 chipotle pepper, minced (These little guys are spicy so for reduced spice, remove seeds or substitute 4 Tbsp. of the "sauce" in the can)
3 cups cooked (or 2 cans, drained and rinsed) black beans or pinto beans
1 cup fresh or frozen corn (optional - I no longer add this because my oldest has decided he's not a fan of corn unless it's on the cob)
1 20-28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes
1 package of your favorite chili spice mixture - or the equivalent of your own chili spice mixture
2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1 cup of uncooked quinoa 

  •  Peel squash and sweet potatoes and cut into cubes.  Toss cubes with 2 Tbsp. olive oil and salt and pepper (about 1 tsp. each) and put into a 9X13 baking pan.  Bake at 400 for about 30 minutes (until the squash and potatoes start to turn golden).  ****Side note, this alone makes an amazing side dish by just adding about 1/2 tsp. of sage!

  • While squash and sweet potatoes are baking, heat the remaining 2 Tbsp. of olive oil and add chopped onion and garlic, saute for 1-2 minutes.  Next add  the chipotle chili, beans, corn, chili spice mix and cooked squash & sweet potatoes.  Stir well. 

  •  Now add crushed tomotoes and broth.  Let mixture come to boil.
  • Add uncooked quinoa and stir well.  Let chili cook on medium for another 30 minutes to ensure quinoa is cooked through.  

Click here for printable recipe  

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Just A Little Trifle!

This dessert came about through a series of inspirations and culinary failures.  The end result was, I believe, a consummate success!  I will quote my friend Kelly on the end result, "I could seriously picture myself in a chair eating that trifle until I go into a coma."  That statement, my friends, is what every baker dreams of hearing, honestly!!!  So, here's the inspiration portion of the creation.  I wanted to make trifle, but my husband can't eat chocolate anymore.  So what to do?  I decided to make a fruit and vanilla pudding trifle.  For the cake.... Harvey Wallbanger, a Buegge family (or Whitley family) tradition!  I adjusted it and didn't add the pudding and exchanged orange juice for lemon juice (because of other ideas that were percolating in my head at that moment).  I had blueberries in the freezer that I had picked the previous summer, sumptuous blueberries that would taste great with a lemon flavor somewhere in the trifle!  Now for the failure turned inspiration portion.  I had a box of instant pudding, which normally goes in Harvey Wallbanger, but would be kept out to layer instead.  I tried to use almond milk in place of regular milk.  This was not a success, it was soupy.  Soooooo, change of plans..... make your own pudding from scratch; vanilla-lemon pudding!!!  So I had my layers, Harvey Wallbanger cake, vanilla-lemon pudding, blueberries and whip cream, Oh My!  It does take a bit of time to do this, but the results are so very worth it.

Here's to your trifle coma!!!

Blueberry Banger Trifle 
Cake -
1 box yellow cake mix
3 eggs
3/4 cup oil
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup Vodka
1/4 cup Galliano
1/4 cup lemon juice
Pudding -
3/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. flour
2 cups milk
2 egg yolks, beaten
4 Tbsp. butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
Rest of the trifle
Blueberries (about 2-3 cups)
Whip cream (enough to layer 2 times)

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Mix all cake ingredients together and bake for 30-40 minutes.  I bake the cake in a lightly greased bundt pan.  Then cut the cake into cubes.  

  • In a medium saucepan combine 3/4 cup of sugar and 2 Tbsp. flour and slowly add 2 cups of milk, while stirring/whisking.

  • Cook mixture on low (this is important because milk can easily scald - I will warn you, this feels like it takes forever and honestly, it kinda does - it's the longest part of this dessert).
  • Once the mixture thickens and bubbles, add 4 Tbsp. of the hot mixture to the beaten eggs and stir in.  Then add the eggs to the full sugar/milk mixture.
  • Cook for 2 more minutes.
  • Then remove from heat and add butter, vanilla and lemon juice.  Stir.
  • Now you are ready to layer.  Cake pieces, pudding, blueberries, whip cream, blueberries, cake, pudding, blueberries and whip cream!


Click here for printable recipe

Monday, January 28, 2013

Guinea For Jason

This recipe has made its rounds in several different forms, but one thing remains the same, it's completely addictive.  I was introduce to it by my lovely friend Amy and she called it chocolate crack, due to its addictive nature.  Well I was soon concocting my own batches of the stuff in my kitchen and becoming quite the addict myself.  At some point I decided I needed to bring this stuff to school and "share the wealth" or I'd be 2000 pounds soon!  I asked my colleague Jason if he'd like to be my guinea pig and try some treats I brought.  He misunderstood, mostly on purpose, and looked appalled that I wanted him to try guinea pig.  Well the "guinea pig" was tasted, adored and laughingly renamed, "Guinea".  Now I'm asked, "You got the guinea" on a regular basis.

So Jason, this one's for you!  Everyone else, beware!  This is shockingly easy to make and way too good to stop eating once you've succumbed!

Guinea (aka Chocolate Crack)  
Graham Crackers (about 2 bags)
Butter (1-2 cups)
Brown Sugar (1-2 cups) - hey, I never said this was healthy!
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Chocolate Chips (1 -2 cups - depending on how much chocolate you want)
** Toasted Coconut, Toffee bits, Nuts, etc (optional)

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
  • Line a baking sheet with foil
  • Lay graham crackers down over the foil.  I like to break mine along the perforations and line them up.  It makes breaking them apart later, easier.
  • On stove top, melt butter in a medium saucepan.  Here's where you can decide to do the "healthy" version or the "over the top"  version.  I have not yet been brave enough to do the over the top.  My mind resists anything that calls for 2 cups of butter.  I just can't do it.
  • Once butter is melted add the brown sugar (1 cup if you did 1 cup of butter, and 2 cups if you did 2 cups of butter).  Stir until sugar incorporates into the butter. The mixture will bubble and thicken a bit.
  • Once the brown sugar melts and incorporates add vanilla and stir.
  • Next pour the mixture over the graham crackers.
  • Now bake 5-7 minutes or until the "toffee" becomes bubbly.
  • Now remove from oven and sprinkle chocolate chips over - I typically use 1 cup.  Otherwise I feel like the chocolate overwhelms the toffee flavor.
  • Now return to oven for 1 minute and remove again, spreading melted chocolate chips over the graham cracker/toffee with a spatula.
  • Now you can add the "optional" extras if you'd like
  • At this point you can let it cool or refrigerate or freeze it until it hardens, then break it up and store in an airtight container.

*Note:  My friend Stacy has made this substituting pretzels for the graham crackers.  Another delicious alternative!!!

Click here for printable recipe