Archive for November 2009


Mini Pecan Pumpkin Pies


I made these last year when I needed a small treat to make for one of my daughters’ classes for a Thanksgiving party. I’ve made them several times since for dessert nights or snacks and they’re always a hit.

I don’t have any tweaks except that I wouldn’t fill the mini tins up all the way with the filling, probably just enough to cover the crust a bit, otherwise it’s really gooey and the filling overpowers the crust.

Mini Pecan Pumpkin Pies
from Sunny Anderson

For the dough:

1/4 cup pecans
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for shaping dough
6 tablespoons butter, ice cold
2 to 3 tablespoons ice cold water

For the filling:

1 egg, plus 1 egg yolk
1/2 cup dark corn syrup
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup canned pumpkin filling
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup pecans, chopped plus 24 halves for garnish

1 24-cup mini muffin tin

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray the bottoms and sides of the mini muffin tins with cooking spray.

For the dough: In a food processor, pulse pecans with the sugar, salt, and flour, until the nuts are ground and the ingredients are combined. Add in butter and pulse until dough resembles coarse meal. Slowly pour in ice water through the feed tube, pulsing, until the dough comes together. Remove from processor bowl onto clean work surface sprinkled with flour.

Form dough into a ball and divide evenly into 24 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and evenly press into each cup, until the bottom is covered. If the dough is sticky, dip your finger in flour first.

Bake 15 to 18 minutes, until the crusts are very golden. Check periodically to make sure they don’t get too brown.

Meanwhile, make the filling: In a medium bowl, whisk the egg and yolk with the corn syrup, sugar, pumpkin filling and vanilla. Stir in the chopped pecans.

Remove dough from oven and spoon 1 tablespoon of the filling into each cup. Top each with one pecan half. Return the pans to the oven and continue baking for 12 to 15 minutes more, or until the pumpkin filling is set. Allow to cool before removing from the pans.


Red Beans and Rice

Red Beans and Rice

This recipe for red beans and rice is perfect for a cold night. I like this one especially because it’s made in the crock pot, which I like to use a few times a week for an easy dinner.

If you can’t find andouille you can try smoked keilbasa, though it won’t taste quite the same. Make sure you soak your beans overnight and rinse them well before using. If you don’t have time to do a long soak, you can try doing a quick soak.

If you don’t have or can’t find Creole seasoning, you can easily make your own.

Red Beans and Rice

1 pound dried red beans, soaked overnight
7 cups chicken broth
1 pound andouille sausage, sliced into rounds
1 large sweet onion, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped (optional)
8 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon Creole seasoning, or to taste
1 ham hock or 1 cup chopped ham
4 cups cooked rice

Place the beans and chicken broth into a slow cooker. Add sliced andouille, onion, jalapeno pepper, garlic, basil and ham (or ham hock). Season with pepper and Creole seasoning.

Cover and cook on low for about 8 hours, or until beans are tender. If it’s too watery for your liking, stir in a small amount of cornstarch and water slurry until desired consistency is reached, about half an hour before serving.


Crockpot Chicken Cheese Tortilla Soup

Crockpot Tortilla Cheese Soup

Forgive the picture, this one doesn’t photograph very well!

One of Mike’s favorite restaurant foods when he lived in South Dakota was Chicken Tortilla Soup from Ground Round. I got to have it one time when we flew out to see his family, and it was really good. We don’t have Ground Rounds out here so it’s been at least 12 years since we last had it.

Anyway, he mentioned a couple of weeks ago that he was craving it, so I went online and found a “copycat” recipe for it. I adapted it for the crockpot and surprised him with it, and it was a huge hit. Even the kids, who aren’t that crazy about soup, loved it!

Chicken Cheese Tortilla Soup

1 pound cubed chicken breast
2 cans Campbell’s “Fiesta Nacho Cheese” condensed soup
2 cans condensed cream of chicken soup
2 cups milk
2 cans (about 14 oz each) mild enchilada sauce
Crushed tortilla chips
Shredded cheddar cheese

Gently boil the chicken breast until cooked through and shred or cube. Combine all ingredients except the tortilla chips and cheddar cheese and place in crockpot.

Let cook on low for about four hours, stirring occasionally as it will burn easily. Crush tortilla chips and place in bowl, ladle soup over top. Sprinkle top with shredded cheddar cheese.