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Pumpkin Roll

Not a great picture, but this is what it looks like baked in a jelly roll pan.

My sister-in-law gave me this recipe years ago.  She used to make pumpkin rolls to sell.  I’ve been doing some baking for one of my neighbors.  He asked me if I could make a pumpkin roll for some of his friends so I hunted up my recipe and tried it out today. It was much easier and quicker to make than I thought it would be. On my first try, I used a regular cookie sheet which was a size bigger than the size mentioned. It didn’t look quite as nice but it still tasted great.

3 large eggs

2/3 cups plain pumpkin

1 cup sugar

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

3/4 cups flour

Use canned plain pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling) or if you have a home grown pumpkin, bake it in the oven first* then measure and blend with the other ingredients.

Mix flour, spices and baking soda in a small bowl. Set aside. Measure cooked pumpkin, and place in blender along with eggs and sugar. Blend well. Add dry ingredients. Blend again until well mixed. Spray an 11 1/2″ X by 15 1/2″ X 1 ” Jelly Roll Pan with Pam or grease with Crisco. Line it with wax paper (or you can use a cookie sheet with sides if you don’t have a jelly roll pan). Then spray the waxed paper with Pam or grease with Crisco then dust with flour. Trim off any excess waxed paper so it won’t smoke in the oven. Pour the blended cake batter into the lined jelly roll pan. Bake for 10-15 minutes at 325-350. I used a lower shelf so it would not get too brown. Watch cake carefully because it suddenly puffs up when done. I had to poke mine with a toothpick to deflate it.

While cake is baking, prepare a clean tea towel spread out flat on the counter.  Sprinkle it with confectioner’s sugar, covering an area the size of your pan. I use a flour sifter to distribute it evenly onto the towel.

When the cake is done, remove from oven. Carefully pick up the cake by the two corners of the waxed paper (on the longest side). With the waxed paper facing you, carefully flop the cake face down onto the towel. Peel off the waxed paper.  Roll up the tea towel along with the cake starting from the short side, making it fatter rather than long.  Let cool over an hour on a wire rack.  When cooled, unroll it and top with cream cheese icing then roll it up again, being careful to roll it tight enough so there are no air pockets. I added a bit more confectioner’s sugar to the top with the flour sifter as a final touch.


Mix icing in mixer.

1   8 oz pkg. Philadelphia cream cheese

1 tsp. vanilla

1 cup confectioners sugar

Spread icing evenly then roll up again, this time without the towel. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate or freeze.

*To bake a pumpkin, cut in half, remove seeds and place on a cookie sheet or in a shallow pan with some water in the bottom. Bake at 350 for a half hour till tender.


Soup is such a comfort on a cold day. This is a recipe that was given to me by my mother-in-law. I like to make a batch and freeze some for later.

Package of Beef short ribs
1 large can tomatoes (add juice too and cut tomato into small pieces)
46- ounce can of tomato juice
1 can beef boullion or bullion cube (I use can of beef consume’)
alphabet noodles if desired
2 and 1/2 lb package of frozen mixed vegetables w/ corn, peas, limas, green beans  (about 7 and 1/2 cups)
[I add about a cup each of frozen peas and limas, corn and then add fresh carrots, onion and some celery to mine, about 7 and 1/2 cups. I don’t add many green beans to mine.]
Squirt of worcestershire sauce
some sugar
pepper to taste
more bullion if it looks too thin
Cornstarch if needed

Add tomato juice, short ribs, vegetables and other ingredients in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil. Cut back to simmer for about an hour. Remove short ribs. Take meat off bone and discard bones. Cut meat into small pieces. There won’t be much meat. Add back to soup.

Good on a cold day. It freezes well too.

While I am furiously scribbling down bookmarked recipes before the book’s due date, I thought I’d post one from The Best Make-Ahead Recipe, by the editors of Cook’s Illustrated and (I guess?) tested by the stars of “America’s Test Kitchen” (the former is a magazine and the latter a PBS show, and to my understanding the same people are mostly involved in both). Anyway, whoever they are, these people do work that makes you feel that they are really quite indispensable. So they take advantage of this and ask you to pay to access most of their website and stuff, but there are probably large cookbooks of theirs available at your local library to enable you to resist that temptation, for a while. Especially if you don’t have a scanner or printer, they will keep you busy enough, bookmarking and copying down an enormous number of pages that contain delectable but practical, doable recipes.

I made this recently—as it appeared in a slightly modified form in their e-mail newsletter awhile back—and if your family likes/tolerates (digestively, I mean) Mexican food with a slight kick, you must try it. By “freezer” they mean that you can freeze the sauce and enchiladas for up to 2 months; except for defrosting the sauce in the microwave, the dish can go straight from freezer to oven when you’re ready for it.

Freezer Chicken Enchiladas
For the sauce (just buy a big can if you’re low on time):
1 29-oz. can tomato sauce
1/2 med. onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 canned chipotle chile in adobo
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. coriander
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c. low-sodium chicken broth
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil

For the filling:
3 c. shredded cooked chicken
2 1/2 c. shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
1/3 c. chopped fresh cilantro
2 Tbsp. pickled jalapeños, minced
10 6″ corn tortillas

1. To make ahead: Blend tomato sauce, onion, garlic, chipotle, cumin, coriander, salt, and broth in blender until smooth. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add tomato mixture, bring to boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until mixture is reduced to 3 1/2 cups, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to bowl and refrigerate until cool, about 1 hour.

2. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees. Toss 3/4 cup sauce with chicken, 1 cup of the cheese, cilantro, and jalepeños.

3. Place 5 tortillas on baking sheet and lightly coat both sides with cooking spray. Bake tortillas until just pliable, about 2 minutes. Working quickly, transfer one tortilla at a time to work surface, fill with 1/3 cup chicken mixture, and roll tightly. Transfer, seam side down, to large plate. Repeat warming and rolling process with remaining 5 tortillas. Place plate in freezer until enchiladas are frozen, at least 1 hour.

4. Place remaining sauce in freezersafe container and press 2 layers of plastic wrap directly onto surface of sauce. Tightly wrap enchiladas in bundles of 5, first in plastic and then in foil. Freeze for up to 2 months.

5. When ready to serve: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Defrost enchilada sauce in microwave on defrost setting, about 12 minutes.

6. Coat a 13 by 9-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Arrange frozen enchiladas in single layer in baking dish and coat tops with cooking spray. Bake until tops of tortillas are just beginning to flake, about 20 minutes. Remove dish from oven, top enchiladas with 1 1/2 cups sauce, and bake 10 minutes longer. Sprinkle enchiladas with remaining 1 1/2 cups cheese and bake until cheese melts and center of casserole is hot and bubbling, 3 to 5 minutes. Serve, passing remaining sauce and garnishes (see note above) at table.

** If you want to serve this dish immediately (rather than freezing it), preheat the oven to 400 degrees and place an oven rack in the middle position. After rolling the enchiladas, place them seam-side down in a single layer in a 13×9″ baking dish. Pour the sauce on top, covering the enchiladas completely, then sprinkle on the remaining 1 1/2 cup of cheese. Cover the dish with aluminum foil sprayed with vegetable oil and bake until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is melted, 20-25 minutes.

Heidi made some variation of this green salsa when I was visiting her in Mexico, and sent me back with a recipe. It is meant to be cooked as a sauce for enchiladas but I am just going to record the salsa part of the recipe, as I haven’t tried the rest. A hint, though, is to make this salsa when you’re going to cook a chicken, or part of a chicken, in broth: you’ll use some of the remaining broth for the salsa.

Chicken broth—preferably just used to cook chicken
1 lb tomatillos, husks removed
4-5 serrano chiles, or jalapeños, depending on your heat tolerance (serranos are generally hotter, though not always!)
1/4 of a white onion
1 clove garlic
pinch of salt

Place tomatillos and serranos in a large pot with enough water to cover them. Bring to boil, and continue boiling until tomatillos turn a different shade of green (from bright green to a dull, army green).

Strain tomatillos and chiles and place in a blender with a 1/4 white onion, 1 clove of garlic, and salt. Pour in reserved chicken broth so that the liquid just covers the veggies in the blender by about an inch (I would recommend much less, if you want the salsa to have any body at all; this is apparently what I did the first time I made it, which see below). Blend until completely pureed.

(I regret not measuring the amount this makes. The original recipe yields 4 servings, but I can’t see four people eating that much salsa on their enchiladas without making them intolerably soggy. So I’d guess about 8-10 servings as paired with chips, but don’t rely too heavily on the estimate.)


This salsa was a Hit with my husband when I made it a few weeks ago. He suggested I make it for the monthly post-worship lunch, so on Saturday I prepared to do just that. My *only* adjustments this time around were 1) to follow the original recipe in using a blender, not a food processor, to puree the salsa; and 2) to replace the several tomatillos that presented themselves rotten with one large red tomato, which after chopping I drained for a few minutes in a colander. One or both of these was a Big Mistake. I ended up taking a plate of brownies (a foolproof, just-about-perfect ATK recipe, which I’ll post if anyone is interested in scrumptious, chocolatey brownies).

My advice would be as stated above—to add less broth—and to steer clear of tomatoes as a substitution in a pinch, even if you drain it after you’ve chopped it. This was not a reversible problem as far as I could tell; reaching the “what the heck” point, I toyed with the idea of adding just a touch of flour while boiling it and seeing if I couldn’t thicken it that way, but while I was thinking, the salsa actually separated—what little bulk it had floated to the bottom, and the broth to the top. At that point I gave up.

What follows is purely anecdotal and no source of good cooking advice. Today I determined to redeem the “salsa.” I had some black beans on hand, plus some top round steak that I fairly ruined by fixing my eyes less on the meat and more on the meat thermometer, which told me that the meat was unsafe to eat even while it was becoming what my husband called, not meaning to compliment, well done. (Okay, here’s a basic tip from Alton Brown, which I read beforehand but couldn’t bring myself to trust: Disregard the FDA’s, etc., recommended cooking temperatures for steaks. Cook it to desired doneness, even if that is medium rare. On this side of my experience I daresay he’s right; I can’t imagine what my steak would have tasted like had I waited until it reached 145 degrees. . .) Anyway, having added the steak, the beans, and some celery, I brought the salsa/broth to a low boil. I poured a little into a cup, took a sip eagerly, chased it with a lot more water, and decided it might need a good amount of cooling liquid, like lime juice. Nice flavor, but my mouth was still on fire. Next I thought tomatillo-cream soup sounded promising, and might take some of the heat away; but a spoonful of half-and-half made no discernible difference. Well, I managed to get most of the cup down by taking simultaneous sips of soup and water. Which gave me the idea to pour about a cup of water into the remnant and bag it up for the freezer, to be subject to more experimentation once my mouth has fully recovered from the capsaicin. :)

My favorite light summer recipe…. a quick easy dinner idea that can be modified for a large family or cooking for one.  I don’t generally bake chicken because it dries out, but the bacon coats with the cream cheese seal in the juices. Yum!

4 Chicken breasts or 6 tenderloins
1/2 c cream cheese
1 TBSP chives
6-8 rashers uncooked bacon

Preheat oven to 400 F. If using chicken breasts, cut a slit in the breast and stuff with mixture of cream cheese and chives. If tenderloins, sandwich cream cheese mixture between the tenderloins…. I’m not afraid to use a healthy amount of cream cheese, but I’m also not afraid of my ever-expanding reflection. Adjust accordingly. :) Wrap bacon around the chicken (I use two for each chicken piece). Place in a glass baking dish and pour about 1 TBSP of oil over the chicken. Bake for 20-25 minutes, brushing with oil half-way through. Season w/fresh ground pepper and enjoy!

Serve with salad:

Raspberry vinaigrette over Green lettuce or spinach w/craisins and toasted almond slices

Serve with a glass of rose’ if you enjoy the vino with dinner!

July 2018
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