Saturday, December 20, 2008

Not your traditional Pumpkin Pie...It is better!

I normally do NOT like pumpkin pie. I remember as a kid I would get so disappointed during the holidays because people always made pumpkin pie and pecan pie. As I kid I detested both and would opt out of dessert, those of you who know me are saying "WOW" right now (I LOVE dessert).

As I have gotten older I have found I do like a good pecan pie and I do like this pumpkin pie.


I use the Pillsbury refrigerated crust in the red box. It tastes as good or even better than most homemade crusts I have tasted. Put it in your own fancy pie plate, then poke a few holes in the bottom with a fork. Cover the edge of the pie with tin foil or a crust sheild. Put it on a rimmed baking sheet and throw it in the oven at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes. Just until the crust is golden brown.

1 c heavy cream
1 c whole milk
3 large eggs plus two large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
1 cup drained candied yams from a 15-ounce can or I used a yam I cooked the night earlier and threw in a little brown sugar.
3/4 c sugar
1/4 c maple syrup
2 tsp grated FRESH ginger (use the fresh stuff - trust me on this one)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
3/4 tsp salt

While pie shell is baking whick ceam, milk, eggs, yolks and vanilla together in medium bowl. Combine pumpkin puree, yams, sugar, maple syrup, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan. Bring it to a sputterng simmer over medium heat, 5-7 minutes. Continue to simmer pumpkin mixture, stirring constantly and mashing yams against sides of pot, until thick and shiny, 10-15 mins.
Remove pan from heat and whisk in cream mixture until fully incorporated. Strain mixture through a fine mesh strainer over a medium bowl, using a ladle or spatula to press solids through the strainer. (This may sound tedious or laborous but it only takes a few seconds and is worth it trust me!)
Next rewhisk mixture and pour into prebaked pie shell. Return pie plate with baking sheet to the oven and bake pie for 10 minutes.
Remove foil or crust sheild and reduce heat to 300 degrees. Continue baking for about 20-35 mins. You will know it is done with edges of the pie are set (or insert thermometer in center until it registers 175 degrees.)

Let pie cool at room temperature 2 to 3 hours. Cut into wedges and serve!

Enjoy your new favorite pumpkin pie!!

Cajun Chicken Pasta

This was so quick and easy. Plus it was super yummy. I want to make it again and try throwing some shrimp & crab in.

This recipe serves 2 but they are pretty large portions. Throw in some extra pasta and it can feed four.

4 ounces linguine pasta
2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, sliced into thin strips
2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning (I used Tony's)
2 tablespoons butter (I used olive oil)
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1 green onion, minced (I used regular onion cause that was all I had)
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon lemon pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add linguini pasta, and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until al dente; drain.

2. Meanwhile, heat oil or butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Then throw in chicken and sprinkle Cajun seasoning on top and toss to coat. Saute chicken until no longer pink and juices run clear, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add green and red bell peppers, and green onions; cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce heat and stir in heavy cream. Season the sauce with basil, lemon pepper, salt, garlic powder and ground black pepper and heat through. If you find your sauce too runny whip in some flour (like you would when making gravy.)

3. In a large bowl, toss linguini with sauce. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

Other variations you can try is to add some snap peas or brocolli for a little additional nutrition. Good way to get those kids to eat veggies!