Pumpkin Pie Cake

I have no idea where I got this, somewhere on the interwebs, but oh my GOD it’s delicious. The whole weekend after Thanksgiving we’ll leave this out in the kitchen with a spoon beside it and take a bite every time we walk past…!

  • BOTTOM LAYER:
  • 29 oz can pumpkin
  • 13 oz can evaporated milk (NOT sweetened condensed, I made this mistake once!)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 c white sugar
  • 1/4 c packed brown sugar
  • TOP LAYER
  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • Pecan halves (optional)
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) butter

Mix all ingredients for the bottom layer; you can even do this several hours ahead, and keep it in the fridge in a bowl, covered with saran wrap.

When you’re ready to cook it, heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Spray a 9 x 13 inch pan with cooking oil, and put in the bottom layer. Then sprinkle the whole yellow cake mix on top. Slice the sticks of butter thin and dot them all over the top. Put pecan halves on top of that (if you like them)

Bake at 350 for 50 minutes, and I think it’s much better if you let it cool for fifteen minutes or so before serving. Just use a big spoon, it doesn’t cut like a cake. You can put whipped cream on it if wanted. And it gets even better as leftovers…

 

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Jo Nell’s Crock Pot Pork

I was horrified at the thought of PACKAGED SPICE PACKETS, I don’t know why, but this is amazingly good.

  • A hunk of pork, roast or thick chops or cutlets.
  • I package McCormick’s slow cooker Fiesta Chicken mix
  • About 2 tbsps of Lawry’s Taco Seasoning (or it’s too bland)
  • 14 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 14 oz can of black beans

Pour it all (except the beans) into the crock pot and cook for 4-5 hours. Add the beans and cook for another hour to an hour and a half. You can put in a little tomato paste at the end to thicken it up.

Clafoutis

I got this from a children’s cookbook, and it’s both easy and delicious.

  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • Fruit

In a large bowl, whisk the milk, eggs, sugar, butter and vanilla until well mixed.

Slowly add the flour and whisk until mixed.

Put fruit in a pie dish or baking dish, pour batter over it, and bake at 325 for 35-45 minutes til it’s puffed up and golden. Serve IMMEDIATELY.

You can literally use any kind of fruit you want- strawberries, raspberries, peaches, apples. You can use canned fruit. You can probably use frozen fruit that’s been thawed, although I’ve never tried that. This is easy and delicious, a very impressive dessert with not much fuss to it.

Creamed Cheese Frosting

Yes, it’s CREAMED cheese, not cream cheese.

This is amazingly good with the Chocolate Coconut Cake.

  • 1 cup softened butter
  • 8 oz softened cream cheese
  • 2 lb confectioner’s/powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp almond extract
  • A bit of milk if needed

Beat cream cheese in with butter, add almond extract, slowly add sugar. Should be soft but not runny. Use a bit of milk if it’s not soft enough. This will harden a bit as it sits.

Chocolate Coconut Cake

I’ve been making this every year for our summer party for nearly thirty years…

  • 2 c sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 c milk
  • 1 c unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 c shortening, softened
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3 c flour
  • 1 c shredded coconut
  • 1 c boiling water

Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl.

Line a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with foil, and butter it lightly.

Measure everything else into a large bowl in order and mix well. When you get to the dry ingredients in the list, mix them in slowly, stirring constantly. Once that’s all mixed, add the coconut, then mix in the boiling water.

Pour in baking pan, cook at 325 or til done. Cool 1 hour before frosting with Creamed Cheese Frosting.

Berbere Stew

A camping buddy cooked this and it was AMAZING. He gave me the recipe, and it’s one of our favorites now.

  • 1 onion
  • 2-4 cloves of garlic OR a heaping teaspoon of chopped jar garlic
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tbsp Berbere spice*
  • 1 1/4 c red lentils*
  • 1/2 c Teff grain*
  • 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 32 oz box of chicken broth

Saute onions and garlic in oil, add spices and cook a bit, add everything else, simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. Add more liquid if it starts to dry out.

*All three of these things are available at Ethiopian markets. Berbere is a spice mix, like Garam Masala in India, and it’s delicious. I also got Teff grain and a jar of Berbere spice on Amazon very inexpensively.

You can easily add meat to this, after the spices. I like boneless skinless chicken thighs, but it’s good with sausage too.

 

Acorn Squash

I got this from a magazine…it’s extremely easy and amazingly delicious.

  • 1 acorn squash
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Dried thyme leaves (fresh is good, I just never have it)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and black pepper

Cut the end off the squash, and cut it in half top to bottom. Scoop out the seeds, and slice each half into 1/4 inch slices; the more uniform the slices are, the better they cook.

Lay them on a baking sheet. Brush with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, pepper and thyme, then with parmesan cheese. Roast at 400 degrees for 25 minutes or so. Amazing.