Saturday, November 12, 2011

Pumpkin Pocket Pies

Aren't pocket pies just the best? They are the perfect single serving size and they have just a little more crust then filling which is perfect for me because I love the crust! During Valentine’s Day, I posted a chocolate pocket pie recipe that was pretty tasty and in honor of fall I wanted to bake up some pumpkin pocket pies.

I searched and searched and searched some more but I couldn’t find a recipe. I found recipes where people took a baked pumpkin pie and used the inside for filling in the pocket pies and I found a couple forums where people said that a traditional pumpkin pie filling was to runny and would just seep out. I was getting ready to forgo my attempt and make apple pies instead but then I came across Joy the Baker and she had posted a recipe for pumpkin poptarts!! Very clever of her! The filling works perfectly inside the pie crust and the coarse sanding sugar sprinkled on top gives each bite a little added crunch.

2 store-bought pie crusts
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1 large egg
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup granulated sugar or 5 ½ Tbls of Splenda Baking Blend
1 egg white

In a small sauce pan, combine pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice and heat until fragrant about 3-5 mins on medium heat. Remove from heat and transfer to a medium sized mixing bowl. Whisk in egg, salt and sugar and place in the refrigerator while you cut out the dough.

Unroll the store bought crust onto a pastry board and go over it a few times with a rolling pin (I didn't use any flour on the board or rolling pin but you may need to if it is sticky). 

Using a pocket pie mold, cut out 16 of each shape (8 solid and 8 with the decorative cutout). Re-roll the dough scraps, if necessary, and cut out more shapes. Repeat with the remaining dough disk. If you don't have a fancy pocket pie cutter than use a cookie cutter and seal the edges with a fork.

Place a solid dough shape in the bottom half of the cutter and gently press the dough into the mold. Fill the center with 2 Tbs. filling and brush the edges of the dough with some of the egg white. Top with a shape with a decorative cutout. Press the top half of the cutter down to seal and crimp the edges of the pie. Remove the pie from the mold and place on a wax paper lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling. Brush the top of the pie with egg white and sprinkle coarse sanding sugar on top. Freeze the pies for 30 minutes.

Bake pies on parchment paper or a greased cookie sheet at 400 degrees for 22-25 minutes.


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Storing Canned Pumpkin

During the months of October and November I'm always inclined to bake with pumpkin, however, I started encountering an annoying problem. The recipes I used never called for a full can of pumpkin! I checked out the label on the can of Libby's pumpkin and it said that pumpkin can be stored in the refrigerator for one week but that's a lot of pressure! The can also says that it can be stored in the freezer for three weeks.

Last week, I made some pumpkin pocket pies that called for 3/4 cup of pumpkin. I decided that I was going to freeze the rest of the can but I wanted to have it frozen in 1/4 cup portions. I lined a cookie sheet with parchment paper and scooped 1/4 cup servings onto the tray. I flash frozen the scoops for about 45 mins and than I moved them to a large freezer bag. 

Ta-da!! Problem solved, one small step for man; one giant leap for mankind!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Jambalaya (Slow Cooker)

This was the best jambalaya I have ever had!! It is also the only jambalaya I have ever had. There aren't too many place in California that serve up jambalaya so I've always wanted to try to make my own. I knew my husband would be on board since he loves anything that has sausage in it!

If you follow my blog, you know I love a slow cooker recipe that doesn't take long to prep and doesn't require any browning. This recipe went together really fast! I chopped my meat the night before so all I had to do was dump in all the ingredients when I came home for lunch. 

I'll give you a general warning that this is spicy! If your family isn't into heat, you can omit or cut the cayenne pepper in half and it should only have a mild heat at that point. 

Recipe makes about 4 servings and was adapted from Plain Chicken

1 chicken breast, cut into 1 inch cubes
2 links of Italian sausage, sliced into 2 inch slices
1-28 ounce can of diced tomatoes
1/4 cup diced onions
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup chicken broth
2 tsps dried oregano
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt 
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1-1/2 cups un-cooked rice (I used Uncle Ben's Original Converted Rice)
1/2 lb shrimp, peeled, deveined and the tales off

Combine all the ingredients except the shrimp and rice in the slow cooker and give it a good stir. Cook on low for 5 hours. 

Add rice and shrimp and cook on high for about 30-45 mins longer, until the rice is tender. 

I served my jambalaya with cheddar biscuits and it was a perfect meal!