Tag Archives: cinnamon

Candied Pecans- marvelous gift

This is one of my top three most popular holiday food gifts. People are already asking me when my candied pecans will be ready.  To me, this is the most perfect recipe. It’s not too sweet, the coating isn’t too hard like some recipes. It’s perfect.

You can substitute rum extract for the vanilla, too. It’s amazing. Enjoy!

Candied Pecans

3 cups pecan halves

½ cup sugar plus 1 tablespoon

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 egg white

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Mix together sugar and cinnamon and set aside.

Whisk together egg white and vanilla extract. Place pecans in a large bowl and add the egg white mixture. Toss to thoroughly coat the pecans. Then add the cinnamon sugar and stir until all the nuts are coated.

Spread pecans out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (very important). Bake for 15 minutes. Give the pecans a good stir and then bake 15 more minutes.

Be sure to cool the pecans completely before you package them or they will become soft. Store in an airtight container.

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Pumpkin Chili

This dish combines some of my favorite fall foods: pumpkin and chili.

I write a weekly column for The Joplin Globe, Claremore Daily Progress, and Ottumwa Courier and this week’s theme was pumpkins.

I love everything pumpkin. From pumpkin patches to carving them to eating the orange globes.

That is why I came up with these pumpkin chili, which is filling and delicious.

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My pumpkin chili is a hearty stew that gets a boost of fiber and Vitamin A from the pumpkin. Pumpkin is very healthy and ½ cup contains 50 calories, 3 gram of fiber and 280 percent of your daily Vitamin A needs. You can’t really taste the pumpkin in my recipe, but it bulks it up and gives it a velvety texture. I add a little cinnamon to compliment the pumpkin this dish.

I love using bison instead of beef in this recipe, but it’s more expensive and not as readily available. Bison is healthier than beef and we are big bison fans.

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Fall is my favorite time of year and I feast on pumpkin. I actually bought six cans last week. In my recipes, I usually use canned instead of real pumpkin because most people don’t have time to roast and puree a whole pumpkin.

I hope you enjoy it.

Pumpkin Chili

Serves 6-8

2 cups chopped red onion

1 pound ground sirloin or some lean ground beef

2 heaping tablespoons chili powder

1 tablespoon cumin powder

1 teaspoon cumin seed

½ teaspoon garlic salt

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon (or more to taste)

1 (6-ounce) can of tomato paste

1 ½ cups water or chicken broth

1 (14.5-ounce) can of diced tomatoes

1 ¼ cups salsa

2 cloves chopped garlic or 1 tablespoon dehydrated garlic

1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree

¼ cup chopped cilantro

1 (15-ounce) can chili beans

*1 (4-ounce) can green chilies (optional)

Shredded cheese, chopped onion, cilantro to garnish

*The green chilies make this dish spicy, so I skip those when serving my family.

Heat a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat and when hot, add onions and beef.  Cook for 3 minutes. Then add chili powder, cumin, garlic salt and cinnamon and cook until ground beef is cooked. If necessary, drain beef before going on (if you use lean beef you won’t have to drain it).

Next, add tomato paste and water and cook for 2 minutes until the paste dissolves into the water. Then add salsa, garlic, pumpkin, cilantro and reduce heat to a simmer for 30 minutes (the longer you simmer, the better the flavor). Add beans and cook 10 minutes before serving.

This chili is even better the next day, but some of the cinnamon flavor will fade because of the strong flavors of garlic, cumin and tomatoes. To combat this, I sprinkle plain cinnamon on a bowl just before serving for more emphasis on the cinnamon (you could also just double it in the recipe, but try the ½ teaspoon first because you don’t want to overwhelm the dish with cinnamon).

Slow Cooker Apple Butter

I met a family once who planned their annual reunion around apple butter.

I spent the weekend with this clan – about 40 strong- who peeled hundreds of apples on Friday, and then Saturday slowly cooked the apples down over a huge, antique copper pot. They took turns stirring the apples with a wooden spoon that looked like a paddle.

It was a crisp fall day and I sat at watched steam rise from the pot and the aroma of a campfire, apples, cinnamon and cloves fill the air (I was writing a story about their unique tradition).  When the apples had melted into a thick butter-like consistency, they canned the mixture into the night. When that was done, they made a mega batch of biscuits and used the warm biscuits to scrape up the last of the apple butter that still glazed the inside of the pot.

I can’t eat an apple butter stuffed biscuit without thinking of them. I had to stop this photo shoot to gobble up a biscuit.

apple butter biscuit

I love apple season and autumn means the apples are ripe from the orchards to the farmers markets and the grocery stores.  Now, as much as I enjoy apple butter, I don’t have time to make it from scratch so I whip up a slow cooker version.

You have to peel about 10-12 apples, but if you have an apple peeler, then it’s quick.  I use a mix of Granny Smith and red apples for this.

You can make a variation on this recipe by adding ½ teaspoon or ¼ teaspoon of extract once the mixture has been cooked. For example, split the batch in half or thirds and add vanilla extract, or maple or rum (those are my favorites). It’s just a slight twist on the same recipe. I always start with ¼ teaspoon and then double it if I don’t think it’s changed the flavor enough.

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Slow Cooker Apple Butter

Makes about 1 1/2 pints

7 cups of peeled and sliced Granny Smith apples

1 ½ cups peeled and sliced red apples (about 2 red apples)

¾ cup brown sugar

¾ cup sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves (use less or omit if you don’t like cloves because you can taste it)

1/3 cup apple juice

Place apple juice in the bottom of a slow cooker.

Core, peel and slice all the apples and place on top of apple juice. Stir together your sugar and spices until well combined and sprinkle over the apples. Cover and cook for 10 hours, undisturbed. When done, allow to rest at the warm temperature setting for 1-2 hours. Then turn off and remove the lid and let the mixture stand for 30 minutes to cool.

Place in a food processor and blend until smooth (don’t use all the liquid in the slow cooker or it may be too thin). Place in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 10 days.

Jordanian Inspired Chicken in Filo Dough

My initial inspiration for this recipe was a Moroccan filo pie, but it was extremely complicated and used tons of spices.

So when I started to simplify this in my head, I remembered a dish I learned to make when I took a cooking class in Jordan. I went to Jordan a few years ago to visit Petra, which is a spectacular site. Anyway, in the cooking class we made this delicious chicken seasoned with coriander, pepper, cinnamon and nutmeg.

It’s one of my favorite chicken dishes.

So I combined both culinary inspirations and came up with this dish, which is excellent! I am thrilled with the results!!!

I hope you try this! It’s wonderful. Everyone loved it. There wasn’t a bite left.

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Directions

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 very large red onion (or two mediums)

1 ½ teaspoons ground coriander

1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon

¾ teaspoon ground nutmeg

¼ teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon salt (plus more to taste)

2 cups chopped rotisserie chicken

½ cup Pomegranate infused dried cranberries (or substitute raisins)

1 tablespoon tomato paste

½ cup chicken broth

1 roll of Filo dough

1/3 cup melted butter for brushing

Directions

Thaw filo dough according to package directions.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Slice onion and set aside. In a large pan, heat oil over medium heat, then add onion and spices and saute for 5 minutes. Add the chicken and cook 5 more minutes. Then add dried cranberries, tomato paste and broth. Cover dish and cook for 5 minutes. Taste and add more salt if needed. Remove lid and pop mixture in the refrigerator for 5 minutes to cool slightly.

Use a deep dish pie pan and layer several layers of filo dough on the bottom with the sides hanging over the pie pan. Brush with melted butter. Do this until you’ve used half the dough. Then fill the filo dough with chicken mixture. Place the rest of the filo dough, adding two sheets at a time and quickly brushing with butter, until you have added all the dough and tuck it all in the sides of the pie pan, like a little present.

Brush with remaining butter. Bake for 20- 25 minutes or until golden on top. Cool for 5 minutes before slicing.

This dish can be served as an appetizer or main course.

It pairs well with a Riesling or a beer.

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