Monday, September 12, 2011

Unstuffed Peppers Casserole

Do you like stuffed peppers but find them a hassle to eat?  I don't know about you but when I'm hungry and ready to dig in, I don't feel like doing a lot of cutting with my knife and fork.  I'm impatient, what can I say!?  

I have always enjoyed stuffed peppers but I didn't want to spend minutes cutting up those glorious peppers during dinnertime.  Therefore over a year ago, I came up with this casserole dish that uses all the same ingredients as stuffed peppers.  You do the hassle beforehand so you can eat and enjoy when it's time to pull from the oven.  Now I never want to eat a regular stuffed pepper again.

Unstuffed Peppers Casserole
(Serves 6 to 8)

1 pound of lean ground turkey (or use regular ground meat if you prefer that)
3 bell peppers, diced  - I like to be colorful and use 1 green, 1 yellow and 1 orange
2 cups of cooked brown rice
2 cups of reduced fat shredded cheese, cheddar or other variety
1 jar (24 oz) of spaghetti or tomato sauce- all natural kind (I used Parmesan Romano)
3 cloves of garlic, minced (or use 1 tsp garlic powder)
2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 2 quart deep pan and skillet with cooking spray.  Set aside. 

Dice your peppers into small pieces.  Toss them into a skillet along with the defrosted ground turkey meat. Brown ground turkey meat with garlic and diced peppers in skillet.  Add in the Italian seasoning, onion powder, oregano, salt and pepper.  Mix well.  Cook for about ten minutes. 

Remove from heat and pour into large bowl.  Add spaghetti sauce, cooked brown rice and 1 and 1/2 cups of the shredded cheese to bowl. 

Spoon peppers casserole into 2 quart pan.  Sprinkle top with remaining 1/2 cup of cheese.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes. 

Let it cool for a few minutes before slicing.  Serve warm.

Freeze any leftovers in plastic containers for up to four months.  Reheat in microwave or in the oven. 

Try it!   You won't be disappointed.  This is an often-requested dish from my family and friends.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Pumpkin Custard Cake

Pumpkin custard cake

I made this AMAZING pumpkin cake over the Labor Day weekend.  It came out so delicious.  My husband used the words "light, moist and airy" to describe it.  Haha! Doesn't he sound like a chef or a baker's expert?  LOL!  But seriously, it was that good and it was sooo easy to make!  This is more of an indulgence when you feel like it.  Certainly I wouldn't call it a healthy dessert but still worth trying, eating and sharing with friends. 

You can make it with or without the nut topping.  After trying it both ways, I actually (surprisingly) prefer it without the nuts.  I find the nuts took away from the pumpkin flavor.  You can make it both ways or make it half and half (like I did) and decide what you like best. 

  This is the custard cake without the nuts, which I preferred best!

Pumpkin Custard Cake
(Makes 16 - 20 slices)

1 box of yellow cake mix
1 can (15 oz) of pumpkin puree
1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk (Or 1 and 1/2 cups of regular milk)
3 eggs
1 cup of sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 and 1/2 cups to 3 cups of chopped nuts, depending on how much you like (optional!)
2 sticks (1 cup) of butter, melted

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease the bottom and sides of a 9x13 rectangular baking pan with cooking spray.  Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the pumpkin, milk, eggs, sugar, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice.  Mix until smooth.  Pour into the bottom of that greased baking pan.

Sprinkle the cake mix over the pumpkin batter.  You should completely cover the liquid with the mixture.  If you decide you want to use the nut topping, then you'd cover the cake mixture with the nuts here. 

Since my husband doesn't like nuts in his desserts, I opted to make half the cake with nuts and half without, as seen pictured here:

After you top with the nuts, then you drizzle the melted butter over the cake.  Cover it as best as you can. 

Then place in the oven and bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 55 minutes.  Place a knife or fork in the cake to be sure it comes out mostly clean. 

Let it cool for a half hour before cutting and serving.  You should refrigerate leftovers. 

                  Pumpkin custard cake with nut topping

This is just pure, melt in your mouth yummy goodness.  This would be great with morning coffee or a dessert wine after dinner.   Who am I kidding?  This is delicious ANY time of the day!


It's that time of year when I become obsessed with all things pumpkin.  I'm hoping to make several desserts and baked goodies this year using pumpkin.  Of course I'll share all the good recipes here!  Hope you're having a great holiday weekend!