Candy Corn Ice Cream

I love candy corn. Finding it in the stores is my official beginning of fall. I snagged my first bag last week and it was gone embarrassingly fast.

This week I was itching to start some fall baking – but with the temperatures in the 70s and lots of humidity it didn’t seem like the right time.  Candy corn ice cream was the perfect compromise. It’s fantastic – and tastes just like candy corn.

Candy Corn Ice Cream
(from Culinary Concoctions by Peabody)

2 c. heavy cream
1 c. whole milk
1 bag (13 oz.) candy corn

Pour 1 cup of the cream into a medium saucepan and add the candy corn. Warm over medium heat, stirring, until you start to see the candy corn dissolve. Turn heat off and let cream come to room temperature. Add the remaining cream and milk.

Put into an air tight container and refrigerate overnight, at least 12 hours. When you can remember to, shake the container up to get the candy corn loose.

Remove from refrigerator and strain the milk/cream mixture through a sieve or really small strainer to catch the candy corn pieces that did not disintegrate.

Freeze in your ice-cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.


Baked Ziti with Sausage

Of everything I make, this is requested the most often by far. It’s a crowd pleaser. Everytime my Mom throws a potluck, she suggests I bring it – and I’m happy to obligue because this is an easy dish to put together. I’m a big fan of sizing down dishes for just the two of us, but this is one I always make the full recipe of – there always seems to be someone happy to take some off our hands.

My Mom recently started a new job that’s keeping her extra busy so for her birthday I made her a few freezer meals that she could pull out on hectic days. This was one of them. I’m not sure who was more excited about it – her or my sister!

This can be as fancy or simple as you want. I’ve used both homemade sauce and garlic bread and store-bought and got fantastic results with both.

Baked Ziti with Sausage
(from Johnsonville Sausage)
Serves 12

1 1/2 lbs. Italian Sweet Sausage Links
8 oz. penne or rigatoni dry pasta, cooked according to package
1 jar (26 oz.) pasta sauce
3/4 c. water
1 T. fresh basil, chopped
1 T. fresh garlic, chopped
1/2 c. Parmesan cheese, freshly shredded
1/4 t. black pepper
12 slices of garlic bread
3 cups (12 oz.) mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 c. olive oil
12 fresh whole basil leaves
2 Roma tomatoes, sliced into 12 slices

Prepare sausage according to package directions and coin slice.

In a large bowl, mix cooked sausage, cooked pasta, pasta sauce, water, chopped basil, garlic, Parmesan cheese and pepper. Toss gently. Place mixture into a greased 9″ x 13″ pan.
Place twelve slices of garlic bread on top of mixture and cover with mozzarella. Dip tomato in olive oil and place on each bread slice.
Bake uncovered at 400°F for approximately 30 minutes or until heated through.
Tuck basil leaf slightly under each tomato. Let stand ten minutes to help set before slicing and serving.

S’mores Bars

These were so good. SO GOOD.

I’ve been trying not to make as many sweets around here because they generally disappear embarrassingly fast but I decided to try this out as sustinance for our fantasy football drafts. We had five in two days and sugar totally helps you make informed picks. They’d also be perfect for tailgating.

S’mores Bars
(from Endless Simmer)

2 c. graham cracker crumbs
2 T. sugar
7 T. butter melted
16 oz. of dark chocolate, melted
1 c. milk
4 cups mini marshmallows, divided

Place graham crackers, sugar and melted butter in a bowl and mix to blend. Firmly press mixture into the bottom of an 11×13 pan and bake for 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees F. Set aside to cool.

Melt chocolate with milk in a pan over medium low heat and whisk to combine. Transfer mixture to a new bowl and set aside for 10 minutes to cool (transferring the mixture to a new bowl will help to cool it faster).

Add2 cups of marshmallows to cooled chocolate mixture and mix to combine. Pour mixture over crust. Pour remaining 2 cups mini marshmallows on top and place under the broiler for 2-3 minutes to toast tops of marshmallow layer. Transfer completed dessert to fridge and chill for at least 2-3 hours or overnight.

Baked Bloomin Onion

I love Outback’s bloomin onion but I hate the way I feel after I eat it. When this recipe showed up in my google reader last year I knew I had to try it – and it’s been one of my favorite things to make ever since. It’s such a fun side – and a lot better than the fried version.

Baked Bloomin Onion
(from Prevention RD)

For the onion:
1 large yellow onion
2 T. cornstarch
Pinch of paprika
Pinch of cayenne
Pinch of seasoning salt
Pinch of pepper
2 egg whites, lightly beaten
1/4 c. whole wheat bread crumbs
Cooking spray

For the sauce:
1/2 c. sour cream
2 T. ketchup
1/4 t. seasoning salt
Pinch of cayenne pepper
2 t. horseradish sauce
Pinch of paprika


Pre-heat oven to 375 F.

Cut onion ends without separating onion layers, making sure one end flat enough to keep the onion standing on its side. Cut onion into a floret-style, carefully separating the onion layers.

Combine the cornstarch, paprika, seasoning salt, cayenne, and pepper. Spray the onion lightly with cooking spray and sprinkle with cornstarch mixture. Drizzle egg whites over onion. Sprinkle with bread crumbs. Bake for 45 minutes.

Combine the remaining ingredients: sour cream, ketchup, seasoning salt, cayenne, horseradish, and paprika.

Serve onion warm with the horseradish dipping sauce.

Balsamic Grilled Pork Loin

The weather is definitely starting to cool down here which means the end of grilling season is coming. I have a whole pile of recipes I meant to try this summer and didn’t get around to so I’ve been making a valiant effort to get through some of them before it gets cold.

This is one that was sitting in the pile. It took a little more time than most of our other grilling recipes, but it was worth it – so good!

Balsamic Grilled Pork Loin
(from Diabetic Living Everyday Cooking)

1 lb. pork tenderloin
3/4 c. balsamic vinegar, divided
2 T. olive oil
1 T. fresh rosemary
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 t. black pepper
1/8 t. salt

Wisk together 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, oil, rosemary garlic pepper and salt for marinade.

Place pork and marinade in a large resealable plastic bag. Seal and turn to coat. Refrigerate for one hour.

Remove pork and discard remaining marinade. Grill over medium heat, covered, for 40 minutes or until thermometer reads 155 degrees. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, bring 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

Brush tenderloin on all sides with balsamic reduction and grill for 1 minute more. Remove from grill, cover with foil and let stand for 15 minutes.

Slice to serve.

Crystal’s Pulled Pork

Generally, when I make pulled pork in the crockpot, it’s just pork and whatever barbecue sauce happens to be on sale. It’s an easy dinner for a busy night and we’ve always enjoyed it.

A lot of my friends have been raving about this recipe for more than a year. It didn’t seem that much different from what I was already doing, so I never put in the extra effort to try it – until this week. I didn’t tell Mark I’d done anything different, but he knew it at first bite. His immediate reaction was, “This is so good!” Quite a compliment since I usually have to ask him point-blank about things before getting an opinion.

This is now our go-to recipe!

Crystal’s Pulled Pork
(passed along from my friend Crystal… thank you!)

3-4 lb. pork roast
3 T. Bam seasoning
1 large onion, cut in half and sliced
1 bottle of Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce

Rub pork with Bam seasoning.

Place half the onion in the bottom of the crockpot. Place pork on top and then cover with remaining onions. Pour 3/4 of the bottle  of sauce over the meat and onions. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Remove meat, shred and return to crockpot. Stir in remaining sauce. Cook on low for an additional half hour, or until heated through.

10 Years

I really wanted to do a post marking the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks today, but I couldn’t figure out what to say to make it relevant to a food blog. No recipe I could think of would do it justice. No cooking story of my own mattered enough to share today.

But, still, letting it pass without acknowledgement seemed to be ignoring the fact that so many people lost their lives that day – and that nearly everyone else’s lives changed as a result.

When I was running errands during my lunch hour Friday, I caught this segment on The  Leonard Lopate Show. It’s a really great conversation about how restaurants in lower Manhattan were impacted – and how the restaurant community responded to help.

It’s a reminder of how many heroes came out of that day – not just first responders, but so many people who stepped up in the wake of such awful events. If you have a half hour, it’s worth the listen.

I hope you’ll keep all of those affected by the events in your thoughts today. I know I will be.

Chili Garlic Burgers

Last Monday, we were in the midst of a more than 3 day blackout, courtesy of Hurricane Irene. We had access to a generator so we keep our fridge cold but all of my kitchen appliances and stove were  not an option. Still, we made a nice home-cooked dinner every night of the power outage. There were certainly other options – like hitting up local restaurants that didn’t lose power – but being able to sit down to a hot meal at home was a much-needed few minutes of normalcy in those crazy days.

These burgers were one of the meals I made during the blackout. Prepping only took a few minutes and then we sat out on the back deck grilling. The original recipe called for the onions to be caramelized. I think that would have been fantastic, but in the interest of making things quick and easy, we just threw the onions on the grill until they were soft.  They were great this way, but when I make these again I’ll definitely try the caramelization route!

Chili Garlic Burgers
(adapted from PreventionRD)
Serves 2

1/2 lb. ground beef
1 1/2 t. low-sodium soy sauce
1 T + 1/4 t. chili garlic sauce, divided
3/4 t. black pepper
2 slices bacon
2 slices sweet onion
2 T. bleu cheese dressing
2 burger buns
2 slices Swiss cheese

Preheat grill. Mix the ground beef, soy sauce, the black pepper and 1 tablespoons of the chili garlic sauce. Form into two patties.

In a small bowl, mix the bleu cheese dressing and the remaining chili garlic sauce.

Grill burgers, bacon and onions over medium heat, removing to a plate when done. (The bacon should finish before the onions and bacon.) In the last two minutes of grilling, melt the cheese over the burgers and toast the buns.