Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Holiday Picture Post

Clearly one of the best parts of most holidays is the food. When you are in my family it's even more of a focal point because my dad happens to be an AMAZING cook, and my mom has quite a few delicious family recipes up her sleeve as well. I generally come back from holidays feeling like I've gained 10 pounds, but the food is always so good. Here's just a little look into Christmas at the Hoover household when it comes to food.

Prepping the tenderloin while doing Chandon with Black Raspberry Liquer

Still trying to figure out who the "Nibble and put back" culprit is with the cookies

Rendezvous seasoned and bbq'ed grilled shrimp appetizers

Penske trying to get a little piece of the action

Last minute Flaming Cognac addition to the tenderloin

Christmas Eve lineup: Tenderloin, Mom's Twice Baked Potatoes and Green Beans, and the best rolls ever

Christmas Eve's Chocolate Molten Cakes

Mom's Christmas morning Monkey Bread

Christmas present from Dad's trip to Trinidad

What were some of your food highlights from the Holiday weekend?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sweet Potato Casserole

Another recipe perfect for the holidays all the way from Thanksgiving through Christmas! I prefer to do it without the marshmallows, but if preferred you can always throw a layer of them on at the end of baking and toss the dish back in the oven for another minute or two to toast them.


For Potatoes
3 Cups Sweet Potatoes, Boiled and Mashed
(This is about two large sweet potatoes)
1 Cup Granulated Sugar
3/4 Cup Butter
2 Eggs
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
1/2 Cup Milk

For Topping
2 Tablespoons Melted Butter
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1/3 Cup flour
1/2 Cup Chopped Pecans


Preheat over to 350.

Beat eggs, sugar, and butter. Add milk and vanilla. Combine with mashed sweet potatoes and then spoon into a greased 2-quart casserole dish.

Combine brown sugar, flour, 2 tablespoons of softened butter, and pecans and mix until crumbly. Sprinkle over sweet potatoes.

Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 45 minutes.


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bars

Another great one brought to you by Red Vines for Breakfast (and Martha Stewart, but I don't like her nearly as much). You can find the original recipe here, but I made a few adjustments in mine. They were absolutely delicious, I made them for our "Friends' Thanksgiving" AND when I went home to visit family over Thanksgiving break, and I fully expect to be making them again in the next week or so!

1 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour
1/2 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
2 tsp of Cinnamon***
3/4 tsp Ginger
1/2 tsp Nutmeg
1/2 tsp each of Allspice and Cloves
1 tsp Baking Soda
3/4 tsp Salt
2 Sticks Unsalted Butter
1 1/4 Cups Sugar
1 Large Egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 Can Pumpkin Puree (ABout 1 1/2 cups)
12ounces Semisweet Chocolate Chips

(***Or instead of all of these spices use 1 Tablespoon of Pumpkin Pie spice and an extra sprinkling of cinnamon)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line the bottom and sides of a 9x13in baking pan with aluminum foil, leaving an overhang on the sides.

In a medium bowl, whisk flour, spices, baking soda, and salt.

Cream butter and sugar with electric mixer until smooth; beat in egg and vanilla. Add pumpkin puree and mix thoroughly. Add in dry ingredients and mix on low until just combined, and then fold in chocolate chips.

Spread mixture evenly in prepared pan. Bake approximately 35-40 minutes until a toothpick inserted in center comes out with only a few crumbs (or chocolate) attached. Allow "cake" to cool completely.

Lift "cake" from pan by the foil and set on counter top, and cut into 24 squares.


Friday, November 19, 2010

Bourbon Fried Apples

Sooner or later Mr. Jack Daniels is just going to need his whole own recipe section on this site. This is a recipe passed down from mommy dearest, and has always been one of my favorites growing up! It goes as a side dish for just about anything... barbecues, fancy dinners, you name it. I made the recipe for our friends' Thanksgiving dinner Wednesday at our apartment.


6 Granny Smith Apples, cored and sliced
1/2 Cup sugar
1/4 Cup butter
1/4 Cup water
2 Tablespoons of Jack Daniels (Or more!)
A gooood sprinkling of cinnamon (At least 2 teaspoons)


Mix water, sugar, butter, and Jack together in a pan on medium high heat just to combine and melt the butter a little. Then add the cut up apples (I have an apple slicer and I cut them into 16 pieces with it, but 8 will also do!), sprinkle the cinnamon over them, and then mix it up.

Cook down for approximately 15-20 minutes until apples start to become slightly mushy, stirring occasionally.


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Chocolate Ganache Topped Dark Chocolate Brownies

(Whew, that's a mouthful!) This is a recipe I first made with a layer of Peppermint topping, but I went the simpler route when I made these for Saturday's tailgate. I did of course add Red sprinkles in IU spirit! It should be noted, however, that Kelly just informed me that they make edible glitter which would totally have covered these if I would have been able to find it in time. These aren't too incredibly difficult to make, but judging by their 100% consumption rate by everyone at the tailgate, I'd say they are a crowd pleaser.


10 tablespoons butter

6 ounces bittersweet chocolate

3 Eggs

1½ cups sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla

¼ teaspoon salt

1 cup all-purpose flour

½ cup dark cocoa powder

½ teaspoon baking powder

8 oz semisweet chocolate

1 cup whipping cream


1. Preheat oven to 350°. Butter a 9- by 13-in. baking pan. In a medium saucepan, stir butter and bittersweet chocolate over very low heat with a heatproof rubber spatula until just melted (do not let simmer or boil). Remove from heat and let cool slightly, about 5 minutes.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Slowly pour chocolate-butter mixture into egg mixture, whisking constantly. Into a separate bowl, sift flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder, then whisk together. With a clean rubber spatula, gently fold flour mixture into egg mixture until just combined.

3. Spread batter evenly in the baking pan. Bake 20 to 30 minutes, or until brownies are firm, beginning to pull away from sides of pan, and a toothpick inserted in center emerges with only a few crumbs clinging to it. Let brownies cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.

4. In the top of a double boiler or a metal bowl set over simmering water, combine chopped semisweet chocolate and whipping cream. Cook, stirring often, until melted and blended. Remove from heat and let ganache cool until just warm.

5. Pour ganache over cooled brownies in pan and allow to set until firm, about 2 hours at room temperature or 1 hour in the refrigerator.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pumpkin Cream Pasta

You guessed it: another Pumpkin recipe. I promise this will all be over at least by Thanksgiving. I still have a few more things I want to try, but I won't get too crazy on you. As I mentioned in the last post, this idea came from my Dad talking about some Pumpkin pasta he had at some restaurant. I googled recipes, found one, and kind of went from there. Pumpkin is a great addition to any basic alfredo, it makes it a little thicker, creamier, and gives it a kind of sweet taste. I thought it turned out REALLY well... and I will definitely be making it again in the future!!!


8 ounces pasta of your choice (I used whole wheat fettuccine)
Olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 lb boneless skinless chicken (breasts/tenderloins)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup Chicken Broth
3/4 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage leaves
Salt/Pepper to taste
Shredded Parmesean Cheese


Cook pasta according to package. Meanwhile, melt butter and coat chopped pecans. Spread on baking sheet and broil for only a few minutes. Keep a close eye on them so they do not burn! After a minute or two take them out and toss them, then put back in.

Drizzle about 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet and heat on medium-high heat until it gets a little bubbly, then add garlic and cook for another two minutes. Cut chicken into bite size chunks and add to garlic/oil. Cook on medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until browned and cooked through (around 8-10 minutes).

In a medium bowl, combine pumpkin, chicken broth, whipping cream, sage, and about a teaspoon of salt. Pour into the pan with the chicken. Continue to cook on medium heat for about 4 minutes until heated through, then add the pasta to the mixture.

Before service, sprinkle with pecans and parmesean cheese if desired.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pancakes

I saw a recipe the other day on the How Sweet It Is blog for pumpkin waffles, and I originally wanted to try those. However, I wanted to cook for my roommate and another friend, and when cooking for more than one person waffles can take a bit... so I switched to pancakes!

The original recipe was taken from PinchMySalt.com, but the one here has a few little tweaks I made to it. I think they turned out wonderful! Whole wheat pancakes also tend to be a little thicker and in turn hold shape really nicely.


1 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 Cup All Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1 and 1/2 teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Ground Ginger
1/2 teaspoon Ground Nutmeg

1 Cup Milk
1 Cup Pumpkin Puree (Half of small can)
2 Eggs
2 tablespoons Canola Oil
1 tablespoon Vanilla
4 tablespoons Brown Sugar


1. In a large bowl, mix together the first eight dry ingredients. In a separate (can be smaller) bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients.

2. Stir wet ingredients into dry mixture, and blend until combined with large lumps broken up. If batter is too thick, you can stir in a little more milk.

3. Melt a tablespoon of butter on medium-high heat on a skillet/griddle, and then drop pancakes by 1/3 cup into skillet. Cook until pancakes start to get a little bubbly and then flip. Repeat buttering before doing a second round.

4. Serve and enjoy! I drizzled a tiny bit of Caramel on top of the pancakes before adding syrup, and they were absolutely delicious!

Next up I'm hoping to have a pumpkin pasta inspired by my dad, who informed me he had some amazing Pumpkin-cream filled pasta at a restaurant tonight. I would have never thought of that, but I looked up a couple of recipes, and I think it may turn out pretty well. Tune in this weekend for results!!! ;-)

Monday, October 11, 2010


"Recipe" courtesy of the Wanhainen clan. This is the perfect (alcoholic) fall drink. If you don't have a crock pot, you can always just heat the cider up in the microwave like you would for hot chocolate or tea, and then add the ingredients!

Cinnamon (Sprinkled for one cup, about a tablespoon or more for a crock pot)
Nutmeg (Just a dash for a cup, or a little more for a crock pot)
Jack Daniels

Heat cider and spices in a crock pot until warm/hot. Laddle into mugs and add Jack Daniels to your preferences. (Another friend also really likes this with Southern Comfort, and that's a little bit sweeter and also really good!)

ENJOY (Responsibly)!