Pumpkin Cookies with Chocolate Chip Cream Cheese Frosting

These cookies are the perfect TREAT for fall and winter! For me, PUMPKIN is the ultimate comfort food "flavor" this time of year. I'm OBSESSED and just can't get enough!

Pumpkin Cookies with Chocolate Chip Cream Cheese Frosting
1 stick butter, room temp
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 cups pumpkin
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ginger
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt

4 ounces cream cheese
4 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
Dash of salt
2 to 3 cups powdered sugar 
1 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

With a hand mixer, beat together the sugar and butter until combined. Add the pumpkin, egg, and vanilla and beat to combine. Add the dry ingredients and beat until just mixed. Use a tablespoon-sized scoop and drop dough onto a cookie sheet, keeping cookies about 2 inches apart. Bake for 11 to 14 minutes and then cool on a wire rack.

To make the frosting, beat together the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add the vanilla and salt. Slowly add the powdered sugar until the desired taste and consistency is reached. Fold in the chocolate chips and then frost the cooled cookies with a nice thick layer! Store in the refrigerator until ready to eat.

TIP: You could add the chocolate chips to the cookies instead of the frosting, but having them in the frosting tastes extra good for some reason—and its just different from the same old pumpkin chocolate chip cookies!


Cheesy Leftover Turkey Bake

This is a great recipe that will use up your LEFTOVER turkey! I found a recipe like this in a COOKBOOK I was recently looking at, but made quite a few changes to make my FAMILY happy. It turned out to be winner!

Cheesy Turkey Bake
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 onion, chopped or diced
1/2 cup thinly sliced celery
1 cup uncooked rice
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
2 cups cubed leftover turkey (you can also use rotisserie chicken)
1 can cream of celery or cream of chicken soup
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 to 2 cups grated cheddar or colby jack cheese

In a saucepan, brink the broth, onion, and celery to a boil; reduce heat. Add the rice and cover, letting simmer for 15 minutes. Put rice in the bottom of an 8 x 8-inch square pan. Sprinkle the peas and turkey over top.

In a bowl, combine the soup, milk, and salt and then spread over casserole. Top with the cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes or until bubbly around the edges. Makes 4 servings.

TIP: Cover the casserole when baking to avoid burning the cheese on top. You can remove covering about 5 to 10 minutes before casserole is done. Also, feel free to change out the peas for other yummy veggies like chopped up broccoli! And, if you want to freeze this meal, layer it all in a foil pan, wrap in plastic wrap, and freeze. Just thaw and bake to eat later.


Pumpkin Pie with Pecan Streusel

I posted this recipe before, but this pie is so SCRUMPTIOUS it deserves a shout out for the HOLIDAY season! I make it for Thanksgiving, but it's so good, I always want to make it AGAIN for Christmas. Everybody likes sweet CRUNCHY streusel, right? Well, it's even better on top of PUMPKIN pie!

Pecan Streusel Pumpkin Pie
1 (16-ounce) can pumpkin
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 unbaked 9-inch pie crust

Pecan Streusel
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup firm butter
2/3 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a large bowl, stir together the pumpkin, condensed milk, eggs, spices, and salt until smooth. Pour into the pie crust and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce oven to 350 degrees and bake for 25 minutes more. 

In the meantime, prepare the streusel. In a bowl, combine the sugar, flour, and butter with a pastry blender until crumbly. Stir in the chopped pecans.

Sprinkle the streusel over the pie (after the 25-minute "baking round") and then bake for 15 to 20 minutes more, or until golden brown and the filling is set. Let cool about 2 hours and serve or refrigerate until ready to serve.

TIP: You can cut down on the brown sugar in the streusel topping if you prefer, but I wouldn't do less than 1/3 cup. Also, when the pie comes out of the oven, it's going to look puffy and like it's overflowing your crust. Well, once it cools it settles and looks fabulous, so don't worry!


Ham and Broccoli Cheese Soup

This is another great soup recipe from Jenny Stanger's FREEZER MEALS cookbook. It's nice and creamy, and SUPER easy to make. My family polished it off with no problem!

Ham and Broccoli Cheese Soup
2 cups cubed potato
1/2 cup chopped celery, optional (I added this to the recipe because I had some on hand)
2 cups water
1 1/2 cups cubed fully cooked ham
1 onion, chopped
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 cups milk
2 cups finely shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup frozen chopped broccoli

In a saucepan, bring potatoes, celery (if using), and water to a boil. Cover and cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until tender; set aside.

In a large saucepan, saute the ham and onion in the butter until onion is tender. Stir in the flour and pepper until smooth and a nice roux has formed. Gradually stir in the milk. Add the potatoes and their cooking liquid and bring to a boil. Cook for 2 minutes or more and stir until thickened. Reduce heat to low and then stir in the cheese and broccoli until cheese is melted and soup is heated through.

TIP: Eat now or let cool so you can freeze for a meal sometime down the road!


Pasta with Pumpkin Cream Sauce

A few weeks back I made and posted about a YUMMY pumpkin trifle—and ended up with leftover canned PUMPKIN. Well, this is what I came up with! SUPER easy, and pretty delish if I do say so myself!

Pasta with Pumpkin Cream Sauce
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup fresh grated or shaved Parmesan cheese
Thyme (I did a few hefty pinches of dried)
Garlic salt
Pasta of choice, cooked according to directions

In a pan, melt the butter. Stir in the flour until well combined, then add the milk gradually while stirring. Continue stirring and heat the mixture a few minutes more. Gradually stir in the pumpkin. When completely incorporated, add the cheese and stir until melted. Season with thyme and garlic salt according to taste and then serve over pasta with more Parmesan sprinkled over top. Yummy!

TIP: This is also great the next day if you have any leftover. You can just reheat in the microwave slowly, in 30-second intervals until warm. If it is a little thick, add some more milk, a little at a time. Also, if you'd like this to be EXTRA good, try using cream or half-and-half instead of milk!

BONUS TIP: I also browned some chopped onion and served that over the pasta, then topped with the pumpkin sauce. Sooooo good!


Raspberry Lemon Muffins

This is a recipe I found in a neighborhood cookbook. We LOVE muffins at our house and these are EXCELLENT! Spread some butter on one straight from the oven—its HEAVENLY!

Raspberry Lemon Muffins
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup cream or whole milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon lemon extract
1 1/2 to 2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries

Combine all ingredients in a bowl except raspberries. Gently fold in the raspberries. Spoon into muffin tin and bake at 400 degrees for 18 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown.

TIP: This would be delicious with other types of berries—strawberries, blueberries, you name it! You could also try using different flavored fruity extracts to mix things up as well.


Bacon, Beef, and Barley Soup

This is the perfect HEARTY soup to serve one of these lovely FALL days! I would almost call it a STEW because its very thick and rich. I bet your FAMILY will like it as much as mine did. :)

Bacon, Beef, and Barley Soup
4 bacon strips, chopped
1 1/2 pounds stew meat, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
4 medium red potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 1/2 cups fresh baby carrots, cut in half lengthwise
1 cup frozen corn
1/4 cup medium pearl barley
2 cans beef broth
1 can diced tomatoes with basil, oregano, and garlic, undrained
1 (12-ounce) jar home-style beef gravy
1/2 teaspoon pepper

In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Using a slotted spoon, remove to paper towels to drain. In drippings, cook beef and onion until meat is no longer pink.
In a 5-quart slow cooker, layer the potatoes, carrots, corn, and barley. Top with the beef mixture and bacon. Combine the broth, tomatoes, gravy, and pepper and then pour over top. Cover and cook on low heat for 8 to 9 hours or until meat and vegetables are tender. Stir before serving.

TIP: Serve this with some yummy crusty bread for a very rounded and fulfilling meal!