Monday, November 30, 2009

Cookies - Coconut Macaroons

I am not usually one to use artificial sweeteners but I know that there are plenty of people out there who are watching their carbs and/or their sugar intake. My sister sent me these recipes which came from the Splenda website. She says they are really good and easy to make. Please let me know if you make any of them. I would be more likely to make them with regular sugar (*my bad*).

Chocolate Chip Macaroons

Submitted by: Maker of SPLENDA® Sweetener Products

Servings: 24 servings


3 large egg whites
¼ cup SPLENDA® Brown Sugar Blend
¼ teaspoon pure almond extract
¼ teaspoon salt
1 (14 ounce) package sweetened flaked coconut
½ cup mini chocolate chips


1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Whisk together egg whites, SPLENDA® Brown Sugar Blend, almond extract and salt until frothy. Add coconut and mini chocolate chips, mixing until the chocolate chips are evenly distributed throughout the mixture.

3. Scoop batter using a small ice cream scoop or tablespoon, placing batter 2 inches apart on the baking sheet.

4. Bake 20 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. Rotate sheet half way through the baking process for more even browning.

5. Transfer warm chocolate coquitos to a cooling rack and let sit until completely cooled. Store coquitos in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days.

Sugar-Free Coconut Macaroons


* 2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
* 4 egg whites from large eggs (should be about ½ cup)
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1 cup sugar substitute (I like liquid forms of Splenda, with zero carbs)
* about 2 Tablespoons water


1) Heat oven to 375 F. Line baking sheet with either parchment paper on a silicone mat.

2) Measure egg whites. If they aren't quite ½ cup, add a little water to reach that level. Then add the vanilla, liquid sweetener if using, and water so that sweetener and water together equal 2 Tablespoons.

3) If using powdered sweetener, mix in with unsweetened coconut.

4) Mix dry and wet ingredients together. The mixture should just hold together. Let set a minute or two and you'll be able to mold them better.

5) Roll into balls a little bigger than an inch in diameter. Slightly flatten and put on baking sheet (whatever shape you put them in is how they will stay, so this is your chance). Put at least half an inch apart.

6) Turn down the oven to 325 F, and bake for about 15 minutes, but start checking them a couple of minutes before. You want them golden brown on the bottom, and just barely starting to brown on top (though if you like them a little crispier, bake a couple of minutes longer).

Makes about 14 cookies, but yield will vary based on size of the cookies.

Nutritional Information: Each cookie has 1 gram effective carbohydrate plus 2 grams fiber, 2 grams protein, and 76 calories.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Chocolate Buttermilk Pie

This is a first for me. I have never made any of Sandra Lee's Semi-Homemade recipes before. It really is semi-homemade because I didn't make my own pie crust. I happened to have two store bought frozen pie crusts in my freezer. D mentioned that he wished I would make the chocolate pie I made before. I don't remember ever making a chocolate pie but I did make and post a chocolate tart recipe. He says that isn't what he meant. Since it was the night before Thanksgiving, I really didn't want to go to the grocery store and fight the crowds. I had already been there once this week and that was enough for me. This pie turned out great. D liked it and so did I and all the other guests that tried it. I was pleasantly surprised that it didn't get "runny" even though it doesn't have any gelatin or cornstarch in it. It is a pretty simple recipe.

Chocolate Buttermilk Pie

Recipe courtesy Sandra Lee

Prep Time:
15 min
Inactive Prep Time:
1 hr 0 min
Cook Time:
1 hr 25 min


8 to 10 servings


* 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
* 1 1/2 cups sugar
* 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 6 eggs
* 1 cup buttermilk
* 1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
* 1 pre-made store-bought (9-inch) deep dish pie crust
* Pre-made whipped cream, for garnish


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Position a rack in the center of the oven.

Place the chocolate chips in a double boiler and melt over low heat, stirring constantly.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, and salt until well combined. In a large mixing bowl, combine the eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla. Add the sugar mixture and mix with an electric hand mixer or whisk vigorously. With a rubber spatula, stir the melted chocolate into the batter.

Pour batter into the piecrust; you will have about 1 cup of left-over batter. Place pie in oven on middle rack. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes to 1 hour and 25 minutes, or until the pie is crisp on top and a knife inserted in the center comes out with just a bit of moist chocolate on it.

Remove from oven and cool completely. Let stand at least 1 hour before serving. If not eating immediately, refrigerate pie. This pie can be served warm or chilled. Garnish with store-bought whipped cream just before serving.


The Creative Cook

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Sausage and Apple Stuffing

I just said goodbye to the last of my Thanksgiving guests and cleaned up as much as I am going to tonight. My mother and my sister were extremely helpful today. I want to thank them for everything they did and everything they brought. Also, my nephew and his wife brought two huge hams which were delicious. We had way too much food but that is what Thanksgiving is all about, right?!

I wanted to post this stuffing recipe as soon as I could because the recipe I made last year was somehow lost in the shuffle. It is probably in a drawer somewhere but I could not locate it so I googled apple sausage corn bread stuffing and found this really great one on the Food Network website. It was a big hit today. Try this stuffing next time you need to make some, you won't be disappointed. I didn't use the walnuts when I made it. I used 4 boxes of Jiffy Corn Muffin mix instead of the dried cornbread stuffing mix. I baked them in two 8 x 8 pans.

Sausage and Apple Stuffing
Recipe courtesy Food Network Kitchens
Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 1 hr 0 min
Level: Easy
Serves: 8 to 10 servings


2 sticks plus 3 tablespoons butter, divided
2 cups water
2 (14 to 16-ounce) bags of your favorite dried cornbread stuffing mix, recommended: Arnold's
1 pound pork sausage (not links)
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 teaspoon dried sage leaves
1 cup chopped walnuts
3 medium apples, cored, sliced
2 to 3 cups homemade giblet stock or low sodium canned chicken broth


In a large pot melt 2 sticks butter in water. When melted add dry cornbread stuffing stirring to incorporate liquid, set aside.

In a large saute pan set over medium-high heat melt 1 tablespoon butter and add sausage. With a wooden spoon break up sausage and saute until lightly browned and cooked through. Transfer sausage to paper towels to drain. In the same pan melt remaining butter and saute onions with the garlic, celery, thyme, and sage until onions are translucent and celery is crisp tender. Add walnuts and saute for 1 minute. Add apples and saute for one minute more. Remove from heat. Combine cornbread stuffing with sausage and sauteed ingredients and stuff turkey. Roast turkey as usual.

Alternatively: fill a 10 by 15 by 2 inch pan with the stuffing, moisten with the giblet stock, and bake in a preheated 350 degree F oven, covered with foil for 1/2 hour. Remove foil and bake until top is lightly browned, about 15 minutes more.


The Creative Cook

Monday, November 16, 2009

Pumpkin Chocolate Cheesecake Pie

I promised you some "different" pumpkin pie recipes for Thanksgiving. I found this recipe on the Better Homes & Gardens website ( It looks very delicious. It could be a great alternative to a traditional pumpkin pie for the holidays.

Pumpkin Chocolate Cheesecake Pie
Prep: 30 minutes
Chill: 30 minutes
Bake: 64 minutes


1 recipe Deep Dish Pie Pastry, below
12 oz. cream cheese, softened (1-1/2 8-oz. pkgs.)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
3/4 cup finely chopped semisweet chocolate or miniature chocolate pieces
1 15-oz. can pumpkin
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
4 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup half-and-half or light cream
Chopped chocolate (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Prepare and roll out Deep Dish Pie Pastry. Transfer pastry to a 9-1/2- to 10-inch deep-dish pie plate. Trim crust edge 1/2-inch beyond pie plate. Flute edge high. Line pastry with double thickness of foil. Bake 8 minutes. Remove foil; bake 6 minutes more or until golden. Cool on wire rack. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees F.

2. In medium mixing bowl combine cream cheese, 1/4 cup sugar, and 1 egg; beat on low speed until smooth. Spread cream cheese mixture in cooled pastry shell. Sprinkle with chopped chocolate.

3. In bowl combine pumpkin, brown sugar, and spice. Stir in 4 eggs. Gradually stir in half-and-half. Slowly pour pumpkin mixture on chocolate layer. To prevent overbrowning, cover pie edge with foil.

4. Bake 60 to 65 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Remove foil. Cool on wire rack. Cover and refrigerate within 2 hour. Top with chopped chocolate.

Deep Dish Pie Pastry:In medium bowl, stir together 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Using pastry blender or two knives cut in 6 tablespoons shortening until pieces are pea-size. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon cold water over part of flour mixture; gently toss with fork. Push moistened dough to side of bowl. Repeat, using 1 tablespoon water at a time, until all flour is moistened (5 to 6 tablespoons total). Form into ball. On lightly floured surface, flatten dough. Roll pastry from center to edge into 13-inch circle. Serves 8.


The Creative Cook

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Pasta Carbonara Frittata

I have been having a yen for Pasta Carbonara recently. When I looked up the recipes I saw how many eggs were in it and the fact that you don't really cook the eggs. They are poured over the pasta and are supposed to cook from the heat of the cooked pasta. Well, that doesn't sit well with me especially with all the E-coli issues and other food borne illnesses around. That's why it was so strangely fortuitous that I found a recipe for a Pasta Carbonara Frittata in this month's All You Magazine. This pasta carbonara is at least cooked in a skillet and then put under the broiler. It was really yummy. Of course, I changed it a bit. I used a liquid egg substitute and instead of the turkey bacon, I used Pancetta which is an Italian bacon. I used it because I had it in my refrigerator not for any other reason. I doubt it has less fat or less sodium than turkey bacon. This is a delicious, inexpensive and easy recipe so try it!

Pasta Carbonara Frittata

Prep: 5 min.
Cook: 25 min.
Serves: 4

8 oz. spaghetti
2 Tbsp. olive oil
4 oz. turkey bacon
6 large eggs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
salt and pepper

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook spaghetti until just tender, about 8 minutes or as package label directs. Drain, transfer to a large bowl and toss with olive oil to coat. Let cool to room temperature.

2. Cook turkey bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat until crisp, about 6 minutes. Remove bacon to paper towels to drain. Discard all but 1 Tbsp. of fat in skillet.

3. Preheat broiler to high. Whisk together eggs, Parmesan, garlic, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper in a large bowl. Pour over spaghetti and toss to coat. Crumble bacon into bowl and mix well.

4. Place skillet on stove over medium-low heat and add egg-and-spaghetti mixture, spreading into an even layer with a spatula. Cook until bottom is well-browned, about 8 minutes, sliding a spatula underneath frittata occasionally to loosen.

5. Place pan under broiler and cook until top is golden and set, about 3 minutes. Cut frittata into wedges and serve.


The Creative Cook

Monday, November 9, 2009

Spinach and Ricotta-Stuffed Shells

I know this recipe is a bit off topic but I had a box of jumbo shells in my pantry that I've been wanting to make so I searched for a recipe and found this one from Cooking Light Magazine. It is really tasty. I used all the shells in the box rather than just making 24. I also used the entire container of part-skim ricotta. The only change you will need to make is to keep it in the oven longer. I left it in there for an hour rather than 30 minutes and it came out great. I also put shredded mozzarella on top.

I also found another recipe by Rachel Ray that I will try in the near future. Rachel Ray's recipes are far from "light" but usually really yummy.

Spinach and Ricotta-Stuffed Shells

Substitute various cheeses, such as Asiago or feta, in place of Parmesan and other dried herbs, such as thyme, basil, or dill, in place of oregano.

2 cups Basic Marinara, divided
Cooking spray
2 1/2 cups part-skim ricotta cheese
1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained, and squeezed dry
1 large egg yolk
1 garlic clove, minced
24 cooked jumbo pasta shells

Preheat oven to 350°.

Spread 1/2 cup Basic Marinara over bottom of a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.

Combine ricotta and next 8 ingredients (through garlic) in a large bowl, stirring well. Spoon about 1 1/2 tablespoons filling into each pasta shell. Arrange stuffed shells in prepared dish; spread with remaining 1 1/2 cups Basic Marinara. Cover and bake at 350° for 30 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 4 stuffed shells and about 1/3 cup sauce)

4 Cheese Stuffed Shells
Recipe courtesy Rachael Ray
Prep Time: 10 min Inactive Prep Time: -- Cook Time: 25 min
Level: Easy
Serves: 4 servings

8 pieces jumbo pasta shells
1 1/2 pounds ricotta cheese or part skim ricotta cheese
1 pound mozzarella, diced
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 cup shredded Asiago
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 or 7 leaves fresh basil, torn or shredded

Preheat oven or broiler to 450 degrees F.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt water and add pasta. Cook shells 12 to 15 minutes, they should be softened but still undercooked at the center. Drain pasta and cool.

Combine ricotta, 1/2 of the diced mozzarella, a couple of handfuls of Parmigiano and 1/2 of the Asiago. Add parsley to the cheeses and stir to combine.

To a small saucepan over moderate heat add oil, garlic and onions. Saute onions and garlic 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and season sauce with salt and pepper. Simmer sauce 5 minutes and stir in basil leaves

Pour a little sauce into the bottom of a shallow medium sized casserole dish. Fill shells with rounded spoonfuls of cheese mixture and arrange them seam side down in casserole dish. Top shells with remaining sauce and remaining mozzarella and Asiago cheeses. Place shells in very hot oven or 8 inches from hot broiler and cook 6 to 8 minutes to melt cheeses and bubble sauce.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Coconut Custard Pie

Does anyone eat Coconut Custard Pie besides me? I started eating it as a child. My mom used to buy it at a local bakery in Brooklyn, New York called Ebinger's. At least that is how I think it is spelled. I have done a few "copycat" cakes from that bakery. The one I did last year was the Mocha Cake. This time I am going to try replicating the Coconut Custard Pie. I have looked at many recipes but this one looks like the best. Maybe this one will remind me of the pies from Ebinger's. I sure hope so!

Coconut Custard Pie
Kathleen of Tate's Bake Shop

One 9-inch pie crust
1 ½ cups heavy cream
1 cup milk
3 eggs, beaten
1 egg yolk (save white)
¾ cup sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup unsweetened coconut chips* (large white flakes)


Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Measure coconut into prepared pie shell and place pie onto a sheet pan.
In a small saucepan, combine milk and cream. Heat until just starting to boil.
Remove from heat.

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, egg yolk, sugar, salt and vanilla.
Slowly add scalded milk mixture, beating continuously, by adding a small amount, whisk, add more, whisk again, until all the milk is incorporated into the sugar mixture.

Pour egg mixture into prepared pie shell with coconut.

Bake for 15 minutes.

Lower oven temperature to 300 degrees and bake 35 more minutes.

Pie should be browning on the top and jingly, but not liquid.

The Creative Cook

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Thanksgiving - Pumpkin Pie

I know, I know, pumpkin month is over but Thanksgiving is right around the corner. I am having Thanksgiving at my house this year so I'm thinking about pie. Of course, you say?! Why are you thinking about pie? You have a whole dinner to worry about. Well, my family is very helpful.

My sister is making the turkey. She is very particular about how the turkey is cooked, so she is bringing it. That's fine with me. Whatever works.

My mother is bringing sweet potatoes and artichokes and maybe if I beg her she'll bring her famous string bean salad. That leaves very little for me to make. We'll most definitely buy an apple pie and maybe some other type of pie but I really like to cook as you already know. That leaves me with the chore of figuring out what I can make. I usually make stuffing because no one else in this family really eats and/or likes stuffing but the husbands. My husband and son love cranberry sauce but not the home made kind. They always prefer the store bought "jellied" kind. Since I don't eat cranberry sauce, I figure they can have whatever kind they want. So sue me!

I'm thinking about making a savory pumpkin soup. The recipe I posted last month with the pumpkin Parmesan soup sounded pretty good to me. So there you have it, I am having around 16 people for Thanksgiving dinner and all I am making is soup, stuffing, a dessert of some sort and mashed potatoes. Why am I making mashed potatoes, because I really like them. That's why! Maybe I'll go crazy and even make some dinner rolls.

I should make November "Pie" month. I'm going to start off with a traditional pumpkin pie recipe for you. This recipe is from the Martha Stewart Living website. Enjoy!

Fluted Traditional Pumpkin Pie

Serves 12


• All-purpose flour, for surface
• Pate Brisee for Traditional Pumpkin Pie (pie dough)
• 1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
• 3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
• 1 tablespoon cornstarch
• 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
• 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
• 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• 3 large eggs
• 1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
• Ground cloves
• Whipped cream, for serving (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll pate brisee disk 1/8 inch thick, then cut into a 16-inch circle. Fit circle into a 9-inch deep-dish pie dish, leaving a 1-inch overhang. Fold edges under.

2. Shape large, loose half circles at edge of dough, then fold into a wavelike pattern to create a fluted edge. Prick bottom of dough all over with a fork. Freeze for 15 minutes.

3. Cut a circle of parchment, at least 16 inches wide, and fit into pie shell. Fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake until edges of crust begin to turn gold, about 15 minutes. Remove pie weights and parchment. Bake until golden brown, 15 to 20minutes more. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool.

4. Meanwhile, whisk pumpkin, sugar, cornstarch, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, vanilla, eggs, milk, and a pinch of cloves in a large bowl.

5. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Transfer pie dish to a rimmed baking sheet, and pour pumpkin mixture into cooled crust. Bake until center is set but still a bit wobbly, 50 to 55 minutes. (If crust browns too quickly, tent edges with a strip of foil folded in half lengthwise.) Let cool in pie dish on a wire rack. Refrigerate until well chilled, at least 6 hours (preferably overnight).

Serve chilled with whipped cream, if desired.

Pate Brisee (Pie Dough)

Pate brisee is the French version of classic pie or tart pastry. Pressing the dough into a disc rather than shaping it into a ball allows it to chill faster. This will also make the dough easier to roll out, and if you freeze it, it will thaw more quickly.

Makes 1 double-crust or 2 single-crust 9- to 10-inch pies.

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water


In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, salt, and sugar. Add butter, and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal, 8 to 10 seconds.

With machine running, add ice water in a slow, steady stream through feed tube. Pulse until dough holds together without being wet or sticky; be careful not to process more than 30 seconds. To test, squeeze a small amount together: If it is crumbly, add more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time.

Divide dough into two equal balls. Flatten each ball into a disc and wrap in plastic. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill at least 1 hour. Dough may be stored, frozen, up to 1 month.

The Creative Cook