Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

I made a batch of these muffins for a Christmas party, and they were snatched up in no time!  While we usually associate pumpkin with the holidays, I love it all winter long...  These babies are fantastic, and are a crowd-pleaser to boot.

1 8oz pkg cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1 c powdered sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla

3 c flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp cloves
1 TBSP plus 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
4 eggs
2 c sugar
2 c pumpkin puree
1 1/4 c canola oil
1 tsp vanilla

1/2 c sugar
5 TBSP flour
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
4 TBSP cold butter, cut into pieces

Preheat oven to 350° and fill 2 muffin tins with paper liners.

Whip together ingredients for filling until smooth.  Cover and refrigerate while you work on muffin batter.

For muffins, combine flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, pumpkin pie spice, salt and baking soda.  Set aside.  In another bowl, combine eggs, sugar, pumpkin, vanilla and oil.  Mix with electric mixer on low until blended.

Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix slowly until combined.

For topping, combine sugar, flour, and cinnamon in a bowl.  Add in butter pieces and cut into dry ingredients with a pastry cutter or fork until coarse and crumbly.  Keep in refrigerator until ready to use.

To assemble muffins, fill each muffin liner with about 2 TBSP of batter.  Spoon 1 TBSP of cream cheese filling into the center of each liner (on top of the batter).  Cover the filling with additional batter, covering cream cheese completely.  Sprinkle with 1 TBSP of streusel mixture.

Bake 20-25 minutes.  Cool completely before eating (filling will be VERY hot) and store in an airtight container.

Comments from the cook:  I didn't need to change anything from the original recipe...and they turned out perfectly!  I did have to make a make-shift version of pumpkin pie spice at the last minute (thank you, all-knowing internet for helping me make a quick substitution!).  I'm looking forward to needing a reason to make these again...

Original recipe found here (helpful step-by-step pictures available there!).  Ingredient list and most of directions taken from her site.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Baked (not fried) Chicken Parmesan

Chicken Parmesan is a hands-down favorite around here (only behind pizza, I would submit).  We'd been wanting to try a baked Chicken Parmesan for a while... and found this one to make after church today.  It's a winner!

3 chicken breasts, trimmed of excess fat and sliced into cutlets
2 c marinara sauce, warmed
3/4 c mozzarella cheese, grated
1 1/2 c Panko crumbs (Japanese-style bread crumbs)
1 TBSP olive oil
1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 c flour
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 TBSP salt
1/2 tsp pepper
3 egg whites
1 TBSP water

Combine bread crumbs and olive oil in saucepan, and cook over medium heat until golden brown.  Allow to cool for a few moments, then add Parmesan cheese.

Combine flour, garlic powder, salt, and pepper in a shallow dish.  Set aside.

Whisk egg whites and water together in a shallow dish and set aside.

Dry chicken cutlets with paper towel and season with a bit of (additonal) salt and pepper.  Dip in flour mixture, and shake off excess.

Next dip in egg mixture, until all flour has been thoroughly moistened.

Next dip in bread crumb coating.  (You may need to press down on the cutlets to make sure that crumbs stick to them.)

Place foil over a baking sheet, then place a wire baking/cooling rack over the foil-covered sheet.  Spray rack with non-stick spray, and place coated chicken on rack.  Spray tops of coated chicken with non-stick spray.  Bake at 475° for 15 minutes, or until chicken is cooked thoroughly.

Add 2 TBSP marinara sauce to tops of each cooked cutlet, then top with cheese.  Bake for 5 more minutes.

Serve over spaghetti or pasta of your choice.

Comments from the cook:  We hardly changed anything from the original recipe, except for using a Parmesan-Romano cheese blend...which turned out to be amazing.  We served our chicken over spaghetti, and used extra marinara sauce to add more flavor.

Hope you love this as much as we did!

Recipe found at, here.
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