November 25, 2015

Pure Pumpkin

Pin It
Margaret's Morsels | Pumpkin Pie

This time last year -- the afternoon before Thanksgiving -- I realized I'd failed to buy a can of pumpkin pie mix at the grocery.  I couldn't go to the grocery because I was too busy baking biscuits and cornbread for Cornbread Dressing, making Potato Salad and Sweet Potato Souffle, cooking Aaron's Green Beans, whipping up a Chocolate Dream Pie and prepping ingredients for homemade rolls.  My then 16 year old only had his learner's permit so he couldn't go to the grocery for me.  I texted my husband and asked if he could pick up a can of pumpkin pie mix on his way home from work.  This meant it would be later in the evening before I could make the pie but, with the sugar and spices already added to the mix, it would be a quick task.

When my husband got home, he explained that the grocery was out of pumpkin pie mix and handed me a can of pumpkin puree.  He said he hoped it would be ok since he knew I kept a well stocked pantry.  I wasn't thrilled about making a pie from scratch --  after all I'd been cooking all day -- but I knew he was right.  This is how I'd always made Pumpkin Pie until a sister-in-law introduced me to timesaving pumpkin pie mix 20 something years earlier.

Margaret's Morsels | Pumpkin Pie

The pumpkin, eggs, sugar, salt, spices and evaporated milk are mixed by hand with a spatula.  If you read my blog, you know I like to substitute healthier ingredients whenever possible.  However, this is one time I use regular evaporated milk instead of the fat-free version.  The fat in the milk helps make the pie firm which means the pieces hold their shape better.

The filling goes into a pie crust, but not just any pie crust.  My mother taught me to always use a deep-dish pie crust, no matter what kind of filling goes in the crust.  Not only does a deep-dish crust hold more of the scrumptious filling, it keeps the filling from spilling over into the oven.

Unlike my mother, I don't make my own pie crust.  I always use frozen store bought pie crusts, unless the recipe specifically calls for a package of refrigerated pie crusts.  However, I have a trick for making a store bought pie crust look homemade.  I transfer the pie crust from the foil pan to a pretty glass pie plate.

Margaret's Morsels | Pumpkin Pie

To do this, let the crust soften at room temperature for a few minutes.  Turn the pan over, letting the crust fall into your hand and transfer it to your pie plate.  If the crust doesn't fall out the first time, let it sit a few more minutes. Don't force the crust out, or you'll risk breaking the crust.

If you're transferring the pie crust, make sure to use a pie plate that's close to the size of the pie crust.  A frozen 9-inch pie crust works perfectly in my 10-inch pie plate.  My experience has been that the crust expands during baking and conforms to the size of my pie plate.

Put the pie plate on a baking sheet and add the filling.

Margaret's Morsels | Pumpkin Pie

Bake the pie an hour and then let it cool on a wire rack before storing it in the refrigerator.

I'm thankful pumpkin pie mix exists, but I'm also thankful for canned pumpkin puree.  Without it, I'd have to seed, cut, roast and puree the pumpkin before making the pie!

Pumpkin Pie
8 Servings

1 (9-inch) deep-dish pie crust
2 eggs
1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. cloves
1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk (not fat-free)

Preheat oven to 425°.  Lightly beat eggs.  Add remaining ingredients; stir until thoroughly combined.  Put pie plate on a baking sheet; pour filling into pie crust.  Bake 15 minutes.  Reduce oven temperature to 350°.  Bake 45 minutes longer, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.  Remove from baking sheet and cool 2 hours on a wire rack.  Refrigerate. 

© Margaret's Morsels

November 23, 2015

A Do Ahead Side

Pin It
Margaret's Morsels | Adobo Green Beans

A couple of years ago at a church potluck, I saw a bowl filled with green beans and onions.  Normally, I would have ignored the dish -- I don't like beans with onions -- but the beans smelled delicious so I put a small serving on my plate.  After one bite, two things were apparent.  One, the beans were flavored with something besides onion.  Two, I wanted the recipe!

As the potluck wound down, I watched as people collected their bowls and pans from the food table.  When I saw Aaron, owner of the now empty bowl, pick it up off the table, I walked over and asked how he made the beans.  He graciously shared the recipe and I made the beans for the first time a few weeks later for Thanksgiving.

The recipe starts with a can of cut green beans.  The liquid is drained into a saucepan with some water, chopped onion and -- the ingredient that makes the beans so good -- adobo all purpose seasoning.

Margaret's Morsels | Adobo Green Beans

I wasn't familiar with adobo so I looked it up on the Internet.  My search yielded a lot of recipes for making the seasoning using salt, paprika, black pepper, onion powder, oregano, cumin, garlic powder and chili powder, or some combination of these ingredients.  I didn't mess with perfection and bought a bottle of Goya adobo all-purpose seasoning with pepper which is what was called for in Aaron's recipe.

Margaret's Morsels | Adobo Green Beans

I assumed the seasoning would be with all the other spices, but I found it in the aisle with Hispanic food.  The Goya brand is available in many different varieties!

Margaret's Morsels | Adobo Green Beans

The liquid, onion and adobo are brought to a rolling boil for 30 minutes. During this long boiling time, the liquid is reduced, thereby intensifying the flavor of the remaining liquid.  

Margaret's Morsels | Adobo Green Beans
After boiling for 30 minutes.

The beans are added to the pot and simmered over low heat for 15 minutes.  You can add water, if necessary, but don't add too much or it will dilute the wonderful flavor of the beans.

Margaret's Morsels | Adobo Green Beans

The beans can be served the same day they're cooked, but I think they're better reheated the next day after the flavors have had time to blend.  You can reheat the beans on the stove, or in a crock-pot.  Using a crock-pot is a big help at the holidays, especially if there's not a spare burner available on the stove.  You also don't have to keep a constant eye on the beans since the crock-pot does all the work for you.

Green beans have always been on our Thanksgiving table, but now I fix them ahead of time.   When I'm cooking holiday meals, any dish that can be made ahead is something I'm thankful for!

Aaron's Green Beans
6 to 8 Servings

1 (28 oz.) can cut green beans
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 1/2 tsp. adobo all-purpose seasoning
1 cup water

Drain liquid from beans into a saucepan; add onion, adobo and water. Bring ingredients to a boil and let boil for 30 minutes.  If the liquid is reducing too quickly, turn the heat down.  Add the green beans and, if necessary, a little additional water.  Turn heat to low and simmer 15 minutes.  Let the beans cool and then store them in a covered container in the refrigerator overnight to allow the flavors to blend.  The next day, reheat beans in a crock-pot on low for 2 hours, or until heated through.

© Margaret's Morsels

November 18, 2015

Thanksgiving Recipe Roundup

Pin It
It's hard to believe Thanksgiving is only eight days away!  If you're planning your menu or looking for something new to serve, here's some Thanksgiving recipes I've shared in the past.  I'm putting the finishing touches on two recipes -- one vegetable, one dessert -- I plan to post before Thanksgiving.  

Margaret's Morsels | Cranberry Delight Spread

Margaret's Morsels | Sweet Potato Souffle

Margaret's Morsels | Potato Salad

Margaret's Morsels | Carrot Souffle

Margaret's Morsels | Pecan Streusel Pumpkin Pie

Margaret's Morsels | No Bake Turkey Cookies

© Margaret's Morsels