Thursday, November 11, 2010

What's For Dinner?

Mmmmmm....I'm so excited for dinner tonight. We are having squash and white bean stew that we only have in the colder months. The soup was prepared in the crock pot. I just love putting everything in one container, turning it on, and voila, dinner is ready when you are. I got the recipe online HERE:

And, here's what mine looked like:

I made just one modification with the beans. I've substituted a can of butter beans before, but the past two times I've made it, I've used one cup of dried white northern beans soaking them overnight and then adding them to the crock pot the next morning.

The flavors in this stew are so unexpected and it is something that I would have never combined on my own. I mean, cumin and cinnamon and squash?? I'm used to eating my squash with butter and brown sugar. The soup is truly delightful and makes me feel like I'm eating healthy and exotically at the same time. Some other suggestions to alter the recipe would be more salt--I like a salty soup and definitely more garlic. Also, my husband suggested less cinnamon.

Now, onto the finale--the dessert, pumpkin bread pudding. Yum. I found the recipe on a blog called According to Kelly (thank you, Kelly)--lots of fun stuff to see there. Here is the link:

And, here's what mine looked like:

I did make a few modifications to include things that I had in the house rather than going out to the store. I used evaporated milk for the half and half, a small pumpkin from our garden that I baked the night before instead of canned pumpkin and I baked my own loaf of white bread in the bread machine the night before too. Also I used light brown sugar instead of dark. I omitted the raisins like Kelly, but did add chopped walnuts instead of pecans (it's all about what's in the house already). For the carmel sauce, I used milk instead of whipping cream. (This recipe reminds me of Paula Deen's recipe for French Toast Casserole) :

The caramel sauce was delicious, but I think I had plenty with one batch. Kelly suggests doubling or tripling the recipe! I can definitely see making this sauce again for dipping apples or adding a special touch to other desserts like cheesecake or for ice cream sundaes.

Another substitution idea for the pumpkin bread pudding is to use a couple of grated apples instead of the pumpkin. I'm wondering if using any kind of fruit might work? I'm thinking any berry would be yummy--especially for a summer treat. I'll have to keep that in mind...

Anyhow, both husband and myself are totally full after 2 bowls of stew and 1 cup of dessert. Everything was so yummy, flavorful, and just wow! Although now as I'm writing this, I'm thinking about getting a little pumpkin bread pudding night-cap...