Sweet Potato Pound Cake

Thanksgiving came and went, and I’m sitting here asking myself where the year went? We’re about one month away from ringing in 2017. 20-17. Let that sink in.

 

Sweet potatoes are in season every season, but we find ourselves loading up on them especially during the cooler months.  I stumbled upon this fabulous recipe by Grandbaby Cakes for Sweet Potato Pound Cake, and I was sold. I had one lonesome sweet potato hanging out in my pantry, and I just knew that it was destined for greatness.

sweetpotatopoundcakepic

 

Sweet Potato Pound Cake

Yield: One 9”x5” Loaf

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup mashed roasted sweet potato
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup neutral flavored oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 ½ cups cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F and set aside a greased loaf pan.

In the bowl of a mixer, combine mashed sweet potato, brown sugar, granulated sugar, butter, and oil. Mix on medium-high speed until smooth and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla and mix on medium-low speed until thoroughly combined. Add cake flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, and ground ginger. Mix on low speed until completely combined.

Pour batter into loaf pan and bake until an inserted toothpick comes out clean, about 40 to 50 minutes.

Allow cake to cool for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.

 

Note: Cake can be kept at room temperature for a few days.

Instructions on roasting sweet potatoes: Wash and pat dry potatoes. Place each potato on a square piece of aluminum foil. Drizzle with a tiny bit of neutral flavored oil. Wrap loosely with foil and place on a baking sheet. Bake at 350°F for 40 to 60 minutes. Potatoes will be ready when they can pricked with a fork easily. Cool slightly before using.

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Roasted Tomato Soup

Here in the Midwest the weather has finally started to cool down and we’re entering my favorite season of the year, Autumn! I love everything about it- the colors, the cooler weather, the fallen leaves, the longer nights, and the abundance of fall-centric produce (think apples, pumpkins, pears, etc.).

The cooler weather has me wanting to cook things that warm our bellies and souls. I personally am not a fan of smooth soups (I prefer some texture in my soup; something about the smoothness reminds me of baby food), but tomato soup is the sole exception. I like my tomato soup unadulterated and free of unnecessary frills (oooh fighting words!). I prefer the flavor of tomatoes to shine. I’ve tried my hand at many recipes, but my search for the ultimate grilled cheese partner in crime has come to an end, much thanks to Sarah at Flour & Spice. Her recipe results in a soup that lets the tomatoes be the star (rightfully so).

So go ahead and start warming up friends, it’s only going to get colder 😉

 

RoastedTomatoSoupPic

 

Roasted Tomato Soup

Yield: 4 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 ½ pounds fresh tomatoes, quartered
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 onions, peeled and sliced
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • Salt, to taste
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3 – 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450°F.

In a foil lined tray, combine tomatoes, garlic, and onions. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 30 to 40 minutes, until caramelized.

Transfer roasted vegetables to a large cooking vessel. Increase heat to medium high, and add 3 cups of the vegetable broth, bay leaves, and butter. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.

Add sugar, thyme, and red pepper flakes. Remove and discard bay leaves. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth. If the soup is too thick, add more of the remaining broth to thin it out. Remove from heat and adjust seasonings.

Creamy Herb Spread

Hello lovers! How has Ramadan been going for you thus far? We’re already 9 days in and I cannot believe it’s going by so fast (but isn’t that what we say every year?)! Alhumdullilah (praise be to God), it’s going well for us. Our son has been going for Taraveeh (special night time prayers at the Mosque) almost every night with my husband, and he loves it. Our local Mosque has arranged a daycare for the kids for while the parents observe prayer, and he loves hanging out with his little buddies there.

I’ve been trying to keep things interesting for Iftar (break-fast time), and I finally got a chance to modify some of this delicious Creamy Herb Spread from The Comfort of Cooking.  It’s an amazingly creamy and flavorful spread that can be used to fill veggies (like mini peppers or cucumbers!), and would also be amazing as a spread used for tea sandwiches. It’s versatile and keeps well in the fridge, and is a fun departure from traditional finger goods!

 

CreamyHerbSpread

Creamy Herb Spread

Yield: 1 – 1 ¼ Cups

Ingredients:

  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

Directions:

In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and whisk (by hand or mixer) until smooth and creamy. Transfer to a piping bag and use as needed.

Leftovers must be refrigerated.

 

Mango Chickpea Salad

Ramadan Kareem!

The holy month of Ramadan has graced us once again, and I pray that our fasts and prayers are accepted, and we leave the month renewed in faith and spirituality!

I had originally planned to post a recipe for every day of the month, but life got the best of me and I wasn’t able to prepare 30 days worth of recipes for the blog. I will however be posting family favorites regularly throughout the month, and I hope that you are able to take some inspiration from them 🙂

Recently I stopped by to pick up a few essential items from a local Indian grocer, and I stumbled upon freshly arrived mangoes! Now if you’re desi (person of South Asian descent), I’m sure you can imagine my excitement. If you’re not desi, let me explain: we live for mangoes. It’s in our DNA. The love for them courses through our blood.

We went through most of them as is, but I got creative with a few. Some were blitzed into milkshakes, and a few were chopped up and tossed into this delicious Mango Chickpea Salad (recipe from Green Evi). It’s amazing on its own, and would also pair well with a grilled protein as a main entrée.

 

MangoChickpeaSaladPic

 

Mango Chickpea Salad

Yield: 4 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups (one 14-ounce can) garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 mango, peeled and diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 green chili, seeded and diced small
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • Handful cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt, to taste
  • Ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:

Combine all ingredients together in a large bowl and toss to combine.

Refrigerate leftovers.

 

Cajun Chicken Pasta

I’ve realized that I barely post “main dish” type recipes here! It’s not like we’re noshing on desserts all of the time (oh, how I wish!), but for what ever reason I seldom share our main courses. I’d like to remedy that by sharing the easy and delicious recipe for this Cajun Chicken Pasta. I first spotted it at The House of Spice, and after serving it, it was declared a winner. I’m not keen on cream-heavy pasta dishes, and this dish fits the bill. It’s loaded with veggies, protein, and can be spiced as lightly or heavily as tolerated. It’s a meal that both children and adults both can enjoy- A total winner in my book 😉

 

CajunChickenPastaPic

 

Cajun Chicken Pasta

Yield: 4 – 6 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound boneless chicken, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¼ red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 bell pepper, sliced into thin strips (any color or combination of colors)
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 (12 ounce) can crushed tomatoes (diced tomatoes can be used; simply run through the blender before using)
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 pound dried pasta
  • Fresh or dried parsley, for garnish (optional)

Directions:

In a small bowl, combine chicken and Cajun seasoning. Mix well, making sure that the chicken is evenly coated.

In a large pot of boiling water, cook the pasta until al dente according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.

In a large pan, heat oil and butter over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook until browned and no longer raw. Remove from pan and set aside.

Add more oil if needed, and add onions, bell peppers, garlic, salt, pepper, and extra Cajun seasoning (if needed). Cook until the vegetables have softened and browned lightly, about 5 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside with chicken.

Add the tomatoes and water, and cook for a few minutes. Add whipping cream and cook until thickened, several minutes (might take longer if using diced tomatoes).

Add chicken and vegetables back into the pan and gently mix. Add cooked pasta and mix well. Check seasonings, adding more if necessary. Serve garnished with parsley.