Amish Pumpkin Crunch

Here’s a wonderful fall dish that bakes up like a pumpkin pie on the bottom with a layer of streusel-like cake on the top—and your house smells fabulous while it’s baking! Serve it warm as a dessert or even as a brunch dish, or serve it chilled.

1 15-oz. can solid-pack pumpkin
1 12-oz. can evaporated milk
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
¼ tsp. ground cloves
½ tsp. salt
1 box yellow cake mix
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350º and spray a 9×13-inch baking pan. In a large bowl, combine the pumpkin, milk, eggs, sugar, and spices. Pour this mixture into the pan, then spread the dry cake mix evenly over the top of it. Sprinkle the pecans over the top of the cake mix, and drizzle the melted butter evenly over everything. Bake 55-60 minutes or until top is golden brown and the center is set. Serves 12. To serve warm, allow the crunch to set about 20 minutes. Refrigerate leftovers.

Annabelle’s Homemade Barbeque Sauce

Here’s a tangy sauce made from simple ingredients—and without the high-fructose corn syrup found in commercially bottled BBQ sauce. I especially like to use this sauce with pulled pork or chicken I’ve cooked in the slow cooker, or in place of taco sauce for nachos. It adds a whole new dimension of zing as a pizza sauce, as well!

1 cup ketchup
3/4 cup water
¼ cup cider vinegar
1 T. maple syrup
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. each celery seed and salt
1 T. each garlic powder and dried onion

Place all ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes, or a little longer to make a thicker sauce. Stir occasionally. Makes about 2 cups. Store in the refrigerator—keeps for several days.

Date Raisin Spice Bars

Nothing’s easier than a bar recipe that you stir up in a pan and bake! This recipe is from my mother-in-law’s collection, and I doubled the spices to make these moist, fruity bars a truly memorable treat!

½ cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 cup raisins
1 8-oz. pkg. chopped dates
½ tsp. salt
1 T. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground cloves
2 cups flour
¾ cup chopped walnuts
1 tsp. each vanilla and baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda

Preheat oven to 350º. Spray/grease a 10×15-inch pan. In a 2-quart saucepan on the stove, combine shortening, sugar, water, raisins, dates, and the spices. Simmer gently for 3 minutes and remove from heat. Stir in remaining ingredients until mixture is well blended. Spread batter in pan and bake about 15 minutes, or until center is set. While bars bake, make the frosting. Place bars on a rack to cool, and frost the bars while still hot. Cool completely before cutting.

2 ½ – 3 cups powdered sugar
2 T. softened butter
¼ cup milk
Dash of salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. of rum or almond flavoring

Posse Stew

Maybe this recipe was first created over a campfire out West? No matter what you call it, this stew goes together quickly from staples in your kitchen and provides a filling meal for all the folks around your table! Great with cornbread or biscuits!

1 lb. ground beef
1 large onion, diced
Salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste
1 15-oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 15-oz. can chili beans in sauce, undrained
1 15-oz. can hominy, drained
1 15-oz. can corn, drained
1 T. cornstarch
¼ cup water

In a large skillet, cook the beef and onion until all the pink is gone. Drain and return meat mixture to the skillet. Add the vegetables and beans and heat through, then stir the cornstarch into the water and add this to the skillet to thicken the stew. Adjust seasonings and serve. About 4-6 servings.

Kitchen Hint: For more kick, add a 4-oz. can of undrained jalapenos or a packet of dry fajita seasoning. You can also replace the cornstarch/water mix with a small can of tomato paste and add a dash of chili powder or more garlic powder.

Brown Sugar-Cinnamon Bars

Love cinnamon? Here’s another bar recipe that goes from a saucepan to the oven in minutes! Don’t let their plain, unfrosted appearance fool you—these bars are moist and chewy and indescribably delicious!

2 cups flour
2 T. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. baking soda
2 cups brown sugar, packed
2/3 cup butter
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
2 T. sugar
1tsp. cinnamon
1 T. melted butter

Preheat oven to 350º. Line a 9-inch baking pan with foil so that a flap extends on 2 sides, and spray/grease the foil. Combine the flour, 2 T. cinnamon, baking powder and soda in a small bowl and set aside. In a 2-quart saucepan on the stove, cook and stir the brown sugar and butter until butter is melted. Cool slightly. Stir in eggs and vanilla, then stir in the flour mixture. Spread the batter in the pan and bake 30-35 minutes, until a pick in the center comes out clean (bars will still seem a bit doughy, but don’t overbake!) While bars are still warm, brush with the melted butter and sprinkle with the remaining cinnamon-sugar mixture. Cool completely. Lift out of the pan with the foil to cut. 24 small bars.

Kitchen Hint: Double this recipe to make in a 9×13-inch pan.

Sugar Cookie Bars

These may be just “plain ole sugar cookie” bars without any chocolate or add-ins, but they are amazingly addictive! You can tint the frosting and decorate them with jimmies in colors to suit any occasion.

¾ cup unsalted butter, softened*
¾ cup sugar
1 egg
1 T. vanilla extract
½ tsp. almond extract
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. cream of tartar
½ tsp. salt
2 cups all purpose flour

½ cup unsalted butter, softened
1 T. vanilla extract
1-3 T. milk or heavy cream
2 cups powdered sugar
Dash of salt
Sprinkles and/or food coloring if desired

Preheat the oven to 350º. Line a 9×13” pan with foil and spray with nonstick spray.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Beat in the egg and both extracts. Mix in 1 cup of the flour along with the soda, cream of tartar and salt, and then add the remaining flour. Press dough into the prepared pan and bake about 15 minutes—just until the sides are turning golden and the center looks a little underdone. Cool completely in the pan.

For the frosting, beat the butter in a medium bowl to soften it further, and then add the vanilla and 1 T. of the milk/cream. Slowly add the powdered sugar and salt, and any food coloring you want to use. Add more milk if needed to reach a spreading consistency. Frost bars and decorate with sprinkles, if desired. Lift the foil to bring the bars out of the pan and cut on a cutting board. Makes 2-3 dozen. Freezes well.

Kitchen Hint: You may substitute the same amount of oil for the butter. It changes the texture, making a slightly denser bar.

Yogurt Bread

This easy bread resembles biscuits in a coffeecake format—moist, tender, and slightly sweet with whatever flavor of yogurt you choose. I like lemon or pineapple best!

1¾ cups flour
½ cup dried cranberries (or raisins)
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. baking soda
1 6-oz. container of fruit yogurt
2 T. oil
½ cup milk

Preheat the oven to 375º and spray or grease a 9-inch glass pie pan. In a medium bowl, mix the flour, cranberries, baking powder, and baking soda. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the yogurt, oil, and milk. Stir just until all dry ingredients are blended in, and spread the dough in the prepared pan using the back of the spoon. Bake 20 minutes or just until a toothpick comes out of the center clean. Cool about 10 minutes before cutting into wedges, and lift out with a pancake spatula. Makes 8 wedges.

Sloppy Joes

This versatile meat mixture is a real crowd-pleaser. You can make it ahead, and you can freeze it in small batches to reheat later. Makes great sandwiches, but it’s also yummy served on baked potatoes and topped with cheese, or as a topper for nachos or homemade pizza!

2 lbs. lean ground beef
1 lb. pork or turkey sausage
1 large onion, diced
1½ cups diced celery
Salt and pepper
2 T. garlic powder
14-oz bottle of catsup
1 cup barbeque sauce

Place the ground beef, sausage, onion, and celery in a Dutch oven or large, deep skillet. Salt and pepper liberally and cook until the meat is done and the vegetables are soft, stirring often to break the meat into smaller chunks. Remove from heat and spoon the mixture onto paper-towel lined plates to drain; dispose of grease in the pan. Run the mixture briefly through a food processor or grinder and return to the pan. Add the garlic powder, catsup, and barbeque sauce and cook over medium heat for 15-20 minutes, stirring often. Makes about 6 cups—enough to fill 12 sandwich buns.

Creamed Chicken

This is the ultimate comfort supper! Amish cooks would most likely start with a whole chicken cut into pieces, but for convenience I buy packages of boned, skinless chicken thighs (you can use breasts, but thighs/dark meat give the mixture a richer flavor). Serve this over biscuits, toast, baked potatoes, mashed potatoes—or cornbread!

2-3 T. oil or butter
1 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
Salt and pepper
Garlic powder
2 cups chicken stock
1 carrot, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 medium onion, diced
3 T. flour
3 T. butter
1 T. chopped dill weed
2 cans condensed cream of chicken or cheese soup
1 cup frozen peas

In a large skillet, heat the oil or butter over medium high heat. Arrange the chicken pieces and season liberally with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Cook a few minutes until browned, flip the pieces, and brown on the other side. Lower the heat, add 1 cup of the chicken stock, and simmer about 15 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and tender. Remove the chicken to a plate and add the carrot, celery, and onion to the liquid in the skillet. Simmer.

When the chicken’s cool enough to handle, cut it into bite-size chunks. When the vegetables are tender, remove them from the skillet. Measure the remaining liquid and add enough additional chicken stock to make 1½ cups. Melt the butter in the skillet, remove from heat, and stir in the flour to make a paste. Add the liquid and stir constantly over medium heat until thickened, then stir in the dill weed, creamed soups, and the peas. When the sauce is blended, add the chicken and vegetables and cook over low heat until mixture is hot and bubbly, stirring often. Makes 6-8 servings.

Cornmeal Bulk Mix

If you have a container of this mix in your pantry, you’ll never again settle for the boxed cornbread mixes in the store! You can go either sweet or savory with this versatile blend, and if you have recipes that call for commercial mixes (such as Jiffy or Bisquick) you can substitute the same amount of this mix to make muffins, pancakes, cornbread, etc. A couple of my favorite cornbread recipes follow this one!

4 cups yellow cornmeal
4 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
3 ½ T. baking powder
2 tsp. salt

Combine the ingredients with a big spoon and store in a large container with a tight-fitting lid. Makes 9 cups. Will keep at room temperature for 3 months.

Kitchen Hint: I store my mix in a plastic ice cream container, labeled and dated.

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