Because Regular Pumpkin Pie Is Just Plain Dull

This a rerun–I originally posted this last Thanksgiving. But a recipe this life-changing deserves a rerun. Enjoy!
I come from a long line of women who do not like to cook.  I hold tightly to
this genetic predisposition to get the heck out of the kitchen as fast
as I can.  It is a fine heritage.(Incidentally, it was once a source of significant stress that I married a man who came from a long line of women who love to cook.  Their family recipes, handed down for generations, involve sifting things, and using thermometers, and grating lemon zest.  My family recipes involve instant pudding.)Truly, though, it is a lovely thing that my favorite family recipes are so simple.  The very best one is the one my grandmother made for Thanksgiving every year.  It is so unbelievably good–but be warned.  Once you eat it, you may never be able to go back to regular pumpkin pie again.

And before we begin, I should point out that the best part of the
deal is the little mini, tart-sized pie-shells.  Usually they are
located in the freezer section.  The day after Thanksgiving, I’d always
go over to my grandmother’s house, and we’d sit on her couch and eat
all the empty pie shells like potato chips.

Clearly, I also have a genetic heritage involving carbohydrates.


1 15-oz can pumpkin
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp ginger
3/4 tsp nutmeg
1 3.4-oz box instant vanilla pudding
2 cups milk

Blend all ingredients well, using a whisk.  Cover and
refrigerate until chilled.  Prepare small, tart-sized pie shells (both
the frozen pastry variety or the graham cracker variety work well).
Before serving, spoon pumpkin mixture into tart shells.  Top with
whipped topping and serve.


Barbecue Cupcakes

This post was originally published in September 2008.

Yes, barbecue cupcakes.  The original recipe for this (I believe it came from Taste of Home) was entitled “farmhouse barbecue muffins”.  But in this family, we believe in inserting dessert conceptually wherever we can.  So, they’re barbecue cupakes.

They are delicious and easy.  They’re perfect for a family meal, but they’re also a fun party food.  Here’s the scoop:


1 lb ground beef, cooked
1 cup bbq sauce or sloppy joe sauce, whichever you prefer
1 can of LAYERED refrigerated biscuits (not the little tiny packages, the bigger one.  I use
About 1-2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese

Cook beef, drain, mix with bbq sauce.  Set aside.

Carefully pull apart layers of biscuits, so that each biscuit is now in two pieces, like this:


Roll out layers with a rolling pin, until they make a 10-12″ circle.

Spray the insides of a muffin pan.  Insert one flattened biscuit into each cup, like this:


In each little pastry shell, spoon in about 1 tbsp of beef mixture.  It will look this:


Afterwards, sprinkle cheese on top, because if a recipe doesn’t say “sprinkle cheese on top”, then you should run the other way:


Bake in a 350 oven for 8-12 minutes, take it out, and then you just tell me this isn’t the cutest little thing you’ve ever seen: