Thanksgiving and Christmas, I always make Pumpkin Pie Squares. It is very much like pumpkin pie, but goes further and you do not have to worry about making a rolled-out pie crust. If you are going to be feeding a big group of people, this is a terrific dessert to make. I have made this for parties and potlucks and have had many compliments on it :) It holds up for quite a few days in the fridge without any sogginess on the crust.
Pumpkin Pie Squares
1/2 cup butter or margerine, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
Cream butter/margerine with sugar until creamy. Add in flour (you may find it does not all incorporate). Then, fold in oats (same with oats-it may not all work itself in-that is ok). Then, put this mixture into a 9x13 pan (I like to use glass because then I can just keep the squares in there for easy trasport/fridge storage). Using hands, pat the mixture out as evenly as you can. Bake in 350 degree oven for about 15 mins or until set. Basically, until set means make sure you are not seeing much butter in your crust just sitting there. I don't let it get very brown if that helps you more :)
This is your basic pumpkin pie filling-so if you have a favorite, use it here. If not, here is what I have used for years (probably from a can of Libby's Pumpkin :)
3/4 cup white sugar
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin
1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
*on spices, I use 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice in place of individual spices above*
Beat eggs and sugar. Add in pumpkin and evaporated milk. Then add salt and spices and mix until you can see spices are blended evenly into mixture. Use a spoon or rubber spatula to help it along. Pour over baked crust (the crust does not have to cooled first-it can be warm from the oven). Bake at 350 until pie filling is set. I usually turn the oven down to about 300 after about 20 mins. but that is with my oven. I remember doing this often with pumpkin pies too. With these squares, I find it helps to not overbake the crust. Let cool before cutting into squares.
Another thing I started making Tiny Chicken Turnovers this year-I made them for New Years Eve last year and then again for the Super Bowl. When I made them for NYE, my husband suggested they needed cheese-so I added some shredded cheese for The Super Bowl-it really did add something extra :) Also, I love this recipe because you do not have to use just a chicken mixture-I actually used leftover turkey :) But, you could easily use ham, shredded beef, etc...You can just use the crust and fill with whatever you want. These do take a while, but they are really worth it. And, you can make these ahead of time and freeze. Then, reheat in the oven. Also, I was nervous because I am terrible with pie crusts! But, these came out nicely! I am even thinking of using this for pie crusts next time!
Tiny Chicken Turnovers:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter or margerine, chilled
5 tablespoons cold water
In a bowl mix together the flour and salt. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Gradually add water, tossing with a fork until a ball forms. Place in fridge for a bit to make it easier to roll.
3 tablespoons chopped onion (I like to chop mine really fine of use a bit of onion powder instead)
3 tablespoons butter
1 3/4 cups shredded, cooked chicken meat
3 tablespoons chicken stock
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 tsp Italian Seasoning
1/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, diced
Shredded Cheese (no amounts here-I suggest adding in as much as you think your family might like-you can even leave this out if you like:)
Melt butter in hot skillet. Add chopped onion and saute until tender. Add in shredded chicken, chicken stock, garlic powder and whatever other seasonings/spices you might like. Stir well, then add in cream cheese. Remove from heat and allow cream cheese to melt into mixture.
I love making the mixture the day before-unless I plan to store these in the freezer. It saves time, but it also allows the flavors to mingle and we all know mingling is a good thing ;) I just store it in the fridge until I need it.
On a floured surface, roll out dough to about 1/16 of an inch. I do not measure it.. I just roll it out pretty thin. Using a 2 1/2 inch cookie cutter or biscuit cutter or glass about that size, cut out circles. Place a heaping teaspoon of chicken mixture into center of circle. Fold circle over and using a bit of water around the inside edge of the circle, seal. You can use a fork to make pretty indents all around that sealed edge. Then, using a sharp knife, cut a small air hole in the top of the pastry. Reroll any scraps and keep going until you run out of chicken or dough :) I make up pans as I go along-this way I am working on a pan while one is baking. It helps with time-and if you have kids, they might relaly enjoy helping with these! It would be great for the little ones to help with the filling part.
Bake for 15-20 mins at 375. Just until golden brown.
Once again-this one is easy to make your own-up the spices, use less. Add some flavors to the crust such as some spicy seasonings and carry that on in your filling. You can also use less butter/margerine if you like. Try playing with that part-maybe taking out a TBS or two each time you make these. Don't be intimated by the pastry dough-it really was very easy to work with :) And, this is a really frugal recipe-you can really use up things you might have in the fridge/freezer that need to go!
I have reheated these in both the oven, on about 325 until hot, and in the microwave for about a min. Both worked well.