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Posts from the ‘Recipes’ Category

creamy pumpkin banana tart.

I’m going to level with you.

When I came across this combination of flavors – the pumpkin with the banana – I immediately dismissed the recipe because it just sounded too weird…too reminiscent of mushy baby food or something.


I beg you – BEG YOU! – please don’t judge this recipe by its cover (or title).

I don’t know what else to say except, this tart is simply divine.  Otherwise it would be nowhere near this blog.

It totally fit the need for pumpkin, which as you know I’ve been loving these days…adding a little here in this pasta or a little there in this french toast.  And I’m not sure I’m quite done yet, as it’s just now November and we’ve still got quite a ways to go until Thanksgiving.

Am I the only one who thinks November and December are officially the best months ever?

Another appearance by my trusty Cuisinart processor. Such a worthwhile investment for this frugal foodie.

If you don’t have a processor just pulverize the graham crackers into crumbs, then mix together with the other crust ingredients.

My big helper doing her best Vanna White impression with the tart shell.

Here’s a trick to perfectly packed tart shells!  Use the bottom and sides of a measuring cup to spread around and pack in the crust.

Heat up your pumpkin mixture, whisk in egg yolks, and then fold in some whipped heavy cream.

And as a side note:  I promise I’ll return to my regularly scheduled, nutritious but fabulous dinners, soon.  Lord help me.  It’s November and December, some of the best (and calorie-filled) cooking months of the year.  This is going to be hard.

So there you have it.  A terrific tart to serve at Thanksgiving or just because it’s Fall.  A hint of banana, lots of creamy pumpkin and spice and a graham cracker crust.  And far less than buying one of those fancy desserts at the store.

And if you are looking to put those extra graham crackers to use (I mean besides making the 1-hour driving trip to Granny’s house easier on your toddlers), may I point you toward these coffee s’mores pie or mini s’mores tarts recipes to use ’em all up.

Creamy Pumpkin Banana Tart

(adapted from Barefoot Contessa, serves 10)

For the crust:

2 cups graham cracker crumbs (14 crackers)

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 stick butter, melted

For the filling:

1/2 cup half and half

1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree

1 cup light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

3 large egg yolks

1 package (2 teaspoons) unflavored gelatin

1 ripe banana, finely mashed

1/2 cup cold heavy cream

2 tablespoons sugar

For the decoration:

1 cup cold heavy cream

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla


Preheat oven to 350F

Combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar, cinnamon, and melted butter in a bowl or process in a food processor until well combined.  Pour into an 11-inch tart pan with a removable bottom and press evenly into the sides, and then the bottom (using the bottom of a measuring cup works well for this).  Bake for 10 minutes, then cool at room temperature.

For the filling, combine the half and half, pumpkin, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water until hot, about 5 minutes.  Whisk egg yolks separately, stir some of the hot pumpkin mixture back into the double boiler and stir well.  Heat mixture over the simmering water for another 4-5 minutes, until it begins to thicken, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat.

Dissolve gelatin in 1/4 cup cold water.  Add the dissolved gelatin and banana to the pumpkin mixture and mix well.  Set aside to cool.

Whip the cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment until soft peaks forms.  Add the sugar and continue to whisk until you have firm peaks.  Carefully fold the whipped cream into the pumpkin mixture and pour into the cooled tart shell.  Chill 2 hours or overnight.

For the topping, whip the cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment until soft peaks form.  Add the sugar and vanilla and continue to whisk until you have firm peaks.  Pipe or spoon the whipped cream decoratively on the tart.  Serve chilled.

TOTAL:  $6.45 or $.65 per serving

Wondering how on earth I arrived at these costs?  Take a look at my shopping guide to show see what I pay for items, per serving, etc.


378 calories per serving

20 grams of fat

48 carbs

3 grams protein

3 grams fiber

P.S. Mosey on over to Facebook and check out my current GIVEAWAY!

Join the Frugal Foodie Family Food Blog Community on Facebook


gluten-free coconut macaroons.

The other day I found myself in a total conundrum.  I had a growing list of people coming over for a dessert event at our home, with only 2 desserts planned.  Figuring I needed one more little thing – something easily nibble-able (totally a word) and delicious but quick and easy to whip up in the short time I had before everyone showed up…I made these macaroons.

I know what you’re thinking…”Duh, Kelly, these cookies should totally be making an appearance at your Easter table or Mother’s Day brunch, not smack-dab in the middle of Fall.”  And you would be right.  But here’s what makes them perfect for this time of year:  have you seen the deals on baking items during the months of October, November and December?  Jimminy Christmas!  They’re practically giving these items away!  So since I had extra coconut in the pantry and several cans of condensed milk (and can we just stop for a moment and ask how in the world they actually condense our milk any further?)…these fit the bill.

And boy were they delicious.

There are 5 ingredients in this recipe – 5!

First mix up coconut, condensed milk and vanilla…

Next, beat up some egg whites and salt…

That’s right – go on and beat ’em up good.

Mix the eggs and coconut mixture together and plop ’em onto a baking sheet!

Seriously, people…it doesn’t get much easier than this for bakery-fresh cookies that are gluten-free.

And here they are in all their coconutty glory.  And if you have some coconut leftover, may I suggest tossing some in these scones or this granola or this heavenly tart.

Coconut Macaroons

(adapted from Barefoot Contessa, makes 20-22 cookies)

14 ounces unsweetened shredded coconut

14 ounces sweetened condensed milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 large egg whites, at room temperature

1/4 teaspoon salt


Preheat oven to 325F

Combine coconut, condensed milk and vanilla in a large bowl.  Whisk egg whites and salt on high speed in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until they make firm peaks.  Carefully fold egg whites into the coconut mixture.

Drop the batter onto baking pans lined with parchment paper using either a small ice cream scoop or two teaspoons.  Bake 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown.

To store:  Keep at room temperature, well wrapped, for several days.

TOTAL:  $5.51 or $.28 per cookie.

Wondering how on earth I arrived at these costs?  Take a look at my shopping guide to show see what I pay for items, per serving, etc.


145 calories per cookie

9 grams of fat

14 carbs

3 grams protein

1 gram fiber

Mosey on over to Facebook and let me know what you think or send me a pic if you tried it!

Join the Frugal Foodie Family Food Blog Community on Facebook

spiced pumpkin french toast.

True Confession:  I failed my first driving test.

And here’s what’s worse:  When friends asked to see my new license, I totally lied.  I LIED! You see, I had scheduled my test at least a month before, on my 16th birthday, and came back empty-handed.  I mean completely.  I left my license and my pride at the Thousand Oaks Department of Motor Vehicles.  My instructor said something about how maybe I cut off a car on a major street and possibly sped in a school zone.  Maybe.

And for those of you wondering if I went on to be a good driver…well, I can say with confidence that I’ve never been issued a ticket by a police officer.  That’s right, not by any of the 9 police officers who have pulled me over in the 15 years I’ve been driving.  There WAS the little issue of that tiny camera catching me racing through an intersection just after the light turned red.  Oh you silly camera.  What am I to do with you?  I mean I can’t smile or crack a joke or play dumb with you 🙂

While we’re at this whole confession thing, I’ll mention that I’ve been loving me some pumpkin lately.  I’m sure there are so many great and healthy ways to enjoy pumpkin but for the life of me this season I can’t help but add pumpkin to my pasta, toss some in a mousse tart (recipe coming!), or smother it on thick pieces of crusty bread.

There are three steps in this recipe – 3!

Step #1:  Mix up pumpkin, eggs, milk, vanilla and pumpkin pie spice.

Step #2:  Slice up some thick bread – my favorites are french or challah or brioche.

Step #3:  Cook up the french toast and serve with butter, syrup and maybe some chopped spiced pecans if you’re in the mood.

Welcome, Fall.  My last confession:  I think I love you.

Spiced Pumpkin French Toast

(a FFF original – serves 4)

What You’ll Need:

1 loaf french or challah bread, sliced into 1 inch slices

1 cup pureed pumpkin

3 eggs

1 1/2 cups milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

yummy toppings like butter, maple syrup, caramelized pecans


In a deep baking dish, whisk together pumpkin, eggs, milk, vanilla and pumpkin pie spice until smooth.

Dip bread in the pumpkin mixture, flipping after a few minutes until well coated on either side.

Heat a griddle or nonstick pan with cooking spray or butter.  Cook french toast until golden, about 2-3 minutes per side.  If need be, keep in the oven at 300F while cooking up the rest of the french toast.

Serve with butter and maple syrup or caramelized nuts.

TOTAL:  $4.95, or about $1.24 per serving.

Wondering how on earth I arrived at these costs?  Take a look at my shopping guide to show see what I pay for items, per serving, etc.


299 calories per serving (not including toppings)

6 grams of fat

46 carbs

15 grams protein

3 grams fiber

Did you give it a try?  Leave me a comment below or head over to Facebook and let me know what you think!

Join the Frugal Foodie Family Food Blog Community on Facebook

pumpkin and sage pasta bake.

My fellow Americans:

You can believe in this pasta bake. 

  1. It is the hope for your pre-halloween meal.
  2. It is the change your family is begging of you, a distinctly different path from your weeknight tacos and your dependence on mac n’cheese.
  3. It will create new memories, and just may become a new favorite fall dish.
  4. It will cut the family budget deficit, with a cost per serving of $1.78.

Can you make this?

Yes you can.

(si, se puede)

Here’s the lineup…ricotta or cottage cheese, pumpkin, yogurt, eggs, and some spices.

Toss in some garlic, sage, and a little more cheese.

I’m sure you’re thinking “this looks like a casserole.”  And you would be right.  But because we don’t utter the c-word in this foodie family, you won’t hear it from me 🙂

My name is Kelly Hartman and I approve this message.

Pumpkin and Sage Pasta Bake

(frugally adapted by The Kitchn – serves 6)

What You’ll Need:

Olive oil
1 pound pasta, such as farfalle or penne (I used gluten-free brown rice penne)
1 (15 ounce) container ricotta or cottage cheese
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
2 eggs
1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
2 teaspoons salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 cup grated Parmesan or asiago cheese, divided


Heat the oven to 375°F. Lightly oil a 9×13-inch baking dish with olive oil. Set aside. Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat, and stir about 1 tablespoon of salt. Add the pasta, and turn the heat down to medium. Cook for a slightly shorter amount of time than specified by the package (i.e. 1-2 minutes less).  Drain the pasta and toss lightly with olive oil.

In a large bowl, whisk together the ricotta, pureed pumpkin, eggs, and yogurt. Whisk in the salt, pepper, nutmeg, and ginger.

Stir in the pasta and coat completely with the pumpkin mixture. Stir in the sage, garlic and 1/4 cup Parmesan or asiago cheese.

Spread the mixture evenly in the prepared baking dish and sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan or asiago cheese over top. Bake uncovered for 35 minutes or until golden brown on top. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

TOTAL:  $10.70, or about $1.78 per serving.

Wondering how on earth I arrived at these costs?  Take a look at my shopping guide to show see what I pay for items, per serving, etc.


401 calories per serving

12 grams of fat

51 carbs

23 grams protein

2 grams fiber

Did you give it a try?  Leave me a comment below or head over to Facebook and let me know what you think!

Join the Frugal Foodie Family Food Blog Community on Facebook

mama’s meat sauce.

I’m totally getting into this whole organic thing.

A lot of people ask me what I do about incorporating organic food into our budget and here’s where I’m at on it: Read more

slow roasted shredded pork.

This is my attempt to make big-time fans out of your husbands, boyfriends, sons and male co-workers.

Shredded Pork.

That’s right.

As you know my defenses have become weakened over the years as far as pork is concerned…starting first with prosciutto, then bacon, then pork tenderloin.  I used to work in an office with 7 men who I’m pretty sure dreamed about pork at night.  Well, with this recipe you might as well just call me an all-out pork fan.  There are just no if’s, and’s or butt’s (no pun intended – well that’s not true…I had been thinking about that one for several minutes) about it. Read more

savory shortbreads with parmesan, fennel and sea salt.

Savory cookies are totally my new favorite way to cookie.


In fact I baked up this recipe to bring to new neighbors who had moved in next door…except that, well, they sort of disappeared in the time that it took me to throw on some lipstick and get them wrapped up pretty.  I had the best of intentions.  Really. Read more

roasted fall vegetables.

Eat Your Veggies!

Not the veggie-eating type?  Well after sampling this recipe you might just change your mind.  There’s something indescribable that happens when you toss your veggies in olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper.  They get all sweet and caramely and flavorful. Read more

strawberry basil bruschetta.

If I could have a best foodie friend (BFF), it would be goat cheese.  I’ve been known to eat it at every meal, scrambling it into my morning eggs, tossing a little in a chicken salad  for lunch, or throwing some on top of an arugula pizza for dinner.  I’ll never get tired of goat cheese.   This is a friendship that has stood the test of time. Read more

orcchiette with prosciutto and parmesan.

5 ingredients.

There are 5 ingredients in this recipe.  Can you even handle it?

Sometimes the recipes that are the most flavorful are those that are the simplest.  This is one of those recipes. We’re talking pasta with butter, prosciutto, salt and cheese.  Holy moly.  I served this the first night we visited my parents in their new house and after we all took the first bite we looked around at each other like maybe we had won the lottery or something.

Anyway, I dunno, I like these kinds of straight-forward recipes.  They’re easy, they’re good, and they’re inexpensive!  3 things I’m totally down with, as you probably know if you’ve read more than one post on this little blog. Read more

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