Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Winter Squash Risotto

Rich and creamy, with a sweetness from the squash that makes this risotto a wonderful Fall side dish.  You do need a little patience stirring in the heated broth while the rice absorbs all the flavors.

Winter Squash Risotto

2 tbsp butter
2 cloves garlic, grated
1 cup arborio rice
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup winter squash, mashed
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Melt the butter in the bottom of a large saucepan.  Add in rice and garlic, stir and cook for a couple minutes.  Stir in the white wine.  Cook until the wine is absorbed.  Add in the additional 1/2 cup of heated broth.  Next continue adding in addtional broth in 1/2 cup measures, stirring and cooking until it's absorbed.  Add in the squash and spices.  Keep cooking until the rice is tender.  It will take about a half hour.  Stir in the Parmesan cheese before serving.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Applesauce Muffins

Apples and cinnamon is a wonderful aroma to have coming from your oven on a cool Fall day.  Soften your butter overnight and you’ll have a great start to your day.  I was extra happy that I got to use my acorn muffin pan that I only drag out of the cupboard every Fall.

Applesauce Muffins
½ cup butter, softened
½ cup sugar
2 large eggs
2/3 cup applesauce (I used organic)
1 ½ cups flour
½ tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda

Cream together the butter and sugar.  Add in the eggs and applesauce.  Mix in the remaining ingredients.  Bake at 350°  for 15 minutes (for mini muffins)

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Winter Squash Soup

Fall is officially here and it's time to start making comforting and warming foods.  Squash is my favorite vegetable and here's another way to enjoy it.  I know a lot of squash soups call for butternut squash but that's not my favorite by any means so I used an Kabocha that I baked and resisted eating right away. I topped the soup with some crumbled pancetta and toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds).

Winter Squash Soup

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups chicken stock
1 1 /2 cups squash, cooked
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup cream

Heat the olive oil in the bottom of a large sauce pan or dutch oven.  When heated, add in the onions and cook until they are translucent.  Add in the minced garlic and cook for another minute.  Add in the chicken stock and squash.  Using an immersion blender, blend soup until smooth.  Heat soup until it comes to a simmer stage.  Add in cream.  

Monday, September 19, 2016

Peanut Butter Lover’s Snack Mix

Who doesn’t love the creamy taste of peanut butter? Imagine it now over salty treats and popcorn and you’ll be gathering all the ingredients to throw together for this easy to make treat for the family.

Peanut Butter Lover’s Snack Mix

¼ cup popcorn (unpopped measurement)  Be sure to remove all the unpopped kernels
½ cup honey
1/3 cup sugar
½ cup natural peanut butter
½ tsp salt

Combine all of the above ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a simmer.
Pour over the following and mix completely. 

Popped popcorn (see above)
2 cups mini pretzels
1 cup salted peanuts

Spread out to dry on wax paper lined pans.  After it has cooled, mix in 1 cup Reese’s Pieces

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Caramel Apple Bars

It’s that time of the year that all the fruits and vegetables are ripe and ready to be used, canned or frozen.  I decided to make a pan of bars using fresh apples and caramel and share them.

Caramel Apple Bars
1 cup butter, softened
¾ cup brown sugar
½ tsp salt
½ tsp cinnamon
1 ½ cups flour
1 ½ cups quick oats

Cream together butter and brown sugar.  Gradually add in the salt, cinnamon and flour.  Stir in the quick oats.  Pat 2/3 of mixure in the bottom of a 9 x 13 greased pan.  Bake at 350° for 10 minutes.
Top bottom crust with 3 apples that are peeled and diced that have 1 tbsp of lemon juice mixed in. 

Unwrap 1 10 oz bag of caramels and place in a microwave safe bowl.  Add 2 tbsp milk and microwave until melted.  Stir so milk and caramels are completely mixed.  Pour over the apples.  Sprinkle the remaining  crust evenly over the top.  Return to the oven and bake for an additional 30 minutes.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Apple Butter

Mashed sweet potatoes with a hint of apples and cinnamon mixed in and it’s an easy side dish on a weeknight.  You can bake the sweet potatoes but I chose the microwave to have this meal ready within 10 minutes.  You can use apple sauce and just add in ¼ tsp of cinnamon.

Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Apple Butter
3 medium sweet potatoes
1/3 cup apple butter (recipe below)
¼ tsp salt
Microwave the sweet potatoes (remember to prick with a fork a few times) per your microwaves instructions or button.  Allow to cool a couple minutes before scooping out into a bowl.  Stir in apple butter and salt.

Apple Butter

3 lbs apples, peeled, cored and diced
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ginger

Put chopped apples into a crockpot with water and lemon juice.  Cook until apples are tender. Puree apples in a food mill or food processor.

Add sugar and bring to a low boil.  Add spices. 

Put into clean, dry jars leaving 1/2" head space.  Put into boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Parmesan Garlic Buns

Soft buns with a crunchy topping of Parmesan cheese and garlic flavor. I roasted my garlic for the topping but you can substitute in 1/2 tsp of garlic powder instead.

Parmesan Garlic Buns

1/4 cup warm water
1 pkg yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
1 1/2 tbsp honey

Mix together and let sit for 10 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl,

Beat 1 large egg and add in yeast mixture when it's ready using a bread hook.  
Add in -

1 cup warm milk with 2 tbsp butter melted in it (make sure it's not hot, just warm)
Gradually add in -
3 1/4 cups bread flour
3/4 tsp salt

When completely mixed.  Remove bowl from mixer and cover.  Allow the dough to double in size.  Turn out on a lightly floured surface and knead for a couple minutes.  Cut into 12 equal pieces and roll into balls.  Place dough balls in a greased 9 x 13 pan.  Allow to rise.  Preheat oven to 350°.  

In a small bowl, microwave 2 tbsp butter.  Mix in 3 cloves of garlic that are roasted and cooled (they should be so soft they are like paste).  Stir in 1 tbsp parsley.  Brush the top of the buns and then sprinkle 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese evenly over.  Back for 30 minutes.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Crock Pot Roast Beef Tacos

I was hungry for Mexican food but wanted to try something new.  I found a small 2# roast and happened to have flour tortillas and hot sauce on hand.  This was a great meal to have in the crock pot on a rainy day.  

Crock Pot Roast Beef Tacos

1 small beef roast (I used a 2# sirloin tip roast)
1 - 14.5 oz can of petite diced tomatoes
1/4 cup onions, minced
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp ancho chile powder

Cook in the crock pot on medium heat for 6 hours.  Turn the beef every hour so the tomato juice will help break it down for easy shredding.  When meat is falling apart, remove from the crock pot and let sit on a plate for 10 minutes before shredding.  Put the rest of the crock pot contents in a small bowl or in a blender.  I used an immersion blender and blended until the mixture is smooth.  Set aside to pour on top of shredded beef.  Serve on top of warm flour or corn tortillas.  Top with your favorite taco toppings.  I used hot sauce and sour cream.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Monte Cristo Crepes

A savory crepe with a touch of sweet and salty.  You can serve this crepe for any meal (and even make the crepes in advance).  

Monte Cristo Crepes

Crepes ~  make ahead and let sit for at least a half hour.  Perfect for getting the rest of your ingredients together

1 cup flour
1 cup milk - I used 2%
2/3 cup Perrier
2 tbsp butter, melted
2 large eggs
1 dash salt

Whisk all the ingredients in a medium bowl and let sit until you are ready to cook.  Heat a 10" non-stick frying pan.  I sprayed a coating of cooking spray as it was heating.  Add in 1/4 cup of crepe mixture and tilt the pan until the batter is evenly spread.  Cook of medium heat until the edges start to turn brown.  Use a spatula to gently flip the crepe over.  Cook for another minute or two until the 2nd side is done.  Place on a plate.  Insert a piece of wax paper between all the crepes so they do not stick.

Other ingredients ~

8 slices deli ham
8 slices deli turkey
8 slices swiss cheese

Mix together for the topping ~

1/2  cup strawberry jam
1 tbsp orange juice (or water)

Top a crepe with the meats and cheese.  Roll up burrito style.  Place side by side in a baking dish.  Bake for 5 minutes at 350° or until cheese melts.  Top with a bit of the jam mixture.