Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Butternut, Apple, Cranberry Bake

This might be my last cranberry related post unless something amazing comes up by the holidays.

We made this baked dish for thanksgiving and it was a hit!  We have just a bit of squash this year (about several hundred pounds) so we are searching for many ways to make and eat it.

1 Butternut squash, peeled, sliced 1/8 inch
3 apples, sliced 1/8 inch
1 c. whole cranberries

2 Tbs flour
4 Tbs butter, chilled and cubed
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp mace

Preheat oven to 375.
Arrange sliced veggies in a baking dish.  Mix the topping in a food processor or use knives to cut into a course texture.  Sprinkle over apples and butternut and bake covered for 20 minutes.  Uncover and bake another 20 minutes or until desired consistency.

I forgot to take a picture post baking but it is pretty before and after it come out of the oven.

I wish you enough!  Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Mini Cranberry Brie Puffs

Here is another cranberry favorite this year, I mean what could be bad about melted brie topped with cranberry sauce in a tiny puff pastry square ?!?

I made homemade cranberry sauce because I bought 5 bags this year but you could easily use the canned whole berry sauce.

My cranberry sauce:
1 c. water
1 c. sugar
12 oz. bag of cranberries
2 1-inch pieces of orange peel
1 cinnamon stick

Bring water to boil over high heat, add sugar and stir until dissolved.  Stir in cranberries and return to boil.  Turn heat to low and boil gently, stirring occasionally until the cranberries have popped and the sauce is thick.  This should take about 10 minutes.  Transfer to bowl, remove orange peel and cinnamon stick, and refrigerate until ready to serve.  This can be made up to 1 week before you need it, and tastes much better if made at least a day or two before.

So to make the little cranberry puffs...  servings 18:

1 box of 2 sheets of puff pastry
14 oz whole berry cranberry sauce
1 triangle of good brie, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

Heat oven to 375.  Spray a mini muffin tin with oil, or if you have time butter wouldn't taste bad, just sayin'.

Defrost and roll out puff pastry.  Cut each sheet into 9 square pieces.  Line each mini muffin hole with puff pastry folding in the sides as needed.  Place brie piece into puff pastry and top with 1/2 tablespoon of cranberry sauce.  You can use more or less sauce as your taste or pan sees fit.

Bake for 10-20 minutes depending on oven and how crispy you would like your puffs to be.  Keep an eye on them after 10 minutes.  They are done when golden brown.

Make sure you eat these things warm, they are super yummy.  We had 8 left over so I froze them and they do well frozen too!

I wish you enough!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Cranberry Drinks, Appetizers and Sides

'Tis the season for cranberry dishes and I am going all out this year.  This is a snippet of what has been going on in my kitchen.

I'll start with this drink that would loosen you up a bit to have more fun in the kitchen.

For the link to the original recipe click here.

Cranberry Daiquiri
(6 servings)
Dissolve 1/2 cup sugar in 1/2 cup water in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add 1 cinnamon stick and 1/2 teaspoon grated orange peel; bring to boil. Mix in 1/2 cup cranberries and cook until cranberries begin to pop. 

Cool; discard cinnamon. Pour mixture into jar; add 1/2 cup light rum. Chill. 

Strain syrup into pitcher; reserve cranberries. 

Add 6 tablespoons each dark rum, light rum, cranberry juice, and lemon juice to pitcher. Chill. Serve in Martini glasses that have been filled with crushed ice. Garnish with reserved cranberries.

Coming up:
Cranberry Brie Bites
Cranberry Butternut Apple Bake

 I wish you enough!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Breakfast for Dinner: Pancakes

Some days the best dinner is breakfast.  Today was one of those days.  I've had this recipe on my mind since a co-worker gave it to me on Friday and I just couldn't wait until morning.  I changed the recipe a bit because I wanted to save time and I have to say they are wonderful.

This recipe made 18 3-4 inch pancakes:

Lemon Ricotta Blueberry Pancakes

1 1/4 cups flour
2-3 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 egg + 2 egg whites
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 pint blueberries

Wash blueberries and set aside.
Mix dry ingredients in one bowl.
Whisk wet ingredients in another then add to bowl with dry ingredients and stir well.  The batter will be thick and airy.

Heat a griddle on medium heat.  Spoon batter onto griddle and top with blueberries.  Turn once they are brown and flatten a little with the spatula.  Cook until brown on both sides and cooked all the way through.

Enjoy warm and top with a little maple syrup.

I wish you enough!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Shrimp and Grits

I started a "Meet the Masters" cooking class this week focusing on Bobby Flay and Patrick O'Connell.  We are cooking their recipes and learning techniques as we go along.

This week we made:
Amuse Buche Ham and Chive biscuits with Marscarpone Pepper Jelly
Cojito Crusted Quesadillas with Red Pepper Sauce    AND
Sauteed Shrimp with Sweet Potato and Smoked Chile Grits (Bobby Flay Mesa Grill Cookbook)

These might sound fancy but it didn't take more than 45 minutes to make any of them and all three were wonderful.  The one caveat is that the sweet potato was roasted before hand so we didn't have to do that in class.  I am looking forward to the next two classes and all the yummy food we get to try.

I made the shrimp and grits at home and they turned out equally as wonderful.

The sauces are a cilantro based vinaigrette and a pureed chipotle pepper with adobo sauce.

The pureed peppers add a smoky hot flavor that is reminiscent of a shrimp and chorizo dish I had once...

I followed the recipe pretty close and am not sure about typing out someone else's copyrighted material so if you'd like the recipe you could google the title, check out the book, or let me know and I'll share mine with you.  There are plenty of bloggers that have posted this to their sites but many of them have changed things that may or may not make this the best dish ever....

Is there a cooking technique you would like to know about?  I learned how to stir biscuit dough the other night, something I thought I already did correctly...but this other way was noticeably better, who knew?  So if you have something you've been wondering about I'd love to share my thoughts.

I wish you enough!

Monday, November 7, 2011


I've started making a monster that will eventually be able to eat things....  like toys and clothes...

Aiming to give this guy some arms, legs and back tonight.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Early Thanksgiving

We are having an early Thanksgiving this year since our family is in town early.  We are blessed that we are surrounded by the most wonderful people.  Our fun meals started Wednesday and will end on Sunday for brunch.  So far we've had the following:

Barley, Lentil, Swiss Chard Soup: used this recipe from Epicurious

Roasted Butternut and Kale Pizza

Pumpkin Coconut Soup: I added a can of coconut soup, 2 Tbs. Lime juice, 4 c. of broth, and 2 extra cups of pumpkin to this recipe.

Shredded Carrot and Beet Salad

Still on the menu for the next several days:

Friday Lunch:

Friday Dinner:
Pumpkin Galette
Raw Kale Salad
Apple Cabbage Slaw
Plum Pandowdy

Saturday Dinner:

Honey apple brie bites
Cranberry sauce
Stuffing and gravy
Pumpkin Pie

Sunday Brunch:
Spinach, cheddar potato frittata

Pecan Sticky buns
Homemade granola bars
Hot cider and cold orange juice

I wish you enough!  

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Sort of Homemade Bread and Tomato Soup

This cold weather has prompted me to start making soups and bread.  This is one of my favorite times of the year to cook because I get to start baking again, and I love how my house smells when baking bread, cookies, chickens, and....

Yesterday my co-worker gave me a taste of a super yummy soup made with tomatoes, butternut squash, garlic, and basil.  It inspired me seasonally because if you have any tomatoes left when butternut squash is in season you should count yourself lucky.  I decided to try this and came up with a too-much-tomato-not-enough-squash soup.  Luckily we grew lots of squash this year so I'll just add to the base and then freeze some for a cold day down the road.

I started by getting the bread ready to bake.

I call it sort-of homemade because I made it in my bread machine.  I have been a bit against these for years because I like the act of kneading the bread and watching it rise.  But with a toddler underfoot and not much time on my hands this is the best thing.  And it is pretty good too.  I just followed the directions in the bread machine book for the basic recipe and substituted 1/3 of the flour with whole wheat.

While the bread was baking I roasted 3 butternut squash and 1 head of garlic:

I made a lot of tomato sauce this summer and froze it so I used that as my base to the soup.  Then added onions, basil,  roasted squash, and garlic.

I loved this soup when it was chunky....

But didn't love it once I pureed it the the stick blender...

It is way too tomato-y.  It was good but not what I was shooting for.  So I saved the soup and am going to roasted 3-4 more butternuts and add them to the soup.  Hopefully it will be super tasty and will freeze well to enjoy in a month or two when it really snows.  Thank you to Jean and her daughter for inspiring to make this soup.

**A little note about roasted garlic.  This might seem like a lot of garlic to put in the soup but once garlic is roasted it is actually a little sweet and very mild.  I think roasted garlic fits into my favorite food category.

To roast garlic chop off the top until the cloves are just exposed, drizzle with olive oil, cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  You could also do this in the summer on the grill.

A weird tidbit is that I think that when I eat too much garlic, like this whole head, I actually have nightmares.....hmmm.

Enjoy this rainy cold day by baking up some yummy food and making your tongue smile.

I wish you enough!

If you like this post you might also like these:

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Fried Green Pumpkin

My favorite food this week happened by accident.  We have been picking winter squash at the farm...

and found a nice small green one, so I decided to slice it up and try it out.

**see PS note below**

 It is wonderful!  Light, creamy, and tastes like the best summer squash ever.

And unfortunately I didn't get great pictures of it because it didn't last too long in that pan.

PS: that big white root behind the pumpkin is a type of daikon radish called a forage radish.  We use them at the farm as a cover crop and a natural way to loosen the soil.  The are supposed to grow to 18 inches long and when they die the soil is loose around the roots making it easier to work the field the next year.

I wish you enough!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Lasagna Casserole

In honor of my amazing friends who are running a half marathon tomorrow I am posting this carb laden joy.  As I said in my last post "There are not many things I like more than having a whole meal in one bowl."  

I love lasagna but I always think it takes way to long to put together.  For this casserole I just layered all the normal ingredients except for the noodles; I used curly noodles rather than the typical flat lasagna noodle.  The total time was about 1 hour including the 25 minute bake time.

I used homemade tomato sauce from this summer but you could use jarred sauce to make this even quicker.  My only recommendation is to add a bunch of fresh oregano to any sauce, your taste buds will love you.  

There are no exact measurements here, just be creative and your guaranteed to love your creation.

To begin:
** Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

** Boil your pasta until al dente, it will cook more in the oven.

** Choose your fillings, I used:
sliced carrot
chopped onion, peppers and mushrooms
minced garlic
ground turkey

**Saute veggies adding garlic near the end.  When slightly soft add sauce and a bunch of fresh oregano, stir until warm and turn off heat.  If you use meat, brown it in a separate pan and add it to the sauce or just make it a layer at the end.

** Mix 2 cups ricotta cheese and 1 cup Parmesan cheese in a bowl.

** In a large dutch oven or glass dish layer noodles, sauce, and cheese mixture until full then top with 1 cup mozzarella cheese.

** Bake uncovered 25-30 minutes, or until cheese is melted and browned on top.

** Enjoy and then enjoy the next day because we all know it tastes better the next day.

I wish you enough!  And I wish the best to my strong friends for tomorrow, you will be great!!!!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Taco Salad

There are not many things I like more than having a whole meal in one bowl.  There is something about having a bunch of yummy food hugging in a bowl that makes it taste so good.... and I guess if it's is spicy it's even better.

This taco salad is super easy and fast!

Heat a large heavy bottom pan and saute:
red bell peppers

1 lb. ground turkey until browned

Taco Seasoning and 2 Tbsp tomato paste

In the meantime shred some lettuce, open a bag of shredded mozzarella cheese, some guacamole and sour cream.  If you like salsa get that out too.  You could also eat some tortilla chips with this if you like the crunch, but I am cutting calories so I just added extra lettuce.

I like to put the hot stuff on the bottom with the cheese so it will melt first:

Then I layer all the cold ingredients.  In this case lettuce, sour cream, guacamole, and homemade Salsa Verde:

Then I stir it up and enjoy all the flavors together!

With this dinner I had a nice red wine called Equation.  We bought it in Sheperdstown WV in a nice little store called Grapes and Grains.  It is a local wine and was pretty tasty.

I wish you enough!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Kale Avocado Salad

My new love:

This salad is super easy and so tasty you will want to eat it everyday... or um, at least a few times a week.

Cut one bunch of kale into small pieces (2x2 in. square), removing the tough rib, then wash:

Place the kale in a bowl, pour 1-2 Tbs olive oil over kale, add 1 tsp kosher salt then mix.  This is best part of making this salad, dig your hands in there and massage the oil and salt into the kale. Enjoy the feeling on your fingers and the smell in your nose!

After it is mixed I massage in mashed avocado, then add chopped tomatoes and chunks of avocado.

I also think this would be very good with some parmesan cheese and other herbs of your choice.  If you make this let me know if you add anything different and if it is super yummy.

How does it work:  the salt and oil draw the moisture out of the kale thereby softening it and bringing out tons of flavor.

Kale: One cup of kale contains 36 calories, 5 grams of fiber, and 15% of the daily requirement of calcium and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), 40% of magnesium, 180% of vitamin A, 200% of vitamin C, and 1,020% of vitamin K. It is also a good source of minerals copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and 

Kale’s health benefits are primarily linked to the high concentration and excellent source of antioxidant vitamins A, C, and K -- and sulphur-containing phytonutrients.
Carotenoids and flavonoids are the specific types of antioxidants associated with many of the anti-cancer health benefits. Kale is also rich in the eye-health promoting lutein and zeaxanthin compounds.
Beyond antioxidants, the fiber content of cruciferous kale binds bile acids and helps lower blood cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease, especially when kale is cooked instead of raw.  Source.
I wish you enough!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Hummus Avocado Lunch Wrap

I've been trying to find easy lunches that are quick to make, healthy, filling and that everyone will eat.  Eureka!  I've eaten several of these already this week and my husband and 21 month old love them too.

Ingredients Needed to Make One:
1 tortilla
2-4 Tbs hummus
1/4 of one avocado, sliced
cheddar cheese, sliced
1 handful spinach
salsa to taste

Place all ingredients in tortilla in following order:

Roll it up

Wrap it up

and love it! ....  any time of day.

I wish you enough!