Thursday, December 30, 2010

Sweet potato and black bean enchiladas


After all the holiday foods (read: ham) we've been eating, both my husband and I were craving something lighter and something full of vegetable matter. This recipe is adapted from one of my new cookbooks, Clean Food. This cookbook is full of great recipes utilizing seasonal produce and whole foods. I did change the recipe a bit (and I used cheese, because I love cheese), but the overall idea was inspired from reading this book. We were both really pleased with how these tasted and I'll be making them again. They were satisfying and filling, while packing a lot of vegetables and fiber. This recipe will serve about 4 people (even more if you serve it up with some brown rice). 

Monday, December 27, 2010

Cranberry-almond couscous salad

I made this salad twice this holiday season. Once for a potluck lunch at work and once for a family gathering. It was a hit at both. The colors and ingredients are festive for the holidays, but the salad is really light and full of fresh ingredients and tastes. It was a nice side dish to serve with all of the other holiday foods, which tend to be heavier and richer. Another great thing about this salad is that it is a snap to make. You can even make the couscous the night before and then stir in the remaining ingredients the next day. 

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Cranberry-walnut bread

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday. I did; despite my nagging cold and cough. I am truly blessed to have such a wonderful husband and family. I must make sure I remember to appreciate them every day of the year. I am a lucky girl and I received quite a few cooking/food related Christmas gifts. I'm sure I'll be posting about my new cookbooks and toys as I begin to use them.

I made this cranberry-walnut quick bread to take to my Grandmother's house for Christmas morning breakfast. Since I hadn't been feeling well, I wanted something quick and easy. This quick bread was a great choice. I love that it uses fresh cranberries instead of dried. The bread is tart and just slightly sweet, which I really enjoyed paired next to all the super sweet holiday treats. Serve it warmed or room temperature and you can eat it as is or top it with some butter or cream cheese to make it even extra special. The recipe is adapted from here and will make one loaf.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Pfeffernüsse

I like to have a spice cookie with my Christmas cookie spread. Usually, given my love of ginger, I make my crystallized ginger spice cookies. This year I wanted to try something different though. I found this recipe for Pfeffernüsse (originally from Martha Stewart), a traditional German Christmas cookie, that means "pepper nuts." These cookies are slightly spicy and cake-like in texture. I really like them a lot. I enjoy having a spice cookie full of all the holiday flavors and that isn't super sweet. Although this particular recipe didn't call for nuts, I added them because I felt that a cookie that means "pepper nuts" should contain nuts. The recipe below is my slightly modified version and it will make about 2-1/2 dozen cookies.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Chocolate peppermint crinkle cookies

I've been slacking on my Christmas preparations this year. Not because I don't want to do it, or that I don't enjoy doing it - I just haven't had a lot of time (or ambition)... I finally started getting my cookies done and think I've picked out a good variety this year. I always try to have a chocolate and peppermint cookie because I love the combination. I was searching for a new recipe and came across this one from Bakers Royale. I think the cookies turned out good. They took a bit longer to cook for me, but otherwise were great. I made the dough a couple days ahead of time and left it tightly wrapped in the refrigerator. Then I just pulled it out and was able to get these baked in an evening after dinner (while listening to some Perry Como Christmas songs). The recipe will yield about 3 dozen cookies.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Roasted buttercup squash and apple soup

I'm still well stocked on winter squash from the giant basket I bought at the end of our farmer's market this fall. We also still have a few apples left from apple picking this year. I wanted to make a simple soup that really highlighted the squash with a few background accents of other flavors. I chose a golden buttercup squash for this soup, but you could use any winter squash you choose.

This soup is also my entry to this month's Healing Foods which is highlighting winter squash. Winter squash are high in fiber, vitamins A and C, and other nutrients. Aside from being delicious and beautiful, winter squash are good for you, too!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Gingerbread pancakes with clementine-yogurt sauce

What a wonderful way to start off a cold December Saturday morning, or a holiday breakfast! These gingerbread pancakes are just sweet enough and have a warm spice to them that really reminds you of eating a gingerbread cookie. The yogurt sauce is tangy and slightly sweet with a hint of clementine flavor running through it. When you top these pancakes with the white sauce, a sprinkling of powdered sugar, and some dried cranberries, it makes them really festive (like snow)! Start your day out with these pancakes before wrapping presents, decorating the tree, baking cookies, or any other holiday activities you have planned. They are a sure way to begin your day off in the holiday mood! This recipe will make about eight 4-inch pancakes, or about 2-3 servings. It can easily be doubled for more people. 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Pumpkin risotto

I made this risotto one evening when my husband was at class. I don't usually like to cook for myself and end up eating leftovers or something easy like a sandwich when it's just me. This night though, I was in the cooking mood. I decided to try to use up some more of my pumpkin puree and I've been wanting to try the mini-blue hubbard squash I had bought at the farmer's market. I also had some sage still lying around from Thanksgiving. I decided to make a risotto and to roast the squash and use it as my bowl. It was quite good and the presentation was lovely. The blue hubbard squash was also good -- not too sweet with a dense flesh. This recipe will make enough risotto to fill two halves of a medium squash and will feed two as a main dish with the squash bowls. You can easily double the recipe to serve more people. 

Monday, December 6, 2010

Swedish meatballs

I have been researching Swedish meatball recipes because they have been on my list of dishes I want to try. Before this, my only experience with Swedish meatballs was a dish my brother made when he was about 10 years old out of a kids cookbook. I remember they tasty, but I'm willing to bet they were not authentic...

The Swedish meatball recipe I was going to follow was from Alton Brown. It had good reviews and seemed relatively easy to follow. When I went to make them, I also found this recipe that looked interesting. So the meatballs I ended up making were a cross of the two. They were very good! It seems that Swedish meatballs are usually served with boiled or mashed potatoes, but I was not in the mood for potatoes. So to make these a full meal, I served them with some egg noodles and a side of baby peas. Additionally, everywhere I looked and read about Swedish meatballs talked about lingonberry sauce. I had never heard of lingonberry sauce before, but I gave it a shot and happened to find it on my grocery store's European foods aisle. It was delicious and a perfect compliment to the spiced meatballs. It's similar in tartness to cranberries, so you could substitute cranberry sauce. The spice combination in the meatballs paired with sweet-tart lingonberry sauce felt very much like the holidays to me. They were also a perfect compliment to one another - I highly recommend looking for the sauce.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Turkey and cranberry paninis

These sandwiches are another way I used up some of our leftover turkey. It was a bonus because it also used up some of our leftover cranberry sauce. This is hardly even a recipe really, but I just enjoyed them a lot. In college, I used to order a turkey and cranberry panini every once in a while from a coffee shop on campus and I always enjoyed it. I had never had one of these sandwiches before or after that. I remembered them recently and knew for sure that I needed to make these. I made two sandwiches on panini rolls I bought at the bakery. You could use any hearty bread. The below recipe is per sandwich.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Molten chocolate lava cake

These little cakes are the perfect way to satisfy a chocolate craving. They are a tasty single-serving treat for when you want a dessert that is warm and gooey and full of chocolate. I've made these cakes twice now and they do not disappoint. I found this recipe when I was looking for a way replicate these cakes at home (I've had a similar dessert at a restaurant). I changed it a little bit and found it was a perfect way to make one for each of us. I must admit that once I got to the last couple of bites, I had my fill of chocolate. They are a pretty sweet treat, but they are good as an occasionally dessert! This recipe makes two little cakes in individual ramekins.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Creamy cauliflower soup

Oh, how I love soup! Soup weather is upon us in full force now. I had some local cauliflower in the refrigerator that was nagging me to make it into a creamy, cheesy soup and I happily obliged. I made this soup for dinner one cool evening after a long day at work. It was the perfect cup of comfort to snuggle up with (along with my husband and a blanket). I am a big fan of cauliflower, too. In fact, I'm a big fan of vegetables in general. Recently I was involved in a conversation with people who were all discussing the vegetables that they refuse to eat... I could not think of one vegetable I refuse to eat. I rather enjoy eating them. My least favorite vegetable would probably be spaghetti squash, but I've even found ways to love that, too. But, back to the cauliflower soup....

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Waldorf turkey salad pitas

This is one of the ways I've come up with the use up some of our leftover turkey. This was the first time I had ever even cooked a turkey (and my first time making Thanksgiving dinner). We ordered an organic, free-range turkey from a local market. It was certainly much more expensive than a supermarket turkey, but I think it was completely worth it. This turkey salad has a lot of autumn flavors in it, but they are mixed up a bit differently in this pita. 

I noticed once I was looking at the photos that I forgot to add the walnuts to my pita! I didn't notice when I was eating it though. I don't like to put in the nuts until right before I'm going to eat it because I don't like soggy nuts... So we'll just pretend there are walnuts in the photos, or you can leave them out. This recipe will make approximately 4-6 pitas, depending on the size of your pita bread. You can also make sandwiches or wraps instead of pitas. 

Friday, November 26, 2010

Chocolate chip pumpkin bread

My husband reminded me recently that I hadn't made pumpkin bread yet this fall. I couldn't believe it. It's one of our favorites. This bread is so moist and so tasty. I don't remember where I originally found the recipe for this bread, but I've been making it for a few years now. I usually start making it in October, but this year I didn't get to it until the week of Thanksgiving (maybe it's because I've been making so many other pumpkin things lately). It was definitely as good as we remembered it! So if you have some pumpkin puree in your refrigerator that you need to use up, or you still haven't had your fill of pumpkin yet for the season, make some chocolate chip pumpkin bread. 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Cranberry-orange sauce

Week 10 - and the final week - of Fall Fest is here! I really enjoyed celebrating and creating recipes each week featuring a seasonal ingredient. The last week of Fall Fest doesn't have a theme ingredient though. It's the Bounty to be Thankful for. As I am in the process of preparing to cook my first Thanksgiving dinner tonight, I'm going with this cranberry-orange sauce. Although the cranberries are not local, they are still a wonderful fall dish and a famous Thanksgiving side dish. I just finished making this a little while ago and am looking forward to making dinner tomorrow. Thanksgiving is a wonderful celebration of all things fall and fall produce. Giving thanks for these foods along with family and friends is a lovely way to spend a day. Enjoy your Thanksgiving everyone! 

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sour cream and onion dip

I have been seriously craving chips and onion dip lately. So when I went grocery shopping the other day, I picked up a couple of dip containers and read the ingredients... lots of MSG and other scary ingredients. So, I put the dip container down and decided that it can't be too difficult to make onion dip that doesn't come pre-made or from a packet. I make roasted red pepper dip as a holiday snack. I understand that in no way are chips and dip a healthy snack, but I figured I could at least make it out of items I could pronounce and recognize - perhaps making me feel a bit less guilty. The dip was really easy to make and it was very good (be prepared to have extreme onion breath). 

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Tex-Mex turkey-stuffed baked winter squash

My husband had been requesting a baked stuffed pumpkin. So I did some research to see what would be the best things to stuff inside the pumpkin. I don't think there's an answer to that question. I saw a lot of recipes for baked pumpkins stuffed with everything from day-old bread and cheese, rice and vegetables, ground beef, more cheese, apples, herbs, nuts -- basically anything you think would go well with pumpkins would be good. Since I only had one pie pumpkin on hand, I decided to use one pumpkin and one squash (which happened to be a sweet dumpling and the sweetness of this squash went really well with the stuffing). I wanted to make a hearty stuffing that had a bit of a kick to it. I really like the combination of Tex-Mex flavors with squash. I wanted to mix some black beans or rice into the stuffing, too, but I knew that it would make too much stuffing for just two winter squash. So - maybe next time. If you are making more of these though, adding those items would be a great way to stretch the stuffing. This will feed 3-4 people as a main dish, depending on the size of your squash. 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Oatmeal sweet potato muffins

It's week 9 of Fall Fest and this week celebrates sweet potatoes. I was pressed for time this week and was at a loss of what I wanted to make featuring sweet potatoes. I did know that I wanted it to be something savory.... but, that didn't happen. Even though we eat a lot of sweet potatoes, they are usually just baked or roasted with some paprika and red pepper. I don't often cook something savory with sweet potatoes that features a recipe or anything really creative (I did find an African soup recipe that I've marked in one of my cookbooks). So, I ended up making these muffins on a whim and they were not a mistake. The muffins are definitely good and will make a perfect breakfast or mid-morning snack. The recipe will make 12 muffins (or, if you are like me and like big muffins, it will make 9).

Monday, November 15, 2010

Moroccan spiced chickpea and lentil soup

It's soup season again! I was reading a lot of recipes for Moroccan chickpea and lentil soup after seeing it and smelling it in the "take out" section of our grocery. I had to make it. I used what I had on hand and came up with my own combination of ingredients. The soup was wonderful! I enjoyed this soup a lot and it's a very healthy and satisfying soup (plus a great vegetarian meal). The combination of spices are warm, but not hot, and full of flavor. 

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Pumpkin pancakes

Pumpkin and pancakes -- two of my favorite things combined into one. I'm always experimenting with pancake recipes. Pumpkin pancakes are definitely one of my favorites and they are a wonderful way to use up pumpkin puree and to treat yourself and your family to a fall-themed breakfast. I try to make them somewhat good for you by using whole wheat flour. These pancakes are very similar to my sweet potato pancakes. I think that you could use almost any winter squash puree in this recipe and they would be wonderful. I really love this time of year and I love to utilize the in season produce of fall. Plus, I think that weekend breakfasts are absolutely wonderful. This recipe will serve about 4 people. 

Friday, November 12, 2010

Cider-braised short ribs

Last Sunday was our one year wedding anniversary! My husband had a pretty nasty cold, so we didn't do much that day. I wanted to make him a comforting and delicious dinner to sooth his cold and to celebrate the day -- and I also did not want to go to the store. We bought some beef before our farmer's market closed to hopefully last us a few months. So I was looking around to see what I could make with what we had already. I found the short ribs and thought they'd be perfect for a slow-cooking comfort meal. I also found some apple cider in the refrigerator that was starting to get a little bubbly. I thought that it would be a really good flavor for slow-cooked beef and vegetables, and it was. I served it over rutabaga and potato puree (one of my new favorite side dishes) except this time I just mashed it. This recipe (with puree or other potato side dish) will serve four people (or two with lunch leftovers). 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Red cabbage and green apple slaw

Week 8 of Fall Fest has arrived and this week celebrates Brassicas. Brassicas are a genus of the mustard family and include some of my favorite vegetables like brussel sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, kale, and cabbage. This recipe features cabbage. This slaw is really quick and simple, but also very flavorful and colorful. It utilizes fall produce and makes a great side dish to many meals. I used red cabbage and green apple because I liked the contrast in colors and the tartness of the green apple. This recipe will make serve 4-6 people as a side dish. 

Monday, November 8, 2010

Macaroni and cheese


It's the time of year for comfort food and macaroni and cheese is one of the ultimate comfort foods. It's a perfect dish for a cold day or after a rough day at work. Macaroni and cheese is at its best when it is bubbling from the oven and beginning to form patches of browned cheesy goodness. For this batch of macaroni and cheese, I used all cheddar cheese and I used penne pasta. You can switch up the cheese and mix a couple of different kinds. Sometimes I add some mozzarella (or smoked mozzarella), Monterey jack, or any other cheese that melts well, but the majority is always cheddar. Make sure you get a high-quality cheese (i.e., not a processed cheese) so that it melts well and does not get grainy or oily. You can use a different type of pasta as well. 

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Pumpkin-corn muffins

It's the time of year when I become out of control with all things pumpkin (and also squash, apple, and more). It's OK though, because seasonal eating is good. These muffins were something I threw together one evening during the week with some pumpkin puree I had in the refrigerator. I found this recipe and thought to myself "hmmmm... why didn't I think of that?" These muffins were really moist from the yogurt and only slightly sweet. If you wanted them to be more "breakfasty" or if you like your cornbread on the sweet side, you may want to add some more sugar or some honey. The white specks in my muffins are from the white corn meal I used (because that's what I had), but you can use yellow. This recipe will make 12 muffins. I think these would be a nice addition to a Thanksgiving meal as well. 

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Maple-mustard roasted baby turnips


Week 7 of Fall Fest is here and this week we celebrate root vegetables. I've really been discovering more root vegetables this year with our local farmer's market. Turnips have been one of my favorite discoveries, and, in particular, baby turnips. Aside from being cute, they are super tasty! The baby ones are slightly spicy, but also sweet and juicy. My favorite way of making them so far is this recipe. It's really simple and a great fall side dish (it would also make a good Thanksgiving side dish). I'm always looking for new and interesting vegetable side dishes and this one is high on that list.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Pumpkin cheesecake tart in a ginger snap crust

I love pumpkin pie and I love cheesecake; therefore, this pumpkin cheesecake tart is perfect for me! In case that wasn't good enough, it's in a ginger snap crust! I used the filling recipe from here for some ideas and decided to make a ginger snap cookie crust rather than the traditional graham cracker. I substituted maple syrup for some of the brown sugar in this recipe to give it an extra kick of fall flavor. One thing I didn't realize until I was already in the process of making the filling is that this recipe will make enough for two tart fillings (or maybe one pie). I refrigerated the second half to bake up in some ramekins a couple days later. Also -- this tart would make a nice Thanksgiving dessert. 

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Chili with pumpkin and black beans

Halloween dinner this year was a chili with pumpkin puree and black beans. This chili had heat and spice and flavor. I was a bit skeptical of pumpkin puree in chili, but I kept seeing recipes with it and figured I'd give it a try. I used my basic chili recipe and changed it up with the addition of the pumpkin and some cinnamon. You could taste just a hint of pumpkin that went well with the spice combination in the chili. Although I made this for our Halloween dinner, it would be a great treat for any cool fall or winter day. This pot of chili fed four people with no leftovers.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Beef and Guinness pie

I made this pie especially for my husband on a cold, fall, Sunday afternoon. I've made Shepherd's pie before, but this one was different. It was Shepherd's pie to the next level. Cubed beef instead of ground beef and a full bottle of Guinness in the gravy. The beef was amazingly, melt-in-your-mouth tender... and the gravy... oh, the gravy. I highly recommend giving this a try. This recipe should easily serve four people quite generously.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Escabeche (pickled jalapenos)




Week 6 of Fall Fest is "Mad Stash" where we celebrate what we are canning, preserving, freezing, etc. I decided to share my escabeche recipe, which is a Mexican side dish of pickled jalapenos and other vegetables. I started making this a few years ago and it has always been a hit with everyone who has tried it. It's great as a appetizer or side with any Mexican meals. The jalapenos can be cut up and used in many items and the brine can be used in marinades. It's a great way to use up a lot of the jalapenos that you may have along with other vegetables. The below recipe will make about four pints of escabeche. 

Monday, October 25, 2010

Rutabaga and potato puree

In my quest to make more interesting and delicious vegetable side dishes, I decided to buy a rutabaga at the farmer's market. I'd never had a rutabaga before, so I did some searching and reading. Everything I read said it was similar in taste to a turnip, but milder and a bit sweet. I made this puree as a side for my Autumn pork roast instead of the usual sweet potato. The puree was so good! I loved it. It was slightly spicy, creamy, and just plain good. So, don't shy away from the rutabaga. The next time you see one sitting there are the market, take it home and give it a try!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Butternut squash, cauliflower, and potato curry

I was watching Nigella Lawson's new show last week and she threw together a quick and easy curry using leftover vegetables from her refrigerator. I had been wanting to have a curry, especially because I had a cold and I love to eat spicy foods when I'm really congested. I also remembered reading a butternut squash curry recipe in the October 2009 issue of Martha Stewart Living magazine. So this recipe is like a combination of both of the recipes using the ingredients I had on hand. It was also nice that my cilantro made a fall comeback so I was able to pick some fresh out of our little herb garden. You can use any vegetables you have and any combination you like, but these three are a great fall combination. The butternut squash helps to offset the warmth of the curry with its creamy sweetness. This is a quick and easy curry with more Indian flavors than say a Thai curry. This recipe will serve about four people. 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Pear, blue cheese, and arugula stuffed chicken

It's week 5 of Fall Fest now and this week celebrates pears. It just so happened that we picked some up at the farmer's market over the weekend. I decided to use pears in a savory dish and this is what I came up with. I love the combination of flavors in this chicken. I used organic, free-range chicken, so the breasts weren't as huge as the ones you often see and this does make butterflying and stuffing the chicken a little more difficult. But, they still turned out good and work just fine. I made this recipe for just my husband and I, so the below quantities are for two servings. You can easily make more stuffing to fill up more chicken breasts though.  

Monday, October 18, 2010

Peanut butter oatmeal cookies

Peanut cookies are what I was craving the other day. I did some searching for a recipe that used natural peanut butter rather than the traditional peanut butter. I found this recipe and decided to give it a try as it looked slightly healthier than most. I thought that they may have turned out a bit dry, but they didn't. They had a lot of texture and were pretty filling. I added one large bittersweet chocolate chip to the top of each cookie and used crunchy peanut butter (because that's what I had). I used some brown sugar in place of some of the honey to help keep them from burning. This recipe will make approximately 18 cookies.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Homemade applesauce

Last weekend we went apple picking, which is a must-do fall activity here in western NY. We always end up with more apples than we know what to do with. We took our little niece and nephew and my little cousin. They had fun and I love being able to take small children out to show them where food comes from. We picked a variety of apples like Granny Smith, Crispin, Fuji, and Ida Reds. Aren't they beautiful?

Use good cooking apples (firm, crisp, not too watery) for your applesauce. I find that a combination of apples works out great in all apple recipes... you get some sweet, tart, and different textures. I made applesauce not only to use up some of the apples, but because I wanted to freeze some to have for Thanksgiving dinner. I put two freezer safe containers in the freezer and one container in the refrigerator for immediate use. Give homemade applesauce a try - especially if you go apple picking and have loads of apples. It's easy and tasty. Plus it's a great thing to make with kids after picking apples. 

Friday, October 15, 2010

Spaghetti squash gratin

I love winter squash, but spaghetti squash is one squash that I've just never loved. I've tried it many times and it's always just been OK to me. We always end up with some because my father-in-law always grows them. So, as I've been looking and looking at this spaghetti squash sitting in my squash basket, I decided to try it draped and covered in cheese. Well, guess what? I finally found a way to eat spaghetti squash that is quite yummy (no shock there as anything gratin is yummy). So if you have been looking for a way to use those spaghetti squash, given this a try. We ate this as a main dish with a salad and some crusty bread, but it's probably best as a side dish. 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Roasted butternut squash and cream pasta sauce

It's already week 4 of Fall Fest. This week is celebrating pumpkin and winter squash. Winter squash are one of my favorite things. I've been buying them left and right at the farmer's market in every size, shape, and color I find. Butternut squash remains one of my all-time favorite winter squash. I decided to try out a pasta sauce utilizing roasted butternut squash. I roasted the squash the night before so that I could save that time when I made the sauce the next evening for dinner. I added some sliced garlic chicken sausage to the pasta because I wanted to make it a bit heartier and also because it helped to add a savory and salty component to the sauce, which is sweet. This recipe will feed 4 to 6 people.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Shiitake mushroom and barley soup

This soup was inspired by an early, cool Saturday morning trip to the farmer's market. The farmer who grows and sells shiitake mushrooms was giving out samples of a hot and delicious shiitake and barley soup. I tasted a sample and bought some mushrooms feeling pretty confident that I would be able to replicate the soup at home. So when I got home I got to work on making the soup. The soup is really simple in ingredients and is very filling with the barley. It was easy to make and a comforting to eat on a cool autumn day. I think I got the recipe pretty close to the farmer's -- both were delicious.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Carrot-raisin bread

I decided to whip up an easy quick bread one evening because we were running out of snacks for our lunches. When looking around at what produce I had that I could use to make a quick bread, I decided on carrots since I had quite a lot of them. I decided that I would add golden raisins, even though my husband is not a fan. I love raisins, so sometimes I have to use them anyway!

I did a quick search and found this recipe. I made some changes and added another half cup of carrots because I wanted it to be really full with them. The bread turned out good. The original recipe called for a over one hour of baking time. I put it in for 45 minutes to start and think that was probably about 5 minutes too long because it started to get a little dry. So, just keep an eye on it and start at a lower cooking time and put it in longer, if needed. 

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Grilled apple salad with maple-mustard vinaigrette

I can't believe it's October already! This is week 3 of Fall Fest and this week is about fall salads. I was looking through my recent produce and farmer's market finds to see what I had around already that would make a good fall salad. Apples, of course, are in our refrigerator... We had a couple different greens/lettuces... Also, some brussel sprouts and shallots. When I make a dinner salad, I like to incorporate some warm ingredients into it along with some nuts and/or fruit. With this salad I decided to grill the apples and shallots and toast up some pecan halves. As with some other salads I've posted, I don't really give amounts of the ingredients. This way, you know what's in it, but you can add as much or as little as you want depending on if it's for a main dish, side dish, or light lunch. We had a large salad for dinner along with some crusty bread and it was filling enough for a meal. 

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Pork and pepper goulash

Yet again, I've used another recipe from Jamie Oliver's Jamie at Home cookbook. This recipe was calling to me as a way to use up the peppers that were accumulating in our refrigerator. I also thought that this would easily be able to be cooked in the slow cooker rather than the oven and it turned out great. I do love to be able to come home from a long day at work and have the place already smelling wonderful and food almost ready to eat. The goulash was really flavorful. The recipe I used is below. It should feed about 4 people.  

Friday, October 1, 2010

Butternut squash muffins

I've been on a muffin kick lately. Usually I would make a batch of granola bars (usually without chocolate) every Sunday so that we had those for our easy weekday breakfast all week. But the past few weeks, I've been in a muffin mood. It started with the most delicious muffins I've ever had. I'm not sure any muffins will ever live up to those, but these butternut squash ones come pretty close. I very loosely followed the recipe from Jamie Oliver's Jamie at Home cookbook. I say loosely because, for example, I didn't make the frosting (because I wanted to keep them breakfast-friendly), I cut the sugar out by more than half, and at the very end I decided to throw in some bittersweet chocolate. The recipe I used is below and it will make 12 good-sized muffins. 

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Chicken with apple and shallot sauce

Fall Fest 2010 week 2 is all about apples. This dish uses fresh apples, apple cider, and apple cider vinegar to make a yummy sauce to go over chicken (it would also be lovely over pork). The apple flavor really shines in this sauce and the caramelized shallots are a nice compliment to the sweet and tangy apples. I like to find ways to use fruit in savory dishes rather than always in desserts. This recipe will make enough for two people. 

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Curry chicken salad

I actually never had curry chicken salad until last year. Once I tasted it, I thought that it would be a really easy thing to replicate at home and be great for lunches and for using up leftover roasted chicken. Well, leftover roasted chicken is what I had so I decided to make some of this up to have in the refrigerator for a tasty lunch. Luckily, I also had some cilantro that was begging to be used up, too. You can eat this on a sandwich or wrap, with some crackers, or even just put a scoop on top of a bed of greens. It's a flavorful salad and it has a nice combination of tastes and textures that really make it interesting.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Spinach and artichoke pizza

Spinach was the first topic for Fall Fest 2010 that begins today and continues each Wednesday throughout the fall. I'm hoping to participate in this and challenge myself to come up with a recipe that hi-lights the ingredient and/or topic for each week that celebrates fall.

For spinach, I made a spinach and artichoke pizza. I cheated and bought a whole wheat pizza dough ball at the bakery because I didn't have the time on a weeknight to make the dough myself. It was still really good and I love that I can get a pretty healthy pizza crust when I need. I liked this pizza a lot. It's a good way to get a lot of greens into something that everyone will enjoy. 

Monday, September 20, 2010

Spiced pickled grapes

OK, I know what you are thinking - pickled grapes?? But, trust me, they are good. They are full of sweet and tangy syrupy goodness with just a little kick of spice (from mustard seeds, black pepper, and cinnamon). I first saw pickled grapes last winter on this blog post. I immediately bookmarked it, swearing that I would try it as soon as grapes were back in season. Usually I forget about most of the stuff I bookmark for a long time (or forever). But not these grapes...as soon as I saw grapes at the farmer's market over the weekend, I was buying them up and rushing home to make these (just hoping that I had all the ingredients when I got there). Well, I had most of them, except for the white wine vinegar, so I used apple cider vinegar in its place. They were still yummy. I think they would be better with a slightly firmer grape, but these were the only grapes available. I'll definitely make them again once more grapes are available.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Chicken, apple, caramelized onion, and cheese quesadillas


I got the idea for these quesadillas when I saw this recipe. As soon as I saw them, I wanted to make them. I'm really getting into fall and fall flavors now that the weather is cooler and the grocery and farmer's market are full of apples, grapes, squash, and all the other wonderful fall produce. I changed these quesadillas up a bit from the recipe that inspired them. I layered in some smoked mozzarella (any smoked cheese would be nice), cheddar, apple-wood smoked bacon, chicken, caramelized red onion, and sweet apple. They would be a great way to use up leftover chicken, too. This made four quesadillas and could easily be adjust to make more, if needed. I also made a spicy chipotle-yogurt dipping sauce (recipe below) for these and used some jarred salsa verde I had in the fridge as a second dipping sauce. Both went well with the flavor combination in these smoky-sweet, fall-inspired quesadillas.