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.