Thursday, October 29, 2009

Butternut Squash Curry

My husband actually liked this better than I did! I was able to buy the amount of seeds called for from the bulk section for pennies (since I don't frequently use those ingredients).

1 large butternut squash, peeled, halved and seeded (about 2 pounds)
1 large onion, cut into large chunks
4 garlic cloves
3 cups plus 1 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1 two-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated (about 2 Tbsp)
2 Tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp crushed red-pepper flakes
2 cups cooked brown rice, for serving
fresh cilantro and lime wedges, for serving

Cut solid sections of sqaushes into large chunks and seed pod sections into 3/4in. thick wedges. Puree onion, garlic, and 1Tsp. water in blender until smooth.

Heat oil in 4qt. pot over med. heat. Add mustard seeds, fennel seeds, and coriander, cook until fragrant (1 to 2 min.) Stir in onion paste and ginger, cook, stirring often until caramelized ( 6 to 8 min. )

Add tomato paste, scraping bottom of pot if needed. Stir in remaining 3 cups water, salt, and crushed red pepper flakes. Add squash and cover partially. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer gently until squash is tender ( 12 to 15 min. ). For a thicker sauce, mash some of the squash with the back of a spoon. Serve over brown rice with cilantro and lime wedges.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Spiced Pumpkin Seeds

Make these today! Easy. Yummy. Somewhat addicting. They are delicious on salads, pumpkin enchiladas, or just good to pop a handful in your mouth!

1 cup raw green pumpkin seeds
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons lime juice

Preheat oven to 350. Toss the pumpkin seeds with the rest of the ingredients. Spread on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until puffed and browned, about 10 minutes.

Sausage, Mozzarella, and Broccoli with Shells

This was a nice one-dish meal that we all enjoyed. You could easily take a few shortcuts, making cheaper substitutions to lower the cost of the meal.

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 sprigs thyme
salt and pepper
2 garlic cloves, chopped
3 links spicy Italian sausage (3/4 pound total), casings removed
1 Tbsp flour
1 can (28 ounces) whole peeled tomatoes
8 ounces medium shell pasta
1 bunch broccoli rabe (about 1 pound), trimmed and coarsely chopped (I used regular broccoli and increased the boiling time to 1 minute)
6 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/2 pieces
1/4 cup grated Parmesan

Preheat oven to 400. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Add onion and thyme; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is golden brown, 15 minutes (reduce heat if browning too quickly).

Add garlic and sausage. Cook, breaking meat up with a wooden spoon, until browned, about 5 minutes. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, 30 seconds. Add tomatoes, breaking them up with spoon. Cook sauce until slightly thickened, 5 to 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Discard thyme.

Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta 4 minutes less than package instructions. Add broccoli rabe to pot and cook 15 seconds. Drain pasta and broccoli rabe and return to pot. Stir in sausage mixture. Transfer to a 3-quart baking dish or divide among four 16-ounce gratin dishes. Top with mozzarella and Parmesan. Bake until cheese has melted and liquid is bubbling, about 15 minutes.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Baked Sweet Potato Chili Fries

These were the perfect snack for the football game today!

3 1/2 lb. sweet potatoes (5 to 6 large)
2 Tbsp olive oil
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 cup orange juice
3 1/2 tsp chili powder
1 Tbsp honey
1 8-oz carton sour cream
1/3 cup snipped fresh cilantro

Preheat oven to 450. Cut each unpeeled potato into 1-inch-thick wedges. Place in a large self-sealing plastic bag; toss with oil, salt and pepper. Arrange on a large, rimmed baking sheet.

Meanwhile, in small bowl combine orange juice, 3 teaspoons of the chilir powder, and honey; set aside.

Bake potatoes, uncovered, 25-30 minutes or until tender, brushing three times with orange juice mixture, and shaking pan occasionally.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine sour cream, remaining 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, and 1/3 cup cilantro. Transfer potatoes to a serving dish; serve with sour cream micture. Serve immediately or at room temperature.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Pumpkin Apple Streusel Muffins

My husband didn't think these were as good as my son and I did. More for us to gobble up!

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups white sugar
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups peeled, cored and chopped apple
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 teaspoons butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease 18 muffin cups or use paper liners.

In a large bowl, sift together 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 2 cups sugar, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, mix together eggs, pumpkin and oil. Add pumpkin mixture to flour mixture; stirring just to moisten. Fold in apples. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.

In a small bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons flour, 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle topping evenly over muffin batter.

Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean.

Pumpkin Spice Lattes

Can you tell I'm stuck on pumpkin?! My brother is in town, so we enjoyed these together (since Ryan doesnt' like "cute coffee", as he calls it!). This will make enough for 2 people to have a big mug with a bit leftover. I didn't have the whipped cream (this isn't my picture!), which would have been a nice addition, but they were still delicious!

2 cups milk
2 Tbsp canned pumpkin
2 Tbsp white sugar
2 Tbsp vanilla
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
OR: 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1/8 tsp cloves, 1/8 tsp nutmeg, and a teeny tiny pinch of ground ginger
1/2 cup brewed espresso or 3/4 cup strong brewed coffee
garnish with whipped cream (optional)

Add the coffee/espresso and milk to the crockpot. Whisk in the pumpkin, spices, sugar, and vanilla. Cover and cook on high for 2 hours if everything is cold. Whisk again.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Pumpkin Chocolate-Chip Muffins

I talked with my friend the other day. She had just made pumpkin chocolate-chip muffins, but was not satisfied with how they turned out. Here's another one for you to try, Tricia. Hopefully this recipe won't disappoint!

3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup oil
2 eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 cups flour (I used 1 cup of whole wheat)
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 400.

Mix sugar, oil, and eggs. Add pumpkin and water and mix well. In another bowl, mix dry ingredients. Add in the pumpkin mixture and stir until well combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Fill greased or lined muffin cups 3/4 full and bake for 20-25 minutes. Makes 12 muffins (we had already eaten three by the time I took the picture!).

Roasted Corn pudding in Acorn Squash

Bring on the Fall food! This makes twice as much pudding than is needed for just one squash, so I baked the extra in a very small pyrex bowl. You could also just use two of the squash.

1 small (2 lb.) acorn squash, cut in half lengthwise and seeded
1 tablespoon clarified butter or olive oil
1 cup milk
1 egg plus 2 egg whites
1/2 cup fresh corn kernels (or more if you like)
1/4 teaspoon anise seed, chopped (If your grocery store has spices in bulk, you can get the amount you need for pennies)
1/2 cup chopped scallions
a tiny pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1/3 cup grated white cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 375F degrees with a rack in the middle.

Rub the orange flesh of the squash with the butter/oil. Place cut side up on a baking sheet. You will want it to sit flat (and not tip), if you are having trouble just level out the bottom using a knife. If the squash is tilting on the pan, the filling will run out - bad news. Cover the squash with foil and bake for 40 minutes or until the squash starts to get tender. I only baked it for 30 minutes.

In a bowl combine the milk, eggs, corn, anise seed, half of the scallions, nutmeg, and salt. Fill each of the squash bowls 3/4 full. Carefully transfer the squash back to the oven without spilling (tricky!). Continue baking uncovered for another 30 - 50 minutes, or until the squash is fully cooked through, and the pudding has set. The amount of time it takes can vary wildly depending on the squash and oven. At the last minute sprinkle with cheese and finish with a flash under the broiler to brown the cheese. Keep and eye on things, you can go from melted cheese to burnt and inedible in a flash. Serve hot sprinkled with the remaining scallions.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Macaroni and Cheese

Along with barbequed meatballs in the crockpot, Ryan requested homemade mac-n-cheese for his birthday dinner. This recipe got rave reviews from everyone who enjoyed it! I made a few changes from the original recipe.

12 ounces packaged elbow macaroni
5 tablespoons butter
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 quart warm milk (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
salt and pepper to taste (I added a little at a time as the sauce was thickening until it tasted right)
3 shakes of cayenne pepper
1-2 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
1-2 teaspoon mustard
5 ounces Cheddar cheese, cubed
5 ounces mozzarella cheese, cubed
5 ounces Monteray Jack cheese, cubed
paprika to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9 x 13 baking dish. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.

In medium saucepan, melt butter and stir in flour to make a roux. Cook 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly, then whisk in warm milk a little at a time to make a white sauce. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer. Mix in salt, pepper, and cayenne, and stir frequently until sauce thickens.

Remove pan from heat and stir in cheddar, mozzarella, jack and ham. Combine pasta with sauce and stir well. Pour into baking dish. Use paprika to make a decorative pattern on top. Bake 45 to 60 minutes, or until top is the desired crispiness. Let rest 20 minutes before serving.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Pumpkin-swirl Cheesecake

Ryan picked this recipe for his 30th birthday dessert and it's so yummy! The perfect "cake" for a fall birthday.

25 ginger snaps, finely crushed (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
1/4 cup butter, melted
4 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
dash ground cloves

Heat oven to 325.

Mix crumbs, nuts and butter; press onto bottom of 13x9-inch pan.

Beat cream cheese, 3/4 cup sugar and vanilla with mixer until blended. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each just until blended. Remove 1 1/2 cups batter. Stir remaining sugar, pumpkin and spices into remaining batter. I also added food coloring to make the batter look more orange!

Spoon half the pumpkin batter into crust; top with spoonfuls of half the plain batter. Repeat layers; swirl with knife.

Bake 45 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool completely. Refrigerate 4 hours.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

90-minute Cinnamon Rolls

I was able to make these without Ryan knowing so we could have them for his birthday breakfast! I made them the night before, refrigerated them overnight, and baked them the following morning. They were delicious! The frosting (which we did use, but didn't take a picture of!) came from this recipe.

3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup margarine, softened
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 (.25 ounce) package instant yeast (FYI - I didn't realize until after the fact that I actually used Active Dry Yeast instead of Instant. They didn't rise well, but puffed up fine when I baked them. I'll use instant next time, but the other kind worked just fine)
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup water
1 egg
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon1/2 cup margarine, softened
1/2 cup raisins (optional)

Heat the milk in a small saucepan until it bubbles, then remove from heat. Mix in margarine; stir until melted. Let cool until lukewarm.

In a large mixing bowl, combine 2 1/4 cup flour, yeast, sugar and salt; mix well. Add water, egg and the milk mixture; beat well. Add the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring well after each addition. When the dough has just pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, about 5 minutes.

Cover the dough with a damp cloth and let rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, cinnamon, softened margarine.

Roll out dough into a 12x9 inch rectangle. Spread dough with margarine/sugar mixture. Sprinkle with raisins if desired. Roll up dough and pinch seam to seal. Cut into 12 equal size rolls and place cut side up in 12 lightly greased muffin cups. (I placed them in a greased 9x13 pyrex dish) Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until browned.

For Frosting:
1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt

While rolls are baking, beat together cream cheese, 1/4 cup butter, confectioners' sugar, vanilla extract and salt. Spread frosting on warm rolls before serving.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Roasted Pumpkin Soup

Oh, YUM. This was the perfect fall combination. The soup was delicious and, paired with the flautas, a filling meal. I doubled the recipe and froze one batch for later.

2 3/4 pounds sugar pumpkin or butternut squash, halved and seeded (I used one large acorn squash)
1 onion, peeled and quartered through the stem
2 shitake mushrooms, stemmed, caps wiped clean
1 garlic clove, peeled
1/2 cup olive oil
salt and pepper
5 cups vegetable stock (I used chicken)

Preheat oven to 450. Cut pumpkin into 2-inch pieces. Combine pumpkin, onion, mushrooms, and garlic on a rimed baking sheet. Add oil and 2 teaspoons salt; toss to coat, then spread in a single layer.

Roast until pumpkin is tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife, about 30 minutes, rotating pan and tossing vegetables halfway through. Let cool, then remove skins (I didn't remove the skins. They are packed with nutrition and pureed just fine after baking).

Transfer vegetables to a medium saucepan; heat over medium. Pour in 2 cups stock' puree with an immersion blender until smooth. With the blender running, slowly add remaining 3 cups stock, and puree until smooth (I poured everything into my Vita-mix and then returned it to the pot, just stirring in the rest of the broth). Bring soup just to a simmer. Remove from heat, and season with salt and pepper.

Cheese Flautas with Cilantro Pesto

I was looking forward to these all week, and they did not disappoint! I'm not a big fan of fried food, but I could have eaten all of these myself! Don't be deterred by my picture. I struggled to keep the tortillas rolled up (hence the toothpicks!).

1/4 cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3/4 cup pepitas (green hulled pumpkin seeds)
1 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves, chopped
juice of 1 lime (about 2 Tbsp)
salt and pepper
8 corn tortillas (6-inch), softened (I put them in the microwave for 15 seconds covered with a damp paper towel)
2 cups Monteray Jack cheese
1/4 cup peanut oil

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a saute pan over medium-low. Cook garlic until golden, 1 minute. Add pepitas; cook, tossing, until toasted, 2 to 3 minutes. Pulse to a paste in a food processor. Add cilantro, lime juice, and remaining olive oil; pulse until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Spread some pesto on a softened tortillas; top with cheese. Roll up; place seam side down. Cover with a damp kitchen towel. Repeat.

Heat peanut oil in a medium skillet over medium until shimmering. Fry flautas in 2 batches, seam sides down, 1 minute. Using tongs, roll to brown evenly, cooking 1 minute more. Drain on paper towels, dabbing tops to remove excess oil.

Mini Turkey Meatloaves

I always seem to make this when the weather starts getting colder. It's a family favorite.

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, ribs and seeds removed, finely chopped
2 slices sandwich bread
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup tomato-based chili sauce, divided
1 1/4 pounds ground turkey
1 large egg
1 teaspoon dried sage
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350. In a large skillet, heat oil over low heat. Add onion, carrot, and bell pepper; cook, stirring frequently, until tender, about 10 minutes.

Transfer vegetables to a large bowl. Crumble in bread; add milk and 1/4 cup chili sauce. Stir to combine. Coo completely.

Add turkey, egg and sage; season with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 3/4 teaspoon pepper. Using your hands, mix to combine. Divide into four equal parts. Gently shape each into a 3-by-4-by-2-inch loaf; place on a rimmed baking sheet.

Brush remaining 1/4 cup chili sauce over tops, dividing equally. Bake until meatloaves are cooked through, 35-40 minutes.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Chicken and Corn Chowder

Soup is one of the many reasons I love the Fall! This one didn't knock us off our feet, but still tasted good!

3 slices bacon, diced
1 cup chopped onion
2 leeks, white and light green parts only, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
4 cups chicken stock or broth
2 large russet potatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled and chopped
2 boned, skinned chicken breast halves (about 1 pound), cut into bite-sized pieces
3 Tbsp chopped parsley
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1 can (15 ounce) creamed corn

In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, cook bacon until crisp, about 5 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove bacon to a place, leaving 2 tablespoons drippings in pan. Add onion, leeks, and garlic and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add stock and potatoes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, 10 minutes.

Add chicken, reserved bacon, parsley, thyme, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until chicken turns white and potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes longer.

Add creamed corn and simmer, uncovered, until flavors are blended, 5 to 10 more minutes.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

One of my husband's favorites!

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cloves
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups quick oats
1 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 350.

Cream together the first six ingredients.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Stir this into the wet ingredients. Stir in oats and raisins.

Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls on ungreased baking sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes and cool 2 minutes before removing from the pan.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Crispy Chickpeas

Easy and yummy for all ages!

19 ounce can chickpeas
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp of your favorite dried herb or spice (I've used garam masala and oregano and liked both)

Drain, rinse, and pat-dry the chickpeas. Toss them in a bowl with everything else. Arrange them in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet, and cook at 300 degrees, stirring occasionally, until they have browned and begin to crisp, about 50-60 minutes. Serve at room temperature. They can be stored in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Italian Pot Pie

This isn't very fancy, but simple and definitely tasty!

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 pound ground beef sirloin, thawed if frozen
2 cups homemade or best-quality store-bought tomato sauce
1 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan (1 ounce)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed dried rosemary
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup whole milk

Preheat oven to 450 degrees, with rack in lowest position. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium. Add onion and carrots; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Add beef, and cook, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, 3 to 5 minutes. Add tomato sauce; bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, until meat mixture has thickened, 8 to 10 minutes; set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk flour, Parmesan, baking powder, rosemary, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; make a well in center, and add butter and milk. Stir just until dough comes together.

Spoon meat mixture into four 8-ounce ramekins (I don't own ramekins, so I put it all in a square baking dish); mound dough on top. Place on a large rimmed baking sheet; bake until topping is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in topping comes out clean, 10 to 12 minutes.
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