Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Roasted Acorn Squash Pasta Sauce

Roasted Acorn Squash Pasta Sauce

2 acorn squash (or one large butternut or other orange winter squash) 
4 or more cloves of garlic (in their peels)
4 sage leaves
1 Tablespoon olive oil, sunflower oil or melted butter
1 teaspoon of salt (or to taste)
black pepper to taste
1 cup cream, half and half or milk of your choice
1 oz parmesan cheese (or another hard cheese of your choice)

Preheat oven to 400F. Cut acorn squash in half and scoop out seeds and stringy part. Brush the cut side with oil or butter, put the garlic and sage leaves inside the scooped-out pocket and roast in the oven for 45 minutes or until the squash is very soft, and starting to brown on top.

Allow squash to cool. Remove the garlic and squeeze it onto the squash. Scoop out the squash from the shell and place in a food processor or food mill, or into a small pot.
If using the food processor: add the salt and pepper and process until smooth. With the machine running, pour in the cream in a steady stream. Pour the mixture into a pot and heat on medium low until piping hot but not boiling. Serve over pasta or ravioli of your choice, topped with grated parmesan cheese.
If using the food mill: crank the squash mixture through the food mill and into a small pot. Warm the mixture over medium low heat and add the salt, pepper and cream, stirring to incorporate the cream. Don’t let the sauce boil once you have added the cream. Serve over pasta or ravioli of your choice., topped with grated parmesan cheese.
If using the immersion blender: add salt and pepper and blend until smooth, in the pot. Add the cream, and blend until velvety smooth. Warm the sauce over medium low heat but don’t let the sauce boil once you have added the cream. Serve over pasta or ravioli of your choice., topped with grated parmesan cheese.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Broccoli, Spinach and Chicken Casserole

16 oz frozen chopped broccoli
16 oz frozen chopped spinach
3 c cooked diced chicken or turkey
8 oz cream cheese
2 T butter
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook the broccoli and spinach a little less than the package calls for, and drain very well. (Squeeze the spinach to get rid of as much water as you can.) If you remember in time, save the water you drained from the veggies to make into soup later. Add the rest of the ingredients, and stir well. Put it all in a shallow baking dish and bake at 350 until it’s bubbly and starting to brown on top. 

Turkey Waldorf Salad

3 c diced cooked turkey (or chicken)
1 c thinly sliced celery
1 – 2 apples, quartered and sliced
½ c chopped walnuts
½ c raisins
½ c mayo
2 t lemon juice
2 t sugar or equivalent sweetener

Combine the turkey, celery, apples, walnuts, and raisins. In a small bowl, combine the mayo, lemon juice and sweetener (or just use a Miracle Whip type dressing). Add the mayo to the turkey and apples and mix well. If raisins have too many carbs for you, just leave them out.

Turkey and Celery Salad

1 c diced cooked turkey (or chicken)
1 c thinly sliced celery
3 T mayo
1/2 t lemon juice
1 t sugar or equivalent sweetener

Mix it all up and eat it! You could use a Miracle Whip type “mayo” and skip the lemon juice and sugar. 

Slow Cooker Turkey Breast


1 6-pound bone-in turkey breast
1 package (1 oz) onion soup mix or HOMEMADE ONION SOUP MIX

Rinse the turkey breast and pat dry. Cut off any excess skin, but leave the skin covering the breast. Rub onion soup mix all over the outside of the turkey and under the skin. Place in a slow cooker. Cover, and cook on high for 1 hour, then cook on low for 7 hours. 

Roast Turkey Breast with Gravy

(adapted from a recipe at foodnetwork.com)

1 6-lb bone-in turkey breast, rinsed and patted dry
2 T butter, softened
Salt and pepper
1 stalk celery, cut into 2” pieces
1 small carrot, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
2 small onions, peeled and quartered (about 6 oz total)
3 c turkey or chicken broth

Preheat oven to 325.

Rub the turkey all over with the butter, including the cavity of the breast. Season generously with salt and pepper. Scatter the vegetables on the bottom of a roasting pan just large enough to hold the turkey (a 9x13 cake pan should work, or maybe even a 9x9 cake pan). Set the meat breast-side up in the pan. Roast for 2 to 2-1/2 hours (an instant read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the roast should register 160 degrees), then transfer to a cutting board and tent loosely with foil for 30 minutes. This will allow the juices to settle back into the meat and also let the turkey roast continue to cook until it’s done, at 170 degrees.

To make the gravy, pour any drippings into a small bowl. Skim off the fat. Add 3 tablespoons of the fat to the roasting pan, and save the rest for other uses. (I scramble my eggs in it.) Place the roasting pan on a burner over medium high heat** and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Whisk in the stock and the de-fatted drippings and continue to stir. Remove the celery pieces, then puree the gravy in a blender or food processor. Don’t forget to put a towel over the lid of the blender, and hold down tightly, or you’re likely to have gravy all over the kitchen. There’s something about blending hot liquids that tries to force the lid off.

**If you’re using a Pyrex or Corning Ware type baking dish, don’t put it on the burner! Instead, pour the vegetables and the defatted drippings and the 3 tablespoons of fat into a sauce pan. Heat the stock to boiling, and pour part of it in the roasting pan, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom. Pour the stock into the sauce pan, and repeat with the rest of the stock. Take out the celery pieces, and puree the rest in a blender or food processor. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Sauteed Mushrooms and Onion

1 lb fresh mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1 onion, chopped
2 T drippings (or olive oil or other oil, but drippings are best)
Salt and pepper to taste
Parsley and/or thyme (optional)

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, and add the drippings or oil. When the oil is hot, add the onions and mushrooms. It will look like way too much, but it will cook down a lot. Cook, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms have exuded their liquid and it has evaporated. (If you’ve never cooked with fresh mushroom, they’re full of water, which cooks out. There will be a fair amount of liquid in the pan, but then it will evaporate and the pan will be dry again.) The mushrooms and onion should be browned and the mushrooms should have shrunk a lot. Add some salt and pepper, and some parsley and or thyme if you happen to have it. Serve as a side dish, or put in an omelet, or add some cooked chicken or cooked pork for a full meal.

Baked Chicken Breasts with Zucchini and Mushrooms

2 pounds zucchini, cut into 1/2” slices
1 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 c onion, chopped
1 c chopped fresh tomato (or 1 cup drained canned diced tomato)
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
2 drops Tabasco sauce (or other hot sauce, or just a pinch of cayenne)
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 1-1/2 lbs total)
2 T olive oil (or other oil)
2 T parsley, minced (for garnish) (or 1 T dried parsley, added with the vegetables)

Preheat oven to 350. Put vegetables and garlic in the bottom of an 8 or 9 inch baking dish. Season with salt and pepper and Tabasco or cayenne. If you are using dried parsley, add it now to the vegetables. Place chicken breasts on top of the vegetables. Drizzle olive oil over chicken and vegetables and add more salt. Bake for about 45 minutes, basting the chicken with the accumulating juices. Try not to disturb the vegetables. Use a turkey baster to draw up the juices if you have one. If not, tip the baking dish slightly so the juices run down to the lower end, and scoop them up with a spoon. Sprinkle the dish with the parsley before serving, if you are using fresh parsley.

Quick and Easy Mexican Chicken

(based on a recipe at allrecipes.com)

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 1-1/2 pounds total)
1/2 t garlic powder
1/2 t salt
1/2 t pepper
1/2 t cumin
1-1/2 c salsa (half of a 24 oz jar)
1 c shredded Cheddar cheese (preferably sharp) (or use pepper jack)
1/2 c sour cream

Preheat oven to 375.

Combine garlic powder, salt, pepper and cumin and rub over the chicken. Place the chicken in a 9” square baking dish and top with the salsa. Bake for about 30 minutes, then add the Cheddar cheese and bake another 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and starts to brown. Let each person add his/her own sour cream.

Stuffed Chicken Breast

(adapted from foodnetwork.com)

For the filling:
3 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed and thoroughly drained
1 c ricotta cheese (or use cottage cheese)
1/4 c grated Asiago (or use parmesan)
1/2 t ground nutmeg
1 t salt
1 t pepper

For the chicken:
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 1-1/2 lb total)
3/4 c butter, at room temperature (soft but not melted)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 t rosemary
1 t dried thyme leaves (or 1/2 t ground thyme)
1 t dried marjoram leaves (or 1 t dried oregano leaves or 1/2 t ground oregano)
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 450.

Combine the ingredients for the filling.

Cut each chicken breast almost in half, leaving it attached at one side. You want to make a big flat piece. It helps if you put one hand flat on top of the chicken, and cut carefully between your hand and the cutting board.

Place one-fourth of the filling on half of each piece, then fold the other half over to enclose it. Pinch the sides together, but don’t worry if they aren’t completely closed. Put the chicken breasts in a baking dish.

Mix the butter, garlic, herbs, salt and pepper, and rub the mixture over the chicken. Refrigerate at least 15 minutes, until the butter hardens. Roast for 25 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes, at room temperature, before serving. Slice the chicken breasts and serve with pan juices.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Smokey, Roasted Eggplant

       Adapted from Elsie Marley
2 large eggplants (4 or 5 of the small, thin type)
1 tablespoon salt
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons cider vinegar (or whatever vinegar you have)
2 teaspoon smoked paprika (don’t substitute regular paprika, go get the smoked stuff)
1 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon maple syrup (optional, but good)
2 large garlic cloves
1 cup parsley leaves, chopped
Juice of 1 lemon
Heat the oven to 375 degrees F
Cut the eggplant into cubes (1 inch or so) and sprinkle with the salt
Whisk the oil, vinegar, paprika, cumin, and maple syrup together
Add the garlic and the eggplant.
Mix everything up and spread it out on one sheet pant (it looks like a lot for one sheet pan, but the eggplant shrinks considerably)
Put it in the oven for 1 hour–stirring now and then. Really it can stay in for even longer, it just gets better.
When the eggplant is done, take it out and squeeze the juice of 1 lemon over the top.

Stir in the parsley and eat!

Zucchini Fritterish Pancakes

From Nici Holt Cline, of the blog “Dig this Chick” 

This is a delicious and simple way to prepare zucchini, that has been a big hit in workshops and pantry sample tables. 

2 medium zucchini (or other summer squash) shredded/grated
1 carrot shredded/grated
1-2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 cup flour
chives, chopped
salt, to your taste
2 large eggs (3 if on the small side)
1/2 cup milk (or more if needed)
3/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled

olive oil for cooking, as needed
Toss the veggies, and flours in a bowl. Mix the eggs and milk in a measuring cup or small bowl. Add this to the rest o the ingredients a bit at a time until muffin batter consistency is reached. Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet or griddle (if your surface is a good non-stick, you can skip the oil). Drop the batter by the 1/4 cup, spread the batter out a bit if it is thick, and cook for a few minutes, until golden and holds together when flipped. Flip and cook until the other side is brown, and the pancake is cooked through.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Having to peel and dice an oddly shaped, tough-skinned butternut squash for soup can be difficult (and dangerous). It’s best to simply cut it in half and roast it in the oven. The flavors will concentrate and the roasted flesh is easily scooped out of the skin. The squash is then quickly simmered with sautéed onion, sage, and tart apple, and blended with a bit of cream. To add a fancy touch, garnish with toasted pumpkin seed or fried sage leaves.

·       2 pounds whole butternut squash (about 1 medium), halved lengthwise and seeds removed
·       2 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/4 stick)
·       1 medium apple ( a tart one is best, but use whatever you have
·       1/2 medium yellow onion
·       8 fresh sage leaves
·       1 cup  vegetable or chicken broth (you can also try using apple cider)
·       2 cups water (more if it seems too thick)
·       3/4 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
·       1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
·       1/4 cup heavy cream (or half & half, whole milk, sour cream or yogurt)
·       1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds, or sage leaves fried in butter for garnish (optional)
1.     Heat the oven to 425°F and arrange a rack in the middle.
2.     Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil (optional). Place the squash pieces cut-side up on the baking sheet. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter and brush all of it over the tops and insides of the squash halves (alternatively, you can rub it on evenly with your fingers). Season generously with salt and pepper. Roast until knife tender, about 50 minutes to 1 hour.
3.     Meanwhile, peel, core, and cut the apple into medium dice. Cut the onion into medium dice. Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the apple, onion, and sage, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 7 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.
4.     When the squash is ready, set the baking sheet on a wire rack until the squash is cool enough to handle. Using a large spoon, scoop the flesh into the saucepan with the sautéed apples and onions; discard the skins.
5.     Add the broth, water, and measured salt and pepper, stir to combine, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer, stirring occasionally and breaking up any large pieces of squash, until the flavors meld, about 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cream.

6.     Use an immersion (or stick) blender to puree the soup in the pot, until it is velvety smooth. If using a blender, purée the soup in batches until smooth, removing the small cap (the pour lid) from the blender lid and covering the space with a kitchen towel (this allows steam to escape and prevents the blender lid from popping off). Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Serve garnished with the pumpkin seeds or fried sage leaves, if using.
      Adapted from chow.com