Friday, October 17, 2014

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup


Finally we’re getting into fall. Cool weather, pumpkin flavored everything, sweaters, bon fires, and excellent fall veggies.  One of these veggies is Squash, which I am ridiculously in love with.  Squash is a wonderfully versatile vegetable that can be used at a main, side, or soup course.  Since I received a 3 lbs. Butternut Squash in our CSA delivery, I elected to try out soup with it.  



Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

6 servings
10-15 minutes to prep
60 minutes to cook
·       1 Large Onion
·       1 Large 2-3 Lbs. Butternut Squash
·       3 Cloves of Garlic
·       4 Tsp. Olive Oil (divided)
·       1 Cup of Milk (you can substitute heavy cream)
·       3 Tsp. Maple Syrup
·       2 Tsp. Sea Salt
·       2 Cups of Chicken Broth

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Ready a large baking dish.  Chop Butternut Squash in half and scoop out seeds. Drizzle 2 Tsp. Olive Oil and the Maple Syrup on top.  Then sprinkle Sea Salt over each piece evenly and roast for 45-60 minutes.



After 30 minutes or so, begin to sauté onions in a Dutch Oven with remaining Olive Oil. Caramelize onions for 15-20 minutes.  Chop Garlic and add to the onions for the last 3-5 minutes to brown  When Squash is super tender, scoop out of shells and add to pot with onions.  



Add Milk and Chicken broth to mixture and puree.  



You may need to reheat it for another 5-10 minutes on the stovetop so it’s piping hot to serve.
Easy to serve with biscuits.


Friday, October 3, 2014

Braised Pork


Let’s talk about braising.  This may be my favorite way to cook meat.  Low and slow for a tender flavorful taste with each bite. You can easily accomplish braising in a slow cooker but I wanted to try it out in the oven.  I was surprised and excited by the deep flavor and the ease of cooking it this way.  You can create a large amount of food for a dinner party or a tailgate party with this.  
To braise, set your oven on a lower temperature, such as 300 degrees. Add liquid to the meat to slow cook.  Cover the dish with foil and leave it alone until fork tender.  Typically tougher meats, such as chuck roast or pork shoulder are excellent for braising. 



Braised Pork

10 servings
30 minutes to prep
90 -120 minutes to cook
·       1 Vidalia Onion
·       2-3 lbs. of Pork Shoulder
·       2 Cups of Cherry Tomatoes
·       1 tsp. Paprika
·       1 Tsp. Garlic powder
·       1 tsp. salt
·       1 tsp. pepper
·       2/3 Cup Flour
·       2 Tsp. Olive Oil
·       2 Cups of Water


Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Ready a large baking dish.  Chop up onion and spread on the bottom of the baking dish. Dredge pork shoulder slices in flour, coat evenly.  


Brown pork in a skillet with Olive oil.  


Spread out slices onto the baking dish with the onions.  Add tomatoes to baking dish. Even sprinkle garlic powder, paprika, salt, pepper, and water.



Cover with Foil and braise in the oven for 90 to 120 minutes until fork tender.  Once fork tender, shred meat if desired.
Serve with mashed potatoes, dumplings, or noodles.



Saturday, September 27, 2014

Chicken Fajita Bake


I’ve been exploring new ways of prepping meals. Whether it involves the slow cooker, a frozen casserole dish, or simply a one-pot meal that you can pop together.  My husband doesn’t mind cooking but loves this prepped meals that he can simply pop into the oven with directions or add the bag of ingredients to the slow cooker.  This takes a little time and effort but I’ve learned if I prep these meals before work, whomever gets home first can help to make dinner easily.
Today’s post is on Chicken Fajita Bake.  Chicken Fajitas are a beloved meal at our home.  Mostly because anything that is that delicious and can be wrapped in a tortilla is a staple for mealtime.  I made a big portion so we would both have lunches to take with us during the week and extra chicken to add to salads for another meal.  You can certainly half or quarter this recipe easily.  Also one serving for this meal, is one fajita.  Most of the time I indulge in two or three depending on how hungry I am. This post comes in two parts, the first part is the taco seasoning that I added for the fajitas.  This recipe for the taco seasoning is about two servings for. 

Taco Seasoning

2 servings
2 minutes to prep

·       1 tsp Garlic Powder
·       ½ tsp Pepper
·       1 tsp Salt
·       ½ tsp Cumin
·       1 tsp Paprika

Mix all ingredients together, sprinkle on whatever recipe it’s called for.




Chicken Fajita Bake

14 servings
30 minutes to prep
45 minutes to cook

·       1 Vidalia Onion
·       2 Sweet Peppers
·       4 Chicken Breasts
·       2 Large Zucchini
·       Taco Seasoning
·       3 Tsp. Vegetable Oil
·       10-14 Tortillas
·       2 cups Shredded Cheese
·       1 Tomato diced
·       2 cups of Lettuce
·       Sour Cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Ready a large baking dish.  Chop peppers and onions into strips.  Chop Chicken into small pieces.  Chop Zucchini into small pieces.  





Begin to layer dish, adding a layer of onions and peppers on the bottom first.  Add Zucchini to one side.  Then begin to add chicken on top of peppers and onions.



Drizzle pan with oil and sprinkle with taco seasoning.  Use a spoon to mix up the chopped vegetables and chicken with the seasoning so it’s evenly applied.  Put in oven for 45 minutes or so.  You may want to take it out to stir up vegetables and chicken part way through so it cooks evenly.



After dish is in oven, begin to ready sides (lettuce, tomato, cheese) into small dishes for dinner.  Allow tortillas to come to room temperature if they were refrigerated.
Pull out baking dish and allow cooling for about 5-10 minutes.  Then set out small dishes of toppings and tortillas and serve.



Friday, September 19, 2014

No Bake Cheesecake with Kiwi Berry


If you haven’t been able to tell, I am a HUGE fan of dessert. I’ll try pretty much anything and am constantly experimenting with new flavors for a new combination.  Recently we were given Kiwi Berries in our CSA delivery.  I wasn’t really sure what they would taste like and what they could be cooked in.  After a little bit of research, I determined that mostly Kiwi Berry is a fruit that’s made into jam or eaten raw when ripe.  I’m not a fan of jam and after trying one of them, I looked for a new way of incorporating them into dinner.  I considered slow roasting them with meat, but frankly just wanted dessert that night.  You can certainly substitute a different kind of berries or fruit to go with this.

No-Bake Cheesecake w/Kiwi Berry

4 servings
30 minutes to prep

·       1 cup of Kiwi Berry
·       ½ granulated Sugar
·       1 cup Confectioner’s Sugar (divided)
·       1 pint Heavy Cream (about 2 cups, divided)
·       3/4 cup of water
·       1 package of Cream Cheese (8 oz.)
·       2 Tsp. Vanilla Extract (divided)
·       3 Graham Crackers (crumbled)
·       2 Tsp. Butter (melted)

  
Add the Kiwi Berries, water, and granulated sugar to a small pan and gently heat up on the stove top.  You’ll need to mash them as they cook.  Allow it to cook down, about 10 minutes or so.  Set aside to cool.



While that is cooling begin the cheesecake filling.  Whip together ½ cup of Confectioner’s Sugar, Cream Cheese, 1 Tsp. of Vanilla Extract, and ½ of the pint of Heavy Cream in a large bowl.  It should create heavy fluffy mounds of awesomeness.



Melt butter in a small bowl and add graham cracker crumbles to it.  Mix until thoroughly combined.   



Empty rest of Heavy Cream into a bowl and add 1 Tsp. Vanilla Extract and ½ cup of Confectioner’s Sugar.  Whip together until firm peaks form.  Pull out 4 small bowls or containers.  Begin to layer dessert.  Graham cracker crumbles on the bottom, a layer of cheesecake, a layer of berries, a layer of cheesecake, and lastly a layer of whipped cream on top.  




Saturday, September 13, 2014

Slow Cooker Minestrone Soup


This time of year, it’s easy to have a hodge podge of ingredients in your refrigerator.  This is an easy soup recipe to break them all down into a quick meal.  I made this for lunches and it turned out great.  If you don’t have the exact veggies that I featured, feel free to throw in ones that you may have lying around.  Like extra spinach, mushrooms, wax beans, or patty pan squash.  Just maybe stay away from starchy veggies.  

Slow Cooker Minestrone Soup

6 servings
10 minutes to prep
4 hours to cook on high

·       1 14 oz can of tomato sauce
·       6 Cups of Water
·       1 cup of fresh corn (about 2 ears worth)
·       3 fresh tomatoes (diced)
·       ½ cup of fresh basil (chopped
·       1 cup of green beans (chopped)
·       2 cups of Spinach or Kale
·       1 teaspoon of Salt
·       3 cloves of garlic (minced
·       1 cup of Zucchini (chopped
·       1 large Red Onion (chopped
·       1 cup of small Pasta (macaroni or small shells)

Chop all vegetables and herbs.



Add all ingredients except for pasta to a slow cooker.  Set slow cooker on high and allow cooking for 4 hours.



After 4 hours, add pasta.  Cook for 20 minutes, test pasta for doneness and serve.  
I put the soups in little microwavable bowls for work.  It made an easy meal for me to eat at work or heat up at home if I was far too tired to cook.





Friday, September 5, 2014

Rosemary Peach Chicken


I know, I know, two chicken recipes right in a row, but both are super yummy! 
I love peaches, but we’ve received a lot of peaches from our weekly CSA deliveries.  After 5 bags of peaches in less than a month, I’ve now started vigorously searching for recipes to use up our peaches.  I came across this one, which sounded great but the initial recipe called for apricots and roasting in the oven.  Since I was making this on a day when I didn’t have a great deal of time and I needed to use up all of these peaches, I made a few substitutions. I utilized a slow cooker instead of roasting the items in the oven and added carrots as another vegetable to the bottom of the slow cooker.  Because you always to want to add as many veggies to a dish as possible.  The dish turned out great with a side of sauteed zucchini. 

Rosemary Peach Chicken in Slow Cooker

 

4 servings
20 minutes to prep
7 hours to cook on low heat
or
4 hours to cook on high heat

·       2 cups of carrots chopped
·       1 Red Onion sliced
·       4-5 Chicken thighs
·       2 Tsps of Olive Oil
·       3 Peaches, skinned and chopped
·       3-4 sprigs of Rosemary, chopped
·       3 Tsps of White Balsamic
·       2 Tsps of regular Balsamic
·       1 teaspoon of Salt
 
Layer the carrots and onions as the two bottom layers in the slow cooker.



Brown the chicken thighs in Olive Oil on the stovetop.



Layer the chicken thighs on top of the veggies, then layer diced peaches and sprinkle rosemary on top. Drizzle both Balsamic Vinegars on top.



Cook on low for 7 hours or so.




Thursday, August 28, 2014

Spicy Coconut Chicken


Roast chicken is one of my favorite dishes to make, but every once in awhile I look for a new approach with it.  I found this recipe and gave it a try.  It didn’t turn out quite as expected but packed a wallop of spicy flavor in a deceptively calm looking dish.  This is a great dish to serve with veggies and rice.  It also made for great packed lunches for the rest of the week.

(note: If you're not a huge fan of coconut, don't worry, it's not an overwhelming flavor.  It mostly adds richness to the chicken.)

Spicy Coconut Chicken

8 servings
2 hours to prep
2 hours to cook

·       4 whole Chicken legs
·       1 cup of Coconut Milk
·       ½ cup of Cilantro (chopped)
·       3 Tablespoons of Soy Sauce
·       1 teaspoon Cumin
·       4 small Jalapenos (chopped)
·       1 teaspoon of Salt
·       ½ teaspoon of Cayenne Pepper
·       ¼ cup of Vegetable Oil
·       3 Tablespoons of Sugar

Put Chicken Legs in a bag and set aside.  Whisk the remaining ingredients in a large bowl until thoroughly combined.



Pour marinade in bag, seal and refrigerate for 1.5-2 hours.
 


Preheat Oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare a large baking dish.  Lay out chicken skin up in dish.  Drizzle a little of the marinade on each Chicken Leg.  



Roast for 1.5 to 2 hours.  Bast it with the juices as it cooks.  Allow resting for 10 minutes after roasting.  Serve with rice or mixed vegetables.