Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Butternut Squash Soup

This was my first attempt at butternut squash soup, and I was pretty pleased with it!

Butternut Squash Soup

1 medium butternut squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
1 large sweet potato, peeled and rough-chopped
1 cup baby carrots
1 large onion, rough-chopped
1 stalk celery, peeled to remove the stringy bits
32 oz chicken broth
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp curry powder
Cayenne pepper, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup half-and-half
Sour cream, shredded Parmesan, and bacon crumbles, for garnish

Roast the butternut squash in a 400 degree oven, uncovered, flesh side up, for 30-45 minutes, or until fork tender.  You can also microwave the squash flesh side down on a plate with a few tsp of water for 6-7 minutes each half, to speed up the process. Let cool.

In a soup pot, place sweet potato, carrots, onion, and celery.  Pour in chicken broth until veggies are covered.  Simmer on medium heat until veggies are tender, approximately 20 minutes. 

Scoop out the flesh from the squash and add to the pot, with the remainder of the chicken broth.  Add spices and simmer 15 minutes. 

Use an emulsion blender to puree the soup in the pot, or remove from saucepan and use a stand blender if necessary.  Place soup back in the pot and add half and half.  Season with more spices if needed. 

Serve in bowls with a dollop of sour cream, bacon crumbles, and shredded Parmesan cheese.  I served with a slice of garlic Parmesan cheese toast.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Warm Your Soul Tuscan Soup

My husband actually asked for this soup again! I think that makes it a winner. I found this recipe on my meal planning site cozi.com, and modified slightly. I recommend that site also if you want to consolidate to do lists, shopping lists, meal planning, and family calendars.

Warm Your Soul Tuscan Soup

1 lb Italian sausage
32 oz chicken broth
1 can evaporated milk
2 tbsp Italian seasoning
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 medium onion, diced
3 cups diced red potatoes, skin on
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups chopped kale
Shredded Parmesan cheese, for garnish

Brown Italian sausage over medium heat, breaking up into small pieces as it browns. Pour broth, evaporated milk, onion, potatoes, and seasonings in crock pot.  Add browned sausage. Cook on low heat 6-8 hours. During last 20 minutes, add kale and grated Parmesan cheese. Serve topped with a spoonful of shredded Parmesan.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

BBQ Oysters

My hubby and I decided to try oysters bbq'd in the half shell this summer, and we absolutely love them since!  We get to where we crave them! Oysters can be tricky to shuck. I found some good how- to videos on You Tube that helped. I recommend an oyster knife too!

BBQ Oysters

8-10 oysters, cleaned, shucked, and in 1/2 shell
1/4 cup butter, melted
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tsp Sriracha (or other hot sauce)
1 tbsp minced garlic
2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp parsley

Combine butter, lemon juice, hot sauce, garlic, Parmesan, and parsley in small bowl. Freeze 20 minutes or until firm. Scoop rounded spoonfuls onto each oyster, dividing equally among all oysters. Place entire oyster in half shell on a hot BBQ grill (we prefer charcoal). Close lid, cook for 8 minutes. Remove from grill and serve.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Clam Chowder

This is the BEST recipe I've found for clam chowder.  Don't leave out the red wine vinegar.  It really makes the flavors POP!  I was skeptical at first, but this is really great. I have modified this to my taste, but the original recipe link (or close to) is at the bottom.


Clam Chowder

1 cup onion, finely chopped
1 cup celery, finely diced
1 cup carrots, finely diced
2 cups finely diced potatoes (I leave skins on)
1-2 cups chicken broth
4 (6 1/2 ounce) cans minced clams, and juice (less if you don't like as many clams)
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3/4 cup butter (not margarine)
3/4 cup flour
1 quart half-and-half (cream)
salt & pepper to taste

Chop vegetables and put in large soup pot.  Drain clam juice over chopped vegetables.  Set clams aside.  Pour chicken broth over veggies, enough to cover.  Simmer over medium-low heat until tender (about 15 minutes).

While veggies are simmering, melt butter over medium-low heat in a 2 quart saucepan.  Whisk in flour until smooth.  Slowly add half-and-half, whisking the entire time to keep smooth and lump free.  Continue stirring and heating until mixture is thickened and smooth (about 10 minutes).

Add cream mixture to veggies/broth in soup pot, reducing heat to low.  Add red wine vinegar, clams, and salt and pepper to taste.  (Usually with the broth, salt is not needed).  Heat through, but do not boil again. 

I also like to add leftover salmon/steelhead, scallops, shrimp, and any other seafood to make a seafood chowder.  If adding other seafood, you can reduce the amount of clams needed.

Original Recipe:  Clam Chowder

Dutch Babies

Dutch Babies

1/3 cup butter
5 eggs
1 cup flour
1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Beat eggs, flour, and milk until blended (will be pancake/waffle consistency).

Place butter in 9x13 pan and place in the oven to heat and melt butter.  Once butter is melted, pour mixture into pan with melted butter, and bake at 400 for 30 minutes until puffed and golden brown.

Top with powdered sugar and lemon curd, syrup, or jam. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Chicken Noodle Soup

Chicken Noodle Soup

1 rotisserie chicken carcass (or turkey from thanksgiving) with enough meat left on it for soup (usually about 1/2 eaten)
2 bay leaves
2 lemons, halved
6-8 stalks chopped celery
6-8 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 medium onion, diced
Chicken flavored bullion (to taste)
Pepper (to taste)
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 batch of homemade noodles (I found a good tutorial here: Egg Noodles)

Place chicken carcass in a large stockpot with bay leaves.  Squeeze lemon into pot and place lemon halves in with chicken.  Cover with water and heat on medium until boiling.  Simmer until meat is falling off bones and broth is golden brown in color, approximately 2 hours.  Add more water as needed.  Meanwhile, chop veggies and make noodles.

Once the chicken is done simmering, remove stockpot from stove and strain over a bowl/pot, reserving all broth.  Leave chicken to cool in strainer and add broth back to stockpot.  Add veggies to pot with broth and return to medium heat, adding water to cover veggies if needed.

Once chicken is cool enough to touch, separate bones from meat.  Discard bones, lemon halves, and bay leaves.  Place the chicken meat back into the stockpot with the veggies, adding more water as needed.

Simmer soup on medium-low heat until veggies are crisp-tender, or about 20 minutes, adding pepper and chicken bullion to taste. Add cinnamon and nutmeg.

Once veggies are nearly done, turn the heat up to medium-high until the soup is at a boil.  Add noodles by handfuls, and cook for 10 minutes, or until tender.

Serve with homemade bread or rolls!  My favorite homemade bread recipe is this one:  Grandmother Bread


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Tomato Basil Pizza

This is adopted from a Pampered Chef recipe we've loved over the years. This is off the top of my head and my modifications so hope you enjoy!

Tomato Basil Pizza

1 package refrigerated pizza dough (I use Trader Joes)
2 cups mozzerella (divided)
1/4 - 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil (depending on taste)
2/3 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp minced garlic
4-5 tomatoes, sliced (enough to cover pizza)

Preheat oven to 375* F.  Mix 1 cup mozzerella, garlic, mayo, Parmesan, and basil in a bowl.

Grease pizza stone.  Spread pizza dough to the edge of the stone. Spread remaining 1 cup of mozzerella over dough. Lay slices of tomatoes over the cheese. Scoop dollops of basil mixture over top of the tomatoes and flatten to thin layer with back of spoon or fingers.

Bake for 30 minutes or until brown and bubbly.

Let pizza cool for 5 minutes before slicing into squares to serve.