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Monday, October 31, 2011

Roasted Butternut Squash

Image Credit: Whole Foods Market
Very very delicious and very very simple - Roasted Butter Nut Squash. I love squash, pumpkin and other gourd-like veggies. Matt does not. So I had a simple solution - I bought a pacakge of already cut-up squash and roasted that sucker so I could eat it at my leisure and he won't have to tolerate it as part of a meal. Very simple and easy recipe...

Roasted Butternut Squash

  • 1 package of butter nut squash or one squash cut up into 2-bite size pieces
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Fresh cracked pepper
  • Tin foil

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375-400degrees F
  2. Put the tinfoil down on a cookie sheet to cover the surface, this makes it much much easier to clean later. I promise.
  3. Coat the squash in the olive oil. The amount of oil depends on the amount of squash - I use enough that all sides are coated but not dripping. Like a light salad dressing amount. 
  4. Lay the squash on the cookie sheet and drizzle the salt and pepper lightly over top and toss again so it's coated. 
  5. Pop the tray into the oven for 45 minutes. The oil will bubble but if you touch the squash, it should be close to done - taste test it. I usually end up popping it back in the oven for another 15 minutes. I like my squash almost mashable - it gets nice and caramelized.
  6. Yum!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Easy and Quick Potato, Broccoli & Cheese Soup

I'm a little bit of a recipe hoarder and was rifling through a BIG binder of recipes I've collected over the years looking for an apple crisp recipe. I'm sure you all have a folder, drawer or box that you keep recipes in also, one you've been meaning to organize and throw out recipes you don't like. yeah, I've been meaning to do that also. I didn't find the one I was looking for but I did find this one for a tasty potato, broccoli and cheddar soup that, with a few tweaks, is not that bad for you. Also - the ingredient amounts are suggestions, based on your preference, feel free to tweak. Making soup is not an exact science.

Easy (and quick) Potato, Broccoli, Cheese Soup
4 servings worth (feeds 4 very hungry people)

  • 4 cups chicken stock (low sodium)
  • OR
  • 1 bullion cube of chicken stock and 4 cups water
  • 4 cups broccoli - diced
  • 1 cup carrots - diced
  • 1 cup celery - diced
  • 2 - 2 1/2 cups frozen potato hash/homefries
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 7 oz of cheese (I used low-fat cheddar chunks)

  1. Get a nice big pot, put the sucker on the stove and add in your liquid (chicken stock or water and bullion cube)
  2. Add in the broccoli, carrots, celery, potatoes, salt and pepper
  3. Cook for about 15-20 minutes at a nice slow but steady boil
  4. Combine the milk and flour so they are nicely mixed together - this makes it nice and creamy. Add to the soup, stirring the entire time to thicken the soup.
  5. Add in the chunks of cheese - so they melt as you add them, keep on mixing.
  6. Let that sit for another 5-7 minutes
  7. You can either eat it at this point, or I used my new immersion blender to mix it up just a bit, still leaving a few good chunks of veggies.
  8. This would be very tasty served with some crusty bread.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Apple Picking, Apple Sauce, Apple Crisp and Piggies!

A little late in the season, but better late than never! I was able to hit up Honey Pot Hill Orchards in Stow, MA for a little apple-picking trip with my good friend Rach (giving her a little plug here since she's a yoga teacher and I'm always trying to recruit her a few more clients... check out her website.) The trip was uneventful except that for the piggies!
Aren't they cute?

ANYWAYS... after returning home, it was time to get down to business. Having a full bag of apples, I decided on 3 recipes. 1. Apple Crisp, 2. Apple Bread, 3. Apple Sauce. This post will include the recipes for the Apple Sauce and the Apple Crisp. I'll do a post later this week with the apple bread recipe.

I also have to say I finally purchased an immersion blender and I'm pretty excited about it!!! Would love to hear from you on any good recipes you may have using the immersion blender.
# of apples determines the serving - I'd say about 2-3 good sized apples equals about a meals worth of apple sauce

  • Apples - peeled and cut up into large chunks, or quarters is fine
  • 1/2 cup apple cider
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar (optional - you could also use honey)
  1. In a sauce pan, add the apples, cider and spices
  2. Heat till the apples start to breakdown, and become mushy
  3. Use your immersion blender to cream a little (depending on the consistency you want)
  4. Let cool a bit and eat!
This recipe is a bit watery - next time I'm going to add a bit of flour to the apples before putting the topping on - to help with the juicy-ness.
  • 5-6 Large apples (I used macoun's)
  • 1 stick of very cold butter
  • 2/3 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (or pumpkin pie spice)
  • 1 tbsp white sugar
  • Lemon juice to coat apples so they don't turn while prepping
  1. Preheat oven to 350degrees
  2. Slice the apples thinly and cover with a pinch of the cinnamon and the white sugar.
  3. Apples tend to shrink when cooked, meaning they get mushy and sink into the vessel you're prepping them in so lay them in the pan (I used a deep pyrex bowl) so there aren't any spaces. 
  4. Mix together the remaining dry ingredients and dice in the butter. The cooler it is the better since it will spread more evenly throughout the topping mixture. I diced it up then used my hands to smush it together. It should be a bit grainy feeling when done - a little dry and not like a dough at all. 
  5. Spread the topping around over the apples.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes - or until the topping is hard to the touch and you see the juices bubbling.
  7. Let is cool for about 15-20 minutes before serving since the juices from the apples will be hot.

Thursday, October 20, 2011


When we where in Cancun, we had this dish called Chilaquiles that we both fell in love with. It's traditionally served for breakfast, made from leftovers from the dinner before consisting of corn tortillas, sauce and chicken. I had to know how to make it. We've been talking about it for months and finally had the time and energy to tackle figuring this sucker out. This photo isn't the best but this recipe is now in our permanent rotation so I'll take a better one and repost.

It's really not that hard, I just had to remember to pick up the right ingredients at the store. We added our own little twist but I'm not sure we'd do it again - added refried beans to the mixture makes it way to thick although Matt liked it, I think I prefer them on the side.

I also watched this video from Saveur on technique tips along with using this recipe as influence from The Reluctant Gourmet. I promise to make these again - and show more photos for the steps.

this recipe is for 2 people who are very hungry

3 small breasts of Chicken - shredded
1 onion, 1/2 to put in the water with the chicken, 1/2 finely diced
2 cloves finely chopped garlic
1 can enchilada sauce
1-2 cups mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup chopped queso blanco
salt and pepper
refried beans (side dish)
corn tortillas - about 2-3 per person
oil for frying - we used vegetable oil but you could use corn or canola
Sour cream (optional)
Salsa (optional)

Cook Chicken
- fill a pot of water to cook the chicken in, add a bit of salt and half the onion to season the water, set it to a rapid boil
- plop the chicken into the water until it's cooked
- take it out and shred with a fork or chop it up into small bites
- discard the water and onion

Fry the Tortillas
- fill up a frying pan with about an inch of oil
- heat that up! you can tell if the oil is ready by putting the butt-end of a spoon into the oil, if there are bubbles around the edge of the spoon, it's ready
- Take the tortillas and cut them into quarters - like chips
- drop the tortillas into the oil, one at a time, don't over crowd the pan and fry till crispy
- take out the fried tortilla and place on a paper-towel to let the excess oil drain off

Finish the Dish
- In another pan, sauté the garlic and onions a little bit (about 2 minutes)
- add in the enchilada sauce - i used a small can of the sauce from the store
- OPTIONAL - I also added a few big tablespoons of salsa
- add in your chopped chicken and sauté the mixture till combined and the chicken is cooked thoroughly
- OPTIONAL - I also added our refried beans to the mixture, I would not recommend doing this in the future
- add in the fried tortillas till they are well coated and mixed in
- plop them on a plate and top with the mozzarella cheese and chopped queso blanco (or sour cream)


Monday, October 17, 2011

Eggless Chocolate Chip Cookies

I'm not vegan, but I am lazy. We didn't have any eggs so I resorted to google and found out that 1 egg equals 1 tsp of corn starch mixed with 1/4 cup water. SCORE! So... eggless chocolate chip cookies! I also know that chocolate chip cookies are very tasty if you add in a little bit of creamy dairy - sour cream or plain yogurt, neither of which I had in the house because I hate sour cream and plain yogart is not so pleasant either. I do know that plain goat cheese has the same effect so... there ya go! I ALWAYS have goat cheese in the house.

I am going to make a claim that this is the best tasting chocolate chip cookie dough I have ever made. Ever.

Eggless Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1½ sticks butter (salted), at room temperature
  • 2 tsp corn starch mixed with 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp Pumpkin pie spice (nutmeg and cinnamon)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 oz of plain goat cheese (Trader Joes makes single serving medallions - I used two of those)
  • 2½ cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips

  1. Preheat oven to 350degrees F
  2. Mix the sugars, butter, corn starch mixture, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla and goat cheese together so it's nice and creamy.
  3. Mix in the dry ingredients
  4. Taste to ensure you don't need to add any more salt or sugar to balance the sweetness.
  5. Scoop on to parchment paper lined cookie sheets and bake for 12-15 minutes. (Revision - I made larger scoops of dough - about 1.5 inches in diameter)
  6. Let them sit and cool a bit before serving.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

It's almost apple season!

I had a beautiful photo or two on my phone of a fantastic apple pie I made this weekend and was going to share... Alas, my phone has decided that it no longer wants to be in this world and took a long nose dive from my bag to the floor and did not survive. The photos went along with it. I do have one that I've popped on facebook so hopefully that will get the drooling started a little bit.

But let's take a moment to talk about one of my most favorite foods in the world - pie. I've tried so many ways to make the perfect apple pie. Some come out too juicy, some too dry, some too over baked and some are just plain bad.

I'd love to know some of your tips and tricks to making the perfect apple pie. I like mine juicy and moist on the inside, usually made with a mix of apples (honey crisp and cortlands are tasty) with a good cinnamon flavor. This time I tried to make a roux and then add the sugar and spices. It was ok... not enough butter.

I had 1/2 stick butter, 1/2 cup wheat flour, 1/2 cup sugar, a good share of cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice and nutmeg, 4 cortlands and 2 honeycrisp apples.

The best tip I received when making a pie was from Bea Viera, to line crust for the first hour of baking with aluminum foil so it doesn't burn. Then remove it for the last 10 minutes or so.

Feel free to post a comment and share some of your great pie-baking and making tips! Doesn't have to be apple pie either. :-)