Monday, October 31, 2011

Puree of Vegetable Soup

After the success I had with the homemade tomato soup, I decided to try again. This time I took what I had and made it up as I went along. The picture looks great! It is missing the potatoes I decided to add, but the best part is that everything that went into this soup except the chicken broth came from my CSA box! Yup, tomatoes, carrots, jalepeno, leeks, celery root, russet potatoes, sage and summer savory, all from boxes from the last few weeks!

Here is what I had and what I did...

5-7 Tomatoes, variety of kinds
1 Jalepeno

I cleaned and cut the tomatoes and Jalepeno in half and broiled them for about 10 minutes. I then peeled the tomatoes and threw everything in a soup pot.

2 peeled and chunked russet potatos(small)
2 leeks, well cleaned and sliced
4 cloves garlic, peeled
2 carrots(I had one yellow carrot, but could use regular carrots) cleaned and chunked
1 celery root peeled and chunked

I drizzled olive oil over these vegetables, then added salt, pepper, savory and sage. These I roasted until al dente and then added everything to the soup pot.

I cooked this mixture with 4 cups chicken broth for about an hour and then pureed in batches.
The finished product...lots of tomato and celery root flavor! Delicious!

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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Cheesy White Chili

Crockpot season is here, for sure!
I hadn't made this recipe in a bit and thought it sounded good for us to eat this and get some cauliflower in our bodies. I even went to the store to get it for this recipe. I"m not sure where I got this recipe, and it does adapt well. It's not one of our favorite favorites, but it is card-worthy and did serve its purpose recently.
1 T veg oil
2 onions, finely chopped
chopped jalapeno pepper
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 T each cumin, oregano, chili powder
19 oz white beans
3 c broth
3 c cauliflower, cooked 4 min
1 green pepper, strips
2 c mont jack, mont jack with peppers, or cheddar sheese
4 oz cream cheese
1 can diced green chiles
In skillet heat oil. Add onions and cook until soft. Add garlic, jalapeno, cumin, oregano, and chili powder. Cook 1 min. Transfer to slow cooker. Add beans and stock and stir.
Low=8-10 hours High 4-6 hours
Stir in cauliflower, green pepper strips, mont jack, cream cheese and chiles and cook on high for 30 min or low for 1-2 hours.
Here's what I did. I cooked the onion, etc and added it to the slow cooker along with the broth and cooked it on low for 6 hours or so. I had canned white beans so I added those at that point along with the raw cauliflower, cream cheese, and diced chiles and cooked this on low for 2 hours or so. photo of this.

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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Carrot Quick Bread and Pumpkin Muffins!

This is the time of year my kids ask for their favorite pumpkin bread recipe made into muffins. As I look back in the blog, I realize that I have never posted the actual recipe for pumpkin muffins that I use all the time.  That recipe, which is originally from cooking light, has served us well for years.  I usually double the recipe and use one can of is the link Pumpkin Muffins.

I sometimes go overboard when making purchases at Costco. Last winter, I bought too many carrots...meaning big carrots.  I thought I would be making enough stews etc. to use them all, but it became apparent that I was going to have to get creative or wasteful.  My decision was to cook and puree the carrots, freeze the puree and hope for a  further use. This puree has been staring at me every time I open my big freezer, so on this very rainy and windy day, I decided to thaw a container.

Once the puree was thawed, it was evident that I had seasoned the carrots, but I'm not sure what I used.  As I looked around the pantry, I came across some canned pumpkin and thought, hey, I can make carrot muffins instead of pumpkin muffins! I had about 2 cups of puree, so I followed the Pumpkin Muffins recipe, doubling it.  I did add another teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice and 2 Tablespoons of ground flax seed. The batter tasted very similar to the pumpkin batter and the finished product was delicious! I made bread, not muffins, but everyone loved it.  This turned out to be a very moist bread. Next time I might use 1/2 t more pumpkin pie spice and not a whole tablespoon.

The best is those carrots didn't go to waste!
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Friday, October 28, 2011

Crockpot Tacos with Tomatillo Sauce

This is a good and hearty crockpot dinner...courtesy of Rick Bayless. I have raved about his food and his restaurants in previous blog posts, so I won't do that again!!! I didn't find his recipe with an online search, but I'll let you know what I did when making this on the current round.

In the crockpot layer the following ingredients:
1 med onion, cut into 1/4" rounds
4 potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4" rounds
1 lb chicken breasts (I put them in whole)
1 c cilantro
2 cans tomatillos, sliced in half
small can of pickled jalapenos....entire can...juice and all.

Cook on low 6-8 hours. Serve on tortillas or rice with a bit of feta cheese and salsa. Hmmm...avocados would be good also.

The original recipe called for yukon golds but I used the russets I had in the pantry. It also called for fresh tomatillos; I need to run to the Mexican market to get good and inexpensive ones. Since I didn't have time to do that I went with the canned version.

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Pumpkin Shrimp Curry

I was thumbing through the November Bon Appetit when I came across this recipe. It was in the new section (which I really like) where different chefs are asked to come up with recipes for a certain ingredient...with November being pumpkin. I like this section since the recipes selected for publication are usually different from each I get a few ideas with just one ingredient as the starting point. My friend, Erin ( has some friends who do a food blog featuring one ingredient and they make/blog about different things with that item. Fun idea! Here's the address for their blog if you wish to check it out:
I do try to stop at their blog too, so I hope you enjoy it there also!

The chef on this recipe caught my eye since he works at L'etoile in Madison...just a short jaunt down the road from Milwaukee and the home of my alma mater. But, back to the food! In fact, Tory Miller was on one of our favorite TV shows last week, Wisconsin Foodie. It's strange how you start noticing someone/something and then the same person/thing seems to be popping up everywhere!

So many things to say..yet my fingers only type so fast! OK. Wisconsin Foodie is one of our favorite shows. We started watching it for the segment of Athletic Foodie with one of our favorite Olympians (OK...we do have a lot of favorite Olympians, so I won't start that), Garrett Weber Gale, Garrett Weber Gale or gwg or Weber Grill is a Milwaukee native who was in the last Olympics and was on the relay team that won the gold medal. You remember...the relay where Jason Lezak swam anchor and pulled out the win after the trash talking French athlete was sure the French would take it?! Garrett has the website athletic foodie...and Eleanor even got to interview him for a YMCA promo (the link should take you to the video, if you have any desire to see it). I'm a pretty proud mom about the video. And there's even a shot of me being Debbie Phelps in the background while she's swimming. Well, maybe I'm a bit less enthusiastic than Michael Phelps' mom is. Elizabeth made gwg's granola and blogged about has become a staple in this house.

So that's how we started watching Wisconsin Foodie. We enjoy the show even when Garrett isn't on. It features some cool food things happening locally.

Anyway, last week the show featured a dinner with fresh items cooked/served in a tent in the field somewhere near Madison. We had a good dinner before we watched, but Eleanor and I both were drooling over the food. She is not a tomato fan, but she thought even the tomatoes looked good at this dinner.

To get back to the recipe, here was Tory Miller again..creating a delicious fall sounding recipe. I omitted the tomato since Eleanor has that aversion. Other than that, I followed the recipe (hard to believe...but it's true this time) minus the fried shallots. I used the entire can of coconut milk since I didn't have a plan for the rest of it. All three of us highly recommend this...yum!

I had noticed that my recent blog posts were getting shorter and shorter, so this one changes that trend!

This recipe came together quickly and was a good fall dinner on a cool night. It must be good for us with all the vitamin A!

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Indian Spiced Chicken Pita Sandwiches

I saw this in the newspaper and thought it would be worth trying. They were good. I had mine with pita chips instead of a pita and thought the flavors were good.

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Black Bean and Squash Chili

I have said it before....I love chili. I love lentil chili. I love black bean chili. I love meaty chili. I love chicken chili. I love white chili. And, after trying this, I love black bean and butternut squash chili!

I didn't vary too much from the recipe, which is a bit different for me. I didn't use bulgur since I didn't have any and didn't get a chance to run to a coop to get just the amount I needed (I didn't want to have to use the rest of the bag). I increased the chipotles...just to make it spicy.

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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Papparadelle with Corn...or Summer's Last Hurrah

This is a pretty one! Can't say it was too much like the recipe since the recipe was more of an inspiration. The thing I made is good, so next summer I'll plan to try the original since that may be even better. used the pasta I had. Our Sendik's didn't have the correct shape, so I'll have to look for it at the Italian grocery store, Glorioso's.
Fresh was too late in the season for it so I used frozen. I cringe typing that since that's probably worse than the pasta substitution.
White increased the broth.
Fresh was cold and windy and I just couldn't go grab some off my remaining plants, so I used dried.
Green a bit of white onion at the start of the recipe.
5 T T or so of olive oil.
My version of this was good, so we'll see how we like the original in the future!

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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Chicken Peanut Curry

OK. If you haven't figured this out yet, we're huge curry fans at this house. Sometimes people have told me that they avoid curry because they don't like spicy food. Since curry is a blend of spices it isn't always spicy; and just tends to taste like fall to me. We do like our curry temperature warm though.

I have so many curry recipes but tried this one just so I could blog about it. I made this early in the day and transferred it to the crockpot where it got steamy hot and stayed that way until served over rice.

I made this the same week I made black bean and squash chili (I will get that posted soon), so I was able to split the bunch of cilantro down the middle and throw half a bunch in each recipe. I do try to do that so it doesn't go to waste. And since the flavors of vegetarian chili and chicken curry are so different, it doesn't feel like we have been working on eating the cilantro all week!

I'm a bit scared to put peanut butter in any recipe around here since THE SOUP fiasco. See last January's post from the 13th if you want to read/relive that. This is good though. I served this recipe over rice. We all liked it but didn't love it since it seemed a bit bland to us. Maybe if you're not sure if curry is for you, this would be a good recipe to try!
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Friday, October 21, 2011

Green Chili

I ran the Steve Cullen run long ago. It's a run in Milwaukee in January and one of the things in the goody bag was a chili cookbook. I haven't saved the cookbooks, since the recipes don't seem to be anything different and I already have quite a collection of chili recipes. However, this recipe is a definite keeper.

The book is gone, but this version (with my variations) lives on. I love green chili stew and ove the thoughts of the Sangre de Christo mountains at Ski Santa Fe. Green Chili Stew (with pork and hominy) really is served at the ski hill. It's a little different than this recipe, but this one works well for us at our house.

This is an easy recipe to throw together. I have used ground turkey or chicken instead of the ground pork called for in this version.

1 lb ground pork
1 diced onion
Saute in a stockpot.

When the meat is no longer pink add:
1 T flour and stir until dissolved.

Then add:
large can chicken broth
1/4 c diced chiles (canned is fine)
1/2 jar salsa verde
2-3 potatoes, chopped

Cook over low heat for an hour.

Serve with tortillas.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Homemade Tomato Soup

I have never attempted homemade tomato soup, but recently I had lots of tomatoes from my CSA box that needed to be used.  My son loves tomato basil soup, so I set out to find a recipe and came across Tomato Soup with Parmesan Toast.  While it only has a 3 star rating, we loved it. The addition of the fennel is lovely and this is a creamy soup with a lot of body, without any cream. I used an entire fennel bulb, tops and all and I didn't peel the tomatoes, I just through everything together.  I used about 2 pounds of fresh tomatoes in place of the canned tomatoes, omitted the thyme and added 1/2 can of tomato paste that was leftover from another recipe. All of the vegetables came from my CSA box except the fennel!

Dinner that night was tomato soup with grilled cheese and a green salad...a big hit!

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Italian Chicken Soup

I love to share recipes with my friends who love cooking.  In addition to Karen my blogging partner, I have another friend named Karen who loves to cook.  Karen2 and I work together and this past week we exchanged recipes.  She gave me the recipe for Italian Chicken Soup and I shared the secret of THE BREAD.  I had this soup and THE BREAD for dinner last week and she had the same thing for dinner over the weekend. We both agree that an entire package of pasta is probably too much for the soup, I would cut it in half next time. As a family we all agreed that the addition of cream (I used half and half) made this soup velvety, somewhere between a broth soup and a cream soup.

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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Grilled Stuffed Pork Chops

I had this recipe on my list of things to try for a couple months but just hadn't gotten around to it until last weekend. I think our grilling days are waning, so Sunday seemed like a good time to try this recipe. We do try to grill throughout the winter, but it is somewhat unpredictable since it is weather dependent.

These pork chops were really really good. I omitted the salt and pepper and rosemary from the filling and did not use barbeque sauce. Instead I just sprinkled salt and pepper over the stuffed pork chop. Oh...and I used feta cheese.

All three of us really liked these, so I'll have to try to make them sometime over the winter.
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Monday, October 17, 2011

Curried Chicken Pot Pie

Another recipe of unknown origin; however, I suspect it may be a combination of a couple pot pie and mulligatawny soup? Anyway, it's good and warms you all the way through which is just what is needed this time of year.
1 T vegetable oil
1 lb chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
1 c sliced carrots
1 c chicken broth
1/4 c flour
2 t curry powder
1 med apple, cut into 1/2' pieces
1/2 c peas
1/2 c cream or coconut milk

Heat oil and saute the ingredients through the carrots. Whisk together broth, flour and curry powder and add to the sauteed vegetables and bring to a boil. Stir in the apple. Decrease heat and cook 2 minutes stirring constantly. Remove from heat when thickening and add peas and cream. Pour into a pie plate and top with:

1 sheet puff pastry
Bake 20-25 minutes in a preheated 425 degree oven.

I chopped all the ingredients and whisked together the broth mixture before leaving for swim practice and threw everything together very quickly upon returning home. That worked to make this a weeknight meal for our family.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Rice con Queso

I bought the book, Diet for a Small Planet years and years ago at a resale shop. One of those books that is now a bit of the precursor for the newer Barbara Kingsolver Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. I read the book and saved this recipe and donated the book back to a resale shop; however, the recipe is a stable in our house. I like it because it adapts to whatever is on hand. Both books (in my memory anyway) are about being responsible consumers with our food choices; although that's approached a bit differently in each. SometLinkhing I try to do...most of the time anyway:)

I included a link(Rice Con Queso) which lists the recipe pretty close to how I make it except I decrease the cheese a bit as well as the link from the title to the original recipe. I nearly always add cumin and chili powder,a bit more like the adaptation. It does freeze well too, so I sometimes make a double batch and freeze one pan of it. It isn't twice as much work to make a double batch! I have made it with different kind of bell peppers or different kinds of beans, zucchini, leftover chicken, other types of beans, chili powder, sliced tomatoes, etc.

I am a brown rice kinda gal, but I used white rice in this since I had just enough to finish the bag. Rice pudding....there's something that I prefer with white rice, but that's just me.

I used ricotta from the store, but I'm hoping to make my own in the next couple weeks after reading about it in Bon Appetit. Of course I'll post about it if/when I do, so you'll know.

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Saturday, October 15, 2011

Sweet Pumpkin Ravioli with Herbed Sauce

It's a bit hard to compete with Elizabeth's version of this with her homemade ravioli! Here's a version of pumpkin ravioli made with wonton wrappers. I got this recipe from my sister in law years and years ago. I hadn't made it in a long time since it does require significant prep hours, but I was fairly certain Eleanor would appreciate it, and I do work recently I put it together for my pumpkin/sweet potato loving daughter on a day off.

1 c pumpkin puree
1 c cooked mashed sweet potato
pinch nutmeg
dash salt and pepper
Place about 1 T filling on a wonton wrapper. Seal edges with water and allow to dry slightly.
4 oz pkg cream cheese, softened
1/2 c milk (skim is fine)
1/2 c plain yogurt( I used Greek yogurt)
1 T white flour
1/2 T basil
dash thyme
Mash together cream cheese yogurt, and milk in small saucepan. do not boil but warm and whisk in flour. Stir until very smooth. Remove from heat and add herbs.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Split Pea Soup

Sometimes I like to see if I can go just another day without going to the grocery store. Usually I can wait and cook something from items I have on hand. This is one of those things and it did delay the Sendik's run by a day.

In the slowcooker:
1 pkg rinsed yellow split peas
1 onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
2 bay leaves
carton of chicken broth

Turned it on low and let it cook all day. Before serving I sauteed some Trader Joe's chicken apple sausage and topped it with that. It was hearty and warm!

The picture is the soup in a lunch container for a subsequent day. It worked well for quite a few lunches as well as a dinner.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Nora's dinner

Check out Nora's blog, knotmuchofaknitter for all kinds of things...including her more original version of this dinner idea.

This is a good one dish meal. The only problem for me is that it requires baking for 40 minutes or so. I can usually do this on the weekend or on an earlier night (when we have those).

In 1/4 c olive oil in an ovenproof skillet brown
3 Italian sausages cut into 1" chunks
Add 1/2 lb or more of chicken breasts. Nora browns them and then cuts them, I have cut them before adding and browning them. I think whatever works for you is fine.

2-3 med onions, cut into wedges
5-6 cloves garlic, minced
red peppers cut into strips. I added red and green peppers from the freezer. Sometimes I add roasted red peppers instead of fresh or in addition to fresh peppers
2-3 russet potatoes, cut into 1/8" pieces
salt, pepper, thyme, and oregano all in generous amounts

Remove the skillet from the stove. After I add the ingredients after the meat I just saute these items for a few minutes.
Bake uncovered for 40 minutes or so at 400 degrees.

Add 1/3 c red wine vinegar by sprinkling it over the top and bake 10 minutes more. I used balsamic vinegar this time....that's what was in the pantry.

On the night I took the picture I roasted fresh Brussels sprouts as well by cutting off the bottoms and removing the loose leaves. I tossed the Brussels Sprouts with olive oil and salt and pepper and put them in the oven to roast for 50 minutes.

I was feeling like additional vegetables were in order that night as well, so I tossed some baby carrots(with olive oil and salt and pepper) in the oven with 30 minutes or so to go. If I have enough peppers and feel like it gives us enough vegetables then I skip the additional roasted veggies.

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Wednesday, October 12, 2011


At the beginning of summer(I know, its fall now), an ice cream maker jumped off the shelf at Costco and ended up in my basket.  Actually, it was "only" $29.99 and sounded fun. The best thing was, when I got home, I realized there was a $6 coupon, so I really only paid $23.99! Anyway, I thought this would become a novelty appliance, you know, the kind that end up in the basement, only to be pulled out once a year? Boy was I wrong...of course, I made the ice cream and the frozen yogurt at first, but then I found its secret...turn "old" fruit into sorbet.

My daughter eats lots of fruit...12 nectarines? No problem, gone in a couple days...she is the same with all fruit until she decides she is sick of it. My son is the same way, though he is a bit pickier...Mango by the box, apples by the bushel.  Then I come home from Costco with a tray of nectarines or a box of kiwi or mango and they sit, and sit, and sit.  This used to drive me crazy because I thought it was such a waste. Well, the ice cream maker is the best solution.  I take whatever fruit I have that can become sorbet(apples, grapes, oranges etc won't work) and create a puree. I even take fruit that has bruises and use the remaining good fruit.  To remove the skin from the fruits I quickly dip them in boiling water and the skins come off more easily.  I process about 3 1/2 cups fruit for each batch of sorbet and usually add the juice of 1/2-1 lemon. I then strain some of the mixture through a very fine sieve to remove tough strands(mango) and some of the seeds(kiwi, strawberry) though I don't strain the entire mixture. I taste the result and if it is too tart I add about 1/2 cup sugar water(dissolve 1 cup sugar in 1 cup water over heat, then cool).  Most of the time I DON'T add sugar.

Once the puree is made, I refrigerate it for 1 hour to overnight to chill it.  This will make the sorbet set up more quickly.  Then I pour it into the ice cream maker, turn it on and let it run for about 30 minutes.  The sorbet is fairly soft when it is finished so I spoon it into 1/2 cup plastic containers(single servings!) and put them in the freezer.

The batch in the picture is kiwi, nectarine, mango, combination has ever been bad, so use whatever you have!

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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Chicken Soup

Chicken Soup! This is a favorite at our house and varies with the vegetables I have on hand. There are about as many versions of this anyway! This version came from a pediatrician at work who is also a mother/grandmother. A grandma and a pediatrician in one person...sounds like good chicken soup to me. The secret ingredient in this version is a few scrapes/shakes of nutmeg. This is the version of chicken soup most commonly requested in our house, Dr. B's chicken soup.

You can see her notes below. I'll outline it just in case you aren't as skilled as I am in reading doctor's handwriting:)

1 entire chicken plus 2 legs/thighs (split and skinned). Put in soup pot and add water just to cover.
1 boullion cube
1 bay leaf
5 whole peppercorns
1 onion, whole
Start to boil, then simmer. Add:
broccoli stems, cut up or whole
3 each carrots and celery, cut up

While simmering skim off the foam. Cook about 20 minutes or so...until chicken is done. Remove the chicken and pull it off the bone and add it back to the soup. When reheating to a boil throw in a handful of egg noodles and a few scrapes of nutmeg (this is the key). Add more chicken broth if needed.

As with all chicken soup, it's good to add whatever vegetables you have! I almost always add broccoli tops as well. Another friend thinks that a turnip is the secret ingredient.

I made a batch of this and didn't use it for a dinner but rather Eleanor and I had it for lunch most of the week. She told me that things in the thermos are her favorite lunches, so I made butternut squash/apple soup for her this week.

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Monday, October 10, 2011

Chicken Curry

This recipe isn't too different from the one posted on 3/15...but it is a bit of a variation on that one. Hey, I may run out of recipe ideas, so I'm going to put this one on the blog too.

1 T butter
1 T canola oil
Add 1 lb chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
Saute then remove from pan.
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
Stir these until soft and then add:
3 T curry powder (that's right, 3 T) and stir
Deglaze the pan with one small can chicken broth
Add one chopped apple and 1/4 c golden raisins.
Heat for 10 minutes or so until the sauce starts to thicken.

This is good and it does come together in just a few minutes.
Serve over rice with mango chutney, if desired. The apples and raisins make it sweet enough for me without the chutney.

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Sunday, October 9, 2011

Chicken Quesadillas

The word quesadilla makes our entire family laugh. This is going to be hard to explain, but I will try. We lived in the south of France from 1992-1996. There is an English radio station called Riviera Radio which caters to the English speaking population at large, but specifically to the British population. On a trip back in 2008, the kids thoroughly enjoyed listening to this radio station that tried to cater to EVERY English speaking need. Every English shop, event etc. was advertised. One of the craziest ads was for a Mexican restaurant...yes, a Mexican restaurant in the south of France. The best part was that the English announcer mispronounced quesadilla. The catch phrase was, "The best quesadillas on the Cote d'Azur" but the guy said, "The best quesadillias on the cote d'Azur, pronouncing the l's and adding an i...I know, it doesn't really work to try to explain it, but I did anyway. Put simply, Mexican Restaurant, advertised and pronounced incorrectly by a British announcer along the Cote d'Azur in the south of France...all kind of out of place.

Anyway, chicken quesadillas are our first dinner on our BRAT week. This is pretty basic, but I grilled chicken breasts and put some cheddar cheese and the cut up chicken on tortillas and put them in the panini maker.  This could be pretty fancy with sour cream, avocado, tomato, cilantro, salsa...perhaps some jalepeno?  Well, not for us this week, but there are some ideas! I served these with the homemade applesauce, see, it's pink!
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Homemade Applesauce and The BRAT week

My husband got hit with a bad infection on Thursday night/Friday morning that will require a BRAT diet for the week. Most of you with kids are familiar with this acronym...Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, Toast.  It is the recommended diet when you have tummy troubles. So, it is time to get creative. My husband saw the acronym and immediately thought Brat as in Bratwurst and thought, wow, I can have a brat? Uh, no, you cannot have a Brat.                                   

 There are two apple trees along a main road near my house that produce lots of apples but never seem to be harvested. A couple of years ago I raided the trees and made enough applesauce to last the winter. Given the need for applesauce and the beauty of our fall weather, Brian and I decided to raid the trees again!

Homemade applesauce is simple. Quarter the apples, remove the core, cook in a large pot with about a cup of water and put the mixture through a food mill. The resulting product will be slightly pink (from the skin) and delicious.  It can be frozen for future use.  If you don't have a food mill, you can peel the apples and then process them in a food processor.  I like using the food mill, it reminds me of my grandmother making applesauce...the novelty of pink applesauce has never gone away and my kids love it.
Needless to say, my bucket of apples made a LOT of applesauce...Rough estimate, 30 cups. I won't be buying any this year! My applesauce can even wear the "organic" label because I can guarantee no one is spraying pesticides on these trees!
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Saturday, October 8, 2011

Black Bean Chili

Another chili recipe!
This one came from the Minneapolis Star Tribune years and years ago. I think it came to me after my work friend, Joyce, made it for lunch and it smelled and looked good. Anyway, we do like it and have used the filling (cooked down a bit) as a burrito filling. It does freeze well.

Another co-worker at the time had a family and was VERY organized about cooking, she would make huge vats of this and freeze it to eat it all winter. It's that good! I'll have to tell you about her quantities of cooking another time....that deserves its own post. The teaser is that one Monday she came to work saying that she made the chili....times 9!

I make it pretty much like the link but usually make a double batch. This time I added 1/2 jalapeno, chopped and a cube of chipotles in adobo from my freezer. I increase the carrots and bell peppers a slight amount and use one entire can (14 oz) diced tomatoes.

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Friday, October 7, 2011

Sweet Potato Barley "Risotto"

Not sure the origin of the original version of this. But, I'm always happy to revisit a crockpot recipe for a post swimming/workout evening.

The version I have on my recipe card says to do some of the prep work by sauteeing the onions and garlic and adding the barley/stock to a pan...THEN transferring it to the slowcooker. I just dumped everything in the slowcooker and turned it on before leaving for work in the morning and it tasted fine to us.

When I told Paul what we were having for dinner he didn't think it sounded very good, but he liked it (and he told me I could talk about that in the blog)!

2 med onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 t rosemary
1 1/2 c barley
3 c stock
2 large sweet potatoes, cut into 1/4" cubes
Place the sweet potatoes in the slowcooker and top with everything else.

Serve with Parmesan or bleu cheese and a bit of black pepper.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Crockpot Jambalaya

 The fifth and final crock pot meal! This turned out to be Sunday's dinner and it made a lot. Brian was at a golf outing, so it was just the three of us and we barely put a dent in it so, can you say leftovers? I used the Crockpot Jambalaya recipe from Southern Food. I did make some changes, I used 28 ounces of fresh tomatoes from my CSA box, I used turkey smoked sausage, I omitted the wine(I didn't have any)and increased the chicken broth, I used brown rice and I added a jalapeno pepper.

The cooking time seemed fine, but my version turned out to have too much liquid. I would start with 1/2 cup chicken broth next time. I would also increase the Cajun seasoning. Once you add the rice and shrimp, if the mixture seems too dry, you can always add more broth. The recipe says it serves 8, I would think more like 10-12, but then we are a small portion family.

As I finish this Crock Pot run, I do realize that I didn't post my pot roast recipe...since I failed to take a picture of it, I will post this recipe when I make it is a staple, so it shouldn't be too long!

Hopefully you have enjoyed my little Crock Pot daughter thought I should continue the trend with skillet week, no-cook week, bake week and stove top week...we'll see about that, just stay tuned!

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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Pumpkin Waffles with Apple Cider Syrup

Eleanor found this recipe when looking for some new breakfast ideas. I made them as the recipe states and thought these were delicious. We all liked the apple cider syrup....not too sweet. The really awesome thing about this recipe is that house smelled like fall all day after making this!!

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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Crock Pot Baked Chicken

So I debated this morning...I forgot to take a picture of the baked crock pot chicken, do I still post it? Well, I decided that everyone knows what a chicken would look like in a crock pot, so here I go...use your imagination, there won't be any pictures!

This was my most daring crock pot attempt...I was having a hard time visualizing a "baked" chicken coming out of a crock pot! I washed the chicken, heavily seasoned with salt and pepper, put a cut lemon in the cavity and rubbed the outside of the bird with crushed garlic. I then followed Shannon's Crockpot Roasted Chicken recipe loosely. I omitted the paprika and butter and cooked it for much less time. I did cook it for an hour on high, I felt this high heat would kill anything we didn't want to eat, and then I lowered the temp to low. I cooked it for about 3 1/2 hours and that was plenty. The result was delicious...flavored with lemon and garlic, the meat was probably the most tender chicken ever baked in this house. This would be a great way to cook a chicken for casserole meat...very flavorful and tender.

A note on the "roasted" or "baked" label...this really comes out to be more of a poached chicken...the skin doesn't brown very much so if you are looking for a "presentation" meal, stick to regular baking. I would definitely do this again...easy and tasty.
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Monday, October 3, 2011

Crock Pot Lasagne

 So, the week of crock pot meals is complete. Overall, I would say it was definitely nice to not have to think about dinner after about noon each day, but there is something to say about conventional cooking! Crock Pot Lasagne was a hit around here. It was a hit for me because this is a lasagne recipe that doesn't involve cooking the noodles. The family all thought it was great, though I would cook it for a little less time.

I used the Crock-Pot Lasagne Recipe from the Oprah show.  If any of you followed Oprah, this was a recipe that Jessica Seinfeld shared when she was on promoting her cookbook. I followed the recipe exactly, though I would think you could use jar pasta sauce. If you use a jarred sauce, I would water it down a bit since the excess moisture from using the  crushed tomatoes is used to cook the noodles. Also, this recipe says it feeds our house I think we got 10-12 servings from this batch.

When it came time to cook the lasagne, I was a bit torn on timing. This recipe says 3-31/2 hours...all the other crock pot recipes said 4-5 hours.  I would allow 4 hours, but would cook for 3-31/2 and then hold the lasagne on warm.  Letting it sit makes it cut and serve cleanly.  Cooking for too long does overcook the noodles.

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