Chipotle Maple Acorn Squash

 

Chipotle Maple Acorn Squash

2 acorn squash, peeled and cut into 1″ pieces

1/3 c maple syrup

1 canned chipotle pepper chopped plus 1 T adobe sauce (canned chipotle peppers in adobe sauce can be found in your supermarket in the latin/mexican section)

1T olive oil

1/2 t salt

Preheat oven to 400.Mix together maple syrup, olive oil, adobe sauce and chipotle pepper in a medium sized bowl. Add squash and toss to coat. Place on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil, bake for 20-30 minutes(or until fork tender), turning once.  Serve.

 

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Spiced Rum Cranberry Sauce

 

Mmm homemade cranberry sauce, I refuse to eat the canned stuff and why when it is so simple to make your own. Since you are making your own, why not make it a drunken cranberry, your turkey deserves a drink too.

Spiced Rum Cranberry Sauce

1 bag fresh cranberries, washed and drained

1/2 c spiced rum

1 c sugar

1/2 c orange juice

1/2 t orange zest

1/4 t ground ginger

1/4 t salt

Heres the easy part, add all ingredients to a saucepan, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. pour into a bowl, cover and refrigerate until ready.

 

Spiced Pear Sangria

 

I usually don’t try out recipes before an event, yes I know I live on the edge, but when it is a delicious cocktail, well reserch is important. I was trying to think of a festive drink for Thanksgiving, I’ve done cranberries and pumpkin in the past so I was thinking of something new and different. Apples? hmm too boring how about pears? So I came up with a spiced pear sangria. It’s very yummy and I am glad I practiced first.

Spiced Pear Sangria

2 pears sliced

1/2 apple sliced

3/4 c pear nectar (found by the fruit juices in the supermarket)

1/4 c ginger liquor

1/8 t nutmeg

1/4 t cinnamon

2 c ice

3 c champagne, prosecco or sparkling wine.

Add all ingredients to a pitcher and stir.

 

Garnish with cinnamon sticks and or sliced pears.

Banana and Chicken Curry

 

Ok I admit it, I love cooking reality shows. My favorites are Chopped, Top Chef and The Next Iron Chef. I love to see the cheftestants think on their feet and see what creative dishes they come up with out of the mystery ingredients. I was so inspired by Chef Nate Appleman on episode 1 of this season’s Iron Chef Redempition. The ingredient was bananas and he came up with a banana curry. Why didn’t I think of that? I love curry, I have made pumpkin curry, coconut curry, sweet potato curry etc… Bananas seem like a no brainer, but I have never seen it before. Now I had to try my hand at this. Next trip to the store I bought a bunch of bananas and the game was on. It was just as delicious as I thought it would be, my kids didn’t even know there was banana in it, they get weird when I put fruit in savory dishes, but they ate every last bite of it. Now what else can I put bananas in…

Banana and Chicken Curry

3 bananas peeled

2 T Olive Oil

1/2  t salt

3 chicken breast cut into bite sized pieces

1 t chopped garlic

1 T minced ginger

1 1/2 T curry powder ( I used a Sri Lankin mix but any would work)

1 jalapeno chopped

2 c chicken broth

1 c diced carrots

1/2 t cayenne papper ( optional)

2 T chopped cilantro

Preheat oven to 400

Place bananas on a baking pan and drizzle with 1 T olive oil and sprinkle with salt, cook for 7-10 minutes

 

In a large pot or dutch oven add 1 T olive oil, chicken garlic, ginger and jalapeno, cook until chicken is brown. Add cooked bananas, and use the back of a wooden spoon to mash. Add curry powder, cayenne, carrots and chicken broth, stir together, bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, stir in chopped cilantro and serve over rice.

Roasted Vegetable Orzo with Parmesan Cheese

This is a yummy side dish or a meatless main meal, would also be a lovely side for Thanksgiving or Christmas.

Roasted Vegetable Orzo with Parmesan Cheese

1 package orzo pasta cooked and drained

I cup chopped eggplant

I cup chopped and peeled acorn or butternut squash

1/2 cup carrots chopped

1/2 cup chopped bell peppers, I used yellow and red

1/2 cup cherry tomatoes

1/2 c chopped onion

2T olive oil

1 cup grated parmesan cheese

salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

Toss all chopped vegetables with 1 T olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread on a sheet pan and put into the oven for about 15-20 minutes or until vegetables are fork tender.

Add vegetables to a large bowl and add in cooked and drained pasta, 1 T olive oil, lemon juice, parmesan cheese and salt and pepper. Serve.

*Use what you have on hand this is a great way to use up leftover vegetables, be creative.

What the heck is that?, Adventures at the Produce Stand and Cactus Pear Margaritas

As you may or may not know, I am a sucker for produce stands and farmer’s markets. I love to look at all the fresh offerings begging me to take them home and invent some new recipe. My younger son also likes to go and find the one fruit or vegetable that he has never tried before. This time it was cactus pears, and well you know I wasn’t going to say no.

So we got them home but now what, I had no idea what part was even edible much less what to do with it. Thank god for Google, my son had already told me no salsa, so after researching a bit I found that really the only other thing to do was a margarita. Well I  had no problem and he was game as long as I didn’t put the tequila in his, if he only knew what he was missing, but he has at least 6 more years before he finds out. Now to figure this “pear ” out.

First step was to peel it, the easiest way is to chop off the ends and then run your knife down the fruit and then carefully remove the peel in one big chunk.

This fruit is full of seeds which are edible but not appetizing, we tried a little piece, it tastes like a not so sweet melon, or a slightly sweet cucumber. Very refreshing though, would be yummy without those pesky seeds.

I threw my fruit into a food processor and pureed it, then strained the seeds out with a sieve, not the easiest process, but worth it in the end. I was left with the juice.

I added the juice from my 2 pears, the juice of 1 lime, 2 T agave nectar, and 2 cups of ice to the blender, and pureed until smooth.

I split this between 2 glasses and added a shot of tequila to mine, my son added Sprite to his, we garnished them with lime and pieces of the cactus peel.

Pretty darn tasty, not too sweet and very refreshing, I could probably drink a lot of these, they go down smooth, but thankfully we only bought 2 pears.

Creamy Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Jalapenos

 

I always thought I hated sweet potatoes/yams when I was young because the only way I had ever had them was canned at Thanksgiving with the marshmallows on top. Well then I realized that they could be used in as many applications as regular potatoes and they were fresh and delicious. This was one of my very first sweet potato recipes and is still my favorite, try this for Thanksgiving instead of the old mushy stand by.

Creamy Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Jalapenos

2 large sweet potatoes peeled and cut into 4ths

1 t salt

2 T butter

1 small jalapeno minced ( use more or less depending on your tastes and heat of your pepper)

2 t minced garlic

1/4 c cream cheese

1/4 c milk

salt and pepper to taste

Boil potatoes with salt in a large pot until tender. Drain potatoes and add to a bowl, add butter, jalapeno, garlic, cream cheese and milk, mash together with a potato masher or whip with a mixer until smooth. Season with salt and pepper and serve. This makes approximately 4 servings, can be doubled or tripled.

 

Oatmeal Cookies with Pumpkin Spice Kisses

I bought a bag of the pumpkin spice Hershey’s kisses and liked them but thought these would go great with an oatmeal cookie, and so the idea was born. I made them and even my finicky kids who aren’t crazy about oatmeal cookies devoured them. Shh don’t tell but it’s my new favorite fall breakfast , sweet with a touch of spice.

Oatmeal Cookies with Pumpkin Spice Kisses

1c brown sugar

1/2 c sugar

3/4 c butter

1/4 c water

1 egg

1 t vanilla

3 cups old fashioned oats

1 1/2 c flour

1/2 t baking soda

1/2 t cinnamon

1/2 t nutmeg

1 c chopped Hershey’s Pumpkin Spice Kisses

Preheat the oven to 350

In a large mixing bowl combine sugars, butter, water, egg and vanilla, mix on low- med speed until creamed

In a medium bowl combine oats, flour, baking soda, nutmeg and cinnamon. Slowly add this to the butter mixture, mix until well combined.

Stir in Chopped kisses. ( I refrigerate my dough for about 10 minutes,  this  keeps your cookies from spreading and becoming too thin while baking) Drop 1 T rounds onto a greased cookie sheet.

Bake for 12-14 minutes. Let cool, store in an air tight container.

Cauliflower Bisque with Smoked Gouda

 

It is soup weather, this decadent, silky soup is great for guests and kids.

2 T butter

1 cup chopped leeks

1/2 c chopped celery

2 garlic cloves chopped

1 head of cauliflower, chopped

3 cups chicken or vegetable broth

1/2 c half and half

1/2 t salt

white pepper to taste

2 c shredded smoked Gouda cheese

 

melt butter in a large pot or dutch oven, add leeks, celery and garlic, saute until leeks and celery are soft, about 8 minutes, add cauliflower and saute for 2 minutes more.

 

add broth and bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook uncovered for 20 minutes or until cauliflower is tender. Puree mixture in a large blender. Return to pot add cream, 1 1/2 c cheese, salt and pepper. cook over low until cheese is melted. Ladle into bowls and garnish with remaining cheese.

Rosemary and Tangerine Shrimp with White Bean Puree

 

Why is it that the best recipes come out of necessity? I was feeling lazy and did not want to go to the grocery store so I used all the leftovers in my pantry, freezer, and herb garden and they came together like magic. These shrimp were light, flavorful, easy and delicious. The rosemary and tangerine worked beautifully together, but I think oranges would be fine too. Great with the white bean puree, also dug up from the pantry, but would be good with rice or pasta as well.

Rosemary and Tangerine Shrimp

1lb frozen shrimp defrosted under cold water

1 tsp tangerine zest

juice from 2 tangerines

4 cloves of garlic chopped

1 T chopped rosemary

1 t salt

2 t olive oil

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl or large ziplock bag and add shrimp, marinate in the refrigerator for 1/2 hour.

Heat a large skillet over med high, remove shrimp from marinade and place in pan, saving marinade. cook for 5 minutes, turning once.

 

add marinade back to pan and bring to a boil, simmer for 1-2 minutes. Serve.

 

White Bean Puree

2 cans white beans, drained and rinsed

1 T lemon juice

1 tsp lemon zest

1 T parsley chopped

3 cloves of garlic

1/4 c water

Add all ingredients to a sauce pan, bring to a boil and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes. Mash, blend or use a food processor to make into a puree.