Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Butternut Squash Soup with Apple and Smoked Cheddar

This was a VERY yummy soup, and it is VERY easy. We got some excellent applewood smoked cheddar which went beautifully with the apple and squash flavors. It was so good! We would definitely make this again. Make sure you use a good stock though (we used vegetable stock, obviously) because it is a very strong flavor in the soup, as it is the main liquid.


Butternut Squash Soup with Apple and Smoked Cheddar
Food & Wine, via CLBB (sandee)

Butternut squash and apples come into season around the same time in Vermont," Silansky says, "and they go so well together." But this soup’s key ingredient is its smoked-cheddar garnish. Silansky gets his cheese from Grafton Village Cheese Company, a local producer with national distribution that cold-smokes aged cheddar over a maple-wood fire.

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced
3/4 cup apple cider
One 1 3/4-pound butternut squash—peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch dice (5 1/4 cups)
4 1/2 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 McIntosh apple, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/3 cup coarsely shredded smoked cheddar cheese (2 ounces)
One-inch pieces of chives or thinly sliced sage leaves, for garnish

1. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 8 minutes. Add the apple cider and cook until syrupy, about 3 minutes. Add the butternut squash and chicken stock and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer until the squash is very tender, about 40 minutes.

2. In a blender, puree the soup in batches. Return the soup to the saucepan and stir in the cream. Season with salt and pepper and keep warm.

3. Heat a medium skillet. Add the butter and diced apple and cook over high heat until the apple is tender and golden around the edges, about 2 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat. Season lightly with salt and pepper.

4. Ladle the soup into warmed bowls; garnish with the smoked cheddar, sautéed apples and chives; serve.

MAKE AHEAD The soup can be refrigerated for up to 2 days. Reheat before garnishing with the cheddar, apples and chives.

Yield: 4 servings

Monday, December 28, 2009

Festive Gingerbread Friends Pancakes

What a ridiculously stupid recipe. I used bisquick fat-free mix and fat-free ReddiWhip. It was cute but not even that good. I wouldn't make it again. Waste of time!



Festive Gingerbread Friends Pancakes
Aunt Jemima ad

To use Aunt Jemima® Original or Buttermilk Original Pancake & Waffle Mix, combine 3 cups mix, 1-3/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon and 3/4 teaspoons ground ginger. In separate bowl, combine 2 cups milk, 3 Tbsp. molasses, 3 Tbsp. vegetable oil and 3 eggs. Proceed as recipe directs.

3-1/2 cups Aunt Jemima® Complete or Buttermilk Complete Pancake and Waffle Mix
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
2-1/4 cups milk
1/4 cup molasses

1. Combine mix, cinnamon and ginger in large bowl. Set aside.

2. Mix milk and molasses with wire whisk in medium bowl.

3. Blend well.

4. Add contents of medium bowl to large bowl.

5. Blend until large lumps disappear.

6. Cook according to package directions.

7. Use two-inch person-shaped cookie cutter to create gingerbread shape.

8. Decorate with fruit and whipped cream. Serve with Aunt Jemima Syrup.

Yield: 18

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Easy Cauliflower & Broccoli Au Gratin

I had planned to make this side dish but wasn't sure what to make with it. It's so creamy and decadent. I considered lobster tails since I've never made those before, but when I saw the $40 price tag, I reconsidered. We did find some frozen lobster meat for $15 though, so we splurged and got that. What gorgeous lobster meat. Perfect and definitely yummy. I was nervous but it was very good. After it thawed I sauteed it in butter with just a little salt and pepper. Then we just scooped that into bowls. Very simple. Look!


The side dish was extremely easy due to all the microwaving, but was very yummy. If I hadn't made it, I'd never have known it wasn't straight out of the oven. I used all light stuff - low-fat cream cheese, fat-free sour cream, 1% milk, etc. Very good. I would make it again for a quick dish.

All in all, the meal took 10 minutes from start to finish. High-five!


Easy Cauliflower & Broccoli Au Gratin
Kraft Foods

1 lb. large cauliflower florets
1 lb. large broccoli florets
1/2 cup water
4 oz. (1/2 of 8-oz. pkg.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, cubed
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup BREAKSTONE'S or KNUDSEN Sour Cream
1-1/2 cups KRAFT Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
10 RITZ Crackers, crushed
3 Tbsp. KRAFT 100% Grated Parmesan Cheese

PLACE cauliflower and broccoli in 2-qt. microwaveable dish. Add water; cover. Microwave on HIGH 8 to 10 min. or until vegetables are tender; drain. Set aside.

MICROWAVE cream cheese and milk in 2-cup microwaveable measuring cup or medium bowl 1 min. or until cream cheese is melted and mixture is well blended when stirred. Add sour cream; mix well. Pour over vegetables; sprinkle with Cheddar cheese. Microwave 2 min. or until cheese is melted.

MIX cracker crumbs and Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle over vegetables.

Yield: 10 servings

Sunset Sippers

On Christmas everybody was upset about some difficult things in life, and despite my career as a therapist, I had no idea what to say. So I didn't respond at all, got up, and went to my parents' alcohol cabinet to see what I could make. I found this recipe in my collection (thank goodness I had my laptop!) and made it. We liked it and drank all of it and all was well with the world. It was a little strong for me but I'm very sensitive to alcohol. I used the rum and triple sec, and a cherry brandy and red food coloring instead of the grenadine. Hah!


Sunset Sippers
Magazine clipping from Woman's Day or Family Circle?

Combine in a large pitcher 3 cups orange juice, 1 1/2 cups rum or white cranberry juice, 3/4 cup triple sec or prepared lemonade, a 12 oz can of ginger ale and the juice of one lime. Divide equally among 6 champagne flutes or tall glasses. Carefully pour 1 or 2 tsp grenadine syrup into each glass. Garnish with orange slices and serve chilled.

Peppermint Ice Cream Cake - Redux

HAHAHAHAHA. I love when I accidentally remake a recipe. I mean, I didn't make this. My mom did. But I found the recipe. Apparently we made this four years ago for Christmas and it was good but it was awkward and crappy because of the layers. But this year my mom used a special pan, which she bought me for Christmas too, and it made the cake SO MUCH better. And we used the recipe adaptation posted on Culinary In the Desert, which was better than the Cooking Light instructions. Yum!!!




Here are Joe's instructions, as opposed to the one I posted before.

Peppermint Ice Cream Cake
CL, adapted by Joe

3/4 cup dutch processed cocoa
3/4 cup boiling water
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 cups Dreyers peppermint ice cream, softened
3 cups lightly sweetened fresh whipped cream
1/8 teaspoon peppermint extract
8 peppermint candies, crushed

Preheat oven to 350

Coat 2 8" round cake pans with cooking spray. Line bottoms with parchment paper.

Combine cocoa, water, and butter, stirring with a whisk until blended. Cool.

Combine sugars in a large mixing bowl, stirring well until blended. Add eggs and beat 2-3 minutes or until light in color. Add cocoa mixture, and beat for 1 minute.

In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Gradually add flour mixture to bowl; beat for 1 minute or until blended. Stir in vanilla. Pour batter evenly between the prepared pans.

Bake 24-28 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes on a wire rack. Remove from pans. Wrap in plastic wrap, and freeze for 2 hours or until slightly frozen.

If you do not have the special cake pans I used, spread ice cream in an 8-inch round cake pan lined with plastic wrap. If you do, place the softened ice cream into the grooves of the cake from the pan. Cover and freeze 4 hours or until firm.

To assemble cake, place one cake layer, bottom side up, on a cake pedestal.

*If making without the pans* Remove ice cream layer from freezer and remove plastic wrap. Place ice cream layer, bottom side up, on top of cake layer. Top with remaining cake layer.

Combine fresh whipped cream and peppermint extract, and stir until blended. Spread frosting over top and sides of cake. Sprinkle with crushed peppermints. Freeze until ready to serve. Let cake stand at room temperature 10 minutes before slicing.

Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeno Thingies

I didn't make these. My mom did because I sent her the recipe. So I'm not going to take credit for it. And I didn't taste them, obviously, because I don't eat bacon. But I am going to share them with you because my family LOVED them and it's too bad I'll never make it. Haha! This recipe is from The Pioneer Woman and apparently is pretty excellent!


Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeno Thingies
The Pioneer Woman

20 whole Fresh Jalapenos, 2-3 Inches In Size
2 cubes Cream Cheese, softened
1 pound Thin(regular) Bacon, Sliced Into Thirds

If you have them, slip on some latex gloves for the pepper prep… Cut jalapenos in half, length-wise. With a spoon, remove the seeds and white membrane (the source of the heat; leave a little if you like things HOT). Smear softened cream cheese into each jalapeno half. Wrap jalapeno with bacon pieces (1/3 slice). Secure by sticking toothpick through the middle. (At this point, you can freeze them, uncooked, in a Ziploc bag for later use).

Bake on a pan with a rack in a 375-degree oven for 20-25 minutes. You don’t want the bacon to shrink so much it starts to the squeeze the jalapeno. If, after 20 minutes, the bacon doesn’t look brown enough, just turn on the broiler for a couple of minutes to finish it off. These are best when the jalapeno still has a bit of bite to it.

Serve immediately, or they’re also great at room temperature.

You’ll love these so much, you’re gonna come out of your skin. Or something like that.

Yield: 10 servings

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Farfalle with Creamy Wild Mushroom Sauce

This is a very mushroomy pasta. And.... everyone LIKED IT. They ate the whole thing. It really is very, very yummy. It's very easy and quick as well. We used a mini-farfalle which I think worked nicely. I really liked this a lot and would definitely make it again.


Farfalle with Creamy Wild Mushroom Sauce
Cooking Light, 12/06

This recipe scored high in our Test Kitchens for its rich flavor and ultracreamy texture. The exotic mushroom blend, a combination of shiitake, cremini, and oyster mushrooms, is sold in eight-ounce packages. If unavailable, you can use all cremini mushrooms.

1 pound uncooked farfalle (bow tie pasta)
1 tablespoon butter
12 ounces presliced exotic mushroom blend
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup finely chopped shallots
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup dry white wine
2/3 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Minced fresh parsley (optional)

Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain.

Melt the butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, onion, shallots, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper; cook 12 minutes or until liquid evaporates and mushrooms are tender, stirring occasionally. Add wine; cook 2 minutes or until liquid evaporates, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.

Add the cooked pasta, whipping cream, cheese, and 2 tablespoons parsley, tossing gently to coat. Stir in remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Garnish with minced fresh parsley, if desired. Serve immediately.

Yield: 8 servings

Garlic and Cheese Crostini

I didn't post a recipe last night because I was sickly and fell asleep as soon as I got home. But I'm better today so I made food. This was an accompaniment to our pasta dish and it was boring. It's such a non-recipe and I'm embarrassed to even have used a recipe for it. And it wasn't even that great! Delete.


Garlic and Cheese Crostini
Gourmet | October 2009

These toasts are topped with a light sprinkling of minced garlic, olive oil, and sharp Pecorino Romano before being baked. Garlicky and salty, they are a great accompaniment to cocktails.

24 (1/3-inch-thick) baguette slices (from a baguette at least
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
3/4 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano (preferably imported)
5 large garlic cloves, minced
Kosher salt
2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.

Arrange bread slices in 1 layer on a large baking sheet and brush tops with 3 tablespoons oil.

Stir together remaining tablespoon oil, cheese, garlic, 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a small bowl. Sprinkle each slice with about 1 teaspoon cheese mixture, mounding it slightly.

Bake until topping just starts to melt, 6 to 8 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley and kosher salt to taste. Serve warm.

Cooks' Note: Cheese mixture can be made 1 day ahead and chilled.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Chocolate Brownie Cake

Not only did I make stuff for my office party, I was also in charge of the birthday cake for people with December birthdays! A chocolate cake with chocolate frosting was requested, so I picked out a decadent recipe and delivered! Several people told me it was one of the best chocolate cakes. And I was proud of myself for making it look so pretty! I will definitely keep this recipe on file.


Chocolate Brownie Cake
Emeril Lagasse

1/2 pound butter, softened at room temperature
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Chocolate Buttermilk Frosting, recipe follows

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour 2 (9-inch) cake pans, then line with parchment paper.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and mix until thoroughly combined.

Into a medium mixing bowl, sift the flour, baking soda and cocoa powder together.

In a small mixing bowl whisk the buttermilk, sour cream and vanilla together.

While the mixer is on low speed, add the dry ingredients in 3 batches, alternating with the liquid ingredients.

Divide the cake batter evenly among the 2 prepared cake pans and bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean and the edges of the cake just begin to pull away from the sides of the pan, about 30 to 35 minutes.

Transfer the cakes to a cooling rack and allow the cakes to cool in the pans. Carefully remove the cakes from the pans and frost as usual for a layered cake with the Chocolate Buttermilk Frosting.

Chocolate Buttermilk Frosting
1 stick butter, softened
1/4 cup cocoa powder, sifted
8 ounces cream cheese
1 pound powdered sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla

In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the butter, cocoa powder and cream cheese over low speed and mix until thoroughly combined. Increase speed to high and cream ingredients until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low and slowly add the powdered sugar, buttermilk, and vanilla. Beat until mixture is smooth and thoroughly combined.

Frost cake as usual.

Yield: 10 servings

Holiday Biscotti

We had a gift exchange at work and I made some biscotti and put them in a tin to give along with some other gifts. I kept some for myself, too. They are delicious! I hope the recipient likes them!


Holiday Biscotti
Giada de Laurentiis

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup pistachios, coarsely chopped
2/3 cup dried cranberries
12 ounces good-quality white chocolate, chopped
Red and green sugar crystals, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Line a heavy large baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk the flour and baking powder in a medium bowl to blend. Using an electric mixer, beat the sugar, butter, lemon zest, and salt in a large bowl to blend. Beat in the eggs 1 at a time. Add the flour mixture and beat just until blended. Stir in the pistachios and cranberries.

Form the dough into a 13-inch long, 3-inch wide log on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until light golden, about 40 minutes. Cool for 30 minutes.

Place the log on the cutting board. Using a sharp serrated knife, cut the log on a diagonal into 1/2 to 3/4-inch-thick slices. Arrange the biscotti, cut side down, on the baking sheet. Bake the biscotti until they are pale golden, about 15 minutes. Transfer the biscotti to a rack and cool completely.

Stir the chocolate in a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water until the chocolate melts. Dip half of the biscotti into the melted chocolate. Gently shake off the excess chocolate. Place the biscotti on the baking sheet for the chocolate to set. Sprinkle with the sugar crystals. Refrigerate until the chocolate is firm, about 35 minutes.

The biscotti can be made ahead. Store them in an airtight container up to 4 days, or wrap them in foil and freeze in resealable plastic bags up to 3 weeks.

Yield: 2 dozen

Greek Salad Bites

This recipe received great reviews on the Cooking Light boards so I was pretty optimistic. Sadly, it was pretty disappointing. I used some tomato-basil feta and that was fine, but it just wasn't as great as I'd hoped. I made it for my office's holiday party and about half the tray was eaten... meh. Oh well.


Greek Salad Bites
Better Homes & Gardens

1 cup crumbled feta cheese (4 ounces)
1/2 cup dairy sour cream
1/4 cup snipped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons oil-packed dried tomatoes, drained and finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1-1/2 medium cucumbers
1/4 cup finely shredded fresh basil
1/4 cup chopped pitted kalamata olives

1. In a small bowl stir together feta cheese, sour cream, parsley, dried tomatoes, garlic, and pepper. Cover and chill for 2 to 24 hours.

2. Using a sharp knife, trim the ends from cucumbers; discard ends. Bias-slice the cucumbers into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Spoon 1-1/2 teaspoons cheese mixture onto each cucumber slice. Arrange cucumber slices on a serving platter.

3. In a small bowl combine basil and olives. Spoon some of the mixture over each cucumber slice. Serve immediately. Makes 30 appetizers.

Lasagna in a Bun

Yum yum! I forgot how quickly this recipe for Lasagna in a Bun comes together. It was a nice, tasty dinner.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Spicy Southern Shrimp and Pasta Bake

I've had this on our menu for over a week but keep putting it off because it's all nonperishables since we're using frozen shrimp. I'm glad we finally made it because it was delicious! We had some yummy high-quality frozen shrimp, which was great, but they did get overcooked. I would be sure not to cook them too long in the pan so they can do the bulk of their cooking in the oven. We have some left over and I'm not too sure how yummy that will be, but it was really great fresh out of the oven. I would make this again.


Spicy Southern Shrimp and Pasta Bake
Jamie Deen, Bobby Deen and Melissa Clark
The Deen Bros. Take It Easy

5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup finely chopped onions
3/4 pound large shrimp, peeled, deveined, and cut into thirds
1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
1 cup frozen sliced okra, thawed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
One 24-ounce jar tomato sauce
1/2 cup cream cheese (4 ounces)
1 pound corkscrew pasta, cooked and drained
2/3 cup plain unseasoned bread crumbs (Note: We used panko)

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

2. Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a very large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook for 5 minutes, or until translucent. Add the shrimp, corn, okra, salt, and Cajun seasoning. Cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the shrimp are almost opaque. Add the tomato sauce and cream cheese and cook, stirring, for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the sauce is smooth.

3. Place the pasta in a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Pour the shrimp mixture over the pasta and stir well.

4. Return the skillet to the heat and melt the remaining 3 tablespoons butter. Add the bread crumbs and stir until well coated.

5. Top the casserole with the bread crumbs and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown.

Serve immediately.

Yield: 4-6 servings

Chili Spiced Asparagus

Before we headed down to DC on Friday, I whipped up a quick and healthful dinner in about 10 minutes. Impressive! We had Southwestern Cheese Paninis and this new asparagus recipe, which was exceptionally quick and definitely yummy.


Chili Spiced Asparagus
Eating Well, as posted on CLBB

Earthy chili combines with the sour power of sherry vinegar to create a fine dressing for the grassy-green asparagus. For a smokey twist, try subsituting smoked paprika for the chili powder.

1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 bunches asparagus, cut into one inch pieces
1 Tbsp. water
1 1/2 tsps. chili powder
3/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. sherry vinegar or red-wine vinegar

Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Add asparagus and water; cook, stirring often, 4 to 5 minutes. Add chili powder (or paprika), garlic powder and salt; cook until asparagus is tender-crisp, about one minute. Remove from heat, add vinegar and stir to coat.

Yield: 4 servings

Food Gifts!

On Friday we got a couple of delicious food-gifts right before we left to go down to DC (to get stuck in the snowstorm)! I decided they were so yummy they needed a post on the food blog.

Annie made us these, which I have no idea what they are but they seem to have graham crackers, chocolate, and caramel and are very addicting. I have already eaten most of them :-[


My Aunt Karin mailed us these, which are awesome and unique (and Gibby's new favorite), with white chocolate, Cap'n Crunch, pretzels, and all kinds of other stuff.


We also got a copy of Julie & Julia (movie) from my grandmother, and Gibby bought us ten boxes of Kinder Happy Hippos. It's always fun to have food for Christmas :)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Baked Potato Chips

These were very easy to prepare, didn't really take that long to cook, and yielded wonderful results. They have been declared a make-again for "every time we make a sandwich." That isn't likely, but we probably will make this again several times. It is delicious and perfect.


Baked Potato Chips
Martha Stewart Living, July 2005

Vegetable-oil cooking spray
2 pounds russet potatoes, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
3 tablespoons olive oil
Coarse salt
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Freshly ground pepper

1. Preheat oven to 400°. Lightly coat 2 rimmed baking sheets with cooking spray; set aside. Put potatoes, oil, 1 tablespoon salt, and the cayenne in a large bowl; season with pepper. Toss to combine.

2. Arrange potato slices on prepared baking sheets, spacing them 1/4 inch apart. Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until potatoes are crisp and golden brown, about 30 minutes. Spread out potatoes on parchment paper; let dry 5 minutes. Sprinkle with salt, if desired.

Yield: 4 servings

BLT with Avocado Spread

Tonight I tried again at the BLT with Avocado Spread and it worked out beautifully and was quite delicious. We both really liked it. The avocado was a good replacement for mayonnaise. Gibby declared it a make-again (his used real, microwave bacon, whereas I used my veggie bacon again).


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Snickerdoodle Blondies

I love snickerdoodles. I love blondies. I love cookies. I love quick and easy things.

I made this during a break in the middle of the day between clients. It came together quickly and is delicious. Very, very delicious. The picture makes it look very dark and I don't know why because that isn't how they actually look.


Snickerdoodle Blondies
adapted from Dozen Flours

2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon grated or ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup butter, room temperature
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
a pinch nutmeg

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease and/or line a 9×13 inch pan. Combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and set aside.

2. In large bowl, beat together butter and brown sugar for 3-5 minutes. Add in the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla, and beat until smooth.

3. Stir in the flour mixture until well blended. Spread evenly in prepared pan (mixture will be somewhat cookiebatter-ish, so it’s best to spread it out with a greased spatula or your hands). Combine the granulated sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a little bowl. Evenly sprinkle cinnamon sugar mixture over the top of the batter.

4. Bake 25-30 minutes or until surface springs back when gently pressed. Cool before cutting. Makes 20-24 bars.

Vegetarian Cashew Chili

On the search for a good chili, this one sounded unique and got good reviews. It was just OK. The cashews make it interesting, but otherwise it's pretty meh. I wouldn't make it again.

It should be noted that this recipe is stupid because it was apparently part of an article about camping or hiking and is thus written as though you would be preparing it over a fire in the middle of the woods. Instead, I threw it all in a pot on the stove. Maybe the magic actually comes from the fire in the woods? I don't know.

We had it with some Orange Cornmeal Bread.


Vegetarian Cashew Chili
Cooking Light, October 2003

3 cups chopped onion
2 1/2 cups chopped red bell pepper
1 1/2 cups chopped celery
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon molasses
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 (15.5-ounce) cans red kidney beans, undrained
1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes, undrained and chopped
1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans, undrained
2/3 cup cashews, coarsely chopped

At home, place first 4 ingredients in a heavy-duty zip-top plastic bag. Combine vinegar and next 8 ingredients (vinegar through bay leaf) in a heavy-duty zip-top plastic bag. Place in cooler or backpack.

At campsite, heat oil in a large Dutch oven over hot coals (or in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat if at home). Add onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic; sauté 8 minutes or until tender. Add vinegar mixture, kidney beans, tomatoes, and pinto beans; cook 20 minutes, stirring often. Discard bay leaf. Stir in cashews.

Yield: 7 servings

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Vegetarian Steamed Dumplings

First I must start out by saying that I had planned to make two delicious cookies today, but our oven broke yesterday. The stove turns on, the broiler turns on, but the bottom part doesn't turn on. The GE repairman is set to come tomorrow morning... hopefully it's able to be fixed ASAP because I have a LOT of stuff to make in the next week!!!!

Tonight for dinner we had some vegetarian steamed dumplings. I've made dumplings before, but this was Alton Brown's recipe and we generally are fans of his stuff. They're definitely yummy, with lots of tofu and vegetables. Pretty simple, too. I would make these again, but either in mass quantity or as an appetizer because they aren't substantial enough as a main dish.


Vegetarian Steamed Dumplings
Alton Brown

1/2 pound firm tofu
1/2 cup coarsely grated carrots
1/2 cup shredded Napa cabbage
2 tablespoons finely chopped red pepper
2 tablespoons finely chopped scallions
2 teaspoons finely minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Bowl of water, plus additional water for steamer
35 to 40 small wonton wrappers
Non-stick vegetable spray, for the steamer

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F.

Cut the tofu in half horizontally and lay between layers of paper towels. Place on a plate, top with another plate, and place a weight on top (a 14-ounce can of vegetables works well). Let stand 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, cut the tofu into 1/4-inch cubes and place in a large mixing bowl. Add the carrots, cabbage, red pepper, scallions, ginger, cilantro, soy sauce, hoisin, sesame oil, egg, salt, and pepper. Lightly stir to combine.

To form the dumplings, remove 1 wonton wrapper from the package, covering the others with a damp cloth. Brush the edges of the wrapper lightly with water. Place 1/2 rounded teaspoon of the tofu mixture in the center of the wrapper. Shape as desired. Set on a sheet pan and cover with a damp cloth. Repeat procedure until all of the filling is gone.

Using a steaming apparatus of your choice, bring 1/4 to 1/2-inch of water to a simmer over medium heat. Spray the steamer's surface lightly with the non-stick vegetable spray to prevent sticking. Place as many dumplings as will fit into a steamer, without touching each other. Cover and steam for 10 to 12 minutes over medium heat. Remove the dumplings from the steamer to a heatproof platter and place in oven to keep warm. Repeat until all dumplings are cooked.

Yield: 35-40 dumplings

Quinoa Veggie Burger

Yep, another veggie burger! I already had almost all of the ingredients for this so it made sense. And it's super easy. The recipe doesn't say what to put on it so we put a slice of colby jack, some mayonnaise, and a regular bun (i.e. what we put on regular burgers). It was pretty good. I mashed it all by hand but it seemed pureed anyway and we couldn't pick out the individual elements. It was good but I probably wouldn't make it again due to finding other delicious burgers lately.

We had this with some roasted brussels sprouts. Yum!


Quinoa Veggie Burger
Philadelphia Inquirer
posted on CLBB (nylucy4)

1/2 cup red quinoa (Note: I used regular brown quinoa)
1 (approx. 6 oz) sweet potato, baked and flesh scooped out
Half 14 oz can of kidney beans, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup onion, finely diced
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 teaspoon cumin, ground
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, ground
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup bread crumbs

1. Place quinoa in a fine sieve and rinse under cold water until the water runs clear. Place quinoa in a one-quart saucepan, cover with 3/4 cup of water, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until all of the water is absorbed (10-15 min). Set aside to cool.

2. Coat a nonstick pan with evoo and place over moderate heat. Add the onion and garlic and gently saute until tranlucent. Add the cumin and smoked paprika and cook for another minute. Place in a mixing bowl.

3. In a food processor, combine the sweet potato and kidney beans; pulse until it attains a pastelike consitency.

4. Add the potato mixture to the mixing bowl with the onions and garlic. Add all the other ingredients and mix thoroughly. Chill in a refrigerator for one to two hours.

5. Remove from refrigerator and form into patties. Cook on a grill or pan.

Yield: 6-8 servings

Friday, December 11, 2009

Giant Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I have had a rough week (I said that earlier) and a bad morning (though it turned around in the afternoon) and when I came home, he'd gotten me flowers, had a nice steamy cup of peppermint chai waiting for me, and had just baked these wonderful cookies. I've been meaning to make them all week and have had the recipe sitting out on the counter but I just haven't had the motivation. So he made them! And they are AWESOME. They blow Tollhouse cookies out of the water. Yummy and fluffy and kind of cake-like but crisp at the same time. They are REALLY good. This will now be our go-to chocolate chip cookie.



Giant Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Cooking Light, June 2009

"My grandkids love these cookies because they're nice and big, with lots of chocolate chips. They're easy to freeze—just wrap individually in heavy-duty plastic wrap, and store in a zip-top bag." —Marie Rizzio, Interlochen, Mich.

5 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large egg whites
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Cooking spray

1. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, soda, and salt in a small bowl; stir with a whisk.

2. Place sugars and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and egg whites; beat well. Add flour mixture; beat at low speed until well blended. Stir in chocolate chips. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour or until firm.

3. Preheat oven to 350°.

4. Divide dough into 6 equal portions; place dough portions 2 inches apart on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 14 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 2 minutes on pan; cool on a wire rack.

Yield: 6 cookies

Sweet Potato Ravioli with Lemon-Sage Brown Butter Sauce

Tonight I made our favorite sweet potato ravioli at Gibby's request. Delicious as always, and it came together very quickly since I've been microwaving the sweet potatoes. So good!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Pasta with Zucchini and Toasted Almonds

I'm sorry I haven't posted much lately. I have been really busy at work and have been really frustrated and have had no motivation to do anything when I get home. But today I think things are starting to really turn around and I am very happy and I think I can get myself back on course with the cooking. So. Tonight's dinner was super-easy and fast. It was pretty good. It's very simple. I might make it again.

The recommendation and recipe include a recipe for olive tapenade breadsticks, so I will just go ahead and copy that in even though I didn't make them.


Pasta with Zucchini and Toasted Almonds
Cooking Light, June 2009

Pair flavorful pasta with olive tapenade breadsticks for a superfast and delicious meal in minutes.

2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons minced shallots
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon sugar
5 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 (9-ounce) package refrigerated linguine
1 1/2 teaspoons bottled minced garlic
3 cups chopped zucchini (about 1 pound)
3/4 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint, divided
1/3 cup (1 1/2 ounces) grated fresh pecorino Romano cheese
3 tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted

1. Combine first 7 ingredients in a medium bowl. Add 2 teaspoons oil, tossing to coat.

2. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain well.

3. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to pan, swirling to coat. Add garlic to pan; sauté 30 seconds. Add zucchini; sauté 3 minutes or until crisp-tender. Add broth; bring to a simmer. Stir in pasta and 1 1/2 tablespoons mint; toss well. Remove from heat; stir in tomato mixture. Place 1 1/2 cups pasta mixture in each of 4 bowls; top evenly with remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons mint. Sprinkle each serving with 4 teaspoons cheese and 2 teaspoons almonds.

Olive tapenade breadsticks: Combine 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic, 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, and 15 finely chopped pitted kalamata olives in a small bowl. Spread olive mixture over 1 (11-ounce) can refrigerated breadsticks dough. Twist each breadstick; bake at 375° for 15 minutes or until browned.

Yield: 4 servings

Monday, December 07, 2009

Homemade Quick Black Bean Burger

Well this is fantastic. It IS a quick burger. I will admit it is from the new, revamped Cooking Light. And the stupid thing, reflecting their decline in quality, is that the nutritional information doesn't include the bun or toppings or anything. So. Against it on principle, but love it for the taste. What an excellent black bean burger! It's so hard to get ones that stay together and taste delicious. I did have to double the amount of bread crumbs, but it worked beautifully. I cooked it on the Griddler with just a small amount of olive oil. I mixed some ketchup with some Frank's Red Hot Sauce and all the other toppings suggested by the magazine note. Delicious!

We had it with our favorite Denise's Corn Casserole and had a truly excellent meal that we are very likely to repeat.


Our Homemade Quick Black Bean Burger
Cooking Light, November 2009

Serve on a bun with a hot sauce-spiked ketchup, spinach leaves, tomato slice, a slice of Monterey Jack cheese, avocado slices, and onion.

1 (2-ounce) hamburger bun, torn into pieces
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
1 (15.25-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 teaspoon grated lime rind
3/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 large egg white, lightly beaten

1. Place bun in a food processor; process 4 times or until crumbs measure about 1 cup. Transfer to a bowl.

2. Combine 1 tablespoon oil, garlic, and beans in processor; pulse 8 times or until beans make a thick paste. Scrape bean mixture into bowl with breadcrumbs. Stir in rind and remaining ingredients. With moistened hands, divide bean mixture into 4 equal portions (about 1/3 cup mixture per portion), shaping each into a 3-inch patty.

3. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add patties to pan; reduce heat to medium, and cook 4 minutes or until bottom edges are browned. Carefully turn patties over; cook 3 minutes or until bottom edges are done.

Yield: 4 servings

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Mixed Vegetable and Rice Pilaf

Last night was my company's holiday party so I didn't have anything to post. I would have posted about the meal, but they had no vegetarian option so I really only ate cookies. Lots of cookies. Crappy cookies. And coffee. It wasn't a very good party.

This morning I woke up and made a ginormous batch of Almond Roca so I could package it up to mail out tomorrow. I think only one recipient reads this blog so hopefully she's been busy and will not read this and will be surprised. For some reason the butter browned a little bit, making the whole thing even more delicious than usual. It truly is an excellent recipe and makes a great gift!

Tonight's meal was a quick knock-off of biryani. Basically what it comes down to is that a) the rice did NOT cook all the way through but all the water had cooked off so I couldn't cook it longer, and b) Martha Stewart's recipe is WAY better so just put in the extra effort and make hers instead. This was not great and is not a make-again.


Mixed Vegetable and Rice Pilaf
Cooking Light, 1/09

A biryani, an Indian rice-based dish, is an ideal way to improve nutrition by augmenting the grain with a variety of vegetables. Traditional recipes sauté whole seeds, pods, or chiles to add complex, understated flavor. If you prefer to remove the whole spices before serving, skip the sautéing step. Instead, tie the seed mixture in a cheesecloth bag to cook with the rice and potatoes; slip it out when the dish is done. For a vegetarian entrée, add edamame for protein.

1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds, divided
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/4 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 green cardamom pods
3 whole cloves
2 dried red chiles
1 bay leaf
1 cup sliced red onion
1/3 cup finely chopped carrot
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1/2 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 3/4-inch pieces (about 2 cups)
1 cup uncooked basmati rice
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
3/4 pound red potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cups water
1/4 teaspoon garam masala
3/4 cup frozen green peas

1. Place 1 teaspoon cumin seeds in a small skillet over medium-high heat, and cook for 2 minutes or until toasted, stirring occasionally. Remove from pan; cool completely. Place cumin seeds in a spice or coffee grinder; process until finely ground. Set aside.

2. Heat canola oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add remaining 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds, coriander seeds, and next 6 ingredients (through bay leaf) to pan. Cook 2 minutes or until cumin browns, stirring frequently. Add onion, carrot, 1 teaspoon salt, and green beans, and cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in rice, turmeric, and potatoes. Add 2 cups water; bring mixture to a boil. Stir in remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, ground cumin seeds, and garam masala. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat, and stir in peas. Cover and let mixture stand 5 minutes. Discard bay leaf.

Yield: 7 servings

Friday, December 04, 2009

Whole-Wheat Spaghetti with Golden Garlic, Tomatoes, and Sage

Tonight's dinner is super-simple with basic ingredients. We found that sprinkling some crushed red pepper on top added a nice layer of flavor. It was pretty good but not great, so we wouldn't make it again.


Whole-Wheat Spaghetti with Golden Garlic, Tomatoes, and Sage
Vegetarian Times, June 2009

Sage and tomatoes pair beautifully in this light pasta sauce. Firm Roma tomatoes are your best bet here for a sauce that’s not too watery. If early-season tomatoes make the sauce taste too acidic, stir 1 tsp. sugar or honey in with the sage and olives.

1/2 lb. whole-wheat spaghetti
3 Tbs. olive oil
4 large garlic cloves, peeled, halved, and sliced (3 Tbs.)
1 1/2 lb. ripe tomatoes, coarsely chopped (6 cups)
3/4 cup cooked chickpeas
2 Tbs. fresh chopped sage, plus more leaves for garnish
2 Tbs. chopped kalamata olives

1. Cook spaghetti in large pot of boiling salted water 10 to 11 minutes, or until al dente.

2. Heat oil and garlic in large saucepan over medium heat. Cook 2 to 3 minutes, or until garlic is browned, stirring occasionally. Stir in tomatoes, chickpeas, sage, and olives, and simmer 3 to 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.

3. Drain spaghetti, and return to pot. Add sauce, and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Divide among 6 serving bowls, and garnish with sage leaves.

Yield: 6 servings

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Mushroom and Potato Chowder

This is not really creamy and is exceptionally mushroomy. I followed the tips the original poster suggested about sauteeing the mushrooms, and I used baby bella mushrooms instead of standard white. This was seriously really mushroomy. We're making some jalapeno poppers now instead. Even I didn't like it. Oh well.


Mushroom and Potato Chowder
CLBB (Canice)

1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup sliced leek
1/4 cup butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose floour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
3 cups chicken broth
1 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup diced peeled potatoes
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1 cup half-and-half cream
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

In a large skillet, saute onion and leek in butter until tender. Add flour, salt, pepper, and thyme; stir to make a smooth paste. Gradually add broth; stirring constantly. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1 minute.

Add the mushrooms, celery, potatoes and carrots. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 30 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Add half-and-half and Parmesan cheese; heat through.

Makes 4-6 servings.

Notes from the original poster: I like to use a combination of cremini and "wild" mushrooms: pioppini, chanterelle, lobster, etc. Rather than just cook them in the broth, I saute them separately, with garlic and olive oil and a pinch or two of cayenne. Once they've given off all their moisture and begun to dry, I give it a shot of sherry, cook off, and add all to the soup pot. A jot or two or three of hot sauce gives a nice rounded flavor to the soup.

Lady & Sons' Asparagus Sandwich

Woops! I made this a couple days ago and forgot to post about it! I don't know if that's ever happened. This was quick and easy and took like 4 minutes to make because I used some microwave asparagus instead of blanching it. We thought it was really yummy and would make it again. Even though asparagus makes pee smell funny.


Lady & Sons' Asparagus Sandwich
Paula Deen!

8 to 10 fresh asparagus spears, washed and trimmed
2 tablespoons butter, divided
Salt and pepper or lemon pepper
2 slices pumpernickel bread
2 slices Jack cheese
1 or 2 tablespoons Thousand Island Dressing, recipe follows
3 slices red onion, cut into rings
Pickle slices or fresh parsley, for garnish, optional

Blanch asparagus spears in boiling, salted water for 1 minute. Remove immediately to a bowl of ice water.

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add asparagus and lightly saute. Season with salt and pepper, or lemon pepper. Remove asparagus from pan and set aside. Butter 2 pieces of bread with the remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Place bread in the same skillet, buttered side down, and grill on 1 side. Flip bread and lay 1 piece of cheese on each slice of bread. Grill until cheese is melted and then remove from pan. Spread desired amount of dressing on top of each slice of bread. Arrange asparagus on top of cheese, rotating the spears. Place onion rings on top of asparagus. Cut sandwich in half. Garnish with pickle slices or parsley, if desired.

Yield: 1 sandwich

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Butter Paneer Masala

Paneer is an Indian cheese. It has the look and feel of tofu, and it doesn't melt when it is cooked. It's a very bizarre cheese, indeed. Often in Indian food it is found sauteed in a spinach sauce. I'd never heard of butter paneer before but when I found this recipe I thought it sounded excellent. And oh my goodness it was. It is probably one of my favorite Indian recipes I've ever made. So yummy! I did make it a little super-spicy which I will not do next time. But it is so excellent. Hooray!

P.S. I found the paneer at a tiny little Indian market, but perhaps regular grocery stores would carry it as well.


Butter Paneer Masala

1 tablespoon butter
2 cups paneer (cut into bite sized cubes)
1 tablespoon butter
1 onion (pureed)
1 teaspoon garlic (grated)
1 teaspoon ginger (grated)
1 teaspoon red chili powder
3 tablespoons cashews (ground)
1 cup tomato (pureed)
1 teaspoon coriander (ground)
3/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 tablespoon butter
3 tablespoons yogurt
cilantro (chopped)

1. Melt the butter in a pan.
2. Add the paneer and fry until golden brown on all sides.
3. Let the paneer soak in warm water for 30 minutes.
4. Melt the butter in a pan.
5. Add the onion and saute until brown.
6. Add the garlic and ginger and saute until fragrant, about a minute.
7. Add the chili powder, cashews, tomatoes, coriander, turmeric and garam masala and simmer for 5 minutes.
8. Add the paneer and simmer for 10 minutes.
9. Remove from heat and stir in the butter and yogurt.

Yield: 4 servings

Thanksgiving 2009

Finally I can post about Thanksgiving. Oh goodness. Let's take a tour of the meal in photos.

First we started with the wonderful cheeseball that we have every year.

With that, we had some onion dip, random nuts and stuff, and these delectable little cherry tomatoes that my mom halved, hollowed out, and stuffed with little cubes of sun-dried tomato feta cheese and a tiny slice of kalamata olive. SO yummy!

My mom prepared the stuffing with homemade vegetable stock because she is cool.

We chopped up some onions and parsnips to make the amazing parsnip dish that I think will become a Thanksgiving staple because it was so awesome. We ran out of mascarpone so we added in some cream cheese and that was a beautiful decision.

My mom put together a 'relish tray' even though my dad is the only one who really eats any of it.

My mother-in-law brought sour cream 'smooshed' potatoes in her own little casserole dish (her nickname is Derry).

My brother and my dad carved the turkey breast. No one likes dark meat and no one really likes turkey so my mom didn't get a full turkey. That was an excellent idea.

My mother-in-law also brought the sweet potato casserole and this year our oven did NOT break while cooking it!

We tried out a butternut squash recipe and it was very tasty.

The table with all the food!


I forgot to mention that we also had green bean casserole. Yum!

People always ask me what I eat at Thanksgiving since I'm a vegetarian. I always say "the sides!" and people look at me funny. But look how much I get to eat!

And then of course the pies.

My plate. Pecan, pumpkin, and brown sugar-apple cheesecake.

Butternut Squash Medley

I don't know what this recipe is called. It's from Wegmans. They were serving it as a sample while we were grocery shopping during the Thanksgiving prep, and I loved it! So much that I took a picture of the recipe from the Wegmans magazine with my Blackberry so I could make it without paying $5 for the magazine. I am a very bad person. I am punished by the fact that I didn't get the title in the picture, so we'll never know what it's called. I think it's a Medley. I don't know. Whatever. Anyway so we made this for Thanksgiving and it was very yummy. I wish I had caramelized the squash a little because it wasn't as sweet and yummy as it was in the store. But it was tasty. I don't know if I would make it again but I definitely would eat it again.

Note: The basting oil was a delightful herb-and-garlic-infused grapeseed oil. You could use an olive oil or other infused light oil in its place.


Butternut Squash Medley

2 pkgs (20 oz each) cleaned & cut butternut squash, cut into 1" cubes
2 large onions, peeled and chopped (about 4 cups)
3 Tbsp Wegmans basting oil
Sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste
1 pkg (6 oz) baby spinach
3/4 cup sweetened dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 350.

Combine squash and onions on large baking sheet.; drizzle with basting oil. Season to taste with sea salt and pepper; toss lightly.

Roast 55 minutes, until tender and brown. Toss squash, spinach, and dried cranberries in large shallow serving dish.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Hot Artichoke-Cheese Dip

I had all these plans to post all the delicious things that we made and ate over Thanksgiving, but my laptop has a virus so all I can do at the moment is update with last night's food. Be patient - hopefully I will have a Thanksgiving update posted tonight.

This dip is super-easy, which is why I picked it. It was pretty yummy. We liked the addition of the crushed red pepper. But it definitely isn't even remotely close to our favorite spinach artichoke dip, and it's too similar not to draw comparisons. We enjoyed it but wouldn't make it again.



Hot Artichoke-Cheese Dip
Cooking Light, September 2008

This warm dip is just the thing when you hanker for a creamy, cheesy snack. And because you are likely to have the ingredients on hand in the fridge and freezer, it's also great for impromptu entertaining.

2 garlic cloves
1 green onion, cut into pieces
1/3 cup (1 1/2 ounces) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided
1/3 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
1/4 cup (2 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
12 ounces frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and drained
Cooking spray
24 (1/2-ounce) slices baguette, toasted

1. Preheat oven to 400°.

2. Place garlic and onion in a food processor; process until finely chopped. Add 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano and next 4 ingredients (through pepper); process until almost smooth. Add artichoke hearts; pulse until artichoke hearts are coarsely chopped. Spoon mixture into a 3-cup gratin dish coated with cooking spray; sprinkle evenly with remaining Parmigiano-Reggiano. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until thoroughly heated and bubbly. Serve hot with baguette.

Yield: 12 servings