Friday, October 29, 2010

Stuffed Acorn Squash

Here's a great way to use an acorn squash if you've never know what to do with it.  This is one of those fall meals I looked forward to having my mom make. Comfort food for me.  I whipped this up for lunch today in about 30  minutes.  It's simply delicious.

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To print, left click >file >print. To save file to your computer, right click on image, then "save image as". 

Just a side note....In the past I have used good ole Jimmy Dean sausage, but I used Jenny-O sweet Italian turkey sausage this time and I didn't notice too much of a difference.  Change is good :) 
Cut squash in half, discard seeds, put in a microwave-safe dish with a little bit of water, cover, microwave.
Scoop out the 'meat' of the squash.
Mix the squash, browned sausage/beef, apples, raisins, salt and nutmeg.
Stuff each half of the acorn squash. Top with butter and brown sugar. Cover and microwave.
Making this today was a good excuse to test out my new camera.  I'm still figuring things out since it's a lot more complicated than my point & shoot, but I think I'll get the hang of it ;) 

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Apple Pizza Tart

A couple weeks ago we went up to Apple Hill to pick some, well what better than... APPLES along with several other moms and kiddos.  It was a busy job trying to find and pick the good apples, keep the kid from eating the fallen rotten apples, and keeping him from slipping and sliding on the damp grass and mud. Next year we'll go picking sooner and select a different place to go picking since this orchard seemed a bit neglected.  Regardless, we successfully picked 10.5 pounds of yummy apples for $1/pound!

 What to do with all the apples. That is the question. Aaron has put a pretty big dent into our apple supply, but I was able to score some to make a delicious treat from my childhood.  My mom used to make, what we called "Apple Pizza".  It's nothing like a pizza other than it's shape so you can stop thinking about how gross it would be to have apples on your pizza....well, on second thought a pizza with apples, gouda cheese and some sort of cream sauce might be great.  I digress.  The origins of this so-called "Apple Pizza" recipe go back to when my mom lived in Okinawa in 1977. She got it from a French woman she met while living there.

To make the apple pizza, you first need to make a homemade pie crust. I know, I hate making pie crusts too, but they're so much better than store bought and in this case the store bought ones won't work.  I used the pie crust recipe in my Better Homes & Gardens cookbook with the changes mentioned in the recipe card below.

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 Since I don't own a metal pizza pan, I made do with a cookie sheet.
Place the apples on the raw pie crust in a circular fashion.
Add the pudding cream sauce.
All done and ready to consume, mmmmm!
I have never mentioned it before, but if you try one of my recipes and love it, hate it, or have questions about how to make it, simply leave a comment. I'll be sure to promptly respond.  :)

Thanks for visiting!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Sweet Potato Chocolate Chip Bread

My poor neglected baby blog.  It's been so neglected this week, but it's not because I don't have anything to publish.  I have a bunch of recipes on the back burner, but for some reason I've been swamped this week!  Maybe it has to do with the fact that our microwave is on the fritz and I am having to defrost and heat things up the old fashioned way.  It takes so much more planning to remember to defrost the chicken in the refrigerator the night before.  How did anyone ever live without a microwave?

I bought some sweet potatoes at Costco a couple weeks ago and you know what that means....lots of potatoes!  What to do with all these sweet potatoes you might ask?  Well, first, bake them (no microwave for these sweet things as it tends to dry them out).  To bake, I wash the outside of the sweet potato, then randomly stab it with a fork, individually wrap them in aluminum foil, and bake at 400F for an hour or so depending on size.  I learned to always put a cookie sheet on the shelf below the potatoes to catch any sugary drippings.  Cleaning the oven is avoided at all costs in my kitchen!

Sweet potatoes are sort of like pumpkin, they're both orange and fall foods....great reasoning, huh?! So, I decided to make sweet potato bread, but much to my amazement, I couldn't find many recipes and of those, they didn't look that great.   That's why I created my own version adapted from a pumpkin bread recipe.  All my tasters, kids and adults, agreed this recipe is a winner!  I hope you enjoy it as much as we do. Best of all, I made it so it's fairly healthy, so there isn't much guilt associated with consuming more than you should :).

This recipe makes 2 loafs (or 1 loaf and 12 muffins).

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To print, left click >file >print. To save file to your computer, right click on image, then "save image as".
*Note:  15 oz of sweet potatoes is about 2 medium sweet potatoes.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Cookie Bonanza!

Last week, I got the urge to make a ton of cookies, which seldom happens since I usually end up talking myself out of it so I don't have to eat all the cookies.  I found the perfect solution to my dilemma.....pawn them off on unsuspecting friends by "Boo-ing" for Halloween!   On a blog, I found about about this friendly neighborly thing where you leave a yummy treat on a couple friends doorsteps with a sign "You've Got Boo'ed".  If you want to start the fun, go talented Kinzie's Kreations to get the printout and instructions.  I thought it was a cute idea :)

I made two kinds of cookies, M&M ones and shortbread-ish spice.    The M&M cookie recipe was adapted from my friend Lauren's chocolate chip cookie recipe.  I omitted the chocolate chips and stuck M&M's on top.  They were delish!  Softy, chewy, almost raw middle with a crispy outer edge.  The best of both worlds in my humble opinion.

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To print, left click >file >print. To save file to your computer, right click on image, then "save image as".

The frozen M&M cookie balls.  By the way, these will keep in the freezer for a while, so you have the option of making as many (or few) as you wish.

Although they don't look so pretty and perfect, they ARE fantastic!

To spice things up a bit, I decided to try out a knock-off recipe for those oh so good Biscoff cookies that I look forward to so much when flying Delta.  They're so thin and crispy with that wonderful caramelized sugar spice flavor.  I found a recipe on another blog that readers thought to be right on for flavor, but admitted the texture was a bit off.  Although the cookies tasted great, especially with a cup of coffee, they weren't the Biscoff knock-offs I had hoped for.  I'll post the recipe anyway since they were excellent, but next go around I am going to make some changes.

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To print, left click >file >print. To save file to your computer, right click on image, then "save image as".

The was thick like dough for a pie crust.
Spice cookies baking.  I experimented and baked the last batch an extra 4 minutes (24 min. total) so they'd caramelize more. I thought they were pretty good and gave it a different flavor from the first couple batches.

I put a few cookies in decorative bags, tied on the "You've Been Boo'ed" card and then distributed them to several neighbors.  The hubby even took some to some of his co-workers.  He loves Halloween, so he was all for the idea of "boo-ing" people at work.


Monday, October 11, 2010

Lipton Cheese Steak Sandwiches

Lately I've been reading a ton of blogs. I can't believe how many talented people out there creating neat stuff!  In addition to my love of cooking, I am a lover of crafts. Lately in my spare time, I've been creating some nifty Halloween decorations that I found on some craft blogs.

Obviously, in addition to reading a lot of craft blogs, I check out a bunch of food blogs too.  I came across this simple recipe for Lipton Philly-Style Cheese Steak sandwiches the other day from fellow blogger Tidy Mom who periodically posts recipes on Unilever's The Family Dish.  I wasn't expecting these to taste like a true Philly cheese steak, but 'wit'* the Lipton Onion Soup mix, it had to be good!

*wit = the term used when ordering a cheese steak in Philadelphia that means "with onions".

Here I am at Pat's in Philadelphia last year eating the real deal.  I love how little man is eying my sandwich.  Don't worry little guy, you'll get your cheese steak soon!

Lipton Onion Soup mix makes everything taste so good!  I mix in into sour cream for a quick onion dip. I also love the recipe on the box for baked onion potatoes. Check it out sometime!

The recipe was simple enough, but I made some changes since I didn't have cube steak on hand.  I had never heard of it before, but found out it's the preferred steak for chicken fried steak, which, believe it or not I've never had despite being one of those GRITS (Girls Raised In The South).  Anyhoo, I used a piece of top sirloin that I found in the back of the freezer. I sliced it about 1/3" thick and pounded it with a meat hammer until it was as thin as it could be.

I also just left the steak in the pan and added the onion soup mix and water. Mixed. Heated for a couple minutes. Done.

My husband and I loved these sandwiches. The meat was so tender and the onion soup mix gave it a great flavor.  I served it with Trader Joe's garlic fries (and yes, wine :) ).  They tasted just like the ones served at the San Francisco Giants games. YUM!

Here's the recipes for these tasty sandwiches... (or link to the original recipe if you prefer)
To print, left click >file >print. To save file to your computer, right click on image, then "save image as". 

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Chicken-Mushroom Quesadillas

You may have noticed that this blog has had some changes lately.....completely new design that fits my personality a lot better and just this past weekend I started adding recipe cards to all my posts.  I still have some recipe cards to make for the older posts, which I hope to finish soon.  Leave a comment and let me know what you think.  Are the recipe cards easy to use & read?  Constructive criticism is much appreciated!

Several years ago my husband came across this Chicken-Mushroom Quesadilla recipe in, I think it was, Men's Health magazine.  We love making it since it's so quick and easy, especially if you go the route I did this time.  I used pre-cooked frozen grilled chicken and frozen spinach.  I much prefer the frozen spinach that comes in a bag rather than the one in a box.  I dread thawing out that block of green, then to have to squeeze out all the water.  The bag kind is chopped up and there isn't all that extra water.  Fresh is best, but not always on hand :)

The chicken-mushroomy-spinach quesadilla filling is all ready to go.  I could eat it just like that!

Put some cheese (I used Kraft Mexican 4 Cheese blend) on the tortilla, spread on some filling, then top with more cheese.  Top with another tortilla.  

Flipping the tortilla without all the innards falling out can be tricky. So, what I do is use the cheese as my 'glue' to hold the thing together before flipping.  I press down on the whole quesadilla, focusing on the edges to 'glue' the two pieces of tortilla together as the cheese melts.  Then, with a large spatula underneath and my hand on top, I gently & quickly flip it over.  Yay, disaster adverted!  
If it doesn't work, no biggie, just eat it with a fork ;) It'll still taste the same!

All done, chicken-mushroom quesadilla perfection!

 To print, left click >file >print. To save file to your computer, right click on image, then "save image as".
Recipe Link: Easy Chicken-Mushroom Quesadillas