Saturday, October 31, 2015

Cider Hot Chocolate

Happy Halloween!

Recipe from Food Network

-2 cups apple cider
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract
-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, ground
-1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
-3/4 cup heavy cream
-2 ounces white chocolate

Add the cider, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg to a small pot. Simmer for five minutes. Whisk in the heavy cream and the 2 ounces of white chocolate. Once the chocolate melts, the hot chocolate is ready to serve.

Although chocolate and cider sounds weird together, this was good. A nice cozy drink on this chilly Halloween day. 

Friday, October 30, 2015

Candy Corn Parfait

I found this on Food Network's website while searching for another recipe and thought it was a really cute take on the image of candy corn. Although candy corn is the Halloween item that people love to hate, the yellow, orange and white pattern is very recognizable. This recipe incorporates sweet and citrus for a nice fresh take.

Recipe from Food Network.

-1 large orange
-1 to 2 tablespoons orange liqueur
-3 tablespoons lemon curd
-1/4 cup whipped cream

Peel and segment the orange with a paring knife, removing the membranes and white pith. Chop the segments and toss with the orange liqueur in a bowl; set aside for about 10 minutes.

Spoon the lemon curd into a wine glass in an even layer. Top with a thin layer of whipped cream, then pile on the oranges and dollop with the remaining whipped cream.

This was incredibly easy to put together, the assembly time was only a few minutes after the orange segments had soaked. The lemon curd had a nice blend of sweetness and citrus, playing off of the citrus flavors in the oranges and the sweetness in the whipped cream -- the lemon curd really helped to balance everything. I thought these turned out really cute and it's easy to adjust the recipe quantity as needed. 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Pumpkin Seed Brittle

For Halloween this year I decided to do some generally festive fall recipes, rather than full on Halloween recipes. I like to switch it up every once in a while. This recipe is easy to make if you have a candy thermometer, if not you can check out this link with tips from Bon Appetit on how to make brittle without one.

Recipe from Bon Appetit

-Nonstick vegetable oil spray
-1 cup sugar
-1/2 cup light corn syrup
-1 cup raw shelled pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
-2 tablespoons unsalted butter
-1 teaspoon kosher salt
-3/4 teaspoon baking soda
-1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
-1/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt

Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray; set aside. Bring sugar, corn syrup, and 3 tablespoons of water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Fit saucepan with thermometer and cook until thermometer registers 290°(about three or four minutes).

Stir in pumpkin seeds, butter, and kosher salt and cook, stirring often, until pale brown and thermometer registers 305° (about three or four minutes).

Stir in baking soda and cinnamon (mixture will bubble vigorously), then immediately pour caramel onto prepared sheet. Using a heatproof spatula, quickly spread out and sprinkle with sea salt; let cool. Break brittle into pieces.

I thought this was a fun twist on brittle -- I guess I've only ever seen peanut brittle before, but adding the pumpkin seeds helped to add another flavor and some extra salt and color to the brittle. I like eating crunchy things, like potato chips, so I found these to be a little addicting. It might be best to put them out for a party or take them to work. 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Cauliflower Pizza Crust

Cauliflower pizza crust was a big blogging trend a few years ago and has stayed pretty popular on the low-card scene. I personally love bread and although cauliflower is my favorite substitute for chicken, I was a little skeptical about turning it into a pizza crust. Pizza Wednesday seemed like the perfect time to experiment with putting one together.

Recipe from Pop Sugar.
-Nonstick spray
-2 1/2 cups cauliflower, grated (about 1/2 a large head)
-1 large egg, lightly beaten
-1 1/4 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
-2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
-Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
-1/4 cup tomato sauce
-1 cup grape tomatoes, sliced in half
-2 cloves garlic, sliced
-1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil sprayed with cooking spray, and preheat oven to 425ºF.
Grate the cauliflower using a box grater until you have two cups of cauliflower crumbles. Place in a large bowl and microwave for seven minutes, or until soft. Remove from the microwave and let cool until you're able to handle the mixture.

Mix in the egg, one cup mozzarella, parmesan cheese, and salt and pepper. Once combined, pat into a 10-inch round on the prepared pizza pan. Spray lightly with nonstick spray and bake for 15 minutes.
Top the pizza with the sauce, 1/4 cup mozzarella, grape tomatoes, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Bake in the oven until melted and bubbly, another 10 minutes.

The edges of the crust were very crispy, but the center didn't turn out quite as firm. I was able to easily slice the pizza into four pieces, but it needed to be eaten with a fork. Otherwise I was pleasantly surprised, the cauliflower crust did replicate a traditional crust quite nicely, there was no weird cauliflower aftertaste or anything like that. This recipe is incredibly low-calorie and will not fill you up, make sure to serve it alongside a salad to get your calorie boost. 

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Pumpkin Polenta with Brussels Sprouts

Having most, but not all, of the ingredients for this recipe, I adapted it to fit my needs and to hit the flavors that I wanted. Getting a creamy and exciting meal is great, but the fun of cooking is in how you get to that point, and in improving and improvising. This would be a great dish to modify and make your own.

Adapted from Food Network, post by Dave.

-1/4 pound Brussels sprouts
-1 tablespoon oil
-salt and pepper
-1 tablespoon maple syrup
-1/2 cup corn meal
-1 1/2 cups water
-1/2 cup milk
-1/2 cup pumpkin puree
-2 ounces Swiss cheese
-1 tablespoon chopped sage

Chop the Brussels sprouts in half, then toss in oil, salt and pepper to lightly coat. Roast at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes. After twelve minutes, turn the Brussels sprouts, drizzle maple syrup over them, and return them to the oven for the remaining time.

Bring the water, milk, and a dash of salt to a boil in a medium sauce pan. Add the corn meal, reduce the heat to a simmer, and vigorously whisk to break up any clumps. Continue to whisk at a simmer for a few minutes longer until the polenta has thickened but is still creamy. Set the heat to low and stir in the pumpkin, cheese and sage. Add more salt and black pepper, to taste.

Once the cheese is melted, the polenta is ready to serve. Top with the Brussels sprouts and additional grated cheese. This recipe is a great seasonal meal, and a nice way to use pumpkin puree. The touch of sweetness from the maple complements the strong roasted Brussels sprouts, and the creamy polenta has just the right amount of pumpkin. Be sure to taste before serving, my dish greatly benefited from the black pepper added at the end.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Apple Crisp

We still have a surplus of apples from when we when apple picking a few weeks ago. I thought this apple crisp would be a nice, cozy, fall recipe.

10 cups of apple slice was equal to about 4 large apples for me, obviously it will be difficult to get a perfect measurement, but try to get it as close as you can.

Recipe from Add a Pinch.

-10 cups sliced apples
-1/4 cup lemon juice
-1/2 cup brown sugar
-1/4 cup granulated sugar
-1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Apple Crisp Topping
-1 stick butter, cut into large slices
-1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
-1 1/2 cups brown sugar
-2 cups quick-cooking oats, divided
-1 tablespoon cinnamon
-1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
-1/4 cup vegetable oil

Preheat your oven to 350º  and then spray 9x13 casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray.

Combine apples, lemon juice, brown sugar, granulated sugar and ground cinnamon in a large bowl, tossing to make sure apples are well coated. Pour into the prepared 9x13 casserole dish.

Next make the topping by adding the butter and flour to a large bowl. Cut butter into flour with your fingers until you have a pea sized crumble. Then mix in the brown sugar, 1 cup of oats, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add vegetable oil and spread on top of apple mixture.

Spread remaining 1 cup of oats on top of oat and flour mixture, lightly pressing into the other topping.

Bake until apples are tender and top of apple crisp has crisped and turned golden brown, about 45 minutes.

If desired serve with vanilla bean ice cream, whipped cream or a little caramel drizzle.

One issue I had was that my butter was not cut into the crust enough, that's why in the picture of the apple crisp in the pan, you can see that some of my oats didn't toast nicely. The butter is what helps turn those golden brown once you bake the casserole. Aside from that mishap, this turned out great. I kind of wish that I had cut the recipe in half, this was a lot of apple crisp for both of us. Overall this used quite a few apples, had great flavor and was delicious with caramel sauce drizzle over the top.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Butternut Squash and Smoky Black Bean Kale Salad

A lovely fall salad with ingredients that you likely already have in your kitchen. 

-1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed (1/2-inch pieces)
-3 tablespoon olive oil, divided
-salt and black pepper, to taste
-2 tbsp red wine vinegar
-1 tablespoon dijon mustard
-1 tablespoon honey
-1 tablespoon adobo sauce
-2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
-2 cups cooked black beans
-1 large bunch lacinato kale, stemmed and cut into thin slices
-1/2 cup goat cheese, crumbled

Heat oven to 400. In a large bowl, toss together the butternut squash, 1 tbsp olive oil, and salt and black pepper to taste. Spread out on a parchment-lined baking sheet and roast for 20-30 minutes, or until tender. Set aside.

In a small bowl make the vinaigrette by stirring together 1/2 tsp salt, red wine vinegar, dijon mustard, honey, adobo sauce, garlic cloves, and 1/4 tsp black pepper. Taste for seasoning. Set aside.

When the squash is done roasting, toss it with the kale, black beans, and dressing. Serve topped with crumbled goat cheese.

This salad was so easy to make, we roasted the squash the night before and then tossed everything together the next day before we went to work. Don't be afraid of the adobo sauce in the vinaigrette, it helps to make the black beans smoky without adding too much spice.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Stuffed Acorn Squash

I'm trying to delve into more recipes that include fall/winter squashes, I think that they can really add some interesting aspects to a dish. The acorn squash in this recipe acts like an edible bowl, making a pretty presentation for a fall dinner party.

Slightly adapted from the Cozy Apron.

-2 acorn squash
-Olive oil
-Fresh cracked black pepper
-2 cloves garlic
-Pinch cumin
-Pinch cayenne pepper
-Pinch cinnamon
-3/4 cup cooked brown rice
-1/2 cup black beans
-1/4 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
-1 tablespoon pepitas
-1/4 cup finely shredded sharp white cheddar cheese

First, you'll need to prepare the acorn squash -- cut a tiny piece off of the bottom to create a flat surface on both ends (don't take too much off or you wont have a bowl. Next cut each squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Drizzle each half with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, then place on a foil lined baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 35 minutes or until the squash is tender.

While the squash is roasting, combine the garlic, cumin, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, rice, black beans, cherry tomatoes, white cheddar and pepitas in a bowl. Stir gently until well combined.

Once the squash has finished roasting, spoon equal portions of the rice mixture into each and top with 

Spoon equal portions of the beef/rice mixture into the cavity of each squash half, place the halves back onto the baking sheet and into the oven to bake for an additional few minutes to melt the cheese.

The blend of seasoning in the filling of the squash was really nice, it helped complement all of the other ingredients. We enjoyed this so much that I wish I had increased the recipe so that we'd have more leftovers. Each was a nice portion and held up well for lunch the next day. 

Friday, October 23, 2015

Pear, Pomegranate, Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Maple Sesame Dressing

I am in love with my spiralizer, it makes eating dinner fun and there are so many different ways to incorporate the spiralizer "noodles" into recipes. This fall salad incorporates two different kinds of spiralized noodles with other ingredients. I love Asian pear -- if you can't find it in your grocery store you could sub an apple or pear in its place, but I think the Asian pear's flavor is a nice touch to this recipe if you can find it.

Slightly adapted from Inspiralized

-1 medium butternut squash, peeled and spiralized, noodles trimmed
-salt and pepper, to taste
-1 large Asian pear
-5 ounces mix greens
-3/4 cup pomegranate seeds
-4 tablespoons pepitas

-1 tablespoon real maple syrup
-1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
-1 tablespoon sesame oil
-2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
-1 teaspoon white sesame seeds
-1 tablespoon soy sauce
-pepper, to taste
-1 garlic clove, crushed and then minced

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lay out the butternut squash noodles. Coat lightly with cooking spray and season with salt and pepper and roast for 8-10 minutes or until cooked through but still al dente.

While the squash cooks, combine all of the ingredients for the vinaigrette and set aside.

Spiralize the pear and add to a large bowl with the mixed greens and pepitas. Once butternut squash is done, add it to the large bowl, drizzle over the vinaigrette and toss thoroughly.

Let's take one moment to admire the ridiculous deliciousness that was this salad. The butternut squash paired nicely with everything on the plate, the sweet-tang of the Asian pear, the sweet-bitterness of the pomegranate seeds. The vinaigrette helped to add additional dimension to the salad. I was incredibly pleased with how this turned out. 

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Coconut Curry with Crispy Tofu

Nicely textured, flavorful tofu and a creamy and rich curry sauce over rice could well become a dinner favorite, or an easy way to impress guests with a delicious and visually appealing meal.

Recipe from Sobremesa.

-1 block tofu
-1 tablespoon vegetable oil
-salt and pepper
-1 teaspoon honey
-1/8 cup soy sauce
-1 teaspoon vegetable oil
-1 teaspoon minced garlic
-1/2 teaspoon onion powder
-1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
-1 jalapeno, cored and minced
-1 tablespoon curry powder
-1/2 pound carrots
-1/2 pound Yukon gold potatoes
-15 ounces coconut milk
-28 ounces diced, fire roasted tomatoes

Cube the tofu, then toss lightly in oil, salt and pepper. Bake on a sheet lined with parchment paper at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. In a bowl, combine honey and soy sauce. Toss the baked tofu in the sauce, then put it back in the oven for another 10 minutes.

Heat a little bit of oil in a large saute pan with a few inches of height over medium heat. Add the garlic, onion powder, ginger powder, and jalapeno to the pan and cook for a few minutes. Toss in the curry powder to toast for a minute, then add the carrots and potatoes and stir. Pour the coconut milk and the fire roasted tomatoes, with a little more salt and pepper, into the pan and bring to a strong simmer. Let the vegetables simmer for about twenty minutes.

Serve tofu and curry over rice with your choice of chopped peanuts or scallions.

We loved this dish, and it made plenty for us to have dinner as well as lunch without rice later on in the week.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Jalapeno Popper Pizza

A little pizza twist on an appetizer favorite.  Last time I made a recipe with jalapenos I was sad for days because the reside transferred from my hands to my soft contact lenses. Make sure to wear gloves while handling the jalapenos it will save your nose and eyes later!

Adapted from Damn Delicious

-Cooking spray
-4 slices soy bacon, cooked and chopped
-2 jalapeños, sliced
-1 shallot, sliced
-1 refrigerated pizza crust
-6 ounces neufchatel cheese, softened
-1 1/2 cups grated jalapeño monterey jack cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. Stretch the pizza crust to fit the pan.

Spread the neufchatel cheese over the crust leaving an edge for the outer crust. Top with the jalapeño monterey jack cheese.

In a small bowl, combine the jalapeños and shallot with 1-2 teaspoons olive oil. And then top the pizza with the jalapeños, shallots and soy bacon.

Bake the pizza for 15-20 minutes, or until the crust is crisp and brown on the bottom and the cheese is melted on top.


This pizza was incredibly good -- we ended up polishing off the entire thing for dinner and then I was disappointed because I had wanted to bring some to work. The neufchatel cheese was a really nice substitute for sauce and all of the flavors worked nicely together. The jalapeños were tamed by the neufchatel and even through the monterey jack cheese included jalapeños it was just the right amount of heat. Not too much or too little.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Pumpkin Waffles with Apple Cider Syrup

Although I don't love pumpkin flavored things, I'm always trying to integrate at least a few pumpkin recipes into my fall blogs. This recipe particularly intrigued me because of the homemade Apple Cider Syrup that went on top of the waffles, it sounded divine, even if pumpkin didn't.

Both recipes from Cooking Classy. The recipe as is will make 7-8 Belgian Waffles and 2 cups of Apple Cider Syrup. I cut the waffle recipe in half which made 18 mini waffles.

-2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
-2 teaspoon baking powder
-3/4 teaspoon baking soda
-3/4 teaspoon salt
-1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
-1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
-1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
-4 large eggs, yolks and whites separated
-1 pinch cream of tartar
-5 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
-1 cup milk
-1 cup buttermilk
-1/4 cup canola oil
-1 cup canned pumpkin puree
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-Vegetable oil cooking spray

Apple Cider Syrup
-1 cup packed dark or light brown sugar
-2 tablespoons cornstarch
-1 teaspoons ground cinnamon
-1/4 teaspoons allspice
-1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
-1/8 teaspoons ground cloves
-1/8 teaspoons salt
-2 cups apple cider (well shaken)
-1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
-1/4 cup salted butter, diced into 4 pieces

In a large mixing bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg until well blended. Create a well in center of mixture then set aside.

In a separate medium mixing bowl whisk together milk, buttermilk, canola oil, pumpkin puree, vanilla extract, egg yolks and three tablespoons granulated sugar.

Next in a a medium mixing bowl add the egg whites and cream of tartar. Use an electric hand mixer set on high speed, whip until soft peaks form, then add two tablespoons of the granulated sugar and whip until medium-stiff peaks form.

While whisking, slowly pour milk mixture into flour mixture and mix just until combined (batter will be slightly lumpy), then fold egg whites into batter.

Spray your waffle iron of choice with cooking spray and make the waffles.

Top with your syrup of choice or the Apple Cider Syrup: In a medium saucepan whisk together brown sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, cloves and salt until cornstarch is evenly distributed. Stir in apple cider and apple cider vinegar and set mixture over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil stirring constantly. Allow to boil for one to one and a half minutes while continuously stirring, then remove from heat, stir in butter and allow to cool until warm. The syrup will really thicken up as you allow it to cool slightly.

I topped my waffles with a small dollop of light Cool Whip too.

This was such an awesome recipe. I actually liked the pumpkin waffles, I think it's because they were lightly seasoned and not overwhelmingly full of pumpkin spice seasoning. The Apple Cider Syrup really made this dish for me though, I think it really helped to tie everything together. The whipped cream was also good on this too, the waffles and syrup aren't too sweet on their own, so the whipped cream helped to elevate the sweetness slightly.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Roasted Autumn Vegetable Pot Pies

I've had this recipe on my Pinterest board for a while, waiting for the right time to make it. The weather has been a crazy mix of fall, winter and now more like spring, but all of the autumn vegetables are available in the stores. You should make it on a weekend, instead of a weeknight. There are a lot of instructions, but this recipe is worth it.

Recipe from the Candid Appetite

-1 small butternut squash (or half of a large one) peeled, seeded and diced
-1 small baking pumpkin (or half of a large one) peeled, seeded and diced
-2 large carrots, peeled and diced
-1/4 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered
-1 small cauliflower (or half of a large one) cut into chunks
-2 tablespoons olive oil
-kosher salt
-freshly cracked black pepper
-pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
-3 tablespoons unsalted butter
-1 large yellow onion, diced
-4 garlic cloves, minced
-1 pound crimini mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
-2 dried bay leaves
-1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
-1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
-3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
-2 cups vegetable stock
-1/2 cup Greek yogurt
-3/4 cup frozen peas, thawed
-1 egg, whisked with a splash of water

Black Pepper Rosemary Crust
-2 cups all-purpose flour
-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1 tablespoon freshly cracked black pepper
-1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
-1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, very cold and diced
-2 egg yolks
-1/4 cup buttermilk

First make the crust, in a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, black pepper and rosemary. Add the cold butter and rub with your fingers until the butter breaks down and resembles coarse crumbs (the size of peas).

In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and milk. Add it to the flour and stir with a rubber spatula until the dough comes together. Use your hands to shape the dough into a disk. If you find the dough to be too dry, add a splash more buttermilk. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour.

While the dough is chilling, prep the vegetables. Divide the diced butternut squash, pumpkin, carrots, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower between two large baking sheets. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and black pepper. Give the veggies a toss to evenly coat and roast at 425 degrees in the oven for about 20 to 25 minutes or until the veggies are golden brown and crispy. Halfway through roasting, shake the pans to redistribute the vegetables.

Once the vegetables are in the oven, start to prep the other ingredients. Heat a large heavy-duty pot over medium-high heat. Melt two tablespoons of butter and add the chopped onions and garlic. Saute for about 5 minutes or until the onions begin to soften then season with salt, black pepper, and a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes. Stir and continue to cook until just caramelized. Add the sliced mushrooms and cook for another 5 minutes, until they have browned and then stir in the chopped thyme, rosemary and dried bay leaves. Cook for another 5 minutes.

Move the veggies to one side of the pot and add the remaining 1 tablespoon butter, allow to melt, and then add the flour. Stir and cook for about 30 seconds. Slowly add the vegetable stock, stirring the entire time to evenly combine everything together. Lower the heat and allow to thicken about 10 to 15 minutes. Check for seasoning and adjust accordingly. Stir in the roasted vegetables from earlier. Add the greek yogurt and frozen peas, stir together and cook for another minute. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.

Divide the filling between four ramekins and then remove the dough from the fridge. On a floured surface, divide into four pieces and then use a rolling pin to create four circles. I decided to take a more rustic approach, so mine aren't perfect, but you can cut yours into a better circle to make them more pretty. Top each ramekin with a piece of crust and place the ramekins onto a baking sheet. Brush each crust with a little egg wash and then bake for 20-25 minutes at 375.

This recipe was a lot of work, I wish I hadn't made it on a week night, it really should have been a weekend project. I struggled with the dough, next time I will use a pre-made pie crust and season it with the black pepper and rosemary. The filling was really good and my leftovers impressed one of my co-workers so much, that I sent him home with a copy of the recipe. 

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Mushroom Sage Mac and Cheese

I've been getting lazy about keeping up on counting calories, but I couldn't bring myself to make the full-fat version of this macaroni and cheese. The sheer number of calories per serving reminded me of why mac and cheese tastes so good, but I thought it would be better to have a tasty and guilt-free version.

Adapted from the Culinary Ginger.


-1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
-1 1/2 teaspoons fresh sage, finely chopped
-12 ounces dried pasta, cooked two minutes less than package directions
-8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
-1 tablespoon fresh sage, finely chopped
-3 tablespoons unsalted butter
-3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
-2 cups whole milk
-1 cup heavy cream
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
-2 cups sharp white cheddar, grated
-1 cup swiss cheese, grated
-1 cup mozzarella, grated

Add the panko and chopped sage to a bowl and mix, set aside. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Spray a small skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and cook until browned and reduced. Stir in the sage and cook for 1 minute. Set aside.
In the same pot the pasta had been in, add the three tablespoons butter over medium heat. Once butter is melted, whisk in the flour to form a paste and cook for about two minutes. Slowly pour in the milk, cream while whisking and starts to thicken. Stir in the salt and nutmeg. Once thickened and there are no lumps remove from the heat.
Stir in the cheddar, swiss, and mozzarella, in small batches allowing it to melt in between additions.
Add the mushrooms and pasta into the pot and stir until well mixed.
Transfer to a greased 8 x 8 baking dish and top with the panko breadcrumbs. Put the the mac and cheese onto a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes until the top is golden brown.


Dave really liked this recipe, he ate several servings of this. The sage and mushrooms added some nice flavors to the macaroni and cheese. I don't think that cutting some of the cheese and/or cream out of this recipe reduced any of the flavor or creaminess of the macaroni and cheese. 

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Slow Cooker Creamy Tomato Basil Tortellini Soup

I'm trying to incorporate more slow cooker recipes into my repertoire. This is definitely one of those recipes where you get to set it, come back to it a couple hours later and it's dinner and a few lunches for the week. It's a yummy tomato-based vegetable soup with tortellini.

Recipe from Cooking Classy.

-3-4 carrots, diced
-1 yellow onion, diced
-3-4 teaspoons minced garlic
-3 (28 oz) cans whole tomatoes
-4 cups vegetable broth
-1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
-1 tablespoon sugar
-salt and pepper
-16-19 ounces frozen tortellini
-3/4 cup heavy cream

In a large crock pot, add the carrots, onion, garlic, tomatoes, broth, basil, sugar, salt and pepper, and stir. Set the crock pot to high for 3 1/2 hours or low for 6.

After the cook time has passed, blend the soup using an immersion blender. Add the tortellini and cook on high for another twenty minutes or so. Turn the heat down to a warm, stir in the cream, and it's ready to serve. Garnish with additional basil or shredded cheese. The classic flavor of the soup is really outstanding, and the tortellini add an element of fun, an overall great soup.


Friday, October 16, 2015

Baked Apple Cider Doughnuts

This cider season, it's time to stock up on that deeply flavorful beverage, and put it to work for you in a delicious breakfast treat. With elements of apple, cinnamon and sugar, this homemade donut is sure to delight, pairs magnificently with your cup of coffee, or extra cider.

Recipe from Always Order Dessert.

-1 cup apple cider
-2 cups flour
-3/4 cup sugar
-1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
-1/4 teaspoon baking soda
-1 teaspoon salt
-1 teaspoon cinnamon
-2 eggs
-1/4 cup buttermilk
-3 tablespoons melted butter
-2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Bring the apple cider to a boil in a saucepan, then reduce at a simmer for 5 minutes, stirring if needed. Remove from heat and let cool.

In separate bowls, mix the dry and wet ingredients: the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in one, and the eggs, buttermilk, butter, vanilla extract and cider reduction in the other. Beat the wet ingredients, then incorporate into the dry.

Spoon the batter into a zipper-sealed bag, snip a corner of the bag, and pipe the batter into your donut-form pan. It should make about 12 donuts. Bake at 325 for about 20 minutes.

The donuts should come out golden and light. If desired, give the donuts a cinnamon and sugar topping -- press the cooled donuts into additional melted butter, then into a cinnamon-sugar mixture at proportions of 1/2 cup sugar and 1 tablespoon cinnamon.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Spicy Chinese Eggplant

I've had this recipe saved for a while, it's a nice vegan recipe and you can easily incorporate other vegetables into this. I had some leftover mushrooms, so those were added to the saute and I think it turned out quite nicely.

Slightly adapted from Delightful, Delicious, Delovely. 

-2 large eggplants  – cut into 1 inch cubes
-1 onion – diced
-8 ounces mushrooms -- sliced
-Thai basil, chopped
-Vegetable oil
-6 garlic cloves – chopped
-4 tablespoons minced ginger
-3 tablespoons brown sugar
-1 tablespoons sriracha
-2 tablespoons chili garlic sauce
-3 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
-1/2 cup tomato sauce
-1 tablespoon rice vinegar
-1 tablespoon vinegar
-Sesame seeds

In a large skillet heat a small amount of vegetable oil and then add the eggplant, onion, mushrooms and garlic. Saute for five minutes.

While the vegetables are sauteing, combine the ginger, brown sugar, sriracha, chili garlic sauce, soy sauce, tomato sauce, rice vinegar, vinegar and a pinch of a salt. Stir to form a thick sauce and then pour over the vegetables in the skillet. Make sure to coat all of the vegetables with the sauce and then turn the heat to low. Cover the skillet and cook four about ten more minutes or until eggplant is tender.

Serve topped with seasame seeds and over your favorite rice if desired.

This recipe is incredibly spicy -- if you'd like to tone it down a little leave out the sriracha, chili garlic sauce or both. However, the sauce had incredibly great flavor and covered all of the vegetables nicely. This gave us about four large servings, but could easily be turned into six or eight smaller servings. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Butternut Squash and Kale Pizza

This was a somewhat sweet pizza on account of the butternut squash puree sauce. We enjoyed it, and I'm glad I added mushrooms, they helped to tone down the assertiveness of the squash.

Other Pizza Wednesday recipes: Beet Green Pesto Pizza with Roasted Beets and Goat CheeseRoasted Vegetable Wrap PizzaEggplant Parmesan Pizza with Crispy CapersLemon Dandelion Green PizzaMushroom & Asparagus Pizza; and Veggie Cheese Stromboli.

Inspired by The Live-in Kitchen.

-1/2 butternut squash, cubed and roasted with salt and pepper
-1-2 tablespoons tomato sauce or pizza sauce
-pizza crust
-4 ounces shredded fontina cheese
-4 ounces mushrooms, chopped
-handful dried cranberries, chopped
-couple leaves kale

Roast the cubed, seasoned squash, lightly coated in oil or cooking spray, at 425 for 20-25 minutes. Remove to a blender with the tomato sauce and puree until smooth.

Spread the pizza crust out onto your very slightly oiled pan, and form a crust edge. Spread the squash puree evenly, then distribute the cheese, mushrooms, and cranberries. Season the pizza, then bake at 425 for 20 minutes. At the halfway point, add the chopped kale.

We liked this combination of food and flavor on our pizza, the mushrooms give your bite a little firmness. The kale didn't contribute anything, though I really can't say enough about the mushrooms here, the pizza probably could have used even more. Overall a tasty pizza.