Thursday, January 29, 2015

Simple Fettucini Alfredo

There are many recipes for Fettuccine Alfredo and all of them are loaded with butter, cream, cheese and various other calorie and fat laden ingredients. However, this very simple recipe, while not a dieter's favorite, is one that is more reasonable and sooooo quick and easy! If you're in need of a quick meal, give this one a try! Add some oven roasted broccoli or a green salad and you're done! Enjoy!!

Simple Fettuccine Alfredo

1/2 lb butter, softened
1/2 lb freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1lb fettuccine
freshly ground black pepper

Cream butter and Parmesan cheese in electric mixer. Cook fettuccine according to package directions; drain fettuccine reserving 1 cup cooking water. Combine cooked fettuccine and butter mixture in large heat proof bowl; add freshly ground black pepper to taste.. Add hot cooking water as needed to loosen pasta. Serve hot!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Butternut Squash Kale Soup

I have shared this recipe before, but with the snow and coooold weather looming, I thought it well worth sharing again. After all, there is nothing better on a cold winter day than a hearty bowl of soup! This recipe comes from my artist friend, teacher, mentor and wonderful cook - Elly Hobgood. She truly does it all! I think you will also love this recipe! 

Bake a pan of cornbread to go with this and get ready for a delicious, hearty meal. One that "sticks to your bones" as Mama would say!

Butternut Squash Kale Soup

2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced
3 carrots, diced
2 cloves minced garlic
3 cups diced butternut squash
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon salt
pinch cayenne pepper
4 generous sprigs fresh thyme (remove stems before serving)
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 (14-oz) can fire roasted tomatoes
2 cups diced (packed) kale
1 can chickpeas or other white beans, drained and rinsed

Saute onion and carrots in oil in a large Dutch oven. Add garlic, squash, allspice, salt, pepper, thyme, broth and tomatoes. Simmer until squash begins to soften, about 20 minutes.Add  kale and chickpeas.

Cook another 10 minutes until kale has wilted.  Adjust seasonings. Yield: 6-8 servings.

Sprinkle with a bit of Parmesan when serving, but even without that it's quite hearty. 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Provencale Chicken Supper

There are days that are entirely to busy to prepare a meal from scratch in the late afternoon. That's when a good slow cooker meal is my 'ace in the hole'! This meal could not be easier nor quicker to get started. If you are rushed in the morning, you could prep this the night before and refrigerate the slow cooker insert. Take it out in the morning and place it in the cooker, set it and go off to work or play! Now, how easy is that???

Provencale Chicken Supper
4 chicken breast halves (with bone but no skin)
2 teaspoons dried basil
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 cup diced yellow pepper
1 (15-oz) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 (14-oz) can fire roasted tomatoes, undrained

Place chicken in slow cooker, sprinkle with basil, salt and pepper. Add yellow pepper, beans and tomatoes. Cover and cook on LOW for 8 hours.

Serve with Basil Crostini

Basil Crostini
8 (1/4-inch) slices French bread baguette
1 garlic clove, halved
2 Tablespoons grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh basil

Broil bread slices for 15 seconds or until toasted. Rub toast with garlic halves. Sprinkle with cheese and basil; broil an additional 20 seconds.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Croissant Blueberry Puff

When you live in the mountains, you naturally have lots of visitors or "houseguests" as I prefer to call them. We are blessed to live in a beautiful place and are always happy to share that blessing with family and friends. This week, we are fortunate to have dear, dear friends who have moved away to take care of an aging mother and have come back to visit with us. Just as in any good "B&B", I believe breakfast is one of the highlights of the day. And certainly important when you have a full day ahead whether it is sightseeing or visiting old friends. 

This recipe is from "The Girl Who Ate Everything" blog via Pinterest. (YES! Pinterest!!!) I have to tell you, we ALL voted it a "keeper"! It is similar to bread pudding (with blueberries), not too sweet, but different from the typical breakfast strata casserole. 

Of course, I made a couple of changes! I actually forgot to buy cream cheese but had 1/2 of an 8-oz pkg in the refrigerator. I used that and we all decided it was just right! I also used 4 croissants as they came in a pkg of 4 and were medium size. I used frozen blueberries, thawed and drained on paper towel. I would make it again and double the recipe for a 9x13-inch pan. This recipe served the 4 of us with no leftovers (it was THAT good!).

Bonus tip: To soften the cream cheese in a hurry, I placed it on top of the drip coffee maker as it brewed! The cream cheese was perfect by the time I was ready for it! 

I've been thinking about a make-ahead method for this. I believe you could cut the croissants and place them in a plastic bag, mix up the liquid and refrigerate then combine all of it along with the blueberries in the morning. I do NOT think this could be completed the night before because the blueberries would run and the mixture would be purple! If anyone tries it, let me know how it turns out. OK??

Photo and recipe from "The Girl Who Ate Everything" blog

Croissant Blueberry Puff

3 large croissants, cut up (about 5 to 5 1/2 cups)
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place croissant pieces in a greased 9- inch square pan. Sprinkle with blueberries.
Beat cream cheese, sugar, eggs and vanilla in medium bowl with electric mixer until well blended. Gradually add milk, beating well after each addition. Pour evenly over croissant pieces. Let stand 20 minutes.
Bake at 350°F for 35 to 40 minutes or until set in center and golden brown. You may want to cover it with foil for the last 10 minutes if the top is getting too brown.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Cheesecake Swirled Fudge Brownies

Last weekend was my birthday but I was too sick to celebrate. Later in the week, I dreamed of warm brownies topped with ice cream and hot fudge sauce. VIOLA! A dear friend took me out to lunch for a belated celebration and just guess what we had for dessert?? Of course, the most decadent warm brownies topped with vanilla gelato and drizzled with warm fudge AND caramel sauce and sprinkled with pecans! Well, you only have a birthday once a year! The celebration was heavenly!! So, I thought I would share another favorite brownie recipe this week. 

These brownies are double chocolate and swirled with cheesecake rivers. They are truly decadent and worthy of a celebration or just a late night snack. You decide!

The only down side to this recipe is that they really need to be chilled overnight before you eat them! So, plan ahead! 

Cheesecake Swirled Fudge Brownies

2 sticks butter, melted
2 1/4 cups sugar
4 eggs 
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups chocolate chips

8 oz. softened cream cheese
1/3 cup sour cream
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg

Grease a 9x13-inch baking pan. Line the pan with aluminum foil strips hanging over each side and the ends of the pan. This makes it easy to lift the brownies out of the pan when ready to serve. Preheat oven to 350º.

Combiner butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla, stirring until smooth. Mix together the cocoa powder, salt, baking powder, and flour and add to the butter sugar mixture. Stir until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

 Combine cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, vanilla, and egg. Stir until well mixed.

Make long trenches in the batter with the end of a wooden spoon.  Fill the trenches with cream cheese mixture. With a knife cut rows through the batter across the trenches.

Bake for 30 minutes. Cool in pan 15 minutes; refrigerate several hours or overnight before serving.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Honey Soy Baked Chicken Thighs and Oven Roasted Broccoli

Since I've had major CRUD for 3 weeks, I've been in the kitchen as little as possible. It really has not mattered what I cooked; I can taste nothing but salt! UGH! My DH (dear hubby) says this chicken tasted great. It was simple to prepare and once in the oven, I could go back to my chair and box of tissues. Just because it was easy, I put a couple of baking potatoes in the oven along side the chicken. I think it would be better with rice, but DH spooned the sauce over his potato and was happy! Toss in a pan of Oven Roasted Broccoli and your meal is complete and clean up is minimal!

Honey Soy Baked Chicken Thighs

1½ – 2 pounds boneless, skinless, chicken thighs (most of the fat cut off and discarded)

3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
3 Tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil, optional
5 Tablespoons honey
4 cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees . Line an oven-proof pan with 2 layers of foil. (I highly advise usίng foil in this dish because soy sauce & honey are STICKY and tend to adhere heavily on glass dishes when cooked at high temperatures. Unless you want to be scrubbίng forever, use the foil!)
In a small bowl, whisk together vegetable oil, soy sauce, sesame oil, honey, garlίc, ground ginger, and pepper.
Place the chicken thighs in the foil layered pan then pour the mixture over. Turn the chicken around in the sauce to make sure it's coated on all sides. 
Bake, uncovered, for 40 minutes, checkίng occasionally to make sure the tops are not browning too quickly. If they are, cover with foil and resume baking until chicken is done.
Remove from oven and let chicken sit for 5 minutes then transfer to a plate and pour sauce over chicken. 
Serve with white or brown rice and steamed veggies.

Oven Roasted Broccoli
1 bunch broccoli, separated into florets
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 clove fresh garlic, minced

Toss broccoli florets in olive oil in a large bowl. Sprinkle with salt and minced garlic. Spread in one layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until broccoli is lightly browned on the edges and fork tender. 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo

Brrrrr! The COLD weather makes hearty hot meals a MUST! Soup, stew and (in the South) gumbo are among our absolute favorites. This is a simple gumbo that allows several options. (There goes "that" word again... options. I've even instilled it into my 4-yr old granddaughter's vocabulary! We like to have lots of "options"!)

Rather than making a traditional roux, this recipe browns the flour in a dry skillet. This is much easier and if you make a mistake, you can toss it out and start over easily (options!) The recipe uses andouille sausage, but I have substituted smoked sausage successfully. I also added 1 teaspoon Cajun Seasoning.

Simple supper : Chicken and Sausage Gumbo with Crusty French Bread and a green salad.

This recipe is from Martha Stewart Magazine. I "borrowed" it and have prepared it several times, making small changes and suggesting "options"!

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon canola oil
1 link andouille sausage, finely chopped OR 1/2 lb smoked sausage OR a combination of the two
3 medium celery stalks, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1 medium onion, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1 green pepper, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
12 oz. fresh okra, cut into 1/2-inch slices OR 2 cups frozen sliced okra
8 cups low-sodium chicken broth
8 skinless chicken thighs
1 (28-oz) can plum tomatoes (with juice plus enough water to make 2 cups liquid), coarsely chopped
2 dried bay leaves
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Heat a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Toast flour, stirring with a wooden spoon, for 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium; cook, stirring to break up lumps, until it reaches the color of peanut butter and has a toasted aroma, about 14 minutes. Adjust heat to prevent burning. Transfer to a large bowl; let cool. Sift through a fine sieve, pressing clumps.

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add sausage and cook for 1 minute. Increase heat to high. Add celery, onion and green pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly soft, about 4 minutes. Add okra; cook for 3 minutes.

Meanwhile, gradually whisk broth into flour; add to Dutch oven along with chicken, tomatoes, juice and bay leaves. Reduce heat to medium; simmer vigorously for 1 hour. Remove from heat; cover to keep warm. Transfer chicken to a plate and remover meat from bones. Add meat back to gumbo. Remove bay leaves. Stir in Worcestershire sauce.  Yield: 10 cups / 8 servings.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Apple Cider Waffles

* A note of apology for my long absence. I assumed (wrongly) that no one was cooking anymore and just stopped writing and sharing recipes. I have heard from several of you and vow to get back to my "job". Thanks for contacting me; it's always good to hear that there are actually folks out there reading and cooking! 

The winter weather has finally made it's way to us and that makes me crave warm "comfort foods". Breakfast for supper was common on cold winter nights in our house when I was growing up. I still love a crisp hot waffle with a side of scrambled eggs and little sausage links. Yuuummmm! 

This waffle recipe is quick and easy and tasty! I still have apples from the fall harvest and think I will sauté a pan full to spoon over these waffles. I'm sure I can talk the hubby into a dollop of whipped cream to top them off! And viola! We have dessert, too!

Apple Cider Waffles

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1 egg
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup apple cider ( or apple juice or milk)

Preheat waffle iron and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
Whisk all dry ingredients together and add egg and apple cider. Whisk until well-combined.
Pour into waffle iron and prepare according to waffle iron instructions.
Remove from waffle iron when baked throughout and serve warm.

Skillet Apples
Melt 4 Tablespoons butter in a large skillet. Add 4 peeled, cored and sliced apples ( Yellow Delicious will cook down nicely, Pink Lady will hold their shape). Stir and cook over medium high heat until caramelized. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar, if desired. Serve over waffles, pancakes. as a side dish with pork or over ice cream!