Spinach lasagna

I don’t make lasagna very often, it has always been a special occasion kinda dish for me. With that said there are times in life when you just crave something truly delicious and it doesn’t matter you just have to make it. I know lasagna is a little time consuming but the day I made this I was really feeling like rolling up my sleeves and treating my husband to a special dinner, and I just happened to be craving it myself. I love spinach in my lasagna and I was also wanting the taste of onion and garlic that day. So I sautĂ©ed the onion and garlic first and then added the spinach. I used my favorite jar of sauce, and I like boiling the noodles. The kind with the curly edges, my cheeses of choice are the traditional ricotta and mozzarella. I set a pretty table and made a salad to go with our lasagna. It turned an ordinary day into an extra special day. Thanks for stopping by 🍽

Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Yams and Dried Cranberries

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I’ve been working on my Thanksgiving Day dinner plans this past week and decided it’s time to change up my brussel sprout recipe this season. I want to add more color and flavor to this delicious vegetable. Since I always serve yams that seemed like a good choice to add and one less dish to prepare. Yams roasted become so sweet and melt in your mouth not to mention the color it will add. I always put chopped bacon or pancetta for extra flavor so that must remain. For even more color I’ll add dried cranberries after the vegetables are roasted and finish by tossing everything with  high quality balsamic vinegar. It not only looks festive it tastes great!

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Brussel sprouts, washed and cut in half

Yams, peeled and cut into small chunks

Bacon, cut into small pieces

Kosher salt

Fresh cracked pepper

Good quality olive oil

Good quality balsamic vinegar

Dried cranberries

Prepare the vegetables, try to cut them so they are even in size so they roast evenly. Spread them on a baking sheet and Sprinkle the chopped bacon pieces over the top. Salt and pepper to your liking. Sprinkle enough olive oil over the vegetables to coat them. Toss with your clean hands. Bake 450 degrees for about 20 minutes, till vegetables a tender. Remove from the oven. Spoon the roasted vegetables into a dish and pour on enough balsamic to coat and add a good handful or two of the dried cranberries. Toss and serve immediately.

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Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by!!

Butternut Squash Soup

I can’t believe it’s the end of August; I love the summer so much! The older I get the faster the seasons seem to pass. I heard the crickets loud as ever last week and before I know it they will be sneaking out of the cracks and greeting me in the wee hours of the morning, just before I’m off to work. In the next few weeks my husband and I will try to visit the Jersey shore as many times as we can fit into our schedules. But the time will pass quickly and fall will be upon us. Aside from summer, I love fall almost as much. I love the baking, our trip to Pittsburg to try and catch the fall foliage and visit my husband’s childhood home town. Pulling out the sweaters and lighting the fireplace for the first time on a chilly night. It’s so much fun Spotting the first pumpkins and gourds at the local farm market. Going on a hay ride with your family and pulling out recipes for favorite soups and stews. With all of these things to look forward to I can open my mind and embrace the upcoming season. Sundays are good days for me to be in the kitchen. After church I love to come home and make something special for my family. Today with the realization that the end of summer is about a month away, I thought I’d try making butternut squash soup. I’ve never made butternut squash soup so it will be a time of testing for me. I have had it at restaurants and last year at a friend’s house. I really enjoyed it each time I tasted it. I knew I would love to make it for my family homemade. I scouted the internet for recipes. There are many! I saw recipes that boiled the squash and vegetables and others that roasted them. I’m a big fan of roasted vegetables. Roasting just seems to bring so much flavor out of any vegetable. The other ingredient I wanted in the soup was apple. This is sure sounding like a fall soup now! I consulted my flavor bible book and decided to use bay leaf, nutmeg and cinnamon to add flavor. I also added an over flowing tablespoon of pure maple syrup to add a little more sweetness. To finish the soup I added a good dash of light cream and fresh grated nutmeg, just a dash. For a garnish on my soup I toasted some pumpkin seeds and sprinkled them on top. My house smelled amazing during this process I must say. My husband was kindly yelling out smells good in here! I just love that. Cooking and baking is such a blessing to me when I can share it with others. That’s what makes it a joyous task. Well, after about an hour and a half I brought my soup out to my husband for tasting. He really enjoyed it, as did I. All the flavors and ratios worked well together. I would definitely serve this to company. I would however like to make this soup a few more times and try a few different recipes before I give it a place of honor in my recipe box. As much as I will miss summer I’m looking forward to fall and all the fun and yummy things that come with it. God Bless and enjoy your day!

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Butternut Squash Soup

2 lbs. butternut squash, cut into 1 inch cubes

1 large granny smith apple, peeled and cored, cut into 1 inch cube

1 large yellow onion, cut into 1 inch cube

Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

3 tablespoons olive oil

2-3 cups vegetable stock

1 bay leaf

1/8 teaspoon of nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

1-2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

Dash of cream

Fresh grated nutmeg, optional

½ cup toasted pumpkin seeds

Serves 4

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees

On a baking tray evenly spread out the prepared squash, apple, and onion. Sprinkle with kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste. Pour olive oil over the vegetables and apple. Bake 30-35 minutes until the squash is very tender. When done roasting the vegetables pour them into a saucepan. Add 1 ½ cups of vegetable broth, the bay leaf, and the nutmeg and cinnamon. Bring to a gentle boil and heat through and let the spices marry. About 20 minutes. Remove from heat. Discard the bay leaf. Puree the soup and add the remaining broth until you have a nice consistency to the soup. Finish the soup with a good dash of cream stirring to combine. Grate a little fresh nutmeg over top. Garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds.

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Thanks for stopping by!!!

 

Maple Glazed Carrots

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I ‘ve been trying to find some healthier options for snacking lately. I always think of raw vegetables a quick snack. On days off however why not make the vegetable snack a little more tasty. Steam or boil some carrots. Add them to a small fry pan with 1 teaspoon of butter. Just let the butter melt and then add 1 teaspoon of pure maple syrup. shake the pan to coat and glaze the carrots. Serve in a pretty bowl and enjoy.

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Thanks for stopping by!!

Sweet potato Fries

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Sweet potatoes are a real favorite of mine. I like adding them to my diet year round and cooking them in many different ways. Baked, mashed, and candied are top of my list. My husband Joe has never cared for them, which drives me crazy! I knew if I could just get him to try them he would enjoy them. Over the years I’ve made them many ways hoping I would find a way to awaken his taste buds to the creamy sweet goodness of these nutrient rich potatoes.  Well it took 12 years for this man to finally find a way to enjoy them. It should have been obvious to me that he would enjoy them as fries. He loves fried and roasted foods best like most people. I don’t fry food as a rule, but I do roast lots of things vegetables are a must for me as far as roasting. You get such rich flavor from roasting. So I oven fried some sweet potatoes and told him I really needed him to try one last time. If he didn’t like them I would give up. Well of course you know the happy ending. He couldn’t believe that he really loved them. With that said oven roasted is the only way he will eat them.

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Toss all ingredients together. Judge the oil you don’t want to much.

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Sweet Potato Fries

1 large organic sweet potato

1 ½ tablespoons olive oil

ÂĽ teaspoon smoky paprika

Kosher salt

Fresh cracked pepper

Pre heat oven 400 degrees

Scrub sweet potato and cut the potato in wedges. Place potato wedges on a baking sheet or cast iron pan. Toss with olive oil, paprika, and salt and pepper to taste. Roast for 8-10 minutes then turn potatoes over to the other side with a spatula to roast evenly and brown potatoes on both sides. Serve immediately. Serves 1-2.

Enjoy:)

Thanks for stopping by!!!

 

Stuffing With Sausage

I’m up early this Sunday morning to prepare the stuffing for our turkey dinner this afternoon. My husband Joe and I are celebrating Thanksgiving with our children today. Wish we could all be together on Thanksgiving Day, but as a blended family things can’t always go as you wish. I am grateful to be able to prepare such a special meal and share a day of thanks with each of them. Thanksgiving is such a special holiday for me. I have a many treasured  memories from my childhood. Thanksgiving kicked off the holiday season in our home. My Dad and Mom loved the holidays and spoiling their seven children with a feast on Thanksgiving another feast and tons of presents under our tree on Christmas. Those days were the happiest I can remember. Days before Thanksgiving my sister Carol and I would help Mom by washing all the china. We had at least 20 people at most of our dinners. I remember one year my Dad putting two wooden stands several feet apart and laying ply would over them for our table. Mom would lay a beautiful table cloth and the lovely china and food were the decoration, which would cover the entire table. One of my favorite dishes on the holiday table was Mom’s stuffing. It was made with sausage and stuffed into the cavity of a twenty five pound butterball turkey. Dad always put strips of bacon across the top of the turkey. When the turkey was resting I loved to sneak the bacon off the top. It was so crisp and delicious. The stuffing recipe was my Grandmother Queens and Mom always made the stuffing just the way her Mom taught her. Mom didn’t have a recipe box which I’m sad about now. However my sister Bev and I put the recipe together the best we remembered.

Grandma Queens Stuffing

2 bags soft unseasoned bread cubes. I use Stroehann Pennsylvania Dutch bakers.

1 16 oz. Package Jimmy Dean premium pork sausage, regular

2 eggs beaten

1 large sweet yellow onion, chopped fine

3-4 celery ribs, Chopped fine

1 stick butter

Chicken stock, use as much as you determine based on how moist you want your stuffing. Start with 2 cups. Grandma and Mom used boiling hot water. I like the stock for the flavor.

Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper

1 tablespoon poultry seasoning, you could also use mixture of fresh chopped herbs, such as sage, thyme, rosemary etc.

In a large sauté pan melt the butter. Add the onion, and celery. Add just a little salt at the point. Sauté until the onion and celery are tender. In another pan break up the sausage and cook till almost brown. Drain off any fat. Place the bread cubes in a large bowl. Add the beaten egg and toss with the bread cubes. Add the onion, celery, sausage, poultry seasoning, salt and pepper. Go easy on the salt as the chicken stock has salt as well. Toss everything together. Add broth starting with 1 cup use your clean hands to mix. Add stock as needed to get the moisture you desire. I use about 2 ½ cups. I love mine moist. Cooking the sausage is optional. It will fully cook in the oven when you bake it. I prefer it this way. If you are worried about the fat then cook and drain the sausage. Put the stuffing in a large casserole dish. Cover with foil and bake 30-40 minutes in a preheated 350 degree oven.

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Thanks for stopping by!!

Carrot soup

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Carrot soup was always on the menu at The Mulberry Tearooms where I had worked for a short time. It is creamy and delicious. The grated carrot added after the soup is pureed compliments with a little texture. This soup was a favorite with all the customers and me! It was served with a warm baguette and butter. I loved to dip it into the soup. I penned down as much of the recipe as I could while at work on part of a menu. I took my penned notes and what I remembered when making the soup and came up with this recipe. Always use the freshest ingredients. I know you will love this comforting soup as much as I do. Enjoy!

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Carrot Soup

2 Tablespoons of butter

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 ÂĽ lbs. fresh organic carrots, peeled and cut into 2inch pieces

4 oz. finely grated organic carrots

1 large onion, sliced

1 large clove garlic, minced

Âľ teaspoon of kosher salt, or to your taste

ÂĽ teaspoon fresh cracked pepper, or to your taste

31/2 cups good vegetable stock or chicken stock

ÂĽ cup heavy cream

Good pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

Crème fraiche or sour cream

Melt butter in a heavy bottomed pot. Add the sliced onion cook for about 5minutes just to sweat the onion. Add the garlic cook for 1-2 minutes then add the cut carrots, and salt and pepper. Cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the stock, bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the carrots are fork tender. Puree soup in a food processor or emersion blender. If using food processor put the soup back in the pot. Add the grated carrot, fresh nutmeg. Cook 10 minutes more till soup is heated through. Serve with a dollop of crème fraiche or sour cream. Serve with French baguette or sour dough bread.

Note: If you don’t want the extra calories of the heavy cream you can omit it. You may need to add just a little extra stock after you puree.

Thanks for stopping by!!!