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!

DSCF7156Recipe:

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!

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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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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 ¼ 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

¾ teaspoon of kosher salt, or to your taste

¼ teaspoon fresh cracked pepper, or to your taste

31/2 cups good vegetable stock or chicken stock

¼ 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.

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Asian Tacos

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A few weeks ago my daughter and I went to visit our dear friend Jacklin. We planned a girl’s night out at Jacklin’s new home. We went to the grocery store and pick up all the ingredients for my daughter’s favorite tacos. Upon our arrival we got the tour of her new place. It was decorated perfectly and felt so warm and cozy. Jacklin set a lovely table while I helped my daughter with the cooking. We even made creamy chocolate fudge for dessert. We shared stories and had lots of laughs over what turned out to be a truly delicious meal. Jacklin loved the tacos so much we had to give her the recipe. The crunchy texture of the corn tortilla filled with the perfectly seasoned meat then topped with the cold and crunchy slaw made for a few very delicious bites. This is a quick and easy meal that you’ll want to try.

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Asian Tacos

2 chicken breasts cut into 1 inch cubes

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons stir fry sauce

4 tablespoons Asian sesame dressing

1 cup slaw mix, red and green cabbage and carrots

1 small jalapeno pepper, diced removes seeds if you don’t want the heat

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon teriyaki sauce

Green onion, garnish

Cilantro, garnish

Corn tortillas, baked on 350 degrees for 8 minutes

Heat olive oil on medium high heat. Add chicken and stir fry. Add stir fry sauce, 3 tablespoons of the Asian dressing, soy sauce, and teriyaki sauce. When cooked set aside. In a small bowl combine slaw, jalapeno pepper, green onion, cilantro, add the last tablespoon of Asian dressing. Toss. Fill the warmed tortillas with chicken and slaw mixture.

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Sweet Corn

The 4th of July is quickly approaching; I’m already dreaming of my favorite sautéed corn. I know it will have to be on the menu. Local corn is now popping up at the farmers market near my home. This sauté tastes so sweet, with fresh corn, zucchini, red peppers, shallots, fresh thyme, and fresh basil. It’s delightful! I’ve made this many times, even in the winter with frozen corn, it still tastes amazing. I served the corn sauté at my Christmas dinner a few years ago; my sister-in-law said “anyone that can make corn taste that good can cook.” I was pretty happy to serve something everyone truly enjoyed. So, year round fresh or frozen, this corn sauté is always welcome on my family table.

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4 Ears fresh corn on the cob, remove corn from cob, frozen corn may be used

2 Medium shallots, chopped

1 large red bell pepper, diced

2 small zucchini, diced

3 Tablespoons olive oil

1 Tablespoon butter

4 Sprigs of fresh thyme, remove from stems

5 fresh basil leaves, julienned

Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper

In a large skillet over medium heat melt the tablespoon of butter and add the olive oil. Add the shallot and cook 3 minutes, add the red pepper, and fresh thyme leaves cook 4 minutes, add the zucchini, salt and pepper cook until tender 4-5 minutes. Add the corn removed from the cob cook 4-5 minutes more. Finish with a sprinkling of fresh basil and salt and pepper to taste.

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Lazy Weekend Scrambled Eggs

A few years ago my husband and I got away for a little trip to Lewis, Delaware. We stayed at a lovely bed and breakfast. It was a large old house and the new owners renovated the house from top to bottom. We ate our breakfast on the enclosed front porch. Very romantic! The breakfast we were served the first morning was southwestern scrambled eggs. It was so delicious I had to recreate it at home. I was feeling inspired so I came up with and Italian scramble as well. I call these lazy weekend scrambles. They do take a little extra time but these delicious eggs are worth it.The only thing you need to know about scrambling eggs is they are a protein and need to cook slowly so they don’t turnout like rubber.

Sothwestern Scramble
Southwestern Scramble

Southwestern scramble:
4 large eggs (organic preferred)
1-2 tablespoon of whole milk or goat milk
1 tablespoon green onion
4 tablespoon fresh corn, or frozen defrosted, cooked
3-4 tablespoon red pepper, diced
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon butter
Kosher salt, to taste
Fresh cracked pepper, to taste
Serve with:
2 slices avocado
Fresh salsa
Blue corn chips
Chop the green onion, and red pepper. In a nonstick pan add olive oil and butter over medium heat, add diced red pepper cook 3-5 minutes, add the corn cook 1-2 minutes add green onion. In a bowl crack the two eggs and lightly beat with a fork, add the milk and lightly beat with the fork again. Add eggs, salt and pepper to the mixture. Slowly stir the eggs with a wooden spoon just till they are set. Remove from heat. Serve eggs with two slices of avocado. Serve with a small amount of salsa and a few Blue corn chips.

Fresh Salsa:
3 tomatoes, chopped
½ cup red onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
Salt & pepper, to taste
Juice of ½ a lime
3 tablespoons cilantro, rough chop
Place all ingredients into a blender of choice. Lightly blend to mix ingredients. Pour into a bowl chill at least 1 hour 4 hours is best.

Italian Scramble
Italian Scramble

Italian Scramble:
4 large eggs, (organic preferred)
1 tablespoon whole milk or goat milk
2 tablespoons red onion, chopped
3-4 tablespoon sweet or mild Italian sausage, remove from casing and break into pieces
3-4 tablespoon red pepper, chopped
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 -2 tablespoon Parmesan cheese
Fresh basil
Toasted baguette
Put olive in a nonstick pan over medium heat. Add sausage, chopped onion, and the red peppers. Crack the two eggs into a bowl lightly beat with a fork, add the milk then lightly beat again with the fork. Add the eggs into the mixture add salt and pepper. Slowly stir eggs with a wooden spoon just till they are set. Add the fresh basil, lightly stir then add Parmesan cheese. Remove from heat. Serve with warmed baguette and butter.

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Sausage, Peppers, and Onion

Sausage, peppers, and onions
Sausage, peppers, and onions

This has to be one of my favorite meals to serve on the weekend. I love that it’s easy to prepare. It is so delicious served on a roll sprinkled with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. My husband Joe gets the rolls from a local bakery. They make their rolls from scratch every day. They are such a treat.

Sausage, peppers, and onion on a fresh roll.
Sausage, peppers, and onion on a fresh roll.

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DSCF4922Serve on a fresh roll and sprinkle with freshly grated cheese. Enjoy!

Sausage, Peppers, and Onion

1 ¾ lb. Sweet, hot, or mild sausage

1 Medium green, red, and yellow pepper

1 Medium sweet onion, sliced thin

2 Cloves fresh garlic minced

1-2 Tablespoons olive oil

Pinch of red pepper flakes

Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

1 12oz. Crushed San Marzano tomatoes

Spay a nonstick skillet lightly with olive oil cooking spray. Heat the pan on medium heat. Add the sausage to the pan. Brown and cook the sausage. While the sausage is cooking prepare the vegetables. Slice the onion, cut the peppers, and mince the garlic. In a separate skillet add the olive oil heat on medium heat. Add the onion cook 1-3 minutes. Add the minced garlic cook 1 minute. Add the red, yellow, and green pepper, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook until peppers are tender.  Cut the browned and cooked sausage into small pieces. Add to the tender onion, and peppers. Add a pinch of red pepper flakes and pour the crushed tomatoes over the sausage, onion, and pepper mixture. Add fresh basil and stir the mixture.  Simmer till the sauce is heated through. Serve on a fresh roll and top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

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