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Monthly Archives: September 2011

Butternut Squash Muffins

I am continuing to enjoy the all of the flavors that define Fall. As I have mentioned before, I love squash! While I was at my local produce stand this weekend I couldn’t resist the butternut squash, they looked wonderful. This means that we will be having it in several meals this week.

One of the things I like most about butternut squash is that is a great in both savory and sweet¬† dishes. I decided to go with a sweet treat first ūüôā Today’s recipe is a muffin that is delicious and not overloaded with sugar. I used applesauce and some mashed banana to add some¬†sweetness in place of just using sugar.¬†Also, in trying to keep this treat on the healthier side I used¬†half whole wheat flour and half white flour, if you don’t like the taste of¬†whole wheat flour¬†or don’t have any on hand¬†you may use all white flour.¬†The brown sugar and cinnamon topping¬†is optional, but I highly recommend you do not skip¬†it. It’s the¬†icing on the cake!¬†I will tell you this is the first time I have made these muffins and they were great! The only thing I will change in the future is to add some walnuts to the batter, I love the taste and the crunch that the nuts add to most quick bread and muffins.

Moving on, if you are planning on making more than one meal during the week¬†that¬†call’s for cooked &¬†mashed or puree’¬†squash, I would cook it all at the same time.¬†Put the squash to be used at a later time in the¬†refrigerator. It save time and energy.

Ingredients

  • 1 mashed banana
  • 1 cup cooked and mashed butternut squash (directions at the bottom of page)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/3 cup applesauce
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

Optional Topping (not optional)

  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

Directions:

Mix together banana, applesauce, squash, eggs, sugar and oil, until well blended.

In a separate bowl mix salt, soda, powder, cinnamon, and flours.

Add dry ingredients into the wet. Mix until batter forms.

Pour into greased or lined muffin pans.

Combine brown sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle onto muffins.

Bake at 350 for 16-18 minutes!

This recipe makes about 24 regular size muffins.

* Directions for cooking the squash РPreheat oven to 425 F. Line a cookie sheet with tin foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Cut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Brush cut sides with melted butter. Place squash cut side down on pan. Bake about 45 minutes or until squash is tender.

Peel the skin off and put the ‘meat’ of the squash in a bowl and mash.

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Slow Cooker Pulled Pork & Citrus Slaw Sandwich’s

As¬†I was looking through my previous posts I realized that I must be on some sort of pasta or¬†chicken¬†kick. I do love both pasta and chicken, but we eat so much more. So I must share with you some of the things we eat on a regular basis. Pulled pork is a staple here at our home. When I discovered how easy is was to throw in the slow cooker and how scrumptious the results were, it¬†became¬†a regular on our menu.¬†I might have made this too many times last year. It was the main course¬†at all of the birthday party’s in which¬†I was the hostess. This pork is easily prepared, cooked and pulled ahead of time, the slaw is just as easy. Therefore, this is a great dish to prepare when you are expecting a crowd or contributing to a potluck.

For some of you the idea of putting cole slaw on your Bar-B-Que sandwich is nothing short of absurd. Let me enlighten you, I can recall the first time I saw this odd combination on a menu (many, many moons ago). I ordered the pork, sans the slaw. There was NO WAY I wanted to ruin my lunch that way. It was several years later before I actually tried cole slaw on my pork sandwich, and that was all she wrote. I was hooked, and to this day if I am eating a pulled pork sandwich you had better believe there is slaw of some sort on it. There is something wonderful about the  crunch, creaminess, and sweetness that the slaw adds, and how it  pairs up with the spicy bar-b-que (if you like the heat) sauce and meatiness of the sandwich. This is one of my all-time top 5 sandwiches.

On a totally different note. It has been brought to my attention that I need to include serving sizes, in my recipes. I will make a huge attempt to include as much information as I can. Again, the whole measuring thing is anything but my thing. But, I will try ūüôā Also, I always try to make my recipes so that you can easily double or divide the amounts. If the cooking/baking time requires adjustment, I will add that as well. I know that some of you are cooking for 1 or 2 and some are cooking for 6-8, so I am trying to accommodate everyone!

Below are the instructions on the meat and slaw. Once everything is prepared. Pile the pork onto a fresh bun, top the meat with your favorite sauce, mine is Stubbs’s Spicy, and then finish with the slaw! Good vittles!

Slow-Cooker Pulled Pork

Serves 8-10

  • 7 lbs. Boston Butt bone-in (I get two 3 to 3 1/2 lbs. pieces of meat)
  • 2 Tablespoons Lawry’s Seasoned Salt or Everglades Seasoning
  • 4 cups water
  • 8 split buns

Directions

  • Rub seasoning into meat
  • Place meat into slow-cooker, the side with the most fat should face up.
  • Add water, cover and cook on high for about 5 hours.
  • Move meat into a large pan. Remove bone and large pieces of fat. I don’t shred the meat because I prefer the large chunks of meat. If you like use two forks or a pair of tongs and pull meat apart.

Citrus Slaw

  • ¬†1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 celery seed
  • generous 1/2 cup of light canola mayo
  • 1/3 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 black pepper
  • 16 oz. shredded coleslaw mix (with red cabbage & carrots)
  • 3/4 cup mandarin oranges
  • 1 Tablespoon juice from mandarin oranges

Directions

  • ¬†In a large sealable container, whisk together¬†all ingredients except slaw mix and oranges.
  • ¬†Add cabbage mix, toss well.
  • ¬†Gently fold in oranges.
  • ¬†Refrigerate until ready to serve.

 

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Chicken Spinach & Tomato Saute’

As the old saying goes, “If it’s good and easy it isn’t cheap. If it’s easy and cheap it isn’t good. If it’s good and cheap it isn’t easy”. Most of the time I find this statement to be accurate, however, it couldn’t be further from the truth with this meal. This is a plate¬†that is¬†served¬†in under 25 minutes, and I am talking from the refrigerator¬†to the table.¬†As the busy holiday season approaches I try to find as many good, easy and cheap meals as I can. No matter how busy my day (or night)¬†may be,¬†I always feed my family a nutritious¬†meal. You will never find us in a drive-thru somewhere seeking out¬†our dinner. Not that I frown upon those who do, it’s just not for us. Therefore, meals such as this¬†are perfect! Simple. Delicious. Reasonable.

Chicken Spinach Saute’

Ingredients

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon each dried basil, oregano, rosemary, parsley
  • Sea Salt & Cracked Black Pepper to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional for heat)
  • 2 Tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oi
  • ¬†6 ounces baby spinach
  • 2 large tomatoes diced
  • 2 Tablespoons of balsamic vinager
  • cooking spray

Directions

Combine chicken, herbs, garlic, and oil in a bowl. Mix well.

Heat skillet over med-high heat. Spray with cooking spray, add chicken. Cook about 7 minutes, stirring often and making sure chicken is cooked through.

Remove chicken from skillet. Add tomatoes and spinach,  to the same pan, then add the balsamic vinegar. Cook no longer than 2 minute, stir and allow the pan to deglaze.

Usings a slotted spoon, transfer spinach & tomatoes to serving dish, place chicken on top. Use reserved juice for dipping sauce for the bread. Done!

Serve with a crusty bread, and you have yourself a meal!

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on September 21, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Pumpkin Scones

Something rare happened today. I was able to get out of the house for a few hours without any children! This might sound like a common thing to most of you, but I assure you, it¬†was BIG for me. I almost always have my at least two of my youngin’s with me, which I wouldn’t change for anything. However, it is quite nice to have a break every¬†once in a while and actually have adult conversation without my babies needing me.

My morning started off¬†at Starbuck’s where I met my sister and a¬†friend (and my next must-try, must-share food). As I stood in line waiting to¬†order, my attention was drawn to¬†the pumpkin section in the baked goods display case. There was pumpkin bread and pumpkin scones. Both looked delicious but I couldn’t pass on the scone, it was too tempting. Covered in a sugary¬†glaze and drizzled with a spiced¬†version of the icing, I just couldn’t resist. Afterall, this was a special occasion, which is¬†how I convinced myself to splurge on the high-calorie treat.¬†It was just as delightful to eat as it was to look at. I¬†don’t have scones very often, this¬†one was more moist than what I expected, which is a good thing. The icing provided just enough sweetness without overpowering the flavor of the pumpkin. It was¬†the perfect scone in my book!¬† I am sure for those of you who have had one, you know and agree.¬†My mind was made right there, I had to come home and try to recreate this breakfast/brunch biscuit.

In the past I have thought about trying to bake scones, but until now I have avoided making them. For some reason I think I was intimidated by them. I am not much of a baker, the whole measuring thing gets me.

I found a recipe at http://www.momswhothink.com and let me tell you these mom’s know what they are doing because the scones turned out to be¬†phenomenal. The taste and texture are spot on. Don’t wait to try these fabulous Fall treats! I am excited to venture off into experimenting with different flavors of these British breads, I am thinking the possibilities are endless!

I followed the directions just as they were written except when I was cutting the first rectangle of dough into triangles. I was confused and instead of cutting it in half I cut it into thirds. I think I prefer the thirds or mabe even quarters instead of halves. The recipe says it makes 6 scones, but they are 6 large (too large for me) scones. I could easily get 9-12 out of one batch. If you do this you probably will need to adjust the bake time by a couple of minutes.

Starbuck’s Pumpkin Scones

Scones Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour
7 Tablespoons sugar
1 Tablespoon baking
powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon
ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

6 Tablespoons cold butter
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
3 Tablespoons
half-and-half
1 large egg

Sugar Glaze Ingredients:

1 cup powdered sugar
1 Tablespoon powdered sugar
2 Tablespoons whole
milk

Spiced Glaze Ingredients:

1 cup powdered sugar
3 Tablespoons powdered sugar
2 Tablespoons whole
milk
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 pinch
ginger
1 pinch ground cloves

Scones Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

2. Lightly grease a cookie sheet or line with parchment paper.

3. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and spices in a large mixing
bowl.

4. With a fork, pastry knife, or food processor, cut butter into the dry
ingredients until mixture is crumbly and no chunks of butter remain. Set
aside.

5. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk pumpkin, half and half, and egg.

6. Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Form the dough into a ball.

7. Pat out dough onto a lightly floured surface and form it into a 1-inch
thick rectangle (about 9 inches long and 3 inches wide).

8. Use a large knife to slice the dough into three equal portions. Cut
diagonally to produce 6 triangular slices of dough.

9. Place on prepared baking sheet from step 2.

10. Bake for 14‚Äď16 minutes until scones turn light brown.

11. Place on wire rack to cool.

Sugar Glaze Directions:

1. Mix the powdered sugar and 2 Tablespoon milk together until smooth.

2. Brush glaze over the top of each cooled scone.

Spiced Glaze Directions:

1. As sugar glaze firms, combine the spiced icing ingredients.

2. Use whisk to drizzle over each scone and allow to dry before serving.

Makes 6 pumpkin scones.

This recipe was adapted from www.momswhothink.com

 

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Chicken & Broccoli Linguine

 

This is the perfect meal for those evenings when you are pressed
for time but still want to serve a healthy and tasty dinner.                                                                            This dish comes together quickly and easily, not to mention it makes a great next day, left-over lunch!

You could easily swap out the chicken for beef, pork, tofu or shrimp, or make a combination with
what is appeals to you. Snap peas, squash, zucchini, bell pepper, mushrooms,
etc… could take place or add to the broccoli. You get the idea, make this dish
yours. You know what your family will eat.
This is also a great way to use up left over meats & vegetables from previous meals. I attempt to use up everything I buy. When I toss out food that should have been eaten I feel like I am throwing away money, which is never good.

This recipe makes an enormous¬†amount of food. It would easily feed 6 adults. I am guessing that if you cut it in half you could serve 2 adults and 2 children. But, then you wouldn’t have enough for lunch the next day!

I would love to hear what you make of this easy dinner idea!
Leave it in the comments for this recipe so everyone can¬†enjoy your creation ūüôā

Chicken Broccoli Linguine

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. linguine (whole wheat is best)¬†cooked according to directions
  • 3 to 4 cups of cooked chicken, cut into bite-size pieces (boneless & skinless)
  • 2) 12 oz. bags of frozen broccoli
  • ¬ĺ cup diced sweet or yellow onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese
  • ¬Ĺ cup milk
  • 2) 14.5 cans Italian style tomatoes (do not drain)
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 1 Tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

Directions

Boil pasta.

While pasta is cooking, heat a large skillet over med high
heat, add butter, onions, and garlic sauté about 7 minutes. Reduce heat to
medium.

Add chicken, broccoli, tomatoes, salt and pepper, and red
pepper flakes. Cover and cook until the broccoli is heated through, stirring
often.  Add the milk and cheese, stir and
allow to just come to a boil. Remove from heat.

In a large serving bowl add the drained pasta, and then the
chicken and veggies. Toss so that everything is evenly combined.  Walla. Done!

 
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Posted by on September 16, 2011 in Chicken, Pasta, Veggies

 

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Banana Blueberry Muffins

As a child growing up, I can still remember¬†waking up to the smell of blueberry muffins baking away in the kitchen. It was definitely one of my favorites! I must admit, I always made an attempt¬†to¬†choose the one with the most berries,¬†before my sisters had an opportunity to. Oh those were the simple¬†times…

There are several foods in our home that do not know seasons. Blueberry’s and bananas are two of them.¬†You¬†will find these scrumptious¬†fruits in my kitchen everyday of the year. I always try to keep both, bananas and blueberries, in the freezer for my kiddos, who love to make smoothies with them. Meanwhile, I like to keep them on hand for mid-morning¬†muffins and quick breads. Who doesn’t like to indulge¬†in a sweet, delicious muffin full of fruit,¬†when it is still warm from the oven? I know that I cannot resist!

For many, many years now I have used the same recipe for my banana muffins. All of¬†the variations to the muffin are just that, an addition to my trusty recipe. This is a recipe that is worthy of¬†change. I do believe I have a new banana muffin recipe that will replace¬†my old staple.¬†I have yet to try switching up the blueberries¬†with the various other combinations such as chocolate chips, pecans, walnuts, etc… but I do belive that this recipe will be just as adaptable as my ol’ faithful.

I discovered this recipe online while checking out other blogs,and it called my name. The origin of these must-try muffins comes from a hotel in Washington, The Weinhard Hotel and was shared by the ladies from http://www.fullforkahead.com/  take a moment to check out their wonderful dishes!

  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 6 ripe bananas
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups frozen blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 12-count muffin pans with liners or spray with nonstick spray.

In a large bowl, mash the bananas. Whisk or stir in the eggs, butter and vanilla. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add to the wet ingredients and stir till combined, making sure all flour on the bottom of the bowl gets incorporated.

This batter is thick, do not overmix. You will end up with tough muffins ūüôā

Fold in the frozen blueberries (yes, make sure they stay frozen, it helps them to not settle to the bottom of the muffin well). Spoon enough batter into each muffin well to fill it just to the top. Bake for 30 minutes or until starting to turn golden brown. Place pan on a rack till muffins are cool enough to handle, then remove them to cool further. Serve warm with a small pat of butter, enjoy with your coffee or however you prefer.

This recipe was adapted from www.fullforkahead.com and originally from The Weinhard Hotel.

 

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Butternut Squash & Bacon Pasta

I hear all this talk on the¬†news about Fall, which I have yet to see a sign of it here is SW Florida! I have many friends from up North, who are bragging about the temperatures in their home towns on¬†Facebook!¬†The weather here in South Florida has remained in the mid to high 90’s, with the heat index much higher!¬†I must admit I am somewhat jealous and more than ready to welcome the cooler¬†temps! Even with the¬†warm weather,¬†chances are if you are out and about shopping you will see pumpkins, cornucopia’s, gourds, scarecrows & endless other signs of Autumn. So, I am jumping on the wagon, because I LOVE all of the flavours of Fall! Pumpkin and butternut squash are by far my two¬†favorites, so expect to see many recipes that include these fabulous ingredients!

I put this dish together with what I had on hand. I was quite surprised with the outcome, to say the least! It was seriously delicious!!

Ingredients & Directions:

2 medium size butternut squash¬†( scoop out the seeds and stringy center,peel and dice into 1″ cubes)

1 sweet onion (diced)

2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground sage

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Toss above ingredients and bake @ 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until tender.

Meanwhile boil 16 oz. bowtie (or pasta of your choice) & drain.

In a large bowl, mix pasta, squash mixture, 3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 1/4 to 1/2 cup parmasean cheese, 1/2 cup bacon bits or pieces, 1 Tablespoon dried parsley, salt & pepper to taste.

That’s it! This dish goes together quickly and is great as a meal within itself! Enjoy.

 
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Posted by on September 13, 2011 in Pasta, Salads, Veggies

 

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