Thursday, September 30, 2010

Squash-Apple Soup

I'm back from my much needed vacation and while away I found some new recipes. This is one of them and my goodness was it good! It's very fallish here in Cleveland right now and soup with grilled cheese is my kind of easy meal when it's a bit nippy out. (This would also be great with just some hearty bread - like sourdough - and cheese!)

This recipe calls for the frozen winter squash packs, but seeing as I can only find frozen winter squash in the organic section of the store, and the 'organic' label makes said package a whopping 3 plus dollars, I went with the slightly more time consuming route, but much more cost effective. I bought the acorn squashes for under a buck a piece and it took less than 30 minutes for me to cook, de-seed (I think there's a technical name for that, but I don't know what it is), and smash up the squash 'meat'. Well worth my time and money.

**As a side note, I had no idea how many squash it would take to get 4-5 cups of the smashed goodness, so I just bought 4 of them, thinking that I knew each one would produce at least a cup a piece. Yeah. At least. Try 2.5 cups a piece. So I had to put my cute little crock pot away and get the big daddy one out so I could double the soup. But now, I have an entire soup meal (8-10 cups worth) in my freezer!
***SECOND SIDE NOTE: I just realized that the recipe calls for butternut squash if you're not doing frozen and I totally used Acorn squash on accident. SO glad that it still worked. haha

Butternut Squash-Apple Soup (Crock pot style)
  • 3 12oz frozen pks winter squash thawed and drained (4-5 cups Acorn or Butternut squash cooked, de-seeded, and smashed)
  • 3-4 cups chicken broth depending on how thick you want the final product to be
  • 1 medium golden delicious apple - peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 2 T minced onion
  • 1 T brown sugar
  • 1/2 t ground sage (I didn't have sage on hand so I used tarragon instead. FAB-U-LOUS)
  • 1/4 t ground ginger
  • 1/2 c heavy cream or half 'n' half (I actually used normal 2% milk and it was just fine) (I think if you used almond or hazelnut milk, this could be considered heart healthy!)
--Combine all in crock pot (except milk!), cover, and cook on high for 3 hours
--Puree (with a handy-dandy hand mixer if you have it!)
--Stir in milk right before serving

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Hawaiian Haystacks

Or Happy Mountains. But I like the Hawaiian Haystack title better. This is a great crowd pleaser - especially when you're not sure what people like to eat. I've made it a few times now and every time I get rave reviews. Adults love it. Kids love it. It's pretty much just a bunch of random vegetables (and some fruit) thrown together. And it's delicious. What's not to love? This is a wonderful summer-time meal -- it's light and fresh and oh so tasty. I usually double it and then enjoy the left overs for lunch and dinner the following days. It's that good.

Hawaiian Haystacks
  • 4-6 cups cooked rice
  • 3 cups cooked and cubed chicken
  • 2 cans cream of chicken coup - you can use the 98% Fat Free kind - doesn't affect the taste in the least!
  • 1 cup chicken broth/stock
  • 1 can pineapple tidbits (the liquid - about 1 cup - reserved for the sauce)
  • Celery - sliced
  • Carrots - sliced
  • Tomatoes - diced
  • Green onions - sliced
  • Water chestnuts - sliced or diced
  • Sliced almonds or peanuts
  • Coconut (this is a must -- it totally makes the dish)
  • Chow Mien Noodles
  • Shredded Cheddar cheese
-- In a large sauce pan, bring the soup, chicken broth, and pineapple juice to a boil. Let simmer 10 minutes. Add the chunks of cooked chicken and heat through.
-- Meanwhile, put all the "toppings" into bowls.
-- To serve, just pile it on starting with the rice and then the chicken. **Note that once you pile everything on it's pretty big, so go easy on the rice and chicken

All set up for people to run through the line!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Waffle Cookies

About 2 months ago, my mom sent an article she tore out of (shhh!) the airline magazine she was able to leaf through on her way back to CO from helping me get settled out here. The article wasn't so much of an article as it was a recipe of making cookies with a waffle iron. The only thing was that I did not have a waffle iron. So I threw the article/recipe away. And then, I found a waffle/pizzelle maker for only $5. "Waffle cookies here I come!" I thought. Except, wait, I threw that recipe out. Oh well, that's what the internet's for... right? Kinda.

I found a few recipes that seemed similar to the original one I remembered. Crispy chocolate chip cookie on the outside, soft on the inside. My kind of cookie. So yesterday after naps, Evan and I made the first recipe. I mean, come on!, it's cookies in a waffle iron with a two year old -- how much better can you get?!

The first recipe was just all right. They were too much like waffles to me and not sweet enough to pass for cookies. In fact, when Scot came home and tried one, he raved about them. As waffles. When he found out they were supposed to be cookies, he took my side of things. I told him he could eat them for breakfast the next morning. He did. Gladly.

The second recipe, however, made after naps today, was right on. I used my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe and just halved the recipe in case it didn't turn out. It's hot outside right now and I didn't want to have to turn the oven on to salvage a batch of dough. Thankfully, everything was just fine. Better than fine, really. These cookies were just what I was wanting. Crispy on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside. After 2 minutes in the waffle iron, they were ready to be taken out (with a spatula very carefully slid under so as to not break them apart), and placed on a cooling rack. A huge glass of milk with these bad boys and I have dessert for tonight covered.

I can't wait to try out other cookie sugar cookies. With glittery sprinkles. If I make them small enough, would they pass for snow flakes? Ya think?

Other recipes I plan on trying are here and here. I'm thinking Christmas cookie plates. Yes? And the pizzelles this thing can turn out...oh yes. Christmas baking this year is already starting to look good!