Thursday, October 14, 2010

Autumn Song

These are the days of falling leaves,
The days of hazy weather,
Smelling of gold chrysanthemums
And gray wood smoke together.

These are the nights of nearby stars,
The nights of closer moons,
When the windy darkness echoes
To crickets' farewell tunes.
- Elizabeth-Ellen Long

I would add to the poem, these are days of good aromas coming from the kitchen as Sour Cream Cranberry Bars and Healthy Harvest Cookies bake. These are the nights of eating bowls of hot Gingered Butternut Squash Soup.
So, I am no poet, but I do like to cook, especially for other people. These recipes all received rave reviews. I hope you try them and enjoy them too!

Gingered Butternut Squash Soup

4 pounds butternut squash, peeled and cubed (about 8 cups)
6 tsp. olive oil, divided
1 large onion, chopped
2 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. minced fresh gingerroot
2-1/2 tsp. curry powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
3 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
6 cups chicken broth
1-1/2 cups milk (I used almond milk and it worked and tasted great!)
Sour cream, optional

Place squash onto a parchment-lined 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan. Drizzle with 4-1/2 tsp. oil. Toss to coat. Bake uncovered at 450° for 30 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Check for tenderness and bake longer if needed.
In a soup kettle, saute onion in butter and remaining oil for 5 minutes. Stir in ginger, curry, salt , and pepper; cook for 2 minutes. Stir in potatoes; cook 2 minutes longer. Stir in broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes of until potatoes are tender. Cool slightly.
Stir in the reserved squash. In a blender, puree the soup in batches until smooth. Return to the pan. Stir in the milk; heat through. Garnish with sour cream, if desired.
(from Taste of Home Annual Recipes 2008)

Healthy Harvest Cookies

1 cup sugar
1 cup mashed, cooked sweet potatoes
1/2 cup butter, melted (I only softened mine.)
1 egg
2 cups old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup unbleached flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1 large apple, peeled and finely chopped (about 1-1/3 cups.)

Heat oven to 350°. Spray cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
Beat sugar, sweet potatoes, butter, and egg in a large mixing bowl until smooth. Stir in remaining ingredients.
Drop dough by rounded tablespoons about 2 inches apart onto cookie sheet. Bake about 12 minutes or until no indentation remains when touched in center. Cool slightly. Remove from pan.

Sour Cream Cranberry Bars

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup dark brown sugar
2 cups rolled oats (The recipe called for quick, but I used old-fashioned.)
1-1/2 cups unbleached flour
1 tsp. baking soda
2 cups cried cranberries
1 cup sour cream
3/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp. flour
1 tbsp. grated lemon peel
1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg

Heat oven to 350°. Mix butter and brown sugar in large bowl. Stir in oats, flour and baking soda. Pat half the mixture in bottom of ungreased 9x13 pan.
Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.
Mix cranberries, sour cream, sugar, the 2 tbsp. flour, lemon peel, vanilla, and egg in large bowl. Pour over crust. Crumble remaining brown sugar/oats mixture over filling.
Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until top is golden brown and filling is set. Cool and cut into bars.
(Both the cookies' and bars' recipes were from the Gold Medal "Cookies from the Heart")

Monday, October 4, 2010

Since I am enjoying cooking more now as I used to, my daughter out in California and I talk about food quite a bit. I let her know what I am making and she loves to hear about it and wishes she could be closer to come on over and enjoy it. With the change in season, we talked about fall food!! Certain foods just taste so much better at this time of year, wouldn't you agree?! I texted her when I was making these recipes and now she can make them herself and I will wish I was there to come over and enjoy them!:)
I am also sharing some of the great fall scenery pictures that my husband took when we
were up in Jackson Hole September 24 - except for the second one which I took of him:)

Garlic Cranberry Chicken

8 green onions, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 whole garlic bulb, cloves separated and peeled
1 baby leaf
1-1/2 cups white wine or reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. white pepper
1/2 tsp. dried basil
6 bone-in chicken breast halves (7 ounces each)

1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup boiling water
4-1/2 tsp. butter
3 tbsp. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. white pepper
1/4 cup half-and-half

Place onions, celery, carrots, cranberries, garlic and bay leaf in a 9" x 13" baking pan covered
with cooking spray. Add wine or broth. ( I think I used wine, since I like cooking with wine and sometimes I even put it into the food:) Haha!) Combine salt, pepper, and basil; sprinkle it over the chicken. Place over the vegetable mixture.
Bake uncovered, at 350 for 70 - 80 minutes or until juices run clear. Remove chicken; keep warm. Strain cooking liquid; discard vegetable mixture. Skim fat and set aside 1-1/3 cups.
For sauce, place cranberries in a small bowl; add boiling water. Let stand for 3 minutes; drain
and discard liquid. Set berries aside.
In a nonstick saucepan coated with cooking spray, melt butter. Stir in flour, salt and pepper until smooth. Gradually whisk in reserved cooking liquid. Bring to a boil; cook 1-2 minutes or until thickened. Stir in half-and-half and reserved cranberries. Heat through. Serve with chicken.

This was served with roasted with onions and garlic, sweet potatoes. And a mixed green
salad with sliced oranges and roasted beets. The salad dressing was: 1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice, 1 medium shallot, finely chopped, 2 Tbsp. sherry vinegar (I couldn't find any sherry
vinegar, so I used 1/2 rice vinegar and 1/2 sherry. It worked!), salt, freshly ground pepper. Let this marinate for 10 minutes before whisking in 1/4 - 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil.
I topped my salad and the guests' salad with goat cheese, but not everyone likes that.

Turkey Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie

2-1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
Place these in a large saucepan and cover with water, bring to a boil and cook until tender. Drain and set aside.

2 tbsp. EVOO (Now you know this came from one of Rachael Ray's magazines!)
2 pounds ground turkey
1 large onion, chopped
2 large carrots, grated
4 ribs of celery from the heart, chopped
2 tsp. poultry seasoning
2 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. flour
2 cups turkey or chicken broth
A few dashes Worcestershire sauce
One 10-ounce box frozen peas

In a deep skillet, heat the EVOO over high heat. Add the turkey and cook, breaking up with a spoon. Stir in the onion, carrots, celery and poultry seasoning Season with salt and pepper and
cook for 5 minutes.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour for 1 minute, then whisk in the broth, season with salt, pepper and the Worcestershire sauce. Simmer for a few minutes until thickened, then stir into the turkey mixture. Stir in the peas and remove from the heat. Place in a sprayed 9" x 13" pan.

Mash sweet potatoes with 2 Tbsp. butter. Rachael added 1/3 cup banana and a few dashes of
hot sauce. I did not! I eliminated the hot sauce and added about 1/3 cup homemade applesauce. Mash until combined; spread evenly over the turkey mixture. Cover with 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese. Place in a 450 oven until the cheese is melted.

Although I prepared it a day before; covered it with foil; baked it in a 250 oven during church and it was perfect for the fellowship dinner. The base was a little runny, but we served it in bowls.:)

Citrus Tossed Salad

1 package (16 ounces) romaine hearts, torn
3 medium navel oranges, peeled and sectioned (I cut them in 1/2 too.)
2 medium apples, peeled and chopped (I put them into lemon juice, so they wouldn't brown.)
1 small grapefruit, peeled and sectioned (I cut them in 1/2 too!)
1/2 cup pecan halves, toasted and broken into smaller pieces
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

1/2 cup unsweetened apple juice
1/4 lemon juice
1 Tbsp. sugar (I used 1-1/2 packages of stevia.)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Shake altogether well.

I took this to the church fellowship dinner too. I had everything tossed in a bowl except the pecans and dressing. Those I added just before serving. Delicious! It has become one of my favorite salads:)

Enjoy the colors and food of the season! Give thanks to Almighty God for providing us with such
wonderful blessings!!