Monday, October 31, 2011

Apple Cranberry Sauce

I read a description online of a gourmet shop with these ingredients, well, almost all of them.  Hers called for Allspice, I used Ginger instead.  I of course had no measurements, but I tried to keep track so I could replicate this again in case we liked it.  We REALLY liked it!  And it's a gorgeous color too.

I used a 20 qt. large stock pot I believe.

Granny Smith Apples(approx. 20 medium size)
Fuji Apples (8 large size)
4 limes, juiced(microwave for 30 seconds first)
2-4 cups water(depends on how thick you like it)
1 bag fresh cranberries

sugar(optional, I thought 3 cups was perfect)

1 Tbl. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. kosher salt

2-3 drops doTerra Wild Orange Essential Oil

Add 2 cups water and lime juice to large stock pot.  Peel, core, slice, and quarter or half apples.  Add the apples to the pot stirring often so that all of the apples are coated with the lime juice.  They cook down as you keep adding so you can add more than you think you will be able to fit.  If you need more water, add as necessary.  Rinse and pick through the bag of cranberries for any questionable berries and toss the gross ones.  When the pot is filled about half way, add the prepared cranberries.  Add remaining apples.  Stir and stir until all of the apples are tender and the berries are done popping.  Remove from heat and using a long handled immersion blender blend until smooth, or your desired consistency.  Bring back to a low rolling boil/simmer.  Add cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt and taste.  Add sugar if you desire to your liking.  Simmer for 5 more minutes.  Add doTerra Wild Orange Essential Oil and mix very well.

If you are canning:  Remove sterilized jars and fill one at a time while mixture is still slightly bubbling after the low rolling boil for 5 minutes.  Top with sealing disc and tighten with ring just until tightened.  Process in boiling water with rack for 25 minutes(I'm at 2,600 ft, so you'll have to check your elevation requirements).  Remove jars and set on towel to remain undisturbed for 24 hours.  Check the sealing discs though after 1-2 hours to verify all jars have been sealed by gently pushing down in center.  This yielded 7 1qt. jars.

If you are not canning, this would be great in the freezer as well.  Use this sauce as a yogurt mixin or topping for ice cream.  Or just plain like in my old book.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Individual Chicken Pot Pies


4 cooked chicken breasts, cooked & diced 
2 cans 98% fat free cream of chicken soup
1/2 container of Philadelphia Creme Original Flavor
8oz. fat free half n half(or whipping cream for really rich sauce)
1 2/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 1/2 cups chopped frozen veggies, thawed(leftovers are perfect)
Salt & Pepper to Taste
1 Tbl. Parsley
1/2 tsp. Turmeric
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1 minced garlic clove

3 packages Pillsbury Grands Butter Biscuits

Makes 12.  Mix all of the ingredients, except the biscuits(duh), in a large bowl.  Add more liquid as needed, I added a little of the squash soup from last night(sneaky).  Spray 2 large muffin pans(mine only has 6 spots in each) with non-stick spray.  Flatten 12 biscuit dough and shape into muffin tins.  Fill dough with chicken and cheese mixture.  Separate 6 biscuits in half and flatten slightly.  Top each tin and slightly press into tin.  Don't worry about them sealing too much.  Bake at 375' for 20-25 minutes.  Serve hot.  

*I had 6 biscuits left over and some chicken mixture so I used the leftovers in a small casserole dish for 2.  I pressed the dough together, using 4 biscuits for the crust and 2 for the top.  Baked for 25-30 minutes.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Curry Butternut Squash Soup

1 Large Onion, diced
4 Whole Cloves Garlic, peeled
1 Tbl. Butter
1 Tbl. Coconut Oil

S&B Hot Curry Sauce, 2 pieces*
1 Butternut Squash, peeled, seeded, & cubed into 1" pieces
4 Granny Smith Apples, peeled, cored, sliced
1 Can Cannelini Beans, undrained
Vegetable or Chicken Stock
Pinch of Red Pepper Flakes

Sour Cream, Plain Greek Yogurt, Toasted Coconut, Toasted Almonds, Croutons, etc....

Put diced onion, garlic, butter, and coconut oil in large slow cooker sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.  DO NOT use slow cooker bags you will need the immersion blender and it will shred your bag and ruin your recipe(yucky plastic soup, no thank you).  Turn the slow cooker on high and cover for one hour, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent and beginning to brown.  Add apples, squash, curry squares, beans, red pepper flakes, and just enough stock to come up to the bottom of the top layer of squash cubes.  Cook on high for 5-6 hours, until squash is very tender.  Turn slow cooker off, fish out the garlic cloves and discard.  Use the immersion blender to puree until smooth, or use blender in batches.  I prefer the immersion blender to avoid burns.  Return to slow cooker to warm until ready to eat.  Serve with a variation of toppings.

*There are 5-4 squares/rectangles per package.  I found 2 to be the perfect heat, and I like things hot.  So, you may want to start off with one square and add the other after taste testing, they do dissolve pretty fast.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Mushroom Risotto

This was dinner tonight.  I missed the photo because we just couldn't wait to dig in.

2 1oz. packages dried mushroom blend, or your favorites*, chopped
4 Tbl. butter or reserved bacon grease
1 medium onion, diced
2 8oz. packages sliced, cremini mushrooms
2 cloves crushed garlic
splash of olive oil
fresh ground pepper
kosher salt, to taste
red pepper flakes, to taste
2 cups arborio rice
2 bottles non-alcoholic beer(you can us regular beer if you don't mind)
5 cups good beef stock(or use veggie broth)
3-4 cups reserved liquid from re-hydrating mushrooms

Grated Parmesan Cheese and sliced green onions or parsley for toppings.

Get all of your ingredients together, because you do not want to step away once you start this.  Trust me.  You need approximately 9-10 cups of liquid.  Feel free to half this, but I promise, this will be devoured quickly.  Pour 4 cups boiling water over dried mushrooms and set aside, allow to re-hydrate for 20 minutes, at least.  Heat a very large deep frying pan and add bacon grease or butter and a splash of olive oil(to prevent burning).  Add onion and cover, reduce temperature, and cook stirring often until translucent.  Drain mushrooms, reserving the liquid.  Measure 4 cups and add to a medium saucepan.  Add hydrated mushrooms and fresh mushrooms, garlic, a large pinch of salt, fresh ground pepper, and red pepper flakes.  Mix well and cover, reduce heat if needed.  Cook, stirring often until fresh mushrooms cook down and reduce in size.  Add beef stock to mushroom stock in a saucepan and heat to boil and then turn to low for simmering.  Add uncooked arborio rice to mushroom mixture and stir until rice is coated and edges start to turn translucent.  Add one bottle of beer and stir until it is absorbed.  Add second bottle of beer and stir until it is absorbed again.  Add beef/mushroom stock, one cup at a time stirring constantly until liquid is absorbed.  Repeat until all liquid is incorporated.  Add more kosher salt and pepper to taste as needed.  Cover and let rest 3-5 minutes.  Serve with fresh grated Parmesan cheese and sliced green onions.

* The blend I used has porcini, shitake, morel, oyster, and lobster mushrooms from Monterey Mushrooms
**The non-alcoholic beer goes better with beef stock than the white wine I had on hand.  I've also made this using red wine though and it's seriously delish!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Slow-Cooker French Onion Soup

Mise en Place
(Unfortunately my camera died before I could take any more pics.  Email me or leave a comment if the directions aren't clear.)

I've never liked French Onion Soup, I've just never found one that didn't taste like canned beef broth.  So I decided to try THIS recipe. It's fall and I love my husband, and it's relatively healthy.  I followed the recipe pretty darn close, except, I used beef stock I had reserved in my freezer and some from our pot roast last night.  It's a lot of beef stock.  But well worth it.  I used non-alcoholic beer(2 bottles for tasty measure) so it has great flavor.

I tweaked the bread slightly.  First, toast the bread under the broiler for a few minutes on each side.  This helps prevent the bread from becoming instantly gummy.  Spread one side lightly with one clove of roasted garlic.  I made 2 bulbs of roasted garlic today and they spread like "buttah".  Ladel some soup into the bowl, then plop the toasted bread garlic side up on top of the Onion Soup.  Place a slice of Swiss Cheese or sprinkle generously with grated Gruyere.  It's okay to overlap.  Broil for 2-3 minutes, until cheese starts to bubble and brown.  Serve very carefully as bowl will be very hot.

This would be a FANTASTIC get together dish.  Just toast up the bread as above, on a cookie sheet with the garlic and cheese.  Leave on a side plate for people to top their soups as they dish it up.  (We had a funky schedule tonight with meetings and sports, so I did this for the kiddos that came home later, it worked)

Slow-Cooker French Onion Soup
(adapted from

makes 8-10 servings
4 med. sweet onions, sliced thin
3 garlic cloves, pressed
1/4 cup of butter, sliced into pats
2 tablespoons good balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup flour
2 bottles non-alcoholic beer(such as O'Doul's)
8 cups GOOD beef stock
1 Tbl. dried thyme
1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
1/2-1 teaspoon kosher salt
Sourdough or French bread(stale works best)
gruyere cheese, sliced or grated
Add onions, garlic, brown sugar, butter, salt and balsamic and mix until combined in a large slow-cooker. Cover and let cook on high for 60-90 minutes, stirring every 20 minutes, until onions are translucent and brown on the edges and just caramelized. Sift in flour and stir thoroughly, let sit for 5 minutes with lid on. Sprinkle in Thyme, fresh ground pepper, beer, and stir well.  Add in remaining beef stock, and cover.  Cook on high for 4 hours, then turn down to low and cook an additional 2-4 hours.  
Slice sourdough or French bread into 1" thick slices.  Arrange on non-stick cookie sheet and toast each side under broiler.  Leave door open slightly and watch closely so they don't burn.  Remove from oven and spread each slice with  one clove of roasted garlic.  Fill soup bowls almost to the top, cover with slice of bread and a handful of grated cheese or slice. Set under the broiler for 2-3 minutes(leave door open so you can watch carefully), or until cheese is bubbly and golden brown. Be careful when serving as bowls will be hot!  Sprinkle with fresh parsley or fresh thyme.