Thursday, October 05, 2017

Butternut Squash Soup, October 4, 2017

Oh, the best intentions don't necessarily lead to great results. My wife travels so much for work that I like to have something homey & cozy for her to eat when she gets home. The peanut butter cookies I greeted her with at the airport turned out great. Sadly, the squash soup I had waiting at home was quite disappointingly bland. At least I had veggie pizza left over from the night before, so she did have something good to eat. I think if I were going to make this again, I would use broth instead of water and use more seasonings, maybe a little thyme or something. The recipe is probably salvageable, so I'm posting what I did here and you can embellish at will.

Butternut Squash Soup
1 onion, chopped roughly
1 stalk celery, chopped roughly
2 carrots, chopped roughly
3 cloves garlic, peeled only
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
2 1/2 c. water (I would use chicken or veggie broth)
1 lb. butternut squash cubes
1/2 lb. Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled & cubed
(I would add some herbs like thyme)

Heat olive oil in a soup pot. Add the onion, celery, carrots, & garlic. Cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Add potatoes, salt, pepper, & water/broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer until everything is very tender, about half an hour. Purée with an immersion blender (or, very carefully and in batches, in a regular blender). Serves 4.

Veggie Pizza, October 3, 2017

Seems like all my dinners this month so far are "I'd intended to..." dinners. This is another. I'd intended to make bbq chicken sandwiches to go with the veggie pizza I made, since the veggie pizza is basically an appetizer. Then, I decided I didn't even actually want the sandwiches and the pizza could easily be a main dish. So, I added some cut-up apple slices to that and called it good. The very first time I made this veggie pizza was when we were visiting my fairy godmama's enchanted cottage. Her beautiful old White German Shepherd, Silver, lay under the kitchen table as we cut veggies, rolled out crescent dough, and slathered crust with cream cheese mixture. We were surrounded by her hand-painted art cupboards and a shimmer of fairy dust. I think of that afternoon now every time I make this. If you're making this as an appetizer, it works best pressed into a 13x9 baking pan.

Veggie Pizza
2 rolls crescent roll dough
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. mayonnaise
1/2 pkg. dry Ranch dressing mix
A couple of scallions, sliced
A handful of baby carrots, cut into slivers
Some tiny cauliflower florets
Some tiny broccoli florets
A handful of mini sweet peppers, sliced into rings
A handful of shredded cheddar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Press the crescent roll dough into a pizza pan. Bake 10 minutes, until golden. Mix cream cheese, mayonnaise, and dressing mix. Spread on crust. Top with veggies and press them into the cream cheese mixture. Sprinkle with cheese. Cover and chill at least 2 hours. Serves 8. 

Monday, October 02, 2017

Macaroni & Cheese, October 2, 2017

I'd intended to get to the grocery to pick up for for the week today, but it was rainy and chilly and the news was awful enough that I really wanted just to play blocks with my baby boy. So, we had Stouffer's frozen macaroni and cheese for dinner. I threw together a Greek salad, too, whisking a tablespoon of red wine vinegar with 1/3 tbsp. olive oil, a pinch of salt, and a pinch of sugar, to be tossed with baby spinach, feta, and kalamata olives. Simple and delicious, if a bit sodium laden!

Cheddar Fondue, October 1, 2017

I'd intended to make cheddar fondue while it was still September, but my wife requested roasted chicken, bumping this to October 1. It turned out to be a perfect meal to celebrate a rainish first night of my favorite month. I served with with French bread, broccoli & cauliflower florets, baby carrots, tiny bell peppers, and slices of apple. It was an incredibly easy meal and everyone loved it. I also brought out the caramel apple dip for dessert. Yum!

Cheddar Fondue
3 c. shredded extra-sharp cheddar
1 c. shredded Gruyère 
1 tbsp. flour
About 1 tsp. minced garlic or garlic paste
12 oz. bottle beer (I used a Hefeweizen)
1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
Hot sauce, to taste

Toss cheeses with flour. Heat garlic & beer to a boil over medium heat, preferably in a heavy fondue pot. Reduce to a simmer. Adding a little cheese at a time, stir constantly until all cheese is melted. When fully melted, add the rest. Keep warm over Sterno. Serves 4-6. 

October 2017 Dinners

-Cheddar fondue, veggies, French bread, apple slices

-Veggie pizza, salad, fruit

-Chicken ranch taco salad, guacamole & chips, fruit

-Butternut squash soup, fall harvest salad with pumpkin goddess dressing, cornmeal rolls, peanut butter cookies

-Cider-braised pork, buttermilk mashed potatoes with brown butter, spicy Tuscan kale

-Goat cheese pita pizzas, Caesar salad, olives, fruit

-Beef stew casserole, salad, fruit, crusty bread

-Penne with tomato cream sauce, salad, fruit, bread

-Subs, chips, veggies & dip, ginger ale baked apples

-Chile verde, tortillas, salad, fruit

-Hamburger soup, crusty bread, fruit

-Scrambled egg hash, bacon, fruit salad, English muffins

-Creamed turkey, peas, salad, orange jello with pineapple

-Venetian pork, mashed potatoes, broccoli

-Brats, Italian-seasoned tater tots, roasted cauliflower

-Asian pork sliders, sesame noodles, green beans

-Bean soup, crusty bread, fruit

-Vietnamese delivery in honor of my grandmommy's birthday

Plus, miscellaneous:
Friday Sips & Nibbles-
-Garlic cheese spread with toasts & Pepe Gonzalez

-Broccoli rabe bruschetta & Amaretto slush

-Camembert caraway spread with crackers & grapefruit mocktails

Saturday Breakfast Specials-
-Lavender Earl Grey scones

-Rosemary buttermilk scones

-Apple butter muffins

Sabbath Snacks-
-Brown Cow

-Black bean salsa with pita chips

-Tapenade with crackers or toasts

Sweet Treats-
-Spiced cider

-Chocolate cake

-Butter pecan ice cream

-Chocolate chip chess pie

-Orange gingerbread cut-out cookies

-Carrot cookies

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

What I'm Cooking, July 2017


-Filet mignon with Stilton sauce, baked potatoes, corn on the cob, green salad, garlic cheese biscuits

-Cheeseburgers, garlicky new potatoes, green salad, tomatoes and cream, strawberry shortcake

-Penne with herbed zucchini, green salad, fruit, good bread

-Pimiento cheese sandwiches, chips, green salad, fruit

-Cream of broccoli soup, layered salad, pineapple muffins

-BBQ chicken, hot bean salsa with tortilla chips, corn on the cob, green salad

-Biscuits & gravy, fruit salad, sausage

-Hoppin' John, green salad, fruit

-Fried chicken, potato salad, pea salad, deviled eggs, fruit, strawberry slab pie

Special Breakfasts:
-Pancakes with fresh apricot jam

-Maple-glazed walnut biscuits


Drinks & Nibbles:
-Herbed cheese spread

-Onion tea sandwiches

-Sweet & sour meatballs

-3-bean salad with Dijon-tarragon dressing

-Sour cherry lemonade


Friday, June 16, 2017

BLTs, June 15, 2017

Last night was kind of a night of, "Oh, man" while I was fixing dinner. "Oh, man, I can't find the orzo." "Oh, man, this salad dressing is WAY too boozy!" "Oh, man, one of our tomatoes went bad." Oh, man, the multi-grain bread has gone moldy." And so forth. It's amazing how quickly bread & fruit go moldy (or dry out) here in Colorado! Luckily, I was able to salvage everything & we had a yummy dinner of BLTs on white bread (I put some blue cheese mashed with milk on mine), lemon parmesan penne (instead of orzo---just the juice of half a lemon, a little butter, & a little parmesan stirred into hot penne), a green bean & radish salad with prosciutto, inspired by a Bon Appetit recipe that called for sherry in the dressing, and watermelon, which Wee Boy and I completely wiped out!

Green Bean & Radish Salad with Prosciutto
14 oz. green beans
5 radishes, sliced paper thin
1 1/2 oz. prosciutto, cut into thin strips
1 1/2 tbsp. white wine vinegar
1/2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 tbsp. minced chives
1/8 c. olive oil
Salt & pepper
A few shavings campesino cheese (ricotta salata/mizithra/feta/pecorino)

Boil the beans until crisp tender, about 4 minutes. Drain and cool. Toss with radishes & prosciutto. Whisk the vinegar, mustard, and chives together. Slowly whisk in the olive oil, until it emulsifies. Season with salt & pepper. Toss with salad. Shave cheese over top. Serves 4.