Monday, September 27, 2010

If a squash can make you smile.....

All I could think of when I saw this beautiful Butternut Squash was...sing it with me, "Veggie-taales, veggie-taales, veggie-taales, veggietales." Ah, the memories of my children so small with their need to watch these veggie videos over and over and over again. No matter how long it's been, we still love to occasionally sing "Where is my hair brush?" and my personal favorite, "I ain't got a belly button." in the style of a boy band!!

This time of the year, I see so many wonderful varieties of squash, pumpkin, and other gourds. Not only do I love to decorate with these harvest time favorites, but I love the smell of these baking.

Butternut squash is a shapely gourd with a smooth surface and a dull yellowy peach skin. It's typically a winter variety and has a sweet flat flavor and similar texture to a pumpkin. Although there are many ways to prepare it, I love it roasted. But butternuts are also great pureed into soups, casseroles, & breads and they also pair well with apples and poultry.

*Note: Be careful when preparing, sometimes one can come in contact with the skin of a squash and get a rash. Cortisone cream will help.*

Butternut Squash Soup

6 tablespoons chopped onion
4 tablespoons margarine
6 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash
3 cups water
4 cubes chicken bouillon
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
In a large saucepan, saute onions in margarine until tender. Add squash, water, bouillon, marjoram, black pepper and cayenne pepper. Bring to boil; cook 20 minutes, or until squash is tender.
Puree squash and cream cheese in a blender or food processor in batches until smooth. Return to saucepan, and heat through. Do not allow to boil.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Easy Cheesy Chicken

You want a simple, winning dinner?

My crock pot was wiped clean before I could even get a picture...yes, it's that good.

1 Can Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 Can Cream of Chicken Soup
1 Can Cheddar Cheese Soup
6-8 Chicken breasts

Place chicken in the crock pot, top with soups and heat on low for 6 hours.


Saturday, September 18, 2010

Caramel Apple Upside Down Cake

Apples ain't only for the teacher!!! When I worked in the mall (many years ago) in Savannah, our store was located directly across from the Savannah Candy Company. I was mesmerized by the beautiful assortment of candy and caramel apples! Through the glass windows, you could watch their employees hard at work in the kitchen, the scent of sugar wafting through the air was irresistible. Their pralines were sinful, confections lined up in candy jars along the window in beautiful bright colors. Fudge in every kind of flavor imaginable. But my favorite part was watching the girls give these gargantuan apples a royal treatment, dipping apples into creamy caramel, then given a jacket of nuts, crushed oreos, milk or white chocolate or crushed butterfingers.

Apples are so versatile! From making a savory apple stuffing paired with chicken or turkey, or you can turn them into a decadent dessert.

I make this fabulous Caramel apple Cake that is simple and delicious! It's a fall favorite and I think you'll love it.

Here's what you do....

Start with a buttered cake pan or glass dish.
Next use a basic caramel sundae syrup. I like the Smucker's squeezeable :)
Now for the apples, you need apple pie filling (you can easily substitute your own apple filling here if you have time)... canned Apple pie filling is a quick alternative, which is what I used here. top the apples with drizzled caramel sauce and sprinkle with chopped pecans.

Next, mix together a basic yellow boxed cake mix (for ease), and pour evenly over the apple filling. Here, if you like a from scratch recipe, you can use your favorite basic mix.Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes. Allow the cake to cool for about 15 minutes, then invert the cake onto a cake board, while the cake is still warm, allowing the apples and caramel to melt into the cake.

Serve warm. And enjoy!!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Sour Cream Cornbread

I am more than ready for the autumn. There is no time of the year quite like it. Football, crunchy leaves, carnivals, not to mention my favorite holidays...Halloween and Thanksgiving!!

There are so many recipes that just taste better with the flavor of harvest time veggies and gourds...I love pumpkin and butternut squash. I love beans flavored with ham, and chili and soup. One of my favorite sides is homemade cornbread. I especially love cornbread dressing. This recipe for sour cream cornbread is a great compliment to any of those hearty dishes on a cool crisp autumn day. These cornbread muffins can be frozen, too. They're great served warm with fresh butter.

1 1/2 cups cornmeal
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
8 ounces sour cream, regular or light
1 can cream-style corn
3 large eggs
1/4 cup milk
4 tablespoons melted butter

Heat oven to 375°. Grease your muffin tin (or spray paper liners)

In a bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, baking powder and soda, salt, and sugar.

In another bowl, whisk together the sour cream, corn, eggs, milk, and melted butter. Combine the two mixtures and stir until just blended.

Fill muffin cups about 3/4-full and bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until the muffins are firm and lightly browned.

Makes 18 to 24 muffins.

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Best Veggie Appetizer

I always get "Can I have the recipe?" when I make this! It's such an easy and yummy way to eat veggies, especially for people who don't normally like to eat vegetables. I imagine you'd get the same reaction after you try this recipe! It's a great cool compliment to any warm dish.

I remember when I lived in Georgia, we had dear friends with children and every other weekend, we'd all get together and have dinner, let the kids play in the playroom, and we'd play card games. This was the appetizer I prepared and it was devoured by kids and parents!!

Refrigerated pizza crust
1 pkg fresh baby carrots
1 crown of fresh broccoli
1 package of Ranch dressing mix (dry)
1 package of cream cheese (block)

Roll out rectangle dough and bake on a baking sheet as directed per package.

In a bowl, beat together cream cheese and ranch dressing mix.
In a food processor or blender, process carrots into a fine chop, set aside. Chop broccoli into a fine chop, set aside.

Cool crust just slightly. Spread cream cheese evenly over the crust, top with carrots pressing gently into the cheese and top with broccoli pressing into the cheese.

Cut into squares and enjoy!

White Chicken Chili Crock Pot

I am so lucky to live in a state that has 4 seasons! And finally my favorite time of the year is just around the corner!!!

School started this week, the weather is changing slowly and beautifully and I can't wait for the scent of chili's and stews on the stove, the feel of a Patagonia Fleece, and the sound of football!

With our schedules, I am always looking for delicious and easy crock pot recipes to keep our family happily satisified. One of my favorites this time of the year is White Chicken Chili. It has a nice mild spice with delicious white beans and chicken instead of traditional beef.

Canned white beans, I like Northern Beans and Navy Beans for this recipe
1 can white shoepeg corn
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 stick unsalted butter
2C chicken broth
1 tsp Tabasco
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin (I usually put in more)
Salt and Pepper
4-oz can whole mild green chilies, drained and chopped
5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 pounds)

Grated Monterey Jack
Sour cream

Cut chicken breasts into bite sized chunks.

In your slow cooker combine the chicken, onions, butter, chicken broth, chilis, garlic, and seasonings. Allow to cook on low for 5 hours, then add corn and canned beans. Cook another 2-3 hours.

When it's ready to serve, top with cheese and sour cream. It's also great with tortilla chips.