Dinner Menu: Food for a Fall Evening

JeffW sends along some garlic bread. ETA: JeffreyW posted recipe in the comments

Tonight’s menu is pretty simple. Use the soup recipe as a starter and add whatever inspires you to supe it up (hee-hee, see what I did there?). I like the ease of frozen vegetables, but use fresh if you’re so inclined. Squash is a nice addition, put it in when you are simmering the meat, it will need the extra cooking time. Turnips, parsnips, maybe some barley. Go crazy.

On the board tonight:

  1. Beef Vegetable Soup
  2. Hearty Bread
  3. Pumpkin Apple Butter

Beef Vegetable Soup

  • 1 lb chuck or stew meat, small cubes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, quartered
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 tsp crushed rosemary
  • 1 tsp crushed basil
  • ½ tsp dry dill
  • ½ tsp crushed garlic
  • ½ tsp fennel seed (opt)
  • 1 bay leaf (remove before serving)
  • 2 large potatoes, cut into 8-10 pieces
  • 16 oz frozen mixed vegetables

large saucepan

Heat oil in saucepan, add onions and sauté, add beef and brown. Add water, spices and potatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and cook 20-25 minutes, until beef is tender. Add vegetables and simmer 10 minutes.

Pumpkin Apple Butter

  • 15 oz can pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 8 oz apple sauce
  • ½ cup apple cider
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves

saucepan

Add all ingredients to saucepan, bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, cover and let cook down for 1 to 1 ½ hours, stirring occasionally. Store in the refrigerator. Serve on bread.

Shopping List:

  • Hearty Bread
  • 1 lb chuck or stew meat
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 large potatoes
  • 16 oz frozen mixed vegetables
  • 15 oz can pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 8 oz applesauce
  • ½ cup apple cider
  • ½ cup brown sugar

Also: ground ginger, ground cinnamon, ground cloves, bay leaf, rosemary, basil, dry dill, olive oil crushed garlic, fennel seed

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Friday Recipe Exchange: Thanksgiving Non-Traditional Side Dishes

JeffreyW's Roasted Brussels Sprout and Potato Gratin

JeffreyW’s Roasted Brussels Sprout and Potato Gratin

This is the time of year when we get a lot of blog visits from people looking for side dishes. And I have a lot of recipes for the traditional holiday sides, desserts and instructions on the various ways to cook your turkey. JeffreyW has a ton of mouthwatering photos. All of that can be found at at this link.

I thought it would be nice though, to focus on some non-traditional sides for tonight’s recipe exchange. In case you were looking for something different to showcase this year.

Soups make a nice starter at for any meal and tonight’s featured recipe is a savory winter soup. I also have a nice Roasted Butternut Squash and Apple Soup, (click here)

JefferyW favors brussels sprouts and came up with this wonderful recipe, Brussels Sprouts Au Gratin pictured above. (click here)

Roasted Brussels sprouts are pretty easy, and leave it to Emeril Lagasse to “kick it up a notch” with his Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta and Grilled Onions. (click here)

I’m not big on the whole candied sweet potatoes, so I went looking for alternatives and found three I like,  African Sweet Potato Salad, Cajun Sweet Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes and Apples, click here for all the recipes. You can also just roast them in the oven, and I found two really good recipes here (honey roasted) and here (thyme roasted).

What are your Thanksgiving plans? Are you doing the cooking or does someone else have the honors? And most importantly, what are your favorite Thanksgiving recipes?

The Thanksgiving featured recipe is one that works great as an appetizer:

Need to keep everyone out of the kitchen while you finish up dinner prep?  Set up a buffet table with a raw vegetable tray and dip, a bowl of nuts (in their shells) along with a couple of nutcrackers and this soup in a slowcooker to keep it warm and that should keep your guests occupied while you cook.

Winter Squash Soup

  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3-1/4 pounds butternut or acorn squash, peeled, seeded and cut into large pieces
  • 1 small onion, quartered
  • 1 carrot, quartered
  • 1 celery stalk, quartered
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 1 ½ tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried sage
  • Salt and pepper to taste

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  • 1/2 cup dry sherry
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Chopped chives (for garnish)

Large sauce pan

Heat the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the squash, onions, carrot, celery and garlic; sauté until slightly softened, about 15 minutes. Add the chicken broth, apple juice, thyme and sage. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer over medium-low heat until vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes. Remove from stove. Puree the vegetables until smooth with a hand blender or in batches in the food processor or blender. Taste for seasoning. Add salt and pepper if desired.

***Soup can be made to this point 1 day ahead and kept covered in the refrigerator.***

Return soup to pot and bring to a simmer. Add the sherry and simmer about 2 minutes. Stir in the cream, sour cream and nutmeg until well combined. Place soup into large soup tureen and garnish with chives. Place on appetizer table with small bowls & spoons and let everyone help themselves.

That’s everything this week. There won’t be a recipe exchange next Friday, but next week I’ll be featuring more recipes for the holiday. Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving. – TaMara

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Mmm… apple crisp crunch cobbler dump cake

With nuts!  I’m running out of ideas as to what these creations should properly be called.  They have certain traits in common with dump cakes but the end results are more crispy cobbler than anything.

I started this one with three Granny Smiths peeled and sliced.  I cooked them just a bit with some apple cider, adding a quarter cup or so of brown sugar and a cup and a quarter of golden raisins, and some grated cinnamon and nutmeg.  The fruit went into my 8×8 cake pan, and was topped by a generous layer of rolled oats and chopped hazelnuts.

I used a butter pecan cake mix this time, just because.  I shook out about half of the box for the next layer, and then added one and a half sticks of butter over that.  I chilled the butter in the freezer again and used a grater on it to add the last layer.  Not counting some fresh grated cinnamon onto the butter, that is.   It took 30 minutes at 350 to get to this point:

This one is my favorite of those we’ve done lately.  It is just awesome, the cake mix and the oats and butter make a lovely, crunchy topping for the apples.

So, what’s a good name for this?

Thanksgiving Table: Squash Soup

Need to keep everyone out of the kitchen while you finish up dinner prep?  Set up a buffet table with a raw vegetable tray and dip, a bowl of nuts (in their shells) along with a couple of nutcrackers and this soup in a slowcooker to keep it warm and that should keep your guests occupied while you cook.

Winter Squash Soup

  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3-1/4 pounds butternut or acorn squash, peeled, seeded and cut into large pieces
  • 1 small onion, quartered
  • 1 carrot, quartered
  • 1 celery stalk, quartered
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 4 cups chicken broth*
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 1 ½ tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried sage
  • Salt and pepper to taste

=====

  • 1/2 cup dry sherry
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Chopped chives (for garnish)

Large sauce pan

Heat the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the squash, onions, carrot, celery and garlic; sauté until slightly softened, about 15 minutes. Add the chicken broth, apple juice, thyme and sage. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer over medium-low heat until vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes. Remove from stove. Puree the vegetables until smooth with a hand blender or in batches in the food processor or blender. Taste for seasoning. Add salt and pepper if desired.

***Soup can be made to this point 1 day ahead and kept covered in the refrigerator.***

Return soup to pot and bring to a simmer. Add the sherry and simmer about 2 minutes. Stir in the cream, sour cream and nutmeg until well combined. Place soup into large soup tureen and garnish with chives. Place on appetizer table with small bowls & spoons and let everyone help themselves.

*or substitute 4 cups water and 4 tsp (4 cubes) chicken bouillon.

Thursday Night Menu: Garlic, Garlic Edition

I know this sounds like a crazy recipe, but the Garlic, Garlic Chicken is a keeper.  The garlic roasts to a nice, nutty, sweet flavor, perfect with a slice of bread.  Friends made this for me and after the first bite, I was sold, I couldn’t believe how good it was.  The Sliced Pepper Salad came about because I was at the store last week and they had a huge sale on peppers of every color.  Each one has a different flavor, so I didn’t want to do much too overwhelm that, but you can add sliced onion if it appeals to you.  Get a really good Artisan bread and you’ve got a dinner that takes less than 20 minutes to prep.

On the board tonight:

  1. Garlic, Garlic Chicken
  2. Loaf of a good crusty Artisan bread
  3. Sliced Pepper Salad
  4. Hot Apple Cider with Ginger Snaps

Garlic, Garlic Chicken

  • 5 lb roasting chicken
  • 1/2 cup of wine
  • 1/2 cup of chicken broth,
  • salt & pepper
  • 40 cloves of garlic (unpeeled).

 Wash and dry the chicken, remove any giblets.  Add all ingredients into a roasting bag and roast for about an hour (follow cooking bag instructions, usually about 350 degrees, use a meat thermometer to check chicken temp).  Remove chicken to a platter and place garlic and sauce in a serving bowl.  The garlic can be squeezed out of the skins at the table onto the fresh bread.  Alternately, you can take the broth, reduce it and then add the peeled garlic into that. It makes a very nutty, garlic-y kind of gravy.

Sliced Pepper Salad

  • 1 each: red, yellow, orange & green pepper, washed & sliced
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup vinaigrette dressing
  • 1 head bib lettuce, washed, dried & torn

Toss peppers and vinaigrette dressing and let marinate 30 minutes.  Serve on a bed of bibb lettuce.

Shopping List:

  • 1 5lb Roasting Chicken
  • 40 Cloves of Garlic (about 4 bulbs)
  • 1 loaf Artisan Bread
  • 1 each: Red, Yellow, Orange, Green peppers
  • 4 oz vinaigrette dressing
  • 1 head bibb lettuce
  • Ginger snaps
  • 1 gallon apple cider

Also: chicken broth, wine, salt, pepper