Monday, October 8, 2012

Pumpkin Marshmallows

Fall is in the air. Pumpkins are out, halloween decorations are going up. I just convinced the hubby to let me put our scarecrow out in the front lawn.
The air is a wee bit cold now (ok, I'm in WI, it's frosting at night so super cold).
What is better than snuggling up to a hot cup of cocoa? Homemade marshmallows.
I'm serious, you don't know what a marshmallow is supposed to taste like until you've tried homemade ones. Throw out that bag of store bought crap that you have at home (okay, those are better for campfires) and chow down on these delicious creations.

Yes the recipe is in 2 parts. The instructions are long, but it really is just words/descriptions and not time.
The de-liquiding of the pumpkin. This is actually a vital step in this recipe. If you don't take out the extra moisture from the pumpkin, you marshmallows will not be as light as airy.
So spread the pumpkin out on some paper towels, put more on top and blot away. Repeat.

Bubble, bubble sugar mixture. Bring to temp to get the marshmallows to set up correctly
(side note, be careful with your candy thermometer. I totally broke mine when I was washing it after this recipe.)

A little before/after shot for you. Look how fluffy and light the mix looks.
You will have some problems getting all the marshmallow off the whisk. It's quite sticky. Don't give up! And I bet when you start mixing in the pumpkin you are thinking, seriously this is never going to mix up. It takes about 5 -10 mins to incorporate it all.

  And spread in the pan. Again, this takes a minute or so to get really flat on top.
Look at the color difference from the fresh mix to the set marshmallows.
Finally, chop into whatever shape you want. You can be creative and use a pumpkin cookie cutter if you want, or cut into really small squares for hot cocoa mugs :)

(Yes there is a missing corner piece in my photo.
I had to try them right away just to be sure)

Mmmmm. Tasty.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

So the classic stuffed Cabbage Rolls
(Side note, what really makes things a classic? I never once had this growing up, but apparently it's a classic meals. Maybe just here in the Midwest?)

I chose to do mine with Turkey. Mainly because we have someone at work that doesn't eat beef and I was taking them to a potluck. But by all means, if you want to use ground beef or chicken. Be sure to get extra lean meat though, as it cooks in the pot and there is no where for the fat to go.

So I know there are a lot of ways to prepare cabbage leaves. The most common is boiling the leaves. That works very well, but if you happen to have a microwave steamer like me, that is just super easy and must faster.
I have to advise against the freezing method, unless you aren't going to actually eat the cabbage leaves. Yes it does make them easy to roll, but it makes the leaves taste kinda rubbery. Who wants to eat rubber cabbage leaves? Not me!

To peel each leave off, I've found it's easiest by cutting out the core. I've heard it said that if you bash the core on the table, it breaks apart, but I personally prepare these the night before and my kids is usually sleeping and the idea of loudly bashing a cabbage on the counter is just not appealing, so I cut the core out :)
 I don't think I mentioned this in the recipe, so you should cut out the hard white bottom part of the leaf. See Photo!
It's hard to roll and really, I dislike the taste of it anyways.
I said to use about 1/4 cup of mix per leaf, but that is really a rough gauge. The outer leaves are bigger and can take more filling, the inner leaves = less filling. I personally stuff as much as I can inside the leaves
And roll. tuck the corners to keep the filling in and make the rolls pretty sturdy and easy to move.
Finally cooking. You can do this in the oven, but like I mentioned, I'm taking these to a potluck at work, so I'm using a crockpot.
I put the extra cabbage in the bottom of the pan. 1: so that the rolls didn't sit in the fat that came out the turkey and 2: so that if there were weird people at work that wanted more cabbage, there would be some.

Mix up the sauce, pour it over the rolls. And turn your crockpot on. Low and slow if you are doing it for dinner and have 8ish hours, or you can crank it to high if it's a lunch potluck at work.


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Curried Chicken & Chard

So this recipe starts with a classic Curried Chicken Recipe.
You can really change up this recipe however you want. If you like spices, I say double the spices in the recipe. Have some potatoes on hand? Great, chop them up and add to the recipe with the chard. Have an onion, leek.. Add them in!

 Saute everything together. The yogurt pretty much disappears when you add it in, or mine did at least!

And enjoy. Eat by itself or serve over some potatoes or rice. Or put in a tortilla?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Pesto Perfection

Alright, so now I'm bragging, but this pesto was very tasty.
Think of all the ways you can use it, with pasta, over toasted bread, as a spread in a grilled cheese sandwich??
So let's be honest, I am not reinventing the wheel here. I just had a large bag of basil leaves that I needed to use and decided, wham Pesto it is.

 So we start with plucking the leaves from the plant :)
Then chunk everything into a blender and go.

Then you end up with a green paste type substance that resembles baby food, but tastes so much better.
The options of use are pretty much limitless. I did a grilled cheese but next time I'm thinking Pizza...

Monday, September 17, 2012

Veggie Loaded Turkey Meatloaf

I have to start this one off saying, look at the recipe and how many veggies I hide in this one! It was crazy.

What could be better than a Meatloaf? Nothing if you ask my husband. It's his favorite food. I swear he asks for it all the time.

Typically though I really don't like meatloaf. There is nothing really appealing to sitting down to a hunk of meat on my plate. I've lightened it up and loaded it with veg.
Again I have to say, look at all the veg in this one!

I like to make my meatloafs in muffin tins. Little individual serving sizes. If you want yours to be an actual loaf, go for it. I recommend putting a couple slices of bread under the actual loaf to soak up the grease.

Here is a little before/after shot for you. I like to super slather the top of mine with the sauce, but do whatever pleases you :) if you want to glaze, have at it

And Eat. Mmm tasty. Remember, the smaller you cut up the veg, the less likely people are to know it's snuck in there!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Squash Cookies

I woke up this morning and it was a brisk 40 degrees outside. Signs that fall is coming. I was ignoring the trees starting to change color but you can't mistake the coolness in the air. However, one of my favorite things about fall is the start of comfort food and holiday baking. This recipe reminds me of a classic pumpkin pie. It has all the same flavors but in cookie form!

Squash Cookies

Now if you know me, I used an acorn squash. Again because I happened to have one. I also find that a cooked acorn squash typically provides the perfect amount of squash for most of my recipes. I tend to get about 2 cups from one squash. So the little bet extra gets fed to my little man :)
Directions on how to cook an acorn squash are listed in one of my other blog posts: Squash Chocolate Cake

If you don't have a cookie scoop. I fully recommend it. It's like a little ice cream scooper. 
It makes uniform shaped/sized cookies. 2-3 bites each. This makes it so all the cookies take the same time to bake. Awesomeness. 

I think this is the 1st cookie recipe I've posted, so I want to share a secret with you. Let the cookies cool before taste testing. hahaha.
No but seriously, you should let them cool 1/2 the baking time on the cookie sheet, before moving to a wire rack to finish cooling.

And there you have it. Very tasty, cookies. Feel free to use a different squash, butternut or pumpkin would work just as well (maybe better?)
And look how uniform the cookies look. Classy ( I gave that perfect round one to my hubby, usually I only let him eat the ugly cookies that for some reason got shaped weird or I squashed them or something)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Sweet Green Bean Bundles

Is it wrong to call these little bundles of joy? I think not.
Green beans wrapped in meat and covered with sugar. mmmmm

So these are my little bean wraps. You can see that I chose to use deli ham slices. (we had just finished off the bacon, otherwise I would totally have used precooked bacon!)

Mmmm beans covered in the glaze waiting to go in the oven.

So this is aside from the point, but I also cut up some potatoes and thru them in the pan with the beans and glaze to cook. They were super tasty.

And a tasty little side dish or appetizer is created.
And yes, you can use canned beans if you really want to but why would you? Just make up a bunch and freeze them and have this dish whenever you want during the year!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Squash Chocolate Cake

This is a really tasty, yet healthier chocolate cake. I think it tastes like a chocolate spice cake. Seriously though, no one will ever know the secret ingredient!

So I used an acorn squash because that is what I had on hand. But it would be delicious with pumpkin as well :)
For Acorn Squash, cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds (save these, they are tasty roasted) and drizzle a little oil over the squash. Pop in the oven and roast for about an hour or until fork tender.
It only took me 1 squash to get 2 cooked cups, but depending on the size of your squash...
 I used a hand-held mixer to mush up my squash before adding to my cake mix.
I really like doing this because if you have any long squash strings or anything, they get caught on the beaters instead of going in your cake. It kinda resembles a yellow mashed potato right??

Mmm. the cake cooking away in the oven. I filled the pans up pretty much to the top because 1: the recipe made a lot of batter and 2: I successfully thought the cake wasn't going to significantly rise.

Cool, frost, decorate do whatever you want.
I fancied mine up a lot because I was taking it to work for a birthday party. It has a cream cheese frosting, the layers are stuffed with an orange marmalade. I also wrapped the cake in chocolate and drizzled some over the top. Looks much fancier :)

And enjoy. mmmmm. So tasty.