September 2012

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One of my favorite squash happens to be a kabocha squash. I never had even heard about this squash until a few years ago when I met Beth from Oak Hill Harvest. She told us that it was a good squash to make pumpkin soup, so I gave it a shot. I fell in love. It is slightly sweet and creamy. 

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Beth is right, it makes fantastic pumpkin soup. It also makes great pumpkin bread. It can be roasted and used in a variety or recipes, especially those that require canned pumpkin. This is a great local, fresh alternative to the canned stuff, which was important when we had the canned pumpkin shortage in the past few years. 

Kabocha squash looks like a short, plump pumpkin. Some are green while others are orange. 

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They look like a typical squash on the inside with fibers and seeds. To use, remove the fibers and seeds and discard or roast (the seeds only). It tastes almost like a mixture of pumpkin and sweet potato and makes a fantastic puree. It is rich in beta carotene, iron, Vitamin C, and potassium. It is a great addition to mashed potatoes. 

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I like to cut the kabocha in half and toast it cut-side down at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until I can stick a fork in it with no resistance. 

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To make a puree, scoop out the meat and discard the skin.

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Put meat in the food processor and process until smooth. 

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With my love of all things pumpkin flavored and my freshly made kabocha puree, I set out to make pumpkin ice cream. I went to my trusty Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream cookbook and found this recipe

The only change I made was omitting the Chinese 5 Spice Powder and replacing it with 2 1/2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon, 3/4 teaspoons ground cloves, and 3/4 cups ground ginger.  This is the best pumpkin ice cream that I have ever had. It is creamy and spicy with a punch of pumpkin flavor. 

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Jeni’s recipes are the only recipes that consistently have excellent results. You can find the recipe that I used here. However, I really suggest that you buy the book. 

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I have always loved salads. Not the salads that I make at home or pack in my lunch. It is rare that I get excited about those. I get excited about the delicious salads that I order in restaurants. For the longest, I did not make my salads the way restaurants make them. Salads should be filled with toppings. They should be a wide variety that includes many different flavors and textures. The salads I made were never like that. They were good, but not the meal that restaurant salads were. 

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If you have never been to western Pennsylvania, you may not be familiar with our salads. Our salads are the ones that you read about in magazines that are not healthy choices to order in restaurants.  It seems like we have an affinity for putting fries on our food. We have the famous Primanti’s sandwich that is topped with coleslaw and french fries and of course salads. 

I never realized that putting french fries on a salad was not normal. I assumed that when people across the country ordered a grilled chicken salad, that it would come with a hot, crunchy pile of french fries on top. My parents always asked for the fries on the side. I thought this was totally normal. I don’t remember exactly how old I was when I learned that fries on a salad is not the norm, but I remember thinking that it was a trend that other places might want to adopt. 

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French fries on a salad seems bizarre until you really think about it. Salads are cold and crunchy. The meat (usually steak or chicken) is warm, the cheese is cold with a sharp flavor (usually cheddar or blue cheese), the bacon is crunchy and salty, creamy hard boiled eggs, really just a large bowl of deliciousness. The part of the salad that seems to vary is the salad dressing. It seems like most people like ranch dressing with their salads. However, I grew up north of Pittsburgh where Sweet and Sour dressing is king. I found it to be surprising when I moved to Pittsburgh that sweet and sour is not available on most menus. I love the flavor complexity that it adds to the salad. For me, if it has fries, it has to be sweet and sour. 

Obviously, every place makes a slightly different salad. This is what I like to put on my salad when I recreate my favorite flavors at home. 

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Make a base of some lettuce. I like to use spring mix but, most restaurants use iceberg lettuce. 

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Add your other favorite veggies. I like cucumbers, carrots, avocado, and tomatoes.

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Add protein. I used leftover roasted chicken. Sometimes we will grill some chicken or steak. Other times we just put a mixture of beans on top. IMG 3973

Add a hard boiled egg. Top with hot french fries (I use frozen and bake them), crispy bacon, creamy blue cheese, and your favorite dressing. I recommend honey mustard or sweet and sour. 

 

Semi Homemade Mom

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For me, fall is donut time. I am not sure why. Perhaps it was the apple festival that we went to each year and imbibed in freshly made donuts. There is something that just screams fall about a big cup of coffee and a donut in the morning. Donuts always look so delicious to me. I look at them and think I will like them until I take that first bite and am disappointed every time. They are never what I imagine they will be like in my head. I am not a Krispy Kream person. I never liked yeast donuts, aside from those delicious Boston Cream Donuts. I hate cream sticks. For me, it is all about the cake donut. A chocolate cake donut to be exact. Glazed. In my mind, it should be thick and very chocolatey with a slightly hard glaze on the outside.They rarely deliver. They are usually dry and there is only a faint hint of chocolate flavor. I then decide that the lack of flavor is not worth the calories. This leads me to resisting donuts whenever I see them. Even when there is a huge box of free donuts at work. Everyone else takes one, I never have. 

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I really bought the cake pans to make pumpkin donuts. However, I could not let me fun new kitchen toy go to waste so, I set out to make chocolate cake donuts that are exactly what I imagine in my head. They are definitely chocolate with a slight sweetness. Exactly what I was looking for. An breakfast to get excited about when I take it out of the freezer in the morning. So cakey. 

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I decided to use coffee as some of the liquid because it really brings out the chocolate flavor without adding even a hint of coffee flavor. I like to do this when I make chocolate ice cream, too. 

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I opted to coat some in powdered sugar and I dipped others in a vanilla glaze. 

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Chocolate, Cake, Delicious.

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Whole Wheat, Baked, Chocolate Cake Donuts

by Jessica

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10-15 minutes

Keywords: bake breakfast whole wheat flour chocolate


Ingredients (12 donuts)

  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup coffee
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • GLAZE:
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp cold water

Instructions

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly spray the donut pans with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add coffee, milk, eggs, vanilla, and oil. Mix to combine.

Spoon batter into donut pan and even out the tops. Bake at 325 for 10-15 minutes. Allow to cool for 5 minutes. Cover with your favorite toppings.

Glaze: combine powdered sugar ,salt, vanilla and water. Dip donuts in the glaze and flip. Put on a cooling rack with a cookie sheet underneath to catch the dripping glaze.

Serve immediately or freeze for about 1 month.

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When cold weather starts to set in, I start to hibernate. I think I may have been born the wrong species. Perhaps I should have been a bear. There is nothing that I would like more than to be curled up under a blanket each day, wearing warm and cozy clothes, drinking copious amounts of hot tea, and eating warm, comforting meals. That would be a winter that I could get excited about. 

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Unfortunately, I have to leave my house. I have to go to work, run errands, go to appointments, and buy groceries. That means that I am often cold and attempting to warm myself in the car. Even in the fall, my hands start to get cold and I start to crave warm, comforting meals. Combine that with my love of appetizers and we get delicious concoctions like pizza dip. 

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I first learned about pizza dip at work. I had never heard of it or thought about it before. I grew up north of the city and foods tend to be slightly different where I work. I first tasted it a t a potluck at work celebrating a baby or wedding or something. I really don’t remember. All I remember is the dip. It actually tasted like pizza, but it was way better. It was creamy, and rich with tomato sauce, and had gooey cheese. I initially thought that it had ricotta cheese. I was wrong. 

I liked the dip so much, that I decide to make it at home however, there are only two of us in our house and making a whole recipe is way too much for us to eat. Well, that is not true. I could probably eat it all in a day or two, but that wouldn’t be healthy. Delicious, not healthy. 

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I actually like this more than pizza because I do not have to eat the bread. Instead, I can eat it with vegetables. That means that if you are on a gluten free diet, you can enjoy the flavors of pizza without the gluten. I like it best with celery which is shocking because I typically hate celery. It is just too stringy for me. 

I make this for dinner about once a month. In its most basic form, it is cream cheese, pizza sauce, and cheese. Then, it is just topped with your favorite pizza toppings. I like supreme pizza the most: sausage, pepperoni, onion, mushrooms and green peppers. It simply gets baked until hot and the cheese is melty and gooey. Then, dig in. Not too fast, you will burn your mouth. 

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On this night, I decided to make sausage, pepperoni, and jalapeño pizza dip. 

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I like to have cooked peppers on my pizza and in my dip. I cook the peppers on medium for a few minutes until theystart to get soft. I add the sausage and cook until brown 

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While the peppers and sausage are cooking, I prepare the other ingredients. I whip the cream cheese in a large bowl until fluffy. 

pizza dip

Spread the cream cheese into two ramekins. 

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Cover with a layer of your favorite pizza sauce. 

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Add toppings. 

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Top with cheese.

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I like to microwave the pepperoni for 30 seconds to remove some of the grease. I learned this trick from Brown Eyed Baker  in this post

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Top with the pepperoni. 

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Bake at 450 for 10-15 minutes until hot and bubbly. Serve with your favorite dippers. I like celery the best. Sometimes we serve it with a good piece of Italian bread. 

Pizza Dip for Two

by Jessica

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10-15 minutes

Keywords: bake appetizer snack gluten-free cream cheese Super Bowl


Ingredients (2-4 servings)

  • 4 ounces softened cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup pizza sauce
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella or provolone cheese
  • pizza toppings of your choice

Instructions

Heat oven to 450 degrees

Prepare pizza toppings.

Beat cream cheese on medium for 2 minutes or until fluffy.

Spread in 1-2 ramekins so that it has about 1/4 inch of cream cheese covering the bottom. Top with pizza sauce, cheese, and toppings.

Bake at 450 for 10-15 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

Serve with your favorite vegetables or bread. Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

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Have I mentioned lately that I love pumpkin? I really do. Think of all the yummy pumpkin things out there… pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin coffee, pumpkin bagels, pumpkin cream cheese, pumpkin beer, pumpkin cupcakes, pumpkin smoothies. I could talk about pumpkin all day. 

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My love of pumpkin made me drive to Bed, Bath, and Beyond and forced me to purchase yet another kitchen gadget that I probably didn’t need, I just wanted it. Plus, I had a coupon. That makes it better, right? After I bought the pans, I surprisingly waited an entire day before I baked pumpkin donuts. I’m not sure why I waited so long. It was such a good breakfast. These are on my list to make again and soon. 

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I of course had to reduce the sugar and increase the spices. 

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And I used whole wheat pastry flour. 

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And I made 12 whole donuts and 6 mini muffins. 

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This was such an exciting sight baking away in my oven. 

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Light, cake, and pumpkin spice. All they need is…

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Cinnamon and sugar. 

Just a note, if you do not eat these right away, the cinnamon and sugar sort of melts into the donut. It tastes delicious but is not the texture of fresh cinnamon and sugar. Either coat right before serving or put in the freezer immediately. 

Baked Whole Wheat Pumpkin Donuts

by Jessica

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15-18 minutes

Keywords: bake breakfast whole wheat flour pumpkin


Ingredients (12 donuts)

  • 1/2 cup of oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 heaping teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 8 ounces whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar mixed with 2 teaspoons of cinnamon to coat donuts

Instructions

Heat the oven to 350. Spray donut pans with cooking spray.

Combine oil, eggs, sugar, pumpkin, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, vanilla, salt, and baking powder until combined. Add flour and stir until just combined.

Spoon batter into donut pans until full but not overflowing.

Bake at 350 for 14-17 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Combine sugar and cinnamon in a brown paper bag. Allow donuts to cool for 5 minutes and shake in the bag until each donut is coated.

Serve immediately. If not serving immediately, coat in cinnamon and sugar right before serving. Store in the freezer or in a brown paper bag for 1-2 days.

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I grew up in a very small town. There was one red light and everything was closed on Sundays. I thought it was a form of torture as a child. What I didn’t know was how lucky I was. We had a butcher, a community pool,  a few good restaurants, and an apple orchard. I still shop at the butcher when I visit my parents and getting apples at the orchard is a necessity. There is something about apple crisp that warms my soul. It is sweet and has a delicious apple cinnamon flavor. It is great by itself but something very special with high quality vanilla ice cream.

This is an easy dessert. I have never actually met someone who did not like it. In fact, I brought it to work and people loved it. They needed the recipe and made it at home that week. This is a go to recipe for potlucks or parties.

To make the crumble:

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Mix 1 cup of flour, 1 cup of sugar, and 1 stick of butter with a pastry cutter. If you do not have a pastry cutter, you could use a fork or the food processor. I like to use whole wheat flour, but my mom and Grandma always used white flour.

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The crumble topping should look like this. I used to try really hard to get it to be the texture of sand. I have noticed that it does not make a difference in the final product. Set the crumble aside.

Prepare the apples:

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This time, I chose to use 3 Granny Smith apples and 2 Honeycrisp apples. I really like to the sour and tart flavor of the Granny Smith. Plus, I can never resist a Honeycrisp. They add a delicious sweetness to the mix. I have used most types of apples in this recipe. Just make sure they are recommended for cooking. Red delicious or other mealy apples are gross in this.

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Peel the apples, quarter them, and slice them.

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Put the apples in a greased Corningware or Stoneware dish. Pyrex works well, too. Metal pans do not work well.

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Sprinkle the crumble over the apples.

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Sprinkle with a generous amount of cinnamon. Bake at 400 for 45-60 minutes or until the apples are soft and the crust is brown.

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Serve with vanilla ice cream.

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I personally feel that it should be really good vanilla ice cream.

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I recommend Jeni’s Ugandan Vanilla Bean.

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Or, you can do what I do, and make her ice cream using this recipe.

Apple Crisp

by Jessica

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes to 1 hour

Keywords: roast bake dessert apple fall spring winter


Ingredients (6-8 servings)

  • 1 cup of flour
  • 2/3 cup – 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) of butter
  • 5 large apples
  • cinnamon
  • vanilla ice cream

Instructions

In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, and butter with a pastry cutter (the food processor works as well) until the butter is in small pieces, about the size of sprinkles. Set aside.

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray a stoneware or Corningware baking dish with cooking spray.

Peel and quarter the apples. Remove the cores. Slice the apples into thin slices and add to the pan.

Pour the flour mixture over the apples. Sprinkle with a generous amount of cinnamon.

Bake at 400 until the apples are soft and the topping is crispy, 45-60 minutes.

Allow to cool for at least 15 minutes. Serve with vanilla ice cream.

Refrigerate leftovers.

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I grew up eating two drastically different types of food. One was incredible ethnic food. It was exotic and flavorful. The other was classic meat and potatoes meals. Much of reason that we ate meat and potatoes was because of my grandma. She enjoyed gravy on everything with mashed potatoes or really any kind of potatoes. I was never really a fan of gravy. 

For basically every holiday except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter, we went to a homestyle restaurant that served traditional, home cooked meals. As a kid, there were a few options on the menu for kids. One was creamed chicken over biscuits. I ordered it almost every time. I liked the contrast of the flakey, dense biscuit with the creamy chicken and pop of peas. 

I hadn’t thought about that meal in years. I like to make roasted chicken but, a roasted chicken is a lot for 2 people to eat in 1 week. Especially if you consider how quickly I get tired of foods. So, as I was thinking about creative ways to use leftovers, I remember this childhood favorite. 

This is a really good way to use leftover chicken however, you could cooks chicken specifically for this dish. This was a delicious, warming dinner on a slightly chilly September evening. It takes about 20 minutes to make but tastes like you worked on it all day. This also works out very well with leftover turkey. I like to make it after Thanksgiving.

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Start by cooking a few diced stalks of celery and carrots in medium sized skillet with a little olive oil. Cook until tender stirring occasionally. 

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In a separate, larger skillet, heat olive oil and butter on medium until the butter is melted.

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Add equal parts flour to fat, whisking the flour. Cook the raw taste out of the but cooking 1-2 minutes. 

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It should be slightly darker in color. 

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Whisk in 2 cups of chicken stock. I used the pan drippings from the chicken plus some additional stock. Cook over medium until thickened 3-5 minutes. 

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Stir in 1/2 cup of peas, 1 cup diced chicken, and the celery and carrots. Add some freshly ground pepper. Cook another few minutes until the sauce is thick. 

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Add 1-2 tablespoons of heavy cream if desired. It adds a rich, creaminess. 

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Put one biscuit, cut open on your plate.

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Pour the chicken mixture over top and serve immediately. If you are eating it later, do not pour it over the biscuit because the biscuit will get soggy. 

 

Creamed Chicken Over Biscuits

by Jessica

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Keywords: saute entree chicken fall winter


Ingredients (4 servings)

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2-3 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons of butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup chicken, diced into large pieces
  • 1/2 cup peas
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream if desired
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 biscuits

Instructions

In a medium sized skillet on medium, heat 2 teaspoons of oil. Add celery and carrots. Cook until tender.

In a large skillet on medium, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and butter until melted. Add flour and whisk to incorporate. Cook 1-2 minutes to cook the flour. Whisk in the chicken stock. Cook on medium for 2-3 minutes, or until thickened. Add carrots and celery, chicken, and peas. Cook an additional 3-5 minutes. Add cream and cook 1-2 minutes.

Serve over warm biscuits or a cooked sweet potato

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Biscuits for Two

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Every now and then, I make a meal that goes well with biscuits. When we first got married, I bought frozen biscuits from Pilsbury because there were not a lot of options for making a few biscuits. The canned biscuits made too many. My Grandma always used a box mix but again, the yield was too high. I decided that I should try to make biscuits from scratch. 

I made this recipe so that we could have a few, smaller sized biscuits any time with minimal work. They take only about 15 minutes total including prep and baking. These are great in the fall with stew or other homey, warm dishes. 

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Add 2/3 cup of flour (1/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour and 1/3 cup all purpose flour), 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of cold butter. 

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Pulse until it has the texture of sand. It will look slightly crumbly. 

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Dump the flour mixture into a bowl and add 1/4 teaspoon of honey or sugar and 1/3 cup of milk until just combined. 

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Put on a floured surface and pat until about 1/2 inch thick.

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Cut using a biscuit cutter. I do not have one so I use a stemless wine glass. Take the extra pieces and pat out again. Cut until there is no more dough (about 4 biscuits). 

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Place on an ungreased baking sheet and bake at 450 for 10-12 minutes or until brown on the bottom. 

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Serve hot. 

Biscuits for Two

by Jessica

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10-12 minutes

Keywords: bake bread side fall winter


Ingredients (2-4 biscuits)

  • 1/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • 1/3 cup milk

Instructions

Heat oven to 450.

Put flour, baking powder, salt, and butter in the food processor. Pulse until it reaches a sand consistency.

Pour flour mixture into a large bowl. Add honey and milk.

Dump mixture onto a floured surface. Pat until is it about 1/2 inch in thickness. Cut biscuits using a biscuit cutter or glass. Reform and cut until all the dough is used.

Place on an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes or until the bottoms are browned.

Serve hot.

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When I know that I have a busy day coming up, I sometimes like to have dinner ready to go in the oven when I get home. Especially in the fall and winter. I like things that are delicious, and no matter what, I will want to eat it when I get home. You see, I have a tendency to plan meals and then not want what is planned when I get home from work. It happens a lot. Twice baked potatoes are a side dish that I can easily make the day before and heat in the oven for dinner, relatively quickly. 

These were one of my favorite side dishes as a kid. They were a special treat at Grandma’s house, not something she made a lot. They are warm, creamy, cheesy, and they really just warm your soul. She often served them with salmon croquettes. I do not, mostly because I almost never make salmon croquettes. I serve twice baked potatoes any time we are having what my mom calls “an oven meal”. I do rotate with other side dishes but, this is one of my favorites. They are great for company because they can be made in advance. 

I always thought this was a fancy, difficult thing to make because we rarely had them. However, they are quite simple. They do take a considerable amount of time, but that is cooking time, not work time. 

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Start by baking potatoes at 400 degrees until soft on the inside. I like to use the smaller Idaho potatoes that come in the bag. However, because I only needed 4 servings, I bought two large potatoes. When I use the potatoes from a bag, one potato is a serving. In this case, 1/2 a potato is a serving. 

 

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When the potatoes are baked, cut the potato in half, length wise. (If you are using the small potatoes, cut the tops off and use them for potato skins or discard them).  They are very hot, so I like to hold them with a clean towel. 

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Scrape out the inside of the potatoes into a potato ricer. Be careful not to damage the skin of the potato. It needs to stay intact because you will fill it with potato to bake for a second time. 

Rice the potatoes into a large bowl. If you do not have a ricer, you can put the inside of the potato into a bowl and mash with a potato masher or hand mixer. 

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Add warm milk, butter, salt, pepper, and a small amount of garlic powder, to taste. Add 1 tablespoon of chopped chives if desired. Stir to combine. 

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Fill each potato skin with the potato mixture. Top with some American or cheddar cheese and crispy bacon. Heat until the cheese melts and the inside is hot. If you are going to place them in the refrigerator to bake later, do not add the cheese and the bacon until the potato is hot  (about 20 minutes). 

Serve hot with your favorite meal. 

Twice Baked Potato

by Jessica

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour plus 15 minutes

Keywords: bake side gluten-free potato bacon


Ingredients (4 servings)

  • 2 large baking potatoes
  • 1/2 cup milk, warm
  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 slices of American Cheese or Cheddar Cheese
  • 2 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled

Instructions

Bake potatoes at 400 until soft on the inside (About 1 hour).

Remove the potatoes from the oven and cut in half length-wise.

Scoop out the inside of the potatoes, making sure to leave the skin intact. Place the insides in a potato ricer and place the processed potato in a large bowl. If you do not have a ricer, remove the inside of the potato and put in a large bowl. Mash with a potato masher or hand mixer.

Heat the milk in the microwave until warm. Add butter, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Stir to combine. Add milk, a little at a time, until the potatoes are creamy and smooth.

Fill the potato skins with the mashed potatoes. Place on a baking sheet in the oven at 400 degrees and bake until hot. Add cheese and crumbled bacon to the top of each potato. Bake until the cheese is melted.

Serve hot.

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Roasted Chicken

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I like to make a nice dinner on Sunday. I typically pick something that is a little more difficult to make or is a little on the fancy side because we have time. I like to have leftovers for lunch during the week or another dinner or two as well. I always thought roasted chicken was difficult. I don’t know why because I have made turkey many times. It just seemed like it might be hard. Plus, it is always impressive to get roasted chicken in a restaurant. 

Roasted chicken is not difficult. It is actually quite easy. The hardest part is getting over the fact that you have to stick your hand in the chicken. Luckily, I got over that a long time ago. This is a delicious meal that is very impressive on the table. As a bonus, because there are only two of us, we can use the left over chicken the rest of the week in other meals. 

The other thing that I worry about when roasting a chicken is getting chicken juices all over the kitchen so, we try to keep the contamination to a minimum and then disinfect once it is in the oven. 

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I always start by preparing my pan. I like to use my 8×8 All-clad Baker because it is the perfect size for a 3-4 pound chicken. I do not have a rack for this pan, so I just cut an onion and put it in the bottom of the pan with a couple of carrots. 

Next, I prepare the rub. I like to use Herbs de Provence. I learned about roasting chicken with this when we were on vacation when I was a child. I ordered roasted chicken and it was so good. We asked what the seasoning was and the waitress said that it was Herbs de Provence. 

I mix 1 tablespoon of Herbs de Provence, 1 tablespoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika, 1 teaspoon of ground pepper, and about 4 tablespoons of olive oil. Stir to combine. 

In a separate small bowl, mix another set of 2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon of smoked paprika, and 1/2 teaspoon go ground pepper. 

I also like to prepare the herbs that I stuff inside. I like to pick some thyme and sage from the garden to stuff into the chicken. In addition, I add 2-3 cloves of crushed garlic. 

I cut a piece of string (purchased at a kitchen supply store) about 2 feet in length. 

Heat the oven (I like to use the toaster oven) to 425 degrees. 

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Clean out the sink and scrub it.

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Set up a station next to the sink with all of the things you need for preparing the chicken.

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After the sink is cleaned remove the chicken from the packaging in the sink.

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There will usually be a small package inside of the chicken that contains the internal organs and a neck. Some chickens do not contain this. It is a good idea to check. I usually have a small sauce pan ready and put the gizzards in the small pan. Then, I add 1-2 pieces of celery, salt, and a piece of onion. I cover it with water and simmer for about 40 minutes. I reserve it and use when I need to make gravy or add it to soup. 

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I wash the chicken by rinsing it inside and out. Then. I pat it dry with a paper towl. IMG 3860

I take the small bowl of salt that does not contain oil and sprinkle the seasonings on the inside. Leave the bowl in the sink. 

IMG 3861Transfer the chicken to the 8×8 pan, breast side up. 

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Stuff the thyme, sage, and garlic into the cavity of the bird. 

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Tie the legs together by wrapping the string around them in a figure 8 pattern. Tie at the end to tighten. Stick the wings under the chicken. 

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Then, give the oil mixture another stir and dump the oil and spices over the top of the chicken. Place the bowl and spoon in the sink. Rub the oil and spices over the chicken until the entire chicken is coated in oil and spices.IMG 3872 

I like to place meat thermometers in the chicken. So that I know when it is done. 

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Place the chicken in the oven and bake about 20 minutes per pound or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees when the thermometer is in the thickest part of the thigh.  (By the way, did you notice that I am able to cook two large potatoes and a whole chicken in my toaster oven? I love my toaster oven.)

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Clean all items that may have touched the raw chicken. 

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Remove from the oven.IMG 3900Allow to rest with foil covering it for 10-15 minutes. 

 

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Cut and serve. 

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