Friday, December 8, 2017

creamy garden spaghetti

It had been a while since I'd pulled out my Hershey Relief Society cookbook so I pulled it out and found a few recipes to try.  I love remembering these friends as I prepare the recipes.  This creamy garden spaghetti is delicious.  I wanted something with lots of veggies because of all the endless Christmas goodies in the house.

creamy garden spaghetti (Natalie from Hershey Relief Society Cookbook 2008)
1/2 pound fresh broccoli, broken into florets
1 1/2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 large carrot, sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 ounces uncooked spaghetti
1/4 cup chopped onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons flour
2 teaspoons chicken bouillon granules
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 cups milk
1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons butter
sauted chicken, optional

In a large skillet, saute the broccoli, zucchini, mushrooms and carrot in oil until crisp-tender.  Remove from the heat and set aside.  Cook spaghetti according to package directions.  In another saucepan, saute onion and garlic in butter until tender.  Stir in the flour, bouillon and thyme until blended.  Gradually add milk.  Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.  Reduce heat to low; stir in cheeses until melted.  Add the vegetables, heat through.  Drain spaghetti, toss with vegetable mixture.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

pumpkin spice roll-out sugar cookies

I did it- I made a big Thanksgiving dinner today.  For one person, my son.  He couldn't remember having a big traditional dinner so I thought we should do it.  The rest of the family wasn't all that thrilled but I did it (they like our tradition of raclette for dinner)!  All the clean up is just about taken care of and now we're awaiting the arrival of some friends to join us for dessert tonight.  Cheesecake, cherry pie, pumpkin pie cake, fresh fruit, etc.  These are cookies that the kids can decorate and either eat tonight or take home.  This recipe is terrific.  It calls for sugar-in-the-raw which adds a satisfying crunch, while eating and while cutting the shapes out with cookie cutters.  The perfect fall sugar cookie.

pumpkin spice roll-out sugar cookies (from my friend Brittney's daughter who shared these at Activity Days)
1 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup turbinado sugar
3/4 cup baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 egg
1 tablespoon milk
2 3/4 cup whole wheat flour

Cream together the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy.  Add in the tubinado sugar and cream for an extra minute.  Add the baking powder, salt and pumpkin pie spice; mix well.  Add the egg and milk.  Beat well.  Add the flour, mixing until well combined.  The dough should be soft and not sticky.  Turn out onto sheets of waxed paper and roll.  Cut out shapes and transfer to baking sheets lined with parchment paper.  Freeze sheets for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 365.  Remove cookies from freezer and bake 8-10 minutes or until the edges begin to have a hint of brown.  Cool cookies on baking sheet 2-3 minutes then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.  Decorate if desired.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

spicy giardiniera pizza topping

About a year and a half ago my husband gave me the most delicious pizza and pasta topping for my birthday.  We wanted more after we polished off the jar but unfortunately the store, Tuesday Morning, no longer had it.  After a long wait, my husband decided to find a recipe and make some.  It is delicious!  What I love about this recipe is that it is far less greasy- the store bought topping was marinated in oil which is not my preference.  We all agree that it is less spicy than the other but that's an easy fix! :)

spicy giardiniera pizza topping (my husband found the recipe somewhere?!)
1 green bell pepper
1 red bell pepper
1 big carrot
1 celery stalk
1 onion
5 jalapeƱo peppers
1 habanero pepper
1 cauliflower
1 heaping tablespoon minced garlic
1 heaping tablespoon dried oregano
1 heaping tablespoon red pepper flakes
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 C. white vinegar

Dice all the vegetables and combine with the spices and vinegar. Add a little water if necessary and marinate in the refrigerator overnight.

2 little cans of diced black olives
2 big jars of pimento stuffed green olives
1/2 cup olive oil

Chop the green olives and combine with the black olives, olive oil, and the spicy vegetable mixture. Allow to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 days.

Friday, October 27, 2017

store bought favorite: tj's harvest blend herbal tea

This herbal tea is delicious.  Normally I don't think of tea as being delicious but this one is fall-in-a-cup.  Pour in a little milk or half and half and you have creamy-fall-in-a-cup, even more delicious.   I need to go stock up!  Just in time for those chilly (way too chilly) mornings.

store bought favorite: trader joe's harvest blend herbal tea
ingredients:  cinnamon, ginger, hibiscus, natural cinnamon and apple flavors with other natural flavors, chamomile, roasted chicory, orange peel

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

delicious cheese sticks

We got home from dance this evening and my oldest had these made about 3 minutes after we walked in the door.  I rarely eat fried foods but these are delicious! One of my weaknesses is cheese.  The more cheese the better!  We enjoyed these with homemade salsa.  I asked her if she found this idea on Pinterest and she said no- she saw some egg roll wrappers that had been sitting in our fridge for weeks so decided to try this out.  Brilliant!

delicious cheese sticks
12 string cheese sticks
12 egg roll wrappers
water to seal the edges

Roll up each cheese stick in an egg roll wrapper.  Seal the ends with a little water.  Pour enough canola oil in the bottom of a pan to coat the bottom.  Heat to medium.  Cook the cheese sticks until light brown and bubbly.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

stuffed pork chops with butternut squash and figs

Hall of Fame.  Seriously!  It's been killing me that it's taken so long for me to post this after making it and enjoying it so much.  Posting delicious dishes sort of seals the deal for me; makes it official.  Will life slow down?  No.  It just speeds up and gets more complicated.  That's okay if you can slow down long enough to enjoy a dish like this.  Thanks, Erin, for the great recipe!

stuffed pork chops with butternut squash and figs (my friend Erin K found it at skinnytaste, slightly adapted)
3 thick boneless pork chops
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small white onion, chopped
1 1/4 cups diced butternut squash, 1/2-inch diced (I used 1/2 package from Trader Joe's)
5 black mission figs, chopped (I picked out 5 from bulk foods section)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cup baby spinach
3 fresh sage leaves, chopped (next time I'll add a few more)
1/4 teaspoon crushed black pepper
cooking twine
cooking spray

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add olive oil.  Add onions and saute for 2 minutes.  Add squash and 2 tablespoons water and cover; cook on low for 10 minutes.  Remove lid and add figs, garlic, spinach, salt, sage and pepper and cook for another 3-4 minutes.  Set aside to cool.
Cut a pocket into the sides of the pork chops, careful not to cut all the way through at the ends.  Season the inside and outside of the pork with salt.
Stuff each with about 3/4 cup of squash mixture. Cut cooking twine long enough to tie each with twine.  Cut off extra twine.
Preheat oven to 375.  In the skillet over medium-high heat, carefully sear each pork chop on each side- 3 sides.  If your skillet is oven-safe, cover with foil and place in the center of the oven.  If not then transfer to baking dish and cover with foil.  Place skillet or baking dish directly into the oven and cook for 30-35 minutes.  Allow to sit 5 minutes before cutting off twine.  Enjoy!

Thursday, September 28, 2017

green tomato salsa verde

I love my backyard but there are two "problems" if you want to grow anything.  The first is the deer.  Our yard is the home to many deer who absolutely love our property.  They love the lichen that drops from our 100 foot tall, 100 year old beautiful oak trees that block the sun which is the other problem.  I love the deer and the trees but it's hard to grow anything edible or beautiful.  My very determined husband secured a garden area but those oak trees don't let a lot of sun in.  Thanks to his persistence and creativity we ended up with a lot of tomatoes very late in the season but many never turned red.  He asked if I could make some salsa verde so here it is!  My kids absolute loved it.  My husband will get to try it when he gets home.

green tomato salsa verde (adapted from
3 pounds green tomatoes, cores removed and quartered
2 large onions, diced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
3 jalapenos
1/2 cup cilantro
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon salt or to taste
6 cups water

Place tomatoes, onion, garlic and jalapenos into a big pot.  Add cilantro, cumin and salt; pour in water.  Bring to a boil over high heat then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until the tomatoes are soft, 10 to 15 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the vegetables into a blender in batches.  Puree until smooth.