Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Easy Fall Favorite

Homemade applesauce made with fresh picked apples is a simple treat that doesn't require sugar.  This delicious fruit dish has only three ingredients:  apples, cinnamon and nutmeg. Preparation involves just three steps:  peel, cut and spice.  Cooking time is three hours or less.

First, cover part of the counter with plastic wrap.

 I sit at the counter and peel directly into the wrap.

 Slice the apple around the core, discard the core and cut the apples into large chunks.

Place apple chunks in the crock pot.
Sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg.


Discard the peel.

 Cook on high for 2 1/2 -3 hours.

I cut up approximately 20 apples (8 pounds) to fill my crock pot.  2 apples makes 1/2 cup of applesauce.

Homemade Applesauce

(Serves 12-1/2 cup servings)

Peel, core and cut apples in large chunks.  Place apple chunks in crock pot.  My crock pot holds 12 cups.
20-24 apples

Season with cinnamon and nutmeg.
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Cook on high for 2 1/2 -3 hours.  Longer cooking times reduces the volume and chunkiness.


Sunday, September 27, 2015

Birthday Bridge (Picnic)

We celebrated Bob's birthday today with a picnic at Casselman (Md.) Bridge.  Our menu included Roasted Salmon and Squash Salad with Curried Red Lentil Soup.  The recipes were inspired by Eating Well Magazine.

Roasted Salmon & Squash Salad

(Serves 6)

Mix squash with olive oil and Mrs. Dash. Roast at 400 F. for  10-20 minutes.  (Zucchini will cook faster)  
1 medium butternut squash, seeded and peeled, diced
1 medium jester squash, seeded and peeled, diced
1 medium zucchini, halved and sliced in 1/2 inch pieces
3 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon Mrs. Dash

Roast salmon at 400 F. for 15 minutes.
4 ounce fillets (I made 2 for 2 picnic meals). 

Heat broccoli for 2 minutes in the microwave.  
1 broccoli crown, cut in florets

Cool salmon and vegetables in the refrigerator.

Marinade for roasted salmon
5 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
I marinated the salmon the morning of the picnic and transported it with ice packs in the marinade.  

Arrange salad at table side with fresh arugula.  

Curried Red Lentil Soup

(Serves 6)

Saute scallion, garlic, ginger and curry in olive oil for 2 minutes.
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 cup scallion, diced
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, shaved
1 teaspoon curry powder

Add squash, lentils, tomatoes and water.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to simmer and cooks for 20 minutes.
1/2 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut in 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 cup red lentils
1 cup diced canned tomatoes, without salt, drained
2 cups water
Cool in a shallow container overnight in the refrigerator.

The morning of the picnic, add milk and water to the cooled soup.
1/2 cup evaporated skim milk
1/2 cup water 
Heat.  Place in a preheated thermos to transport.
(I preheat the thermos by adding boiling water to it, tightening the lid, then draining prior to adding the heated soup).
Garnish with thyme sprigs and lime wedges.

It is Bob's birthday, so we bought a little carrot cake to serve for dessert.  We always bring a thermos of coffee to enjoy with out meal.

 Enjoy your week!



Saturday, September 26, 2015

Gritty Gold

Pumpkin Grits with Roasted Vegetables has many favorite fall foods, including butternut and jester squash.  The recipe was inspired by Food Network Magazine.  

Pumpkin Grits with Roasted Vegetables

(Serves 6)

Mix squash with olive oil and Mrs. Dash. Roast at 400 F. for  10-20 minutes.  (Zucchini will cook faster)  
1 medium butternut squash, seeded and peeled, diced
1 medium jester squash, seeded and peeled, diced
1 medium zucchini, halved and sliced in 1/2 inch pieces
3 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon Mrs. Dash

Bring water and milk to a simmer.  Stir in corn grits and salt.
2 cups water
1 cup skim milk
1/2 cup stone ground corn grits
Dash salt
Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer 6 minutes, stirring continually with a wooden spoon.

Stir in pumpkin.  Cook 4 minutes, stirring continually.
1 scant cup pumpkin puree

Remove grits from burner and stir in cheese.
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan

Heat broccoli for 2 minutes in the microwave.  
1 broccoli crown, cut in florets

If necessary, heat roasted vegetables.

For each serving, ladle 1/2 cup grits in a bowl.  Top with 3/4 cup roasted vegetables.



Friday, September 25, 2015

So Fine Seafood

Soba Noodles, Crab and Ratatouille was a flavorful seafood combination.  I made the slow cooker ratatouille earlier in the day.  Then dinner cooking time took less than 30 minutes.  While the noodles cooked in one pan, I sauteed and simmered the crab sauce in another pan.  I microwaved the ratatouille to top the finished seafood platters.  

Crab Sauce for Pasta

(2 servings)

Saute scallions, garlic and pepper in olive oil.
1/4 cup scallions, diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 small red pepper, seeded and cut in strips
1 teaspoon olive oil

Stir in crabmeat, almonds, lemon and broth.
4 ounce crabmeat
2 tablespoons toasted almonds, ground
2 teaspoon lemon zest
3/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
Cook for 8-10 minutes while noodles cook to allow much of the liquid to evaporate.

Stir arugala into crab sauce and stir for about a minute to wilt.
1/2 cup arugula

Serve over drained soba noodles.
Top with 1/2 cup Ratatouille.
Garnish with Feta cheese.

On this last weekend in September, our neighboring county (Preston of West Virginia) holds the Buckwheat Festival.  They grow and mill buckwheat into flour.  


Thursday, September 24, 2015

Hash It Out Salmon

Save money and prevent waste with this recipe.  Salmon, Potato & Vegetable Hash is a dish where an assortment of readily available vegetables and a small amount of salmon are cooked together in one pan to create a delicious dinner.  The recipe was inspired by Clean Eating.   My recipe uses those fresh vegetables I had in stock and small amounts I needed to use.

Salmon & Vegetable Hash

(Serves 2)

Melt buttery spread and oil in a skillet on medium-low heat.  Stir in potatoes and carrots.  Cover and cook until softened, about 12 minutes.  
2 teaspoon olive oil
2 teaspoon Earth Balance Buttery Spread
2/3 cup petite new potatoes, quartered
1/2 cup carrots, peeled and cut in 1/2 inch pieces
Stir in scallions, celery and Mrs. Dash.  Cook uncovered 3-5 minutes.
2 tablespoon scallions, diced
1/3 cup celery, diced
Mrs. Dash

Leftover salmon can be flaked and added to the pan.  Mine was not, so I baked it in the toaster oven for 15 minutes.
1 4 ounce salmon fillets, skinless

Add salmon, tomatoes, arugula and thyme.  Gently mix and heat throughout.
2/3 cup cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered depending on the size
2/3 cup arugula, chopped and stems removed
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, snipped and stems removed

Enjoy a beautiful fall evening!




Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Spiced Pear Baked Oatmeal

The recipe from Oh My Veggies does make the "pearfect fall breakfast".  Mine's made with fresh picked Asian Pears from WVU Farms.  

Spiced Pear Baked Oatmeal

(Serves 8)

Mix oats and spices.  Stir in diced pears.
2 1/4 cups oats
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/8 teaspoon allspice
Dash of nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup diced pears, unpeeled

Combine egg, milk, molasses and vanilla.  Stir into dry ingredients.
1 egg
1 3/4 cup skim milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup molasses

Spoon mixture into greased baking dish. ( I use olive oil spray and a rectangular 8 X 5 1/4 inch baking dish).  Bake at 375 F. for 35 minutes.  

I ate mine with Greek Yogurt, a glass of skim milk and fresh blueberries.  I froze the rest in individual servings using snack zipper bags.  These reheat quickly for a great breakfast!



Monday, September 21, 2015

Stuffed in Style (Meatless Monday)

Ricotta  & Veggie Stuffed Peppers was a recipe featured as Stuffed Tomatoes in Vegetarian Times.  Since the organic farm was selling beautiful peppers for 10 cents each, I prepared ours with peppers instead.  

Ricotta Stuffed Peppers

(Serves 4)

Mix egg, ricotta, vegetables, Mrs. Dash and Parmesan.
1 egg
1/2 cup ricotta cheese, part-skim
2 tablespoon shallots, diced
2 tablespoon fresh basil, snipped
1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese, shredded
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/2 cup fresh corn, cooked and cut off the cob
1/2 cup zucchini, diced
1/4 teaspoon Mrs. Dash
2 small tomatoes, diced and seeded

Stuff peppers with ricotta mix (about 1/3 cup each).
4 large sweet peppers, seeded
Top each pepper with 1/2 teaspoon shredded cheese and 3 zucchini slices.
2 teaspoon Parmesan cheese, shredded
12 zucchini slices

Bake at 350 F. for 45 minutes.


Sunday, September 20, 2015

Dressed Up Waffles

This month's Food Network Magazine has many fun ideas for Waffles.  I added feta, herbs and lemon zest to half the batter for a savory waffle, then topped a basic waffle with homemade applesauce.


(Makes 10-using 1/4 cup batter per waffle)

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl:  flours, sugar, baking powder and soda.
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup confectioners sugar
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Mix together eggs, milk and melted buttery spread.
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups skim milk
1/2 cup Earth Balance Buttery Spread, melted
Mix liquid egg mixture into dry flour mixture.  Mix just until blended.  (Do not overmix)
Make waffles, using plain batter, by adding 1/4 cup measure to each of the waffle squares.  I made 6 squares and cooled each on a wire rack.
To the remaining batter, add feta, spinach, herbs and zest. 
2 ounce feta
1/4 cup spinach, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh herbs (oregano, basil, parsley) chopped
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
Make the remaining waffles (4 more), by adding 1/4 cup feta batter to the waffle maker and baking.

Our feta waffles were topped with a fried egg (used 1 teaspoon olive oil to "fry" 2 eggs).
The plain waffles were topped with warm homemade applesauce.

 Have a great week. 

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Conaway Calzones

Our picnic today at Conaway Lake featured Diane Boyd's Ratatouille Calzones and Giada's "House" Soup.   Both items were prepared Friday. That's a day I have a noon-time water aerobics class.  That morning, I prepared the bread dough, let it rest one hour, then refrigerated the covered dough.  I put the ratatouille in the slow cooker before I went out.  When I got home from class, the calzone dough and vegetables were ready for assembly.  Diane was right, these calzones would entice everyone to eat their vegetables!

Ratatouille Calzones

(Serves 8)

Bread Dough
In mixing bowl with dough hook, mix flour, sugar and yeast.  Slowly add warm water.  Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon dry yeast
2 cups water (125 F.)

Gradually add remaining flours.  Knead on low speed for about 8 minutes, until dough leaves the side of the bowl.
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
Place dough in a bowl.  (I use an olive oil spray to grease the bowl and dough.)  Cover and let rest for 1 hour.
After 1 hour, I placed the dough in the refrigerator to slow the rising while I was out.  The calzones could have been assembled at the time the ratatouille was done cooking. 

Slow Cooker Ratatouile
Saute the pepper, scallions and garlic in olive oil for 6 minutes.
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 banana pepper, diced
1/4 cup scallions, diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed

Grease the slow cooker pan with olive oil spray.  Layer the eggplant, then the squash, then tomatoes.  Cover the tomatoes with the sauteed vegetables.  Sprinkle with Mrs. Dash.  Pour the wine over all the mix.
1 medium eggplant, peeled and sliced in 1/2 inch pieces
1 large yellow squash, cut in 1/2 inch pieces
6 small tomatoes, quartered and some seeds removed
Mrs. Dash
1/3 cup white zinfandel wine
Cover and cook on high for 3 1/2 hours.

Stir in the fresh herbs and olives.  Cook for 30 more minutes.
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
5 sprigs fresh oregano
1/3 cup calamati olives, sliced

Calzone assembly
Divide dough into 8 pieces.  Place on floured surface and let rest (covered) for 30 minutes.
Sprinkle parchment lined baking sheets with cornmeal.
1/4 cup corn meal 
Press each dough piece into a round.
Top each piece with 3 tablespoons of ratatouille (I drained the vegetables by placing a mini colander into the crock pot so that I could reserve the liquid.  There was about 1/12 cups of extra vegetables)
Leave a 1/2 inch rim around the edge of the dough.
Top vegetables with 2 tablespoons of cheese. 
1/4 cup fresh mozzarella, shredded
3/4 cup Parmigiana cheese, shredded
Fold dough over.  Crimp ends with a fork. 
Brush calzones with oil.
2 tablespoon olive oil 
Bake at 450 F. for 25 minutes.

Giada's House Soup

(Serves 9)

In a large saucepan, saute scallions, chopped carrot and fennel for 3 minutes. 
2 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 cup scallions, diced
2 carrots, 1 chopped, 1 sliced
1/2 fennel bulb, chopped

Add farro and beans.  Toast and stir for 1 minute.
1/2 cup farro
3/4 cup shelled fava beans

Add tomatoes, stock and thyme.  Cook for 1 1/2 hours on medium heat, partially covered.
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes, without salt
2 quarts low sodium chicken stock
3 sprigs thyme

Add meats and corn the last half hour of cooking.
2 ounce browned and crumbled Italian sausage
5 ounce dark meat chicken
1 ear of corn, cut off the cob

Add the spinach the last few minutes of cooking.
1/2 cup fresh picked spinach 

Conaway Lake is a wild life management area in Tyler County (West Virginia).  My husband is always on the look out for a pretty place to picnic, and this was a perfect spot.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Spineless Supper

Spatchcock the roasting chicken (remove the backbone) and cut the baking time in half.  This beautiful roast basil chicken cooked to an internal temperature of 165 F. in only 45 minutes.  

We first tried this technique last Thanksgiving with our turkey:
  • Cut along each side of the backbone and remove.
  • Open the chicken or turkey like a book.
  • Flip over.
  • Press down to flatten.
  • Tuck wings under. 
The basil butter recipe is in the September issue of Food Network Magazine.  

Basil Butter

(Serves 8)

2 cups fresh basil leaves
4 tablespoon Earth Balance Buttery Spread
1 garlic clove
Zest of 1 lemon
Bring a pan of water to a boil.  Add basil;  cook 30 seconds.  Drain and rinse under cold water.  Transfer to a food processor.  Puree with buttery spread, garlic and lemon zest.

I rubbed 1/2 of the basil butter under the skin of the chicken prior to baking, then basted 1/4 of the basil butter on the outside of the chicken.  The purple potatoes I served with the chicken were cooked, drained, and the served with the remaining 1/4 of the basil butter.

My chicken was purchased (and just butchered) from Working H Farm Store on Friendsville (Md.) Road.  There will only be 2 or 3 weeks more of the fresh chickens.  Reservations are being taken for the Thanksgiving turkeys!

Happy Friday!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Happy Autumn Cake

I named the cake "happy" due to the wholesome ingredients-hemp seed, fresh picked apples and almond butter that went into it.  As usual, I adjust the ingredients so that each serving has 2 teaspoons or less of added sugar and 1 or 2 servings of healthy fats.  Half the flour is whole grain. Here is my creation:

Apple Almond Butter Cake

(Serves 10)

In mixing bowl, beat eggs and sugar.
2 eggs
1/4 cup sugar

In a separate bowl, mix hemp meal, flours, baking powder, baking soda and spices.
1/4 cup hemp seed meal
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon cardamon
1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Blend olive oil, zest, molasses and applesauce in a measuring cup.
2 teaspoon lemon zest
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon molasses
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce

Alternately add dry, then liquid ingredients to the egg-sugar mix.  Stir only until blended.
Pour batter into an 8-inch springform pan greased with a vegetable oil spray.
Top with sauteed apple-almond mix.  (See below)

In a saucepan, melt buttery spread.  Stir in sugar.  Add apples and almond butter.  Stir well.  Saute for 10 minutes.  Stir in vanilla. 
2 tablespoon Earth Balance Buttery Spread
2 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 cup almond butter (all almonds, with no added salt or sugar)
4 apples, peeled and diced (3 cups total cut fruit)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
Evenly pour over batter.

Bake at 325 F. for 45 minutes.
Cool in pan 20 minutes.
Cut in 10 servings when ready to serve.

Did you know West Virginia is the 9th largest apple producing state? Find the fresh picked apples now at your local farms and markets. These are only .75/pound at WVU Farms. . . crispy, delicious and without a blemish!