Roasted Vegetables with Israeli Couscous

I love roasted vegetables.  Potatoes, onions, carrots, you name it.  I particularly love roasted squash.  Given the abundance of squash during the fall, I’m in hog heaven.  I bought a butternut squash last week in anticipation of roasting it.  I didn’t have any recipe in particular in mind, so I just sorta winged it.  I spied some Israeli couscous in the pantry I’d bought at my local international foods market and decided it would be a great accompaniment to my roasted vegetables.   I adapted it from this recipe I found on epicurious.com.  It all turned out quite well!  I served the vegetables over the couscous and garnished it with some fresh parsley and shredded parmesan cheese.  I think some goat cheese would also work well with this.  I’ll give that a try the next time I make it :).

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Roasted Vegetables with Israeli Couscous

Ingredients

Vegetables

  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 large purple onion, chopped into large pieces
  • 6 cloves of garlic, smashed
  • 2 T chopped sage leaves
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Couscous

  • 1 T butter
  • 2 c Israeli couscous
  • 4 c chicken broth
  • 1 – 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 5 – 6 whole allspice

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line two baking sheets with foil or parchment paper.  Divide the squash, onion, garlic and sage between the two sheets.  Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat.  Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the vegetables are softened and browned.
  2. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a saucepan.  Pour in the couscous and cook for several minutes until the grains are nicely browned.  Add the chicken broth, the cinnamon sticks, and the allspice.  Cover and simmer over low heat until the broth is absorbed and the grains are separated, about 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. To serve, place the couscous on a plate and top with the roasted vegetables.  Garnish with chopped parsley and parmesan cheese, if desired.
Published in: on October 28, 2009 at 4:22 pm  Comments (18)  

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

I had a Cookie Monster-like hankering for some cookies the other day.  While I’m a huge fan of chocolate, I thought oatmeal raisin cookies sounded better.  Since I already had the oatmeal out for my World Bread Day bread, I figured why not?  I found this recipe on the All Recipes website.  I’ve made these babies several times before, and they’re awesome.  Of course, the dough itself is irresistible, and I a downed a good portion of it before they even made it in the oven.  Whoops!  I like my cookies chewy, so I tend to under bake them a little.  You could leave them in a bit longer for a more crispy cookie.  Spicy and delicious….a perfect fall-like cookie :).

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Oatmeal Raisin Cookies (Adapted from All Recipes)

Ingredients

  • 1 c butter, softened
  • 1 c packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 c white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1 t ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 t ground cloves
  • 1/4 t ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup raisins

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, white sugar, eggs, and vanilla until smooth. Combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and salt; stir into the sugar mixture. Stir in the oats and raisins. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.
  3. Bake 9 to 11 minutes until light and golden. Do not over bake. Let them cool for 2 minutes before removing from cookie sheets to cool completely. Store in airtight container.
Published in: on October 17, 2009 at 6:12 pm  Comments (17)  

Old-Fashioned Oatmeal Bread for World Bread Day 2009

The International Union of Bakers and Bakers-Confectioners (UIB) declared October 16th as World Bread Day to celebrate the importance of bread as a staple food in many cultures across the world and to provide as a way for bakers to talk about bread.  For the past 4 years, Zorra has hosted a blog round up to celebrate World Bread Day.  I decided to make Old-Fashioned Oatmeal Bread from King Arthur Flour’s website (they have a ton of awesome recipes).  I started the bread in my bread machine on the dough cycle and did the final rise and baking conventionally.  Although my loaf was kinda misshapen, it was really good.  The bread had a wonderful texture and flavor.  Of course, I’m very partial to oatmeal and molasses :).  It was great toasted and slathered with butter and apple butter.  Yum!

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Old-Fashioned Oatmeal Bread (Adapted from King Arthur Flour’s website)

Ingredients

  • 1 c + 6 T boiling water
  • 1 c rolled oats
  • 2 3/4 c bread flour
  • 2 t instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 t salt
  • 1/4 c nonfat dry milk
  • 1/4 c vegetable oil
  • 1/4 c molasses or dark corn syrup
  • 1 T vital wheat gluten

Directions

  1. Place the boiling water and oats into the pan of your bread machine, and gently mix them together by hand, using a spatula. Allow the mixture to cool till lukewarm, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients to the pan, program the machine for Manual or Dough, and press Start. About 10 minutes before the end of the final kneading cycle, adjust the consistency of the dough with additional flour or water; it should be smooth, though still a bit sticky. Allow the machine to complete its cycle.
  3. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased work surface, and gently shape it into a loaf. Place the loaf in a lightly greased 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch bread pan, cover the pan with lightly greased plastic wrap or a dough-rising cover, and allow the bread to rise for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until it’s crowned 1 to 1 1/2 inches over the rim of the pan.
  4. Bake the bread in a preheated 350°F oven for about 35 minutes, or until the center registers 190°F on an instant-read thermometer. Check the bread about 10 minutes before the end of its baking time; if it appears to be browning too quickly, tent it loosely with aluminum foil. Remove the bread from the oven, transfer it from the pan to a wire rack, and brush the crust with butter (or spray it with Vegalene or butter-flavored pan spray), if you like; this will help keep the crust soft.

world bread day 2009 - yes we bake.(last day of sumbission october 17)

Published in: on October 16, 2009 at 4:35 pm  Comments (20)  

Barefoot Bloggers – Cheddar Corn Chowder

This is my first post for the Barefoot Bloggers.  The Barefoot Bloggers are a group of blogging cooks and bakers who test Ina Garten’s (The Barefoot Contessa) recipes as a group and blog about them twice a month.  My blogger buddy, Cassie, is a member of this group and told me it was a lot of fun.  I love Ina Garten and have most of her cookbooks, so I figured this would be a good way for me to try her delicious recipes.  The recipe for this week was chosen by Jill of My Next Life.  She picked Ina’s Cheddar Corn Chowder.  It was delicious!  I prepared it over the weekend when we were having cool, fall-like weather, so it was a perfect time for it.  This recipe makes A LOT of soup, so you might want to consider halving the recipe if you aren’t feeding many people or don’t want a lot of leftovers.  Please visit the Barefoot Bloggers site to see everyone’s creations.

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Ina’s Cheddar Corn Chowder (Courtesy of Ina and Food Network)

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces bacon, chopped (I used a full pound of bacon.  Why not? he he he)
  • 1/4 c good olive oil (I omitted this since I used more bacon)
  • 6 c chopped yellow onions (4 large onions)
  • 4 T (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 c flour
  • 2 t kosher salt
  • 1 t freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 t ground turmeric
  • 12 c chicken stock
  • 6 c medium-diced white boiling potatoes, unpeeled (2 pounds)
  • 10 c corn kernels, fresh (10 ears) or frozen (3 pounds)
  • 2 c half-and-half
  • 8 ounces sharp white cheddar cheese, grated

Directions

  1. In a large stockpot over medium-high heat, cook the bacon and olive oil until the bacon is crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and reserve. Reduce the heat to medium, add the onions and butter to the fat, and cook for 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent.
  2. Stir in the flour, salt, pepper, and turmeric and cook for 3 minutes. Add the chicken stock and potatoes, bring to a boil, and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. If using fresh corn, cut the kernels off the cob and blanch them for 3 minutes in boiling salted water. Drain. (If using frozen corn you can skip this step.) Add the corn to the soup, then add the half-and-half and cheddar. Cook for 5 more minutes, until the cheese is melted. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Serve hot with a garnish of bacon.

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Published in: on October 8, 2009 at 10:36 am  Comments (24)  

Oatmeal Toffee Bars

I bought a bag of Heath Bits ‘o Brickle Toffee Bits a while back because I love Heath Bars and figured I could find some delicious concoction to use them in.  I searched the Hershey’s Kitchens website and found a recipe for these bars.  Of course, I couldn’t leave well enough alone and added a 12 ounce bag of chocolate chips to the batter.  You can’t have toffee without chocolate in my estimation!  This created a nice ribbon of chocolaty goo in the middle of the bars.  These were really good both before and after baking.  I know this because I might have had a taste or two of the uncooked batter :).

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Oatmeal Toffee Bars (Courtesy of Hershey’s Kitchens)

Ingredients

  • 1 c (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 c packed light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 c all-purpose flour
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1-1/3 c (8 oz. pkg.) Heath Bits ‘0 Brickle Toffee Bits, divided
  • 1 12 oz bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 3 c quick-cooking or regular rolled oats

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease 13x9x2-inch baking pan.
  2. Beat butter and brown sugar in large bowl until well blended. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well.
  3. Stir together flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Gradually add to butter mixture, beating until blended. Set aside 1/4 cup toffee bits. Stir remaining toffee bits and oats into batter (batter will be stiff). Spread batter into prepared pan; sprinkle reserved 1/4 cup toffee bits over surface.
  4. Bake 25 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars. About 36 bars.
Published in: on October 3, 2009 at 4:56 pm  Comments (18)  

A Blogger Buddy’s Recipe and an Award

Earlier this year, my blogger buddy, Cassie, from Foodie with Little Thyme! (Visit her blog ASAP….she makes awesome food!) posted a recipe from a 1974 Southern Living Cookbook here.  The recipe was titled “Husband’s Delight,” which cracked me up.  She wasn’t too impressed by the dish due to the abundance of noodles and cheese, but her kids sure liked it!  Now, I haven’t met a dish with noodles and cheese I didn’t like, so I figured I’d give the recipe a go.  Although admittedly unrefined, I ended up liking it :).  My husband thought it was good, too, so that makes it a winner at this house.  I did change the ingredients a bit from the original by using ground turkey instead of beef, increasing the amount of shredded cheese, and using cream cheese with onions and chives.

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Husband’s Delight (Courtesy of Southern Living and Foodie with Little Thyme!)

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lb ground turkey
  • 1 8 oz tub cream cheese with onions and chives, softened
  • 2 c sour cream
  • 3 green onions
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 2 8oz cans of tomato sauce
  • 1 t sugar
  • 1 t salt
  • Dash pepper
  • Dash of Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 5oz packages of noodles
  • 4 c shredded cheese (yes, I like cheese a little too much)

Directions

  1. In bowl, mix cream cheese, sour cream and onions.
  2. Brown meat in butter.  Add tomato sauce, sugar, salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce.
  3. Cook noodles according to package directions.
  4. In 2-quart casserole dish, alternate layers of noodles, beef mixture and sour cream mixture.
  5. Top with shredded cheese and bake at 350° until brown.

I was also the recipient of the Meme Award from Cassie.  Yea!  Awards!  Thanks, Cassie!  Now, for 7 things about me…hmmm.  I’m pretty boring but here goes:

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  1. I procrastinate….a lot.  I put things off until the last minute all the time.  Why?  Dunno.  I’d make life a whole lot easier if I didn’t!
  2. My husband and I both have a wicked, warped sense of humor and are pretty good at finding something funny to say at all times.  It’s never boring at my house.
  3. I’m a total klutz.  I’ve had so many mishaps I’ve lost count.  My husband makes fun of me about it all the time.  Guess that’s one reason why I suck at organized sports.
  4. Fall is my favorite time of year.  I love the cooler weather and all the changing colors.  Well, and I love Halloween.  Candy corn mmmmm.
  5. I have natural colored red hair.  I got made fun of a lot as a kid, but it’s fashionable as an adult.
  6. I love Snoopy and Peanuts.  Guess I’m just a kid at heart. he he he
  7. I’m fascinated by the UK and would love to travel there someday.  I love me some BBC America!  And, they have some great cooking magazines and shows.
Published in: on September 16, 2009 at 5:45 pm  Comments (8)  

Cheesy Corn Spoon Bread

I made barbecue chicken today and thought this would be the perfect accompaniment.  Plus, I have an overabundance of cream corn to use up because my husband accidentally bought a case of it thinking it was regular corn, and he doesn’t like it by itself.  I found this recipe on Kittencal’s Kitchen.  She makes some pretty great stuff, so I go to her website often for recipes.  This spoon bread was really good.  The recipe originally included jalapeno.  I left it out as my hubby doesn’t like anything hot, but I’m sure it would be great with it.

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Cheesy Corn Spoon Bread (Adapted from Kittencal’s Kitchen)

Ingredients

  • 1/3 c butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 c sour cream (one 16-ounce container)
  • 1 (15-ounce) can corn kernels, drained
  • 1 (14-3/4 ounce) can cream-style corn
  • 1 (8-1/2 ounce) package corn bread/muffin mix
  • 1/2 t seasoned salt
  • fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3 c shredded cheddar cheese

Directions

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and grease a 3-quart casserole dish.

2.  In a small skillet heat butter over medium-high heat.  Add in onion; saute until softened (about 3-4 minutes).  Add in garlic and saute for 2 minutes; set aside.

3.  In a bowl beat eggs for about 2 minutes.  Mix in sour cream, corn kernels and cream-style corn until blended.  Using a wooden spoon stir/mix in the corn bread/muffin mix and 1/2 teaspoon salt.  Fold in onion/garlic mixture and 2 cups cheddar cheese.  Season with fresh ground black pepper (use as much black pepper as you like).  Transfer to casserole dish.

4.  Bake uncovered for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Immediate sprinkle 1 cup cheddar cheese on top and allow to melt.

Published in: on May 31, 2009 at 7:02 pm  Comments (10)  

Cheddar-Topped Shepherd’s Pie

One of my favorite food magazines is Everyday Food.  Martha Stewart may be an ex-felon, but I still love her stuff.  I always find delicious recipes to try in this magazine.  I found this particular one in the October 2008 issue.  It’s definitely comfort-type food!  While it’s delicious straight from the oven, I think it tastes even better the next day.  I used a whole lot more cheese than the recipe called for (you know about my unhealthy addiction to cheese), but otherwise, I followed the recipe exactly.

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Cheddar-Topped Shepherd’s Pie (Courtesy of Everyday Food)

  • 2 pounds baking potatoes (about 4), peeled and thinly sliced
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, such as safflower
  • 6 medium carrots, halved lengthwise, quartered if large, and thinly sliced
  • 6 celery stalks, thinly sliced
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 2 pounds ground beef chuck
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3 cups shredded sharp cheddar
  • Directions

    1.  Preheat oven to 450. Place potatoes in a large saucepan, and cover by 1 inch with salted water. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer. Cook until potatoes are easily pierced with the tip of a paring knife, 15 to 20 minutes.

    2.  Meanwhile, heat oil in a 5-quart Dutch oven or heavy pot over medium-high. Add carrots, celery, onion, and thyme. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Add flour and tomato paste; cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add beef; cook, stirring occasionally, until no longer pink, 6 to 8 minutes. Add 1 cup water; bring to a boil, and simmer 1 minute. Set beef filling aside.

    3.  Drain potatoes; return to pan. Cook over medium, stirring, until liquid has evaporated and a thin film covers bottom of pan, about 1 minute. Remove pan from heat; add milk and 1 cup cheese. Mash until smooth; season cheddar-potato topping with salt and pepper.

    4.  Pour beef filling into a 13-by-9-inch baking dish. Drop dollops of topping over filling; spread to edges with a spatula.  Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Bake until topping is browned and filling is bubbling rapidly, about 20 minutes (if topping and filling were chilled, increase to 35 minutes). Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

    Published in: on May 24, 2009 at 5:03 pm  Comments (6)  

    Gingersnaps

    Gingersnaps are one of those treats that gives me the warm, fuzzies inside (lame I know).  My grandma, who passed away quite some time ago, used to make these all the time when I was growing up.  Whenever I make them, they remind me of her.  I used fresh, grated ginger instead of ground ginger for an extra kick.  Use as much or as little as you like cause it can get kinda spicy!  These really taste better the day after making them.  I find it really hard not to devour them right away, though.

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    Gingersnaps (Courtesy of Recipezaar)

    Ingredients

    • 2 1/4 c flour
    • 2 t grated ginger (or less if desired)
    • 1 t baking soda
    • 3/4 t cinnamon
    • 1/2 t clove
    • 1/4 t salt
    • 3/4 c butter or margarine
    • 1/2 c brown sugar
    • 1/4 c white sugar
    • 1 egg
    • 1/4 cup molasses
    • 1/2 cup sugar (separate for rolling cookies in)

    Directions

    1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

    2.  Combine dry ingredients and set aside.

    3.  In a large bowl beat butter till soft, gradually add sugars.

    4.  Beat in egg and molasses.

    5.  Stir in flour mixture.

    6.  Roll into balls, then roll in sugar.

    7.  Bake 10- 12 minutes.

    Published in: on May 12, 2009 at 7:55 pm  Comments (10)  

    BBD #19 – Parmesan Herb Batter Bread

    This month’s BBD was hosted by Cindystar.  She has a great blog that’s mostly in Italian, but hey, who needs to speak it when you have all her awesome food to look at!  The pictures tell a thousand words.  She chose as the theme for this month Spring Country Breads and gave us considerable leeway with the breads we could choose…savory/sweet, yeast/quick, etc.  That left a lot of options to choose from!  When I think of spring, I think of the color green.  My herbs are starting to take off, and I figured I’d incorporate them into my bread somehow.  This bread was great!  Very simple to make but delicious.  Be sure to check out the BBD round up (here on Zorra’s blog) for the other participant’s creations.

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    Parmesan Herb Batter Bread (Adapted from King Arthur Flour)

    Ingredients

    • scant T or 1 (1/4-ounce) package active dry yeast
    • 1/4 c lukewarm (105°F to 115°F) water
    • 2 c all-purpose flour
    • 1 T granulated sugar
    • 1/2 t salt
    • 8 T (1 stick) butter, room temperature
    • 1/2 c lukewarm (105°F to 115°F) milk
    • 1 large egg, beaten
    • 1/2 c shredded Parmesan cheese
    • 2 T fresh herbs, finely chopped (I used a mix of parsley, oregano, and thyme)
    • 3 oz chive & onion cream cheese spread

    Directions

    1.  In a cup, stir yeast into water to soften.

    2.  In a large bowl, whisk flour, sugar and salt together to combine. Add softened yeast/water mixture, butter, milk, egg, Parmesan cheese and the herbs. Beat vigorously for 2 minutes.

    3.  Turn batter into a well-seasoned 10-inch skillet or round pan. Dot top of dough with cream cheese spread. Cover with tightly woven towel and let rise for 1 hour.

    4.  Preheat oven to 375°F. Bake bread for 20 minutes, or until internal temperature of bread reaches 190°F on an instant-read thermometer. Remove bread from oven, cut into wedges, and serve immediately.

    Published in: on April 30, 2009 at 7:45 pm  Comments (16)