Friday, November 20, 2015

Vegetable Chow Mein

Fresh ginger, garlic, soy sauce, honey and sesame oil come together beautifully in this dish to coat perfectly-cooked noodles and quickly-sautéed vegetables. A sprinkling of black sesame seeds as a garnish brings a nice textural element to finish off the dish. And, while the chopping of the vegetables does require a short bit of time (maybe five-to-ten minutes), everything comes together rather quickly once cooking begins.

One of the things that I love about this particular dish is that it can be eaten hot, at room temperature or cold. This would be a great side dish to serve with my Sweet and Sour Sesame Chicken.

In my opinion, the easiest way to go about this recipe is to prep everything before you start cooking. Get all of your veggies washed and cut. Have your noodles cooked and rinsed in a bit of cool water. I even combine the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl before beginning so that I can dump everything in the pan quickly as I go along. Then, all that you need to do is get your wok or pan hot and get to cooking.

Serves 2- 4 (depending on if you're serving it as a main dish or a side dish)

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Spiced Cinnamon & Brown Sugar Butter

During the cooler weather months, we eat a good deal of baked sweet potatoes and roasted squash in our house. This Spiced Cinnamon & Brown Sugar Butter is one of our favorite toppings for both. It is so quick to throw together and uses ingredients that we all tend to keep on hand.

French toast, waffles and pancakes are, also, great canvases for this easy-to-prepare spread.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Fall-Inspired Harvest Salad Bowl

We tend to think of salads as summer fare. But, when the right combination of ingredients come together, salads can be hearty, comforting dishes that fit right in during the cooler months, too.

Perfectly roasted squash shines in this salad. And, I've brought together a blend of bulgur and red quinoa for a great textural element here. Crisp apple slices and several other amazing add-ins make this one over-the-top salad. Of course, some sliced, grilled chicken would be fabulous in this salad if you're so inclined.

Serves 4.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Halloween White Chocolate Party Pretzel Rods

Whether you're throwing a Halloween party at home ... or you're needing to make goodies for a Halloween social function this year at work or school, these white chocolate-dipped pretzels are sure to please. No tricks here! This is a Halloween party treat that couldn't be simpler to prepare.

With just a few items from the grocery store, you can bring your guests that perfect combination of sweet and salty that they crave. This is a great DIY party favor that even the kiddos can help make. Serve these to your guests at home. Or, take them along to work to share with co-workers.

Of course, the kiddos in your child's classroom would go batty for these fun and festive treats, too.

NOTE: I prefer Wilton White Candy Melts and Wilton Candy Eyeballs for this recipe.

Yields 30 Pretzel Rods.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Honey Balsamic Roasted Carrots

I was able to utilize freshly harvested carrots from our garden recently for this recipe. (Granted, they were chubby, stubby guys, but still amazing and sweet.) Within minutes of plucking them out of the ground, these orange beauties were roasting in my oven. Roasting carrots brings out the natural sweetness and depth of flavor. They make such a fantastic side dish ... one that pairs well with so many main dishes this time of year. This dish shines at holiday dinners, yet its easy and quick prep make it ideal for casual weeknight dinners, too.

The cast of supporting characters here are ingredients that I always have on hand in my kitchen. So, while the result is complex and ultra-flavorful in taste, this recipe really couldn't be much more simple and humble.

I do recommend using the best balsamic vinegar that you can afford. I adore the tang of balsamic vinegar and love how it plays with the sweetness of the honey in this recipe. As I mentioned, such a simple ingredient list ... but the end result is complex, deep and satisfying on so many levels.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Simple Oven-Roasted Salmon

My children are salmon fanatics. I don't often prepare it at home, however, because it is difficult in our area to get good-quality, fresh salmon. We usually have to drive over an hour to visit a store that sells salmon worth buying. So, when I do buy it, they thoroughly enjoy it. I prefer to oven-roast it. This recipe is so incredibly simple and comes out perfectly every single time.

There really are only a handful of simple ingredients needed to prepare this. Of course, you can embellish this recipe a bit by using any spices or herbs of your choosing. It's really the method that's worth taking note of here. I keep things simple by utilizing only butter, salt, pepper and a fresh garnish. Your dinner guests will go nuts for this. Leftovers are fabulous atop a salad the next day, too.

Serves 4.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Preserving Herbs in Frozen Olive Oil Cubes {Two Versions}

Perhaps you have some fresh herbs leftover after buying a large amount for a particular recipe. Or, perhaps you find yourself with an over-abundance of fresh herbs in your garden at summer's end. My post will show you a creative and super useful method to preserve those fresh herbs for future use.

In addition to a garden full of vegetables, we planted lots of fresh herbs earlier this past spring. I had been looking for a way to preserve my bounty of herbs without just simply drying them all as I have done in the past.

Since my family enjoys roasting whole chickens and other meats throughout the cooler months, we can now easily grab a few of these cubes as needed. The olive oil keeps things nice and moist during cooking while the herbs (and other add-ins) bring amazing flavor to each dish. I have found that tossing a couple of these cubes onto a tray a vegetables for roasting is awesome, as well.

And, we've used some in a few pasta dishes, too. (My sixteen-year old recently added a couple of the "Italian" cubes into a pot of plain, cooked spaghetti noodles and tossed it all together with some freshly-grated Parmesan cheese.)

Below you will find the ingredients and method that I used to make two different versions of these cubes. There really aren't exact measurements, however. The size of the wells in your ice cube tray(s)and the number of wells in each tray will determine how much of each ingredient you will use, for example. So, this is really just a guideline. Also, you can use more garlic, for example, if you love, love, love a strong garlic flavor.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Slow Cooker Mushroom and Wild Rice Soup

Guys, this soup is so amazing. It is one that I will make over and over throughout the colder months because it is just so hearty, comforting and scrumptious. And, it's ultra easy to make.

I actually developed and spent time testing this recipe back in July and August. I often prepare recipes out-of-season/pre-season so that the posts for those recipes are "live" on the blog in-season. Since I prefer to test a new recipe several times before posting it, I often find myself making Christmas treats, for example, in October and November. In this case, it was soup in August.

Hot, sweltering August.

I am looking forward to enjoying this soup a lot more, however, now that cooler weather is upon us.

It's a soup deeply rich in flavor, but requires mere minutes of hands-on preparation.

The wild rice's chewy, hearty texture is enhanced here by the luxurious, creamy and silky broth while the mushrooms bring an earthy, deep flavor to the soup. Imagine cozying up on the couch with a mug of this hot, creamy soup during the blizzard-y, bitter cold months of winter. Pure comfort.

NOTE: You can use a variety of mushrooms or one type that you particularly like. I use basic button mushrooms.

Yields 4 - 6 servings.

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Corn and Tomato Pasta Salad

For me, summertime fare means fresh, happenin' side dishes. Sure, barbecue chicken and burgers on the grill are fabulous. But, I really look forward to the sides when it comes to summer cookouts and gatherings. Potato salad. Crisp, sliced cucumbers paired with fresh dill and doused with vinegar. Buttery corn on the cob. Fresh fruit salad. A good guacamole. A crudité platter with creamy dip. And, pasta salad. Glorious, scrumptious pasta salad.

I make so many versions of pasta salad throughout the summer months. This one is a great recipe for showcasing fresh corn and garden tomatoes this time of year.

The vinaigrette-style dressing used in this recipe is light and simple. It really allows the fresh vegetables to shine and it doesn't compete with the other ingredients. (NOTE: A high-quality, store-bought Italian-style dressing can be used in place of the oil, lemon juice and balsamic vinegar dressing if you desire a more-robust, no fuss dressing.)

What's great about this salad is that it gets better with time. So, it's the perfect make-ahead side dish for your summer gatherings and parties. Gather up some just-picked vegetables, grab a box of mini pasta shells, break out that bottle of balsamic vinegar and make this before the summer is over!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Baked Steel Cut Oatmeal with Peaches

I adore recipes that allow me to assemble the ingredients well in advance so that there is little work at meal-time. This baked oatmeal is one of those fabulous recipes. A hearty, healthful breakfast is just a few simple steps away. Assemble the oatmeal at night prior to heading to bed. Toss some fresh fruit into the mix in the morning. Pop the dish into the oven. Brew up some coffee. And, grab some spoons!

Using steel cut oats is key here (they are easily found in the cereal/oats section of most supermarkets these days). They hold up well in the fridge overnight amidst the creamy, perfectly-spiced liquid and have such an awesome texture once baked up in this sensational breakfast dish.

Fresh peaches are used here, but this baked oatmeal works great with any fruit that I've tried (blueberries are another favorite add-in for us in this recipe). And, frankly, I think this recipe would work even if you didn't add any fruit into the mixture.

I bring together a little shredded coconut, chopped nuts, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and maple syrup to really enhance the oats. I, also, mix a little quinoa in with the steel cut oats, but it can be omitted if you're not a fan or don't have it on hand. (Just replace the quinoa with additional oats.)

To serve, scoop some of the baked oatmeal into a bowl, top with a sprinkling of brown sugar (or a drizzle of honey) and pour on a little milk or cream right before digging in.

Serves 4 - 6.