Monthly Archives: October 2015

Maple-roasted chicken and acorn squash

I found another one-pan dinner that I think you need to try; super easy and very tasty and did I mention only one dish? Over the last couple of weeks, I have attended a couple of events where I have run into some blasts from the past if you will. I am finding it very humbling when they come up to me and the first words are “I love your blog, or “I am enjoying reading and seeing all your food” “I want to come to a class or can I just come to dinner” “I made this weeks and it was awesome; thank you” I am enjoying writing and sharing my love of food and new recipes that I don’t even think of who is actually reading my words so I am just very grateful when someone I know mentions they read and enjoy I truly thank you!

 

One such compliment was from my sister-in-law who came to visit a couple of weeks ago. I love when she comes up; she is smart, funny and loves food AND wine. Some of my favorite attributes in company; well she is family she’s not company.

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I love that she would much rather cook in than go out to dinner; she watches me, takes home recipes and notes and  I know she goes home and makes what she takes with her because I have gotten a few texts with minor questions. I love it!

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This is one dish that I threw together kind of last minute as I wasn’t sure if we were staying in or going out. My girlfriend KP can attest to this indecisiveness. She was here one night when the wine was flowing and we still needed to eat, going out was not going to be an option, I mentioned the wine right? So we threw together a delicious meal and a phrase we still kind of use today “my sous chef sucks” long story short, the veggies were not cut into uniformed pieces.

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I need to admit that acorn squash was never on my radar; I bet it has to do with it being green. I know the inside is not but the outside is DARK green. I know I am evolving as an adult and green is no longer an issue but I never really knew what to do with it. I have already bought it twice in a month so I could make this dish. From making it a couple of times, I want to mention to leave the squash I larger pieces, when I made it chopped up it got too mushy.

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Maple-roasted chicken and acorn squash

1 medium Acorn squash
4 Carrots, chopped
1 medium Onion
6 Chicken thighs bone in skin on
½ cup Maple syrup
1+ tsp Kosher salt
½+ tsp freshly cracked black pepper
sprig of fresh Rosemary stem removed and chopped

Preheat oven to 450’F

Cut squash lengthwise in half; remove seeds, cut each half crosswise into ½ inch slices; throwaway ends.

Place squash, carrots and onions sprinkle with some of the rosemary, salt and pepper in greased 13×9 baking pan. Season both sides of the chicken with remaining rosemary, salt and pepper place skin side down over the vegetables. Roast for 10 minutes.

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Turn chicken over; drizzle with maple syrup; roast another 25-30 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken is 170’-175’ and the vegetables are tender.  If you find that the vegetables could use a little more time, remove the chicken to a plate cover loosely with foil and return the pan to the oven while the chicken rests.

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Adapted from taste of home magazine

Roasted Autumn Vegetable & Sausage

Where did summer go? It has got to be an age thing; I swear when we were kids summer was forever, we crammed so much stuff and a lot of nothing into those 2 school free months.  We had an awesome pool in the backyard for several years of my childhood and I spent most of my time in the pool with my family and friends playing for hours on end. We had some amazing pool parties, I recall in 5th grade I was in an open concept classroom that housed two 5th grade classes we took a school field trip to my house for a BBQ and a pool party. Fun times but where am I going with this? Oh yeah time flies by as you age and Fall has arrived here in New Hampshire with its beautiful color, cold mornings and brisk evenings.

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My kitchen has been turning out some heartier meals of late; another Fall thing. And also using up some of the last vegetables and herbs from my garden. Though I still have a few things out there; garden time is coming to an end. This weekend I have GOT to get my garlic in, every weekend has been jammed packed with so many things happening but I am determined to get the garlic in the ground, it would be a shame for us to not have fresh garlic come early summer.

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I found a recipe in a magazine that combined roasted vegetables and sausage.  I LOVE roasted veggies and I am a little obsessed with sweet Italian sausage, I usually buy a couple of packages; freeze them individually and then put them in a freezer bag, so easy to just grab what you need or want in my case. I use them in marinara sauce instead of hamburger, as a star in other dishes and sometimes we just grill them; cut them up serve as an appetizer with various kinds of mustard.

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This is also a sheet-pan supper which I find brilliant; less dishes are always a welcome in my house; my poor dishwasher has been used and abused over the years; but still going strong.

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Roasted Autumn Vegetable & Sausage

Butternut squash peeled and cubed
Brussel sprouts, halved and trimmed, quarter the larger ones
1 Large red onion, halved and sliced thick (mine was too small)
4 Garlic cloves, minced
3 Tbs Extra virgin olive oil
T Tbs Chopped fresh rosemary or 1 tsp dried
1 Tbs Chopped fresh sage or 1 tsp dried
Kosher salt
Fresh cracked black pepper
4 or more Sweet Italian sausage – or whatever you like hot, chicken use your go to

Preheat oven to 425’F

In a large bowl put everything except the sausage and stir to combine. Spread on a large rimmed baking sheet, roast for 10-15 minutes.

Stir the veggies and place the sausages on top of the veggies. Back in the oven to roast for another 20-25 minutes, make sure to stir a couple of times so everything gets a little brown.

Serve and enjoy!

Adapted from eating well magazine

Oat and wheat sandwich bread

The mornings have been so chilly here in NH and us being “true Yankees” I am not sure if we don’t; or rather we won’t turn on the heat until at least mid to end of October. There were a lot of sweatshirts and blankets lying around the house of late. I have mentioned a few times that I tend to turn the oven on bake or cook something just to help take a little; very little; chill out of the air.bread 009

I found a recipe for Oat and Wheat sandwich bread that I thought sounded pretty cool and we are definitely a sandwich eating kind of family. My guys take one or two each for lunch pretty much daily. I thought it might be kind of cool to have a homemade loaf of bread, it also freezes well which is key. Plus making homemade bread has been on my bucket list of things I really want to be good at. If I can master the art of making a rustic loaf of artesian bread, what an even sweeter life it will be.

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I made this recipe as written a couple of weeks ago when the house was super cold so I needed to be a little creative in order for the dough to rise. I placed the bowl on a heating pad f or a couple of hours. Today I am making the bread again and since we broke down and turned the heat on the house is fairly warm and the dough looks AWESOME – just tasted it and it’s a keeper. it is delicious and I am making a sandwich for our late lunch right now!!!

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While the bread is easy to make and tastes good I actually needed to adjust the flour for my families liking; I thought we would like it more if we cut some of the whole wheat with some all-purpose flour. While my in-laws loved it, it was too much whole wheat for my families taste. I have both ways listed here for you to choose what you think your family would like. Feel free to play with this recipe I am going to!

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Makes 2 standard size sandwich loaves

5 cups whole-wheat flour – I’ve had some leftover (sealed) in the pantry for a while now – I used 2 whole-wheat and 3 AP-flour for today’s loaves
2 cups rolled oats (I used old fashion that I had on hand; for a less noticeable texture you can use quick-cooking)
1 Tbs. kosher salt
3 Tbs. raw or brown sugar, honey or agave nectar – I used my brother-in-law’s honey
1 large egg
¼ cup olive or vegetable oil, plus enough to coat the bowl
1¼ cup lukewarm water
1¼ cup lukewarm milk
1½ Tbs. instant yeast

Bread Dough
You can make this by hand or using a stand mixer. Same timing would be used for both.

In your bowl add the water, milk and honey or sugar, stir in the yeast. Add the egg and oil whisk to combine. Add flour, oats and salt. Using the paddle attachment at the lowest speed; mix for 1 minute. The dough will be wet and course. Let it rest for 5 minutes.

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Switch to the dough hook and mix on medium-low for 2 minutes. The dough will be a little firm and a little smoother; while still being a little sticky. If it is too wet add a bit more flour, a spoonful at a time. If it is too stiff, add a little more water, a spoonful at a time. Continue to mix the dough with the hook for 4 minutes.

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Turn the dough onto a slightly floured surface. Knead a few times, than form into a ball. Lightly oil your mixing bowl and return the dough ball to it. Cover with plastic wrap and let it proof at room temperature for at least 60 minutes. It could take longer if your house is cold. It needs to double in size; or can be transferred to the fridge and left to ferment overnight or up to 5 days. If proofing in the fridge, be sure to remove it from the fridge for at least 3 hours before you plan to bake it.

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Forming the loaves

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured counter and divide in half. Press each gently into a rough rectangle; fold in the sides so the dough is roughly the width of your loaf pan. Roll the dough from the bottom to the top and place in your loaf pan seam side down. Repeat with the remaining dough. Let proof at room temperature for about an hour, or until the dough has risen about 1 inch above the rim of the loaf pan. Halfway through rising, preheat the oven to 350’

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starting to rise

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almost done rising

Bake bread

30 to 35 minutes; rotating pans once for even color; a cooked loaf should sound a little hollow when you tap it and the internal temperature should read 190 degrees. Remove loaves from the pans and let cool on a rack. Cool completely before slicing and place in freezer bags; if you don’t eat it all before you have a chance to freeze it.bread completed 002 bread completed 003

Recipe originally published on smittenkitchen.com adapted from Peter Reinhart’s Artisan Breads Every Day

Easy Delicious Chicken Salad

I have a full time job and a pretty active social life and I tend to play just as hard as I work. Sometimes it’s hard to fit everything and everyone into my schedule. I am a list maker and a calendar keeper; it’s the only way I am able to keep organized. For as long as I can remember there has been a calendar on my desk at home and at work and if you had an appointment or activity it needed to be on the calendar or it wasn’t going to happen.

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We had book club after work and the group was doing a potluck. I had taken out some chicken to make at some point during the week and just didn’t get to it; so in the morning; before work; I chopped, seasoned and cooked the chicken as there would not be time after work to cook and let the chicken cool before book club. I planned on making chicken salad wraps or finger sandwiches whatever I can put together pretty quickly. Not only is this is very easy with very few ingredients; I usually have everything on hand AND it is THE best chicken salad I have ever had. Bonus is the chicken is already seasoned and SO delicious that sometimes I just leave some chicken pieces in the fridge and everyone; mostly my guys; find it very hard to not grab a piece; I will admit on a few occasions where I couldn’t get to making the salad for a couple of days and when I finally do have a few minutes, there isn’t any chicken left.

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This chicken is so yummy that you can also just add it to a tossed or Caesar salad, or to an Alfredo or even a marinara sauce as the protein.

I don’t use specific amounts when I make the chicken, I adjust all the ingredients to how much chicken I have on hand – don’t let that discourage you from trying this.

Boneless skinless Chicken breast or tenders – I took tenders out thinking they were breasts – label label label
Adobo seasoning – generously over both sides of chicken
Fresh cracked black pepper as liked
Garlic powder a dusting is fine
Olive Oil for the pan
Mayo just enough to your taste – add a little at a time, you can always add more, you can’t take any out if you add too much
1 stick Celery chopped medium to small pieces
Chives or Scallions to taste

Cut chicken into small pieces, season chicken with Adobo, pepper and garlic powder. Heat skillet; add olive oil and pieces, do not touch chicken until it browns and releases from the pan on its own. Turn and do the same, make sure the chicken is cook through but not over cooked.

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Let cool and shred with your fingers. Place into a bowl and add mayo, chopped celery stir till combined and sprinkle chives on top.  It tastes even better the next day!!!

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Enjoy!!!

Recipe: Donna Clark – Cooking at Clark Towers