Thursday, November 3, 2011

I'll Be Back Soon...

So, it's been a crazy week.  We lost our power during a snowstorm last weekend and had to stay with my in-laws.  Once we got it back, we ended up having more family staying with us, because their power was still out.  And now we've had a death in the family and have to go out of town for a funeral.

I'll come back soon though, and we can talk about Thanksgiving menu planning.  What are you serving this year?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Pasta with Creamy Red Pepper Sauce

This is one of my very favorite pasta dishes.  It is quick (ready in under 30 minutes, with minimal chopping)!  But it is also a little elegant and different, with rich and full Mediterranean flavors  I make this often for a weeknight meal, but, now that I think of it, I wonder why I haven't served it to guests.  Wouldn't it be fabulous in one of those cool Mediterranean style pasta bowls that I always covet from Williams-Sonoma?

This is another Ellie Krieger recipe, but it's from an earlier book, The Food You Crave.  And I definitely crave this dish often!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Cranberry Banana Coconut Muffins

These muffins pack so much into your breakfast: bright red tart cranberries, sweet chunks of banana, tender coconut, and ground flax seeds.

I actually adapted this recipe from the base in these apple muffins.  It's a great base for a lot of different fruit combinations.  This one, I'll confess, is sort of the random bits lying around my house: bananas getting too ripe in the fruit basket, some frozen cranberries, half a bag of shredded coconut, and a half-zested orange.  I think that some of my favorite foods come about from cleaning out the fridge.  There is something so joyful in having such a bounty of leftover bits and pieces, and being able to whip up amazing muffins or a great soup or stock with them.

If you want to clean out your own fridge -- keep the wet and dry ingredients the same, and just add in 2 cups of fruit and an optional 1/2 cup of nuts.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Stovetop Baked Beans with Apple Chicken Sausage

This is a humble, but delicious dish for supper.  It's how we turn one of our favorite summer meals (hot dogs with baked beans) into a warm, one pot sausage and beans bowl for the autumn.

The stove-top baked beans recipe comes from Ellie Krieger's Comfort Food Fix.  Yes, I'm still fixed on Comfort Food Fix!  It is filled with so many incredible recipes.  This recipe is great in that you make on the stove in just 30 minutes, but it tastes like it's been in your oven all day.  Plus, by making the baked beans yourself (and not cracking open a can), you can control the sodium, sugar, and preservatives.

I used the apple chicken sausage from Johnsonville here.  Have you tried it yet?  It was delicious!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Cranberry Upside Down Cake

Well, I didn't exactly get a photo of this before we dug in.  And once we dug in, well, it was hard to stop.
This is a simple cake -- easy to bake and easy to eat.  It's not overly sweet or decadent, and you could easily get away with serving it with tea in the afternoon.  I served it alone after dinner, and then wished I'd gotten a little vanilla ice cream or sweetened whipped cream.  It was lovely and everyone loved it; I just thought it needed a little something!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Butternut Squash Pasta Casserole with Parmesan and Pecans

This casserole captures so many of my favorite fall flavors: sweet butternut squash and savory sage with nutty Parmesan cheese and toasty pecans.  Also, there's bacon.  Need I say more?

I've adapted this recipe from a cookbooks I use often when entertaining: Not Your Mother's Casseroles, by Faith Durand.  I love casseroles when I'm entertaining, and this collection of casseroles is elegant and modern.  I try to get them in the oven just before my guests arrive, and then I don't get stuck in the kitchen alone!  What are your tricks for entertaining?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Fall Entertaining Part 4: An Autumn Dinner Party

We had friends over for dinner last weekend, and here's what we served:

Hummus and Chips
Green Salad with Sauteed Apples, Cheddar, and a Maple Vinaigrette
Butternut Squash Pasta Casserole with Parmesan and Pecans (recipe coming soon)
Green Beans in a Brown Butter Garlic Sauce
Cranberry Upside Down Cake (recipe coming soon)