Refridgorator Pickles

 

print2

ABM_1406583145

Anyone who knows me, knows of my love for pickles, really anything pickled I will eat. I always have and I always will. I find the salty and tangy flavors satisfying and I personally believe they pair with just about any meal. But hey. that’s just me.

Not too long ago, a good friend of mine introduced me to this recipe and I have been making them every week ever since. What are refrigerator pickles you ask? Good question. Refrigerator pickles are pickles that are pickled and stored in the fridge. They are good for about 2 weeks. This is opposed to pickles that are canned and can be stored for the long term.

This recipe is for a sweet pickle yet, they are still quite tangy and they are super easy to make! I hope you enjoy these as much as I have.

Easy Refrigerator Pickles

Recipe courtesy of Abigail Robinson

Ingredients:

  • 3 c water
  • 1 c vinegar
  • 1/2 granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 1/4 of a medium-sized onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 Tbsp black peppercorns
  • handful of fresh dill
  • 2-3 cucumbers, sliced any which way you like

IMG_20140728_132807_774

Note on Ingredients: Think of the amounts listed with the ingredients above as ratio suggestions. This is what appeals to my taste buds but, if you prefer your pickles sweeter, then add some more sugar. Want them to taste more tangy? Add another splash of vinegar.

IMG_20140728_131247_780

Directions:

Let’s get this easy-peasy brine started; combine the water, vinegar, sugar, and salt in a small saucepan and place over low heat. Stir the mixture occasionally and leave the mixture on the stove top until the salt and sugar have completely dissolved. Once dissolved, remove from the heat and allow the mixture to cool.

IMG_20140728_134013_428

Once your brine has cooled to room temperature pour the brine into the container that the pickles will be living in (I typically leave them in a large plastic container or large glass jar). Add the chopped onion, garlic, peppercorns, fresh dill, and sliced cucumbers to the brine and seal up the container.

IMG_20140728_134735_195

Allow the cucumbers to sit in the brine for at least 8-12 hours before trying the pickles.

IMG_20140728_132955_217

Store them in the fridge in a sealed container for 7-10 days.

print2


Easy Refrigerator Pickles

Recipe courtesy of Abigail Robinson

Ingredients:

  • 3 c water
  • 1 c vinegar
  • 1/2 granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 1/4 of a medium-sized onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 Tbsp black peppercorns
  • handful of fresh dill
  • 2-3 cucumbers, sliced any which way you like

Directions:

Combine the water, vinegar, sugar, and salt in a small saucepan and place over low heat. Stir the mixture occasionally and leave the mixture on the stove top until the salt and sugar have completely dissolved. Once dissolved, remove from the heat and allow the mixture to cool.

Once your brine has cooled to room temperature pour the brine into the container that the pickles will be living in (I typically leave them in a large plastic container or large glass jar). Add the chopped onion, garlic, peppercorns, fresh dill, and sliced cucumbers to the brine and seal up the container.

Allow the cucumbers to sit in the brine for at least 8-12 hours before trying the pickles.

Store them in the fridge in a sealed container for 7-10 days.

Flaky Flatbread and White Bean Hummus

I am in love with today’s recipes. A few weeks ago I read in Bon Appetit magazine the recipe for flaky flatbread I have shared below. I wanted to try it almost immediately. My husband and I made them together and devoured all of them that same day. The flavors may be simple, but it is still rich in flavor and texture. An absolute treat.

ABM_1397493831

Flaky Flatbread

From Bon Appetit Magazine

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 c all-purpose flour
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • olive oil

Directions:

Whisk kosher salt and 3 cups flour in a large bowl. Drizzle in melted butter; mix well.

IMG_8238

Gradually mix in ¾ cup water. Knead on a lightly floured surface until dough is shiny and very soft, about 5 minutes.

IMG_8244

Wrap in plastic; let rest in a warm spot at least 4 hours.

IMG_8250
Divide dough into 10 pieces and, using your palm, roll into balls. Place balls on a baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest 15 minutes.

IMG_8254

Working with 1 piece at a time, roll out balls on an unfloured surface with a rolling pin into very thin rounds or ovals about 9” across. (If dough bounces back, cover with plastic and let rest a few minutes.)

IMG_8257

Brush tops of rounds with room-temperature butter and sprinkle with sea salt.

IMG_8258

Roll up each round onto itself to create a long thin rope,

IMG_8261

then wind each rope around itself to create a tight coil.

IMG_8265

Working with 1 coil at a time, roll out on an unfloured surface to 10” rounds no more than ⅛” thick.

IMG_8267

IMG_8268

Heat a large cast-iron griddle or skillet over medium-high heat. Working 1 at a time, brush both sides of a dough round with room-temperature butter and cook until lightly blistered and cooked through, about 2 minutes per side.

IMG_8277

Transfer bread to a wire rack and sprinkle with sea salt.

IMG_8284

Top these delicious flatbreads with a dip of your choice or try this easy and tasty white bean hummus. What I love about white beans is the buttery flavor they have, they make for delicious dips.

White Bean Hummus

Ingredients:

  • 1 can white beans (Canellini beans, Navy beans, etc.)
  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp olive oil

Directions:

Rinse and drain the white beans. Toss the beans and the remaining ingredients into a food processor. Blend until mostly smooth with just a few large chunks remaining.

Scrape bowl of food processor and put hummus into a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 3-4 hours before serving (trust me this tastes great when the flavors have had a chance to meld together first).

IMG_8304

 

print2


Flaky Flatbread

From Bon Appetit Magazine

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 c all-purpose flour
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • olive oil

Directions:

Whisk kosher salt and 3 cups flour in a large bowl. Drizzle in melted butter; mix well. Gradually mix in ¾ cup water. Knead on a lightly floured surface until dough is shiny and very soft, about 5 minutes.

Wrap in plastic; let rest in a warm spot at least 4 hours.

Divide dough into 10 pieces and, using your palm, roll into balls. Place balls on a baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest 15 minutes.

Working with 1 piece at a time, roll out balls on an unfloured surface with a rolling pin into very thin rounds or ovals about 9” across. (If dough bounces back, cover with plastic and let rest a few minutes.)

Brush tops of rounds with room-temperature butter and sprinkle with sea salt. Roll up each round onto itself to create a long thin rope, then wind each rope around itself to create a tight coil. Working with 1 coil at a time, roll out on an unfloured surface to 10” rounds no more than ⅛” thick.

Heat a large cast-iron griddle or skillet over medium-high heat. Working with one piece of dough at a time, brush both sides of a dough round with room-temperature butter and cook until lightly blistered and cooked through, about 2 minutes per side.

Transfer bread to a wire rack and sprinkle with sea salt.

 

print2

White Bean Hummus

Ingredients:

  • 1 can white beans (Cannellini beans, Navy beans, etc.)
  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp olive oil

Directions:

Rinse and drain the white beans. Toss the beans and the remaining ingredients into a food processor. Blend until mostly smooth with just a few large chunks remaining.

Scrape bowl of food processor and put hummus into a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 3-4 hours before serving.

Pecan-Stuffed Mushrooms

print2

First things first, I love toasted pecans. I love their nutty sweet flavor. Un-toasted, I don’t give a fig about pecans, but toast those babies up and the flavor and crunch factor gets intensified and I love it.

IMG_7290

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about this recipe; Pecan-Stuffed Mushrooms. This is from a cookbook from my Mom’s (sizable) cookbook collection. This is kind of a neat book because it was put together by a rotary club in the late 70’s in Upstate New York (where I grew up). It’s a collection of recipes that really capture the times (according to my Mom) and it includes recipes such as Hot Sherry Crab Dip, Chocolate Crepes, and cocktails such as Sunshine Slush. Apparently it’s all very “70’s” as my Mom says. I’m a product of the 80’s so I’ll have to take her word for it.

Anyway, these tasty little mushrooms are an awesome appetizer or side dish. They have a nice crunch to them thanks to those toasted pecans, and a pleasant tangyness to due to the Greek Yogurt.

ABM_1391039464

Pecan Stuffed Mushrooms

Adapted from Applehood and Motherpie

Ingredients:

  • 12 to 16 large button mushrooms
  • 2 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 Tbsp onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Plain Non-Fat Greek Yogurt
  • 3 Tbsp grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 3 Tbsp toasted pecans, finely chopped

Directions:

Clean mushrooms with a wet paper towel. Remove stems and set aside.

IMG_7278

Arrange mushroom caps on a baking sheet. Brush the mushroom caps with 1 Tbsp of the melted butter and set aside.

IMG_7279

Chop the mushroom stems. Using the remaining melted butter saute the mushroom stems, onion, and garlic cloves over medium heat until the onions are browned (about 5 minutes).

While sauteing preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Combine the sauteed mushrooms and onions and all remaining ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Fill the mushroom caps with the mixture.

IMG_7288

If you’re a self-proclaimed cheese addict like myself, sprinkle some additional cheese on top of the mushrooms.

IMG_7292

Cook in the oven for 18-20 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the cooking time. The mushrooms should be tender and the tops brown.

IMG_7306

The cook time might vary slightly depending on the size of the mushrooms, so keep an eye on ’em.  Serve warm.

IMG_7309

print2


Pecan Stuffed Mushrooms

Adapted from Applehood and Motherpie

Ingredients:

  • 12 to 16 large button mushrooms
  • 2 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 Tbsp onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Plain Non-Fat Greek Yogurt
  • 3 Tbsp grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 3 Tbsp toasted pecans, finely chopped

Directions:

Clean mushrooms with a wet paper towel. Remove stems and set aside.

Arrange mushroom caps on a baking sheet. Brush the mushroom caps with 1 Tbsp of the melted butter and set aside.

Chop the mushroom stems. Using the remaining melted butter saute the mushroom stems, onion, and garlic cloves over medium heat until the onions are browned (about 5 minutes).

While sauteing preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Combine the sauteed mushrooms and onions and all remaining ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Fill the mushroom caps with the mixture.

If you’re a self-proclaimed cheese addict like myself, sprinkle some additional cheese on top of the mushrooms.

Cook in the oven for 18-20 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the cooking time. The mushrooms should be tender and the tops brown. Serve warm.

 

 

Ring in the Chinese New Year with Pork Dumplings and Scallion Pancakes

This year Chinese New Year is celebrated from Jan 31- Feb 6, and I have a delicious feast for you celebrate the year of the horse; pork dumplings, scallion pancakes, and roasted spicy broccoli.

I would like to note this might not be a traditional Chinese New Year dinner, but these are a few of my favorite asian-inspired dishes to make and they are all super easy.

To kick things off, and the star of the show really, we’re going to make pork dumplings. This is a recipe my sister taught me a few years ago, which she learned from one of her students while she was teaching in China. You won’t believe how easy and inexpensive they are to make. Try them once and you might just find yourself making them in large batches and tossing them into soups or cooking them up for quick appetizers.

There are lots of recipes out there that show you how to make won ton wrappers or dumpling dough from scratch. I encourage you to try them, but for this recipe I’m going to be using store bought won ton wrappers. I love these things, they are great for making ravioli or even just toasting them in the oven to make a delicious chip.

Pork Dumplings

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 2 inches (or so) of ground, fresh ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bunch of scallions or green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • 1 package won ton wrappers
  • Olive or Canola oil (for frying)

Directions:

In a medium-sized mixing bowl combine the ground pork, ginger, garlic, scallions, salt, and pepper.

IMG_7041

Next, working with only a few wont ton wrappers at a time (leave the rest in the package so they don’t dry out as you work), use your finger tip or a brush to wet the perimeter of the won ton wrapper. Deposit a small dollop of the meat mixture in the center of the won ton wrapper (slightly less than 1 teaspoon).

IMG_7045

Fold one corner of the won ton wrapper to the opposite corner forming a triangle, and sealing the pork inside the wrapper, Being careful not to tear the dough, press all of the air bubbles out and seal the remaining edges.

IMG_7053  IMG_7049

Place finished dumplings on a baking sheet that has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray to prevent sticking.

IMG_7055

If you are saving these for later I recommend freezing them on the tray first then transferring them to a zip lock bag after they are frozen.

This mixture should use all the won ton wrappers in 1 package (give or take 1-2 wrappers).

To cook these tasty dumplings there are a few different methods, they can easily be added to any soup by boiling them in the broth for a few minutes. However, my favorite way to cook them is by browning them slightly and then finishing them with steam. Here’s how: start by heating 1 tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot and easily coats the bottom of the pan place 5-6 dumplings on the pan.

IMG_7058

Fry until the bottoms are golden brown, about 2-3 minutes.

IMG_7061

Very carefully add 1/2 cup of water to the pan and cover the pan. Allow the dumplings to cook in the steam for 4-5 minutes. All water should be dissolved. Remove the lid and reduce heat to medium-low. Finish cooking the dumplings for 3 minutes. Remove the dumplings from the pan and repeat the process until the desired amount of dumplings have been cooked.

IMG_7063

Dipping Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp Sriracha Hot Sauce (optional)

Directions:

Mix all ingredients together.

Scallion Pancakes

IMG_7253

Recipe originally from About.com*

*A Note on this recipe: Yes, this is technically a Korean pancake recipe not a Chinese pancake recipe, but it’s super easy and it’s my dinner so I’ll make what I want!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 bunch of scallions or green onions, diced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Olive or Canola oil for frying

Directions:

Combine all ingredients except oil and allow the mixture to rest for 10 minutes. Heat 2 teaspoons of oil on a medium-sized frying pan. Once the oil is heated and easily coats the bottom of the pan pour enough batter into the pan to cover the bottom of the pan entirely.

IMG_7226

Cook the batter until browned on the bottom, about 4 minutes. Gently flip the pancake over and fry the bottom of the pancake for about 2 minutes. The bottom should be browned and lovely.

IMG_7240

Remove from pan and cut into wedges. Repeat this process with the rest of the batter.

IMG_7257

Roasted Chili-Garlic Broccoli

IMG_7269

Recipe from Cooking Light Magazine

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups broccoli florets
  • 2 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp sambal oelek (ground fresh chile paste)*
  • 3/8 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp sugar
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced

*This ingredient can easily be substituted with dried chili pepper flakes if desired.

Directions:

Place baking sheet in the oven and preheat to 450 degrees. Combine all ingredients except garlic in a mixing bowl so that all the broccoli is evenly coated. When the oven is up to temperature carefully remove the baking sheet and spray with a non stick cooking spray. Place the broccoli onto the baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes; remove from oven. Add the garlic to pan and stir. Bake an additional 5 minutes or until broccoli is lightly browned.

IMG_7271

 


print2

Pork Dumplings

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 2 inches (or so) of ground, fresh ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bunch of scallions or green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • 1 package won ton wrappers
  • olive or canola oil (for frying)

Directions:

In a medium-sized mixing bowl combine the ground pork, ginger, garlic, scallions, salt, and pepper.

Next, working with only a few wont ton wrappers at a time (leave the rest in the package so they don’t dry out as you work), use your fingertip or a brush to wet the perimeter of the won ton wrapper. Deposit a small dollop of the meat mixture in the center of the won ton wrapper (slightly less than 1 teaspoon).

Fold one corner of the won ton wrapper to the opposite corner forming a triangle, and sealing the pork inside the wrapper, Being careful not to tear the dough, press all of the air bubbles out and seal the remaining edges.

Place finished dumplings on a baking sheet that has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray to prevent sticking (If you are saving these for later I recommend freezing them on the tray first then transferring them to a zip lock bag after they are frozen).

To cook the dumplings; start by heating 1 tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot and easily coats the bottom of the pan place 5-6 dumplings on the pan. Fry until the bottoms are golden brown, about 2-3 minutes.

Very carefully add 1/2 cup of water to the pan and cover the pan. Allow the dumplings to cook in the steam for 4-5 minutes. All water should be dissolved. Remove the lid and reduce heat to medium-low. Finish cooking the dumplings for 3 minutes. Remove the dumplings from the pan and repeat the process until the desired amount of dumplings have been cooked.

print2

Pork Dumpling Dipping Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp Sriracha Hot Sauce (optional)

Directions:

Mix all ingredients together.

print2

Scallion Pancakes

Recipe originally from About.com

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 bunch of scallions or green onions, diced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • olive or canola oil for frying

Directions:

Combine all ingredients except oil and allow the mixture to rest for 10 minutes. Heat 2 teaspoons of oil on a medium-sized frying pan. Once the oil is heated and easily coats the bottom of the pan pour enough batter into the pan to cover the bottom of the pan entirely.

Cook the batter until browned on the bottom, about 4 minutes. Gently flip the pancake over and fry the bottom of the pancake for about 2 minutes. The bottom should be browned and lovely.

Remove from pan and cut into wedges. Repeat this process with the rest of the batter.

print2

Roasted Chili-Garlic Broccoli

Recipe from Cooking Light Magazine

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups broccoli florets
  • 2 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp sambal oelek (ground fresh chile paste)*
  • 3/8 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp sugar
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced

*This ingredient can easily be substituted with dried chili pepper flakes if desired.

Directions:

Place baking sheet in the oven and preheat to 450 degrees. Combine all ingredients except garlic in a mixing bowl so that all the broccoli is evenly coated.

When the oven is up to temperature carefully remove the baking sheet and spray with a non stick cooking spray. Place the broccoli onto the baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes; remove from oven. Add the garlic to pan and stir. Bake an additional 5 minutes or until broccoli is lightly browned.

The Tuna Salad Alternative

print2

Howdy! Today I have a quick and delicious recipe that makes a great make-ahead lunch or just an all-around yummy snack; the Tuna Salad Alternative.

ABM_1430172812

I personally am not a fan of tuna salad or chicken salad. For one, I don’t care for too much mayonnaise in general, but also canned tuna grosses me out a bit.  I stumbled across this recipe not too long ago and had to try it out right away. What really caught my attention was the use of chickpeas in place of tuna or chicken. I made a few alterations to the recipe and I was so pleased with the final results that I had to share it with you.

IMG_6861

I hope you enjoy this and I promise holiday baking posts will be coming soon.

The Tuna Salad Alternative

slightly adapted from LaurenConrad.com

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of chickpeas (15 oz), drained and rinsed
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 1 1/2 TBSP rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup fat-free Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp mustard
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cumin

Optional Additions:

  • Handful of nuts of your choice, roughly chopped
  • Handful of raisins or dried cranberries, roughly chopped
  • 2 TBSP pickles, roughly chopped

The Tuna Salad Alternative Ingredients

Directions:

Roughly chop the chickpeas, celery, and optional additions.

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix together.

Serve on toasted bread, your favorite crackers, or on top of a salad and enjoy!

IMG_20131203_124612

It’s certainly not the most complicated recipe in the world, but it is yummy! What are your favorite additions to a tuna or chicken salad? I’m partial to dill pickles, or a crunchy nut such as pistachios.

If you’re enjoying these posts and don’t want to miss any new ones be sure to join my other Reckless Readers and subscribe to receive new posts via email.

print2


The Tuna Salad Alternative

slightly adapted from LaurenConrad.com

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of chickpeas (15 oz), drained and rinsed
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 1 1/2 TBSP rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup fat-free Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp mustard
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cumin

Optional Additions:

  • Handful of nuts of your choice, roughly chopped
  • Handful of raisins or dried cranberries, roughly chopped
  • 2 TBSP pickles, roughly chopped

Directions:

Roughly chop the chickpeas, celery, and optional additions. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix together.Serve on toasted bread, your favorite crackers, or on top of a salad.

A Thanksgiving Smorgasbord

print2

Thanksgiving is only a few days away, and I cannot wait! As promised I have one more fabulous side dish suggestion (I saved the best for last!) and some of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes.

Let’s start with my last side dish suggestion: Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese. Oh, this stuff is good. So, so, so, delicious! Even if you consider yourself to be not much of a squash-eating person, you will probably find this mac & cheese dish delicious. If you don’t have room on your Thanksgiving table for this dish, I strongly suggest making room for it in the near future.

IMG_6809

Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese

Slightly adapted from Cooking Light Magazine (Click here for original recipe)

Ingredients

  • 2 lb Butternut Squash, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 1 1/4 c chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 c fat-free milk
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tbsp plain non-fat greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 5 oz (1 1/4 c) smoked Gouda cheese, grated*
  • 1 c Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
  • 1/4 c Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
  • 1 lb pasta, uncooked (I suggest cavatappi, rotini, or small shells)
  • 1/2 c breadcrumbs
  • cooking spray

*A note on ingredients; please feel free to substitute in any kind of cheese you enjoy, but I strongly suggest you use smoked Gouda for this recipe because it really gives the dish a great flavor. Trust me.

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. In a large saucepan combine the squash, chicken broth, milk, and garlic and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 25 minutes (the squash should be sort of soft and easily stabbed with a fork).

IMG_6780

When the squash has 10 minutes of cooking time remaining, in a separate pot, bring enough water to boil to cook the pasta. Once the water is boiling cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packaging.

When the squash is done cooking remove from heat and pour into a blender or food processor with the salt, pepper, and Greek yogurt. If you are not able to run your equipment without allowing steam to escape (and not getting hot squash everywhere), allow the mixture to cool slightly. Blend the squash until smooth. Pour into a mixing bowl and add the grated cheese. Stir to combine.

IMG_6790

Drain the pasta from the water, when done cooking and combine the drained pasta into the mixing bowl.

IMG_6794

Spray a 9×13 baking pan or a jelly roll pan with cooking spray. Spread the macaroni mixture onto the pan and top with breadcrumbs. Bake for 25 minutes or until it bubbles slightly.

IMG_6804

This delicious mac & cheese can easily be made ahead of time and warmed in the oven before serving. It is so fabulous, seriously, you should probably just make it now.

IMG_6820

Hungry for more? Here is a round up of a few more mouth-watering suggestions for your Thanksgiving dinner;

I hope everyone has a fun and delicious Thanksgiving!


print2

Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese

Slightly adapted from Cooking Light Magazine

Ingredients

  • 2 lb butternut Squash, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 1 1/4 c chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 c fat-free milk
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tbsp plain non-fat greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 5 oz (1 1/4 c) smoked Gouda cheese, grated
  • 1 c Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
  • 1/4 c Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
  • 1 lb pasta, uncooked (I suggest cavatappi, rotini, or small shells)
  • 1/2 c breadcrumbs
  • cooking spray

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. In a large saucepan combine the squash, chicken broth, milk, and garlic and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 25 minutes (the squash should be sort of soft and easily stabbed with a fork).

When the squash is cooking, in a separate pot, bring enough water to boil to cook the pasta. Once the water is boiling cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packaging.

When the squash is done cooking remove from heat and pour into a blender or food processor with the salt, pepper, and Greek yogurt. If you are not able to run your equipment without allowing steam to escape (and not getting hot squash everywhere), allow the mixture to cool slightly.

Blend the squash until smooth. Pour into a mixing bowl and add the grated cheese. Stir to combine.

Drain the pasta from the water, when done cooking and combine the drained pasta into the mixing bowl.

Spray a 9×13 baking pan or a jelly roll pan with cooking spray. Spread the macaroni mixture onto the pan and top with breadcrumbs. Bake for 25 minutes or until it bubbles slightly.

 

Roasted Mushrooms and Buttermilk Biscuits

Alright people, Thanksgiving is less than a week away and it is time to get your game faces on!

We all know the main players at the Thanksgiving table; a big ol’ roasted turkey, mouth-watering mashed potatoes, and stuffing, stuffing stuffing. This year, for the very first time, I am hosting my own Thanksgiving dinner! I am so excited and I am looking for ways to make our table really special with some non-conventional side dishes.

Here are two potential side dishes that I’ve tried out already that get my seal of approval.

Side Dish # 1: Roasted Mushrooms

IMG_6858

These make the cut because I absolutely love the earthiness that roasted mushrooms bring to the table and they complement turkey and gravy oh, so well. These are easy to make and will certainly impress your guests (or your hosts if you have offered to bring a dish).

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb baby portobello mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp cooled bacon fat (Optional, but this really takes these mushrooms to the next level)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper
  • fresh parsley (optional, for garnish)

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 425. Lightly coat at 9×9 pan or small roasting pan with cooking spray or butter. Next, clean the mushrooms with a damp, clean towel. Toss the cleaned mushrooms with the olive oil, bacon fat, salt, and pepper and place in prepared pan. Roast for 25 minutes , stirring the mushrooms gently after 12 minutes.

Allow the mushrooms to cool slightly after roasting and top with fresh parsley before serving.

IMG_6840

Pretty easy, right? Don’t let that fool you, this side dish tastes amazing and can easily become a favorite, and definitely has a place at my Thanksgiving table this year.

Side Dish #2: Cheddar-Chive Buttermilk Biscuits

IMG_6854

Growing up, I was more likely to see hearty Italian rolls or a slew of mini muffins to accompany my Thanksgiving meal. Over the years, however, I’ve gained a new appreciation for the buttermilk biscuit and I thought it might make a nice and unique (in my experience) addition to the Thanksgiving table.  This recipe is also very simple. (Noticing a theme? Roasting a turkey can be tricky enough, the rest of the dishes should be easy to make!)

Cheddar-Chive Buttermilk Biscuits

Slightly adapted from Martha Stewart (click to view the original recipe)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter, cold and cut into small cubes, plus 1/2 tbsp melted
  • 3/4 c buttermilk
  • 1 1/4 c cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 3 green onions or a handful of chives, cut into small pieces

Directions:

Rearrange oven placing  the racks towards the bottom of the stove, then preheat your oven to 425 degrees. In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pepper. Using a pastry cutter or fork (or your hands), cut the cubes of butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture is well combined and has a coarse texture.

Next, add the buttermilk, cheese, and chives and mix until combined, and a unified dough is formed (I like to use my hands to mix together but a spoon works just fine).

IMG_6825

Place the dough onto a well floured surface and roll out to 1 inch thick. Cut with a 2 inch biscuit cutter or the top of a water glass.

IMG_6834

Cut the biscuits close together. Gather up the scraps and re-roll the dough out to 1 inch to cut the remainder of the biscuits. Arrange the biscuits on baking sheets lined with parchment paper, placing the biscuits 1 inch apart. Brush the tops of the biscuits with melted butter. Bake for 15-18 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through.

IMG_6837

These can be made in advance and stored in air-tight containers. This recipe makes just shy of 2 dozen biscuits.

IMG_6844

If you enjoyed this article, stay tuned; I’ve got one more post coming up to help you get in the mood for Thanksgiving. I’ll be posting it Monday morning and it will include one more side dish suggestion along with a round up of some of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes from around the web. If you don’t want to miss this and other upcoming posts join my other reckless readers and subscribe to receive new posts by email.

IMG_6848

 


print2

Roasted Mushrooms

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb baby portobello mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp cooled bacon fat (Optional, but this really takes these mushrooms to the next level)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper
  • fresh parsley (optional, for garnish)

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 425. Lightly coat at 9×9 pan or small roasting pan with cooking spray or butter. Next, clean the mushrooms with a damp, clean towel.

Toss the cleaned mushrooms with the olive oil, bacon fat, salt, and pepper and place in prepared pan. Roast for 25 minutes , stirring the mushrooms gently after 12 minutes.

Allow the mushrooms to cool slightly after roasting and top with fresh parsley before serving.

 

print2

Cheddar-Chive Buttermilk Biscuits

Slightly adapted from Martha Stewart (click to view the original recipe)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter, cold and cut into small cubes, plus 1/2 tbsp melted
  • 3/4 c buttermilk
  • 1 1/4 c cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 3 green onions or a handful of chives, cut into small pieces

Directions:

Rearrange oven placing  the racks towards the bottom of the stove, then preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pepper. Using a pastry cutter or fork (or your hands), cut the cubes of butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture is well combined and has a coarse texture.

Next, add the buttermilk, cheese, and chives and mix until combined, and a unified dough is formed (I like to use my hands to mix together but a spoon works just fine). Do not over mix (over mixing = tough biscuits).

Place the dough onto a well floured surface and roll out to 1 inch thick. Cut with a 2 inch biscuit cutter or the top of a water glass.

Cut the biscuits close together. Gather up the scraps and re-roll the dough out to 1 inch to cut the remainder of the biscuits. Arrange the biscuits on baking sheets lined with parchment paper, placing the biscuits 1 inch apart. Brush the tops of the biscuits with melted butter. Bake for 15-18 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through.

These can be made in advance and stored in air-tight containers. This recipe makes just shy of 2 dozen biscuits.

 

Homemade Hummus & Crostini

My favorite holiday is almost here! Guys, I love, love, love Thanksgiving. It is by far the best holiday, and in preparation for this glorious holiday I have been whipping up some delicious posts for you this week!

This post is all about homemade hummus and crostini. This is an easy snack that can served before the big meal, so if you need to put something out for your guests to munch on, or if someone asks you to bring something to share, this my easy, make-ahead suggestion to you.

IMG_6758

This is the recipe my Mom uses. She makes hummus for almost all holidays and big family parties. I remember making it with her back when we thought it was better to skin the chickpeas first (trust me, it does not make a noticeable difference), and I always associate hummus with holiday times and special occasions (even though I eat it all year round!). So, let’s get this hummus started already!

Hummus

adapted from:

The Complete Middle East Cookbook
by: Tess Mallos

Ingredients:

  • 1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
  • 2/3 cup tahini (available in some supermarkets and in most deli’s)*
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • 1/2 can water (use the chickpea can)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • salt to taste

*A note on this ingredient, if you cannot find tahini, sesame oil will do, just add to taste, 1 tsp at a time.

Are you ready for these super hard instructions?

Directions:

Place all ingredients (except salt) in a high-powered blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. Taste. Add salt to taste.

IMG_6750

So here’s the thing about hummus, yes you can absolutely buy it at the store, and it tastes great, but homemade hummus tastes even better to me and I also like to make a chunkier hummus than you generally see in stores. So give it a try, and let me know how you think it compares. Additions such as roasted garlic, toasted pine nuts, or roasted red peppers are welcome!

Next, let’s make some crunchy homemade crostini to go with our hummus!

IMG_6763

Crostini

Ingredients:

  • 1 baquette, cut into slices
  • olive oil
  • salt, pepper, dried oragano

*A note on this ingredient; These can be seasoned many different ways and still come out delicious! The flavor combinations are endless and can be tailored to match whatever is intended to top the crostini.

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. Arrange the baquette slices on a cookie sheet. They can be very close together. Brush the slices of bread with olive oil and sprinkle evenly with spices.

IMG_6733

Bake for 30-40 minutes until level of desired toasted perfection is achieved. I like mine to be fairly dark and golden brown, but they are also good when only slightly toasted, so feel free to play with the bake time on this recipe.

IMG_6749

I love these because they are so easy to make and great make ahead snacks for any dinner party. They can be topped with hummus, or meat and cheese or pretty much any topping making them a very versatile snack, and a nice homemade touch to any party.

IMG_6760

Coming up later this week: Non-traditional Thanksgiving sides to accompany your turkey!


 

print2

Hummus

adapted from The Complete Middle East Cookbook by Tess Mallos

Ingredients:

  • 1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
  • 2/3 cup tahini (available in some supermarkets and in most deli’s)*
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • 1/2 can water (use the chickpea can)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • salt to taste

*A note on this ingredient, if you cannot find tahini, sesame oil will do, just add to taste, 1 tsp at a time.

Directions:

Place all ingredients (except salt) in a high-powered blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. Taste. Add salt to taste.

 

print2

Crostini

Ingredients:

  • 1 baguette, cut into slices
  • olive oil
  • salt, pepper, dried oregano

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. Arrange the baguette slices on a cookie sheet. They can be very close together. Brush the slices of bread with olive oil and sprinkle evenly with spices.

Bake for 30-40 minutes until level of desired toasted perfection is achieved. I like mine to be fairly dark and golden brown, but they are also good when only slightly toasted, so feel free to play with the bake time on this recipe.

 

Cheesy Pull Apart Biscuits

print2

A few weeks ago I made some Monkey Bread Muffins  from Pioneer Woman, and they were so amazingly delicious. Seriously, you should stop what you’re doing right now and make these yummy treats. They were so easy to make they got me thinking about savory applications of this recipe. So after some slight tinkering, this is the result; a cheesy pull apart biscuit. Brace yourself, because these rock.

IMG_6632IMG_6642

Here’s what you’ll need for this naughty biscuit;

Ingredients:

  • 1 tube/can of premade biscuit dough, I used Pillsbury Grands
  • Salt
  • 1/2 tsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic (about 1 clove)
  • Parmesan or Romano Cheese, grated
  • Cheddar, grated
  • jalapeno, chopped finely (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375

Start by cutting up the butter into small slices and put one pat of butter in the bottom of a muffin tin. (If you use a can of Pillsbury Grands you will get 11 muffins).

IMG_6594IMG_6598

How much is a pat of butter? This much:

IMG_6599

Next cut up the preformed biscuits into fourths and put the dough in a medium-sized mixing bowl.

IMG_6601IMG_6604

Drizzle the dough with 1/2 tsp olive oil, 1/2 tsp minced garlic, a (teeny tiny) dash of salt, and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. Using your hands, toss the dough until it is evenly coated.

IMG_6611

Next, gently roll the dough into balls and place 3 in each muffin tin.

IMG_6623IMG_6614

Now, you can stop right there and top them with more butter and cheese and they will be delicious, wonderful biscuits. OR, you could take it a bit further if you dare…

If you wanted to, you could create little pockets full of cheese and jalapeno. I warn you, these are not for the feint of heart! Because these are so delicious, so very wonderful you will want to eat them all the time. I warned you.

If you choose to create cheesy spicy pockets, simply fill each fourth of dough with small amount of diced jalapeno and grated cheddar cheese.

IMG_6620

Seal it together by pinching the sides together and place into the muffin tin.

IMG_6621

Now top the muffins with a dash more of cheese, and the remaining small pats of butter.

IMG_6625

Bake in the oven for 19-22 minutes. The tops will be golden brown and lovely. Eat while they are hot. But try not to eat all of them yourself. Or if you do, no judgements, these are pretty yummy.

IMG_6629

IMG_6638IMG_6640

If you liked this post subscribe recklessly and receive new delicious posts by email!

print2


Cheesy Pull Apart Biscuits

Ingredients:

  • 1 tube/can of pre-made biscuit dough, I used Pillsbury Grands
  • Salt
  • 1/2 tsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic (about 1 clove)
  • Parmesan or Romano Cheese, grated
  • Cheddar, grated
  • jalapeno, chopped finely (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut up the butter into small slices and put one pat of butter in the bottom of a muffin tin. (If you use a can of Pillsbury Grands you will get 11 muffins).

Next cut up the preformed biscuits into fourths and put the dough in a medium-sized mixing bowl.

Drizzle the dough with 1/2 tsp olive oil, 1/2 tsp minced garlic, a (teeny tiny) dash of salt, and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. Using your hands, toss the dough until it is evenly coated.

Fill each fourth of dough with small amount of diced jalapeno and grated cheddar cheese. Seal it together by pinching the sides together and place into the muffin tin. Now, top the muffins with a dash more of cheese, and the remaining small pats of butter.

Bake in the oven for 19-22 minutes. The tops will be golden brown and lovely. Serve warm.

French Onion Soup

print2

This winter I’ve resolved to make soup once a week in efforts to make meals that are both lighter and able to warm the belly. So far, I’m off to a good start; first I tried this roasted root vegetable soup from the Eat Run Live Blog, and this week I tried a fabulous mushroom barely soup from Real Simple Magazine. Both were excellent, but I have to say my favorite so far has been the French Onion Soup.

I found this Tyler Florence recipe a few years ago, and I loved it so much the first time I made it, I made it again a week later. What I love about this recipe is the depth of flavor. It’s not just broth and onions here, there are layers of flavors. And of course there are cheesy croutons. Gotta love cheesy croutons!

Before we get started with the recipe let’s talk about chopping up onions. Another reason why I like this recipe is because I am a huge kitchen nerd and it gives me an opportunity to practice my onion chopping skills. So here is my crash course in cutting onions like a pro.

For this recipe you will need 4 medium/large yellow onions. You will also need a good, sharp knife. This is important, because without a good sharp knife this technique does not work.

IMG_6259

Start off by cutting the top of the onion off.

IMG_6261

Next, slice the onion in half length-wise.

IMG_6264

Now place the onion flat on the cutting board, the trick is to make slices in 2 directions without cutting all the way through the root. First, cut slices going through the onion vertically, without slicing through the root.

IMG_6267

Now make slices through the onion horizontally, also not cutting through the root.

IMG_6270

Now the onion is ready to be cut up; slice through the onion all the way to the root and small pieces of onion will fall off in tiny bits. Cutting the onions into these thin bits create a great texture, and their size will also aid in the caramalizing process.

IMG_6272

Now that the onions are chopped it’s time to get our soup started. Here’s what you will need;

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 4 onions, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 fresh thyme sprigs (or 1 tsp of dried thyme)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 3/4 cup red wine
  • 3 heaping tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 quarts beef broth
  • 1 baguette, sliced
  • 1/2 pound grated Gruyere (or cheese of your choice)

First we’ll need to carmalize those onion bits to get the most flavor out of them. In a large pot melt the butter over medium heat.

IMG_6283

Once the butter is melted add the onions, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, 1 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp black pepper. I know it looks like a lot, but the onion bits will shrink down to about 1/10 of their size by the time we are finished with them.

IMG_6292

Cook the onions over medium heat, stirring frequently, for about 20 minutes. At this point the onions will have released a lot of liquid. Increase the heat very slightly and cook until the liquid mostly evaporates and the onions are caramelized on the bottom and sides of the pan.

IMG_6297

Next add the wine to the pot and bring to a boil. Then, reduce the heat and simmer until the liquid is mostly cooked off (about 20-25 minutes).

IMG_6310

Remove the bay leaves (and thyme sprigs if using fresh thyme). Reduce the heat to low and sprinkle the flour over the onions and give them a stir. Allow the flour to cook for 10 minutes.

IMG_6315

Now add the beef broth to the purple onion mixture. Gently scrape the bottom of the pot to remove any yummy brown bits into the soup. Increase the heat to bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

IMG_6318

While the soup is simmering in its final minutes of cooking, it’s time to prepare the croutons. This is really the best part of French Onion Soup, let’s be honest. To make the croutons take slices of baguette and arrange on a baking sheet. Sprinkle the slices of bread the grated cheese of your choice and place under the broiler until the cheese is melted and slightly golden brown.

IMG_6321

Place the croutons on top of the yummy soup and enjoy!

*Recipe slightly adapted from Tyler Florence’s recipe for French Onion Soup*

print2


French Onion Soup

Recipe slightly adapted from Tyler Florence’s recipe for French Onion Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 4 onions, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 fresh thyme sprigs (or 1 tsp of dried thyme)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 3/4 cup red wine
  • 3 heaping tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 quarts beef broth
  • 1 baguette, sliced
  • 1/2 pound grated Gruyere

Directions:

In a large pot melt the butter over medium heat. Once the butter is melted add the onions, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, salt, and pepper.

Cook the onions over medium heat, stirring frequently, for about 20 minutes. At this point the onions will have released a lot of liquid. Increase the heat very slightly and cook until the liquid mostly evaporates and the onions are caramelized on the bottom and sides of the pan.

Next add the wine to the pot and bring to a boil. Then, reduce the heat and simmer until the liquid is mostly cooked off (about 20-25 minutes).

Remove the bay leaves (and thyme sprigs if using fresh thyme). Reduce the heat to low and sprinkle the flour over the onions and give them a stir. Allow the flour to cook for 10 minutes.

Now, add the beef broth to the onion mixture. Gently scrape the bottom of the pot to remove any yummy brown bits into the soup. Increase the heat to bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

To make the croutons take slices of baguette and arrange on a baking sheet. Sprinkle the slices of bread the grated cheese of your choice and place under the broiler until the cheese is melted and slightly golden brown.

Serve the soup with 3-4 croutons on top.