Friday, October 29, 2010

A recipe-less cookie post

I normally don't post "personal" posts on this blog.. but considering the content of the pictures, I decided to do it anyway.  This is what happens when you decide to bake some Autumn cookies for some special out-of-state family.  First you bake the cookies and let them cool on the rack:

Then you hear the pitter patter of little feet who have used their sense of smell to track down something that they've figured out they're missing out on:

And since they look so cute you agree to let them "help" which turns into more eating than helping so you send them on their way, each having consumed a satisfying amount of both sprinkles and frosting:

And after they are banished from the kitchen you finish frosting them yourself, equipped with fall colors.

And by late that night you'll be able to package up delicious little apples, maple leafs and acorns to take on your weekend visit which shall include a great-grandson's soccer game, lunch at Sonic, and whatever other surprises show up along the way.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Squash Apple Bake

Many, many moons ago I worked at a grocery store called Wegmans.  If you live on the east coast you may very well have shopped at Wegmans, but otherwise you wouldn't recognize it... yet.  (they are expanding at a fast rate)  Wegmans prides itself as being a shopping experience.  They often have great prices, but they also make sure they carry a huge variety of foods and they will make sure that incredible effort goes into the environment and quality of their stores and customer service.  Part of this customer service is to have a chef cooking during the day, giving out samples and teaching techniques. 

I was that person.  (back when I did it, they didn't require a culinary degree)  It was... interesting.  But I learned a lot, and picked up a few recipes along the way.  Often the recipes that they'd want taught were those that stretched the boundaries of how food is typically prepared in a home kitchen.  (I remember when I spent a month teaching how to properly braise different meats.. and you'd be shocked how many people don't do it effectively) 

One of the recipes that I taught was a Squash Apple Bake.  While I may not remember the exact recipe due to my habit of tweaking things along the way, I do know what I put in it now.  It's a butternut squash recipe, and the squash itself is sliced and cooked, giving it a slightly different texture than the mushy squash that you would typically find when one thinks of "sweet" winter squash. 

The other good things about it: butternut squash isn't hard to grow, keeps on the shelf for a long time, and is fairly inexpensive at roadside stands. The downside?  Squash is hard to "peel".  You have to take a really sharp knife and just slice off sections of the outside until all you have is the orange inside.  Don't cut yourself.  And then slice the pieces off, throwing away the stringy seedy section in the bottom.  It would confuse the texture of the dish if you kept the "guts" in there.

Try this recipe, you'll be glad you have.

Squash Apple Bake


1 large butternut squash, peeled and sliced into 1/2 inch thick pieces (discarding the stringy core)
2-3 McIntosh apples, peeled and sliced into 1/2 inch thick pieces
1 small onion, sliced
1 stick of butter
1 cup of brown sugar, split in half
1 cup of apple cider (can substitute water)

Preheat your oven to 375*

In the bottom of a 13x9 pan, put a layer of squash, layer of onion, layer of apple and then scatter pats of butter on top.  Sprinkle one half of the brown sugar over this.  Repeat the process.  If you haven't used up all your ingredients after two tiers you can add a third.  It's not an exact science.  Then pour the cider over the top of it all.

Cover with foil.  Bake at 375 for about an hour, or until the squash is fork-tender. 

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Halloween Hayride Cheesey Noodle Soup

Since it's that time of year again when the nights turn cool and crisp I thought of this soup. I love Fall with nature's warm array of colors and harvests more than any other season. My memory always takes me back to when our children were young and we would have huge parties and need a cup of something hearty when we would come in from a cold hayride. This was always a crowd pleaser. Enjoy !

3 cups water
3 pkt.s chicken flavored seasoning broth
1 med. minced onion
1 bunch chopped broccoli with trimmed down stem
1 cup noodles
1+1/2 cups cubed Velveeta cheese
2 Tbs. butter
2 Tbs. milk

Bring water and broth
to a boil. Add broccoli,onions,and
noodles and cook till tender.
Stir in cheese, butter, and milk and heat through.
Soup should be of a thinner consistency so add
another Tbs. of milk if it becomes thick.
Serve with your favorite topping s if desired such
as oyster crackers,slivered almond, real bacon, or chopped ham .