Yum! Thai Infused Apple Butternut Squash Soup

Well, Santa brought hubby an immersion blender and he has been chomping at the bit to try something, anything that would require the smooth blending that would be our first introduction into the world of immersion blending. What we found was one of the most filling and savory meals in the form of Thai Infused Apple Butternut Squash Soup. This was a first time for us also, to use a fresh butternut squash as a main portion to our meal. This soup turned out to be something really special. All of these different flavors combined together so well! Ginger, squash, apples, onions, the curry…it felt like a lot of ingredients, but was really not bad. The prep was a little lengthy and we learned how to roast the squash and that was fun. The one ‘hitch’ we hit, was we had a really hard time determining what was ginger after cooking – we pulled out 3 of the pieces and just left the other two. So we definitely had a stronger ginger taste than the original chef probably intended, but to us, that was a bonus. Once everything was in the pot, the real fun started. His blender works marvellously and we ended up with a nice and uniform thick soup that was intense. The chili infused sesame oil along with the coconut oil on top was just what it needed to give it that special panache! It turned out amazing and we cannot WAIT to try it...

A New Year & New Adventures To Try

Well, with the hustle and bustle of the new year, making new friendships, volunteering our time and dealing with illness in the family – I think it is safe to say that 2014 is already proving to be beyond busy. I have so many meals to share with you all that have been done and just haven’t found ample time to get to blogging. So with this post, I am making it my goal to not only keep busy with God guiding me where I am meant to be, but also to blog a lot more on the personal experiences along with sharing the meals. My reading has also gotten so far behind, and instead of trying to stress out and do everything, my fun reading will have to be one of the things I have to push back a little. This is simply due to the fact that there are not physically enough hours in the day! 😀 So to you, my readers I say Happy 2014! I pray that each of you has a stellar year and find more blessings that you can count surrounding you. Now, onto the posts…And feel free to share your goals for the upcoming year! Or you can ALWAYS share a recipe – you know I love trying new recipes!...

German Beef Stew To Comfort The Chilly Nights

As per the norm, Sunday’s are crockpot creation night due to our somewhat focused family time and pure desire to have dinner ready when our day winds down. The colder weather has brought out the stew and comfort food lovers in each member of the family and I happened across this German Beef Stew and really felt like it was just going to be perfect for the chilly night. We stuck right with the recipe and had a bit of dry sherry on hand so that was what we used as well as the beef broth which I am sure added to the richness of the taste. When we got home from the evenings activities the house smelled so delicious and inviting.  We reheated a little bit of the rice from the other night – and we ended up finding that the rice mixed so well with the stew. On the whole this stew was really hearty and the dry sherry really added a zing to the overall flavor. I think the entire family will be asking for this again really soon. A classic and comforting crockpot gem for the...

Chicken Divan Over Basmati Rice

With the days of Christmas past and the New Year upon us, funds are budgeted down to the penny so hubby says it’s a casserole kind of night. We have found that an all in one dish (veggies, proteins, fats etc) are typically really satisfying and easy on the pocketbook. He began a search of the web for some type of a casserole, and he came up with quite a few different possibilities. As he was sharing all of these, I said why not some Chicken Divan over some rice. It can be quick and easy, or you can take the route we did by creating our own chicken broth and boiling the chicken. Ok, so on to the old fashioned goodness of chicken, broccoli and cheese, a casserole that should be able to satisfy even the pickiest of eaters. The recipe itself doesn’t take long at all, a little chopping cooked chicken and broccoli and that is really it. We ended up adding a little homemade extra this time, we bought the chicken breasts and boiled them in water, bouillon, fresh carrots & celery and some additional seasonings. Once the chicken was cooked through, we allowed to cool entirely in the refrigerator before cutting. This was really an easy version of chicken divan and was very rich and creamy tasting with regard to the sauce. I really liked the use of the cream of chicken soup – it wasn’t too overwhelming or bland but really enhanced the chicken flavors. We also opted to use fresh broccoli florets, and because we doubled the recipe it took a head and a half of fresh broccoli to cut and steam. This made a lot and everyone, kiddos included, approved. Typically I would boil up some white Minute Rice to put the chicken divan on top of, but I can’t remember the last time I used the quick stuff and was not surprised that I had none on hand. We ended up using a plain basmati rice, cooked according to package directions – and the texture was nice with the more firm basmati rice. Made for a awesome, all thumbs up dinner....

Hot Dog Hash & A Fried Egg – Oh My Goodness!

Every once in a while, we completely throw all of our improving diet cautions to the wind and just decide to live a little. I also have a secret admission to share: I absolutely love breakfast foods. I have been known in the past to go into phases where I ate some form of breakfast for each meal. I know, terrible habits that we really are working on changing. We don’t really believe in the theory of “I’m never eating those foods again” approach, we practice the idea of an overall healthier diet with lots of vegetables, healthier fat options and fruit; but that you can still occasionally have those meals that aren’t the best – but with moderation. We should all be more cautious of the amount and makeup of what we are putting in our bodies constantly, but don’t be afraid to splurge every now and then. 🙂 While doing one of my recipe search sessions, I came across one of my favorite Iron Chef winners, Michael Symon, and could not have been more excited for his Hot Dog Hash recipe! I love hot dogs (especially Nathan’s brand – they are great hot dogs no matter how you make them) and everyone in the entire house go crazy for any type of a hash. To also be able to make a homemade version just kind of sounded fun! The prep was not any big deal at all, just a little chopping and slicing. We followed the recipe but added a bit more hot dog (2 additional) as our potatoes were a little bigger than medium sized. Easy fix by adding a bit more meat and onion – but this did extend the cooking time a little bit. I really didn’t mind at all, the entire time we were making it I was whisked back to my grandma cooking fried ‘taters n onions’ on weekend mornings when I was a child. This is one of those smells that just conjure up happiness and warm memories for me. I added a couple of drops of Tabasco at serving, and hubby chose his go to sriracha red rooster sauce. We added a whole grain piece of toast to mop up any leftovers, and got quite a treat with the mango and banana slices with cinnamon. Has anyone else tried this one? I know for sure this will be a quick and cost effective breakfast dish every now and then – and I’m about 95% sure the kiddos will love it as...

Chicken Calypso With Island Peas And Rice

As I am sure you can tell from all of the different chicken dishes we have, we have to keep finding new ways to dress up everyday chicken entrees. I came across this recipe and decided we had to try it. I actually looked up mediterranean cuisine to see exactly what defines ‘mediterranean’ and found that it is really a type of food that is influenced by the many different regions and cultures around the area. Thorough our adventures in cooking we have found that we actually love all of the different styles; the curries, the fruits and vegetables — so much deliciousness! The Chicken Calypso with Island Peas and Rice from the Publix Aprons series did not disappoint in any way.  We stuck right to the recipe with only a single deviation. We could not find the ‘Complete Seasoning’ listed in the ingredients, but found ‘All Purpose Seasoning’ – it turned out amazing. Seems to be your basic salt, pepper, garlic and other spices. We fed the three of us adults and had a small serving leftover of the chicken and a lot of the rice. We decided the next time we make this, we are going to double the chicken portion so everyone could have some the next day or to ensure enough to serve the kiddos too. I will say that the rice tasted even better on day two and would probably go well as a side with many different main dishes. We stuck with the raisins option and really felt like it added some sweetness and moisture to the rice. This meal was super easy and not really time consuming at all. We finished off the meal with some mango slices sprinkled with...

Michael Symon’s Pork Saltimbocca

I usually try to watch the ABC show The Chew in the afternoons, and am totally guilty of recording it on the DVR when I am too busy to watch on time. One of my most favorite days of the week is Friday where they do the Extra Value Friday, specifically I LOVE the Michael Symon 5 in 5 section! Anytime I can create a delicious and pleasing meal in 5 minutes, give or take, with 5 ingredients and under 5 bucks — seriously this, to me, is a no-brainer! Michael Symon’s Pork Saltimbocca totally fit the bill of delicious, quick and cheap! So, I actually kept the episode on the DVR so I could show my hubby – it literally had me drooling while I watched it and left me marveling at the simplicity and ease. Hubby thought the exact same thing and we made it that night. (Any other fellow Chew watchers realize now, how far behind I am on my blogging!) Off to the store he runs and the only change we made to the recipe at all, was we got a loin chop and pounded it out instead of the tenderloin. By just doing the pounding ourselves (the meat department was rather busy during the shopping trip), it did add about 10 minutes to the total prep time, but was no sweat. One of the things we love about trying all of these new recipes, is that we are learning new things every time; we may use the true tenderloin this time, but honestly, the loin chop was no less delectable and tender. We also decided to stick with the prosciutto listed in the recipe, during the show he indicated any type of ham or bacon type meat would work. I will let you in on a secret though, if you have never tried ‘fried’ prosciutto, splurge and give it a try. It is a true embodiment of what a ‘bacon’ could and should be! The arugula and the sauce that it was in was something out of a restaurant. Never would I have thought to wilt it a little and then add the fresh and crunchy leaves on top. It was such a nice pairing of the saucy, warm cooked with the green and fresh arugula. Winner! I went totally processed boxed potatoes au gratin for the side as we have been exhausted and crunched on funds and time with the hustle, bustle and chaos that seems to be what the holidays have become ’round here. Next year, I vow that we will slow down and just spend a LOT more time reflecting and spending less chaotic family...