Tuscan Sausage Soup

Ingredients

1 lb Italian ground pork sausage
1 cup chopped onions
1 large carrot, peeled, cut into quarters lengthwise & into 1/4-inch slices (about 1 cup)
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
6 cups reduced sodium chicken broth (from two 32-oz cartons)
1 can (19 oz) cannellini beans, drained, rinsed
1 can (28 oz) fire roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
2 tsp chopped fresh oregano
1 bay leaf
3/4 cup (3 oz) small ring pasta, such as ditalini
3 cups baby spinach, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup plain panko crispy bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
 

Directions

  1. Heat 5-quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add sausage, onions and carrot; cook 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to break up sausage, until sausage is no longer pink. Stir in garlic and pepper flakes; cook 1 to 2 minutes or until garlic is fragrant.
  2. Stir in broth, beans, tomatoes, oregano and bay leaf. Heat to boiling; reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer uncovered 10 minutes. Add pasta; simmer 8 to 9 minutes or until pasta is tender. Remove bay leaf, and discard.
  3. Stir in spinach; cover and remove from heat. Let stand 5 minutes; stir.
  4. Meanwhile, in 8-inch nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium heat Add bread crumbs; cook and stir 2 to 3 minutes or until toasted and golden brown. Remove from heat.
  5. Divide soup among serving bowls; garnish each with cheese and toasted bread crumbs.

Makes about 8 servings. Takes 35 minutes for prep and 60 minutes to cook. Soup is always great on a cold day with a fire and glass of wine.

SWEET POTATO PECAN BREAD

INGREDIENTS

1 (15 oz) can sweet potatoes, drained * (2 Tbsp liquid reserved)

1 1/4 cups granulated sugar

1/3 cup water

1/3 cup vegetable oil

2 eggs

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

3/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice*

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 cup chopped pecans

DIRECTIONS

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, mash sweet potatoes in *2 Tbsp of reserved liquid. 
  • Add sugar, water, oil, and eggs to mashed sweet potatoes and mix well.
  • Add flour, baking soda, salt, pumpkin pie spice, and baking powder. Mix well.
  • Stir in chopped pecans.
  • Pour evenly into prepared pan. Bake for 70 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.
  • Cool for 15 minutes in the pan. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Notes:

*Apple pie spice or cinnamon can be substituted for pumpkin pie spice.

You can add sliced pecans on top before cooking for more flavor or a thin maple glaze frosting after the bread has cooled.

Maple Glaze: 1 cup confectioners sugar and 1/2 cup pure maple syrup; blend well drizzle over cooled loaf.

This recipe makes one loaf of bread, but it is delicious. Consider doubling this recipe – one loaf will be gone before you know it! This recipe is a perfect start to a Fall morning – enjoy with a hot cup of coffee or tea.

Preparing your cupboard for Fall/Winter

In the summer it’s hot. We want foods that are light and crisp and cool. When the weather turns cooler in fall and winter, people look towards warmer foods to make them feel better and raise their temperature. This means more soups and casseroles, breads and comfort foods. Is your pantry ready to handle the change in meal choices? Make a list of what you will need. What types of meals do you typically make at this time of the year? Account for those ingredients in your shopping list for your pantry.

Most of the items you have are probably common staples that any pantry needs. There is nothing wrong with having two bags of flour or sugar. Dry staples will last a while when kept in a dry, cool and dark place.

Stock up on beef or chicken stocks or bouillon cubes. Vegetable, beef and chicken stock or broth add flavor to dishes without adding salt. It is easier than straining and making your own broth. Choose low sodium, gluten free or organic varieties if that is better for you.

Make room for grains. Quinoa, couscous, oats, oatmeal and barley are great sources of fiber and also create a filling dish. You can eat well and feel full without gaining excess weight.

Don’t forget some common filling staples such as potatoes, garlic, a variety of spices and onions. Store them at the lowest level in your pantry. Keep them hanging in the bags they were purchased in if you want. They provide a wealth of meal ideas. Dried herbs and canned or frozen vegetables from your garden are also great staples to have an abundance of for fall/winter recipes.

Be prepared for a great season of “comfort food” cooking. Happy Fall Y’all!!

Easy White Chicken Chilli

INGREDIENTS

6 cups chicken stock

3 – 4 cups cooked shredded chicken

2 (15-ounce) cans beans of northern beans or 1 big jar

2 cups (16 ounces) salsa verde 

2 teaspoons ground cumin

Optional toppings: diced avocado, shredded cheese, chopped green onions, sour cream, crumbled tortilla chips

DIRECTIONS

  1. Stir together chicken stock, shredded chicken, beans, salsa and cumin in large pot.
  2. Cook on high heat until it simmers.  Then reduce heat to medium-low to maintain the simmer.
  3. Serve immediately, garnished with your favorite toppings.

Kit Kat Cookies

kit kat cookies

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cup chopped Kit Kat candy bar pieces
  • Optional: add semi-sweet chocolate chips after adding Kit Kat pieces

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients except candy bar pieces. Set aside
  3. Using an electric mixer, cream together butter and sugars on medium speed until combined. Add egg and vanilla; mix until combined
  4. Slowly add flour mixture to wet ingredients; mix just until combined. Do not over mix
  5. Gently fold in chopped Kit Kat candy bar pieces; cover bowl and refrigerate dough for about an hour
  6. Place a rounded scoop of dough on an ungreased baking sheet, or silicone mat/parchment paper lined baking sheet. Keep dough chilled in between batches.
  7. Bake 7-9 minutes or until barely golden brown around the edges. Do not over bake. The tops will not brown. Do not bake longer than 9 minutes. Cookies may appear to be soft and undone, but they will set as they cool.
  8. Cool cookies on baking sheet on wire rack for 5 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Option:  can use an 9×13 square pan and make bars.  Just add 2 eggs instead of 1, 2 sticks of softened butter instead of 3/4 cup and add a small box of instant vanilla pudding mix.  Bake for 35-38 minutes or until cooked through.

 

Rum Glazed Caramel Corn

This is a great recipe for movie night.

INGREDIENTS:

1 – 2 cups un-popped popcorn
3 cups of granulated white sugar
1/4 cup dark rum
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking soda

DIRECTIONS:

  • Pop the popcorn on the stove with oil. Place popped popcorn in a large bowl.
  • Cover one to two sheet pans with aluminum foil.
  • In a large saucepan, combine sugar, rum, butter, vanilla, and salt. Heat over medium heat, stirring very often.  Cook until sugar melts and caramel becomes a dark caramel color, careful not to burn because it scorches fast.  Takes about 15-20 minutes. 
  • Add the baking soda and keep stirring. Be careful as it bubbles up quickly and almost doubles in quantity. Quickly remove from heat, pour over the popcorn and stir quickly to coat all the corn.
  • Spread the caramel corn out on foil lined sheet pans and allow to cool.

Option: You can add your favorite nut to this, just add them before you coat the popcorn so they can be coated also.

Another option: Bourbon Caramel Corn, use your favorite Bourbon instead of rum or Salted Whiskey Caramel Corn, use your favorite Whiskey and sea salt instead of rum.

 

caramel corn

 

 

Easy Cobbler

This was my Mom’s recipe, so quick and easy and very tasty!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 cup Bisquick
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 stick of butter, melted
  • 3 – 5 oz can of Peaches
  • Cinnamon
  • Vanilla ice cream

DIRECTIONS:

Mix butter and vanilla in pan, add Bisquick, sugar, and milk in butter.  Pour peaches over the top of the mixture, do not stir.   Sprinkle cinnamon on top.  Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.  Fits a 9 x 9 pan!  Serve warm with ice cream.

Southern-Peach-Cobbler-2-1-of-1.jpg

 

 

Lemonade Slush with Coconut Rum

With the warm weather finally here in Wisconsin, thought I would share one of my favorite lemonade slush recipes with you.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups ice cubes, crushed
  • 3 tablespoons frozen lemonade concentrate
  • 2 tablespoons coconut rum (such as Malibu)
  • Lime wedge or toasted coconut flakes (optional)

Directions

Place ice, concentrate, and rum in a blender; blend until slushy. Garnish with lime wedge or toasted coconut flakes, if desired.  Enjoy!!!

You could also do this over ice and not blended, which is how I like it the best.

 

frozen-coconut-limeade-1

 

Marinated Cheese & Crackers

I always try to keep some type of appetizers on hand for unexpected company.  This is a quick and easy one to pair with a good Moscato or a cold beer.

Ingredients

  • 2 blocks (8 ounces each) white cheddar cheese
  • 2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup chopped roasted sweet red peppers
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons chopped green onions
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Crackers or small bread

Directions

  • Slice each block of cheddar cheese into twenty 1/4-in. slices. Cut each block of cream cheese into 18 slices; sandwich between cheddar slices, using a knife to spread evenly. Create four 6-in.-long blocks of cheese; place in a 13 x 9 dish.
  • In a small bowl, combine the roasted peppers, oil, vinegars, onions, herbs, sugar; pour over cheese.
  • Cover and refrigerate overnight, turning once. Drain excess marinade. Serve cheese with bread or crackers.

Marinated-Cheese_EXPS_THCA18_41873_B01_23_3b-2-696x696