Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Pumpkin Bisque

I was a little skeptical when I got this recipe for my pumpkin tasting. But, I was excited to try it. It turned out to be my favorite, along with the Pumpkin scones. They were BOTH amazing, and because of the ease of the recipe, I couldn't wait to share!

I got TWO Pumpkin soup recipes, and the other called to blend (Like, in a blender) the soup when done. If you can, I would do it, because the smoothness of the soup is much better if not interrupted with an onion.

umpkin Bisque

¼ cup finely chopped onion
2 T butter
2 cups canned pumpkin (which is one 15 oz can)
2/3 cup sour cream
3 cups chicken broth
2 cups light cream ( I used half milk)
½ cup packed brown sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. nutmeg

Saute onion in butter. Add everything else and whisk until smooth. Warm over med-low heat until hot. Do not boil, as that will curdle the cream. Garnish with a dollop of sour cream (optional). Or serve with Mexican Cream. Recipe below. Delicious served with rolls."

Mexican Cream

¼ cup sour cream
¼ cup coconut milk
1 TBSP fresh lime juice
1/4 tsp. lime zest

Debbie's Fabulous Chicken Pot Pie

I have tried many different pot pie recipes in my day, and I thought I had my favorite already nailed down....until I tried this!! One trick I learned is that this can be a great recipe for a FREEZER MEAL! I bulked up the veggies and 1 1/2 times the roux. Half of the mixture went into my 9x9 baking dish and the other half went in a Ziploc bag to be eaten at a later date...genius!

Prep work:
1 package refrigerated pie crust from fridge

Petite Dice the following
1 c carrot
1 c celery
1/2 c onion
1-2 c potato

Saute all veggies in
1/4 c butter 3-4 minutes. (They do NOT need to be fork tender yet, just get them started)
Stir in 1/2 c flour
2 1/2 c chicken broth
1 c milk

Boil this mixture and season with pepper and garlic salt and season salt to taste. Sauce will thicken to a nice creamy consistency 4-6 minutes.
Lower heat and add
2-4 c cooked and diced or shredded chicken breast.
1 c frozen peas

*don't worry if veggies are not fully cooked at this point..they will finish cooking in the oven.

Pour into a 9x13 dish
(or you can divide into 2 9x9 portions)

If making the 9x13 you will need 1 1/2 pie crusts. Lightly flour your surface and gently roll out and stretch your pie crusts into a more square shape. Overlap and roll the 1/2 pie crust into the full pie crust increasing it's length so it will fit over a 9x13 dish. Place over pot pie filling and roll excess edges under and press with fork making a seal around the edge of the pan. Cut a few air holes to vent. Brush top of crust with milk to create a nice browning effect.

Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.

If you freeze half of your chicken mixture, defrost in fridge and top with one pie crust in a smaller 9x9 dish, then bake as directed.

Creamy Honey Syrup

This recipe is one that I created for a contest, and it's on the food blog already but I realize that it's tricky to find. This is a great and quick way to take your pancakes or waffles to the next level!!!

Creamy Honey Syrup

1/4 c butter
1/2 c honey
1/2 c lowfat buttermilk
1 T corn syrup
1 T all purpose flour
1/4 t cinnamon
1/4 t baking soda
1/2 t vanilla extract

In a medium saucepan, combine butter, honey, buttermilk, corn syrup, flour, and cinnamon. Stir and bring to a boil. Boil stirring occastionally for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and add baking soda and vanilla. It's fun to have your kids around or let one of them add the baking soda because it makes it foam up a bit...this add's body to the syrup. Cool slightly and serve warm over waffles.

Favorite Banana Oatmeal

This is an easy and quick way to get a healthy hearty start to your day! Serves 1 hungry person.

1/2 c water
1/2 c milk

bring to a boil in a small saucepan


1/2 c rolled oats
1 banana sliced

Cook on medium low heat for 5 minutes. The banana will break down almost entirely and oats will thicken. Let sit to cool 3-5 minutes. Add more milk if necessary until you reach desired consistency. Top with lots of yummy brown sugar...enjoy!

Optional Variations to add after cooking:
1 scoop peanut butter
1 T flax meal
1/4 t vanilla
dried cranberries or any other dried fruit.

I love this breakfast and I hope you do too...enjoy!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Pumpkin Pancakes

*not my photo!

My Friend Rachel said she had the most AMAZING Pumpkin Pancake recipe! I got impatient waiting for it to come, so, I made a Martha Stewart recipe instead. Rachel finally got around to sending it to me, and they were so similar, I decided to post Rachel's, because I felt like the MS recipe could have used more PUMPKIN! Rachel's recipe calls for more, so, that is why I am posting it here!

Pumpkin Pancakes

1 cup all purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon (or cinnamon plus) - more if you like it spicier
1 beaten egg
1 cup buttermilk or sour milk
3/4 cup pumpkin
2 tablespoons cooking oil

1. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Make a well in the center of flour mixture; set aside. Combine egg, buttermilk, pumpkin and oil. Add egg mixture all at once to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy) Add additional buttermilk to thin the batter, or additional flour to thicken the batter, if necessary.
2. For standard-size pancakes, pour or spread about 1/4 cup batter into a 3-inch circle a hot, lightly greased griddle. For dollar-size pancakes, pour or spread about 1 tablespoon batter into a 1-inch circle onto hot griddle. Cook over medium heat about 2 minutes on each side or until pancakes are golden brown, turning second sides when pancakes have bubbly surfaces and edges are slightly dry. Serve warm with buttermilk syrup.

Yield: 8 standard pancakes and 30 dollar-sized pancakes.

Whole Wheat Version: Substitute whole wheat flour for all purpose flour, and substitute brown sugar for white sugar.

Buttermilk Syrup

1 cube butter
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla

Melt butter and sugar in 4 qt sauce pan and stir until dissolved. Then add buttermilk and heat to a boil. Remove from heat and add baking soda and vanilla and stir.

Cook's Tip: Your syrup will foam up so be sure to use at least a 4 qt sauce pan. This will keep in the fridge in an airtight container for up to two months.

Candied Pecans

I recently begged, yes begged for this recipe from a friend. Thanks Lauren for sharing it! I promise, it is already getting good use! I have made 3 lbs. of candied pecans so far! They just happened to end up in my Harvest Salad tonight too!

For One Pound:

1 tsp cold water, wisked together with one egg.

Fold in one pound of Pecans gently.

Add 1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 tablespoon Vanilla

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Combine together and spread out on jelly roll pan. Bake at 225 for 1 hour. Your house will smell completely amazing!

Jerk Chicken Salad

One more, that I made all summer long!

Jerk Chicken Salad
1 tablespoon Garlic Oil or olive oil
1 tablespoon Jamaican Jerk Rub
1 pound chicken tenders
1 medium pineapple
1 red bell pepper
3 green onions (white and light green parts only)
2 heads romaine lettuce
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained
6 slices bacon, cooked, drained and crumbled
2 limes
1/3 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
2 tablespoons pineapple preserves

1. In Classic Batter Bowl, whisk together oil and jerk rub with Stainless Whisk. Add chicken tenders; mix well to coat and set aside. Cut pineapple with Pineapple Wedger and slice crosswise into ¼-inch slices. Heat Grill Pan over medium heat 5 minutes. Add chicken; cook 3-5 minutes on each side, turning once. Remove from pan. Add pineapple to pan. Cook 1 minute on each side, turning once; remove from pan. Cut chicken into bite-size pieces using Utility Knife; set chicken and pineapple aside.

2. Thinly slice bell pepper and green onions on Cutting Board with Measure Cups using Santoku Knife. Arrange 12 large lettuce leaves around Simple Additions(R) Large Round Platter. Chop remaining lettuce; set vegetables aside. Drain and rinse beans using Strainer; set aside.

3. For dressing, zest one lime using Microplane(R) Adjustable Grater. Juice both limes into Small Batter Bowl using Citrus Press. Add lime zest, mayonnaise and pineapple preserves to batter bowl; mix well.

4. Layer chopped lettuce, beans, bell pepper, chicken, pineapple, bacon and green onions over each lettuce leaf. Drizzle dressing over salad.

Yield: 6 servings Nutrients per serving: Calories 320, Total Fat 16 g, Saturated Fat 4 g, Cholesterol 60 mg, Carbohydrate 24 g, Protein 24 g, Sodium 580 mg, Fiber 5 g

Cook's Tips:
*If desired, 1 pound of boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into strips, can be substituted for the chicken tenders.
*To microwave bacon, line Medium Bar Pan with sheet of Parchment Paper. Arrange bacon slices in a single layer on bar pan; cover with another sheet of Parchment Paper. Microwave on HIGH 4-6 minutes, checking after each 30-second interval and turning once with Bamboo Tongs. Remove bacon to paper towel-lined plate to drain.
*For a kid-friendly version of this recipe, prepare recipe as directed, omitting lettuce. Cook 1 pound rotini pasta according to package directions. Drain pasta and toss with 2 tablespoons vegetable oil. Add remaining ingredients; drizzle with dressing and toss gently.

Tropical Chicken Salad

This is the Salad that I made in the Month of July. It was amazing! I LOVE the salad dressing recipe too!

Tropical Chicken Salad

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 whole pineapple
1 9-10oz package of Baby Spinach Leaves
2 carrots
1 cucumber
1 small red onion
2 avocados
1 cup sliced natural almonds

Honey-Dijon Dressing:
¼ cup white wine vinegar
¼ cup honey
¼ cup Dijon mustard
2 cloves garlic, pressed
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
1 cup vegetable oil or olive oil
1. In the small Stainless Steel Bowl or Classic Batter Bowl, whisk together the vinegar, honey, mustard, garlic pressed with Garlic Press and fresh ground salt and pepper from Grinders. Slowly drizzle oil into the bowl in a small stream, whisking constantly until the oil is fully incorporated and dressing is creamy. (This is called an "emulsion" and keeps the dressing from separating.)
2. Wash and dry chicken breasts and place in Deep Covered Baker. Baste Chicken with the dressing using Chef’s Silicone Basting Brush and set aside extra dressing. Cook chicken in microwave, covered, for 13 minutes or until no longer pink. Chop chicken with Salad Chopper and set aside.
2. While chicken is cooking, core and slice pineapple, first with Pineapple Wedger, then Apple Wedger. Slice spears into 1” chunks using 7” Santoku Knife. Place pineapple chunks in Grill Pan and grill until slightly browned to bring out the sweetness of the pineapple.
3. Peel and julienne carrots first with Vegetable Peeler, then Julienne Peeler. Peel cucumber with Serrated Peeler, then core out the seeds with The Corer. Slice red onion thin on the Ultimate Mandoline. Soak onion in cold water for 5 minutes to remove bitterness from the onion. Peel and cube avocados with the Avocado Peeler.
4. Wash and spin spinach leaves in Salad and Berry Spinner. Place spinach in Dots Large Round Bowl. Add carrots, cucumber, onion and slightly toasted almonds to the spinach. Right before serving, top with chicken mixture, grilled pineapple, and dressing. Serve immediately.

Harvest Salad

Every month I do a cooking demonstration for Pampered Chef. I usually do the same demonstration all month long, unless there is someone who wants something different. I made this salad yesterday, and it was so delicious, I have to share! I wanted to make it for my family, so, tonight, I omitted the chicken, and we ate it as a side salad. Abby wanted to add Pomegranates because I bought a few on sale. It was an amazing kick to the salad!


Harvest Chicken Salad

2 oranges
1/3 cup fat-free mayonnaise
2 tablespoons stone-ground mustard (Fancy w/seeds)
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon each salt and ground black pepper
1 small garlic clove, pressed

6 oz fresh spinach leaves or 3 heads of Romaine Hearts
2 cups diced roasted chicken
1 cup diced celery
2 medium Red Delicious apples
1/2 cup chopped red onion
3/4 cup sweetened dried cranberries
1/2 cup toasted pecan halves (optional)

1. For dressing, zest one orange using Microplane Adjustable Grater to measure 2 teaspoons zest. Juice oranges to measure 1/2 cup juice. Combine orange zest, mayonnaise, mustard, sugar, salt, black pepper and garlic pressed with Garlic Press in Classic Batter Bowl; whisk until smooth using Stainless Whisk. While continuously whisking, add orange juice in a thin, steady stream; set dressing aside.

2. For salad, place spinach in bottom of large serving bowl. Dice chicken and celery using Utility Knife. Core apples with Corer and cut into 8 wedges; crinkle cut wedges into small pieces using Crinkle Cutter. Chop onion using Food Chopper. Layer chicken, celery, apples, onion, cranberries and pecans, if desired, over spinach. To serve, drizzle dressing over salad and toss to coat. Top with orange segments and Whole-Grain Croutons, if desired. Serve immediately.

Yield: 12 servings Nutrients per serving: Light (1 cup salad): Calories 100, Total Fat 2 g, Saturated Fat .5 g, Cholesterol 20 mg, Carbohydrate 13 g, Protein 7 g, Sodium 170 mg, Fiber 2 g

Cook's Tips: To toast pecans, spread over bottom of Small Oval Baker. Microwave on HIGH 2-3 minutes or until fragrant and lightly toasted, stirring after each 30-second interval.

A 2-pound rotisserie-cooked chicken can be used to prepare this recipe, if desired.

Preparing Orange Segments:

To cut orange into segments, cut a thin slice from the top and the bottom using Utility Knife; stand upright. Cutting from top to bottom, carefully trim away peel and white membrane. Cut down one side of membrane. Angle knife under segment and lift out. Repeat with remaining segments.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Slow Cooker Greek Chicken Gyros

I Love Love Love Greek food and Chicken Gyros are at the top of my list. This was a great way to make them without any effort on my part. I will definitely be making these again and again!

***Updated Tip*** Costco now carries a great tzatziki sauce that is a great sub for the plain greek yogurt...I buy the pitas there too!

3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 medium red onion
2 cloves garlic minced
1 1/2 t lemon pepper seasoning
1/2 t dried oregano
1/4 t allspice

1/2-1 c plain Greek yogurt
pita bread

Place chicken in greased slow cooker. Lay onion over chicken and sprinkle with seasonings. Cover and cook on low heat for 6 hours (my chicken was frozen). After 6 hours pour off excess water and shred chicken. Then stir in 1/2 to 1 cup yogurt based on desired creaminess. Spoon onto warm pita halves. Garnish with Roma tomato slices and cucumber slices. Makes 6-8 servings.
I garnished mine with sauteed zucchini and grape tomatoes (yum). You can make your own pita bread with the delicious recipe on this site...or if your short on time like I was I stopped at a local Greek restaurant and bought the pita bread a la cart and warmed it up with butter on a dry skillet at home....WOW! It was to die for!..Pita bread from the store will never compare so I suggest those options first. Enjoy!

Home Made Focaccia Bread

2 1/4 t yeast
1 c warm milk
1/4 c olive oil
3 c flour
1 t salt
1 t sugar
1 T chopped rosemary (fresh or dried)

Dissolve yeast in milk. In another bowl combine all other ingredients, add yeast and knead or mix with dough hook for 10 minutes. Spread in a 9x9 greased pan and cover. (I let mine rise in the bowl and then baked on a pizza stone which also worked nicely) Let dough rise one hour. (there is only one rise) Brush dough with additional olive oil and toppings if desired.
Bake at 400 10-12 minutes
serve with balsamic vinegar and oil

Optional Toppings:
Minced Garlic
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