Hearty Pumpkin and Sausage Soup

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It isn’t just fall, it is pumpkinpalooza!  This is the time of year when I go overboard on buying pumpkins for every corner of my house and cook pumpkin in everything that I can get away with (without driving my family too crazy).

I spent the day at a field trip at a farm with my daughter’s kindergarten and was absolutely exhausted when I got home (kudos to our teachers for doing that everyday!).  I had roasted and pureed pumpkin in my fridge so this soup was low effort, warm and comforting – just what the doctor ordered!  Of course, you could also use canned pumpkin.

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Ingredients

  • 12 oz sausage
  • 1/2 onion, minced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 C pureed pumpkin
  • 3 C chicken broth
  • 1/4 C milk
  • 1/4 C water
  • 1 T fresh parsley
  • dash of crushed red pepper
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Instructions

  1. Put the sausage in a large pot and cook until brown. Add the onion, garlic, crushed red pepper and parsley and saute until fragrant.
  2. Deglaze the pan with the water. Add pumpkin and combine.
  3. Mix in the broth and simmer for 20-30 minutes.
  4. Stir in the milk and simmer on low for 10-15 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

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Tomato and Spinach Whole Wheat Scones

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I wanted to find a way to serve my daughter vegetables in the morning – she sometimes resists eating eggs but I knew she would eat them if I baked them into a scone.  This recipe is versatile enough that you could substitute many different types of vegetables or cheeses.

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Ingredients

  • 1/2 C milk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 C whole wheat flour
  • 2 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 stick butter, cubed then chilled
  • 1/2 C diced tomatoes (I used cherry tomatoes because that is what I had)
  • 1/4 C diced mozzarella
  • 1/4 C roughly chopped spinach (fresh)
  • 1 green onion, diced
  • a small bunch of fresh parsley, chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Beat together the milk and egg in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together.
  4. Cut butter into the flour mixture with a pastry blender or butter knives until it the pieces are smaller than pea-sized.
  5. Toss the tomatoes, mozzarella, spinach, green onion, and parsley into flour.
  6. Reserve 3 T of the egg mixture to brush on top later.
  7. Add the remaining egg mixture to the flour mixture and mix together until the flour is consistently wet. This may take a while but don’t over mix.
  8. Put dough on floured surface and knead 10-12 times.
  9. Pat dough down into a circle that is about 1/2″ thick. Cut into 8 wedges. Place in a cast iron pan or ungreased baking sheet.
  10. Brush the wedges with the reserved egg mixture.
  11. Bake 10-15 minutes.

Soul Soothing Creamy Chicken Soup

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We got a couple of fallish days (okay… maybe it was just the morning) in Central Texas recently so I promptly pulled out my boots, scarves and made this fabulous soup.

This soup really hit the spot with some bread (I had crescents on hand but a crusty bread would be great) and a glass of wine.  My family is weird and aren’t really “soup people” but they loved this and my husband said the leftovers were fabulous for lunch the next day. This is the kind of soup that warms your body and your soul.

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Ingredients

  • 4 T flour
  • 4 T butter
  • 4 T olive oil
  • 2 carrots, chopped (I had those really fat carrots so only used 2, with “regular carrots”, I’d recommend 3-4)
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 onion – diced
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 3½ cups milk (or cream for an even richer soup)
  • 1 t fresh cracked pepper
  • 2 T fresh parsley
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1½ t fresh thyme
  • 1 t. chopped garlic
  • 3 cups cooked chicken, shredded
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • Shredded cheese to top your bowls when serving (not necessary but it is cheese 🙂 )

Instructions

  1. Make a roux by heating the butter in small skillet. Once the butter is melted, sprinkle the flour in and whisk until combined and it turns golden. Take off the heat and set aside.
  2. Heat up your oil in a large pot and sauté the carrots and celery. When they start to get soft, add the onions and garlic.
  3. Add all of the other ingredients (including the roux). Bring to a boil then reduce to low and simmer 20 minutes. Stir every few minutes to avoid burning.
  4. Remove the bay leaves. Serve in bowls with a sprinkling of cheese on top. We loved soaking this soup up with our bread.

Citrus Rosemary Salt Blend

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I love having special spice blends in my pantry so it is easy to whip up meals. During the winter, when citrus is plentiful, I zest the fruits and let it dry on a napkin then store it in a jar. I used that zest in this blend along with Rosemary. This blend is wonderful fragrant and tasty on poultry or roasted veggies.

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Ingredients

  • 1/4 C Sea Salt
  • 1 T Orange Zest
  • 1 T Rosemary

Instructions

  1. Put all of the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until well blended. You don’t want to overpulvarize the salt.

Pumped up Broccoli Cheese Soup

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When I was a child, we showed horses.  Some of the fondest memories of my life were during this time.  Believe it or not, this recipe was inspired by these fond horsey memories.  I remember going to the Quarter Horse Youth World Show in Fort Worth and ordering these HUGE, loaded baked potatoes.  As memory serves, you could top them with whatever incredible topping you wanted. I would load it up with bacon and cheese (of course) and broccoli.  Amazing!

This fabulous soup is that loaded baked potato in a bowl.  My five year old loved this recipe and typically doesn’t like soup (just as a rule).  She is going through a phase where she tells you that she is allergic to things that she doesn’t want to eat (water allergy, anyone?) and she proclaimed that she wasn’t even allergic to this.  This rich soup is a winner in my house (of course, bacon and cheese helped).  I served this with a pretzel roll but any crusty bread would be delicious.

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Ingredients

  • 4 C chicken broth
  • 1 C carrots, diced small
  • 1/2 C celery, diced small
  • 3 C peeled potatoes, diced small
  • 5 C broccoli crowns, diced small
  • 6 slices bacon, chopped (I use kitchen shears)
  • 1/3 C flour
  • 3 C milk
  • 4 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. In a large pot, combine the broth, carrots, celery and potatoes. Bring the mixture to a boil then reduce to medium. Cook 10 minutes.
  2. Add the broccoli to the pot and cook for another 10 minutes.
  3. In a separate medium saucepan, cook the bacon. Once it is nice and crisp, move the bacon to drain.
  4. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1-2 minutes until golden, stirring constantly. A little at a time, whisk in the milk and cook until the mixture has thickened.
  5. Stir in the cheese one handful at a time, adding another once the cheese has melted.
  6. Slowly stir the cheese sauce into the vegetables, whisk to combine well. Add the bacon and salt and pepper to taste. I only added a little pepper but didn’t need any salt for my taste.

Curried Broccoli Salad

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In the summers, I try to keep my cooking as simple and cool as possible.  During this time of year, we eat a lot of raw fruits and vegetables and salads.  This salad is delicious, simple and totally versatile so you can use ingredients that you have on hand.  I paired broccoli with peanuts but cashews or sunflower seeds would be fantastic too.

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Ingredients

  • 2 T mayonnaise (or greek yogurt)
  • 1 t curry powder
  • 1/4 t cumin
  • dash cayenne
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 t olive oil
  • 2 C broccoli florets
  • 1/4 C peanuts

Instructions

  1. Combine the first 6 ingredients in a small bowl.
  2. Add the broccoli and peanuts to a large bowl and toss with the dressing that you made in step 1.
  3. This salad can be prepped in advance and refrigerated or served immediately at room temperature.

Grainy Beer Mustard with Green Chiles

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Since I’ve moved to the south, I’ve been schooled about the fabulous hatch chiles. I love walking into all the grocery stores to the smell of roasting hatch chiles. Before I moved to Texas, I was totally deprived of this deliciousness. We are lucky to stock up on the through Bountiful Baskets and roast our own so we can enjoy them anywhere in the country.

As we near hatch season, I start to make a list of things that I can add chiles too. A lot of meals make it onto my list but I was especially excited about making mustard so I can slather it on sandwiches, burgers, in potato salad, etc.

The art of making mustard is easy, fun and you can get creative with new ingredients. I love coming up with new combinations that taste good for my own kitchen and as gifts. The hardest part of making mustard from is waiting those first few days for the flavors to mellow so you can dig in.

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Ingredients

  • 1/4 C yellow mustard seeds
  • 1/4 C brown mustard seeds
  • 3 Hatch (or other green chiles), roasted, peeled and seeds removed
  • 1 cup beer (a lager is good here but something else would be fab too)
  • 1/4 C mustard powder
  • 1/4 C white vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Soak the mustard seeds in the beer overnight.
  2. Combine the soaked seeds with the remaining ingredients in the container of a blender; grind to a paste.
  3. Transfer to a glass jar, cover and refrigerate one week before using.

Jalapeno dressing, better than pancakes

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Salads are a great way to use up my co-op basket contents and it is just so convenient for me to keep a huge bowl of salad in the fridge. I serve salad as sides several nights per week so I try to keep salads interesting for my family and one of the easiest ways to do that is by keeping tasty dressings on hand. We all love jalapeños in my family (even my 5 year old) so I wanted to make a jalapeño dressing. The result is bright and flavorful jalapeño vinaigrette. My daughter declared that this dressing was better than pancakes.

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Ingredients

  • 1 jalapeño, stemmed and seeded
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 t mustard
  • 2 T white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 t kosher salt
  • 1/4 t fresh cracked pepper
  • 6 T olive oil

Instructions

  1. Put the jalapeño in a food processor or blender and roughly mince. Add the garlic clove and mince.
  2. The mustard should be added next and blended a little.
  3. Pour in the vinegar, salt and pepper. Blend.
  4. While the food processor is running, slowly add the oil. Adding the oil as slowly as possible is critical to getting a creamy, emulsified dressing.

Smoky, spicy corn chowder

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We have enough demands in life, don’t you think?  Everyone that I know is running high on “to do” and short on time (and maybe patience).  Sometimes we have to start making demands of the things in our life.  Today, I demanded that dinner be quick, easy and comforting.  It is darn cold around here and I can’t tolerate for one of these demands not to be met.

Luckily, dinner met all of my specifications.  I chopped up everything and put it in the crockpot this morning.  I had red corn in the freezer from a case that I processed and froze over the summer.  I also put in a jalapeño to add a little bit of spice.  If you like more spice, you can add more jalapeño than this (or leave the seeds in).  If you don’t like it you can leave it out.  When we got home from my daughter’s dance class, I added the butter and cream.

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Ingredients

  • 24 ounces potato, peeled and chopped
  • 2 C corn
  • 3 T all-purpose flour
  • 6 C chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme (or dried if that is all you have)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 onion, diced small
  • 1 jalapeño, remove stems and seeds and dice small
  • 2 links smoked sausage, chopped
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

Instructions

  1. Put potatoes,corn, jalapeño and sausage into a slow cooker. Add flour and toss to combine.
  2. Add other ingredients except cream and butter.
  3. Cook on low for 7-8 hours (or high for 3-4 hours).
  4. Stir in butter and heavy cream.

Mouthwatering Monday

Oops so I forgot to get this published yesterday!  The holiday weekend may have gotten to my brain.  Better late than never!

Each week, I share recipes from other bloggers that got my mouth watering this week.

This delicious looking chicken is marinated in yogurt before it is fried or grilled.  From Chef in Disguise.

This delicious looking chicken is marinated in yogurt before it is fried or grilled. From Chef in Disguise.

Check out this crazy unique burger: beef patty with spam, topped with pineapple upside down cake and given some more flavor with bacon and cheese.  It is just crazy enough that it might work.  From PornBurger.

Check out this crazy unique burger: beef patty with spam, topped with pineapple upside down cake and given some more flavor with bacon and cheese. It is just crazy enough that it might work. From PornBurger.

I just love simple ice cream recipes!  This 3 ingredient coconut ice cream from Burpappetit looks refreshing and simple.

I just love simple ice cream recipes! This 3 ingredient coconut ice cream from Burpappetit looks refreshing and simple.

This looks really comforting and I love the flavor that beer adds to dishes.  From Finger Fork Knife.

This looks really comforting and I love the flavor that beer adds to dishes. From Finger Fork Knife.

This dish looks fresh and perfect for summer.  Combines with zucchini pasta with kalmata olives, sun dried tomatoes and other tasty ingredients.  From Chez Chloe.

This dish looks fresh and perfect for summer. Combines with zucchini pasta with kalmata olives, sun dried tomatoes and other tasty ingredients. From Chez Chloe.