Squash Trio Casserole

Who doesn’t love squash? With the summer harvests coming to a close, I wanted to celebrate the wonderful flavors of squash and zucchini. It would have been much more enjoyable if it was fall harvest weather, but for some reason its still in the 80’s and 90’s around here.

RECIPE: Squash Trio Casserole
Makes 6 Servings

SUPPLIES NEEDED:DSCF4985
Cutting Board
Knife
Cast iron pan
Oven set to 350
Glass Baking Dish
Spoon

INGREDIENTS:
Butter
Patty Pan Squash
Zucchini
Yellow Squash
Onion
Sour Cream
Garlic Powder
Black Pepper
Parmesan
Ritz Crackers

DIRECTIONS:
1) In a cast iron pan, begin melting a pad of butter over low heat.
2) First chop up the patty pan squash and add it to the pan. Then do the same with the zucchini and yellow squash.


3) Stir the squash medley together and let it cook while you dice up an onion.
4) Cook until the squash and onion is tender and then pour it into a glass baking dish.
5) Add a scoop of sour cream, about 3 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese, lots of garlic powder, and a hearty dose of black pepper.
6) Stir the mixture until the squash is evenly coated.

7) Crush up a sleeve of Ritz crackers and sprinkle them over the entire casserole.
8) Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until it is hot throughout.
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We were going to have a protein along with this for dinner, but we ended up just having the casserole for the main course instead! You can see that my husband helped himself to some before I even had time to take a picture! Between the three types of squash, it was chock full of flavor. It also reheated well for lunches.

Turkey Taco Throwback

When I was a kid, we would always have ground turkey tacos in crunchy shells. As I was walking down the protein aisle at the market and saw the ground turkey breast on sale, I knew that I just had to have turkey tacos for dinner! My husband prefers the soft shell over crunchy, so I got crunchy taco shells for myself and whole wheat tortillas for him.

RECIPE: Turkey Taco Throwback
Makes Dinner for 2 and several lunches worth of leftovers 

SUPPLIES NEEDED:DSCF4997
Cast iron pan
Spatula
Cutting Board
Knife
Taco Tray
Oven set to 375

INGREDIENTS:
Corn Shells
Whole Wheat Tortillas
Ground Turkey Breast
Chili Powder
Cumin Powder
Garlic Powder
Onion Powder
Paprika
Grilled Corn
Tomato
Onion
Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese

DIRECTIONS:
DSCF49991) Put two corn shells and two whole wheat tortillas in the taco tray and in the oven to bake for 5-7 minutes.
2) In a cast iron pan, begin cooking the ground turkey breast.
3) Season the turkey breast with cumin, garlic, onion, paprika, and some homemade chili powder! If the seasoning doesn’t spread well, add a tablespoon or two of water to the pan to help make the flavor more consistent throughout. DSCF5001
4) While the turkey cooks, give it an occasional stir and begin prepping the toppings.
5) Cut the corn off the grilled cob, chop up half an onion, slice up some cheddar cheese, and dice up a tomato or two from the garden.
6) Remove the taco shells and tortillas from the oven and fill it with turkey, corn, onion, tomatoes, and top it with a slice of cheese to hold it all in!
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Blackberry Cinnamon Apple Jelly

I hate food waste. While I do try to compost or save scraps for making stock, it can hurt to see the giant bowl filled with cores and skins after you finish canning up apple butter or apple sauce. This year, I decided that I would put these apple scraps to good use and make the perfect autumn jelly!

RECIPE: Blackberry Cinnamon Apple Jelly
Makes 3 and 1/2 pints 

SUPPLIES NEEDED:DSCF4952
Canning Tools
2 Large Pots
Strainer
Measuring Cup
Spoon
Small Pot

INGREDIENTS:
Apple Scraps
Water
Sugar
Lemon Juice
Cinnamon Sticks
Black Berries

DIRECTIONS:
DSCF49541) Place all your apple scraps in a large pot and fill with water until the scraps are just about covered.
2) Put a lid on the pot and let simmer for 15 minutes or until the apple scraps are soft and falling apart.
3) Scoop the liquid out of the pot and strain it into a measuring cup. It is important to know how much apple liquid you are pouring in your second large pot.
4) For each cup of apple juice, add 1/2 to 3/4 cup of sugar. For every cup of liquid, add about a 1/2 tablespoon of lemon juice. I tend to go lower on sugar since apples and blackberries are already sweet, but I know some people really like sweet jellies for their toast. DSCF4953
5) In a small pot, begin cooking down some black berries until they are just a mash of juicy mess.
6) Add 1 to 2 cinnamon sticks to the pot of apple juice and sugar. Let it start simmering, stirring often.
7) Strain the black berry juice into the apple jelly mixture.
8) Keep cooking and stirring until the jelly begins to set. If you don’t have enough pectin from the cores it may be necessary to add some liquid or powdered pectin to help the jelly set.
9) Pour the jelly into sterilized jars, I used pint because I was out of half pint, and process for 10 minutes for 1/2 pints and 15 minutes for pints.
10) Let cool overnight before labeling and storing in a cool dark place. IMG_3436

Hot Hot Mustard

My husband had a craving for habanero mustard. He remembers traveling when he was younger, and this one stop selling the best Habanero mustard he has ever had. I took his craving for a challenge, and I think I came up with a good recipe! He certainly has gone through quite a few jars, and I’ve had to make extra batches to ensure he has enough for the winter!

RECIPE: Hot Hot Mustard
Makes 8 Pints

SUPPLIES NEEDED:DSCF4931
Canning Tools
Large Pot
Cutting Board
Knives
Gloves
Large Bowl
Spatula
Whisk

INGREDIENTS:
3 Cups Vinegar
3 Cups Water
20 Habanero Peppers
8 Cups Sugar
32 ounces Yellow Mustard
2 Tablespoons Turmeric
3 Tablespoons Dry Mustard

DIRECTIONS:
DSCF49341) In a large pot, combine the vinegar and water.
2) While wearing gloves, chop the the habaneros, being sure to save all the seeds.
3) Add the habaneros to the pot, cover and let it simmer/boil for five to ten minutes. This allows the peppers to soften up and the liquid to take on its spicy flavor.
4) In a bowl, whisk together the sugar, mustard, turmeric, and dry mustard. DSCF4937
5) Slowly add the mustard mixture to the pot, stirring until its fully combined.
6) Stir and let it cook as it begins to thicken.
7) Prepare the jars and then fill leaving 1/2 inch head space in pints or half pint jars. Process them for 12 minutes in a boiling water canner.
8) Let cool over night to make sure they are properly sealed before storing in a cool dark place. DSCF4940
I have also done this recipe with ghost peppers, and while you definitely need fewer peppers, I think the flavor is wonderful!

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I have seen my husband eat this mustard on sandwiches, hot dogs, chicken strips, and even with pretzels and carrots! I think he has been tempted to just eat it by the spoonful!

I wish it was Fall Cupcakes

I really want it to be fall! The weather tricked me with one cool week before going back up into the high 80’s low 90’s. While I can’t bake my favorite autumn treats when I am still in ice cream temperatures, I can make some cupcakes with autumn themed colors!

RECIPE: I wish it was Fall Cupcakes
Makes A Dozen 

SUPPLIES NEEDED:DSCF4956
Mixer
Cupcake Liners
Muffin Tin
Oven set to 375 degrees

INGREDIENTS:
1 1/4 Cup Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
Pinch of Salt
1/3 Cup Margarine
1 Cup Sugar
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
1 Egg
2/4 Cup Milk
Food Coloring (Optional)

DIRECTIONS:
DSCF49581) In a mixing bowl, combine margarine, sugar, and vanilla until it beats together.
2) Beat in the milk and eggs.
3) Slowly add in the flour, baking powder, and salt.
4) Add in orange food coloring if desired to make it feel more fall in style.
5) Put cupcake liners in the muffin tin and fill each cup about two thirds of the way full.
6) Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until down.


7) Frosting options for these cupcakes range from peanut butter to vanilla to yogurt toffee. DSCF4975

Peanut butter frosting that is dolloped on top in a careless, I just want to eat you, fashion.

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Vanilla cream frosting piped on to the top of the cupcake for a fancier affect!

IMG_3414This frosting is a toffee yogurt frosting that I tried out for something different!

One Pot Spaghetti

This spaghetti is a completely from scratch recipe. I’m not sure

RECIPE: One Pot Spaghetti
Makes 2 Servings

SUPPLIES NEEDED:DSCF4906
Cutting Board
Knife
Cast iron pan
Wooden Spatula

INGREDIENTS:
Homemade Italian Sausage
Tomatoes
Garlic
Fresh Basil
Spaghetti Noodles
Parmesan Cheese

DIRECTIONS:
1) Begin browning the sausage in a cast iron pan.
2) As the meat cooks, chop up the tomatoes. Add them to the mostly cooked sausage.
3) Mince up 3-4 cloves of garlic and stir it into the tomato.

4) Let the sauce cook together, and then chop the basil and add it to the sauce.
5) Add some homemade spaghetti noodles that were in the freezer.
6) Stir and let the noodles cook in the sauce.
7) Serve with a shake of Parmesan cheese.DSCF4916

The pasta really took on the flavor of the sauce and it was absolutely delicious!

Breakfast for Dinner: Wrap Edition

When people think of breakfast for dinner, they probably think of pancakes or cereal. For me, I really wanted a nice big breakfast. I’m talking about eggs, potatoes, etc. Of course, it was right after work and I was starving, so this recipe has a couple cheats. For instance, I figured out a way to make smashed breakfast potatoes using a microwave.

RECIPE: Breakfast for Dinner: Wrap Edition
Makes 2 Servings

SUPPLIES NEEDED:DSCF4918
Cutting Board
Knife
Cast iron pan
Wooden Spatula
Bowl
Microwave

INGREDIENTS:
Onion
Green Pepper
Black Pepper
Red Potatoes
Eggs
Butter
Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese
Whole Wheat Tortillas
Apple Sauce

DIRECTIONS:
1) Chop up the onion and green pepper and throw it into a cast iron pan. DSCF4919
2) Season the onion and green pepper with a touch of ground black pepper.
3) Microwave the red potatoes in a bowl for 4-5 minutes or until they are baked through.
4) Take the potatoes and place them in another cast iron pan.
5) Crack a few eggs into the bowl, scramble them, and pour them over the peppers and onions.
6) Add some butter to the potatoes and smash them.
7) Scramble the eggs, and as the potatoes brown make sure to stir them.
8) Slice the cheddar cheese. DSCF4923
9) In a warm cast iron pan, lay down a tortilla and place cheddar cheese down the center.
10) Scoop some of the eggs on to the tortilla as the cheddar cheese melts.
11) Wrap the tortilla and serve it with the crispy breakfast potatoes and bowl of apple sauce! DSCF4926

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Buffalo Chicken Dip Variation 4

I believe this is the fourth time I am posting a buffalo chicken dip on the blog, but I swear each version is different. This variation played around with how the cheese is used in the dip, and I think this version is tied with the Autumn Apple Chicken Dip

RECIPE: Hot Chicken Dip
Makes Many Servings

SUPPLIES NEEDED:DSCF4943
375 degree Oven
Knife
Cutting Board
Cast iron pan
Spatulas
Cheese Grater

INGREDIENTS:
2 Cans Cooked Chicken
1/2 Block Cream Cheese
Sour Cream
Garlic Powder
Onion Powder
Parsley
Hot Sauce
Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese

DIRECTIONS:
1) Open 2 cans of cooked chicken and drain the cans before adding to a cast iron pan.
2) Be sure to really break up the chicken.
3) Add half a block of cream cheese, a scoop of sour cream, a hefty sprinkle of garlic powder and onion powder, and lots of parsley!

4) Stir everything into the chicken evenly.
5) Pour hot sauce over the mixture and stir until the right level of heat is reached.
6) Shred the cheddar cheese and sprinkle over the top of the mixture.
7) Bake in a 375 degree oven until the cheddar cheese is melted and beginning to bubble and brown. DSCF4949

Serve this dip with carrot sticks, green pepper slices, crackers, or even tortilla chips!

Stack it: Eggplant

So I was really craving eggplant rollatini. I used to get it from an Italian deli all the time in high school, and haven’t had it in years. Unfortunately, the eggplants I found weren’t long enough to do rolls. So instead of trying to replicate the recipe, I figured I would make my own eggplant meal! This meal lands somewhere between lasagna, eggplant parm, and eggplant rollatini.

RECIPE: Stick it: Eggplant
Makes 6 Stacks

SUPPLIES NEEDED:DSCF4963
Knife
Cutting Board
Paper towels
Cast iron pans
375 degree oven
Spatulas or spoons
Bowl
Spoon
Cheese Grater

INGREDIENTS:
Eggplants
Salt
Onion
Tomatoes
Garlic
Red Wine
Ricotta
Basil
Egg
Parmesan cheese
Mozzarella

DIRECTIONS:
DSCF49641) Slice the eggplant into rounds.
2) Lay the rounds on a paper towel and sprinkle liberally with salt! Let sit for 15 minutes before rinsing.
3) Place the eggplant in single layers and place in a 375 degree oven to roast it.
4) Chop onions and toss them into a heated cast iron pan.
5) Roughly chop up the tomatoes and add them to the cooking onions.
6) Dice up a few cloves of garlic and add half to the sauce, saving half for later.
7) Pour some red wine over the cooking sauce and stir as it simmers.
8) In a bowl, add a big scoop of ricotta.

9) Add the other half of the diced garlic to the ricotta.
10) Slice the basil into strips. DSCF4971
11) Add the basil and half a cup or so of Parmesan cheese to the ricotta and then stir it until well combined.
12) Shred some mozzarella cheese. 
13) In an empty cast iron pan, spread a bit of the tomato sauce.
14) Lay down slices of eggplant and layer them with ricotta cheese, tomato sauce, mozzarella, and repeat.
15) Bake in the 375 degree oven until all the cheese is melted and browningDSCF4972

With 1 to 2 stacks being plenty filling for a dinner, this meal made plenty of leftovers for lunch the next day. I can say that it reheats well and might be even better the next day!

Grilled Veggie Sandwich

I can’t call this a grilled cheese, because the ratio of vegetables to cheese definitely favors the vegetables! This sandwich is a nice way to enjoy the last few weeks of fresh summer protest!

RECIPE: Grilled Veggie Sandwich
Makes 2 Sandwiches

SUPPLIES NEEDED:DSCF4976
Knife
Cutting Board
Spatula
Cast iron pan

INGREDIENTS:
Tomatoes
Green Peppers
Pepper Jack CHeese
Butter
4 Slices Whole Wheat Bread
Habanero Mustard
Pickles

DIRECTIONS:
DSCF49781) Thinly cut the tomatoes and green peppers into slices.
2) Slice up some pepper jack cheese.
3) Use the knife to butter one side of each slice of bread.
4) Spread habanero mustard on the inside of 2 slices of bread.
5) Place the bread with the mustard butter side down in the hot cast iron pan. DSCF4979
6)  Stack tomato and then the green peppers on top of the mustard.
7) Lay down the cheese on top, and then cover with another slice of bread butter-side up.
8) When the bottom slice of bread is browned, use the spatula to flip the sandwich.
9) Serve the sandwich onces both sides are toasted with pickles on the side.

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