These little meat and rice filled pastries are absolutely perfect during the holiday season because you can use them as a snack before the big meal is ready if someone comes hungry, you can use them in a brunch table, as an evening meal by making them a bit bigger in size, or a lunch pie with a fresh salad on the side. In bite-size, these make a great potluck item as they can be served hot or 'cold' (meaning at the room temperature). And on New Year's Eve, these just the thing you might want while waiting on the fireworks.
SAVORY MEAT TURNOVERS
How are y'all holding up? I hope you are being merciful to yourself and not stressing about the festivities ahead. Christmas will come, it will be lovely, even if everything is not perfectly as you planned it.
This post is to my friend - you know who you are - who said it is so lovely to watch the pictures of everyone else's Christmas baking, but you don't have a clue or the patience when it comes to baking. Here, you really don't need exact measurements, you don't need fancy equipment or special skills yet you still can serve a delicious, warm apple dessert to your loved ones and serve it with a smile, and maybe some ice cream on the side, because you know you did it, and everyone is going to love it.
For a one regular size pie form, you need
- six apples, peeled and sliced thin. No need to go paper thin, or even in uniform sizes, just the way you are comfortable with.
- half a box of white cake mix, yellow if you have that handy
- 3/4 cups of brown sugar
- 1/2 cups of melted butter.
Set the apples into the pie pan
Evenly distribute the cake mix over the apples
On top of the cake mix, evenly distribute the brown sugar
Drizzle the melted butter over the filled pie dish
Set in the oven (350F / 175C) for about 45 minutes or until golden brown.
Serve warm with ice cream/whipped cream/vanilla sauce
That's it. It really is simple but so delightful. I have a couple other easy solutions coming your way that I will be posting during the next few days. I will post them separately to help you to find them in the search bar when needed.
Till next time
I wanted to share with you a quick and easy cookie recipe for the midweek madness of holiday preparations.
Even though these cookies are made with butter, there is a delightful lightness to them. They remind me of snowballs, and if you make them small enough they are the perfect one bite delight!
You can either dress them with nuts like I did with the pecans, or you can make tiny balls and then roll them powdered sugar, or you can make fork pattern on them as serve as is or you can drizzle melted chocolate on them... A great recipe for many for cookies that you can dress the way you please or make one big batch of dough and then a variety of cookies out of it.
These cookies have a great shelf life, if you manage not to eat them, and they actually get even better with time, so perfect to make a big batch and then enjoy as the mood strikes.
I hope you enjoy this one, there are lots of recipes for holiday baking here at the website, just type 'baking' into the search bar, or cookies, or cakes, or fudge, and click away.
Till next time
Thanks for all the lovely feedback with the scones pictures I posted on Instagram, you guys are awesome! As requested, here is a recipe for the whole wheat scones with seeds.
I love to make them instead of rolls because if the time save you have, not having to wait for the dough to rise.
Scones usually have a bit high sugar content but in this recipe, it is cut to half with what I have seen around out there. This recipe is something I have used for a long time, but it is not mine, I have just tweaked it to fit my own taste. No, it does not have raisins in it, but of course, you can add what your taste buds desire.
I know many traditional recipes say to fold the dough when making individual scones. I just make two big rolls and cut them into four, not all the way, but about 3/4 ways down.
So here is a whole wheat scones recipe for you, hope you enjoy it!
WHOLE WHEAT SCONES
So let the saga continue...
The other half of the butternut squash that was roasted last week with all the nutty, cheesy goodness, well, I had a plan to that as well.
This smooth, tasty vegetable soup has taken so many forms over the years in my kitchen, but in and all of them, it is a fast favorite, that I even crave for at times.
It has the full flavor of all the veggies, it has the kick from the peppered cream cheese, and it has the depth of the flavor from the chili pepper, just be aware, if you purée the chili pepper with the rest of the ingredient, it will be HOT. So, if you are not prepared for that, boil the chili whole with the rest of the vegetables, and then remove it before you purée the soup and add the cream cheese. I added some chopped, roasted pine nuts with thyme on top of the soup, and served with wholewheat, oven fresh scones.
I hope you enjoy the soup, the season, and the holidays upon us. Till next time,
PEPPERY VEGETABLE SOUP
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The same day I came home with this beauty I saw on the social media someone posting about having a roasted butternut squash for dinner, and from the conversation that came from the picture she posted, it was obvious everyone had their favorite way to prepare it with their own favorites with the filling.
This filling is my favorite of all that I have tried. It is a meat-free recipe, and in my opinion, roasting one half of these per person is more than enough for a filling meal, you don't really need anything else.
Yes, it takes a bit longer in the oven, but when it is snowing and sleeting outside, it might be lovely to have the extra warmth around from the oven. Especially if you live in a building that was built in 1904 like I do.
So here is my cheesy butternut squash recipe, I hope you enjoy it. Until next time
CHEESY ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH
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The different flavors of the dish do well together, and I have to say I'm really happy with the results. This is a great side dish, I served it on the side of fish, breaded and fried plaice. In the breading of the fish, I had a touch of chili pepper powder giving it a bit of a kick.
But the beetroot casserole works as a main dish as well and will be a filling and satisfying meal as it is with a good salad on the side, for example, arugula because of the strong flavor it has.
The timing went really well, I love that the beetroots are not soggy, but were done and still had a bit bite into them. Just perfectly as I liked them to be. I used three different colors of beets, but if you have only red ones available, you can certainly use just them, the color of the casserole might be a bit more pink in that case.
I used coconut cream instead of milk and there is a difference in the consistency of the product. The cream is thicker, not liquid like milk, and thus it was the perfect product to use in a casserole when I wanted to have the casserole consistency in 30 minutes.
This dish is really quite delicious. I hope you enjoy it and have a great upcoming week!
Til next time,
BEETROOT CASSEROLE WITH COCONUT CREAM
(Makes a side dish that serves 4 people)
Here are some of my favorite flavors all put in a pan together, letting them make harmony in the oven over time. The stronger the flavor of the sausage and cheese you choose to use, the deeper the taste of the casserole. I combined sweet potatoes and baking potatoes but you could use just baking potatoes if you will. Instead of the tomato slices and vegetable broth, you can use tomato juice as the liquid.
So, there are many options once again, all bringing the deliciousness to your dinner table the way you like it the best. I hope you enjoy it!
Till next time
Chorizo & potato casserole
Someone asked me how is my thought process as I am cooking or planning a meal. Well, it is like a puzzle where I start to pair ingredients with each other and see how the beautiful picture forms and different tastes are playing harmony with each other.
This post is not what I had scheduled for today, but I am breaking the lineup, and taking a little sideroad this week. This meal so delicious, and one of those meals that the leftovers are just about better than the first time serving because the flavors had time to infuse and intensify. It is a simple dish, ready in 30 minutes, and had some seriously layered flavors there.
I sautéed some sweet mini peppers with spring onion in the pan with the pork and added a cup of hot salsa I had ready-made previously and was left over. To that, I added some thinly sliced carrots, sliced sweet potatoes, and two cups of rinsed, hydrated kidney beans. When everything was in the pan, I poured vegetable stock so that it just about covered the goods in the pan, and then let it slowly low simmer on the stovetop until the veggies were done and tender. At the end, I added some thinly sliced apples to the pan, and let them get a bit soft while setting the table and getting ready to enjoy the meal.
That's it. You can serve this as a soup, and cut all the sweet potato into small cubes, and use small cut pieces of pork, or you can serve it as the cooking broth is the sauce and drizzle it on top of the food. It is tasty either way, with a nice heat coming from the salsa and the chilli powdered pork.
I hope you all have a great weekend, I will be back to the regular-scheduled program next week.
Till next time
AUTUMN PORK WITH BEANS AND VEGGIES
For many of us living up north, comfort food is the thing we go for at this time of the year. As long as the comfort food is part of a well-balanced diet, that is just fine. "Everything is allowed in moderation" is a great goal to keep in mind.
I cooked the soup in a vegetable broth, with whole black peppers that I removed afterward. A couple drops of hot sauce would have given it a nice kick!
Do you have a favorite chicken noodle soup recipe, or do you attack a soup duty as a chance to clean the fridge?!
I hope you are staying warm, healthy, and happy!
Until next time
CHICKEN & VEGETABLE NOODLE SOUP
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I have been on a hunt for a new, delicious, looking-good-on-a-serving-table type of a breakfast casserole that has no onions or peppers and still tastes great. Hah. That turned out to be a tall order, and I have tried so many recipes by now, played with seasoning and herbs, and cheese because everything is better with cheese....
I have had some tasty concoctions and here is one of my favorites so far.
It has it all - olives, tomatoes, ham, cheese, thyme, mozzarella - and could be made as a savory pie as well for an evening with the family and friends. It has color, it has flavor, it has a great texture, I liked the pie shell on the bottom of the pan giving it form after taken off the pan. The mozzarella inside of it was good, but not necessary. Also, remember that the mozzarella will get hard if you overbake it even if the rest of the casserole makes it fine.
If you want to take the whole casserole off the pan for the serving, I recommend a parchment paper under the pie crust to make it easier to remove from the pan.
Lots of options out there, it is just trying and tasting, and baking and sampling to find the perfection that suits your style.
It is 72 days till Christmas, I am sure I will find one recipe that will be 'the perfect breakfast casserole' for my needs.
Till next time
The great thing about the recipe is that you most likely have most of the ingredients in your pantry. Truly, a recipe that utilizes what we often have as stable ingredients at home.
I choose to slow cook the pork chops in the oven with the marinade for a couple of hours. I used pork chops with the bone attached to get that greatly enhanced flavor the bones bring to the slow-cooked dishes. Of course, if you have a slow-cooker, you can set the meat and marinade in it and let it slowly simmer all day if you have the opportunity for it.
Another way to use the recipe is to lightly bread boneless slices of salted and peppered pork filets with flour, quickly brown them on both sides in a piping hot pan, pour the liquid marinade on top of the meat, and let it simmer for about 20-30 minutes, covered, until the pork is done and the flour in the pork has thickened the marinade into a sauce consistency.
So you have the slow-cooked meal choice or the meal ready in 35 minutes version using the same, mouth-watering sauce with the pork. There is even more variety to the dish if you use chicken, breast or thighs, either cooking slowly in the oven or quick and easy on the pan. I also think that the marinade would work with slices of tofu in the pan if a vegetarian meal is what you are looking for.
It was so delicious all together, giving me a spark to look forward to the season to come, and the lovely autumn flavors, colors, and aromas!
I hope you enjoy it, until next time
PECAN BOURBON PORK CHOPS
For 4 pork chops:
Autumn is - and always has been - such an energetic time of the year for me. I love the change of colors in nature, the cooler temperatures, the darker evening, candles, tea, baking (that is made possible because the oven on does not make your home into an inferno), soups, casseroles, and slow-cooking... What's not to love?!
I started it with a bunch of spring onions finely chopped, a cup of shredded carrots, and a cup of shredded cabbage. For that, I added a cup of red lentils, one small chopped parsnip, and one small rutabaga cut in medium cubes. And I let it cook in a liter of vegetable broth for a couple of hours. The cabbage, the lentils, most of the carrots they all integrate into the soup, giving it thickness, and such a great taste. I served this with some country bread from the bakery down the street, and it was just the combination that made it perfect!
ROOT VEGETABLE LENTIL SOUP
I am not one of those people who does everything self, from the scratch, just because I can. I am a believer that there is some great quality, ready-made products today that can and should be used. It saves not only time and money, but also energy and the resources we have.
That being said - you knew there was a 'but' coming - this simple, easy to make crackers or flatbread, that only takes a couple of ingredients and is ready in minutes might be something you want to try to make at home.
It came out of necessity, I forgot to buy crackers, but it involved into something that I love to make and use it often. By adding herbs and/or spices I use it for different occasions, a teaspoon of mixed Italian herbs with pasta and sausage, half a teaspoon of rosemary into the dough to make crackers for hummus, a teaspoon of cinnamon to have with applesauce... Each flavor changes the purpose of the flatbread and enhances the tone of the mealtime.
Mix the ingredients in a bowl until they form a smooth dough.
Divide the dough into equal parts, and roll them into thin circles.
Set the circles on a hot pan (one at the time) and let them cook for a minute or two before flipping over to cook the other side.
There will be black spots on the flatbread, and it might puff up if the dough is not very thin.
The flatbread will be crispy on the outside, soft and warm on the inside. They are meant to be eaten directly after cooking them.
Till next time
A couple of weeks ago I took a trip to a specialty grocery store, where I got a variety of dry beans for the winter months to cook with. I felt like I was a pioneer gathering food for the winter, kind of funny but true!
At the bottom of the dish, put the soaked beans and poured over hot vegetable stock, twice the volume of the rehydrated beans.
Sear the salt and pepper seasoned meat quickly on a very hot pan on all the sides and set it on the top of the beans in the dish.
Toss the washed chanterelle mushrooms and champion mushrooms on the hot pan fast after the meat and set them on the oven dish around the meat. Little springs of rosemary with the rest of the ingredients complete the dish nicely.
Set it in the oven on 125-150C/250F and let it cook until the beans are done and tender. For me, this was a little over 3 hours. Remember to check the liquid while it cooks in the oven, and add as/if needed.
The dish is lovely just as it is, or you can serve it with rutabaga and carrot purée or mashed potatoes if you want a milder taste for the side dish.
I have to say, this dish was a hit. The beans were so full of deep flavors, the meat melted in my mouth, and aromas from the dish that filled the kitchen were mouth watering.
I hope you will enjoy this dish and the change of seasons, taking advantage of the harvest time surrounding us.
Till next time