Roasted Butternut Squash Soup 

It’s fall. That means decorative gourds. And squash. We’ve been cooking a lot of squash lately and tonight’s soup reminded me I have a thing some call a “food blog.”

This puréed soup is so easy, it just takes a bit of time. I will say that the sage in my garden doesn’t look that great, otherwise I’d have fried some sage in butter for extra flavor. 

– 1 medium sized butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed and cubed 

– 1 large onion, chopped in large chunks

– 6 cloves garlic

– Chicken stock (let’s be honest, I think I used a cup plus 8 chicken stock ice cubes 

– Water, to thin, as needed

– Salt & pepper to taste

– Shaved Parmesan cheese 

– Extra virgin olive oil 

Place squash, onion and garlic on a baking sheet, toss with salt, pepper and olive oil. Bake at 375 degrees F until squash is fork tender (about 35-40 mins).

Now, throw it all in a blender and purée it with chicken sock and water. How much liquid, you ask? That’s a good question that depends on a few things, but mist importantly, how thick do you like your soup?

Put purée into a skillet or soup pot, depending on how much soup you’ve got to work with. Heat gently (and add more stock/water if needed. 

We had some leftover rotisserie chicken, so we put chicken in a bowl before adding soup. Garnish with shaved Parmesan cheese. And fried sage leaves, if you’ve got them. 
  

Turkey Dumplings

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You want to make these.
Trust me.

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A family favorite, I make these when I’ve got extra time on a weekend and when we aren’t feeling well. Lots of really good memories with this dish. I wish I could remember where my mom found this recipe… It was an old Middle Eastern cookbook from the 1980s.

Here’s what you need:
– 1 pound ground turkey
– 1 medium onion, diced
– 1 egg, beaten
– Handful of chopped parsley
– 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs (optional)
– Salt & pepper
– 1 package won ton wraps
– 6 tablespoons butter, melted
– 6 tablespoons olive oil
– 4-6 cups chicken stock

Mix turkey, onions, parsley, egg, panko, salt & pepper.

Next, lay out won ton wraps on a baking sheet or flat surface and drop spoonfuls of the meat mix on each. To seal, wet the edges of the own ton wraps with cold water, then pinch in the corners.

Put the dumplings in an ungreased 9 x 12 baking dish.

Combine butter and oil, and brush the dumplings; be sure to get the corners and tips.

Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Cover with chicken stock and bake for another 30 minutes.

Voila!
You’ll want to eat these all if the time. I promise.

Shrimp with Chilies, Tomatoes and Pasta

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The other night I ended up thumbing through Health magazine in the recovery room waiting area at the UW hospital. That’s a story for another time (everything is okay). I found this recipe for shrimp with tomato and chilies, and it reminded me of this recipe I used to make often.

First things first: take some thinly sliced onions and smashed garlic and cook it in some hot butter and olive oil.

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Then toss in tomatoes and the chili peppers.

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Then toss in whatever’s in the fridge, like green & purple beans from the rents’ garden.

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Then, throw in some white wine and shrimp.

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Toss in sons fresh basil and serve over pasta.

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Corn & jalapeños in butter

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We, or at least I listen to KPLU, one if the local NPR radio stations. One of my favorite segments is Food for Thought with Nancy Leeson & Dick Stein. Every so often, they talk about a recipe or specific food, and sometimes I try to make it at home.

Read here/listen to this then try it at home.

Take fresh corn off the cob with diced jalapeños and cook them in a skillet with butter. That’s it.
Make this.

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Slow Cooked Pulled Pork

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I love pork.

Guess I should elaborate here. I am at a point in life where I am fully embracing TACO TUESDAY. And last night, we had pulled pork tacos. This “recipe” is one I modified from the way my mom makes it.

This is a very unsexy process so there is only one photo:

Take a pork shoulder. Pork butt. Whatever you want to call it. I got a two-pounder from Whole Foods. Plop it in your crockpot with a can of green salsa. Pick your poison here… sometimes I go fancy with a Frontera salsa, other times I go straight to the cans from Mexico. Pour it on the pork. Add liquid of choice (water, chicken stock… Whatever works, I’m sure). You really don’t need to cover the whole thing with liquid, but I won’t tell you how to cook in your crock.

My favorite part: turn it on low and forget about it! No kidding. I started this process on a Monday night. I flipped the meat Tuesday morning, then fetched it after work/yoga Tuesday evening.

Now, if you can’t help yourself, dig in because it’s ready. But if you’re like me and have a thing for a little crust, do this:

Take the pork and put it in a baking dish and bake at 350-375, turning every 15 minutes or so until it looks good, or you are just starving. No shredding is really necessary because it’s already broken up. Mind your fingers, they will burn as you snack straight from the oven.

Here is where some mess it up (in my humble opinion) with BBQ sauce. Let your people decide how they season their meat. You are now ready for tacos. Or taco salad. Or nachos. Or just a fork.

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Frank & Beans

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Have you seen my wiener?

Sorry, I just can’t help myself. Sausage deserves immature wiener jokes and fits of laughter.

Anyhoo… Last night’s dinner. We are in forage mode since both hubs and I are leaving town this weekend. The beans we have growing in the raiser beds need to be eaten, had an onion that I refused to let go bad (seriously, that’s happened lately. I know), and I bought pork bratworst from Whole Foods the other day. I can’t resist that pork case… My breakfast protein shake is going to be so disappointing now.

Good lord I have no focus in the morning!! Heat grill really hot and BBQ those little sausages (heeee). In the meantime, I caramelized the onion and tossed in the green beans at the last minute & covered the skillet for a quick steam. Sprinkle some Parmesan and pepper over the mess, and you have a highly satisfying dinner.

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Caprese Salad

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Salad. Salad is not something I get really excited about. Maybe. Kinda. Sometimes.
But caprese, ooh baby.

I prefer little cherry tomatoes (which we had) and small mozzarella balls (a la Trader Joe’s), but alas, I can’t always have everything I want. Basil is a bit important, but pesto can work in a squeeze. A little salt and some GOOD balsamic (use Napa Valley Naturals Grand Reserve balsamic).

Eat with a spoon. Or fingers, I won’t judge.

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Chunky mango avocado mess

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Hi! It’s been a while. I made this tonight.

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Alongside grilled sockeye and steamed green beans, this was really good!

– mango
– avocado
– cherry tomatoes
– orange
– 3 slices bacon, cooked & chopped
– lime juice
– salt & chili powder, to taste
– cilantro (I didn’t have any but this is a perfect addition)

Chop it all up, toss with the juice if half a lime, season with salt & chili powder to taste.

Pork Tenderloin

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Pork tenderloin, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways!

Okay, not really.

This is so easy it’s stupid.

Take pork tenderloin, throw it in a ziplock bag with salt & pepper, a couple of crushed garlic cloves and cover with equal parts soy sauce and red wine.

Put said bag in the fridge for at least 24 hours (flip it at least once), then when you are ready to eat, heat up the grill and cook. We are all-season BBQ people.

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Simple Roasted Chicken

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After a late afternoon wine tasting session with the hubs, I had this intense craving for roasted chicken. Not just the breast or thigh, the whole thing.

With it being late in the day, we decided to try this recipe I’ve had laying around for a while: a minimally seasoned bird cooked at 500 degrees. Yes, 500.

Btw: recipe is from Yahoo… Previously thought it was from the times. Whoops.

Anyhoo:
Crank up the oven to 5 0 0.

Take a lemon. Cut it in half (or quarters), grab a few cloves of garlic and shove it all in the cavity.

Season bird with salt and pepper. Resist the urge to rub with butter or olive oil (if I can do it, you can do it).

Disclaimer: I threw a couple if potatoes in the bottom of the pan and tossed with oil.

Don’t mess with it. 50 minutes later, dinner is served.

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