Fall Food Fiesta Episode 3

I think this will be the last in this fall food series…sigh. Although I haven’t completely resigned myself to starting to cook winter type foods just yet. It feels more like I’m simply refusing to give up apples than anything else lol. Oh well. YOLO. (ugh…I’m THAT girl…)

Basically I’m just obsessed with apples…

In this post I’m sharing two gems with you that I’ve recently discovered…a dinner AND a desert. Boom.

The first I’m going to share with you is somewhat similar to this recipe that I made last year, which I really didn’t care for. So I tried again. Its another attempt at Mac & Cheese with Caramelized Onions, Apple, and Bacon. So many things that I love…apples, cheese, caramelized onions, bacon…This time its all arranged in a way thats more delicious.

I won’t take too much time explaining how to make this recipe because I’ve done it a few times before. So I’ll just explain how to make it different from plain caramelized onion mac and cheese.

Cheesy bacony appley goodness.

Cheesy bacony appley goodness.

To make this you basically just add the bacon and apples to the recipe I linked to above. It’s not difficult. It tasted good. My one note on it was that I used Maple Bacon…which in hind sight was a little off…I think that regular bacon would work best…or maybe smoked.

I also tried my first ever crockpot desert…Crockpot Apple Crisp. Because seriously…how can you not, right? It’s actually really easy to put together. Here’s the biz you’ll need:

  • ~5 granny  apples, peeled and sliced
  • 2 Tbs lemon juice
  • 1/2 c flour
  • 1/4 c old fashioned oats
  • 3/4 c dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 c butter
Apples on apples...

Apples on apples…Put your peeled and sliced apples in your crockpot and coat with lemon juice.

steps 2 and 3

In a bowl combine all the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, spices, oatmeal). Then cut in the butter using a pastry cutter or some forks. Then top the apples with your crumb mixture.

Crock on high for 1.5 to 2 hours until apples are tender.

Crock on high for 1.5 to 2 hours until apples are tender.

After it cools down a little serve that biz with ice cream and EAT UP.

After it cools down a little serve that biz with ice cream and EAT UP.

This recipe will make your house smell AMAZING. A substitution I made was to use about half the oatmeal and use cereal for the other half (Special K Vanilla Almond to be specific, but anything corn flake-like will do). I mixed the crumbs into the apples rather than let it just sit on top so it did make the consistency a little different (not much of a crunchy top) but it still tasted good. You can also add pecans like the original recipe calls for.

When I make this recipe again I will consider using one of those crockpot liners because this was a little bit of a pain to clean up…worth it…but still work.

FUN ACTIVITY ALERT: My lady pals and I had a fun adventure a couple weekends ago so I figured I’d share it. We went to our first ever Blacklight 5K. It was SO FUN. It’s basically the Color Run except its a night and the colors glow under blacklight. It was most definitely NOT 5K…I’d guess it was maybe like 1.5 miles and in terms of logistics it was a bit of a shit show but it was still super fun to walk (running for fun is not my jam) and there was a big dance party at the end and they were throwing tons of color into the crowd.

The Before and After shot

The Before and After shot

I think I may have gotten some color on me....

I think I may have gotten some color on me….

 

What fall foods will you miss most?

 

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Fall Food Fiesta Episode 2

So there are just so many awesome things you can make in the fall that just taste so much better for the simple fact that it IS fall. I’ve been a major slacker at not putting these next few dishes up here earlier. Sorry. For those of you in the Northeast with me you are understanding that fall is pretty much over at this point. BUT you can totally fight this turn in the weather in the kitchen to squeeze in a few more weeks of fall.

I actually made this dish about a month ago with a pal of mine and was really happy with it. It’s a pork dish (sorry Jewish friends) which made me a little hesitant because I’m not great with pork, but it was awesome. I made an awesome fall pork dish last year too, check it out! This dish is creatively titled Pork Chops with Apples and Onions…clearly they broke out the big ones with that one.

Here’s what you’ll need:

-4 pork chops
-2-3 apples (cored and sliced)
-1 cup chicken broth, beer, white wine, or cider (I used chicken broth)
-1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
– 2 Tbs butter
-1 onion, sliced
-salt, pepper, and cinnamon/all spice

Pork Chops over Mashed Potatoes with Goat Cheese Stuffed Crescent Rolls

Pork Chops over Mashed Potatoes with Goat Cheese Stuffed Crescent Rolls

Trim your pork chops of the extra fat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat a cast iron skillet and add the olive oil. Place the chops in the hot pan and don’t touch them for 3-5 mins (so that you’ll get that great sear). Flip them and do the same with the other side. Remove from pan after around 10 mins and put on a plate (but you’re not done with them yet).

Turn the heat down to medium. Add your butter to the pan, then add the onions and apples. Add the cinnamon/all spice and saute until the apples are soft and the onions are a bit caramelized (~8 mins). Stir in the broth (or whatever broth you choose) and let it reduce a bit (so its gravy-esque). Put your chops back in the pan.

Cook the chops for another 15ish minutes, turning them over half way through and covering them up with you onion/apple biz. Serve over rice or mashed taters.

YUM. Mashed taters, pork, apples, onions...Best.

YUM. Mashed taters, pork, apples, onions…Best.

This is a great fall meal…it has the seasonal flavors I love and it hearty. The one thing that made a huge difference though was READING THE COMMENTS. I cannot stress how important it can be to read the comments for recipes you find online. In this case almost every single comment mentioned that it was lacking something (which is why I added the cinnamon) and that there were some logistical steps missing (like turning the heat down after searing the meat, and giving the apple mixture time to reduce after adding the broth).

Overall a solid meal.

In other news, I did other fall things too 🙂 I carved a bitchin’ pumpkin with the ladies and I stepped up my halloween costume effort this year (youtube tutorials for the win) lol. I got these sick vampire teeth that mold to you teeth so you can talk relatively normal and they look freakishly real. Check out the pics below:

Party Pre-Gaming like champs

Party Pre-Gaming like champs

Obvi we're on the couch taking selfies....just a vamp and lumberjack. NBD

Obvi we’re on the couch taking selfies….just a vamp and lumberjack. NBD

I guess is Jack the Pumpkin King?

I guess its Jack the Pumpkin King?

I hope everyone had a fun Halloween! Feel free to share your Halloween costume in the comments 🙂

 

Fall Food Fiesta Episode 1

You know…I tried for like 5 minutes just now to come up with something clever to call the next few posts….I got nothin’. So I settled for some basic alliteration.

The thing is, I love fall. Its basically my fave season. The colors, the temperature (my ideal), the smells, and obvi the foods. Tis the season of PUMPKIN…and squash, and apples, and cinnamon. There really isn’t any other time of year where we go as nuts over these guys as RIGHT NOW. Anyone within a 2 mile radius of a Starbucks knows all about the pumpkin craze (cough…return of the pumpkin spice latte…cough cough).

So I thought I’d share some of the things I’ve cooked up this autumn.

First in this fall fiesta series comes Butternut Squash Ravioli with a Browned Butter Sage Sauce.

I have wanted to make ravioli for a while now, but I got a pretty severe case of the lazies.  And I’m not talking about getting like for serious-serious about this…I’m talking about using wonton wrappers as the pasta substitute. Pinterest paints a pretty detailed road map on just how to do it.

You can pick up wonton wrappers pretty cheap at just about any grocery store (HINT: they are in the produce section and cost under $5).

Cook the squash, add the spices and puree.

Cook the squash, add the spices and puree.

I didn’t follow a set recipe but here’s what I used:

-1 mediumish butternut squash
-Cinnamon and all spice
-~1/4 c. butter
-1/2 parmesan cheese
-1 package wonton wrappers

To start your cook your squash. Add spices, cheese, and butter and blend until smooth.

Add the dollop of squash

Add the dollop of squash

Then its time to assemble your raviolis. Put a dollop of your squash mixture in the center of on wonton wrapper. Then, using your finger or a pastry brush, wet the edges with water and seal with another wrapper. Pinch the edges all the way closed. Continue until all the squash and wontons are gone.

Add the top and seal it up

Add the top and seal it up

Then boil your pasta water and cook the raviolis. They stick together a bit so you will likely have to cook a few at a time. They are done when they float to the top.

Cook'em up

Cook’em up

I messed the sauce up when I made it. I didn’t use fresh sage, or measure so I used too much. I did however brown the butter like a boss.

Butternut Squash Ravioli

Butternut Squash Ravioli

This is something I will definitely attempt again now that I know more about it. I kept my cooked raviolis in my strainer which caused them to stick together and also left little circle indents on them (as you can see in the photos). But they’re just so easy to make! You can fill them with anything…I can’t wait to whip up some kind of goat cheese raviolis.

On an unrelated note. I recently took an awesome trip to Colorado with my lady friends. We had the best time at C’s house chilling with the fam, eating amazing food, and super fun activities (tour of the Celestial Seasonings Factory, hiking, gun shootin’). C’s mom made us amazing pancakes for breakfast and a tasty lasagna. And her awesome sis and bro-in-law set up a gun range in the backyard for us to try to shoot a few different guns. He even generously let us break in his new toy–the moving target…I totally hit like 5 of them and it was totally awesome. Here are some photos to commemorate the trip.

Celestial Seasonings Tour...sexy hair nets

Celestial Seasonings Tour…sexy hair nets

Hiking around

Hiking around

Shootin' guns like a boss...note the missing nubs from where I blew them away :)

Shootin’ guns like a boss…note the missing nubs from where I blew them away 🙂

The ladies posing with some assault weapons...NBD

The ladies posing with some assault weapons…NBD

The Labors of My Labor Day

I’m gonna be honest…I did ALMOST nothing this holiday weekend. I had plans…plans involving sitting poolside working on my tan.

Expectation

But the weather simply did not cooperate. So rather than chill out poolside it changed to me on the couch. Sorry I’m not sorry.

Reality

It was a good time though. I did do a few things so I figured I may as well share them with all of you.

I recently acquired a Wii (shout out to my sis for moving to Abu Dhabi…aka the Dhabs). Which means this gal now can watch Netflix on the TV!! BOOM. Game Changer. So this long weekend of crappy weather gave me the perfect opportunity to break it in. So maybe I watched more movies than I care to publicly announce on Saturday, but I did manage to get one of my best gals C over for a Sunday Funday movie marathon.
In between movies we got a case of the hungries so we decided to make some food. We settled on pasta with a white wine sauce. A quick convo with Google later we headed to the shops to pick up the few things we needed to make our masterpiece a reality.
Pasta with White Wine Sauce:
Penne with White Wine Sauce
  • Pasta (we used tri-colored penne)
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 shallot, rough chopped (we used onion bc that’s what I had…and I chopped it finely)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1 tbsp. fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped

You start by sautéing the finely chopped onion with the olive oil. Then we poured in the wine and let it boil. NOW: the recipe said to let it reduce…but we were hungry and tipsy so we didn’t…we just let it boil. Then add the butter until it melts. Take the sauce off the heat and add the lemon juice and parsley (which we took from my herb garden). Then we poured the sauce over our cooked pasta and grated some fresh cheese over it…NOM NOM.

tri-colored is so fun to look at

tri-colored is so fun to look at

 

White Wine Sauce

White Wine Sauce

NOTE: while cooking we were drinking….and we were pretty buzzed. So we didn’t super follow the recipe as written…in that we 1. did not let the white wine reduce at all, 2. did not strain the onion from the sauce, 3. we added garlic and pepper, and 4. we thought that maybe it wouldn’t make enough sauce so we pretty much doubled everything…”lets just add more wine…yeah…and more butter!”…It was really good though. The lemon juice gives it a nice fresh taste.

Since we were at the grocery store anyways, C had the brilliant idea of making some beverages…specifically White Russians. It was a truly excellent idea. So if you’re like me, and have no idea how to make them and don’t feel like asking Google I thought I’d share that as well.

Cocktail Corner: White Russians

-Ice
-Kahlua
-Skim Milk
-Vodka

Put Ice in your glass. Add a shot of vodka and a shot of Kahlua. Top with milk. Stir.

DRINK UP!

Gettin' our drink onnnn....and our cook on

Gettin’ our drink onnnn….and our cook on

All in all I’d say it was a perfect Sunday Funday.

Monday it was more of the same….Les Miserables was on HBO so OBVIOUSLY I had to watch it. But I did take a break from being epically lazy to grab a frozen treat with KT (check her out!!) and stop by Target. I found some cheap curtains ($5!!) for my living room and immediately needed to hang them….and I did. LIKE A BOSS. This girl doesn’t even have a drill….just my raw physical power. BOOM.

Put these guys up with my own 2 hands!

Put these guys up with my own 2 hands!

Happy Labor Day everyone!

Its gettin’ hot in herrrrrrree…

Except seriously.

It is disgustingly hot out this week. It’s 6:45 pm as I write this and it is currently 90F. Annnnnnd this girl has no AC. So basically its the worst lol.

But it has inspired me to share a recipe with you that won’t turn your entire house into an oven. Hooray! and then we can catch up on what’s been new in our lives and reminisce about America’s birthday (happy belated bday Ammurica).

This horrible weather is the PERFECT weather for bustin’ out your crockpot. FACT. Because that biz doesn’t heat your house up AT ALL. I recently busted out mine and made some tasty Crockpot Chicken Fajitas. They are super easy and cheap to make which, in this heat, is a major plus. Also they taste great.

Here’s how you can whip some up for yourself-

Biz you’ll need:

  • boneless skinless chicken breasts (I used 4..but it depends on how much you want to make)
  • peppers
  • onion
  • garlic
  • fajita seasoning (or taco seasoning if that’s your jam)
  • optional add ons: black beans, corn, chilis, tomatoes, other veggies/beans
  • other stuff for eating: sour cream, cheese, rice, tortillas

Ok so you start by chopping up your veggies and putting them in the bottom of your crockpot.

I like to cut the veggie into big slices so they are more prominent in the fajitas

I like to cut the veggie into big slices so they are more prominent in the fajitas

Then add your corn/beans/tomatoes if you’re using them. Next place your chicken on the veggies and top with the seasonings.

Chicken and spices on top

Chicken and spices on top

Cook on low for 4 or 6 hours, or high for 8 or 10 (depending on your time frame).  Once done, shred the chicken with a fork. I like mine in bigger chunks so I didn’t shred much…but the chicken is so tender you can shred to your personal preference.

mmm...Fajitas!

mmm…Fajitas!

This ended up being a really great last minute meal planning adventure. I hadn’t decided what to make before going to the grocery store so I just figured I’d just throw something together. Notes on this recipe: its really customizable. I went really minimal with my ingredients because I didn’t plan on making them, so get crazy! Also, I had a lot of liquid at the end, so I did use the cover and sort of strain/dump the extra liquid.

Lunch!

Lunch!

I even brought some leftovers to work for lunch. It’s definitely something I’ll make again.

In other news…America just had another birthday…Yahoo! This time, rather than celebrate in Beantown with the gang like last year, I was in California with some fab ladies for our friend J’s WEDDING!!! I had been looking forward to this trip for months because the 5 of us haven’t all been in the same place since 2008….ew…I’m old. We go way back these ladies and I, we met when we became roomies during our semester abroad in Italy five years ago. Since then, life has spread us all over the place…Cali, Arizona, Boston and London. We rented a house for the wedding long weekend and had the best time. And given the nature of this blog I’ll share some of the food adventures as well as the reunion/wedding magic.

On the 4th we had a bitchin’ BBQ (shout out to grill master F) with carne asada, super spicy corn (that I was too chicken to try), homemade guac, roasted veggies, and tasty stuffed portobello mushrooms. After eating we headed to the fireworks!

Happy Birthday America!!

Happy Birthday America!!

The next day was J and D’s wedding! AHHH. It was so much fun! The bride was beautiful! and obvi I cried like sap lol. I was thrilled to be a part of the magic day and share in the start of the happy couple’s new adventure 🙂 Also, the week I spent with these lovely ladies was a BLAST! It was awesome to get to see them again and catch up face to face on all the amazing things going on in their lives…and meet their special someones (who were such amazing sports during all the reunion craziness! love you guys!).

The Florence Girls <3 #viadelmoro4life

The Florence Girls ❤ and Mr and Mrs B 🙂
#viadelmoro4life

I can’t wait to see everyone again!

I hope you all had an amazing holiday and behaved like true patriots (A’mmmuricaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!)

And good luck with this heat!

Garlic and Goat Cheese Spaghetti Squash…NOM

Again… apologies for taking an absurdly long time to write a post. I’ve been super bust at work and it just slipped off my radar. I fully intend to shape the s**t up though. I even have the next 2 posts lined up! BOOM making moves.

Back to the issue at hand. Dinner. A couple weeks back I made this super yummy spaghetti squash dish that I want to share with the world. It has so many of my favorite things…garlic (yum) goat cheese (yes please) spaghetti squash (big fan).

I had goat cheese in my fridge that I wanted to use, so naturally I turned to my BFF Google to find out how I could best combine it with biz I already had on-hand. I stumbled upon a great recipe on the blog Primalist and started up the oven.

Garlic and Goat Cheese Spaghetti Squash

  • 8-10 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 bunch parsley, chopped
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 3/4 cup olive oil (I recommend using no more the 1/2 cup)
  • salt/pepper
  • juice of one lemon
  • goat cheese (~1 big log or 2 of the small ones)
  • 1 large spaghetti squash
Cut in half and bake for about an hour.

Poke holes with a fork, bake for about an hour.

The thing about spaghetti squash is that it can take a while to cook it. If you cook it in the oven it takes about an hour…however, if your’e strapped for time (or impatient like me) you can pop it in the microwave for like 10 mins and you get the same result. For this recipe I actually baked it in the stove though.

Scrape out the insides and stick'em in a bowl

Scrape out the insides and stick’em in a bowl

After its finished baking I scooped out the insides and put them in a separate bowl. You don’t have to do this…but since you have to mix in other ingredients I thought it’d be best.

Another super awesome thing about this recipe is that it allowed me to use my very own parsley from my herb garden!

Urban gardening at its finest. Windowsill herb garden.

Urban gardening at its finest. Windowsill herb garden.

When the squash is almost done baking, melt the butter over medium heat. Turn heat to low and add the garlic and sauté for about 10 mins (be careful not to burn your garlic!). Then add the olive oil, parsley and salt/pepper.

Add the garlic mixture to your bowl of spaghetti squash. Then put the squash insides mixed with garlic back into the spaghetti squash body. Add goat cheese and lemon juice. Broil for 5 minutes until goat cheese has melted.

Nice and cheesey

Nice and cheesey

NOM NOM

NOM NOM

The end result is so creamy and fresh. So good. I ate one half for dinner and brought the second half for lunch the next day.

When I make this again, I will definitely use less olive oil and butter. I think need at most only 1/2 cup.

Anyways…I will do better about posting. Hopefully I’ll have some interesting stories to tell and fun recipes to share!

 

There’s Always Time for Chicken

Sorry for such a long break between posts. Things have been a bit hectic lately. I just started a brand new job and have been super busy catching myself up to speed on everything. Overall it’s been great so far and I’m much happier. Hooray for positive life changes!

My final two weeks at my old job corresponded with the Boston Marathon bombings and ensuing search and capture of the suspects. So needless to say it was a stressful period. And then I immediately started my new job…so I got a little overwhelmed and my time in the kitchen dropped significantly. I did make one interesting thing during that period that I wanted to share with you all. Better late than never I guess.

I was feeling broke and lazy so I was particularly interested in finding a crockpot creation. When in doubt I always turn to chicken…its pretty hard to screw up chicken. I did a quick search and settled on a recipe. Garlic and Brown Sugar Chicken.

As a note: I didn’t turn to my trusty pals over at Google this time…I went directly to a great crockpot site called Get Crocked. I discovered this site a while back and it has HUNDREDS of amazing crockpot recipes.

I realized that I already had most of the ingredients so I figured it would be a smart try. Here’s what you need:

Garlic Brown Sugar Chicken

  • ~5-6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 c brown sugar (packed)
  • 2/3 c vinegar
  • 1/4 c Sprite (or other similar soda would work too)
  • 2 -3 Tbs garlic
  • 2 Tbs soy sauce
  • 1 tsp pepper

Add the chicken to the bottom of the crockpot. Add everything else together, and pour over chicken. Now, I didn’t really pay attention to the directions (whoopsies) and I added everything separate…I don’t think it makes much difference but it may help to mix it first. Cook for 6-8 hours on high.

I cut my chicken breasts in half...I fit 5.

I cut my chicken breasts in half…I fit 5.

IMG_2296 IMG_2297

After 8 hours I had a lot of sauce…Corn starch thickened it a little.

So I have some mixed feelings about this recipe to be honest. A few things concerned me…such as the fact that mine looked very different from the recipe photo (take a peek here). The photo shows a piece of chicken with a sort of sauce coating. Mine was VERY liquid. I read through the comments (which is SOOO helpful sometimes) and realized that others had this problem too. I added some cornstarch to the sauce at the end to thicken it up. (add a few tbs of cornstarch mixed in water FIRST, then add it to the sauce).

It tasted okay. Its not a recipe I will likely rush to make again, but it wasn’t bad either. Next time I will definitely decrease the liquid ingredients. I served it over rice.