Sew, Jenn-O….

A little bit of this and a little bit of that.

Tasty Tuesday – Pumpkin Sage Sausage Sauce over Pasta November 13, 2012

Filed under: Recipes — Jenn-O @ 12:51 pm
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I’ve never really cared for pumpkin. It’s not a flavor I particularly care for, or at least I thought. Living in Italy during the fall you will see a lot of restaurants making recipes with pumpkin. I kept hearing people talk about the wonderful pumpkin gnocchi, pumpkin tortellini, and pumpkin pasta was at different places they’ve tried it. So, I decided to give it a try. Wow! It was delicious! I converted and would look for different menu items with pumpkin when it was that time of year. My favorite pumpkin dish is pumpkin gnocchi topped with smoked cheese. And the best place I’ve had it was at the Cordenons Festa della Zucca (Cordenons Pumpkin Festival). That gnocchi just melted in your mouth!!

A week or so ago a friend of mine sent me a link to a pumpkin pasta recipe. I couldn’t wait to try it. Right now we are staying with my MIL and she has a garden with quite a few pumpkins. My husband insisted that he did not want to try a pumpkin recipe, even though he loved the pumpkin gnocchi in Italy. He’s  stubborn, what can I say. So, the other night he went to the Huskies football game and I stayed home and decided to make this dish so there wouldn’t be any huffing and puffing over it.

It took a little while to cut up the pumpkin. It wasn’t something I had done before besides the annual ritual of carving a jack-o-lantern. I wasn’t sure of the best way to go about it so I just went at it. I sliced it in half and pulled out all the seeds and guts. Then I sliced it into smaller pieces and used a paring knife to  peel it. I chopped it up into bite sized pieces and realized I had way more than I needed. So, I saved half and used the other half.

The pasta came out really good but I think next time I’ll try it over gnocchi.

This recipe is from About.com and is linked below.

Pumpkin Sausage Sauce over Pasta

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 pound bulk pork sage breakfast sausage ( our sausage didn’t have sage in it so I just added some)
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 pound (about 1-3/4 pounds whole pumpkin) pumpkin flesh, peeled seeded, and diced ( I think I ended up using about 2 lbs)
  • 1 cup strong chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (since I had more pumpkin I used a whole cup of cream)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons minced fresh parsley, or 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 pound pasta, cooked in salted water

Preparation:

In a deep, heavy skillet, saute onion and sausage over medium heat, breaking up sausage, until no longer pink. Add garlic and saute 1 additional minute. Drain excess oil and set aside.

Meanwhile, bring pumpkin and chicken or vegetable stock to the boil in a medium saucepan. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer until tender, about 15 minutes. Add cream, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Smash pumpkin with the back of a large spoon and stir until almost smooth, leaving some small bits of pumpkin. Stir in sausage mixture, and gently reheat, adding a bit of the pasta water if it is too thick.

Stir parsley into the pumpkin sauce and serve over hot pasta.

 

Tasty Tuesday- French Garlic and Wine Chicken (and a chance to win an iPad Tablet!) November 6, 2012

Filed under: Recipes — Jenn-O @ 10:30 am
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Doesn’t this look delicious?!!

Is your mouth watering, yet? If you’re a garlic lover, like me, then this is a recipe for you! This recipe is from my friend, Rachel and is a simpler version of a classic French dish. You probably already have most of the ingredients in your pantry already!

This dish is part of the Just BARE Chicken – Just 5 Cooking Challenge. Basic ingredients aren’t included so the 5 ingredients are: Just BARE Chicken Thighs, garlic, chicken broth, white wine, and dry thyme. How simple is that?!

There’s also a chance to win an iPad Tablet!! They are giving away 5 tablets in all. All you have to do is head on over to the Just Bare Chicken – Just 5 Cooking Challenge and vote! If this recipe looks great to you then please vote for Rachel C’s dish. They are listed in alphabetical order according to last name. You can enter every day until December 5, 2012.

INGREDIENTS
1 Tablespoon butter
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Package Just BARE Chicken Thighs
Salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 head of garlic
1 can chicken broth
½ cup of dry white wine (like Sauvignon Blanc or pinot grigio)
1 teaspoon Thyme
DIRECTIONS
Place butter and olive oil in a deep skillet, when warm add chicken thighs and season all over with salt and fresh ground pepper. Brown the chicken on both sides on high heat for about 5 minutes each side.
Peel garlic cloves, but leave whole and place them around chicken thighs. Add the chicken broth and wine. Sprinkle the thyme leaves over the top. Cover and let cook for 30 minutes on medium heat. Remove chicken and keep warm. Turn heat up to medium high and reduce the juices for about 5 minutes.
Ladle sauce over chicken and serve.

 

Chicken Puffs October 10, 2012

Filed under: Recipes — Jenn-O @ 12:26 am
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Today I want to share with you a recipe that I grew up with. Mine is only slightly different than the way my mom used to make it.  It’s fairly easy to make but the first time can be a little time consuming. My husband loves it and it’s definitely a comfort food in our house.

Start off with a table spoon of olive oil and half an onion. You can use whatever kind you like. Red onion is my favorite. Dice it up and cook on medium high heat until they begin to soften. While onions are cooking slice about 8 oz of mushrooms and 3 – 4 cloves of garlic (we love garlic!).

We bought our mushrooms presliced this time so I didn’t bother showing them. Don’t add the garlic, yet!

Once the onions just begin to soften add the mushrooms and cook until they just begin to lose their liquid.

So, I made a little mistake here, but it’s not a biggie. First add your garlic and cook until you begin to smell it (about 1 minute). Then add 1- 1 1/2 lbs diced chicken. We used breasts and thighs this time because that’s what we had. Be sure to cut them in bite sized pieces. Season well with whatever seasonings you like. I mostly use salt and pepper.

This time, my husband had the idea to add some frozen spinach to the puffs. If this is something you like, then I would recommend adding it. If you don’t like it just leave it out. Cook, until well combined.

Add 8 0z of cream cheese (At least, I think this is 8 0z. It’s one whole block). Sometimes I use the whipped cream cheese because it melts easier. But, I think the regular makes it creamier and not as runny. Just play with it to see which one you prefer. You can even use the cream cheese with chives or experiment with other types of cheese! We added some Parmesan to this one.

Mix until well blended and remove from heat. Now comes the fun part!

Flour your surface so that the dough doesn’t stick. I usually flip a large wooden cutting board over and use that side. Then put a little flour in a small dish so you can access it easily. Or you can just put a small mound on the cutting board if there’s enough room.

Remove one biscuit at a time from the container and flatten with your hands. It helps if you put a little four on each side of the biscuit and on your hands. Then, it won’t stick to you. It also helps if the biscuits are not straight out of the refrigerator. If they are still cold they tend to shrink right back up after you flatten them. Just take the roll out of the fridge when you first start and you should be fine.

Now, get your rolling pin out and spread some flour over it. Then, roll your biscuits flat. Turn and flip them as you go to keep them circular. You might need to add a little more flour so that it doesn’t stick.

Add about 2 tbsp of mixture to the middle of the biscuit. Fold in sides over the mixture and pinch together. Keep folding in corners until mixture is completely enclosed inside of the biscuit.

Once the sides are pulled up, twist the biscuit to seal it, and flip it so that the seam is down. After you have finished  making all the puffs spray the tops with a spray butter of your choice then top with bread crumbs. Bake according to directions on your biscuits, about 375 until golden brown.

This recipe is so versatile. You can use many combinations of veggies, cheeses, and meats to create different meals.

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1- 1 1/2 lbs of diced chicken (your choice)
  • 1/2 onion, diced (your choice)
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, diced
  • 8 0z cream cheese (sometimes we buy an extra small can, with 4, just in case there is extra of the chicken mixture)
  • salt, pepper, and other seasonings to taste
  • 1 can Grand’s biscuits (8 count)
  • Spray butter
  • bread crumbs
  • *spinach is optional. I probably used about half a small bag of frozen spinach. I think it would have been good with the whole bag, too.

Directions:

Remove biscuits from refrigerator and set on counter. Preheat oven according to directions on biscuit package. (375 F)

Heat oil in pan and add onions. Cook until they begin to soften.

Add mushrooms and cook just until they begin to lose their liquid. Add garlic and cook for about 1 minute. Add chicken and season with salt, pepper, and whatever other seasonings you like.

Continue cooking until chicken is cooked all the way through. If you want to add spinach do it now. Cook until heated through.

Add cream cheese and any other cheese you would like. Cook until melted then remove from heat.

Flour your work surface. Remove one biscuit at a time, sprinkle a little flour on each side and flatten out with your hands. Then place on work surface and roll out with a rolling pin, flipping and turning as you go. Add more flour as need so that it doesn’t stick to your work surface or rolling pin.

Once it is to you desired size, put a spoonful or two of the chicken mixture into the center of the biscuit. Bring in four sides up around the mixture to enclose it. Keep bringing in the corners until it is completely enclosed. Pinch together and twist to seal. Place puff upside down on your baking sheet. Repeat with other biscuits.

Once all your biscuits are made into puffs spray the tops with spray butter and then sprinkle with bread crumbs.

Bake at 375 F (or according to package directions) until golden brown. Let stand for about 5 minutes then enjoy!!

 

Tasty Tuesday- Blueberry Spinach Smoothie August 28, 2012

Filed under: Recipes — Jenn-O @ 9:42 pm
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A few weeks ago my family moved to a city just south of Seattle, Washington, which is my husbands hometown. His sister flew in the next day because that weekend their cousin was getting married. It was the first time my mother in law had her 3 kids together in 5 years. And, at the wedding it was the first time all the grandkids had been together in 12 years! It was very exciting having the whole family there and seeing the many generations.

While my SIL was staying with us she made some really yummy blueberry spinach smoothies! Now, I’m not a blueberry eater and would normally turn down anything with blueberries (probably because I never actually had the real thing), but I decided to try it and it was darn good! I’ve made it a few different ways  but my favorite is with frozen blueberries, tender spinach, coconut water, and a little banana. The color can be a little intimidating because if it doesn’t look dark purple it looks more grey. Not exactly appetizing but if you can look past that and just try it you won’t be disappointed. If you don’t care for coconut water you can use other liquids like Vanilla Soy or Vanilla Almond Milk. I prefer the almond milk over the soy. Either are great, though.

This one, here, we added a little of the local honey, too.

Frozen blueberries and tender spinach.

If I’m making it in a regular sized blender I usually use about 1.5 cups of blueberries, 1cup of coconut water (or whatever you want), and a handful of spinach.

The bullet.

Just blend everything until you desired consistency and enjoy! I made this particular recipe at my mom’s house. She has one of those bullet mixers. It’s perfect for making one serving or for making many different recipes. That way you’re not dirtying too many dishes and you don’t have to rinse it out every time. But, if you’re making on large batch then using a blender would be best. Oh and it’s good to have one of those large straws, too. I found a pack of cheap ones at the store. If you really like sweets then drizzle some honey into the smoothie after your pour it into your glass.  You’ll get a nice surprise chunk of honey every now and then!

This is the best picture I could get that shows the true color of the smoothie. What are some of your favorite smoothie recipes??

Blueberry Spinach Smoothie:

1.5 C frozen blueberries

handful or so of tender or baby spinach

1-1.5 C of Coconut water/Vanilla soy milk/vanilla almond milk

Combine ingredients and blend until desired consistancy.

Other options:
bananas

honey

greek yogurt

strawberries

 

 
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