Savory Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

It’s been such a typical Spring here in Chicagoland, I thought I’d create a new soup using some of my favorite ingredients.  The soup reminds me of Fall, just like our crazy weather, perfect for a cold and rainy day like today.   If you belong to Costco, they sell butternut squash already peeled and cubed in the produce section.  That is the amount I used in this recipe.  It measured out at 8 cups.   Continue reading

Orange Scones (Panera CopyCat recipe)

I’m just wild about the Orange Scones at Panera.  Every once in a while I will give into temptation and treat myself to the glazed goodness of the Panera Orange Scone.  One lazy Saturday morning I thought, why not just make your own?  So I did.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

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Garlic Beef and Snow Peas on Golden Noodles

Asian food is a favorite in our home.  I’ve often heard that many people don’t want to start cooking Asian food because they have to buy all these ingredients.  The ingredients used in this recipe are commonly used in many different Asian recipes, they have a long shelf life and are usually fairly inexpensive.   Continue reading

Johnny Marzetti

Ok, don’t judge me.  This was my favorite dish in the cafeteria at my high school, or was it at my first downtown job?  Either way I finally got enough nerve to ask one of the cooks in the cafeteria for the recipe.  Of course I had to do a little math to scale it down to 8 servings.  I finally pulled it out of the archives to make it for my family.   Continue reading

Broccoli Cheese Casserole

 

The quilting group I’m in (called SOS) meets every month.  We rotate who hosts and whoever hosts gets to pick a theme for lunch.  This month’s theme was to share a favorite Thanksgiving dish.   It was a delicious lunch with turkey, stuffing, cranberries, sweet potatoes, a pumpkin pie and an apple crisp, all of the traditional favorites.  While my dish is not traditional, nor is it a dish that my mom made when we were growing up, it’s something that I started making when I took over the Thanksgiving dinner.  Warning – it’s not the lightest dish, but then again, it’s Thanksgiving where all calories don’t count!

Broccoli Cheese Casserole

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Ingredients:

2 – 16 oz. bags frozen chopped broccoli

2 sticks butter, divided

1 lb. Velveeta, cubed

2 rolls of Ritz crackers, crushed

Method:

Preheat the oven to 350º.  Butter a medium sized baking dish or larger casserole dish.  The one I used is 7.5″ x 10.5″.

Cook the broccoli according to the package directions, drain.  Melt 1 stick of butter along with the Velveeta in the microwave.  Set the microwave to 1 minute intervals and stir to combine between each minute.  Once combined, mix the broccoli and cheese together.  Set aside.

Melt the other stick of butter.  Once melted, mix it with the crushed crackers.

Layer in the casserole dish alternating the cracker crumbs and broccoli mixture.  Start with crumbs on the bottom and end with the crumbs on the top.

Bake for 25-30 minutes until the cheese starts to bubble on the edges.

Cranberry Gems

My grandmother loved to bake and always used “real butter”.  Knowing that I loved the taste of “real butter” and it was something we only had on holidays at our house, at her house she would sneak me a small pat near the fridge and we giggled as we let it melt in our mouth.  One of the things she was famous for was her Gems, in this recipe I put my twist on it using a cranberry filling and a streusel topping.  If you find yourself with leftover cranberry relish around the holidays, you can use it up here.  I hope you give them a try!

Cranberry Gems

 

Crust

6 oz. cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

2 cups flour

Place all crust ingredients into a bowl and combine using a pastry blender, or a fork.  Press the ingredients together until combined and you can form a ball.  Place the dough in the refrigerator until chilled.

Filling

12 oz. bag of fresh cranberries

1/2 cup orange juice

1/4 cup water

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 1/2 tsp. orange zest

1 cinnamon stick

Combine all ingredients into a sauté pan and cook until thickened.  Use the back of a spoon to smash the cranberries.  Cook for about 25-30 minutes.  Remove cinnamon stick and set aside until ready.

Streusel Topping

6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into cubes

1/2 cup flour

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 cup quick rolled oats

1/3 cup sugar

1/8 tsp. salt

Combine all ingredients and press together using a pastry blender or fork.  Do not over mix, it should be crumbly.

Vanilla Glaze

2 cups confectioners sugar

1 Tbsp. milk

1/2 tsp. vanilla

Mix the glaze ingredients in a mug until smooth, you can adjust the thickness by adding more milk to thin it or more sugar to thicken it to your liking.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Roll the dough into 1 inch balls and place them in the cups of a mini muffin tin.  Press the dough out in the tin to create a pie crust in each tin.  Fill the crusts with the filling and top with the streusel.  Bake for 10 minutes or until the crust is golden.  Cool and then drizzle with the glaze.  Yield – 48 gems.