The discovery of a new dish does more for the happiness of mankind than the discovery of a star. -- Anthelme Brillat-Savarin --

Monday, October 30, 2017

Pasta with Pumpkin-Cream Sauce

HOWDY friends!  I was home alone and hungry one night, so I just opened the fridge and prayed for ideas.  LOL!  What I came up with just so happened to be delicious, so I had to post this, in case someone out there might like it as much as I did.  (I just love it when an clean-out-the-fridge-experiment turns out so good!)  

I had some leftover pureed pumpkin in the fridge, along with some dairy products that needed to be used, so I thought I'd see what I could come up with.  (Canned pumpkin would work fine, just be sure it is NOT pumpkin pie filling!)  I didn't measure anything, so I can't give you the exact recipe.  I just added stuff to the pumpkin I had left until it looked like the consistency I wanted.  Then I tossed it with some pasta and voilà deliciousness!

First, I put some pasta on to boil.  (I had some rigatoni in the pantry, so that's what I used.  It went really well with the sauce.)  While the pasta was cooking, I basically just dumped the pureed pumpkin in a saucepan and added some heavy whipping cream and fat free half & half until it was the consistency I wanted.  Then I heated it over medium heat until hot, and stirred in some shredded Parmesan, crumbled bacon, garlic powder, salt, pepper and a little pasta water.

Once the pasta was done, I just had to drain it and toss it with the sauce.  Oh yeah, this is important...I tossed a few diced roasted almonds on top for garnish too.  (You don't want to leave those out...sooooo good!!)

Last, but not least, I toasted bagel (that needed to be used) and spread with some pesto (also from the fridge) on it, and I had a yummy meal in just a matter of minutes!  The only bad thing was that I just made enough for one meal, so there weren't any leftovers.  Next time, I'll make a bigger batch!

Hope all is well with you my friends.  Get out there and enjoy this lovely fall weather if you can.


Saturday, October 21, 2017

Savory Pumpkin Soup

HOWDY!  I’m in the mood for fall, so I’m thinking of some of my favorite fall recipes.  Not sure why I’ve never gotten this one posted.  It’s so easy to put together and takes very little time to cook.  It’s also very healthy, so it’s a WIN/WIN!

I got the original recipe in a handout I received at a presentation given by the American Diabetes Association (through their Stop Diabetes @ Work program).  I adapted it a little by adding extra garlic (because I LOVE garlic), some whipping cream, and bacon (which probably took a little away from the healthy factor - but sooooooo worth it!), as well as substituting shredded Parmesan for grated (personal preference).

I have made this more times than I can count, and it’s never let me down.  I can come home from work exhausted, and have a yummy dinner on the table in 20 minutes, with very little effort.  Just add some crusty bread and you’re done.

The original recipe says that this makes 5 one-cup servings.  However, this stuff is so good, our servings are never just 1 cup each.  At our house, this recipe makes 2 good-sized servings - just right for hubby and me.

If you’re serving it as an appetizer or side dish with something else, I’m sure 1 cup servings would be fine.  For a meal in itself…nope.  If you want to serve more people, just double or triple the recipe.

Savory Pumpkin Soup
2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup diced onion
3 large cloves garlic, minced
2 cups pureed pumpkin (or 1-16 oz. can solid, packed pumpkin -NOT pumpkin pie filling)
1-1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth (if I don’t have homemade on hand, I like to use Kitchen Accomplice Reduced Sodium Chicken Broth Concentrate)
1 cup fat-free evaporated milk
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

2 Tbsp. chopped, toasted almonds (the original recipe called for toasted pistachios, both are good)
chopped green onions
crumbled bacon

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add onion & garlic.  Sauté briefly until onions are translucent.  (Be careful not to burn the garlic.)

Add pumpkin and chicken broth.  Cook for about 5 minutes.  Add evaporated milk and simmer over low heat for 3 to 4 minutes.  Whisk in salt, pepper, whipping cream and Parmesan cheese, and heat for about 1 minute - just until heated through.

Serve with toasted almonds, green onions and crumbled bacon on top of each serving.

I hope you’ll give this a try.  If you do, please let me know what you think.  I LOVE hearing from you!

Monday, October 9, 2017

Faithy’s Banana Pepper Pork

I'm back again to share a recipe I came up with yesterday.  We had a bunch of fresh banana peppers in our garden, and I wanted to figure out something new to do with them.  I didn't have much luck finding recipes online (the ones I found used pickled banana peppers for the most part), so I just made one up.  It turned out pretty good, if I do say so myself.  If you have a bunch of banana peppers you want to use, this is a great (& easy) way to do it!

Faithy’s Banana Pepper Pork
1 - 2.5 lb pork loin roast
1-2  Tbsp. olive oil
1 sweet red onion, sliced into thin rings
7 fresh banana peppers, seeded and sliced (if you don't have any fresh ones, just use a jar of pickled ones)
3 Tbsp. salted butter
1/2-1/3 cup dark brown sugar
juice from 1/2 lime (I'll  probably use a whole lime next time)
1 cup low-sodium beef broth

Sear roast (on all sides), in olive oil.  Remove from pan and place into prepared slow cooker (with temperature on high).  Squeeze 1/2 lime over the top of the roast.

Add butter to the pan you seared the roast in, and add onions and banana peppers.  Cook and stir over medium heat until the veggies are starting to brown and caramelize.  Add a little of the beef broth to the pan to deglaze, and pour it all over the top of the roast.  Top with the remaining beef broth.
Cook on high for one hour.

Crumble dark brown sugar over the roast, and into the juices.  Reduce temperature to low and cook for an additional hour or until internal temperature of the roast reaches 160°F.  (Thanks to my sweet brother, I have a great little thermometer that will sound an alarm when the meat reaches whatever temperature I choose.)

Slice or shred pork and serve however you want.  It makes a great main course served with traditional rice or potatoes and veggies, or wonderful tacos or pulled pork sandwiches as well.  Be sure to save all the juices (with all the bits of onion & pepper in them).  You can drizzle it over the top of the meat, or if you choose to make pulled pork, you can just shred the meat and put it back into the juices to absorb them.  

I really think you're gonna like this!

P.S.  If you don't have a slow cooker, don't let that stop you!  Just cook this in a roaster or dutch oven.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Raspberry Corn Muffins

I hope everyone is having a restful and relaxing Lord’s Day today.  I’ve been crazy-busy at work the last couple of weeks, so I made a point of doing ONLY things I enjoy at home this weekend.  I started the weekend off with a Friday evening movie date with my hubby.  We got to see A Question of Faith, and it was excellent.  Go see it if you have a chance!

Yesterday, I got up and baked some of these delicious muffins.  (I haven’t had a chance to bake in a while, so it was wonderful to be in the kitchen again.)  After that, we ran a few errands in town and then had some yummy hummus sandwiches for lunch, and then headed out to the pasture to burn some brush.

We’ve had several large brush piles waiting to be burned for over 6 months now, and we haven’t been able to burn them because of a burn ban in our county (due to excessively dry weather conditions).  Thankfully, due to recent rains the burn ban was lifted, so we definitely wanted to get this done while we had a chance.  Now you’re probably thinking that doesn’t sound very enjoyable, but for me it really is.  As a farm girl, cutting, hauling and burning brush has always been one of my favorite things to do.  I don’t really know why…fond memories of doing it with my Dad…a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day…watching the fire burn down to embers…just being outside enjoying God’s creation (I spend all week inside an office!)…lots of reasons.  Anyway, although it’s hard, exhausting work, I always feel good at the end of the day.  Yesterday was no exception.

Once we came in and got cleaned up, we went over to my sister’s house to watch college football with my niece.  My dear Aggies were playing ‘Bama last night, and although the ending wasn’t exactly what I had hoped for, I was thrilled to see my favorite team suit up, show up and surprise ‘Bama with a win they had to work for.  😊

Today I’ve been blessed to have some quality time with God, and even a chance to do some more cooking (my latest creation - Faithy's Banana Pepper Pork is on our dinner menu tonight).  I’ve been able to get a few things done around the house and just relax, so I’m ready to face another busy week at the office.

Now that I’ve probably bored you to tears with my exciting life, on with the recipe!  I came across it years ago in a little paperback cookbook called The Christian Bed & Breakfast Cookbook published by Barbour & Company, Inc. in 1997.  I made these muffins several times back then, and then forgot about them.  When I was trying to come up with something to make yesterday, I pulled out the old cookbook and found the recipe again.  So glad I did.  These muffins are delicious!

According to the book, the recipe came from the Bayview Hotel in Old Aptos Station, California, where the muffins were often part of the breakfast menu.  The book is filled with lots of yummy recipes from places all over the country.  Keep an eye out for it at your local thrift stores or look for it online.  It’s a real treasure!  Okay, okay…I digress again…here’s the recipe…

Raspberry Corn Muffins
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar (or your favorite sugar substitute)
1 teaspoon baking powder (I always use sodium free baking powder)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs (I generally use egg substitute and it works great)
1-1/2 cups (12 ounces) plain yogurt (I used plain Greek yogurt)
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted & cooled
1 cup fresh raspberries (if you don’t have fresh, frozen will work just fine)


Preheat oven to 375°F.

Butter muffin cups (I used no-stick cooking spray).

In a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, yogurt and butter until smooth; add to the flour mixture and stir until the batter it is just combined.  Gently fold in the raspberries.

Fill muffin cups about 3/4 full.  (I use a large cookie scoop, and the amount is just right for my muffin pan.)  Bake in the middle of the oven for 10 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.

Remove the muffins from oven and let them cool (in the pan) on your cooling rack for 3 minutes.  Then the muffins from pan and serve them while they’re hot!  (These muffins are also great cold or sliced, buttered and toasted the next day.)

The original recipe says that it makes 12 regular muffins, but mine actually made more like 15 or 16.  I can’t tell you exactly because after I filled my pan for the first 12, I made mini-muffins out of the remaining batter.  So in total, it made 12 regular muffins and 11 mini-muffins for me.

Well…gotta run friends…enjoy the rest of your weekend, and remember to THANK GOD for your many blessings!!
Love ya,