Roll Call of Fall Favorite Foods

I’m not sure what it is about fall and winter that bring a variety of foods to our mind, but aren’t we all thinking about comforting casseroles, warm soups, and pumpkin everything?  I thought I’d gather together some of my favorites in those categories and highlight them all in one post for you today!  My recipe index here on my blog could be overwhelming, so maybe this list of a few favorites will help your October to be delicious!

meat loaf meal
I’m not a mac and cheese fan, but this recipe is fabulous!!!  I’d eat it every day if I could!

Casseroles
Mexican Chicken Casserole
Countryside Chicken Bake
The Best Ever Mac and Cheese
Taco Casserole
Baked Pasta with Sausage, Tomatoes and Cheese

Breads
Nutty Orange Coffee Cake – Perfect for breakfast or brunch!
French Breakfast Puffs – Breakfast or brunch
Butter Dips – Delicious with supper!
Low-Fat Baking Powder Biscuits – Any time you need a biscuit – breakfast or supper!

Soups
Spicy Chicken Corn Chowder
Sausage Corn Chowder
Butternut Squash Soup – I made this again last week.  It’s heavenly!
Taco Soup
Baked Potato Soup

Oh, this cake!!!!  Love it.

Pumpkin
Pumpkin Muffins – Great addition to breakfast or a fall supper!
Pumpkin Roll Step by step instructions in my post!  You can make this!
Pumpkin Crunch Cake – Fast and incredible!
Pumpkin Bread – Make small loaves to share.
Pumpkin Scones with Berry Butter – Oh my goodness, these are fantastic!!

Pumpkin Scones with Berry Butter Recipe
Picture credit:  Taste of Home

 

If you’ll be hosting any fall event, having guests over, or cooking supper for your own family and want to try something new and delicious, here’s a great list to pull from!  These are some of my favorite fall foods that are tried and true!

If you need suggestions for other categories – salad, easy bread, breakfast, etc.) just leave a comment.  I’ll be happy to help you!

With love from my country kitchen,

Denise Signature 150 px

 

Summertime Pasta Salad

pasta salad

I tried a new recipe this week that I loved for several reasons:

  1. I love a cold pasta salad in the summertime.
  2. I served it alongside a BLT and it was a great side dish.
  3. This would also be a great main dish by adding grilled chicken strips, or even shrimp or crab meat!
  4. It’s also a great do-ahead dish.  I made it the night before and it was so great to have it all ready to pull out and add to a simple summer meal like BLT’s!

BLT

Tortellini Caesar Pasta Salad

This recipe was found in a Community Table magazine.  

INGREDIENTS

2 (9-oz) packages cheese tortellini

1 head broccoli, cut into small florets

3 ears corn – I used frozen corn kernels – You could use any fresh vegetable – cucumbers, zucchini or squash would all be delicious in this!

1 cup creamy Caesar salad dressing

Juice of 1 lemon

2 carrots, thinly

4 tomatoes, diced

Kosher salt

DIRECTIONS

Cook tortellini according to package directions; drain and cool.

Steam broccoli until tender, about 6 minutes; cool.

Cook corn in boiling water, 5 minutes; cool, then slice kernels off cob. I simply ran the frozen kernels under cold water and added it to the salad.

Toss tortellini, broccoli, and corn with dressing, lemon juice, carrots, tomatoes; salt to taste.

If you love pasta, you’ll love this recipe!  I hope you’ll add it to your menu, either as a side or a main dish, and do it this summer!!

With love from my country kitchen,

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(L)Oven Monday – Comfort Food Classic

meat loaf meal

I recently needed to fix a meal for a couple who had spent many days and nights in the hospital.  They needed a nourishing, comforting meal.  That’s when I jumped on my blog’s recipe index to look for my long-time favorite recipe for Meatloaf. I mean you can’t get more comforting than meatloaf and the trimmings for a great home cooked meal, right? It was then that I was shocked to find that I have never shared that recipe here on my blog!  What?  I’ve been making it for YEARS!

I will fix that need today and share this incredibly easy and yummy meatloaf!It’s from Taste of Home and it’s called “Mom’s Best Meatloaf” for a reason!  It’s not over-seasoned; it’s just right!

To accompany the meatloaf, I made the best macaroni and cheese I’ve ever had.  A sweet friend at church brought this cheesy heaven to my husband and me when we were caring for my mother-in-law in several years ago.  I asked my friend for the recipe, and also if she minded if I shared it with you!  She happily passed it on.  Thank you, Bethany!

Here was my menu for the Comfort Food Meal:

Mom’s Best Meatloaf
Macaroni and Cheese
Southern Green Beans
Fried Apples
Low-Fat Baking Powder Biscuits

meat loaf

Mom’s Best Meatloaf

Ingredients

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup soft bread crumbs
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped green pepper
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon dill weed
  • 1-1/2 pounds lean ground beef (90% lean)
  • Additional ketchup

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, combine the first 11 ingredients. Crumble beef over mixture and mix well. Press into an ungreased 8-in. x 4-in. loaf pan.
  2. Bake at 350° for 1 hour. Drizzle top of loaf with ketchup; bake 15 minutes longer or until a meat thermometer reads 160°. Yield: 6-8 servings.

mac and cheese

My Favorite Ever Macaroni and Cheese

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil, add pasta, and cook until done; drain.
  2. In 9×13 inch baking dish, stir together macaroni, shredded Cheddar cheese, cottage cheese, sour cream, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. In a small bowl, mix together bread crumbs and melted butter. Sprinkle topping over macaroni mixture.
  3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes, or until top is golden.

This meal is comfort heaven!  Make it for someone who needs some love – or make it for your own family to show your love!

What’s your best comfort food meal?

With love from my country kitchen,

Denise Signature 150 px

 

Hearty Dinner in 30

Stroganoff

Last week we (by “we” I mean my husband!) grilled steaks outside on the coldest, windiest day of the week!  We love our beef and we will cook it at all personal costs! Ha!  Forget the idea of every being vegetarian!

While we had the grill fired up, I decided we’d do two steaks and have one for another night.  I used the leftover meat for Beef Stroganoff and it was so delicious! I couldn’t find my old recipe, but pretty much had it in my head.  Here’s how I made it:

1# Beef, cut into strips – **(Mine was cooked, so I  added it in at the end to warm it up.)
4 Tbl. butter
1 Onion, sliced
1 C Fresh Mushrooms
2 – 3 Tbl Flour
1 Can Beef Consume’
1 Cup Sour Cream
Bag of Egg noodles

Boil noodles.  In the meanwhile, melt butter in skillet.  Add meat and cook ’til browned.  Add onions and mushrooms and cook until tender.  Add flour and stir to combine.  Pour in consume’ slowly to combine with flour mixture..  Cook over medium heat to thicken.  Remove from heat and add sour cream.  Stir.  Warm on stove just until hot.  Pour over cooked noodles.

160115_140320_collage-1.jpg
The picture on the top right is the mushrooms, onion and consume’.  The picture below it shows the sour cream being added.  The picture on the left shows the creamy mixture after the sour cream is stirred in.

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This is such a great fast meal.  I love it because it’s not your typical pasta and red sauce quick meal.  It’s hearty and full of flavor.  Add a salad and a roll and supper is on the table in half an hour!

Any other meat lovers out there?  

Happy Monday!

Love from my country kitchen,

 

What’s Cookin’ in the Country?

Tomato Ravioli
(Cooking Light’s picture)

I love it when I can find a dish that would normally be a pretty high fat/calorie dish and it’s reduced on Cooking Light’s site!  I stumbled across a Tomato Cheese Ravioli dish last week that was so fresh tasting and yet still had all the “yummyness” of cheese and pasta that we all love.  

The recipe was super easy to put together.  


Cheese Ravioli with Tomatoes

Ingredients:

1 pound cherry tomatoes
2 shallots, cut into wedges
Cooking spray
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
12 ounces cheese ravioli

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 425°.
2. Halve half of tomatoes. Arrange cut tomatoes, whole tomatoes, and shallots on a jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray.  Drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil; toss.
Bake at 425° for 35 minutes.
3. Add 2 tablespoons oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper to pan. Bake 10 minutes.
4. Cook ravioli according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain ravioli, reserving 1/4 cup cooking liquid. Add ravioli to tomatoes; toss. Add cooking liquid, if needed. Garnish with chopped basil.Drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil; toss. Bake at 425° for 35 minutes.
3. Add 2 tablespoons oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper to pan. Bake 10 minutes.
4. Cook ravioli according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain ravioli, reserving 1/4 cup cooking liquid. Add ravioli to tomatoes; toss. Add cooking liquid, if needed. Garnish with chopped basil.

I did my own little bread with olive oil and spices like they serve a Carrabbas. I used a spice mix my daughter brought me for a hostess gift a while back. Wow.  I served fresh broccoli alongside, and it made for a colorful addition to the pasta main dish.  

Now, how about a great dessert?!  
Chocolate-Mint Cake Recipe
Southern Living’s photo

Have you ever cut out a recipe from a magazine and dreamed about making it?  Such was the case with a Chocolate mint Cake recipe I got from a Southern Living Magazine a couple years ago.  I LOVE chocolate and mint anything, so when I saw this cake idea, I could only imagine it like a giant Peppermint Patty.  I was not disappointed!  Since I celebrated a birthday last week and Whitney will be celebrating one in a couple weeks, I decided to make the cake to celebrate both our days while she was home this weekend.  We were both happy!

I made a few alterations to the recipe; you’ll see them in italics.

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate morsels
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 (16-ounce) package light brown sugar
3 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (8-ounce) container sour cream
1 cup hot water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preparation:  I would recommend baking the cake layers early in the week and freezing them.

Melt semisweet chocolate morsels in a microwave-safe bowl at HIGH for 30-second intervals until melted (about 1 1/2 minutes total time). Stir until smooth.

Beat butter and brown sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer, beating about 5 minutes or until well blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition. Add melted chocolate, beating just until blended.

Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. Gradually add to chocolate mixture alternately with sour cream, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition. Gradually add 1 cup hot water in a slow, steady stream, beating at low speed just until blended. Stir in vanilla. Use immediately, following directions for desired cake.

Pour batter into 2 9-inch cake pans (or 3 8-inch pans).   Caution:  grease and paper the pans with waxed or parchment paper!  How do I know?  One of my layers is in the freezer to be used for a trifle!  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.  Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; remove from pans, and let cool completely on wire racks.  Spread Peppermint filling between cake layers.  Spread Chocolate Ganache evenly on top and sides of cake.

Note:
The addition of hot water at the end of this recipe makes for an exceptionally moist cake.

Peppermint Filling
Ingredients

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 (16-oz.) package powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon peppermint oil

Preparation

1. Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy; gradually add powdered sugar alternately with milk, beginning and ending with powdered sugar. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition. Stir in peppermint oil. Refrigerate this filling to it will get to a spreading consistency.  Otherwise, it will just run down the sides of the cake layers.
Ingredients

Chocolate Ganache
1 (12-oz.) package semisweet chocolate morsels
1/2 cup whipping cream
3 tablespoons butter
Preparation

1. Microwave semisweet chocolate morsels and whipping cream in a 2-qt. microwave-safe bowl at MEDIUM (50% power) 2 1/2 to 3 minutes or until chocolate begins to melt. Whisk until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth. Whisk in butter, and let stand 20 minutes.
2. Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer 3 to 4 minutes or until soft peaks form. I had to refrigerate for a short amount of time.

Assemble the whole cake a day before and refrigerate it and it will slice perfectly and beautifully!

One more thing before we go…how about serving up some encouragement?  

Pastor Encouragement: Ask God to protect your pastor from the evil plots of Satan.  Pray that he will not be corrupted as he rubs shoulders with the world in the course of ministry.

Husband Encouragement:  Does your husband know that you think he is attractive? What was one of the characteristics in your husband that first drew you to him? Was it a physical characteristic or something else? Was it his gentle, compassionate eyes? Kindness or concern for others? An easygoing confidence? A steadiness that comes from trusting in the Lord? Strength of character in a culture that lacks integrity? Do you see at least a glimpse of that characteristic in him today? Whatever it is, tell him! If you still have any of your old love letters, re-read them for clues to deepen your current level of appreciation for your spouse.

How are you doing with your encouragement challenge?  Are you making it a part of each day? Are you seeing the power your words are in prayer for your pastor?  In building your husband?

With love from my country kitchen,

What’s Cookin’ in the Parsonage?

Maybe the heading should say “Who’s Cookin’ in the Parsonage?”  I had a guest of sorts stirring up yumminess in my kitchen this weekend!  My husband is not a cook…at least that’s what I used to believe! However, he surprised me by stepping into the kitchen to make me a meal!   I celebrated a birthday this weekend, and, being the sweet husband he is, he wanted to do something better than just take me to dinner. 

So, instead, he cooked me dinner! He searched the Internet for Romantic Dinners for Two and came up with Easy-Creamy Linguine with Shrimp.  Take a look…
He said he wanted this to be a labor of love, and indeed it was.  After shooing me out of the kitchen, I planted myself in the living room at my desk.  It was quite entertaining just listening to the sounds coming from my chef.  “Whoa! Whoa! Whoa!” (Something strange was happening to his sauce)  “Zowie!” (I think something was hot!) “Oh, no, I forgot the fresh herbs!  Honnnnn!”  It brought a smile to my face.  The smells of the butter and garlic made me understand why he comments – “It sure smells good in there!” when he’s at his desk and I’m in the kitchen. 

It touched my heart that he would go to so much trouble in the kitchen, just to demonstrate his love.  It’s a good reminder that even if you and I aren’t Martha Stewart’s or Ina Garten’s, our families appreciate our efforts to make good food and special mealtimes for them.  Fixing a homemade meal says a lot!  It says, “I care.  I love you.  I love being at home with you.”  Even if those words aren’t spoken, it’s the truth.  So tie on your apron and stir up something for your loved ones.  Hey, why not try my favorite chef’s recipe?  You’ll find it below.



His menu:
Easy-Creamy Linguine with Shrimp
Tossed Salad with Italian Cheese
Fociacca Bread with Olive Oil dipping Sauce
Fruit Tart (purchased) =)



Here’s the recipe:

Creamy Linguine with Shrimp

6 oz. linguine
1 Tbl butter
1/4 lb fresh mushrooms, sliced
2 Tbl butter
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
3 oz cream cheese, softened (low fat is fine)
We added (he needed a little help here ) about 1/3-1/2 C fat free half and half
2 T fresh parsley, minced
3/4 tsp dried basil
salt, to taste
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
1/2 C chicken broth, boiling
1/2 lb cooked shrimp
1/4 C Parmesan cheese, grated

Boil linguini in lightly salted water.  Meanwhile:

Make sauce – Heat 1 Tbl butter in skillet over med. heat.  Add mushrooms.  Saute until tender.  Remove from pan.  Heat the 2 Tbl butter in skillet.  Add the minced garlic, then stir in the cream cheese.  Stir and allow cheese to break down, then slowly add half and half.  Add parsley and basil.  Let simmer 5 minutes. 

Add boiling chicken broth til sauce is smooth.  Add shrimp and mushrooms and heat through, only about 2 minutes. 

Toss cooked pasta with sauce, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve.

Note:  Using pre-cleaned, pre-cooked shrimp makes this dinner even easier.

Pretty impressive, huh?  I think so!  Not only did this look good, it tasted good too!!!!  I’m going to have to rethink who’s cooking in the parsonage from now on!  His secret is out!  Come to think of it, working in the kitchen together isn’t a bad idea either! 

What and who has been cooking in your kitchen?

From my parsonage table,