Sunday, September 26, 2010

Autumn Spiced Apple Cider Pumpkin Can Chicken and Grilled Red Potatoes with Fall Harvest Sauce

Apple cider, pumpkin, poblano peppers, onions, potatoes, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves, the scents of autumn cooking. Put them all together and you've got my Autumn Spiced Apple Cider Pumpkin Can Chicken (a version of beer can chicken) and Grilled Red Potatoes with Fall Harvest Sauce... which I made up yesterday. I wanted to make a special meal for my husband, who is going out of town for a few days. Actually, he left early this morning.

I wanted something autumny (is that even a word?) and I looked around to see what was on hand. A whole chicken in the freezer, frozen pureed pumpkin which I made from a sugar pumpkin in my garden, a half bag of red potatoes and some onions that I had gotten last week from the store. I almost always have coconut milk because my daughter is vegan and won't touch milk or cream. Of course I picked my own poblano pepper from my garden. I can chop a poblano or even jalapeno peppers in just about everything I make! I always have spices, so no worry there. The only thing I had to go out to the store for was the apple cider.

My recipe, which I threw together from the top of my little head, went over very well with my husband and soon to be 19-year old son. My husband, will eat just about anything. My son, on the other hand, is an extremely picky eater... kind of like the person I used to be to my own mom, until I grew up and expanded my palate. You can also put both the potatoes and the chicken in the oven at perhaps 350-375 for an hour or so, instead of on the grill.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Tatertot Chili Casserole

This is a hearty, hot meal that my boys just love. It's easy, and leftovers freeze well. And is also great football fare. Actually, I used to throw onions in the casserole, until my son declared he doesn't like onions - boo on him!
I've also put diced jalapeno or poblano peppers in the casserole too. Another dish that you can add what you want and take out what you don't like. I like it all and wish my son wasn't as picky as his mom was when she was his age :-)

Grilled Stuffed Italian Tomatoes

If you grow tomatoes like I do, then you are wondering what more you can make than sauce and salsa. What I like to do with the smaller ones, 1-1/2" to 2" tomatoes, is stuff them with Italian sausage and cheese, and grill them.

Last year, I had gotten a Williams-Sonoma catalog, and saw the tomato grill rack on sale, and had to get it. Of course, after I bought the rack on sale, they clearanced it out a week later. Boo on me not getting it for the best price! You can use heavy-duty aluminum foil, or the aluminum trays that they make so cheaply now, if you don't have a grill rack.

If you don't have the smaller type tomatoes, buy Campari tomatoes at the grocery store. They are a perfect size! In my picture below, I had about 7 smaller type tomatoes from my garden. The filling makes more than enough sausage/cheese stuffing, that I use whatever I have left to sprinkle on noodles and my homemade spaghetti sauce.

Grilled Stuffed Italian Tomatoes make a great appetizer. You don't have to stick with the Italian recipe. You can use whatever meat and cheese combo that you like. I've made taco meat and monterey jack cheese filled tomatoes too. Though we love the Italian style the best!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Autumn is coming.... and my Jalapeno Popper Recipe

Absolute tender crunch walking through leaf mountains.
Ubiquitous scent of fall in the crisp, cool, hardy breeze.
Teasing drizzle of rain, sprinkling down on our soon to be harvest.
Undulating flames of a bonfire, we're bundled in layers, sipping hot apple cider.
Melting artists pallet of red, yellow, orange and every variation of brown, seen.
Never ending pumpkins, squash, beans, peas, peppers, onions, and  tomatoes.

I know... I don't wax poetic, but this morning inspired me to write something
down. Fall is my most favorite season. Perhaps it's the sense of urgency with
putting food by for the upcoming winter months, like a squirrel hording his
acorns. Or maybe the excitement in the knowledge that the crazy, busy
holidays are quickly approaching. Whatever the reason, I just love autumn!

I have so many jalapeno peppers that I've been growing, that I've been
making jalapeno poppers and freezing them. We do that every year.
We use them as appetizers for parties and even just as an appetizer
before our own dinner. We love jalapenos! I've changed the recipe to
whatever I have on hand. I've made cheese mixtures with just cheese,
cheese & herbs, and this year I'm into cheese with bratwurst & onions.
I've used hickory bacon, bacon marinated  in pumpkin butter (one of
my personal favorites), bacon sprinkled with granulated maple sugar
and even plain bacon. The recipe is ever changing!

I'll leave you with a recipe for jalapeno poppers. Play with it, change it,

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Autumn Pasta

During the fall, I make a very filling, fairly spicy pasta dish. Made with
much of the fall harvest: pumpkin, onions, jalapeno and sage. Even
sausage is considered a "fall" food. What I make actually feeds about
6 people, so you can easily cut my recipe in half. We make this much
because my husband enjoys eating leftovers for breakfast & lunch the
next day! I make it with different pasta every time, so whatever you
like, go with it!

Autumn Pasta

1 box of pasta noodles (whatever shape you like)
2 jars Alfredo sauce
1 cup jalapenos chopped (I leave some seeds in for good spiciness!)
1 cup onion chopped
1 lb sausage (I use the bulk roll kind)
6-7 fresh sage leaves, chopped (could chop extra for a garnish)
1-1/2 cups pumpkin puree (I puree my own, but you can use a
small can of pumpkin puree)
**you may need to add a little milk to to make your sauce thinner,
if preferred

Start browning the sausage, onions and jalapenos together in a fry
pan on medium heat. Cook until browned. Drain on paper towel.

Add your Alfredo sauce, pumpkin puree and sage to a
medium-sized pot. Blend together. Start heating on low. Add your
sausage mixture to the Alfredo blend, and stir together. Cook on
low heat.

While the sausage / Alfredo mixture is heating on low. Cook your
pasta. When your pasta is done, your sauce will be done at the
same time.

Add hot noodles to a plate. Pour your sausage Alfredo sauce over
the noodles. Sprinkle with cracked black pepper, or even some
extra chopped sage.


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Back to gardening

It's been awhile, and I'm hopefully here to stay. Been doing a lot of gardening, a lot of social networking, a lot of marketing for my husband's business. But ready to go with gardening, recipes and more!