Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Monday, May 31, 2021

Does anyone have an abundance of yellow squash yet?

 

Here in the South those who have vegetable gardens are beginning to have a plethora of yellow squash because of our warming weather. Yellow Squash is first of all so easy to grow but it also has so many health benefits as well.  I thought it a good time to share a couple of recipes, one is a new recipe that I found to be delicious and the other has been a family favorite for many years. The first one I found in a magazine sometime ago. So long ago that I can't even give credit to the magazine but I thought it to be a "KEEPER" of a recipe.

Squash is a very healthy vegetable until you add in all the other ingredients that put them right over the top but you wouldn't make them every week and they are a crowd pleaser. Both of these recipes filled with cheese but with other healthy ingredients as well.

 One of my favorite ways to prepare them is just simply sautéing them with a pat of butter and a bit of sliced onion that I have browned in the butter. Then I add in the sliced squash, brown them a bit and place the top on my sauté pan. They cook in their own liquid and are delicious this way being careful not to over cook them. This of course, is a weeknight veggie but squash can be soooooo yummy with some of the other things added in. 


Summer Squash Casserole 

3 pounds yellow squash, thinly sliced

3 cups chopped red bell pepper

1 1/3 cups finely chopped leeks

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon salt

3 cups shredded extra-sharp white Cheddar cheese , divided

3 cups crushed buttery round crackers, divided

2 cups shredded fontina cheese

1 (16-ounce) container sour cream

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 cup grated carrot

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill

1 1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

5 tablespoon butter, melted


Preheat oven to 350*. Spray a 13 X 9-inch baking dish with cooking spray. 

In a large stockpot, bring squash, bell pepper, leeks, garlic, salt, and water to cover to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce heat, and simmer until squash is tender, about 6 minutes. Drain well.

In a large bowl, stir together squash mixture, 2 cups Cheddar cheese, 2 cups crushed crackers, fontina, sour cream, egg, carrot, parsley, dill, seasoned salt, and pepper. Spoon into a prepared pan. Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup Cheddar. In a small bowl, stir together melted butter and remaining 1 cup crushed crackers. Sprinkle onto Cheddar.

Bake until hot and bubbly and topping is browned, about 30 minutes.

Makes 10 to 12 servings

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This was such a simple casserole to put together and it is delicious. I loved the use of leeks, carrots, red bell pepper and the combination of cheeses put it over the top.  I found myself warming it up for my lunch for the next couple of days.

I halved this recipe for my husband and I and still had leftovers but trust me neither of us cared, we both loved it that much and my husband is not so happy eating leftovers. He surely didn't mind this one at all.

It's an excellent dish for a crowd and can be prepared ahead without the topping. It may take a little longer to bake if it comes right out of the refrigerator but if making it for a crowd they will love it. It definitely has WOW factor.


The combination of cheeses was excellent. This was just before placing in the oven.

It browns beautifully with a crunchy top. Makes an excellent side with any meat, in this case we had smoked chicken and pole beans.


Another favorite Squash Casserole that I make is called South of the Border Squash. Men have a tendency to really like this dish and it is always on my Christmas dinner table. My family would not be happy if it wasn't. I've shared this recipe many times and each time I have people have told me they loved it. 



South of the Border Squash Casserole
Serves 6


1 cup chopped onion
2 1/2-3 pounds yellow squash, sliced
2 tablespoons butter
1 4-ounce can chopped green chilies
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
Pepper to taste
1 ½ cup Monterey Jack cheese, grated
1 egg
1 cup cottage cheese, small curd
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 9x13 inch pan or 2-quart casserole dish. In a skillet, saute’ onion and squash in butter until tender. Stir in chilies, flour, salt and pepper. Pour into casserole. Sprinkle Monterey Jack cheese on top. Stir together the egg, cottage cheese, and parsley. Spread this mixture over the Monterey Jack cheese.
Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

My Notes: The cottage cheese mixture is a little difficult to spread but be patient, it will spread over the entire pan. Depending on the oven it sometimes needs to be cooked a little longer. A nice light browning on the top.

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The South of the Border Squash is and has always been a family favorite and the newer recipe I have shared I think will also become a family favorite. I hope you will try these two recipes and let me know how you like it.

As an added note, I always keep a thermometer in my oven. I have never used an oven that is adequately calibrated and I like to make sure that the preheated temperature is exactly what it should be. This is a MUST for me. Also, taste for seasoning before placing in the oven. I always like to season anything I cook to taste, my own taste, of course, before baking. 

Have a wonderful week, Carolyn




Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Friday, October 16, 2020

It's Fall and Time For Soup

 I love a good soup anytime of the year but one of my favorites is a Mushroom Bisque. This recipe is definitely worthy of sharing and I prepared it recently.

You can use a mixture of mushrooms when they are in season but this time I used baby Portobello's so I suppose I should call it Portobello Mushroom Bisque. It is always a good idea to gather all of your ingredients ahead of time. I even measure out the flour and salt and pepper in advance. It makes the soup go together so much easier.
I am very particular about what chicken stock I use if I don't have any of my own in the freezer. The one pictured is the only one I will use, I find it to be the most flavorful. I usually get unsalted because I like to control the salt in any recipe also.
The fragrance wafting through the house is amazing.

Portobello Mushroom Bisque

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2leeks, white and light green parts only, halved lengthwise, cleaned and thinly sliced
1 large yellow onion (about 12 oz.) chopped
1 pound baby Portobello mushrooms, wiped or brushed clean, and chopped
3 tablespoons all purpose flour 
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
1 bay leaf
6 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon sugar (do not leave this out)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley, optional


In a 6 quart pot melt the butter, add the leeks and onion and sauté over medium heat until slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Lower the heat, cover the pan, and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the mushrooms, stir to combine, cover, and cook 10 minutes longer. Raise the heat to medium, stir in the flour, and cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the thyme, bay leaf, stock, salt and pepper. Simmer, partially covered, for about 10 minutes.

Cool the soup slightly, then discard the bay leaf and puree the soup with an immersion blender, or in batches in the blender. Return the pureed soup to the saucepan and add the cream. Cook over low heat until heated through, but do not let the soup boil. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Ladle into warm bowls, garnish with parsley and serve immediately.

Note: This will serve 8 as a first course. I also tie my herbs in a bundle and just drop them in.
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I personally prefer using an immersion blender and find it invaluable.
Pared with a Mixed Green Salad and some crusty bread this makes for an excellent dinner. I have also served it as a first course for a dinner party and got rave reviews. This soup is a keeper.
Instead of parsley I topped mine with seasoned croutons and a drizzle of black truffle oil.
The black truffle oil takes it to the next level in my opinion. I am a huge fan of black truffle oil.
If you should have any leftover it is an excellent soup for a lunch also.

If you try this soup you won't be disappointed and it is so very easy. If serving it for a dinner party it can easily be prepared the day before withholding the cream. I think the next time I prepare it I will give it a splash of cognac, now that sounds really good to me.

Enjoy your weekend, Carolyn







Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Smoked Gouda Pimento Cheese

 Pimento Cheese is a Southern staple in my opinion and I happened to come across a new version which I tried and thought it to be excellent. This is a recipe adapted from Food Network and it will definitely remain in my recipe repertoire. I think you may like it as well.



Smoked Gouda Pimento Cheese

1 cup mayonnaise

1 7-ounce jar diced pimiento, drained and rinsed

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

½ teaspoon garlic powder

¼ to ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper, according to preference

1 8-ounce extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded

1 8-ounce smoked Gouda cheese, shredded

 

In a large bowl mix together the two grated cheeses. Mix together in a separate bowl the mayonnaise, pimientos, Worcestershire, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper. Add to the cheese mixture and thoroughly mix them together.

This will make 4 cups and will keep up to a week in the refrigerator.

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I learned something very important as I was preparing this recipe, always drain and rinse the pimentos. I had always added it in with never rinsing or draining and also had no idea how salty they are. I would always add salt into the mix and never thought I added too much but it was the pimentos. Just goes to show, you are never too old to learn.
Sitting in the refrigerator overnight all the ingredients melded together and it does have a little kick to it.

It makes an excellent appetizer, I think it would be great as a grilled cheese sandwich or just a regular sandwich on lightly toasted bread which I had today. The Gouda cheese is a great change to how I normally make my pimento cheese. I used Cracker Barrel extra sharp Cheddar cheese and Boars Head Smoked Gouda and shredded both on a box grater. I think that is most important, none of that pre-shredded stuff.

I hope you will try this recipe and I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.

I hope you'll let me know if you give this a try. Enjoy your evening.

Carolyn


 


Thursday, September 24, 2020

Wordless Wednesday

 


I posted this on Thursday, silly me. I must have lost a day last week. This bloom is one of the few from an Althea tree that I had planted last year. I have planted this Althea or some call, Rose of Sharon many times in this same spot and have had the hardest time. It hasn't made it and this one looks like it is going to do the same thing. I planted it just outside my bay window so I could enjoy the blooms from my family room. I think the issue is for this year we have had too much rain this summer and it doesn't drain off very well. The past couple of years we have had a drought situation and I think my sprinkler system doesn't quite reach where I have planted this tree. I can't seem to win. The main reason I wanted this particular tree is because my mother had one in her garden and this bloom reminds me of my dear departed mother. My next move will be to plant this tree in another spot but isn't it such a gorgeous bloom. I can only picture it in my head tall and loaded with these beautiful blooms.


Carolyn

Monday, August 17, 2020

Summer Tomato Pie

 Right now in the middle of summer I expect we all are getting some delicious tomatoes. Every time my husband visits our local farmers market he brings home so many tomatoes but all is good because we both love tomatoes. With one exception, I have never cared for a tomato sandwich. That is such a Southern thing but I admit to NEVER caring for them.

I do, however, LOVE a good Tomato Pie and I find my recipe particularly tasty.


Tomato Pie

One 9-inch deep dish pie crust, prebaked according to package drictions

3 to 4 juicy tomatoes, sliced about 1/4" thick

8 to 10 fresh basil leaves, chopped

1/3 cup green onion, chopped, white and green parts

Salt and pepper to taste

2 cups Mozzarella cheese

1/2 cup mayonnaise

Parmesan cheese

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Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Layer tomato slices, basil, and onion in a pre-baked pie shell. Add salt and pepper. Mix together grated cheese and mayonnaise and spread on top of the tomatoes. Sprinkle a little Parmesan cheese on top and bake for 30 minutes or until to desired browning. Let cool for about 10 minutes before slicing pie.


This is such an easy pie to prepare and it is soooooooo tasty. I am of the opinion that you can't have too much Parmesan cheese on anything.

This is exactly why I did not put an amount in the recipe. Use as much or as little as you want. It will also make a beautifully browned pie.


 Many people do a mixture of half mozzarella and half cheddar. I have made it with the cheddar but I personally prefer using just a good mozzarella. Some people use just cheddar and I love a good cheddar but using the mozzarella just seems to go better with these particular ingredients, in my opinion.


This is an easy Sunday night dinner and pares well with a fresh fruit salad. Add an excellent glass of wine and you have the perfect Sunday night fare.

I hope you'll try this recipe, it's not only a great way to use up those lucious tomatoes but it is addictive as well.

I hope you all have a wonderful and productive week.

Carolyn

Friday, July 31, 2020

Garden Fleurs

I admit to hydrangeas being one of my favorite flowers and in my garden I have an abundance of them at the moment. One of the many joys of summer. There is nothing more delightful than cutting blooms from the garden to brighten the indoors.
 Of course, the blue hydrangeas go in any room in my home.




This is a view from my back door and I am of the opinion that back door guests are best so what could be more welcoming than a wee bouquet of flowers. I don't quite understand why but the pink hydrangea was cut from the same bush as the blue one although it does have a pinkish tone. Difference in the soil but I didn't amend the soil to make pink blooms.
I love this vignette, the lamp is probably the oldest and most valuable lamp in my home. I have had many dealers try to buy it from me when I have taken it into a lamp shop to replace the shade but it has special significance to me. At least 40 years ago I bought it at an antique show that I went to with my mother whom we lost long ago. I could never part with this lamp it conjures up very happy memories.
I think these hydrangeas are particularly beautiful. The container had a candle in it when I first bought it and I rarely throw out interesting containers. They too have a usefulness from time to time.

Garden flower bouquets I believe are the loveliest of bouquets in my opinion. Here in our living room I cut some agapanthus. I love the tall stems and of course, again blue.


My garden is a fulfilling JOY to me almost year round especially when I can cut blooms to bring indoors. I hope you can do the same but if not there are so many ways to bring nature indoors. It will brighten your surroundings.

Enjoy the remainder of your day, Carolyn