Fresh Beet and Goat Cheese Salad

Fresh Beet and Goat Cheese Salad.

I found another gem at our new Fresh Thyme Farmers Market this week – beautiful fresh golden beets!

I love beets – red or gold – but since these are a little harder to find where I live, I was excited to get them.  Golden beets are slightly sweeter and a little less earthy than red beets.  I actually love the earthiness of red beets, but those that don’t might enjoy these.

I love beets hot or cold, plain or fancy, so I decided to make a bit of a fancier salad for our Sunday supper this past week.  Here is my recipe.  Hope you will give it a try.

Fresh Beet and Goat Cheese Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 large or 2 small gold or red fresh beets (or a combination of both), cooked* and cut into bite-sized pieces.
  • Small bunch of arugula or mixed greens of your choice
  • ¼ cup pecans or walnuts
  • 1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 2 small clementines or oranges
  • 1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 oz. goat cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

In a small skillet, heat pecans or walnuts until warm and beginning to toast.  Add maple syrup and cook and stir to coat.  Remove from heat.  Spread out on cutting board or parchment or waxed paper to cool.

Prepare dressing by squeezing juice of clementine or orange into a small bowl.  Drizzle and whisk in vinegar and olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Set aside.

Place a small bunch of arugula or mixed greens on each of two salad plates.  Top each plate with equal portions of the cut-up beets, followed by clementine or orange slices, toasted candied pecans or walnuts, and crumbled goat cheese.  Drizzle with dressing and sprinkle with additional coarse black pepper and salt to taste.

*To cook fresh beets, cut greens off top to about an inch from beet.  Place unpeeled fresh beets in a saucepan of water to cover and bring to a boil.  Boil for 20-40 minutes, depending on size, until beets are fork-tender.  (When you stab with a fork, the beet should slide right back off when done.) Drain under cold water and remove skin with paper towel.  Cool completely for salad.  Cut up after beets have cooled.

Enjoy!

Nothing beats a fresh beet!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Homemade Sweet Potato Chips

Homemade Sweet Potato Chips.

I’ve been trying to eat a bit healthier and make better food choices.

It’s hard.

While some people crave chocolate and sweets, I am a salty, savory girl.  I will take a crunchy pretzel or chip any day over a Hershey’s Kiss or cookie.

So when I heard about making homemade sweet potato chips, I had to try.

And HOORAY!  They totally satisfied my salty, crunchy chip-loving craving.

These are so easy to make, so delicious to eat, and healthy enough to not feel guilty!

The only tricky part is baking them long enough to get crispy without burning them.

This recipe is what works in my oven in my area.  I have an electric convection oven.  Your baking time may vary.  Just keep watching – and tasting – until you achieve your best results.

The batch pictured here is ONE sweet potato!

Here is how I made them:

Homemade Sweet Potato Chips

Ingredients

  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 1-2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp. coarse sea salt
  • 1 tsp. chili powder or dry rub or your favorite seasoning (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Thinly slice sweet potato with a mandoline slicer and layer on a baking stone or cookie sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil and combine to coat well.  Sprinkle with salt and seasoning.  Re-spread evenly on the baking sheet.

Bake 20 minutes.  Toss and flip slices.  Continue baking for 10 minutes.  Toss and flip slices.  Bake 10 more minutes or until edges are browned and chips become crisp.  Remove to paper towels to dry and drain off any excess oil.   Serve immediately and enjoy!

TIP:  Some type of mandoline slicer is really a must as well to get super thin, even slices.

Hope you enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

P.S.  Do you see a familiar furry, four-legged friend in the first photo who also loves these sweet potato chips?  (Charlie says “Hi” and wants you to know how good these are!)

Homemade Apple Fritters

Homemade Apple Fritters.

Last Sunday, Hubby had to get up very early – really the middle of the night – to work during a winter weather event in our area.

Missing Sunday breakfast, I wanted to make him a special treat for when he returned home.

With some wonderful Misfits Market apples in the crisper, I thought I’d try my hand at homemade apple fritters.

Who can resist a fresh apple fritter??!!

A couple tips from a first-time apple fritter maker:

  • Don’t heat the oil too hot.  Be patient and use a medium heat.  Better to fry them a little longer and get a golden brown than to overcook the outside and undercook the inside with high heat.  (Which, by the way, is what I did with the first batch of three, resulting in us only having three total!)
  • Spread them a little flatter than I did so you get more icing in each bite as the dough itself only contains a small amount of sugar. (This was hubby’s suggestion!)
  • Use a sweeter, less firm apple for best results.  I would not recommend Granny Smith.  The recipe calls for 3 medium apples, but you could really add another apple, which I will do next time.

Let me know if you try and/or if you have made and have any of your own tips.  We sure enjoyed these on a cold, snowy, comfort food, stay-in kind of day.

Here is the recipe I very slightly adapted from I am Baker‘s blog.

Homemade Apple Fritters

Ingredients:

  • 3 medium apples, peeled, cored, and diced
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • Canola or Vegetable Oil  for frying
  • Glaze
    • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
    • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
    • 4 tsp. water (or enough for best consistency)

Directions:

In a small bowl, drizzle lemon juice over diced apples.  Stir to coat.  Set aside.

In electric mixer, beat sugar and eggs on medium-high speed until combined.  Reduce speed to low, and add flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.  Mix until combined.  Add milk, and mix until incorporated.  Fold in apples with spatula.

Fill a frying pan halfway full with oil.  Heat over medium heat to 375 degrees F.

Drop three 1/4-1/3 cup portions of batter into the oil.  Let fry for a few minutes until golden brown.  Flip and fry until other side is golden brown.  Test for doneness by inserting a small knife in center.  If uncooked batter remains, fry longer.

Remove fritters from oil with slotted spoon to wire rack layered with paper towels or napkins to drain.  Allow to cool.

Repeat with remaining three portions of batter.

Prepare glaze by combining powdered sugar, vanilla, and water.  Drizzle over cooled fritters on cooling rack.  When glaze has set, turn to coat other side with glaze that dripped through, if desired.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Easy Dill Pickle Focaccia Bread

Easy Dill Pickle Focaccia Bread.

Calling all bread lovers!

Calling all dill pickle lovers!

Calling all lovers of easy recipes that rock!

My cousin, who I affectionately refer to as “Oh Rob,” recently shared this recipe he made for his pickle-loving grandson.  Oh Rob loves to bake bread, and he loves his grandson even more!  This recipe was a match made in heaven for these two.

The idea really intrigued me and sounded so good. I knew I had to try it.

We are a dill pickle lovin’ family too.

And who doesn’t love bread?!

So I ever so slightly adapted the recipe and made it this past Sunday for dinner to serve along with spaghetti.  We loved it!

Give it a try, and let me know what you think.  Here is how I made it.

Easy Dill Pickle Focaccia Bread

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup warm water (105-110°F)
  • 1/4 cup pickle juice, warmed (105-110°F)
  • 2 tsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 (1/4-oz.) envelope active dry yeast
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. dried dill weed or 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh dill
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 cup Cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2 large dill pickles, sliced or chopped
  • Optional: 1 Tbsp. Maldon Sea Salt Flakes
Directions:

Combine warm water, warm pickle juice, sugar, and yeast in a medium bowl or measuring cup. Let stand 10 minutes.

Whisk together flour, dill, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl. Add pickle juice mixture and 2 tablespoons of the oil; stir until combined and dough begins to pull away from sides of bowl. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until smooth and stretchy.

Drizzle 1 teaspoon of the oil in the bowl to coat; add dough, and turn to coat. Cover with towel, and let stand in a warm place until dough has doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 425°F.  Punch down dough. Place on a lightly oiled 18- x 13-inch rimmed baking stone sheet. Press and stretch dough to edges of baking sheet. Cover with towel, and let stand in a warm place 15 minutes.

Using the end of a wooden spoon, make indentions evenly over dough. Top evenly with cheese and pickles.  Bake until lightly golden and cooked through,  approximately 20 minutes.

Sprinkle top with sea salt flakes, if desired. 

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

PS  I will be taking a holiday blogging break until after Christmas and the New Year.  Wishing you all the joy of this festive season!

Old-Fashioned Beef Stew

Old-Fashioned Beef Stew.

The weather has turned blustery here, and we are “turkeyed” out from Thanksgiving, so the other day, I made a comforting pot of bubbling, thick, hearty, old-fashioned beef stew.

I finally made a trip to a local pantry I’ve been longing to visit in the quaint town of Zelienople, PA (not far from Mars) – Penn Pantry, where I purchased some local, organic grass-fed beef (amongst many other wonderful treasures) that seemed to be made just for stewing.

I also had an abundance of fresh vegetables from my latest Misfit Market shipment that I knew would work perfectly in a stew – potatoes in sweet, red and white, carrots, parsnips, and onions.

So a stewing I did, and oh how we enjoyed!

Here is how I made ours.  Shake it up with your favorite ingredients, but feel the warmth and comfort in this great classic recipe.

Old-Fashioned Beef Stew

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. beef, trimmed and cut into one-inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 tsp. Lawry’s Seasoned Salt (or your favorite)
  • 1 tsp. coarsly ground black pepper
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 3 1/2 cups beef broth
  • 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tsp. fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. fresh sage, finely minced
  • 1 large sweet onion, cut into chunks
  • 4 cups chopped potatoes, sweet potatoes, and/or parsnips
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 cup chopped celery

Directions:

Combine flour, seasoned salt, and black pepper in a small bowl.  Add beef cubes, and toss to coat.

Heat oil in a large pot.  Add coated beef cubes and brown on all sides.

Remove beef from pot, and add vinegar and wine to oil and beef drippings in pot.  Stir and scrape browned bits from bottom of pan until all combined and boiling.  Add beef back in, followed by beef broth, tomato paste, bay leaves, thyme, rosemary, and sage.  Bring back to a boil, then reduce to simmer for about a half hour to an hour – until beef is tender.  (Timing will depend on the cut and quality of beef.)

Add onions, potatoes, carrots, and celery, and continue simmering until vegetables are tender and broth thickens – approximately one hour.

Ladle into bowls and serve with fresh, crusty bread to soak up every bit of gravy goodness to comfort your appetite and warm you from the inside out.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

 

Cheesy Chicken Prosciutto Roll-Ups in White Wine Sauce

Cheesy Chicken Prosciutto Roll-Ups in White Wine Sauce.

This past Sunday, I made a new recipe with chicken that turned out so yummy, I couldn’t wait to share.

With a few simple ingredients, but also the finest you can find or afford, you can create this amazing dish in just a few minutes before putting in the oven for a half hour.

Turn your sound on for just a few seconds, and click the arrow below to experience the glorious sizzling of these little gems as they brown in olive oil and a bit of butter!

These chicken breasts, pounded as flat as possible, are stuffed with thinly sliced salty, high-quality prosciutto,  fresh, creamy mozzarella cheese and a few simple spices before being rolled in flour and browned in olive oil and butter.

Once browned,  white wine is poured in to blend with the browned bits and juices to create the most amazing gravy!

We enjoyed our Cheesy Chicken Prosciutto Roll-Ups with a fresh garden salad.  The only thing we were missing was some crusty bread to sop up every last bit of gravy.

I cannot recommend this winner of a chicken dinner more highly.  I slightly revised a recipe I found at mangiamichelle.com.

Here is how I made it.

Cheesy Chicken Prosciutto Roll-Ups in White Wine Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs. (3 large) chicken breasts, sliced in half horizontally to create 6 pieces
  • 6 paper-thin sliced high-quality proscuitto
  • 1 lb. fresh mozzarella ball, sliced
  • 1 tsp. Italian Seasoning (or your favorite i.e. oregano, sage, thyme)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 cups white wine
  • 1/2 cup flour

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Pound the chicken pieces until they are as flat as possible to about 1/3 inch thick.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and seasoning.  Lay a slice of prosciutto on top followed by a slice of mozzarella.  Roll up and secure with a toothpick or two to secure.  Dredge each chicken roll-up in flour.

Heat olive oil and butter in a large oven-safe skillet over medium heat.  Brown each roll-up on each side for about 4-5 minutes.  Pour wine over all, and stir up browned bits and butter to incorporate.  Baste sauce over chicken.  Place in oven, and bake for 30 minutes. 

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

One-Pan Mustard-Roasted Potatoes, Brussels Sprouts, and Sausages

One-Pan Mustard-Roasted Potatoes, Brussels Sprouts, and Sausages.

You totally have to love when your grown sons start sharing recipes with you!  I am so proud of the great cooks they have both become (and so happy for the lucky wives they have because of it!!!).

My younger son shared this recipe recently he found online at slenderkitchen.com.  I tweaked it up a bit by changing garlic salt to fresh garlic, oregano to rosemary, doubling the sausage, and zipping it up with horseradish mustard.  It is a healthy, clean eating meal that is gluten-free and Paleo as well.


But it is also super delish!

Imagine a pan full of crispy roasted potatoes coated in a mustard-garlic glaze, caramelized Brussels sprouts, and hearty sausage that only takes about 10 minutes to throw together.

One-pan meals are so awesome, and I love making something that also serves as an extra lunch or two to take the the office and dinner another night that same week.

I roast it all up in my all-time favorite baking pan, the Pampered Chef Large Stoneware Bar Pan.  It is so worth the investment for how beautifully and evenly it bakes and roasts.  I use this pan at least once a week for roasting veggies or baking.  I can’t imagine my kitchen without it.

Here is the recipe for how I made it.  Tweak it up to your tastes and share your ideas!  You could use butternut squash instead of potatoes, cauliflower or carrots or green beans instead of Brussels sprouts.  The ingredients and combinations are pretty limitless.

One-Pan Mustard-Roasted Potatoes, Brussels Sprouts, and Sausages

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb potatoes, cut into bite-sized chunks (I used a bag of mixed baby potatoes in white, yellow, and purple and cut them in half)
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. whole grain or horseradish mustard (I used horseradish – you can use your favorite!)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (or 1 tsp garlic powder)
  • 1 tsp. fresh rosemary, chopped (you might also like to use oregano – dried or fresh)
  • 1 1/2 lbs. chicken sausages (I used two packages of Aldi’s Never Any Brand – one Italian Sausage and one Tomato Basil)
  • 1 lb fresh Brussels sprouts (cut in half)
  • Salt and pepper to taste (I used Malton Sea Salt flakes)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Mix together 2 Tbsp olive oil, mustard, garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper.  Toss the potatoes with the mixture, and spread out in a large baking pan.  Roast in oven for 25 minutes, tossing once or twice during roasting.

Remove pan from oven and push potatoes to one side.  Spread out Brussels sprouts on other side of pan evenly.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Place the chicken sausages in the middle of the pan between the potatoes and Brussels sprouts.

Increase oven temperature to 475 degrees F, and place the pan back in the oven to roast for another 15 minutes.  Shake the pan once or twice during the roasting time to ensure even roasting.

To serve, slice sausages into bite-sized pieces and toss all into a bowl.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

A Krautfest Rhyme

 


A Krautfest Rhyme.

Once upon a time
in a neighborhood by a lake,

a group of friends gathered.
There was saurkraut to make.

500 pounds of cabbage
was cleaned and quartered and chopped.

Then young and old, expert and new,
sliced it down – they couldn’t be stopped.

Once sliced it went
to the station to be weighed.

Salt was added.
It’s how you make homemade.

Into crocks and buckets
it went to be pound.

It starts the fermentation
and keeps it safe and sound.

No krautfest could ever
be quite complete

without hugs and laughs and games
and plenty of treats to eat.

There was a tub of apples
waiting for kids to bob.

While others were pressed into juice,
which many found to be a fun job.

After working and eating and drinking
away the day,

evening arrived,
and instruments were brought out to play.

Singing with friends,
(only some truly in tune)

is surely the best way
to end a krautfest afternoon.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Thanks so much and mostest
to our amazing hosts and hostesses.

Love you Joyce and Rob and Nikole and Michael
for continuing the annual krautfest cycle!

If you would like to see previous years’ Krautfests, feel free to click HERE and HERE and HERE.  

Easy Fresh Homemade Salsa

Easy Fresh Homemade Salsa.

I LOVE salsa!

And this time of year when tomato plants in our gardens are overflowing with more tomatoes than we can eat, it is the perfect time to make fresh salsa.

It is so easy to make and so healthy and versatile for snacking or cooking.  I love dipping tortilla chips in it for snack.  It is also my favorite baked potato topping.  Skip the butter and sour cream for me, and pile on the salsa!  Throw frozen skinless, boneless chicken breasts in a crockpot on low, top with a pint of salsa, and ignore it for 8 hours.  Return for a delicious, nutritous main course of Salsa Chicken.

There are gajillion ways to make salsa.  You can add corn and black beans for a heartier twist.  You can add chopped peaches or mango for a sweeter twist.  You can add jalapenos or your favorite spicy, hot peppers if heat is your style!

What are your favorite ways to enjoy salsa?

Here is how I made it this past weekend.

Fresh Homemade Salsa

  • Servings: approx. 6 cups
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 4-6 Ripe Tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 10 oz. can Rotel Diced Tomatoes & Green Chiles
  • 1/2 Large Vidalia Sweet Onion, quartered
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half
  • Fresh Cilantro (or dried) to taste
  • 3 green onions, cut into pieces
  • Juice of a fresh Lime
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1 Tbsp Maldon Sea Salt Flakes or your favorite salt

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a food processor.  Pulse several times until desired chopped consistency.  Serve immediately or store in a jar or airtight container in refrigerator for up to several weeks.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

Roasted Carrot Soup

Roasted Carrot Soup.

One day last week I woke up with a sore throat.

And even though the temps lately have been in the 80-90 degrees F range, there is a feeling of Autumn in the air.

In the mood for soup, I decided to create a roasted carrot soup with some vegies I had in the fridge.

It turned out SOOOO good!

I mean – how can you go wrong with roasted vegetables that include onion and garlic and fresh rosemary pureed into a creamy, warm, soothing soup?

You could add some greek yogurt or cream to make it even creamier, but I loved the freshness and healthiness of this soup that tastes like it is loaded with calories, but instead is low-calorie and loaded with flavor!

Hope you will give it a try.  I loved how it turned out!

Roasted Carrot Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. bag organic short cut carrots
  • 1 stalk celery, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 large sweet onion, cut into chunks
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 large ripe tomatoes, chunked
  • 1 large sprig fresh rosemary, minced
  • Maldon Sea Salt Flakes * (which I purchase through Amazon)
  • Freshly Ground Pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • Croutons for garnish (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Layer first 8 ingredients in a large stoneware bar pan or shallow roasting pan.  Drizzle liberally with olive oil, and toss to coat.  Roast 30-40 minutes.

Transfer roasted vegetables to a pot.  Add chicken broth.  Blend with Immersion Blender or in food processor or blender until creamy.  (I love using an immersion blender as it is quick, efficient, and easy to clean up.)

Ladle into bowls, and top with croutons if desired.

Enjoy!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

*I have become such a huge fan of Maldon Sea Salt!  I’ve always been a salt lover, but these soft, flaky sea salt crystals have a clean salt flavor without the bitter after taste that table salts I’ve always used in the past leave.  It truly provides a freshness that enhances the flavor of food.  I so highly recommend it!  It not only tastes wonderful,  but it is also beautiful to season with.  AND, as a watercolor artist, I love it to use to create textures in my artwork!  I keep mine in a cute little bamboo salt box on the kitchen counter next to the stovetop for ease of grabbing pinches of for cooking.  Bravo Maldon!!  (and this is not a paid promotion in any way, shape, or form – I just seriously love this stuff!)