Saturday, December 25, 2010

Apple-Pecan-Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Photo credit:  Southern Living

These were wonderful!!  They're a great make-ahead dish, but of course I was running behind schedule and wasn't able to take advantage of that benefit.  :{

Source:  Southern Living Magazine

4 medium-size sweet potatoes (3 1/2 lbs.)
3/4 c. coarsely chopped pecans
1/4 c. butter
1 large Rome Beauty apple, chopped
1/4 c. golden raisins*
1/2 c. firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 t. ground cinnamon
1/4 t. ground nutmeg

Place potatoes on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet.  Bake at 425 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until tender.

Heat nuts in a nonstick skillet over medium-low heat, stirring often, 5-7 minutes or until toasted.  Remove from skillet.

Melt butter in skillet over medium-high heat.  Add apple and raisins; saute 2-3 minutes or until apple is tender.  Stir in brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Remove from heat.

Cut potatoes in half lengthwise; scoop pulp into a large bowl, leaving shells intact.  Add apple mixture to pulp in bowl; stir until blended.  Spoon mixture into shells.  Place on baking sheet. 

Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until thoroughly heated.  Top with nuts.

* I substituted craisins in place of the raisins.

Buttered Green Beans with Cashews

I always fall back on this recipe. My friend Amy gave it to me years ago, and I've served it for company more times than I can count; everyone loves it!  I did break my "In-Season" rule and bought fresh green beans from Root's, but I was willing to make an exception since it was for Christmas dinner.  :)

Source:  Amy A.

1 1/2 lbs. fresh green beans
3 T. sweet butter, melted
3/4 t. salt
1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 c. finely chopped fresh parsley
1 c. cashews

Blanch green beans in boiling salted water.

Melt butter, add salt, pepper and parsley.  Stir to mix.

Drain beans and place in warm bowl.  Sprkinle cashews on top, pour butter mixture over.  Toss.

Variations:  Substitute pecans, almonds, hazelnuts or pine nuts in place of the cashews.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

I love this hummus recipe!  The mayo adds creaminess and gives it a bit of a different twist; it's a nice recipe to use if you're not sure your folks are hummus lovers.  I made it for our Christmas luncheon at work today, and got good feedback.  :)
I have a stash of roasted red peppers from this summer in the freezer; I froze them in 1/4 c. quantities, so it's easy to pull them out for this recipe.

Source: adapted from Kristy Y.'s mother- in-law/Taste of Home Magazine

1/3 c. mayonnaise*
1 T. fresh lime juice**
1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 c. roasted red peppers, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 t. chili powder
1/4 t. cumin
1 t. sea salt

Blend above ingredients in food processor until smooth.

*I sometimes substitute olive oil for the mayo.  The texture won't be quite as creamy, but the flavor is still good.
** I often don't have a fresh lime on hand for this recipe, so I use fresh lemon juice instead.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Wild-Rice Stuffed Acorn Squash

Oooh, this was downright yummy!  I tried it the other evening, but didn't have wild rice on hand so I substituted quinoa instead.  It was OK, but much better with the rice - the chewy rice complements the soft texture of the roasted squash.  The wild rice blend adds more color, too (although I still don't understand why it's so expensive!).  And, the caramelized edges of the squash is pretty!  I still have some dried cherries on hand from last summer (compliments of my friend Elma's sour cherry tree!), and the garlic was grown in Silver Spring, so this truly is a local dish.  :)

Source:  adapted from Everyday Food, November 2006

Note:  the recipe is for one acorn squash - multiply as needed.

1 acorn squash (1 1/2 lb.), halved lengthwise, seeds removed*
1 T. butter
1 small onion, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 t. dried sage
sea salt
1/2 c. wild and brown rice blend
7/8 c. water
1/4 c. dried cherries
1/4 c. pecans, chopped

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Oil cut edges of squash with olive oil.  On a rimmed baking sheet, arrange squash, cut side down.  Roast until tender when pierced with the tip of a paring knife, about 30-40 minutes.

 Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, heat butter over medium heat.  Add onion, garlic and sage.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 3-5 minutes.  Add rice and water; bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to low.  Cook until tender, without stirring, about 35-40 minutes.

Remove rice from heat; stir in cherries and pecans.  Season with salt and pepper.  Season inside of each squash half with salt and pepper.  Mound rice mixture into squash halves and serve.

Serves 2

*Note: Use a long serrated knife to easily halve the acorn squash neatly.
And, don't forget to roast the squash seeds! Here's the link.

Update, 12/25/10:
I served the rice mixture as a pilaf for Christmas dinner today.  I was a bit frazzled and didn't read the recipe correctly - I missed adding some of the seasonings, but it was still good!

Roasted Acorn Squash Seeds

I like these even better than pumpkin seeds - they're a little more delicate.

Here's the link to the recipe I posted earlier this fall:

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Braised Cabbage with Spicy Croutons

This is a nice, fairly easy way to prepare cabbage, and it has a lovely presentation (if you don't burn it like I did!).  Click on the Better Homes & Gardens link below to be inspired by their picture:

Source:  adapted from Better Homes and Gardens magazine, December 2010

2 T. olive oil
1 T. butter
2 c. hearty bread, torn into coarse croutons
1 clove fresh garlic, minced
1/4 t. crushed red pepper
1 small head green cabbage, cut in 6 wedges
1/2 c. water
snipped fresh parsley
Lemon wedges

In a very large skillet, heat 1 T. olive oil and butter over medium-high heat.  Add bread, garlic, and red pepper.  Cook and stir 3-5 minutes until golden brown.  Remove croutons from skillet with slotted spoon and cool in a single layer on paper towels.

Add cabbage to skillet, overlapping wedges if needed.  Season with salt and black pepper.  Add water, bring to boiling.  Reduce heat and simmer, covered, 15 minutes or until tender.

Place cabbage on platter; drizzle with remaining olive oil.  Serve topped with croutons, parsley, and lemon wedges.

Serves 6.