Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Butternut Squash Soup

So, Brian requested some butternut squash the other day.  Those are some big squash, so I thought I'd just make a meal out of it instead of serving it just as a side dish.  I found a recipe from the Gourmet Magazine and got to work.  I think the soup turned out beautifully, fantastic color, savory food-like consistency...ew.  That was the only problem, the texture was just like baby food (and I know that because, despite having no baby at home, we played "baby food roulette" at the EQ activity last week).  I don't know how I could have blended it any smoother.  Anyway, that was the main complaint.  If any of you try it out, tell me if you are able to obtain a silky smooth texture.  

Butternut Squash Soup

1 medium butternut squash
1 medium onion
1 Tbs. freshly grated ginger (optional)
3 Tbs. butter
3 cups chicken broth
1-2 cups water as needed (for thinning out the soup, although I used half cream and half water)
salt and pepper
sour cream for garnish

Cut squash in half lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds. Arrange the halves cut side down in roasting pan that has been sprayed with nonstick vegetable oil spray. Bake squash in the oven for 40-45 minutes or until very tender at 350-425. Set aside to cool. When the squash is completely cool, scoop the flesh from the skin. 

While the squash is baking, cook the onion and the ginger in the butter in a saucepan, over moderately low heat, for 5 minutes or until the onion is softened, Add the broth and simmer the mixture for 10 minutes, covered. Add the squash to the sauce pan. 

Transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor, in batches, and puree until smooth. Add enough water to achieve the desired consistency, and salt and pepper to taste. Return the soup to the sauce pan and cook over moderate heat until it is hot. Garnish each portion.

Okay, I didn't use the ginger.  And I used about a cup of heavy whipping cream as a replacement for some of the water.  And it took about an hour and a half for my squash to 400.  Of course, my oven sucks, so maybe for you people who have a good oven, it would be less time.  Anyway, all in all, it had a great flavor.  

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Raspberry Cream Bars

I first tried this dessert at Richard's aunt's house, who by the way is an AMAZING cook. She never gives recipes out though so I did a search on the Internet for it. I finally found it and now it's one of my favorites! Enjoy!

1 cup graham crackers, crushed
1 cup pretzels, crushed
3/4 cup butter, melted
3 tablespoons sugar

Cream Layer:
8 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
8 ounces cool whip

Raspberry Layer:
1 six ounce package raspberry jello
2 cups boiling water
20 ounces frozen raspberries, partially thawed and undrained (is that a word?)

Dissolve the jello in boiling water, add raspberries. Put in the refrigerator to thicken slightly. Mix crust ingredients and press firmly into a 9x13 pan. Bake at 350 for 9 minutes. Cool completely. Cream the sugar and cream cheese, fold in cool whip. Spread over cooled crust. Pour raspberry jello mix over cream layer and chill.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Green Beans with Bacon

This is my favorite way to eat green beans. I'm not sure where I got the recipe but I've been making it for years and everyone in the family loves them.

1 pkg (16 oz) frozen green beans (whole, cut, French, whatever)
3 tbsp water
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp chicken bouillon granules
bacon bits - a spoonful or two

Put everything in a saucepan or pot except for the bacon. Cook over medium heat until beans are tender-crisp (or really soggy, because they taste really good that way too). Right before serving add the bacon bits and give it a good stir so the bacon can warm up a bit.

The Best Chocolate Cake Ever

or at least that's what my husband thinks. I make it every year for his birthday at his request, and about 10 other times in the year, too. This makes a fairly dense cake and tastes very old-fashioned. It's not the fluffy, airy kind of chocolate cake you get from a box. One great thing about this is that it doesn't use eggs or any type of refrigerated foods - only stuff from your food storage!

3 c. flour
2 c. sugar
6 tbsp. baking cocoa
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 c water
2/3 c vegetable oil
2 tsp white vinegar
2 tsp vanilla extract

In a mixing bowl, combine the first 5 ingredients. Add water, oil, vinegar and vanilla. Beat on low for 1 minute. Beat on medium for 1 minute. Pour into a greased (or sprayed) 13x9 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

We typically don't frost this, just dust with powdered sugar or whipped cream.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Banana Crumble Muffins

I like banana bread, but I haven't found a REALLY good recipe yet, until this one. Technically it's supposed to be muffins, but I stuck it in a 9x9 and it turned out marvelously!! I love it!! Of course, you have to bake it MUCH longer. Like and hour and a half or so. Just poke it in the middle with a tooth pick or something. Take it out of the oven when the toothpick comes out clean. And I don't see why you can't put it in a bread pan to make actual bread. I got the recipe off

Banana Muffins

3 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
6 bananas, mashed
1½ cups sugar
2 eggs
2/3 cup butter, melted

2/3 cup brown sugar
¼ cup flour
¼ tsp cinnamon
2 Tbs. butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease 20 muffin cups, or line with muffin papers.

In a large bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, beat together bananas, sugar, egg and melted butter. Stir the banana mixture into the flour mixture just until moistened. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.

In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, flour and cinnamon. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Sprinkle topping over muffins.

Bake in preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean.