Pumpkin Spiced FlapJacks with Bacon Maple Butter

This recipe is best when made with fresh pumpkin puree. Pancakes won’t be so orange and the batter will result in a lighter, fluffier pancake. If pumpkins are not in season, or you are rushed for time– it’s fine to use canned pumpkin.

pumpkinpancakes

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour or, all purpose flour or gluten free flour

3 tablespoons brown sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup  fresh pumpkin puree or good quality canned pumpkin puree

3 large eggs, separated

1  cup whole milk or nut milk

1/4 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon cloves

1/4 teaspoon ginger

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon good quality vanilla extract

1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

Organic Canola for the cooking pan

Maple syrup or honey, warmed

My bacon maple butter recipe ( see my recipe here )

Preparation:

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda with the salt. Mix well to combine.

In a medium bowl whisk  the milk, pumpkin, egg yolks, melted butter and vanilla with an electric mixer beat on high speed two minutes to blend well.

Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin and egg mixture and beat on low speed until batter is smooth but thick. About 1 minute. Set aside. Wash beaters with soapy water and clean well of any remaining batter. In a large bowl using your electric mixer with clean beaters, beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry.

With a rubber spatular, gently fold the beaten egg whites into the pumpkin batter in 2- 3 additions.

Brush large nonstick skillet with oil; heat over medium heat.

Working in batches, with a large ladel pour batter by 1/3 cupfuls into skillet. Use the back of the ladle to make a circular motion in the batter and shape the pancake to about a 4-5 inch circle.

Cook until bubbles form on surface of pancakes and bottoms are brown, about 1 1/2 minutes per side. Repeat with remaining batter, brushing skillet with oil between batches.

Top with my recipe for, Bacon Maple Butter and serve with warm maple syrup or honey.

 

French Onion Soup, from an Italian Nona’s Kitchen! 

Ingredients

4-6 Tablespoons unsalted cold butter, divided

12 yellow onions. Peeled and sliced in 1/4 inch rings

1 Tablespoons good quality olive oil

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 -1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

6-8 cups the best quality, low-sodium beef broth

1 large bay leave

4 sprigs of fresh thyme

4 sprigs of fresh flat leaf parsley, bundled  

1 large fresh baked loaf of French bread

4 garlic cloves- cleaned. 2 minced very fine / 2 cut in half-lengthwise

4-6 teaspoons good quality Sherry

4-6 ounces Gruyère cheese

Method

In a large Dutch oven, or 6-8 quart stock pot-melt 4 Tablespoons of the butter over medium heat with the olive oil. Add the onions. 

Sauté onions until they are soften stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. 

Add the salt, black pepper and finely minced garlic. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally-until onions are turning a deep brown and beginning to caramelize. ( Reduce heat slightly if onions seem to be browning too quickly – onions contain a large amount of sugar– and sugar can quickly burn over high heat.)

 Cook an additional 20 minutes until all onions are a deep rich chocolate brown. 

Add one cup of stock to the pot and quickly deglaze the bottom of the pan by stirring and scraping, making sure to release all the delicious flavors that are stuck on the bottom. Add the remaining beef stock. 

Tie the thyme, bay leave and fresh parsley into a bundle with twine. Add the herb bundle to the pot. 

Bring to a boil, then immediately reduce to a simmer. Cook uncovered, until broth is reduced, thickened and flavorful- about 20 minutes. 

Remove from heat and whisk in remaining 2 tablespoons cold butter. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

Heat the broiler. Cut a 1/2-inch slice of French bread for every serving of soup.

Place bread slices on a rimmed and lined baking sheet- toast bread slices in the oven until crisp, but not too brown. About 1 -2 minutes per side.

Remove from the oven and generously rub one side of each piece of toasted bread with a fresh raw cut garlic clove. Set aside.

Place oven safe bowls, or large soufflé ramekins on the rimmed baking sheet, add 1/2 teaspoon of sherry to the bottom of each, and ladle soup on top. Top each serving of soup with garlic-rubbed toast. Divide cheese among the bowls, covering the bread and some of the soup.

Carefully transfer baking sheet to oven and broil until cheese is melted and bubbling, 5 to 8 minutes. 

Serve hot.

Individual Creamy Rotisserie Chicken Pot Pies, topped with Buttery Puff Pastry! Perfect Cold Weather Comfort Food!

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Ingredients: 

2 -3 Tablespoons flour, plus more for surface
1 pack frozen puff pastry, preferably all-butter, thawed
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 onion, diced
1 small carrot, peeled and thinly sliced into 1/4 inch pieces
1 large celery stalk, peeled and thinly sliced into 1/4 inch pieces
4 small Yukon Gold potato, scrubbed & cut into a 1/2-inch dice
1-2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup fresh frozen peas, thawed
1 whole rotisserie cooked – skinless chicken, shredded into 1/2-1 inch chunks
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2-1 teaspoon ground sage

Directions:
Preheat oven to 425’F Degrees.
Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion. Cook, stirring, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add carrot, celery, and potato. Cook, stirring, until soft, 6-8 minutes.
Stir in flour and add broth slowly to avoid clumping- bring to a boil. Reduce heat & add peas and chicken. Season with sage, salt and pepper. Simmer until thickened, 2 minutes.
Divide between individuals baking dishes. Cut out tops to match the size and shape of the individual baking bowls and cover with the pastry.
Press edges to seal, and brush with egg. Cut a few vents with a sharp knife on the center of the dough. Bake on a baking sheet until golden, 25 minutes.

Makes Aprox 4 to 6 individual servings (depending on the size of your bowls ) or 1 -13 x 9 inch baking pan. ( which in this case, fold out puff pastry to fit)

Plain and Simple. Chicken Udon Noodle Soup. (If you have a noodle eater in your family, this is a recipe must have! )

This recipe is an adaption from Chef Gigi’s signature cooking class; for kids, “Have you Lost your Noodle”? A pasta & noodle making series. 

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You can really add just about anything to your soup. It’s YOUR Soup! Experiment.

Ingredients:

1/2-1 rotisserie chicken, deboned and skin removed- meat cut or torn to bite sized pieces

1 cup fresh, baby broccoli florets

2 large carrots, peeled and cut in 1/4 in thick slices

1/2 white onion, sliced into thin strip

1 lg. celery stalks, cleaned, peeled, sliced in 1/4 in. thick diagonal pieces

2 garlic cloves, peels and smashed

3 qt. chicken stock

1 Tablespoon tomato paste

1- teaspoon Hoisin sauce ( to taste)

1- tablespoon low sodium soy sauce

1 lb. fresh, Udon noodles

1/2 cup peas, ( fresh-frozen)

1 scallions, sliced diagonally for garnish

3 lg. basil leaves, chopped before serving

Salt and Pepper ( optional)

Method:

1-In a large is 6 to 8 quart stock pot add all ingredients except the peas, udon, scallions and basil.

2- Bring to a boil and immediately reduce to a simmer. Cook until carrots and broccoli florets are bright in color, and almost cooked through about 5 -8 minutes (depending how thick they are)

3-With a slotted spoon remove carrots and broccoli- cool under cold water or plunge in a bowl of ice water to stop cooking, brighten and lock in nutrition- set aside.

4-Add noodles, tomato paste & frozen peas. Cook an additional 3-5 minutes, until noodles are cooked through, but still firm to the bite. Discard garlic.

6-Return carrots and broccoli florets to the pot. Add scallions and basil.  Adjust seasoning with additional soy sauce or salt and pepper if needed.
Approx 4 -6 servings

Meatballs are all the rage! Here is one of my fun recipes you can make at home. Sunday Italian Meatballs- in a Spicy Red Sauce with Basil and Burrata!

Burrata  [boor-RAH-tuh] The name ‘burrata’ means ‘buttered’ in Italian. A delicious, rich, glossy-white, unripened cheese made by combining mozzarella and cream. The outer shell is solid mozzarella – while the inside contains  creamy texture! 


For the meatballs:

1 pound ground pork

1 pound ground beef or veal

2 large eggs 

1/2- 3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs or GF

2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning

1 carrot, peeled and chopped

1 onion, peeled and rough chopped

1 cup flat leaf parsley leaves 

3 cloves garlic,  peeled and cleaned

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

1/4-1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped 

For the sauce:

6-8 cups tomato sauce or your favorite pasta sauce

1/2 cup good quality beef stock 

1 cup bold red wine 

4-5 large basil leaves, chopped

1 Tablespoon ( heaping) dried Italian seasoning  

1 cup sliced shiitake mushrooms

6-8 ounces of fresh Burrata cheese, cut into large thin pieces

Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

To make the meatballs : 

Preheat oven to 400’ F.

In a large bowl, combine the ground pork, ground beef, breadcrumbs, egg, garlic salt, Italian seasoning, salt, black pepper, cayenne, and red pepper flakes. Set aside.

In a food processor add the carrot, onion, parsley, garlic and basil. Pulse until completely processed into a fine mince. Add to the meat mixture and combine everything and distribute vegetable and spices well throughout the meat mixture 

Using your hands, portion  with a small potion controller ice cream scoop or a tablespoon, roll into 4 dozen- 1 inch, balls. Or 2 dozen- 2 inch, balls. 

Place meatballs on a foil lined cookie sheet sprayed with non stick cooking spray. Bake for 15 minutes.

While the meatballs are baking, make the sauce. Heat a large  high-sided skillet on medium-low and add butter and olive oil. Heat until butter is melted. Add onions and sauté until translucent, add mushrooms and cook for about 3 minutes add garlic, and cook an additional one minute. Add tomato sauce, stock, wine and Italian seasoning. Allow sauce to cook mushrooms through and thicken about 30 -45 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. 

Once meatballs are out of the oven, gently add them to the sauce; spoon the tomato sauce generously over the meatballs. Place the Buratta randomly in the tomato sauce and over the meatballs. Cover and continue cooking on medium-low for 5 more minutes or until the cheese has melted into the sauce. 

Add chopped basil and chopped fresh parsley. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper and serve meatballs over ancient grain, pasta or spaghetti squash.

Eat! 

Yay, Slow Cooking Season has Arrived! Try my Families Favorite, Slow Sunday Chicken Chile Verde!

There’s a bit of prep up front- but this makes the final flavors all worth the extra effort! 

Ingredients:

2 lbs. tomatillos, husked (paper skins, removed) and cut in half

4 lg. poblano or anaheim peppers, cut in have seeds and stem removed

1-2 jalapeños, (depending on your spice preference)

4 garlic cloves peeled

2 lg. red plum tomato cut in half, core & seeds removed

1 lg. red bell pepper, de-seeded cut in half

1 – 4 oz. can diced green chiles, medium heat-drained

1 bunch cilantro, rough chopped 

Juice of 1 lime

1 1/2 -2 Tablespoons, ground cumin

2 teaspoons, dried oregano

1-2 teaspoon, ground white pepper

1/4-1/2 teaspoon, ground cayenne pepper

Kosher salt & ground black pepper, to taste

1 cup chicken stock 

4-6 chicken breasts, boneless -skinless,  cut in half horizontally 

1 large yellow onion, diced

2 cups Monterey jack cheese, grated for garnish  

Sour cream for garnish ( optional) 

1 bunch scallions cleaned and chopped on diagonal for garnish

Red radish sliceed paper thin for garnish

Flat leaf parsley, chopped fine for garnish

Crushed white corn tortilla chips, for garnish 

1-2 avocados diced, for garnish

1 Lime, cut into wedges

Method

Place tomatillos cut side down, poblano peppers, jalapeños, tomato, red bell peppers and garlic cloves on a lightly sprayed foil-lined large baking sheet or char on the outdoor grill.  

If using the oven- place under the broiler setting for 8-10 minutes or until the tomatillos and peppers begin to roast and blacken. If you don’t have broiler in your oven, you can put the oven at 425′ F. However the best option is to use an outdoor grill and char until the vegetables are blackening and deflating, about 10-15 minutes on high, constantly rotating. 

After charring, Immediately transfer the poblanos, jalapeños, tomatoes and red bell pepper into a few gallon sized plastic food storage bag and zip tight. Steam the vegetables in the bag for about 5 minutes  to release some of the skin – now remove from bag and scape and excess skin that didn’t just steam and peel off. Discard, skin and clean away any seeds or interior veins. Work over a bowl to reserve any additional juices. 

Add tomatillos and any reserved juice to a blender. Pulse to process into a purée, adding stock as need to thin out chunks. 

Add garlic, green chiles, tomato, red bell pepper along with the cilantro ( reserving some chop cilantro for garnish) lime juice, cumin, oregano, salt, pepper and additional stock. Blend the ingredients until they are well combined and become a thick soup-like consistency.

Add chicken and diced onions to an 6-8 quart *stockpot or your slow cooker.

Pour tomatillo-chile sauce all over the top of the chicken and stir to combine. Cover and cook on medium high stirring occasionally for 3 1/2 hours or set to low on your slow cooker. Process for 6- 7 hours. ( * if cooking in stove add an additional stock to cover). 

Before serving, remove chicken with a slotted spoon, and shred with a fork. Add back to slow cooker and mix in to combine. Taste, adjust flavor with salt and pepper. 

Serve in individual bowls topped with with shredded cheese, a dollop of sour cream, crushed tortilla chips, scallions, radish, cubed avocado, chopped parsley and a lime wedge. 

Pair with warm corn tortillas.

Serves 4-6.