Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day Recipes

 Hi! Remember me? Please don't give up on me. I'll share more of my current situation after the recipes. I've got a couple of delicious food ideas for your summertime dinner celebrations, starting with today's Memorial Day Cookouts. First up is my Springtime Macaroni Salad with Peas, which is one of out family favorite recipes. It also is one of the most popular recipes on my blog. Made with elbow macaroni and lots of spring veggies, it is cool, creamy and delicious, and one of my all time favorite salads. I could eat just a plate of this and be very happy! Here are some more salads ideas for your table!
And this Four Layer Pudding Dessert is a favorite from way back. My family will devour this dessert way before they even touch anything else. No kidding, I could spend hours over the most wonderful layer cake or fancy pie, but this dessert will win hands down with my family, every time. It is delicious and easy to make as well. You will be the star of the potluck!
I have many other winning recipes for this summers cookouts that I wish I could list here. But this is a quick post; here's what I've been up to in the last 2 weeks.
I underwent knee replacement surgery on May 8th of this month and am recuperating nicely, but I am not back to cooking yet. Physical therapy is taking up most of my time right now, and my appetite has not been very good yet either. I am so grateful to my friends and family who have prepared delicious meals for me, so I haven't had to worry about what we will eat on any particular day. And I have plenty of salad fixins to fall back on at lunch time too, so I'm definitely not hurting for food. I'm also suffering from some sciatic nerve pain at this time, so sitting for long periods blogging is not easy right now. I am trying to catch up, but I am slow. Please bear with me while I get my strength back and keep me in your thoughts and prayers. I have some recipes that I will be posting very soon that will get you taste buds revved up for summer! Happy summer!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Butternut Squash Soup

 Creamy and mildly sweet, this body warming soup is perfect with a salad or sandwich, and was perfect for this cold weather. Snow in May? That usually doesn't happen here in Southwest Missouri, but that's what's going on. After about 3 days of 80 degree weather, we had a cold front come through yesterday which brought lots of freezing rain and 2 inches of heavy snow. So this soup tasted so good. I was glad I purchased a butternut squash at the market earlier in the week. I love its mild flavor, and though I usually roast them in the oven, I made soup this time, and it is delicious. This is a keeper recipe for me. It is simple and mildly seasoned so the flavor of the squash shines through. This squash is a fall veggie, but it sure was tasty on this freezing May day.
Butternut Squash Soup
Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker, which she adapted from America's Test Kitchen

2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small shallot, diced fine
1 butternut squash, about 2 pounds, cut in half lengthwise, with the seeds and strings scraped out and reserved
4 cups water
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup half and half or heavy cream
1 teaspoon brown sugar
pinch of cinnamon or nutmeg

1. In a large Dutch oven, melt the butter and add the diced shallot. Cook and stir for about 3 minutes over medium-low heat until softened, but not browned. Add the squash scrapings and seeds and cook until the butter is saffron colored, about 4 minutes.
2. Add water and salt to the Dutch oven, bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium low again. Cut squash halves in half cross-wise. Place a steamer basket in the Dutch oven and the squash in the steamer basket, cut sides down. Cover pot and simmer for about 30minutes until squash is fork tender. Remove the pot from the heat. Use tongs to remove the squash from the steamer basket and transfer to a plate or baking sheet. When cool enough to handle, scoop the flesh out of the skins and put in a bowl. Discard the skins.
3. Strain the hot cooking liquid through a mesh strainer into a second bowl. Discard the solids. Rinse and dry the pot.
4. Puree the squash in batches in a food processor or blender, adding some of the cooking liquid until it has a smooth consistency. Pour puree into the pot; add the cream, and brown sugar and more cooking liquid if needed and heat the soup over medium-low heat for about 3 minutes until hot. Do not boil. Add a pinch of cinnamon and salt to taste. Stir, taste, and adjust seasoning if needed. Serve in bowls with a another pinch of cinnamon. Delicious!