Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Sausage, Lentil and Kale Soup

This is a wonderful, hearty soup for the fall and winter.
I made it last weekend and froze a half portion for later.
It was perfect timing for soup because the weather
took a dip and it has been chilly!

Lentil, Sausage and Kale Soup

1/2 onion, diced very small
1 carrot, diced very small
2 large stalks celery, diced
1 T olive oil
1 T minced garlic
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tbs. Tuscan Spice Blend
4 links pre-cooked chicken Sausage
(Aidell's Sausage is a great choice)
1 large can fire roasted tomatoes, diced
6 cups chicken stock (or 4 cans chicken broth)
1/4 cup brown lentils
1/4 cup red lentils
pinch of red pepper
salt and pepper to taste
3-4 cups of washed and chopped Kale
2 T balsamic vinegar

Heat oil in a heavy soup pot, then saute vegetables, garlic, and seasonings as above. Add canned tomatoes, chicken stock, brown lentils, red lentils, and salt and pepper and simmer over low heat for about 45 minutes, or until lentils are soft.

Add Chicken Sausage and simmer for about 30 minutes more. Add Kale and simmer for about 15 minutes. Stir in balsamic vinegar and simmer about 5 minutes more. Serve with a little parmesan cheese.

I will be making this recipe again soon.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Apple Pie, Apple Cider and Pancakes with Apple Chutney

This weekend we went to
Hillcrest Orchards
in Ellijay.
It was the perfect weekend to go apple
picking because the weather was beautiful.
Hillcrest Orchards is a family owned and operated
apple orchard in the North Georgia Mountains.
They had several varities of apples for sale as well as
many other good things like apple fritters, fried pies,
jams and syrups. There are also fun things for the kids
to do at the orchard.

We purchased about 2 pecks of apples. Our selection
included Honey Crisp, Georgia Rome, Pink Ladies and
Granny Smith.

After purchasing our apples we took a little trip
to downtown Ellijay. Ellijay has a cute town center
with restaurants and shops. There were tons
of people walking around the town. To our surprise
we showed up in Ellijay for the "Apple
" which was this weekend and next weekend.
We enjoyed walking around the town, visiting shops,
having a nice lunch and seeing all the apples and
apple products for sale.

Once we returned home the baking and cooking started.

My husband made apple pie.

On Sunday we had pancakes with apple chutney.

I also make Apple Cider.

Apple Cider Recipe
Wash and Cut 10-12 apples (quarters)
Place in a large pot with 6-8 cups water
Add a tablespoon of both ground cinnamon
and all spice.
Add 3/4 cup of sugar.
Add 2 tablespoons of agave nectar.

Let this pot of apples and spices boil
uncovered for about 45 minutes.
Check and make sure it is not bubbling
over. Then after about 45 minutes,
turn the temperature down and let the
mix simmer for 2-3 hours.

Once the apples have really softened
and the liquid has become a deep color
let the mixture cool. Process the
mixture in a blender and then pour
through cheese cloth so you are left
with only the delicious juice.

Serve warm or cold.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Pasta with Spicy Sausage

Sometimes you just need something spicy!
This dish is Rigatoni with a spicy, sausage sauce.

Cook the hot Italian sausage in a frying pan.
Break up the sausage into small pieces and set aside.

I make a quick sauce using a little garlic
and onion sauted in olive oil. Add
a large can of diced tomatoes. Add the sausage,
a pinch or two of red pepper flakes,
some chopped basil and oregano. Add a
little salt and pepper.
If you don't have fresh spices you can
used dried basil and oregano.

Let the sauce simmer.

Cook the Rigatoni.

Serve the Rigatoni with the
spicy, sausage sauce.
Top with grated parmesan cheese.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Book Club Dinner

Last night we hosted Book Club. We just
finished reading "In the Place of Justice"
by Wilbert Rideau. In this book
Wilbert Rideau tells his story of how
he was convicted of murder and spends
44 years in prison. This is his story
of punishment and deliverance.

For dinner we had Chicken Pot Pie
which is a recipe from this blog.
Our side dishes were jello, steamed
vegetables, salad and a biscuit.
We had Bananas Foster for dessert.

It was a fun night with friends full of
great conversation and good food.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Pesto Pasta with Roasted Potatoes and Green Beans

Knowing all the pasta we have eaten,
it amazes me that I can find new
pasta recipes that we have not tried.

I took the ideas of this recipe from
a recipe on the Williams Sonoma website.
I wasn't really sure about the idea
of mixing potatoes and pasta together but
I have to say it really did turn out nice.

Pesto Pasta with Roasted Potatoes and Green Beans

To make the pesto:
Saute 2-3 cloves garlic in oil.
Add 1/4 cup of nuts in the oil to toast them
while the garlic is cooking. I use almonds or
pine nut.
Wash and dry about 2-3 cups fresh basil.
Take out a 1/3 to 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese.

In a food processor add the basil leaves, the warm
garlic and nuts with the oil and the parmesan cheese.
Pulse this mixture until it becomes fine. Then add
a little more olive oil ( 1/4 cup or so, salt
and pepper and pulse the mixture a little more.

To make the potatoes:
Wash and cut about 10-12 small, new potatoes
In a bowl mix the potatoes with a little oil,
salt, pepper and lemon zest.
Roast in the oven at 375 for about 20-25 min.
until tender.

Wash and cut the ends from the green beans.
Cook your pasta when the potatoes are about 10 min
away from being finished. About 5 minutes before your
pasta is finshed throw in the green beans so they can
cook. (Reserve a little of the pasta water before
draining 1/2 cup).

Drain the pasta and green beans and put them back
into the pot. Add the roasted potatoes to the pot
and the pesto mixture. Give the mixture a good stir.
If you think the pesto pasta needs a little liquid
you can add some of the pasta water in a little at
a time.

Serve with a little grated parmesan cheese.