Happy first official day of fall! I was recently browsing through my blog archives, reminiscing about the projects and recipes I enjoyed this season last year. I thought a few were worthy of another mention for my new readers – enjoy!
This is the time of year that I try incorporating pumpkin puree into all things possible (waffles, pancakes, french toast, soup, pizza dough, baked goods, you name it). These Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes were a huge hit for a coworker’s birthday last year. Plus, they made the whole house smell heavenly!
When I dragged out all of my seasonal fall decor a few weeks ago, I was reminded of these cute fabric pumpkins I stitched up from 100% re-purposed materials last year. While I gifted most of these little guys to my family last Thanksgiving, I did keep a few for myself!
I think the pumpkin delicacy I am most looking forward to recreating this year is this amazing pumpkin pasta sauce. It was seriously divine – my mouth is watering just thinking about it.
My handmade felt leaf garland is currently infusing our dining room area with some autumn spirit! It is an easy project to put together and is a great way to use up felt scraps!
What are some of your favorite projects or recipes to enjoy during the glorious fall season?
Now that I am home most afternoons, I’ve been trying to take advantage of the ability to make something tasty from scratch for lunch. I always packed my lunches for work, though most of the time they were dinner leftovers from the previous evening. When I was seeking out a traditional chicken salad alternative, I came across this recipe for Tzatziki Chicken Salad. This fresh and healthy dish uses Greek yogurt in lieu of mayonnaise, and incorporates other delicious and flavorful elements such as red onion, fresh dill, lemon juice, garlic, and shredded cucumber.
For my salad, I used shredded grilled chicken breast rather than the meat from a rotisserie chicken. I also used fat free yogurt rather than the recommended 2%, which I wouldn’t do next time. The 2% would have been a helpful thickening agent. I enjoyed my chicken salad as an open face sandwich on fresh bakery bread, but it would be equally as tasty on some toasted pita bread! I loved the cool, crunchy veggies which were plentiful in this chicken salad. It is a really great sandwich for a hot summer day!
Some other tasty things I’ve eaten for lunch recently were an Avocado & Egg Pizza, a Smashed White Bean & Avocado Club, and a Grilled Ham, Cheese, Pickle, & Potato Chip Sandwich. Each was super tasty and bound to be repeated! What are your favorite “from scratch” lunches? I’d love some suggestions for new things to try!
Isn’t it awesome to find a recipe which combines two things that you adore? When I came across a recipe for Smoked Salmon Potato Cakes in the cookbook The Illustrated Kitchen Bible (recipe found online here), I did a little jump for joy. Smoked salmon AND potatoes? What’s not to love? These savory cakes are made by combining shredded potatoes, chopped smoked salmon, scallions, lemon zest, a beaten egg, and parsley. After forming this mixture into patties, they are covered in breadcrumbs seasoned with dill and parsley, and pan fried. I served my salmon cakes with fresh baby spinach and some lemon wedges.
These salmon cakes were a real treat. I loved the contrast between the crispy potato exterior to the savory salmon throughout. The lemon zest helps to brighten up the flavor of the whole dish. The original recipe includes a dill mayonnaise which I skipped (no raw eggs for me at the time being), but I think an herbed sour cream garnish would also be quite delectable! I even enjoyed eating a leftover salmon cake cold over a salad the next day. This one is a keeper. :)
I am always down for trying a new shrimp and pasta combination. I recently came across an interesting recipe for shrimp with parmesan cream sauce in The Illustrated Kitchen Bible. While this dish is actually meant to be an appetizer, it also makes a super tasty topping for pasta, transforming it into a delicious dinner! You can find the full recipe online here.
The shrimp are dressed up with bacon, scallions, and garlic, with heavy cream, lemon, juice, and parmesan creating a tasty sauce. The recipe suggested using baby spinach leaves as a garnish. I took this one step further and added a generous handful or two of baby spinach into the hot pan for the last minute I was cooking up the shrimp and sauce, so that they wilted nicely and were coated in creamy, bacony goodness. I topped some whole grain pasta with the shrimp and sauce, and sprinkled with some additional parmesan.
The parmesan flavor of the sauce is pretty subtle, but the rich flavor of the bacon help give the sauce a deep, smoky accent. I can’t recall previously cooking bacon and shrimp together, but boy is it delicious! Because of some of the heavier elements of this dish (ahem…bacon, cream), this recipe will be reserved for repetition once in awhile. I think I might experiment to lighten up the dish to make it a little less guilt free. But hey, it’s okay to indulge every once in awhile. Am I right? :)
It’s always a happy day when a new issue of Food Network Magazine appears in my mailbox. I was a total Food Network junkie when I had cable, but since our TV watching days are at a minimum, I rely on my favorite magazine to get my Food Network fix! One recipe that stood out to me in the most recent issue was Sandra Lee’s Farmhouse Hash with Eggs, recipe found here.
The farmhouse hash is a tasty combination of sautéed onion, celery, potatoes, sausage, paprika, garlic, and red pepper flakes. I made a few small tweaks to the recipe to make this dish more spicy than sweet. I substituted hot Italian poultry sausage for the sweet sausage, used smoked paprika instead of regular, and left out the carrots. I also made pan-fried eggs rather than poached, simply due to a personal preference.
Usually when I make hash browns, they only consist of potatoes, peppers, and onion. The additional spices and ingredients (especially the tasty poultry sausage) really raised the bar! My husband and I deemed it worthy of “breakfast for dinner” status because of its bold flavor and how filling it was. We were both breathing fire with the added spicy factor – I loved it! I even used some of the leftover hash as a delicious stir-in to my scrambled eggs the next morning. This will be my new go-to recipe for hash browns – I can’t wait to make them again!