Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Autumn Baby Sprinkle

Autumn Baby Sprinkle

Guests: 14

Brie En Croute

Winter Squash Soup

Cream of Chicken and Wild Rice

Homemade bread & butter

Cut-Out Cookies -- recipe made 22 flowers -- with buttercream frosting

Powdered Sugar Donuts

Red Wine
White Wine
Water with lemon
Hot cocoa -- spiked or virgin -- with marshmallows

Lindt truffles

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Winter Squash Soup

Winter Squash Soup

Serves 8.

I didn't make the croutons for the soup shown above (we enjoyed a friend's homemade bread instead), but have had them before and they are fantastic!
Source: Bon Appetit, December 1996

1/4 c. butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 large garlic cloves, chopped
(3) 14-1/2 oz. cans chicken broth
4 cups 1" pieces peeled butternut squash (approx. 1-1/2 lbs. or 1 large)
4 cups 1" pieces peeled acorn squash (approx. 1-1/2 lbs. or 1 large)
1-1/4 t. minced fresh thyme
1-1/4 t. minced fresh sage
1/4 c. whipping cream
2 t. sugar

1/4 stick butter
(24) 1/2" thick baguette bread slices
1 cup grated Gruyere cheese
1 t. minced fresh thyme
1 t. minced fresh sage

Melt butter in large pot over medium heat.  Add onions and garlic and saute until tender, about 10 minutes.  Add broth, all squash and herbs and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer until squash is tender, about 20 minutes.  Working in batches, puree soup in blender (or use an immersion blender).  Return soup to the same pot (if pureed in blender).  Stir in cream, sugar; bring to a simmer.  Season with salt and pepper.  Can be made 1 day ahead.  Chill.  Rewarm over heat.

Preheat broiler.  Butter 1 side of each bread slice.  Arrange bread, butter side up, on baking sheet.  Broil until golden, about 1 minute.  Turn over.  Sprinkle cheese, sage, and thyme overtop; sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Ladle soup into bowls.  Top each with croutons and serve.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Copy-Cat Panera Cream of Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Copy-Cat Panera Cream of Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Serves 8.

Super creamy.  Super delicious.  This soup really does taste a lot like Panera's.  It's fantastic!
Source: Food

6 cups chicken broth
2 chicken breast halves (cooked, boneless and cubed)
1 (6 ounce) package long grain and wild rice blend, quick cooking version (You will use the seasoning packet. I used Uncle Bens roasted chicken flavor)
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup butter (12 tbsp. or a stick and a half)
1 cup carrot, diced
1 cup celery, diced
1 cup onion, diced
3 cups light cream (can lighten by substituting part or all of the cream with fat-free evaporated milk, or half-and-half) -- I reduced this to 2 cups

Open rice, pull out seasoning packet and set aside.
In a small bowl, combine pepper and flour. Set aside.
In a large pot over medium heat, combine broth and chicken. Bring to a boil, then stir in rice. Cover and remove from heat.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Add carrots, celery and onion and saute for 10 minutes. Stir in contents of seasoning packet, and continue cooking vegetables until softened, about 10 minutes more. Add seasoned flour gradually while constantly stirring, to form a roux. Saute roux for 3-4 minutes to cook out raw flour taste.

Whisk in cream, a little at a time, until fully incorporated and smooth. Cook until thickened, 5 minutes.

Stir cream mixture into broth and rice. Cook over medium heat until heated through and rice is done,15-20 minutes.

Alternatively, for those who cannot get the quick-cooking version of the rice, I have put the broth on to boil and cooked the 25-minute version of long grain and wild rice blend according to the directions, while sauteeing the veggies in the butter. I tend to cook the veggies longer this way, and I like them quite soft. I then follow the rest of the directions above, adding the rice/broth to the cream mixture. I've also used fat-free half and half with no appreciable difference in flavor. Enjoy!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Cinnamon Baked French Toast

Cinnamon Baked French Toast

Serves 8.

Decadently delicious.  Make this lighter by using Egg Beaters in place of the eggs.  Still won't be health food, but it will help lessen the blow a little bit without sacrificing much taste.
Adapted from: Lovin' From the Oven

2 loaves stale bread
1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar
12 large eggs
3 cups milk
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
2 T. vanilla
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. salt
1 stick cold butter, cubed

Grease a deep 9x13 pan.  If your 9x13 is on the shallower end, you may also need a 8x8 square pan.

Tear the bread into chunks and place them into the greased pan.  Sprinkle evenly with sugar.

Mix together the eggs, milk, cream, and vanilla.  Pour the mixture evenly over the bread and sugar.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.

In another bowl, mix together the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt.  Add the butter and mix until the batter comes somewhat together, like little pebbles.  Store in a plastic bag in the fridge.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Take french toast pan and sprinkle crumb mixture on top.  Bake for 60-70 minutes.  Serve with maple syrup.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup #1

Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup #1

Serves 6-8.

A wonderfully tasty soup made easier with the crock pot!
Adapted from: This Gal Cooks

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
4 cups of chicken broth
1 cup of Wild Rice Blend
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup diced celery
1 t. dried oregano
1 t. dried rosemary
1 t. dried thyme
1 packet Ranch dressing mix
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup water

For the cream base:
2 T. butter
2 T. cornstarch
1 cup milk
1/2 cup heavy cream

Place everything but the cream base ingredients into the crockpot.  Cook on low for 7-8 hours.
Shred chicken.

In a saucepan, melt the butter and then whisk in the cornstarch.  Add the milk and heavy cream and bring to a simmer, whisking occasionally.

Add the milk mixture to the soup and mix well.  Serve.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pancakes

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pancakes

Makes about 16 pancakes.

Because these do not contain any sugar, they aren't exceptionally pleasing to adults, but I make them for the wee one and she loves them.  I freeze the leftovers and pop them in the microwave for an easy, healthy breakfast.
Source: SparkRecipes

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
    1 tsp baking powder
    1/4 tsp baking soda
    1 1/2 tsp allspice
    1 large egg1 3/4 cup fat-free milk
    1/2 cup canned pumpkin

Preheat griddle or pan to 350 degrees.

In large bowl, blend pumpkin, egg, and milk with electric mixer.

Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, and allspice and stir until blended. (Some small lumps are OK.)

Pour about 1/2 cup batter on hot griddle, lightly sprayed with cooking spray.

Flip cakes after about 1 minute. Then cook another minute on other side.