Friday, October 5, 2012

Fall Food

This week is turning into an all-food week over here. That's fine with me. We have a fridge and freezer well-stocked for the month of March and I'm finally in a baking mood. Here are some of my fall faves:

1. Baked pork chops, black eyed peas, and cornbread. I like to sprinkle the chops with olive oil and balsamic vinegar (a favorite combo of mine) and a little bit of garlic, salt, and pepper. I know if I were truly aiming at the southern classic, I would fry them every time, but this is easier, and I think, tastier. The black eyed peas are soaking right now, and I'll boil them with plenty of salt and mix in some of the pork drippings.
2. I didn't get to this beef stew last week, so it definitely makes the fall top ten. It's a perfect chilly weather meal!
3. Spaghetti pie is a favorite for any time, but since it requires a little more baking, I usually avoid it in the summer. I'll be making this as a double batch this week in order to take a meal to friend who just had a baby. I love that egg and parmesan mix with the noodles--it tastes better than regular spaghetti to me, and it makes spaghetti go a lot further! (picture from here)
4. Lentil soup is one of my favorites! I'm still trying to achieve the soup of one of my favorite local greek restaurants, so every time I make it, it's a little different. I love to put in chopped chicken, carrots, and lots of chicken stock. But really, you could just cook lentils, add a little broth, and eat them just like that; lentils are so flavorful!
5. Chili! This really is a perfect food for this time of year, and the hubby likes it, so I make it a lot. I really like this recipe from the side of a Bush's chili beans can, but as you know, I never exactly follow it!
6. Baked chicken, mashed potatoes, and baked veggies. I love the fact that you can (lightly) cover a whole chicken with olive oil and spices and pop it in the oven, and it comes out tasting marvelous. I've always wanted to try to bake my chicken by standing it up on a coke can. Every heard of that? Evidently you just oil and salt your chicken and push the chicken down over the opened coke can. Set it on a pan in the oven and bake. I might try that or I might chicken out and just do this with it in a crock pot instead. Any way you cook it, a whole chicken is a tasty fall meal! And as for the baked veggies, just spread a bag of frozen mixed veggies (like broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots) in a baking dish, sprinkle with olive oil, salt, and pepper and bake at 350 for about 15 minutes. The veggies almost come out with a smoked taste, and they are very yummy!
7. I will definitely make some cheeseburger pies soon. This is the weather that makes me want to bake everything!
8. Pumpkin ANYTHING!! (I think I'll do next week's post just on that wonderful, yummy fall treat!) But for this post, I'll just stick to chocolate chip pumpkin muffins. (Be sure to use half whole wheat for these; they taste so much better with that grainy texture!) Wow! These are enough to make anyone love fall the best. And I've heard a rumor that Aldi has canned pumpkin! I'm planning on buying a case (or maybe two!)
9. Chicken soup is another thing I love to experiment with. The family never knows what's going to turn up in it! I prefer chicken and rice, but the family likes noodles with it better. Sometimes I do it my way; sometimes I do it theirs. I like to use frozen mixed veggies (carrots, peas, green beans) and chicken bouillon. Using leftovers from one of those whole chickens (see #6) is a good idea as well. With soup of any kind I love to serve these rolls or just some good old fashioned biscuits (1 1/2 cups AP flour, 1/2 cup whole wheat flour, and a T of baking powder mixed and cut together with 1/4 cup butter--then add 2/3 cup buttermilk. Pat out, cut and bake at 475 for 8-10 minutes.)
10. And these would be on any season's top ten:
Olivia's Chocolate Chip Cookies (adapted from Southern Living's "Double Chocolate Chunk Cookies.")
1 cup margarine, softened
2 cups brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 t vanilla extract
2 1/2 c uncooked quick-cooking oats
1 c all-purpose flour
1 c whole wheat flour
1 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1/2 bag mini semisweet chocolate chips
 Beat butter and sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla, beating until blended. Pulse oats in a food processor to a fine powder. Combine oats, flour, and next 3 ingredients in a large bowl; gradually add to butter mixture, beating well. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop by 1/4 cupfuls onto a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 to 14 minutes or until desired degree of doneness. Remove cookies to wire racks to cool completely.
 For frozen cookies: Roll and wrap cookie dough well. Chop cookie roll into cookies of desired thickness. Cook at 375 degrees for 14-17 minutes or until desired degree of doneness.

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