Shrimp and Corn Bisque

Now that the weather has FINALLY taken a turn towards autumn and the days and nights are a little cooler, it makes me want to be in the kitchen baking treats, bread and…making soup!

This bisque has been a favorite for a while now.  It’s very easy quick and easy to make and it is practically fool proof.

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You can add more cream if you like or substitute the light cream for heavy.  You could add cheese, more shrimp.  You could use sherry.  And you could always add kale or spinach too.

It is very versatile and easy to change up to what you are craving.

As always, I love some warm bread with my soup, and a glass of wine of course.

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So, first you want to devein your shrimp and remove the tails.  If you are using large shrimp, cut them in half so they are more bite size.

Dice up your potatoes into small cubes, again bite size BUT if they are small cubes they will cook quicker.  I use diced frozen potatoes, the work is already done for me!!

The corn I use is just frozen yellow corn,

Using the herbs is optional of course but I still have plentiful amounts of thyme and rosemary so I have been adding them to lots of recipes!  You could use whatever herbs you have on hand and love.

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Here’s the recipe:

3 cups shrimp, deveined and tails removed, chopped if shrimp are large

1 medium onion, chopped

3 cups potatoes, diced in small bite size cubes

1-1/2 cups corn

1 heaping tablespoon tomato paste

one 32 oz carton of chicken stock

1 cup light cream (or heavy cream if you prefer)

2 sprigs each of thyme and rosemary, strip the stems and chop the rosemary

slurry of cornstarch and water to thicken the soup

In a heavy soup pot, sauté the shrimp, onions and potatoes for about 10 minutes, salt and pepper.

Add the stock, tomato paste and corn, using a light simmer, cook until the potatoes are tender.

Add the cream, herbs and the slurry.  If adding kale or sherry you can add it now.

Once the soup has thickened, turn off the heat and serve.

Garnish with shredded cheese, bacon, sour cream, whatever you like.

Serve with crusty bread or I made Rosemary Focaccia bread to go with this soup.

Enjoy!

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Minestrone, Quick and Easy!

It’s that time of year when the weather turns cooler, that we turn towards a hot bowl of soup.

Today I had a craving for minestrone.


This soup is so easy and does not take long at all!

I started by heating olive oil in my soup pot, and tossing in onion and garlic.  Saute until slightly tender.

Then I poured in chicken stock, tomato sauce, and diced tomatoes with the juice.  Next in the pot is the orzo.  Salt and pepper, and a little sugar and stirred it all together.

Brought the soup to a simmer and reduced the heat to slowly cook the orzo.  Then I added cayenne pepper, turmeric, onion powder.

When the orzo was just about finished I added pinto beans, I like to rinse and drain the beans.  And just before serving  I tore up some spinach and tossed it in too!  Stir to heat the beans and spinach and serve.

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Serve each bowl topped with grated Parmesan, a delicious glass of wine and a slice of hot buttered and crusty bread!

3 T Olive Oil

1 medium onion, chopped and diced

1 clove garlic, chopped finely

32 oz carton of Chicken Stock

8 oz can of Tomato Sauce

15 oz can of Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes

15 oz can Pinto Beans, rinsed and drained

1/2 cup Orzo

Dash each of Onion Powder, Turemic and Cayenne Pepper

Salt and Pepper to taste

1 tsp sugar

About 1 cup of torn spinach, more if you’d like!

Heat olive oil in your soup pot, add the onion and garlic, sautee until slightly tender. Pour in the chicken stock, diced tomatoes and the tomato sauce.  Bring to a light boil and reduce the heat to a light simmer.  Add the orzo, and spices including salt and pepper to taste, add sugar.  Stirring often.  When the orzo is just about done, add the beans and torn spinach.

Total cooking time is around 30 minutes.  Cheers friends, live well!
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Pumpkin Spice Granola

I am notorious for over baking my granola!  I always think I have time to go throw some laundry in the washer or check my email.   I can promise you… if you can focus and stay with the oven for about 20-30 minutes, the end result of this Pumpkin Spice Granola is worth the time spent hovering over a toasty oven.

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Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.  I line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl put in 2-1/4 cups oats, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice, 1/8 tsp of ground nutmeg and a good pinch of ground cloves.  Stir it around a little to mix the spices into the oats.  Then add 1 cup slivered almonds or your favorite nuts, and 1 cup of raisins, dried cherries, or whatever dried fruit you want!  Oh, and don’t forget to stir in 1/2 to 1 cup of pumpkin seeds!!  Stir around to combine.

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In a measuring cup pour in 1/2 cup of good maple syrup, 2 T agave syrup or honey, and about 3 T of pumpkin puree.  I’m sure pumpkin pie filling would work too but you might have to adjust the spices.  Use a fork and stir to blend.

Then pour the syrup mixture over the oats.  You can stir with a spoon or do what I do….use your hands!  Divide the granola between the two cookie sheets.

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Now, here’s the time consuming part.  I put the cookie sheets in the oven and set the timer for 10 minutes and I stay put!  After the first 10 minutes, pull the sheets out and gently stir the granola, pop it back in and set the timer for another 10 minutes.  Again pull the sheets out and stir the granola.  Put the sheets back in the oven and do the same thing now at 5 minutes, two more times but you can take the granola out of the oven as soon as it has toasted nicely but it NOT over toasted and crunchy!

Do no over bake!!!  Carefully remove the parchment paper with the granola from the cookie sheets and place on your counter to cool. When completely cooled, place in a container that seals tightly.

This recipe makes about 6 cups of granola.

Here’s the recipe again:

2-1/4 cups oats

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

good pinch of ground cloves

1 cup slivered almonds or your favorite nuts

1 cup dried fruit, cherries, raisins, your favorite….

1/2 to 1 cup pumpkin seeds

1/2 cup good maple syrup

2 T agave syrup or honey

3 T pumpkin puree

Bake at 325 degrees on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper. Set timer for 5 to 10 minute intervals, stir and bake until toasted.  Cool and store in a tightly sealed container.

Enjoy!

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Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Today I am going to share a recipe from a friend at work.  She baked these delicious pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.  They were so tasty that I could not control myself AT ALL!!!

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I thought my usual one cookie would suffice, it did not!  I am pretty sure I had at least three!!

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Here is Rhonda’s recipe:

1 cup butter flavored Crisco

1 cup white granulated sugar

1 cup brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

15 oz can of pumpkin puree

3 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Cream the sugars and Crisco until fluffy, add the eggs one at a time.  Add the vanilla and pumpkin.

In a separate bowl whisk together the flour,baking soda, salt and spices.

Slowly add the flour mixture to the moist ingredients, blending as you go.  Stir in the chocolate chips.

Drop by tablespoon sized balls onto a cookie sheet sprayed with a non-stick spray.  Bake at 350 degrees 15-20 minutes.

You need to give these a try, you will NOT be disappointed!

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Three Cheese Roasted Red Pepper Dip

What a tasty little surprise this was!!!  Roasted red peppers, cheese, cheese and a little more cheese baked into a hot, rich, golden, bubbly serving of deliciousness!!!

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This would be great to serve at any upcoming holiday parties and family events coming up the season!!

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Here’s what you need:

2 Whole Roasted Red Peppers, diced (I used jarred)

1/2 cup Mayonnaise

1 tsp Spicy Brown Mustard

2-3 dashes of Garlic Powder, Cayenne Pepper and Paprika

Salt and pepper to taste

8 oz Block of Cream Cheese

1/2 cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese

1/2 cup Shredded Colby Jack Cheese

Preheat oven to 350.

Blend all ingredients by hand, pour into a baking dish that has been sprayed with non-stick spray. Top with a light dusting of additional shredded mozzarella cheese, or a heavy coating if you prefer.  Bake for about 20 to 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly!

Serve with bread, crackers, bagel chips…….. a spoon!!!!  It’s really good!!!

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ENJOY!!!!

Homemade Applesauce (Stovetop or Crockpot)

I completely forgot how much I LOVE homemade applesauce!!  AND how simple it is to make!!  When my kids were small and I was a stay at home mom I used to can (or jar depending on your location!) fruits and veggies quite often!

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I also forgot how I made it, or even if there was a recipe somewhere in my collection!!!

You really don’t need a recipe tho, it’s just apples, sugar and some spices.

AND you can make applesauce year round as apples are always available!!  Stovetop or crockpot.

There are just a few simple little things to keep in mind.  Add a little sugar at a time, the amount of sugar you will use depends on the TYPES of apples you use.  Some apples are sweeter than others, and some are….well kinda tart!

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Honestly, I don’t get hung up on the apple selection, I just buy whatever apples might be on sale or look the best.

Another thing to remember is that some apples are softer than others so if you are going to use various types of apples, you will need to know ahead of time which will cook up quicker than the others.

Again, I don’t get hung up on the apples.  I just buy a bag and cook them.

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I start with about 8 apples.

Give your apples a good wash; then core, peel and cut your apples into equal chunks. Place the cut apples in a large pot.  You can add a little water if you want, or apple cider/juice would work too.  But I like my applesauce to be thick so I may only put about 1-2 tablespoons of water in with the apples.

Add about 1/2 cup sugar and bring to a very low simmer.  You can cover the pot if you want but remember that will add a little more moisture from the trapped steam.  I do cover mine but I’m careful not to let it all run back in the apples when I check the sauce.

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Check on your apples a lot, when the apples start to get a little soft give it taste test and add more sugar if you want.  It really depends on how sweet you like your applesauce to be.

Once your apples are almost tender, add your spices.  I add cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves.  It’s probably best to start out with 1/2 tsp of cinnamon and if you want to add the nutmeg and cloves, try just a dash or two of one, then try the other. If you only want cinnamon, that’s fine.   I love the combination of the spices!

Just remember to start with less, you can always add more but you cannot take it out if you add too much!!

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Now, when your apples are tender enough to start smashing turn off the heat.  I use an immersion blender, one of my favorite kitchen appliances!!  If you don’t have one, that’s okay, you can use your blender, just be careful when transferring the hot apples and while blending as it can splash out of the blender!!

When the apples are completely smashed,  taste and adjust the sugar and spices while the sauce is still hot and on the stove.  As soon as I have the flavor the way I want it, I remove the pot from the stove to cool.

If you are using a crockpot, throw the cut up apples, sugar, spices and the little bit of water in the crock, cover, turn it to low and cook for about 4-6 hours.  Please check often and adjust spices and sugar to your taste preference. Then use your blender to smoosh away!!

Refrigerate when the applesauce is cool or follow the proper instructions for canning.

Enjoy the flavors of AUTUMN!!!

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Pumpkin Pie

‘Tis the season for pumpkin!  And cinnamon and apples and sweaters……  This pumpkin pie is perfect for holiday dinners with family and friends, or just because you want a good creamy pumpkin pie!

This is my FAVORITE (and only) pumpkin pie recipe.  In fact as I am typing this I think I might have to go have another slice before I go to bed!!  *sigh

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This recipe is very easy and simple, quick to prepare but the longest part is waiting for it to cool so you can EAT IT!!!

Here’s the recipe:

15 oz can of pumpkin puree

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp each of ground ginger, ground cloves and ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1/4 tsp salt

2 large eggs

2 T molasses

1/2 cup plus 2 T sweetened condensed milk

1/4 cup milk

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Pour all ingredients into a large bowl, lightly mix with a hand held mixer until well blended and pour into an unbaked 8-9 inch pie shell.  Lightly sprinkle with ground cinnamon.

Bake at 425 for 10-15 minutes.  Reduce heat to 350 and bake for approximately 30-40 minutes or until the center of the pie is cooked.  Cover lightly with foil if the crust starts to brown.

Top with plain whipped cream or cinnamon whipped cream, OR if you are a cinnamon freak like me…add an extra little sprinkle of cinnamon again!

Enjoy!!

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