Classic Cornbread Muffins

Classic Cornbread Muffins 2

Thanksgiving is quickly approaching and there are so many different side dishes that accompany the big meal! Many tables feature rolls as a side dish but I thought it would be nice to try a slightly more rustic cornbread recipe. The muffins are surprisingly not too crumbly and retained a good amount of moisture on the inside. The outside was golden and just slightly crusty on top. Slightly sweet, not too crumbly and a pretty yellow color makes for a nice display on any Thanksgiving table! Slice open a warm muffin and pair with butter or a healthy dollop of cranberry sauce–or if you’re gunning for a food coma make it both!
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Classic Beef Tacos with Chipotle Tomato Salsa

Classic Beef Tacos with Chipotle Tomato Salsa

Even though it isn’t summer anymore it doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy a good taco! If you’re craving food truck style tacos this is the recipe you need to make it at home. Seasoned ground beef comes together with smoky chipotle salsa, sharp cheddar and slices of avocado. The beef is seasoned in a simple combination of garlic, jalapenos, paprika and cumin. Finish it off with fresh lime juice and cilantro and you have one flavorful taco (or 10)!
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Chipotle Tomato Salsa

Chipotle Tomato Salsa

This salsa is a great last minute recipe and can be a go-to for anything tex-mex. One week day I didn’t have much in the pantry and this salsa was born. If you have diced tomatoes and a can of Chipotle peppers in adobo you are already on your way! Add spices and chopped cilantro and you have a fresh salsa without a lot of chopping and prep work. The spicy and smoky flavor goes great with beef tacos, quesadillas and eggs.
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Roasted Winter Vegetables with Butternut Squash

Roasted Root Vegetable and Butternut Squash

Well it’s November and officially a few weeks away from Thanksgiving! This recipe is a great side dish for the holidays even though it’s difficult to think they are right around the corner. I even saw some Christmas commercials come on the other day which was pretty hard to believe. This recipe combines potatoes, beets and butternut squash tossed in olive oil and roasted with garlic and fresh herbs. It doesn’t get much easier than that! The flavors from each vegetable came together perfectly. Works well as a holiday side dish but is great for any time of the week during the winter.
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Chicken and Dumpling Soup

Chicken and Dumpling Soup

Who doesn’t love a warm bowl of soup on chillier evenings? Since it’s starting to get darker and the winter months are on their way I thought chicken and dumpling soup would be an appropriate post for the season. The dumplings are so easy to make since the shape of the dough balls don’t matter at all. You simply drop spoonfuls of dough into the hot broth and it does all the work for you. The more lumpy and asymmetrical the better! The dumplings are seasoned with fresh herbs and parmesan which really adds to their flavor. I went with homemade chicken stock since it tastes better than store bought and makes the soup more nutrient rich. I chose chicken breasts for the protein but thighs or even a whole roasted chicken would make great substitutes as well. I look forward to the winter months so I can whip up a batch of this again!
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Pumpkin, Banana & Oat Breakfast Muffins

Banana, Oats & Pumpkin Breakfast Muffins 2

I have been really into breakfast muffins lately. They’re not too sweet and more fulling than regular muffins because of the rolled oats. They’re quick to make and easy to grab and go in the mornings. For October, I thought a pumpkin based muffin along with bananas would be a delicious combination. One of the benefits of never going through bananas fast enough is I always have plenty of over-ripe ones to get creative with! These muffins are flavored with seasonal spices to compliment the pumpkin. They also freeze well so keeping them as a back up snack or breakfast in the freezer is a great way to go!
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Homemade Spiced Peanut Butter

Spiced Peanut Butter 2

Homemade peanut butter is a great alternative to buying it from the store. You can’t get much fresher than grinding up your own peanuts! If you have a food processor you already have everything you need to make your own. This recipe takes it up a notch with spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. It makes for a great seasonal recipe and goes perfectly with sliced apples. I must confess that the numbers given for the salt, honey and spices are approximate. Feel free to use more less as desired. This recipe is excellent with chocolate and any jam you can think of. Or you can drop all pretense and go to town with a tablespoon. I definitely won’t judge you!
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Bourbon Vanilla Cherry Jam

Bourbon Vanilla Cherry Jam 1

Although Summer is pretty much over you can still enjoy the Summer’s bounty by making your own jam for the coming winter months. It’s been a while since I have made my own jam and I was excited to try a new flavor. While raspberry, strawberry and blackberry are staples in my pantry I decided to go with something a little different like this cherry jam. Making jam is really easy and at it’s most basic it’s boiling fruit and sugar together. I like to use a little pectin and lemon juice to make sure my jams are nice and thick. To get rid of the foam on top, add a pat of butter into the mix but that is optional as well. I just skim the foam after my jam reaches a full boil. The combination of the vanilla and cherry flavors were delicious and I have been enjoying it on toast with black tea every morning!
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Classic Minestrone Soup

Classic Minestrone Soup

There are so many different variations of Minestrone soup; it can be somewhat difficult in choosing which recipe to follow. This recipe is more traditional and borrows from several recipes with elements that I liked in particular. I was interested in the idea of using the rind from parmigiano reggiano, as I heard it enhances the flavor. I tried it out and it turns out the rind does add more depth of flavor to the broth. I chose a simple bean medley of red kidney beans and great northern beans, both found in many Minestrone recipes. To get the freshest flavor I roasted Roma tomatoes in the oven and then pureed them for the diced tomatoes. It made a big difference due to the roasting process which concentrates and enhances their flavor. Many recipes do not require any meat as part of the base but I added sliced pancetta for richness and complexity. Everything came together great and it was a perfect transition meal from Summer to Fall! I garnished the soup with extra parmesan and basil and served it with crusty french bread.
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Thai Curry Noodle Soup with Chicken

 Thai Noodle Soup

Lately I can’t get enough of Thai curries! The balance of savory and fresh ingredients make Thai food one of my favorite meals. This curry is a soup with rice noodles and a savory broth. The base is flavored by red curry paste and coconut milk. It’s surprisingly easy and quick to throw together yet the broth tastes like it has been cooking for hours. The chicken is very thinly sliced so it cooks in a few minutes in the hot broth. You can find red curry paste at local Thai markets or make it from scratch. I garnished this dish with plenty of fresh Thai basil, fish sauce, lime juice, green onion and cilantro.
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