When I was in grade school, every year around this time we would take a field trip to a local apple orchard. We would see how the fermentation process worked, taste all the various flavors of cider and be allowed to tour the grounds and see the rows and rows of apple trees. It was so beautiful and peaceful. We would finish the day in the pumpkin patch picking out small gourds and pumpkins to take home to our parents. It was such a simple time.
Every year when Autumn weather starts to set in, I think of those childhood field trips to the orchard. It dawned on me, what a perfect inspiration to build a menu of good eats from! How decadent would eating outside in the splendor of an orchard or vineyard be, with your closest friends, homemade food, candles lighting the table, full-bodied wines and stars illuminating the sky? I intend to find out.
My next “life list” endeavor is to plan a wonderful outdoor dinner party at either an orchard or a vineyard. I can’t imagine an evening better spent.
In preparation, I decided to post some wonderful family favorite recipes that are hearty, healthy and good for the soul. If you are searching for what to cook tonight, look no further.
Luella says… Cook and be Merry
- WHITE BEAN CHICKEN CHILI
Submitted by Luella
(please note I sometimes double this recipe to make enough to have leftovers. It is great re-heated)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1.5 lbs. Cooked Chicken (please see preparation below)
2 Cloves Garlic – minced
14.5 oz. Chicken Broth
1 can (18.75 oz.) Tomatillos (drained and chopped)
1 (16 oz) can Diced Tomatoes
1 (7 oz.) can Diced Green Chiles
1/2 Teapsoon dried Oregano
1/2 Teaspoon ground Coriander seed
1/4 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
1 (15 oz) can White Northern Beans
salt and black pepper to taste
1 lime sliced
Fresh Cilantro for garnish
**Cooked Chicken – 1/2 cup white wine, 1 Tablespoon of Dill Weed, 1 Chicken Bouillon cube, 1 cup of Water, Fresh squeezed Lemon (half), Minced Garlic, Lemon Pepper to taste**
Cook chicken in the wok/large pan first. Combine all the ingredients listed **above in your wok. Cut the chicken into cubes. Put it on Level 8 for a Wok or Medium-High heat if it is in a pan. Cook/simmer half covered for 10-15 minutes stirring often. Save one cup of the juice to add into the mixture later.
1. Heat Oil and minced garlic until soft.
2. Stir in Chicken broth, tomatillos, tomatoes, chilies and spices. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 10 minutes.
3. Add chicken and beans and 1 cup of cooked chicken juice to the mixture. Simmer for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
4. Serve with fresh lime and cilantro on the side.
- MUSTARD ROASTED TILAPIA
Submitted by my sister, Leslie
4 (8 oz) Tilapia filets
Kosher Salt and ground Black pepper
1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
1 tablespoon Whole Grain Mustard
2 tablespoons Minced Shallots
2 teaspoons Drained Capers
1. preheat oven to 425
2. sprinkle filets generously with salt and pepper
3. place in oven proof glass pan
4. combine rest of ingredients and mix well
5. pour over fish to completely cover
6. Cook 15 to 25 min depending on thickness of the fish filets.
Southern Style Spare Ribs with Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Submitted by my Mother-in-Law, Maria
1 Package of Southern Style Ribs (please note this is an actual type. They are heartier and have more meat on the bones.)
1/2 Cup of Chris and Pitts BBQ Sauce
1 Reynolds Brown N Bag
For Dry Rub:
1 Cup Dark Brown Sugar
1 Teaspoon Cumin
1 Teaspoon Lawry’s Garlic Salt
1 Teaspoon Black Pepper
Cut off fat on bottom of ribs
Pat them dry
Combine ingredients of the Dry Rub and drag and douse the ribs in this so they are covered
Place the ribs into a Reynolds Brown N Bag and poke holes in the top of the bag
Cook at 350 Degrees for 1 1/2 hours.
Cut open bag and use 1/2 Cup of Chris and Pitts BBQ Sauce to cover the ribs completely
Put back in the oven for an additional 10 minutes to solidify the rub and bbq sauce taste
Serve with Garlic Mashed potatoes:
Place 8-10 Yukon Gold Potatoes and 3 Medium Cloves of Garlic in a pot of boiling water
Boil till tender (10 minutes or so)
Drain the water and add 1/2 Cup Low Fat Milk and 2 Tablespoons of Smart Balance
Whip them and Enjoy!
- Cheddar Chicken Chowder
Submitted by my Mother, Debra
1 pound skinless, boneless Chicken Breasts cut into cubes
2 Bacon slices
1 cup diced Red Bell pepper
2 Garlic cloves – minced
4 1/2 cups Chicken Broth
1 3/4 Cup Diced & Peeled Red Potatoes
2 1/4 Cups Fresh Cut Broccoli
1/2 Cup all Purpose Flour
2 cups 2% Milk
3 oz. Shredded Cheddar Cheese
Salt and Pepper to Taste
1. Cook bacon in a skillet over medium high heat until crispy. Crumble and put it on the side
2. Add Chicken, Garlic & Bell Pepper to the bacon grease pan and saute for 5 minutes
3. Add Potatoes & Broth to the pan and bring it to a boil
4. Cover and reduce heat and simmer until potatoes get soft (about 20 minutes)
5. Add brocolli and stir well
6. Place Flour in a bowl and gradually add Milk whisking till it is smooth, add it to the soup and simmer, stirring frequently over Medium heat for 15 minutes. (until it thickens)
7. Stir in Cheese, Salt and Pepper and top it off with the Crumbled Bacon
- GRILLED EGGPLANT PARMIGIANA
1/4 cup Olive oil
2 Garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon dried hot Red-Pepper flakes
1 (15-ounce) can crushed Tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/4 cup coarsely chopped Fresh Basil
1/2 ounce finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (1/4 cup)
4 small Italian Eggplants (1/2 pound each)
16 thin slices whole-milk Mozzarella (from a 1-lb block; not fresh)
1. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat until hot but not smoking, then cook garlic and red-pepper flakes, stirring, 30 seconds. Add tomatoes and salt and cook, stirring, until thickened, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in basil and parmesan.
2. Prepare a gas grill for direct-heat cooking over moderate heat or Cooks’ note: Eggplant (brushed with 1/4 cup oil) can be roasted on a foil-lined large baking sheet in middle of a 450°F oven, turning over once, 20 minutes. Top with sauce and cheese, then stack and bake 5 minutes more.
3. Trim 1/4 inch off 2 opposite long sides of each eggplant. Cut each eggplant lengthwise (in same direction as trimmed sides so each slice has skin just around edge) into 4 slices. Brush slices with remaining 2 tablespoons oil.
4. Grill eggplant, covered, turning over once, until tender, about 6 minutes total. Transfer to a work surface.
5. Spread top of each slice with about 1 tablespoon tomato sauce and top with a slice of mozzarella, then restack each eggplant. Transfer stacks to a shallow baking pan and grill, covered, just until cheese is melted, about 4 minutes.
- BEEF LOAF IN WILD MUSHROOM SAUCE
Submitted by my Mother, Debra
1 1/2 lbs. Ground Beef
1 Cup Fresh Grated Bread Crumbs
3 Eggs – Beaten
1/4 Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
1 Tablespoon Dried Parsley
1/2 lb. Ground Pork
Salt & Pepper to taste
1/2 Teaspoon Marjoram
1/2 Teaspoon Paprika
1/3 Cup Sour Cream
Preheat Oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients and mix well. Pack into a loaf pan and cook it for 1 hour – or until brown on top. Remove from Oven and slightly cool. Serve with Mushroom Sauce.
INGREDIENTS – MUSHROOM SAUCE:
5 Tablespoons Butter (divided)
8 oz. Fresh Wild Mushrooms – Sliced
4 Tablespoons Flour
1/2 Teaspoon Salt & Pepper to taste
2 Cups of Beef Broth
1 Tablespoon Kitchen Bouquet
1. Heat 1 Tablespoon of Butter in a small saute pan.
2. Add Mushrooms and simmer over Medium Heat until soft.
3. Remove Mushrooms and set aside
4. Add remaining 4 Tablespoons of Butter to the pan and let it melt
5. Add Flour, Salt & Pepper to the pan and Stir until mixture is smooth
6. Blend in Beef stock and stir until sauce is thick
7. Add Kitchen Bouquet and Reserved Mushrooms and bring to a boil
8. Remove from Heat and serve over Beef Loaf.