Squash and Kale Orecchiette with Italian Sausage

This is a delicious fall pasta. The original recipe is from a magazine cut out (I have a lot those). I think the magazine was The Pioneer Woman Magazine. It got us to eat our weekly bunch of kale!

Ingredients:

1tbsp olive oil

2-3 Italian sausages removed from casings (I used medium heat)

1/2 medium butternut squash, peeled seeded and and cut in 1/2 ” cubes

1/4 tsp chili powder, plus a pinch extra

Black pepper

1 bunch kale, stems discarded and leaves torn into bite size pieces

Parmesan cheese for serving

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add sausage meat and cook breaking up with a wooden spoon, stirring occasionally until browned.

Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

Pour off drippings if there is a lot. You probably need about a tbsp of oil. The sausage I used didn’t leave much dripping so I added a drizzle of olive oil to the pan.

Add the squash and toss to coat with the oil then sprinkle with chili powder, 1/2 tsp salt and a sprinkle of black pepper. Cook stirring occasionally until squash is browning and tender (not mushy or falling apart). I did have to add water to the pan a couple of times because it was browning and getting dry but not getting softer. Add a few tbsp at a time as needed. Once the squash is cooked add to the bowl with the sausage.

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente. Reserve about 2/2-3/4 cup of the pasta water before draining.

Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in skillet over med-high heat. Add half the kale and 1/4 tsp salt. Cook tossing until wilted. Then add other half and another 1/4 tsp salt and toss to mix and cook until all wilted.

Add 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water to the pan with kale and then add the squash sausage mixture and cooked pasta. Give it a generous sprinkle of black pepper. Cook tossing carefully until heated through.

If it seems dry add the rest of the reserved pasta water.

Serve topped with shaved Parmesan.

This was delicious and the leftovers were really good the next day for lunch. I will definitely be making this one again and I hope you give it a try.

Chive Blossom Vinegar

Chives are the easiest home garden herb to grow and they come back every year without fail. They taste great and also bloom into lovely little purple blossoms. It is these lovely little Lorax style blossoms that we use to make this garlicky flavoured vinegar.


Snip just the blooms from the chives wash and thoroughly dry. I washed and then patted dry with a paper towel, then lay out on a dry paper towel for a few hours until totally dry.  Put cleaned blossoms in a clean dry mason jar.



Cover with vinegar of your choice. I used apple cider vinegar, that was all I had at the time, but I think white wine vinegar or champagne vinegar would be really nice too.

Press blossoms down with a spoon to submerge and make sure they get covered in vinegar.
Place the lid on the jar and store in a dark cupboard for about two weeks.


After two weeks you have this pinkish purple liquid, when you take the lid off it will smell like garlic chives. It does smell really good! Strain vinegar through a cheese cloth into a clean dry bottle or jar.

Use in favourite salad dressings, vinaigrette or any recipe where you would use vinegar.

Now go grow some chives!

Guinness Beef Stew

I am trying to get ahead of the game for once and share a holiday recipe before said holiday, when it is most relevant. Here is one for St. Patrick’s Day.


In my normal fashion I didn’t write anything down. I just put the stew in the oven so I am typing before I forget

1lb stew beef

3carrots

1parsnip

1 onion

2-3 stalks celery

Tomato paste

3 cups chicken broth

4 tbsp flour

3cloves garlic

Thyme & bay leaf

Season the beef pieces with a good sprinkling of salt and pepper. Add a few glugs of olive oil to a Dutch oven and brown all sides. 

Remove meat from pan and set aside.This is the good stuff, leave it in the pan, it is the flavour. 

Add 200g chopped meaty bacon ( I used a maple wood smoked).  Add chopped onion and minced garlic and cook until softened. 


Once softened sprinkle with 3-4 tbsp flour and stir around to coat everything and add 1 can of Guinness.

 

When we are done with Guinness, the leftover foam always gets put into a small bowl for Max, he loves it! After he laps it down he runs off to his bed to roll around.


Back to the cooking.  

Add carrot and parsnip, celery, chicken stock and 4 tbsp tomato paste. Stir again to mix and dissolve the paste.

Add the meat back to the pot along with any accumulated juices

Add 2 bay leaves and a tsp of dried thyme.

I think I added about 1/2 tsp salt and a generous 1/8tsp pepper. Cover and cook in 325F oven for 2 1/2 hrs.

Taste and add salt and pepper if needed. Probably best to let people add their preferred amount at the table.


Serve with bread or crusty rolls for soaking up the gravy.


😊 

Molasses Oat Bread

There is nothing better on a fall day than warm bread out of the oven with butter melting on it. Do I even have to mention the smell of warm baking bread, there is nothing like it.


You will need:

1&3/4 cups boiling water

3/4 cup oats 

1/4 cup molasses

1&1/2 tsp salt 

3tbsp oil 1tsp sugar 

1/2 cup warm water 

1pkg active dry yeast 

4 cups all purpose flour

In a large mixing bowl pour boiling water over oats. Stir in molasses, salt and oil. Let cool to lukewarm.


Dissolve 1tsp sugar in 1/2 cup warm water and sprinkle in yeast. 

Let stand 10 minutes.  Then stir well. 

Sorry, got carried away and forgot to take doughy pictures.

Add dissolved yeast and 1&1/2 cups flour to the oat mixture. Beat at low speed with electric mixer for about 1/2 minute then at high for 3 mins. Scraping sides of bowl often. Stir in with dough hook or by hand, the remaining 2&1/2 cups flour until thoroughly blended. Cover with greased parchment or cling film then a tea towel. Let rise in a warm place for about an hour.

Then beat about 25 strokes with a wooden spoon,or knead, dough will be sticky.  

Grease a 2qt casserole dish or loaf pan and sprinkle top lightly with oats and press down gently so they stick. 

Cover and let rise another 30 mins. 

Bake in 375F oven for 35-45 mins until done. 


If you are using the bread for sandwiches or to toast it would be easier if you used a loaf pan. We ate most of it warm from the oven with butter.

Madras Chicken Soup

I found this recipe in an old Chatelaine magazine. I put it aside years ago and decided to actually make it. It is fall and that brings soup weather.  It was very tastyand smelled wonderful.


I didn’t have any brown rice so I used basmati. Also, I didn’t have frozen peas, I used a mixture of peas and corn.




This is the point when the smell gets amazing!


This is the point where I forgot to take pictures, but you just add the stuff to the pot, so there wasn’t anything to exciting that you missed.


Season to taste with salt and pepper if needed.

Apple Cheddar Muffins

Apple picking coinciding with back to school required apple lunchbox snacks. I saw this muffin recipe in a Canadian Parent magazine and had everything on hand so we made muffins. This is a versatile muffin because it isn’t very sweet and it can be for breakfast, snack or paired with a savoury meal.







Though we ate these for breakfast and morning snack, I think these would pair really well with chilli.