A Chicken in Every Crockpot!

Karen's Kitchen Adventures

Summer Squash and Corn Chowder September 9, 2010

Filed under: one dish,soup and stew — frappqueen @ 8:35 pm
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I made this soup on a VERY hot day. That was a very dumb idea. Sure, it was tasty, and sure it wasn’t too hard to make. But uh, eating SOUP when it is about 100 degrees in your house is not fun. It makes you sweatier and then it makes you want to pass out because you are 7 1/2 months pregnant and so hot you feel like you might die! Whoops! So, it might be good to make this NOW when it is lovely and fall-like and more like 65 in the evenings. Just a thought. You can totally still get yellow squash at your local place of produce, and if not, I bet butternut squash would be delightful in it’s place!

Summer Squash and Corn Chowder (from Cooking Light, August 2010)

2  slices applewood-smoked bacon
3/4  cup  sliced green onions, divided
1/4  cup  chopped celery
1  pound  yellow summer squash, chopped
1  pound  frozen white and yellow baby corn kernels, thawed and divided
2 1/4  cups  1% low-fat milk, divided
1  teaspoon  chopped fresh thyme
1/2  teaspoon  salt
1/4  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
1/8  teaspoon  salt
1/4  cup  (1 ounce) shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese

Method:

Cook bacon in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, reserving 2 teaspoons drippings in pan. Crumble bacon, and set aside. Add 1/2 cup onions, celery, and squash to drippings in pan; sauté 8 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Reserve 1 cup corn; set aside. Place the remaining corn and 1 cup milk in a blender; process until smooth (I used my handy dandy Magic Bullet, it is my best friend!).  Add remaining 1 1/4 cups milk, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper to blender; process just until combined. Add pureed mixture and reserved 1 cup corn to pan. Reduce heat to medium; cook 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring constantly. Stir in 1/8 teaspoon salt. Ladle about 1 1/2 cups soup into each of 4 bowls; top each serving with about 1 tablespoon bacon, 1 tablespoon remaining onions, and 1 tablespoon cheese.

Please eat in air conditioning, or else avoid during a heat wave. Enjoy!

 

Bacon and Butternut Squash Pasta Bake May 23, 2010

Filed under: eat your vegetables,pasta,Uncategorized — frappqueen @ 8:53 am
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This recipe is delicious year round, though particularly yummy in the fall. Of course, I obviously made it recently because, well, I had a craving for it! When squash is in season, you can use fresh, but if it’s not, frozen butternut squash works just as well. They sell it pre-chopped in bite size pieces, so it’s ready to go. Just be careful roasting it, if you overdo it, they tend to get mushy which doesn’t look pretty but it still tastes good.

This recipe is from Cooking Light, and can be made pretty easily. I just take the lazy ladies’ way out sometimes and bake the bacon if I’m not in the mood to scrub the stove later. It is mostly just tossing everything together once you roast the squash. Give it a try, it’s a nice twist on plain old mac and cheese!

Butternut Squash and Bacon Pasta (from Cooking Light)

3/4  teaspoon  salt, divided
1/2  teaspoon  dried rosemary
1/4  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
3  cups  (1-inch) cubed peeled butternut squash
Cooking spray
6  sweet hickory-smoked bacon slices (raw)
1  cup  thinly sliced shallots
8  ounces  uncooked mini penne (tube-shaped pasta)
1/4  cup  all-purpose flour
2  cups  2% reduced-fat milk
3/4  cup  (3 ounces) shredded sharp provolone cheese
1/3  cup  (1 1/2 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese

Method:

Preheat oven to 425°.

Combine 1/4 teaspoon salt, rosemary, and pepper. Place squash on a foil-lined baking sheet coated with cooking spray; sprinkle with salt mixture. Bake at 425° for 45 minutes or until tender and lightly browned. Increase oven temperature to 450°.

Cook the bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, reserving 1 1/2 teaspoons drippings in pan; crumble bacon. Increase heat to medium-high. Add shallots to pan; sauté 8 minutes or until tender. Combine squash mixture, bacon, and shallots; set aside.

Cook pasta according to the package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain well.

Combine flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Gradually add milk, stirring constantly with a whisk; bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute or until slightly thick, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add provolone, stirring until cheese melts. Add pasta to cheese mixture, tossing well to combine. Spoon pasta mixture into an 11 x 7-inch baking dish lightly coated with cooking spray; top with squash mixture. Sprinkle evenly with Parmesan cheese. Bake at 450° for 10 minutes or until cheese melts and begins to brown.

Serve with a sprinkle of Parmesan over the top, it is delightful!

 

Bacon and Butternut Squash Risotto January 17, 2010

Filed under: eat your vegetables,rice,Uncategorized — frappqueen @ 8:32 pm
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I finally made it and it really was heaven! I’ve been dreaming of creating a risotto that included two of my favorite foods, bacon and butternut squash. Finally last night, I went for it! Now I know that others have created the very same dish, as food is just like art: everyone has done everything, and everyone is re-inventing everything. But, it’s still fun to give it a try! A few months ago I made butternut squash and shrimp risotto for my parents and it was okay, but the squash ended up being pulverized by the end of the cooking process, so this time I vowed to change that! How? You ask? Simple, roasted butternut squash, which makes it even more delicious!

bacon and butternut squash risotto!

Now, before you keep reading and are thinking to yourself: “Whatever, she’s crazy! Risotto is scary and hard to make! It takes effort! And time!!” relax! No, really. Risotto is merely scary because it is the unknown. Once you have given it a try, I promise you will be hooked. BUT you do need a fair amount of dedication, and also time. You can not rush the cooking or make it happen quicker. You need a good half hour to kill in the kitchen for it to be delicious. Just a few minutes less can make the rice come out hard and icky. Too long can make it mushy and unpalatable. So make it on a night when you have nowhere to be and plenty of time to babysit the food and you will be thrilled with your hard work. Plus, it makes you look really fancy!

Here is what I did!

Bacon and Butternut Squash Risotto

one medium-sized butternut squash, diced into small, mouth-sized pieces (I buy the pre-chopped kind and then chop it further to save time. NOTE: sometimes you can’t find it fresh, but you can always find it frozen and in that case it is chopped perfectly! There’s no shame in frozen, go for it!)

1 tablespoon olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

ground sage or chopped sage, whatever you’ve got, about 1 tablespoon

6 slices of a nice hickory bacon if you can find it, cut into small bite sized hunks (you can also opt for turkey bacon if you are cutting calories)

1 shallot, chopped small

1 c. arborio or risotto rice

a nice dry white wine (a few glugs, maybe a cup?)

about 4-5 cups of low sodium chicken broth

a few handfuls of parmesan cheese, plus some to top it off with.

Method:

preheat your oven to 400. Get out a nice mid-sized pot with a heavy bottom for the risotto to cook in. Pour yourself a glass of white wine to enjoy whilst standing over the stove for the next 25 minutes!

Prepare a baking sheet by putting down a layer of aluminum foil and then coating that with cooking spray (I’m lazy, this makes one less dish!) If you didn’t already, chop your squash into small bite sized cubes and throw into a bowl. Add the olive oil, salt and pepper and sage, toss to coat evenly. Spread squash out in a single layer on prepared baking sheet. Bake in the oven at 400 degrees for about a half hour. Halfway through, take out and give it a shake to keep things from sticking. If you want the squash cooked even further, you can bake it an extra ten minutes or so. I liked it with a little bit of bite, but mike said it could have cooked a few minutes more, so it’s up to you! When the squash is ready, just take it out of the oven and let it sit to cool on the baking sheet until you are ready for it.

While the squash is baking, start the risotto. Heat up the heavy bottomed pot with a medium flame and throw in the bacon. Cook bacon, stirring it frequently, until it is crispy and brown, about 5 minutes (it might have been more, I was drinking wine, who knows!?). When bacon is ready, drain out extra grease, but leave a tiny bit in the pan still with the bacon. Add the risotto and toss with the bacon, lightly cooking the risotto for about 2 minutes. The rice will become slightly translucent. Now deglaze the pan with the wine. Stir rapidly, scraping up all the burnt on bacon bits.

Warm up the chicken broth in a measuring cup in the microwave, about a minute or so. Set a timer for 20 minutes so you have an idea of when to check your rice for done-ness. Add the chicken broth to the rice as soon as the wine is absorbed ONLY ONE CUP WORTH AT A TIME. If you add more than a cup at a time, the rice will not cook correctly and will end up watery and gross! Adjust heat to medium to low and let the broth cook out, stirring occasionally. As soon as the broth is absorbed, add another cup of broth and microwave some more for the next round. Keep adding warmed broth a cup-full at the time until the 20 minutes is up (this usually takes me only four cups of broth but you might need a fifth) . At this time, take a tiny taste of the risotto. If it is a tad hard or crunchy, add the last cup of broth. If it is nice and chewy and sticky, it is perfect! Add that butternut squash that is  roasted and waiting to be eaten, stirring it in and letting the rice cook an extra minute or so. Turn off the flame, add the parmesan and stir. Serve immediately in pretty bowls with extra cheese on top. Pour yourself some more wine too, because you just made super fancy food and it didn’t even take that much time! Enjoy!