Thursday, October 23, 2014

Dinner With Friends Via The Internet

This whole world of social media seems to always get a ton of grief with all of its negative comments and opinions.  While I am tired of the lack of privacy, over-sharing, bullying, and the total distraction from the real world I am forever thankful for the wonderful things that can be shared.  

I often talk about my best girlfriends from high school as they are constantly inspiring me, supporting me and secretly (and not so secretly) trying to persuade me to move back to the east coast.  All five amazing women lead extremely busy lives and between juggling their kids, work, homes, and businesses it's often difficult to catch up over the phone.  Thankfully we are able to share our lives with each other over Facebook, Instagram and blogging.  

After I had recently posted a picture on Instagram of this spicy fall pasta, I instantly got a comment from one of the "Hershey Husbands" asking for the recipe.  While I really wish I could have dropped off some for dinner, sending the recipe was the next best thing.  I have to say I really enjoy having some east coast taste testers!

So even with its negativity, social media has enabled us to share our lives with each other whether it's a new business venture, pictures of their kids picking pumpkins or my foodie creations.  I'm thankful for it!

Spicy Sausage and Roasted Delicata Squash Pasta

1 pound spaghetti pasta
1-1/2 lbs spicy Italian sausage links, casing removed and roughly chopped
2-3 medium delicata squash, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch pieces (you can substitute with 1 medium acorn squash)
7 ounces fresh arugula
3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
1/4 teaspoon plus some for seasoning salt
1/4 teaspoon plus some for seasoning pepper

In a medium skillet heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat.  Add the panko bread crumbs and cook, stirring continuously, until golden brown.  Add the thyme and 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper.  Stir to combine.  Transfer the panko mixture to a small bowl.  Set aside and allow to cool.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

In a medium mixing bowl toss the chopped delicata squash with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Place the prepared squash onto a foil lined rimmed baking sheet.  Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, turning halfway through.

While the squash is baking, boil your water for the pasta in a large pot and cook the pasta according to the directions on the package.  Strain the pasta and return the pasta to the pot.  Add the 3/4 cup of olive oil and lemon juice.  Toss to combine.

While the pasta is cooking, drizzle a small bit of olive oil in a large pan and heat over medium heat.  Add the sausage and cook until browned and cooked through.  Use a spatula to break up the sausage into small pieces.  Pour the sausage into the large pot of cooked pasta and toss to combine.  Add the delicata squash to the mixture and gently toss to combine.  

Place about 1/4 - 1/3 cup arugula onto each plate.  Divided evenly, place the pasta mixture over top and toss.  Top with the thyme panko bread crumbs and serve.  Makes 6-8 servings.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Falling For Bourbon

I know the title of this post is a bit cheesy but who isn't excited to start mixing up some fall cocktails with a great bourbon?  This recipe in particular was made with an outdoor fall brunch in mind.  You know, the kind where you are wearing the perfect sweater and scarf slowly sipping on a delightful cocktail to warm your belly while the beautiful autumn leaves fall from the trees.  OK we know that only happens in the movies or in the perfect world of Pinterest.  However, I do think that this herb infused cocktail should make it's way to your brunch table, Halloween parties, join you for a hayride and then bring the whole family together at Thanksgiving.  Cheers!

Orange Rosemary Bourbon Cocktail

2 ounces bourbon (I use Bulleit Bourbon)
2 ounces rosemary infused orange juice (see recipe below)
Soda water
Fresh rosemary sprig for garnish

Rosemary Infused Orange Juice

3 cups fresh squeezed orange juice (store bought OJ works too)
3 fresh rosemary sprigs

Place the rosemary sprigs into a clean air tight jar.  Pour the juice over the rosemary.  Store in the refrigerator and allow to infuse for about 2-3 days.  Remove the rosemary from the jar and discard.  The infused juice will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Assembling the cocktail:

Fill a rocks glass with ice.  Pour the bourbon and rosemary infused orange juice over the ice.  Top off with the soda water and garnish with the rosemary sprig.  Makes 1 serving.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Two Ingredient Ice Cream

OK I'm going to complain again for only one second that I can't turn on my oven during the day because of the weather.  Ugh!!  I have so many wonderful fall recipes that I'm hoping to share soon, before it turns winter!  So for now I will be doing some simple and fun recipes that doesn't require the oven.

I don't know if you've been to Trader Joe's lately and discovered that they have now made an ice cream with their super addicting Speculoos Cookie Butter.  Well unfortunately and fortunately I have.  I'm a sucker for trying out all of their new products and this one without a doubt jumped into my already overflowing grocery cart.  

My husband and I at first went slow and savored each bite of a small bowl declaring it is the best ice cream we've had in a while.  Then we decided it needed to be made into a pumpkin beer float, which was of course, incredible.  Then we found ourselves sneaking spoonfuls from the freezer and by the end of the week we were scraping the bottom of the carton not to leave any ounce of cookie butter behind.  Indulgent?  Maybe.  Feeling a bit guilty?  Yes.

To calm my guilty feelings and cookie butter cravings I decided to make my own version with just two  ingredients.  Yes, TWO ingredients!!  All you need is frozen bananas, cookie butter and a food processor to blend it until it makes that creamy delicious ice cream.  I admit it's not quite the same but it's definitely pretty darn good!  

Banana Cookie Butter Ice Cream

3 very ripe bananas, chopped and frozen 
1/4 cup Speculoos Cookie Butter, creamy or crunchy (substitutes: peanut butter, Nutella, chocolate fudge)

Place the frozen bananas into a food processor.  Blend until smooth.  Add the cookie butter and pulse until combined.  The texture will be creamy like soft serve ice cream.  You can enjoy immediately or place into an airtight container and place into the freezer for about 20-30 minutes until frozen.  Store in the freezer for up to 1 month.  Makes 2 cups.