Saturday, November 29, 2014

From the Kitchen - Outside the Nest

Parmesan Chicken Bake

I am about to prove that you can teach an old dog new tricks.
Last week I shared a recipe using butternut squash.

This week I'm sharing a recipe using a dinosaur egg.
Ok, not really. This is a spaghetti squash.
I've never tried one before, because I always felt that all squash tasted the same.
I was wrong. Yes, I'll admit it.

I whacked it in half and scooped out the stuff.

Then I flipped the halves over and baked them.

At the same time, I sprinkled some seasoning on a skinless, boneless chicken breast, and baked it as well.

While the chicken finished baking, I pulled apart the strands of spaghetti. 

Then the magic began. I used my favorite chicken soup base, 

added onion and garlic powders, and stirred them into some water. After heating it a tad,

I added sour cream.
Low fat sour cream.
Are you still with me?

Shaved Parmesan cheese. Ooo, la la.

I chopped the chicken into bite size pieces,

added it to the spaghetti, poured on the sauce.
Heat and serve.

It doesn't taste like squash.
It tastes like more, much, much more.
And it's healthy.
Leftovers taste good as well.
This doggy likes.

So you see, you can teach an old dog new tricks.
At least you can teach this Chickadee to try new food.
Give it a whirl.
Is it ever good.
Happy Saturday.

Parmesan Chicken Bake

1 skinless, boneless chicken breast
1/2 C + 2 Tbsp water, divided
1 small spaghetti squash
1/2 Tsp chicken broth and soup powdered base
1/2 Tsp onion powder
1/2 Tsp garlic powder
1/4 C reduced-fat sour cream
1/4 C shaved Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350°. Spray small glass casserole with cooking spray, add 2 Tbsp water. Season chicken breast according to taste, place in casserole. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Place face down on parchment paper. Place squash and chicken in oven. Cook squash 45 minutes, remove from oven. Leave chicken in oven additional 15 minutes, or until done. Using a fork, pull strands of squash apart and place in a 6 cup casserole. Place 1/2 C water in glass measure, add broth and soup base, onion powder and garlic powder. Heat in microwave 20 seconds. Stir to dissolve, add sour cream and Parmesan Cheese. Remove chicken from oven and cut into bite-size pieces. Add chicken to squash, pour sauce over and stir. Heat in oven 20-30 minutes, until heated through and bubbling. 3 servings

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Book Release

Where There's A Will

It's here. In my hands. Ready to be signed.
And read.
That's right. My fourth book is published and available on Amazon and at a book signing after services at St. Jakobi this coming weekend.
So I thought I'd share a little bit of it here today.

As she was about push the box out the door and into the living room, a small framed photo sitting on the night stand on the far side of the bed caught her eye. A younger Rolf sat on a chair, while a young bride stood behind him with her hand resting on his shoulder.
She walked around the end of the bed and picked up the picture, staring for a moment at his late wife, Eve. She was beautiful, with long blond hair swept back into an old fashioned style. Her dress looked like it might have been an antique, ivory lace creating a high collar and long cuffs that topped a pair of fingerless gloves. As she turned to pack the picture among the clothing in the box, she saw that it had been sitting atop a well worn bible. The binding was somewhat tattered, several pages sticking out at odd angles as if they had come loose. Without another thought, Katie picked it up with care, then skirted back around the bed to pack the two items in the box.
Just as she pulled a shirt around the picture frame, a shrill scream rent the air.

“What?” she cried, almost tripping over the box in her haste to get out of the room. “What’s going on?” she shouted as she ran through the house, seemingly empty of any people. She skidded to a stop as she flung open the door, her heart missing a beat at the scene in front of her.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

From The Kitchen - Outside the Nest

Cranberry Orange Squash Bake

I don't do squash. Except for zucchini. Sometimes.
But I had to try this, and well, I'm a convert.
I've found that not all squash tastes the same.

Let's start with a butternut squash. Very mild. Needs a little boost to ramp up the flavor. I remove the seeds,

massage in a bit of olive oil to sooth the flesh,

flip it and bake it.

Hmm, looks like normal squash. I snuck a tiny taste. 
I wasn't about to waste the rest of the ingredients if I didn't like the main one. Needed something.

Just what the kitchen doctor ordered. A sprinkle of orange zest, a squeeze of orange juice.
By the way, too much orange zest is not a good thing. Trust me.

Pumpkin pie spice, oh so nice.

A glug or so of Back Forty Sugar Shack Pure Maple Syrup. Mix it all together.

Now, how about something to cover it with.
Oatmeal, cranberries, brown sugar.
Whirl it around.

Sprinkle it on top of the squash, drizzle with olive oil.
Back in the oven until it bubbles in joy.

Luscious. Festive. Tasty. A little tart, a little sweet, a little savory, a bit of tang. Just in time for the holiday. The recipe says 6 servings.
I stretched it out to 3.
I could have eaten the whole dish in one sitting.
Yes, it was that good.
Or should I say:
Was it ever good.
Happy Saturday.

Cranberry Orange Squash Bake

1 small butternut squash
2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1 orange
3/4 Tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 Tsp salt
1/4 Tsp ground black pepper
2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
2 Tbsp brown sugar
3/4 C old fashioned rolled oats
1/2 C fresh or frozen cranberries

Preheat oven to 375°. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut squash in half lengthwise, remove seeds. Brush cut side with oil, reserve remaining oil for topping. Place squash cut side down on parchment, bake 45 minutes, or until fork tender. Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Spray 4 C casserole or glass baking dish with cooking spray.  Zest 1/4 tsp orange zest, and juice the entire orange. Scoop flesh of squash from shell and place in casserole. Add the orange zest, juice, pumpkin pie spice, salt, pepper, and maple syrup. Mix well. In blender or food processor, combine brown sugar, rolled oats and cranberries, pulse until cranberries are chopped and mixture is in pea size pieces. Sprinkle on top of squash mixture. Drizzle with remaining olive oil. Reduce oven to 325°. Place squash in oven, uncovered, heat until top is crisp and mixture is bubbly, about 20-30 minutes. 6 servings

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Chickadee Cottage Empty Nest Cookbook

Tasteful Tips From the Chickadee Cottage Empty Nest Cookbook

Today I'm sharing a couple of tasty recipes from my cookbook.
These are quick little blurbs, right out of the 'This and That' section. I guarantee this will help in a pinch, during the busy holiday season.

First I'll make brown sugar.
Start with granulated sugar and a squiggle of molasses.
Sure beats a lump of hard sugar lurking in the corner of the cupboard.

Mix together with a fork, and viola, there you have it. So easy, so simple.

Next, Pumpkin Pie Spice.




There you have it. If your spice cabinet looks like mine, you don't need a separate container just for that pumpkin pie.
I'm sharing these today, because on Saturday I'm sharing a new recipe that calls for both.
And, I'm trying to help when you wail, 'Nooooo, I don't have any!'

Brown Sugar
1 C granulated sugar
1-1/2 Tbsp molasses

Whisk sugar and molasses together until mixed. For dark brown sugar, double molasses

Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 Tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 Tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 Tsp ground ginger
1/8 Tsp ground cloves

Mix together. Use in favorite pumpkin recipe

Saturday, November 15, 2014

From the Kitchen - Outside the Nest

Gourmet Green Bean Casserole

This is not your momma's green bean casserole.
This is not your standard, run-of-the-mill green bean casserole.
There is no cream of anything soup in this casserole.

I start with green beans and corn. I am not a fan of green beans, by the way. But, I will gobble them all up using this recipe.
I'm making enough just for myself. The recipe that follows is family size.

I crisp up some nice center-cut bacon. I do it in the oven, since I'll be using the oven later. A frying pan works just as well.

I use chive and onion cream cheese spread, fat-free mayonnaise, a dab of butter, a sprinkle of garlic powder. I use a sprinkle of garlic powder in a lot of cooking. Garlic is good for the body. Or is it the soul?
Or something.
 Mix it together,

stir in the veggies, add the bacon,

top with French-fried onions.
Bake until heated through.

You don't need Thanksgiving turkey to with this dish. BBQ chicken works just as well. Or a pork chop. Or a steak. Maybe meatloaf. Or anything else you want.

It's a new twist on an old favorite, and,
Is it ever good.
Happy Saturday

Gourmet Green Bean Casserole

4 C frozen green beans
1 C frozen corn
4-6 slices center-cut bacon
4 Tsp butter, room temperature
4 oz. Chive and Onion cream cheese spread, room temperature
3 Tbsp fat-free mayonnaise
1 Tsp garlic powder
1 C French Fried Onions

Preheat oven to 400°. Place green beans and corn in a glass casserole, along with 2 Tbsp. water. Cover and cook in microwave on full power 4 minutes, drain and set aside. Place bacon in an oven-proof pan, bake 10 to 12 minutes, until crisp. Drain and crumble, set aside. Combine butter, cream cheese spread, mayonnaise and garlic powder. Stir in beans, corn and bacon. Place in greased casserole. Top with French Fried onions. Reduce oven to 325°. Cover casserole and bake 20-25 minutes, until heated through. 8 servings

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Pleasure of Giving

It Warms the Heart
It's that time of year again.
The tree is covered with items to warm little hands,
keep little heads warm,
keep frost off the toes.

I'm talking fuzzy hats,

little tiny mittens,

long-leggidly stockings.
We collect them all at church and give them to children who have none.

We also collect food for those who are in need.
There may be canned goods,
there may be meals in a box,
there may be baking goods.
There will be nourishment for those who have none.

As we approach Thanksgiving, I have so much to be thankful for.
I'm thankful that I can help provide to those who are truly in need. It warms my heart, this pleasure of giving.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

From The Kitchen - Outside The Nest

Hearty Red Sauce

Red sauce is such a pretty word.
Well ok, 2 words.
Add Hearty, and you can feel your tummy filling up with goodness.

I start with a combination of ground beef and ground turkey.

Add some chopped fresh garlic.

Brown it up,
add Italian seasoning,

basil pesto (yum, yum),

diced tomatoes,

tomato paste,

and, my favorite, chicken soup/broth base mixed into water. Let it simmer, burble, steam.

Pour it over your favorite pasta, top with Parmesan, add a veggie on the side,
and there you have it.
A very healthy, hearty, warm, tummy filling, stick-to-your ribs kinda meal on these cold winter days.
Oh wait, it isn't winter yet.
Any day you eat it, 
is it every good.
Happy Saturday.

Hearty Red Sauce

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/4 lb. ground beef
1/4 lb. ground turkey
1 garlic clove, minced
1 Tsp. Italian seasoning
1 Tsp. basil pesto
1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste
1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes with juice
1 Tsp. chicken broth and soup powder
2 Tbsp. water
Hot cooked pasta

Heat oil in skillet over medium heat, add beef, turkey, and garlic. Cook and stir until browned. Add Italian seasoning, pesto, tomato paste and diced tomatoes, mix. Combine chicken broth powder and water, stir into meat mixture. Lower heat and simmer 15-20 minutes, uncovered. Serve over hot pasta. 3 servings.