Saturday, November 21, 2015

Make this now...Herbed Olive Oil

And use it through the entire holiday! Even if you are not the family "cook" these are recipes that are simple and will wow the guests at your holiday gathering. 

When you're in the Italian restaurant and eat half of a loaf of bread, because of the delicious olive oil and herbs that you have been dipping it in, do you ever think that you should just make this at home?  You should.  

Make it now. 
Then enjoy it through the holiday weekend. 
If you make it now, you can let it sit overnight so that the flavors meld and deepen with time. 

5 phenomenal uses for herbed olive oil;

Use it as an alternative to butter for your holiday bread and rolls. 

Rub the outside of your turkey with it before roasting.  

Toss with pecans or walnuts and toast for savory spiced nuts.  

Toss with day old bread cubes and toast to make amazing croutons. 

Mix with balsamic or white wine vinegar for a savory vinegarette salad dressing. 

Plus, you get to show up with something unique and delicious for your holiday gathering! 

Enjoy! And let me know if you find other delicious uses for it!

Herbed Olive Oil
1.5 Cups Olive Oil
2Tablespoons Fresh Rosemary (1 T dried)
1 clove garlic minced or 1/4 tsp of garlic powder
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp black pepper

Place all ingredients into blender, pulse until combined.  (We use a small drink blender)
Add more/different seasoning as you wish. 
Pour into a jar with a tight fitting lid. 
Do not refrigerate (the olive oil with solidify)
Let stand overnight. 
The herbs will settle to the bottom and it will become clearer.  However, feel free to  stir it up and let the spices disperse throughout.

To make Savory Herbed Nuts;
Put raw nuts in a pan over low heat.
Drizzle herbed olive oil over them until they are thinly coated. 
Continue to stir them often and they are "done" when they become fragrant.  

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Roasted Acorn Squash "Fries"...quick & delicious

I passed an acorn squash in the grocery store and realized I've never tried one.
Turns out, the recipe I chose was easy and really tasty. The cheese gets a little crispy and the squash is tender with a very mild flavor. With an oil "mister" it's even easier. You don't even have to remove the outer covering of the squash!

I'm gonna keep this brief, and go devour a pan of squash. 

Here it is...

Savory Roasted Acorn Squash "Fries"

Acorn Squash
Olive Oil in a spray "Mister"
Grated Parmesan Cheese
Seasoned Salt (Optional)

Cut squash in half lengthwise 
Scoop out seeds
Cut off ends, discard
Cut into 1/2 inch "half moons"
Place onto baking sheet (lined with parchment or aluminum foil for easy clean up)
Spray with Olive Oil
Flip over and spray opposite side
At this point you can sprinkle them with a tiny bit of seasoned salt, if you'd like.
Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese (We use a microplane and grate the cheese over the squash)
Bake @ 400 for 30 mins.  

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Curry Chicken Salad & Buffalo Blue Chicken Salad - Quick fix forRotisserie Chicken Salad

Just because I love to cook, doesn't mean I don't love a quick fix.  Even better when a "quick fix" meal is met with rave reviews.
Most grocers that sell rotisserie chickens, also sell really wonderful chicken salad made with the chicken. We have a local warehouse club that makes delicious chicken salad, but the large quantity often means we are bored with it before it goes bad.  Not anymore...
It turns out that with just a few simple additions you can dress up some deli rotisserie chicken salad and make people think that you are the best cook around!
The fun in cooking is all about adjusting recipes to your taste and so this is not about exact measurements, but more about inspiration and ideas. 

Curried Chicken Salad
1.5 Cups Rotisserie Chicken Salad 
2 tsp curry powder
2 T Sweet Relish (I used some pear relish from my sweet Mother in Law)
Handful of toasted nuts, chopped (Almonds, Pecans, Cashews, etc)
Finely Chopped Apple OR Raisins, OR Grapes (I really like using 1/2 of a Granmy Smith Apple)

Combine all ingredients and mix well.  Adjust ingredients to your taste. 
*If the chicken salad is a bit dry, you can add additional Mayonaise, or even better a bit of Greek Yogurt.  

Buffalo Blue Chicken Salad
1.5 Cups Rotisserie Chicken Salad
2 Tablespoons of Buffalo Wing Sauce or "Red Hot" Hot sauce. 
Mix well. 
Garnish with Blue Cheese Crumbles. 
Feeling indulgent? Stir a bit of finely chopped bacon into the chicken mixture.

That's it...plain and simple.  A large container of Rotisserie Chicken salad will allow for both recipes with some "plain" left over to make a nice trio. We enjoyed ours for dinner with some apple slices, crackers, and celery for dipping.  

Bring these to your next party and people will swear that you worked TOO hard. Your secret is safe with me!