Oven-Baked Sweet Potato Fries and Ketchup

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Yum! The “fries” were sweet and a little spicy, soft but not mushy. I really liked dipping in homemade mayo over the ketchup, but over all I would say this was a successful experiment. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Oven-Baked Spiced Sweet Potato Fries – adapted from The Iron You

  • 3 medium sweet potatoes (about 4 to 5 oz each)
  • 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (or melted coconut oil)
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon fine grain sea salt


Directions –

Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C) and place a rack in the middle.
Wash the sweet potatoes but don’t peel them, Cut each lengthwise in half. Cut again lengthwise into quarters, then once more into eighths and then once more in the same way, so you are left in the end with sixteen long wedges. Finally, cut each wedge in half crosswise.
Place the sliced sweet potatoes in a large Ziploc bag (or other freezer bag) and sprinkle with arrowroot powder. Close the bag and shake until the sweet potatoes are fully covered.
In a small bowl combine paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, cayenne pepper and salt.
Place the sweet potatoes onto a baking sheet that has been line with parchment paper and brushed lightly with some of the olive oil (or coconut oil). Spread sweet potatoes evenly leaving enough space between them for the air to circulate. Drizzle with the remaining olive oil (or coconut oil).
Sprinkle with some of the spice mixture.
Bake in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown. Turning the sweet potatoes once with the help of a spatula (be careful not to burn yourself though). For crispier fries turn on the broiler the last 3 to 4 minutes.

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Paleo Ketchup – adapted from The Iron You

  • 6 oz  tomato paste
  • 3 TBSP maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 1 garlic clove
  • ½ small onion

Directions –

In a medium saucepan over medium heat combine tomato paste, honey, water, apple cider vinegar, salt, garlic and onion. Whisk until very smooth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and let gently simmer for 20 minutes, stirring every so often. The sauce will thicken and the flavors will bind.
Remove from the heat, cover with a lid and let cool at room temperature. (*I used my stick blender to puree the ketchup*)
Once cool, transfer to an airtight container and keep in the fridge.

 

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Thanksgiving Day Recipe Round-Up

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Fall is my absolute favorite season because of the cooler weather, but mostly it’s because of the food! Thanksgiving dinner is hands-down the most time-consuming meal I make all year; but I love it! It’s a little depressing when I think of all the planning, shopping, prep-work, cooking, baking – not to mention the dish washing involved; and everyone is finished eating in about 20 minutes. Thankfully, there are the leftovers which can be the best part of the ordeal 🙂 I decided to round-up some of our favorites to help those of you who need inspiration and ideas.

A couple of tips for you novices out there – don’t be intimidated! 🙂 Plan at least a week in advance, especially if you plan on brining your turkey – I highly recommend it! You will never have a more moist, perfectly seasoned bird than when you’ve taken the time to brine. It’s not difficult, but you will need some extra space in your refrigerator and if you don’t have a huge, lidded container you can use heavy-duty brining bags, (I have used these). Also, invest in a digital probe thermometer, because who wants to go through all that trouble only to end up with overcooked (or under-cooked) turkey? Thanks for reading!

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Breakfast

*Update* Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Pumpkin Bread

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

Pumpkin Waffles

Baked Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

Cinnamon Pull-Apart Bread

Cinnamon Sugar Donut Muffins

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Appetizer/Sides

Spinach Artichoke Dip

Vanilla Almonds

Brioche and Sausage Dressing

Loaded Potato Soup

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Perfect Au Gratin Potatoes

Garlic Green Beans

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Breads

Honey Yeast Rolls

Basic Buttery Brioche

Homemade Crescent Rolls

Dinner Rolls

Parker House Rolls

Golden Pull-Apart Butter Buns

Honey Cornbread Muffins

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Mains

Brined Herb-Crusted Turkey

Honey Ham 

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Desserts

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Brown Sugar Apple Cheesecake

Deep Dish Apple Crumble Pie

Apple Crisp I

Apple Crisp II

Vegan Apple Crisp

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For the Leftovers

*Update* Chicken (or Turkey) Pot Pie with Cheddar Biscuit Crust

Turkey, Bacon and Avocado Sandwiches

Navy Bean and Ham Soup

Ham and Potato Soup

Pita Chips

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It was Mediterranean night for the group this week, (and because I am a food snob) I knew I would need to make pita chips to go with my fave tzatziki sauce. After a quick search, I stumbled upon this simple recipe. Caution: These are highly addictive! the kids and I eat them plain – they are perfectly crunchy, salty and a little savory 🙂 I think they’ll be a great addition to their school lunches instead of pretzels or chips. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

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Pita Chips – adapted from King Arthur Flour

  • 1 3/4 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups AP flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 1/4 cups lukewarm water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Topping –

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • sea salt to taste

1) Mix and knead the dough ingredients together to make a soft, smooth dough.

2) Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover, and let rise for 60 to 90 minutes, until just about doubled in bulk.

3) Preheat the oven to 450°F, with a pizza stone on the bottom rack. If you don’t have a pizza stone, see tips, below.

4) Gently deflate the dough, and divide it into 8 pieces.

5) Shape each into a ball, cover, and let rest for 10 minutes.

6) Working with two pieces of dough at a time, roll each into a 6″ circle. Transfer them to the hot stone.

7) Bake for 4 minutes, until puffy. Turn them over, and bake for an additional minute. Remove from the oven, and place on a rack to cool.

8) Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough.

9) Once the pitas are cool, carefully separate the two sides of each to make 16 thin rounds.

10) Brush rounds with oil and sprinkle with sea salt.

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11) Cut each round into 8 wedges. Divide the wedges between two parchment-lined baking sheets.

12) Bake the chips in a preheated 350°F oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until crisp; turn the chips over after 10 minutes of baking.

13) Remove chips from the oven, cool completely on the pan, wrap airtight, and store at room temperature.

Italian Antipasto Salad

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I made this salad for a group of ladies and judging by how little of this was left, it was a hit 😉 The salami and provolone combo is what makes this crave-worthy and I like the different textures of the lettuces. The vinaigrette compliments this salad perfectly, and thanks to the Dijon it stays well mixed for long periods of time. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

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Italian Antipasto Salad – adapted from The Food Network

  • 1/2 head romaine lettuce, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1/2 head butter lettuce, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1/2 head iceberg lettuce, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 cup rinsed canned red kidney beans, patted dry
  • 1 cup rinsed canned garbanzo beans, patted dry
  • 8 ounces salami, cubed
  • 6 ounces Provolone, cubed
  • Grape tomatoes
  • Red Wine Vinaigrette, recipe follows
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions –

Combine the first 8 ingredients in a large bowl. Toss with enough vinaigrette to coat. Season the salad with salt and pepper, to taste, and serve.

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Red Wine Vinaigrette – adapted from Epicurious

  • 1/4 cup red-wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Directions –

Pour all ingredients in a 8 ounce jar, replace the lid and shake vigorously.

Repost: Hot Spinach Artichoke Dip

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Who doesn’t like spinach artichoke dip?? Seriously, this is the best I have tried and everyone loves it. This post shows all the modifications that I have made to the original recipe. For a big group, I pour it into a small crock pot to keep warm and serve with baguettes or scoop-shaped tortilla chips. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Spinach Artichoke Dip – adapted from Allrecipes

  • 1 bulb garlic
  • 1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
  • 1 (14 ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 1 (10 ounce) container Alfredo-style pasta sauce
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 – 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • fresh cracked pepper to taste

Directions –

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (175 degrees C).

2. Prep the bulb for roasting: Peel away the outer layers of the garlic bulb skin, leaving the skins of the individual cloves intact. Using a knife, cut off 1/4 to a 1/2 inch of the top of cloves, exposing the individual cloves of garlic. Place the garlic heads in a baking pan; muffin pans work well for this purpose. Drizzle a couple teaspoons of olive oil over each head, using your fingers to make sure the garlic head is well coated. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake at 400°F for 30-35 minutes, or until the cloves feel soft when pressed.  Allow the garlic to cool enough so you can touch it without burning yourself. Use a small knife cut the skin slightly around each clove. Use a cocktail fork or your fingers to pull or squeeze the roasted garlic cloves out of their skins. (Directions with pictures at Simply Recipes)

3. In an 8×8 inch baking dish, spread the roasted garlic, spinach, artichoke hearts, Alfredo-style pasta sauce, mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese and cream cheese.

4. Cover and bake in the preheated oven 30 minutes, or until cheeses are melted and bubbly. Serve warm.

 

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Hummus

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This was really easy to make and I enjoyed eating it with lots of raw carrots. Now if I can only get my kids to try it, that would be great! Thanks for reading, enjoy 🙂

Hummus – adapted from The Kitchn

  • 1 15-oz can of chickpeas, drained
  • 1/2 of a fresh lemon, juiced
  • 1 small clove of garlic, minced finely
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 tbsp. tahini
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely ground black pepper

Tools

A food processor or blender

Directions –

Combine all ingredients. Blend until smooth. If it is a little dry, just add a little more lemon juice or olive oil, a teaspoon at a time, until you have the desired consistency. Add more salt and pepper if you like. Scrape out the hummus in a serving bowl and sprinkle the sumac on top. Serve with raw veggies, or spread on some pita bread.

Pizza Dip

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If I was going to have to watch football, I was going to make up for it by enjoying some junk food at the same time 😉 I was pretty excited to find all the necessary ingredients in my fridge to make this, and just enough pizza sauce and pepperoni left in the freezer. The only thing I didn’t have on hand was a baguette, but tortilla chips were a fine substitute. This came together quickly, and the measurements aren’t too important to follow exactly (“There’s too much cheese in this” – said no one ever!) Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Pizza Dip – adapted from Closet Cooking

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup mozzarella, grated (divided)
  • 1/2 cup parmigiano reggiano, grated (divided)
  • 1 cup pizza sauce
  • 2 ounces pepperoni, sliced
  • fresh cracked pepper to taste
  • dried oregano (optional)
  • sliced baguette or chips for serving

Directions –

  1. Mix the cream cheese, sour cream mayonnaise, half of the mozzarella, half of the parmigiano reggiano and pepper to taste. Spread it across the bottom of a pie plate.
  2. Spread the pizza sauce on top and sprinkle on the rest of the cheeses and pepperoni. Sprinkle oregano over top if desired.
  3. Bake in a preheated 350F oven until the sides are bubbling and the cheese has melted and turned golden brown on top, about 20 minutes.

Perfect Au Gratin Potatoes

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The name says it all – these really are perfect! They are the easiest potato side dish I have ever made and I’m finding new excuses to make them. We enjoyed these alongside this roast chicken and these garlicky green beans. The leftovers heat up nicely too – if there are any! Thanks for reading, enjoy 🙂

Perfect Potatoes Au Gratin – adapted from The Pioneer Woman

  • 4 whole Russet Potatoes, Scrubbed Clean
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter, Softened
  • 1-1/2 cup Heavy Cream
  • 1/2 cup Whole Milk
  • 2 Tablespoons Flour
  • 4 cloves Garlic, Finely Minced
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • freshly Ground Pepper, to taste
  • fresh thyme to taste (my addition…so yummy)
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Directions –

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Smear softened butter all over the bottom of a baking dish.

Slice potatoes, then cut slices into fourths.

In a separate bowl, whisk together cream, milk, flour, minced garlic, salt, and plenty of freshly ground black pepper.

Place 1/3 of the potatoes in the bottom of the baking dish. Pour 1/3 of the cream mixture over the potatoes.

Repeat this two more times, ending with the cream mixture. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 20 minutes, or until potatoes are golden brown and really bubbling. Add grated cheese to the top of the potatoes and bake for 3 to 5 more minutes, until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Vanilla Almonds

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(Happy New Year! I meant to post this a couple of weeks ago…but I was visiting family)

I was inspired to make these after watching one of my favorite cooking shows. I knew I would need some quick teacher gifts for the kids (I hope they like almonds!), and some snacks for the party we’re hosting today. I tried a few and I am happy to report that they are really tasty! Our friends loved them and I even had some recipe requests for them 🙂 Thanks for reading, enjoy.

Vanilla Almonds – adapted from Kelsey’s Essentials

  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 4 cups whole almonds
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Beat the egg white with the vanilla extract, add the almonds and stir to coat. Combine the sugar, salt, and cinnamon and combine with mixture. Place in a single layer on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 300 degrees F for 20 minutes. Remove and cool on wax paper and break into clusters.

Pretzel-Crusted Chicken Nuggets

These are crunchy, savory and kid friendly. Sorry, not much more to say because I made this a month ago! 😉 Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Pretzel-Crusted Chicken Nuggets- adapted from Gimme Some Oven

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 eggs, whisked (or you can substitute 3 egg whites)
  • 2 cups finely crushed pretzels (I used a full bag of Pretzel Crisps)
  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized (about 1-inch) pieces

Directions –

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cover a baking sheet (or you may need two) with aluminum foil.

Whisk together flour, salt and pepper in a bowl. In a separate bowl, add the two whisked eggs. Then in a third bowl, add the crushed pretzels. This will be your assembly line for the nuggets.

Take a piece of chicken and dip it in the flour mixture until it is evenly covered. Then dip it in the eggs, and then in the crushed pretzels, then place on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining chicken.

Bake nuggets for about 20 minutes, or until the chicken is fully cooked. (Cooking time can depend on the size of your nuggets). Serve with your favorite dipping sauce.