It’s Getting Chilly. Let’s eat Chili.

SNACKS

Flourless Chocolate Pumpkin Fudge Cookies – Intense, deep, dark chocolate is what you get with these fudgey cookies.  If you are not into dark chocolate, you can reduce the chocolate a bit.  The darker the better, in my book.  However, my little one thought they were a bit too powerful.  Adjust to your taste accordingly.

Pumpkin Fudge – I made these twice.  The first go round I followed the original recipe.  I had my doubts about it, and I was right.  It needed something… With the addition of some additional pumpkin seasonings and a pinch of sea salt, things got brighter.  I’m not sure why it is called “fudge,” because it doesn’t have a fudge texture.  I think it has a souffle-like quality.  Regardless, it’s a treat!  Have some heavy cream on hand? Whip it up with a bit of maple syrup.  Then, add a dollop to each serving for a really impressive dinner party dessert.

DINNERS

Squash and Ricotta Bake – Wow! This was a great Sunday dinner recipe.  It took a little more time because it required roasting and then a quick return to the oven to melt a cheesy topping.  The little bit of extra time was totally worth it.  I would’ve never imagined that roasted squash paired so well with basil, tomatoes, and mozzarella.  This was truly fantastic!

Indian Summer Chili –This recipe was so popular that I made it twice this week.  Once for a school chili cook-off and another time for tailgating.  A word to the wise…don’t use 99% fat free turkey.  In error, we got 99% fat free and quickly discovered it is NOT the right texture – it’s kinda chewy.  From a flavor standpoint, there’s really no difference.  So if full fat turkey is not your thing, no worries.  (I don’t know how I managed to forget to snap a picture, especially since I made it twice this week. Nevertheless, it didn’t happen.)

Hope something makes your belly smile…

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Flourless Chocolate Pumpkin Fudge Cookies

Adapted from My Whole Food Life

 

Ingredients:
1 c. canned organic pumpkin
1 c. creamy nut butter of your choosing (I like almond butter)
1/4 c. pure maple syrup
½ t. organic vanilla extract
½ to ¾ c. cacao powder (alternative: unsweetened cocoa powder)
2 t. cinnamon
1/3 c. chocolate chunks, roughly chopped (try my favorite chocolate: liberty chocolate bars)
Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  In a food processor, combine all ingredients except the chocolate chunks.  Once combined, stir in the chocolate chunks by hand.  Use a scooper to drop the cookies on a silicone lined baking sheet or baking stone.  Bake for 12 minutes.  Allow to cool before removing from the baking surface.


Pumpkin Fudge

Adapted from The Big Man’s World

 Ingredients:
1 15 oz. can organic pumpkin puree
1 c. coconut flour, sifted
½ T. pumpkin spice
Pinch of sea salt
1/2 c. coconut palm sugar
Cinnamon, topping
Maple syrup, topping
Directions: Mix together pumpkin, coconut flour, pumpkin spice, sea salt, and coconut palm sugar.  Line a pie pan with plastic wrap.  Press the pumpkin mixture into the pie pan.  Drizzle with maple syrup and sprinkle with cinnamon.  Refrigerate about 20-30 minutes to firm up.  Slice as you go.  Keep refrigerated.


Squash and Ricotta Bake

Adapted from Jamie Oliver

Ingredients:
1 large butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and chopped into bite size cubes
(tip: microwave the squash whole for 1 minute to make for easier peeling)
3 T. olive oil (divided into 1 T, 2 T)
1 bunch of fresh organic basil, (stem finely slices, leaves roughly chopped)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 can organic diced tomatoes
Pinch sea salt
1 lb. 100% whole wheat penne pasta
freshly ground black pepper
3 T. organic, whole milk ricotta cheese
3 c. organic vegetable stock
4 oz. mini mozzarella balls (ciliegine)
1 handful Parmesan cheese, freshly grated (ideally)
Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees (bake, not convection).  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.  Toss butternut squash cubes with 1 tablespoon olive oil and a several pinches of sea salt.  Spread in a single layer on the baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes.

In the meantime, heat a large skillet to medium heat.  Add the olive oil and basil stems and garlic.  Once the garlic becomes fragrant (about a minute), add the diced tomatoes. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.  Stir in the squash after roasting and some freshly ground black pepper.

While the sauce is simmering, bring a pot a salted water to a boil.  Add the pasta.  Under cook the pasta by several minutes before draining (do NOT rinse).  Add the pasta to a slightly oiled baking dish.

To the sauce, stir in the chopped basil leaves and vegetable broth.  Again, bring it to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.  Stir in the ricotta cheese.  Pour the sauce atop the pasta in the baking dish and gently stir.  Place the mini mozzarella balls in and around the pasta – using your fingers to push it into nooks and crannies.  Bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes or until the mozzarella has melted.  Plate and serve with some freshly grated parmesan cheese and a final drizzle of olive oil.


Indian Summer Chili 

Adapted from Rachel Ray
Ingredients:
3-4 T. extra-virgin olive oil
2-3 lbs. ground turkey breast (not 99% fat free)
4 T. chili powder (check ingredients to avoid preservatives/fillers)
4 T. grill seasoning blend (check ingredients to avoid preservatives/fillers –Kroger’s Grill Time Chicken is filler free)
2 T. ground cumin
2 T. Worcestershire sauce, optional
1 – 3 T. hot sauce, medium to extra-spicy (several ingredients add heat – start slow and add more when tasting at the end)
1-2 large organic onion, chopped
2-4 large organic green or other color peppers, chopped
1 bottle of stout beer (alcohol cooks out)
2 (14 or 16-ounce) cans organic tomato sauce
1 can organic diced tomatoes (Carly: organic fire roasted tomatoes)
1 c. smokey barbecue sauce (choose one w/ the least amount of sugar and ingredients – or make your own w/ recipe below)
2-3 c. organic, frozen corn, optional
plain Greek yogurt (optional topping)
crumbled organic tortilla chips (optional topping)
organic cheddar, shredded (optional topping)
Directions: Heat large, stock pot (or large Dutch oven) to medium heat. Add olive oil to coat bottom of pan. Add turkey, chili powder, grill seasoning, cumin, Worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce.  Mix ingredients and break up the turkey into tiny bits.  Continue cooking until turkey is no longer pink (approx. 5-7 min.). Add onions and green peppers and cook until softened (about 5 min.). Add all other ingredients and bring to a boil.  Immediately reduce heat to barely simmering.  Cover and allow to simmer for at least 20 min.

Homemade BBQ Sauce

Adapted from The Gracious Pantry
Ingredients:
1 (15 ounce) can organic tomato sauce
1 (6 ounce) can organic tomato paste
1 t. low sodium soy sauce
2 t. cumin
1 t. paprika
1/8 t. cayenne pepper
1 T. garlic powder (alternative: 3-4 garlic cloves, minced)
1 T. onion powder
4 T. unsulfured molasses
3 T. raw honey
5 T.  balsamic vinegar
Directions: In a medium bowl, add all ingredients and stir to combine. Store unused BBQ sauce in the refrigerator.

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