Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Get Sauced Cranberry Sauce

Pinot Noir red wine is the perfect pairing with cranberries and your thanksgiving meal. The addition of red wine and a hint of orange liqueur will make your cranberry sauce sauced!

So I told ya'll I was gonna be trying a bourbon in my cranberry sauce, but I took a detour.

I got distracted

I was like that dog from "Up"--- oh look squirrel!

I was thinking bourbon, but then I thought of another cranberry colored spirit... WINE! WINE not? It is a holiday. Most likely you are cramped around a table with family and that can sometimes get uncomfortable...

Like my grandma be like "When are you giving us grandkids?" or my mom being terribly unprepared for company.

I knew this mash up would be amazing- I mean the tartness of a red wine is sure to be PERFECT in cranberry sauce! DUUUUUH!

So I talked to my friend Lenn of The New York Cork Report. The man knows wine, like I know beer. I have A LOT to learn about wine. So I asked him what red wine would pair best with cranberry sauce. He suggested Pinot Noir and he was sooooo right! Perfection!

Who needs regular cranberry sauce when you could have THIS!

Not just wine, bu I took it up yet ANOTHER notch with some Grand Marnier.

But really I bought a cheaper immitation brand because I'm a cheapy cheap pants. But it's just as good!

What you need

1 8 oz. bag of fresh cranberries
1 cup pinot noir, red wine
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon orange liquer
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 tablespoon orange liquer (when done cooking)

How to make it

1- Combine all ingredients in a skillet (aside from last tablespoon liquer)
2- Place on medium heat
3- Simmer for about 25 minutes, until wine has reduced and cranberries are all popped and shriveled.

Nutritional Information

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Skinny Southern Sweet Potato Casserole

A traditional southern sweet potato casserole- kept all the yum and remove the excess fat and calories to remove the guilt! 

I got some skills.... Fat cutting, flavor keeping skills!  I'm not a self tooting horn usually, but in this case I shall toot toot away! 

This skinny sweet potato casserole kicks some serious taste buds! I do it for me, but I mostly do it for you guys out there! 

Ye asked and ye shall receive!

You guys told me via social media you were really looking forward to sweet potato casserole. You said you wanted some slimmed up classics.

So I got your back! 

This recipe usually is a calorie killer- also loaded with carbs and fat. So I employed a couple of my own tricks to keep this recipe as true to the original but cut out the guilt!

It's got HALF THE FAT, LESS CARBS and 172 calories less per serving!! 

Time to do a happy dance!

I totally added this gif in honor of Fork and Good's Emma!

Trick 1- this is not just sweet potatoes, I added half pumpkin purée. So right there I cut a whole lotta carbs. I sleiged them! Dead! Ps- you cannot tell at all! It tastes just like the original! Seriously, scouts honor!

Trick 2- cut out the extra butter and sugar. The original recipe called for a cup of butter and a cup of sugar for the filling alone. Yowsa! Seriously this was bad ya'll! I refuse to ever use that much butter unless it's a cookie. So I went with 2 tablespoons of butter, it was buttery enough, went with the third cup of sugar- totally sweet enough! Besides- it's got candied pecan topping! I also cut out extra butter and sugar from the topping too!

Okay so you're all like- why did you do this?! I love my casserole as is.

Well I love it too and I totally assure you this is jut as good. All that extra fat and sugar is fun, but there is a threshold where you cannot taste it anymore and it just doesn't need to be there.

It's like frosting a cake and then adding chocolate ganache on top-

Like a third nipple- who needs one of those?  Pointless! (Having flash backs of Chandler's third nipple on Friends)

So quit your whinning and try this recipe! Then you can crawl on back and tell me how it rocked your world!

Drooling yet??

Recipe skinnified and adapted from this recipe here.

What you need:

Sweet Potato Filling

4 small sweet potatoes, mashed
1 can pumpkin puree
2 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup lowfat milk
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin spice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Candied Pecan topping

1 cup pecans
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
3 tablespoons melted butter

How to make it

1- Preheat oven to 350º
2- Combine all ingredients for sweet potato filling in a bowl, place in a medium casserole dish, I used a 8" circular dish.
3- Combine all ingredients for topping, sprinkle over the top of filling.
4- Bake 30-40 minutes until topping has browned.

Nutritional Information



Sunday, November 9, 2014

The Best Pumpkin Mac and Cheese

The bestest and cheesiest Pumpkin Mac and Cheese with crispy sage leaves. Thick and rich, this dish is a sure fire foodgasm!

Sometimes you have a great idea for a recipe, try it out and know it can be MUCH MUCH better. So you try, try and try again! This recipe is one of those cases I tried it many ways and FINALLY perfected it!

First- I made pasta, added in the milk, butter, pumpkin and cheese. Too cheesey and the cheese I used was too stringy and not melty enough. It was clumpy, boo not pretty!

Second- I made the pasta in milk, boiled it in the milk. I read that this makes the creamiest mac and cheese. Added cheese, butter and pumpkin once the pasta was cooked through and the milk had condensed. Topped it with MORE cheese baked it and added brown butter fried sage leaves atop. Delicous yes, but not creamy enough and kinda became solid. Booooo!

Third- The third time's the charm! I decided to make a bechamel sauce! That's the ticket. But not just any bechamel I browned the butter a but and added in some small sage leaves. After it thickened nicely I added pumpkin puree and a blend of two of the creamiest/ meltiest cheeses: Gruyere and Fontina! To add some saltiness I added some Asiago. Lastly to finish the sauce I added some freshly ground pepper and just the smallest pinch of pumpkin spice! PERFECTION! Absolute perfection!

Not a healthy one... file this under Fatty Fat Pants.

This post is part of 12 weeks of Winter squash started by Girlichef. I am soooo honored to be taking part in this with such talented bloggers!

If you haven't checked out Girlichef you should- her recipes are all amazing and there are soooo sooo many to choose from!

Thank you Heather for inviting me to take part!

Be sure to scroll to the bottom to see MORE amazing squash recipes!

What you need

1 pound of pasta (I used Trader Joe's Orechette)
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons small sage leaves (or chopped sage)plus extra for garnish
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cup lowfat milk (plus an extra splash for the end)
1/2 cup Pumpkin Puree
1/2 cup Fontina
1/2 cup Gruyere
1/4 cup Asiago
Tiny Pinch of pumpkin spice
Salt and Pepper to taste 
1/2 cup shredded Swiss and Gruyere cheese mix

How to make it

1- Preheat oven to 415º
2- Boil water in a large pot with salted water
3- Once water is boiling rapidly add in the pasta and cook as directed.
4- In a cast iron skillet (mine is about 12" wide) add in your butter and cook on medium.
5- when butter is melted ass in your small or chopped sage leaves. Let them brown a bit in the butter.
6- Once sage leaves are browned add in your flour and combine really well with the butter.
7- Once combined start adding in your milk slowly.
NOTE: when making a bechamel it is highly recomended that you heat the milk first, I forgot to and it seemed to work fine, I am guessing since the skillet retains so much heat.
8- Whisk in the milk and keep stirring until thickened.
9- Add in your pumpkin, fontina and gruyere, if desired you can add a little extra milk maybe 1/4-1/3 a cup depending on the desired consistancy you would like.
10- Add salt and pepper, I like a goodly amount of pepper in my mac and cheese. Also add in the tiniest punch of pumpkin spice, just for effect.
NOTE: I also added a little extra milk before topping with extra cheese to make sure when it baked it stayed nice and creamy. 
11- Add cooked pasta to the skillet, cover with remaining Swiss and Gruyere Mix.
OPTIONAL add large sage leave to top for ganish and brush with olive oil.
12- Bake in oven for about 15 minutes

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Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Roasted Autumn Trio- Apple, Onion and Sweet Potato

It's not just fruits, it's vegetables. It's not just savory, but sweet. This roasted trio defies expectations and conventions and can be served with nearly any meat as a side. 

I buck traditions whenever possible. It's just the way I am. You would expect fruits to be chillin' with other fruits and veggies to be hanging with their veggie friends... But in my world I like them to party together and find common ground. Well they totally did just now with their bi-curious vegetable, the sweet potato. Is is a veggie or a fruit, it is starchy but sweet. This root vegetable is the perfect way to bridge the gap from sweet and savory.

So for a simple side I created this ménage e trois. I added a little sugar and spice... Because they really do make everything nice. Mixed it up and roasted it. 

Call it a day and call your dinner done! 

This was the perfect accompaniment to the beautiful apple and sage stuffed pork roast I posted last week! Seriously amazing together. Yet so so easy. 

But that's his this girl rolls. Only bust a sweat on special occasions, you know? 

What you need

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
5 medium sweet potatoes (or about 8oz.), diced
1 large apple, diced (I used honeycrisp)
1 medium red onion, diced
Sage leaves for garnish

How to make it 

1- Preheat oven to 415º
2- Whisk together the olive oil, brown sugar and spice in a large bowl.
3- Toss all diced fruit and veggies in it.
4- Place on a ceramic cookie sheet or cookie sheet lines with foil.
5- Garnish with sage leaves.
5- Bake for 25 minutes.

Nutritional Info

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Apple and Sage Stuffed Pork Roast & Tips for the Perfect Roast Pork!

Pork roast has never been easier, more delicious or this elegant ever before. This pork roast has been infused with apple and sage for your fall enjoyment. Also included are the tips for the perfect roasted pork.

Getting back to basics never hurt anybody, especially a food blogger. If I am gonna tell you how to make something, I should tell you the best way to do it and not the wrong way or the way I learned how to do it.

I find myself routinely googling how to roast vegetables and now how to roast pork. All I know about it is what my mom has done. I totally love my mom and her adventurous sprit in the kitchen... but let's just say she lacks in basic execution. Like me... but now I got google and some chef friends!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Fall Craft Beer Picks and a Giveaway

It's fall and with the crisp cooler weather I wave adeiu to IPA's and welcome back my favorite Pumpkin Spiced Ales. You gotta have a reason to look forward to every season and I always look forward to wrapping my lips around some pumpkin beer!

This year I decided to wrap up my favorites and collaborate with fellow beer blogger Joel from Fermented Reality. I met him a while ago on twitter. He sure knows his beer, but what really got my attention is some of his t-shirts. Especially his Hip Hop t-shirt. I begged for him to make them as ladies fitted tees and he did!! YAY!

Available for both men and women, I asked him about doing a giveaway on my blog and he gladly obliged, so now YOU have a chance to win one of these awesome t-shirts! I got one and LOOOOVE it! Sometimes you get a t-shirt and don't expect much, but the quality on this t-shirt is great and I love the design!

If you cannot wait for your chance to win... you can buy a shirt here.

---------> See the bottom of the post to enter to win a shirt!

Monday, October 20, 2014

No Bake Skinny Pumpkin Cheesecake Shots

These pumpkin cheese cake shots are reduced fat, no bake and super easy to make! The small size makes this an indulgent yet sensible dessert!

Another pumpkin recipe ya'll (is it weird to say ya'll when I am from NY, LOL?)

A while back I saw these great no bake pumpkin cheesecake cups. Hello awesome fall dessert idea! So you just know I had to try something like them and do 'em my way.

So I cut the fat and the portion and made them as simple to make as possible. We all like a cute fancy looking dessert, but we don't gots the time... am I right?