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Welsh rarebit


I haven't the faintest clue where Welsh rarebit gets its name. What on earth is a rarebit?  I know I could just look it up on Wikipedia, but I sometimes like my food with a bit of mystery.  

What I do know is that it is rich, cheesy, and delicious. I think it would pair well with many other dishes at a party, and like the other party/appetizer recipes I posted this week, it is very easy to make. Click below for the recipe.

Super Simple stuffed peppers


This is the second recipe in this week's series of party foods. This dish is so simple to make that I don't even know if the word "recipe" is appropriate. These are sweet mini peppers stuffed with a combination of soft goat cheese and cream cheese. While they only have 3 ingredients, they pack a full flavor punch. They can also be prepared ahead and heated up when your guests arrive.

Check out the recipe after the jump.

Savory and Simple homemade hummus


This week's recipes have a theme: they are all recipes that can be served at a party. This hummus recipe is great because you can make it ahead and not have to worry about slaving away in the kitchen while your guests have fun.


I realize you can just go to the grocery store and buy hummus, but the next time you do, look at the ingredients. Most of the time, grocery store hummus is made with canola oil. I really think that hummus should be made with delicious extra-virgin olive oil, don't you?



Sunday Brunch Special: Butternut squash toast





In case you couldn't tell, I am a big fan of butternut squash. I thought up this recipe as a way to enjoy my favorite winter vegetable at brunch.



Microbrew Saturday: Bell's Cherry Stout


Cheers!

As an occasional home brewer, I think it's important to support microbreweries. Luckily, I live in North Carolina, which has 58 microbreweries at last count! I've decided to feature one microbrew every Saturday on my blog just so I can keep trying new and different beers.

This Saturday, I am featuring Bell's Cherry Stout from Comstock, Michigan.  Bell's Two Hearted Ale, an IPA, is extremely popular. I love the cherry stout even if some people find it a little strange. It pairs a distinctive tart cherry flavor with dark chocolate malt.  I always just drink it by itself, but I'd love any suggestions for food pairings.

I picked this and a few other beers up at Bottle Revolution in Raleigh, NC.  It's a friendly shop that has somewhere on the order of 1000 different beers; you should definitely check it out if you're ever in the area.

Hope you are all having a lovely weekend! 

Savory and Simple Roast Chicken



Did anybody else grow up eating boneless, skinless chicken breasts?  That was the only kind of chicken I ever had growing up, unless you count chicken nuggets, which may or may not actually be chicken.  My mother would put boneless, skinless breasts in a baking dish in an oven at 350 without any other preparation, bake them until they were bone dry, and then cover them in pasta sauce from a jar that she had heated in the microwave.  This may have contributed to my conversion to vegetarianism sometime in my early teens.

I'm no longer a vegetarian, but I avoided eating chicken until I discovered how to roast a whole chicken by watching Ina Garten.  This is my take on how to roast a whole chicken.  This recipe produces a juicy and flavorful chicken that also looks nice.  This recipe is time-consuming, but I've included detailed instructions to make it as easy and simple as possible.

Balsamic strawberries with ricotta


In this dessert, balsamic vinegar plays up the sweetness of strawberries.  The first time I heard of this dessert, I was pretty skeptical until the first bite.  Balsamic strawberries can be enjoyed alone or used to dress up other creamy Italian desserts. I like this recipe because it only has 4 ingredients, and it can be made ahead.



Butternut squash macaroni and cheese



With only a month of winter left, I want to get my fill of butternut squash recipes before spring.  My husband and I have been making this recipe together since our first Thanksgiving.



How to Roast Butternut Squash

Butternut squash is a very versatile ingredient; I serve it by itself, in macaroni and cheese, in soup, in risotto, etc. My favorite way to prepare it is by roasting it to bring out the flavor.  You can buy canned or frozen butternut squash puree, but it just isn't it as flavorful. 

This post covers two ways to prep butternut squash for different uses:

Technique 1 yields roasted, mashed butternut squash that can be incorporated into other dishes.

Technique 2 yields roasted, cubed butternut squash that can be eaten as a side.









Getting Started:
1. Preheat your oven to 400 and line two baking sheets with foil.
2. Cut the butternut squash in half, like this:

3. Scoop out the seeds and stringy material in the middle.

From here, you can choose one of the the following techniques:

Technique 1:
1. Place the squash face up on the baking dish.
2. Drizzle the squash with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
3. Roast for 45 minutes.
4. Remove the squash from the oven, and let rest for 10 minutes.
5. Use a fork to scoop out the squash.



Technique 2:
1. Use a vegetable peeler to remove the skin of the squash.
2. Cut the squash horizontally into one-inch wide strips.
3. Cut the strips into one-inch wide cubes.  Try to make the cubes as uniform as possible so that the squash cooks evenly.


Technique 2: Steps 1 to 3

4. Place the cubes on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Toss the squash with a wooden spoon to distribute the oil.
5. Roast for 30 minutes.
6. Enjoy!









Creamy, garlicky mushroom soup



The rainy weather was calling for soup yesterday.  If you like garlic, you will like this soup.  If you don't like garlic, you really should. The soup comes together pretty quickly, so the mushrooms retain a nice, meaty texture.  This recipe produces 4 large servings, and it is a great late Sunday afternoon meal with a glass of white wine and/or a grilled Swiss cheese sandwich.



Chipotle chicken tacos

Chipotle chicken tacos
I should start out by noting that I love tacos.  I don't really love chicken, but I find it much more tolerable in a taco.  These chipotle chicken tacos are fresh, light, and versatile.  Feel free to substitute ingredients as desired.