Maple-Glazed Delicata Squash

Maple- Maple-Glazed Delicata Squash


Maple-Glazed Delicata Squash

Does anyone else besides me wonder how come maple sap flows and is turned into maple syrup in the spring, but seems to team up so well with fall fruits and vegetables?   Just wondering!!

Here’s a perfect example of what I mean.   One of the early fall squashes to arrive is this delicata squash.  Its name says it all….delicate.   The outer skin is tender so there’s no need to peel it.  Plus the stripes add a colorful accent.   The flesh is a pale yellow and has a mild flavor.  However, it needs to have some enhancements to spice it up and give it some UMPH!   Maple syrup is its sole-mate.  The syrup adds just the right amount of sweetness, and sage contributes the savory note.  Together they really dress up this squash.   If you are planning to roast a cut of meat or poultry, try this squash as a side dish for a perfect pairing.

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I recently roasted a loin of pork, and made this squash casserole as a side dish.  Oven browned baby potatoes, and crisp coleslaw rounded out the meal.  Let me also state for the record that I made half the recipe (just 2 of us, you know), and used dried sage as fresh sage was not available at the time.

MAPLE-GLAZED DELICATA SQUASH

Yield:   Serves 6

Ingredients:IMG_8117

  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup packed fresh sage leaves,  or 2 teaspoons dried sage
  • 2 medium (about 2.5 pounds) delicata squash
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:

1.  Prepare the squash:   trim the ends, cut in half lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds.  Then slice into 1-inch half moons.

Remove seeds, and slice cross-wise into half moons, or chunks.

Remove seeds, and slice cross-wise into half moons, or chunks.

2.  Preheat heat oven to 400*F.  In a small lidded pot, combine maple syrup and sage.  Bring to a simmer; reduce heat to low, cover and cook 15 minutes.  Set aside, covered.

3.  Meanwhile, in a bowl, toss squash slices with olive oil and salt.  Transfer to a foil-lined baking sheet in a single layer;  bake at 400*F for 20 minutes.

Toss with olive oil and salt and bake for 20 minutes.

Toss with olive oil and salt and bake for 20 minutes.

Pour maple syrup-sage mixture evenly on top of squash.  Bake 20 minutes more until squash is browned and tender, stirring once or twice so all slices get glazed with the syrup.

Syrup and sage mixture.

Syrup and sage mixture.

Pour syrup mixture over squash and continue baking another 20 minutes.

Pour syrup mixture over squash and continue baking another 20 minutes.

Fragrant and golden.

Fragrant and golden.

 

Perfection!

 

SOURCE:    Family Circle Magazine.

 

Maple Bacon Oatmeal Muffins

Maple Bacon and Oatmeal Muffins

Maple Bacon and Oatmeal Muffins

These are the best breakfast muffins, ever.   You read that right.  These muffins are for all of you who can’t make up your mind in the morning.  These muffins are like four breakfasts rolled into one:  they are a stack of pancakes, a bowl of oatmeal, bacon and eggs or just a muffin, thank you very much.

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Just when I’m trying to avoid eating greasy things like bacon, or pancakes slathered with butter and maple syrup, here I go combining them.  No, I’m not trying to kill you, or me either, I’m just full of contradictions.  But there is meaning in my madness:  the oatmeal is in there for a purpose.  Oatmeal provides fiber, and the fiber cleanses out the greasy bad stuff.  Oh, the power of oatmeal.  It’s feeling the weight of responsibility on its shoulders.  But I know it can handle it, else I wouldn’t be using it.   Maple syrup?  It’s there to take the place of sugar.  You know, sweeten things up a little.  And living in maple syrup country as I do, I try to include it when ever possible.  Bacon?   Well what can I say about bacon that hasn’t already been said by a million  other people.  Bacon makes everything better.  That’s all there is to it.

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You must try these muffins —- and think how healthy they are for you!

MAPLE BACON OATMEAL MUFFINS

Yield:   This recipe makes about 17 -18 muffins.  It can easily be halved for a yield of about 8-9 muffins.

Ingredients:

  • 1  1/4 cups quick cooking or regular rolled oats

    A trio of great ingredients:  maple syrup, oatmeal and bacon.

    A trio of great ingredients: maple syrup, oatmeal and bacon.

  • 1 1/2 cups milk  (any kind, I used almond milk)
  • 2 cups flour (I recommend using 1/2  white whole flour and/or spelt flour for additional nutrition and fiber)
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 egg ( when making half a recipe, I still used 1 whole egg)
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 6 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
  •  2 Tbsp. maple syrup for brushing tops

Directions:

1.  Preheat the oven to 350*F.   Line muffin tin(s) with paper liners and set aside.

2.  In a large bowl, combine milk and oats, then let it sit while you cook the bacon to allow the oats to soften.

Cooking the bacon.

Cooking the bacon.

3. In a separate large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.

4.  Whisk maple syrup, melted butter, and egg into the oatmeal mixture.  Lightly stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients along with the bacon.

5.  Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups until each is about 3/4 full.  Bake for 20 – 25 minutes until they are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

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Transfer to a cooling rack and brush the tops with the reserved maple syrup, using a pastry brush.

Brush the tops with maple syrup while still warm from the oven.

Brush the tops with maple syrup while still warm from the oven.

Be sure to “taste test” one while it is still warm.  😀

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SOURCE:   an adaptation of Oatmeal Muffins from Taste of Home

Croissant French Toast

Baked Croissant French Toast

Baked Croissant French Toast

I love using croissants to make fresh-tasting sandwiches, especially with egg salad.  But after a day or two if they have not been used up croissants start to dry out and lose their appeal.  Finding myself in that situation, I thought, why not make French Toast with them?IMG_5518

The one thing I was uncertain about was what form  should the croissant be in,  i.e.. left whole, broken up into pieces?  So I went where everyone goes for answers, the internet!  Into the Google search window I typed ” French Toast made with croissants”. and up came a whole load of sites, as you would expect.  Selecting one that seemed to have some promise, I ended up on a site called “Yummly”, and a recipe from Rachael Ray.  This gave me all the information I needed to proceed, and a fantastic new slant on baked french toast.   So here it is,  a  french toast that is very light and airy, nicely flavored with maple syrup, and baked till brown and crispy on top.

I wanted this for Sunday morning breakfast, and so I prepared the recipe the evening before and refrigerated it overnight.  Pop it in the oven to bake while having a first cup of coffee, and in about 35 – 45 minutes you can be sitting down to this extremely enjoyable breakfast, with a serving of fruit on the side.   Dee-lish!

CROISSANT FRENCH TOAST

Yield:   makes 6 servingsIMG_5515

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 cups milk  ( any kind  is okay.)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 5 croissants, cut in half horizontally

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350* F. Butter a  cake pan appropriately sized.  ( 9″ round,  8″ x 12″ rectangle)

2.  In a small heavy saucepan, bring the sugar, 2 Tablespoons maple syrup, and 1/2 cup water to a boil over medium-high heat, without stirring, and cook for about 5 minutes.  Boil until the caramel is a light golden color or a candy thermometer registers 240 degrees, 5 – 8 minutes longer  Working quickly and carefully, remove the thermometer and pour the maple caramel into the prepared cake pan.    Set aside.

3.  In a large bowl, whisk the milk, eggs and the remaining 1/4 cup maple syrup.  Arrange the croissants over the maple caramel in the baking dish.  Slowly pour the egg mixture over the top making sure to moisten all of the bread.  Press down gently to flatten.  Wait about 10 minutes, then go back and flatten again.  The dish may be baked at this time, or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until you are ready to bake it.  Before baking press down on the croissants again .

4.  Prior to baking sprinkle a cinnamon sugar mixture all over the top to create a sugary, crisp topping.  (This is my addition to the recipe,)  Bake at 350* for 35 – 45 minutes until custard is set and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Browned and crispy on top.

Browned and crispy on top.

Remove from the oven , cut into wedges or squares, and serve with butter and additional maple syrup if desired.

Serve with butter, maple syrup and a side of fruit.

Serve with butter, maple syrup and a side of fruit.

TIP:   Swap out the croissants and use raisin bread or cake doughnuts instead.

SOURCE:   Everyday with Rachael Ray via Yummly.com

Maple-Soy Chicken Thighs

I don’t know of a food more universally well-liked or commonly eaten than chicken.  We certainly eat it quite often.  For that reason I feel the need to have a large variety of recipes featuring chicken.  Whenever a new one comes along that looks interesting I try it out.  The recipe in todays’s post is a new one for me that I took for a walk around the kitchen this weekend.  It turned out quite well, and was tender and tasty.

Maple-Soy Chicken Thighs

The preparation of this dish is simple:  mix up the marinade ingredients in a plastic zip-lock bag,  add in the chicken pieces,  marinate for at least an hour, then oven bake or cook on the grill. The marinade provides a nice flavor of maple mixed with the typical asian ingredients of  soy sauce,  fresh ginger, and sesame oil. A little crushed red pepper flakes gives it some “punch”.  This recipe will be a keeper in my file for chicken dishes.

MAPLE-SOY CHICKEN THIGHS

SERVINGS:   4

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2  cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 Tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon peeled, grated, fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 bone-in chicken thighs ( I had a package of mixed drumsticks and thighs )
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons sliced green onions

1.  Combine first   7 ingredients in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk.  Place in a large zip-top plastic bag.  Add chicken thighs to the bag and seal.  Marinate in refrigerator  at least 1 hour.

2.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees or prepare grill.

3.  Remove chicken from bag, reserving marinade.  Place marinade in  a small sauce pan over medium heat;  Bring to a boil.  Cook until marinade reduces to 1/4 cup (about 5 minutes).  Arrange chicken in a single layer on a foil-lined  baking sheet,  or place on grill.  Baste with the maple mixture,  sprinkle evenly with salt.  Bake chicken at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.  Turn pieces over, baste again and continue cooking for another 15 minutes or until chicken is done.  Same procedure for cooking on a grill.  Before serving, sprinkle with green onions.

To complete this meal I served fresh green beans and couscous, adding some orange sections and sliced almonds to the couscous.   This, along with a glass of our favorite chardonnay, was a most enjoyable dinner in deed.  To finish it off in grand style we had home-made peach ice-cream.   Dee-lish!  I’ll be telling you about that tomorrow.

SOURCE:  Eating Well