Honey Roasted Pecans

It is …

Warm soft bun, salty all beef hotdog – season.

Cold overpriced I’ll take two to avoid lengthy lines later beer – season.

Red striped boxes  chock-full of salty butter flavored popcorn – season.

Enormous plastic must collect all by season’s end souvenir cups – season.

Helmet nacho season.  Enough said.

Eat my weight in roasted salted peanuts and then wonder why my fingers are swollen the following day – season.

The urge to purchase cotton candy every time the vendor wanders done my aisle – season.

It is watch, listen, breath baseball – season.

If you are new to my place here, welcome!  I am so very glad you stopped by … but know…I love baseball.  The game, the atmosphere, the strategy involved, the precision of the field, the crack of a bat, the hot dog races, the call of a homer, the pop of the ball inside a cather’s mit, a 4-6-3 double play, a 2 out rally, a walk off…

It makes my heart sing.  My soul to dance.  My very cells to shimmy.

And today friends (and by the time you read this…it will be a bit after the fact)…today is Opening Day  in the great city of Cleveland.  It is an unrecognized widely celebrated local holiday.  Vacation days are taken, school is skipped, sick days are had.  Sun, rain, snow, clouds, wind – we as, Cleveland Indian Fans, come out in hoards and celebrate the beginning of the baseball season.   All of us thinking, this is our year.

I made a snack for today that would be great for any ballgame from now through October (fingers crossed!).  At home, in the stadium, at a cookout.  The batch here, is nearly all gone, since I ate them while watching re-runs of The Office and drinking coffee…but I will be making many more to be enjoyed while sitting on the patio, listening to Tom call a game, sipping on a cold brew.

We are talking crisp nutty pecans and oh – so sweet honey, finished with a fine layer of sugar (eek!) and coarse kosher salt.
People!  It is baseball season!!!  Wahoo!

4 Ingredients.  Pecan halves.  Honey.  Sugar.  Salt.

Warmed honey.  Pecans coated.  This is where life gets good.

All kinds of sticky going on.  Guess what?  I don’t like sticky.  I hate sticky. I tolerate sticky.

Easy to tolerate when sticky is wrapped around pecans.  Not so much when the sticky is wrapped inconspicuously around a spoon handle…ARGH!

Sticky pecans, single layer, parchment paper lined baking sheet.  Bake.

Bake.  Sugar.  Salt.  Cool.

 

Graze while they cool.  Taste testing, if you will.  Quality control.

Pile into jam jars … perfect transport vessel for such a large number of my favorite things.  Jam, jelly, booze, nuts…

Grab me a beer (or a cup of coffee), a handful of these honey roasted pecans, a good ballgame, and I am set.  (p.s…my inner 90 year old is jumping hobbling for joy!)

Enjoy!!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Honey Roasted Pecans
 
Ingredients
  • 1 lb Whole Pecan Halves (unroasted)
  • ⅓ Cup Honey
  • 2 Tablespoons Sugar
  • 2 Teaspoons Coarse Salt (Kosher)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a microwave safe dish, warm honey in microwave for 20 to 30 seconds to loosen it up.
  3. Place pecans in a medium mixing bowl and pour warmed honey over pecans. Toss to coat pecans well.
  4. Pour pecans out onto prepared baking sheet, separating pecans with a fork until they are in a single layer.
  5. Place in preheated oven and bake for 6 minutes. Remove from oven, stir and re-spread out into an even layer. Return to oven for an additional 6 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for about 5 minutes - make sure the pecans are not layered and that they are, for the most part, not sticking to each other. If need be, separate with a fork.
  6. After five minutes, sprinkle with sugar and salt and let cool for about 30 to 45 minutes.
  7. Once cooled, break apart any large pieces and transfer to an airtight container. Store at room temperature for several days.

 

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Post #101!!!!

This is post #101.  Not that you are counting.  But I am.  Well, WordPress counts for me…so I have watched the number steadily climb week by week.  And still the number took me by surprise.  Not surprised in that 101 comes after 100, which in turn comes after 99, but that the number came up so quickly.  That I have written 100, almost 101 posts.  Who knew I had so much to share or that I am still loving it as much today as that first week.  Maybe more.  No, most definitely more.  I feel much more comfortable behind the camera, in the kitchen, and on paper.  And by paper, I mean on the computer.  From figuring out how to maneuver myself around the behind the scenes action of a blog to actually typing words on the screen…finding my voice, if you will – however silly that may sound, it is true.  Actually making sense of my own thoughts and putting them down on paper.  To have others relate to my entries.  All of it, it has been great!  And thus, I begin the journey to post #200….one at a time, lets not rush this.  I am having too much fun!

What is on the docket for post 101?

Soup.

It is winter and I am getting my fill of soup.  Because, even though I sort of dread the cold and haven’t truly stopped shivering since Halloween, spring will be here before I know it.  Winter will be gone and with it will go the comforting steamy hot bowls of soup.  I can not eat soup beyond April…maybe May since I do live in Cleveland and it might still snow….Let’s not think about that.  OK?  OK.

Spicy Mexican Chicken Soup.

I have made this soup a million times over.  Well, maybe just like ten times or so but, never have I made it the same twice.  Mainly because I have never taken the time to write down the recipe, but also because there are so many different variations.  You are lucky though, I have gotten into the habit of keeping pen and paper in the kitchen along side the cutting board and measuring spoons.  Kinda like a kitchen diary….or is it journal since I am no longer 12?

I prefer my soup to be hearty and chunky.  To have some body.  To be a meal in a bowl.  I don’t like thin brothy soups…maybe when I am sick, but not when I am healthy and happy.  Stoup would be more accurate a term…Thank you Rachel Ray.  I will however never say EVOO.  Ever.  But stoup, that I can get behind.

My stoup has tons of chicken – which you can decrease if you like, but I love lots of chicken in my chicken soup.  There are beans and tomatoes and peppers and spices – all of which you can increase or decrease depending on your likes and dislikes.  See why I have never made this soup the same twice?  The variations are endless.  So, tonight this is my version.  Next time around the version may be tweaked a bit depending, well depending on my mood and what is in my pantry.

 

 

Mexican Chicken Soup

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 4 Split Chicken Breasts, bone-in with skin (about 4 cups total shredded meat; decrease if you prefer less chicken)
  • 4 Tablespoons Olive Oil, divided
  • 1 Jalapeno, seeds removed and finely diced
  • 1 medium Onion, diced
  • 3 Cloves Garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper, seeded and diced
  • 2+1/2 teaspoon Chili Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1+1/2 teaspoon Cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon Oregeno
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 Can Diced Tomatoes - 28 ounces
  • 1 Can Green Chilies – 4 ounces
  • 1 Can Black Beans – 15 ounces, drained and rinsed
  • 6 Cups Chicken Broth
  • 4 Tablespoons Corn Meal
  • 1/3 Cup Warm Water

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Line a cookie sheet with tinfoil and place chicken breasts, skin side up, on the sheet.  Drizzle 2 Tablespoons olive oil over chicken and then sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Place in oven and bake/roast for 45 to 55 minutes or until the juices run clear or the internal temperature reaches 165°F.  Remove from oven and let sit until cool enough to handle.  Shred into bite size pieces.  Set aside.

Warm remaining 2 Tablespoons of olive oil in large pan or dutch oven, and place over medium heat.  Add diced onion, jalapeno, red bell pepper, garlic and begin to saute.  Stirring occasionally.  Once the vegetables begin to soften (about 5 minutes) add the chili powder, garlic powder, oregeno, cumin, and the salt and pepper (to taste – you can always add more at the end!)  Cook for an additional 5 minutes.  Stir in shredded chicken.

Add canned tomatoes (with juices), green chilies, black beans, and chicken broth.  Stir to combine.  Bring soup to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.  Simmer for 45 minutes.

30 minutes into the simmering, mix together the corn meal and warm water.  Let sit for the remaining 15 minutes.  Once the 45 minutes is up, stir in the corn meal/water mixture and continue to simmer for 30 minutes.  Give it a taste test here and adjust seasonings to your tastebuds.

Serve immediately with your favorite toppings.

I prefer sour cream (or plain Greek yogurt), sharp cheddar cheese, and fresh jalapenos.  With a side of tortilla chips!

Enjoy!

P.S.  This holds up very well in the freezer! 

p.s.s.  If you do not have time to roast chicken breasts or just don’t want to, go ahead and use leftover chicken or a ready made rotisserie chicken from the grocery – those things are mighty handy!

Roasty Toasty Chickpeas

I like foods that are crunchy.  OK, it is more like LOVE.  I LOVE crunchy foods.  Yep, that’s more like it.  Love.

Anything and everything from tortilla chips to carrot sticks.  Toast to crisp apples.  It doesn’t really matter.  If it is crunchy, I will probably enjoy it.  I even like the corners of lasagna and the edges of stuffing because it is crunchy.  Rice cakes anyone?  Crunchy, crunchy, crunchy.  So when I ran across recipes for roasted chickpeas and the claim that they were crunchy and healthy…I had to give them a try.

 

 

And I am so very glad that I did.  They are quite tasty and crunchy.  And guess what?  They don’t taste like chickpeas.  Phew, what a relief.  I am not a huge fan of chickpeas – which would be a surprise if you glanced in my cupboards.  I found about ten cans of chickpeas…I apparently think that I like them or at one time was going to try my hand at hummus? ( which I don’t like either).  Who knows…

 

I tossed the beans with onion and garlic powder, a bit of paprika and cayenne pepper, and a touch of salt.  A spicy snack fit for any afternoon hunger attack.  So I have spicy down and a million other combos to go.  A simple salt and pepper mix would be good – who doesn’t love salt and pepper chips?  Cinnamon and sugar?  Why not?  Oh the possibilities are endless!

 

 

 

Roasted Chickpeas

4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 Can Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans) 15 ounces cans, drained and rinsed well.
  •  4 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1 tsp Paprika
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper

Directions

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Line a baking sheet with tinfoil.

Drain and rinse chickpeas in a colander and rinse until water is no longer foamy.  Transfer chickpeas to paper towel lined counter top and gently pat dry.

In a medium sized bowl, mix together olive oil and all of the spices.  Add the chickpeas and with a wooden spoon or spatula toss the chickpeas in the olive oil/spice mixture to coat.

Pour chickpeas out onto prepared baking sheet in a single layer and place in preheated oven for 40-50 minutes. Half way through baking time, gently stir/toss chickpeas and place back in oven to finish roasting.

Remove from oven and season with a bit of extra salt (optional).  Serve!

Store in airtight container.

 

 

 

Roasted Pumpkin Soup

Up until today, I had never tasted pumpkin soup.  So what possessed me to make pumpkin soup?  I think it has something to do with the crisp fall air.  Let me tell you, it has gone straight to my head.  So much so, that the other day I walked into the grocery, saw these cute little pie pumpkins, and thought…I can make pumpkin soup.  Not pie, but soup.  Fall air, straight to brain.  They were also pretty cute pumpkins.  I think that factored into their purchase as well.  I am a sucker.

Since I have never slurped one spoonful of pumpkin soup, I hadn’t a clue of what flavor to expect.  I don’t know what I was thinking it would taste like.  OK, I lie.  I thought it would taste like pumpkin pie filling.  No lie.  I did.  I knew it wouldn’t, but I wanted it to.  So, I was only slightly disappointed when it didn’t taste like a liquid pie.  But doesn’t that sound wonderful?  Dessert soup.  Pumpkin pie soup with whipped cream stirred in.  Good thing fall is just beginning.

So, since it didn’t taste like pie, what did it taste like?  Pumpkin, you know, squash like.  Apples and carrots provided a touch of sweetness.  A touch of warmth and spiciness from the hot pepper flakes and cinnamon.  Oh, and coconut milk made it all creamy and good.  Body and depth I think are the correct terms, but I like creamy and good.

Besides learning how to make pumpkin soup, I also learned that I prefer my pumpkin sweet.  I enjoyed this soup and it hit the spot when lunch rolled around, but I still prefer pie to soup.  No big surprise.  I am still curious and will be searching for pumpkin soup on every menu I come in contact with, now until … well, until I find it.

 

Roasted Pumpkin Soup

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients

  • 1 Pumpkin (about 2-3 lbs), seeds and the stringy innards removed (about 5 to 6 cups of pumpkin puree)
  • 1 Apple, peeled and diced
  • 1 Onion, Diced
  • 3 Carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, diced
  • 3 Tbsp Butter
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon, plus extra for roasting
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp Crushed Red Pepper
  • 1 Cup Apple Cider
  • 3 Cups Chicken Broth
  • 1 Cup Coconut Milk
  • Roasted Pumpkin Seeds (garnish)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Once pumpkin is cut into half, seeds, and stringy stuff removed, sprinkle with salt, pepper, and cinnamon.  Place flesh side down onto a baking sheet, cover loosely with tinfoil.  Roast for 45 to 60 minutes or until the flesh is soft.  When done, remove from oven and let cool.  Scoop out flesh once cool, set aside.

Melt butter in large dutch oven/pan.  Place apple, onion, carrots, garlic, cinnamon, and hot pepper flakes into pan.  Cook over medium-high heat until vegetables are soft.  Stir frequently.  About 10 to 15 minutes.

Add apple cider to pan and stir to combine.  Scrape the bottom of the pan to dissolve any browned tidbits.  Cook for about 5 – 7 minutes.  Add pumpkin flesh and chicken broth.  Bring to a simmer and let simmer for 20-25 minutes.

In batches, place soup in a blender and puree.  Be careful, soup is hot!  Place back into dutch oven over low heat.  Stir in coconut milk.  Serve.  Garnish with roasted pumpkin seeds.

Enjoy!

Tip: You can freeze soup once it is pureed, before the coconut milk is added.  You can substitute canned pumpkin puree, no biggy.  Half and half or heavy cream in place of coconut cream.  Give it a try. 

 

Apple Walnut Chicken Salad

You know what’s scary?  Hummingbirds. 

Yeah, those little birds whose wings never stop beating and they beat at like a million miles a second.

 

That little thing scared the bejesus outta me.  Alfred Hitchcock like.

I was sitting on my patio, minding my own business, and this hummingbird does a Topgun fly by, Maverick style.   I literally felt the breeze from his wings as he darted by - it was a dude bird.  Dude birds are reckless like that.  

Did he not see me?  An inch to the left and I would have had a bird implanted on my forehead!  Ouch.  I am not a fan of birds to begin with and this did not earn them any points in my book. 

So I left my post on the patio, once the sight was clear, and made this here chicken salad.  It was lunch time and I was procrastinating at getting to work in the kitchen, but I normally don’t need a bird attack to get me moving….

Birds…Never met a nice one.

OK, so this chicken salad is chunky, chock-full of moist and tender chicken, sweet fruit, and crunchy veggies.  Oh and walnuts too!  It might be easier to eat with a fork than between two slices of bread.  Personally, I don’t care how you eat it, just that you do, ya know…eat it. 

Side note…I roasted chicken breasts for this here recipe, but if you are short on time, go ahead and grab one of those handy-dandy rotisserie chickens from the market and shred that bad boy up…because guess what?  When you buy chicken salad from the deli, guess what chicken they are using?  Yep.

Lets whip up some salad. 

Gather together…

Chicken, diced into nice bite sized pieces. 

Broccoli…you will blanch this.  I don’t like raw broccoli.  Gross. 

A bit of celery. 

An apple, diced.  My apple obsession of late is with Pink Lady apples.  If Frenchie, from Grease, ate apples, I would think she would eat Pink Ladies.  Its what I think of when I purchase them.  John Travolta. 

Walnuts … Pecans would be good here too, but did you know that they cost a gazillion dollars a pound?  Thanksgiving is going to be pricey.

Don’t foget the dried cranberries.  They add a nice sweet bite to the dish.  However, the thought of Cape Cod makes me hungry for a lobster roll, not chicken salad.  Sigh…

 

This wouldn’t be a salad without a creamy dressing.  This bowl contains, mayo, Dijon mustard, apple juice, salt, pepper.  Its good. 

Buttery, flaky, savory croissants are a popular delivery system of chicken salad, but if you are like me, and love your skinny jeans, then a whole wheat pita is a great substitute. 

Apple Walnut Chicken Salad

Serves: 4 to 6

 

Ingredients

  • 2 Split Chicken Breasts, skin ON
  • 2 Cups Broccoli Florets, bite sized
  • 1 Apple, diced
  • 1/2 Cup Celery (about 1 stalk), diced
  • 1 Cup Walnuts, Chopped
  • 1/2 Cup Dried Cranberries
  • Juice of 1 Lemon
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 tsp Salt, plus extra for blanching and dressing
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1 Cup Mayo ( I used light)
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
  • 2 Tbsp Apple Juice

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Place chicken breasts on tinfoil lined baking sheet.  Coat with olive oil and sprinkle with pepper and 1 tsp salt per split breast.  Roast in oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until done ( juices will run clear and internal temperature 165°F).  Remove from oven and let rest until cool enough to handle.  Remove skin and dice into bite sized chunks when ready.

While chicken is resting, blanch the broccoli.  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and prepare an ice bath in a large bowl.  Place broccoli in boiling water for one minute.  Remove from water and place directly in ice bath.  – this stops the cooking.  Leave in water until cool.  Drain. 

In a small bowl, whisk together mayo, Dijon mustard, apple juice, and a pinch of salt and pepper. 

In a large bowl, toss together chicken, celery, apple, lemon juice, cranberry, walnuts, and broccoli.  Pour dressing over and toss.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, letting the flavors meld. 

Enjoy!

 

Disclaimer:  I did not take the hummingbird picture…I was too busy taking cover.