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TUNA MAC AND CHEESE

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2 cups dry large tube or shell pasta 

1 1/2 cups shredded cheese

1/2 cup grated romano/parm

1/8 cup of flour

1/2 stick of butter

1 1/2 cup of whole milk

1  cup of peas

1 5 oz. can of tuna in water

Salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, boil pasta water.  Cook pasta until almost al dante.  

In a sauce pan, melt butter and whisk in flour.  Continue to whisk flour for 3-4 minutes.  Slowly add 1/2 cup of milk and whisk vigorously to prevent any clumps.  Slowly add the remaining milk and whisk vigorously for a smooth sauce.  Whisk in cheese until smooth and cheese is melted.  Depending on the consistency of the sauce, you can add more milk or pasta water to thin it out.  You will need enough sauce to over coat the pasta.

Ladle out pasta into the cheese sauce.  Add peas and tuna and mix until well combined.  

I only added salt to the pasta water and pepper to the finished product.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Cook Time: 1 hour

Serving Size: 2-3

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SAVORY BREAD PUDDING

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1 Brioche loaf
15 Sage leaves
6 L. Eggs
1.5 c. Whole milk
.25 c. Butter
4 Chicken thighs 
1/4 c. Flour
1.5 c. Wate4
1/2 t. Garlic powder
1/2 t. Onion powder
1 T. Sugar
1 t. Kosher salt
1 t. Fresh cracked black pepper
Preheat oven to 350*.
Cut loaf into 1” cubes and leave them out overnight to stale.  You can use already stale bread if you have some laying around.  Brioche is sweeter and more dense, so the outcome of using regular bread maybe different.  
In a small fry pan, melt 1/2 c. butter on low heat and add 5-7 sage leaves to slowly become crispy.  Be careful to not burn the butter.  Once the butter has browned and the sage leaves are crispy, about 7 minutes in the pan, remove the sage leaves and set the melted butter aside.
In a large fry pan, heat to medium and drizzle canola oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Pan fry the chicken until done and remove and allow it to cool.  Do not discard the oil in the fry pan, we will make a chicken gravy from the pan drippings.  Set aside for later use.
Allow the chicken to cool enough to be handled.  Remove the skin and meat from the bone.  Cut chicken into smaller chunks to go into the bread pudding.  
Whisk eggs and milk together, add about a 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper, 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder and onion powder and sugar.
In a large mixing bowl, toss together bread pieces, chicken and 10 sage leaves, I cut my sage into small strips.  
Transfer bread mixture to a large casserole dish.  Pour egg mixture evenly on top of the bread mixture.  Spoon melted browned butter on top of the casserole
Bake for 45 minutes.
Allow the bread pudding to cool for about 10 minutes.
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STUFFED NAPA CABBAGE

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1 head of Napa cabbage

1 lb. ground pork

1 lb. ground chicken

1 c. wild rice

2 c. thinly sliced shiitake mushrooms

5 oz. sliced bamboo (small tin can)

4 kafir lime leaves, finely chopped

.5 medium onion, finely chopped

2 T. finely chopped ginger

2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1.5 T. kosher salt

1 T. crushed black pepper

3 T. fish sauce

4 c. chicken stock or veggie stock

1 egg

Start cooking the wild rice, it will take about 45 minutes to cook.  1 part rice to 4 parts broth.  Cook the rice on low heat until done and all of the stock is absorbed.

While the rice is cooking, prep your veggie ingredients. Wash the cabbage by tearing off each leaf until you get down to the heart of the cabbage.

In a large mixing bowl, combine pork and chicken, salt, pepper.  Mix with hand until well combined.  Add garlic, onions, ginger, kafir lime leaves and mix until well combined.  Add raw mushrooms and bamboo shoots and mix together until well combined.  Add one egg, this is used to bind the meat mix.  Mix with hands until well combined.  

Once the rice is finished cooking, keep lid off of the rice pot to allow it to cool for 10 minutes.  Once it is cooled, add it to the meat mixture and mix together until well combined.  Add fish sauce and mix well until combined.

Preheat your oven to 375*.

You must partially steam the cabbage in order for it to play nice when roll/stuffing the leaves.  I use a large pot and fill it with 1” of water.  I have a steam tray.  You will steam the leaves only for a few minutes, just so they are more flexible.  Allow them to cool down enough to be handled by your hands.

Take a leaf and stuff it with the meat mixture.  You want to ration the meat mixture for the amount of leaves you have.  Use your best judgement.  

In a large casserole dish, I had to use two, fill up the dishes with your stuffed cabbage leaves.  Cover the casserole dish(es) with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes.  They will continue to steam in the oven when the foil covers them and it will cook the meat mixture.  

Plate and enjoy.  

Serving Size 6-8

Cook Time: 2.5 hours

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CRISPY GNOCCHI WITH BOLOGNESE

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1.5 pkg of potato gnocchi
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 medium carrot
1 large celery stalk
1 small yellow onion
1 8 oz. tomato paste
1.5 c. low sodium beef broth
1 c. whole milk
.5 c. red wine (optional)
Olive oil

If you’d like to make this dish vegetarian, you can substitute the beef with dense crimini mushrooms and vegetable broth.

Serving size: 4
Cook Time: 2 hours

Prep veggies:
Clean and wash the onion, celery and carrot. Peel skin off of the carrot. Finely chop veggies or cut them up and blend them in a food processor. You want small, tiny pieces of veggies, not big chunks. In a large pan, light coat the bottom with olive oil and heat to medium-high.

Sauté veggies until soft and golden. Add the ground beef and sprinkle a thin layer of kosher salt and pepper (1 teaspoon of each). Fry the beef until barely pink and remove from pan and drain the oil.

Return the beef and veggie sauté back to the pan and add wine. Cook for a few minutes and then add the entire can of tomato paste. Work the paste into the meat mixture and add the beef broth. Stir the beef mixture until all ingredients are integrated. Then add the milk and stir together until well combined. Reduce heat to medium-low.

Add salt, pepper and sugar as needed for taste. If the tomato paste is giving off an acidic taste or if it’s tart, adding sugar will level that out. I added about 2 teaspoons of sugar during the cooking process.

Continue to cook on med-low heat for 45 minutes, uncovered, stirring every 5 minutes. It’s best to use a splatter screen while simmering to prevent a giant mess in the kitchen but also on yourself.

Once the sauce is finished, allow it to cool while you’d preparing your gnocchi.

In a cast iron skillet or extremely hot pan at medium-high heat, coat the bottom with olive oil. Drop in enough gnocchi to fill the pan without overcrowding it. Fry until crispy on each side for about 5-7 minutes or golden brown. You’ll have to cook the gnocchi in batches if you’re serving more than 2 people.

Transfer to a paper towel lined bowl. Toss the gnocchi in the bowl to absorb excess oil.

Plate gnocchi and top with bolognese sauce and grated cheese if you prefer.

Enjoy!

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TURKEY AND POTATO SOUP

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3 L. Red potatoes

1 c. Shredded turkey meat

1 c. Shredded mild cheese of your choice

1 c. Turkey broth (Thanksgiving turkey leftovers, water, saffron)

3/4 c. Whole milk

2 T. Butter

Cook Time: 1 hour (3 hours if you’re making turkey broth)

Turkey Broth:

Let me just start off by letting you know that the turkey broth I’m using is from my leftover turkey carcass from Thanksgiving dinner.  I still had turkey meat left on the carcass.  In an extra large soup pot, fill it half way with tap water.  Add a pinch of saffron threads.  Take the turkey carcass and remove both thighs and drop them into the pot.  Cut the carcass in half and add them to the pot. I had a lot of left over turkey meat so I just added all of my leftovers, which included the drumsticks and wings.  Turn heat to high and boil for about 2 hours.  Remove the bones and meat and shred the left over meat. You can use the meat to add to different recipes and now you have a delicious and rich turkey broth.  You can package the broth and meat in the refrigerator to make new recipes for the rest of the week or freeze the broth for later use.

Potato Soup: 

Peel potatoes, rinse and cut them into 1” cubes.  Boil until soft where they break apart.  Add about 2 T. of salt to the pot.

Drain potatoes once they are thoroughly cooked and transfer them to a blender or food processor. 

Puree the potatoes, slowly adding the turkey broth.  Blend until smooth.  Transfer to a pot and turn heat to medium.  Whisk in cheese until well combined.  Slowly whisk in milk.  Add salt and pepper to taste. Whisk in butter.

Ladle soup into a bowl, top with shredded turkey and enjoy!

Serving Size: 3-4

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SAVORY PUMPKIN PIE II

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Last year I made a savory pumpkin pie with braised chicken and sage gravy.  This year, I’m making another savory pumpkin pie for you vegetarians out there.  

Pie Ingredients:

1/2 small whole pumpkin

1 pie crust 

4 c. stale bread cut into cubes or store bought stuffing

3 T. apple butter

1 T. grated parmesan and romano cheese

Pumpkin Roasting Seasoning:

1/4 c. olive oil

1 T. brown sugar

1/2 t. dry rubbed sage

1/2 t. ground nutmeg

pinch of salt, pepper, garlic powder

Apple Butter Sauce:

2 T. butter

1.5 T. flour

3/4 c. whole milk

2 T. apple butter

Homemade Stuffing:

1/4 loaf of stale French bread

1/2 t. dry rubbed sage

1/2 t. dry parsley

Pinch of garlic powder and dried thyme 

1 T. grated parmesan and romano cheese

Cook Time: 4 hours

Preheat oven to 375*.

Pumpkin:

Wash and scrub the pumpkin clean with a scouring pad.  Cut the top of the pumpkin off and then the bottom.  Cut pumpkin in half starting from the top to the bottom.  Clean out seeds and pumpkin membrane.  Wash the pumpkin again.  Take only one half of the pumpkin and cut it into slices, like an orange or an apple, about 1/2 inch thick.  Do not remove the rind, it is edible and will help to keep the pumpkin in its shape.  You should have enough slices to spread out onto a 9” pie pan.  Transfer the pumpkin slices with one meat side down onto a cookie sheet.  Spray the cookie sheet with spray butter if it is not a non-stick pan.  

In a small bowl, mix together pumpkin seasoning ingredients until well combined.  Brush the mixture on top of the pumpkin meat that is facing up.  Roast for about 30 minutes or until al dante.  

While the pumpkin is roasting, prepare your pie crust and allow it to cool in the freezer.  

Stuffing:

Cut the stale bread into 1/2” cubes and transfer into a mixing bowl.  Add dry spices and grated cheese and toss together until well combined.  Light coat the bread with spray butter or spray olive oil.  Bake until lightly toasted, about 15 minutes on 375*.  Once finished toasting, remove from oven and set aside.  

Apple Butter Sauce:

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter into a sauce pan.  Add flour and whisk vigorously for 4-5 minutes to cook out the flour taste.  Slowly add 3/4 cups of milk to integrate the flour mixture into the liquid without clumping.  Whisk in 2 tablespoons of apple butter.  Continue to whisk on medium heat for a few minutes and turn off heat and set aside.

Pie:

Roll out pie crust, there should extra dough to fall over the edges of the pie pan.  I spray the bottom of my pie pan with spray butter so the bottom will crisp.  Once the pie crust is layer into the pie pan, spread 3 tablespoons of apple butter and coat the pie crust.  Lightly dust one tablespoon of grated cheese on the bottom.  Lay your pumpkin slices into the pie pan so they look like spokes of bike. Pour the apple butter sauce on top of the pumpkin in the pie.  Top the pie off with the stuffing.  Fold the remaining pie crust on top of itself on the edges of the pie pan.  Take a fork and dip it into flour and crimp the pie crust.  Spray the edges of the pie crust and the stuffing with spray butter or spray olive oil.  Sprinkle the top of the pie with about a tablespoon of grated parmesan and Romano cheese and bake for 1.5 hours or until pie crust is golden brown and stuffing is golden brown.  

Serving Size: 4

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Acorn Squash Bisque with Herbed Chicken

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1 medium acorn squash

1 large boneless and skinless chicken breast

2 c. chicken stock

1/4 c. heavy cream

1.5 T. kosher salt

1.5 T. fresh cracked pepper

1 T. brown sugar

4 T. Olive Oil

1 clove of garlic, minced

1/4 c. finely chopped flat leaf parsley

1 T. finely chopped fresh rosemary 

2 T. butter

1 T. flour

Cook Time: 2 hours

Preheat oven to 375*.

Cut the acorn squash in half and scoop out the seeds and squash membrane.  Wash and and pat dry.  In each half of the squash, drizzle 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil, 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar, 1/2 tablespoon of cracked black pepper.  Place the squash on a baking pan face up (skin side down) and roast for 1 hour.  

While the squash is roasting, start marinating your chicken.  Wash and pat dry the chicken breast.  Cut chicken breast into 1” chunks and set aside in a medium mixing bowl.  Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, minced garlic, rosemary, parsley, 1/2 tablespoon of salt and cracked black pepper.  Mix together until well combined and set aside and allow the chicken to marinate for one hour.

Once the squash is finished roasting, set aside to cool for at least 15 minutes.  Once cooled, scoop out all of the meat from the squash and transfer it into a blender.  Add 1 cup of the chicken stock and puree the squash and set aside.

In a large sauce pan or medium pot, make a roux.  Melt 2 tablespoons of butter and then mix in 1 tablespoon of flour on medium heat. Whisk the flour into the melted butter for about 3-5 minutes.  Slowly add 1 cup of chicken stock and continue whisking rigorously until flour is well blended.  Then add the squash puree into the pot and continue to whisk until well combined.  Slowly whisk in 1/4 cup of heavy cream.  Once well combined and at a simmer, turn off heat and set aside.

In a fry pan, heat at medium, 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  Fry the chicken until done, about 6-8 minutes.  

Ladle bisque into a bowl and drop in desired amount of chicken and enjoy!

Serving Size: 2-3

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PUMPKIN RAVIOLI WITH SAGE BROWN BUTTER SAUCE