I originally started this blog as a place to store tried and true recipes for my family. It didn't take long to discover how supportive and fun the blog community was and I became hooked! I rarely create my own recipes, but I still hope you'll enjoy the recipes that I find and tweak a bit.
The second thing I was responsible for during our bloggy lunch was the salad. I wanted to make something really unique and fall appropriate, rather then just a green salad. I was really excited when I found this recipe from Ina Garten for a Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Warm Cider Vinaigrette. It's always a gamble making something for the first time when you are serving company, but luckily this salad turned out to be downright amazing. It's served warm, with arugula that is just wilted and practically melts in your mouth. The slightly sweet vinaigrette with nutty pecorinoromano and big chunks of rich butternut squash would easily stand as a meal on it's own. I LOVED this salad and can't wait to make it again!
Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Warm Cider Vinaigrette By Ina Garten
1 butternut squash peeled and diced olive oil 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup (I did use pure, but honestly, I don't think it would make a different if you just used Mrs. Butterworth's too!) Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper 3 tablespoons dried cranberries 3/4 cups apple cider or apple juice 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar 2 tablespoons minced shallots 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard 4 ounces baby arugula, washed and dried 1/2 cup walnut halves, toasted (next time I'm using chopped walnuts, the halves are a bit big for my taste) 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan (I love using Pecorino Romano as a substitute)
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Place the butternut squash on a sheet pan. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, the maple syrup, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and toss. Roast the squash for 15 to 20 minutes, turning once, until tender. Add the cranberries to the pan for the last 5 minutes.
3. While the squash is roasting, combine the apple cider, vinegar, and shallots in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until the cider is reduced to about 1/4 cup. Off the heat, whisk in the mustard, 1/2 cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper.
4. Place the arugula in a large salad bowl and add the roasted squash mixture, the walnuts, and the grated Parmesan. Spoon just enough vinaigrette over the salad to moisten and toss well. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve immediately.
Alissa was in charge of our main course which were these amazing Mushroom Quesadillas. Apparently this was a recipe that Oprah had posted because it is what Jennifer Aniston had served at a lunch party, girlfriend's got good taste, that's all I have to say! These quesadillas are SO good and packed with tons of flavor. The cooking technique was really unique too. She cooked them in a skillet that was covered with a layer of Kosher salt to crisp the tortilla, which turned out so crisp and delicious. Alissa also used the Artisan Blend of Mexican cheeses and just the smell alone of this package of cheese had us drooling! Awesome quesadillas!
Mushroom Quesadillas on Whole Wheat Tortillas Recipe adapted from The Family Chef, found on the O website
2 Tbsp. olive oil 8 ounces assorted mushrooms , thinly sliced 1 sprig thyme Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper 4 whole wheat tortillas 4 ounces assorted cheeses (such as cotija, Jack, and ranchero), crumbled or grated 3 cups baby spinach Cilantro leaves , for garnish (optional)
1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and thyme; cook, stirring occasionally, until crispy and golden, 6 to 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
2. Heat another skillet on medium-high heat. Sprinkle a little salt in the pan (it must be kosher or another coarse salt), and put one tortilla on top—the salt will keep the tortilla from sticking and help it crisp up without using any oil.
3. Place about 1/4 of cheese, spinach, and mushrooms on half of tortilla.
4. Fold second half of tortilla over to cover filling, and cook until bottom is golden and slightly crispy, 2 minutes. Flip tortilla over and continue cooking until other side is crisp and cheese is melted, 2 minutes more. Repeat process with remaining tortillas. Cut each in half or leave whole. Serve warm, garnished with cilantro leaves.