Sausage and Potatoes in a Packet

This is another recipe that comes from a Jacques Pepin cookbook (what can I say, he’s apparently Mr. Awesome in this house right now). It is so easy and homey that you would never have believed it could come from such a proper-sounding man on PBS. I was planning lots of lighter foods for dinner, so I wanted to throw in a hearty dish. K was definitely wary of this dish. He kept asking what was in it and how it worked. He wanted to look at it in the oven, but since it’s in a packet it’s not possible…totally confusing for him. Then, I opened the packet. It still didn’t look like much. It’s kind of hard to make sausage and potatoes look pretty, but boy did it taste good! I ended up using 3 different kinds of sausage (spicy chicken, spicy Italian, and sweet Italian). You can use your favorites, but I recommend using some spicy variants to add a kick (and this comes from a girl who is not known for spicy tastebuds).

The onions get really soft in this, but using naturally sweet ones will definitely enhance the taste even more. Having the garlic unpeeled did not feel like it did much. I would have rather sprinkled some minced garlic in the packet instead, and would probably do that next time. I was expecting more garlic flavor. The potatoes end up getting steamed and are soft all the way through.

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Mock Baked Cannelloni

Don’t you love finding recipes where you don’t need to buy any ingredients? I found a recipe in my Jacques Pepin cookbook “Fast Food My Way” where you can use wonton wrappers instead of pasta. It sounded interesting, but once I realized I had almost enough ricotta already and had all of the other items, I could not bring myself to buy them. I decided to make my own version from items I already had in my kitchen. So, you could use wonton wrappers (no pre-cooking needed), jumbo shells, cannelloni tubes, or lasagna noodles like I did. For the pasta, you will need to boil them first so that you can roll them and/or fill them.

I would consider this a dish you could make on a weeknight, especially if you use wontons like he suggested. It is not super speedy, but it comes together pretty quickly and during the 15 minutes of baking you could easily get the rest of the meal ready (vegetables, garlic bread, etc.).

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Apple and Pecan Crumble

I live in apple country, but last year we had trouble finding places to pick our own apples. We were actually told that you couldn’t pick apples because people kept suing the farms. So, we gave up our search and satisfied our apple craving with apple cider. This year, while at a farmer’s market, we saw that there was a u-pick orchard about 1-2 hours away. We were going to Hawaii that week, so we delayed the visit until after we got back. After picking so many apples, I had to find recipes to use them. Of course, apple cider was first and allowed me to update my post on it with more pictures. For the next apple treat, I decided to try a treat from a Jacques Pepin cookbook I have, called “Fast Food My Way“. The recipe is supposed to have dried apricots in it, but we don’t like them so I added a different dried fruit I had: cherries! You could also use raisins or some other dried fruit you enjoy with apples. The fruit gets nice and plump like juicy raisins.

It paired well with apple pie ice cream.

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Sausage with Pasta and Vegetables

Does the title seem generic? It feels kind of boring, but I couldn’t think of a more appropriate name for this dish. I like that you can customize it with vegetables you have on hand, as well as the meat. If you want, you could use turkey or chicken sausage, and I promise that it will still taste great. This is another one of those “end of summer” dishes with the tomatoes, but you could substitute canned tomatoes or leave them out and use a different addition during the winter months. The amounts can be altered as well, depending on what you like. I went a little light on the sausage because I wanted to use up what I had, but then I apparently had a bunch of vegetables and pasta to use.

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Croissants and Pain au Chocolat

Happy 100th post to me! I had to make it a special one for this benchmark occasion. There is a bit of a back-story before I get into the recipe, so feel free to skip or read. There will be a recipe as well as “lessons learned” for making croissants and pain au chocolat(e)…ah, French and the fun spelling that upsets Auto-Correct.

Woo! Pile o’ Pastries!

This time last year, I was settling into a routine. I was learning what it was like to live in Washington state and learning a new way of “fall”. Back home, the mornings were crisp and leaves would change pretty quickly. Here, fall is more gradual.

Yes, it does feel like one day you wake up and it’s a bit chillier than usual, but the trees turn colors in waves. I was surprised it was so pretty because I figured with us not having quite as many deciduous trees that fall would feel even shorter. Last year, it also meant the first time I did not have to leave here at the end of summer and return to Maryland to teach. It was weird!! But, it also meant meeting more of K’s friends and hanging out with them. We went to a video game midnight release party at our local Microsoft store. Earlier that day, I had started dough for croissants but did not have time to form them and let them proof. So, when I saw that K wanted to stay up late and play his game that night, I realized that I could finish making the croissants. Who cared that it was super late at night? I would already be up, so why not make something yummy? He didn’t even notice at first but then began to smell them baking. And let me tell you…

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