Apple Vichyssoise

DFTSI - Apple Vichyssoise_6495My dear sorority sister shared this festive holiday soup recipe with me.  Vichyssoise is usually served cold but this is terrific served hot, cold or at room temperature.  It is a perfect first course for your next holiday gathering.  You can have a pot simmering on the stove and your guests will  be coming back for more.  Thank you Teddy for sharing this yumminess!  It is my new favorite!

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour
Makes  approximately 10 cups (serves 6-8 in bowls or 20 in small appetizer glasses)

INGREDIENTS

  • 6 Tbsp butter
  • 3 medium leeks (white and light green parts only, thinly spliced crosswise)
  • 2 medium onions, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 lb. Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1 inch cubes (the smaller the chop, the faster they cook)
  • 5 cups water
  • 3 cups of apple juice or cider
  • 1/2 cup creme fraiche or sour cream
  • 2 cup heavy whipping cream (unwhipped)
  • Chopped fresh chives for garnish
  • 1 apple, julienne (cut into sticks) for garnish

INSTRUCTIONS

1 Melt butter: In a large (6-quart) pot or saucepan, heat the butter on medium high heat until it melts and foams up.

2 Sauté leeks and onions: Toss in the sliced leeks and onions and salt. Stir to coat with the butter. Cook for several minutes, reducing the heat to medium, until the leeks and onions are translucent and softened.  Then stir in white wine and simmer until almost all liquid has evaporated.

3 Add potatoes, water and apple juice and bring to simmer. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer. Cook, partially covered for 30-40 minutes, until the potatoes are completely cooked through. Remove from heat.

4 Purée until smooth: Purée using an immersion blender or working in batches, blend in a regular blender. (Careful! With hot liquids only fill the blender 1/3 of the way full, and hold the blender top on with your hand while blending.) Purée until completely smooth, then return the soup to the pot.

5 Cool and stir in sour cream and heavy cream: Allow to cool a bit before stirring in the sour cream and heavy whipping cream.  Simmer over moderate heat, stirring occasionally.  Add more liquid if needed for desired thickness.  Season with more salt if needed.

6 Serve warm in bowls or glasses: If serving warm, pour into bowls or glasses and garnish with chives and julienned apple on top.  As an alternative, allow to cool completely and chill in the refrigerator if desired.  The soup can be served just below room temperature (maybe 65°F or 18°C).

Enjoy!

PSST!  You can swap out heavy whipping cream for 1/2 & 1/2 for a lighter version of this rich and delicious soup with no loss in taste.

Gluten-Free Holiday Chex Mix

1Makes 8 cups

I’ve added my own little twist to the old time favorite Chex Mix around the holidays.  This party mix can even be enjoyed by your guests with dietary restrictions or gluten free preferences.  It’s a modified recipe from the original Chex Mix.  I nix the Wheat Chex, use gluten free pretzels, and also add my own little twist.  Your guests will be coming back for more so you might want to make two batches!

Ingredients

3 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion power
2 teaspoon lemon juice
4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 cup pretzels (gluten-free versions available from Snyder’s or Snack Factory)
1 cup fancy mixed nuts
3 cups Corn Chex cereal
3 cups Rice Chex cereal

Instructions

1. Melt butter in a 13X9 in baking dish in a 250 degree oven.
2. Remove dish from oven and stir in the seasoned salt, garlic powder, onion powder, lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce.
3.  Add cereals, pretzels and nuts and stir until coated.
4.  Bake @ 250 degrees for 45 minutes stirring every 15 minutes or so.
5.  Remove from the oven and cool (if you can keep your family from nibbling)
6.  Store in an airtight jar or large ziplock bag.

Roasted Red Peppers with Pesto and Goat Cheese

Serves 4-6

INGREDIENTS:

  • 8-12 baby red bell peppers (or a combination of red, yellow and orange)
  • 2 heaping tablespoons prepared pesto (I love using Kirklands from Costco)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 3-4 ounces goat cheese
  • fresh oregano (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Slice mini bell peppers in half and remove stem and seeds. Place in a large bowl (or large ziplock bag) and toss with pesto, olive oil and balsamic vinegar until peppers are completely covered.
  3. Line up peppers on a baking sheet and place into oven. Bake for 15 minutes.
  4. Take peppers out and carefully add crumbled goat cheese to insides of pepper halves.
  5. Place back into oven and bake for another 3-5 minutes or until goat cheese is melted.
  6. Optional: sprinkle chopped fresh oregano over peppers before serving.
  • Psst!  You can marinate and place peppers on a foil lined tray up to the night before if you want to shorten the preparation time right before serving.

Roasted Grape Crostini

 

DFTSI Grape Crostini_9813YIELDS 12 SERVINGS

Roasted Grapes Crostini

Roasted Grapes Crostini caramelizes sweet grapes with a light balsamic dressing before nestling them on a savory bed of ricotta and crisp, buttery toast. This is one appetizer to remember!

20 min: Prep Time
15 min:  Cook Time
35 min: Total Tim Continue reading

Apricot Bites with Goat Cheese and Pistachio

Looking for a healthy low carb appetizer for your next party?  Try this simple recipe.  It has just 4 ingredients and is a perfect snack or appetizer.  Dried apricots topped with creamy goat cheese, nutty pistachios and just a drizzle of honey make a perfect combination.

Ingedients
18 dried apricots (I like the larger Turkish ones)
2 oz. goat cheese
1/4 cup finely chopped pistachios
1-2 T of honey, for drizzling

Instructions

  1. Place apricots on a platter or serving tray
  2. With the back of a spoon, spread a small dollop of goat cheese onto each apricot
  3. Sprinkle a pinch or two of crushed pistachios onto each
  4. Drizzle with honey*
  5. Enjoy!

Tip: To avoid putting too much honey on each apricot bite, place honey in a ziplock plastic baggy.  Cut off a small corner of the baggie and squeeze honey from the hole onto each apricot to add just the amount of sweetness to each bite.

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Creds to Jess @ jessfuel.com for this yummy recipe.  Her recipe is for a larger crowd and yields 3 dozen of these yummy treats.  I simply cut the recipe in half.  Check out all her other easy recipes.

 

Moroccan Lamb Meatballs

I  stumbled upon this recipe for Moroccan Lamb Meatballs and made it last night after browsing Pinterest and I will definitely make these flavor packed meatballs again.  These lamb meatballs are simple to make and there are some fabulous spices in them.  I served them with a simple salad and homemade yogurt sauce.  Store-bought Tzatziki is great too.  Shout out to Claire @Sprinklesandsprouts for the recipe.

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Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 5 mins
Total Time: 20 mins
Servings: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 1 small onion (I used a red onion)
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 egg
  • 1 slice of white bread ( I used a slice of whole wheat bread)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2-3 Tablespoons of olive oil
  • 500 g /1.1lb lamb mince (ground lamb)
Instructions
  1. Peel the onion and garlic and place them in a food processor, then blitz until you have an onion mush. Use a spatula to push the mixture down from the sides.
  2. Crack in the egg and pulse mix until you have an egg mush.
  3. Remove the crusts from the bread, rip it into small pieces and add it to the food processor.
  4. Measure in the cinnamon, oregano, parsley, cumin, allspice, paprika, smoked paprika, black pepper and salt, then pulse chop until everything is well mixed. Remove the blade.
  5. Place the ground lamb in a medium bowl.  Add the mixture from the food processor using a spatula. Use your hands to squish and squash the mixture together until it is well mixed.
  6. Once the mixture is well mixed, use two teaspoons to measure out a ball of mixture. Roll it around in your hands and then set the ball aside on cookie sheet or jelly roll pan.

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  1. I aim for 36 meatballs.
  2. Heat the oil in a heavy based frying pan. Once it is smoking hot, reduce the heat to medium and add the meatballs. (Use a screen to prevent splatters and ease in cleanup).
  3. Cook for 2 minutes and then roll them all about to cook the other sides. They will take about 5 minutes in total to cook.

Hint: I have a pretty packed spice cabinet so I had all the ingredients.  If you don’t, you can take a shortcut and buy spice mix.  Williams-Sonoma has  Ras El Hanout in a jar that has a similar but not equal combination of moroccan spices that you could use instead.  Just replace the cinnamon, cumin, allspice, paprika and smoked paprika and pepper with 1 Tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon of Ras El Hanout.

 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch Pear Snack Bites

DFTSI Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch Pear Bites_6428Sometimes you just need something sweet and crunchy. It’s tempting to reach for something pre-packaged that’s easy and tasty but makes you feel guilty right after you put it in your mouth.  Not these.  They are crunchy and satisfying while also being high in nutrition Get your snack fix with this easy to prepare treat that you can feel good about.

Preparation: 5 minutes
Servings:  2
Ingredients: 4
Calories: 200/serving

Ingredients

1 medium pear
4 Tablespoons  PB2 (Powdered Peanut Butter)
2 Tablespoons water
2 Tablespoons mini chocolate chips
2 Tablespoons shredded coconut (I like it toasted)

Preparation

In a small bowl, mix PB2 with 2 Tablespoons of water.

Slice the pear into 8 -10 wedeges

Spread peanut butter mixture thinly onto pear wedges and place on either a serving platter or 2 individual salad plates.

Sprinkle with coconut and chocolate chips. Enjoy!