Fresh Pineapple Upside Down Cake

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I thought that canned pineapple was the best way to make a pineapple upside down cake.  That’s how everyone does it right?  I guess I thought fresh pineapple would be too tough, or just too much work.  It was so much better!  The texture was perfect and the fresh pineapple flavor really came through. The recipe came from Martha Stewart, but I made a few changes to suit the ingredients I had on hand.

  • 1 pineapple (I used about 3/4 of it)
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 2 large eggs
  • 6 tablespoons whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • Vanilla ice cream

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Peel the pineapple and cut off one end to form a flat base.  Cut down…

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Winter Sunshine

Winter blues are banished by this bright and cheery cocktail! Makes one, but it’s easy to double. I planted mint in my garden several years ago and it never completely dies down in the winter. The leaves are a bit tough at this time of year, but they are great for flavoring and scenting cocktails or for making simple syrup.

  • A few sprigs of fresh mint.
  • ice
  • 1.5 oz. Vodka
  • 1 oz. St-Germain elderflower liqueur
  • 2 oz. pineapple juice
  • Club soda or seltzer, mine was orange flavored, but plain or any other citrus would work.
  • lime, cut into wedges

Place the mint leaves and about a cup of ice into a large glass. Muddle the leaves and ice until the leaves are broken up into bits. Pour in the vodka, the St-Germain, and the pineapple juice. Stir vigorously. Strain into a clean glass filled with ice. Top with a splash of club soda and a squeeze of fresh lime. Garnish with mint leaves and a lime wedge.

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Turkey Curry: Your Personal Stash of Stouffer’s

I roast two turkeys every year. One for Thanksgiving, or sometimes Friendsgiving, and one for leftovers. I love to use up leftover turkey in different ways. This year I channeled Bridget Jones’ Turkey Curry Buffet. Remember the Christmas Jumper?

If you’re feeling especially motivated to make some freezer meals, check out this post: 1 Turkey, 15 Freezer Meals for 4 in 4 Hours. If you just have a bit of leftover turkey and stuffing, these Turkey Croquettes are really nice too! If you’re craving a creamy turkey casserole a’la 1985 then look no further than this Creamy Turkey Macaroni Bake.

This turkey curry recipe is very similar to my Chickpea Masala recipe, substituting roasted leftover turkey for the canned chickpeas. Check that one out for a great vegetarian take on this- and it will freeze equally well.

Ingredients:

  • 2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and cut into to or three pieces
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 large shallots, peeled and quartered
  • 2 T. water
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 2 T. ground coriander
  • 4 t. ground cumin
  • 2 t. ground turmeric
  • 1/2 t. of cinnamon
  • 2 15 oz. cans plain tomato sauce- I like to use Hunts
  • 1 cup full fat coconut milk
  • 6 C. leftover roasted turkey or chicken, shredded or cut into bite sized pieces
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • cilantro to garnish

Puree the ginger, garlic, and shallot with the water until smooth. I use my smoothie maker for this, but you could use a food processor or blender. Heat the olive oil in a heavy bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Scrape the ginger puree into the heated oil and stir to cook until the mixture starts to brown, about three minutes.  Quickly add the spices and stir for one minute more. Pour in the tomato sauce and the coconut milk. Stir to combine.  Be sure to scrape up all the brown bits in the bottom of the pan. Reduce the heat to low. Add the turkey pieces and stir to coat in the sauce. Cover and simmer for about thirty minutes. Season to taste. Serve over the rice with a garnish of cilantro.

To stock my freezer with frozen lunches, I use these cool bento-style lunch boxes from easylunchboxes.com. I bought these back in the old days when my kids actually left the house for school. They are great for the freezer and you can microwave them as well. This isn’t a sponsored ad, I just like them! I also used frozen rice from Trader Joe’s – it’s a favorite product of mine and I keep several boxes of it in my freezer at all times. I just portioned out the frozen rice and curry into the boxes and they are ready to go right into the freezer for a Stouffer’s style lunch later on.

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Holiday Cookies and Candies

swellkid

I haven’t had the time in the last two years to post many new recipes. My job as an elementary school teacher and my second job as a mom of two makes it pretty tough to carve our the time to create and test new recipes.  We are pretty much just eating a lot of tacos and spaghetti.

My favorite thing about having a food blog is that I have this giant archive of all of our favorite family recipes that I can go back to and search and revisit. Even if I don’t post anything new, I still use it all the time to make our favorite dishes.  At this time of year I use it for all of our favorite holiday treats.  Here is a list of my best cookies and candies for you and your family to enjoy!  Merry Christmas!

Chewy, Crisp, Gingery Mollasses cookies: 

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Sicilian Almond…

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Chewy Chocolate Ginger Cookies

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These are my favorite cookies to make for the holidays.  They are sophisticated enough to give as gifts, yet they are a simple drop cookie; no frosting or decorating needed.  They also freeze extremely well once they are baked.  The spicy flavor is intense while the chocolate keeps them sweet and kid friendly.

Here is a link to the original recipe from Martha Stewart

When I make mine I triple the recipe so I can get about 6 dozen cookies.  This recipe works very well in double and triple batches.  I use salted butter.  I also add a teaspoon of vanilla per batch.  There is no need to buy chocolate and chop it up.  I use high-quality chocolate chips for mine, about 1/2 bag per batch.  In Martha’s recipe it calls for rolling the dough into balls and then chilling them for 20 minutes before baking.  I did not do…

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Classic Brined and Roasted Turkey

swellkid

I usually don’t care to write too much about my recipes. I like food blogs that are simple and to the point.  I don’t really care to read posts from other bloggers that go on and on.  I just want the recipe already!  So, in my own blog I usually just write a few sentences and focus my energy on the recipe.  In this case, I am writing about turkey.  Hands-down the most iconic holiday food item.  There is a lot that goes into a great turkey, and a lot that needs explaining.  First off, let me tell you what I think is the number one mistake that cooks make when roasting and serving turkey:  They care too much about what it looks like.  There, I said it.  Here is the deal: You can’t really carve a turkey at the table right?  The juices run everywhere and let’s face it…

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Browned Butter Sweet Potato Brulee

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Originally posted on swellkid:
Wow. So, so, so delicious. I realize I am tooting my own horn here, but really, this dish is a winner.  The sweet potatoes are smooth and light thanks to being passed through a potato ricer,…

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Instant Pot Cream of Tomato Soup

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I am new to the Instant Pot craze and have really enjoyed using it so far.  If you haven’t heard of Instant Pot, it is basically an electric, programmable pressure cooker.  If you do a lot of cooking, especially with a slow cooker, I really encourage you to try one out.  They do everything that a slow cooker does, just much, much faster.  You can cook a whole chicken in your Instant Pot in about 30 minutes. Did you forget to take your meat out of the freezer before you went to work? That’s ok!  Throw it into the Instant Pot and you can still have that pot roast you were planning on.

This has been a great tomato year for us in Portland.  We’ve had nearly three months of hot and dry weather- exactly what tomatoes like, but the kind of weather I completely detest.  I long for sweater weather…

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Chinese Meatballs with Spicy Sauce

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This is so easy and quick to make- 25 minutes and dinner is served. My whole family loves these meatballs. Serves 4

  • 1 lb. ground beef, ground turkey, or ground pork
  • 1 inch piece of fresh ginger, grated
  • 4 green onions, sliced, whites and greens separated
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 T. soy sauce, separated
  • 1/2 C. panko crumbs
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 T. mayonnaise
  • 2 T. honey
  • 2 T. Sriracha

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine the ground meat, ginger, garlic, the whites of the onions, 2 T. of the soy sauce, the panko crumbs, and a good pinch of salt and pepper.  Form the meat mixture into small meatballs, about 1 inch in diameter. This recipe will make about 20 meatballs.  Place the meatballs on a baking sheet and bake until browned and cooked through, about 14-16 minutes. Meanwhile, make the sauce by whisking together the mayonnaise, the other 2 T. of soy sauce, the honey, and the Sriracha. Taste and add salt and pepper if desired. Serve the meatballs over steamed rice with a drizzle of the sauce and the green parts of the onions on top.

 

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Sheet Pan Shrimp with Bacon and Cannellini Beans

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I have been teaching my youngest son to cook.  At the moment I am writing this he is making Chinese meatballs. Here is how it goes: I hand him a cookbook, he picks a recipe, I buy the ingredients, and then I sit nearby trying not to meddle while he uses my chef’s knife. In this case the book is by Tyler Florence, Tyler’s Ultimate. My son is devoted to shrimp, so he quickly landed on this recipe. It’s lightning fast, easy, delicious, and actually pretty healthy too! Don’t skip the sage leaves- they get really crispy and are amazing! We adapted the recipe a little bit to make it even easier.

  • 1 lb. large shrimp, peeled and deveined, look for wild shrimp as opposed to farmed, they are cleaner and have better flavor
  • 1/2 pint of cherry tomatoes (halve any that are large)
  • 6 slices of thick cut, uncured bacon
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 1/2 t. Kosher salt
  • A handful of fresh sage leaves
  • 1/4 t. black pepper
  • 2 cans of cannellini beans, drained
  • 1 T. red wine vinegar
  • 1 bag of washed arugula

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Place the shrimp and cherry tomatoes on a large sheet pan.  Cut the bacon into two inch pieces and scatter them over the shrimp and tomatoes. Scatter the sage leaves over that and then drizzle the whole thing with 1 T. of the olive oil. Season with a good pinch of salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for about 15 minutes, or until the bacon is browning and cooked through and the tomatoes are bursting. Scrape the pan, juices and all, into a large bowl and gently toss together with the cannellini beans. The original recipe calls for one can of beans, but I added a second can to make it more filling for four people. Add the vinegar, the rest of the oil, and the arugula to the bowl and toss gently.  Season with a little more salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

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