Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash

Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash

Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash
Makes 6 servings.

3 acorn squash
3 tbs olive oil, separated
½ onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, diced
2 cups quinoa
4 cups vegetable broth or water
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 cup diced celery ribs
½ cup dried cranberries
1 cup chopped pecans

Balsamic Vinaigrette
1 tbs dijon mustard
2 tbs honey
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup olive oil
Mix well to emulsify.

Preheat the oven to 400⁰. Cut off each end of the acorn squash, then cut in half. Spoon out the seeds and stringy bits. Drizzle each squash with two tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper. Place the squash on a non-stick baking sheet, cook for 20 minutes.

Sauté the garlic and onion in one tablespoon of olive oil.Once the onions are translucent add in quinoa to toast, stirring frequently for 2 minutes. Stir in broth, salt & pepper, bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium low, cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed.Fluff with a work and toss with celery, cranberries, pecans and balsamic vinaigrette.Taste for seasoning. Add more salt & pepper as needed.

Remove acorn squash from the oven and fill with quinoa mixture. Return to the oven and cook for 20-30 minutes more or until squash is softened. Serve warm and enjoy!

Roasted Brussles Sprouts with Bacon

Thanksgiving is one of my most favorite holidays. If you’re like me you’re already planning what to make for your feast. This recipe is the perfect addition to any menu in the fall but especially Thanksgiving. There are a few steps to this one but it is worth the time. If you’re not a bacon fan just leave it out, it’s just as yummy!

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with BaconRoasted Brussels Sprouts

Ingredients
Makes 8 servings
2 lbs brussels sprouts, ends trimmed
1 tbs olive oil
1 lb bacon
½ cup dried cranberries
¼ cup balsamic reduction*
S&P

Preheat the oven to 400⁰. Line a baking sheet with parchment or aluminum foil. Place the bacon on the baking sheet and cook for 10 minutes. Remove bacon from the baking sheet with tongs, and drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Once cool, chop into large pieces and set aside.

Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Place the trimmed Brussels sprouts in water and cook for 2 minutes. Remove sprouts from water and transfer to ice water to cool. Drain and let dry. Cut the Brussels sprouts in half, place into a bowl and lightly toss with the chopped bacon, olive oil, salt and pepper. Taste for seasoning, add more salt and pepper as desired.

Line a baking sheet with parchment or aluminum foil. Place the Brussels sprouts mixture onto the baking sheet and sprinkle with cranberries. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 45 minutes, until deeply browned, tossing pan every 10 minutes for even cooking.
Place the Brussels sprouts into a serving dish and drizzle with balsamic reduction. Serve warm and enjoy.

*You can find pre-made balsamic glaze at most grocery stores, alternatively you can reduce 1/2 cup of quality balsamic vinegar for 10-15 minutes, until thickened.

**Turkey Day Tip: If limited on space in the oven, boil the brussles, cook the bacon and add the cranberries. Set aside until ready to cook.

Simple Arugula Salad

I’m always looking for new salads to add to my menus. Most of the time they are loaded with fruits, vegetables and of course cheese. This simple salad recipe is the perfect addition to just about any meal because it is so simple. I used Meyer lemons for this recipe but regular fresh lemons will do the trick too. It would even taste great topped with some grilled shrimp or chicken. I hope you like it!

Ingredients Simple Arugula Salad
Makes 2-4 servings.
4 cups baby arugula
½ cup Marcona almonds
½ shaved pecorino or parmesan cheese

Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons fresh Meyer lemon juice
2 tsp Dijon mustard
zest from 1 Meyer lemon
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup olive oil

Combine all vinaigrette ingredients, except the oil, in a blender or food processor. Pulse a few times to combine and then while the blender is running, slowly add the oil. Puree for until it is well combined. Taste and season as needed with salt and pepper. Add more sugar if needed and pulse again until combined.

Place the arugula into a mixing bowl and pour on desired amount of salad dressing. Use tongs to toss the salad. Place on plates to serve and top with Marcona almonds and pecorino or parmesan cheese.
Enjoy!

 

Chef Arica Davis – Yummy Fixins, Personal Chef Services. Visit www.yummyfixins.com to book your next dinner party. Let me do the cooking for you!

Korean Beef Soba Noodles

This gluten-free recipe is so tasty and good for you containing protein and vegetables all in one dish. There is some prep involved, but I promise you won’t be disappointed. Vegetarians can skip the beef or replace it with tofu. If you are using wooden skewers for the beef, make sure to soak them first so they don’t burn on the grill. If you like more sauce on your noodles, double the ginger sesame sauce. And as always, modify with more sugar if you like sweetness, or more chili paste and Sriracha if you like the heat. Get creative to really make this dish your own!

Korean Beef Soba Noodles
Makes 4-6 servingsKorean Beef Soba Noodles

Ingredients
For the beef:
¼ cup tamari*
¼ cup rice wine vinegar
2 tbs sesame oil
2 tsp red chili paste or Sriracha (add more if you like heat)
1 ½ pound top sirloin or skirt steak, sliced thin

Whisk together the tamari, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil and chili paste in a large bowl. Marinate the steak in the mixture for 20 to 30 minutes at room temperature while you prepare the soba noodles.

Ginger Sesame Sauce
½ cup tamari*
2 tbs sesame oil
2 tbs honey or brown sugar
2 tbs white miso (optional)
2 tbs freshly grated ginger
1 tbs chili paste or Sriracha

Whisk together sauce ingredients in a small bowl until emulsified. Set aside.

For the soba noodles:
1 tbs olive oil
2 carrots, peeled & julienned
½ red bell pepper, julienned
1 small head bok choy, chopped
1 shallot, sliced thin
6 oz shiitake mushrooms, rinsed & sliced
2 bunches of buckwheat soba noodles
1 cup frozen shelled, edamame
For garnish: sesame seeds & green onions

Prepare all of the vegetables. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Cook soba noodles according to package directions and add the edamame for last 3 minutes. Rinse with warm water; drain well and set aside. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté carrots, bell pepper, shallot & shiitakes until softened. Add the ginger sesame sauce, soba noodles and edamame. Keep warm while you cook the beef.

Preheat the grill to medium high heat. Thread the meat onto the skewers. Grill for 3-6 minutes on each side, or until the meat is done to your liking. Remove from skewers and place on top of the soba noodles and vegetables and serve warm. Garnish with sesame seeds and chopped green onions.

*You can substitute soy sauce for tamari but it contains gluten.

Chef Arica Davis – Yummy Fixins, Personal Chef Services. Visit www.yummyfixins.com to book your next dinner party. Let me do the cooking for you!

Loaded Potato Soup

Who doesn’t love comfort food? This loaded baked potato soup hits the mark, is simple and delicious!

 

Loaded Potato Soup
Ingredients
Makes 4-6 Servings

Loaded Potato Soup2 tbs butter
3 garlic cloves
½ yellow onion, rough chopped
4 cups of peeled and chopped russet potatoes
4 cups of vegetable or chicken broth
Salt & pepper to taste
1 tsp thyme
1 cup of heavy cream
1 large broccoli crowns, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and chopped

For garnish:
Cheddar cheese
Green onion
Sour cream
Chopped, cooked bacon

Heat butter in a large pot on medium heat. Once melted, add the garlic, onion and potato and cook until the onions are translucent. Next add the broth, cover and cook on med/high for 20 minutes or until potatoes are soft. Remove ½ cup of the cooked potatoes and set aside. Add a pinch of salt, pepper and thyme. Using an immersion blender, pureé the soup or put into a blender in batches. After the soup is smooth, add the cream, broccoli, carrots and the cooked potatoes. Cover and cook on med/low for 15 minutes or until the vegetables are soft. Serve with cheddar cheese, green onions, sour cream & bacon. Enjoy!!!

 

Chef Arica Davis – Yummy Fixins, Personal Chef Services. Visit www.yummyfixins.com to book your next dinner party. Let me do the cooking for you!

Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce

If you follow my recipes you may know how much I love butternut squash! This recipe is a side dish I cook for my clients throughout the fall and winter, and one for which I often get recipe requests- it seemed time I share it! This is a delicious side dish that can also be served as a main course. You can leave it vegetarian or top it with sliced, grilled chicken.

Butternut Squash Pasta with Crispy Sage
Serves 4 to 6Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce

Butternut Sauce
2 tablespoons butter
1 large butternut squash (about 1 ½ lbs.)
3 garlic cloves, diced
1 shallot, chopped
1 cup of broth, chicken or vegetable
1 cup heavy cream
salt & pepper
1 pound bucatini or your favorite pasta

Cut the top and bottom off of the butternut squash. Use a vegetable peeler to remove the skin. Cut the peeled butternut into large chunks. Discard any seeds. Heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a medium pot and melt over medium/low heat. Saute the butternut squash, garlic and shallot for 5 minutes. Pour in the chicken/vegetable broth, and season with salt and pepper. Increase the heat to medium high and cook for 10-15 minutes. Once the butternut is soft enough to pierce with a fork, pour in the heavy cream. Use an immersion blender to puree the sauce in the pot or pour it into a stand blender in batches to puree. Let the sauce simmer on low while you prepare the pasta and garnish.

Cook the pasta according to instructions. Serve the pasta topped with sauce, crispy sage and freshly-grated Parmesan.

Garnish
2 tbs butter
10 sage leaves
½ cup shaved parmesan

Melt butter in medium saucepan. When foaming subsides, add sage leaves and cook until they darken/ crisp and butter browns slightly. Transfer sage leaves to paper towel lined plate.

Chef Arica Davis – Yummy Fixins, Personal Chef Services and Pasta Parties. Visit www.yummyfixins.com or call (530)539-4504 to book your next dinner party. Let me do the cooking for you!

Sun-Dried Tomato Chicken

It’s a proven fact that you can’t have too many chicken dinner recipes. This simple one-pan recipe is delicious and something the whole family will enjoy. If you want to add a little extra flavor you can sauté mushrooms with the garlic and shallots or add some fresh basil as a garnish. Serve over gnocchi, pasta, brown rice, or even quinoa!

Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Chicken

IngredientsSun-Dried Tomato Chicken

Makes 2-4 servings.

2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 tbs salted butter
salt and pepper
2 tbs olive oil
3 garlic cloves, diced
1 shallot, diced
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream
½ cup sun-dried tomatoes, preferably not in oil
1 tbs Italian seasoning
½ cup shredded parmesan, for garnish

Dry the chicken off with paper towels, making sure to remove any moisture. Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Melt butter in a large pan over medium-high heat, and add chicken. Sear the chicken 2-4 minutes each side, until golden brown. Remove the chicken from the pan, slice into large strips and set aside.
Heat olive oil in the same pan and add garlic, shallot, red pepper flakes. Sauté for one minutes. Stir in chicken broth, heavy cream, sun-dried tomatoes, and Italian seasoning.

Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until slightly thickened, about 3-5 minutes, whisking occasionally. Return chicken to the skillet. Cover and cook until the chicken is cooked fully through, about 10 minutes.

Serve the chicken along with the sundried tomato cream sauce over pasta or rice. Enjoy!

Sun-Dried Tomato Chicken Skillet
Chef Arica Davis – Yummy Fixins, Personal Chef Services and Pasta Parties. Visit www.yummyfixins.com to book your next dinner party. Let me do the cooking for you!

Hot Chocolate Cupcakes

Are you looking for a yummy dessert to bring to your next holiday party? Or maybe just an excuse to make cupcakes… here is an easy recipe perfect for the holidays!

Hot Chocolate CupcakesHot Chocolate Cupcakes
Makes 18-24 cupcakes
Cupcakes
1 box dark chocolate cake mix
1 tbs flour (for high altitude cooking)
2 tbs cocoa powder
3 eggs
½ cup vegetable oil
1 cup of water
marshmallows

Preheat the oven to 350°. Line two 12-cup muffin tins with paper liners and spray the liners with non-stick spray. Combine the cake mix, flour and cocoa powder in a mixing bowl. Crack the eggs into a separate bowl along with the vegetable oil and water, whisk to combine. Combine wet and dry ingredients together and mix well.

Pour the batter into the lined muffin tins, filling them about three-fourths full. Press one marshmallow into the center of each cupcake, making sure it’s covered in batter. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until springy and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool slightly, then transfer them to a rack to cool completely.

Icing
4 cups of powdered sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 tbs milk
1 1/4 tsp of peppermint extract or peppermint schnapps

Add powdered sugar, softened butter, milk and peppermint extract or schnapps in a large mixing bowl or stand mixer. Beat on low until powdered sugar is incorporated. Then move mixer up to medium-high speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. If it is too dry add a splash more milk. Place the icing into a piping bag with an icing tip. Frost cupcakes as desired and garnish with hot cocoa toppings. Enjoy!

Toppings
Crushed candy canes
Marshmallows
Hot cocoa powder

Chef Arica Davis – Yummy Fixins, Personal Chef Services and Pasta Parties. Visit www.yummyfixins.com to book your next dinner party. Let me do the cooking for you!

Shepherd’s’ Pie

Shepherd’s Pie has to be one of the ultimate comfort foods. Sautéed beef and vegetables cooked in fresh herbs and topped with mashed potatoes- what could be more comforting that that? Traditionally shepherd’s pie is made with ground lamb, but here I’ve made it with Durham Ranch ground elk. Super tasty! You can easily substitute the elk for ground beef, turkey or lamb. Make sure to use chicken broth if using lamb or turkey.

Ground Elk Shepherd’s Pie
Makes 4-6 servings.Shepherd's’ Pie

3 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and halved
2 tsp salt
1 cup heavy cream or whole milk
½ cup unsalted butter
2 large egg yolks
2 Tbs olive oil, separated
1 lb ground elk
1 tsp salt
2 Tbs chopped rosemary
1 Tbs chopped sage
2 Tbs thyme
1 tsp ground pepper
½ cup white onion, chopped
¼ cup celery, chopped
½ cup mushrooms, chopped
½ cup carrots, chopped
3 Tbs tomato paste
1 Tbs all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups beef broth
½ cup frozen peas
Chopped parsley & chives, for garnish

Peel and cut potatoes; cook until tender, about 20 minutes, drain. Add butter and milk then mash together; let cool. Taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper as desired. Once cool mix in the egg yolks.

Preheat the oven to 400⁰. Heat 1 tbs olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Crumble the ground elk into the skillet. Stir in rosemary, sage and thyme, season with salt and pepper. Cook the elk until cooked through, then transfer to a plate. Heat remaining 1 Tbs oil in same skillet and add onions, celery, mushrooms and carrots. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables start to soften, about 10–12 minutes. Add tomato paste and flour, cook for two minutes. Pour in broth and cook until the mixture thickens. Next return the meat to the skillet with peas and cook for another 5 minutes.

Pour the meat mixture into a baking dish, then spread mashed potatoes evenly over the top. Bake until golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes. Garnish with chopped chives and parsley.

Chef Arica Davis – Yummy Fixins, Personal Chef Services and Pasta Parties. Visit www.yummyfixins.com to book your next dinner party. Let me do the cooking for you!

Butternut Squash Thai Curry

If you read my column in the Tahoe Daily Tribune regularly you know how much I love butternut squash; it is such a versatile and healthy addition to just about any meal! Recently, I was asked for a fall-inspired vegan dish and I immediately thought of a butternut squash Thai curry! This dish is great because you can incorporate as many vegetables as you’d like. For example, diced potatoes, snap peas, carrots or even broccoli! Just make sure to chop all the vegetables the same size so they cook evenly. Also make sure to add any snap peas at the end with the chickpeas so they don’t get overcooked. Enjoy!

Butternut Squash Thai CurryButternut Squash Thai Curry
Makes 4 servings

2 tbs coconut oil
½ large onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
2 cups butternut squash, peeled & chopped
2 garlic cloves, diced
1 tsp grated ginger
2 tbs curry powder
3 tbs red curry paste
1 tsp red chile paste (optional)
2 tsp salt
2 tsp pepper
½ cup of vegetable broth
1 can of coconut milk
1 cup of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

Garnish
1 lime, cut into wedges
1 handful of cilantro
2 cups of cooked rice

Place the coconut oil in a large pot over medium heat. Once the coconut oil is melted add the onions, bell pepper, celery, butternut squash, garlic, ginger, curry powder, red curry paste, chili paste, salt and pepper. Sauté this mixture for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Pour the vegetable broth and coconut milk in the pot and bring to boil, reduce to a medium simmer. Cover and cook for ten minutes, or until the butternut squash is fork soft. At this point taste for flavor and add more salt or seasoning as needed. Add the chickpeas five minutes before serving. Serve the curry over rice. Garnish with lime wedges and cilantro. Top with more chili paste or Sriracha if you desire more heat!

Chef Arica Davis – Yummy Fixins, Personal Chef Services and Pasta Parties. Visit www.yummyfixins.com to book your next dinner party. Let me do the cooking for you!