Quick and Easy Oven Roasted Vegetables

Today's recipe is proof that healthy food doesn't need to be complicated or time consuming to make, something I think that many of us forget from time to time. A few minutes with a sharp knife (or better yet, a mandoline) and you can turn your bounty of fresh produce into a meal fit for a king. Serve these tasty vegetables along side baked chicken or fish, add them to pasta with a smattering of olive oil and fresh parmesan, or eat them straight off the hot pan. No matter how you choose to serve them they'll be delicious.

If you happened to buy your vegetables precut from the grocery store instead of fussing with a sharp knife, we don't judge. Just remember, as long as you hide the wrapper no one will ever know you didn't slave away over the cutting board to get dinner on the table.

Quick and Easy Oven Roasted Vegetables | Not Starving Yet

Oven Roasted Vegetables
 

makes 6 - 8 servings

 

Ingredients


1 red bell pepper, cut into 1½ inch pieces
2 shallots, sliced
1 yellow squash, cut into ¼ inch slices
1 zucchini, cut into ¼ inch slices
1 - 2 tablespoons olive oil
garlic sea salt and pepper, to taste

Directions


 

  • Preheat oven to 425°F. Cut the vegetables into uniform pieces, place in a large mixing bowl, then add olive oil, garlic sea salt, and pepper. Toss the vegetables so the oil and seasonings are evenly distributed, then transfer the vegetables to a foil lined baking sheet.
  • Bake for 20 - 30 minutes, or until the onions have caramelized and have slightly darkened edges. 

Notes
 

 

This recipe is fairly flexible, so you can substitute many of your favorite vegetables for those that I've listed above. Just keep in mind that some vegetables take longer to cook. You'll want to put things like potatoes, carrots, or winter squash on a separate baking sheet or leave them out entirely since they can take upwards of 45 minutes to cook.

For more even browning remove the baking sheet after 10 minutes, give the vegetables a good stir, then continue to cook for an additional 10 - 20 minutes. I usually skip this step because I'm forgetful, but the zucchini does cook more evenly when you remember. 

Cherry Almond Pie Filling + Canning Instructions

For the past few months my mother and I have been worried about our yearly cherry harvest. We had an unusually warm winter which caused our lone tree to bloom several weeks early. There was a real risk that the last frost would damage the buds, leaving us with next to nothing worth harvesting. The few years we've gone without cherries have been absolutely heartbreaking, especially once winter rolls around and the realization sets in that there will be no cherry pies, cobblers, or syrup to get us through the cold weather.

Those winters are indeed bleak.

The good news is that the weather continued to stay warm, but that meant I ended up with a series of frantic text messages, complete with photos, letting me know that if I wanted cherries this year I'd have to make the drive back home a few weeks early. With my little man still in school this posed a bit of a problem, but we made a late night trip down just in time to pick as much as we could before the birds ate the rest.

We walked away with nearly 10 gallons of sour cherries, or about half of the usual harvest, since it managed to rain all weekend, making the ground too soft for a ladder. Believe me, I tried and subsequently gave up once I started listing dangerously to one side. I have a habit of breaking things (arms, legs, ankles and what not) any time I'm left unsupervised, so I wisely gave up and cursed the fact that I'll always be vertically challenged.

I have high hopes that my little guy will one day be taller than I am or at least able to shimmy up the tree and pick some of the higher branches. I'm counting down the days....

But I shouldn't complain since the harvest left me busy the following week turning piles of cherries into nearly twelve pints of cherry almond preserves and pie filling. I even had enough leftover filling for a small batch of cherry crumble with almond cardamom topping. Life is good and so is this pie filling, so if you stumble across sour cherries at the farmers' market make sure to put some up for later, you won't regret the decision at all.

Cherry Almond Pie Filling | Not Starving Yet

Cherry Almond Pie Filling


makes 2 pints or 1 quart


Ingredients

3⅓ cups cups fresh sour cherries, pits removed (see notes)
1 cup sugar
¼ cup ClearJel (regular, not instant)
1⅓ cup cold water
1½ teaspoons pure almond extract
4 teaspoons bottled lemon juice

Directions

  • Set a large pot of water to boil. Once the cherries have been pitted and measured add them to the boiling water. Boil for 1 minute after the water returns to a boil, then drain and keep in a covered dish.
  • In a large pot combine sugar, ClearJel, water, and almond extract. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture has thickened and begins to bubble. Add lemon juice, continue to boil for an additional minute, stirring frequently. Turn off the heat, gently fold in the cherries, then immediately transfer to sterilized pint or quart jars making sure to leave a full inch of headspace.
  • Process in a water bath for 30 minutes (0 - 1,000 ft),  35 minutes (1,001 - 3,000 ft), 40 minutes (3,001 - 6,000 ft) or 45 minutes (if above 6,000 ft). The time is the same for both pints and quarts. 

Notes

When measuring your cherries make sure you have 3⅓ cups after the pits have been removed otherwise you won't have enough cherries to fill the jars.

Not sure where to find ClearJel? I've never seen it sold at our local stores, so I buy a from Amazon and have it shipped to me. My preferred brand comes from SB Canning, which isn't available at the moment, so my second choice would be from Hoosier Hill Farm

ClearJel expands quite a bit during processing, so make sure you leave a full inch of headspace when filling your jars. Anything less and you run the risk of your lid popping while it's in the water bath (if you're using Weck jars) or compromising your seal (if using Ball/Kerr jars.)

The original recipe I'm working from calls for ¼ cup + 1 Tablespoon of ClearJel. I usually split this into two pint jars and find that I always have extra Jel left over so I've slightly adapted the recipe above.

Disclosure


This post contains my Amazon affiliate links. I try to keep advertising unobtrusive and to a minimum in order to provide you with the best experience possible. Purchases made through these links provide me with a small income and ensure I can continue providing you with quality content.

Chestnut Stuffing

I'm pretty sure numerous wars have been fought at the dinner table over which type of stuffing (or dressing) reins supreme and with so many varieties to choose from, it really isn't any surprise that my family frequently finds itself debating their various merits. Personally, I've always been a fan of my grandmother's mushy breadcrumb dressing, but mine never tastes quite as good as hers, so I decided it was time to start the painful process of coming up with my own recipe. I've spent years cycling through various styles—sausage stuffing, cornbread dressing, variations on bread stuffing—I've tried them all (well, except oyster stuffing since it would cause me to stop breathing forever... stupid shellfish allergy.) It took me roughly 6 years of rejecting recipes before I finally discovered chestnut dressing and I haven't tried another recipe since.

What I love is that this recipe has a fairly simple ingredient list made up of things I typically keep in the pantry, plus it's flexible and can be dressed up to suite a variety of tastes. I've added additional things like fennel, pancetta, or fresh herbs—just to change things up a bit, but it's perfectly tasty just as it's written. It's been served alongside deep-fried turkey, honey-roasted ham, and most recently whole roast duck. It's always the first thing to disappear from the table, so if you want to have leftovers you'll need to make a double batch.

Chestnut Stuffing | Not Starving Yet

 

Chestnut Stuffing
 

makes 6 - 8 servings

Ingredients

1lb loaf stale sourdough bread, torn into chunks
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 - 3 stalks celery, diced  
1 small shallot, finely diced
1 stick salted butter
1/2 tablespoon poultry seasoning
1 1/2 cup chicken stock
13 ounce package peeled chestnuts, roughly chopped
sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350ºF. In a large skillet add onion, celery, shallots, and butter. Cook for 5 minutes over medium heat, or until the celery is tender. Add poultry seasoning, bread, and chicken stock, then mix until all of the liquid is incorporated. Add additional stock as necessary if you still have dry bread or want your stuffing to be more moist.
  • Chop or crumble the chestnuts, add salt and pepper to taste, then mix everything together.  Transfer the finished stuffing to a baking dish. Bake uncovered for 20 - 30 minutes or until the stuffing is slightly brown on top.

Notes

You'll want to lay your bread out several days before making this recipe so it will have time to dry out. I put mine on a cookie sheet, then let it sit in the oven for at least two days. If I need to use the oven I toss it on the counter while I'm cooking and put it back in the oven once it has cooled off. If you decide to make stuffing at the last minute you can always bake your bread for 20 - 30 minutes, then let it cool off before you tear it into chunks.

The amount of chicken stock you'll need can vary, so make sure to have extra on hand. If your stuffing comes out of the oven a little dry you can always add a little bit of extra stock to moisten it up a bit. Just remember not to add cool or room temperature liquid to a hot ceramic or glass baking dish as it can cause thermal shock. This will break your dish and render your stuffing inedible (because no one wants to accidentally munch on glass shards.)

Chestnuts can be hard to come by, if you can't find them at your local supermarket talk to someone in customer service and most times they'll be happy to order them for you. Otherwise, check out your local asian market, many of them carry chestnuts year around.

The Perfect Fall Inspired Charcuterie and Cheese Board #Sponsored by @carnivoreclub

Thanksgiving is over and my parents are already back home, which means it's safe to crack in to this month's box from Carnivore Club. I know this is supposed to be the season of giving, so try not to judge me too harshly, but I had a feeling that I'd barely get a bite if I opened it up while I had company.

Sometimes it's ok to be stingy, especially when it comes to tasty, handcrafted meats.

If you missed our previous post this year and aren't familiar with Carnivore Club, they're a subscription service dedicated to delivering handcrafted, meaty goodness to your door. This is the ultimate meat club for discerning individuals and let me tell you, they don't mess around when it comes to providing you with quality meat. If you're looking for a gift idea for your meat-loving friends and family, then look no further, you could even pick up a box for yourself (I won't tell if you're not into sharing.)

Today's recipe was sponsored by Carnivore Club who has provided me a box of incredibly tasty meats from   Angel's Salumi   in   Carlsbad, CA. No other compensation was given for this post, but it does contain affiliate links.

Today's recipe was sponsored by Carnivore Club who has provided me a box of incredibly tasty meats from Angel's Salumi in Carlsbad, CA. No other compensation was given for this post, but it does contain affiliate links.

What's in the Box?


The November box included four delicious offerings from Angel's Salumi of Carlsbad, CA

Nostrano  (Salami w/ Black Peppercorn and Red Wine) 
Toscano (Salami w/ Black Peppercorn, White Wine, and Fresh Garlic)
French Rosette (Salami w/ Clove, Nutmeg, Garlic, and White Wine)
Duck Breast Prosciutto


Review


Most of the selections included this month were new-to-me, only the Nostrano was a style that I have tried in the past (in fact, it was one of my favorites in the April box.) I find that the flavor profile of Nostrano is very similar to Toscano which was also included this month. They're both mildly flavored, making them perfect to pair with a variety of things, but the Toscano receives a little flavor-boost from the fresh garlic, making it my favorite of the two. But the true stand-out among the salami in this box was the French Rosette—the flavor from the cloves and nutmeg really were out of this world, I've not tasted a salami quite like it before.

Full Disclosure: i'm absolutely nuts for anything made with cloves, I feel like they're really underutilized in cooking these days, so I was really excited to try this salami and may be a little biased, but as long as you don't loath cloves (and really, how could you?) then I think you'll enjoy this one. 

Now as much as I enjoyed sampling the various salami offered this month I'll admit it was all a bit overshadowed by the fact that the box contained Duck Breast Prosciutto. I love duck, in all its many forms, so this is the one I was most excited to try. Let me just say that it didn't disappoint, it absolutely melts in your mouth. I put a small amount on our Fall Inspired Cheese Board (recipe at the end of this post), but I've held the bulk of it in reserve for a open-faced sandwich I've had in mind that's topped with a soft-set duck egg, layers of duck prosciutto, and who knows what else. I'm going to enjoy experimenting with this once I have some spare time. If I had to pick a favorite this month, the Duck Breast Prosciutto would be it.

Would I order this again? Absolutely! Carnivore Club is always a winner in our house, especially when we're hit with a case of the munchies, but I love having a selection of meats on hand to pull out when I need something to bring to a party (what little bit I have left will be following me to our first holiday party of the season in just a few days.)
 

Price


Pay as little as $50/month with a recurring subscription (monthly, bi-monthly, and quarterly plans available) with a three month minimum or purchase a single box for $55. 
 

Where to Subscribe


Carnivore Club - The Ultimate Meat Club for Discerning Individuals

For a limited time Save 10% off your order using coupon code EATMEAT Offer valid through 11/30/16

Deadline for the December box is November 30th (it will arrive in early December, just in time for gift-giving!) This box will feature a selection of meats from Wisconsin River Meats including elk and bison summer sausage!

Make sure to keep reading for our tips for putting together the perfect Fall-Inspired Charcuterie and Cheese board.

Fall-Inspired Charcuterie and Cheese Board + Carnivore Club Review

Fall Charcuterie and Cheese Board


There really is no right or wrong way when it comes to putting together a cheese board, but a good variety is the key to ensuring all of your guests find something to enjoy. It's important to know your audience. If there is something one of your guests loathe (like olives) don't include them on the board. You can always keep these types of things in a dish off to the side if you really want to serve them.

Keep your selection simple, in most cases I pick out one cheese per meat, although this time I opted to pair things down and go with two cheeses that were long-standing favorites: cheddar and bread-cheese, or Brun-uusto. Bread cheese is always a hit, but it is best served warm, so I let guests know to pop it in the microwave for a few seconds before eating, that way it's warm and melty.

Cheese

Brun-uusto (a Wisconsin-made 'Bread Cheese') - Brunkow Cheese
Goat Milk Cheddar - MontChevré 

Meat

Nostrano  (Salami w/ Black Peppercorn and Red Wine) 
Toscano (Salami w/ Black Peppercorn, White Wine, and Fresh Garlic)
French Rosette (Salami w/ Clove, Nutmeg, Garlic, and White Wine)
Duck Breast Prosciutto

Crackers, Bread, and other things...

Potter's Crackers - Garlic and Baby Onion Crackers and Caramelize Onion Crisps
Fresh Baguette
Sweetened Dried Cranberries
Sugar-rubbed Whole Pecans

Other important things to remember:

Don't forget to add condiments! I like to include something sweet, something savory, and a variety of mustards. In the fall things like fig jam, caramelized onion preserves, and pepper jelly are great choices to liven up your cheese board.

Always buy twice as many crackers as you think you'll need. Even after everything else is long gone people always enjoy nibbling on them.
 

Disclosure


Today's recipe was sponsored by Carnivore Club who has provided me a box of incredibly tasty meats from Angel's Salumi of Carlsbad, CA. No other compensation was given for this post, but it does contain affiliate links.