Apple Butter with Ginger

Apple Butter was always a real treat growing up.  What I never realized is just how easy it is to make at home.  And ironically, there isn't any butter involved in the preparation.

Apple Butter with Ginger
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Quinoa with Corn and Black Bean Salsa

I love quinoa, and I love salsa, but never had I thought of combining them until attending a Chicago media event to preview upcoming menu items at the Corner Bakery.  One of the dishes they served was a quinoa salad made with a corn and black bean salsa.  I was pretty excited to get back and make it myself.

I make a lot of quinoa around here.  My Veggie Quinoa Burgers are probably my favorite, and most kid friendly way to make quinoa.  In the winter time, it also shows up in soup form in a Red Lentil and Quinoa Soup.  However, summers are all about quinoa salads.  Usually that means simple salads involving quinoa, vinegar, oil, vegetables and herbs.  That's a solid pattern to follow mixing in your favorite of each category.

This is even's just mixing quinoa with salsa.  Again, not sure why I didn't think of this before.

The salsa here is going to be "restaurant style".....not like what you get in a jar.  To do this, you'll need a food processor.  It also makes use of canned tomatoes.  Since there are only about 4 weeks a year when one can get truly fresh tomatoes in Chicago, I'm just fine with using canned the rest of the time.  It's also a heck of a lot easier and more consistent.

Corn is really the same way.  The really good sweet corn only has a few weeks each summer when it's in its prime.  So frozen corn is just fine the rest of the year.  It's getting mixed into a salsa, not served with a rare fine wine, after all.  If you do have fresh corn, I'd recommend roasting it first instead of boiling for the best flavor.  Cook the ears on a grill or in an oven (wrapped in foil) for 15 minutes at 450 degrees.

I made a huge batch of this on did not last long.

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Quinoa with Corn and Black Bean Salsa
Quick and easy salsa made in a food processor with canned tomatoes
Prep time: 5 Cook time: 35 Yield: 8 servings
  • 2 Cups Quinoa
  • 4 Cups Water
  • 2 Cans Diced Tomatoes
  • 3 Garlic Cloves
  • 1/2 Cup White Onion, roughly chopped (about half of an onion)
  • 1 Lime, Juiced
  • 1 Jalapeño (how much of it you use depends on your tolerance for spicy)
  • 1/4 Cup Cilantro Leaves
  • 1 Cup Cooked Corn Kernels (about 2 ears)
  • 1 Can Black Beans
  1. Cook the Quinoa (2:1 ratio) in the water until fluffy, about 30 minutes
  2. Place the garlic cloves in the food processor (with a little salt and pepper) and pulse a few times to chop it up
  3. Pour in one can of tomatoes, liquid and all. Drain the other can in a colander and rinse off in the sink. Place these tomatoes in the processor as well
  4. Add the onion, lime juice, jalapeño and cilantro leaves and run for about 30 seconds. Check the seasoning, salsa loves salt
  5. Pour into a pretty large bowl and mix in the corn and black beans
  6. When the quinoa is done, mix it in as well
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Farro Salad with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Artichokes

Farro is one of those grains that I normally pass over in the bulk section, opting instead for the old stand-by's like brown rice, quinoa or Israeli cous-cous.  How foolish I have been.  And then one day, there was this huge bag of Farro at Costco tempting me with promises of being nutty, chewy and high in fiber.  All of which turned out to be true....

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Ham, Lentil and Vegetable Soup (Pressure Cooker Version)

Have you ever finished off a spiral cut ham and wondered how to turn it into an amazing soup?  That was me after the holidays.  A leg of ham, a lot of leftover vegetables and a desire for a warming soup.

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Hasselback Potatoes in a Cast Iron Pan

This is a great way to use a large quantity of potatoes and feed a large crowd.  In this case, I had a mix of about 10 medium sized red and yellow potatoes and wanted to do something besides making them into a pink mash.

Hasselback potatoes cooked in a cast iron pan

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How to Make Whole Wheat Tortilla Pizzas

Before two kids were in the house, there was a lot more time to plan out and prepare a weeknight dinner.  So finding ways to cook something everyone likes (e.g. pizza), that's healthy and kid friendly....and can be ready in under 30 minutes is a never-ending quest.

Oh, one more thing.  No compromising on quality.

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French Onion Soup

When it's Winter and it's freezing cold outside, who doesn't want a warming cup of soup?  French Onion Soup, like Chicken Noodle, is one everyone can agree on.  The trick is, there really aren't any shortcuts to French Onion Soup.  You really need to take the time to cook down the onions and build up the flavor.

Stack of onions sliced on a mandoline for French Onion Soup

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Tortilla Española

We can't go to a Tapas restaurant without ordering at least one Tortilla Española.  And it turns out that there isn't a lot to it.  Just 3 ingredients: eggs, potatoes and onions.  Though somehow I've never really been able to make it as good as they do in a restaurant....until I did some research on how to do it right
Tortilla Espanola

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Corn Cashew and Carrot Chowder

Corn, Carrot and Cashew Chowder

For a couple of weeks this summer, our CSA was delivering a crazy amount of fresh sweet corn each week.   And since there's only so much corn on the cob we could eat, I sought out a good corn chowder recipe.

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