Monday, November 30, 2009

Favorite Cranberry Bread and (modified) Sausage and Pumpkin Pasta

I fully admit to slacking in the blogging department and am trying to get back into the habit. At the moment I find things complicated by an almost 2-yr. old taking up what's left of my lap (which is not much, considering that Sunday marked 32 weeks into this pregnancy) as she is attempting to write her favorite letters: D-Daddy, E-Eileigh, B-Boone, M-Mama, P-Papa, G-Gramma and the occasional K-Kitty or other letter she can think of at this point in time. (I should clarify that this is exactly how her letters are stated, i.e., "D, Daddy" is the letter's full title and description). During these writing attempts she frequently leans over my arm to reach various other writing utensils or objects of interest and thereby further complicates my typing attempts. I wouldn't trade it for the world- but will have to remember in the future to blog when she is occupied elsewhere (as in, fast asleep in her bed).
Thanksgiving was spent in Washington at Mike's parents' house and we had a great time catching up and relaxing. Thanksgiving dinner was a feast to be sure and I enjoyed every bit of it, including the leftovers. Sometimes I think I love Thanksgiving more because of the great leftovers and fasba (a Mennonite low German term for coffee and sandwiches but applied by our family to specifically mean dinner rolls stuffed with leftover meat and cheese and slathered with mayo and mustard). Although I did not get to indulge in the fasba tradition this year I did come home with some leftover turkey and decided to tweak a new recipe I've been wanting to try and use turkey instead of the sausage the recipe called for. I spent a good amount of time last week roasting pumpkin seeds and cooking and baking our garden's Halloween pumpkins into "canned" pumpkin which I was able to use for this recipe as well. It turned out quite tasty- even my non-pumpkin-loving husband enjoyed it.

Sausage (or Turkey), Pumpkin and Mushroom Pasta

2 cups uncooked multigrain bow tie pasta
1/2 pound Italian turkey sausage links, casings removed (or substitute leftover turkey)
1/2 pound sliced fresh mushrooms
1 medium onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup white wine or additional reduced-sodium chicken broth (I used white wine- Riesling- and really think it made for great flavor!)
1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
  • Cook pasta according to package directions.
  • Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray, cook the sausage, mushrooms, onion and garlic over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the chicken broth, pumpkin, wine, sage, salt, garlic powder and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 5-6 minutes or until slightly thickened.
  • Drain pasta; add to the skillet and heat through. Just before serving, sprinkle with cheese and parsley.
I also wanted to share my recipe for Cranberry Bread- I'd baked a loaf since I had fresh cranberries on hand and then brought it with us to WA. So far it's been deemed a winner by all who partake! I know I love it. I've also made it with apple juice instead of orange juice and omitted the orange peel so Eileigh can enjoy it but personally I like it best with the hint of orange flavoring. Don't forget to add the glaze- that's Mike's favorite part. :)

Favorite Cranberry Bread

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup cold butter
1 egg
3/4 cup orange juice
2 teaspoons grated orange peel
1 cup chopped fresh or frozen cranberries
1/2 cup golden raisins

1/3 cup packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cold butter

1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
2 teaspoons orange juice
  • In a large bowl, combine the first five ingredients; cut in butter until crumbly. In a small bowl, whisk the egg, orange juice and peel. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in cranberries and raisins. Transfer to a greased 8-in x 4-in. loaf pan.
  • Combine brown sugar and flour; cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over batter. Bake at 350° for 55-65 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • For glaze, combine confectioners' sugar and orange juice until smooth. Drizzle over bread.

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