Heather's Florida Kitchen

Seasonally inspired easy recipes for the home cook.
Butternut Squash Pumpkin Soup With Pepita & Bacon Topping

Butternut Squash Pumpkin Soup With Pepita & Bacon Topping

Butternut Squash Pumpkin Soup With Pepita & Bacon Topping

Butternut Squash Pumpkin Soup With Pepita & Bacon Topping

This fall soup recipe is layered with flavor. The dish starts with a sweet onion, carrot and apple base that is cooked in smoky bacon drippings and finishes with the creaminess of nutritious whole milk. The soup makes a great Thanksgiving starter served in shot glasses as guests arrive or as a hearty first course or side dish. Make this soup up to two days ahead of time and reheat when ready to serve.

Butternut Squash Pumpkin Soup With Pepita & Bacon Topping
Yield: 6-8 servings

1 1/2 pounds butternut squash
2 slices thick bacon
1 cup chopped sweet yellow onions
2 large carrots, grated
1 gala apple, grated
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth, or enough to reach desired consistency
Coarse salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon freshly chopped chives
1 cup whole milk
Toasted pepitas (see note)

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Cut squash in half or in large pieces, removing seeds. Place squash, cut sides down, in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Pour water into dish around squash halves. Bake until tender and easily pierced with a fork, about 1 1/2 hours. Carefully remove the peel. Dice squash and set aside.
2. Cook the bacon in the bottom of a heavy-bottomed pot. When cooked through, drain, crumble, and set aside. Leave the bacon drippings in the pot.
3. To the pot, add the onions, carrots, and apple. Cook, stirring occasionally, over medium-low heat 15 minutes. The onions should be translucent and golden brown. Add the pumpkin puree, cooked butternut squash, broth, salt, and pepper. Cover and simmer over medium-low for 10 minutes.
4. Using an immersion blender, blend the ingredients to the consistency of soup. (Alternatively, you can blend the mixture in batches in a food processor or blender.) Stir in fresh chives and milk. Slowly heat through.
5. Ladle into bowls and top with toasted pepitas and crumbled bacon.

Recipe notes

  • For additional flavor, toss uncooked butternut squash with olive oil and garlic in a large bowl. Season with salt and black pepper. Arrange on a foil-lined baking sheet. Roast 25 to 30 minutes. Squash should be tender and lightly browned.
  • Pepitas are raw pumpkin seed kernels. To toast, heat the oven to 325F. Toss the seeds with olive oil and spread in a single layer on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Toast in the oven, stirring occasionally, until golden, 13 to 15 minutes.
  • If desired, add a swirl of crème fraiche or Greek yogurt to each serving.
Caramel Apple-Spice Cupcakes

Caramel Apple-Spice Cupcakes

Caramel Apple-Spice Cupcakes (Photo courtesy BettyCrocker.com)

Caramel Apple-Spice Cupcakes (Photo courtesy BettyCrocker.com)

Caramel Apple-Spice Cupcakes from BettyCrocker.com are easy treats for holiday bake sales, parties and after-school gatherings. Store loosely covered in refrigerator.

Caramel Apple-Spice Cupcakes
Yield: 24 cupcakes

1 box Betty Crocker SuperMoist spice cake mix
Water, vegetable oil and eggs called for on cake mix box
1 cup chopped, peeled apple (1 medium)
12 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup caramel topping
24 (3-sticks) cinnamon sticks
Ground cinnamon for garnish

1. Heat oven to 350F. Place paper baking cup in each of 24 regular-size muffin cups.
2. Make cake mix as directed on box, using water, oil and eggs. Stir in chopped apple. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups.
3. Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to cooling racks. Cool completely.
4. In large bowl, beat cream cheese and butter with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Beat in powdered sugar until smooth. Spoon frosting into decorating bag fitted with star tip; pipe on tops of cupcakes.
5. Drizzle with caramel topping. Top each cupcake with cinnamon stick. Sprinkle with ground cinnamon.
SOURCE: BettyCrocker.com

Warm Tuscan Chicken Sandwiches

Warm Tuscan Chicken Sandwiches

Warm Tuscan Chicken Sandwiches (Photo courtesy National Chicken Council)

Warm Tuscan Chicken Sandwiches (Photo courtesy National Chicken Council)

Warm Tuscan Chicken Sandwiches are great for tailgate parties and other casual weekend gatherings. Use deli roast chicken or carve slices from a rotisserie chicken. For easy toting, wrap in parchment paper. The recipe was developed for the National Chicken Council and ChickenRoost.com, a wonderful source for kitchen-tested recipes.

Warm Tuscan Chicken Sandwiches
Yield: 4 servings

1 pound roasted chicken, sliced
2 teaspoons freshly minced rosemary
2 teaspoons freshly chopped basil
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 loaf crusty baguette, split lengthwise and soft insides removed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 pound sliced provolone cheese
8 sundried tomatoes in oil, drained and cut into strips

1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
2. Combine the rosemary, basil, garlic, salt and pepper and set aside. Brush inside of the baguette halves with olive oil. Sprinkle evenly with the herb mixture.
3. Place sliced chicken, provolone and sun-dried tomato strips evenly on one baguette half. Put other half of baguette on top, press down slightly and tie the baguette, at 2-inch intervals, with kitchen string, if desired.
4. Put baguette on a baking sheet and into the hot oven. Bake until warmed through and the cheese is melted, about 10 to 12 minutes.
5. Remove the baking sheet from oven and let the sandwiches rest for about 5 minutes. Remove strings and cut into quarters before serving.
SOURCE: National Chicken Council

Morning Mix recipe: Baked Taco Chicken Fingers

Morning Mix recipe: Baked Taco Chicken Fingers

Baked Taco Chicken Fingers (Photo courtesy McCormick & Co.)

Baked Taco Chicken Fingers (Photo courtesy McCormick & Co.)

Baked Taco Chicken Fingers from McCormick & Co. is my Morning Mix recipe of the week. Both kids and adults will love these taco-flavored chicken fingers. Baked, not fried, they are loaded with southwestern flavor. Serve with carrot sticks and applesauce for a fast weeknight meal. You can find more recipes curated exclusively for WOMX Mix 105.1’s website.

Baked Taco Chicken Fingers
Yield: 8 servings

Nonstick cooking spray
1 package McCormick Taco Seasoning Mix
1/4 cup cornmeal
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Water to moisten chicken
2 pounds chicken tenders or boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch strips

1. Preheat oven to 450F. Line baking sheet with foil. Spray with nonstick cooking spray. Mix taco seasoning mix, cornmeal, and flour in shallow dish or plastic bag.
2. Moisten chicken with water. Coat each chicken finger with seasoning mixture. Place chicken fingers, 1-inch apart, on prepared baking sheet. Spray chicken lightly with nonstick cooking spray.
3. Bake 15 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
Recipe notes: You may need to use 2 baking sheets. If desired, use a low-sodium taco seasoning mix.
SOURCE: McCormick & Co.

Harissa-Spiced Radish and Carrot Lentil Salad

Harissa-Spiced Radish and Carrot Lentil Salad

Harissa-Spiced Radish and Carrot Lentil Salad (Photo courtesy dudafresh.com and Duda Farm Fresh Foods)

Harissa-Spiced Radish and Carrot Lentil Salad (Photo courtesy dudafresh.com and Duda Farm Fresh Foods)

Harissa-Spiced Radish and Carrot Lentil Salad is recipe I found at www.dudafresh.com, the new, spiffed-up website for Duda Farm Fresh Foods. Duda has been growing fresh fruits and vegetables for nearly 100 years. At the improved website you can learn more about the importance of this Central Florida-based company and find amazing recipes that showcase their products. Check it out today. Harissa is a fiery North African chili paste flavored with cumin and coriander. You can find it in the international aisle in your grocery store, specialty food shops or it can be ordered online. Serve this salad with warm pita bread if desired.

Harissa-Spiced Radish and Carrot Lentil Salad
Yield: 2 servings

1 package Dandy Ready To Eat Radishes, halved
2 carrots, chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon prepared harissa paste
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 (19-ounce) can lentils, drained and rinsed
4 stalks Dandy celery, with leaves, chopped
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley, divided
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh dill
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons tahini paste
2 tablespoons water
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese

1. Preheat oven to 425F.
2. Toss together radishes, carrots, 2 tablespoons olive oil, harissa paste and half each salt and pepper. Arrange in single layer on parchment paper–lined baking sheet; bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until tender. Let cool to room temperature.
3. Toss together roasted vegetables, lentils, celery, red onion, dill and 2 tablespoons parsley. Arrange in serving dish.
4. Whisk together lemon juice, tahini paste and 2 tablespoons water until smooth. Whisk in remaining oil, garlic, paprika and season with salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle over salad. Sprinkle feta and remaining parsley over salad.
SOURCE:

Mushroom Pizza Rolls

Mushroom Pizza Rolls

Mushroom Pizza Rolls (Photo courtesy Mushroom Council and MushroomInfo.com)

Mushroom Pizza Rolls (Photo courtesy Mushroom Council and MushroomInfo.com)

Mushroom Pizza Rolls is a from-scratch treat developed for the Mushroom Council. The rolls can add a savory option to brunch, serve as a slumber party snack or be paired with a salad for a meal. Be sure to add some extra warmed pizza sauce on the side for dipping.

Mushroom Pizza Rolls
Yield: 12 servings

3/4 cup water, warmed to 110F-115F
2 teaspoons dry active yeast
2 teaspoons honey
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons finely diced white button mushrooms
1 teaspoon chopped parsley
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
5 to 6 tablespoons water
Olive oil to coat bowl
1/3 cup pizza sauce
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup thinly sliced white button mushrooms
Olive oil to brush rolls, optional
Pizza sauce for serving

1. Stir yeast and honey into warmed water. Let sit undisturbed until yeast blooms (begins to foam and expand at the top), about 5 minutes.
2. Place flour in bowl of an electric mixer fitted with dough hook attachment and stir in mushrooms and parsley. With mixer on low, pour in bloomed yeast and liquid. Continue to mix on medium, adding salt and garlic powder. Gradually add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until dough forms and creates a ball in the center of the mixer. It should be soft and pliable enough to handle, but not too sticky. Continue to mix for 2 minutes.
3. Turn dough out onto floured surface and knead for 5 more minutes, until smooth and elastic. Roll into a ball. Coat sides of a large bowl with olive oil. Place dough in bowl, cover with a clean dish towel and let sit in a draft-free place until doubled in size, about one hour.
4. Once dough has risen, punch it down and roll it out on a floured surface to approximately a 16-by-10-inch rectangle. Spread pizza sauce over dough, sprinkle with cheese, then top with sliced mushrooms. Working from one long side, roll dough up into a log and tuck in each end. Using a serrated knife, cut log into 12 rolls.
5. Spray 9-by-13-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Place rolls cut side up in pan. Let rise for 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 400F.
6. Bake rolls 24 to 25 minutes, until browned and baked through the center. Brush warm rolls with olive oil, if desired. Serve warm with pizza sauce for dipping.
SOURCE: Mushroom Council and MushroomInfo.com

Morning Mix recipe: Make-Ahead Cheesy Turkey Chili Bake

Morning Mix recipe: Make-Ahead Cheesy Turkey Chili Bake

Make-Ahead Cheesy Turkey Chili Bake (Photo courtesy Pillsbury.com and the General Mills Co.)

Make-Ahead Cheesy Turkey Chili Bake (Photo courtesy Pillsbury.com and the General Mills Co.)

Make-Ahead Cheesy Turkey Chili Bake is my Morning Mix recipe of the week. Developed in the General Mills test kitchens, the recipe is very versatile. Make it with ground turkey, beef or a meatloaf mix. Also, shredded rotisserie or leftover baked chicken saves stovetop prep time. You can find more recipes curated exclusively for WOMX Mix 105.1’s website.

Make-Ahead Cheesy Turkey Chili Bake
Yield: 8 servings

1 1/4 pounds ground turkey
1 (1-ounce) package Old El Paso taco seasoning mix
2 (19-ounce) cans Progresso cannellini beans, drained, rinsed
1 (4.5-ounce) can Old El Paso green chilies, undrained
1 (11-ounce) can white shoepeg corn
1 (16-ounce) jar Old El Paso Thick ‘n Chunky salsa
2 cups shredded Mexican four-cheese blend
4 cups cooked brown rice (optional)
Toppings (optional):
Freshly chopped cilantro
Sliced green onions
Sour cream or Greek yogurt
Salsa
Guacamole

1. Heat oven to 350F. Spray a 13-by-9-inch (3-quart) baking dish with cooking spray.
2. In a 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat turkey and salt to taste over medium-high heat until no longer pink. Add remaining ingredients except cheese; stir to combine. Spread in baking dish. Top with cheese. Spray piece of foil large enough to cover baking dish with cooking spray. Cover baking dish with foil, sprayed side down.
3. Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until instant-read thermometer inserted in center of casserole reads 165F. If desired, serve over rice with favorite chili toppings: cilantro, green onions, sour cream, yogurt, salsa, guacamole.

Recipe notes:

  • To freeze, spray 2 (8-inch) disposable foil cake pans with cooking spray. After covering pans with sprayed foil, place pans in gallon-size sealable freezer plastic bags, or wrap in double layer of plastic wrap. Label and freeze. To bake: Thaw overnight in refrigerator. Heat oven to 350F. Remove from plastic, and place foil-covered pans on cookie sheet. Bake 40 to 50 minutes. If baking from frozen, bake 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours.
  • Spicy tomatillo salsa makes a nice substitute for the Thick ‘n Chunky salsa, if you can take the heat.
  • Shave off prep time by using 2 cups shredded deli rotisserie chicken in place of the ground turkey.

SOURCE: Pillsbury.com and the General Mills Co.

Greek Pasta Salad

Greek Pasta Salad

Greek Pasta Salad (Photo courtesy PastaFits.org)

Greek Pasta Salad (Photo courtesy PastaFits.org)

Greek Pasta Salad is just the dish you need for National Pasta Day. Cavatappi, or “corkscrew,” pasta is the pasta shape used in the recipe. The tight spiral locks-in flavor and latches on to chopped ingredients. The dish is a good choice for lunch, picnics, barbecues or potlucks. Enjoy it as is or add grilled chicken, fish, or pork tenderloin to amp up the protein.

Greek Pasta Salad
Yield: 8 servings

4 ounces cavatappi pasta
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon honey
1/4 teaspoon each: salt and pepper
3 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley
1 cup chopped cucumber
1 cup chopped tomato
1/2 cup. chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1/4 cup pitted and chopped kalamata olives
1/4 cup finely crumbled feta cheese
4 cups chopped or torn red leaf lettuce

1. Cook cavatappi according to package directions. Drain and let cool completely.
2. Meanwhile, in large bowl, whisk together olive oil, vinegar, garlic, mustard, oregano, honey, salt and pepper until combined. Stir in parsley.
3. Add cucumber, tomato, red pepper, onion, olives and feta to bowl; add pasta and toss well. Let stand for at least 10 minutes. Just before serving, toss with lettuce.
SOURCE: PastaFits.org

Grilled Pork Chops with Basil-Garlic Rub

Grilled Pork Chops with Basil-Garlic Rub

Grilled Pork Chops with Basil-Garlic Rub (photo courtesy National Pork Board and PorkBeInspired.com)

Grilled Pork Chops with Basil-Garlic Rub (photo courtesy National Pork Board and PorkBeInspired.com)

Add Grilled Pork Chops with Basil-Garlic Rub to your weekend entertaining file. Pork chops are the most popular cut from the pork loin, which is the strip of meat that runs from the pig’s hip to shoulder. Depending on where they originate, pork chops can be found under a variety of names, including loin, rib or ribeye, sirloin, top loin and blade chops. Serve these chops with fresh mozzarella or burrata cheese and thick slices of ripe tomatoes on a bed of arugula leaves. Lightly drizzle with aged balsamic vinegar and extra-virgin olive oil. Or, make extra basil-garlic rub to dress the salad as well. The recipe is from the National Pork Board and PorkBeInspired.com.

Grilled Pork Chops with Basil-Garlic Rub
Yield: 4 servings

4 bone-in ribeye (rib) pork chops, 3/4-inch thick
Basil-garlic rub:
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. With a food processor or blender running, drop garlic in to mince. Stop, add fresh basil, and process until chopped. Add lemon juice, oil, salt, and pepper and process to make thin wet rub. Spread both sides of pork chops with basil mixture. Let stand 15 to 30 minutes.
2. Prepare a medium-hot fire in grill. Brush the grate clean and oil the grate. Grill chops, over direct heat, turning once, to medium rare doneness, 5 to 6 minutes per side, or until the internal temperature reaches 145F, followed by a 3-minute rest time.
Recipe note: Top the chops with shavings of Parmesan cheese (shave from a wedge of cheese with a vegetable peeler) and toasted pine nuts, if desired.
SOURCE: National Pork Board and PorkBeInspired.com

Black Bean Chili Dip

Black Bean Chili Dip

Black Bean Chili Dip (Photo courtesy Cabot Creamery)

Black Bean Chili Dip (Photo courtesy Cabot Creamery)

Black Bean Chili Dip is a great tailgate recipe for watching the game at home or fueling up near the stadium. Quick and easy, this appetizer comes together in a snap, simplifying your game day party prep. Serve it hot with crisp tortilla chips for scooping up all the cheesy, spicy goodness. If transporting to a tailgate party, pack tightly in foil and wrap in a towel to keep warm.

Black Bean Chili Dip
Yield: Makes 2 cups for about 8 servings

1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed, drained and partially mashed
1/2 cup drained canned whole kernel corn
1/3 cup salsa
1/4 cup water
2 teaspoons chili powder
Cooking spray
5 ounces Cabot Sharp Extra Light Cheddar or Cabot Sharp Light Cheddar, grated (about 1 1/4 cups)
2 tablespoons drained canned green chilies

1. Preheat oven to 375F.
2. Combine beans and next 4 ingredients; pour into a small casserole dish coated with cooking spray.
3. Sprinkle with cheese and green chilies.
4. Cover and bake 30 minutes or until cheese is melted and filling is bubbly. Uncover and cook an additional 5 minutes. Serve with tortilla chips.
Recipe note: For a quick afternoon snack any day of the week, this dip can also be mixed together ahead of time and portioned into individual serving dishes. Microwave each dish, as needed, on HIGH for 1 minute at a time until filling is bubbly and cheese is melted.
SOURCE: Cabot Creamery