Butternut Squash Soup

This is a classic, easy-to-prepare soup that tastes delicious and warms you up on a cool, autumn day.

Ingredients:

1 medium to large butternut squash, cut in half and seeded

2 tablespoons butter

1 onion, peeled and chopped

2 teaspoons ginger

6 cups chicken broth, divided

1 teaspoon salt

A few sprigs of chopped fresh parsley

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Place cut side of butternut squash down on a baking dish with half-inch of water. Bake about one hour until the squash can be easily pierced with a fork. Let it cool, then scoop out the pulp and set aside.

Heat the butter in a soup pot over medium-low heat. Add the onions and ginger, stir and cook until the onions are tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the squash along with 4 cups of chicken broth, bring to a boil then simmer, stirring often for about 10 minutes. Puree with a handheld blender. Add the remaining 2 cups of chicken stock and salt. Heat it through for about 5 minutes. Ladle into bowls and garnish with parsley.

Tip: Serve with warm, crusty bread and butter.

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Pumpkin Bread

Pumpkin bread is a delicious and festive way to enjoy the fall season. This recipe makes two tasty loaves–enough to share with someone special!

Ingredients:

2 2/3 cups sugar

2/3 cup butter

1 15-ounce can pumpkin

2/3 cup water

4 eggs

3 1/3 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 ½ teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon nutmeg

½ teaspoon baking powder

2/3 cup chopped nuts

2/3 cup raisins

Directions:

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two loaf pans, 9 x 5 x 3 inches.

Mix sugar and butter in a large mixing bowl. Add pumpkin, water and eggs. Stir in flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and baking powder. Add nuts and raisins.

Pour into pans and bake 70 minutes, until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool pans on a wire rack about 10 minutes, then gently loosen the loaves from the pan with a sharp knife or spatula. Remove from pans and let cool before slicing.

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Homemade Beef Stew

Beef stew is comfort food at its finest. The ordinary ingredients meld together into a satisfying, savory meal. The types of vegetables and herbs can be altered, resulting in endless variations of this classic recipe. The following recipe serves 4; if you’re expecting more people, the ingredients can be doubled, tripled, etc. so everyone can enjoy a bit of good ole, down-home cooking.

Ingredients:

6 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided

¼ cup flour

¼ teaspoon black pepper

1 pound beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 onion, peeled and diced

3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced

1 cup carrots, peeled and sliced

1 cup celery, sliced

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 cup red or white wine

4 cups beef broth

3 bay leaves

1 tablespoon fresh or 1 teaspoon dried herbs (oregano, thyme, savory, etc.)

2 large baking potatoes, peeled and diced

A few sprigs of fresh parsley, chopped

Salt and pepper, as needed

Directions:

Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.

Combine flour and pepper in a small bowl. Dredge the meat in the flour/pepper mixture. Sear a little meat at a time in the hot oil, turning the pieces until meat is browned on all sides; remove meat from pot. Add more oil as needed between each batch of meat.

In the same pot, sauté the onions, garlic, carrots and celery on medium-high heat. Remove vegetables from pot.

Deglaze the pot with red wine vinegar and wine, scraping bottom of pot with a spatula. Add beef broth, bay leaves and herbs. Add the meat and the vegetables to the pot, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about an hour-and-a-half, stirring often, until the meat is fork-tender. Add the potatoes; cover and simmer about 30 minutes, until potatoes are tender. Add parsley and season with salt and pepper, as needed. Ladle into bowls and serve. Tip: Serve with warm, crusty bread and butter.

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Apple Hand Pies

Apple hand pies—also known as apple turnovers—are individual serving sizes of traditional apple pie, an all-American favorite. This old family recipe is easy to follow and quite versatile, as any type of pie filling will work. Hand pies make a delicious dessert and are easy to serve to a crowd. And for those who like to eat pie for breakfast, including those who are trying to get out the door, they are a very convenient to-go item!

Number of servings: 4

Ingredients:

Crust:

¾ cup all-purpose flour

¼ cup butter

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 egg

1 tablespoon milk

Filling:

2 large apples, peeled, cored and diced

2 tablespoons butter

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ cup sugar

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon water

Topping:

1 egg

1 tablespoon milk

1 tablespoon sugar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

For the crust, place the flour in a large bowl. Cut in the butter using a pastry blender until coarse crumbs form. Add sugar and baking powder. Whisk egg and milk in a small bowl and stir; add to the flour mixture.

For the filling, melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in apples; sprinkle with salt, sugar, brown sugar and cinnamon; add water. Cook and stir apple mixture until apples are softened, about 5 minutes. Transfer apple filling to a plate and set aside to cool.

Form the dough into four balls; place one dough ball on a floured surface and roll into a circle about 8 inches in diameter. Spoon about 1/3 cup of apple filling into center of circle. Fold over dough and press the edges together with a lightly-floured fork. Repeat with remaining dough and filling. Place hand pies on an ungreased baking sheet (or line baking sheet with parchment paper).

For the topping, whisk egg with milk; brush top of each hand pie with egg mixture, sprinkle with about ¼ tablespoon sugar and cut three small vent holes on top of each pie crust.

Bake in the preheated oven until hand pies are golden brown, 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for about 10 minutes before serving.

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