Beef Bone Broth | Slow Cooker Style
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A few months ago, Chris’ parents started the Bone Broth Diet and were proudly showing off their batches of beautiful broth they made with bones from Eckert’s meat department. At the time, I had little knowledge of this particular diet so when they headed out of town for the winter, I drove over to the Millstadt Farm to pick up their books.

I enjoyed reading about the diet which sparked great conversation with family and coworkers here at Eckert’s. And while I am not following the diet, I do love the idea of healing properties that bone broth is thought to provide. In fact, bone broth has a list of credits a mile long! It is good for the gut, aids with sleep, protects joints, increases bone strength, reduces wrinkles and supports a healthy immune system. So, whether you believe all the hype or not, why not give it a try?  

Over the past two months, I have read dozens of blogs and picked up tons of tips from Eckert’s customers about how to make tasty bone broth. The day I stumbled across a crock pot recipe, I was thrilled! Unlike other recipes that call for your broth to cook on the stove top for 24 hours, this recipe seemed like a safer way to make broth in a house with kids and pets underfoot.

My recipe for Butcher’s Beef Bone Broth represents several I have pieced together from various books and blogs. The marrow bones from our steers at Eckert’s yield amazing broth and they really are the star of this show. Roasting the bones prior to slow-cooking adds a richness that makes the broth especially enjoyable.

Not sure if you will like beef broth or not? No worries! Jill, my sister in law, was inspired to add bone broth to Eckert’s Restaurant winter menu. I hope you will stop by our Belleville Farm to give it a try soon.

If you want to try this recipe yourself, call our meat department to reserve your nutrient-rich marrow bones.

Eat well this winter,

Angie Eckert

Butcher’s Beef Bone Broth
4 lbs beef marrow bones from Eckert’s butcher
2 medium onions
2 medium carrots, unpeeled
2 stalks of celery
2 Tbs. unfiltered apple cider vinegar
2 dried bay leaves
10 cups of water (approx.)

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Place beef bones in a single layer on a rimmed baking tray. Roast bones for 15 minutes. Flip and roast an additional 15 minutes. (This step adds more flavor to the broth.)

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Roughly chop the vegetables into large pieces. Quarter the onions. Place roasted bones in a 6 quart slow cooker. Add vegetables, apple cider vinegar and bay leaves. Completely cover vegetables with water. (There should be at least 1” water covering the vegetables.)

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Cook on low for 24-36 hours. Add water as needed to keep ingredients submerged in water. Skim fat off surface periodically.

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After desired cook time is complete. Remove large chunks of vegetables and bones from the broth with a tongs and discard. Strain the broth through a fine mesh strainer. Using a ladle, carefully transfer hot broth into clean jars or glass containers (I like to use 8 or 16 oz canning jars). Place uncovered jars on a tray or plate in the refrigerator. Cover jars with lids once broth has completely cooled. Fat will accumulate at the tops of the jars and form a protective surface inside the jar. 

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To drink the broth, remove the fat layer with a spoon and discard or save for skillet cooking. Remaining broth will be jelly-like but will turn to liquid once it is heated. Microwave broth and add seasonings as desired, dilute if too strong for your tastes. Broth can be stored in the refrigerator for 1 week or in the freezer for up to 3 months.  

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Makes about 6 cups. 

Optional additional seasonings for reheating broth: salt, pepper, dried or fresh herbs to your preference. I like a little salt with mine :)

Amanda Morgan
Homemade Sloppy Joes | The Perfect Weeknight Meal
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Cold winter days always make me crave comfort food like nobody's business! This week, I made one of my favorite comfort meals, Homemade Sloppy Joe's on pretzel buns. I forgot how much I love this hearty, tangy recipe so I just have to share it again! 

I love how quickly Homemade Sloppy Joe's come together on a school night, especially if you make a batch of the seasoning to keep on hand in the pantry. I like to use Stonewall Kitchen's Country Ketchup instead of regular ketchup because it adds a little kick to the sauce, but not so much that my kids won't enjoy it! 

I think you will find this recipe to be simple and delicious for a weeknight dinner or an easy recipe to double for a family gathering. The familiar flavors will help you and your family feel a little better about these cold winter days.

Eat well this winter,

Angie Eckert

P.S. If you are looking for a good deal on high quality ground beef, stop by the meat counter in our Belleville Country Store on Fridays in February. 

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Homemade Sloppy Joe's

Ingredients:
1 lb. Eckert's ground beef, uncooked
1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion
1/2 cup finely chopped green pepper
2/3 cup ketchup (try Stonewall Kitchen Country Ketchup!)
1/2 cup water
1 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
6 pretzel buns
6 slices of cheese (optional)

Homemade Sloppy Joe Seasoning:
Make a batch as listed below. Or quadruple the ingredients below and store in an air tight container at room temperature. If quadrupling, use 1 tablespoon of seasoning per 1 pound of ground beef. (Note: 3 teaspoons equal 1 tablespoon)

1 tsp. Chili powder
1/2 tsp dry mustard powder (I like Coleman's brand)
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp Kosher Salt

In a large skillet over medium heat, brown ground beef until no longer pink. Drain beef and return skillet to medium heat. Add onions and peppers and saute for 3-4 minutes. In a small bowl, combine ketchup, water, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and 1 tablespoon of sloppy joe seasoning. Whisk ingredients together before pouring over ground beef and vegetables. Turn heat to low, cover and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Divide mixture between 6 buns, top with a slice of cheese and serve. 

Amanda Morgan
Five Super Bowl Dips + Snack to Satisfy Every Guest

Are your ready for a SUPER party!? The big game is this weekend and I have five Super Bowl dips for you to try. From meaty to vegetarian to something sweet, I have you covered with these yummy recipes! Last week Heidi Glaus from KSDK's Show Me St. Louis asked if she could film five of our favorite dip recipes in Eckert's Cooking Classroom for Show Me's St. Louis' Super Bowl Special. I immediately dug through my file of dip recipes to find these game-day favorites.

Superbowl Dips

Superbowl Dips

There is something for everyone in this group of recipes. Queso Fundido with Eckert's Chorizo and Roasted Garlic Bacon Dip satisfy the meat lovers in the room while Decked-Out Hummus adds flair to a classic dairy-free, vegetarian dip. For an "easy button" option, you can't go wrong with  Pepper Relish Spread - a simple mixture of cream cheese and Eckert's Pepper Relish. And last but not least, Toffee Dip rounds out the bunch with something sweet to spread on sugar cookies or fresh apple slices. 

 You can find all the recipes for these game day dishes below. I hope you can catch my cooking demos for these five Super Bowl dips on Show Me St. Louis this Sunday, February 4th at 10am or visit http://www.ksdk.com/show-me-st-louis.

 Eat well on Game Day,

Angie

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Roasted Garlic-Bacon Dip
2 heads garlic
1 1/2 cups dairy sour cream
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 to 2 Tbs. fresh chives and scallions, chopped
1/2 Tbs. Worcestershire saucePepper
6 slices crisp Eckert’s bacon, chopped

Cut tops off 2 heads garlic. Drizzle with olive oil. Wrap heads in foil and bake in preheated 400-degrees oven until tender about 45 minutes.  Cool. Remove garlic pulp; discard skins. Mix pulp with 1 1/2 cups dairy sour cream and 3/4 cup mayonnaise.

Stir in 1 to 2 Tbs. fresh chopped chives and scallions. Add about 1/2 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce and pepper. Gently mix in 6 slices chopped crisp Eckert’s bacon. Makes about 2 1/2 cups dip.

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Easy Pepper Relish Spread
8 oz softened cream cheese
4 oz Eckert’s Pepper Relish

Mix cream cheese and relish until creamy. Serve immediately with crackers or refrigerate until serving time. Serve with crackers or fresh cut vegetables.

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Decked Out Hummus – Mediterranean
10 oz store-bought or homemade hummus
Mediterranean toppings:
¼ cup chopped tomatoes
¼ cup chopped cucumbers
1/8 cup feta cheese crumbles

Spread hummus on a medium plate. Choose Med or Mex toppings. Arrange toppings in a concentric circles. If using taco seasoning, mix it into the hummus before spreading the hummus. Serve immediately with pita chips, fresh tortillas and or fresh cut veggies.

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Decked Out  Hummus - Mexican
¼ cup Eckert’s Deli-made Salsa
¼ cup cooked corn kernels
¼ cup black beans
2 Tbs chopped fresh cilantro
1 tsp of taco seasoning, optional

Spread hummus on a medium plate. Choose Med or Mex toppings. Arrange toppings in a concentric circles. If using taco seasoning, mix it into the hummus before spreading the hummus. Serve immediately with pita chips, fresh tortillas and or fresh cut veggies.

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Queso Fundido with Eckert’s Chorizo
1 lb Eckert’s Fresh Chorizo, casings removed (4 links)
1 red onion, chopped
2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped finely
2 cups Eckert’s frozen yellow corn, thawed
8 oz goat cheese, crumbled
12 oz Eckert’s Colby Jack, cut into 1/4” pieces
1 large tomato, seeded and chopped
¼ cup chopped green or spring onion tops
Cilantro, chopped (optional)
Thick tortilla chips for dipping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a 12” cast-iron or oven-proof skillet combine chorizo, onion, pepper and corn. Cook over medium heat for 8-10 minutes. Drain fat if desired. (Note: Eckert’s chorizo does not generate drippings.) Add cheeses and stir to incorporate. Place skillet in the oven for 12 minutes or until bubbling. Remove from oven and top with tomatoes, green onions and cilantro if desired. Serve immediately with tortilla chips. Serves 12-15.

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Toffee Dip
8 oz cream cheese, softened
8 oz Whipped topping, thawed (I used Cool Whip)
¼ cup brown sugar
1/3 cup crushed Chocolate Covered English Toffee
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Apple slices or Eckert’s sugar cookies for dipping

In large bowl with a mixer, beat cream cheese and whipped topping until smooth and creamy. Add in brown sugar and beat again until smooth. Stir in toffee bits and vanilla. Serve immediately with apple slices and cookies or refrigerate until serving time.

Beef and Cheese Hand Pie
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This week, the kids and I have been talking about National Pie Day which is coming up soon! I am looking forward to featuring a recipe both of my kids love on KSDK's Show Me St. Louis this week. Both of my kids made their own hand pies for dinner a couple nights ago and Ella even took one for her lunch today. If your kiddos love cheeseburgers or that certain brand of mix that you combine with browned ground beef, you have to try this recipe for Beef and Cheese Hand Pies.

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National Pie Day, which falls annually on January 23rd, is a big deal in our Belleville Country Store. It is the only day of the year that we sell all of our bakery pies at "Buy 1 Get 1 Free." We are taking hundreds of orders for pies and I already have my family's order in for a Pecan Pie and a French Silk Pie. Double the yum!

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At home we will be making these fun hand pies again next week to celebrate National Pie Day. I am planning to serve a greens salad in a pie pan along with our Beef and Cheese Hand Pies and Eckert's pies for dessert.

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I hope you will give this simple, savory pie recipe a try. I am certain you will find this kid-friendly recipe hits the spot on National Pie Day and beyond. 

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Eat well this winter,

Angie

Beef and Cheese Hand Pies
1 lb lean ground beef
1 cup finely diced yellow onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
8 Eckert’s humble pie crusts (6” rounds of pie dough) or 2 ten-inch frozen pie shells
2 eggs, beaten

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Thaw pie dough on counter for 20 minutes.

In a large non-stick skillet, add ground beef, onions and garlic. Cook over medium high heat, stirring occasionally for 8-10 minutes. Stir in Worcestershire and Dijon. Remove from heat and cool for 15 minutes. Stir in cheese.

If using humble pie crusts, place 1/3 cup of filling on half of the crust. Brush egg on edges of crust. Fold half of crust over to make a half circle and pinch closed with the tongs of a fork. Cut two small vent holes in the top of the crust.

If using pie shells, cut crust into fourths. Place 1/3 cup filling on half the crust piece. Follow directions for sealing above.

Place hand pies on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes or until browned as desired.

Makes 8 servings.

This recipe is modified from marthastewart.com.

Beef, cheese, PieChuck WagnerPie Day
Eckert’s Living Lettuce Winter Citrus Salad with Orange Vinaigrette
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Lush leafy greens are a welcome sight on the farm in the middle of winter! Currently, we are growing a gorgeous crop of hydroponic lettuce in our greenhouse adjacent to the Belleville Country Store. Nutrients in circulated water flow through pipes, allowing tiny little seeds to develop a network of roots and grow into wavy heads of lettuce in just five weeks. And if you remember the taste of lettuce from your grandma's garden, a bite of this tender green will take you back to those good ole days.

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 We call this hydroponic lettuce "Living Lettuce" at Eckert's. And while these 6" diameter heads of lettuce don't grow much more once you take them home, they do remain lush and green for 1-2 weeks if you leave them in a bowl of fresh water. I usually grab a couple heads from the store when I shop because I need one for dinner and one to place on my table to add a pop of live green color to the space.

 This week we are celebrating homegrown lettuce and Florida's citrus season by making Living Lettuce Winter Salad with Orange Vinaigrette. The recipe makes a cup and a half of dressing which means you will have a little extra for a salad the next day. (The dressing is yummy drizzled on a bowl of sliced fruit.) 

Fresh orange juice and orange zest in the dressing enhance the citrus flavors in the sliced fruit. Fresh pear and grapes add nice color and texture to the mix of fresh ingredients. For the most tender bites of grapefruit, I recommend cutting the flesh out of the grapefruit skin (search "peel and segment a grapefruit" if you would like to see how its done).  If you are a cheese lover like me, feta crumbles make a nice addition to the salad as well.

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 I hope you will stop by Eckert's Belleville Farm soon to see our Living Lettuce growing in the greenhouse. Grab a head in the produce department and take it home to try! I am certain you will love the tender, fresh greens as much as I do.

 Eat well this winter,

Angie

Eckert’s Living Lettuce Winter Citrus Salad with Orange Vinaigrett

Vinaigrette Ingredients
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 tsp. orange zest, finely grated
3 Tbs. fresh squeezed orange juice
1 Tbs. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
3/4 cup EVOO

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Whisk together the first 6 ingredients. Add oil in a steady stream, whisking until blended. Store dressing in covered, 8-ounce canning jar in refrigerator. Not all of the dressing will be used in salad recipe below; remaining dressing can be used with fresh fruit or greens salads. 

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Makes: 1 1/3 cups.

Salad Ingredients
2 heads of Eckert's Living Lettuce leaves, torn or 4 cups baby salad greens
2 oranges, peeled and cut into thin round slices
1 large grapefruit, peeled, sectioned with membrane removed
1 semi-firm unpeeled red pear
1 to 2 cups seedless red or green grapes, halved
2 to 3 Tbs. walnuts or pecans, chopped

Arrange torn lettuce pieces on a large platter. Arrange fruit on top. Drizzle with dressing; top with nuts. Serve immediately.

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Makes 4 to 5 servings.

Chuck Wagner
Cast Iron Italian Chicken Stew
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Baby it's cold outside.... and I am a wimp! All I want to do during this stretch of cold days, is to crank up the heat and kick on the stove. Our farm house kitchen has been a frenzy of roasting chickens, slow-cooking bone broth, stewing chicken, sous vide"ing" steaks and more this week. Our family is in a self-inflicted, low carb mode and it has been fun to take on some new recipes and to research different foods to weave into our regular diets.

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I am on a personal kick to learn about bone broth, so stay tuned for a future post on that. I am still scouring the books and resources. This week I will be trying a beef bone broth with some of the bones from the steer from Eckert's Meat Department. To be continued....

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 For now, I want to share a dinner I have made twice in the last couple weeks. I love cooking in my heirloom cast iron pot. It is nothing fancy but it has been seasoned over 3 generations! If you are new to cast iron cooking, I recommend the Lodge Manufacturing website. Their site is very robust and will help you learn the ropes of cast iron cooking. (Note: This recipe for Italian Chicken Stew will also work in a heavy bottomed soup pot if you do not have a cast iron pot.)

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 I love the versatility of this stew recipe. My kids devour rice and pasta so I  usually make a bowl for them to put in with their stew. For a low-carb option, this stew is also excellent served on steamed or baked spaghetti squash. And surprisingly, my kids also like spaghetti squash!

 Although the recipe is fairly simple, good chicken is key. Many of our regular Country Store customers agree, our chicken breasts are amazing here at Eckert's. Our butchers trim away all the white fat and muscle fibers which results in the most tender chicken I have ever worked with. You just have to give it a try!

 I also hope you will give this feel-good recipe a try soon too. In the meantime, stay warm.

 Eat well this winter,

Angie

 Cast Iron Italian Chicken Stew

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 Tbs. dried oregano, divided
1 tsp. salt, divided
1/2 tsp. black pepper, divided
1/2 cup all purpose flour or Bob's Red Mill 1 to 1 gluten free baking flour, divided
8 oz baby portabella mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
14 oz grape tomatoes, halved
2 cloves fresh garlic, peeled and minced
1/2 dry white wine (I used Sauvignon Blanc because I like to drink it!) 
Juice of half a lemon
3/4 cup chicken broth

Rinse and pat chicken dry. Cut chicken into 1/2" thick slices. In a small bowl, combine 1/2 tablespoon oregano, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Season chicken on all sides with spices. Place 1/3 cup flour in a small shallow bowl. Coat chicken pieces in flour and dust off excess. 

 Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large cast iron pot. Brown the chicken pieces on two sides for 3-4 minutes or until the chicken releases gently from the pan. Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside. 

In the same pot, add more oil if needed to re-coat the pan. Add mushrooms and saute for 1 minute. Add tomatoes, garlic and remaining oregano, salt, pepper and 2 teaspoons of flour. Cook for 3-4 minutes. 

Pour in wine and allow it to reduce for 3 minutes before adding the lemon juice and chicken broth.

Bring liquid to a boil before adding the chicken back to the pot. Cook over high heat for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium low, cover pot and simmer for 8-10 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 degrees F. 

Serve over rice or noodles or just as a bowl of stew with crusty bread for dipping. 

Note: This recipe for Italian Chicken Stew will also work in a heavy bottomed soup pot if you do not have a cast iron pot.

 

Mini Cheese Ball Bites
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Happy Almost New Year! I have been enjoying a few post-Christmas days at home to hang out with my family and to reorganize some spaces around the house. Today I am digging into my recipe files and gathering a list of appetizers to make for New Year's Eve. This recipe for Mini Cheese Ball Bites was on the top of my pile and it will be on the menu for sure!

 Our classroom culinary educators, Des and Sabine, made this recipe for two appetizer classes in December. I instantly fell in love with their recipe because it has tons of flexibility! The cheese and topping choices can be changed up to make this appetizer truly unique. Honestly, the sky is the limit in terms of experimenting.

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There are several ideas listed below but there are tons of other options worth trying. One of the most popular combinations in the classroom was the cranberry cheddar with a light topping of bacon.  Double yum!

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Give this appetizer recipe a try for your next festive gathering. Put your own spin on the ingredients to make it your personal combination of cheesy goodness.

Eat well this holiday season and Happy New Year to yo!

Angie

Mini Cheese Ball Bites

 
Basic Cheese Mixture

8oz cream cheese, softened
8oz goat cheese, softened
1 cup shredded cheese (suggestions below)
Salt to taste
Fresh cracked pepper taste
 
Other ingredients:
pretzel sticks
choice of topping (suggestions below)
 
Mix cream cheese, goat cheese, shredded cheese and salt and pepper. With moistened hands, form cheese mixture into 1 inch balls. Chill 2 hours, then roll in topping. Add pretzel sticks before serving.
 
Choices for shredded cheese:
Hennings Mammoth Cheddar
Ropp Jersey Bacon Garlic or Horseradish Cheddar
Maple Leaf Cranberry White Cheddar
Aged Gouda
 
Choices for Toppings:
chopped pecans
chopped walnuts
green onions
fresh dill
fresh parsley
chopped bacon
chopped pepitas
Cheese Bites can be made a day in advance and stored in the refrigerator. 
Add pretzel just before serving.

Appetizer, cheeseChuck Wagner
One Pan Breakfast Bake

Christmas is almost here and one of my favorite parts of Christmas day is the rare opportunity for a slow-paced breakfast at home! My kids love bacon and eggs but I don't want to create too much mess since we will be headed out for the afternoon.  I am  planning to make this yummy and oh-so-easy One Pan Breakfast Bake as I slowly sip my eggnog in my glittery slippers and my cozy robe. 

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Since the potatoes, bacon and eggs need different cooking times, there are three steps for the same pan to go into the oven.  That being said, you will be surprised how simple this recipe is to make. I like to set all the ingredients out on the counter. When the timer dings, I am ready for the next addition. 

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 Our family will also be enjoying some homemade cookies (Ella went crazy this year!) and Eckert's bakery coffeecakes to round out our sheet pan breakfast. I hope you'll give this recipe a try over the holidays for breakfast or even a quick dinner.

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Wishing you all a delicious and magical holiday!
Merry Christmas to you and your family,
from the Eckert family

One Pan Breakfast Bake

2 lb Yukon gold potatoes, diced in 1/2" pieces
3 Tbs melted butter
1/4 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
8 slices of Eckert's slab bacon*
6 large eggs
1 Tbs fresh parsley, optional

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat a rimmed sheet pan (I recommend a half sheet pan, 13" x 18") with nonstick spray. In a medium bowl, toss potatoes, butter and seasonings. Pour potatoes on sheet pan and sprinkle shredded cheese on top.

Place pan in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Remove pan from oven, place bacon slices on top of the potatoes and return to the oven for 12 minutes. 

 Remove pan from the oven, blot bacon with paper towels. Crack eggs throughout the pan in space between bacon slices. Return pan to oven for the final time: 6-8 minutes for soft yolks or 10 minutes for firm yolks.

 Garnish with fresh parsley if desired. Serves 6.

 *Eckert's bacon is thick cut. If using thinner bacon, reduce the cook time for the second cycle by 5 minutes or so. 

 

 

Savory Vegetable Goat Cheese Tart
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Holiday entertaining and appetizers go hand in hand... or should I say hand in mouth?! We have been busy testing and preparing appetizer recipes for several upcoming cooking classes in our Belleville Country Store. I have an appetizer recipe list a mile long but I just love an excuse to try new things too. In November, we featured this recipe in a wine class and it was a big hit. I promised the classroom guests, I would post the recipe on our blog so they could make it at home for their holiday gatherings. So here you go guys! Sorry it took me awhile to get to it.

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 This recipe is delicious because it uses our famously flaky Humble Pie crusts. We sell thousands of fruit Humble Pies in our bakery and a few years back, we had so many requests from guests who wanted to make their own mini fruit pies that we started offering these cute little pie dough rounds in our freezer case. They make a perfect crust for sweet and savory tarts alike. My kids love to make open-face pizzas or pizza pockets with them when they have friends stay overnight.

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 This adult version of a savory tart pulls in our farm- grown butternut squash, potatoes, mushrooms and a creamy goat cheese to top it all off. Is your mouth watering for a glass of Pinot Noir? Mine sure is!

 This tart tastes best when served a little warm or at room temperature. If you want to do some work ahead of your gathering, the pie dough rounds can be pinched and the veggies can be roasted and stored in the refrigerator a day in advance. These steps help speed along assembly on party day.

 I hope you will give these savory tarts a try for your next holiday gathering. If you are looking for more delicious appetizer recipes, catch our upcoming Appetizer Lunch and Learn. Visit our website for details at www.eckerts.com.

 Eat well this holiday season,

Angie

 Savory Vegetable Goat Cheese Tart

 Roasted Vegetable Filling
1 small Eckert’s butternut squash, washed
2 small unpeeled Yukon Gold potatoes, slice ¼-inch thick rounds
4 ounces fresh sliced mushrooms
2 to 3 Tbs. olive oil, divided
1 to 2 tsp. dried thyme, divided
Kosher salt, divided

 Crust

4 Eckert’s Humble pie pastry crust, defrosted (these 6.5" pastry rounds are located in our freezer case)

 Topping

2 ounces goat brie cheese, sliced into 8 pieces

 Preheat oven 400-degrees. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.

 Filling Preparation

Cut the butternut squash just above the bowl (round bottom) portion. Set the squash bowl aside for another use. Peel the squash neck. Slice into ¼-inch rounds.

 In a medium sized bowl, toss the squash rounds with about 1 tablespoon olive oil, about ¾ teaspoon and thyme. Spread in a single layer on prepared baking sheet.

In the same bowl, toss potatoes slices with about 1 tablespoon olive oil, about ¾ teaspoon and thyme.  Place potatoes in a single layer on the second baking sheet, leaving room for the sliced mushrooms.

Next toss the sliced mushrooms in the same bowl with the remaining olive oil and thyme. Place in a single layer on the second baking sheet.

Sprinkle very lightly with kosher salt.

Roast vegetables about 8 minutes (squash and potatoes will still be firm). Remove squash and potatoes from the oven to cool.

Leave the mushrooms on the baking sheet. Continue to roast another 10 to 15 minutes or until the most of the moisture has evaporated and the mushrooms are browned.  Remove and allow to cool.

Tart Preparation

While the vegetables are cooling, take each of the pastry rounds and form a ½-inch fluted edge.* Place on a parchment lined rimmed baking sheet.

Tart Assembly

In the bottom of each pastry, divide the roasted potatoes, mushrooms and squash. Bake about 10 minutes. Remove from oven and place cut pieces of the goat brie cheese on top.

Return to the oven and bake about 3 to 4 minutes or until the cheese is soft.

With a sharp Chef's knife, cut tarts in quarters and serve. Makes 4 entrees or 8 appetizers.

* The fluted pastry can be covered and placed in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours before filling with the roasted vegetables and goat cheese. Placing the pastry in the refrigerator without the filling for 15 to 20 minutes will make the tart flakier. 

Skillet Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Apple Salad
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Happy Holidays! I am always on the lookout for unique recipes to take along to holiday gatherings this time of year. I find it helpful to have a few recipes on file that I can make the night before a luncheon or family gathering and that is why I love this recipe for Skillet Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Apple Salad. A tasty mustard concoction and onion jam give this dish its wow factor! The savory dressing is the perfect balance for slightly bitter Brussels sprouts. I recommend using Eckert's homegrown Braeburn apples because they have a terrific texture and nice red color to contrast with the green sprouts. Get it? Red and green!!

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And speaking of apples... we still have a terrific selection of delicious homegrown apples for sale in our Belleville Country Store. We have been storing our apples in an ethylene controlled environment which means the apples remain as crisp as the day we picked them. Ethylene naturally occurs in most fruits and vegetables and it can trigger ripening and spoilage. Naturally controlling the ethlyene levels around apples means fresher, crisper apples for a longer period of time. So come on by our produce department today and ask our staff for a sample of our delicious Braeburn apples.

I hope you will give this recipe a try soon for your next holiday gathering. I promise it will be a hit!

Eat well this holiday season,

Angie

 Skillet Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Apple Salad

 For the Sweet Hot Mustard

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¼ cup Eckert’s Honey Dijon Mustard
2 Tbs. whole-grain mustard
1 ½ tsp. apple cider vinegar
2 Tbs. firmly packed brown sugar
1/8 tsp. hot sauce

 To make the mustard, use a 12-ounce canning jar with a screw top lid, add mustards, vinegar, brown sugar, and hot sauce. Shake until well mixed. Reserve 2 tablespoons mustard mixture for the salad; refrigerate the rest for up to 4 weeks. Use remainder of dressing for salad greens or as marinade for meats.

For the Salad

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2 Tbs. Stonewall Kitchen Maple Apple Onion Jam
2 Tbs. sweet hot mustard (recipe above)
1 Tbs. sherry vinegar
5 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 lb. (19) Brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted
1 to 2 unpeeled Eckert's Braeburn or Fuji apples, cored and thinly sliced

To make the salad dressing, in a 4-quart bowl, whisk the onion jam, vinegar, 2 tablespoons sweet hot mustard mixture, 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Set aside.

 In a 12-inch frying pan, over medium-high heat, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the Brussels sprouts, salt, and pepper. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sprouts are just tender and lightly browned, about 11 minutes. Transfer to bowl with vinaigrette, add the walnuts and apples. Toss gently covering ingredients with the dressing. Taste salad; adjust salt and pepper seasoning, if needed.

Arrange salad on a large platter and serve.

 Makes 8 servings. 

Eckert's Pie Pumpkin Creme Brulee
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"Pie Baking Frenzy" is officially underway here at Eckert's! Our bakery is pumping out pies like nobody's business. This is our biggest pie baking week of the whole year and we prepare months in advance to get ready for it. Our round-the-clock baking teams are in constant motion as they prep, tray and package over 16,000 pies.

I love that our bakery is part of so many Thanksgiving dinners in the St Louis area. It is fun to think about how many households have an Eckert's pie box in their kitchen!! How about you? Will you have an Eckert's pie this holiday season?

I must admit, all this talk about pie does have me feeling sorry for desserts of the crustless kind! So, when I saw this recipe for Pumpkin Creme Brulee, I just had to give it a try. This creamy custard with a nod to pumpkin is delightfully delicious, so much so, that we will be featuring it in our upcoming Holiday Wine and Foods Classes in December. 

I used to be very nervous when making creme brulee but after much experimentation and many google searches on techniques, I have come away with these helpful tips:

1. Use shallow ramekin dishes, 4-6 oz sizes work best.

2. Make sure egg yolks are well separated from the whites (no whites are used in this recipe). 

3. Watch the cream like a hawk! Increase heat gradually and stir constantly.

4. Be very careful NOT to get any water in the custard when placing ramekins in the water bath.

My kids both LOVE creme brulee!  I was a really excited to make this seasonal spin on the classic recipe and as I expected, they both loved it!! I hope you will give this recipe for Pumpkin Creme Brulee a try this holiday season.

Eat well this holiday season,

Angie

Pumpkin Crème Brulee

1 ¼ cups heavy whipping cream
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
5 large egg yolks
1 tsp. grated nutmeg or 1 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
6 Tbs. granulated sugar or vanilla bean sugar
½ cup canned pumpkin
About 3 to 4 cups hot water for baking
¼ cup brown sugar (for caramelizing)

Preheat oven to 350-degrees F.  Place baking rack in center of oven. In a 13 x 9-inch metal pan, place 6 (4-ounce) oven proof ramekins. Set aside.  

In a 2-quart sauce pan, bring the cream and vanilla to a boil, while stirring, then immediately take off heat. In a large bowl, whisk together the yolks, nutmeg, and sugar, then add the pumpkin and mix until smooth about 1 minute. When the cream has cooled a bit (stir occasionally), add it slowly to the egg mixture, stirring or whisking constantly, taking care the eggs don’t lump up and cook. Divide the custard among 6 ramekins.

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Carefully place pan and ramekins in the preheated oven. Add enough hot water to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. (This is called a water bath.) 

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Bake until the sides of the custards are set but the centers move slightly when shaken; about 45 minutes. Using tongs carefully remove ramekins from the water bath and transfer ramekins to cooling rack.  

Refrigerate at least 2 hours. When ready to serve, preheat broiler. Sprinkle sugar evenly over custards and broil them about 8 inches from the heat source until the sugar begins to caramelize, but not so much as to burn; about 30 seconds. If you have a kitchen butane torch, you can caramelize each top individually without an oven.

Makes 6 servings.

Butternut Squash and Bean Minestrone

Fall harvest is winding down which means I have more time in my home kitchen, yay! It also means it is time to reference my beloved collection of slow cook recipes. I have been in “quick and easy” cooking mode for the past two months and my whole family is looking forward my transition to more involved recipes and the smell of dinner wafting through the house.

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Due to a chill in the air, I found myself craving a hearty fall soup this week and this recipe for Butternut Squash and Bean Minestrone fits the bill. As I eluded, this recipe is a little more involved than most of mine. It requires a good piece of an afternoon to slow cook the beans and infuse the soup flavors. In fact, I usually start this one around 2pm in the afternoon and enjoy reading a book in between steps until dinner.

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This recipe calls for ham hocks which are available from Eckert’s butcher. The ham hock bones and meat add much smoky goodness to this soup. However, If you don’t have a local butcher, you can substitute about a pound of chopped bacon.

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Tip: If you are unsure how to remove the meat from the ham hocks, do a google search in YouTube and you will find some helpful videos.

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This recipe makes a rather large batch so you can freeze it or pack it in lunch size containers for the week like me. If you find yourself with a free afternoon and a craving for comfort food, give this recipe a try!

Eat well this fall,

Angie

Butternut Squash and Bean Minestrone
2 smoked ham hocks (about 1½ lbs.) (including the bones)
1 lb. (2½ cups) dried navy or cannellini beans
¼ cup plus 2 Tbs. olive oil plus more for drizzling
1 large onion, finely chopped (about 1½ cups)
1 leek, white and pale-green parts only, finely chopped (about 2 cups)
2 small celery stalks with leaves (from celery heart), chopped (about 1/3 cup)
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped (about 2 Tbs.)
8 cups low-sodium chicken broth
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Eckert’s butternut squash (about 2½ lbs.), peeled, diced into ½ inch pieces (about 3½ cups)
1 lb. green beans, trimmed, cut into 1” pieces
½ lb. (2 cups) uncooked small pasta (such as Farfalline or tiny shells)                                 
1 cup chopped, flat-leaf parsley, divided
1 (5-ounce) container flat-leaf spinach, thick stems removed

 

Removed meat from ham hocks and cut into large pieces; set meat aside. Place navy beans and ham bones in a large (5-quart) stock pot; add cold water to cover beans by 2 inches. (Not all of the ham bones will be covered.) Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 2 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand 1 hour.

Heat ¼ cup olive oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-low heat; add hock meat, onions, leeks, celery, and garlic. Sauté stirring occasionally until vegetables are softened, about 10 to 12 minutes. Add meat and vegetable mixture to the navy beans, the soaking liquid and bones. Add chicken broth. Bring to a boil and immediately reduce heat to low, cover and gently simmer until navy beans are firm about 1½ hours. Add the butternut squash and green beans and continue to simmer about 30 to 40 minutes or until the beans and vegetables are firm but tender.

During the last 10 minutes cooking the soup, take a 4-quart pot, cook pasta in boiling, salted water, stirring occasionally, until pasta is al dente about 5 to 8 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large bowl. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil and add ¼ cup parsley and toss to coat. Set aside.

Meanwhile, discard ham bones. Add fresh spinach and remaining ¾ cup parsley to soup. Stir.

Divide soup among bowls. Add about ½ cup cooked pasta per bowl, drizzle each bowl with small amount of olive oil.

Note - Soup can be made up to 3 days ahead and refrigerated. Place hot soup in a shallow container in refrigerator; stir occasionally until cold. When cold cover; warm before serving.

Makes: 18 cups or 9 servings (2 cups/person)

 

Quinoa Salad with Roasted Red Kuri Squash
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Halloween week is all about the pumpkin but I can’t resist cooking with another favorite squash of mine… the Red Kuri Squash. This lesser known variety is also called a Hokkaido, or a Uchiki Kuri in its place of origin, Japan. Its brilliant orange color and tear drop shape make it easy to identify in a pile of home-grown squash at Eckert’s.

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Red Kuri Squash happens to be a favorite of the classroom staff as well because it maintains good texture and shape when roasted. It also yields an incredibly creamy soup we often make for cooking classes in the fall and winter. Years ago, our culinary instructors cooked with Red Kuri Squash during their international residencies in Japan and Germany, making this squash truly a global ingredient!

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Admittedly, I am a salad girl. I love to make and eat salads so when I saw this unusual line up of ingredients including the Red Kuri Squash, I immediately ran to the kitchen to give it a try. I started by cutting the squash in half and removing the seeds before dicing it in 3/4” pieces. Red Kuri can be difficult to peel, so I bypassed peeling and roasted this squash in the skin. Once cooked, Kuri Squash skin is very tender and edible.

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 Roasted pistachios, simple seasonings, cooked quinoa and fresh spinach round out the textures and flavors in this delicious fall salad. When you find yourself looking for a yummy salad guaranteed to start a discussion about a lesser known squash, I hope you will give this recipe a try!

 Eat well this fall,

Angie

Quinoa with Roasted Red Kuri Squash

1 Red Kuri Squash (about 2-3 lbs.) seeded, unpeeled  and cut into
3/4” chunks (about 5 to 6 cups)
5 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves or 1 tsp. dried
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, divided
¾ to 1 cup shelled pistachios (can be salted or not salted; if salted reduce salt in recipe)
1 cup uncooked quinoa (about 3 ½ cups cooked)
4 cups unsalted vegetable broth or water
½ cup dried cranberries
1 to 2 Tbs. white wine vinegar
1 (5-ounce) container fresh baby spinach (about 4 to 5 cups)
½  cup grated Parmesan cheese (large hole grater; not finely grated)

 Position an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400-degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and set aside.

 Place the squash in a medium or a 3-quart bowl and add 3 Tbs. of the oil, the thyme,  ½ tsp. of salt and season with pepper to taste. Mix until the squash is well coated. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and spread squash out into a single layer. Roast until a paring knife slides into the squash with no resistance, about 30 minutes, stirring about halfway through the cooking time. Put the pistachios on a small baking sheet and toast until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Set both aside.

 Meanwhile, to remove bitter taste of quinoa, rinse quinoa under cold running water in a fine-mesh strainer.  In a 3-quart saucepan, bring the broth or water to a boil and stir in quinoa. Simmer, uncovered, until a small white spiral becomes visible in each grain, about 9 to 12 minutes. If there appears to be liquid in the pan, drain the quinoa and transfer it to a  large (4-quart) bowl. Add the remaining 2 Tbs. olive oil, the pistachios, cranberries, vinegar, ½ tsp. salt and pepper to taste. Toss the spinach in with the warm quinoa and the warm squash. Spinach will wilt slightly. Sprinkle with cheese. Serve warm or at room temperature.

 Makes 8 to 10 servings. 

Apple Cider Doughnut Bread Pudding
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Every morning as I walk into our country store from the parking lot, the tantalizing smell of apple cider donuts grabs my attention as it wafts through the crisp fall air. My walk becomes a trot as I anticipate the taste of a fresh batch of sugary deliciousness inside the bakery. I must admit, I have come to take my morning donut taste testing very seriously these days!

Two of our culinary educators who are also experienced bakers, Sabine and Desri, created this fun recipe for Apple Cider Donut Bread Pudding by cobbling together several of their favorite bread pudding recipes. The result is a dense, flavorful bread pudding that puts all other versions to shame! We ran the finished dish past our expert tasting panel (i.e. Eckert's store and office staff) and they fell in love with it too.

If you need a very unique dessert, guaranteed to turn heads, give this recipe a try this fall. I just know you'll love it as much as we do! 

Eat well this fall,

Angie

P.S. I will be tucking several packages of cider donuts away in the freezer so I can make this recipe during the holiday season!

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Eckert’s Apple Cider Donut Bread Pudding
16 Eckert’s Apple Cider Donuts
½ cup softened unsalted butter (1 stick) plus about 1 Tbs. for baking dish
½ cup granulated sugar
5 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. nutmeg
1 Tbs. pure vanilla extract
2 cups heavy cream
1 to 2 medium unpeeled apples, coarsely chopped (about 1 ½ to 2 cups), optional
½ cup raisins, cranberries or pecans, optional
1 ½ cups confectioners' (powdered) sugar
3-4 Tbs. Eckert’s Apple Cider or milk

Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Butter bottom and sides of a 13 x 9-inch baking dish. Set aside.

In a large bowl, using your fingers break donuts into bite sized pieces. Layer donut pieces in prepared baking dish. Set aside.

Bread Pudding Mixing

In a 2-quart bowl, combine butter and sugar with electric mixer at a low speed. Add eggs, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Beat until blended about 30 seconds. Add vanilla and heavy cream; blend. Fold in apples if using. Scatter donut pieces with raisins, cranberries or pecans if using.

Pour cream mixture evenly over the donuts. Push any donuts not covered, into the cream mixture and allow the donuts to soak about 5 to 10 minutes.

Bread Pudding Ready to Bake

Cover baking dish with aluminum foil and bake for 35 minutes; remove foil and look to see if the custard still needs more baking time.  (The bread pudding isfinished baking when the cream mixture is set, but still slightly soft to the touch.) If more time is needed, replace foil and bake an additional 5 to 10 minutes.

Next, remove foil and bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes to brown the top.

Remove from oven and cool about 15 minutes before serving. If not serving within 1 hour, cover and refrigerate. This recipe can be made up to 2 days before serving.

Apple Cider Donut Bread Pudding

When ready to serve, remove from refrigerator 2 hours ahead of time. Cut bread pudding into individual pieces and microwave until warm, about 1 to 2 minutes on medium.

Just before serving, in a medium bowl, whisk together confectioners' sugar and cider or milk until well combined to create a glaze. Drizzle glaze on bread pudding.

Makes about 10 servings.

DessertChuck Wagnerdessert
Spaghetti Squash Lasagna
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Happy Fall Everyone! Finally this week’s cooler temperatures has it actually feeling like fall in the Midwest which means it is time to pull out the autumn squash recipe file. This recipe for Spaghetti Squash Lasagna reminds me of a Pinterest craft project. It involves multiple steps and layers but don’t let that scare you, they are simple! And this recipe is really fun to make with kids.

My kids are fascinated by Spaghetti Squash so this recipe caught their attention from the start. They had fun picking out perfectly sized spaghetti squash from Eckert’s wide variety. Back at the house, they helped me wash the squash with my handy dandy produce brush before I prepared it for baking. The kids were also super helpful in shredding the baked squash, mixing the ingredients and assembling the layers in the reserved squash shells. The most fun however, comes when you get to eat the finished product in your very own stuffed squash shell!

We prepared this recipe with Eckert’s home-grown spaghetti squash, Eckert’s home-grown garlic and home-made sausage from our meat department. It doesn’t get any fresher than that on the farm!

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You will be amazed by the tasty flavor and texture of this recipe for Spaghetti Squash Lasagna. I hope you will give this gluten-free, low-carb recipe a try sometime soon. When you do, I know you will have so much fun putting your creative spin on the assembly process!

Eat well this fall,

Angie

Spaghetti Squash Lasagna

2 small spaghetti squash (about 1 ½ pounds each)
2 tsp. olive oil
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 (5-ounce) package of fresh baby spinach
½ cup ricotta
¼ tsp. kosher salt
3 ½ ounces shredded mozzarella cheese, about 1 cup, divided
1 pound uncooked ground beef or Eckert’s Italian Sausage
2 cups marinara sauce
2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (about ½ cup)

Preheat oven to 350-degrees.

Cut each squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds; discard. Place squash halves, cut sides up, on a rimmed parchment lined baking pan. Bake about 50 minutes or until soft but still holding shape. Allow to stand and cool about 10 minutes. Carefully, scrape inside of each squash with a metal table fork to remove spaghetti like strands into a large colander. Place empty squash shells back on the same rimmed parchment lined baking pan. Set aside.

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Press spaghetti squash strands to extract excess moisture. Set aside.

Heat a 12-inch skillet over medium high meat. Add oil to pan coating the bottom. Add garlic and cook about 30 seconds. Add fresh spinach and cook about 1 minute or until just wilted. 

In a medium bowl, stir together spinach mixture, squash strands, ricotta, salt and half of the mozzarella cheese. Set aside.

Return skillet to medium high heat. Add ground beef or sausage and cook 4 to 6 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring to crumble. Add marinara sauce; stir to coat meat.

Increase oven temperature to 400-degrees.

Spoon meat sauce evenly into each squash half.  Cover the meat sauce evenly with the divided spinach/squash/cheese mixture. Sprinkle each squash half with the remaining mozzarella cheese and the Parmesan cheese.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until heated through.

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Leave baking pan with stuffed squash in oven. Preheat broiler to high. Broil baked squash about 1 to 2 minutes or until cheese is golden brown and bubbly. Remove from oven; allow to stand about 8 to 10 minutes before serving.

Makes 4 entrée servings.
*remove sausage from casing before browning

Chuck Wagner
Autumn Apple Muffins
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It's a another lovely week in the apple orchards here at Eckert's. We recently received much needed rain to nourish the trees and get them perked up for several more weeks of apple picking. 

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My family is hitting the road tomorrow to travel to our new Versailles, Kentucky location called Eckert's Boyd Orchards. Our whole family is excited to be on the farm for the peak of the fall season.  Last night, I decided to pack a snack box for our five hour trek and that meant it was time to bake a batch of Autumn Apple Muffins! 

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 This muffin recipe is great for snacking or for breakfast. I like to dip my apple muffins in vanilla yogurt or smear them with butter or cream cheese. Since baking recipes tend to be a bit on the fussy side, be sure to follow the order of ingredients below and you will be assured and applicious success!

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 I used Gala apples in this batch since I had a few stray Gala tucked in the back in my frig. Other apples to consider include: Jonathon, Zestar, Pixie Crunch, Golden Delicious, HoneyCrisp, Fuji and Candy Crisp. 

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Fall is here, the apples are ripe and your kitchen is calling you to bake these delicious muffins! I sure hope you have plans to enjoy the beautiful outdoors this weekend by picking apples or pumpkins on one of our 4 Eckert Farms. See you soon!! 

 Eat well this fall, Angie

 Autumn Apple Muffins 

1 large egg*
2/3 cup granulated sugar
¼ cup butter, melted
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. nutmeg
½ tsp. vanilla
1 cup milk
1 tsp. lemon juice
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbs. baking powder
1 cup unpeeled apple, ¼-inch diced (do not over measure) 
½ cup raisins or chopped nuts, optional

 Preheat oven to 400-degrees.Grease a regular muffin tin with butter or vegetable spray. Set aside.  

 In a 4-quart-sized bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed,  beat egg, sugar, and butter until light and fluffy about 1 to 2 minutes.

With mixer on low speed, add in salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, milk and lemon juice. Set aside.

In a small bowl, using a metal fork or wire whisk, combine flour and baking powder. Combine the flour mixture into the sugar mixture using a mixing spoon. Stir until just blended. 

 Gently fold in apples and raisins or nuts.

 Spoon dough into prepared muffin cups, filling each about ¾ full. Bake for 25 minutes or until wooden toothpick inserted in center of muffins comes out clean.
Makes about 12 to 14 muffins.

* For best results allow egg to come to room temperature by sitting it out on the counter for 15 minutes.

Note: Use 6-ounce greased oven proof baking cups or bowls to bake any extra muffin batter. 

 

Open Face Ham & Apple Melt
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The branches are loaded and the apples are absolutely beautiful in the orchards this fall! As I walk down row upon row of apple trees, I feel like I can hear them offer a sigh of relief thanks to the cooler temperatures that rolled in this week. All of team Eckert, including our trees, are thrilled to have a perfect fall forecast for the coming weekend! 

This week, we have been busy slicing and dicing apples in our cooking classroom and one recipe in particular has received a work-out. We have utilized this recipe, Open Face Ham and Apple Melt, for multiple kids classes, Wine in the Orchard and a recent Advisory Board Meeting. Believe it or not, it is a recipe that suits all ages and appeals to a wide variety of taste buds (Yes, we got kids to eat slaw!). 

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Many thanks to our kids class recipe development team, Connie and Sabine, for discovering this yummy combination of apples, ham, cheese and slaw with a specially made sauce. I know we will be making it many more times this fall!!

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I would like to invite you and your family to come out to one of our four apple orchards to enjoy the beautiful fall weather and to taste this delicious crop of apples for yourself. Hope to see you soon on the farm!

Eat well this fall,

Angie

Open Face Ham & Apple Melt
3 teaspoons brown sugar
3 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
3 teaspoons Eckert’s Dijon mustard
4 slices Eckert’s sourdough bread
4 slices Boar’s Head tavern ham
1-2  apples, sliced
4 slices Boar’s Head baby Swiss cheese
¼ cup Eckert’s apple cider slaw, well drained*

Preheat oven to 400 degrees (375 convection).  In a small bowl, mix brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce and mustard until combined, set aside.  Toast bread in oven for 3-4 minutes until lightly browned. Raise oven temperature to 425 degrees.

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Spread each bread slice with 1-2 teaspoons sauce.  Place slice of ham on top, followed with apple slices (do not overlap apple slices).  Lay a slice of cheese on top of apples.  Bake on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 6 minutes. Before serving, place 1 tablespoon apple cider slaw down the center of each open-faced sandwich.  Serve hot or at room temperature. Makes 4 servings.    

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* If you are making your own, substitute a slaw recipe with vinegar based dressing.

Apple Crisp for One
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It is officially the heart of apple season here at Eckert's. We are now picking what I call the classic varieties of apples: Jonathan, Golden Delicious and Red Delicious apples. Families have been picking these beloved varieties for more 53 years on our farms!

This week I pulled out a cooking-classroom favorite from the Eckert Family Fall Cookbook called Apple Crisp for One. This recipe is especially popular in our kids cooking classes because each kiddo can make his or her very own dessert. Additionally, it easy for anyone to remember to combine 1 tablespoon each flour, brown sugar, quick oats and butter with a dash of cinnamon. And, it happs to be the perfect choice for when you need a single serving to satisfy your sweet tooth. 

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On KSDK's Show Me St. Louis this week, I made Apple Crisp for One with Jonathan apples but other good options include Jonathan, Fuji and Granny Smith. This recipe was a hit with Show Me St. Louis hosts Heidi and Dana and I know you will love it too!!

I hope you will come out to one of our 4 farms this week and celebrate the heart of apple picking season with us!

Eat well this Fall,

Angie

1 1/4 cups peeled apple slices  (2 small/medium apples)

1 Tbs. all-purpose flour
1 Tbs. quick cooking rolled oats
1 Tbs. brown sugar
1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 Tbs. butter, cold
1 scoop Eckert’s Vanilla Custard, optional

Preheat oven to 350-degrees.

Place apple slices tightly into the mug. Gently push slices down while filling the mug. Add a couple more slices if necessary to fill to the top of the mug. Set aside.

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In a small dish, mix flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon and butter with a metal dinner fork until mixture is crumbly. Using hands sprinkle topping over the apples. The apples and crumb topping will be mounded over the top.

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Place filled mug in a metal cake pan. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until top is lightly browned and the apples are tender.

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Note: During baking the apple crisp will shrink below the mug rim; perfect for a scoop of

Eckert’s Custard.

Makes 1 serving. 

Country Apple Bacon Baked Chicken Breast
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Cooler temperatures earlier this week kicked my appetite for fall comfort food into full gear. I have started day dreaming about pot roasts and slow cooking. Since there isn’t enough time for slow cooking in the middle of our busy apple season, I pulled out this family favorite, Country Apple Bacon Baked Chicken Breasts. This is one of those recipes that has our home smelling just like fall days when grandma lived here. There is just something about the smell of cooked apples, bacon and onions swirling around the kitchen that takes me back to childhood days of Sunday dinners.

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This recipe calls for tart apples so I used Golden Delicious. I also used apple sauce I had made from Golden Delicious apples but we sell jarred Eckert’s Applesauce if you need a short cut.  Be sure to cut the apples and onions as directed below to allow them to cook to the desired doneness. Everything else is pretty straight forward except the taste. You just won’t believe how good this dish is, until you try it! For me, it is the perfect chicken dish to celebrate flavors of the fall harvest.

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Come on out and take a walk in one of our four apple orchards this year! The apples are plentiful and delicious!!

Eat well this fall,

Angie

Country Apple Bacon Baked Chicken Breasts
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup Eckert’s Apple Cider
About 1 Tbs. olive oil
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
Salt and ground black pepper
1 Tbs. stone-ground mustard
½ cup Eckert’s Applesauce
5 slices uncooked bacon, halved crosswise
2 unpeeled tart apples (about ½ pound); cut each apple into 10 even wedges
1 sweet onion, peeled, cut into 12 even wedges
¼ to ½ tsp. of each: dried thyme, sage, rosemary (crushed)
¼ tsp. celery seed
Sprinkle or pinch of ground cinnamon

In a small bowl, at room temperature soak cranberries in apple cider about 2 hours or until soft.

Preheat oven to 425-degrees. Coat bottom of an 11x8 baking dish with olive oil. Place chicken breasts in a single layer in the baking dish. Sprinkle lightly with salt and black pepper.  Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk mustard and applesauce together. Mix in thyme, sage and rosemary, celery seed and cinnamon. Spoon over chicken breasts. Lay half-slices of bacon on top of chicken breasts.

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Arrange apples and onions around the chicken, but not on top. Drain cranberries reserving apple cider. Sprinkle cranberries over top of the dish.  Add any remaining apple cider to the dish.

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Cover dish with aluminum foil and bake in preheated oven for about 25 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking until bacon is crisp about 10 to 15 minutes. (An instant read food thermometer inserted into the center of the chicken breasts should read 160-degrees.)

Allow to rest about 5 minutes (chicken temperature will increase to 165-degrees).

To serve: Remove bacon and set aside. Slice each breast into diagonal ½-inch thick pieces. Place on dinner plate. Place slices of bacon over top of each cut chicken breast. Evenly divide the apples, onions and cranberries on dinner plates. Drizzle juices over chicken breast.

Makes 4 servings.

Blooming Apple Recipe
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Happy September in the Midwest! The date time temperatures have been moderate, evenings are cool and crisp and I cannot get enough of the smell of ripe apples in the orchard.  This week, my family has been “testing” out the new fire pits that we will have in place for the Fire Pit Concert Series at our Belleville Farm in October.

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As we gather around the fire’s glow, we chat about our days at work and school and we discuss apples, of course. My daughter and I have been wanting to make blooming apples since the first time we saw them on Pinterest! I have been scouring the internet for recipes and this week we were finally able to experiment in the kitchen. This is a super fun recipe for teen cooks to make and for anyone to eat. You just have to jump on the apple band wagon and give this recipe for Blooming Caramel Apples a try.

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I hope you will come out to one of our 4 farms this fall and pick some of the most beautiful apples I have ever seen. Last year we experienced a devastating disease called Bitter Rot in our orchards. We are pleased to say that with extra care from our skilled horticulturists, we have eradicated this disease. We are thrilled to be able to share a gorgeous crop of apples with you this year!!

Eat well this fall, Angie

Blooming Caramel Apples

4 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
4 apples
8 caramel candy squares
Caramel sauce for drizzling
Eckert’s Frozen Custard (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bush a pie pan or a rimmed baking dish with butter. In a small bowl, stir together butter and cinnamon.

Slice off the stem end of the apple with a knife, then scoop out the core with a melon baller or a teaspoon (see photos). Use a paring knife to cut 3 concentric circles in the apple. Place apple cut side down and slice crosswise.

Place cut apples in dish. Fill each apple with 2 caramel squares, then brush melted butter on top. Bake the apples until tender (may vary by apple), 20-30 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature with baking juices and caramel drizzle and a smalls scoop of frozen custard.

This blog was inspired by many blooming apple recipes but especially the one on delish.com