Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Butternut Squash, Sage and Ricotta Cannelloni

For the Cannelloni:
10 sheets of flat lasagna noodles (Barilla makes a good version)
2 cups part skim ricotta cheese
3/4 cup Parmesan Cheese
1/8 tsp Nutmeg
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp 2% milk
1/2 large butternut squash or 1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and diced
2 small shallots, finely diced
1 tsp finely chopped sage leaves plus 8-10 whole sage leaves

In a large stock pot, bring 6-8 cups of salted water to a rolling boil. Add in lasagna noodles and cook until very al dente (just enough to soften them). Mine took only 2-3 minutes. Remove with tongs and place on a well oiled cookie sheet. In the meantime put the butternut squash into the boiling water and cook 8-10 minutes or until fork-tender. While squash is cooking, heat a small frying pan to medium and pour in enough olive oil to lightly coat the bottom of the pan. Add shallots and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Drain squash well and place in a medium sized bowl. Add 2 Tbsp milk, nutmeg, chopped sage and shallots. Mash with a fork until all ingredients are combined and the squash is nicely broken down (but not too broken down). Place about 1/4 cup of squash mixture onto each noodle and roll up, placing seam side down in a lightly oiled baking dish (use your judgement for the size of the pan. Mine was 9" x 5" i think). Once all the noodles are in the pan, set aside. In a large bowl mix together ricotta cheese, 1/4 cup milk, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese and salt and pepper to taste. Pour the cheese mixture over the noodles and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese. Bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes, or until cheese topping begins to turn a golden brown. While the noodles are baking, heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add sage leaves and cook until crispy (this doesn't take long!). Drain on paper towels and top baked noodles with sage leaves.

For the Applejack Salad:
1/2 granny smith apple cut into small slices and those slices cut into thin strips
a small handful of walnuts, toasted
a small handful of golden raisins
1 green onion, diced
Several cups mixed greens

Place all ingredients but apples in a large salad bowl. In a small bowl, place apples, 2 Tbsp Laird's Applejack or bourbon and 1 Tbsp honey and allow to "marinate" for at least 10 minutes. Pour on top of salad right before serving, allowing the juices to drip onto the salad as well. This salad would also be good with feta or blue cheese, but we had neither.

For the
1/2 small shallot, diced
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp sage
1/4 cup (or so) red wine vinegar
1/2 cup (or so) extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
1 tsp (or so) honey

Add shallots and oil and let sit for several minutes to allow the shallots to soften up slightly. Add in all the other ingredients, stirring with a fork. Make sure you mix it well before pouring over greens. (You won't need all of this dressing, just use enough to lightly coat the greens).

We served this meal with some delicious sourdough bread. Yum!

Thanksgiving Shepherd's Pie

This is sort of a "no-recipe" recipe as all it requires are leftovers you may have had from Thanksgiving, or throughout any given week...ie, it's a great way to clean out your fridge!
I used lots of green beans, some carrots, peas, red onion, garlic and shredded turkey mixed with a simple roux and topped with mashed potatoes and a little Parmesan cheese. I'll just give you the order in which I prepared things and you can figure out the rest per your own discretion.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Heat a large deep dish skillet over medium and add enough olive oil to lightly coat the bottom of the pan. Once oil is hot, add in garlic (I used 2 smallish cloves) onion (I used 1/2 red onion) and season with salt and pepper. Saute until soft and slightly translucent. Add in other vegetables (2 small carrots, 1-2 cups green beans, a smattering of sweet peas, remaining turkey I shredded with my hands) and continue to saute over medium low heat. In the meantime, re-heat mashed potatoes so they become fluffy again. In a small sauce pan heat several tablespoons of butter and/or olive oil. Slowly add in a few tablespoons of flour. Once the flour and butter is like a smooth paste, slowly add in chicken broth (I used 1 can) stirring continually until you have a nice smooth liquid. Slowly add this to the vegetables. Stir gently to combine and top with lots of mashed potatoes. Lightly sprinkle potatoes with Parmesan cheese and pepper. Pop this into the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes or until the potatoes begin to turn golden. We had some Oak Leaf wine (also leftover from Thanksgiving) to accompany it.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Cherry Raspberry Tart with Walnut Streusel

For the Streusel Topping:

-1/2 cup white flour
-6 Tbsp unsalted butter
-1/2 cup brown sugar
-1/2 cup oatmeal
-1 tsp cinnamon
-1/4 cup minced walnuts

Combine first 5 ingredients, cutting butter in with your fingers or a pastry cutter until the mixture resembles course crumbs. Cut in walnuts and set aside.

For the Cherry Filling:
-1 can cherry pie filling
-1/2 bag frozen raspberries
-1/4 tsp vanilla
-Zest of 1/2 a small orange
-1 Tbsp fresh orange juice

Combine all ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Mix gently and set aside.

For the Tart crust:
I am not going to list the recipe I originally used for the crust because I didn't think it was any good, and was really more like a cookie recipe. Instead I am going to put a link to a very exciting sort of tart crust that I'm going to use when I make this again tomorrow (for an early Thanksgiving dinner with friends).
David Lebovitz's French Tart Dough. The French are so crazy!

Once you lightly bake off the dough in the tart pan, pour cherry mixture over dough and sprinkle with the oatmeal crumble, making sure the entire tart is covered. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 15-20 minutes, or until crumbles are melted and beginning to crisp up. Remove from the oven and let rest 20 minutes or so before serving.
This would be really delicious with vanilla bean ice cream and a little espresso on the side :)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Sweet Potato Muffins

For the muffins:
2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground pumpkin pie spice
2 cups cooked and mashed sweet potato
1/2 cup brown sugar 1/2 cup raw sugar
2/3 cup applesauce (no sugar added)
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 cup nonfat yogurt
1/4 cup milk
2 large eggs
2 tsp pure vanilla extract

For the Streusel:
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup oatmeal
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
4 tsp unsalted butter
1/3 cup walnuts, very finely chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

To make the streusel topping, combine the first seven ingredients, cutting in butter with either your fingers or a pastry cutter. Once you have a lot of small crumbs, add in the walnuts. Set aside.
In a medium bowl combine oatmeal, flours, salt, baking powder and soda, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice. In a separate small bowl, mix together sweet potato, sugars, applesauce, yogurt, milk, egg, and vanilla. Pour liquid mixture into a well in the dry ingredients and stir until just moistened, being careful not to over-mix. Scoop into muffin tins, covering each muffin with small amount of streusel, and bake for 16-18 minutes.

(This recipe was derived from here)

Rice with Peas and Chicken

1 Cup long grain white rice
2 Cups water
1 Tsp olive oil
1/2 Cup frozen peas
1/2 Cup frozen green beans

1 Chicken breast seasoned with salt and pepper and cut into thin strips
1 Strip of bacon, diced
1/2 Red onion, diced
2 Garlic cloves, finely minced

1/2 cup shredded Mexican cheese

In a medium sauce pan over high heat, add the rice and olive oil. Once the rice has been coated with the oil, slowly add in the water. Heat until boiling, cover and turn heat to medium-low. Once rice has cooked halfway (about 10 minutes) add the frozen vegetables, and cover until rice is cooked and vegetables are tender.
In the meantime heat another teaspoon of olive oil in a medium sized skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and red onion and saute for several minutes. Add the bacon and cook until it begins to crisp. Move onion mix to the sides of the pan and add the chicken breast. Once the chicken is cooked, add the rice and vegetables to the skillet. Mix all ingredients well and coat with a thin layer of cheese. Once cheese is completely melted, it's ready to serve!
We also ate this the next night over a bed of mixed greens with an extra chicken breast added and topped with plain yogurt and balsamic vinaigrette.

Friday, November 20, 2009

"Morning Glory" Muffins

I have the bad habit of going to work for five or six hours and not bringing anything substantial to eat. Possibly because we have neither a refrigerator nor a microwave at my place of employment, which limits my options since I'm weird about food being left out for long. As I was getting tired of eating peanut butter and jelly pretty much everyday I wanted to come up with an alternative that was easy to pack and very filling while still being nutritious. I found a recipe for Morning Glory Muffins and thought it was a great base to use and I could change the fruits and proteins that are in it to keep things interesting.

1 cup wheat flour
1/2 cup white flour

1 cup oats
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

1 cup non fat yogurt
2 mashed bananas
1 egg

1/4 cup chopped dried apricots
3/4 cup golden raisins
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup dried coconut flakes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the flours in a large bowl. Using a whisk, add the next four ingredients to the flours and set aside. In a medium sized bowl, mash the banana and add the yogurt and egg. Stir until thoroughly combined. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the yogurt mixture. Gently stir all ingredients until just combined, being careful not to over-mix. Carefully fold in the dried fruits, walnuts and coconut. Drop about 1/4 cup (or slightly less) batter into 18 lined muffin cups. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar and bake for 20-25 minutes.

Next time I would add a little bit of olive oil, raw sugar instead of brown sugar and some other protein, like ground almonds on top. Other things you could add/substitute/sprinkle on top would be:
-Oat Bran
-Wheat Germ
-Flax Seed (ground or whole
-Shredded apple or apple chunks
-Dried Cherries
-Fresh ground peanut butter
-Fresh ground almond butter
-Chia Seeds
-Toasted almonds
-Shredded Carrot
-Shredded Zucchini
-Sunflower Seeds

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Simple Lunch

On a skillet over medium-low heat, place a small amount of olive oil and a flour tortilla. On top of that put 2 slices turkey, several slices of sharp cheddar cheese, fresh tomato, spinach and a "dollop" of Greek yogurt. Sprinkle with S&P, leave on the heat long enough for the cheese to melt, roll it up and then bask in the delightful tastes and textures as you devour it.

Tuscan White Bean Soup

I first saw this recipe while watching The Food Network in a hotel room one morning last February. My husband and I were supposed to be checking out (it was our 6 month anniversary, I believe), but we just couldn't stop watching this delicious soup being made! It's been on my "to cook" list since then, and last night seemed like the perfect opportunity to make it. The original is here, but mine is easier :)

2 cans Cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 strips of bacon
1 large yellow onion, halved and sliced into thin strips
1 1/2 large carrots peeled and cut into small chunks
1 1/2 sticks of celery, cut into small chunks
1 quart chicken stock
salt and pepper

Place bacon and onion in a large stock pot and saute for several minutes. Add in beans, carrot, celery and chicken stock and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Add salt and pepper and simmer for several more minutes.
Strain soup, making sure to reserve all the liquid, and blend the solids with 3-4 cups of the stock. You will probably have leftover stock that you won't use. Once the soup is blended, strain it through a fine mesh sieve back into the stock pot so that you have a velvety smooth soup. Discard what is left in the sieve (you could skip this step, but you would have a chunkier more rustic style soup. Either way it would be good.

Top soup with this:

3 Tbsp olive oil
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 cup loosely packed basil, cut into thin strips

Place all ingredients in small skillet over medium heat. Cook until garlic just begins to turn golden and all ingredients are sizzling. Serve hot over soup with plenty of Parmesan cheese.

The Magic of Oats

Oatmeal is the most perfect breakfast I know. It's warm and filling and you can put pretty much anything on top of it. Lately I've been "whipping" (stirring very aggressively) a banana into the oats while they cook so that the texture becomes extremely thick and creamy. I also like to mix a drop of vanilla into it and top it with some sort of nut (almonds, peanut butter, walnuts, pecans) and dried fruit. Here is a recipe for Butterscotch Walnut Oatmeal:
1/3 cup old fashioned oats
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup 2% milk
Dash of salt
1/2 banana cut into tiny chunks

Place all ingredients in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Stir to incorporate and then "whip" the oatmeal to emulsify the banana. Add a drop or two of vanilla and continue to stir until the oats are cooked through (5 minutes). Top with a sprinkle of walnuts, a sprinkle of butterscotch chips and a splash of milk.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Meet Max

He is our very handsome and incredibly masculine "Morkie".

Chicken and Caramelized Onions

The other day we went to see a movie called 35 Shots of Rum. It's a French movie by director Claire Denis, and it was so good. The two main characters often ate rice with chicken in a really brothy sauce, and after leaving the movie that was all we wanted to eat. So last night I made this dish:

1 large chicken breast cut into thin strips and sprinkled with salt and pepper
1 large yellow onion cut into thin strips
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp port
1 cup chicken stock
2 Tbsp flour
salt and pepper
1 tsp Italian seasoning

1 cup medium grain white rice
2 cups water
1 tsp olive oil

3 small crowns broccoli

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Rinse broccoli and place on a large baking sheet. Sprinkle with olive oil and salt and pepper. Place in oven and roast for 15 minutes, stirring halfway through.

Meanwhile, put rice, water and olive oil in a medium size sauce pan over medium high heat. Once water is boiling, cover and turn heat to low.

While the rice is cooking, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once oil is hot, add onions and garlic. Saute until onions are translucent and tender. Push onions to once side of the pan and on the other, add the chicken strips. Once the chicken is lightly browned, stir the onions and chicken together (the onions should be very brown and caramelized at this point). Slowly add the chicken stock, 1/4 cup at a time. When stock is boiling, add port and spices. In a small bowl, mix a little bit of water to the 2 Tbsp flour. Once you have a nice liquidy paste, pour in a slow stream into the boiling liquid. This will help the sauce to thicken nicely.

Serve with broccoli on the side and chicken on top of the rice, with plenty of sauce and a little bread to sop up the extra broth.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Pumpkin Muffins

It is a tradition in our family that every Halloween I make Pumpkin Muffins. Each year the recipe has been different, but this year's was my favorite. I'm going to put a link to the recipe because I didn't change anything and it's sort of a long process (it took me about 2 hours, all told) but it was so completely worth it. We still have a bag full of them in the freezer that I've been slowing putting a dent in. They are especially good heated up so that the cream cheese filling gets really gooey and melty. Best served with a steaming cup of coffee.

Chicken Sandwiches

-1 large chicken breast, cut in half lengthwise (the way you might cut a baguette all the way down the middle) both pieces sprinkled lightly with salt and pepper
-2 Multigrain rolls (ours were from Whole Foods...so good)
-1/2 an avocado, thinly sliced
-Extra sharp cheddar cheese (I used Cabot, also so good)
-Spinach leaves

-2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into thin strips

Preheat oven to 420 degrees and place the sweet potatoes on a large cookie sheet. Sprinkle with a generous amount of olive oil and salt. Place in oven and cook until crisp-tender, 25-35 minutes (sometimes it takes even longer, depending on how much water the sweet potatoes have in them).
While the potatoes are crisping, grill the chicken breasts over medium-high heat until just cooked through. Place cheese slices on the chicken while still in the pan and cover with a lid to help the cheese melt. Place chicken on rolls smothered with hummus and mustard. Put Spinach and avocado on top of the chicken. Serve with sweet potato fries.
*We both thought that while this was a very delicious meal, the sandwich would be much improved with the addition of some sort of dipping sauce. Next time, maybe.

Friday, November 13, 2009

My Apologies

It's been a terribly long time since I've posted. There are several reasons for this, the main reason being that I haven't been cooking much due to an extremely erratic schedule. Also, we're having camera issues and now that I've started including pictures with my recipes I don't want to stop. As an act of penance and for your entertainment I have included a picture of me wearing a beekeepers suit (I'm not really a beekeeper. I kind of wish I was, but I'm not) and smiling like an idiot.
To prove my point that the food we've been eating is not blog worthy I will tell you the meals we have eaten for the last 5 nights:
-Taco salad
-Burritos (Mexican food, much?)
-Tuna salad with peas and rice
-Spaghetti and Salad

So there you have it, you've been missing out on absolutely nothing. Although, there is one thing that I baked in the last week that is post worthy: the most delicious chocolate chip cookies ever known to man.
The only thing I changed was adding 1/2 raw sugar to the amount of brown sugar (i.e., if it calls for 1 cup brown sugar add 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup raw sugar)...trust me, this gives the cookies a seriously addicting crunch. Also, adding course sea salt was a great idea even if it seems weird at first.

Starting next week I will begin posting on a more regular basis and including higher quality photographs. This is my solemn vow.

(photo credit: Gina Binkley)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Pesto Cream Cheese Pasta

No pictures of this one unfortunately, but back in September I did a post about parsley pesto and talked about how I like to make it with other leafy greens, such as Spinach, and that is exactly what I did last night. The recipe is pretty much the same, the only difference being that you add 2 cups packed spinach instead of parsley.
First I prepared the pesto and let it sit out while I made the rest of the meal.

Boil an entire pack of pasta noodles of your choice in salted water. While that is boiling heat 4 oz of cream cheese over very low heat until completely melted and smooth. To the cream cheese add 3/4 cup pasta water, several tablespoons at a time to ensure the sauce will be smooth. Once you have a nice creamy sauce, stir in the pesto. Keep on low heat, covered, until ready to use.
Drain pasta and immediately return to the pot you cooked it in on, turning the heat to low. Toss in 2 cups fresh Spinach, sprinkle with salt and pepper and 1/3 cups toasted walnuts. Pour cream cheese pesto sauce over pasta and stir, allowing to sit until the fresh spinach is wilted.
Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and more salt and pepper if desired.
This meal is best eaten on an evening when creamy comfort foods are in order :)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Banana Bread

I borrowed this recipe from a wonderful food blog that I just ran across the other day called "Whipped". I didn't change a thing about it, and it turned out great. The only thing I would do differently next time is instead of making two short loaves (in the 7x3 pans) I would like to make one great big loaf. This is especially good lightly toasted and topped with lots of butter! Fat? What's that?

1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
3-4 very ripe bananas
1/4 cup melted butter, cooled slightly

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine dry ingredients in large mixing bowl. In medium size bowl, roughly mash banana. Add eggs to the banana mash and whip lightly until yolks are completely broken and incorporated into banana. Fold the banana mixture and butter into the dry ingredients. Pour into 2 7x3" loaf pans or 4 mini loaf pans and bake 40-45 minutes.
Allow to rest for 5 minutes, then turn onto baking sheet and allow to cool completely before wrapping them up...if they last long enough to be wrapped up! Ours didn't!

Casserole Shmasserole

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 package chicken flavored Rice-a-Roni
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 cup of water
1/2-1 cup chicken broth
1 head of broccoli, all the little bunches cut apart
1 cup green beans, cut into 1" pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place all ingredients in large casserole dish. Sprinkle salt and pepper and half of the "flavor packet" from the Rice-a-Roni over the entire casserole. Cover with tin foil and bake for 35-40 minutes, removing and gently stirring ingredients one time.
I topped mine with a spoonful of Greek yogurt because I like to put that on pretty much everything. Sometimes casseroles are just a good idea.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Greek/Mexican Fusion?

Last night we went to my parent's house for dinner and my sweet mom made a delicious Greek casserole with chicken, potatoes, feta and tomatoes in it. We brought some leftovers home and so tonight I made some sort of Greek tortilla situation that was quite scrumptious. Having run out of pita I used a flour tortilla instead.
Place tortilla on cast iron skillet, put Greek casserole on top of tortilla until heated through. Top with Greek yogurt and green onions.

How I Roast Squash

Place 2 Tbsp of butter on a roasting pan on opposite sides. Put 1 Tbsp of brown sugar, a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, a sprinkle of cinnamon and a little bit of salt and pepper on top of the butter. Cut the squash in half, remove seeds and place upside down on top of the butter, with the hollow part of the squash right over the butter and sugar. Roast in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes. Flip squash over, sprinkle with a small amount of brown sugar, cinnamon and salt and broil for 3-5 minutes.
That picture doesn't look very appetizing, but it tasted great.

Fall Salad

2 cups Arugula
2 cups Spring Mix
1 Golden Delicious apple
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/3 cup toasted walnuts
1/2 avocado
1/2 cup turkey bacon, well cooked

Balsamic Vinaigrette

1 cup olive oil
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper
A squeeze of honey
A sprinkle of Italian seasoning
A dash of Parmesan cheese

Sometimes a salad is all you want for dinner. But we also had Red Oval beer from Trader Joe's, $2.99 for a 6 pack. Considering the price it was actually pretty good.

Punkin Scones!

In a medium sized bowl, combine:

2 cups flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Using your hands or a food processor cut 6 Tbsp very cold butter (cut into 1/4" cubes) into the dry ingredients until mixture resembles tiny course crumbs

In a separate medium sized mixing bowl, thouroughly whisk together:

1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
5 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp raw sugar
3 Tbsp half and half
1 egg

Fold liquid mixture into dry ingredients until well incorporated, being careful not to over-mix or the scones will become tough. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and pat into a large round about 1/2" tall. Cut into 6 triangles and place on baking stone. Bake in 415 degree oven for 13-15 minutes.

While scones are baking, make the glaze.

Whisk together:

1 cup powdered sugar
2 Tbsp + 1 tsp whole milk
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Pour over scones while they are still warm (but not hot).

These are so so good.
I slightly modified my recipe from this recipe.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Veggie Soup

Sometimes I like to go through the pantry and fridge and throw a bunch of stuff together in a pot and see what kind of soup it creates! This was something akin to minestrone, but it was more of a hearty vegetable soup.

4 cups reduced sodium chicken stock
1 cup water
1 celery stalk, halved, quartered and diced
1 carrot, halved, quartered and diced
Small handful of green beans, cut into 1" pieces
1 can of diced tomatoes
1/3 cup bulgar wheat
1 sprinkle of pepper
2 sprinkles of salt
Finely minced fresh basil
Finely minced lemon thyme
Dash of garlic powder
Dash of onion powder

Put all ingredients in a large stock pot and simmer for at least 45 minutes, preferably 1-2 hours.

I also made egg salad sandwiches because we have an overabundance of eggs right now, but it was nothing crazy...and I ruined the picture that I took of it.
It was just:
5 hardboiled eggs
1/2 celery stalk, diced
2 Tbsp olive oil mayo
1 tsp mustard

The End!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Sandwiches for Breakfast

2 Ciabattinis lightly toasted
2 eggs, cooked medium well
1 piece of cheese, cut in half and placed on each egg (after you flip the egg, of course)
Tomato slices
Avocado slices
Olive oil mayo
French's mustard

Assemble all ingredients on the bread and eat it up.


Last night my husband and I bought tickets for the 7:30 showing of Where the Wild Things Are (which I really enjoyed and he didn't like), but we didn't get home from work until after 6pm...our tummies were hungry but we didn't have much time so I threw together a BaconLettuceTomatoAvacadoCheese sandwich and some quick tomato soup on the side.

Cooked 4 pieces of turkey bacon on a skillet

Cut up tomato into thick slices

Cut up avacado into thick slices

Spinach leaves for the "L"

I had 2 Ciabiatinni's (cut in half with a piece of Muenster on one side of each) heating in a 350 degree oven while I made everything else.

Take bread out of oven and slather with Olive oil mayo, a dash of S&P and assemble: first bacon, then avacado, then tomato, then spinach.

1 can of tomato soup, added the same amount of chicken broth (instead of water) and a dash of 1/2 and 1/2. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of pepper.

Stir Fry

In a medium size sauce pan heat:

3 cups water
1 1/2 cups brown rice
dash of salt
dash of olive oil

Heat and allow to cook for 20-30 minutes or until tender and all water is absorbed.


1 lb chuck steak, cut into thin strips and lightly season with s&p
2 bell peppers, julienned1 medium yellow onion, julienned
2 carrots, julienned

Heat wok or skillet over medium high heat and pour 1-2 tbsp olive oil. Once the oil is hot, toss in the veggies and sautee for 8-10 minutes. Add steak to the skillet and cook until strips are no longer pink. Pour this sauce over the top:

1/4 tsp chinese 5 spice
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1-2 tsp brown sugar
dash of s&p
dash of red pepper flakes

And cook for another 5 minutes or so.

Serve with sesame seeds on top of the stir fry.

* this is actually a picture of the leftovers that my husband was eating for lunch the next day...it looked more appetizing the night we made it.

Butternut Soup

With the first hint of fall in the air, I felt the need to make a truly Autumnal feast a few nights ago. We had a couple of butternut squash laying around so obviously I decided to make Butternut squash soup! Who better than Micheal Chiarello to lead me in the right direction? I modified his recipe because it was way more complicated than it needed to be...unless you have 4 hours to devote to making a soup you may want to follow my version instead, but the original is here.

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Peel and seed 2 medium sized butternut squash. Roughly chop them into 1" pieces (they will eventually be blended so appearence doesn't matter.) Place them on a rimmed baking sheet and set to the side while you prepare the glaze:

In a medium sized sauce pan, melt 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter (you can also use olive oil) on medium heat. Once the butter is completely melted add in:

2 Tbsp finely chopped sage leaves
2 Tbsp raw sugar
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Simmer for 1-2 minutes and then pour over squash mixing until all the squash bits are thoroughly coated. Place in oven and bake for 1 hour, tossing once or twice.

In the meantime dice:

1 small yellow onion
2 stalks celery (I didn't use celery, but you should)
1 small carrot

In a large stock pot on medium heat, pour 2 Tbsp olive oil. Add the diced vegetables and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Allow to sautee for 8-10 minutes, stirring often to as not to burn anything. Season with S&P and slowly pour 4 cups chicken stock (can also use veggie stock). Put a lid on the top and turn heat to low until ready to incorporate the squash.

Once the squash is done roasting, puree in small batches in a food processor or blender and add to the soup base. Allow to cook for about 10 minutes and then puree the soup in a blender and pour back into stock pot. If you like you can add 1/2 cup half and half ( I did and it was awesome). Serve with sour cream.

I also made a salad with crumbled cheese, dried cherries and toasted walnuts with a balsamic viniagarette and a multigrain baguette on the side. It was the perfect fall meal.

Saturday, October 10, 2009


It's been about 5 or 6 years since I've made enchiladas, but last night I was really craving some, so I took the plunge unsure of whether or not I was doing it correctly. They turned out to be pretty fantastic, in a really bad for you Mexican food sort of way.

Here you go:

1 lb chicken tenderloins, seasoned with s,p, chili powder and tapatio sauce, cooked and shredded

1 10 oz can red enchilada sauce

1 bag shredded Mexican cheese

1/4 cup Queso Fresco (Mexican crumbling cheese)

1/2 cup lowfat sour cream

1/2 cup salsa

8-10 fajita size flour tortillas

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Pour enough enchilada sauce in the bottom of your casserole dish to thinly coat it. Put the rest to the side for later.

Assemble enchiladas by placing the tortillas in 2 rows. First put a schmear of sour cream down the middle of each tortilla, then chicken, then a dab of salsa and a sprinkle of mexican cheese and a dash of Tapatio sauce. Roll up tightly and place seam side down in the casserole dish. Once they are all in the dish, pour the remaining sauce over the top, coating evenly. Sprinkle with a generous amount of the cheese and all of the queso Fresco. Cover with tin foil and cook for 20 minutes. Uncover and cook for another 5-8 minutes. Remove and allow it to rest for 5 minutes. And they're done! We also had quacamole, chips and refried beans to accompany. Sadly, there are no photographs because I forgot to take pictures before they were all eaten up :( next time.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

So Down Home

I'm not exactly what you would call a "beans and rice" kind of girl, but this CSA has taught me to stretch my normal food boundaries. It always ends up being a good idea.

Here's what I did a few nights ago:

With burner on medium high, place a large stock pot on the range

throw in 1 tsp butter and 1 tsp olive oil. once heated, add:
1/2 diced yellow onion
3 'soup bones' (beef bones with some meat still on them)

Sweat the onions and add a sprinkle of salt and pepper
Brown all sides of the beef.
Add 2 cups of water and heat until boiling.
To the boiling water, add:

1 1/2 lbs purple hull peas, shucked and rinsed well
3 more cups water
2 tsp fresh or dried flat leaf parsley

Heat to boiling again and turn heat to low, place lid on top of pot and simmer for 4-5 hours, stirring occasionally.

When the beans are about 30 minutes away from being done, begin to cook the rice and corn bread. I used Basmati cause it's all we had, though next time I would use a shorter grain. I used a Jiffy cornbread recipe cause it's my favorite. I also sauteed some green bell peppers in olive oil, but they ended up tasting grilled and it was weird. Sometimes cooking fails, and that's ok. The beans were super awesome though! And it ended up tasting just like a meal I would make if my husband was a cowboy and I was a downhome country wife. Giddyup!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Parsley Pesto

I usually don't discriminate with food, enjoying most of it and not claiming one favorite. However, I have already used this recipe 5 or 6 times, and am not one to repeat a recipe more than twice. It's so good and extremely versatile. I've used it in several different pasta recipes, to top of bruschetta, and last night I used it with boneless chicken breasts. So good.

2 cups packed Italian flat leaf parsley
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 cup walnut pieces
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 garlic clove
salt and pepper
1/4 cup olive oil

Combine first 5 ingredients in blender or food processor. Pulse for several minutes, or until mixture is crumbling. While still pulsing, add olive oil in a slow, steady stream. Continue mixing until you have a nice paste, not liquefied but thoroughly combined. Add salt and pepper to taste.
I have also used spinach in place of the parsley and it was amazing. You can use pecans or pine nuts in place of the walnuts as well.

This is the dinner I made last night:

3 boneless, skin-on chicken breasts, rinsed and sprinkled with salt and pepper
1/4- 1/2 cup Parsley Pesto
4 Red potatoes
1/2 Red onion
1 garlic clove
olive oil
2 heads broccoli, stems cut off

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Keeping the skin on the chicken, place a large spoonful of the pesto under the skin of the chicken, being sure to cover the surface well. Tuck the skin over the pesto. Heat cast iron skillet to medium high, pour in 1 tsp olive oil. Place breasts skin side down on cast iron skillet. Sear for 1-2 minutes or until they are a nice golden color. Flip breasts and immediately place in oven for 15-20 minutes, uncovered. Meanwhile, cut the potatoes into 1" squares. Chop the onion into large chunks. Slice the garlic clove very thinly. Place all these ingredients on a baking sheet sprinkled with olive oil. Pour a thin stream of olive oil over the potatoes and onions and sprinkle with salt. Place in oven for 20-25 minutes or until fork-tender and golden brown.
Steam broccoli for 3 minutes and rinse under cold water. Place back in the pot it was steamed in (water should be drained) on the burner you just used, to keep it warm.
When the chicken is finished cooking, remove it from the oven and cover with tin foil to keep it warm and moist.

That's all!

Tuna Town

After what seemed like an eternity of gray skies and rain, the sun decided to show it's beautiful face yesterday and we absolutely loved it! Spent the morning lolling around our apartment, watching Gossip Girl and eating Eggo waffles. Then we went to the park, took some pictures, read some books, came home and I made this for lunch:

1 can of tuna
1/2 tomato, diced
1/4 red onion, diced
2 Tbsp parmesan cheese
1 tsp dried parsley
dash of s&p
Olive oil mayo
dash of mustard

Extra sharp white cheddar cheese

Heat oven to Broil. Combine all ingredients except cheese in a medium sized bowl. Toast a piece of bread. Place 1/3 of the tuna mixture onto the toast and top with thin slices of cheese. Place on baking sheet and broil for 2-3 minutes or until cheese is melting and bubbly. I topped mine with...you guessed it: Tapatio. Wonderful.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Hello, Pancake!

Yesterday morning I was feeling a little feisty and decided to make some pancakes from scratch! I haven't done that in months, but it ended up being quite successful. I used another recipe from Everyday Food (I use that resource all the time, and is one of the only places I will follow a recipe without modifying it.) Here it is:

1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
2 Tbsp sugar
2 tsb baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup milk (could use buttermilk instead)
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 large egg

In a medium sized bowl, mix together dry ingredients. In a large bowl whisk together milk, butter and egg. Once well incorporated, pour in dry ingredients and mix just until incorporated-lumps are fine. You don't want to over mix.

Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees. Heat a medium sized non-stick (or in my case, cast iron) skillet over medium heat and rub with olive oil. Pour 1/4 cup portions into skillet and flip when edges begin to bubble up. Once finished cooking, place on an oven safe plate and slide into the oven to keep warm.

I also fried some eggs and my sweet husband made coffee in the Bialetti.

I put strawberry jam, butter and some of the granola I made the other day on mine.


I hate potato salad

So that is why I made this version of the old classic. It has a vinegar and oil based dressing, making it much more palatable to people who don't enjoy goopy, potentially e. coli infected mayo-based potato salad. Plus it has haricots verts (or plain old green beans), roma tomatoes and hulled peas, making it delightfully refreshing and rustic.

Here's the (slightly modified) recipe, borrowed from "Once Upon a Tart"

1/2 red onion, halved again and cut into thin stripsApprox 1 lb purple hull peas, shucked, rinsed and simmered in 4 cups unsalted water for 1-2 hours or until fork-tender
4 cups salted water
5 medium red potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1" cubes
4 cups salted water
1/2 lb haricots vert (yellow, green or both), de-stringed and cut on the diagonal.

4-5 Roma tomatoes, cored, seeded and diced
1 Tbsp capers, drained
1/4 cup finely chopped Italian flat leaf parlsey
1 tsp fresh lemon thyme, minced


1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp sea salt
a few shakes of pepper
1/2 cup olive oil

Start by placing the sliced red onions in a large bowl (this bowl needs to fit the entire salad). Pour the drained Hull peas on top of the red onions while still very hot so that the steam can soften the onions. Set aside.

In a large pot, bring the salted water and potatoes to a simmer over medium heat. Once boiling reduce the heat and slowly simmer for 30-35 minutes or until fork-tender. Drain and add them on top of the Hull peas.

In a medium size pot bring the other 4 cups of water to a rolling boil on high heat. Place the haricots vert in the boiling water for 45-60 seconds. Drain and immediately run very cold water over them for another 60 seconds or until they begin to cool off. That is blanching the green beans and will still allow them to retain all of their flavor and color and much of their crunch without being offensively "green" tasting. Once fully drained pour the green beans on top of the potatoes.

Put the roma tomatoes, capers and herbs on top of the haricots vert in the large bowl.

To make the dressing, put the vinegar and s&p in a medium sized measuring bowl. While swiftly whisking the mixture, pour the olive oil in a steady stream. This is called an emulsion and will help the olive oil to mix with the vinegar without seperating too much.

Pour the dressing over the salad and toss using a large spoon (or your hands) until all ingredients are well coated. Serve while still warm or at room temperature.

I'm not gonna lie...this is a pretty impressive and tasty side dish.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


Anyone who knows me well at all knows that I absolutely love coffee, or as my husband put it I "drink coffee like a fish". But I go through phases about what my favorite way to make coffee is. Sometimes it's the French press, for a long time it was the Bialetti, I always love the cone method, but lately my favorite has been a latte sort of thing made in my crappy little espresso maker.

Here is what I do:
Steam 1/2 cup 2% organic milk and 2 Tbsp organic half and half
Grind espresso beans (currently using Zappia Family Espresso, Drew's Brews)

Place in this thing:

and then on top of the espresso place 1 tsp raw sugar like this:

Pour the pulled shot into a mug, quickly adding the steamed milk on top, allowing the foam and milk to mix together like this:

I've been drinking one every morning...I like to think of it as my daily calcium fix...it's good for me, right?

Adventures in Peanuts

Lately our CSA has been giving us raw peanuts. As far as I know there are only several things to do with them: roast them, boil them, or fry them. Since we've gotten a quart of them for the last 2 weeks I thought I would try 2 of the 3 methods, roasting and boiling.

Here is the method I used for boiling them (original):

Place 6 cups water, 1/8 cup of salt, 1 tsp seasoning salt and 1 lb of Raw shelled peanuts in a large pot. Boil water, place lid on top of pot and turn heat to low/medium. Keep it at a high simmer for 3-4 hours. Drain and allow to dry on a sheet of paper towels.
I'm not a big fan of mushy peanuts so I don't think I'll do this again, but it was fun to try once, and even though they aren't incredible they're still pretty addicting.

Here is the method I used for roasting them (I made this up):

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Thoroughly rinse peanuts. Place on large rimmed baking sheet, sprinkle with 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 Tbsp sea salt. Bake for 25-35 minutes. (I had to check them every so often to see how crisp they were.) Next time I'll use more salt and slightly more oil.

This Morning

I made granola. The recipe was for blueberry almond granola, but having neither dried blueberries nor sliced almonds I omitted those and added some other things instead. The original recipe is here. But this is mine:

2 cups thick rolled oats
1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
Place in large baking sheet with edges

2 Tbsp Olive oil
2 Tbsp Raw Honey
1 tsp Vanilla
1/4 tsp sea salt
pour over oat mixture and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once removed from the oven add 3/4 cup raisins. Let cool and place in airtight container for up to a month.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Eggs Again

On Wednesday nights my husband has a mixed martial arts class he attends from 8-10 pm so I usually make an early dinner of salad for him and then a late dinner of eggs for me.

Tonight I did this with the eggs:
Combine 1 egg and 1 egg white.
Fry until over-medium
add White cheddar slices on top of egg once flipped but while still in the pan
Crisp up 2 slices of turkey lunchmeat
toast 2 pieces of Ezekiel bread and smother with olive oil mayo and Tapatio
Once cooked put the egg and cheese on top of the bread, put the meat on top of the egg and several tomato slices on top of the meat. Cut it in half and eat it up.
Grapes on the side for a little fresh fruit.
This dinner is generally accompanied by a glass of red wine and the newest Top Chef :)

I Cheated

Last night I used Hamburger Helper "tomato penne".
Instead of ground beef, I used lean ground turkey, browned it, sauteed half of an onion, added some sweet peas and then followed the instructions on the back of the box :) I topped it with parmesan cheese.

On the side I made a salad of:
-Equal parts spring greens and spinach
-chopped carrots
-extra sharp white cheddar
-toasted strips of red chile tortillas
-sunflower seeds
-balsamic vinegar dressing

It was fine for a midweek "didn't feel like cooking" dinner, but nothing special.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Dinner 2 nights ago

1 butternut squash, the neck separated from the bulb.

Roasting the squash (I used the bulb for this part):
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Peel the squash and cut into 1" squares (approximate)
1 Tbsp raw honey
1 Tbsp olive oil
dash s&p
dash cinnamon

Place on roasting sheet and bake 10 minutes. Stir the squash, adding a small handful of dried cherries and put back in the oven for 10 more minutes.
Allow to cool 5-8 minutes.

Once cool, add it to the top of this salad:
2 cups baby spinach
2 cups mixed greens
1/4 cup toasted walnuts (or pecans)
1 Yellow delicious apple, chopped into 1" pieces
1/4 cup feta or goat cheese

Chips to top off the salad:
heat frying oil to between 3oo and 350 degrees. Slice the neck of the peeled butternut squash into extremely thin rounds (a mandoline would be preferable, but I don't have one) and place in hot oil until crispy, usually 2-4 minutes. Remove chips while still hot sprinkle with:
Sea salt
Parmesan cheese
Italian seasoning

Place several chips on top of salad and snack on the rest.

1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tsp raw honey
1/2 tsp dijon mustard

You definitely won't need all of this dressing, btw. Refrigerate the rest for up to 2 weeks.

Eat it.

Pesto Tuna

1 can of tuna (albacore preferred, but I used regular)
1/2 tomato, diced
1 Tbsp shredded Parmesan cheese
1-2 Tbsp olive oil mayo
1-2 Tbsp basil Pesto
dash of salt
dash of pepper

Mixed it all together in a bowl.

Toasted half a whole wheat bagel, placed about half of the mixture on top of the bagel, topped with sliced sharp cheddar and broiled for 1-3 minutes. It was delicious and I could eat it at least 3 times a week (that's a lot).

Last Night

Whipped together:
2 large eggs
A splash of organic milk

Put it in my cast-iron skillet and scrambled it up.
Once halfway cooked I added in:

1/2 cup baby spinach leaves
1/2 tomato
2 pieces of mesquite turkey lunchmeat

When that was fully scrambled I tossed on top:
A quick dash of Tapatio hot sauce
some shreds of extra sharp white cheddar
salt and pepper

On the side:
-toasted and buttered Ezekiel bread
-glass of red wine.