Sunday, February 21, 2010

What I did with this week's CSA goodies

Man, today was a busy day. I would have been better if I woke up at a reasonable hour, but apparently my body told me to sleep until noon. So this afternoon has been marathon! It didn't start off well when I injured myself twice using the slicer for the beets. I never thought I would need a mandolin. I guess I just need one of everything!

Before I picked this weekend's recipes, I had some CSA veggies to get rid of. Specifically, butternut squash and beets. Everything else, carrots, onion, potatoes, spinach and mushrooms, could be eaten by themselves or simply cooked. I found a cool web site called or something like that, where you plug in the ingredients you have and it scours the web for recipes out there using what you have. I found a nice butternut-carrot soup and also a suggestion to make beet chips (like potato chips) on the site. So here is what what cooked this Sunday:

Carrot-And-Butternut Squash Soup

This recipe asked that you shred the carrots and squash. I'm not sure how many of you out there tackle butternut squash, but the last time I did, I cursed it to hell. It's really tough and you need a really good knife, a large cutting board, and good upper body strength. Shredding is a much different animal. It also takes a LOT of time.

Look at that! On the right is what is left of an entire butternut squash. The soup is awesome. Basically onion, garlic, carrot, and butternut squash with some chicken broth, cooked and then blended. You add milk, orange zest, salt and pepper, and it's really good!

While I work on this soup, I also tried a new minestrone that used quinoa. I had never used this grain before, but it's supposed to have all the very yummy good for you fatty acids, so I gave it a try. Here's the result:

So those two recipes used much of what I had, except for the beets. I sliced them, coated with corn starch and dropped them in a hot fry daddy. I didn't know what to expect, so they came out a bit undercooked. I thought black was burnt, but apparently not. Anyhoos, they taste really good, like a fresher version of those veggie chips you can get at Whole Foods.

And then, after I rest, Justin makes dinner. Oh, you thought some of this was dinner? ha! not in this house! We used the rest of the red potatoes and the gigantic onion from the CSA and two pounds of shrimp we had on hand to make Justin's famous shrimp and potatoes (with old bay and steamed with Fat Tire beer).

Now if anyone wants recipes, that's great; just ask. This post was just too huge and I was just too tired to post all the recipes. That and tomorrow I make stuffed acorn squash for dinner and you'll certainly get that recipe. Until then, happy eating!!!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Our Valentine's Day Feast

Justin and I agreed, we could have easily paid over $200 at a restaurant for the dinner we made last night. Huge thanks to our friends who got us an awesome bottle of champagne for Christmas; we would have never enjoyed such an indulgence if we went out.

The menu was impressive by itself, and extensive. So for this post, I will skip the recipes and concentrate on the pictures and the food. The first is of the table, the fanciest this house has ever experienced, thanks to the china and silver that was handed down generation to generation.

Isn't that cool? I mean, for a couple married only four months ago?

Okay, so this may not be in order, but I have to show you the picture of the awesome dessert I made yesterday. It was super easy and from the New York Times: Pear-Honey Upside-Down Cake. Seriously, really fun and easy and it even came out of the iron skillet just fine.

How beautiful is that cake? So the last picture is of the entire dinner. And here is the menu:
Cream of Potato Soup
Mustard Crusted Rack of Lamb
Asparagus boiled in chicken broth
Pear-Honey Upside-Down Cake

And for the last picture, one for which I have not gotten complete permission, one of my number one husband on our first Valentine's day as husband and wife.

Isn't he something? Okay so not too much if anything this week. We have to eat all I cooked this weekend. More to come next week with more new recipes. See you then!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

How I Fought Cabin Fever

So the weekend after a week snowed in and no transportation can lead to some pretty severe cabin fever. I couldn't stand to watch any more tv and I was panicking at the amount of fresh produce I had on hand thanks to groceries paid for by the sympathetic parents and the first two weeks of my C.S.A. So naturally, I thought it was a good idea to make dinner. Three times. By the way, this post is taking me forever to write as I am extremely tired from basically cooking for the entire afternoon.

The first dish was made with the intention of freezing it for later consumption. It's called a deconstructed lasagna, and is really simple, just lasagna ingredients mixed together. It's supposed to be healthy for you, but it really needs something else. I think it's salt, Justin says hot sauce would do the trick. I wasn't going to use this picture as it looks like the food is going to fall off the table, but you can see my dog's reaction to my cooking, so I had to post it.

Deconstructed Lasagna

1 lb extra-lean ground beef
1/2 cup yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, diced
2 cups eggplant, unpeeled and cubed
1/4 cup carrots, peeled and diced
1 cup no-salt-added tomato sauce, divided
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
1 1/2 cups whole wheat fusilli pasta
1 cup whole wheat elbow macaroni (I just used 2 1/2 cups curly pasta cause it made more economical sense to me)
1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1/2 cup tomato, diced
10 fresh basil leaves, torn
1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup part-skim mozzarella, shredded

1. In a large skillet (with a lid) over medium-high heat, saute beef, onion, garlic, eggplant and carrots until meat is cooked thoroughly, about 10 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup sauce, oregano and pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Then uncover and stir in spinach until just beginning to wilt.

2. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions in a medium pot. Drain and set aside in a bowl.

3. In a medium bowl stir together ricotta, tomato, basil and oil.

4. In a large bowl, add beef mixture, both pastas, remaining 1/2 cup sauce and moz, stirring until well combined. Then stir in ricotta mixture, until all contents are combined. Serve, garnished with additional basil leaves.

This second recipe became Justin's dinner tonight. After all the cooking, I actually ate leftovers. I just wanted to cook, not eat. Weird. Anyway, I didn't think this needed anything, and I didn't have yogurt, so I used sour milk, but it was really great. I also had more turkey than it called for. Also, you should make sure you have a large oven-safe container, cause I had to use two.

Turkey Pot Pie

2 cups cooked long-grain brown rice
1 Tbsp plus 2 tsp olive oil, divided
1 oz Parmigiano Reggiano, finely grated (about 1/4 cup)
sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
12 oz boneless, skinless turkey breast, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 medium carrots, peeled and cut (1 cup)
1 white turnip, peeled and cut (1 cup)
1 medium leek, white and light-green parts, sliced into 1/4-inch half moons
1/3 cup red onion, finely diced
3 Tbsp spelt flour
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/3 cup low-fat plain yogurt
2 Tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
2 Tbsp fresh sage, finely chopped

1. Preheat oven to 375.

2. In a bowl, combine rice, 1 tsp oil and cheese and mix well. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

3. In a large nonstick, heat 1 tsp oil over medium-high heat. Add turkey and cook, turning often, until golden brown and just cooked trough, about 6 minutes. Remove turkey from pan and set aside. Return skillet to stove, lower heat to medium and add remaining 1 tbsp oil. Add carrots, turnip, leek and onion and cook, stirring often, until vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add flour and cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add broth and stir until mixture begins to simmer and thicken, about 4 minutes. Stir in yogurt and mix well. Add reserved turkey, parsley and sage and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Pour turkey mixture unto an oven-safe baking dish. Top with rice mixture in an even layer and bake until filling is bubbling and rice is light golden brown, about 30 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes before serving.

*both recipes from Clean Eating Jan/Feb 2010

The third recipe is a two bean and kale soup that I only made for lunches and two recipes and pictures are enough for one day's post! Tomorrow or Monday I hope to post about Justin's attempt to cook for me for Valentine's Day. Awww!

Friday, February 12, 2010

No More Tomato! Please!

So you tried the last recipe, and you have a spouse who just can't take that much tomato? I totally understand. For all the shoveling most of us have had to endure (sorry Canada) pasta dinners are a great way to fill up and have the energy in the morning to keep going, especially when your side street isn't plowed and the only way it'll get clear is you and your wonderful shovel. But all this tomato is giving you heartburn and tummy aches! Look in your freezer, in the back. Is that a one pound bag of frozen shrimp? Hallelujah! Now make this:

Shrimp and Pine Nut Pasta

8 oz uncooked spaghetti
12 oz (or a pound, w/e) peeled and deveined medium shrimp
2 Tbs pinenuts, toasted (put them in your toaster oven and hit toast. Just make sure to watch them)
1 cup milk (divided)
1 Tbs flour
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg (I know, right? crazy but it works)
1/4 tst salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 cup (2 oz) grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (or the stuff in the green bottle, sense we've been snowed in, you've got to make do. just don't tell my dad)
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup torn fresh basil leaves (this is for garnish, so if you don't care to impress, just add it to the first amount of basil)

1. Boil water. Add pasta and cook for 7 minutes. Add shrimp and cook an additional 3 minutes. Drain (and add some olive oil so the pasta doesn't stick to much).

2. While pasta cooks, combine 1/2 cup milk and the flour in a large saucepan (this will be the pan you mix everything in, so yes, large), stirring with a whisk until well blended. Place pan over medium heat; gradually stir in remaining 1/2 cup milk. Stir in mustard and nutmeg. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low, and cook 5 minutes or until mixture begins to thicken, stirring constantly. Stir in salt and pepper; cook 1 minute. Add drained pasta mixture, cheese, and chopped basil, tossing gently to combine. Sprinkle with nuts and torn basil.

4 Servings

*courtesy Cooking Light October 2009

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Steak and Farfalle Pasta, with creamy tomato sauce

So I have so totally sucked at blogging consistantly. I have been snowed in for like a week nearly. Luckily my parents walked to the grocery store with me a few days ago and I was able to stock up. And I really mean, stock up! We got steak and and pasta and so I had to make: STEAK AND PASTA!!!

5 cloves garlic, finely minced, divided
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 tsp cinnamon, ground
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 ob lean eye round steak, cubed
16 oz whole-wheat farfalle pasta
olive oil cooking spray
1 medium yellow onion (or if you're a fan, a really large one), finely diced
1 28-oz jar or can no-salt-added crushed tomatoes
1 1/2 tsp italian seasoning
1 tsp dried basil
8 oz low-fat sour cream

1. Prepare marinade: In a bowl, whisk together 3 cloves garlic, vinegar, Dijon, cinnamon and pepper. Pour marinade over steak cubes in another container, cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
2. Cook farfalle according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
3. Drain steak cubes and discard marinade. Heat a large cast-iron or nonstick skillet over high heat for 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium-high, mist with cooking spray and saute steak until browned on each side, about 4 minutes total. Remove steak from pan and set aside.
4. Mist same pan with cooking spray again, add onion and remaining 2 cloves garlic and saute until brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add tomatoes and reduce heat to medium low. Add seasoning, basil and sour cream and combine. Cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes, then mix in reserved steak and cook for 2 more minutes, until meat and sauce are completely warmed.
5. Serve 1 cup farfalle with 3/4 cup steak sauce. Garnish with an additional sprinkling of Italian seasoning, if desired.