Friday, December 30, 2011

Crock Pot Barbecue Pulled Chicken

If something only has two ingredients can you really call it a recipe?  This was so good that I'm going to go ahead and say yes.

As you can probably tell, I have been all about the crock pot lately.  I had it in the back of my mind to do a pulled pork or chicken dish, but every time I ventured near the pork section of the market, I shrunk back in dismay.  Something about the huge, fatty cuts of meat were just not doing it for me.  Then, I remembered that chicken breasts make excellent barbecue as well.  There are many variations on this recipe that range from using a spice rub, homemade barbecue sauce, coke or root beer for cooking and pan searing.  While they all sound good, I did none of these things.  Instead I put the uncooked chicken in the crock pot, topped with my favorite jarred barbecue sauce, and cooked it for 7 hours.  Let me tell you, it smelled amazing around here.

Crock Pot Barbecue Pulled Chicken
1 1/2 pounds chicken  (I used boneless, skinless breasts, but you can use any cut of chicken here)
Jarred or homemade barbecue sauce

Combine chicken and barbecue sauce in crock pot.
Cook on high for an hour.
Reduce to low and cook for 5-6 hours.
Using two forks, shred chicken.  It should shred very easily.
Add more sauce as desired and keep warm until ready to serve.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Salmon with Cranberry Glaze and Spinach Risotto

We had a very quiet Christmas around here this year.  I was due on December 24th, which meant that it was likely we would be spending Christmas in the hospital.  December 24th came and went, as did the 25th, 26th and 27th (I'm writing this on the 28th and holding out hope!).  In any case, major travel or hosting plans were not in the cards for me this year, so we had Christmas dinner for two.  This also meant I got to spend six hours sitting in front of the fire and wore yoga pants all day.  Given my current mood, this was ideal. 

Fish is incredibly easy to cook.  This particular salmon was individually portioned filets separately vacuum packed and frozen.  I would highly recommend checking out the frozen fish section at your market, I find that it's easier to find fish that has been wild caught, and the prices are better.  Most of the fish at the counter has been previously frozen, anyway, and this way you don't have as much pressure to cook it the same day.  This was so straightforward I hesitate to call it a recipe.

Baked Salmon with Cranberry Glaze
salmon filets, pat dry
cranberry vinaigrette

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Line a baking or broiler pan with foil.
Top salmon with cranberry vinaigrette and bake for about 10 minutes.
Turn on the broiler for a minute to caramelize the glaze.  Keep an eye on it so it doesn't burn!

I'm sure I've posted my risotto recipe before, but since it's one of my favorite foods ever, I'll share again.  Risotto is time consuming, and takes a good 30 minutes of near constant stirring, so plan accordingly.  By that I mean have a drink and/or a helper at the ready.

Spinach Risotto
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons butter
1 onion, diced
1 cup Arborio rice
3 cups vegetable or chicken broth (may sub some of the broth for wine)
1/2 bag (a few handfuls) baby spinach

In a large pot, heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat.
In a separate saucepan, heat broth over medium.
Add onion and saute for 3-4 minutes.
Add Arborio rice and cook, stirring, for a few minutes until lightly toasted.
Pour in hot broth, one ladle at a time.  Stir until completely absorbed before adding next portion.
Continue until all the broth has been used, this can take about 30 minutes.
At the end, stir in spinach to wilt.

Of course you can use any vegetable you like here, I just happened to have spinach in the fridge and thought it would pair well with the salmon. 

If you have risotto leftovers you want to reheat the next day, add a little water or broth before heating over medium low heat.  This will help prevent sticking.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Cranberry Vinaigrette and other uses for leftover Cranberry Sauce

Let's say you have leftover cranberry sauce from some holiday meal.  Or, like me, you randomly decided to make cranberry sauce on a whim and now need to use it up in some way other than eating it straight from the bowl. In any case, you are in luck, because I've been eating cranberry sauce in one form or another all week.


Cranberry Vinaigrette
1/2 cup cranberry sauce
1 clementine, juiced (1/4-1/2 cup orange juice)
1 teaspoon maple syrup (or sugar, or agave)
Balsamic Vinegar
Olive Oil

Quantities are estimated here, you can just eyeball, and taste along the way to adjust to your preferences. I used a couple tablespoons each of vinegar and olive oil.

In a food processor or blender, combine cranberry sauce, orange juice, and maple syrup.
Add in balsamic vinegar and mix well.
Slowly add olive oil with motor running.

This was perfect over greens with pears and goat cheese.  I also have plans to try it as a glaze for baked salmon.  If that isn't a disaster, I'll share in a few days.

Other ways to use leftover cranberry sauce:
Smoothie with yogurt, milk, and frozen cherries or blueberries
Yogurt parfait layer.  Extra points for adding crushed graham crackers.
Spread on a sandwich along with turkey, cheddar and lettuce
Swirled through cheesecake bar

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Turkey Meatloaf

I made this last Sunday night, meatloaf and mashed potatoes seem like the type of thing you make on Sunday night during football.  I am pleased to report that the outcome of both the meatloaf and the football were positive, so everyone in our house was happy.  This is comfort food at it's best.

Turkey Meatloaf
recipe from Health Magazine

Olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce (I think this is the most important meatloaf ingredient)
1/3 cup chicken broth (I subbed veg because I was out, you could also just use water)
3 Tablespoons ketchup
1 - 1 1/2 pounds ground turkey (my package was 1.3 pounds, anything around there will work)
3/4 cup breadcrumbs
1 egg

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Heat olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat.
Add onion and cook for about 5 minutes.
Add in garlic, salt and pepper and cook for 1 minute.
Stir in Worcestershire sauce, broth or water, and 1 Tablespoon ketchup.  Remove mixture from heat.
In a large bowl, mix turkey, breadcrumbs and egg.
When slightly cooled, add onion mixture to meat and mix well.  Using your hands works best here.
Form turkey mixture into a loaf shape and put on a baking sheet or dish covered with foil.
Brush meatloaf with remaining 2 tablespoons ketchup.
Bake for 1 hour, or until cooked through.  I checked with a meat thermometer to make sure the middle reached 170 degrees.
Let stand a few minutes before serving.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Baked Brie topped with Cranberry Sauce

Baked brie is one of my favorite cocktail party treats.  It's simple to make, and always makes a big impact.  Puff pastry is fun for all.

I had a bag of whole cranberries in the freezer since last year.  I got sucked into the advertising campaign of buy one to use now, buy one for later.  I get sucked into most advertising campaigns, so this is no surprise.  Some combination of very late pregnancy nesting and my usual cleaning neuroses led me to empty out everything in the freezer, so the cranberries needed to be cooked.  I normally top baked brie with jam, so cranberry sauce seemed like a good festive alternative.

Simple Cranberry Sauce
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 bag whole cranberries, fresh or frozen

In a saucepan, bring sugar and water to a boil.
Add in cranberries, return to boil.
Reduce to simmer, and cook for at least 10 minutes, until berries have burst and cooked down to desired consistency.
So easy!  No need for can shaped cranberry sauce any longer. 

Baked Brie in Puff Pastry
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
1 6-8 oz. wheel of brie, top rind removed
cranberry sauce or jam of choice
egg wash

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Depending on the size of your wheel of brie, use a rolling pin to roll out puff pastry slightly.
Place brie in the middle of puff pastry and top with sauce.
Gather sides of puff pastry, sealing filling inside.
Place on a lined baking sheet.
Brush with an egg wash.  (I skipped this step, but it gives the pastry a nice golden color.)
Bake for 30-40 minutes until pastry is browned.

I served with apples and pears, which made excellent cracker alternatives.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Mediterranean Casserole

This is another easy vegetarian dish.  I usually have the bulk of the ingredients (chickpeas, rice, canned tomatoes, spinach, onion) on hand, so it's a good option to keep in mind.  My completely sporadic posting schedule might make it hard to see, but I usually try to balance our eating for the week by offsetting any meat based or heavy dishes with lighter vegetarian fare. 

Mediterranean Casserole
1 cup uncooked brown rice, steamed according to package directions
1/4-1/2 cup plain yogurt or sour cream
Olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
salt and pepper
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes in juice
1 bag fresh spinach, or one box frozen spinach, thawed
8 oz. feta cheese, cubed or crumbled

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cook brown rice according to package directions. 
Stir in yogurt or sour cream and set aside.
In a saute pan, heat olive oil over medium heat.
Saute onion for about 3-5 minutes.
Add in chopped garlic and spices and cook one more minute.
Mix in chickpeas, diced tomatoes and spinach and cook for 5-10 minutes.
In a casserole dish sprayed with cooked spray, spread rice in a layer.
Pour vegetable mixture over rice, distributing evenly.
Top with feta and bake for 15-20 minutes.
Serve hot or at room temperature.

On the second day we ate this, I left it in the oven a little long by fault of the commuter train, and found little olive oil and balsamic vinegar drizzled over the top spruced it back up. 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Reese's Peanut Butter Cookies

Kicking off Monday morning with cookies.  And not just any cookies, these old school cookies that have been gracing bake sales and parties forever.  There are times when I want to make fancy, multi-step, gourmet cookies, and there are times when 20 minutes and 1/2 a cup of peanut butter are all I can muster. 

Perhaps since it's Christmas week you are attempting to keep things healthy in anticipation for the weekend.  If so, I apologize and promise that we'll be eating lentils later in the week.  Or, if you are like me and are 39 weeks pregnant (or just like cookies), you have declared this your final hurrah and are enjoying every last bite. 

Reese's Peanut Butter Cookies
recipe from Hershey's

1 package mini peanut butter cups
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Place peanut butter cups in the fridge or freezer.  I'd say just store them there until you're ready to make this recipe. 
In a large bowl or mixer, beat butter, both sugars, peanut butter, egg and vanilla until light and fluffy.
In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, and salt.
Add dry ingredients to wet and mix well.
Using a mini cookie scoop (my recommendation), spoons, or your hands, shape dough into 1 inch balls and put in mini muffin tin.
Bake 10 minutes until puffed and lightly browned on the edges.
While the cookies are baking, unwrap the peanut butter cup candies.
Remove cookies from oven and immediately press a peanut butter cup into the middle of each cookie. 
Allow to cool in muffin pan. 

Friday, December 16, 2011

African Peanut Stew - Slow Cooker

I make a lot of soups in the winter, in case you haven't noticed.  Warm, healthy, and easy, all the things I look for in a recipe.  When I can throw all the ingredients into the slow cooker and be done, that's just an added bonus.  I had intended to save some of this soup and stick it in the freezer for post-baby time, as I've been doing a lot lately, but we managed to eat it all. This was likely due to me eating it directly out of the crock pot for pre-dinner snack the night Jon came home late.

Slow Cooker Peanut Stew
recipe from Peas and Thank You

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 sweet potato, cubed
1 1/2 teaspoons curry poweder
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon cumin
1 Tablespoon minced ginger (I used fresh and grated it)
2 teaspoons minced garlic
dash of cinnamon
1 14 oz. can fire roasted diced tomatoes with juice
1 can light coconut milk
2 cups vegetable broth
2 Tablespoons peanut butter
1/2 cup red lentils, rinsed

Add all ingredients to the slow cooker.
Cook on low for 6 hours.
Depending on how thick it's gotten, turn to high for the last hour of cooking.

That's it!  Couldn't be easier.  
As with most soups, this gets even better the next day.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Potato Soup with Broccoli and Kale

This is another pantry recipe.  At any given time, you probably have most, if not all, of these ingredients on hand.  As such, it's a great idea to have in the back of your mind for an easy lunch or supper. 

While I was watching Rachael Ray the other day I took note of her garbage bowl.  If you haven't seen it, the garbage bowl is just the bin she uses to dispose of scraps, containers, etc. while she's cooking.  You can go online and purchase your very own garbage bowl for the reasonable price of $19.99.  Or, you can just use one of the many bowls you already have.  I take it one step further and use produce bags.  For any given recipe, I am usually emptying some produce bag, so I leave on the counter, put all my cooking scraps and trash in it, and toss it when I'm done.  This isn't any genius idea, but it does save me a lot of time because I'm not turning to throw things out all the time. 

Back to the soup. 

Potato Soup with Broccoli and Kale
1 Tablespoon butter
1 onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 Tablespoon flour
salt and pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
2-3 cups potatoes, chopped
2 cups green vegetables (I used a combination of broccoli and kale)
3+ cups vegetable broth

In a pot, melt the butter over medium heat.
Add the onion and celery, and cook for about 5 minutes.
Mix in flour and cook, stirring, until it is light brown.
Add a little of the broth, just to keep the flour from burning (about half a cup).
Mix in potatoes and spices.
Depending on what other vegetables you use, you can add them now or wait until after the potatoes have cooked and been pureed.  I opted to add the broccoli stems, but not the florets or the kale.
Pour in broth to cover potatoes.  Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 20 minutes until potatoes and very tender.
Using an immersion blender, or in batches in a regular blender, puree the soup.
Add additional broth or water to desired consistency.
Add in remaining vegetables and heat until softened, about 5 minutes.

I topped mine with hot sauce.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Spicy Black Bean Soup - Crock Pot

I love my Crock Pot.  Not only does it make a delicious dinner ready when you get home at night, but you get to say "set it and forget it" as many times as you want while it's cooking.  Or maybe that's just me.  This is one of those especially easy Crock Pot recipes that requires hardly any work in advance.  You do need to plan ahead to soak your beans, but that's just putting beans in water overnight, so as long as you remember, it's not tough.

Crock Pot Spicy Black Bean Soup
1 pound dried black beans, soaked overnight
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1-2 jalapeno peppers, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1-2 tomatoes, chopped, or 1 can diced tomatoes in juice
1 Tablespoon chili powder
1 Tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
sea salt and ground black pepper
~4 cups vegetable broth or water

To soak beans - rinse dried beans in cold water.  Put in a pan or bowl with a lid and cover with several inches of water.  Let sit 8 hours, or overnight.  Drain and rinse.

In the crock pot, stir together all ingredients through salt and pepper.
Add enough liquid to cover by about an inch.
Cook on high for 4 hours, switch to low for at least 2 hours.
Puree using an immersion blender, if desired.

This soup is very healthy.  High in fiber and protein, and low in fat.  That's why you can get away with topping it however you like.  I went with avocado, salsa, sour cream, and a cheese quesadilla for dipping.  

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Peanut Butter Yogurt Fruit Dip

Normally, if I want to dip apples, you will find me with my hand in the peanut butter jar.  Literally.  The jars of peanut butter I get at BJ's are about the size of my head.  I saw the idea for this recipe in an ancient magazine in the waiting room at the mechanic's this week, and thought it sounded easy enough to try.  It was delicious, and would be a great dip to offer with not just fruit, but graham crackers, cookies, and maybe even carrots and celery. 

The measurements don't matter much here.  I pretty much just used equal parts yogurt and peanut butter, with a little honey and cinnamon.

Peanut Butter Yogurt Fruit Dip
2 Tablespoons plain or vanilla yogurt
2 Tablespoons peanut butter
1 teaspoon honey
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Combine all ingredients and stir well.  Serve immediately or keep refrigerated.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Chicken Paprika

Chicken Paprika is such a vintage 50s recipe.  Chicken with a cream based sauce.  But there's a reason it's stood the test of time, for me at least, and that reason is that it's deliciously good comfort food.  Inspired to make this by Jenna of Eat Live Run, a fan of 50s vintage comfort food, herself.  Jenna served hers with homemade dumplings, but I went with egg noodles and broccoli.

Chicken Paprika
recipe from Eat Live Run

1 pound boneless chicken breasts, sliced thinly
2 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 yellow onion, diced
1 cup chicken broth
1 tbsp paprika
sea salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
3/4 cup sour cream
1 tbsp flour

In a saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
Add the onion, chicken, salt, pepper, paprika, cayenne and cook until chicken is browned.
Add in garlic for the last minute of cooking.
Pour one cup of chicken broth into the pan, increase the heat to high to bring to a boil.
Reduce to a simmer and cook for about 5 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.
Using a slotted spoon, remove the chicken to a separate bowl and set aside while you make the sauce.
Stir together the sour cream and flour, and add this to the pan of chicken broth.
Cook over medium low, whisking often, until thickened.
Add the chicken back in to warm through, and serve over noodles.

Pumpkin Apple Curry Soup

This recipe could also be known as: things in my fridge that really needed to be used up.  Such things included: homemade pumpkin puree that had been in the freezer since last winter, a really sad, wrinkly apple, and a few cups of recently defrosted chicken broth.  That's one of things I love about soup, though.  You can throw anything in the pot, and if you add the right spices and cook it long enough, it's delicious. 

Pumpkin Apple Curry Soup
1- 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree (butternut would work here, as well)
1 apple, peeled and chopped
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1-2 stalks celery, chopped
olive oil
1 Tablespoon curry
1 teaspoon cumin
salt and pepper
2 cups chicken (or vegetable) broth

In a saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat.
Add chopped onion and celery and cook for 5 minutes until softened.
Add in apple and spices (curry, cumin, salt and pepper).  Stir and cook for one minute.
Pour in pumpkin puree and chicken broth.
Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes.
Puree using an immersion blender, or in batches in a blender or food processor.

I garnished with a few salted pumpkin seeds and hot sauce.  Excellent for dipping grilled cheese.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Butternut Squash Barley Risotto Cakes

You remember the Butternut Squash and Barley Risotto from earlier this week?  If you make it, you will remember it for a long time because it makes a ton.  I love leftovers, but this quantity was a little daunting, even for me.  These risotto cakes mix the leftovers up a bit, so it feels like a whole new meal. 

Risotto Cakes

yield- about 15 cakes

about a third of the Butternut Squash and Barley Risotto leftover
1 egg
canola oil

Mix beaten egg into leftover risotto. 
Heat canola oil in a frying pan over medium heat.
Drop spoonfuls of risotto onto hot pan and cook for about 5-8 minutes a side, until crispy. 
I had some trouble keeping my cakes together, my risotto was a little wet, so I transferred the completed cakes onto a baking sheet and stuck them in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes.  This firmed them up. 
Serve garnished with Parmesan or goat cheese.

Butternut Squash Barley Risotto

Risotto is one of my favorite foods.  I love everything about it.  It can, however, be a bit rich, and not exactly health food.  You all know that doesn't stop me, though, I adhere to the "everything in moderation" school of thought.  It can also be a bit time consuming, so unless you want to spend 40 minutes standing in the kitchen stirring (this is only ok when you have a kitchen buddy and a glass of wine in hand), it's not the best for a weeknight meal.  This is my long-winded way of saying that while Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto is one of my favorite meals of all time, I was intrigued when I saw this recipe for a healthier, easier alternative. 

Butternut Squash Barley Risotto
recipe from Good Housekeeping

2 Tablespoons butter
2 shallots, sliced (I used half an onion)
2 springs fresh thyme (I used 1/2 teaspoon dried)
2 cups pearl barley
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
2 cups water
1 butternut squash (2 1/2 pounds, or so), peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
Grated Parmesan cheese

In a frying pan, melt 1 Tablespoon butter.  Cook shallots or onion for 2 minutes.  Add thyme, cook 30 seconds.  Add barley and stir for 2 minutes, until toasted. 
Transfer mixture to a crock pot, and add in broth, water, squash and salt.
Cook on high for 3 1/2-4 hours, until liquid is absorbed and squash is cooked.  I thought things looked a little watery at 4 hours, so I put the lid ajar for another 30 minutes.
Stir in Parmesan, 1 Tablespoon butter, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Garnish with Parmesan and parsley.

This made an entire crock pot full.  Fortunately, I have a recipe for how to transform the leftovers.  Come back to read it!

Baked Apples

I have no idea why I've never made baked apples before.  It's essentially apple pie filling without the hassle.  And while I love crust, when you skip the butter and flour-laden layer, you get to eat more ice cream.  You can even eat this for breakfast.

One of the things I like about this recipe is that the measurements are very loose guidelines.  Pretty much just sprinkle however much you like of each ingredient over the apples and toss it all together.

Baked Apples
inspired by Joy the Baker

4 large or 8 small (or however many you have) apples, peeled and sliced
Lemon juice (I used half a lemon)
Brown sugar
1 Teaspoon cornstarch
Pinch Allspice
Pinch Nutmeg
Pinch Salt
2 Tablespoons butter, cut into pieces

In a baking dish, combine apples, lemon juice, brown sugar, cinnamon, cornstarch, allspice and salt.  Mix well.
Dot with butter.
Bake at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes.
Remove from oven and cover with foil. (I found my apples looked a little dry after baking, so this steamed them and concentrated the juices.
Serve as you would apple pie.  In my case, that means with a lot of vanilla ice cream. 

Macaroni and Cheese with Ham and Kohlrabi

Way back at the end of October, I got a kohlrabi in my final CSA pickup.  It intimidated me a bit, and sat in the back of my refrigerator for a solid month before I worked up the courage to tackle it.  What the heck is kohlrabi, you ask?  Well, per Wikipedia, it is a German turnip, part of the cabbage family.  I admit that cabbage is not my favorite thing in the world, so I was still a little wary.  I was assured by the internet that the flavor was very mild when cooked.  I came across a recipe for ham and kohlrabi gratin, which seemed manageable.  Ham, kohlbrabi, creamy white sauce; I can handle this.  This morphed in my mind to macaroni and cheese with ham and kohlrabi, and that's how we got here.  This falls into the category of "throw whatever vegetable you have around into mac and cheese so you feel better about eating it." 

Macaroni and Cheese with Ham and Kohlbrabi

2 cups pasta (I used whole wheat rotini)
2 cups grated cheddar cheese (or a blend of cheddar cream cheese)
2 Tablespoons butter
1 Tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
1/2 onion, minced
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 pound ham, sliced (I used deli ham)
1 kohlrabi, peeled and cut into matchsticks

Start by peeling the kohlrabi.  I used a y-shaped vegetable peeler, but a paring knife works as well.  You want to remove all of the tough, outer layer.  Cut into matchsticks or bite sized pieces. 

Bring water to a boil, and cook the kohlrabi until tender, about 5 minutes or so.  Drain.  This smells like cooking cabbage, which isn't the most appealing.  Power through. 
In the same pot, bring more water to a boil to cook pasta.
In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter.  Whisk in flour and cook for 3 minutes. 
Gradually whisk in milk.
Stir in onion and paprika and simmer, stirring frequently, until thickened.  About 15 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in pasta, kohlrabi, and ham.
Pour into a prepared baking dish, top with breadcrumbs, and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Red Lentil Dal

You know what's hard to photograph?  Indian food.  It is ugly.  Tastes great, though.

Red Lentil Dal is one of those recipes that comes together in less than 20 minutes, and is healthy and delicious.  You do need a pretty robust spice cabinet, but that can be built over time.  And I use pretty much all the spices in my cabinet, so it's worth the investment.  Except Herbs de Provence.  I have no idea what to do with that, but I digress.

Red Lentil Dal
recipe from Happy Herbivore

1/2 cup red lentils
2 cups vegetable broth
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon cumin
1 whole tomato, chopped
3 ounces tomato paste (half a can)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 small onion, diced
1 teaspoon paprika
1 Tablespoon ginger
dash cayenne pepper
1 Tablespoon coriander
2 teaspoons garam masala

 In a saucepan over medium heat, saute onions and garlic in 1/4 cup water until translucent.  You can also use a light flavored oil, such as canola.
Add spices, except coriander and garam masala, and cook for 1-2 minutes.  Keep an eye and stir often to ensure they don't start to burn.
Add lentils, broth, tomato paste, tomato and coriander.
Bring to a boil, reduce to low, and simmer, covered for 15 minutes.
Add garam masala and stir to combine.
Cover and set aside for 5 minutes.
Garnish with chutney and cilantro, if desired.

I served the lentils alongside spinach and rice.  Cook brown rice for 20 minutes. Add half a bag of fresh spinach.  Cook 10 minutes more, until rice is done and spinach is wilted.  Remove from heat and mix in a few spoonfuls of plain greek yogurt.

Turkey Burgers with Apple and Barbecue Sauce

I'm guessing you don't need anyone to tell you how to make a burger.  Whether you like beef, turkey, chicken, bison, tuna or veggie, I'm willing to bet you have a recipe that works for you.  I like them all.  One of the reasons I like burgers is because they are all about the toppings, and if you saw my refrigerator door, you would know that I am no stranger to condiments. 

That being said, I will not bore you with directions to make burgers, only say that these are turkey burgers and I went with the oven baked cooking approach.  And half the reason I used that cooking method was because I already had the oven on to bake the sweet potatoes.  We're all about multi-tasking around these parts. 

What I will share are the toppings, because they were good.  Melted cheddar cheese (on top of and under the burger), barbecue sauce, sliced apples and romaine lettuce.  My taste tester commented that they would have gone to a whole new level if we added bacon, so keep that in mind. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Pumpkin Granola

I had half a can-worth of pumpkin puree in my refrigerator after making last week's muffins.  There were so many possibilities, I didn't know where to start.  In my Google reader alone, I have 47 recipes starred that feature pumpkin.  While they all sound delicious, I knew I wanted to take a little break from traditional baked goods (this weekend will mark the third baby shower in as many weeks, I have not been deprived of cookies).  The Pumpkin Granola from Baked Bree was especially appealing because I had all the ingredients on hand, and I've been craving cereal lately.

I ended up having still a little leftover, so I made a pumpkin pie smoothie, which you've already seen if you Like my Facebook page.  If you haven't already seen it, you should Like my page.  In addition to linking to all the recipe posts, I also share random comments, mini recipes, and awkward kitchen moments. 

Pumpkin Granola
recipe from Baked Bree
I halved the original recipe, this shows my measurements.

2 1/2 cups oats
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/8 cup brown sugar (use 1/4 cup measure and then estimate 1/8 cup)
1/4-1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/8 cup maple syrup
1/8-1/4 cup applesauce
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
In a large bowl, mix together oats, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and brown sugar.
In a small bowl, stir together pumpkin, maple syrup, applesauce, and vanilla.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix well until evenly coated.
Spread on a lined baking sheet.  I like some chunks in my granola, so I didn't spread too thin.
Bake for 20 minutes.  Stir.  
Bake for 10 minutes.  Add in cranberries and almonds.
Bake for 10 minutes more.
Allow to cool before storing.

I was hoping there would be too much granola for my jars and I'd have to eat some right away, but sadly it fit perfectly.  I ate some anyway.  Thumbs up.  

Friday, November 4, 2011

Classic Lasagna

I have made a lot of different lasagna and lasagna-type dishes.  Vegetarian, with squash instead of noodles, with goat cheese instead of mozzarella, with white sauce instead of marinara; there are endless options.  This time, however, I wanted to go classic.  Tomato meat sauce, noodles, and gooey cheese.  I intended to add a layer of spinach leaves to get a little more nutrients in the mix, but I can barely remember my name these days thanks to pregnancy brain, much less things that aren't on my shopping list. 

A quick Google search brought me to the always wonderful Pioneer Woman.  Not one to shy away from baked meaty, cheesy goodness, I knew she wouldn't steer me wrong.

When the power went out on Sunday, and we were deciding what to do with all the food in the refrigerator, the fate of the leftover lasagna was top priority.  I'm happy to say our porch made an excellent alternative refrigerator, even colder than the real thing, and it reheated wonderfully in a 350 degree oven the next day.  

I normally use ricotta, but loved the change to cottage cheese here.  It made the dish so much creamier.  Also, using sliced mozzarella in place of shredded seemed to create a gooier texture, which was delicious.   I might even cut back a little bit on the mozzarella next time (I can't believe I just wrote to use less cheese).

Classic Lasagna
based on The Pioneer Woman

1-1/2 pound Ground Beef or Turkey
2 cloves Garlic, Minced
1 28 oz. can crushed Tomatoes
1-2 cans (6 Ounce) Tomato Paste
2 Tablespoons Dried Parsley
2 Tablespoons Dried Basil
1 teaspoon Salt
3 cups Lowfat Cottage Cheese
2 whole Beaten Eggs
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese
2 Tablespoons Dried Parsley (I used about 1/4 cup fresh)
1 teaspoon Salt
1 10 oz. package Sliced Mozzarella Cheese
1 package oven ready Lasagna Noodles

Brown ground meat in a large skillet or saute pan. Drain.
Add garlic, tomatoes, tomato paste, 2 tablespoons parsley, basil and salt.
Simmer, covered, for 30-45 minutes.
In a medium bowl, mix cottage cheese, beaten eggs, grated Parmesan, 2 more tablespoons parsley, and 1 more teaspoon salt.
Spread a thin layer of sauce in the bottom of a baking dish.
Layer noodles, cottage cheese mixture, mozzarella, and tomato sauce.  End with noodles, sauce, and grated Parmesan cheese.

Either freeze, refrigerate for up to two days, or bake immediately: 350-degree oven for 20 to 30 minutes, or until top is hot and bubbly.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Pumpkin Muffins

Day two of muffin recipes.  I love pumpkin baked goods, and this is the time of year when every market has a huge canned pumpkin display.  Of course if you are ambitious, you can use fresh pumpkin for this, but I wait until later in the fall to hack up and cook my pumpkins. 

Yesterday morning when we left the house, I noticed that some animal had made quite a meal out of half of one of my pumpkins.  This might explain the mysterious noises I heard outside on Halloween night.  Due to the snow storm, power outages and downed trees, our town changed Trick or Treating from Monday to Friday.  I left the lights off Monday night and did my best to exercise control with the giant bowl of candy.  I worried the mysterious noises were disgruntled children egging the house. Creepy animals on the front steps are so much more comforting. 

This recipe took hardly any time to come together, and I didn't even need my mixer.  I've mentioned before how much I love my cookie scoop.  It was a gift, and saves so much time.  It makes perfectly portioned small drop cookies (when they are small you get to eat more, obviously), and each scoop fits perfectly in the mini muffin tin.  No more trying to use two spoons and dripping everywhere. 

Pumpkin Muffins
recipe from Smitten Kitchen
yield: 30 mini muffins

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup canned or fresh solid-pack pumpkin
1/3 cup vegetable or canola oil
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pumpkin-pie spice
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare muffin tin.
Whisk together flour and baking powder.
In a large bowl, whisk together pumpkin, oil, eggs, pumpkin pie spice, 1 cup sugar, baking soda, and salt. Add in a flour mixture and stir until just combined and smooth.
Stir together cinnamon and remaining 1 tablespoon sugar in another bowl.
Divide batter among muffin cups, then sprinkle tops with cinnamon-sugar mixture.
Bake for about 15 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 
Cool in pan on a rack five minutes, then transfer muffins from pan to rack and cool to warm or room temperature.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Apple Muffins

It's no secret I love muffins.  And that's why it should come as no surprise to you that I will be sharing two more muffin recipes this week.  My sister and friend Megan threw a baby shower for me this past weekend, and I couldn't resist making mini muffins for the event.  Plus, the leftovers made great snacks when the freak October snow storm left us without power on Sunday, thwarting my grand plans to make apple cinnamon pancakes and bacon for my guests.

Whole Wheat Apple Muffins
recipe from Smitten Kitchen
yield: 36 mini muffins plus one mega ramekin muffin
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk or yogurt (I used vanilla yogurt)
2 large apples, peeled, cored, and chopped (I used 4 small apples)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Prepare muffin tins with liners, cooking spray, or butter.

Mix together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon, and set aside.
In a mixer bowl, cream the butter and add the granulated sugar and 1/4 cup of the brown sugar. Beat until fluffy.
Add the egg and mix well; stop once to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.
Mix in the buttermilk or yogurt.
Fold in apple. 
Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups, sprinkling the remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar on top.
Bake for 15 minutes, rotating once halfway through, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 
Cool the muffins for 5 minutes in the tin, then turn them out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Butternut Mac & Cheese

Homemade mac and cheese is one of the best comfort foods of all time.  However, you need to be in a particular mood to consume huge amounts of pasta and creamy cheese sauce.  That mood being one which involves yoga pants.  These days my mood always involves yoga pants, but I wanted to add a few healthy features to this mac and cheese so I could get away with serving it for dinner without a side of running on the treadmill.  In addition to your usual pasta and cheese, this recipe includes roasted butternut squash puree, as well as steamed broccoli and kale.  The butternut squash thickens the sauce and brings that lovely orange color reminiscent of the blue box we all grew up with. 

Butternut Mac & Cheese
1 cup cooked butternut squash (I roasted a 4 pound squash, and reserved the rest.  You can also substitute frozen butternut squash puree.)
3/4 -1 cup milk (I used unsweetened almond milk)
1/2-1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

2 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 tsp paprika
salt and pepper
8 oz. pasta (I used wheat rotini)
2-3 cups vegetables (I used broccoli and kale)

Bring pasta water to a boil in a large saucepan.  Add pasta and cook for about half the directed time.  Add in vegetables for the last few minutes of cooking time to lightly steam.  Drain and reserve about a cup of pasta water in case your sauce needs to be thinned (mine did not).
In a blender, puree the butternut squash with the milk.  Season with mustard, paprika and salt and pepper. 
Return pasta and vegetables to saucepan, pour in the butternut squash mixture, and stir in shredded cheese until melted.  Add reserved pasta water as necessary to thin the sauce to desired consistency.
I served mine straight from the pot, but you can also bake this in a 375 degree oven to brown the top.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Mama Pea's Thai Veggie Burgers

I'm going to do something kind of mean today, so I apologize in advance.  I'm going to tell you about a dinner I made, but I can't share the recipe.  Due to pesky things like copyright laws, it would be stealing to publish the recipe online.  However, I will tell you that the Peas and Thank You cookbook is worth every penny.  I've already bookmarked nearly every page, which sort of negates the need for bookmarking, and am so excited to try all the recipes.  Plus, it's full of funny stories and anecdotes, so I actually sat down and read it cover to cover like a book.  

In any case, the Thai Veggie Burgers caught my eye.  They are bean based, like all the veggie burgers I've made, and have some really interesting flavors.  While I can't share the ingredient list, I will tell you that the toppings include pineapple slices and teriyaki sauce.  Good stuff. 

We ate them with roasted sweet potato fries and kale chips.  It's easy to cook vegan, no tofu required. 

Teriyaki Sauce
recipe from
  • 1/4 cup tamari soy sauce (soy sauce)
  • 1 cup water
  • fresh grated ginger (about 1 tbsp or to your taste)
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  1. Combine 1 cup water, tamari, brown sugar, garlic and ginger in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
  2. Dissolve cornstarch in 1/4 cup of cold water and add to sauce.
  3. Stir constantly to allow the sauce to thicken.
  4. If the sauce is too thick add a little water or tamari to thin.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Banana Oat Bars

I had a couple of bananas on the counter just begging to be baked this weekend.  I made banana muffins last week and we had no trouble polishing them off in a few days, but I wanted to try something a little different, and marginally healthier.  A little internet searching and I came across a couple of good ideas.  These snack bars are a great alternative to store-bought cereal bars, and you can even get away with eating one for a sweet breakfast.

Banana Oat Bars
1 1/3 cups old fashioned oats
1/4 cup white sugar (Mushy bananas are pretty sweet to start with, so I would try cutting this out next time)
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 medium mashed bananas (about one cup)
1/4 cup milk
1 whole egg plus 1 egg white
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a 8x8 or 9x9 baking dish with parchment paper and coat with cooking spray.
Whisk together oats, sugars, baking powder, cinnamon and baking soda.
In another bowl, mix together bananas, milk, eggs and vanilla.
Stir wet ingredients into dry.
Pour into baking dish and bake for about 35 minutes until set and lightly browned on the edges.

I bet these would be great with the addition of 1/2 cup dried fruit or chocolate chips, just reduce the sugar.

Store in the refrigerator.  

Friday, October 21, 2011

Shepard's Pie

This week got away from me!  Between birthday celebrations, a wedding and family stuff, it's suddenly Friday and I have no blog posts to show for myself.  I will tell you that some of the highlight foods of the week were Red Beans and Rice and Carrot Apple Ginger Soup.  The lowlight was the night I was so tired I couldn't muster the energy to make anything more interesting than pasta.  In my 30+ week pregnancy fog, I thought to myself that I would jazz up the pasta with some goat cheese, sun dried tomatoes and olive oil.  I had the brilliant idea of softening the sun dried tomatoes in the microwave, so I put them in a bowl with a little olive oil, turned it on, and promptly wandered away and got distracted by Facebook.  I was jolted back to reality by the smell of burning sun dried tomatoes.  They went in the trash, I substituted fresh tomatoes, and opened all the windows to air out the kitchen.

Last Saturday we attended the wedding of our wonderful friends, Ricky and Christine.  It was a fantastic evening, they were both so relaxed and happy.  I was especially happy because they had something like 15 different appetizers, and I tried them all.  Part of the dinner buffet was individual Shepard's pies, a favorite of the groom.  By the time I got there, they had swapped in lobster mac and cheese, which was more than fine by me, but it got me thinking about Shepard's pie.

Shepard's Pie
2 pounds potatoes, peeled and chopped
Butter and milk to taste for mashed potatoes
1 Tablespoon butter or canola oil
1 medium onion, diced
2-3 carrots (about 2 cups), peeled and chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups peas, defrosted
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 pound ground turkey or beef
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
salt and pepper
1 Tablespoon flour
1 cup beef stock
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Put chopped potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water.  Bring to a boil and cook until tender, about 20 minutes.
Mash, mixing in milk, butter, salt and pepper to taste.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat butter or oil over medium heat.
Cook onion, carrots, and celery about 5 minutes, until onion is translucent.
Add in garlic, cook one minute more.
Remove vegetables to a bowl, and mix in thawed peas.  I ended up using way more peas because I had an awkward amount left.  Adjust vegetable quantities however you want. 
Brown ground meat in the pan, drain any excess fat.
Return vegetables to the pan, add in spices and flour, cook for one minute.
Pour in beef stock and Worcestershire sauce.  Cook until slightly reduced.
Put meat and vegetable mixture in a prepared baking dish.
Spread mashed potatoes over the top.  Attempt to make artful peaks for aesthetic purposes.
Bake at 375 for 35 minutes.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Cookies

Jon will frequently request food by lamenting out loud that I never make him __________ (fill in the blank with tacos, swedish meatballs, muffins, banana bread, cookies, pie, etc.).  In the case of peanut butter cookies, he was right.  I'm not sure I've ever made them, and given that peanut butter has been a major food group for me during the last 6 months, I can't imagine why.  There is no shortage of recipes out there and between my own cookbooks and the internet, I pieced together what I consider to be a pretty good one.

Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Cookies
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened
1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter (I used Skippy Natural, it worked well)
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 1/2-3 cups flour (I used three and had a little extra flour in the bottom of my mixer)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

In a mixer, or a bowl using a hand mixer, cream together butter, peanut butter and sugars.  Add eggs one at a time, mixing until incorporated.
In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda.
Add flour mixture to mixer bowl, stirring on low until just combined.
Refrigerate dough for at least one hour, or overnight.  I kept it to an hour, and it was fine.
Roll one inch balls of dough and put on a cookie sheet.  I use Silpat liners.  I also used a cookie scoop, which looks like a mini ice cream scoop, to portion my dough.  It was a gift from my friend Megan, and I'm a little obsessed with how easy it makes baking cookies!
Using a fork dipped in cold water, make cross hatch marks on the cookies.
Bake at 350 for 11 minutes, turning once in the middle.  We like our cookies very soft, so adjust cooking time according to your taste.
Allow to cool 5 minutes on cookie sheet before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

This made about 50 cookies for me.  That is too many cookies to have around the house.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Crispy Baked Eggplant

I got these adorable mini eggplant at the CSA last week.  They are so mini and tender that you don't need to peel them, the skin is easy to eat.  Not like eating regular eggplant skin where you have to tear through it dinosaur-style with your teeth.  Anyway, while brainstorming ideas for how to use these mini eggplant, I happened on a recipe for crispy baked zucchini fries.  Using the classic breadcrumb technique, I came up with crispy baked eggplant.  I served these along caprese salad with pesto and drizzled with balsamic.  I'm thinking the leftovers will make a great hot wrap for lunch if I ever finish eating the corn soup. 

Crispy Baked Eggplant
4-5 mini eggplant, or one full size
1/2 cup flour
2 eggs
1/2-1 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Chop eggplant into bite size pieces (about half an inch).  If you have time, put eggplant pieces on a colander and sprinkle with sea/kosher salt and drain for about an hour. I did this the first time I made it and not the second,  there was no problem. 
In a large bowl, toss eggplant pieces in flour until coated.
In another bowl or shallow dish, whisk the two eggs.  Stir in the eggplant to coat evenly.
In yet another bowl, mix together bread crumbs, Parmesan and oregano.  Toss eggplant pieces until coated. 
Spread eggplant on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray.  Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown, turning once.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Fall Quinoa - Butternut, Apple, Chickpeas, Cranberries

This is just a variation on the quinoa recipes I've shared before, but it's so good.  Plus, the addition of the roasted butternut squash is great and fall-ish.  I'll give rough estimates for the quanities of the ingredients, but really I just added until the ratios looked good.  I have a whole bunch of leftover butternut squash, which I've been eating on salads with apples all week.  Of course, you could always make the best risotto with it, too. 

Fall Quinoa
Olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
2 cups vegetable broth or water
2 cups (or one can) chickpeas
2 cups roasted butternut squash
1 apple, chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries
goat cheese

In a saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat.
Saute onion for about 3 minutes until softened.
Add garlic, cook for one minute more.
Stir in quinoa, cook for one minute, stirring.
Pour in broth or water, reduce to simmer and cover for 20-25 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed.  Check and stir occasionally while cooking. 
When cooked, stir in chickpeas, squash, apple and dried cranberries.
Serve hot, cold or room temperature, sprinkled with goat cheese and balsamic vinegar.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Chickpea and Spinach Curry

This is a super fast, super healthy recipe.  Aside from the time to cook rice, it takes about 10 minutes total.  And, it's made from ingredients you can keep stocked in your pantry, so you can throw it together on nights when you have absolutely no idea what to make.

I had absolutely zero ideas on what to make for dinner at the beginning of this week.  I knew I was going to cook a batch of dried chickpeas because Jon kept asking when I was going to make more hummus.  As a side note, said hummus contained the hottest jalapenos I have ever come in contact with, and we can barely eat it without chugging milk.  I'm currently brainstorming ideas for what to serve it with to cool it down a bit.  I'm thinking something along the lines of a yogurt feta spread.  More to come on that.  Anyway, a whole batch of chickpeas is a lot of chickpeas, so I used some in this meal, and the rest in a quinoa dish I'll share tomorrow. 

Chickpea and Spinach Curry
from Cooking Light

1 cup chopped onion
1 1/2 Tablespoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
1 can chickpeas (I used about 2 cups)
1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
4 cups fresh spinach (I used one package frozen spinach, thawed)
1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt

In a skillet or a saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat.
Add onion, cook for 3 minutes until softened.
Add in ginger, sugar and curry powder and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. 
Add in chickpeas, tomatoes and spinach.  Season with salt.
Stir in up to 1/2 cup water as needed.
Simmer for at least 3 more minutes.

I served this with brown rice with a twist.  Normally with a dish like this, I would just layer the rice, the chickpea curry and a dollop of Greek yogurt.  This time, I mixed the rice with the yogurt, and served it on top.  The rice, yogurt combo was delicious, even though I kind of mashed the whole thing together as I was eating it.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Creamy Salmon Pasta with Peas

So, you have some leftover salmon.  Perhaps from Maple Glazed Salmon, perhaps not.  Maybe you just think this sounds good and bought salmon for this recipe in particular.  Good for you.  Salmon is great. 

I was a big fan of this dish.  Since I did use leftovers from Maple Glazed Salmon, my fish was already spiced.  I thought that added a nice flavor dimension, but of course, it's not necessary.

Creamy Salmon Pasta with Peas
slightly modified from Self

Cooking spray
1 lb salmon fillet, skin removed
6 ounces pasta (I used whole wheat rotini)
1 1/2 cups peas (fresh or frozen)
1 1/2 cups milk (I used unsweetened almond milk)
3 Tablespoons flour
3 ounces Neufchatel (reduced fat cream cheese)
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh dill (I used 1/2-1 teaspoon dried)
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

If you are using precooked salmon, heat it slightly in a 350 degree oven just so you aren't mixing cold fish into hot pasta.

If you are starting from scratch:
Heat broiler to low.
Coat a baking sheet or broiler pan with cooking spray.
Season salmon with salt and pepper.
Broil until cooked through, 5-10 minutes depending on thickness.
Using a fork, flake salmon into bite size pieces.

Cook pasta as directed on package, add frozen peas for the last 3 minutes of cooking time.  Drain.
In a saucepan over medium heat, whisk together 1/4 cup milk and flour until smooth and lightly bubbling.
Whisk in remaining milk.  Season with salt and pepper.
Heat, whisking, until thickened to the consistency of heavy cream.
Remove from heat, whisk in Neufchatel and dill.
Toss in pasta, peas and lemon juice.
Serve garnished with lemon zest.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Maple Glazed Salmon

There are a lot of reasons I love salmon.  It's all kinds of good for you, full of omega-3s and all that.  Plus, it's delicious and high in protein, so you feel great after eating it.  Cooked either on the grill or under the broiler, it takes less than 20 minutes total, so a great quick dinner.  Additionally, this spice rub can be used on anything from fish to meat, poultry or vegetables, so make extra if you like, it will keep in a sealed container. 

Maple-Glazed Salmon
recipe from Cooking Light

1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 (6 ounce) salmon fillets (I used one 1 1/4 pound fillet)
Cooking spray
2 Tablespoons maple syrup

Preheat broiler.  I put mine on low, but if you only have high, that's ok.
Spray broiler pan with cooking spray and put salmon on, skin side down.
Combine spice mixture (paprika through salt) and sprinkle onto fillets.
Broil 6-10 minutes or until desired degree of doneness.
Drizzle salmon with maple syrup and broil one minute more.

For the two of us, I portioned the salmon fillet into four pieces.  One each for this dinner, and the rest for tomorrow's creamy salmon pasta.

This looks a little less blackened in person, but the sugar and maple syrup caramelize nicely.
We ate it with roasted sweet potatoes for an all orange and black meal.  How unintentionally festive. 

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Mulligatawny - An Old Favorite

This is a repeat post from back in March, but it's good enough to see again.  It really is my favorite soup.  And I eat a lot of soup, so that's saying something.  Plus, it gets better as the days go on, making it perfect to whip up on Sunday afternoon and eat all week.  

The original post includes the recipe, but it's so good I don't want you to have to click through to get it.  
Spicy Mulligatawny
adapted from Cooking Light

  • 1  tablespoon  vegetable oil, divided 
  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 1  cup  chopped peeled Gala or Braeburn apple 
  • 3/4  cup  chopped onion 
  • 3/4  cup  chopped carrot 
  • 1/2  cup  chopped celery 
  • 3/4  cup  chopped green bell pepper 
  • 2  tablespoons  all-purpose flour 
  • 1  tablespoon  curry powder 
  • 1  teaspoon  ground ginger 
  • 1/2  teaspoon  crushed red pepper 
  • 1/4  teaspoon  salt 
  • 28 oz. vegetable broth 
  • 1/3  cup  mango chutney 
  • 1/4  cup  tomato paste 
  • Plain yogurt or sour cream (optional)
  • Chopped fresh parsley (optional) 

Start by heating oil over medium heat in a large soup pot.
Cook the apple, onion, carrot, celery and bell pepper for about 5 minutes.
Add in the spices and cook, stirring for a minute.
Add the chickpeas, chicken broth, tomato paste and chutney and bring to a boil.
Reduce and simmer for at least 10 minutes.
Top with plain yogurt, chutney, and parsley.  

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


As you know, I get requests to make tacos a lot.  A LOT.  Jon and I planned to have dinner together on Tuesday night, big excitement around here, even though it ended up with me having dinner with the back of a laptop, so I thought it would be good to celebrate with tacos.  I usually just throw spices in haphazardly, but here is an actual recipe with actual quantities.  It turned out well.

Ground Turkey Tacos
2 Tablespoons canola oil
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 lb. ground turkey
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
8 oz. water
Optional toppings: shredded lettuce, tomatoes, green onion, cheese, sour cream, guacamole, hot sauce, salsa, mango, tortillas or chips

In a large pan, heat canola oil over medium heat.
Cook onions for about 2 minutes until starting to soften.
Turn up the heat to medium high and add the ground turkey to brown.
When the meat is brown and most of the liquid has cooked away, add the spices, garlic through cumin.  Depending on the fat content of your meat, you might want to drain it before this step.
Cook for one minute, stirring to coat evenly and light toast the spices.  This really brings out the flavor.
Pour in tomato sauce and water, reduce heat to medium low, and allow to simmer for about 10 minutes until sauce has thickened. 

Top to your heart's content.  I went with a salad style, partly because I was feeling it and partly because I had a super awesome test for pregnancy diabetes this morning so I was trying to cut down on the carbs at the last minute.  Jon said I shouldn't try to beat the system, because that defeats the purpose.  I said I'm saving up for extra ice cream tonight. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Swiss Chard and Goat Cheese Quiche

I didn't do a whole lot of cooking this past weekend.  Sometimes I take on new recipes, or we make a big dinner together on Saturday night.  Instead, we got Chinese takeout on Saturday night and I made this simple crustless quiche for Sunday. 

I used the same basic recipe as for the Crustless Spinach Quiche that I posted back in April.  You can certainly substitute any vegetable and cheese combo you like.  Don't get me wrong, I love pastry crust, I'd just rather eat it with pie than eggs. 

Swiss Chard and Goat Cheese Quiche
olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 bunch Swiss chard, washed and torn into small pieces
4 ounces goat cheese
5 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Prepare a round ceramic baking dish by coating with cooking spray or butter.  (I have a handy quiche dish, but a pie plate would work, as well).
Heat olive oil over medium heat in a frying pan.
Cook onion for a couple minutes.
Add in Swiss chard.  It will look like a lot.  Don't fear.  Use tongs to turn it while it cooks down. 
In a bowl, combine eggs, milk, salt and pepper.
Spread cooked onion and Swiss chard evenly in baking dish. 
Sprinkle crumbled goat cheese over vegetables.
Pour egg and milk mixture evenly over the top.
Bake for 40 minutes until middle is set and edges are golden brown.  Allow to cool a few minutes before serving.

photo 1-1 photo 1-2