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.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Penne a la Vodka with Turkey Sausage

This recipe was inspired by the Pioneer Woman's new Food Network show.  For those of you who aren't familiar, The Pioneer Woman lives on a ranch in Oklahoma with her husband, four children, and an apparently unlimited number of pets and farm animals.  She's funny, sarcastic, and absolutely charming.  In a recent episode, she made penne a la vodka, which gave me the idea for this recipe.  She  called her husband in from some remote corner of the ranch where he was working cattle to test it.  I called my husband in from the living room where he was putting together our new nursery furniture. Two hours after we ate dinner and I was writing this post I realized I had intended to include baby spinach in the dish, but completely forgot, so I might just stir it in with the leftovers and call it good. 

Penne a la Vodka with Turkey Sausage
1 package sausage (12-16 ounces), sliced.  I used hot turkey sausage, but chicken or pork sausage would work, as well.
1 small onion, chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
olive oil
1/2-1 cup vodka
2 cups tomato sauce, or tomato puree
1/2-1 cup cream
Baby spinach, a few handfuls
salt and pepper
crushed red pepper flakes
Parmesan cheese
1 box whole wheat penne pasta.  It seems that boxes of pasta are all different sizes. The one I used was 12 ounces.  Anything between 12-16 ounces would work.  

In a large saute pan, brown the sausage slices.  Depending on what kind of sausage you use, you might need to coat the bottom of the pan with a little olive oil.  I did.
When the sausage is browned, add in the onion.  Cook for a few minutes.  Add in garlic and cook one minute more.
Pour in vodka, and deglaze the pan. (That just means scrape up any cooked pieces stuck to the bottom).
Mix in tomato sauce.  You can easily just use pureed tomatoes, but I had about a cup of tomato sauce leftover and some chopped tomatoes. I really liked the variety in textures, and the addition of the basil and oregano in the sauce.
Pour in the cream.  Season with salt, pepper, and a dash of red pepper flakes.  Allow to simmer for a few minutes to thicken.
Add in the spinach, unless you are like me and forget that step. 
Add the cooked pasta to the pan, stir well.  This is when you'll be glad you used a really big pan.
Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese.

This recipe makes a lot!  Great for a crowd.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Roasted Jalapeno Hummus

Hummus is definitely one of my favorite foods.  Eaten with pita bread or chips, vegetables, topping a salad, or on a sandwich or wrap.  It's all good.  I totally admit that I don't always make my own.  Sometimes it just seems easier to buy it.  But, I'm always glad when I make it from scratch, it really only takes a few minutes. Also, we can polish off one of those little containers in two days, so this is way better.  

Roasted Jalapeno Hummus
2-4 jalapeno peppers
olive oil
1/4-1/3 cup sesame tahini
Juice of 1/2-1 lemon
1-2 garlic cloves
2 cans chickpeas, drained, liquid reserved

To roast jalapenos:
Preheat your broiler.
Cut peppers in half.  Protect your hands!
On a baking sheet covered with foil, put peppers cut side down.  Drizzle with olive oil.
Broil until the skin is blackened and blistered.  Keep an eye on them. 
Remove pan from oven and fold foil into a packet around the peppers.  You want them to steam until they cool down, about 5-10 minutes.
Use your fingers to peel the skins off the peppers.  They should come right off.  And since they are cooked, the peppers won't make your skin burn.

For the hummus:
Put tahini and lemon juice in the bowl of a food processor.  Process until creamed together.  Add a little of the reserved chickpea liquid, if necessary.
Add in chopped garlic (or use a grater for a little less garlicky punch).
Add in chickpeas, a cup at a time, and process until combined.  Add a little reserved liquid as you need to.
Add in roasted peppers, process until well combined.
With the motor running, pour in about 1/4 cup of olive oil, and as much liquid as you need to get it nice and creamy.

Enjoy however you like.  Even straight out of the bowl with a spoon.  Or your finger.  Whatever works.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto

This is one of my favorite Fall recipes.  As soon as the farms start putting out huge bins of butternut squash for 69 cents a pound, I know it's time.  Risotto is time consuming, for sure, with the constant stirring, but it's not hard.  And if you set yourself up with a cocktail (or a kitchen partner who likes to stir), you're all set.

I used an entire butternut squash (nearly four pounds) in this, but Jon pointed out that the ratio of squash to risotto was a little large.  I responded that since squash is healthy, that means we get to eat more.  If you do keep some leftovers aside, try tossing the roasted squash pieces with chopped apple, dried cranberries, goat cheese and balsamic vinegar. 

Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto
modified from Barefoot Contessa

1 butternut squash (2-4 pounds), peeled and cut into 1/2-1 inch chunks
olive oil
salt and pepper
1 small onion, diced
2 Tablespoons butter
1 cup arborio rice
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Peel and cube squash.  Some people (me) have an allergic reaction to raw butternut squash.  The skin on my hands gets all weird and tight after I handle it. It's less than ideal.  To avoid this issue, I pierce the skin of the squash a few times and microwave for a few minutes to start the cooking process.  This also results in squash that is slightly easier to chop, which decreases the risk of cutting your hand off.  Winning, all around.
On a baking sheet, toss the squash cubes in olive oil and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.
Roast for 40 minutes, flipping once, until tender and starting to caramelize on the edges.

I usually start my risotto about 20 minutes into the squash roasting.
In a saucepan, heat broth over medium low heat.
In a large pot (I use a Dutch oven), heat butter and 2 Tablespoons olive oil over medium heat.
Saute the onion for a few minutes, until slightly softened.
Add in the arborio rice and cook, stirring, for a minute or two.
Pour broth into rice mixture, one ladleful at a time, stirring constantly until absorbed.
Repeat until all the broth has been used, and the risotto is creamy.  This is the step when you want to have a drink ready at hand, it takes a good 20+ minutes. 
Mix butternut squash into risotto.
Garnish with Parmesan cheese.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Guest Post: Jackie's Tropical Chicken Salad

My friend Jackie is one of my favorite people in the world.  She's awesome in about a million ways.  We have been friends since college, and even though I never see or talk to her as much as I'd like, we always pick up right where we left off.  This is us before my wedding two years ago.

I'm so excited she wrote a blog post to share with you all, enjoy!

Sorry to all you New Englanders... I am clutching to the last bit of summer down here in good ol' Tennessee with one of my personal favorite recipes.  This simple chicken salad is fantastic on reduced-fat Wheat Thins or (my preference) straight out of the bowl. :)

The Jackie's Tropical Chicken Salad

1 whole chicken, cooked
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
2-3 stalks celery, chopped
3 stalks green onion, chopped
1 can chopped pineapple, drained
1 can mandarin oranges, drained
1/4 cup mayonnaise
chopped cilantro to taste
salt & pepper to taste

I always use a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store - partly because I'm lazy, and partly because I like they way they season it.  I know I would never use that much salt if I cooked it on my own, but since I can't SEE how much they put into it, it's okay to me.  And oh so yummy.  I strip the meat from the carcass, discarding the skin and bones and congealed fat.  Use the whole chicken - white and dark meat - and break it up into bite-sized pieces.

The rest is easy: in a large bowl, mix the chicken pieces, all the fruit and veggies, cilantro, and mayo.  I always go light on the mayo, so once it's all mixed together, feel free to add more if you like yours a little wetter.  Add salt and pepper, mix and taste again... check to see if you need more cilantro.  I use a lot - you really can't have enough of the stuff as far as I'm concerned.

This chicken salad is delicious right away, but I like to pop it in the fridge for a few hours to let the flavors blend together.  ENJOY!!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Scallops Wrapped in Bacon

We went to my in-laws on Sunday afternoon to visit, watch football, and meet their tiny 8 week old puppy.  I brought scallops wrapped in bacon for an appetizer, and then in all the excitement (playing with the tiny puppy and inhaling scallops), I completely neglected to take a photograph.  I'll share the recipe, and you'll have to imagine what they look like.  Instead, you can see pictures of the puppy. 

Scallops Wrapped in Bacon
makes 24
3/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
12 large sea scallops, cut in half
12 slices bacon, cut in half width-wise
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
24 toothpicks

Make the marinade for the scallops by whisking together the maple syrup, soy sauce and mustard.
Put halved scallops in a bowl, and refrigerate in the marinade for at least an hour.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Put cut slices of bacon on a lined baking sheet and cook for about 10 minutes.  You only want to par cook the bacon so it's still very easy to bend.  The reason for this step is that scallops bake faster than bacon, so the end result could be overcooked scallops (bad) or undercooked bacon (worse). 
Wrap each piece of bacon around a scallop and secure with a toothpick.
If you are preparing these in advance, set aside at this step and drizzle with the remaining marinade until you are ready to bake.
If you are ready to serve, sprinkle with brown sugar and bake for 15 minutes at 375 until both scallops and bacon are cooked. 

Try to keep the puppy away from the bacon.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Enchiladas

It seems that I make almost weekly posts about some sort of Mexican-ish food.  If you know my husband, you understand.  Also, you won't be surprised that this morning he mentioned I had said I would make tacos soon and that hasn't yet happened.  And he's wondering what the delay has been.  He's going to have to wait a little longer, and survive with enchiladas in the meantime. 

You can easily substitute canned black beans in this recipe, which would make the whole thing super fast and easy.  I opted for the long approach and made black beans in the crock pot.  If you have the time, it's so worth it.

So, first we'll start with the black beans.  I soaked a one pound bag of black beans overnight.  The next morning, I drained, rinsed, and added just enough fresh water to cover.  Also into the crock pot went a chopped onion and sliced jalapeno.  Don't forget to use a plastic bag or gloves when handling hot peppers.  I forgot on the enchilada step (I didn't forget, I was lazy), and had to soak my burning hands in olive oil.  Cooked on low for about 6 hours, and then high for 2.  You can cook on low the whole time, I just wanted them to thicken up a bit more.

This makes a lot of black beans.  Almost double what I needed for the enchiladas, so I just ate them by the bowlful, topped with hot sauce, cheese, and sour cream for dinner for two nights in a row. You can mix them with rice, serve as a side along some spicy shrimp or seared fish, make huevos rancheros, eat cold out of the container in the fridge, whatever you like. 

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Enchiladas
2 cups black beans
2 cups diced sweet potato
1 diced bell pepper
1 minced hot pepper
1 cup enchilada sauce
6 tortillas (I used 8 inch size)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (I used a mix of cheddar and jack, because it was leftover)
Optional toppings: hot sauce, sour cream, avocado

Preheat oven to 425.
In a saucepan with a steamer insert, steam diced sweet potato for 5-10 minutes until soft.  Add in peppers for the last couple minutes, just to soften slightly.
Mix black beans and sweet potato mixture together.  Using your spoon, split the mixture into six portions of approximately equal quantity.  I just draw lines so I know roughly how much to put in each tortilla.

In a rectangular baking dish, spread a thin layer of enchilada sauce on the bottom.
Spread black bean and sweet potato mixture in each tortilla, roll, and put in baking dish seam side down.
Pour remaining enchilada sauce over the top of the rolled tortillas.  Sprinkle with cheese.
Bake for 10-15 minutes until bubbling.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Carrot Ginger Soup

I had a bounty of carrots in the fridge.  Four bags of carrots.  Rabbits could not eat that many carrots raw.

A whole bunch went into the chicken pot pie I made for dinner last night.  Chicken gravy is good.  It also had 5 tablespoons of butter in it, so this soup is nice to balance a bit.

Another pound went into this Carrot Ginger Soup.  Very simple, quick to make, and healthy.  Also, if you use vegetable broth, it's vegan, and I'm fairly certain gluten-free.  All sorts of diets can be fed with this soup.  The ginger adds a little spiciness.  It was an excellent accompaniment to my lunch, along with some sort of dipper.  I went with a mini bagel.  I'll leave it up to you to decide.

Carrot Ginger Soup
Olive Oil
1 Shallot, minced (or one clove garlic)
1 small onion, chopped
1 Tablespoon grated ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 pound carrots, roughly chopped
2 cups vegetable broth (or chicken to make it non-vegan)

In a soup pot or saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat.
Saute shallot and onion until softened, about 5 minutes.
Add in ginger, coriander, salt and pepper.
Stir in chopped carrots and broth.
Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook, covered for 15 minutes or until carrots are soft.
Puree in batches in the blender or food processor, or my recommendation, an immersion blender.  You might remember my story about the tomato soup on the ceiling, the cabinets and me.  The immersion blender is well worth it.

Makes about 4 cups.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Quinoa Stir Fry with Pineapple

This was just a basic stir fry, with a couple of interesting additions.  First, instead of using rice or noodles, I supplemented the vegetables with quinoa.  A slightly different texture, but also very high in fiber and protein.  And gluten free, if you care about that sort of thing.  Second, instead of cooking the quinoa in straight water, I took an idea from Veganomicon and cooked the quinoa in a combination of water, pineapple juice, and soy sauce.  It added another flavor dimension, a little sweetness in the background.

The rest of the stir fry was pretty basic, lightly sauteed and steamed onion, bell pepper, broccoli, and swiss chard (I added this in because we had a bunch in our CSA and, try as I might, I don't really like it.  I know it's super healthy, so stir fry is a good way to use it to create some bulk and add nutritious vitamins.) I seasoned the vegetables with a drizzle of sesame oil and ginger rice wine vinegar.  Once the quinoa was cooked, I mixed the vegetables in, and added the can of diced pineapple chunks.  Kind of a nod to a sweet and sour stir fry, it was a nice, lighter alternative to my usual super spicy, peanutty sauces.

Quinoa Stir Fry with Pineapple
1 cup quinoa
1 cup water
1 cup pineapple juice (from one can diced pineapple)
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
Vegetables of your choice
1 can diced pineapple
sesame oil
rice vinegar

In a saucepan, bring water, pineapple juice and soy sauce to a boil.  Stir in quinoa.  Reduce to a simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes until liquid is absorbed.

Saute or steam vegetables in a separate pan.  Season with sesame oil and rice vinegar.

Add vegetables to cooked quinoa, and stir in pineapple chunks.

Garnish with additional soy sauce if desired.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Southwest Casserole

Loosely based on Healthy Tipping Point's Santa Fe Casserole, this is a basic rice and bean based combination plus a whole bunch of vegetables, and a topping of melted cheese.  I think it would also freeze well, just double wrap in foil after cooked and then reheat in a 350 oven. 

Southwest Casserole
1 cup brown rice, cooked according to package directions
canola oil
1 onion, chopped
1 large bell pepper, chopped
1 jalapeno, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tomato, diced
2 ears corn, kernels removed
1 15 oz. can red beans, drained and rinsed
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup milk
3/4-1 cup cheddar, shredded

While rice cooks, heat oil over medium heat in a frying pan.
Saute onion, bell pepper, and jalapeno for a few minutes until soft.  Add in the garlic for the last minute.
In a large bowl, combine the cooked vegetables, rice, tomato, corn, and beans.
Pour the eggs and milk over the top.
Spread in a casserole dish coated with cooking spray.
Sprinkle with cheese and bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes until set.

Here it is pre-cheese and baking, you can see all the veggie goodness.

And post baking, all the cheesy goodness.

If you love tacos like we do around these parts, top with any toppings you like.  Avocado, hot sauce, and sour cream would be especially good.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Simple Meaty Tomato Sauce

Thanks for bearing with me through my week-long hiatus.  We took a long weekend and went to the beach house in Rhode Island at the end of last week.  Friday was one of the nicest beach days of the year, hot and sunny.  Saturday we were evacuated due to the approaching hurricane.  Sunday we spent the day at our own house, without power or water,  listening to trees and branches crack outside.  Monday, facing a second day without power and no end in sight, we fled to my parents' house in New Hampshire.  Finally, yesterday afternoon I arrived back home and spent the afternoon throwing out half the food in our refrigerator and actually cleaning the shelves.  It's nice to have things back to normal.

I've mentioned before how much I hate wasting food.  It feels wrong to me on so many levels.  When I saw that five of the tomatoes from the CSA had some ugly black spots on them yesterday, I knew I wouldn't be making fresh caprese salad, but I could use them for a delicious homemade tomato sauce.  This was a throw everything together as I go kind of recipe, so feel free to use it to get some ideas. I will say, however, that the addition of the sherry gives it a little something extra.

Simple Meaty Tomato Sauce
1/2 pound ground beef or turkey
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
4-5 tomatoes, cut into chunks (you can use canned diced tomatoes as well)
1 small can tomato paste
Fresh or dried basil and oregano
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup sherry (I used the cheap cooking sherry from the market.  If you actually drink sherry and have good stuff on hand, by all means, pour it in)

In a heavy bottomed pot (I used a dutch oven), brown the meat.  Depending on how much grease it releases, drain.
Add in onion and saute for a few minutes.
Add in garlic and cook for one more minute.
Add in chopped tomatoes and tomato paste.
Add in herbs, salt and pepper.
Pour in sherry.
Simmer for 15-20 minutes until it thickens to your desired consistency.  I let mine go for longer because the tomatoes were extra juicy, and I wanted the sauce on the thick side.
Toss with pasta and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

This made several cups, so you can easily freeze the leftovers, provided that you don't lose power and everything in your freezer turns into an unidentifiable blob.

photo 1-1 photo 1-2