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.

photo 1-1 photo 1-2