Tuesday, December 28, 2010

When All Else Fails, Stir-Fry!

I really don't feel like going to the store, so I'm trying to make do with what I have. One of the best uses for random ingredients is stir-frying! I started this off my raiding my freezer where I found some chicken pineapple meatballs and we took it from there. I served this with some whole grain noodles. I also made some cumin-lime sweet potatoes and a small spinach salad with strawberry vinaigrette. I know those don't really all go together, but the common theme is cleaning out the fridge and making delicious food!

I do have to say that I'm a big fan of winter and have learned to work around the lack of super fresh foods.

Pineapple Stir Fry
1 package chicken meatballs (or any leftover meat you may want to use)
1 medium onion cut into wedges (I used purple for color!)
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 cup pineapple chunks
Chicken broth or stock
2 tbsp. cornstarch mixed with water sufficient to make a thick paste
1/8 tsp. sesame oil (optional)
1 tsp. brandy
1 tsp. soy sauce
4 tbsp. oil

  1. Heat oil in pan and stir fry pepper and pineapple until pepper is crisp-tender. 
  2. Add enough chicken broth to cover, and a dash of salt, cook for 1 minute. 
  3. Add meatballs (or meat), and cornstarch and water mixture, sesame oil, brandy, and soy sauce. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly.
  4. Serve hot over noodles or rice. 

What are some of your favourite stir-fry recipes? 

    Monday, December 27, 2010

    I suck...

    at blogging. No really, I do. I forget that I even have a blog floating around in the vast space of the interweb. I hope everyone is having a great winter so far and had a happy holiday, whichever one it is that you celebrated.

    Santa brought me some great cookbooks that will inspire me to cook up something great and create my own yummies. Christmas morning was celebrated with a delicious Irish fruit cake, which is sooooooooo much better than American fruitcake. Soon I'll share the recipe, but it is still be perfected. It's much cake-ier than the American one and then it is covered with a type of almond paste and topped with some fondant. Sugar coma indeed, but worth it.

    So now that Christmas is over, it's time to "clean" the system of some of the bad things it was filled with (ie, sugar, fat, alcohol, simple carbs). Yesterday I ate vegan, focusing mostly on cleansing produce and whole grains. I made an amazing lentil mushroom pot pie (recipe to follow) for dinner that was fantastic and filling and I served it with tons of garlic roasted broccoli. Broccoli helps detox the liver for those that don't know and I try to eat it after I may have had one too many drinks.

    And the past two mornings, I have been running some major sprint intervals. I'm not racking up the mileage like I would wish, but intervals really fire up the ol' metabolism and help burn those Christmas calories quickly. Simply, I warm up for about five minutes and then I run as fast as I can for as long as I can, then slow down to a fast walk until I catch my breath and repeat for as long as I have my energy. Each time, I try to go a little faster or a little longer. Sometimes I increase the pace every few seconds until I'm really burnt out. Of course, I cool down for a few minutes too! Seriously guys, this is the way to go to burn the calories. I know I've read a ton of studies about the lasting burn of intervals. As in, you may not burn as many calories during your workout, but you continue burning calories all day long afterwards. Plus I'm trying to do more yoga to relax my mind and build up some muscle stamina. I'm going to fight the winter spread before it even has a chance to think about happening.

    Lentil Mushroom Pot Pies

    • 1/2 cup lentils
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1 ounce dried mushrooms (the recipe called for porcinis, but I had dried oysters)
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
    • 20 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced (any would work, I had baby bellas, because they were on sale)
    • 1 medium onion, chopped
    • 2 carrot, chopped
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried sage
    • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
    • 1 large garlic clove, minced
    • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
    • 4 teaspoons soy sauce
    • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
    • Biscuit topping, use your favourite (I used my Trader Joe's Multigrain Baking Mix substituting unsweetend almond milk, for the dairy, and seasoned lightly with salt and pepper. The original recipe called for cheese in it, but since I made this vegan... no cheese. If I didn't do this vegan, I would probably mix in some Italian cheese: parm, asiago, etc)

    1. Preheat oven to 400. Combine 3 cups cold water, lentils, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in medium saucepan; bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until lentils are tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Drain; set lentils aside.
    2. Pour 3 cups boiling water over porcini in medium bowl; soak 25 minutes. Remove porcini from soaking liquid, squeeze dry, and chop coarsely. (Reserve soaking liquid.)
    3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add fresh mushrooms. Sauté 3 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon oil, onion, carrot, sage, and thyme. Sauté 4 minutes. Add garlic; sauté 30 seconds. Reduce heat to medium-low. Mix flour into vegetables; cook 1 minute. Add porcini soaking liquid. Mix in porcini, soy sauce, and tomato paste. Cover; simmer for 5 minutes until liquids thicken and reduce a bit. Add lentils; season with salt and pepper.
    4. Divide filling among four 2-cup ovenproof bowls.I actually filled five of my ramekins, but you could probably split this into six too. 
    5. Turn biscuit dough out onto lightly floured surface. Divide into equal pieces for as many bowls as you filled; shape each into 2/3-inch-thick disk. Set rounds atop filling.
    6. Bake pot pies on baking sheet until tester inserted into biscuit topping comes out clean, about 30 minutes.
    7. Eat and feel good. Yum!

    Saturday, December 18, 2010

    Squash + Fennel = Delicious Choice

    I have mentioned my addiction to farmer's markets and fresh produce before, but it's a very creative addiction too. I was trying to find a use for acorn squash and some fennel bulbs that were going bad and I came across this wonderful recipe. It combines both ingredients plus a few other fun things and next thing you know, you have a delicious side dish coming out of the oven.

    Spiced Squash with Fennel
    (courtesy of Epicurious, slight changes by me)

    1.5 pounds squash (I used acorn, but the original called for butternut)
    2 fennel bulbs
    1 large onion
    3 tbls olive oil
    2 tsps cumin
    1 tsp cinnamon
    1 tsp chili powder
    1 tsp tummeric

    1. Preheat oven to 450.
    2. Trim and cut squash, fennel, and onion into wedges of about equal size. Make sure to peel and seed the squash first.
    3. Combine squash, fennel, and onion on a sheet pan and toss with oil and spices and salt and pepper as needed.
    4. Roast until veggies are tender and lightly browned tossing once. Should take around 45 minutes.

    On another note a few coworkers have been handing out baked goods for the holidays. The treats are mediocre at best, but I know they mean well. Most of my coworkers know that I'm a foodie and am planning on a career in the culinary world. Of course they all want me to try grandmas famous cookie recipe or the best muffins ever and I can only say that I will try them later so many times. I'm not a good liar, so I have to practice saying how delicious it was to everyone (I imagine a really good roast chicken or pasta recipe to get the right face).

    But here's my question, I was planning on bringing some goodies, but now I'm not sure. I don't want to one-up them or anything, but I want to share some delicious treats of my own. Either way, based on what I'm receiving, I don't think my lemon anise biscotti or nutmeg sugar cookies will be a big hit. But it's the thought that counts, right? So do I bring the baked goods and hope that nobody thinks I'm trying to show off my skills? Or do I just keep them at home and just give a card with something like a piece of Godiva chocolate tapped to it?

    Wednesday, December 15, 2010

    Gimme Gimme Gimme, I need, I need, I need!

    Name that movie!

    So a quick break from my usual recipe goodnes. Don't worry, I have some yummy stuff coming up tomorrow, like squash and fennel! Instead I bring you two amazing things that would make a great Christmas present for yours truely. I mean, if you would so please to reward me for delivering delicious ideas into your computer. And even more exciting, I finally upgraded to a DSLR, so instead of spending all my time getting film printed and then forget to add them to the blog, I can actually take pictures and post them right away! Sounds good to me.

    Popchips! My new favourite snack. They are a potato chip that isn't baked or fried, it's popped! It leaves a wonderfully crunchy and satisfying texture. The flavours are perfect as well. Not to strong, but just enough to satisfy when you have a salty craving. The best part to me is that a bag has three servings and one serving is about 120 calories. So if you "accidentally" DEVOUR the entire bag, you haven't ruined your entire day and are still well under 500 calories for your snack. I picked mine up at Target, but I've also seen them at Whole Foods. Seriously, buy me a few bags of each flavour and I'll be happy for a week.

    FoodTees! These are the cutest clothes and accessories you will ever own. I want to own one of each. They are pictures of yummy looking fresh foods with fun sayings underneath. Like a celery stalk and it says "stalker" underneath. Funny, right? So once you pick your funny, you decide where you want said funny, tee-shirt, apron, bag, baby onesies, and so on. Wear your heart on your sleeve, your grocery bag, your "locally-grown" baby, your friends, I could keep going. If you feel like buying me one (hint*hint), I can list my top... well, all of them, in order of want the most to want lots and sizes.

    So now that you know what's on my Christmas list, what foodie item do you have on yours?

    Sunday, December 12, 2010

    A healthy little indulgence during the holidays.

    First off, if I have any regular readers, sorry I don't update frequently. I'm barely ever online, let alone blogging. I wish I could be like one of those people who blogs all day long. I don't know how they do it! But moving ahead, I made us some muffins that are pretty darn healthy and delicious! Pumpkin Banana Muffins! I like my muffins slightly dry, because in the mornings I warm them up with a little nut butter, which adds moisture. One of these muffins plus a piece of fruit keeps my going until lunch. Plus during the holiday season full of decadence and no time to grab a decent snack, these are wonderful to have on hand. Make a batch or two and freeze them to get you through until 2011.

    Pumpkin Banana Muffins
    3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
    1 cup rolled oats
    1/2 cup almond flour (also called almond meal. I use the Bob's Red Barn name brand)
    4 tsps baking powder
    2 tsps baking soda
    1/2 tsp salt
    1 1/2 tbls cinnamon
    1 tbls ground nutmeg
    2 tsp ground ginger
    1 tsp allspice
    3 ripe bananas mashed
    15 ounce can pumpkin puree (or 1 3/4 cup fresh pumpkin puree)
    1 cup grapeseed oil
    4 eggs
    1/4 cup granulated sugar
    1/4 cup packed brown sugar
    1/4 cup honey
    1 cup chopped and toasted walnuts

    1. Preheat oven to 350 and grease or line muffin pan with paper liners.
    2. Combine flours, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices in a bowl and mix well.
    3. Combine rest of the ingredients aside from the nuts in a large mixing bowl and beat until smooth.
    4. Gradually beat in dry ingredients until just combined.
    5. Spoon into prepared pans with cups being just about full.
    6. Bake for 25-30 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.

    I hope that with all the hustling and bustling around in what could be bad weather, you're trying to stay healthy and include fruits and veggies in every meal. This is just a quick and easy example of what I try to do during this season. Of course I always have chopped up fruits and veg in my fridge for easy access so I have no excuse for not eating well and taking care of myself. Any other good tips floating around out there? What do you do to stay on track during the holidays?

    Tuesday, November 23, 2010

    A Quiche by Any Other Name and so on

    Dear Blog World, so sorry that I took an unexpected leave of absence from my lovely blog and reading the blogs out there. Life has gotten so crazy, but it's all good with me. But I'm here to share a new recipe with a story!

    One time I went to the farmer's market and stopped by the cheese table. I rarely eat cheese, so it was an odd stop. The man behind the table had the most wonderfully charming southern French accent and I melted a little. He even recognized me from being at the market so often, but never stopping at his table. If he was about forty years younger, I would have married him right there, but alas, he was not. I told him about how I avoid cheese, because of the not so pretty aftershock I experience, but his foods just look so delicious I had to stop. After much chatting about how I work around this unfortunate curse, he pointed to his list of quiches. I had flash backs of my youth. I grew indulging in Quiche Lorraine at least once a week. I do not like eggs, but for some reason, mixed into a quiche with yummy toppings, I gobble down piece after piece. My wonderful French cheese man told me I should try a small quiche Lorraine and come back for more the following week. I gave him a few dollars and he gave me a delicious little piece of love.

    I came home and could not wait to open it up and indulge into this adorable savoury pie. As soon as I cut into the quiche I saw some slivers of red. A few nibbles later, I realized I was eating sun dried tomato quiche. Quelle suprise! It was amazing. It was delicious. I gobbled it up in two large bites. That quiche had no chance against me. Part of me wanted my quiche Lorraine, because that is what I bought and that is what the little sticker on the package said, but the other part was so overwhelmed with flavour and texture that I didn't care. The next week I told my French man about the mix up and how much it pleased me. He felt so bad that he gave me the wrong thing that I got one quiche for free. But now I'm on a hunt for the most delicious quiche ever made. Sun dried tomatoes were a great addition, but the salty flavour of pork gives the quiche a better balance. I combined them into the ultimate quiche. Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch, Dinner, Desert, any time of the day, you will love my quiche. This is the basic recipe I grew up with for years and it's still so perfect and makes a great base for any flavour of quiche. (Next up is a caramelized onion version, with some other type of cheese too, yum.)

    Sun Dried Tomato Quiche with Ham

    2 frozen pie shells (yes I used frozen and yes I am proud of it)
    5 eggs
    1 cup half and half
    1 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
    salt and white pepper to taste
    16 oz shredded Swiss cheese
    8 oz of diced ham
    16 oz of sun dried tomatoes, not in oil, coarsely chopped

    1. Beat eggs and half and half until well blended. Stir in nutmeg, white pepper, and salt.
    2. Split Swiss cheese equally between two shells. Sprinkle ham and tomatoes even on top of the cheese.
    3. Pour egg mixture into pie shells.
    4. Bake at 400 for 15 minutes and then turn down temperature to 325 and bake for about 30 minutes. Quiche is done when lightly browned on top, but will still have some "jiggle" in the middle (think, pudding).

    Hint - if crust starts browning too quickly, wrap the edges in foil.

    Monday, November 8, 2010

    A little piece of heaven

    I think it's pretty obvious that I'm obsessed with Trader Joe's. It's become one of those, if they make it, I buy it, kinds of addictions. But I have an even bigger one that lays silently in all my recipes, Penzey's Spices. I'm lucky enough to live near two of their retail locations and not too far from their main location either. I don't even know where to begin with this addiction love.

    First off, their catalogue is great. There are recipes galore along with stories from families. And too makes it better, there are cute pictures from young foodies. The recipes overflow into the store and you can leave there with handfuls of the cards.

    Second, the herbs are always at the perfect state. Most chefs know that many dried spices do not measure up to the fresh equivalent. But these are the closest I have ever come. Plus there are usually multiple varieties of a spice or in different forms. Do you want Korintje, China Tung Hing, Vietnamese, or Ceylon cinnamon? Or maybe a blend. Do you want your rosemary whole, cracked, or powdered? These are the important questions you have to consider and Penzey's has you covered. And don't get me started on the salt and pepper collections. I think I have spent multiple paychecks procuring all of the choices in that category.

    One of the things that I'm learning to love about cooking that Penzey's offers me is spice blends. I've always been one to think that the best of the cooking world make their own blends, but let's be honest here, nobody has the time for that. Plus I'm  all about trying new things and that's what the blends has given me an opportunity to do. I bought a small jar of the breakfast sausage mix last spring and jar and have come up with my family's favourite breakfast item: apple-shallot chicken breakfast sausage. I never thought about venturing into the sausage making world until I came across this little jar at one of the Penzey's retail outlets. Now I can't live without it.

    Last thing I love about Penzey's: the gift giving potential. I have yet to give a Penzey's gift (I know, shame on me), but I'm excited to do it one day! They have loads of gift boxes pre-packaged for particular occasions and for various price ranges. You can also make your own package, which I may do soon. I like the idea of having your own "famous" recipe and then creating a little gift box of four jars of spices for said recipe.

    Now to decide, what are my favourite Penzey's products... Like I said, I live off their peppers and salts, because there are a variety and it is an easy way to play with flavour and the breakfast sausage mix. I'm loving on the new Penzey's Cinnamon blend. I put it on my almond butter and toast or my oatmeal for breakfast everyday. We received a few sample of it when it first came out and that little jar lasted me about a week. I have a few jars in my house right now, but I may need a separate pantry just for this yummy cinnamon. For baking, I have the double strength vanilla, which has wowed me with flavour. I can use less than I normally need. I love Mexican food, but need help with balancing flavour, so I have a large jar each of the fajita and taco seasonings. I also have a jar of Chilli 3000 to add kick to anything I cook. And in the land of plain herbs and spices I cannot live without my powdered rosemary, California basil, and whole nutmegs. But as I said, I love all of it, these are just my all time need to have, favs. Try it out everyone!

    Sunday, November 7, 2010

    Happy World Running Day! aka early turkey day

    So... did you run today? It is World Running Day after all! I'll be honest, I didn't run today, but that's because I had a race yesterday. I have a whole lot of complaints about the course and poor line up in corrals. I still can't wrap my head around the fact that even running 2/3 the course, I was still running into large groups of walkers. I got myself into the right pace marker and should have been running with with people of similar pace. Yet walkers started very far ahead of me. Ugh. Therefore, my hips hurt from having to run along the side of a hill to avoid all the walkers. I'm not used to running with one side my body at a higher elevation than the rest of my body.

    Anywhoodles, the best part of running is the carb loading the night before. I usually stick to basic pasta with loads of tomatoes tossed in. I picked that up back when I was a swimmer in high school. It's not too heavy and easily digested. But today's blog isn't about my favourite carb recipe, because that could takes years to decide, it's about the fact that I accidently made Thanksgiving dinner on a small scale tonight.

    Stores are starting to stock their shelves with holiday favourites and my favourite farm had an amazing turkey breast just sitting there waiting for me to buy it. So I made a few favourites and tried out some new recipes. My family is still deciding which side of the family we want to celebrate turkey day with or if we want to do it on our own. But it's never too early to enjoy some of these great foods. As I said, this is small scale and does not include most of my yuumy favs!

    Mustard-Cider Turkey Breast

    About 3 tbls Coleman's Mustard (the dry flour)
    About 1 tbls Dijon Mustard
    About 2 tbls poultry seasoning (whatever your fav blend is)
    About 2 tbls Apple Cider Vinegar
    About 1 tbls Apple Cider
    Aoubt 2 tbls extra virgin olive oil

    1) Mix all of the above together in a bag. But turkey breast in bag and massage marinade onto bird. Let sit for at least one hour, up to 24 hours.
    2) Place turkey into large roasting dish with 1 cup chicken (or turkey) stock and 1 cup apple cider. Cover with foil.
    3) Roast at 365 for about 1 hour, basting every 15 minutes with juices from bottom of pan. Uncover for last 10 minutes.
    4) Turkey will be done when thickest part of the bird reads 180 degrees.
    5) Take out of the oven and recover with foil. Let rest 10 minutes before carving.

    Leek and Bacon Cornbread Stuffing
    I'm going to preface this recipe by saying, I have always loved cornbread stuffing, but can never seem to pull it off. After looking at hundreds of recipes, I decided to take a little help with this one. Thankfully the best place in the world, Trader Joe's, offered my some assistance with an awesome box mix that even came with seasonings. Now that I have made a great recipe, I'm going to start taking it apart and approaching it from a different angle. So this my dear readers, is my jazzed up version of Trader Joe's Cornbread Stuffing mix.

    1 Box TJ's Cornbread Stuffing Mix
    3 tbls extra virgin olive oil
    3 leeks, chopped and cleaned
    4 strips bacon, chopped
    1/4 cup beer (I used Leinikugel's Oktoberfest)
    3-4 cups chicken stock

    1) Saute leeks in olive oil over medium heat with salt and pepper. Once everything is well coated, cover with a lid and let leeks cook for 10-15 minutes until very soft.
    2) Remove lid, turn up heat to high, and stir in bacon. Once bacon cooks down, stir in beer. Stir well loosening up bits off bottom.
    3) Stir in chicken stock and seasoning packet from box mix. Once everything is combined toss with cornbread cubes.
    4) Pour into a baking dish (or do like me and cook leeks in a large dutch oven to take it from stove to oven without dirtying more dishes) cover and bake at 350 for thirty minutes, stirring half way through. Take lid off and bake for ten more minutes or until top is lightly browned and crispy.

    The New Green Beans Almondine

    1 pound green beans
    1 tbls butter
    1 tbls extra virgin olive oil
    1 small shallot chopped finely
    1/4 cup thinly sliced almonds

    1) Steam green beans, stopping about one minute before done. I did this in the microwave, just because there was a lack of free burners.
    2) Sautee shallot in butter and olive oil. When shallot is translucent, but not browned, toss in almonds.
    3) Once almonds are barely toasted and shallots start to brown, take off the heat and toss in green beans. Season with salt and pepper if necessary.

    So with all of this I served mushroom turkey gravy (pretty mush sautee mushrooms before making gravy), smashed purple potatoes (bright colours make everything yummy) and roasted sweet potato cubes tossed with maple syrup and salt and pepper. Simple and yummy.

    Tuesday, November 2, 2010

    Israeli Couscous = YUM

    What is it about couscous that makes it so versatile? I have made it so many ways and with basic or Israeli and it is always so good. And it gets eaten up so fast there are never leftovers! I wanted something quick and easy tonight and I had a pork tenderloin sitting in the fridge waiting to be roasted and devoured! A quick and easy side? Israeli couscous loaded with veg of course!

    Israeli Couscous with lots of veg

    1 large red onion, chopped
    3 garlic cloves, minced
    2 tbls fresh parsely, chopped
    1 1/3 cup Israeli Couscous
    1 3/4 cup water
    3 roasted bell peppers, chopped (I roasted them the night before, one each: red, yellow, green)
    1/4 cup dry white wine
    1 tbls fresh basil, chopped
    salt and pepper

    1) Saute red onion seasoned with salt and pepper in olive oil over low heat about 15 minutes. Stir in garlic and turn heat up and saute for about 5 minutes.
    2) Stir in couscous 1 tbls of parsely and saute until couscous is toasted.
    3) Add peppers and water to pan and bring to boil. Once boiling, turn down heat, and cover cooking for 15 minutes stirring occasionally.
    4) Once all the liquid is absorbed, add wine stirring frequently until absorbed. Take off heat and add the rest of the parsley and basil. Add more salt and pepper if needed.

    Sunday, October 31, 2010

    I have a problem.

    I have a very serious problem. An addiction of sorts. I have an addiction to buying fresh produce. It started at the farmer's market. Back when I lived in Michigan, I lived blocks away from the best market you will ever find. And the deals. Oh lordy, the deals. I could get a giant bag of different squashes for one dollar. Or a bushel of honey crisp apples for five dollars. The best part was that all the produce was freshly picked and locally grown. I started by walking to the market or riding my bike, but I had way too much stuff. I brought wagons and even drove occasionally (but I usually forced myself to run errands afterwards so that I didn't feel bad about driving a couple blocks). This may sound great to most people, but I would have more food than I could eat. How does one woman eat a bushel of apples before it goes bad? With lots of strength. I shared and I baked, but things still went bad before I could finish them. I have gotten better and prices have gone up (which really reduces my spending), but I still buy too much.

    So to fix this problem I have created meals that I call "everything that's going bad is being cooked." Tonight's meal is full of squash and mushrooms because these kids are looking like they might not make it much longer. It isn't the most streamlined meal and doesn't make the most sense. If I were to have a dinner party, this might not be what I would serve. Maybe parts of them, but not the whole deal. Delicious, healthy, local, and cheap. What more would you want out of a meal.

    Squash and Pasta Bake (Thank you Martha Stewret's iPhone app for the inspiration)

    1 medium winter squash, I used acorn, roasted
    2 medium onions, chopped
    1 small shallot, chopped
    1 pound pasta (shells were in the original recipe, I used cavatappi)
    1 pound Italian sausage
    1/2 cup dry white wine
    1 tbls fresh rosemary, minced
    1 cup paramesen cheese
    1 cup breadcrumbs
    extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper

    1) Saute onion in pan over low heat in oil, salt, and pepper, covered for about 15 minutes. Stir in shallot and turn heat up to medium and saute uncovered for 10 more minutes.
    2) Meanwhile, cook pasta stopping two minutes before time on package. Reserve one cup of cooking water.
    3) Add Italian sausage to onion and shallot mixture and turn heat up to high. When sausage is cooked through, add in white wine and rosemary. Continue stirring until wine is reduced. Then add in squash, 1/2 cup cheese, and cooking water. Once combined stir in pasta and salt and pepper to taste.
    4) Pour mixture into a pan. Top with remaining cheese and breadcrumbs. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 10-15 minutes or until browned on top.

    Sauteed Mushrooms

    (This is a thrown together recipe, so there are minimal accurate measurements. Please use your own discretion and tastes for this one.)

    Mushrooms of any variety -- I had button, shitake, and oyster, roughly chopped
    Olive Oil
    Lots of Garlic, minced
    dry white wine
    Salt and Pepper

    1) Heat oil so it gets hot, but before smoking. Brown up garlic quickly.
    2) Toss mushrooms in pan and continuously stir until softened, slightly browned, and starting to release their liquids.
    3) Pour in some wine and cook until reduced. Season with salt and pepper.

    Friday, October 29, 2010

    Chicky Shnoodle Shoup... yesh

    (if you didn't get the title, it's from the comic strip "Mutts" and ever since I read the strip this came from, it has been the only way I discuss what most people call chicken noodle soup.)

    I'm still feeling under the weather and haven't gotten in a run for almost a week now, so it's time for some food medicine. I have always relied on the healing power of chicky shnoodle shoup. There are actual studies about it. Broth, protein, carbs, garlic, veggies, all good. Since I'm sick and have no energy I did take some short cuts. And since I haven't burned the calories, I determined to make my recipe even healthier... and I did!

    Healing Chicky Shnoodle Shoup

    1 tbls extra virgin olive oil
    1 small yellow onion, chopped
    1 large shallot, chopped
    3 carrots, chopped
    4 stalks of celery, with leaves, chopped
    4-5 cloves of garlic, finely minced
    2 boxes of chicken broth
    1 rotisserie chicken
    1 package whole wheat, no yolk, egg noodles
    s&p to taste

    1) Saute onion and shallot in olive oil until translucent. About 5 minutes. Add in carrots and celery and saute for another 5 minutes. Add garlic and saute until everything is softened and garlic is no longer raw, about 2 minutes.
    2) Stir in broth and about two cups of water, more if you like a brothier soup.
    3) Dice up the rotisserie chicken, with skin removed and mostly white meat. (I saved the rest for my dog, because I make her food and she has no weight problems.)
    4) Add the chicken pieces and egg noodles to soup. Salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a rolling boil, cover, and reduce heat. The soup is ready when the noodles are done.

    One of the biggest time savers was to call someone to drop off a rotisserie chicken on their way home from work (Moms are good for that, tell them you're sick and just want to make soup, a chicken will appear on your doorstep.) . Some really good rosemary bread was delivered with the chicken, yum. I saved calories by removing the skin and only using the white meat. I usually start the recipe by boiling chicken parts, both dark and light, with veggies to make a broth and then chopping up all the meat to add to the soup. Also, I found some really great egg noodles at the store a few months ago and picked up a few bags. Whole wheat, yolk free, great tasting noodles. I love the texture of egg noodles in my soup.

    On a side note, this was the first time in awhile I didn't get my meat straight from the farm. It's a strange feeling, but luckily Trader Joe's and Whole Foods have decent alternatives. But, aside from emergencies like this, I'm sticking to the farm.

    Wednesday, October 27, 2010

    Feelin Flu-ish

    Right now I'm laid up with the flu. It's horrible, but luckily the first 24 hours are over and those are the worst. So now I'm just miserable with no taste for food. I'm going to share my new favourite website with you instead of a recipe. I've been trying to eat more fish, but I don't know what to do with it. I grew up with a mom who only prefers dill and maybe a bit of lemon on her fish and it is always roasted in the oven. That gets boring after... one time. Plus I freeze most of my fish (and other meat) as soon as I get it home to keep it from going bad. ENTER stage left: Cook It Frozen. This website is put out by the Alaskan Seafood company, but I have used plenty of other fishes for the recipes and even switched it up a bit. The best thing about it is that some of these recipes only take 15 minutes from frozen! Talk about a breath of fresh air in this crazy world! And while it's cooking, throwing together a pot of couscous only takes 5 minutes or so, perfection!

    Monday, October 25, 2010

    Kale Chips

    Dear blog world, sorry about the delays in posting. I have a computer that needs love, but no time to bring it in. Plus I know I will have to part with good ol'Lappy for a few days or few weeks and I have horrible separation anxiety. Hopefully I can gather the courage to drop it off and last until I get it back. But onto more important things.... KALE!

    I used to hate kale. The mere mention of this four letter word would cause me to make faces of disgust! But alas, I have seen the light at the end of the tunnel and that light is in the form of kale chips. If you know me, you know I'm a fan of roasting everything veg. I make amazing roasted tomatoes and multiple versions of sweet potatoes. Roasted asparagus has become such a staple in my family that it can be found once a week as soon as they show up at the farmer's market. The kale was beyond cheap this week at the market, so I picked some up and gave it another go.

    I was in the city all day doing testing (yay for further education!) so I wanted to make something quick and easy to go with my leftovers from yesterday's grilling extravaganza. They take about thirty minutes and need almost no attention. Perfect amount of time to down two glass of good wine to forget about all the testing earlier.

    Kale Chips

    1 bunch of kale (I had curly, but any kind will do)
    1-3 tbls of extra virgin olive oil
    1 tbls coarse sea salt
    ground black pepper to taste

    -Remove stem and rib from kale leaves and chop (or rip if very stressed...) to about 3 inch pieces
    -Toss kale, oil, salt, and pepper and put on sheet lined with parchment
    -Cook at 300 for about 30 minutes, tossing half way. They will be completely crispy with no soft spots when done

    I served this with a fatty dipping sauce

    1/2 cup good mayo (I'm in LOVE with the Trader Joe's reduced fat version, it's vegan!)
    zest of one lemon
    juice of two lemons
    spring of fresh thyme
    pinch of pink salt
    ground pepper to taste

    -mix and serve!

    Sunday, October 3, 2010

    Happy Birthday Dear Old Dad!

    My dad's birthday is tomorrow, but tonight was easier for making him a birthday dinner. My Dad's mom (my Grandma, duh) was part English. She was amazing. I'm pretty sure that English blood and marrying my Irish mom, gave my dad some interesting tastes when it comes to food. One of those have parleyed into him being a connoisseur of shepherd's pie. I have never tried the traditional version seeing as how I don't like red meat, so tonight we ventured into a new and healthy version. It needs some work, but otherwise it was a great fall meal and it was a yummy SQUARE meal!

    Turkey and Sweet Potato Shepherds Pie

    1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
    1 large yellow onion (or any onion that isn't red), chopped
    3 large carrots, peeled and chopped
    1 pound ground turkey (I used the mixed version, not just ground breast or white)
    1 cup vegetable (or chicken) stock
    1 TBSP tomato paste
    1 TSP fresh rosemary, chopped
    1 TBSP fresh parsley, chopped
    1 cup frozen peas
    2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
    1 TBSP butter
    1/2 cup vegetable stock (or milk if you want)

    1) Preheat oven to 375
    2) Place potatoes in a pot and cover with water, bring to a boil. Cook until tender, about 20 minutes and then drain. Mash with the butter, stock (or milk), and salt and pepper.
    3) Meanwhile, in large pan, saute oil, onion, carrot, turkey, salt and pepper. Cook until browned, about 10 minutes.
    4) Add stock, tomato paste, and herbs. Simmer until liquid thickens, about 10 minutes and then stir in peas.
    5) Pour mixture into one 1 1/2 quart baking dish or divide into ramekins.
    6) Spread the potatoes on top of the meat mixture.
    7) Bake until lightly browned, 30-35 minutes.

    --The dish ended up being a bit dry. I have a box of turkey gravy from Trader Joe's that I may stir in next time just before adding the peas. I always pictured this dish as being like a stew and it ended up more like meat and veg covered with sweet potatoes. Either way, we polished it all off tonight!

    Cranberry-Apple Compote/Sauce
    (I just threw this one together, so hopefully my guess of measurements isn't too far off)

    1 large apple (I used a fuji)
    2 cups fresh cranberries
    1 lemon
    1 cinnamon stick
    1/2 cup of water
    1/2 cup sugar (more or less depending on sweetness of apple and tartness of cranberries)

    1) Chop apple into chunks with peel still on.
    2) Rinse and pick over cranberries
    3) Using a vegetable peeler, make about five strips of lemon zest.
    4) Put apple, cranberries, lemon zest, juice from half the lemon, cinnamon stick, water, and sugar into a pot. Bring to a boil, then turn down heat and cover.
    5) Let simmer about 20 minutes, stirring frequently. Pull out zest and cinnamon stick before serving.

    Braised Swiss Chard

    1 bunch swiss chard, stems discarded and leaves chopped
    1 cup apple cider
    1 TSP lemon juice
    salt and pepper

    1) Heat swiss chard in a frying pan until wilted, about 5 minutes.
    2) Stir apple cider, lemon juice, salt and pepper into the greens.
    3) Cook over low heat, with a cover, for 20 minutes.
    4) Uncover and turn up heat. Continue cooking until liquid turns syrupy.

    I enjoyed this meal with Goose Island's Harvest Ale. It was a great fall meal! Desert was my delicious pumpkin bars that I may share the recipe online, but may not. They are one of my secret weapons that I may prefer to be secret.

    Until next time...

    My Idea Of Fun

    I cook. A lot. All the time. So today I decided that my hobby needs to leave my kitchen and my work's break room. I've blogged about everything else before, so why not start one about food? One of my favourite websites is a cooking one and every time I read it, I think "I can do that." So this is me "doing that."

    A few things of note for those want to cook with me: I'm not a big meat eater; I'm lactose intolerant (which doesn't stop me from loving butter); I prefer locally grown, organic foods and meats that were treated with respect; for as healthy as I am, I love a giant bowl of creamy pasta (it's why I run); and most importantly, I cook with love and love to cook. I'm willing to spend all my time finding the best ingredients and chopping to the perfect size. Also, I bake too.

    Welcome to the journey, hope you packed your best chef's knife!
    Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...