Summer Spaghetti Squash

25 Nov

Stats: 

I know… It’s the end of November. To my defense, this is one of the recipes I’ve been neglecting to post for some time now. Furthermore, I don’t see why we can’t hang on to one last summer recipe before bundling up for winter…

Ingredients: 

  • 1 large spaghetti squash
  • Olive Oil
  • Pint of grape tomatoes 
  • Asparagus (baby asparagus are best)
  • Black pepper (freshly ground is best)
  • Basil, shredded or cut into small pieces

How To: 

  1. Cut squash in half, lengthwise. Remove seeds with a spoon.
  2.  Put face down in a baking disk and add 1-2 cups of water to the bottom of the dish – just enough to cover the bottom.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees for about 1 1/2 hours or until the squash is easily pricked with a fork.
  4. Meanwhile, saute asparagus (which should be cut into pieces about 1 inch long) in a bit of olive oil. Feel free to add salt and pepper,  or even garlic powder to taste.
  5. Flip squash over to reveal insides. Using a fork, pull the flesh away from the skin of the squash. This should create thin, spaghetti-like strands.
  6. Mix squash with olive oil, tomatoes (cut big ones in half or thirds), pepper (a nice, hefty amount), and shredded basil leaves.

Tips: Spaghetti squash is great with any kind of lightweight sauce. You can also swap out the asparagus for fresh peas, spinach, green beans, or any other seasonal vegetable. Basil can be swapped out for another herb of your liking. Have fun with it!

This dish is also great cold or room temperature as a side “salad” to some grilled chicken or fish!

Ribollita

25 Nov

Stats:

This meal was made for leftovers: for using leftover bread, sauce, and spices in the recipe; for eating leftover as the flavors have really gotten a chance to blend together.

This is a filling, hearty, and well rounded one pot meal.

Ingredients:

  • Leftover bread – this time, I used some left over sour dough bread from Panera, bought earlier in the week for a homemade panini dinner. Italian bread, French bread, or anything crusty is perfect. The more bread, the better, but you’ll want at least enough to fill a small pot up with bread cubes.
  • Chicken or vegetable broth
  • Tomatoes – A 16oz can of stewed tomatoes works best; crush them with your hand before adding to the pot
  • Tomato sauce – 16 oz can
  • Large white onion, diced
  • 3-5 stalks of celery, roughly chopped with leaves
  • 4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped into small pieces
  • Basil (fresh is best)
  • Black pepper (freshly ground is best)

How To: 

  1. Cut or rip bread into bite sized chunks
  2. Meanwhile, bring crushed tomatoes, broth, and tomato sauce to a boil.
  3. Add diced onion, garlic, bread, and black pepper
  4. Let simmer for about 30 minutes before adding the basil.
  5. Simmer with basil until you are ready to enjoy.

Tips: This keeps well in the refridgerator for at least a week. I have never tried to freeze it and wouldn’t imagine it holding up too well.

You can add some roughly chopped carrots for more vegetables but be sure to add them to the boiling broth early on. Carrots take a while to get soft and you don’t want to have to chew your ribollita…

 

 

Butternut Squash Rissoto

25 Nov

Stats: 

Risotto is never “quick and easy” because of all the stirring it requires. but Risotto CAN be a one pot meal if you make something as hearty and creamy as this dish! It pairs nicely with chicken, pork, or beef with minimal seasoning. To make it vegetarian, just swap out the chicken broth for vegetable broth. It’s just as tasty!

Ingredients: 

  • Risotto (as much as you’d like to eat. This recipe is based off of one batch – 2 cups of risotto)
  • Chicken broth (5 cups)
  • Butternut Squash – peeled and diced into small pieces
  • White onion, diced
  • Olive Oil
  • Butter (just a bit.. maybe 1 tablespoon)
  • Salt
  • Pepper

How To: 

  1. Dice up the squash and onions in small pieces
  2. Add a bit of olive oil and the butter to a large skillet. Melt butter over low heat.
  3. Add onions and saute until translucent (about 3 minutes)
  4. Add risotto and stir well for about 2 minutes until grains start to take on some color
  5. Add butternut squash pieces and keep stirring
  6. Add enough broth to cover the risotto  – keep stirring
  7. As the risotto absorbs the liquid (and you are still stirring…) keep adding more liquid gradually. Absorb a little, add a little. Repeat until all liquid has been used.
  8. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Tips: If you are feeling particularly autumnal, add some rosemary or sage to the mix. It makes this dish just a bit more festive!

Roasted Cauliflower & Corn Delight

29 Sep

After making this dish, I was questioning its nutritional value. I did a little research and was pleasantly surprised to learn cauliflower is packed with important vitamins like C! It’s also very high in fiber! If you *really* want to be healthy, you could leave out the salami, or swap in some turkey bacon. I think its well worth the splurge…

Stats: 

  • Delicious blend of flavors – Savory salami, sweet roasted corn, toasty cauliflower, and smooth garlic!
  • Thrown on top of pasta (whole wheat might add a delicious level of flavor) this is a hearty, full meal.
Ingredients: 
  • About 1/2 a head of cauliflower, roughly chopped or broken up into small pieces
  • Corn (I shaved the kernels off of two leftover ears)
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped roughly in to quarters
  • Salami (I chopped up about 1/8 of a lb. but use more or less depending on what you’re going for)
  • Olive oil 
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Spaghetti
  • 1 cup of grated parmesan cheese
How To: 
  1. Throw cauliflower, corn, garlic, and salami into a pan or onto a cookie sheet (I prefer it be covered with foil so clean up is easier!). Drizzle with just a little bit of olive oil. Toss to mix before putting in the oven, preheated to 425 degrees.
  2. Let the mixture roast for about 25 minutes before bringing a pot of water to boil for the spaghetti.
  3. From this point forward, you’ll want to keep an eye on the tray of cauliflower. You want things to start browning, but “browning” can turn quickly to “burning” if you’re not careful.
  4. When spaghetti has been cooked, drain the water and place back in the pot.
  5. Toss with parmesan and another drizzle of olive oil until well mixed and coated.
  6. Toss with the roasted cauliflower/corn/garlic/salami mixture until blended.

Lentil & Chickpea Dhal

29 Sep

This is a high protein vegetarian dish that can be adapted to your liking. For a soup, add more broth. For a thicker dhal, let it simmer until thick. Spices can also be adjusted based on your tastes. I meant to add a splash of cream to my recipe to make it richer, but I forgot – maybe you’ll want to try!

(You might even be able to make this in a crockpot!)

Stats: 

  • Very easy to throw together
  • Made of non-perishables so its a great choice when you haven’t gotten out to the grocery store
  • Uses lots of spices, but there a good investment – versatile and last quite a while.
  • High protein but low in fat
Ingredients: 
  • Lentils (about 1/2 a pound which is usually about 1/2 a bag)
  • 1 small can of chickpeas
  • 1 can of tomato sauce
  • Broth – I actually used “broth concentrate” from Swanson with 1.5 cups of water, but one can of chicken or vegetable broth will do the trick. You could also make one cup of an instant soup/broth like onion, depending on what you have in your pantry.
  • Curry powder
  • Garlic powder
  • Salt
  • Paprika
  • Cilantro
How To: 
  1. Add lentils to about 3 cups of boiling water.
  2. After the lentils cook for about 20 minutes, add chickpeas, tomato sauce, and broth.
  3. Spice to taste. I unfortunately did not (nor do I usually) measure, but I speculate the following:
  • 1 tablespoon curry
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • A nice, big pinch of salt
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • Small handful of cilantro, chopped (maybe it was 1/3 of a cup loosely packed?)
That’s about it! You’re going to want to taste this and add more spices if necessary. If you have a sensitive pallet, you might prefer to add the spices little by little until you get it just right.
Let the dhal simmer until the lentils are very tender and much of the liquid has evaporated. This takes about 40 minutes total. If you find the liquid evaporates prior to the lentils being done, just add some more hot water.

Joe’s Crock Pot Chilli

27 Sep

I have been a bit resistant to the use of a crock pot. I still don’t know how I feel about leaving something plugged in, getting hot enough to cook chicken, all day while I’m at work or running errands. What I do know is that paranoia aside, this dish is delish!

Stats: 

  • Faster than fast preparation
  • Using a crock pot lets you leave the kitchen while still preparing a hearty meal
  • Incredibly easy clean up!
Ingredients: 
  • Can of peeled tomatoes
  • Tomato sauce (maybe – depends on how soupy you want things)
  • Onion diced or roughly chopped – don’t be fancy
  • Diced jalapeno peppers – just a small can will be more than enough heat. Adjust to taste.
  • Whole pieces of chicken (bone in or bone out its up to you. This time, we used 2 large chicken thighs we had in the freezer. In the past, we’ve used 3-4 chicken breasts. Both were great)
  • Spices (the pre-measured taco/chilli seasoning packets work just fine, or you could make your own combo to taste)
How to: 
  1. Dump all ingredients into the crock pot.
  2. Turn on the crock pot for desired amount of time.
  3. Go do other things.
  4. Return to crock pot about an hour before you want to eat (or later) and remove the pieces of chicken. Use two forks to shred the chicken. Remove any bones if applicable. Throw meat back into the pot.
  5. Let it cook until you’re ready to eat! (or eat right away after shredding).
Tastes great over rice!

Baba Ganoush

18 Sep

Stats: 

  • Something to do with late summer eggplant
  • Something different, other than the ‘same old’ hummus
Ingredients: 
  • Medium sized eggplant, peeled and sliced
  • 1/4 cup, diced fresh parsley
  • Juice of a lemon
  • 4 table spoons of tahini paste (Sometimes its hard to find tahini in small packages. Today, I had to buy mine in a quart sized container. According to the expiration date, I have until August of 2012 to use it up, but I’ll try to come up with some new recipes over the coming weeks that use tahini so the container doesn’t just sit collecting dust.)
  • Honey
  • Pepper
How-To: 
  1. Remove the skin from the eggplant and cut into circles about 1/2 inch thick. Sweat the eggplant to remove the bitterness (Lay the eggplant slices on a baking sheet and cover both sides with a thin layer of salt. After 30 minutes, wipe off the salt, but DO NOT rinse the eggplant. Rinsing will make the eggplant rubbery.)
  2. Roast the eggplant in a 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes or until it becomes very tender, almost mushy. Do not over cook or the outer rim of each circle slice will become tough. If this happens, simply discard the outer rims and use the tender, inner flesh.
  3. Add egg plant to a bowl with parsley, lemon juice, and tahini. Use a fork to mash and mix.
  4. Taste the mixture. Mine was way too bitter so I added a squeeze of honey (maybe it was a tablespoon? I’m not sure… I just squeezed the Honey Bear a few times…). Taste again. Adjust as necessary.
  5. Enjoy on hearty pita chips or vegetable sicks!
(Best if refrigerated and then removed about 20 minutes prior to eating so that it’s still cool.)
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