Monday, October 26, 2009

Monday Non-Meal Planning

I'm not cooking this week due to several reasons. I also didn't cook much last week, and what I did cook didn't turn out well. I'm in the middle of a cooking slump, and I hate when that happens. Does it ever happen to anyone else? I'm going along, cooking like normal, and all of the sudden nothing works. Nothing tastes good. I keep messing things up.

Aaron agrees that I have about one or two of these a year, but this one is definitley a doosey. It's never cost me much money before but I've made some expensive mistakes this time that have left me un-confindent in my kitchen skills.

Hopefully I'll get it together by next Monday, and hopefully I'll have a stove to cook on again by that time. If not, this may become crock pot central for a while.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Coming Attractions

I totally spaced on doing the weekly meal plan this week, but I have a good excuse, I swear. I was busy making pear butter and canning it, which took me two whole days (almost). And I was busy running around town finding appropriate canning equipment (it is apparently not easy to do for a glass-top stove, FYI). But, now I have pear butter, and it is delicious, and a post about it is coming soon.

Also, I'm making pepper jelly some night this week, and there will also be a post about that.

In not-so-coming-attractions news, I made a terribly involved corn chowder, which was delicious, but which also has made me sick twice (due to me and my inability to eat massive amounts of fatty dairy products, not the soup - you'd think I'd learn after the first experience). Even though it was good, I'm sure there are recipes out there that are just as good and which aren't nearly as complicated. So, the search is on, and if I find one I'll share.

I have some recipes I made last week (like roasted tomato soup) that were delicious, but I don't want to post the recipe without the pictures I took and I can't seem to get time on the computer at home, so that's coming too when I finally get time.

Also possibly coming up - pear apple pie, chocolate chess pie, and some sort of pecan pie. I'm still on a pie kick and also testing out recipes for Thanksgiving.

Finally, you'll get some of my favorite recipes that we've made recently - wild rice stuffed acorn squash, piggy pudding, and breakfast sausage rolls. Yum!

So sorry you have to wait for the goodness. I promise it's coming!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Blueberry Pancakes

Growing up I was a very, very picky eater. I barely ate anything other than macaroni and cheese, spaghetti, hot dogs, and bread. I didn't even like pizza! I remained fairly picky until about the time I met Aaron. He made me try things, and I discovered that I actually liked some of them. Then I started cooking, and discovered many of the things I didn't like turned into things I loved when I made them.

One of those things is pancakes. I hated pancakes (and waffles) when I was a kid. I would choke down the obligatory one and then go play, sneaking into the kitchen later to eat some kind of snack (most likely cheetos and coke - it's amazing I survived when I regularly ate like that).

Then one day Aaron wanted pancakes, so I grudgingly got out my cookbook and made them. I got ready to choke down my one pancake, took a bite, and realized something - these things were delicious! I ate more than half the batch (and had a matching stomach ache later, but it was totally worth it), and have been making them regularly ever since. While I have tried others, this recipe is one I stick to most often, jazzing it up with blueberries quite regularly.

We top them with butter and real maple syrup (something Aaron had never had before we were together, and now we only eat the real stuff because it's sooooo good), and usually have bacon on the side. These are so satisfying, and remarkably easy to throw together.

Blueberry Pancakes
Note: Omit the blueberries for plain pancakes, which are very nearly as wonderful as the blueberry version.

2 Tbsp. butter, melted
1/2 to 1 c. milk (depending on how thick you like your batter; I usually use the whole cup)
1 egg
1 c. flour
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen are fine; you can use more or less berries depending on your preferences)

In a large bowl (or a large liquid measuring cup, which is what I use since it makes it easier to pour out the batter at the end), whisk together the butter and milk. Add in the egg and beat well. Add in the dry ingredients, and mix until just combined. Pour batter into a hot non-stick skillet by the 1/4 cup-ful. Drop a few berries onto the top of each pancake. When the top is covered with bubbles, flip the pancakes and cook until the bottom is golden brown. Repeat process until all the batter is used. Serve with butter and maple syrup.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Monday Meal Planning 10.12.09

Fall has definitely arrived here. We get to freezing or slightly below every night, I can see some gorgeous red leaves from my office windows, and it’s cold and rainy during the day. Definitely time for some comfort food!

Monday: Roasted Tomato Soup, Grilled Mozzarella Sandwiches

The soup recipe (and even some pictures!) will be coming tomorrow. I’ve been serving grilled cheese made with mozzarella with my tomato soup lately, and it’s divine. I just use shredded mozz where I would usually use a slice or two of American cheese. The soup was delicious, and just what we needed after a long day of feeling crappy. Even Gabbie ate a serving of the soup – Baby’s first soup! – and loved it.

I have leftovers of the soup today for lunch, but since grilled cheese sandwiches aren’t really good for a packed lunch, I topped the soup with some mozzarella and stirred in some cooked pasta. Another one of those two meals in one pot things. I love it!

Tuesday: Chicken Pot Pie

This takes a little while to make, but if you have frozen chopped carrots and pre-cooked chicken on hand, it definitely goes faster. The time is totally worth it, though, because it is so good.

Wednesday: Brinner! Blueberry Pancakes, Pearsauce (like applesauce but made with pears), and Bacon

I’ll post the recipes for the pancakes and pearsauce later. I’ve been craving blueberry pancakes like mad lately, and with all the frozen blueberries we have in the freezer (my mom went picking and brought me a gallon bag full) I can make these any time! As for the pears, we have a pear tree in our back yard and had a huge crop this year (bigger than normal according to our neighbors) so I’ve been making pear puree, pear desserts, and soon: pear butter. The pears are wonderfully sweet, and even I, who usually doesn’t like pears, am a fan. Yum!

Thursday: Buffalo Chicken Joes, Cole Slaw, Potato Chips

Easy and delicious. I’m totally craving it right now, actually.

Friday: Out.
I have been craving a good steak, and since we don’t have a grill (yet), it’s out to the neighborhood steakhouse instead. Yum!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Chicken Pot Pie

See, I told you about the pie kick! Aaron sabotaged the originally planned recipe by forgetting everything in the frozen section (peas, puff pastry) of my shopping list (yes, I separate my list by sections - produce, dairy, meat, pantry, frozen, other; it really makes shopping more efficient, and I'm a list-making dork, so it's a win-win, except when someone forgets an entire category).


Anyway, I had to improvise, and if I do say so myself it turned out wonderfully. Aaron ate three big servings, which is something for someone who claims to hate chicken pot pie. Instead of using frozen peas in the filling, I used mixed vegetables (corn, peas, green beans, carrots), which I thought would be better for Gabbie who would likely pick out and eat the vegetables (she refused to eat more than 3 bites altogether and ended up having a banana for dinner - what happened to my usually great eater?). I made my own top crust in place of the puff pastry, adding extra salt, and pepper and dried thyme to the mix, and it was a wonderful savory crust. Altogether, this was a delicious, comforting dinner on a rainy, cold fall day. And quite ambitious for someone who only has use of one leg for standing in the kitchen. Thank goodness for our bar stools!

I didn't get a picture of this one because we were too hungry, and my ankle hurt to much to hobble over to get the camera and then back into the kitchen. Also, I hate crutches. Just wanted to throw that out there.

Chicken Pot Pie
adapted from Martha Stewart Everyday Food, October 2009


2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 large carrot, diced
1/2 c. flour
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 c. low-sodium chicken broth
3 - 4 c. cooked chicken, cut into small pieces or shredded (we used 1/2 of the fauxtisserie chicken we made last week)
1 1/2 c. frozen mixed vegetables
1 tsp. dried thyme

1 c. plus 2 Tbsp. flour
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/3 c. shortening
3 - 4 Tbsp. ice water
yolk from a large egg

In a medium saucepan, add butter and olive oil, and cook until butter is melted. Add onion and carrot, and cook until onion softens, about 5-6 minutes. Add flour and 1/2 tsp. salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until mixture is pale golden, has a slightly nutty aroma, and has the texture of cooked oatmeal, about 5 minutes.

Whisking constantly, add broth. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently, until mixture thickens, about 8-10 minutes. Reduce to a simmer and cook 10 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

While filling is simmering, mix together the flour, salt, pepper and thyme in a medium bowl. Cut in the shortening until it resembles course meal. Stir in ice water with a fork, one tablespoon at a time, until it can come together into a bowl. Roll out on a floured surface into rectangle just larger than a 2 1/2 quart casserole dish.

Remove filling mixture from heat; stir in chicken, vegetables, pepper, and thyme. Pour into a 2 1/2 quart casserole dish. Top with pie crust, rolling under excess and pressing to the side of the dish. In a small bowl, beat egg yolk with a little water; brush the entire crust with this mixture.

Bake until crust is golden and filling is bubbling, about 35 minutes. You might have to put a cookie sheet under the casserole dish in the oven, because the filling is likely to bubble over (we learned this the hard way). Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Tomato Pie

I have been on a pie kick lately. We've been averaging about 2 sweet and/or savory pies a week. Aaron doesn't mind in the least, except for the fact that I make a huge mess when I make a pie crust, so he prefers when I use pre-made crusts. I say that's cheating (unless I'm short on time or have an extra crust in the refrigerator).

This time I used a made my own crust and Aaron didn't complain at all, because his mouth was full for too long eating as much of this pie as he could fit in his stomach. We used a bunch of different heirloom tomatoes for the pie, so it was a beautiful mix of red, green, purple, and yellow tomatoes. This is so good. I promise.

Tomato Pie

1 9-inch pie crust
1/2 red onion, diced
3 large or 6 - 8 smaller tomatoes, about 3 cups, seeded, squeezed to remove excess liquid, and chopped, then drained on paper towels (you want to remove as much liquid as possible)
1/4 cup basil leaves, sliced into thin strips
1 c. mozzarella, shredded
1 c. cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 c. mayonnaise
a couple of shakes of hot sauce (I used Frank's Red Hot)
kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prick pie shell all over with a fork and bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until very lightly golden brown.

Sprinkle the bottom of the pie crust with the onion. Top with tomatoes. Sprinkle the basil over the tomatoes.

In a medium bowl, mix together the remaining ingredients until well combined. Spread over the top of the other ingredients, making sure it reaches the edges. Place in oven and bake until golden and bubbly, about 35-45 minutes.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Snickerdoodle Blondies

A while back I was trying to figure out what to bake first in my new oven, and Cassie suggested Pumpkin Pie Snickerdoodle Bars. I, not quite in the mood yet for pumpkin, but also a big fan of snickerdoodles, was intrigued. So I googled Snickerdoodle Blondies and found this. Then I made them almost immediately, before I had even gotten my new oven, because they sounded so good.
Aaron thought they were undercooked, but this is also the man who prefers his brownies cakey instead of fudgey. Obviously he's nuts.

Anyway, these were excellent, even if they were a bit undercooked (I still maintain they were fine), and my best friend, her husband, and myself finished off the pan pretty quickly. I definitely recommend that you make these right away, and maybe even have one with a nice hot chai latte. Mmmmm...I think I'm going to have to have Aaron take me to the coffee shop on Saturday after a little time making these blondies in the kitchen. With my new oven. That I love.

Snickerdoodle Blondies
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon grated or ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup butter, room temperature
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamona
pinch nutmeg
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9×13 inch pan. Combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and set aside. In large bowl, beat together butter and brown sugar until fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add in the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla, and beat until smooth.
Stir in the flour mixture until well blended. Spread evenly in prepared pan using a spatula. Combine the granulated sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a little bowl; sprinkle over the top of the batter. Bake 25-30 minutes or until surface springs back when pressed lightly. Cool before cutting.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Leek, Bacon, and Pea Risotto

It doesn't take much to convince me to make a big pot of risotto. I'm definitely what you would call a fan of the stuff. Throw in the fact that we had some leeks to use from last week's CSA, and that we always have bacon in the fridge and peas in the freezer (Gabbie loves peas), and this recipe was just begging for me to make it. It was pretty easy, with a minimum of chopping, which is always a plus for me. Aaron and I loved it, while Gabbie ate all of the peas out of her serving and then asked for a banana. ("Mama? Yeah? Nana? Yeah?"; the cuteness, it kills me!)

We're going to try the other recipe included with this, which is fried risotto cakes. I was planning on making them tonight, but I have doctor's orders to stay off my feet (due to an awesomely sprained ankle) so it will be a few days before I let you all know how they are. The recipe can be halved if you're not going to make the cakes.

Leek, Bacon, and Pea Risotto
Adapted from Martha Stewart Everyday Food, October 2009

2 leeks, white and light green parts only
10 c. low-sodium chicken broth
4 slices bacon, cut crosswise into thin strips
2 1/2 c. Arborio rice
1 c. dry white wine
1 c. frozen peas
1/2 c. grated parmesan, plus more for serving
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp. butter
coarse salt and ground pepper

Halve leeks lengthwise; rinse thoroughly. Pat dry and thinly slice. In a saucepan, bring broth to a simmer over medium heat. In a large, straight-sided skillet (or in a Dutch oven) cook bacon over medium heat, stirring, until lightly browned but not crisp (about 5 minutes). Add leeks and cook stirring frequently until softened (about 2-3 minutes). Increase heat to medium-high; add rice and cook, stirring for about 1 minute.

Add the wine and stir until it evaporates. Add 1 c. broth; reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring, until broth is absorbed, about 2 minutes. Repeat process, gradually adding broth until the rice is al dente and risotto is creamy (you  may not need all the broth), about 35 minutes. Stir in peas (if using) after the final addition of broth.

Remove the skillet from the heat, and stir in parmesan, butter, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Reserve about half (approx. 4 cups) for fried risotto cakes. Serve remaining risotto with parmesan.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Monday Meal Planning 10.5.09

I totally fail at autopublish. I should have looked at a calendar rather than depend on my mad addition skilz to figure out yesterday's date. I set this to publish tomorrow (Wednesday) instead of yesterday (Monday). Who knows what I was thinking. Anyway, here is the week's worth of meals.

Are you ready for another double-duty meal again this week? I am loving cooking this way, and I even often have enough leftovers for Aaron's lunches on top of two separate meals. It really doesn't get much better than that!

Monday: Fauxtisserie Chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans

This was so incredibly easy and delicious. Gabbie stuffed the chicken into her mouth by the handful and couldn't get enough. I actually had to cut her off, which is so odd since she usually couldn't care less about meat or flat out refuses it. We ate about half of the chicken and then saved the rest for another meal.

Tuesday: Leek, Bacon, and Pea Risotto, Salad

This was a delicious, light meal, and all three of us could have eaten much more of it than we did. We saved the leftovers for fried risotto cakes, which are on the menu for tomorrow. I'll definitely share both recipes then.

Wednesday: Tomato Pie, Fresh Cranberry Bean Salad, green salad

Elise describes this pie thusly, "Think pizza meets cheesy bread and they make-out in a pie crust." It's exactly right and oh, so delicious. I'll post the recipe with a picture and my edits later this week. Really, so, so good.

Thursday: Sloppy Joes, sweet potato fries

This is one of my favorite fall comfort foods. We top ours with some American cheese and call it good. Gabbie loves the fries, the meat, not so much.

Friday: Chicken Taquitos, chips, pico and guacamole

I made some of these with flour tortillas instead of corn, and they were great too. Aaron loves these taquitos probably more than is healthy, but they're easy and I frequently have leftover chicken I can use to whip them up, so it works for me. Even though they're slightly spicy, Gabbie still likes them too. Probably because of all the spicy foods I ate when I was pregnant (and breastfeeding too; I couldn't give it up).

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Fresh Cranberry Bean Salad

Our CSA is winding down for the season. I think we only have two weeks left (I should probably check on that to be sure), but that doesn't mean that we're getting fewer vegetables. In fact, we're getting the most we've gotten all season. One of the things I've been getting lately is cranberry beans. These beans are really, really pretty, and I'd read many times about how tasty they are over my years reading as many food blogs as I can. So, when I saw them at the CSA a few weeks back, I made sure they made it into my bag. Then they sat on the counter for a week. I got some more the next week, but still wasn't sure what to do with them. Since I wanted to try them so bad, I decided not to disguise them very much. I wanted a recipe for them that really highlighted the beans. I looked around and modified a few recipes until I had exactly what I wanted, and it turned out great. Gabbie and I love them, and have gone through nearly the whole large batch I made. Aaron's indifferent but doesn't really want to eat them since the texture reminded him a little of a lima bean. I want you to know, these are nothing like lima beans. They're wonderful.

Fresh Cranberry Bean Salad

2 c. fresh, shelled cranberry beans
2 tsp. salt
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh dill

Bring a saucepan of water to a boil. Add salt and beans and boil 20-30 minutes, or until beans are soft and no longer mealy. Drain, and toss with remaining ingredients while still warm. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Related Posts with Thumbnails