Showing posts with label winter. Show all posts
Showing posts with label winter. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Pasties--A Meat Pie for Pi Day

Most of my cooking is done within my comfort zone.  Granted, my comfort zone is pretty broad thanks to my life experiences, but still.  It's not my typical style to make a dish when I've never even tasted anything remotely similar to it before.

However, I am a lifelong learner and I love my spouse.  And my spouse, to his credit, is a sucker for a book with pretty pictures.  So a long time ago, when he presented me with America: The Beautiful Cookbook by Phillip Stephen Schulz and asked me to make him pasties like he ate while growing up, I reached outside my comfort zone and gave it a shot.  He's glad I did.  I'm glad I did.  The kids are glad I did.  And you will be too. Done

Since that first episode many years ago, I've traveled up to the Upper Peninsula and tried a real pasty.  I've grown quite comfortable making them, and because pasties are a frequent visitor to our table I've even branched out a bit.  Today I wanted to share my basic pasty, because we've got a cow in the freezer, carrots, onions, and some potatoes that are not getting any younger.  When I have turnips from my CSA farm share they always appear in this dish, though the primary impetus was a good deal on pie crusts from Aldi.
Yes, Meghan says that this one is an easy crust.  Julie says that this one is an tasty crust.  Alanna says that this one is the best pie crust. You ladies are pie crust rock stars.
I am still scared about the whole 'cut in chilled butter' thing, too many opportunities for failure there, so for now, if I can buy pie crust for 99 cents I'm going to stock up.  Besides the fact that Pi day is right around the corner, I know that pie crust freezes just fine and with my unexpectedly defrosted fruit and vegetable freezer (see my FB page for the Lemons to Lemonade details) I had room to store.

For 150 some other food blogger recipes using ground beef, please see my Ground Beef Recipe Round Up. For other recipes using carrots and potatoes, please see my Carrot Recipes Collection and my Potato Recipes Collection, part of the Visual Recipe Index by Ingredient.

2018 Pi Day Update: I made a video today while making our supper. Check out how I make my pasties!

Monday, March 11, 2013

(48.3% Meat)Loaf Stretching Meat Part 3
(I know this is not meatloaf.  This is the sweet and white potato mash with cottage cheese I plopped on Loaf #2)

You know I'm all about the Frugal Eco Farm Fresh Feasting, how I stretch meat by making tacos, and burgers.  I do not hide vegetables in other dishes.  I am completely aboveboard with my family when it comes to adding additional vegetables in traditionally non-additional-vegetable foods (like eggplant in the spaghetti sauce or spinach in the pizza crust).

Ok, I lied, in fact I've totally been known to slip a beet into a blueberry smoothie, though I try to own up to it if I'm asked a direct question involving specific vegetables.

But when I make meatloaf, the family totally knows that there's more than just meat in that loaf. When I saw ground pork marked down at the store, I knew it was time to make up a batch of meatloaf, Farm Fresh Feast style.

Today, we weighed the ingredients (and apparently didn't take photos), did the math, and in fact, this "meat" loaf contains 48.3% meat.  What's the rest?  I'm glad you asked. Meatloaf for me is more of a concept recipe, as Alanna of A Veggie Venture and Kitchen Parade would say.  I use a mix of meats (usually ground beef and pork), a bunch of veggies, something dry, and some sauce.  Sometimes I add an egg or two if it seems too loose.  Sometimes I add salt and pepper or other seasonings. I make this into 2 small loaves and freeze one uncooked for a later meal.  Luckily I took some photos of the second time 'round.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Turkey Pesto Spinach Pizza (Pizza Night!)

Cubed turkey tossed with pesto then used to top pizza with spinach and cheese.

For more recipes using spinach, please see my Spinach Recipes Collection, part of the Visual Recipe Index by Ingredient. Speaking of Visual Recipe Indices, there's also the Visual Pizza Recipe Index. I've got a Greens board on Pinterest where I share likely recipes, follow me there, some behind the scenes stuff on my Instagram feed, and even more recipes and articles on my FB page. Want to know How to Use this Blog

Cubed turkey tossed with pesto then used to top pizza with spinach and Manchego cheese. A tasty way to enjoy Thanksgiving leftover turkey!
new photo from 2015!

This was my second attempt at the 'make a pizza using leftover turkey' concept.  I'm posting it before the first one (which was also quite delicious) primarily because I'm just in a spinach mood.  I'd gotten bunches of spinach from the farm share and it was finding its way into everything.

Cubed turkey tossed with pesto then used to top pizza with spinach and Manchego cheese. A tasty way to enjoy Thanksgiving leftover turkey!

Since I keep a stash of pesto in the freezer, it's easy to grab a couple of cubes when I want to add a hit of basil flavor to a meal.  This was no exception.  I set the pesto cubes in a bowl to thaw and tossed the cubed turkey on top, so it became marinated in the pesto by the time I was ready to top the pizza.

Cubed turkey tossed with pesto then used to top pizza with spinach and Manchego cheese. A tasty way to enjoy Thanksgiving leftover turkey!

Spinach (and other greens such as Swiss chard, kohlrabi greens, broccoli rabe, and kale) give up water as they wilt.  (This makes perfect sense since the cell structure of the plant is destroyed with heating, releasing this water.)  Because of this, I usually precook greens before topping my pizzas.  [Good grief, I put a lot of greens on a pizza.]  I was feeling wild 'n crazy, though, and just tore the spinach into small pieces this time.  Worked great.  I had frost-kissed spinach, as the farmers put it.  This spinach is thicker/tougher than a tender Spring spinach.  Even the tiny leaves are tough.  If you've got a bag of baby spinach, skip the 'tear out the rib' step--unless your composting pigs would appreciate it!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Zucchini-Refried Bean-Corn Enchiladas (cooking from the freezer stash)

These vegetarian enchiladas are stuffed with shredded zucchini, refried beans, and sweet corn. This hearty filling can be made with previously frozen squash, helping you to use your August zucchini crop in recipes year round.

 Follow me | Pinterest | Instagram | Facebook

A zucchini recipe this week?  And it's March and there's snow all over?  The blog is about using the farm share all year long, you know.  And where I live (not much grows during the winter) that means getting creative!
Yep, that's over 7 pounds of Squashzilla one week in July.  Volunteer--I didn't plant that.

When your garden gives you this overabundance, you need to be creative.  When your garden is producing this amount and you're getting weekly boxes from the farm share, you need to think outside the box.

Unfortunately for me, when I'm surrounded with farm fresh vegetables at the height of the season, I am not always thinking clearly.  It's so easy to have a salad, or zucchini pancakes, or some simple unadorned veggies in the summertime.

Fortunately for me (and you!) my family gave me a rockin' awesome food processor for Mother's Day. I'd put an affiliate ad link in here to show you, but the only ones coming up are ridiculously expensive.  It's a simple Kitchen Aid, I think it's a 9 cup.  Beats the snot out of the Braun food chopper I was using before. Bed Bath and Beyond coupon-worthy.

Luckily, while my brain was unable to think outside the (farm share) box in the summertime, I grabbed the Fine Shred disc of my food processor and reduced all the Squashzilla to freezer bags of shredded squash.  I've added a few here and there to meals.

Today I had a hankering for enchiladas.  We so enjoyed these enchiladas, but I didn't feel like waiting to roast a squash out of the Strategic Winter Squash Reserve in the corner of the breakfast nook.  I did, however, have a can of refried beans and my put up veggies in the little fruit and veg freezer.

Thinking outside of box?  Got it covered.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Panade, with Swiss Chard, Onion, and Cheddar Sausage

It's amazing when a leftover ingredient gets used up in a delicious way.  After I first tried Panzanella, I found it so marvelous that, come spring, I started freezing all my Good Bread** ends for summer salads.  But I didn't have a winter equivalent for the Good Bread leftovers until my spouse sent me a Buzzfeed article that included this link.  I was intrigued.  Not about the pumpkin, but what was inside.

Panade.  Never heard of it.  I searched around the webs and found this version.  Apparently panade took the food blog world by storm a few years ago.  I can only assume it was during another deployment and I was not Creating Grand (farm fresh) Feasts, only making stuff the kids and I would eat--with very few leftovers.  Now that I'm blogging, what will I do with this next deployment?  I need suggestions.  So far I'm thinking a Farm Fresh For Fewer series.

This is a Grand Dish.  It takes a long time to bake (but a comparatively small amount of hands-on time) so I found it perfect for a Sunday supper.  Just like with panzanella in the summertime, panade takes leftover bread and turns it into a delicious new meal.  And with my Swiss chard growing like crazy in the garden, it provides me with a great way to use a readily available green.  I switched it up a bit and added some 'we're never going to eat this for breakfast so why not toss it in?' leftover cheddar sausage links to the finished dish.  Everyone went back for seconds.  If you missed this one a while back, do try this at home.

**Good bread for me is La Brea Bakery Whole Grain Loaf.  I usually buy it in a two-pack at Costco but have seen it in my local grocery stores in both Virginia and Ohio.  Any dense chewy whole grain bread is Good Bread in my book, though. If you'd like to make your own at home, I recommend my Multigrain Sourdough Bread.
For other recipes using Swiss Chard, please see my Swiss Chard Recipe Collection, part of my Visual Recipe Index.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Tremendously Green Pizza (Bacon, Cabbage, Caramelized Onion, Leek and Potato Pizza on a Spinach Crust) Pizza Night!

Oh goodness, where to start?  If I was all about pink pizzas last month for Valentine's day, this month I'm into green pizzas.  Well, there's also a mushroom medley coming up, and a salmon/arugula one for Good Friday, but still . . .  here at Farm Fresh Feasts, March comes in like a green pizza.

You'd better get a fork and knife for this pizza.  The crust barely has a chance to stand up to the onslaught of ingredients.  I mean, I knew that potatoes, cabbage, onions and bacon worked well together.  Everything goes better with bacon.  But when I got leeks in the farm share I couldn't help myself.  It also seems very appropriate for a St Patty's Day pizza, what with the potatoes and cabbage and utter green-ness of the thing.  Went well with beer, too.

I'd planned to do a leek, potato, and bacon pizza.  Three toppings, the title of the post wouldn't be too long, no biggie.  Leek and potatoes go together like salmon and oranges, zucchini and nutella, peanut butter and jelly.  But when I was snuffling around in my little fruit and veg freezer (which also happens to be the Extra Pizza Items freezer) debating between garlic oil or  _____ for the 'sauce', I saw the packet of caramelized onions I'd carefully saved.  Why not a layer of caramelized onions as the sauce?

So far, we've got a layer of caramelized onions, topped with potato slices, and leeks, and bacon.  That sounds pretty tasty, no?  Then I opened the fridge and saw the bags of Chinese cabbage and spinach from the farm share.  They were not getting any younger.  I know I love a spinach crust, and it was time to inflict a spinach crust on the rest of the family.  So the spinach went into the crust.  The cabbage (and you could use any cabbage you got for this, I'd think, though red cabbage would necessarily change the title), why not add that just to push this pizza over the edge?  Done!

Really,  if you've put up the ingredients as they come to you ripe/in season/on sale, this sort of thing isn't as crazy as it sounds.  It's not like I went to the store specifically to get the ingredients for this pizza. Ha!  I think the only thing I go to the store specifically for these days is milk, beer, and grapes.  Everything else just kind of happens.  Like my life!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Green Eggs No Ham**

A Vegetarian Eggs Benedict with a Spinach-Hollandaise Sauce

I have frequently shared kitchens with vegetarian roommates and friends.  While I do eat meat, I try to be sensitive to those who do not.  One happy merging of meat-eating and non-meat eating friends was a  weekly Sunday brunch of Eggs Benedict.  The meat eaters would layer ham or sausage--my preference--onto their English muffins.  The non-meat eaters would layer a slab of Monterey Jack cheese instead.  Everyone sat down to eat together.

I woke up the other morning with a hankering for Eggs Benedict, but wondering how it would be to add some of my CSA farm share spinach to the sauce Hollandaise.

I didn't have any sausage handy, having used it up on this pizza.  I also didn't have any Monterey Jack cheese.  However, I did have Icelandic School cheese. (I can hear you now, "Wait, what?  Icelandic School cheese?  Who keeps that in the fridge?"  To you I  ask--where else would you keep it?).  My kids have loved Icelandic School cheese for years, it's very mild, and my folks brought some back from a trip recently.  So I have Icelandic School cheese in my fridge, but you can use Monterey Jack if you aren't planning a trip to Iceland any time soon.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Savory Sauerkraut Sausage Stuffing Skillet Supper

I've been experimenting with adding day-old bread to all sorts of dishes lately.  I used to think all day-old bread, in the wintertime, would be destined just for bread crumbs.  In the summertime, day-old bread is destined for panzanella.

Not any more!  Now that I've found the winter comfort foods of panade and this dish, I look forward to transforming day-old bread into all sorts of savory dishes.  These bread dishes aren't exactly gorgeous, it's true, but they are warm and comforting.

While browsing the internet I stumbled across this recipe and got inspired to use the day-old brat & sausage rolls in the fridge for stuffing.  My family doesn't love stuffing like they love mashed potatoes, so I knew I needed to change it up a bit to make it into a meal.  Coincidentally, I had half a package of smoked sausage in the freezer, and coupons for sauerkraut.  And thus, the magic is born!

Or, at least, there's a plan for dinner.  Always good to have a plan. Or twelve.
This dish is cooked in one skillet (ok, and a baking sheet, and a bowl to toss the bread cubes in, but it was pretty easy to clean up anyway).  It's very savory, and was right up my alley for a Sunday supper on a winter night.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Acorn Squash, Chick Pea and Chicken Faux-roccan Stew

Do you get new posts from this blog via email?**

I subscribe to a variety of food blogs and recipe aggregation sites which flood my inbox multiple times a day with ideas.

As if I wasn't constantly thinking about food anyway.  Even in the shower!

This stew was inspired by one such email, from either DailyRecipe or Better Homes & Gardens I think.  The photo in my inbox looked good enough for me to click on the link and investigate further.  I pulled the seasoning combo (cumin, cinnamon, chili powder) but turned to the Strategic Winter Squash Reserve in a cold corner of my breakfast nook for the bulk of the stew.  I'm also trying to use less meat overall--meat as a condiment not as the Main Event--so I added a can of chick peas to stretch the protein even further.  That worked well, and I've used that technique in other dishes.

The seasoning combo (cinnamon, chili powder, and cumin) is billed as Moroccan.  I've eaten tasty food prepared by a Moroccan friend, but I cannot say I've really studied Moroccan food, so in good conscience I cannot call this a Moroccan stew.  Instead, I'll call it Faux-roccan.  Sorry about the cute name.  Regardless of the name, however, I found it a tasty change of pace from my standard winter stew.  Try it!

**If you don't get updates via email, please consider subscribing via the button to your right!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Orange Cherry Oatmeal Muffins (Monday or President's Day Muffins)

I cannot tell a lie.  Yesterday morning we were walking the dog to the grocery store to pick up cream for my tea when we saw some guys cutting down a tree.  I admire their gumption--it was cold as heck out, and to be hanging from a rope way up high, with a chainsaw?  Yipes.  Then I got to the store and saw cherry pies on sale.  It wasn't until after I bought the pie that I realized it was for President's Day.  So here's a President's day muffin recipe for you, using cherries and oranges.  These muffins are perky, if a muffin can be called that.  The flavor is bright and brightens my morning.  My kids eat them for breakfast and after school snacks, so perhaps they brighten the whole day!  Sunny citrus in action.

I adapted this recipe from the most excellent Muffins: A Cookbook by Joan Bidinosti and Marilyn Wearing.  I made these before the Band Fruit Fundraiser oranges arrived.  Had I been swamped with fresh oranges, I'd substitute a blended navel orange for the juice.  The original recipe called for raisins, but I've got a lot of dried cherries so I snipped them in small pieces and used those instead.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Five Cheese Pizza with Indigo Rose Tomato and Almond Pesto on a Butternut Squash Crust (Pizza Night!)
Did you get roses for Valentine's Day?  After reading about this pizza sauce, I bet you wish you'd gotten Indigo Rose tomatoes from your local Community Supported Agriculture farm share instead.  

One of the reasons I love my CSA is the variety of colorful produce that shows up in the box each week.  It's like my own personal Iron Chef challenge to figure out what to make with each week's box full of secret ingredients.  And the taste--fresh produce just tastes so much better.

If you've never heard of a CSA farm share, check out Local Harvest. There you can use your zip code (in the US) to search for CSA farms that deliver to locations near you.  Late winter is the time to join a CSA.  By paying in advance you enable your farmer to purchase seeds and repair equipment at the beginning of the growing season.  In return, you get a share of the farm fresh produce all season long.  You're supporting a local business and you get to taste delicious veggies like these Indigo Rose tomatoes!

And now for something completely different.

Not really.  When I made the spinach dough I knew that I was going to continue to explore adding veggies from my CSA farm share into my family's pizza crust--not just on top of it.

But where to start?  To not quote a Monty Python film involving a lecture in a British boys' school, I can't go leaping into, for example, mustard green pizza crust.  Though the idea is intriguing . . . I wonder what I'd top it with?  More greens?  Bacon?

Ahem.  Move your coat to the lower peg and let's move on.

Instead of going to the freezer stash for slow-roasted tomatoes, or pesto, or pumpkin to try in a crust, I turned right and looked at the Strategic Winter Squash Reserve.  Specifically, because they stand head and shoulders above the rest (get it? above?) the Larch the butternut squash.  I'd had my epiphany-while-showering about shredding a butternut squash, so I had some shredded butternut squash on hand to play around with.

And play I did!  If you're on my Farm Fresh Feasts Facebook page, you've seen the golden and pillowy eggnog and butternut squash crust.  The recipe will be up here during eggnog season, because I'm all about eating seasonally with my CSA vegetables (and good deals on eggnog after the holidays).

To start us off here though, I also made a plain cheese pizza with a shredded butternut--nog free--crust. If you are going meatless on Fridays, keep in mind this pizza!  Using one of the packages of Fresh Tomato Pesto I'd put up in the fall, from Heather at In Her Chucks' wonderful Cherry Tomato Pesto recipe, this pizza is another not-so-simple cheese pizza.  Sure, it was simple enough for me to truthfully tell my daughter:
It's a cheese pizza.
But in reality it is a Five Cheese Pizza with Funky Orange Purple Indigo Rose Tomato and Almond Pesto on a Butternut Squash Crust.

And with that lofty name, let's get to it--shall we?

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Chicken Spinach Artichoke Pesto Pasta (Quick Take)

A simple & fast skillet supper with sautéed chicken breast, fresh spinach, prepared pesto and marinated artichoke hearts. Six ingredients, about 20 minutes, and you've got a tasty meal.

A simple & fast skillet supper with sautéed chicken breast, fresh spinach, prepared pesto and marinated artichoke hearts. Six ingredients, about 20 minutes, and you've got a tasty meal.
Updated in 2015 with new photos!

If you want to prepare a special meal that appears as if you've given a lot of thought to it but in fact you just realized that tonight was The Night and need to pull something out of your ear, read on.

A simple & fast skillet supper with sautéed chicken breast, fresh spinach, prepared pesto and marinated artichoke hearts. Six ingredients, about 20 minutes, and you've got a tasty meal.

I had a chicken breast, a bunch of spinach from the farm share, and a lot of cans of cream of chicken soup because they were a good price so I stocked up.  Yes, I use canned soup.  I tried making my own but it didn't come out as well as this stuff.  Everything in moderation.  While looking for inspiration for dinner, I decided to read the recipe on the can. In the surprise of the century, the recipe called for mixing the can of soup with pesto to make a sauce.  Hey, you know I've got pesto in the freezer!  I could make that recipe!

A simple & fast skillet supper with sautéed chicken breast, fresh spinach, prepared pesto and marinated artichoke hearts. Six ingredients, about 20 minutes, and you've got a tasty meal.

Not content to merely follow the recipe, I decided to boost the veggie content with my farm share spinach and some marinated artichokes.  I think I was in a race to see how fast I could empty a giant Costco-sized jar.  I did it in about a week, between pizzas, dips, and this.  New record.

This was fast and very delicious, if you are older than 14 and love the taste of artichokes.  The kids ate everything but the artichokes.  If you were going meatless I'd sub mushrooms for the chicken and use the soup of your choice.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Horseradish-Beet Muffins (Monday Muffins!)

I don't normally make savory muffins.  It's not that I have anything against a savory muffin.  Some of my favorite muffins are savory!  I like nothing better than a cheddar bacon cornmeal muffin with my green tomato chili.  I just don't think of savory first when I am preparing to make muffins.

But my mom did.

I'd mixed a cup of shredded beets into my soaked oatmeal muffin base, but was dithering over which direction to go from there.  Mom was visiting and suggested horseradish.  Conveniently, I had a jar of horseradish powder.

This savory muffin was delicious served warm with a touch of buttery spread.  I'm thinking of using this in a pink-themed Valentine meal--but I'm stumped on the entree.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Roasted Beet, Caramelized Onion, and Goat Cheese Pizza (Pizza Night!)

Last Friday I had a whole lot to say before I got to the pizza recipe.  Today I'm keeping it short and sweet.  Which do you prefer?

It wasn't enough to do one (or three) beet pizzas.  No, I have more beet tricks up my <hopelessly stained> sleeve.  I suspected, from this appetizer, that I'd like the combination of roasted beets and goat cheese on a pizza.  I hoped that the addition of caramelized onions would punch it up a bit.

I was not disappointed.  Neither was my spouse.  The kids . . . didn't volunteer to try this one.

This is a pretty pizza, all neon-pink beet juice bleeding onto the white goat cheese.  Could be cute for a Valentine's day pink-themed meal, if you don't want to go all beet-crusty on your loved ones.  I'll try it again when my arugula (rocket) is ready just to see how that looks/tastes.  Meantime, the garlic oil was still a nice base for the beets.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Skillet Mushroom Dip for Two (Quick Take)

Wine-soaked mushrooms sautéed with farm share vegetables and herbs, finished with creamy goat cheese. Makes enough for two--to share with your honey.

There are nights when I just want appetizers for dinner.  There are nights when I plan a romantic meal with my spouse.  And there are nights when the whole family feels like grazing.  Do you ever have those nights?

I had a hankering for something hot and shroom-y, but not all of the ingredients necessary for stuffed mushrooms.  So I decided to Dip It.  (Dip it good).

This comes together fast, fits great in my small skillet, and is the perfect appetizer for two mushroom lovers.  Using some of my freezer stash of put up veggies makes this a fast-to-assemble dish.  Just chop everything up finely, sauté it, add the wine, simmer, stir in the cheese and you're done.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Chicken Saltimbocca Stuffed With Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese

I am not the type of person who needs a shower upon waking in order to get my day started.  In fact, it would have been tough when I worked on a dairy farm and rolled out of bed, pulled on my boots, and was in the barn before achieving full consciousness.  This means that I shower at weird times.  (Why am I talking about my shower habits on a food blog?)  Lemme 'splain.

I think pretty well in the shower.  The idea for this recipe came during a late weekend afternoon shower.  I'd already cooked the sweet potatoes for the hash and decided to shower while they were cooling.  I was pondering the rest of the Strategic Winter Squash Reserve.  It came to me--in between the first and second time I washed my face--why not shred a butternut squash?  Why not stick that shredded squash onto a thin piece of chicken, roll it up, and cover it with a sauce?  (I think I ended up washing my face twice because I was distracted debating between grapes and band fundraiser oranges for the sauce).

Then I got out of the shower, dried off etc, and got on my computer.  First, I found this, followed by this.  Then I found this.  Then this.  And finally this.

After mulling all of those over for a while, this is what I ended up making:

Thanks to a comment from Annemarie of Real Food Real Deals, I decided to try rice noodles with this dish.  Depending on the type of chicken broth you use, this recipe could be gluten free.  Despite my utter inability to make it look as easy as in the videos, it was pretty quick to assemble, cooked fast, and tasted great.  I think it would work well for both an impressive Valentine's day meal or a tasty family supper.

And then stay tuned, because I've been busy stuffing shredded butternut squash into muffins and pizza!
I've revamped my Visual Recipe Index! For more ideas on what to do with your butternut squash, click here.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Back Bacon, Chinese Cabbage, and Potato (Eggless) Brunch Skillets (Quick Take)

I love weekend breakfasts, especially weekends that don't involve sled hockey or wheelchair basketball tournaments.  That's not to say that I don't like eating breakfast away from home at the tournaments, don't get me wrong, but I do enjoy my spouse and I waking up before the kids, walking the dog, and then fixing a big breakfast for the whole family.  I love it when that breakfast comes together quickly!

Here's one breakfast that happened not to contain any eggs.  I saw Back Bacon marked down, decided to try it (why not?) and looked around to see what else I could pair with it.  I have Chinese cabbage from the farm share, and I know my family likes that sautéed for dinner, why not try it for breakfast?
 But there needs to be more to round out the meal.  Conveniently, I've also got new potatoes from the farm share, and I know my family likes to eat fried potatoes.  Throw all this together, jumping from skillet to skillet, and we've got ourselves a hearty winter breakfast.  Plenty of good food to fuel us up for a day in the cold!

If you were serving more folks, eggs would be a lovely addition to this spread.  But if you're serving folks with egg allergies, consider this combination.  It satisfies the appetite of egg eaters and non-egg eaters alike.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Acorn Squash, Beet, and Sweet Potato Chili: One Beginning, Two Endings (Bean-Free Chili for Vegans or with Beef for Carnivores)
Could be vegan chili on the left, chili for carnivores on the right.
One of the pots of chili you see here was what I set out to make.  The other one was the surprise mid-way through.

You see, it all started when I had a bite of my spouse's chili at Tom+Chee in Newport, KY.  It was smooth, meaty, and topped with a bit of blue cheese.  Yum!  I love that restaurant.

I like my Green Tomato Garlic Chili, and I like all the chunky and bean-y chili I have had.  In fact, I don't think I've met a chili I didn't like.  But I wanted to try my hand at making a smooth, meaty chili.

No chunks (the kids tolerate smooth better than chunky anyway) and no beans (thanks to New Year's day and a vat of Ham and Bean soup I'd had beans 8 out of 9 days of 2013 and frankly I needed a break).  What does that leave?  The Strategic Winter Squash Reserve, of course.

I started by roasting a small 1 pound acorn squash and a small sweet potato.  I was making a small batch, because after the giant vat of soup I really didn't want gallons of chili leftovers.  Then I set those aside and browned a pound of ground beef in my 3 quart saucepan.  I knew I wanted a smooth chili, but I didn't want to attack my beef with the immersion blender, so at this point I drained and set the beef aside.

If I were cooking for vegans as well as carnivores, I would wash the saucepan at this point.
I was just cooking for the family, so I added onions and some of my freezer stash carrots/celery/parsley to the pan (using the remnants of grease instead of oil) and sautéed.  I was thinking about how, when making Indian food, you sauté the spices until they are fragrant before adding the simmering liquids, so I decided to add the spices next.  Annemarie of RealFoodRealDeals made a squash chili and her recipe appeared in my inbox just as I was debating for which spices to use, so I went with her spicing suggestions.  I remembered my cousin Cindy (the cousin Cindy I've friended on FB but never met) telling me she adds beets to her tomato sauce so when I was grabbing a pack of slow-roasted tomatoes from the freezer I picked up a bag of shredded beets, too.  I tossed those in to simmer with the veggies, then I added some stock.  If I were cooking for vegans, I'd use vegetable stock or Penzey's vegetable soup base.  I used chicken stock instead, added a bay leaf, and it simmered away happily for an hour.  Since (did I mention) I wanted a smooth chili, I removed the bay leaf, grabbed my immersion blender and smoothed it all up.

Then I tasted the chili.  Dang, it's pretty good right now!

If you are serving vegans, move some of the chili to a slow cooker or saucepan over low heat to simmer quietly until serving time.  Because it was just us, I added back in most of the beef and simmered the whole lot on low another hour.  Then another hour because my spouse worked late.
The result was a smooth, thick, tomato-ey meaty chili.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Spinach Sausage Alfredo Tortellini (Quick Take)
As much as I love fresh spinach in an apple spinach green smoothie, there are times when I need to share the spinach goodness with the rest of my family.  They think I'm weird for loving green smoothies.
This was a quick way to incorporate a bag of fresh spinach from the farm share into a hearty, filling meal on a busy night.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Chocolate Cherry Cider Muffins (Monday Muffins)

I mentioned in my very first muffin post that I love to make muffins and my kids love to eat muffins.  I make a lot of muffins out of the ingredients that I have in my kitchen, especially from my CSA farm share.  Since I've been so eager to share other recipes, however, I've got quite a backlog of muffin recipes to share.

So to work on this mass of muffin-ness, I'm starting an occasional (read, not weekly like Friday Night Pizza Night) series of Monday Muffin recipes.  I've got sweet muffin recipes, savory muffin recipes, and strange but good muffin recipes (Beet and Horseradish, anyone?).  I can pretty well say that they will involve less sugar and fat, and more whole grains than your standard bakery muffins.  And they will taste terrific.

Let's get started with a tasty winter treat!

These muffins sound like they are decadent, but really they're not that out there.  They are a morph of my Apple Cider Oatmeal Forgot-the-Sugar Muffins, so they can't be too unhealthy for ya, but with the chocolate and cherry additions they are a step above.

Note:  I let the cherry-cider-oat mixture hang out on my counter for about 4 hours until the cherries were pretty hydrated and the oats were fully . . . soaked.  I recommend at least 1 hour and up to overnight.  These muffins are easy to throw together and forget about for a while, perfect for any busy time.