Saturday, February 25, 2012

Freezer Cooking~ Sausage & Lentil Stew

While Brian is working on a two weekend project, aka finally building a laundry/book shelf into an alcove of our bedroom I had a little time on my hands. I had two freezer meals that I wanted to make a hearty sausage and lentil stew and a four cheese macaroni bake. I decided to do the lentil stew since it used sausage that I needed to cook and freeze before it went bad in the fridge. The house smells delicious and it is so good I almost don't want to put it in the freezer!

Sausage and Lentil Stew 
5 mild Italian sausage links, cut into slices (because that is how many comes in a package, the original recipe I was following called for four, but who wants just one lone sausage sitting in the fridge or freezer)
1 bunch of kale, chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
2 tbsp minced garlic
8 cups chicken broth (I increased the broth from original recipe- so even though I used one extra sausage link the broth needed to be upped as well because otherwise it wouldn't have even qualified for a "stew" TRUST ME it will be thick enough!)
1 cup of dried lentils (I had yellow on hand so I used that)
1 cup of long-grain white rice
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 tbsp Italian parsley minced, OR 1 tbsp dried parsley

1. Chop all veggies ahead of time and put in a bowl on the counter where you are working. In a big pot brown the sausage. Add veggies (kale, onion, green pepper) garlic, and half the broth. Cook for about 5 min.
2. Add lentils, rice, cumin, and remaining broth. Bring to a boil then reduce to medium, cover, and cook for 25 min. Rice will be cooked, lentils soft, and it will be thick. Add black pepper and parsley, stir to combine.

**To freeze, allow to cool and pour into a sealable plastic container.
**To cook (might want to put on a label for the freezer)
1. empty soup into a large stockpot, if too thick add a cup or two more stock to desired thickness, heat over medium let simmer for 20 min.
2. Serve soup in large bowls, with crusty bread and a salad! Dinner served!

Original recipe found on Relish! 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Meatball Soup

So this soup couldn't be more easy, or more delicious! Molly right now is unsure of meatballs, she doesn't want to eat them. Which I have no idea why not but none the less there you have it. This was fairly simple, and it is a tomato and beef stock based soup vs a traditional chicken stock/Italian wedding style soup. I found it to be very good!

Meatball Soup
2 tbsp butter
4 carrots, chopped
2-4 stalks of celery, chopped
1 14oz can of diced tomatoes with Italian seasoning
3 tbsp parsley chopped
4 cups beef stock
2 cups water
3 tbsp onion soup mix (I buy mine in bulk this is how much I used, or you can just one one onion soup packet)
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp basil
1/2 tsp oregano
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 38 oz package of frozen turkey meatballs (I used Italian style)
3 tbsp shredded parmesan cheese for topping.

1. In a big stock pot or dutch oven put butter, carrots and celery. Cook for about 5 min. on medium heat until softened.
2. Add onion soup mix to veggies and stir to combine (if you are using beef bouillon instead of actual stock add that now) then add tomatoes, parsley, water and stock. Stir to combine and then add seasoning; bay, basil, oregano and salt & pepper. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer. Cover and cook for 20 min.
3. Add defrosted meatballs to soup, cover and cook for an additional 10 min.
4. Serve with sprinkling of cheese on top.

Also I served this with garlic parmesan bread (canned biscuits jazzed up with garlic butter and shredded parmesan prior to baking)

Click here to go to the site that provided the original recipe Relish (a meal planning site that makes my life easier!)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Iced Pumpkin Cookies

Iced Pumpkin Cookies
Makes 36 cookies

2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups powdered sugar
2 tbsp milk
1 tbsp butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven 350
1. Sift flour baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt into a big bowl and set aside.
2. In a stand mixer, or another bowl, mix sugar till fluffy and aerated. Then add pumpkin, egg, vanilla and mix well.
3. Slowly mix in the dry ingredients till it is all incorporated. Scoop out with a small ice cream scooper onto a cookie sheet. Wetting your fingertips with water slightly pat down the cookie dough so they bake with a flatter surface (otherwise they will dome out and it will be harder to frost).
4. Bake for 15 minutes, pull out and let sit on the cookie sheet for about 2 minutes before moving to the cooling racks.
5. Combine ingredients for the glaze to desired consistency, once cookies are cool frost using a bakers flat spatula.

*Original recipe from Relish Click Here to see their service! The original recipe called for 1/2 tsp of each ground nutmeg and ground cloves, I didn't have either on hand because quite frankly they are spices my household doesn't really like so I omitted them, if you like them feel free to add them in with the cinnamon. Also the orignal recipe called for 3 tbsp of milk for the glaze not 2 but I liked the frosting thicker vs. a surface crunch. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Steak and Israeli Couscous and Smashed Beans on Toast

Just a typical grilled steak, on a bed of Israeli couscous, follow box instructions for the couscous cook with chicken broth instead of water, add a bay leaf, and at the end I added some fresh red bell pepper and zucchini from my CSA bag. Beautiful, tasty, and the fresh veg at the end added a very nice crunch. This is only the second time I have had the bigger couscous but both times we have had it Brian and I oh and ah over how tasty it is!

To add to this meal we had what Jamie Oliver calls "Posh Beans on Toast" it is a mash of fresh fava beans and fresh peas with a little bit of mint, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt and pepper. It is served on crostini with some mozzarella, I however didn't have fresh mozzarella so I used goat cheese which I did have. It was absolutely delicious. It is bright green, tastes like summer with a pop of flavor from the lemon juice and mint.

Smashed Fava Beans on Toast 
5 oz shelled fresh peas
9 oz shelled fresh fava beans
3-4 leaves of fresh mint (I have orange mint growing in abundance in my backyard that is what I used)\
Salt and Pepper to taste
3 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup grated pecorino romano cheese
2 tsp lemon juice
Crusty Bread
Goat Cheese
1. In food processor whiz up the peas, beans, mint, salt and pepper. Add in cheese and lemon juice, and slowly drizzle in olive oil till it is a thick consistency but somewhat loose. Taste! If you want more mint, salt and pepper or lemon juice add to taste.
2. Grill bread, once grilled use a clove of garlic and swipe it a few times over the top of the bread (2-3 max swipes).
3. Spread some goat cheese on toast (use goat cheese to your desire, I liked a lot my husband a little depends on how much tanginess of the goat cheese you want to taste over the freshness of the peas), and then top with the bean mixture. Enjoy!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Spontaneous Mediterranean Meal

I had a whole bunch of veggies from our CSA and didn't really have a meal already planned. I started searching the internet and came across a lamb kabob and couscous recipe via Williams-Sanoma and just improvised. I didn't have lamb, but chicken. I had the red onion and squash but didn't ironically have red pepper (I always have red pepper) and of course I buy couscous in bulk because it is my go to summer side dish staple. Here is what I came up with...
1. I roasted the broccoli with olive oil, salt & pepper and a little garlic powder in a baking dish on the BBQ.
2. On the cast iron grill plate I did the squash and red pepper, that had olive oil, salt & pepper, and some cumin.
3. Skewered the chicken tenders and seasoned with olive oil, salt& pepper, and cumin.
4. Traditional couscous recipe: chicken stock, pinch of salt, olive oil, garlic powder, cumin, parsley.

It was extremely delicious, I find that chicken tenders are perfect for kabobs if not for anything else other than ease of use. And yes it was all a little one note (cumin, salt and pepper olive oil to be specific) which critics might laugh at, but for a family dinner at home it was simply delicious and just the right amount of spices for everyone to enjoy. We will have it again.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Miso Dressing

So as I am testing recipes from My Father's Daughter, so far I have made 3 things and they have all been great! Including this dressing. It is so tasty, I can't stop eating it on things - my favorite is on top of a poached egg on an English muffin instead of a Hollandaise, I didn't put a piece of bacon under the egg like you normally would for an Egg's Benedict although I could have. I think I was mostly thinking of a breakfast vehicle for the sauce! Yes, it is that good! My husband is not as big of a fan, he doesn't like a lot of soy sauce or sesame oil - and this dressing has both so it wasn't a big surprise but those are two ingredients I love and in fact crave soy sauce every once in awhile. So I did make a few substitutions to the original recipe simply because I didn't have them on hand but I still think it turned out great.

Miso Dressing
1/3 cup roughly diced Vidalia onion (I used a sweet yellow onion from my CSA because that is what I had)
1 tsp garlic minced
1/4 cup + 1 tbsp white miso (if you get the little tubs that are quartered it is half of the miso in the container)
2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp mirin (I didn't have mirin so I substituted Marsala- but it was a dry Marsala and generally you should substitute a sweet Marsala for mirin so I added a tsp of sugar)
2 tbsp water (now that I read the recipe I am not sure I added water... must thin it out a bit but I liked the consistency of mine so if you don't want the recipe to pack a too powerful punch and maybe be a little runnier than add the water but I obviously thoroughly enjoyed mine even if I did miss this step)
Large pinch of kosher salt
A few fresh grinds of black pepper
1/4 cup + 1 tbsp veggie oil
1. Put all but oil in food process and pulse until smooth. While blender is going slowly stream in oil.

I bought this dressing container at Crate & Barrel I love it, I have pretty much stopped buying dressing at the grocery store all together because I have this little baby. I have to say though that this dressing would be better in just a reused empty glass bottle, it is a little thick for this pour spout. But I used the last one I had available on another one of her recipes from the book (a good for you seed topping mixture for oatmeals, yogurt etc) so I just put it in my usual container. For other thinner dressing though this thing is a must own!

The perfectly poached egg on muffin, would have been even better with maybe a slice of Canadian bacon a la Egg's Benedict style, or maybe even with some sprouts or a slice of fresh from the garden tomato, so good. I am thinking I am becoming a more savory breakfast person versus the sweet...

What kind of breakfast person are you?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Easy Summer Pasta

Clearly I love Ina Garten and I was watching her show two weeks ago and she made, what looked like a really delicious, summer pasta salad. Click here for the original recipe! I made half the amount that she did, and we still had a lot of left overs for lunch the next day. But this was super fantastic, the entire family LOVED it! And when you have a garden, or CSA (especially later on in the summer) this is the perfect meal to use up a lot of those cherry tomatoes!

Summer Pasta Salad
2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tbsp garlic, minced
6-9 fresh basil leaves, julienned
*small pinch of red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
1/4 tsp crushed black pepper, or more to taste (I liked this with a lot of black pepper but you can always add that at the end before you dig in!)
1/2 lb Angle Hair Pasta
3/4 cup grated Parmesan
*Shaved Parmesan for Garnish
1. Put tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, basil, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper into a bowl mix together thoroughly and cover with plastic wrap leave on the counter to mingle/marinate for up to 4 hours - the longer the better!
2. Cook pasta according to package directions but it should take less than 5 minutes. Angle hair is perfect for in the summer because it cooks quick and anything that won't heat up your house is a bonus!
3. On top of tomatoes add Parmesan and then noodles, tossing well to have everything combine, serve with shaved Parmesan on top for garnish. (buy a big wedge of Parmegiano Regiano it keeps forever in the fridge and then get out your carrot peeler and make a dish like a pro!)
*Don't forget to add a little more freshly cracked black pepper before serving too if so desired, super good!

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