Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Summer Veggie Pasta Dinner

Swiss chard


Yellow squash

Sugar snap peas


Green pepper

(I was going to add in some frozen cooked broccoli but I forgot!)


You could seriously make this with ANY type of “ethnic” dressing – Greek, Italian, Mexican, etc.
I made it with an Asian twist last night.

Cook the edemame.

Saute the onions in a little oil until nicely browned. Add in squash. Turn off heat.

Cook pasta to al dente. Since I was doing Asian – I threw a slice of ginger into the pasta water.

When pasta is just about ready add chard and peas.

Add in pepper and edamame to bowl.

When pasta is ready, drain, add hot pasta to bowl with dressing and toss. Add in rest of veggies and toss well. Serve hot, warm or cold.

I THOUGHT I would have enough for lunch today but Scott thought otherwise. A big hit.


Juice of one lime

Fish sauce

Rice wine vinegar

Soy sauce


Minced ginger – hello Penzey’s!

Peanut butter

Brown sugar

Aleppo pepper – I heart Penzey’s!

You could also swap out the sugar for honey and also add garlic. Hmm – proportions? I just don’t know. About the same amounts of soy and vinegar. More soy than fish sauce. A tablespoon of peanut butter? 2 T brown sugar. Maybe. 1 tablespoon canola. Sure! One large slice of ginger minced and several good shakes of pepper. Put everything in a mason or screw top jar, shake it shake it shake it baby. Taste. Adjust as needed.

Pretty, vegetarian, light. I ate with some chili garlic sauce. I love that stuff!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Lunch for LW

Sorry LW!

So I eat lunch fairly often in the library break room with my friend and co-worker LW. I often bring leftovers and she often gets “mad” at me because I rarely follow a recipe or shop for special ingredients. I am a huge fan of using what’s on hand!

This one is for her – I laughed as I made it thinking of her reaction and she did not fail me today at lunch today.

4 boneless skinless chicken thighs (from freezer)

2 T olive oil

Some flour

Penzey’s Greek spice – a sprinkle

Cut the chicken into chunks, sprinkle with flour and the Penzeys and sauté until nicely browned. Do two batches. It’s a pain but it ALWAYS comes out better.

Deglaze the pan with ¼ bottle of (Your Last) bottle of Two Buck Chuck.

Add in:

Frozen artichokes (1/2 a bag)

Leftover sautéed onions from Sunday

Leftover chopped green onions

Sliced green olives

sliced jarred red peppers

Discover you have no more grape tomatoes or black olives – shrug and move on

Add in about a cup of the pasta water if it seems too thick (you are cooking your pasta right now - correct?!)

Cook till heated through.


¼ cup whipping cream leftover from Passover. (I sniffed! It was still good!)

4 slices provolone

Serve some to your children (over pasta)

Then add in 3 handfuls of spinach. Cook spinach down and serve to the grownups.

This made 4 servings for dinner and two for lunch!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

It's That Time of Year Again!

Cause let's face it - Passover is really all about the butter and the chocolate....

Matzo Brittle
5 squares matzo (the goyim can use saltines)
1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup chocolate chips

line cookie sheet with tin foil, spray with Pam. Line with matzo, breaking to fit the pan. Preheat oven to 300.

melt butter and sugar together and heat until boiling over medium high heat. stir constantly. boil for 5 minutes. CAREFULLY pour over matzo and spread evenly. Bake for 5-7 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle with chocolate chips. Let chips melt and spread evenly. Get all fancy and sprinkle with kosher salt or fleur de sel.

Chill then break into pieces.

New Notes: My friend Sarah suggests using toffee bits instead of chocolate chips. YUM!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Broccoli Soup!

So - it came to light recently that Maya likes steamed broccoli. We will do ANYTHING to encourage veggies.

Any. Thing.

So - that's a lot of broccoli.

Since the Lawyer and I have sandwiches on tap for this week's lunches - I thought broccoli soup would be just the thing after his Sam's broccoli binge.

2 T butter
1 T olive oil
1 large onion - chopped
1 square frozen garlic (you know - from Trader Joe's)

saute onion and garlic for a while on low heat. Probably as long as 1/2 of a half in an NCAA basketball game.

add in 2 T flour and cook the raw flour taste out. Every time I cook with flour like this I hear my grandma and my mom telling me to cook the raw taste out! Add in some salt and pepper.

add in 1/3 cup white wine and about 1 cup chicken stock. Stir until everything is combined and cook the wine for a couple minutes.

add in the rest of the stock - I used a carton of low sodium stock. Add in a bunch (a ton) of broccoli. Cook the broccoli until it's tender.

add in 4+ slices of Swiss cheese.

remove a ladle of broccoli, chop it up and and set aside. (I put it in a teacup and used a knife to cut it up.) Remove a smallish ladle of broth and set aside.

using your immersion blender - blend up the broccoli. Put the blender right on top of the stalks and blend away. Or? Use a potato masher. Add back in chopped broccoli.

add 1 T cornstarch to reserved broth and stir until very blended and not at all lumpy. Add broth back to pot and stir well while heating.

That's it! You are done!

This might seem like a lot of steps - but they go quickly and results are pretty and delicious!

Monday, March 14, 2011

You are Great

So - I was reading an acquaintance's cooking blog today (NOT YOU LISA - you are my friend and you are the bees knees!). She was very very disparaging about what one uses in recipes. Really? Cause I work full time and there is no way I'm ever not going to use convenience foods. I use bottled spaghetti sauce almost every time. I use other "convenience" foods, store brand shredded cheeses, cream of celery soup, bottled salad dressing. You name it. The horror.

I am more and more about whole foods, foods that don't have tons of ingredients, healthful, real foods.

But you know what? If you are working, running a household, cooking for your family? If maybe you are a single mom? If money and time are tight? BUT. BUT.... You are cooking for those you love. You are doing your level best with what you have and what you can do RIGHT NOW? You are wonderful. You are my hero. Do NOT ever let anyone get you down because you don't make your own stock. Because, yeah, you use packaged foods for dinner. Because you'd rather use lean ground sirloin but you are using ground chuck.

You are great. You are providing for your family. They love you for just who you are.

And I think that's awesome.

ahem. Off the soapbox.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Spaghetti Pie

I know we eat a LOT of pasta at our house! Here is another dish that was a big hit with everyone and a tasty warm homey meal on a cold Saturday WITH leftovers for weekday lunches. Yay me!

For Pie crust

12 oz pasta - if you are using long pasta, which I recommend - break into thirds before cooking. Whenever I make pasta for a dish that is going to be baked - I cook it very al dente so it doesn't get mushy while baking. Remember to salt your pasta water well.

1/2 cup sour cream - full fat, low fat, fat free - whatever does it for you. I used low fat

1 egg

1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Cook pasta. Meanwhile mix last 3 ingredients in a sprayed 9x13 baking dish. Add in pasta and combine well. Set aside.

For sauce:

one large jar of your favorite prepared red sauce. I used Prego with mushrooms cause that's what we like and what I had
1 onion minced
mushrooms - sliced
1 T olive oil
1 t Italian seasonings
1-2 cloves minced or pressed garlic
1 lb ground turkey (or chicken or beef or pork)
1/2 cup red or white wine or beer (I used beer - pour it into the jar after you've added the sauce to the pan and give it a good shake to get all the leftover sauce out.)
1 T balsamic vinegar
1 t Worchestershire sauce
1/2 t sugar

Saute onion, seasonings and mushrooms until browned. Add in turkey and cook well until turkey is nicely browned. Add in alcohol and sauce, vinegar and W. sauce.

Simmer for a good while to cook out some of the liquid. You should be left with a very thick sauce. (I get to the simmer stage and then work on the crust.)

Dump the sauce over the crust and spread evenly. Top with cheese - I used an Italian blend but cheddar would also be really nice.

Cover and bake at 350 for about 1/2 hour. Uncover and increase heat to 375 and cook for another 20 minutes or so until nice and browned and bubbly. Cut into squares and eat.

This makes a TON of food. Definitely 2+ meals for us plus a lunch or two!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Pantry Dinner?

Is this what your pantry dinners look like? Seth requested curry a few days ago. What? Your 11 year olds don’t ask for curry??

  • Lamb chops - Scott got little tiny lamb chops on sale a while ago. I re-discovered them rooting around the freezer
  • ½ onion – all that was left in the house
  • Trader Joes Thai Green Curry simmer sauce – just about the last thing from our run to TJ in Dayton on our last trip – good thing we are going again in a couple weeks – I’m out of Two Buck Chuck too!
  • Chick Peas
  • Rice
  • Frozen basil & garlic squares – also from Trader Joes. I have the basil, garlic and cilantro squares. I LOVE these things! So convenient and easy!

Heat 1-2 T olive oil over medium high heat

Add in sliced onion and let brown – this goes quickly. Add in a garlic square.

Lay down the lamb chops in the pan and let get very brown on both sides. Leave out two chops for your daughter who doesn’t want curry.

De-glaze pan with the last of your Two Buck Chuck Chardonnay

Dump in the simmer sauce, rinse jar with a little water to get all the goodness out

Dump in the drained chicken peas

Reduce heat.

Simmer until your husband gets home.

Meanwhile – you’ve made your rice with turkey stock you had in the freezer – right? Add in a basil square for color and flavor. I always start the rice as soon as I get home. It stays warm and ready if you don’t remove the lid and keep the pan on the stove.

Serve curry with rice. Serve plain lamb chops with rice for Maya.

I was this was a tiny bit more spicy but the sauce is so flavorful and wonderful. I rarely use items like this but I’ll definitely be using this one again! I didn't think this was going to be so good - so I didn't take a pic! Next time!!