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!