Friday, January 20, 2012

Smashed Reskins with Kale

I bought a bag of Kale last week, which is another reason you should never grocery shop after a 14 mile run.  I also bought a giant bag of Redskin potatoes.  And a thing of cheese puffs.  Seriously, don't do it.  We had some leftover cream from New Year's that I wanted to use up, so this recipe came from some googling (mostly of the "I wonder if people ever put Kale in mashed potatoes" variety) and also some haphazard "just use it up" testing.

1 cup kale, washed, de-stemmed, and chopped into small pieces.  The smaller the better. 
4-5 redskin potatoes, cut up into 1 inch pieces
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup heavy cream (if you don't have any, just use milk)
1/2 cup milk
olive oil
Parmesan cheese (optional)

1. Boil a pot of water, toss in potatoes.  Let cook for 20 minutes or until tender and mashable.  Drain.  Mash (you can mash them later, but as I was mashing them later, I thought, "gee, I should have mashed these first.)
2. Heat a big pan (or use the mashed potato pan) with olive oil, saute garlic until slightly golden. 
3. Add kale, saute until bright green. 
4. Add potatoes, heavy cream, and milk.  Stir together until everything is well mixed.  If you did not mash the potatoes before, mash them now. 
5. Add salt and pepper to taste, serve topped with Parmesan and enjoy! 

Salad Dressing Flounder

I know, it sounds gross.  But there really aren't many good flounder recipes out there, even though flounder is pretty cheap and can be quite delicious.  I did that thing where you go to Costco and think, "oh, I need fish" and then get home and find out in fact, you have fish.  Twice.  So we are working through three bags of flounder.  Since fish cooks so fast, I like to have quick and cheap recipes in my back pocket.  This one was really good. 

4 fillets flounder
1 bottle of creamy salad dressing (I used a low fat parmesean peppercorn ranch)
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
parmesean cheese (optional)
olive oil in a spray bottle (or other spray oil)

1. Heat oven to 425.  If you have a pizza stone, heat it up in the oven. 
2. Mix breadcrumbs and parmesean cheese
3. Once the oven is hot, take out the stone (or skip that step and just put it on a pan) and spray with olive oil. 
4. Put the fish on the pan, squeeze about 2 tsp of salad dressing on each piece of fish and spread evenly over fish.
5. Cover the top with breadcrumbs, pressing into the dressing, until well coated. 
6. Spray with a little more olive oil.
7. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until cooked through. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Cookbook Challenge: Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker

Yes, the project is still going on.  Today I tried a new chili recipe from Fresh From the Vegetarian Slow Cooker - Three Bean Chili with Chive-Flecked Cornmeal Dumplings.  I've adapted it slightly to accommodate the ingredients in my pantry and my personal taste.

1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 large onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, diced
1 small red pepper, diced
3 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp chili powder
One 28 ounce can giant tomatoes
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can light kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups water
salt and pepper to taste

2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cornmeal
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup frozen corn
1/2 cup milk
2 tbsp olive oil

1. Saute onion, garlic, and red pepper over medium heat until soft.  Add tomato paste and chili powder.  Add to crockpot.
2. Add tomatoes, beans, salt, and pepper.
3. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
4. Mix flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, frozen corn, and milk, together.
5. Drop spoonfuls of cornmeal mixture into crockpot.  Replace lid, and either cook on low for another hour, or cook on high for 30-45 minutes.

Cookbook Review: Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker was the first crock-pot cookbook we purchased when we got our crockpot, and it's always the one I recommend to friends who say, "uh, I got a do I, like, make food?"  All of the meals are balanced, substantial, and delicious.  I've made several recipes from this book and never had a flop.  The directions are straightforward and easy to read, any weird vegetables have instructions for how to clean them and what they taste like, and the book is well organized.  You should definitely buy it.  And then make some chili.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Lentil Chili

I've been looking for a copycat recipe for the TastyBite Madras Lentils for a little while without any luck, but tonight I was craving some healthy chili goodness so I found this recipe on AllRecipes.  I wound up adapting it quite a bit, but I love the use of the bulgar wheat.  It creates a similar mouthfeel to the ground beef substitute that we put in chili sometimes, but isn't so many questionable chemicals, and it's cheap.  And we have it in the house.

I adapted the recipe quite a bit, so this is what I did:
5-10 cloves garlic
1 cup lentils
1 cup bulgar wheat
1 onion chopped/1 tbsp dried onion
2 cans diced tomatoes
3 cups vegetable broth
2-4 tbsp chili powder
salt & pepper to taste
1 cup heavy cream (optional)

1.) Soak the lentils for an hour or so or boil them for a bit - maybe for about 10 minutes.
2.) Saute garlic and onion until clear.
3.) Add lentils and bulgar, then toss in tomatoes and juice, and vegetable broth.  Add chili powder and salt and pepper.
4.) Bring to a boil, and then simmer for 20-30 minutes, adding more water/broth if necessary.
5.) Once lentils are soft and delicious, serve up and add heavy cream to taste.  I find I need a bit of it to help offset the heat of the chili powder.

You could also do this in a crockpot by just tossing everything in and cooking for 4-6 hours on low.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Breakfast for Dinner

Last night, we had a breakfast for dinner new year's party.  We served a five course tasting menu, consisting of:
-yogurt with homemade granola
-chocolate chip waffles with fresh whipped cream
-sausage and garlic-spinach-feta frittata
-breakfast quinoa
-sweet potato quiche cups and ham
-deep fried french toast and bacon

I thought I'd share the recipes for breakfast quinoa, since I'd heard about people eating it for breakfast but never tried it, and the frittata.

Breakfast Quinoa (serves 4, or 8 for a tasting menu)  (cook's note: DO NOT PUT THIS IN YOUR RICE COOKER.  IT WILL DESTROY IT.)
2 cups milk
2 cups quinoa (rinsed)
1 cup water
1/2 cup craisins
2 tbsp cinnamon sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream (optional)
1/4 cup brown sugar (optional)

1.) Combine milk, water, quinoa, craisins on a stove, stirring occasionally.  Cook on medium heat until fluffy for about 15 minutes, adding more water if desired.
2.) Add remaining cinnamon sugar, allow to cook until all liquid is absorbed.  Remove from heat.  Add heavy cream and brown sugar.
3.) Serve with maple syrup.

Garlic-Spinach-Feta Frittata (serves 4, or 8 for a tasting menu)
4 eggs (6 would probably be better, we were running short)
1/2 cup feta cheese
1/2 bag spinach
4-6 cloves garlic
1 small onion
1/2 cup milk
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 and use an oven safe skillet or stovetop pan.
1) Dice onion and garlic. Saute in olive oil or butter on medium heat until caralmelized.  Add spinach and saute until wilted.
2) Combine milk and eggs, add salt and pepper to taste.
3) Toss half the feta into the pan with the spinach, onions, and garlic.  Saute and spread evenly.
4) Add egg mixture and remaining feta on top of everything and continue to cook until about halfway cooked.
5) Bake for 10 minutes at 400 degrees.  Enjoy!

Hoping 2012 brings you many delicious treats!