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Archive for the ‘Dinner’ Category

I’ve been meaning to post this recipe for the past month.  Lately I’m loving the following things: (1) one-pot meals with tons of veggies; (2) frozen fish fillets from Costco; (3) dinners that come together quickly.  This dinner fills all three categories.  It pulls together without a lot of work (just a little chopping, but I like a little chopping at the end of the day – it helps me wind down from work and get into the evening frame of mind), and it’s a great way to use a few fish fillets without roasting or sauteeing them – my go-tos, but it’s good to mix things up.  We’ve been eating a lot of stew lately – lentil-vegetable; chicken and herb; or fish.  It’s nice healthy comfort food that I can whip up quickly so that the adults in the house can all eat a home-cooked meal before we begin the bedtime dance with Peanut.

Ingredients

1 tbsp cocnut oil
1 onion, large dice
1 sweet potato, large dice
kosher salt
1 bunch broccoli, large dice
1 can coconut milk
1 can diced tomatoes in juice
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
dash crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
2 tilapia filets, large dice

Method

  • In a Dutch oven or heavy saucepan, heat coconut oil over medium-high burner until oil has liquified.
  • Add diced onion and sweet potato to oil, season generously with kosher salt and saute until vegetables are beginning to brown, then add coconut milk and diced tomatoes.
  • Add spices and season again with another pinch of kosher salt.  Stir to combine well.  Replace lid and turn heat down to medium.  Allow to simmer for approximately 10 minutes, until sweet potatoes are half cooked.
  • Add corn, broccoli and tilapia, replace lid and simmer for another 10 minutes until fish is cooked through and all vegetables are done.  Serve immediately or turn heat to low and simmer for another 10 minutes (not necessary, but will help the flavors to marry).

Yield: Serves 4.

Source: Covered In Flour

(Nota Baker: You don’t have to precisely follow this recipe.  Use the veggies and the protein you happen to have lying around.  If you have chicken instead of tilapia, or zucchini instead of broccoli, that’s totally cool.  This is more of a formula than a recipe that you must follow to the letter.  And if you’re not interested in the coconut-curry flavor, use olive oil and broth, and herbs instead of the curry and spices.  It’s all about what sounds good to you in the moment.  Low-maintenance cooking win!)

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I did it!  I cooked!  I cooked like I used to cook – dreamed up a dish and set about throwing it together in the kitchen.  It’s been awhile.  I’ve been relying a lot (too much, maybe) on old staples like pasta with beans and goat cheese, Field Roast sausages, veggie-and-hummus snack plates, or big salads for dinner – all stuff that gets the job done, but dullsville and not really blogable.  It’s just been a challenge to get into the kitchen lately.  I’m completely wiped out when I get home from work, and all I want to do is lay on the couch with a book and shout out a running commentary on baby kicks.

But I was sick of relying on the easy staples and – although he’s far too nice to say so – I suspect hubby was too.  So last night I resolved to get my butt into the kitchen and create something new, something we could really enjoy.  This meal did the trick.  It was easy, packed with protein from the edamame and with nutrients from the carrots and cabbage, and with the wonderful rich flavor of tamari, which I just love.  I felt good eating it, and good after I finished, and I enjoyed every bite.  It turns out this meal isn’t just a flash in the pan (pun intended); I’m already planning out when I can have it again.  It’s going into my regular rotation… and maybe it will even inspire me to get back in the kitchen and whip up some new dishes on a more frequent basis.

Asian Noodles with Cabbage

Handful of udon noodles (or sub soba noodles or whole-wheat spaghetti)
5 carrots, peeled and grated
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup coleslaw mix (or sub finely shredded cabbage)
1 cup shelled frozen edamame
1 teaspoon Seaweed Gomasio (or sub white sesame seeds)
Salt and pepper
Several dashes tamari (or sub soy sauce)

  • Heat a pot of water to a rolling boil.  Salt generously and add udon noodles.  Cook according to package directions (mine called for 8-10 minutes at a low boil).
  • While udon noodles are cooking, heat a few dashes of olive oil in a separate nonstick pan until shimmering.  Add carrots, coleslaw mix, and edamame.  Season lightly with a sprinkle of salt (go easy on the salt though) and pepper, and saute until wilted down and until the edamame are warmed through.
  • Add Seaweed Gomasio and a few dashes of tamari to taste.  Continue cooking veggies over medium heat until the udon noodles are done.
  • Drain the udon noodles, then add to the pan with the vegetables.  Toss to combine well and taste for seasoning.  Add more tamari if necessary.  Serve immediately, or refrigerate for a chilled Asian pasta salad.

Source: Covered In Flour

Serves 2 as a main course, 4-6 as a side.

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Here’s another blast from the recipe archive past for you, because I’m on my second business trip of two weeks and have barely cooked in days.  And also because I love looking at my beautiful granite countertops from my old condo.  Sigh.  I haven’t made this recipe in a LONG time and now I’m thinking of picking up the ingredients next time I hit the market.  Stuffed peppers are one of my favorite foods… Hope you enjoy these!

This dinner started out planned, in my menu notebook, as Zucchini and Orzo Stuffed Peppers, a Giada de Laurentiis recipe.  But then a certain someone – who shall remain nameless – threw out my zucchini.  He thought it was a weird cucumber, apparently.  This sort of thing happens occasionally – little elves raid my produce drawer – and fortunately, I was prepared this time.  A few quick adjustments, some fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants sauteeing, and I had some incredibly delicious Eggplant and Orzo Stuffed Peppers on my hands.  You know what?  I like eggplant better anyway.

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Eggplant and Orzo Stuffed Peppers

2 Japanese eggplants, peeled and finely diced
4 Roma tomatoes, coarsely diced
1/4 cup full-bodied red wine, such as Cab or Zin (2012 edit: or sub mushroom broth)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/3 cup + 4 teaspoons freshly grated Parmesan
1/2 cup orzo
Kosher salt and cracked pepper to taste
4 red bell peppers
4 teaspoons Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs
Fresh chives

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and simultaneously begin heating vegetable oil (a moderate amount) in a saute pan, and water in a saucepan.  Add the diced eggplant to the saucepan, season with salt, and saute until browned and crispy in parts, soft in others.
  • Add red wine – not too much, just enough to deglaze the pan.  Stir eggplant around and be careful to scoop up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.  Add cracked pepper and dried oregano.
  • Meanwhile, cook orzo until al dente, according to the instructions on the box.  Drain and reserve.
  • When eggplant starts to smell too divine for words (it’s a scientific process), add diced tomato and stir just until warm.  Dump the whole mess into a bowl and stir in 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan and orzo.
  • Prepare the red peppers – slice off the top (and if necessary, a tiny sliver from the bottom so the peppers will stand upright in the baking dish).  Carefully cut out the ribs and remove the seeds, but don’t bother being too terribly precise.
  • Scoop the eggplant and orzo filling into the red pepper shells.  Top with breadcrumbs, remaining Parmesan, and a drizzle of olive oil on each pepper.
  • Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 20-25 minutes, until tops are golden and peppers are slightly soft.  Let cool slightly before serving.
  • Garnish with chopped fresh chives, if desired.

Yield: Serves 4 moderately hungry people (with sides) or 2 very hungry people.

Source: Adapted from Giada’s Kitchen, by Giada de Laurentiis

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Ahhhh, spring.  One of my favorite things about you is the new vegetables.  Beans, peas, fennel, new potatoes… this is when I venture back out to the farmers’ market after too many months spent eating kale and winter squash.  Everything is just beginning – the farmers and the customers are all getting warmed up for the bounty that’s coming our way in summer.  But to ignore spring because we’re so excited about tomatoes and stone fruits would be a mistake.  There are so many delicious new veggies making their appearance right now.

So, while at the King Street Farmers’ Market I decided to take advantage of the new season by throwing together a tasty, healthy pasta dish.  I picked up whatever looked good from the market and my grocery store and ended up with fennel and green beans.  I had originally planned to augment the dish with frozen peas, but apparently I ran out.  (How did that happen?)  So I tossed some corn in there instead and put goat cheese on my portion for extra calcium and protein.  This was supposed to be our Easter dinner (in our non-ham-eating household, we go non-traditional and focus on spring flavors instead of the “quintessential” Easter ham feast).  But neither of us was hungry at dinnertime on Easter, so it became a weeknight meal instead – and was plenty easy and quick enough to throw together after work.  I love those multi-tasking meals, the ones that are fancy enough to serve for a special occasion but easy enough to make on a random Wednesday.  Hope you like this one!

Roasted Spring Vegetable Pasta

2 fennel bulbs, cleaned, trimmed and thickly sliced
1 bunch green beans, cleaned and chopped
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
kosher salt and fresh pepper
1 cup frozen peas or corn
handful dried linguini strands
goat cheese (optional)
fresh herbs (optional)

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Line a baking sheet with tinfoil.  Toss fennel, beans, oil, salt and pepper until vegetables are well-seasoned.  Roast for 20 minutes, tossing once midway through.
  • After vegetables have been roasting 20 minutes, add frozen corn or peas and toss to combine.  Roast an additional 10-15 minutes, checking often, until vegetables are cooked to your satisfaction.
  • Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil and salt generously.  Add linguini (or other pasta, but I think the long flat strands work best) and cook according to package directions.
  • When linguini isal dente, remove from water and place in bowls.  Remove vegetables from oven and top with generous portion of vegetables.  If desired, garnish with crumbled goat cheese and/or fresh herbs.

Yield: Serves 2-4 as a main course.

Source: Covered In Flour

(Nota Baker: You don’t need to follow this recipe exactly or use the precise vegetables I’m calling for.  These are the vegetables I used – or, in the case of the peas, wanted to use but was cruelly thwarted.  Use what you like, what you have on hand, or what looks good at the market.  Like all of my fridge-clearing recipes, this pasta is versatile and will be great with whatever vegetables you want to use.  Don’t feel wedded to what I did!  I just called for these vegetables in the recipe because that’s what I used, and there’s a picture up there, and I didn’t want anyone to say “Hey, I see beans in there, how come they’re not in the recipe?”  Okay?)

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Whenever my best friend visits – which isn’t often enough if you ask me – we spend weeks before the visit brainstorming and debating what we should cook together.  We both love to be in the kitchen and there is really nothing that we’d rather do when we’re together than cook.  Oh, it’s not just cooking – we talk, laugh, bump into each other, make a gigantic mess and have the time of our lives while we’re cooking.  And one of my favorite things about cooking with R is that we can do all of that stuff while we cook.  You see, R actually knows how to cook.  (In fact, she taught me.)  So she doesn’t need to be supervised while she creates a delicious dish in my kitchen.  She doesn’t need assignments and detailed instructions.  Aside from questions like “Where do you keep the silicone spatulas?” R is blessedly self-directed in my kitchen (and I’m the same way in hers).  It makes it easy to cook side-by-side.  For instance, I’d love to claim credit for making this gorgeous flatbread, but I didn’t make it – R did.  She made it at my kitchen island while I stood next to her, mixing up a pear and blackberry crisp with pecan topping.  (My dessert went un-photographed, and hence un-blogged, but don’t worry – there will be other crisps this summer.)  This flatbread was a last-minute menu item; we had been planning to make a gratin until R had one for dinner the previous night.  So, instead, we went to Whole Foods and wandered around until the spirit moved us to make something resembling pizza.  It just goes to prove that sometimes the last-minute items are the best.  It was crispy and chewy, creamy from the mascarpone, and savory from the mushrooms and onions.  Perfection, a la R.

Mushroom and Mascarpone Flatbread

semolina flour
1 ball store-bought pizza dough (or homemade, if you’re an overachiever)
extra-virgin olive oil
1 container gourmet mix or shiitake mushrooms
1 onion (or leek!), thinly sliced
pinch kosher salt
pinch minced fresh thyme
1 container mascarpone cheese

  • Place a pizza stone in oven.  Preheat oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit (or other temperature as called for by your pizza dough).  Allow pizza stone to preheat for 20 minutes after the oven reaches 500 degrees.
  • When stone is preheated, scatter a small handful of semolina flour over a pizza peel.  Stretch pizza dough into a rough circle approximately the size of the pizza peel.  Brush dough circle with olive oil.  Using peel, transfer dough to oven and allow to cook approximately 20-30 minutes, until golden brown.  (The precise time will depend on your oven and on how cold your dough was and how thinly you stretched it out – so just watch it.  It may take less time; it may take more.)  When dough is golden, remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.
  • While pizza dough is cooking, heat a splash of olive oil in a nonstick pan.  Add mushrooms, season with kosher salt and saute until beginning to brown.  Add onions and continue cooking until soft.  When mushrooms and onions are completely cooked, remove from heat and stir in fresh thyme.
  • When pizza dough has cooled slightly, spread mascarpone cheese over dough in a thin layer.  Pour mushroom and onion mixture in a thin layer over cheese.  Slice, garnish with additional thyme sprigs, and serve.

Source: Covered In Flour (and R!)

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Bean Chili with Quinoa

All right, all right, I know I’m about a week and a half late with this one.  You’re all shaking your heads – yes, you, I see you – saying “Where was this recipe for Superbowl Sunday?”  Yeah, sorry about that.  I was behind with recipes.  But the good news is twofold: (1) it’s still cold out, so you have plenty of opportunities to eat chili before spring sets in; and (2) this is a really good way to use up extra quinoa.  Because I know you always have extra quinoa lying around!  (No?  Just me?)  Actually, this is a great pantry dinner for those meals you have to put together when it’s been awhile since you made it to the grocery store and you’re looking for something healthy.  You could easily do canned beans with this, or you could use some Slow Cooker Beans for extra deliciousness.  Either way, this protein-packed entree is definitely going to be one of my staples from now until spring.  Enjoy!

Bean Chili with Quinoa

1/2 onion, diced
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 batch Slow Cooker Beans (or sub two cans of black beans)
1 cup cooked quinoa
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon coriander
salt and pepper to taste
cilantro, grated cheddar and/or plain Greek yogurt for optional garnish

  • In a large cast-iron pot over medium heat, warm olive oil until shimmering.  Add onion and saute until golden.
  • Add beans, quinoa, and tomatoes and stir to combine.
  • Add spices, salt and pepper and taste.  Adjust seasonings as necessary.
  • Simmer over medium-low heat for 30 minutes, then serve with “fixins.”

Source: Covered In Flour

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Slow Cooker Beans

A few years ago, I got a slow cooker for Christmas from my mother-in-law.  I was extremely excited about this gift.  I had big plans for tossing ingredients in while I had breakfast and coming home to find a wonderful finished meal just waiting for me.  Then I discovered that hubby views the slow cooker as a fire hazard and will only allow us to use it when we’re home to babysit it all day.  I try to explain that this defeats the purpose of the slow cooker, but my protests have fallen on deaf ears so far.  And that, friends, is why you have never seen a slow cooker recipe on here!

Until today.  I have been meaning to learn how to use the slow cooker to make beans.  Yes, I know they’re better when they simmer on the stovetop all day, but I’m not picky about beans that I’m going to turn into chili or soup or other dishes.  (If they’re destined to be eaten on their own, now, that’s another story.)  Although it would still be more convenient to set the beans to cook while I’m at work, until hubby is convinced that the house won’t burn down if we leave the slow cooker on all day, my bean-cooking is a Saturday enterprise.  But it does help to be able to make a large batch of beans to use in different dishes all week… even if I have to be home and staring at the darn slow cooker the entire time.

Slow Cooker Beans

1 pound dried beans of your choice (I used Rancho Gordo)
water
1 tablespoon oregano
1 tablespoon thyme

  • Combine beans and herbs in slow cooker and cover with approximately 1 inch of water.
  • Set slow cooker to cook on low for 8 hours.  Walk away.
  • Come back 8 hours later.  Done!

Source: Covered In Flour (use your own slow cooker’s instruction manual to verify cooking temps and times)

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