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.
1 tbsp cocnut oil
1 onion, large dice
1 sweet potato, large dice
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
- 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!)
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.
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
- 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
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?)
Well, it’s December. Month of card-writing, gift-wrapping, cookie-baking and party-attending. Not to mention all those loose ends you’re probably trying to tie up at work before the end of the year. Are you completely overwhelmed yet? Ready to throw in the towel? Or still trucking along with some holiday spirit?
If you’re feeling a little bit under the gun, you’re not alone. I know the feeling. I know it well. I’ve had some dark moments where I’m pretty sure that my to-do list is longer than my driveway. And I’ve learned from experience – there’s only one way to get through the month with sanity intact, and that’s to make a priority of taking care of myself. Just because it’s the holiday season doesn’t mean that I stop mattering. I still deserve yummy, healthy, nutrient-rich meals and time to exercise. I still deserve to practice basic self-care, and dangit, I WILL practice basic self-care. The cards will get written, the gifts bought, and the house cleaned and decorated. But at the end of the month, I’ll still be smiling. Because that’s what I deserve. And so do you!
Here’s a good place to start: a light and delicious soup packed full of nutritious fresh vegetables. You can follow my recipe or adapt it to whatever happens to be knocking around your crisper drawer. The more veg, the merrier! So go to town on those beans and veggies… and I promise you’ll feel nourished, loved, and ready to take on those holiday-shopper crowds. Veggie power!
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 white onion, diced
~1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 carrots, peeled and diced
3 celery ribs, washed and diced
2 medium red potatoes, scrubbed and diced
1 cup diced haricots verts
1 1/2 cup frozen yellow corn
1 can chickpeas or cannellini beans, drained
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
- Heat olive oil until shimmering in a large saucepan or stock pot. Add onions and salt, and saute until translucent.
- Add carrots and celery and saute with onions until slightly softened.
- Add remaining vegetables, chickpeas and dried thyme, and saute until thyme is fragrant.
- Add tomatoes and broth and stir to combine (and deglaze pot, if necessary). Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer 25-30 minutes until flavors are melded. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary.
Source: Covered In Flour
Frittatas are a standby in my kitchen – one of the easiest dinners imaginable, with endless variations so you never get bored. You can throw absolutely anything into a frittata, and it’ll be delicious. Well… maybe not anything. Chocolate cake, for instance, would make a pretty weird frittata. But almost anything else is welcome. I’ve made frittatas with chicken sausage, feta cheese, and all kinds of other ingredients. They are one of my favorite fridge-clearing meals and one of the simplest things to whip up after a long day at work. I load them up with lots of veggies to make them filling and boost the nutrition. They are also good at room temperature, which makes them great for brunches, and they are surprisingly delicious cold in a sandwich for lunch the next day – essentially, my perfect go-anywhere-do-anything dish. To make them even easier, I oven bake them rather than cooking them on the stovetop and flipping them – a method I saw on “Everyday Italian.” Bless Giada for making my life so much easier and filled with frittatas!
Yes, I really love my Emile Henry Artisan baking dish in Pommeterra. Why do you ask?
Tomato and Goat Cheese Frittata
7-8 large eggs (try to get organic, free-range brown eggs if you can)
1/4 cup milk
3 Roma tomatoes
2 ounces Chevre
1/4 cup Parmesan (freshly grated if possible)
salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray an 8×8 baking dish with Pam and set aside.
- Crack eggs into a large mixing bowl and whisk quickly to break up the yolks.
- Add milk, salt and pepper and whisk vigorously to combine.
- Slice scallions thinly and dice tomatoes coarsely. Add to mixture. Break Chevre into mixture and grate in Parmesan cheese. Stir gently to combine all ingredients.
- Pour into baking dish and bake for 30 minutes, until center of frittata is just set. Let cool briefly and then slice.
Serves 4 for a light dinner with a green salad on the side.
Note: You don’t have to oven bake this frittata, of course. I like it because it’s pretty much as easy as falling out of bed. But if you’re a frittata traditionalist or just have a super cool frittata pan that you like to use, feel free to follow your usual method for stovetop cooking.
Source: Covered In Flour, inspired by Giada de Laurentiis
Despite the title of this blog, I am actually something of a neat freak. Although I do flail about and throw flour everywhere while I bake, I’m an extremely tidy cook and am very conscientious about cleaning my condo – particularly the kitchen, since I spend so much of my time there. But one cleaning chore that I geniunely hate is cleaning the refrigerator – especially the dreaded produce drawers. Mostly, I hate doing this because it bums me out. I end up throwing so much away – mostly vegetables that were intended for dinners which never materialized, because I worked late or came home exhausted or forgot about happy hour plans I had made when I wrote my weekly menu. Throwing that stuff away makes me sad, partly because I hate to waste anything (especially money, and since I shop at Whole Paycheck, it really is like tossing cash down the drain) and because I was really looking forward to those dinners that never happened.
The solution? Make something out of nothing. I’m good at this – you should have seen my 1L Torts outline.
I don’t always succeed, but I try not to get to the point where I have to throw food away. Instead, once a week I try to do a fridge-clearing meal and actually use those vegetables that would otherwise be thrown out on the next market day. Because I like alliteration and keeping my husband on his toes, I come up with cute, catch-all names for the dinners, like “Pantry Pasta” or “Fridge Frittata” so that he never knows what he’s going to get for dinner that night. (Evil laughter.) These dinners don’t really take to being written down in recipe form, but here’s one I made recently. Alter as you see fit, depending on what’s languishing in your vegetable drawer…
Roasted Vegetable Pasta Sauce
2 Japanese eggplants
1 red bell pepper
1 orange bell pepper
1 cup shredded carrot
1 28-ounce can crushed San Marzano tomatoes
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 dried bay leaf
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons light cream (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
- Cut eggplants and peppers into medium-sized chunks. Toss on a baking sheet with extra-virgin olive oil, kosher salt and pepper. Roast in a 450 degree oven for approximately 40-45 minutes (keep an eye on it) tossing halfway through.
- Bring remaining ingredients to a simmer over medium-low heat. Stir in roasted vegetables and simmer together 20 minutes. Remove bay leaf.
- Process in a blender or in the pot with an immersion blender until sauce reaches the consistency you prefer. Stir in Parmesan cheese and cream, if using, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
You can serve this over any pasta that you happen to have in your pantry. I served it over whole wheat spaghettini, but it would also work well with linguine, penne, rigatoni or cavatappi, either classic or whole wheat.
Source: Covered In Flour