Category Archives: 52Weeks

Don’t We Go

Banana Cream Pie

banana_cream_pie

A bit late, but finally have my post from Pi Day!  Since Pi Day was also game day I knew I had to make something, and it had to be something awesome.  Thankfully /r/52weeksofcooking pointed me in the right direction with their banana theme.  I had never made/had a banana cream pie but figured it couldn’t be too hard – just a more solid version of banana pudding.  I searched the internet for inspiration but most of them involved ingredients I didn’t have on hand, and since I was doing this last minute the day after an embryo transfer going to the store just wasn’t going to happen.  So I decided to use a custard recipe I acquired many moons ago and just modify it as needed.  For the crust I went with my standard push-in-pan using vanilla wafers.  One day I’ll figure out how to roll a pie crust but until then push-in-pan it is!

 

Banana Cream Pie

Serves: Serves 9 - 12

Ingredients

  • 2 very well ripened bananas
  • 1 cup greek yogurt
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • favorite crust

Instructions

  1. Puree the bananas with the greek yogurt and set aside.
  2. Heat a large sauce pan over medium heat, add the milk and sugar and bring to a low simmer. Meanwhile beat the eggs and vanilla together in a separate bowl.
  3. Slowly whisk the eggs and vanilla into the milk and continue to simmer for 5 minutes before mixing in the banana mixture. Continue cooking for 10 minutes, being sure to not let the mixture bowl.
  4. Meanwhile prepare your favorite crust.
  5. Remove custard mixture from burner and allow to cool for 30 minutes (or move to a freezer for 10)
  6. Preheat oven to 375. Pour the custard into the prepared crust and bake for 30 minutes. Turn heat to 250 and bake for a final 10 minutes or until custard is solid.
  7. Allow to cool then Serve topped with whipped cream!
http://dancingveggies.com/2015/03/dont-we-go.html

Hope your sweet tooth is ready for this week as I’ll have another dessert recipe on Wednesday as part of #15Cheesecakes!

On Patrol

Spinach and Shells

spinach_and_shells

Trying something new with my site, in theory things should now be MUCH faster and hopefully posts/updates will stop disappearing.   Today’s post is a healthier twist on my standard lazy night dinner, a recipe that started back in college as it is easily double and can be made on little to no sleep.  Just requires some pasta, a leafy vegetable, and shredded cheese of some form!  In college this normally meant thin spaghetti, frozen spinach with onions, and whatever fake stuff was on sale.  Now that I have a bit more money, and still no time, I’ve been able to upgrade this recipe while reducing the sodium that goes along with fake cheese and fake (or canned) vegetables.  It still comes together in under 30 minutes, so perfect for late nights after work or for a late lunch when the day is slipping away.   As a bonus – it’s a green dish perfect for St. Patrick’s day!!!

Shells with Spinach

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 3 basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 vidalia onion, chopped
  • 1/2 lb shells
  • 2 cups spinach, chopped
  • Parmesan cheese (optional)
  • Pepper (to taste)

Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat, then add the garlic and onion and cook for an additional 10 minutes before adding the basil.
  2. Meanwhile, cook the pasta per instructions then reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water before draining. Return the pasta, water, and garlic/onion mixture to the pasta pot.
  3. Stir in the spinach then top with cheese and season to taste with pepper and Enjoy!
http://dancingveggies.com/2015/03/on-patrol.html

I’m also sending this over to /r/52weeksofcooking for their hangover challenge as I’m fairly certain the first time I made this in college that was the case.   This recipe is also a great way to clean out the fridge or freezer, and no need to stick to just one vegetable!

Thinking Outloud

Sugar Cookies

sugar_cookies

Not a surprise to anybody who knows me in real life, but I’m a HUGE fan of reading – and have been from a very young age.  Reading was a way to escape to a different time or place or both and whether it be a galaxy “far far away” or a war between cousins, I’ve always had an appetite for expanding my world via the written word. Which is why I was BEYOND thrill to see /52weeksofcooking was doing a challenge based on book inspiration.  The hard part was finding a book to pick from the hundreds on my shelves, but in end I had to go with one of my favorite “YA” books.  Eleanor & Park is technically a YA book, but it’s also a great “remember when” book for anyone that grew up in the 80s – or anyone still bitter about the cancellation of My So Called Life (or Freaks and Geeks) during the 90s.  Without giving too much away, we’ll just say that Eleanor’s home life is bit rough and while she loves her mom things aren’t always the best between them.  However one happy moment between the two takes place in the kitchen when her mom dabs vanilla extract behind her ears as a cheaper perfume option.

'I do it,' her mom said, 'because it's cheaper 
than perfume, but it smells just as good.'

This smell is the one Park remembers, lingering while they are on the school bus – causing him to think of sugar cookies and other vanilla treats.  However, I knew that I couldn’t just make any sugar cookie to represent Eleanor & Park, it needed to have some sort of a twist.  So I decided to merge my favorite snickerdoodle recipe with my favorite sugar cookie recipe in order to create and sugar cookie with a bit of added texture and just slightly cracked.

Sugar Cookies

Serves: Yields 48 cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsps cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Cream the butter and add the sugar gradually - then blend for 10 minutes. Add eggs one at time, mixing well between additions, then add in the vanilla.
  2. Add the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt gradually to the creamed mixture, and combine until just mixed. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Line baking sheets with parchment paper or baking sheets.
  4. Roll dough in to two inch balls then place on the sheet - do not flatten!
  5. Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 8 -10 minutes or until cookie has a golden appearance
http://dancingveggies.com/2015/03/thinking-outloud.html

These cookies didn’t last long, becoming a treat for my co-workers to celebrate a recent achievement for one of then.  Before anyone gets concerned. I did allow Joe to have the ones in the photo as it’s only right to pay the photographer!

Stickin’ to

Offal Vinegar Veggies

sour_vegetables

There’s one thing for certain: /52weeksofcooking challenges certainly force me to think outside the box.  This week the challenge was “offal”, aka the parts of the animal that even the craziest of meat eaters tend to avoid.  While I have indulged in a few of them, mostly while overseas and always while a guest, I knew that I was going to have to be creative when it came time to find a way to vegetarianize this challenge.  Thankfully the mods are very flexible and open and extended the definition to includes parts of the vegetable that aren’t typically used.  While I generally save my scraps for vegetable soup, I had a lot of cabbage pieces and so decided to toss a bunch of scraps and peels in a pot with vinegar.  To make it a bit more substantial, I added some cannellini beans but these veggies would be fine sans beans along with some bbq tofu.

 

Stickin’ to

Serves 4 as a side

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/4 red onion, dced
  • 1 cup red cabbage, shredded
  • 1 cup green cabbage, shredded
  • 1/2 cup carrot, shredded
  • 1/2 cup beets, shredded
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups cannellini beans, presoaked and well rinsed.

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the red onion and cook for 5 minutes before adding the remaining vegetables.
  2. Cook for 10 minutes and then stir in the vinegar. Continue cooking for an additional 5 minutes before stirring in the beans. Mix well and then cook for a final 3 minutes, or until the beans are warm.
http://dancingveggies.com/2015/01/stickin-to.html

Certainly not your typical offal dish, but a great way for using up ingredients that might otherwise have been tossed.  It’s not often that we have leftover cabbage in the house but this was a great way to use those last few leafs – and the beets scraps turned everything a fantastic shade!

Gives a Smile

4 Cheese Pasta Bake

mushroom_spinach_bake 

Nothing like a dairy challenge to get my husband involved with planning a meal – so thank you /52weekofcooking for that!  He tossed around lots of ideas, and at least one of them will be making an appearance in a few weeks, but for today I’m sticking with a super cheesy pasta dish that comes together in record time.  In fact, if you have some pre-made sauce in the freezer this delicious dish can be on the table well within an hour of getting home!  This was also my first time testing out some treats from Gourmet Garden, which I got as part of a blog challenge I’m participating in come February.   As for the cheeses, well I just grabbed whatever I thought would work – and then grabbed a few more!

Gives a Smile

Serves: Serves 5-6

Ingredients

  • 1 lb angel hair pasta, precooked and set aside
  • 2 cups favorite pasta sauce
  • 1 vidalia onion, chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp Gourmet Garden Chunky Garlic Paste
  • 1 tsp Gourmet Garden Italian Herb Paste
  • 1 cup spinach, rinsed and chopped
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup baby bella mushrooms, diced
  • 1/2 cup shredded Provolone cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Mix the egg with the Parmesan cheese until smooth then stir in the two pastes along with the spinach, onion, and red pepper flakes. Set Aside
  3. Spread 2 tbsp of sauce along the inside of a 2qt casserole dish, to include the sides
  4. Spoon 1/3 of the pasta in the casserole dish, then top with half of the ricotta cheese, half of the mushrooms, half of the onion/egg mixture, and 1/4 cup of the provolone cheese and 1/2 cup of sauce. Repeat, switching the provolone with the mozzarella cheese. Top with the last of the pasta and cheeses before finishing with the remaining sauce (1 cup) and left over provolone and mozzarella cheeses.
  5. Bake for 35 minutes, or until cheese is brown on the edges and the sauce is bubbling. Allow to sit for 5 minutes before Serving!

Notes

If not using gourmet garden pastes, sub with three cloves of minced garlic and 1/2 tbsp dried Italian herb blend

http://dancingveggies.com/2015/01/gives-a-smile.html

Needless to say one must really enjoy cheese in order to enjoy this dish, so if you’re vegan or lactose intolerant this might be a good recipe to skip.  It can be easily adapted for gluten free by switching out the whole grain pasta for a gluten free variety, of which there are more and more available!  For even more vegetables, I love that there are more and more vegetable flavored pastas – tho it does keep me from making my own.   For a super healthy option, switch out the pasta entirely for spaghetti squash – just reduce the cooking time to 25 minutes to prevent the squash from becoming totally dried out.

I have to say, using the Gourmet Garden pastes really sped up the process – and the flavors were fantastic!  I only wish more of the pastes were vegan, with the collection I got only the ginger was whey free and while that isn’t a HUGE issue for me it would still be nice.  However the convenience of the products is insane and I love that the ingredients are all organic, plus it tells you right on the container how many fresh cloves, bunches, etc went in to the container.

 Note:  I received a bunch of Gourmet Garden pastes and herbs as part of the #TripleS blog challenge, which starts February 2nd.  I was not required to use the products, or post anything about them outside of acknowledging that I received them, so all opinions and experiences are my own.