Category Archives: Quick Weeknight Recipes

Big Noise

Simple Beet Salad

beets

Summer is most certainly here – hitting over 100 degrees earlier this week before the heat index!  I’m trying to stay as cool as possible in the house, so avoiding the oven as much as possible.  Thankfully the local farmers’ markets are BOOMING with fresh and delicious produce making it super easy to make healthy dinners that don’t require much cook time.  With this simple salad the trick is to slice the beets on the thin side so that they can be cooked in under 7 minutes, nice and crispy on the outside and melt in your mouth delicious in the middle.

Big Noise

Ingredients

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

3 tbsps shallots, thinly sliced

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

6 medium beets, peeled and sliced (about 1 lb)

3 ounces soft fresh goat cheese, coarsely crumbled

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. The night before, place the beets and oils in a tupperware and toss well.
  2. 10 minutes before supper, heat a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the beets in a single layer and cook for 3-5 minutes or until crispy - then flip and repeat.
  3. Turn heat off and leave beets in pan to slightly cool. Season to taste with salt and pepper - and do a final stir in the oils.
  4. Remove to salad plates and top with goat cheese.
http://dancingveggies.com/2016/07/big-noise.html

To make it even quicker to get dinner on the table, I prepped them the night before so that they could soak in the oils.   We enjoyed these with a cold pasta salad, which had also been prepped the night before!  I find it so much easier to cook right before bed (and after dessert) and since it’s cooler outside the kitchen doesn’t become a mini-furnace.

In my Head

Sugared Wine Grapes & 

Garlic Chive Fries 

fries wine-graps

Welcome to a special themed edition of the Secret Recipe club!!!  Whenever a month has 5 weeks the 5th week gets a special theme and is open to members across all of the groups!  The special theme for today is Picnic/BBQ which is rather perfect for Memorial Day.  I was given The Cookaholic Wife which is run by Nichole who is “owned” by Gidget and Itty von Kat – her adorable cats!  I might be a dog person but totally understand the concept of being owned by a pet 😀  I totally failed this month at picking one recipe – but it’s a special day so that makes it okay to do two, right?!?!?  First up: garlic-chive fries!  Garlic + potatoes = WINNER!!!  We had friends over for dinner and these fries were devoured in minutes – and for once my hubby didn’t feel the need to coat his fries in Old Bay.   Next up: Frozen Wine Grapes.  These were the dessert for the same dinner and omgoodness they just made the entire dinner seem so fancy.  The best part is I was able to make them during baby’s morning nap, freeing me up in the afternoon to tidy up the place.  Love love love anything that can be done in advance!

Garlic Chive Fries

Serves: Serves 4

Ingredients

2 large russet potatoes

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 tbsp. fresh chives, chopped

1 tbsp minced garlic

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

Instructions

  1. Cut the russet potatoes into fries using a sharp knife or mandolin - making them as even as possible.
  2. Preheat oven to 450
  3. Place into a bowl and add the remaining ingredients tossing well to make sure the fries are coated. Pour onto a cookie sheet in a single layer. Bake for 12 minutes then flip and bake a final 12 minutes.
  4. Allow to cool slightly then serve and Enjoy!!!
http://dancingveggies.com/2016/05/in-my-head.html

With the fries the only change I made was using minced garlic in place of the garlic salt while the grapes were perfect as is so head over to Nichole’s blog for that recipe!!!   These grapes could also be added to a sangria to give it an extra punch or as a practical alternative to a travel ice bag to make sure your food stays cool while heading to a bbq or picnic.

A bonus reason why you should check out Nichole’s blog?!?!  She’s another Maryland blogger!  I’ll overlook that she prefers Delaware to MD’s Eastern Shore, after all nobody is perfect!  I’m actually finishing this post up from MD’s Eastern Shore so I might be a bit partial.

Can Dream

Cheese Sticks

Cheese Sticks

Happy May Reveal Day!  This month I was once again partnered with Erin of Making Memories with My Kids for Group A of the Secret Recipe Club.  Her blog is full of fantastic recipes and awesome science experiments – so lots of awesome things to look at.  I was apparently craving carbs when I was checking out her blog as every recipe I flagged was hardcore sinful.  Top of the list were (and are) her apple fritters but every time I got to the store I was unable to nab some Pink Ladies.  Luckily I was able to find some awesome cheddar cheese allowing me to make her fantastic Cheese Sticks!!!   These delicious treats are made using ingredients that I normally have on hand but decided to go the distance and get some really good cheese.  I went for some Vermont Extra Sharp as well as some Vermont Mild White – which is why mine aren’t as vivid as Erin’s!  I also added minced garlic in place of the garlic powder as I prefer the fresh stuff, no risk of vampires in this house!

Cheese Sticks

Serves: Makes 45 three inch pieces (9 snakes)

Ingredients

3 10 ounce bricks sharp Cheddar Cheese, room temperature

1 cup butter, softened

3 1/2 cups flour

2 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. black pepper

1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

2 garlic cloves, minced

Instructions

  1. Put softened cheese and butter in the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer and beat for 30 minutes or until mixture has consistency of whipped cream.
  2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Sift 3 cups of the flour, salt, pepper and cayenne pepper. Gradually add the seasoned flour to the cheese mixture by large spoonfuls, beating well after each addition. Add until the dough is somewhat stiff - adding the final 1/2 cup of flour if needed
  4. Portion the dough into nine balls - one at a time roll out into a snake formation going the length of the cookie sheet.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown and crisp. While still on the sheet cut into three inch strips and allow to sit for 5 minutes before removing to finish cooling on a wire rack.
  6. Serve and Enjoy!
http://dancingveggies.com/2016/05/can-dream.html

Lesson learned on this: read the recipe all the way!  My sticks weren’t nearly as pretty or evenly cooked as I missed the part about having a cookie press which is one of the few kitchen tools I don’t own.   These disappeared pretty quickly here, with both of us enjoying these with dinner and then again for breakfast!  I enjoyed them slightly warm and toasty while Joe was eating them however they were available. Needless to say another successful SRC recipe! I can’t wait to see what June has in store – but first there will be a bonus BBQ and Picnic SRC recipe at the end of the month.

Wish You

Spaghetti with Skinny Green Onion Sauce

skinny_green_onion

Welcome to a BONUS Secret Recipe Club posting – this time from Group C!  The best part of posting with a different group is being able to explore blogs I wouldn’t otherwise be exposed to as I’m not the best at checking when other groups post.  I was sent to Adina’s Where is My Spoon which is full of family friendly recipes.  Since I only had a few hours to find a recipe I got straight to work to find a recipe that was already vegetarian as I knew I wouldn’t have the time to adjust it.  Luckily a recent green onion series led me to a deliciously fantastic pasta – Spaghetti with Skinny Green Onion Sauce!  I had to make a few adjustments as my store did not have any decent looking tomatoes but they did have some great looking mushrooms – so I subbed in a can of diced tomatoes.  I also omitted the vegetable stock as I forgot to pick it up (oops).

Wish You

Serves: Serves 5-6

Ingredients

1 lb spaghetti

2 green or red bell peppers, diced

1 bunch green onions, diced

1 cup wild mushrooms, diced

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp Gourmet Garden Italian herbs

1 tbsp Gourmet Garden Chunky Garlic

1 cup low-fat milk (2%)

4 tbsp low-fat cream cheese

1 cup reserved pasta water or vegetable stock

3 tbsp tomato paste

1 can diced tomatoes, Italian style

salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a deep skillet over medium heat. Add the bell pepper along with the green onions and mushrooms and saute for 5-7minutes. Add the Italian herbs and the garlic and continue to cook for 5 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile prepare the pasta per the box. Before draining, reserve 1 cup of the water. Set aside the pasta.
  3. In a small bowl mix together the pasta water, cream cheese, tomato paste, and milk. Stir into the green pepper mixture along with the diced tomatoes. Bring to a bowl, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes before adding the pasta.
  4. Season to taste with salt and pepper then Serve and Enjoy!
http://dancingveggies.com/2016/03/wish-you.html

This sauce was fantastic!  It was creamy, tomatoey, and quick – which is key these days.   As a bonus, it can easily become gluten free by switching out the pasta.  To make things even quicker, I used some Gourmet Garden herb pastes that I had left from Fresh Tasty Valentine.  I put this together after working my first post-baby convention and running on fumes.  A few other recipes that I flagged for later are her broccoli cauliflower meatballs and her lentil quinoa carrot salad which sounds perfect for summertime.

Can I get

Three Cheese Swiss Chard

Mac & Cheese

mac_n_cheese

Sometimes it’s fun to be a bit indulgent, for example using three types of cheese to make mac & cheese.  I try to keep my dairy intake to a reasonable amount as I’m slightly lactose intolerant but sometimes have to just take a lactaid and enjoy the cheesiness of life!  In attempt to tease myself into thinking this dish is at all healthy, I added some swiss chard.  Regardless, it’s all 52weeksofcookings fault as they were the ones who posted a Mac and Cheese challenge – so totally blaming them for all the calories in this dish!

Can I get

Serves: Serves 4-5

Ingredients

1 lb small shells

2 tbsp butter

2 garlic cloves

2 tbsp flour

2 cups milk

1/2 tsp yellow mustard

1/2 cup shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese

1/2 cup shredded colby jack

1/2 cup shredded monterey jack

2 cups swiss chard, torn

salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Cook the shells per instructions on box until just under al dente. Drain, rinse, then return to pot and set aside.
  2. While shells are cooking, melt the butter in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 5 minutes before stirring in the flour. Slowly whisk in the milk, breaking up any clumps that form. Then add the yellow mustard and stir in.
  3. Begin adding the shredded cheese to the milk, allowing each bit to melt before adding more. Once all the cheese has been added pour over the pasta.
  4. Put the pasta pot with the cheese sauce over medium heat and cook for an additional 5 minutes or until pasta is fully cooked. Toss in the swiss chard and stir - allowing the leaves to wilt.
  5. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
http://dancingveggies.com/2016/03/can-i-get.html

This Mac&Cheese is so rich that we actually had leftovers for lunch the next day which is something that normally doesn’t happen.  I warmed everything back up on the stove, adding just a bit of olive oil as this dish did not need more diary.  Joe then topped his with Old Bay (shocker!) while I enjoyed mine as is.