Category Archives: Quick Weeknight Recipes

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.

Hot and Fresh

Mee Goreng: Malaysian Stir Fried Noodles

malaysian_stir_fry

This week’s challenge for /r/52weeksofcooking sent me back to Asia – this time to figure out a malaysian dish. I’ve always had a thing for noodles so was instantly drawn to the all the street noodle images popping up as I searched for recipes.  I also wanted something with a bit of heat, as I’m still trying to figure out how spicy I can get without it upsetting the little one.  I’ll admit that I’ve been avoiding spicy foods so happy this challenge came along to push me out of my comfort zone.

Street Noodles

Serves: Serves 4

Ingredients

1 lb rice noodles

1 tbsp vegetable oil

1/4 tsp fresh ginger

2 cloves garlic

2 carrots, chopped

1 lb bok choy, chopped - whites and greens separated

2 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp spicy chili sauce

1 tbsp black bean sauce

1 tsp rice vinegar

1 tsp sesame oil

Instructions

  1. Cook the noodles per instructions until al dente then rinse in cold water and set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a wok over medium heat, add the ginger, garlic, and scallions and cook for 5 minutes or until garlic turns golden.
  3. Add the carrots and the white part of the bok choy and cook for 10 minutes before adding the sauces. Stir in the sauces, then cover and cook for 10 minutes. Remove the lid then add the cooked noodles, rice vinegar, and the green part of the bok choy stir well and recover for a final 10 minutes, stirring regularly.
  4. Serve and enjoy!
http://dancingveggies.com/2016/03/hot-and-fresh.html

Even though we’re no longer around an Asian market my mom is, so I sent her on a shopping trip to get some ingredients for me.   I used Lee Kum Kee sauces for this dish as they are vegetarian and husband safe – the second part being more important!

So Save

Minestrone

minestrone_soup

Spring it starting to make it’s appearance, and with that soup season is slowly coming to an end.  We had a chilly blast this past weekend so I decided to do up a batch of minestrone – which is about as simple as it gets.  The ingredients are ones I almost always have on hand, if anything just have to buy the tomato juice.  Which makes it perfect for the “it came from a can” challenge over that /52weeksofcooking.  Instead of using frozen vegetables, just use a can of each: peas, corn, carrots, lima beans, etc – the point of this soup is to show that simple can be tasty.

Minestrone

Serves 4-5

Ingredients

1 tbsp vegetable oil

1 white onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, diced

2 sprigs rosemary, diced

1/2 tbsp fresh thyme

1 bay leaf, crushed

1 lb bag of frozen mixed vegetables (carrots, peas, corn, etc)

3 cups V8

2 cups vegetable stock

1 can crushed tomatoes, Italian style

1/2 cup acini de pepe (or other small pasta)

Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot or dutch oven. Add the garlic and onion and cook for 5 minutes, until lightly golden. Add the herbs and cook for another 2 minutes, stirring to prevent the herbs from burning.
  2. Add the mixed veggies, V8, stock, and crush tomatoes and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes, then turn heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes.
  3. Add the pasta and continue simmering for a final 20 minutes, or until pasta has cooked. Season to taste with salt/pepper.
  4. Serve and Enjoy!
http://dancingveggies.com/2016/03/so-save.html

Nothing like a dish that comes together in record time and only requires one pot.  I know that some people aren’t a fan of cooking pasta in soups but I love how doing so gives the pasta some extra flavor.  Plus the smaller pasta holds it shape better than the larger guys and don’t get as mushy.  However, for those who want more of an al dente taste – cooking the pasta per instructions and then place in the bottom of a bowl before pouring the soup over top.  For a real protein punch, add some garbanzo or great northern beans when adding the pasta or use lentils in place of the pasta.