Category Archives: Simple and In Season

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.

Want me Baby

Butternut Squash Lasagna

butternut_squash_lasagna

I’m not a fan of fall weather, even more so when it comes to the season after fall, but I am a fan of many of the vegetables that pop up during these chilly months.  From the winter squashes, to the greens, to the delicious root vegetables – the fall is well stocked with delicious vegetables. Today’s treat features a number of those goodies, including some of the last of the produce from the Farmer’s Market at my office.  Butternut Squash is a familiar vegetable in our house and it really seems to go with everything.  In this case I added some swiss chard, baby kale, and some mashed pie pumpkin (thought the variety was called baby boy but that just resulted in lots of baby costumes) that was leftover from making the pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.

Want me Baby

Ingredients

1 pack of lasagna noodles (ready to use or pre-cooked)

1 medium butternut squash, halved lengthwise

2 cloves garlic

1 tbsp butter, unsalted

1 cup mashed pumpkin

2 cups kale, chopped

1 cup spinach, chopped

1 cup swiss chard, chopped

1 1/3 cups favorite alfredo sauce

1 cup ricotta, divided

1 1/3 cup mozzarella, divided (shredded or fresh sliced)

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425. Lightly oil a roasting pan and place butternut squash in roasting pan cut side down. Bake for 45 minutes. Flip squash in pan cut side up and use a melon spoon, or fork, to remove flesh to a blender. Add garlic and butter and puree until slightly smooth.
  2. Turn oven down to 350
  3. Line the bottom of a 9x9 pan with a 1/3 cup of the sauce and spread around, to include the sides of the pan. Place the first layer of noodles, trimming as needed to prevent overlap. Spoon 1/3 of the butternut squash and pumpkin purees on the noodle. Then top with a third of the greens, 1/3 cup of ricotta, and 1/3 of the Mozzarella. Spoon 1/3 cup of the sauce on top and spread evenly.
  4. Add the next layer of noodles and repeat the layers, then top with the final layer - ending with noodles. Top with the last of the sauce, then the last of the mozzarella (1/3 cup) and the Parmesan cheese.
  5. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes, the cheese should be a light golden brown on the edge and the cheese should be bubbling.

Notes

If using cubed butternut squash, reduce roasting time to 15 minutes and flip at halfway point. For a GF variety, use brown rice lasagna noodles!

http://dancingveggies.com/2014/11/want-me-baby.html

Lasagna will never be a healthy dinner option, and it’s not always the most budget-friendly option, but it will always be something delicious and hearty and fantastic.  I figured that if I only make it a few times a year it’s not that bad…right???  I’m sending this recipe over to November’s Secret and in Season, which is being hosted by Katie of FeedingBoys and was founded by the awesome Ren.   There are so many delicious fall recipes being linked up over there, I can’t wait to give them a whirl!!!

Come True

Acorn Squash with Dried Fruit

acorn_squash

When I saw the challenge for /r/52weeksofcooking was Native American – I was a bit nervous but not for any of the normal reasons.  Recently there has been some uproar on blogger “feedback” sites about the insensitivity of bloggers as it relates to other cultures/religions/practices with a focus on cultural approbation.  While I would hope that posting a recipe would not be considered cultural stealing,  I still paused to weigh if it would be worth being a potential target on one of those more venomous sites, especially after “yelpgate” a few weeks ago.   In the end I decided that sharing recipes should always be allowed, regardless of where (or where not) a person is from.  After all, everyone has to eat!

 

Acorn Squash with Dried Fruit

Serves 4-5

Ingredients

1 tbsp oil

3 cloves garlic, diced

1 vidalia onion, diced

1/2 tbsp fresh thyme

1 tbsp fresh rosemary

1 lb acorn squash, partially peeled and diced (reserve 1/4 cup of the seeds)

1 1/2 cups wild rice

3 cups vegetable stock (or water)

1/2 cup cranberries

1/4 cup golden raisins

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat. Add the garlic, squash seeds, and onion and cook for 7 minutes before adding the herbs. Stir well and cook for a minute.
  2. Add the diced acorn squash and cook for 10 minutes, or until soft and shiny - stir frequently to prevent sticking.
  3. Add the wild rice, stir well and allow to soak up some of the liquid in the pan before adding the water/stock. Bring to a boil, then cover, and turn heat to low. Simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. Remove lid, stir, and add the cranberries along with the raisins. For a more "stewlike" option serve now - or wait 5 minutes and Serve!
http://dancingveggies.com/2014/10/come_true.html

 In the end,  it’s a balancing act – and I can only hope that this post strikes the right note as I would really like to avoid getting messages (again) about how I need to be hit by a truck.  I enjoyed this dish as is, while my cheese loving spouse adding some Parmesan Cheese to his.  I think in the future I’ll go full stew, instead of debating back and forth while making the dish.

I’m also sending this over to Simple and in Season, hosted by the always fabulous Ren Behan since Acorn Squash is in its prime right now – and there is something very fall-like when it comes to dried fruit treats.

Everything is Awesome

Summer Pasta Salad

Pasta Salad

I’m a firm believer in go-to-recipes – ones that always turn out perfect and can be varied to fit the event.  Pasta salad has the advantage of being not only an easy recipe but one of those recipes that can also unite vegans and meat-eaters.  Growing up my mom had her go-to variation and my first few pasta salads were basically her recipe – but over time I decided to branch out and have established my own “standard”.  While a few of the characters might change based on what’s growing in the garden, I keep the same dressing and rarely ever switch out the beans!

Everything is Awesome

Serves: Serves 5-6, as a side

Ingredients

1 lb tri-color rotini

1 tsp garlic scrapes, diced (or 2 cloves garlic, diced)

1/2 vidalia onion,

1 cucumber, sliced

2 carrots, diced

2 cups cannellini beans, presoaked and well washed

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp white wine vinegar

3 basil leaves, chopped

2 argula leaves, chopped

1/4 cup feta, crumbled

Instructions

  1. Cook the pasta per box instructions, then drain and rinse with cold water.
  2. Meanwhile prepare the vegetables and place in a large pyrex bowl. Mix together the olive oil, vinegar, and herbs.
  3. Toss the pasta with the vegetables then stir in the dressing.
  4. Top with feta (optional) - then serve and enjoy!
http://dancingveggies.com/2014/07/everything-is-awesome.html

I generally enjoy this pasta salad with bbq tofu but with the addition of the beans it works just fine as a cold dinner – and generally it is eaten solo for lunch the next day.  It can also be made in advance, just be sure to add a tbsp of EVOO to the bowl and then toss well in order to insure it doesn’t dry out.  I’m sending this over to July’s Simple and in Season since everything about this recipe screams summertime!  This month Sally at MyCustardPie is hosting this awesome round up as our normal hostess is quite occupied with a new baby boy!

In gardening news I’ve now harvested almost a dozen cherry tomatoes, with more popping up every day!  I’ve also collected two jalapenos, what is most likely the last of my argula (which was used in this recipe!), and I’m still waiting on my first eggplants.  There’s a chance I’ll need to pull my veggies inside later this week, something about  a July Polar Vortex – which is another advantage of having a pot garden!

In the Real World

Corn Bisque with Avocado

Corn Bisque

Good morning (evening???) and welcome to June’s installment of the Secret Recipe Club!!!  I have to say being a member of Group A means that my blogging month always starts off with a bang in the flavor department – and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  This month I was partnered up with the Cookaholic Wife, and after reading her about page it turns out we have a lot in common.  We were both married in 2010, we’re both on the verge of turning 30 (eeek!), and we both live in Baltimore 😀 For an added chill, you can switch our anniversary and birth months since we’re virgos that got married in April – so needless to say  I think Nicole is rather awesome.   Her blog is also stuffed to the rim with delicious recipes featuring ingredients that are easy to locate – but since we’re in the same city that does make a bit of sense.   I first debated making her Onion Dip, as a tribute to the crap dip that got her started on the blogging path, but I could not get the idea of her Corn Bisque out of my head.   Corn chowders are one of my favorite winter soups and the idea of a light and springy corn soup just spoke to my belly on a deep level.   I did make a few in changes to the recipe to cut back on cholesterol (yes, sometimes I do listen to my doctor) but for a more authentic experience just switch the almond milk back to regular milk!  Using the yogurt in place of the half-and-half also allowed me to leave out the cornstarch as the soup was plenty thick!

In the Real World

Serves 4-5

Ingredients

5 medium ears corn on the cob

1 small vidalia onion, chopped

1 large garlic clove, chopped

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 1/2 cups vegetable broth

1/4 cup Greek Yogurt, almond milk

1/4 cup almond milk, original flavor

1/2 tsp. salt

pinch of crushed red pepper

1/2 avocado, chopped

1 tbsp. fresh basil, chopped

Instructions

  1. Slice the kernels off each corn cob and set aside.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 3-4 minutes then the garlic and cook for an additional 4-5 minutes. The garlic and onion should be slightly golden.
  3. Pour the vegetable stock in to into the pot and add the corn kernels. Bring to a quick boil and then reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for 5-7 minutes.
  4. Use an immersion blender to process the soup, adding the milk and Greek yogurt at about the halfway point. Continue to heat over very low heat for a final 10 minutes.
  5. Serve the soup topped with the diced avocado and enjoy!
http://dancingveggies.com/2014/06/in-the-real-world.html

 I did leave the crab out but I’m happy to report that my hubby added enough Old Bay to his to counter the lack of crab.  The avocado provided the perfect contrast to the airy soup, and I’m now curious to see how I can include that in my winter chowder.

This soup was perfection and I can easily see myself making it time and time again – thanks Nicole!!!