Tag Archives: squash

Oh baby

Homemade Baby Food

IMG_20160904_225321

Welcome to my September SRC post as part of Group A!  I’m still in shock how long I’ve been doing this blog which is why it hurts to say that this is going to be my next to last post.  While I’m still cooking (and eating!), I’m spending little to no time researching and developing new recipes – which is rather essential as a food blogger.  Right now my days are spent as a jungle gym and I’m okay with that.  Most likely I’ll come back to the blog, probably as soon as spring time but right now I’m doing lots of family favorites.  However, I did want to finish out my commitments to the SRC which had been such a huge part of my blogging identity.   This month I was assigned a blog with one of the most hilarious “origin” stories out there – it involves a muffin burnt so badly that it went THRU an apartment wall when tossed.  I can soooo relate to that – as well as the desire to focus on healthy recipes while still being tempted by the good things in life such as caramel and nutella (or biscoff)!!!!!  Burnt Apple  is run by an awesome mom of three kids who is juggling normally mom life along with some pretty intense medical issues such as Type I diabetes and colitis.  I found soooooo many vegetarian friendly recipes on her blog, including variations of some of my family’s favorite such as sweet potato black bean quesadillas.  However in the end the part of her blog that I HAD to focus on was her small but awesome section dedicated to baby food.  Baby E started doing solids a few months ago and it has been such a learning curve in regards to texture, color, and temperature.  As it gets closer and closer to the time I return to work I’m also starting to think about what I can do now to make things easier.  One of those is prepping baby food and WOW did I strike gold in being partnered with Burnt Apple.  She has a two column color-coded guide to freezing baby food as well as one of the easiest baby friendly applesauces out there – plus a healthy first birthday cake (which we’re going to need very soon).

IMG_20160904_225441

This month I did things a bit differently and instead of doing a “recipe”, I essentially did her entire freeze column using her “how to make baby food” and “baby food delicacies” posts.  All of the items I made can be stored for up to a month, which is great since husband is starting a new job this week and will have some rather insane hours for the next few weeks.  This way I can pick out baby girl’s meals the night before and just toss in the fridge to thaw before reheating.  I’m hoping that eventually I’ll be able to do this in the hour suggested – maybe then I can get back to blogging!!!!  I used a Ninja in place of a food processor and my Doctor Who Silicon Ice Cube Trays since 1) they hold just over 2tbsp and 2) everything pops out of the super easy.    The top picture is squash by itself while the second one is her apricot puree – which was a HUGE hit.  I’m hoping to do her Garden Vegetable combo this week since we have now checked all those veggies off on their own.

Lost and Alone

Vegetable Chili

chili

Another one of my awesome freezer meals – this time one that also doubles as a great way to clean out the fridge/freezer!  Once we had finished prepping my list of meals, I checked what I had left and decided I could squeeze out at least one more meal.  This hodge podge of ingredients was fantastic last weekend when Mother Nature decided we needed another round of cold weather, to include snow!

Lost and Alone

Serves: Serves 5-6

Ingredients

1 tbsp olive oil

1 small onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 zucchini, diced

2 carrots, round sliced then quartered

1 tbsp chili powder

1 tsp ground cumin

4 cups black beans, presoaked

1 can (28 ounces), crushed tomatoes

2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels

salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Toss all the ingredients into the slow cooker and set for low. Cook for 7hrs - or cook on high for 3hrs.
  2. Season to taste with salt and pepper, or more chili powder!
http://dancingveggies.com/2016/03/lost-and-alone.html

We topped this with cheese but chives, sour cream, guacamole or nothing would also work.  As for the vegetables, whatever you have on hand will work.

My Heart is

Squash and Beet Risotto 

squash_beet_risotto

Yep – winter is here and I’m already ready for spring.  Temperatures have been unusually cold, dipping in to single digits when wind chill is included which is just way too cold for mid-November.   However this is the perfect time to just stay in the kitchen and experiment with new-to-me ingredients and all sorts of flavor profiles.  Or throw a bunch of random vegetables in to a dish and see what happens – which is what happened here.  I had a bit of delicata squash left, along with two candy-stripped beets, and half a vidalia onion.  So I went for a random grain, in this case arborio rice, and started chopping!

Beet and Squash Risotto

Serves 4

Ingredients

2 tbsp olive oil, divided

1/2 vidalia onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

3 1/2 cups vegetable stock, low sodium

1/2 cup white wine

1/2 cup milk

1 cup arborio rice

1 cup delicata squash, peeled and chopped (reserve any seeds)

1/2 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped

1/2 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped

2 small beets, peeled and sliced

salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a 2qt sauce pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 7 minutes, or until the garlic starts to turn golden.
  2. Meanwhile heat the vegetable stock in a small pot over medium heat, ideally should be at a strong simmer but not boiling.
  3. Add the rice to the garlic onion mixture, stir well, and then add the white wine and milk. Allow rice to soak up the milk and wine, stirring to prevent sticking. Once the liquid has been absorbed, add the vegetable stock in 1/2 cup increments, allowing the liquid to be absorbed before adding more. After adding 2 cups, add the chopped squash along with a 1/2 cup of liquid.
  4. In a small saute pan, heat up the remaining olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the fresh herbs and cook for 1 minute before adding the beet slices. Cook for 10 minutes, turning occasionally to prevent them from burning.
  5. The risotto is ready when it no longer absorbs any liquid. Remove from heat and stir for about 3 minutes, then fold in the beet slices. Serve and enjoy!

Notes

When using a diary free milk, make sure to grab plain/unsweetened for this dish.

http://dancingveggies.com/2014/11/my-heart-is.html

In order to avoid a pink blob, I held off on adding the beets until the last possible moment.  Not only did this ensure they were super crispy, but it also gave the squash an opportunity to shine on its own.  In the future I would most likely going for a strong squash, acorn perhaps, but there is something to be said about the subtle taste of delicata.   I enjoyed my risotto topped with a bit of pepper, while Joe was more traditional and went for the Parmesan cheese.

Mysterious As

Roasted Vegetable Couscous

Roasted Vegetable Couscous

Welcome to Group A’s April installment of Secret Recipe Club!  Every month I wait with baited breath to see what amazing blog I get partnered with and this month I was thrilled to see a blog I was very (VERY) familiar with.  I have been following Evelyne’s Cheap Ethnic Eats since before there was a Dancing Veggies and it was after stumbling onto the International Incident Party link-ups that I decided to take my (now) hubby’s offer to build me a blog.  So a HUGE thanks to Evelyne (and the other blogs of IIP) for inspiring me to go forth and blog!   Needless to say picking one recipe from her blog was a rather difficult task but I was able to narrow things down to a top 10 by focusing on recipes that featured ingredients or cooking styles that are outside my normal range.  Which is why I was debating such things as Coconut Brownie Waffles, Greek Yogurt Cheesecake, and Multi-Vegetable Paella before settling on her Roasted Vegetable Couscous.  For the most part I stick with recipes that are either on the stove or in the oven as I’m normally restricted on cooking time thanks to the fur children.  However some rather intense weather freed up the time normally reserved for dog walking, so I decided to heat up the kitchen and get to work!

Mysterious As

Serves 3-4

Ingredients

1 yellow squash, sliced and quartered (about 1 cup)

1 zucchini, sliced and quartered (about 1 cup)

1 cup baby bella mushrooms, sliced

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

2 tbsp olive oil, divided

1 red onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 1/2 cups pre-soaked chickpeas, well rinsed

3/4 teaspoon ground cumin

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/4 teaspoon cayenne

4 cups vegetable stock

1/2 cup golden raisins

4 tablespoons tomato paste

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup dry couscous

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. Place the squash, zucchini, and mushrooms in a roasting pan and top with half of the olive oil. Roasted for 20 minutes, then remove pan and add the tomatoes. Roast for a final 10 minutes.
  3. Towards the end of the roasting time heat the remaining olive oil in a large pan, add the garlic and red onion and cook for 5 minutes. Add the seasonings and cook for an additional 2 minutes, stirring constantly to prevent burning.
  4. Remove the roasted vegetables from the oven and add to the pan with the onion/garlic.
  5. Add the stock, raisins, chickpeas tomato paste, salt and couscous. Bring mixture to a boil, then stir, cover, and turn heat down to low. Allow to simmer for 5 minutes, or until couscous has finished cooking.
  6. Serve and enjoy!
http://dancingveggies.com/2014/04/mysterious-as.html

I switched up the vegetables from the original recipe, but that’s one of the awesome things about this recipe – anything will work!  I also cooked the couscous directly in the sauce in order to save a dish, which resulted in some ultra flavorful couscous, and added more chickpeas instead of serving it with the tofu since DH is on a no-soy diet.  In the future I might be tempted to just do all the veggies in a saute pan rather then roasting, but there is something to be said about a fresh roasted tomato.  All in all another awesome recipe thanks to Cheap Ethnic Eats and the Secret Recipe Club!

Moving on Up

Zucchini Tian

Zucchini Tian

Greetings!  Sorry for the long space between posts, turns out that running a food blog while moving is much harder than I thought.  Luckily I am all settled in my temp place so had lots of time test out some new recipes, and in theory should be covered until the official move ends.  Luckily this isn’t a long distance move, just heading on up 95 from DC to Baltimore – which is still enough of a transition to make things interesting.  Add in the gov’t shutdown and things have been a little more stressful than normal.  We are still hoping to close on our new place on time, but unless the IRS goes back to work (feels so wrong to say that) by the 8th our closing will most likely be delayed.   Until then I’ll be camping out at my mom’s place – and her awesome kitchen – while my hubby is up north starting his new position.  Not the most ideal living situation, but at least we can see each other on weekends so could be much worse.

This past week I decided to make a list of all the blog/cooking challenges that I have over the next month in an attempt to organize my life.  This first recipe comes from /52weeksofcooking who are just finishing up a week dedicated to the incredible Julia Child.  While most of her recipes aren’t exactly vegetarian, or vegan, friendly I found a few side dishes that needed just a bit of tweaking in order to go from awesome side to spectacular entree.  In the end I decided to go with her zucchini tian since squash in all forms are in abundance at the local markets – wahOo Indian Summer!!!   In order to make this in to a healthy veggie friendly entree I added some chickpeas for protein, switched the white rice for brown, and left the butter out.   I also used almond milk in place of dairy and vegan shredded cheese.

Moving on Up

Serves: Serves 4 as a main

Serves 6-8 as a side

Ingredients

2 lbs fresh zucchini or yellow squash

1/2 tbsp salt

1 tbsp olive oil

2 cloves garlic

1/2 cup red onion, diced

2 tbsp flour

1 cup almond milk

1/2 cup water (optional)

1 cup pre-cooked brown rice

2 cups pre-soaked garbanzo beans

1/3 cup grated cheese plus 2 tbsp - Parmesan or Mozzarella

salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Grate the zucchini into a strainer, and have the strainer over a bowl. Lightly salt the zucchini/squash and allow to sit for 5 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile heat the olive oil in a deep skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion, and cook for 10 minutes or until the garlic starts to turn golden.
  3. While the garlic/onion cook squeeze the water out of the squash using the strainer to catch and loose zucchini and the bowl below to catch the juice. Once the moister has been removed pour the juice in to a microwave safe measuring cup. Add the milk to the cup along with enough water to make 2 cups of liquid. Heat in microwave until mixture is warm, about 1 1/2 minutes.
  4. Add the flour to the onion/garlic mixture, toss well and then slowly add in the juice milk mixture while continuing to stir. Once all the liquid has been poured in add the grated zucchini along with the 1/3 cup cheese. Bring everything to a quick bowl, and then simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 425. Lightly oil a casserole dish, then add the precooked brown rice and the drained beans and stir in the zucchini mixture. Top with the 2 tbsp of cheese and then bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until the sides are bubbling and the middle is brown.
  6. Serve and enjoy!
http://dancingveggies.com/2013/10/moving-on-up.html

When it came time for serving I enjoyed  it with just a bit more pepper while my mom went for Parmesan cheese, which is exactly how my hubby would enjoy this dish so I was entertained.  For lunch the next day I added a bit of fresh avocado to perk it up, after debating to serve it on top of salad greens.  This might not be the prettiest dish out there, but it’s certainly delicious.