Super Greens with Polenta
I’ll admit it, I was a strange child. From a rather young age I greatly enjoyed vegetables (especially greens) and was known to trade away my lunch time sweets for carrot sticks – which I’m sure my classmates enjoyed. That’s not to say I would always pick a healthy treat over something sweet, but it made the challenge for this week a bit more challenging than normal. For /52weeksofcooking this week we are to cook with an ingredient we didn’t enjoy as a child, and that doesn’t leave me with much. Many commonly avoided vegetables weren’t served in my house and the few things I remember avoiding as a kid I still don’t eat: cottage cheese, tapioca pudding, porridge, and meat. Luckily my hubby was more of a “normal” child and gave me a rather large list of foods: broccoli, spinach, brussel sprouts, kale, cabbage, and anything spicy. So essentially anything green, which gave me lots to work with. I decided to pick a variety of greens, toss in some chickpeas, and serve everything over some baked polenta.
While I’m not sure which of us any future children might take after, it’ll be interesting to see where they fall when it comes to green food. Tho worst case scenario I can always sneak it in…
Blue Cheese Spinach Orzo
Last week I mentioned how my awesome SRC partner had a blue cheese orzo recipe on her blog. FINALLY my garden cooperated and I had all the ingredients needed for this delectably cheesy dish. It’s probably a good thing this wasn’t my SRC pick for July as I made more than a few changes to this dish in order to make it work better for my family. I kept with the basic roux but added some additional spice and complexity to the dish, mostly for fear of the cheese being too overpowering (not that my better half with take issue with that). I also upped the veggies in an attempt to resolve some of the guilt that comes with eating that much amazingly delicious but oh so not healthy blue cheese.
I can easily see this dish converting a non-blue cheese person to the light side as the hint of blue cheese is there but it’s not overpowering. Instead everything happily blends together in cheesy harmony! We enjoyed the orzo as our main dish but would also be a great dish for a potluck as it carries well, simple to double (or triple!) and could easily be converted for a slow cooker.
Greetings! Hope everyone had an excellent 4th of July – and is now having a great weekend. Summer is finally starting to arrive, and the sun is finally shining. My garden isn’t as far along as it was last year but thankfully the local farmer’s markets aren’t having those issues. This layered treat is essentially a lasagna without the lasagna, just squash and other delicious vegetables. I kept things nice and simple and focused on vegetables that are currently in season, also making this the perfect Simple and in Season recipe!
I’m looking forward to doing this again in a few weeks with vegetables from my own garden but until then I’m lucky to have so many great farms just down the road. Hopefully the sun will continue to shine and the temperatures will stay up as I can’t wait to start enjoying tomatoes and eggplant that are as local as local gets!
Potato & Beet Casserole
One of the best parts of traveling, in my opinion, if is trying new and exciting and (hopefully) delicious dishes! One of the best parts of getting home (outside of seeing hubby and puppies) is getting in to the kitchen and attempting to recreate some of those dishes. After my UK and Ireland adventures I knew that I had to recreate the incredible dish I had in Ireland at Cornucopia – even though I had no idea how on earth to do that. I knew the ingredients (beets, potatoes, spinach, cheese, and phyllo) but outside of that I had no idea what needed to be done. Since beets and I are just getting used to each other I decided to grate them, figuring the smaller amounts might blend better with the other vegetables as well as reasoning that round discs might tempt me to just remove them. The other thing to figure out was the phyllo dough on top but some quick Googling proved that it could be done. Once I had finished with the research and planning it was time to head to the kitchen, with some pasta and pesto on hand just in case it didn’t work out.
There is something to be said about a pink dish – it just goes well with everything! While I served this as a simple vegetarian main it would also be a great side dish for company as it comes together quickly and looks rather impressive coming out of the oven. Still not sure about other versions of beets but after the success of this dish I’m willing to give them a try again, we’ll see how that goes!
I’m also sending this treat over to Ren‘s fabulous Simple and in Season since it highlights two vegetables that are popping up in local gardens: spinach and beets! I didn’t grow either of this year due to my trip but my summer veggies are starting to take off so I see lots of peppers, eggplants, carrots, and tomatoes in my near future!
Spinach & Zucchini “Lasagna”
Bonus Secret Recipe Club entry!!!! I’m a member of Group A of the Secret Recipe club but this month I was called in to assist a member of Group B that wound up orphaned. As soon as I saw the name of the blog I knew I was in for a delicious treat as Heather’s Fit Mama Real Food blog is stuffed with healthy and easy dishes. I drove right in to her recipe page as I knew I had no time to lose with this – I needed to pick a WOW recipe NOW. With the help of my husband I was able to narrow it down to a few (applesauce! refried beans!) options (carrot cake DONUTS!!!), all of which only required a quick stop by the store on the way home. In the end I avoided the cream cheese icing (seriously??? carrot cake donuts!!!) and went with a healthy dinner option: Spinach and Zucchini Lasagna. I had to make a few changes to the recipe (ricotta for cottage cheese) and also changed it from a lasagna to a pasta bake since I wanted the dish to be done before the incoming storm (and potential power loss). Honestly this recipe is more like two recipes since you get a simply awesome tomato sauce as a bonus!
Make sure to check out Heather’s blog for all her delicious recipes – as well as pictures of her adorable baby.
Double Onion & Chickpea Tagine
Finally home and (mostly) recovered from the jet lag – just in time for another challenge from r/52weeksofcooking. This week onions are the secret ingredients, which are something I use in most of my recipes in one form or another. For awhile I debated doing a French Onion Soup Sandwich before remembering a tagine recipe in one of my cookbooks that called for onions cooked two ways. After some vegetarian doctoring to the recipe, swapping chickpeas for the lamb and doubling the spinach, it wound up being a rather simple dish filled with every day ingredients making it perfect for crazy summer nights. While I cooked mine in a tagine it could also be prepared in a wok or a deep saucepan, either way make sure the dish has a tight fitting lid.
I topped mine with some So Delicious Greek Yogurt (yes I’m an addict – but that’s okay) along with a sprig of fresh cilantro while Joe went for regular sour cream and fresh mint. I also made up some garlic couscous to help soak up all the juices, can’t let anything go to waste!
Vegetable Gnocchi Soup
It’s hard to believe that April is here with the cold weather we have been having. Normally the trees are in full bloom and flowers are everywhere, instead I’m waking up to frost on the windows and the chill of winter STILL in the air. The only positive I have found about this dreary weather is that it has extended soup season, which is pretty awesome. Since being told to cut back on my dairy intake I’ve been doing more and more broth based soups. This soup is the product of not wanting to go to the grocery store and being forced to come up with something based on what was in my pantry and fridge. The gnocchi is based on this recipe, since I had originally made the gnocchi during Passover however they are vegan friendly so win-win situation! I didn’t have enough to make two full servings of gnocchi but in combination with spinach, broth, and tomatoes I had more than enough for some delicious soup.
I’m still working on cutting back on my waste, but I have to say that I’m really enjoying the various leftover dishes I’ve come up. They might not be as creative as those featured on Chopped (which I might have been watching while making this dinner), but they are simple and filling which is really all that matters.