52Weeks · Gluten Free · One-Pot · Soup · Vegan

Life is a

Potato Corn Chowder

potato_corn_chowder

I first started to “really” cook when I was in college, thanks to the lack of a meal plan and a dorm room that included a full kitchen.  Most of my dishes were the results of experiments, tossing various ingredients in to a pot to see if the results were edible.  Then I started getting serious, picking up recipe books in the clearance department of Barnes and Noble and using those as the basis for continued experiments.  One such clearance book was all about using canned vegetables – and for a fair amount of time I was convinced that the potato chowder in that book was the be all, end all potato corn chowder recipe.  Then I left college, went up north, and realized what potato chowder really was.  Which is why this is the perfect recipe for /r/52weeksofcooking “screw ups revisited” challenge.  Once I had real chowder, I cut the cord on the recipe which required, no joke, 7 different cans.  It wasn’t horrible by any stretch, but it wasn’t good and the sodium level was insane.  My first attempts to improve this dish involved me switching out some of the cans for fresh ingredients, replacing more and more as my skill level increased.  As a bonus, the recipe wound up being dairy free as well as gluten free.

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I’m sure this recipe will continue to evolve, but thrilled to say that my potato corn chowder is no longer a canned screw up.   This recipe can also be easily adapted for the slow cooker, just cook the onion and garlic in advance then toss everything in on low for 7 hours.  This chowder can also easily transition to a sweet potato corn chowder by swapping out the potatoes – for a real treat add some curry powder for a samosa like taste!

Gluten Free · One-Pot · Quick Weeknight Recipes · Simple and In Season · Soup · Vegan

Losing Control

Asparagus Soup

asparagus_soup

I’m a huge fan of spring – warm weather, colorful flowers, and all sorts of delicious vegetables popping up to be enjoyed.  Last weekend we were fortunate enough to get a huge bag of asparagus, and I went straight to work figuring out how best to use them.  There are so many amazing recipes out there from soups to tarts to dips – the possibilities are endless!  In the end I decided to take inspiration from our amazing honeymoon, seeing as how it was almost 2 years to the day  it just seemed fitting.   Our meal at Steirereck still ranks as one of the best, if not THE best, meal of my life and part of that fantastic meal was a bowl of Spargelsuppe or Asparagus Soup.  While theirs included tuna tartar, I kept things simple and basic – and vegan!

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Gluten Free · Home Cooking · Quick Weeknight Recipes · Secret Recipe Club · Side Dish · Vegan

Shake Shake

Sweet Potato Fries

Sweet Potato Fries

Hello!  Welcome to my May installment of the Secret Recipe Club!  This month I was sent over to BCmom’s kitchen which is packed with simple and delicious recipes to get you cooking!  I love that her blog focuses on standard pantry staples, don’t get me wrong I ❤ Wegmans but I can only spend so much time shopping – I want to cook!  After much debate (yummy, spinach!), and schedule checking (cuz surgeries requiring bedrest are fun), I decided to go with her Sweet Potato Fries.  I’ll be honest, the little kid in me just wanted to shake the fries up all shake n’bake style (do they still sell that???) and it was totally everything I thought it would be.   I added a few more seasonings since my herbs are starting to explode, and just added them to the bag.

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These fries were fantastic!  The clean up was a breeze and the fact that these were baked, not fried, means they are a nice healthy(ish) alternative to the standard bbq/grill side.   I also have plans to vegetarianize her zucchini hamburger pie – something involving beans I think as I love the idea of baking all that veggie goodness in a nice flaky crust.  Before I sign off just a quick Happy Birthday to my awesome SiL and my incredible BFF who both happen to be Cinco De Mayo babies!  Now, go check out the rest of the recipes from the awesome bloggers of The Secret Recipe Club 🙂

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52Weeks · Baking · Breakfast · Casserole · Random Recipes

As I go Out

Savory Mushroom Bread Pudding

Mushroom Bread Pudding

I’m so thrilled to be getting back to Random Recipes, hosted by the awesome Dom.  Random Recipes is a bit different than my other challenges in that it sends me back to my books, some of which can get rather neglected.  This month the challenge was to pull out all our new books and randomly select the book from that group.  I was lucky enough to get four books this year: Indian Slow Cooker, Madhur Jaffrey’s Quick and Easy Indian Cooking, Dining with the Doctor, and The Heart of the Plate – which was the “winning” book!  I used my same random method (Joe picking a number) to select the winning page which led me to a Mushroom Bread Pudding, and wow did I wish for a different page at that point.  The last time I made a bread pudding was Home Ec back in middle school, so it’s been a fair bit of time.  However I had some leftover sourdough bread so with the addition of some fresh peasant bread I at least had the basic ingredients.  I also adjusted the ratio a bit, along with the seasonings, as things didn’t look quite right at first and I was worried about it being a bit bland as written.

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I’m also sending this over to /52weeksofcooking for their eggs challenge since I rarely, if ever, prepare dishes that feature 5 eggs.   This is the first of their challenges for 2014, and if things go as planned the second one will be up on Wednesday!

Gluten Free · Home Cooking · Quick Weeknight Recipes · Vegan

NaNa NaNa

Summer Squash Sauce

Summer Squash Sauce

For one of my Secret Recipe Club entries this month I did a delicious baked polenta, however I needed a topping for it.  Since I’m trying to avoid grocery shopping right now I was stuck using whatever was in my fridge: onion, garlic, squash, tomatoes, a variety of beans, a bit of yogurt, and a lot of herbs.  I decided to start throwing things together to make a thick and very colorful topping for my delicious polenta.  The resulting dish was healthy and gorgeous, and delicious enough that the next day I got a lunch time text from my hubby saying he “loved the polenta squash stuff”.

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I enjoyed this dish as is while Joe topped his with some Parmesan cheese, either way it was incredible!  I used yellow squash for this but zucchini would work just as well, and this time of year both vegetables are certainly in abundance.  As I mentioned, I served this over polenta but would also work great over brown rice or orzo.

Casserole · Gluten Free · Home Cooking · Quick Weeknight Recipes · Simple and In Season

Told Me To

Vegetable Lasagna

Vegetable Lasagna

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!

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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!

52Weeks · Home Cooking · Quick Weeknight Recipes · Vegan

Anything Goes

Rosemary Thyme Brussel Sprouts

Rosemary Thyme Brussel Sprouts

Confession: I didn’t have a Brussel Sprout until I was in my mid-20s as my mother is not a fan.   Once I had one I realized how amazing they were and have been making them regularly ever since.  However I had to figure out a way to get Joe to eat them as he was not a huge fan.  I quickly eliminated roasting them and any variation involving balsamic vinegar before figuring out the right combination of herbs and oils.  While this might not be the most creative use of herbs, it’s one of our favorites which is why I’m sending this over to r/52weeksofcooking for their herb weeks.  I served these as part of our Seder dinner and they were a huge hit – including with one other person who was also late to the sprouts are awesome party.

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The only down side of figuring out the perfect recipe is having to buy large amounts of Brussel Sprouts in order to insure there’s enough for everyone.  If you wind up with any leftover sprouts, they make a great omelette or quiche filling!