Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese
I can’t believe it’s already day 5 of TripleSBites! Last night we had our awesome twitter party, which included a few of our awesome sponsors and lots of tasty recipes. Today’s feature is one that takes a bit of prep work but offers a great twist on a classic dish. While a few of my twists on Mac & Cheese haven’t been blogworthy (hello, cauliflower) but this one is out of the world! To save some time I used a few of my Gourmet Garden treats and also added just a touch of a new goody: Chili Cumin from Acala Farms. Normally I use mustard seed in my mac & cheese but decided to switch it up this time!
Another HUGE HIT! For a quicker version, drop the baking part and serve right after mixing everything together. Always been a big fan of the breadcrumb crunch but some nights there just isn’t time. If using a gluten free pasta, add 2 tbsp of milk to the dish before baking to prevent the noodles from drying out.
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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.
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!
Curry Cauliflower Soup
Finally reaching the end of hot soup season – time to put away the stock pot and the dutch oven and get ready for fresh vegetables and cool dishes. However Mother Nature seems to be wishy-washy right now, and a few of these rainy days have been downright cold! So brought out my reliable pot and got to work creating a dish that would warm us up, while taking advantage of the early spring produce. Early spring is the only time I ever get cauliflower, as much as I enjoy the stuff the price is more than a bit insane the rest of the year. So for these few weeks I will enjoy this pale beauty and figure out how many different ways I can prepare it.
For those of you that do “normal” dairy I still recommend using the coconut yogurt as it really adds something to the soup. While the coconut yogurt isn’t as strong as standard coconut milk (or creme) it still adds enough of a hint to really make the curry POP. I enjoyed this along with some crusty bread so as to insure that no soup was left behind.
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…
Dill Potato Salad
Welcome to the official end of summer – when bbqs and picnics have one last blaze of glory before grills are covered and picnic baskets are put away. This past weekend we went to two different bbqs, and I decided to bring along one of my favorite potato salad recipes. While my family normally goes for the yellow potato salad, on occasion things get switched up and we go for the classic white potato salad. This recipe is slightly tweaked from the original version in an attempt to lighten up this traditionally mayo heavy dish. I decided to use one of my standard “tricks” and switch out the mayonnaise for yogurt. While in most cases I go for Greek yogurt, I decided to use standard yogurt in order to keep the dish moist. The main key is making sure it’s low-fat and plain flavored – and while I tend towards coconut milk, standard dairy or almond based would work just as well.
The real key with this dish is layering everything, giving all the ingredients a chance to meet each other if you will. Which is probably why this dish is best done the night before a gathering, or early morning. I’m sending this over as a late submission to /52weeksofcooking classic family recipes week – in my attempt to get back on schedule with everything. My mind set isn’t back to 100% yet (see last post for explanation) but it feels good to be back in the kitchen, and hopefully my mojo is just chilling behind the flour raiding the last of the chocolate chips.
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”.
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.
Hot Artichoke Dip
Garlic Feta Dip
Welcome to the February installment of Secret Recipe Club! This month I got to meet Melissa who is the chief behind Born to Cook which is a blog that has a little bit of everything and then a whole lot more. Her recipe box is chocked full of all sorts of goodies, so much so that I couldn’t decide on just one this month. The Super Bowl probably had something to do with my dip indecision but nobody who tried either of these delicious dips was complaining! These dips were so easy to make, in no time at all I had two bowls ready to bring to the party. The best part was how well these dips went together, the strong Garlic Feta dip and the more refined Artichoke dip, making sure that everyone had something they would enjoy.
One of the guys at the party liked the garlic feta dip so much he was adding it to everything: chicken sandwich, potato salad, cheesy crackers, and everything else he could. I’m just happy there are some leftovers so that I have something to look forward to when I get home from work tomorrow! Thanks Melissa for giving me two great dips, I have a feeling I’ll be bringing these out again at my Downton Abbey viewing party in a few weeks. I also plan to Veganize the artichoke dip, just haven’t decided if I want to go with soy or coconut yogurt…
Make sure to check all the other Secret Recipe Club entries! New posts every Monday during February 🙂
Note: Way to go Ravens!!!!