Tag Archives: < 30 min

Cheesy Breakfast Grits

28 Jan

Cheesy Grits-3I grew up in the Midwest, where all I knew about grits was “That’s something they eat in the South.” Really? How was this corn derivative not a staple in the Corn Belt?

I first became acquainted with grits when I attended law school in the South – Shrimp and Grits made a believer out of me. But it wasn’t until the last year or two that I have kept a package of it in my pantry and cooked with it on a regular basis.

Grits are just ground corn. Depending on the brand you buy, they may look exactly like cornmeal that you would use to make corn bread. I am currently working on a bag of Bob’s Red Mill, and the grains are a bit bigger than Quaker, which had been my previous standard. Both are great; Bob’s is a bit heartier, while Quaker is smoother. Just a matter of personal preference. In this video, Bob explains that his family has found a method of grinding corn that does not “degerminate” it – that is good news! It means that their particular variety qualifies as a whole grain – which is healthier than when the germ is removed.  Corn GritsGrits are cooked in liquid, either water or milk. Experiment as you will, but I find that 1/4 c of grits and 3/4 c skim milk, with a pinch or two of cheese, makes a perfect, filling, warm (fast!) breakfast. It will keep you full until lunch, for sure – and what a great way to sneak in another serving (or so) of milk and whole grains (if the brand you use has the germ intact). Just pop the bowl in the microwave, and it will be ready in the time you take your morning shower {if you keep your shower to less than 7 minutes}.

Cheesy Grits-6

Ingredients:
– 1/4 c grits
– 3/4 c skim milk
– 2 t shredded cheese {I used a cheddar-jack mix – you should experiment with any mild cheese you have on hand}
– 1/4 t grated parmesan

How do I make it?

  • In a medium-sized, microwave-safe bowl (bigger than a cereal bowl – it will bubble up just a bit), place 1/4 c grits and 3/4 c skim milk less 2 T (so, use all of it except 2 T).
  • Microwave on medium power for 6 to 7 minutes.
  • Stir in the remaining milk, and extra if you would like, until it has a creamy, thick consistency.
  • Stir in cheeses of your choice.
  • You may want to add a pinch of salt, because grits have no sodium, but your cheese may give it the flavor you need, so give it a taste first.

Cheesy Grits

Cheesy Grits-2

Cheesy Grits-4

More info please?
Polenta is also just ground corn, but from my understanding and research, polenta (Italian) and grits (Southern American) are traditionally made from different types of corn, and ground to a different consistency. This results in a slightly different taste and texture. But do you want to know what Bob’s Red Mill thinks about that?

Bob's Red Mill Grits PolentaI also enjoy a bowl of cheesy grits with a poached egg on top – the runny yolk stirred in to the grits is a treat.

Puppy Chow

18 Jan

Puppy Chow-2When I was growing up, I distinctly remember the mother of one of my classmates making “puppy chow” for slumber parties and other gatherings. And I distinctly remember loving it. If you have had “puppy chow” – which I have learned is called “muddy buddies” in some regions – you understand how wide my eyes opened on my first bite of the crunchy, sweet treat – and how quickly I reached my powder sugar-coated fingertips back in the bowl for more.

Puppy Chow-3I think I am glad, calorie-wise, that I did not realize puppy chow was so easy to make – it can be completed in under 5 minutes, with ingredients you can easily keep on hand. Because I had never seen a batch smaller than an enormous serving bowl, it just seemed like an ordeal. Well, it’s not, as long as you have a huge bowl to mix it in. But you also don’t have to make 9 cups of cereal at a time: I have broken the recipe down to a single serving – one cup – and this might be my new go-to treat when I am looking for something sweet and satisfying. And super-easy. The recipe can be scaled for any amount in between, too.

With every bite, you will get an even distribution of chocolate, peanut butter, a bit of sugar, and a bite of crunch. It’s addictive, so good luck with that.

Puppy Chow-15

The base for puppy chow is Chex cereal – rice chex is recommended, but probably any of them would work. A melted mixture of chocolate chips, peanut butter, and butter is poured on top, and as you toss the creamy mixture all around the cereal, it will cling to the cereal pieces. A coating of powdered sugar helps to separate and hold each piece together. The resulting chunks, I suppose, look a little like kibble – but this treat, covered in chocolate, is decidedly not for dogs!

Puppy Chow-4Puppy chow is great to put out at casual parties for easy snacking – but make sure to have a stack of napkins on hand because powdered sugar’s reputation is well-earned.

Puppy Chow-5{Large batch} Ingredients:
– 9 c Rice Chex cereal
– 1 c chocolate chips
– 1/2 c peanut butter
– 1/4 c (= 1/2 stick) unsalted butter
– 1 t vanilla
– 1.5 c powdered sugar

{Small batch} Ingredients:
– 1 c Rice Chex cereal
– 2 T chocolate chips
– 1 T  peanut butter
– 1/2 T unsalted butter
– a few drops of vanilla
– 3 T powdered sugar

How do I make it?

  • Place the cereal in a large bowl.
  • In a smaller, microwave-safe bowl, melt the chocolate chips, peanut butter, and butter for 30 seconds. Remove from the microwave and stir until it’s smooth. If you can’t get all the lumps out, microwave for a few more seconds – but there is probably enough heat in the bowl to stir it all out gently. Once it’s smooth, stir in the vanilla.
  • Pour the mixture evenly over the cereal, and then use a large spoon to distribute it. Stir it well!
  • Once all of the cereal is covered in the mixture, dust it all with half of the powdered sugar. Stir to distribute, and continue to add a small amount of powdered sugar at a time, stirring until each piece is coated in powdered sugar. {Some people put the cereal and powdered sugar in a bag, seal, and then shake to distribute. I have never tried this option, the bowl is just fine for me, but that might be a fun task for little hands who want to help out in the kitchen!}

Puppy Chow-8

Puppy Chow-9

Puppy Chow-11

Puppy Chow-12

Original recipe: http://www.chex.com/Recipes/RecipeView.aspx?RecipeId=45860&CategoryId=342

New Year’s Resolutions

14 Jan

We are two weeks in to 2014, and I thought I would check in on how everyone is doing with their New Year’s Resolutions. How goes it?

I try more and more to not have to find a reason to make positive changes, but there is something about a crisp new page on the calendar that is conducive to new behaviors, attitudes, and … food! New ideas in the kitchen, new recipes, new ingredients, you name it: 2014 seems like a great opportunity.

I have a few food-related New Year’s Resolutions for myself and want to share them with you here, and then I will check those boxes, so to speak, in future posts. I even made a “New Year’s Resolution” tag, if you would like to follow along that way. We are more likely to stick to our goals when we share them with others, right? Well here we go!

  1. Take healthy lunches and snacks to work: It’s often a struggle for me, time-wise, to plan meals for the week, get to the grocery store, cook, pack lunches the night before, and remember to bring it the next day. I would love to get this down to a system! It seems like casseroles and other one-pot comfort foods might be a good option (one container – easy to transport; and filling – our work cafeteria closes at 2pm so healthy afternoon snacks can be challenging). For snacks, healthy, filling, and easy to transport are also key. On busy days, I maaaay be guilty of trolling the halls for unattended candy jars (sigh), and I would love to curb that habit.
  2. Eat filling and healthy breakfasts: Too often I find myself needing to hunker down and work hard between 10:30 and 11:30 on weekdays … not because of any particular deadline or project at work, but because 10:30 is about when my coffee buzz has waned, and 11:30 is when it’s socially acceptable to eat lunch. When I have a full breakfast, I can power through; when I skip breakfast, I feel it. I generally don’t have a ton of time to prepare breakfast in the morning, but oatmeal is one option; I would also like to get into a routine of make-ahead breakfast sandwiches and breakfast burritos, and other similar dishes that I can grab on the go or heat quickly right when I get to work.
  3. Eat less meat: I love meat. I do. But I would like to exercise more moderation. I can’t promise that I will have “Meatless Mondays,” but I don’t think that one or two days per week is unreasonable.
  4. Get to know a few herbs and spices better: How many spices are in your spice rack? I counted once, when a friend of mine was writing an article for a magazine on a related topic, and it was more than 60 – I have to guess I am over 70 or 75 now. Some I crank through, like oregano, cumin, and red pepper flakes … others, like garam masala, tarragon, and even paprika I would like to find a few solid recipes for. And as fresh herbs become more bountiful in the warmer months, I am looking forward to picking up something pretty at the farmer’s market and exploring! Which herbs do you wish you knew more about or used more?
  5. Make my father proud: My dad wishes I had a Jewish food blog. I don’t. That niche is not really sustainable for me, but I like the idea of trying to make one traditional recipe per month. It will be worth it even if only to hear my dad do his impersonation of what he thinks it sounds like when I write blog posts. So cute.

If you have ideas for anything in this post, please leave them in the comments!

After-Party Egg Scramble {Chicken and Dips}

4 Jan

Egg Scramble-2This year for New Year’s Eve, I wasn’t in the mood to battle crowds at bars, or have dinner out and then make a 10pm decision on where to ring in the new year – and I’m always in the mood to cook.  So I decided to have a few people over. I told my invitees that I didn’t need to know if they were joining until the last minute, and I was happy to be a back-up plan, or a place for them to start or end the evening of they had other plans.

That’s all fine and good, but it made planning a menu a bit difficult! Was I going to have 12 people over for 5 hours (heavier menu), or would 4 people swing by for an hour here and there, maybe on their way to eat (lighter menu)?

I decided to just make a menu that, if I had excessive leftovers, would translate into easy lunches for me for the rest of the week, and healthy snacks to have in my fridge for the weekend.

The “main event” on my NYE buffet, therefore, was a make-your-own mini sandwich station. I poached 3 chicken breasts and roasted a small filet mignon from Trader Joe’s (SUPER easy and delicious, pre-seasoned and ready to put in the oven!). I sliced a baguette, and then sliced the meats to fit, and set them out just on the cutting board with roasted peppers, pesto, and a caramelized onion dip made with greek yogurt and light cream cheese. There was also hummus available with a veggie platter, if people wanted to use the hummus with the sandwiches. It was a hit – my guests loved that it was substantial food that wasn’t too heavy.

The next morning, I was faced with the glorious leftovers. I looked at the chicken, peppers, and dips, and thought they might make an awesome breakfast – and I was right.

Egg Scramble-3

Pesto, when you think about it, is just spinach, herbs, oil, and cheese – all things that go well with eggs {sure, a bit of walnut, but it’s pulverized}. The onion dip was made of richly caramelized onions, and dairy product. If you have never scrambled eggs with a splash of milk, you are missing out; the dip was thicker than milk, but still a dairy product, and I figured I would just try it, to see if it went well with eggs. Win.

Serve with some French Fries or Roasted Potatoes, and call it your hostess gift to yourself.

Egg Scramble-5

Ingredients:
– 2 eggs (pictured here is 1 whole egg and 2 egg whites)
– 1 T skim milk
– 3/4 t pesto
– 3/4 t onion-flavored dip with dairy base {I will post the recipe a bit later!}
– handful of meat, to your taste, chopped small (chicken or beef)
– any other leftover veggies, like spinach from making pesto (optional)
roasted peppers, any amount

How do I make it?

  • Set a medium or large nonstick skillet over medium heat.
  • While the skillet is warming, whisk the eggs with milk until it’s uniform. Then whisk in the pesto and onion dip.
  • Spray the warm skillet with olive oil spray.
  • Once the spray has warmed, heat the meat until it browns a bit on the edges. Add the red peppers and mix, just to warm them.
  • Push the meat and veggies to one corner of the pan, and re-spray with oil.
  • Add the egg mixture, and begin to scramble. When they are about half-done, stir in the meat and veggies. Cook until it’s as firm as you like it. When it’s almost done, stir in spinach, to wilt it. Spinach won’t need more than a few seconds in the pan.

Egg Scramble

More info please?

You can really add any meat or veggie to this recipe. Potential party foods you may have on hand that would be delicious in an after-party scramble include broccoli, raw peppers, tomatoes, or marinated mushrooms. Cook any raw veggies at the same time you heat the meat, and add any cooked veggies to warm with the peppers.

You can also add any cheese left over from a cheese platter, when the eggs are almost done. I shredded some parmesan reggiano (that I “forgot” to put out at the party … and got to keep for myself…) on top once it was done.

Egg Scramble-4

How to: Make Kale Chips

30 Dec

How to Make Kale ChipsGuess what. You have ONE day until New Year’s resolutions begin. One more day to live it up before it’s back to salads and the overcrowded January gym for you. I hope you enjoy it!

I will start the January detox one day early for you, with Kale Chips. If you have not yet tried Kale Chips, SPOILER ALERT: they are not chips. They are kale. Kale that has been baked until crisp.

How to Make Kale Chips-12

Kale Chips are a super-healthy, super-crunchy dish that you can make with two ingredients: a bunch of kale and a bit of extra virgin olive oil. I recommend a pinch of salt as well, but that is up to you. And they are super-easy to make.

Step 1: Select the kale. I use lacinato kale for every kale recipe I have made. I prefer its texture to that of curly kale. If you “don’t like kale” but have only tried curly kale, why don’t you give lacinato (aka dinosaur aka tuscan) kale a try. It looks like a darker, thicker romaine lettuce (but you buy it in a bunch rather than in a head). If you don’t know if your local grocery store carries it, just call first. It is always at my local Whole Foods, farmer’s markets, and a few other stores I frequent – but it’s not everywhere all the time.

How to Make Kale Chips-5Step 2: Wash the kale. I have been washing my leafy greens in a large baking dish recently – they fit perfectly, and I just fill the dish with water and shake/scrub the greens in the water, drain, and repeat a few times. How to Make Kale ChipsOf course, you can also tear them first and use a colander (I just find the leaves are just a bit long to fit in the colander whole).

How to Make Kale Chips-2Step 3: Tear the kale into chip-sized pieces. The chips get VERY crisp and flaky, so I prefer to make them bite-sized so there aren’t kale shards all over the floor and couch. I recommend somewhere between the size of a peanut and a saltine {Note: saltine and peanut shown only for scale and size purposes!} It takes a little longer to make them small, but I think they crisp up better that way, and it’s worth it. Keep in mind that the chips will shrink when they bake. The smaller they are, the more they will shrink, because they will curl more. Oh, and don’t use any tough stems, just the leafy parts.

Satine comparison - Kale chips

Peanut comparison - Kale chips

Step 4: DRY the kale. Use as many paper towels if you need to, but the kale needs to be as dry as you can get it before you add the oil in the next step.

Step 5: Place the kale in a bowl and drizzle 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil (per bunch of kale) over the torn leaves. Use your hands to massage it in and cover all of the pieces.

Step 6: Spread the kale on a baking sheet in a single layer, and sprinkle VERY lightly with salt, if using.

How to Make Kale Chips-4Step 7: Bake for 15 minutes at 350. I have read some recipes that say you have to use very low heat, in the 200’s; others say very high heat, in the 400’s! So I go in between, at 350, and if they are not crispy at 15 minutes, I stay close by the oven and give them a few more minutes to do their thing. I find about 15 minutes works, and I also don’t need to flip them.

When the Kale Chips are done, they should flake to the touch and crumble if pinched. Kale Chips will keep up to a week in an airtight container – that is, if they aren’t eaten before then. You can just keep the container on the kitchen counter, but I accidentally refrigerated a batch once, and they held up fine!

How to Make Kale Chips-11

Easy Raw Kale Salad with Garlicky Dressing

24 Nov

Easy Kale Salad with Lemon-Garlic Dressing

Work last week was one of those where meetings, projects, and emails were unrelenting – and then I had work-related social events after work every night, to boot. While looking back, such a week can be satisfying because of what was accomplished, what was not satisfying was the food I ate. Rushed mornings getting out the door, “working lunches,” and bar food for dinner is not my preference; but unfortunately, it is sometimes a reality.

But it is a new week! So I am starting it off with a clean slate: a simple kale salad, with an easy fresh dressing. I know some people are skeptical of eating raw kale; they think kale is so tough that it needs to be braised or sauteed to break it down. But give this salad a try. Massaging in the lemon juice and oil will wilt the kale just enough to take the edge off.

I sometimes struggle to think of toppings for salads, but this one requires no such contemplation. I first made this recipe for Cooking Club (Hostess: MD; Theme: Meatless Monday; Date: 09.30.12) and it has become one of my staples. The recipe calls for freshly-made breadcrumbs to be sprinkled for crunch – I love this concept. The crunch is evenly distributed, and the carbs are kept to a minimum. When I do not have fresh breadcrumbs, small homemade croutons from a hearty whole grain wheat loaf fit the bill. {I think that store-bought breadcrumbs would be too fine to add the crunch – if you can’t do homemade, I recommend the croutons.}

Easy Kale Salad

Ingredients:
– 1 bunch lacinato kale, sliced into very thin strips {I can’t vouch for any other variety of kale in this recipe – but lacinato is awesome!}
– juice from 1 lemon
– 2-3 T extra virgin olive oil
– 2 cloves garlic, smashed
– hot red pepper flakes, to taste
– 1/4 c grated Parmesan cheese
– fresh croutons or bread crumbs

How do I make it?

  • Place the sliced kale in a large bowl and set aside.
  • Place the smashed garlic in a medium bowl. Add the lemon juice, a few tablespoons of olive oil, and pinch of red pepper flakes, and whisk. Add salt and pepper if you would like, but try it on its own first – you can always add salt and pepper later.
  • Pour the dressing over the kale and toss well. Massage the dressing into the kale – squeeze the kale and make sure the dressing is evenly distributed.
  • Add half of the cheese and toss again.
  • Let the kale sit for a few minutes. Add the bread crumbs or croutons, toss again, and top with remaining cheese.

If you like this, you may also like:

Warm Kale, Sweet Potato, & Quinoa Salad  Southwest Quinoa Bowl

Serve with:

Roasted Chicken with Lemon-5Chicken Burgers 4

Brownie Bark

15 Oct

Image

When you have a homemade brownie, do you go for a center piece, or an edge piece? I mix it up. I love the fudgy center, but the crispy edge has its own allure.

What is Brownie Bark (aka Brownie Brittle)? It is a thin layer of that crispy brownie edge – no soft center, just a crunchy cookie. It satisfies a sweet tooth without inducing a sugar overload. Brownie Bark goes really well with coffee as a dunker, and would be delicious crumbled over (or under) ice cream. I am always in search of baked goods to bring to work meetings that have quick preparation (because I usually remember at the last minute) and are easy to transport (for the commute); this recipe works well for that purpose. {Insert furlough joke here – but I am sure one day I will have another work meeting!}

Image

Ingredients:
– 2 egg whites
– 1/2 c sugar (heaping – a little more than 1/2 c is totally fine)
– 1.5 T dark cocoa powder
– 1/4 c vegetable oil
– 1/4 t vanilla
– 1/4 t salt
– 1/4 t baking powder
– 1/2 c flour
– 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
– a few additional Tablespoons of mini or regular-sized dark chocolate chips

How do I make it?

  • Preheat oven to 325 with a rack in the middle of the oven. Line a heavy duty 13×18 inch jelly roll pan with a silpat (preferred), or parchment paper.
  • Whisk the egg whites until foamy (a minute or two). Gradually whisk in the sugar, then whisk in the cocoa powder, oil, and vanilla until smooth. Finally, whisk in the salt and baking powder.
  • Add the flour and stir until smooth. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  • Pour the brownie batter onto the lined cookie sheet and spread as thinly as possible using a silicone spatula. Sprinkle a few more chocolate chips on top.
  • Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven; using a pizza cutter or knife, cut it into pieces, without separating. You can do triangular pieces, long strips, or rectangles or squares. Endless possibilities!
  • Return the pan to the oven for 5 more minutes.
  • During these 5 minutes, prepare a glass of milk.
  • Remove from oven and let cool completely. Once it is cool, break the pieces apart.

More info please?
If you are using parchment paper, you need to hold it down pretty firmly to make sure it doesn’t slip around while you are spreading the batter – silpats are made for moments like this. You may find it helpful to not mix the chips in to the batter, and instead add them after you spread the batter out – it will spread more smoothly using this method. I think it tastes a little better when they are in the batter as well as on top. But it’s pretty similar – whatever works for you!

Original link: http://www.cookiemadness.net/2012/10/brownie-bark/

If you like this, you may also like:

Brownie ThinsGraham Cracker GranolaChocolate Chip Mandel Bread

Quinoa Breakfast Cakes

8 Oct

Quinoa Breakfast Cakes-3

When I open my refrigerator on a lazy weekend morning (or any morning during this federal government shutdown!) and see healthy ingredients left over from the week’s meals, I pat myself on the back and pretend I planned the whole thing. Then I usually scramble up whatever is there, with a few eggs. Pretty good, but I wouldn’t mind a little sparkle now and then.

This recipe for Quinoa Breakfast Cakes gives those healthy ingredients some purpose. Try it first with the ingredients and ratios as set forth here, and then try to mix it up just a bit, substituting a different herb for the basil, sweet potato for the white potato, or Gruyere for the Parmigiano Reggiano.

If you make a whole batch on the weekend, they will last for a few days into the week – just reheat them in a pan or in the microwave, and enjoy the cakes on their own – definitely a healthy breakfast in their own right – or with some scrambled eggs and salsa. Before your coffee is done brewing, you are on your way to THIS:

Quinoa Breakfast Cakes-6

Pretty good-lookin’ weekday breakfast, right?

p.s. I won’t tell a soul if you also eat these for lunch or dinner. Or snack.

Ingredients:
– 1 medium sweet onion, diced
– 2 c minced portobello or cremini mushrooms
– 1 c baby spinach, chopped
– 2 c cooked quinoa
– 1.5 baking potatoes, skins removed, chopped, boiled, and mashed (or use 3/4 c leftover mashed potatoes)
– 1 egg, lightly beaten
– 1/4 c Parmigiano Reggiano
– 10 leaves basil, chopped
– 1/4 t red pepper flakes
– 1/4 t freshly ground black pepper

How do I make it?

  • Heat a medium or large skillet over medium-high heat. When the pan is warm, add extra virgin olive oil. When the oil is heated, add the onion and saute they start to brown and are softened.
  • Add the mushrooms and spinach, and cook 2-3 minutes more, until the mushrooms are tender and the spinach is bright.
  • Transfer the onions, mushrooms, and spinach to a large bowl, add the remaining ingredients, and stir to evenly distribute.
  • Form into patties (this recipe will make about 12, give or take). Make sure the patties aren’t too thick, or else the egg won’t cook through (1/2″ – 3/4″ thick should be great).
  • Wipe out the skillet, and re-heat over medium-high heat. When warm, spray with olive oil and place 4 patties in the pan. After about 5 minutes, check the bottom of one of the patties. If it is browning, flip it, and repeat with the others in the pan. Lower the heat to medium and cook for another 5 minutes.
  • Continue with this process until you have cooked the entire batch.

Quinoa Breakfast Cakes-4

Original recipe: Adapted from December 2012 Women’s Health Magazine, “Eat Smart: Quinoa Meatballs”

If you like this, you may also like:

Quinoa Casserole 1  Food_023_

Marinara Quinoa with Chicken

2 Oct

Marinara Quinoa with Chicken-1

When I first learned that quinoa can be cooked directly into a chili or stew {like with this recipe}, I was hooked. Sure, it is not difficult to make a pot of quinoa on its own, but one less step, and one less pot? Yes, please.

This Marinara Quinoa with Chicken is such a satisfying dish after a long day; it is also an easy weeknight recipe that you can vary to your tastes. But my tastes are pretty pure in the marinara realm, i.e. any method to eat marinara sauce works for me, so I have kept this recipe pretty straightforward.

I try to keep these ingredients on hand so I can assemble this dish quickly for a craving. If I don’t have fresh chicken, I move a package of chicken from the freezer to the fridge the night before or on my way out to work. If you don’t keep these ingredients in your pantry and haven’t planned your grocery list (or forgot it – isn’t that the worst?) and find yourself in a grocery store scanning your memory for easy dishes to throw together, this one works well. You would probably just need to pick up some quinoa, chicken, and a few cans of tomato products.

Ingredients:
– 1 medium sweet onion, diced
– 2 cloves garlic, minced
– 3 oz tomato paste (1/2 of a small can)
– 1 14.5 oz can crushed tomatoes
– 1 14.5 oz can whole peeled tomatoes
– 1 t dried oregano
– 1 t dried basil
– 1/2 t dried parsley
– 1/8 t red pepper flakes
– water – fill one of the 14.5 oz cans
– 1/2 c uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained
– 2 cooked chicken breasts (I have been using poached, but you can also cube it and saute, or roast), sliced thinly or cubed

How do I make it?

  • Heat a medium-sized dutch oven over medium-high heat. When warm, add extra virgin olive oil.
  • When the oil is heated, add the onion and cook until it softens and starts to brown.
  • Add the garlic and stir. Cook just until it starts to brown.
  • Add the tomato paste, and stir. Cook for one minute.
  • Add the two cans of tomato. When you add the whole tomatoes, gently crush them with your hand before they go in the pot {be careful, they squirt!} and continue to break them up with a wooden spoon as you are cooking. Bring to a boil.
  • Add the dried herbs and stir.
  • Add a can of water, and stir. Make sure to dissolve the tomato paste.
  • Add the quinoa, and bring back to a boil. Lower heat to medium-low, and cook uncovered until the quinoa is done {the little tails come out – see photo above!}
  • Stir in the chicken and sprinkle with some Parmesan-regianno.

Original recipe: This recipe is loosely based on Protein Bar’s “Healthy Parm” Quinoa Bowl.

If you like this, you may also like:

Meat SauceBroccoli Chicken Quinoa Casserole-7Chicken Stroganoff

How to: Make Pumpkin Puree

29 Sep

Pumpkin Puree-8

The changing of the seasons from Summer to Fall is more than breathing the crispness in the air, pulling out sweaters and boots from the back of the closet, and paging through pictures of friends’ kids on Facebook dressed like small animals. Although I do love all of those things!

I also love the first sugar pumpkin of the season. Slicing off the top, chopping it in to pieces, roasting the seeds, and pureeing the flesh and baking away. Pumpkin recipes abound in this season, and I try to keep a bowl of pumpkin puree in the fridge so I am always ready to try something new or make a trusted favorite.

Here is how to do it in under 15 minutes! Start with a sugar pumpkin. Sugar pumpkins are also called pie pumpkins, and they are much more manageable than the jack-o-lantern sized. A regular knife will make short work of a sugar pumpkin – they are about 6-9″ in diameter.

Sugar Pumpkin-1

Slice off the top of the pumpkin using a chef’s or santuko knife, and discard the stem. Chop the rest of the pumpkin in to chunks – size is not important. I find it easiest to work with the pumpkin when the pieces are not very round – it makes it easier to slice out the pulp and seeds. I use a serrated knife for that task. {You can separate the seeds from the pulp and save the seeds to roast!}

Sugar Pumpkin Pieces-8

Sugar Pumpkin Pieces-7

Place the chunks of pumpkin on a microwave-safe plate, skin side down and flesh side up. Cover with saran wrap and microwave for 8 minutes, or until the flesh is soft. Be careful when removing the saran wrap – it will be steamy under there!

When it is cool enough to handle, scoop the flesh off of the skin into a food processor using a spoon. Add a few Tablespoons of water, and process until smooth. That’s it! It should keep in the fridge for a week or two, or in the freezer for a few months. One sugar pumpkin will make approximately 1.5 c of puree.

Pumpkin Puree-1

If you like this, you may also like:

Pumpkin Curry with Shrimp-47 Cup Food ProcessorRicotta Cheese_015_