Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Pumpkin Sage Baked Penne

It's finally starting to feel like fall, which means it's time to break out the pumpkin and apple recipes. This was a perfect recipe to make on the Monday night after a three-day weekend. It was simple to put together, didn't result in too many dirty dishes, and gave us plenty of leftovers for the work week.

I might have under seasoned this, I thought the best parts were with the crisp white cheddar on top which helped to give the pasta a little more salt. I'm still trying to get into the pumpkin craze, sometimes I love it in recipes and sometimes I don't. This one left me with mixed feelings, I didn't love it, but I also didn't hate it. Overall, it was pretty successful, and Dave and I are happily eating the leftovers.

Recipe slightly adapted from Oh My Veggies. 

-Cooking spray
-2 large shallots, diced
-1/4 cup all-purpose flour
-2 1/2 cups reduced-fat (2%) or whole milk
-1 cup pumpkin puree
-1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
-1/2 cup thinly sliced sage leaves, divided
-Pinch of nutmeg
-Salt and pepper, to taste
-8 ounces penne, cooked al dente
-3/4 cup shredded sharp white cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350ºF and spray an 8x8 pan with cooking spray.

Spray a large skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook, for about 7 minutes or until the shallots just beginning to brown. Next, sprinkle the flour into the skillet and cook, continuing to stir often, until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Slowly pour the milk into the skillet, whisking it into the flour mixture. Once the flour and milk are incorporated, add the pumpkin to the skillet and whisk that into the flour/milk. Let the sauce cook on medium heat for about 7 minutes or until thickened, about 7 minutes.

Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in the parmesan cheese, 1/4 cup of the sage leaves and a pinch of nutmeg. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then fold in the penne. Transfer to the prepared baking dish and top with the shredded cheese and remaining sage. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 10 minutes covered, 10 minutes uncovered. I love a browned casserole top, so I broiled the penne for about 5 minutes.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Caramelized Broccoli and Red Onion Pizza

Dave ran a 1/2 marathon yesterday and was put in charge of deciding what we would eat for dinner. He asked for pizza and after going through a few recipes he decided that he would really like to have broccoli on his pizza. Although broccoli isn't a typical pizza topping, we both thought this recipe turned out pretty good.

This was incredibly easy to make since I made some tweaks to the recipe to avoid making my own dough and sauce. If you're feeling adventurous you can make your own crust or sauce using your favorite recipe.

Recipe adapted from Serious Eats.

-1 small head broccoli, cut into 1/2-inch florets
-1/1 small red onion, thinly sliced
-1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
-Extra-virgin olive oil
-Kosher salt
-4 tablespoons pizza sauce
-1 prepared pizza crust
-2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Stretch the pizza crust onto the pan you'd like to use (or onto your pizza stone, we love ours) and preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Bake the crust for about five minutes.

In a large bowl, combine the broccoli, red onion, red pepper flakes, and about one tablespoon of olive oil.

After five minutes, remove the pizza crust from the oven. Spread the sauce over the crust, top with the cheese, and then evenly spread the broccoli mixture over top of the cheese. Bake for about 10 more minutes.

Slice and enjoy.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Slow Cooker Skinny Loaded Potato Soup

I love fall, it's my favorite season -- but now that we've in between fall and summer losing the natural light long before my dinner time makes taking photos for the blog really difficult. These two photos are the only good ones out of probably about ten. Seriously, when it comes to photographing food natural lighting is everything.

I'm currently back to counting calories/on what I'm calling my wedding diet, during 2015 I lost quite a bit of weight and during 2016 I was pretty...well.. lazy. This slow cooker potato soup is easy to make and really cuts down on the calories of traditional potato soup. It has enough dairy in it to make it seem rich, but in actuality it's not loaded with cream and cheese.

Recipe from the Cookie Rookie.

-6 large Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
-40 ounces vegetable broth
-1-teaspoon salt
-1 teaspoon black pepper
-1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
-6 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
-1/2 sweet yellow onion, diced
-2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
-2-3 tablespoons olive oil
-1 teaspoon basil
-1 teaspoon dill
-1 1/2 cups fat-free half-and-half
-1 1/2 cups low-fat cheddar cheese,
-2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped

For Garnish:
-6 pieces vegan bacon, cooked and crumbled
-green onions, thinly sliced
-chives, chopped

Spray the inside of slow cooker with cooking spray and set the temperature to HIGH. Add the diced potatoes, carrots, onions, garlic, vegetable stock, salt, pepper and red pepper into the slow cooker. Cook on HIGH for 2-3 hours or until potatoes have softened.

Using a potato masher, mash part of the cooked vegetables while they are still in the slow cooker. Only mash down on the vegetables a few times, you want there to be some whole vegetable pieces. Add herbs, half-and-half, cheese and chives. Mix well.
Once the cheese has melted ladle into a bowl and enjoy with additional chives, cheese, and vegan bacon. 

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Curried Beet Soup with Tandoori Chickpeas

We ended up with a bunch of beets from my parent's garden again this year and I was intrigued by using them to make a curried soup. Although this is probably more appropriate for winter or fall since it's a hearty soup and relatively warm due to all of the spices. I made four large portions out of it, but you probably could easily do six smaller portions.

If you're not worried about keeping this vegan, we found that it was very tasty with a large helping of sour cream. It was also very delicious served with naan.

Recipe from Minimalist Baker.

-1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed, drained + dried in a clean towel
-1 tablespoon olive oil 
-1/4 tsp sea salt
-2 tablespoons tandoori masala spice blend 

-1 tablespoon olive oil
-2 shallots, thinly diced 
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-1 tablespoon minced ginger
-6 small-medium beets, quartered
-Pinch each sea salt + black pepper, plus more to taste
-1 1/2 tablespoons green curry paste 
-1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
-1/2 tsp ground turmeric
-1/2 tsp ground cumin
-1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
-1 14-ounce can light coconut milk (optional: more for serving)
-2 cups vegetable broth

Chickpeas:  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, and add rinsed and dried chickpeas to a small mixing bowl. Top with olive oil, salt, and tandoori masala. Toss to combine. Spread onto a bare baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until deep golden brown and fragrant. Set aside to cool.

Soup: Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add oil, shallots, garlic and ginger. Sauté for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Next, add beets, salt and pepper, curry paste, cinnamon, turmeric, cumin, and cayenne. Stir everything to coat the beets in the spices, then cover and cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add coconut milk, vegetable broth, and coconut sugar.
Bring to a low boil over medium heat and then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, or until beets are fork tender. Use an immersion blender to purée the soup until it is creamy and smooth. 

Serve with an extra drizzle of coconut milk and one fourth of the tandoori chickpeas.


Monday, September 5, 2016

Zucchini Risotto with Goat Cheese

We're dealing with an overload of zucchini, last year it rained too much and the zucchini in my parent's garden couldn't thrive. This year they're giving us more zucchini than we know what to do with. We've been trying to come up with new recipes to use the zucchini in fun and different ways. I wouldn't have thought to include zucchini in risotto, but we were very happy with how this recipe turned out.

Recipe from A Family Feast

-1 teaspoon olive oil
-4 cups vegetable stock,
-1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
-1 pound zucchini, trimmed and cut into ¼ inch pieces
-4 medium garlic cloves, thickly sliced
-1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or to your preference)
-1/2 cup yellow onion, diced fine
-1 cup Aborio rice
-1 cup white wine
-1 tablespoon each of fresh basil and parsley, minced
-2 plum tomatoes, seeded, cored and diced small
-4 ounce package goat cheese
-1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

In a medium pot, heat the vegetable stock until it's warmed through, you'll want it to be hot, but not boiling.

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium high heat and add zucchini -- cook for 8-10 minutes or until browned. Next add the garlic slices and pepper flakes and cook one minute. Add onions and cook for 6-7 minutes until soft.

Add rice and stir to coat with the oil. Add wine and cook until almost all of the liquid has been absorbed.

Once the wine is almost absorbed, add herbs and one cup of the hot stock and cook and stir until absorbed. Repeat by adding the tomatoes and one more cup of stock, cook until almost absorbed.
Repeat this for two more cups of stock, one cup at a time and letting that absorb before adding the next. All of this hot stock absorption is where the magic of risotto happens.

The last two cups of stock should be added one quarter cup at a time, cooking between each addition. You'll want the rice to be creamy, but not drowning in liquid. If the rice is cooked and creamy, you may not need to add the last cup of stock -- I find that almost always when making risotto that I do not use the last cup of stock.

Remove from heat and stir in the goat cheese and Parmesan cheese.