Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Not Mac&Cheese

This is the photo from the original recipe found here.

I am always looking for more power-packed ways to cook foods that people (my family) already love, and this really fit the bill! Because it was the first time making it, I wanted it in it's basic form, so I didn't add any veggies, etc. this time. I wanted to make the foundation. As usual, I felt the need to tweak.

1 1/2 c. quinoa (I used a blend of white and red)
generous pinch of seasoned salt
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 large eggs
1 c. milk, any variety
1/2 package American cheese
1 1/2 c. blend of cheeses, shredded (I used medium cheddar and jack)
handful of fresh chives or 2 tsp. dry chives
1/2 tsp. cayenne
Panko bread crumbs
olive oil for drizzling
any desired toppings: salsa, scallions, sour cream, diced tomatoes, etc.

Directions to cook quinoa:
First rinse your quinoa very, very well in a fine mesh strainer. If you don't rinse, it will taste bitter. For a softer texture, you will need to soak for 30 minutes by setting the strainer in a bowl full of enough water to cover your seeds. If you want a firmer texture with a little *pop* when you chew, you can skip the soak or soak for 10 minutes.

Add quinoa with 2 c. water in a pan. Some say salt the water, but it will result in a firmer texture. Bring to a boil, cover with a tight lid, lower to simmer. 

Cook for 15 minutes. Do not remove the lid. Remove from heat, leaving the lid alone, and let sit another 10-15 minutes. Fluff with fork.

Not Mac&Cheese;
Generously butter the bottom and sides of a 9x9 pan (13x9 for doubled recipe)

Whisk together eggs, milk, herbs, and spices. Pour into quinoa and stir. Add cheeses, reserving 1/2 c. of shredded cheeses. Let them melt together while stirring gently.

Pour into prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Top with bread crumbs. Drizzle with olive oil. 

Bake at 350° for 35-40 minutes.

Monday, March 5, 2012


It galls me to call this goulash, because it isn't...not in the original sense, anyway. But I lack a better name for it, and many, many Americans are familiar with this comforting "goulash", so I slap on some quotation marks and let it be.

This is such a simple dish, and I'm sure most of you already know how to make it, but I'll share it here because I use this blog to fill my children's Heritage Cookbooks as well, and they adore "goulash".

My parentheses keys aren't working, so * will be used.

1 lb. ground turkey or beef
1 large onion, chopped
3 15 oz. jars diced tomatoes, with juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 stick of butter
1 pound of macaroni or preferred pasta

When using turkey, I brown it with a drizzle of olive oil because it lacks the fat content of beef. I also add a splash of lemon juice to help break the meat down because we don't like big chunks. This also freshens the flavor some.

1. Brown turkey in a large pot. Sprinkle in some poultry seasoning for flavor.

2. Add onions and garlic. Cook until onions soften.

3. Pour in tomatoes. *I lightly puree most of them because some of us don't like those chunks either.*

4. Simmer 15-20 minutes to allow flavors to mingle. Meanwhile, cook your macaroni noodles to just under al dente *about 5 minutes*.

5. Add your stick of butter to the sauce. Melt and stir in.

6. Add pasta to the sauce. Bring to boil. Simmer until pasta is al dente or desired firmness.

Many "goulash" purists would not add garlic or other seasonings, and most probably wouldn't sprinkle on some Parmesan cheese to serve, but I am not a purist. I like more flavor.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Simple Weeknight Curry

Years ago I worked for a family from India. One of the things I have always been grateful for about that experience was learning so much about Indian cuisine and cooking. Many people think that Indian food is complicated and time-consuming, and many Indian dishes are just that and quite worth it, but there are some very simple dishes to be cooked as well.

As with all food, the fresher the better, but you can easily mix up a curry (or masala) that can be added to a variety of meats, grains, and vegetables for a lovely Indianesque meal any night of the week.

1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
3 Tbsp. ground turmeric
3 Tbsp. ground cumin
3 Tbsp. curry powder (don't skimp or buy cheap curry)
1 Tbsp. cayenne
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1 Tbsp. ground ginger (again, don't buy cheap)
2 tsp. anise seeds, crushed
8-10 cardamom pods, crushed

Simply add all to a lidded container or jar and shake to combine.

On fish, tofu, or poultry:
Drizzle the meat in lemon juice, then rub in curry. Seal tightly and refrigerate several hours. Grill, pan-fry, or bake.

Stir curry into plain yogurt and coat your meat. Seal tightly and refrigerate several hours. Grill, pan-fry, or bake.

In rice/grains:
Rinse and soak 1 c. Basmati rice for 30 minutes. Drain.
Chop 1 medium onion and 3 cloves garlic. Melt 1 Tbsp. butter with 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a pan and saute onions and garlic. When softened, stir in rice and toast gently for 3-5 minutes. Stir in 2 Tbsp. curry and 1 tsp. dry cilantro. You can also add nuts, fruit, dry fruit, and vegetables. Add 1 c. water or chicken/veg stock. Bring to boil. Cover tightly and simmer 45+ minutes until water is soaked up and rice is soft.

Vegetable/rice dish:
Follow directions above for rice up to toasting. Add in cooked garbanzo beans, cauliflower, peas, diced potatoes, diced bell pepper, etc. Finish rice-cooking process. Stir in 2 c. sliced fresh spinach and serve. Stir in plain yogurt for a creamy richness if desired.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Baked Savory Turkey Meatballs

My son has some major food allergies. Turkey is one of his major sources of protein because of those allergies, and I came up with this recipe for him. The whole family loves these turkey meatballs. Ephrem adores them drizzled with a little strawberry vinaigrette, and EVERYBODY loves them with the tangy glaze.

1 pound ground turx
1 1/2 c. bread crumbs
1/4 c. any variety of milk (we use soy, flax, or hemp)
1/4 c. thick pureed carrots (to replace egg)
1 Tbsp. stoneground mustard
2-3 tsp. Balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 small red bell pepper, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, minced
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. white pepper
2 tsp. organic poultry seasoning
3 tsp. fresh lemon thyme leaves
a good drizzle of olive oil

Throw all the ingredients in a big bowl and combine well with hands. If it seems too wet to hold together well, add more bread crumbs. If it seems a bit dry, add more milk. Form your meatballs to the size you prefer. (This is fun to do with littles too!) Place them closely, but not touching, on an oiled pizza pan or shallow baking pan. I often bake them in mini muffin tins. Bake about 45 minutes to an hour at 375 degrees.
You can enjoy these all kinds of ways. In spaghetti, on a sandwich, next to mashed potatoes, all by themselves...They are tasty!

Tangy Glaze:
1/4 c. ketchup
1 Tbsp. course ground mustard
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. or more chipotle pepper sauce
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 c. packed brown sugar

Combine first 5 ingredients well in a small mixing bowl. Add brown sugar and mix until smooth and well combined.  Spoon over meatballs before baking.

This is the same glaze I put over meatloaf. I promise you'll never want plain ketchup meatloaf again!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Lasagna Soup

*adapted from 300 Sensational Soups by Carla Snyder and Meredith Deeds

2 tsp. olive oil
1 lb. ground turkey
1/2 tsp. cayenne
3 tsp. sage
1 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. sea salt
2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
3 c. finely chopped onion
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. dry oregano
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
4 Tbsp. sun-dried tomato paste
2 14 oz. cans diced tomatoes with juice
2 Bay leaves
6 c. chicken stock
8 oz. broken lasagna noodles (or mafalda or fusilli)
1/2 c. finely chopped fresh basil
salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
8 oz. ricotta
8 oz. cottage cheese
2 c. mozzarella or Italian blended cheese, grated
1/4 tsp. sea salt
fresh ground black pepper

1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add ground turkey and break up with a spatula. Add spices and brown well, breaking up the turkey very well.

2. Add onions and garlic and cook until softened.

3. Add oregano, and red pepper flakes. Cook for 1 minute.

4. Add tomato paste and stir well to incorporate. Cook 3-4 minutes.

5. In a medium bowl, combine cheeses, salt, and pepper. Refrigerate until serving.

6. Add diced tomatoes (which I pulsed a couple times in the food processor because we don't like big chunks), Bay leaves, and chicken stock. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes. Add uncooked pasta and cook until al dente, about 7-10 minutes. Stir in basil just before serving.

To serve, place a generous dollop of the cheese mixture in each soup bowl and ladle on the soup.

Rosemary Olive Oil Bread

1 c. warm water (100-110 F)
1 Tbsp. organic cane sugar
2 tsp. active dry yeast
3/4 tsp. sea salt
2 Tbsp. fresh rosemary (or 2 tsp. dry)
1/4 tsp. each ground garlic, dry oregano, and dry basil (Italian seasoning would do.)
1/4 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
2 Tbsp. good quality extra virgin olive oil (I use Colavita or Costco's brand)
1 1/4 c. whole wheat flour
1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. bread flour + extra for kneading
1 egg, whisked + 1 Tbsp. water for egg wash
dry rosemary and minced garlic

1. In a large glass or plastic bowl, combine the warm water, sugar, and yeast. Let sit 10 minutes to proof.

2. Stir in the salt, rosemary, herbs, olive oil, and whole wheat and all-purpose flours.

3. Add the bread flour and stir until the dough forms a ball. Knead on a surface lightly floured with the extra bread flour for about 5 minutes, adding more bread flour as necessary to prevent sticking. Continue kneading until smooth.

4. Place the dough in a lightly oiled (more olive oil) glass or plastic bowl and cover. Let rise until double in size, about 1 hour.

5. Punch down the dough and form a round loaf by pinching and folding to the under side. Place it on a cornmeal dusted pizza stone or cookie sheet. Cover and let rise until double in size.

6. Preheat oven to 400 F with a pan of water in the bottom. (Steam makes a chewier crust.) Once the dough has risen, gently brush the top with egg wash and sprinkle with dry rosemary and minced garlic.

7. Bake 20-25 minutes until top is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Braised Chicken With Lemon & Capers

*adapted from Food & Wine recipe Zesty Braised Chicken

  • 6 bonesless skinless chicken pieces (I used breasts)
  • all-purpose flour for dusting
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin 0live oil
  • 3 large peeled garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup Sauvignon Blanc
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock
  • zest from 1 fresh lemon
  • 4 thyme springs
  • 1 Tbsp. capers, drained
  • 2 bay leaves
Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Season the chicken generously with salt and pepper and dust with flour.  In a large ovenproof skillet or dutch oven, melt the butter in the oil.  Add the chicken, and cook over medium-high heat, turning once, until browned (12 to 14 minutes).  Transfer the chicken to a large plate and pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the fat.

Add the garlic to the skillet and cook over low heat until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add the wine and boil over high heat until reduced by half, about 5 minutes.  Add the stock, lemon zest, thyme, capers and bay leaves and bring to a boil.  Return the chicken to the pan.  Transfer the skillet to the oven, cover and braise for 30-35 minutes, until the meat is tender.

Remove chicken, then return the skillet to the stove and boil until the sauce is slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. Discard the thyme, bay leaf and lemon zest before serving.

I served with seasoned baby baked potatoes, green beans, and kale.