Blue Apron · kid-friendly · Recipes · Uncategorized

Coconut Kale & Sweet Potato Casserole

Well, I guess the nasty weather has officially arrived. The Southern temps were fun while they lasted! (Although 70 degrees on Christmas just felt wrong). Now that we’ve had to turn the heat back on and bundle up for commuting again, it feels like it’s time to start making casseroles again. Especially all that holiday cooking…who wants to do anything fussy now? This vegetarian dish is hearty, nutritious and as spicy as you want it to be (or not). A few inexpensive ingredients will feed you for days and warm you from the inside out. As a bonus, you can make tea from the leftover ginger peels, and that’s great for healthy digestion (and for kicking the common cold, if you toss in some honey, lemon and bourbon ūüėČ ). Cuddle up for some home cooking and, as Georgia likes to say, “get cozy.”

Coconut Kale & Sweet Potato Casserole

INGREDIENTS

  • 5 Ounces Egg Noodles
  • 1¬ĺ Cups Light Coconut Milk
  • 1 Bunch Kale
  • 1 Pound Sweet Potatoes
  • 2 Tablespoons All-Purpose Flour
  • 1-Inch Piece of Fresh Ginger
  • ‚Öď C Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • ¬ľ C Panko Breadcrumbs
  • If you want it spicier, add some red pepper flakes or chilli powder. Totally optional.

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 475¬įF. Wash and dry the fresh produce. Heat two large pots¬†of water to boiling on high.¬†Peel and medium-dice the sweet potatoes.¬†Peel and mince the ginger. Remove and discard the kale stems and rough-chop the leaves.

Add the sweet potatoes to the first pot of boiling water. Cook 7 to 9 minutes, or until tender when pierced with a fork. Drain thoroughly and place in a large bowl.

While the sweet potatoes cook, add the noodles to the second pot of boiling water. Cook 5 to 6 minutes, or until just shy of al dente. Drain thoroughly and transfer to the bowl of cooked sweet potatoes. Rinse and wipe out the pot.

In the pot used to cook the noodles, heat¬†2 tablespoons of olive oil¬†on medium-high until hot. Add the¬†ginger¬†and cook, stirring frequently, 1 to 2 minutes, or until slightly softened and fragrant. Add the¬†flour¬†and¬†spices, if using;¬†cook, whisking frequently, 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until toasted and fragrant. Slowly add the¬†coconut milk¬†(shaking the can before opening) and¬†¬ĺ cup of water; season with salt and pepper. Cook, whisking frequently, 3 to 5 minutes, or until thickened. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Stir the kale into the pot of béchamel sauce. Cook, stirring frequently, 1 to 2 minutes, or until the kale has wilted. Turn off the heat. Add the cooked sweet potatoes and noodles; stir until thoroughly combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Transfer the finished filling to a baking dish. In a small bowl, combine the breadcrumbs and cheese. Stir in enough olive oil to moisten the mixture; season with salt and pepper to taste. Evenly top the filling with the breadcrumb-cheese mixture. Place the baking dish on a sheet pan. Bake 8 to 10 minutes, or until bubbly and browned on top. Remove from the oven and let stand for at least 2 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

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This recipe is modified from my Blue Apron delivery subscription. I love when they have budget-friendly, easily-replicable recipes for our family to add to our repertoire! I hope you enjoy this as much as we did. The first time I made it as part of my Blue Apron delivery, it came out rather spicy, so I toned it down a LOT the next time I made it. I’m really happy with the non-spicy version and will likely make it that way from here on out. I hope you like it! It reheats for lunches and leftovers so well.

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Happy New Year, everyone! Here’s to a healthy, fulfilling 2016.

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Recipes

Trader Joe’s Tag: Chimichurri Rice with Chicken Sausage

Y’all know I love me some Trader Joe’s. So when I discover a new recipe that only uses TJ’s ingredients, I’m doubly excited! We go there for groceries probably every two or three weeks, pick up¬†a few of our favorites plus a couple of new treats, and fill in the regular food haul from Target, the farmer’s market, or (if we have to) Shaw’s or Stop n’ Shop (so expensive!)¬†This one has a slight kick that’s balanced nicely by the sweet sausage. It goes freezer-to-table¬†in a flash.

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This has a moderate level of spice to it, and easily turns from a side dish into a full meal with the addition of sausage links and fresh vegetables. You can use any variety of sausage you prefer. The seasonings in the rice include garlic, ginger, creme fraiche, cilantro and pepper.

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Chimichurri Rice with Chicken-Apple Sausage & Fresh Peas

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 bag Trader Joe’s Peruvian-style Chimichurri Rice (frozen)
  • 1 package chicken sausage, any variety you like (we chose apple)
  • 1/2 pound fresh sugar snap peas, ends trimmed

DIRECTIONS

In a good-sized skillet over medium heat, cook the sausage slices until just starting to brown. Add the veggies (in my case, peas) and cook for just a few minutes. Add the entire bag of frozen chimichurri rice to the pan and cook, stirring, until heated through. Enjoy hot with a glass of crisp white wine!

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I had lots of extra peas left over from the huge farmer’s market bag after eye-balling the amount for this recipe. I eat them raw, dip them in ranch dressing, or steam them, sometimes garnished with lemon zest or mint. And of course, they make the perfect addition to any stir-fry or grain salad. And they’re so plentiful right now!

In baby news, we suddenly have a big girl on our hands — her¬†first birthday¬†party planning is in full swing, she took her first steps this weekend, and she’s moving into the “transition room” (1-2 years) at day care today (SOB!) She’s not shy about exploring our house these days, including the stairs, cat food dishes, DVD player and breakable vases. It’s never a dull moment. Last weekend, she and daddy had a special breakfast date together while mom got her nails done!


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Baby & Toddler · Recipes

Our Thanksgiving Traditions

This is going to be Georgia’s first Thanksgiving (and everything else!) and we are super excited to have her around for the holiday.

This time last year, we were just keeping our fingers crossed that she’d be coming into our lives soon, and a few weeks after Thanksgiving we found out that our wish had come true and she was officially on the way! I haven’t decided what she’s going to wear yet (well, other than this bib, since she drools like crazy) but I have decided what we are making. My father-in-law does the turkey, gravy, and stuffing, and¬†our relatives split all the sides and desserts.

We bring:

  • Pumpkin, lemon meringue and apple pie. I order them from this bakery near where we live. They deliver for $1, and donate 20% to the Bread of Life, a local food pantry which hosts a huge Thanksgiving dinner every year for hundreds of people north of Boston, all for free.
  • Mashed potatoes. I have a great make-ahead method!
  • Cranberry Sauce from scratch. My specialty.

Click the photos below for my easy recipes for those buttery mashed potatoes and special cranberry sauce, which has little kick thanks to some ground ginger and orange peel.

Boil and mash these with half-and-half and cream cheese the day before, then bake topped with butter the hour before Thanksgiving dinner.
Sweet and tart.

Need more inspiration?

Don’t miss the New York Times Vegetarian Thanksgiving Guide, which includes Gluten-free options and plenty of ideas for leftovers this year.

I’m also dying to try this recipe for Sweet Potato Tart Tatin topped with Mascarpone (!) from The Chew, and this recipe for Mashed Sweet Potatoes topped with caramelized onions. Mark said next year he’s going to try his hand at cooking for Thanksgiving by whipping up these sauteed cipolline onions by Mario Batalli. My grandmother always made creamed pearl onions for Thanksgiving; it might be a Scandinavian thing. I really miss them so I can’t wait for Mark to try these!

I’m headed back to work the Monday after the holiday, so wish me (and Georgia and Daddy) good luck. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Recipes

Sweet n’ Spicy Macaroni & Chili

Remember two weeks ago, when everyone stayed up past midnight to watch the election results right on the heels of Hurricane Sandy and just before a big Nor’Easter? Yeah, that’s when I made this. This cheesy lazy thing. I’m pretty glad it’s in my repertoire with the holiday craziness rolling in.

Sweet n’ Spicy Macaroni and Chili

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (1 16-0z. package) small whole wheat shells
  • 1 can (14.7 oz.) Trader Joe’s vegetarian chili (or similar)
  • 1 cup shredded cheese
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup of coconut milk
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup of salsa
  • Salt, to taste
  • optional but snazzy: 1 TBSP chutney

I used orecchiette, when I couldn’t find the small whole wheat shells I wanted; Trader Joe’s Organic Vegetarian Chili; shredded mozzarella and parmesan cheese (Target brand); Trader Joe’s Light Coconut Milk; Trader Joe’s Smoky Peach Salsa; and Trader Joe’s Mango-Ginger Salsa.

Obviously you can make this with real chili, any variety of salsa, another kind of shredded cheese, and dairy milk if you eat those foods. I personally love how this is safe for lactose-intolerant and vegetarian seekers of comfort food.

Directions

Set a medium sized pot of pasta on to boil. You want it slightly undercooked as it will continue cooking in the final pan. Once the pasta is done, set aside in a bowl.

In the same pan you cooked the pasta in, add the chili and cheese. Stir in the coconut milk, salsa and a pinch of salt.

Cook over medium heat until the mixture is warm and the cheese is melted; toss in the pasta. Stir, add the chutney if using, and taste. Adjust seasonings if necessary. Serve warm!

The original recipe also offered the following substitution to make the dish vegan: 1 cup Daiya vegan shredded non-dairy cheese, or 1/4 cup nutritional yeast and 1/4 cup coconut milk.

You can also feel free to add in a dash more coconut milk if this comes together too thick, and if you prefer even more heat than the salsa and the chutney offer, splash in some tabasco sauce or some jarred jalapenos (maybe these?)

Recipe inspiration came from healthy slow cooking.

Recipes

Coconut-Curry Lentil Soup

As soon as I saw this recipe from Delight Gluten-Free Magazine, I knew I had to try it! (I changed it up a little to suit what I had in my pantry).

I added a little more potato to compensate for the fact that I only had 1 cup of lentils on hand, and then used leeks instead of yellow onion because I had a cup of chopped leeks left over from making a batch of my spring risotto. I also made sure to use light coconut milk to keep all the flavor without quite so many calories.

This¬†turned out really well, and we had tons of leftovers to eat for lunch all week. I¬†served it with my Kale Salad¬†— which is made with a simple¬†avocado-lemon dressing — since I had half a bunch of kale leftover from making the soup, plus two avocados left from making some¬†Lemon Pappardelle.

Coconut Curry Lentil Soup

Serves 8   Hands-on time 20 minutes   Slow cooks for 4 hours

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup dried lentils, rinsed
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 2 good sized potatoes, diced (skin on)
  • 1 cup chopped leeks (white parts only) or use a yellow onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bunch kale, or use spinach/collard greens, stems removed
  • 2 TBSP tomato paste
  • 3 cups vegetable stock, plus 1/2 cup at the end (two 14.5 oz cans total)
  • 1 can of light coconut milk (14 oz.)
  • 2 TBSP EVOO
  • 2 TBSP fresh lemon juice, to use at the end
  • 1 TBSP fresh ginger, or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1/2 to 1 jalapeno, seeded (or use jarred slices)
  • 2 TBSP curry powder
  • salt to taste (about 1/2 tsp)

This looks like a long list of ingredients, but I actually didn’t have to buy anything besides the fresh kale. I think you’ll find that you have most if not all of these ingredients already on hand.

DIRECTIONS

In a skillet over medium, heat the olive oil, then saute the garlic, leeks, ginger and jalapeno for 5 minutes. Turn off heat. (note: if you have someone who really doesn’t like heat, just leave these out. It will taste subtle to people who like a kick, but in a slow cooker peppers can really broaden their spice).

Stir into the pan the tomato paste, coconut milk, vegetable stock and curry; stir together.

Pour into slow cooker and add carrots, potatoes, lentils and salt. Set on low heat for four hours. After four hours, stir in the kale or other greens and squeeze in the lemon juice, adding the rest of the vegetable stock and any additional water that looks necessary for desired texture. Let heat for another 15 minutes, then add salt and pepper to taste.

This dish freezes well and is very filling. It’s probably most suitable for fall, but I made it during a cold snap the East Coast weathered in between some summer heat, and it really hit the spot. Enjoy!

Drinks & Smoothies

Spiked cinnamon-apple cider

Every new home deserves a housewarming celebration, and what open house party would be complete without a signature cocktail? For us, that meant serving 50+ people a hot apple cider infused with oranges, cloves, cinnamon sticks & ginger, and spiked with dark rum and cinnamon schnapps.

Ingredients

  • 1 gallon apple cider
  • 1 bottle (750 ml) dark rum
  • 1 bottle (750 ml) cinnamon schnapps
  • 1 large orange, sliced (unpeeled)
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • healthy pinch of ground ginger (about a teaspoon)
  • healthy dash of¬†whole cloves (about a dozen)

Directions

In a large stock pot, combine the entire gallon of cider with half to 2/3 of the rum and half to 2/3 of the bottle of schnapps. Add the orange slices, cloves, ginger and cinnamon sticks.

Bring all ingredients to a boil, stirring occasionally, then reduce heat to low. Simmer continuously and serve hot. I kept mine on low throughout the whole party and we just ladled it out into Irish coffee mugs!

You can easily make a larger quantity to serve a bigger crowd by pouring in the entire 750-ml. bottle of rum (same with the Schnapps) and adding a half gallon or more of cider.

Adjust the quantity (and therefore the strength) of the alcohol to your preference.

Cheers!

***

Recipes

Homemade Cranberry Sauce (with a kick)!

It’s such a weird feeling for me to not be cooking the meal this Thanksgiving, but in truth I couldn’t handle it this year. Between 10-hour workdays, a major move, a husband juggling two jobs, and the fact that my recipes and pots are NOT unpacked, I’m lucky I managed to unearth the simple ingredients and saucepan needed to make my favorite side: Cranberry Sauce with a kick!

Here is the basic recipe (inspired by one of my first copies of Rachael Ray Magazine, from about 2006). I double this so everyone has plenty to take home with their leftovers.

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick (add more if you like; I do!)
  • 2 tsp finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 2 tsp grated orange peel
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • One 12-ounce bag fresh cranberries

DIRECTIONS

In a medium saucepan, combine 1 cup of water with 1 cup of sugar, 1 cinnamon stick, fresh ginger (or 1/4 tsp ground), orange peel and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar is dissolved.

Stir in the cranberries and bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, stirring, until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.


Transfer the mixture to a bowl and remove the cinnamon stick (unless, like me, you let it simmer wayyyy longer than 10 minutes so that the sauce turns gelatinous and the cinnamon sticks practically dissolve). Let cool.

Enjoy! And have a very Happy Thanksgiving!

CSA 2011 · Recipes

Harvest vegetable pasta

I created this after roasting a bunch of root vegetables together with nuts and raisins in a (failed) attempt to make something compelling. Luckily, even though they bored me as a standalone dish, these harvest veggies tasted excellent once I tossed them with rotini pasta and a nutmeg-infused¬†sauce.¬†Easy as pie….kind of tastes like pie too, actually.

INGREDIENTS

  • Red potato, sliced into quarters (unpeeled)
  • Turnips, sliced in half
  • Pumpkin, peeled and cubed
  • Squash, peeled and cubed (or buy this way)
  • Raisins (I used about one small box)
  • Carrots/parsnips, sliced (unpeeled)
  • Almonds (handful)
  • Vegetable broth (enough so an inch or two coats the pan)
  • Cinnamon to taste (be liberal with it!)
  • Nutmeg (generous spoonful)
  • Ginger (to taste)
  • Honey (about a half cup)
  • Kosher Salt
  • Pepper

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375. Prep all the chopped ingredients (or do this a day ahead). Toss with olive oil, nuts and raisins on a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger and drizzle with honey. Season with salt and pepper. Add an inch or two of vegetable stock to the bottom of the pan. Roast in the oven, uncovered, for about 20 minutes or until tender.

Meanwhile, boil your pasta — I used rotini because it can “grip” chunky sauces like what you’re making.

You can use premade white sauce (I bought a great nutmeg sauce at Dave’s Fresh Pasta in Davis Square that I used as a base); or, you can make a simple white sauce by whisking butter, flour and then cream together over low heat, and then add the nutmeg in. Here’s a great example. I also added some leftover cream cheese into the pan to thicken the sauce even more (I never claimed this was health food). Combine the veggies, pasta and sauce in a large pot with a dash of pasta cooking water to help it all stick together! You can loosen it up with some more milk (I like almond milk) if it looks too thick or sticky.

This reheats well, but I’d recommend pouring a dash of¬† almond milk (or whatever kind you use) into the tupperware container and also putting a pad of butter on the top of the pasta when heating up leftovers to re-moisten things in the microwave and to keep it all from turning sticky.