Tag Archives: dinner

Stuffed Cauliflower

In my pantry today:

  • 1 lg head cauliflower
  • 1 c quinoa, cooked
  • 1/2 c finely shredded monterey jack cheese
  • 1 clove garlic, in thin spears
  • 1 tbsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 tsp asafoetida

stuffedcauliflowerSo this one is a doozy of a dish that I both went into suspecting and came out knowing with which I can do better. I will master this. It might not have helped that I decided to go my own way with the stuffing (as opposed to the scant every recipe online). I don’t blame myself, of course, I blame my cupboards. Regardless, the fundamentals won’t change. Start out by getting the bottom greenery off of and core out of your cauliflower, then wash it before submerging it for 15m or so in a large pot of boiling water laced with all of the above slated turmeric. Take it out and let it cool for another 10 or however long it takes you to complete the following:

Mix together 3/4 c quinoa with all the cheese and above-listed seasonings then set it aside. There will be time, too, to make the sauce to top it before baking.

  • 1/2 sweet onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp vegetable ghee
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/3 c half and half
  • 2/3 c vegetable broth
  • 2/3 c tomato sauce
  • 1 tbsp coriander
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne

Chunk up your onion and garlic and let cook in ghee over ML heat for 5-10 minutes. Puree like hell in the food processor. In the pan from which they came, heat the olive oil and pour the pureed contents back in. Cook over ML (erring on the side of M), scraping off the bottom as you go and adding in the coriander and cumin. Make it into a cohesive paste and begin adding your liquids while heating, now, to full M. Add the cayenne last then let sit until the big white head gets  turned upside down then stuffed gently and lovingly with the mixture from a couple paragraphs back. This is a little more difficult than it sounds like it might be — you see from the picture up there that a full stuff will take some training. Put in glass baking dish right-side up, cover with sauce and remaining quinoa and bake at 425° for 1 hour. 4 spoons for taste and aesthetics — when I figure out how to better stuff this thing, we’ll see about making it 5.

Black Bean Soft Tacos with Broccoli Salsa Tapenade

In my pantry today:

  • black beans
  • 1/2 c minced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 c vegetable broth
  • 1/2 c broccoli salsa tapenade (below)

broccolitapenadeI want to cook with the new white corn tortillas I found at Aldi which are exactly like the ones my favorite (and really, the only I eat) soft tacos at our favorite Mexican restaurant here. There are black beans in the cupboard and in the fridge a few leftover broccoli florets that I just don’t want to see die. But black beans and tortillas, ok. I see that. But fitting broccoli into the equation?

  • 1/2 c broccoli crowns
  • 4 tbsp salsa
  • 1/2 tbsp garlic paste
  • 1/2 tsp taco seasoning packet
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne (optional)
  • Juice of 1 lime wedge

Invite the food processor and that big bag of frozen lime wedges you still don’t entirely know what to do with, and get going on this easy little addition that will turn out to be better than anticipated. Pulse the broccoli and garlic paste until the broccoli is more finely minced than your human hands could possibly muster (yet not completely pureed). Remove to a small bowl and add seasonings, salsa and finish off with the lime. Set aside — you can obviously eat this immediately, but a couple of hours sitting never hurt no seasoning blend.

limesTo make the beans, start out minced garlic and onions in olive oil on ML for a few minutes, then do a half-ass drain/rinse on your can of black beans (a little of the gook in there will be helpful) and put in the pan. Add most of the vegetable broth, saving a little for additions later. Stir everything together, then place two (frozen here) lime wedges on top, cover and let cook for 20m or so. Remove limes, stir and add rest of broth then let simmer until taco time. Heat your tortillas between wet paper towels in the microwave for 30s — layer on beans, broccoli and cheese — I give this 5 spoons for both taste and creative use of leftover broccoli.

Le Polpette Più Straordinaria (Or, “Meatballs!”)

In my pantry today:

  • 4 c crock pot marinara from freezer
  • 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 2 Italian sausages
  • 1 egg
  • 1/8 c plain bread crumbs
  • 1/4 c Parmesan cheese
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/8 tsp cumin
Meatballs ft. Steam of Deliciousness

Meatballs ft. Steam of Deliciousness

It’s a new year and the freezer is full of meat. Well, not full but still housing a little more than I’d like to have on hand and I would really like to free up space in both my freezer and capillaries so tonight’s dinner was meatballs. Using the freezer marinara also helped — plus, who wants to make homemade meatballs and use anyone else’s sauce in which to bathe them? I mean, that would just be wrong… right? So start this journey by ensuring everything is thawed and at the ready: your sausages have been removed from their casings, your garlic is minced and your oven is preheated to 350°.

meatballs1Heat the marinara over ML heat until it is hot but don’t let it get to boil; it can just sit patiently. All of the other ingredients can go into a mixing bowl and have your hands either lovingly or angrily (how was your day?) mash everything into a thick paste. Roll into balls 1-1.5″ in diameter and space them on a baking pan with raised sides to catch any runoff. What I had in the freezer was 93% fat free ground chuck so there was little in the way of grease, so I can sate my guilty conscience there. Cook in preheated oven for 20 minutes, then pick each hot little ball off the pan and plop it into your sauce. Cook on L until dinnertime. I love little nuggets of garlic in my meatballs, knowing they are shrouded in Parmesan and coated with meat then again smothered with homemade marinara… 5 spoons.

 

 

Cheddar Chicken Pie with Broccoli Sentinels (is Only Platonic Friends with the Curry Cabbage)

In my pantry today:

  • 1 frozen, unbaked pie shell
  • 1 can chicken breast, drained and rinsed
  • 2 c large broccoli florets
  • 2/3 c cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 “roasted chicken” flavored gravy packet
  • 1/2 c unsweetened almond milk
  • 3/4 c vegetable broth
  • 1/2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 c minced onion, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • pinch asafoetida

I have had so. much. pie. this holiday season. It really is kind of ridiculous how pies culminate for an annual winter slaughter of the human diet and pride: pecan, caramel apple cheesecake, plain cheesecake with a mandarin orange pie winning the pie-ze this year for both deliciousness and moxie. After rounding out the last family jaunt yesterday with a pizza, I feel it is safe to start officially distancing myself from rich meals and desserts that do nothing but inadvertently complicate my health and/or well-being.

That being said, I made a pie for dinner tonight. Don’t you judge me.

In the freezer still lived the other half of a crust two-set I’d gotten on sale, canned chicken in the cupboard and cheese in the fridge. Oh, and fresh broccoli; that’s probably the healthiest and therefore most important part of things. Before you get to arranging health around the edge of your pie, start your onion and garlic in butter heating to M. After five or so minutes of making sure everything gets coated and tossed, add the turmeric and asafoetida; stir. While that’s being perpetrated drain and rinse the can of chicken and mix your gravy packet with almond milk. Add eggs to this mixture one at a time and whisk until blended. Return to the stove and stir in 1/3 c of broth and the chicken; toss everything together and spoon into the pie crust. Add the remainder of broth to the egg/gravy mixture. Arrange chunky florets around the edges and secure it all with a pour-over of casserole gravy. Bake in a 375° oven for 45 minutes, remove to sprinkle 1/3 c cheddar over and into the florets and continue baking until a knife comes out of the middle clean. And because I made this earlier today in advance of dinnertime, when I warm it back up at 35o° for 10m I will have sprinkled on another 1/3 c cheddar. This ended up being delicious in flavor, but a little unsatisfactory to me in consistency… then again, the bottom crust I found too soggy was forked off my plate and eaten by my wife. Still, my conscience tells me to go with just 3 spoons on this.

Also, while making that I had also started some cabbage that’s been waiting patiently in the fridge. I don’t know what I’m going to do with it yet — I don’t want to take the easy way out by throwing it into broth and declaring a soup; I’ve got plenty of that in the freezer right now. No, I want this cabbage to go places, travel the world and be better than freezer soup:

  • 1 medium head cabbage
  • 1/2 c onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1-2 c vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp vegetable ghee
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1.5 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp hot curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/8 tsp asafoetida

cabbageThis one’s easy. Start the mustard seeds out in a ghee-oiled pot heating to M. When it’s near full heat, add the onion and garlic. When the seeds start snapping, add the spices and stir into a pasty mess. Add a dash of broth. Add cabbage in by little handfuls, all the while mixing and adding broth as needed to get everything spiced right proper. Add enough broth to cover the pan bottom, then put a lid on it and dial the heat down to the L side of ML. I cannot yet give this spoons because I do not feel it is yet a finished product. Good luck to my imagination!

 

Leftover Roast Beef Travels South of the Border

In my pantry today:

  • 1.5 c sliced roast beef, cut into chunks
  • 1 14 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1-1.5 c vegetable broth
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 c minced yellow onion
  • 1/2 lime, wedged
  • 4 tsp Taco Seasoning ganked from a boxed taco kit in the cupboard
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp hot red chili powder
  • pinch asafoetida

leftoverroastbeefSo I wasn’t even really planning at its onset to write about what I assumed would be a boring, last-minute meal. I was under the MS weather yesterday and have no idea from whence this amazing creation came. Thanks have to go to my dad’s amazing 14lb roast beef — nothing would have ended up this tasty without it. I cut up about 1/2 of the leftovers he sent us home with, stuck the other half in the freezer then took a step back and regarded the pile of meat on the counter before me. We love Indian food, but obviously there really aren’t a lot of recipes there including cow. I had no way to make gravy and not enough of the ingredients needed to throw together a Thai salad. The options here were limited — but there was cooked rice in the fridge and beans in the cupboard!

Start out the same way I always do — garlic and onion in oil warming to M. Just before it gets to full on M, reduce the heat to ML and let cook for about ten minutes while you cut up the roast beef, drain/rinse the beans and then, say, empty the dishwasher. When you return to the pan dust in your seasonings and mix everything into a paste; scrape the bottom clean as you do this, adding in little drips of broth to help the process. Add in beans; when coated completely, add in broth little by little until beans are halfway covered. Turn heat to M as you do this until near-boiling. Top with diced roast beef and lime. Turn heat back to ML and cover pot; walk away for 5-10m while the limes cook onto things. Come back, remove limes and mix meat into broth, adding enough more to nearly cover things now. Bring to a low boil on M then reduce to MreallyL for a few hours, checking in once or twice to make sure all the meat remains covered in liquid. The meat ended up getting much more tender and flavoring the vegetable broth with the black beans and lime to come out in its own gravy. This was a lick-the-bowl good meal over rice and earned every one of its 5 spoons!

 

 

Lasagna, ft. Sausage, Kale and Cheese Trifecta

In my pantry today:

  • The butt-ends of two boxes of lasagna noodles
  • 1 freezer bag crock pot marinara (approx 3 c)
  • 1 freezer bag cooked ground Italian sausage (approx 3/4 c)
  • 3 medium leaves kale
  • 1 c ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 c asiago cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 c mozzarella
  • 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese
  • 1 dash salt

lasagnaThaw then marry your marinara and sausage in a medium-sized pot on the stove. Also start a large, oiled pot of water with an accompanying dash of salt. When your water begins to show signs of a boil, hold each leaf of kale by its stem and dip into the water for a count of 12. Wrap them in a clean towel and gently squeeze out all the water. Move them to the cutting board, remove stems and mince; set aside. Your pasta can go in now and cook until it’s a little too al dente to be al dente, then drain it and rinse with cold water until everything is chilled to room temperature.

Shred asiago cheese, set aside with mozzarella. Mix egg with ricotta cheese and dash salt. Rub a little olive oil inside a 6×6″ baking pan and begin layering by laying the most whole of your noodles along the bottom of the pan. Pour on 1/4 your sauce, scatter in half your kale bits, sprinkle 1/3 the asiago on, drop in dollops of ricotta and spread gently across the breadth of the pan, then add as complete a layer as you can with the noodle amputations and do this all again. Add a final layer of noodles, then add the rest of your sauce and top with the rest of your asiago and all of your mozzarella and Parmesan. Bake foil-covered pan in 350° oven for 45m, then take foil off and cook another 10-20m until optimum browning has occurred. Though next time I’d use more kale and sausage, this was still pretty good and worth all 4 spoons!

 

7 Meals in 36 Hours (Or, “Driving Through Driving Through”)

In my pantry today:

  • 5 freezer and 2 “tonight’s” dinners

See I wasn’t really writing about what I was doing while I was doing it and the photographs are shameful afterthoughts to two days’ work and to several new recipes. I’ve been meaning without much forward momentum to make more meals to freeze and have on hand — while we could eat prepackaged dinners from the Indian grocery as if they’re going out of style (assuming they’ve ever been in it), there’s got to be a cheaper and more nutritious business to be had. It will all start painlessly enough:

  • 2 large yellow onions
  • 1 medium bulb garlic
  • 1/3 c olive oil

Slice and mince the respective bulbs and put everything in the crock pot on H. Let cook until the onions begin to beckon translucence. Erstwhile, work on two meals worth of

Aloo Matar

  • 1 10 0z can whole white potatoes
  • 1 c peas
  • 2 medium yellow onions
  • 4 large cloves garlic
  • 4 small-medium jalapeno peppers
  • 1 32 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp vegetable ghee
  • 1 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 c vegetable broth
  • 2-3 tbsp coriander
  • 3-4 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida

Chunky slice the onion, garlic and chiles. I left the seeds in the peppers this time because the four I picked were pitiful in stature. Melt ghee and sprinkle in the mustard seeds. Cook on ML until the onions begin their wilt then crank the heat to M. The mustard seeds should be popping by the time you mix the turmeric, ginger-garlic paste and 2 tbsp each: coriander, cumin into a buttery paste. Transfer everything to a food processor, pour in a dollop of broth and pulse until as smooth as possible. Return to the pan, add tomatoes and broth. Stir and bring to a low boil on M. Reduce heat to L and let cook down for a few hours before adding additional seasonings, sliced potatoes and peas. It’s not exactly like the store-bought version I so love, but it is an adequate substitute full of good things. 4 spoons.

Now go back to the crock pot. Everything should be sizzling at a light boil. Strain out all the onion and garlic chunks and throw them in the food processor. Pulse until as smooth as possible, then divide 2/3 of the goop back into the crock pot and 1/3 to a new pot on the stove. In this pot, there will be some kind of completely inauthentic version of

Red Bean Makhani

  • 1/3 pulsed crock pot doins
  • 1 11 oz can red beans
  • 1 6 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1/3 c half and half
  • 1/3 c vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp hot curry powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/8 tsp asafoetida

Mix seasonings into the pot, making it even funkier a gunk. On heat rising to M, add in the tomato sauce, vegetable broth and cream. Throw in the beans and everything cook at a light boil on L for an hour or two. Then, return to the crock pot for marinarings. 5 spoons.

Crock Pot Marinara

  • 2/3 pulsed crock pot doins
  • 3 36oz cans crushed tomatoes
  • 2 6oz cans tomato sauce
  • 1 14oz can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 4 oz can tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp basil
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

Put all of that in the crock pot and cook on L overnight. 4 spoons.

There’s enough going on in the Aloo Matar pot before the potatoes and peas went in that 1c was taken out as a base for a

Creamy Corn Curry

  • 1 c that stuff in pan #1
  • 1 c corn
  • 1 c diced frozen spinach
  • 1 16 oz container 1% milk
  • 1 5 oz can evaporated milk
  • 1/3 c unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 tsp corn starch
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida

That little cardboard box of milk in the back of the cupboard? Empty it into a saucepan and bring it to a low boil, then keep it there for a couple hours. When it has thickened, skim off the skin and add the reserved stuff from pan #2. Stir cornstarch into the evaporated milk then thusly stir that into the milkpot. Add a little more almond milk to thin out any overthick attitude. Stir in corn and spinach, remove from heat. 4 spoons.

Five meals went into the freezer, and still there was enough marinara to make a

Cheesy Penne Bake

  • 3-4 c penne pasta, cooked
  • 2-3 c marinara
  • 1/3 c Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 c mozzerella cheese
  • dusting of cayenne

Mix the pasta and sauce in a baking dish and sprinkle cheese atop. Bake in a 350 oven for 20m or until cheese is beginning to brown at the edges of the dish. This 5 spoon dish concludes a deeply satisfying almost-two-day-long act against the desire to hit a drive through at the end of a long day. I am so grateful to have had the ingredients and time to start taking care of this before the most hectic parts of the holiday season begin. Happy and safe Thanksgiving!

Today’s Lentils, Tomorrow’s… Lentils.

In my pantry today:

  • 1-2c lentils (cooked)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 1 green jalapeno
  • 1 orange jalapeno
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1.5-2c unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tsp safflower oil
  • 1 tsp vegetable ghee
  • 1 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp kala jeera
  • 1 tbsp ground flax
  • 2 tsp hot curry powder
  • 1/8 tsp asafoetida

This wasn’t going to be a freezer storage item, but life falls as it may and tonight was not its night (and tomorrow’s gonna be the night for what’s in the crock pot overnight now). I’m going to chalk it up to a preliminary success in my desire to have meals prepared ahead of time.

Start not-as-finely-chopped peppers (it is important right away to note that the jalapenos should have no seeds left), onion and garlic out on ML in a ghee/oil combo. Make sure the mustard seeds and kala jeera are in there too. Stir and sit back — when the mustard seeds commence to poppin’ turn off the heat. Spoon contents of the pan into a food processor, add curry powder, asafoetida, flax, tomato paste and 1c almond milk then puree everything into a single, succulent sauce. Spatula it back into the pan, add lentils and however much remaining almond milk you’d like. Heat everything to a near-boil and turn off the stove. When the sauce cools, either eat or freeze! I did taste this before it went on staycation in the icebox and I cannot wait until it gets to come back out — 4 spoons.

 

Cabbage Come a-Knockin (Or, “Pastabilities from Vegetable Grief”)

In my pantry today:

  • 1 medium head red cabbage
  • 1 turkey kielbasa
  • 2 c cooked bowtie pasta
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 small onion
  • 1/2 c broth
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • cayenne pepper to taste
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida
  • Parmesan cheese (topping)

I just began absentmindedly cooking the cabbage in a figurative wail of disappointment over the head of broccoli I had planned on using showing unexpected rot this morning. Isn’t that the normal reaction to vegetable grief? When reality brought itself back, I was left standing before a half-sauteed head of cabbage with onion in a small pool of butter. I looked at it like a sudden, unwelcome visitor then broke away to scan the freezer. I had in all earnesty planned on another vegetarian dinner tonight, but in the back of the ice box — covered in ice itself, but not burnt — was half a turkey kielbasa. I fell back into an old recipe for safety, but modified it just enough to prove to myself that I still had it.

So there’s there’s the head of cabbage, there. Toss in 1/4 c broth and cover it so it can steam on M where it’s been. Oh, and throw in all those seasonings (especially the asafoetida — this much cabbage definitely calls for “fart powder”). Next, brown medium-thin slices of kielbasa in the pot you’re about to boil pasta in. When the bottom of the pot (on M) starts to brown before those slices of turkeybits, scrape it up and toss the slices in those not-quite-burnt bits. Keep it together on M for another minute or two then add it to the cabbage. Bring 1/2 c of stock to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to L. Let it all simmer while you rinse out that sausage pot and ready the pasta. Cook according to instructions but make sure it’s al dente when you take it off the heat because it’s going in with the cabbage/kielbasa mix and will continue cooking. If you prefer mushier pasta (I know who some of you are, stop shielding your faces) go ahead and cook it to your preferred point. Mix everything together and top with Parmesan cheese. 4 spoons!

Comfort Soup (Or, “Three Animals Walked Into a Crock Pot…”)

In my pantry today:

  • 1/2 c lentils
  • 5oz canned chicken breast
  • 2 medium potatoes
  • 1c celery, sliced
  • 1c carrots, sliced
  • 3c kale, finely minced
  • 1 tbsp sausage grease
  • 1 large onion, thin-ish slices
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 5c broth (I used vegetable despite the meaty base)
  • 1/2 c half and half
  • 1 tsp hot red chili powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida

So it’s chilly, the wife is home sick and I’m not feeling too spunky, myself. It feels like soup time; not just any soup time, mind you — it’s comfort soup time. Start the onions and garlic out in the sausage grease… in the crock pot. Turn it on MH, stir and let sit for an hour or so. Turn off. Run those two godforsaken errands you don’t really want to have to drag your ass out of bed to do. Come back. Assemble!

Turn the crock pot back on to MH Stir in sliced carrots and celery. Cut potatoes into bite-size chunks and stir into the mess. And what the heck — drain that little can of chicken sitting in the cupboard and toss it in. Sprinkle on and stir in all the seasonings so that all of the soup bits are well-coated in the glory of flavor. Then enter your broth. After the first cup or two, stir in the lentils. Begin folding in little fistfuls of kale, alternating with the remainder of the broth. Bless the entire stew with half and half, cover, and let cook on M-MH until the potatoes are soft. All of the comfort of a hearty, stick-to-your-ribs soup with all of the vegetative nutrition of a salad bar — you’ll need all 5 spoons for this pot!