Thursday, September 30, 2010

Pork Chops with Plum Glaze

Ready to go in the Oven
This is an adaptation of Pork Roast with Plum Glaze from I found this recipe about a year ago after my son, who had been eating plums like crazy, just stopped and left me with a warehouse sized container of very ripe plums! I will admit, this is a lengthly process. I would say that it is best to make the plum butter ahead of time and freeze it, then the actual pork recipe is not very time consuming. Another comment, plum butter sounds really fancy but it is basically just plum "apple" boil down some plums, and puree them... The plum butter recipe is embedded in the recipe above. THIS RECIPE IS TOTALLY WORTH THE EFFORT!!!!

Just out of the oven
When I made this with pork chops instead of a pork roast, I used very thick, at least 2" chops that I can get at my warehouse store.  The timing was very similar to the pork roast as the chops still took about 50 minutes. If you use a thinner chop, definitely check the doneness based on temperature, not time.

I served this with a fall medley of butternut squash and savoy cabbage. The medley was good, but we all felt it needed more seasoning, particularly more soy sauce. The  meal has an asian feel with the plum butter and the asian seasoning in the vegetables, a nice change from our traditional american fare...
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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Shrimp Pasta

This is a family favorite that I have adapted from a recipe I once found somewhere, but for the life of me, I don't know where! It is a favorite of mine because it is quick and easy! I made it the other night when I was short on time but wanted a decent family meal.

1 lb pasta, any kind, I usually use bow-tie(picture is half bow-tie, half whole grain rotini)
1 lb shrimp, cleaned
olive oil
lemon zest
1-2 T lemon juice
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2-1 bottle clam juice(or chicken broth)
2-3 T chopped marinated sun-dried tomatoes
Feta or Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta according to directions until al dente(it will be added to shrimp mixture and cook again). Saute garlic in 1-2 tablespoons olive oil, until softened, add shrimp and cook until pink. Stir in sun dried tomatoes, lemon juice and lemon zest, cook for 1-2 minutes. Add pasta and clam juice and continue cooking until liquid is absorbed and pasta has taken on a reddish hue. Serve with feta or Parmesan cheese, your choice!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Lunch ideas - A Reader's Request

Recently one of our readers commented that she would like to see easy, healthy lunch ideas on our blog. I can honestly say that both Karen and I struggle with this when we are planning lunches for our kids, so I totally understand the request! Our swimmers love to eat healthy food but neither of them are really keen on are some of the approaches we take to creating a quick, healthy brown bag lunch.

Wraps - the only type of sandwich my swimmer will eat...we use Flat Out brand wraps which are available at the wholesale club. These wraps are higher in nutrients and fiber than a standard tortilla. We fill these with lean meat and cheese and then add vegies. Usually just lettuce or sprouts for my daughter, but tomatoes, avocado, cucumber and onion can turn a boring turkey sandwich into something a little more interesting! Regarding sprouts, look around, you can buy different kinds of sprouts which will change the taste of the sandwich. Right now we have broccoli sprouts which have a distinct broccoli provides some variety. Regarding sandwich meat, which spoils quickly! I buy top quality deli meat and then freeze sandwich packets. I no longer throw out deli meat and we don't feel like we have to eat sandwiches every day.

Left overs - 3 out of every 5 days my daughter takes left overs for lunch. Whatever we have for dinner, she takes for lunch the next day. This is quick and easy, it is already cooked and we pack it as we clean up the kitchen after dinner. If you don't have access to a microwave, invest in a thermal food container...I preheat these with hot water in the morning, heat the food and then place it in the container. It stays hot until lunch.

Salads - Grilled vegies for dinner can become vegie pasta salad for lunch. Chop the vegies, cook the pasta and add a vinaigrette dressing of your choice(we like greek)...sprinkle with feta or parmesan cheese and your creation will rival any deli pasta salad. Another favorite is asian chicken salad...I grill a chicken breast, add lettuce, chow mein noodles, sliced almonds and an asian style dressing.

Those are our stand I think of more creative lunch ideas I will be sure to pass them on...keep the comments coming, they spark creativity!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Apple Puff Pancake

This is a favorite breakfast for our family in the fall and winter. I made it on a Sunday morning before going for a run and left it out until I returned. Then, all I had to do was bake it.

I have to say that my swimmer had 5..yep, that's right....5 servings of this. So, although the recipe says that it serves 6-8 in our house it was gone after one meal. The three of us wiped out the entire pan.

My mom gave me the recipe years ago and it has been modified since then. I'll give you my version:

Apple Puff Pancake
6 eggs
1 1/2 c. milk (skim is fine)
1 c. flour
3T. sugar
1t vanilla
1/2 t. cinnamon
Whir all of the above in a blender.
Melt 4 T. butter in a 9"X13" pan at 425 degrees. When the butter melts add 4 apples, sliced to the pan. Return to the oven until the butter sizzles. Try not to let the apples brown. Remove pan from oven and pour the batter over the apples. Bake 20 minutes or so...until puffed and brown.

The original recipe said to sprinkle it with brown sugar before baking. I usually omit this step. As you can see from the picture, it is delicious with sour cream (just happened to have some leftover) and fresh raspberries and maple syrup.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Sweet Potato Black Bean Burritos

It may sound like an odd combination of ingredients...but we really like these. I had to do a search online to find the original recipe since I had it copied onto a recipe card. I must have checked the Moosewood Cookbook referenced for this recipe out of the library at some point in the past.

I probably tried this recipe years ago since it sounds like it's packed with nutrients and seems fairly easy. As the weather begins to cool, I start thinking of things like sweet potatoes and pumpkins.

Sometime I'll tell you about the dud of a recipe I tried with sweet potatoes...but I'll save that for another day and blog about this recipe instead. The other story isn't so appetizing!!

The link above has the original recipe and in the comment section there are some quick variations that others have tried.

I had two leftover that will be my daughter's lunch on Monday.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Roast Chicken and planning ahead

Growing up, we had roast chicken at least once a week. My mom never made a whole roast chicken, but she did buy a cut up roaster and roast the individual pieces. Most of the adults I know remember the roast chicken dinners of our childhood, either at home or at a grandparent's house. With the popularity of skinless, boneless chicken, the roast chicken has definitely lost its place on the family table.

I still love roasting chickens. The flavor is supurb and the possibilities are endless. I usually roast two chickens at a time and I definitely get my money's worth from these chickens! Today's chickens were purchased at the Sendik's meat and seafood sale and I paid less than $10 for them. From two chickens I get the following:

1 roast chicken meal, feeding two adults and two teenagers
3 containers, 12 ounces each, chopped chicken to be used in casseroles(3 meals)
15 cups chicken broth, just shy of 4 quarts, to be used in soups and recipes

Roast Chicken

Season the inside and outside of the chicken with salt and pepper and allow chicken to come to room temperature, 30-60 minutes.

Quarter an onion and a lemon and cut a garlic bulb in half. Stuff Chicken cavity with these items. Tie legs of the chicken and tuck wings under the bird.

Quarter 2-3 potatoes and add them with some baby carrots to the bottom of a roasting pan. Place chickens on top of the vegetables. Brush the top of the chickens with melted butter and then then drizzle the rest of the butter on the vegetables. Season with salt and pepper and any other herbs you desire.

Roast in a 425°F oven for 1 hour-1 hour 30 minutes, until it reaches 165°F. Let rest for 15 minutes before cutting and serving.

Serve your roast chicken dinner!

Now comes the fun part! Remove all the remaining chicken from the bones and package in freezer bags or containers.  I find that about 12 ounces of chicken is approximately 2-3 cups and is about the right amount for casseroles (or hot dish if you are from Minnesota). Once this process is complete, place all the bones, skin and other stuff left over in a big stock pot(include the skin, bones and all the lemons, onions and garlic)and cover with water. You can also add the neck, liver etc. that came in the little bag that was stuffed in the chicken cavity when you brought it home from the store. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and cook for about an hour, until the bones are "bleached". Strain the broth from the solids, discarding the solids.

Out of two chickens I have created one full meal, chicken for 3 casseroles, soups or stews and 15 cups of chicken broth...all for about $10...

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Arugula Pizza

This was yummy! A violin mom friend (the same one who has the tomato and mozzarella ball pasta every Monday..posted here on 8/3/10) gave me this idea. It was so good...and my only complaint is that it doesn't make enough for leftovers. My hungry swimmer/cross country runner ate half the pizza! The adults ate the other half.

2 1/4t yeast
1/4t sugar
3/4 c water
Mix that together and let it sit for 5 minutes or so. Then, add:
1 3/4 c flour
1/2 t salt

That was the exact right proportion of flour to make a nice dough. I let it rest for just a minute or two then stretched it out onto a greased pizza pan. I really did not let it rise...just stretched it onto the pan. I brushed it with olive oil and put a bit of salt, pepper and minced garlic on it. Then, I put some drained mozzarella balls on it (I used the tiny ones) and baked it at 450 degrees until it was crispy and brown.

While it was baking I tossed 4 handfuls of arugula in a bowl (notice the precise measurement!!) and drizzled a small amount of olive oil on it as well as the juice from one lemon and additional salt and pepper.

When the crust came out of the oven I topped it with the arugula mixture and cut and served it.

It was tasty and the tomato from the garden was a great side dish. It was so good and so easy I'm already ready to make it again.

Now...If I can just figure out how to put the photos in a better order....

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Spicy Bean Soup

Fall is here in Wisconsin in earnest so I decided to make a pot of bean soup. Every winter we eat a lot of bean is filling, healthy and, best of all, everyone likes it! I had received some kale in the box this week, so I decided I would incorporate it into the soup.  Here's what I did...

11/2 c dried, mixed beans(mine had kidney, black eyed peas, black beans, great northern and some split peas)
2 yellow onions, chopped
1/2 medium jalepeno pepper, finely chopped
1 bulb garlic cloves
1 lb sausage, cooked ( I used turkey andouille, nice and spicy)
1 smoked ham hock or other ham bone
1 bunch kale chopped or torn into small pieces
11/2 c chopped celery
8 cups chicken broth
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper

Rinse beans and place in a pot with water so water is 2 inches above the level of the beans. Bring beans to a boil, boil 1 minute and then remove from heat, cover and let stand 1 hour. Drain Beans.

While Beans are cooking, place garlic bulb in foil and roast for 1 hour at 400°F. Remove roasted garlic "meat" from bulb and mash.

Sauté onions and peppers in 1-2 T olive oil until they are almost caramelized. Add Celery and cook for an additional 10 minutes. Add roasted garlic and cook another minute or 2.

Add beans, broth, ham bone, salt, pepper and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until beans are tender, about an hour. Remove bay leaf and ham bone. Strip bone of any meat and return meat to the pot. Add chopped sausage and kale, cook for 10 minutes or until kale is wilted. Serve with a dollop of sour cream...yum!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Italian Gravy

It's I'm wanting to cook things that take all day. A family favorite for us is Italian Gravy...also known as sugo or sauce. This recipe was sitting on a cabinet at my daughter's violin lesson. I would glance at it one week and decide I didn't need to copy it and could figure it out and remember on my own. It was still there the next week, so I decided that I would copy it somewhat and see what happened when I made it. I have no idea how close it is to the original (and I'm not even sure who was passing it along). The result was my version...probably a bit different from that typed copy at violin lessons but it has turned into a favorite.

I was feeling really crazy last spring and made a huge batch (6 times the recipe!!!) of this after a visit to the warehouse club. This multiple batch allowed me to use the large can of diced tomatoes and the large can of tomato sauce sold there. Also, that worked with the bulk Italian sausage packages sold there as well. Today I didn't work and decided to make a single batch because my freezer is full of produce from the summer. I would probably make a large batch again at the end of winter when I have more freezer space but a single recipe often makes enough for me to freeze some anyway. We can eat this nearly every night without getting tired of it, so maybe I won't have any left for the freezer.

My daughter isn't a tomato fan. She really won't even eat ketchup or pizza sauce, so she eats plain noodles on the night we have this. But, she will admit that even plain noodles taste better after the smell of Italian Gravy is in the house.

I'm not sure why it is called gravy rather than sauce or sugo..maybe because it takes all day to simmer? Whatever you want to call's tasty!!

I don't think you can go wrong with this recipe, so experiment away.

Italian Gravy:

1T olive oil
1 lb each sweet and hot Italian sausage
2 onions, chopped
12 garlic cloves, minced
2t dried oregano
6 oz tomato paste
1/2 red wine
28 oz can diced tomatoes, drained
28 oz can tomato sauce
chicken breast or two
1-2T dried basil

I heat the olive oil and then add the onions. Usually I use yellow onions, but I did use one large red onion this time (that's what I had). Then I add the garlic and the other ingredients. Sometimes I use bulk sausage or take it out of the casing. Sometimes I cut the links into 1-2 inch pieces and sometimes I throw the links in whole. i really don't think this recipe can be bad!! For the red wine, I usually use Trader Joe's infamous 2 buck chuck. let everything simmer as long as I can stirring on occasion and breaking up the chicken breast as the day goes on.

My grandma was partial to imported (not domestic) Pecorino Romano cheese...that's the best way to top the noodles and gravy!

This is one of those recipes that is better if it sits a day or two before serving.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Dinner in the Car

There are delicious gourmet meals...and there are meals that are quick to put on the table....and there are meals that never make it to the table because life necessitates DINNER IN THE CAR!

The other night we were having one of those evenings.. Although we are used to getting home from swim practice at 7:30 or so and having dinner, this night was going to be even later. We left the house at 7:30 that morning and weren't coming home until 8:45 or so after "Meet the Teacher night". Eleanor was volunteering at school for that event, so she had to be there early..after swim practice....and after cross country practice. There was no way we could even stop home for 10 minutes. I knew that she would be hungry...what to make?

Fortunately, I thought ahead to this, so I was able to make some small rolls from the artisan bread dough. I had a cucumber and cream cheese, so cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches were the main dinner sandwich. I was able to pack a few in a cooler in the morning and keep them in the back of the car with a bit of ice. Thrown together with some fruit it held her over until after the activities were done (and homework could begin).

Nights like these make a normal night seem easy. And, no, I didn't get pictures...just the idea.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Scones and Smoothies

A good Sunday morning breakfast! These may not be healthy scones like the recipe Elizabeth posted..but we do like these...white flour, refined sugar and all!!

When fruit is good in the summer I make sandwich bags of frozen fruit and yogurt to keep in the freezer. I freeze the yogurt in ice cubes trays (not unlike Elizabeth's pesto) and place a couple cubes of yogurt and fruit in each little bag. That way, I can empty the packet in the cup of the immersion blender, let it thaw, add milk, and whir it with the blender. (Almost) instant smoothie...and it preserved that yummy summer fruit!

I decided to make scones as well. I have a few recipes that I use but this is a favorite. I don't know where I got it...but here it is!
Strawberry Orange Scones:
2c. flour
1 t bkg powder
1t. bkg soda
1/2t salt
1/4 c sugar
1/3 c butter
6 oz. yogurt
orange zest/orange juice
1c. chopped strawberries
Combine the dry ingredients. Cut in butter with pastry blender. Add yogurt, orange zest, 1 t. orange juice, and strawberries. Stir until it forms a ball. Flatten into a disk and bake at 400 degrees until a fork in the center comes out clean...maybe 20 minutes or so. To make it extra special I made frosting with powdered sugar and orange juice.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Frontier Soups

Fun things are happening with our blog! Last week I noticed a comment on our post regarding Frontier Soups and the comment was from Frontier Soups! Apparently a friend of the owner saw our blog and sent the link to the company. When I contacted the company, I got a thank you for featuring their products on the blog and yesterday I got a thank you package! The package contained Tortilla Soup mix, Chicken Noodle soup mix and Oatmeal mix.  The Tortilla Soup is a family favorite and we are looking forward to trying the new Gluten Free version of their Chicken Noodle.  As for the oatmeal, this is a first for our family, and it will probably be a Sunday morning breakfast in the near future! Thank you Frontier Soups!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Power Scones

This recipe was born from a challenge...a friend of mine has a teenager who eats incredibly healthfully.  If we all ate like MM, we would all benefit! Anyway, she, like most people I know, love City Market's Power Scones. Earlier in the week, my friend suggested I try to make a power scone at home. My first attempt was really good, but I was concerned by the amount of butter in it and it had white flour and not a lot of fiber. The recipe I used was a good base, but I knew I could improve on it. I came up with the recipe below...

1/2 cup rolled oats or whole grain cereal*
1 c whole wheat flour
1 c spelt flour
1/4 c wheat bran
1/4 c Almond meal(ground almonds)*
1/4 c Pecan meal(ground pecans)*
2 T millet
2T ground flax seed
2T whole flax seed
1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 t baking soda
11/2 baking powder
1/4 t salt
6 T cold butter
3/4 c low-fat or non-fat greek yogurt
1/8 t lemon zest
1-2 t lemon juice
1 egg
1 t vanilla extract
1 c dried cranberries (Craisins)

*Depending on how much texture you want in the scone, you can grind the oatmeal into a flour or keep it whole. The same goes for the almond and can be as fine as a meal or can be a fine chop.

Grind oats, almonds and pecans to desired consistency. Mix in the rest of the dry ingredients through the salt. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or two knives until the dough looks like fine crumbs.

Mix yogurt, egg, vanilla, lemon zest and lemon with a whisk. Add to dry ingredients with the craisins.

Form scones into the size and shape you desire. Bake at 375°F for 15-30 minutes, depending on size, until golden brown.
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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Veggie pasta

Still working through the box of vegetables from the CSA. There was great abundance last time and we were away for a few days after receiving the box.

For this dinner I cooked a couple slices of bacon, drained the majority of the fat, then cooked some chopped red onion, chopped patty pan squash, and diced fennel bulb. I added some basil, salt, and pepper (spice blend from Penzeys) at the end of cooking. The pasta was topped with chopped tomato and Parmesan cheese.

At our house we're a bit crazy about bacon. Until a kitchen remodel a few years ago we wouldn't cook it inside due to the lingering smell. We would cook it outside in an electric skillet and watched all the dogs from the neighborhood wander over to our house. That's a true story...we had 5 dogs we had never seen before in our yard staring at the pan! Last year we bought my husband a shirt that says, "Bacon is meat candy"! OK, so that may not fall into the fresh category of the blog...but it IS tasty. I usually buy a 3pack of Usinger's apple smoked bacon at the warehouse club freezing two of the packages to start and using a couple slices at a time from the reamining package for various recipes. It does make everything tastier:) Seems like it can't be THAT bad if three of us are eating a total of three slices at a meal!

I did not get a picture of this, so you;ll have to imagine how it looks as well as how it tastes.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Stocking the Freezer - Taco Meat

OK, I know you all know how to make tacos, so this will be a very short post and will not have any pictures...this is a "planning post".

Tomorrow is Sendik's 1 day meat and seafood sale, so I decided to take a freezer inventory. I have three freezers, two side by side "halves" and a stand alone freezer. I knew I was running low on meats and seafood, but wow, I really am running low! The only meat in my freezer was about 41/2 lbs of hamburger meat and 5 pork chops. I knew the hamburger had been in the freezer a while, so I decided to make a bunch of taco meat. I usually do turkey tacos or half turkey and half hamburger, but today we are going 100% ground beef!

I use Penzey's Taco Seasoning, it is a well balanced mix. Dinner is covered for tonight and I will be able to freeze three containers of meat for future meals so it is all good!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Pico de Gallo

The CSA box was very heavy last week, so I knew that I would be busy over the early part of last weekend. The farmer very neatly put a "salsa" bag together including various types of peppers, tomatoes, and onions. We received a bunch of cilantro as well. Since my refrigerator didn't look like it would hold all this good food for long, I decided that I needed to figure out how to reduce the vegetables...and quickly!

I did roast some of the peppers on the stove. While I was doing that the phrase, "depth of flavor" came to mind, so really wanted to use that phrase in the blog. Yep, the roasted peppers gave the pico de gallo a depth of flavor! I roasted them directly on my gas burner. I did have the exhaust fan on, so I'm sure the smell of roasting peppers woke my new next-door neighbors. The smell of roasting peppers smells earthy and like something else not so we'll see what they thought when I talk to them this weekend!!!

The rest of the ingredients just required some time to chop. I did run the chopped red onion under cold water in a strainer to take a bit of the bit (and subsequent bad breath) out of them. I added a couple grinds each of salt and pepper and a tablespoon or so of canola oil. Some of the peppers were chopped without roasting.

Tasty....I'm sure we'll be done with the huge bowl of good veggies by the end of the weekend. Fortunately, my husband bought a big bag of tortilla chips at the warehouse buying club yesterday, so we should be set to finish this bowl over the weekend!

Yum...tastes like summer!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Fall Soups...

The blog is back! After a bit of a lull, Karen and I are back to our regular routine so the blog will resume it's normal activity.

This week, Milwaukee got hit with it's first taste of fall whether.  We had high temperatures in the mid-sixties(before labor day!) so I decided to make soup. During the school year, one night a week is dedicated to soup in our house and this year it will be Tuesdays. My daughter has High School swim meets on Tuesdays this fall and once she goes back to club swimming, Tuesday is a late practice.
Picture from Frontier Soups

While most of my soups are home made, I do keep a stash of soup mixes from Frontier Soups. I decided to make two versions, since I had the time, and freeze them. The first one was their Sausage Lentil soup which is a heartier soup that takes a couple hours to make, and the second was their Vegetable Soup, which I turned into Turkey Vegetable by adding some chopped turkey meat I had in the freezer. The only change I made to the standard recipes was that I only had 4 cups of beef broth and the Lentil soup called for all beef broth.  I substituted chicken broth and it turned out great.

Picture from Frontier Soups

Some of you may wonder why I am blogging about packaged soups.  Well, it is all about being prepared! I now have 6 meals of soup in the freezer, and 6 weeks where I will not have to cook at least once a week! I have included links to the soups I made below..enjoy!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Chicken Noodle Soup

More vegetable use! I had some leftover celery from a shrimp salad recipe (I forgot to take a picture, so I'll have to blog on it another time) as well as two huge bags of carrots from the last couple rounds of the CSA. I had leftover chicken broth from pasta earlier in the husband came home from the warehouse club with a rotisserie chicken...time for soup!

The weather really turned cool in Wisconsin. One day we had hot and humid weather and the next day we had fall like temperatures. Also, my daughter isn't a fan of sandwiches in her lunch, so I thought some individual servings of soup may be a nice lunch option.

That's seems too easy to even talk about. I sauteed the vegetables(1/2 red onion, carrots, and celery) and added broth and noodles. I had some fresh tarragon from the shrimp salad recipe listed above, so I threw that in too. The large white chunks are pieces of parboiled turnips from a box earlier this summer. I ate a bit of it for lunch and will probably freeze some; although, I just may see how much we have in the next couple days.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Grilled pizza....another version

Grilled pizza ideas abound in this book. I checked this book out from the local library and found so many good ideas that I have checked it out a few times as well as written some of the ideas on recipe cards. I do have another grilled pizza recipe that I have used more frequently but am enjoying getting new ideas.

Last Saturday was International Bacon Day and coincidentally we were having bacon on our pizza. I guess I could pretend that it wasn't a coincidence....but it really was. I used the pizza dough recipe in the book instead of my usual grilled pizza dough recipe. The adventure, I guess.

There was a B-BLT(bacon, bleu cheese, lettuce and tomato) pizza recipe in the book. I did not follow the recipe exactly but used it as an inspiration. The recipe recommended grilling the lettuce, but I didn't do that because it just didn't sound that good to me. Instead I used the lettuce for a side salad. We did an individual pizza for each person because it's easier to handle smaller pizzas on the grill. Also, then everyone gets their own pizza just the way they like it! I didn't make the tomato sauce called for in the recipe but rather put out the toppings for everyone to create their own pizza.

I was excited to eat this all day...fresh tomatoes and fresh lettuce were both in the CSA box this week. I usually buy the 3-pack of bacon from the warehouse club and freeze 2 packs. The other package we seem to go through a couple slices at a time with various pasta and pizza recipes. The three packages usually last a few months and we have found it's a great addition to so many recipes.

Grilling the crusts can be a bit tricky. My husband is the pizza griller and says his secret is a hot fire, quick rotation of the crusts, and watch closely. Then the crusts come in the house and toppings are put on the already grilled side of the dough. The crusts are heated quickly to warm the ingredients...then served.

Having the juicy tomatoes on the crust made me realize that the crust should be brushed with olive oil before putting the tomatoes on it. Other than that, this is a pretty simple and tasty dinner.

I would make this again....and I won't wait for International Bacon Day to make it next!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Chicken Broccoli Pasta

I'm not sure where I got this recipe...but it does get rave reviews from my family! I made it this week when I need something in a hurry. School started....I'm back to work...and Eleanor was at swim practice, so I needed a quick and healthy meal!

Chicken Broccoli Pasta
2T. butter
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bit size pieces
1 small onion, finely chopped
2T. minced garlic
1/4t red pepper flakes
2t. dried thyme leaves
2t. flour
1 c. white wine
2 c. chicken broth
1 1/2 lb broccoli
1/2 lb past
1 c. Asiago
1c sun dried tomatoes, hydrated
1 lemon, cut into wedges

Cook pasta adding the broccoli toward the end of cooking time. Drain.
In separate pan melt 1 T butter and cook the chicken. Transfer it to a bowl.
Add 1 T. butter. Add onin and cook 2-3 minutes. Stir the ingredients into the pan through the flour and cook for 30 seconds. Add wine and broth and simmer until mixture is reduced to 1 1/4 c or so (15 minutes).
Stir all ingredients together into pasta bowl and serve.

This was a meal that was fairly quick to put together and was a crowd pleaser.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Ground Cherry Salsa

From Bup's Bistro

In my CSA Box this week, I received ground cherries. Have YOU ever heard of them? I certainly hadn't, so I did some research! These little gems, wrapped in their lantern paper, are related to the tomatillo.  They have the texture of a tomato but are sweeter. I found recipes for ground cherry pies which are similar to other fruit pie recipes.  I wasn't brave enough to make a pie out of something that resembles a tomato, so I kept searching and came across some salsa recipes. None of the recipes were exactly what I was looking for, so I made up my own...

1 c ground cherries, hulled and washed, cut in quarters
1/4 small red onion
1/2 jalepeno pepper
1-11/2 c chopped cucumber
5-6 fresh basil leaves, minced
salt and pepper

The finished product is a sweeter version of traditional salsa, quite tasty! It would be great with fish or chicken, though we just ate it with chips
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Saturday, September 4, 2010

Brats, Beans, and Beets

And corn! The veggie box came on Thursday, so I spent Friday night and Saturday morning using the end of summer/early fall produce. I'll have a few more recipes coming from this box, but I thought I would put dinner from last night on the blog today.

We received a large bag of green beans which I decided to roast in the oven at 400 degrees or so. I drizzled them with olive oil and salt and pepper and let them roast. I put in the beets at the same time (on a different pan) and let them roast until fork tender as well. I peeled and sliced the beets and sprinkled them with feta cheese. I had one package of bratwurst left in the freezer that I had gotten earlier in the summer and decided to cook those as well. The corn, well, it looks better than it tasted! Just for the record, the beets were the hot item in this dinner...we all wanted to finish them!