Tag Archives: vegetables

Stuffed Acorn Squash

5 Aug

This was so easy and so delish, I’m about to go out and find me some more acorn squash. The acorn made a terrific bowl that both held tasty fillings and also made for good eating. Like a tasty bread bowl for soup expect it doesn’t get soggy and mushy.

As we ate this for dinner last week, we brainstormed all the amazing ways we could prepare it. Italian style with sausage, tomatoes, mozzarella, and herbs. Greek style with lamb, tomatoes, olives, and feta. Mexican style with beef, tomatoes, cheese, and taco seasoning. There are loads of all-veggie options too.

Mmm cheesy goodness

This is such a versatile recipe. If you try it, you should definitely experiment and make it your own. Think up what flavors you’re in the mood for, and run with it. And if you don’t have a veggie on the ingredient list, no worries. Just leave it out or substitute it for something else. No big deal. It will still be delicious.

Better yet, prepare this on a night when you have guests over. The presentation is pretty amazing. They will think you’re a secret top chef.

This recipe was enough for the BF and me, but we’re pretty light eaters, so one half of a filled squash was enough for each of us. I’d recommend getting two squashes and doubling the recipe.

For me, the key to this recipe is to chop everything really small — that way, you can cram more into your squash bowl.

Beautiful Squash

Stuffed Acorn Squash adapted from TheKitchn

1 medium acorn squash
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 bell pepper, chopped small
handful cherry tomatoes, chopped small
1 large sausage link or vegetarian substitute, diced small (I used sweet apple chicken sausage)
1/2 teaspoon French or Italian herb mix
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 cup baby spinach
Salt and pepper as needed
Bread crumbs (I used crushed-up seasoned croutons — they gave a little extra flavor!)
1/4 cup parmesan, finely grated

Wash the squash and halve it. Scrape the insides and seeds out of the squash. Place the squash in a shallow dish with about half an inch of water. Microwave on high for 7-10 minutes or until tender. Leave in microwave until ready to use.

Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the garlic, bell pepper, tomatoes, and sausage. If using uncooked sausage, cook until sausage is almost cooked through. If using pre-cooked sausage, cook until the garlic starts to smell.

Add the spices and stir well. Add the spinach and cook, covered, until wilted. Add salt and pepper as needed. Remove from heat.

Place squash halves on a lightly greased baking sheet. Spoon the filling into squash halves, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add one tablespoon of water to each squash. Coat the filled squash with breadcrumbs. Sprinkle with a thick layer of grated cheese. Broil just until cheese is lightly browned.

Dig In!

Linking Up With:

Funday Monday from Still Being Molly and Lipgloss and Crayons
Market Yourself Monday from Sumo’s Sweet Stuff
Made by you Monday from Skip to my Lou
Time to Sparkle from Love Grows WildInside BruCrew LifeThe Recipe Critic, and The Gunny Sack
Link Party Wednesday from Lil’ Luna
Create It Thursday from Lamberts Lately
All Things Pretty from Sparkles and a Stove and My Fashion Forward Blog

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Summer Pasta Salad

24 Jun

It’s officially summer time! And with the summer solstice, it certainly got dang hot in North Carolina. And muggy. And gross. I’m sweaty all the time. But just for the record, this is NOT a complaint. I most certainly prefer this weather to anything below 60 degrees. Though we’ll see if I’m willing to negotiate that number come July. It’s maxed out at 90 so far, so I may change my mind once it gets into the triple digits.

I went to my nephew’s 6th birthday party on Saturday, which meant hot dogs and pasta salad and cake and ice cream. Yum. That night, I was heading to a potluck for a friend’s housewarming party, and I hadn’t any ideas. But the pasta salad was good inspiration, and I decided to make my own.

IMG_1914

My mom and sister make a very simple, classic pasta salad: noodles, olives, and feta cheese, all held together with Italian salad dressing. I expanded on the idea by adding a bunch of veggies I had in the fridge from our CSA delivery. I left out the olives though: disgusting.

When you make this, there are only two basic things to know:

Girard's

1) Use Girard’s Italian dressing. For reals, it’s the best. And don’t put it on until within an hour or so of serving it. If you put it on too far in advance, the pasta will soak up the dressing, and you’ll have to add more to get more flavor, which is just wasteful, both of the delicious dressing and of calories. If you need to make it in advance, just put everything together except the dressing, and add that when you’re ready. Easy peasy.

2) My family’s basic ratio is a pound of pasta to a bottle of dressing. I cut it to about 3/4 of the bottle, but go with what works for you. As long as you keep that ratio, you can then add whatever fresh, raw veggies you want.

Oh, here’s another tip! Let the pasta air-dry a little bit before you mix everything together. If there’s too much water, the oil-based dressing won’t stick. (But if the pasta is too dry, it will absorb all the oil and flavor.)

The cool thing about this dish is its versatility. You can add whatever veggies you and your family like, so it’s completely and easily customizable. And it can easily serve as a side to hot dogs and burgers OR as a cold main dish, perfect for a hot summer night. Add some beans — edamame would be awesome! — and it would be an even better main course.

IMG_1911

Summer Pasta Salad

1 lb pasta, preferably rotini or bowtie (farfalle)
1 bottle Girard’s Italian dressing
feta cheese, crumbled
1 zucchini, diced and quartered
1 yellow squash, diced and quartered
2 carrots, sliced into rounds
1 handful grape or cherry tomatoes, halved

Boil the pasta to al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.

Chop the vegetables. Place pasta and veggies in a large bowl. Pour in the dressing. Add crumbled feta cheese, to taste.

Toss and serve.

Note: For a vegan dish, omit the feta. For gluten-free, substitute rice-based or other gluten-free pasta for the rotini.

Linking Up With:

Funday Monday from Still Being Molly and Lipgloss and Crayons
Market Yourself Monday from Sumo’s Sweet Stuff
Made by you Monday from Skip to my Lou
Anything and Everything Blog Hop from My Thrifty Chic
Time to Sparkle from Love Grows WildInside BruCrew LifeThe Recipe Critic, and The Gunny Sack
Link Party Wednesday from Lil’ Luna
Create It Thursday from Lamberts Lately
All Things Pretty from Sparkles and a Stove and My Fashion Forward Blog
Link Party Thursday from Somewhat Simple

Zucchini-Rutabaga Fritters

29 Apr

Fritters? Latkes? Hashbrowns? Something like that. But with zucchini and rutabaga instead of white potato, they were just as delicious (especially when dipped in ketchup) but way healthier. Plus it was a great way to use up what will hopefully be the last of my winter CSA vegetables. (I am getting real tired of roots and greens.)

These do have a bit of flour in them, but if you’re gluten-free or doing the paleo thing, substitute almond flour, and it will be just as good.

Fritters

I guess technically these are a side dish and would be great as the starch alongside a main course. But I’ve had them as a main dish along with sauteed greens or a salad. They’re definitely versatile and would be appropriate for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

As with most of my root-vegetable recipes, you can use pretty much any combination of root vegetables you have on hand. Straight-up zucchini would be good, using some sweet potato would be delicious. Whatever. Use your imagination.

It took some time to prepare these, mostly just because it takes a while to grate vegetables. But the nice thing about it was that I fried up a bunch of them and saved extras in the fridge. They were really easy to re-heat (in the convection oven, baking on 350 until warm) and have as a snack or as part of a quick, last-minute meal.

You may like these served latke-style with sour cream and apple sauce. I preferred them with ketchup, like hashbrowns. Yum.

Fritters2

Zucchini and Rutabaga Fritters adapted from SlimPalate.com

1 medium zucchini (about 200 g)
1 medium rutabaga (about 200 g)
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup flour (or almond flour, to be gluten-free)
1/4 cup parmigiana reggiano, grated and packed down
2 eggs, beaten
salt and pepper to taste
Oil for frying (I used garlic grapeseed oil)

Grate zucchini and rutabaga with a medium-sized grater. Add a dash of salt. Place shredded vegetables in a clean paper towel and squeeze to get as much liquid out of it as possible.

Place in a large bowl and add beaten eggs, garlic, flour, cheese, and fresh ground black pepper. Mix well.

Heat 2 tablespoons of cooking oil over medium heat in a large skillet, and wait for the pan to get hot. Once oil is shimmering, add spoonfuls of mixture to the pan. Fry until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes per side.

Place on platter lined with paper towels to soak up any grease.  Serve with sides of salt, pepper, sour cream, applesauce, and/or ketchup.

Linking up with:

YOLO Mondays from Still Being Molly and Lipgloss and Crayons
Market Yourself Monday from Sumo’s Sweet Stuff
Time for a Party from Fine Craft Guild
Made by you Monday from Skip to my Lou
Anything & Everything Link-Up from My Thrifty Chic and The Sapphire Bee
Time to Sparkle from Love Grows WildInside BruCrew LifeThe Recipe Critic, and The Gunny Sack

Spring CSA – Week 3

7 Mar

I unfortunately learned the hard lesson of why you should store your vegetables properly. I had a crazy week at work and ended up leaving my box of food on the table for a while. By the time I remembered them on day 4, the collards had completely turned brown and dry, and a carrot and one turnip has mold growing on them. I threw them out and salvaged what was left. Lesson learned: vegetables should not be stored in a cardboard box. With fewer vegetables, there were only so many meals I could make out of it, but I still managed to eat at home more than last week, so that’s good.

What’s in our CSA box this week?

1.2 lbs of carrots
2 apples
1 bunch of spring onions (S)
1.5 lbs of turnips
1 bunch of kale (O)
1 bunch of collard greens (O)

(O=Certified Organic. S=Sustainably Grown)

What we made:

Day 1

I made another batch of kale and white bean soup for dinner. This time I used great northern beans, and I added some carrots.

Day 2

Green smoothie with kale, apple, and pineapple.

[Frozen Indian meal from Trader Joe’s for lunch.]

Leftover kale and bean soup.

Day 3

Green smoothie with kale, apple, and pineapple.

Leftover kale and bean soup and a slice of pizza.

[Dinner at Beasley’s. Chicken + waffles = AMAZING.]

Day 4

[Half a banana, granola bar, and tea for breakfast. I was late for work!]

Leftover kale and bean soup.

Apple and peanut butter for dinner. I wasn’t feeling well, so that was about all I could manage.

Day 5

[Out for a work brunch.]

[Peanut butter sandwich for lunch.]

Roasted turnips and carrots in the oven, to go with some super delicious pork chops (chops stuffed with ham and gruyere, topped with an amazing mushroom sauce).

Day 6

Green smoothie with spinach, apple, pineapple, and almond milk.

[I made lunch (tomato soup and ham & cheese sandwich), but not using any CSA food.]

[The BF worked late, so I ordered Chinese food and watched TV all night. C’mon, cut me some slack — it’s a Monday.]

Day 7

Carrot smoothie: carrot, apple, pineapple, plain Greek yogurt, almond milk, and apple juice.

Falafel on garlic flatbread with carrot, tomato, avocado, spinach, and garlic Greek yogurt sauce.

[Snacks at the movies for dinner. SO healthy.]

Day 8

Green smoothie: spinach, turnip, apple, pineapple, apple juice, and almond milk. Yeah, I added a few pieces of turnip. It didn’t change the taste, but it made the texture a little odd.

I stir-fried some carrotturnip, and green onion and had it alongside the leftover sesame chicken from dinner a couple nights ago.

Not bad, right?

I still have some green onions and a little bit of carrot left. I’ll add it to the root vegetables we’re getting in next week’s batch.

Spring CSA – Week 1

20 Feb

The BF and I just started a spring CSA. I’m super excited to get a delivery of fresh veggies each week. Our CSA runs for 9 weeks, so my plan is to post once a week about what we got and what I made. (Just fyi, day 1 and day 8 overlap each week — Day 8 is breakfast and lunch, and then Day 1 would be what I make for dinner that same night after receiving the new delivery that afternoon.)

So first, some FAQs.

What’s a CSA?

Community-Supported Agriculture looks different in every town, but for the most part, they work like this: You pay a subscription fee up front to a local farm. Then for a certain number of weeks, the farm gives you a box of produce, containing whatever was harvested that week. Each week the box looks a little different, though it’s fairly easy to guess what types of foods you’re going to receive if you know a little about seasonal produce in your area. (Hint: spring means greens. Lots of  ’em.) Most CSAs use organic and sustainable farming techniques. Read more at LocalHarvest.org about the benefits of CSAs for both farmer and consumer.

Where is your CSA subscription? 

Our subscription is with the Community Nutrition Partnership, a nonprofit in North Carolina that aims to provide fresh, healthy produce to families of all income levels. Unlike a traditional CSA with a local farm, going through a nonprofit means that our subscription also pays for TWO needy families to have their own subscription. Also, if people forget to pick up their CSA one week, instead of going back to the farm to rot, that box will be delivered to a local family in need. Also, they deliver. Awesome perk.

How can I find a CSA for me?

Check out the interactive map at LocalHarvest.org to find a CSA in your area.

What’s in my CSA box this week?

1 bunch of Collard Greens (O)
1 head of Cabbage (O)
1 lbs of Carrots (S)
2 Apples (O)
1 lb of Sunburst Tomatoes (O)
1 bunch of Kale (O)

For this week only, I also received extras as a thank you for getting a few coworkers to sign up:
more greens (kale and other mixed greens)
2 extra tomatoes
1 bunch of beets

(O=Certified Organic. S=Sustainably Grown)

What we made:

Day 1

Pasta! We sauteed some of the collards and 2 tomatoes in rosemary and olive oil. We added spaghetti noodles and jarred tomato sauce to complete the pasta, and served it with hunks of baguette and a couple eggplant cutlets from Trader Joe’s on the side.

Day 2 

Breakfast smoothie! I added two kale leaves to my fruit smoothie. And since it was Valentine’s Day, I added 3 or 4 beet leaves to make it pink. With bananas, vanilla yogurt, and orange juice, it was delicious (just tastes like fruit) and healthy.

I sauteed some more collards, this time in garlic grapeseed oil. I took them to work and mixed them into some leftover Indian chickpea soup with that I got from Sandwhich. Served over white rice that I pre-cooked, my leftover soup became a delicious curry dish.

For Valentine’s Day, the BF and I decided to play it chill and spend some time together at home. I made a cabbage and carrot slaw (shredded cabbage, matchstick carrots, juice of 1 clementine, a bit of garlic grapeseed oil, salt, and pepper) that we enjoyed as a healthy side dish to the Papa John’s pizza we ordered. Then we settled in for a marathon of The Wire — we’re halfway through season 1!

Day 3

Apple and peanut butter for breakfast.

Some more cabbage and carrot slaw with leftover pizza.

Delicious kale and bean soup with a hunk of baguette.

Day 4

Green Smoothie... delicious!

A green smoothie! Kale, orange-peach-mango juice, banana, frozen pineapple, and blueberry yogurt. Yum!

[Lunch out at Moe’s]

[Mac & cheese and popcorn for dinner. Terrible, I know.]

Day 5

A green smoothie before hitting the road to Asheville, NC!

[Lunch at Salsa’s in Asheville]

[Dinner at Tupelo Honey in Asheville]

Day 6

[Tea for breakfast]

[Lunch at 12 Bones in Asheville]

Bowl of leftover kale and bean soup for a late dinner.

Day 7Kale &  bean soup

Green smoothie! Not even getting tired of these.

[Lunch: leftover Moe’s]

Bowl of leftover kale and bean soup for dinner. Plus I made a salad with greens, beets, walnuts, and fried goat cheese. The goat cheese was the best part (duh).

Day 8

Apple with peanut butter for breakfast.

I didn’t have time to put anything together, so I just had leftover beets for lunch, added to a random hodgepodge of snacks to make a meal.

Leftovers:

I had 3 collard green leaves leftover that I’ll just throw out — they’re pretty limp.

I have half a head of cabbage that I’ll save a little bit longer and try to find something for them. And I have 2 carrots and a tomato that will keep a while longer too. Maybe a stir fry? I hear we’re getting bok choy next! Another pasta? We’ll see…