Sunday, November 21, 2010

One-Pan Dinner

Last year for Christmas, my brothers and sister on Joe's side got me a subscription to Martha Stewart's everyday Food magazine.  Not to sound like a commercial, but I love that this magazine focuses on foods that are in season and also have a seasonal feel to them.  My favorite part of the magazine is the "5 Great Meals, 1 Short List" section where it gives you a grocery list and then 5 one-pot weeknight meals to make.  While I haven't done a whole week of the meals yet, I bought the ingredients for 2 of them from the most recent issue.  To give you an idea of what a "week" is like, this set has Mon: Roast Beef with Cabbage, Squash and Carrots, Tues: Black Beans and Sausage, Wed: Herb-Roasted Chicken and Vegetables, Thurs: Butternut Squash Baked Risotto, Fri: One-Pot Pasta with Broccoli Rabe and Bacon.  Each recipe also gives suggested alterations.  (The Chicken and Kale Handpies also came from the November issue of everyday Food.)

Mid-week, I made this Black Beans and Kielbasa one-pot (actually one large frying pan) dish.  It was good the first day we ate it, but it was better after sitting in the fridge for a few nights because the smoky flavor of the kielbasa soaked into the beans even more (yes, I'm admitting that I enjoyed this as a leftover).

 It was really quick to make.  I think for once in my life I may have come within 20% of the time advertised on the recipe (they said 40 min total).  Basic steps were:  slice 1 lb kielabasa and sear it in EVOO.  Remove it from the pan.  Add 3 chopped carrots and 2 diced shallots, cook until carrots are starting to tenderize.  Add 2 cloves minced garlic and pepper to taste.  Add 2 cans rinsed black beans and 1 can chicken broth.  Simmer 12 minutes, or until carrots are tender.  They suggested serving it with a dollop of plain greek yogurt on top.  I bought the yogurt, but we forgot to use it as a topping...

The second set of ingredients I bought was for Roast Beef with Cabbage, Sweet Potatoes and Carrots.  Often, I use recipes as suggestions rather than defined rules.  Today is one of those days.  I'm cooking it in my crock pot rather than the oven, and I added a mustard, horseradish, parsley, thyme rub to the meat.  Its currently cooking, so we'll see tonight how it turns out!  :-)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Chicken and Kale Handpies... Yes, Handpies.

I think all college students go through a Hot Pockets phase.  Luckily, most of us leave that behind when we graduate.  But, that doesn't mean that we lose our hunger for pastry-wrapped goodness.  I found a recipe for chicken and kale handpies recently and was excited to make them.  Since I made my own dough (hooray for food processors!), it took WELL over the 1 hr 10 minutes approximated, but they turned out great.  I took pictures of the process along the way.

The filling was kale, chicken, and leeks sauteed together.  The sauce came from adding chicken stock and flour toward the end.

Then I divided the mixture among the 6 bottom crusts.

Then I topped them with a little sharp chedder.

And sealed them with the top crust, brushed with eggwash.

Done cooking.

And yum!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Learning to Love Leftovers

I have never been a huge fan of leftovers, but with cooking for 2, we ALWAYS have something to put back in the fridge.  By "tweaking" the original meal, even by just a little, I can get excited about eating it again.

Original meal:  pasta with homemade tomato/bell pepper sauce.

Leftover 1:  I threw together some quick meatballs and simmered them in the sauce (not a huge change, but different enough that I didn't find it boring) = spaghetti and meatballs (Joe's favorite food).

Leftover 2:  Meatball subs (which also used up the deli rolls that we had left from a cookout).

Other recent leftover transformations:
roasted chicken --> chicken salad and chicken pot pies
gravy --> chicken pot pies
chili --> frozen in a muffin pan (then I removed the lumps and threw them in a ziplock in the freezer) so that we can heat up individual servings when we want them!
chopped up kale and leftover leek greens --> kale, chorizo, potato soup

Some leftovers DO get better after sitting in the fridge.  The chicken cacciatore with olive rice that I made recently was one of those, as is my chicken marsala, and most soups.  Thanksgiving leftovers are still pretty awesome the next day too, I'm excited for next week!

Now if only I could find something good to do with leftover mashed potatoes...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Boulder Farmer's Market, Take 2

After eating our fresh radishes last week, we HAD to go back to the Farmer's Market on Saturday.  This time we remembered our camera!  The weather wasn't as nice (it was low-mid 40s) but the market was still incredible.  We loved seeing the piles of beautiful local produce and were treated to some samples (radishes, carrots, apples, cider, cheese, salmon, brownies, nuts...) along the way.

Winter radishes come in black, green, and "watermelon."

Garden fresh greens, turnips and sunchokes.

This weekend, we decided to enjoy lunch while at the market.  I got half a margarita pizza cooked in a mobile brick oven.  This was the BEST pizza I've had since Italy!!!

 Joe had a homemade chicken tamale with green chile.  Removed from the husks while he waited.

Our treasures from this week's market.  We wanted to buy a bunch more but restrained ourselves because there's nothing more sad then seeing produce spoil.  The pictures of the radishes cut up are much cooler, but its neat to see what they looked like whole.
Green radish, watermelon radishes, 1 lb beet, carrots
Radishes!!  YUM!!!

The weather has been so moderate that they're acutally extending the market one more week!  Perhaps we will have to go again to get more radishes (we're fairly obsessed right now, if you couldn't tell!).

Monday, November 8, 2010

Boulder Farmer's Market

Saturday morning, we woke up to sunny skies and predictions for 70+ degree weather.  In November.  In Colorado.

Perfect weather led me to think of the Boulder Farmer's Market -- I have wanted to go since moving here, but our Saturday's kept getting booked.  With a promise of fresh baked breakfast, I convinced Joe to go with me (he got a homemade chocolate croissant, which rivaled the ones I've had in San Francisco).

I've been to farmer's markets before, but this was by far the best one that I've ever been to.  The selection of produce was beyond all expectations, there were dozens and dozens of booths, and we sampled some amazing products.  I am SO disappointed that I forgot the camera, but perhaps we'll go back next week for some photo ops (for the last market of the fall).

There were a million things we wanted to buy, but we restrained ourselves.  We ended up with some organic "Easter egg" radishes, a paper bag of mixed mushrooms, a locally-made truffled Camembert, and a local hard crumbly goat cheese.

Local mushrooms, radishes, and cheese

Crazy looking mushrooms -- the white "fluffy looking" ones turned out to be our favorite once sauteed

Sauteed mushrooms

Dinner time!  The 2 local cheeses plus a bleu, pâté, crackers, pears, and sauteed mushrooms.

Monday, November 1, 2010

I Love Crock Pots!

Cooking gadgets are some of my favorite gifts.  When I was in college, I got my first crock pot for my 20th birthday.  I was VERY excited (and my roommate thought I was crazy -- love you A!).  Not only are crock pots great for bringing food somewhere and serving it hot (like to Fat Friday at my old work), they're also awesome for entirely stress-free meals.

Crock-Pot Beef Stroganoff

This morning, before leaving for work, I put 2 lbs of thinly sliced beef (cut into strips), 1 lb of sliced crimini mushrooms, 2 medium sliced white onions, 1 can of beef broth, 3/4 C sherry, and some spices (approx 1/2 tsp thyme, 1-1/2 tsp dry mustard, 1/2 tsp garlic powder) in my crock pot (low heat, 8 hours).  I came home to a wonderful smelling apartment (which I could smell from the hallway) and a crock pot full of (almost) Beef Stroganoff!

Forty minutes later, after stirring in (whisked together) sour cream (1-1/2 cups) and flour (1/2 cup), and cooking some egg noodles and peas, Joe and I had a dinner that tasted like I had been home slaving over the stove all day.  I love crock pots!