Sunday, October 28, 2012

Wild Rice Stuffed Acorn Squash

I have not made this recipe yet, but a friend sent it to me and I wanted to be able to pin it for easy access. :)
Roasted Acorn Squash with Wild Rice Stuffing
This photo is actually of this recipe:

Wild Rice Stuffed Squash... from the Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen Cookbook
(serves 6)

3 small acorn squash, cut in half crosswise
1/2 c wild rice
1/2 c long grain brown rice
2 c water
pinch of sea salt
1 TBL olive oil
1 leek
3 cloves garlic, diced
1 tsp dried sage
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c chopped fresh parsley (optional)
1/2 c organic dried cranberries
3/4 c pecans, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Scoop out seeds and pith from squash and place squash halves flesh side down in a glass baking dish filled with 1/4 in water. Bake uncovered for 40 minutes or until the squash is fork tender.
2. While squash is cooking, prepare the rice. Place wild rice and long grain brown rice in a heavy bottomed two quart pot. Add water and sea salt. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce to low and simmer for 45 minutes or until all the water is absorbed. Remove pot from heat and let stand while preparing other ingredients.
3. Heat a 10-in skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil and leeks. Saute about 3 minutes. Add crushed garlic, chopped celery, dried herbs and sea salt. Saute for 5-6 minutes more. Place the leek-celery mixture into a bowl. Add parsley, dried cranberries, pecans and cooked rice. Mix well. Taste and adjust salt and seasonings as desired.
4. Take squash halves and evenly distribute mixture into the center of each. Place stuffed squash back into the pan and into the oven for 10-20 min or until heated all the way through (I actually didn't do this because I think it dries the squash out, but it's in the recipe).

Monday, April 23, 2012

Bad blogger, but I have a good reason!

This blog has been sitting pretty empty lately, so I wanted to stop by to make sure that anyone who is looking for an update knows that updates will be coming ... eventually. I haven't been updating much lately because I haven't been cooking much lately.

I haven't been cooking much lately because I haven't been feeling like eating lately.

I have been feeling like eating lately because the hubs and I are having a baby and I have been plagued with a pretty nasty case of morning (aka all day) sickness. This means our meals have been either a) toast, b) soup, or c) a hodge-podge of whatever things I feel like I can stomach at the moment. My plan is to be updating as soon as my stomach will allow me to spend more than ten minutes in the kitchen.

In the meantime, I appreciate all your patience during this hiatus. :)

Friday, April 13, 2012

Orange Apple Carrot Juice


What is there to say about juice?

First, I don't buy it. I bought some apple juice juice boxes last summer and still have them in the pantry. I used a few when I made jam - Aspen drank half of one when she was sick once. I think we maybe brought a couple camping and I probably drank them. Needless to say, we just don't drink a lot of juice.

Reasons? I don't like the amount of sugar in juice and I really don't like how processed the juices are. There is pretty much no nutritional value left in most shelf-stable juices AND it's really expensive! Especially considering the other two things I mentioned.

So, allow me to step off my soapbox for a moment and get to the point of this post.

I borrowed my friend's juicer yesterday because I wanted to give juicing a try. I've heard a lot about it, read a lot about it, and thought a lot about the pros/cons. Last night I decided to give it a shot and boy oh boy was I pleased! Here is the first recipe I came up with - it's just sweet enough and it tastes raw. That's probably my favorite part. It tastes like real food should taste. If you have access to a juicer, I definitely think it's worth giving it a try.

Orange Apple Carrot Juice
6 medium carrots
1 apple, cored and quartered
1 orange, peeled and quatered

Wash all produce and feed it all through the juicer. Whisk juice together to ensure ingredients are well combined. Serve immediately. This made ~12oz juice.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Pear Syrup/Glaze/Sauce

This was supposed to be a compote for the top of our pancakes last week. The result of too much butter is a delicious sauce. This is probably one of the best mistakes I have made in the kitchen in a long time. The hubs loved it, as did I. The toddler would have loved it, but no way was she getting any of this sugary mess poured over her pancakes. Do as I say, not as I do, right?

Pear Syrup/Glaze/Sauce

3 ripe pears, any kind, cut into 1/2" chunks
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 stick butter
5 tbsp cinnamon

Combine pears, sugar, butter, and cinnamon in a medium saucepan. Cover and place over medium-low heat. Once the butter and sugar start to melt, uncover and reduce heat to low. Cook for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the pears break down and a thick syrup forms.

We used this as a pancake topping the first night and a filling for dessert crepes the next day. I am also envisioning this over a couple scoops of vanilla bean ice cream. Eat your heart out ... and maybe go for a run before making it. :)

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Meaty Marinara Sauce

I have gone through my ups and downs with pasta sauce in my life. My mom always made her own from tomato sauce and tomato paste, which I loved. However, even on my best days, mine always turns out a little watery. I can't seem to get the sauce:paste ratio correct. I've also gone the jarred pasta sauce route, but it's pretty expensive and not always the best quality.

Then, as I was perusing the canned tomato aisle, I stumbled upon something that has revolutionized my marinara sauce: crushed tomatoes.

Yes, I know I'm a loser. How could I not know about crushed tomatoes before now? I simply never had a reason to use them. So in case anyone out there is under the same rock I've been under all my life, here you go. (Or, if you knew they existed and just never thought of making your own marinara sauce, this is also for you.) Super easy. Super delicious. Super hearty.

Meaty Marinara Sauce

1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
5 gloves garlic, roughly minced
1 onion, chopped
1 lb lean ground beef
3 tbsp extra  virgin olive oil
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp dried basil
3 tbsp dried oregano

3 tbsp Italian seasoning

Brown meat. Drain excess fat and season with 3 tbsp Italian seasoning.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a thick bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Saute garlic and onions for 2-3 minutes. This will leave the onions somewhat crunchy, so if you want them more tender, saute longer. Reduce heat to low. Add crushed tomatoes, basil, and oregano. Stir together. Add meat once it is cooked through.

Simmer on low for 20-25 minutes, or until hot.

Serve over your favorite noodles or with bread for dipping.

Note: This will make pretty chunky sauce, so if you want it more saucey, you may want to use 2 cans of tomatoes instead.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Still alive

Since it has been over a week since my last post, I thought I would check in. I'm still here and still cooking, but life has been very busy and tiring these last couple of weeks of both the hubs and me. We've been trying to stay low key as much as possible as a result. I promise to get something new posted before Sunday though. :)

Happy cooking (and eating)!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Roasted Chicken two ways - slow cooker style

I love roasted chicken. Love it. Until about 6 months ago though, I could count on two hands the number of times I actually made one because I can never figure out how to keep the meat from drying out before it's fully cooked. Then a friend of mine let me in on a little secret - put the chicken in the crock pot! It seriously leaves the meat falling off the bones and helps it retain so much moisture that you would never know it had been cooking for 6+ hours. Plus, who doesn't love a good crock pot meal? Especially when it means roasted chicken on a weeknight!

I'm providing the instructions first and then my two favorite ways to season the bird after since the cooking method is the same. You'll love how simple these directions are.

1. Clean the bird.
2. Pat the skin dry and season the bird liberally, inside and out.
3. Put the chicken in the crock pot.
4. Put the cover on the crock pot and turn it on low for 6+ hours.
5. When ready, remove chicken from crockpot and put on a baking sheet in the oven breast side up. Broil for 3-5 minutes until skin is browned to your liking.
6. Eat chicken!

You can leave it in there as long as you want. It will probably be done in less than 6 hours, but use a meat thermometer to ensure you've reached the proper internal temp. Mine is usually cooking away for 8+ hours, so I don't have to worry too much about it.

Here are my favorite ways to season - remember to season the skin AND the cavity of the bird -

Clean and easy -
A liberal amount of garlic powder, onion powder, and dill.
Sea salt

Citrus -
1 orange, sliced
1 lemon, sliced
5-8 cloves of garlic, halved or whole
1 onion, sliced
Sea salt

Season inside and out with paprika and salt. Stuff about half the lemons, onions, orange, and garlic inside the bird. Surround the chicken with the rest once it's in the crock pot.