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  1. Wednesday, February 26

    Simple and Delicious Homemade Beef Stroganoff

    As a kid my favorite dinner was beef stroganoff. My mom didn’t make it often and she only liked to make it when she could get the meat from a particular butcher in town, so when we did have stroganoff it was such a treat. I suppose I’ve been a sucker for sour cream and mushrooms since the early days!

    simple and delicious homemade beef stroganoff from @janemaynard

    I also rarely make beef stroganoff and, until now, always just used those dried sauce packets from the grocery store. I must admit that I liked how it tasted and it didn’t require any thought. But what I like more is cooking food from scratch whenever I can, so I decided it was time to try completely homemade beef stroganoff. And, in all honesty, it wasn’t any harder than using one of those sauce packets!

    This recipe is simple but delicious. I researched tons of different recipes as I thought about how I wanted to put the dish together and this is what I came up with. The sauce was creamy and tasty, the meat was tender and I totally had seconds (just like the old days). I also love meals that use meat sparingly. This recipe makes a ton of food with just 1 pound of steak – I love that!

    simple and delicious homemade beef stroganoff from @janemaynard

    In the interest of full disclosure, Anna did not like it, but I think she just doesn’t like stroganoff to begin with. (She also doesn’t like chicken pot pie, so can we trust her? I think not.) Owen only ate two bites, but that was more a function of Anna giving him a giant granola bar 5 minutes before dinner without telling me. Soooo helpful. Cate said it was really good and worthy of sharing on the blog and Nate agreed. At least I have some supporters in the family!

    (>> Find out more…)


  2. Wednesday, September 18

    Chimento Chicken, a.k.a. Chicken Croissants

    I have had a recipe for ‘chicken croissants’ archived on my site since the very beginning but have never actually written about it, which is a crying shame because it is delectable. Plus, it’s time I actually wrote the recipe out with solid directions rather than vague descriptions. So, today, chicken croissants!

    chicken croissants | thisweekfordinner.com

    First, a bit about the name of this recipe. Years ago our friends with the last name Chimento ate dinner at my parent’s house and raved over this recipe. From then on, our family fondly called this recipe “Chimento Chicken.” The original name is chicken croissants, which is a bit more descriptive. When I presented both names to my girls yesterday, they voted for Chimento Chicken. I must admit, it has a nice ring to it. Chimento Chicken it is!

    chicken croissants phyllo 1 | thisweekfordinner.com

    chicken croissants phyllo | thisweekfordinner.com

    chicken croissants phyllo | thisweekfordinner.com

    There are two ways to make Chimento Chicken: using phyllo dough or using quick crescent rolls. In terms of taste, using phyllo is heavenly and I much prefer it. Nate disagreed and said both phyllo and crescent rolls are equally as tasty, although he did admit the phyllo is a lot prettier. Despite Nate saying both versions are just as good, I just love the crispy, clean butter taste of the phyllo version. Crescent rolls are good, but, you know, they taste like crescent rolls and have just a bit more flavor. BUT, that all said, if you use crescent rolls, it is still mighty delicious! And crescent rolls are SUPER easy. I mean, there’s cream cheese no matter what dough you’re using so take your pick!

    chicken croissants crescents | thisweekfordinner.com

    chicken croissants crescents | thisweekfordinner.com

    Also, don’t be scared of trying the phyllo. I once made this recipe for 100 people and had 10 college-aged kids help me put the phyllo triangles together. If we could do it factory style in a terrible kitchen, you can tackle this!

    chicken croissants | thisweekfordinner.com

    Chimento Chicken, aka Chicken Croissants
    – 1/4 of a large onion, chopped (feel free to add more onion if you like more onion flavor)
    – 1 package fresh mushrooms, chopped
    – 1 8-ounce package of cream cheese, softened to room temperature
    – 1 chicken breast, cooked and cut into pieces
    – 1/2 tsp. salt
    – 1/4 tsp. pepper
    – Pillsbury (or equivalent) refrigerated crescent rolls (2 packages of 8) OR Phyllo dough (in the freezer section at the store)
    – 6 tablespoons butter (only if using phyllo)
    – 1 cup chicken broth, cooled
    – 1 tablespoon butter
    – 1 tablespoon flour

    You can just use a boneless, skinless chicken breast. However, if you’re feeling resourceful: I like to buy a package of 2 chicken breast WITH bones and skin, cover breasts in a big pot with water, boil until cooked through, and then use one of the breasts plus 1 cup of the broth for this recipe and use the other chicken breast and the rest of the broth for chicken soup.

    Sauté the onion in a bit of olive oil over medium heat for a few minutes. Add the chopped mushrooms and sauté until cooked through. Remove from heat.

    Mix together onions, mushrooms, cream cheese, chicken breast, salt and pepper in a large bowl.

    If using crescent rolls:

    • Lay out crescent roll triangles. Plop about 1/8 cup of filling onto the wide end (divide the filling evenly between the 16 rolls), then roll up the crescent roll starting at the wide end, sort of tucking the ends around the filling once it’s rolled up. Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet in a 375 degree F oven until dark golden brown, 10-20 minutes.

    | thisweekfordinner.com
    If using phyllo dough:

    • Defrost phyllo in fridge overnight or at room temperature for about 5 hours. Keep in packaging until ready to use.
    • Melt 6 T. butter and have it ready with a pastry brush.
    • Lay out a large piece of waxed paper or parchment paper on your counter.
    • Dampen a clean dish towel. Unwrap dough from packaging and unroll, setting to the side, placing damp towel on top.
    • Your phyllo will come in sheets  about 12″ x 16″. You will cut those sheets into 4″ x 16″ strips. You will need 20 of those strips total. Once cut, replace under damp towel. (Roll up and wrap in plastic wrap any remaining phyllo dough and keep refrigerated for up to 10 days.)
    • Remove one 4″ x 16″ sheet from the pile, re-cover pile with damp towel, place single sheet on waxed paper/parchment paper on the counter. Brush on butter, starting at one end, holding that end with one hand and brushing away from the hand holding the sheet down, covering entire sheet with a thin layer of butter. Add a second sheet and repeat process. The phyllo can break easily but don’t stress. It will all work out! Just be gentle but don’t be too stressed about it.
    • Place appx. 1/4 cup of the filling on one end, in a triangle shape. Fold like a flag from the stuffed end all the way down, ending with a triangle stuffed with filling. This website has an excellent set of photos to illustrate the stuffing and folding process. Click here to see! Repeat to make 10 stuffed triangles.
    • Place triangles on a Silpat- or parchment paper-lined cooke sheet. Brush tops with butter.
    • Bake in a 350 F oven until dark golden, about 20 minutes or so.

    chicken croissants prepped phyllo | thisweekfordinner.com
    To make the gravy:

    • Melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon floor and whisk well. Let cook for about 5-10 minutes, whisking fairly regularly. Add cold chicken broth to roux and bring to a simmer. Simmer about 5 minutes, remove from heat. Gravy will thicken a bit as it cools.

    Makes 16 stuffed crescent rolls or 10  stuffed phyllo triangles. Serve with gravy.

    chicken croissants | thisweekfordinner.com


  3. Tuesday, October 23

    Chicken Parmesan, a Pantry Go-To Classic

    I have two stories of Italians from New Jersey for you today, both of which culminate with a delicious, easy go-to recipe for you!

    When I was in high school, a native-New Jersey Italian from church taught all the teenagers how to make tomato sauce. It was fast, it was easy, it was fresh-tasting and delicious. And when Mike was teaching us how to make that sauce, I’m sure he thought we weren’t paying attention. But I was and the technique stuck with me from then on. He just simply sauteed garlic and onion in olive oil, added some canned tomatoes and tomato paste, a few spices and that was it!

    On to the second story of Italians from New Jersey. A few years later when I was in college, my friend Patti was talking to me one day about how her new roommate didn’t really know how to do anything, you know, like pay bills, do laundry, all that “adult” stuff. I’ll never forget the culminating comment, “She can’t even throw together a simple chicken parmesan!” Spoken like a true Italian from Jersey, no? Anyway, when she said that to me, I just nodded and said, “Yeah, that’s crazy!” but inside I was thinking,”Hmmmm, I wonder how you throw together a simple chicken parmesan?” Thanks to Patti, I figured it out and it became one of my classic go-to meals.

    Which brings us to the promise of this post…an easy, go-to recipe! This chicken parmesan recipe is a great one to have up your sleeve. Essentially all you need is a couple of eggs, some bread crumbs, frozen chicken, pasta, a few basic spices, parmesan cheese and Hunt’s tomato paste and petite-diced canned tomatoes. Yes, I’m working with Hunt’s. And, yes, I actually do always have Hunt’s petite diced tomatoes in my cupboard, even before I started working with them. I love the petite diced tomatoes. They are perfect for making sauce and the FlashSteam process makes the tomatoes taste flavorful and fresh. You would never guess my sauce is made from canned tomatoes!

    So, get your cupboards stocked up and “go to” this recipe next time you’re in a dinner bind!

    Chicken Parmesan, a Pantry Go-To Classic
     
    From Jane Maynard, created after hearing Patti describe making chicken parm over the phone years ago
    Author:
    Recipe type: Main Dish
    Ingredients
    • 1 pound chicken tenders (if you use boneless, skinless breasts, be sure to pound them flat)
    • 1 cup plain bread crumbs
    • ½ cup fresh shredded parmesan
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • ⅛ teaspoon pepper
    • ⅛ teaspoon paprika
    • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
    • ¼ teaspoon dried basil
    • 2 eggs
    • slices of fresh mozzarella
    Instructions
    1. Preheat oven to 350 degree F.
    2. Whisk the eggs in a soup/cereal bowl. In another cereal/soup bowl, mix together the bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, paprika, oregano and basil. Dip each raw chicken tender in the egg to coat, then place in bread crumbs and coat well. Place on lined cookie sheet.
    3. Cook for about 15 minutes, until they are JUST cooked through. Top with mozzarella cheese sliced and cook until cheese is melted, about 2-3 more minutes.
    Notes
    Note: I usually start cooking the sauce before I start prepping the chicken, so it can simmer while I make the pasta and chicken.

    Homemade Tomato Sauce
     
    From Jane Maynard, thanks to Mike’s inspiration even more years ago!
    Author:
    Recipe type: Main Dish
    Ingredients
    • 1 shallot or ½ onion, diced
    • 3-5 fresh garlic cloves, minced or pushed through a press
    • 2 cans Hunt’s petite diced tomatoes
    • 2 tablespoon tomato paste
    • 1 – 2 tablespoon sugar
    • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
    • ¾ teaspoon kosher or coarse salt
    • ½ teaspoon dried basil
    • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
    Instructions
    1. Heat olive oil over medium heat. Add shallots/onions. Cook until soft, a few minutes. Add garlic and saute for about a minute. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, salt and pepper. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to the point where the sauce still simmers (usually medium-low). Simmer for 15-20 minutes. While the sauce is simmering, you can smash the sauce up a bit with a ricer or pastry blender, to break up some of the tomatoes. I like my sauce chunky, so I just do this a little bit.
    2. Serve chicken with tomato sauce and cooked pasta.


  4. Thursday, September 13

    Cilantro Sour Cream Enchiladas

    Okay, people. Today’s enhiladas are scrumptious! You have to try them!! (Are you convinced yet? Did I use enough exclamation points? !!!!!! How about now?)

    The recipe comes from Ms. Erika, one of Anna’s preschool teachers. Cate had Ms. Ferneyn and Ms. Erika several years ago and now Anna has the same two lovely teachers. Not only are they fabulous preschool teachers, but they shower me with recipes, food and produce. These ladies are kindred spirits and I love them as much as my girls.

    Ms. Erika brought us dinner a few times last year through all the baby-being-born madness and these enchiladas were one of the meals she shared with us. These enchiladas are delectable and you can use chicken or black beans or both! The cilantro sour cream sauce is so good, with a mellow, balanced heat that pleases both kids and adults alike. It’s my new favorite enchilada recipe and, when I made them the other night, I could not eat just one.

    Cilantro Sour Cream Enchiladas
     
    From Ms. Erika, preschool teach extraordinaire
    Author:
    Recipe type: Main Dish
    Cuisine: Mexican
    Ingredients
    • 3 cups shredded cooked chicken OR 2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained (or a half and half combo)
    • 1 cup sour cream
    • 1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
    • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
    • 1 can (4 or 4.5 oz) chopped green chilies
    • 1½ cups shredded Cheddar or Monterey Jack Cheese, or a combination
    • 1½ tsp minced garlic, or to taste
    • ½ tsp ground cumin, or to taste
    • 1 package (10 count, 17.5 oz) soft taco size flour tortillas
    • 1 jar (16 oz) green salsa
    • ½ cup water
    • Suggested toppings: sour cream, guacamole, chopped tomatoes, diced onion, minced cilantro, extra green sauce
    Instructions
    1. Grease a 13×9-inch baking dish. (Jane note: I did not grease my pan b/c I forgot. Everything turned out fine.)
    2. In a bowl, mix chicken, half of the sour cream and half of the cilantro, the red pepper, chilies, ½ cup cheese, garlic and cumin.
    3. Puree salsa, water and remaining ½ cup each of sour cream and cilantro in a blender or food processor. Spread 1 cup over the bottom of the prepared baking dish.
    4. Spoon about ¼ – ⅓ cup chicken mixture down the center of each tortilla. Roll up and place seam side down in rows on the sauce in the baking dish. Cover and refrigerate, along with the remaining sauce and cheese, up to 2 days.
    5. To serve: Heat oven to 350*. Pour remaining sauce over tortillas; bake uncovered 35 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and bake 15 minutes longer or until bubbly.
    6. Serve with lots of toppings and tortilla chips.
    7. Jane notes that you need to read: I think these are better if you make them the day before, but I cooked them as soon as I assembled them and they were still AWESOME. Also, I didn’t pour all of the sauce over the enchiladas for baking – I reserved probably ½-3/4 cups or so and used that as a topping when we ate the enchiladas.

    cilantro sour cream enchiladas | from @janemaynard at thisweekfordinner.com


  5. Wednesday, July 18

    Chicken Marsala #1

    As you know, I was looking for chicken marsala recipes a few weeks ago. It really is one of my favorite Italian dishes and, surprisingly, I’ve never tried making it from scratch. A few of you shared some delicious looking recipes – thank you!! I’m excited to try them!

    For my first pass at chicken marsala, I used the Cook’s Illustrated recipe combined with a few of the recipes that you shared. The result was a delicious, solid recipe that I will definitely be making again…after trying out a few of the other recipes you shared, of course!

    Without further ado…the recipe!

    Chicken Marsala #1
     
    Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated and a few other recipes
    Author:
    Recipe type: Main Dish, Poultry, Pasta
    Cuisine: Italian
    Ingredients
    • 4 chicken breasts, cut into halves and pounded thin (some of thicker pieces I also cut horizontally to make them thinner from top to bottom, and then pounded them out)
    • 1 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1 tsp salt
    • ½ tsp pepper
    • Olive oil or vegetable oil (~1/4 – ½ cup)
    • 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced thin
    • 2 tablespoons chopped onion
    • 1 garlic clove, minced or pushed through a garlic press
    • 1½ cups sweet Marsala wine
    • ¾ cup chicken broth
    • 4 tablespoons butter, chilled and cut into pieces
    • fresh or dried parsley
    • salt and pepper to taste
    Instructions
    1. Place an oven-proof dish in a 200 degree oven.
    2. Mix flour, 1 tsp salt and ½ tsp pepper. Dip chicken pieces in flour to cover and shake of excess.
    3. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Place a few chicken pieces in pan in one layer and cook until starting to brown, a few minutes. Flip and cook until lightly browned on side 2 and chicken is cooked through. Place in oven and repeat the process until all chicken is cooked, adding oil if needed between batches. You’ll want to reduce the heat of the pan to medium during or after the first batch.
    4. Add a bit more oil to the pan then saute mushrooms and onions until soft and mushrooms have released their water and the water has evaporated, stirring occasionally. Stir in garlic and, if you are using dried parsley, about 1 tsp parsley. Cook for about 1 minute.
    5. Remove pan from heat and add the marsala wine and broth, deglazing the pan, then return the pan to high heat. Bring to a boil and let simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thickened, about 5-8 minutes. Stir in accumulated chicken juices and whisk in butter. Season with salt and pepper to taste and, if using fresh parsley, add 2 tablespoons parsley. Add chicken to pan and simmer on low heat for a few minutes.

     


  6. Tuesday, January 17

    Cooking the Perfect Steak

    We rarely eat red meat, so when we do, we make sure it is high-quality and delicious. My favorite cut is filet mignon…when cooked correctly, it is just so darn tender and tasty. When Nate’s mom was here last November, she made us a fantastic dinner, which included some filet. While we were debating about how to cook our beautiful hunks of meat, she mentioned that she and my father-in-law had used a technique from America’s Test Kitchen and Cook’s Illustrated that worked beautifully. We dug around the Internet, found the recipe and…

    Sorry for the not-so-pretty photos. Truth is I wanted to eat the steak more than I wanted to photograph it! 😉

    …PEOPLE. This is the perfect way to cook steak. Seriously. Perfect. It comes out medium-rare and is so juicy and tender. For those of you scared of red/pink in your meat, please believe me when I tell you medium-rare is the way to eat your steak. REALLY. The flavor and texture are so much better than medium or well-done, but it’s still hot and cooked through just enough. The first time I ate a medium-rare steak was at Donovan’s Steak House and I have never eaten it another way since. It’s the only way to go!

    So, back to the Cook’s Illustrated technique…you salt and pepper the steak and then bake it in the oven BEFORE searing it on the stove. The reasoning is that your steak will cook evenly throughout and that the final sear will give the steak a nice, caramelized crust. We found another blogger who had used this recipe and he said that it’s been consistent every time. I love reliable recipes like that!

    Cooking the Perfect Steak
     
    Method & recipe from Cook’s Illustrated, but I’ve written it out here in my own words, so if something goes wrong blame me.
    Author:
    Recipe type: Main Dish, Beef
    Ingredients
    • 2 boneless strip steaks 1½″ – 1¾″ thick, about 1 pound each (filet mignon or ribeye may be substituted)
    • Salt & Pepper (I like to use coarse versions of both)
    • 1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil (2 tablespoons for filet mignon)
    Instructions
    1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees F and place rack in the center of the oven.
    2. Cut steaks vertically in half so you have four 8-ounce steaks. Let rest outside of the fridge for about 15 minutes. Dry off steaks with a paper towel then pat liberally with salt and pepper. Place steaks on a wire rack on top of a rimmed cookie sheet so steaks are not resting directly on the pan. Insert an instant-read, oven-safe thermometer into one of the steaks, then put steaks in the oven until the internal temperature of the steak reaches 90 – 95 degrees for medium rare (20-25 mins) or 100 to 105 degrees for medium (25-30 mins). GO WITH MEDIUM RARE! 😉
    3. Heat oil in a heavy bottom skillet over medium-high heat on your stove. We used one of my copper-core heavy bottom frying pans – I think a cast-iron skillet would be ideal, but mine is buried in storage somewhere. When oil starts to smoke, sear the steak in the pan ~ 2 minutes per side. Sear the edges as well, ~ 1 minute per edge.
    4. Place steaks back on rack on cookie sheet, tent with foil and let rest ~ 10 minutes. Eat!

     


  7. Tuesday, October 11

    Sipping Once, Sipping Twice, Sipping Chicken Soup with Rice

    I absolutely loved Maurice Sendak books when I was a kid. All of his books stand out clearly in my memory, from the wild things to the naked boy in the night kitchen to chicken soup with rice. Chicken soup with rice holds a very nostalgic place in my mind because of his book, even though I never actually ate it as a kid.

    One of the many delicious meals that we’ve received from friends this past week was chicken soup with rice. It was SOOOO yummy. (Maurice would definitely approve.) Nate and I were literally fighting over the leftovers the next day. (He won, but in exchange he had to get me lunch at Cafe Borrone.)

    My friend Mary Jo made the soup for us. I of course asked her for the recipe. She told me there was no recipe. I told her too bad and that she still had to write out exactly what she did for me. Thankfully, she obliged! I’m just hoping I’ll be able to recreate it!

    Mary Jo’s Chicken Soup with Rice
     
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • 3 chicken breasts, bone-in skin on rib attached
    • onion
    • carrots
    • rice
    • chicken broth
    • cornstarch
    • salt
    • pepper
    Instructions
    1. Boil 3 chicken breasts that have the skin still on and the rib attached, along with a chopped onion for maybe 25-30 minutes in a big pot. Save the broth.
    2. Cook some carrots (I did them separately in another pan just so they don’t get over-cooked in the soup pot.
    3. Cook some rice in a couple of cans of chicken broth—again not in the soup pot with the broth you’re saving. (I hate to use up all the good broth in the big pot)
    4. Tear the chicken off the bones and discard the bones and skin.
    5. Thicken the broth in the pot with some cornstarch.
    6. Add the chicken, carrots, rice. Season (salt, pepper, garlic salt—whatever) (Jane note: I could taste the black pepper in Mary Jo’s soup and that was one of my favorite aspects of the flavor.)
    7. Pour in some frozen peas that you’ve run some hot water over for a minute—the soup will cook them the rest the way, so they’ll hopefully remain a little green, rather than turn yellow.

     


  8. Thursday, February 10

    Santa Fe Salad

    Tonight we’re having Santa Fe Salad. I’ve linked to the recipe before, but I’ve never written about it. So here we are!

    I modified this recipe from a salad I used to order at a restaurant in San Diego. The biggest reason I like this salad is the cornbread croutons. They are YUM. I suppose ranch dressing doesn’t hurt either. 😉

    Santa Fe Salad
     
    Author:
    Recipe type: Main Dish, Salad
    Ingredients
    • 2 hearts of romaine, chopped up
    • 1 granny smith apple, chopped
    • Handful or two of cubed gouda
    • Cornbread croutons (see below)
    • 3 handfuls of corn (canned or frozen or fresh…whatever you’ve got!)
    • ½ can black beans, rinsed and drained
    • Chopped walnuts (optional – I always leave these out)
    • Thinly sliced red onion (also optional)
    • Chopped cooked chicken (optional – I never do the chicken, actually – but it would be a yummy addition)
    • Ranch dressing
    • BBQ Sauce (optional, good drizzled on the chicken)
    Instructions
    1. Combine all the ingredients and eat!

    Cornbread Croutons
     
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • Cornbread – premade is fine, jiffy mix is fine, I followed the simple recipe on the back of the cornmeal box for an 8″ x 8″ pan
    • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
    Instructions
    1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cube cornbread. Spread evenly on a cookie sheet and brush/drizzle with melted butter. Bake for 20 minutes, flipping the croutons over every 5 minutes so the bottoms don’t burn. Serve with Santa Fe Salad or any other salad that strikes your fancy. And, as I’m typing, I’m even thinking this might be a fun topper for chili!

     


  9. Wednesday, October 6

    Preparing for La Petite Soirée…and a lunch filled with curry and veggie goodness!

    Doesn’t this food look good?  It is. And I’ll get to it in a moment…but first, a little about what I’m up to this week!

    On Friday, I’m heading up to the BlogHer Food conference, and that night I’m also co-hosting La Petite Soirée, a party for food bloggers. I will be co-hosting this little shindig with some amazing fellow bloggers: Helene Dujardin from Tartelette, Kristen Doyle from Dine & Dish, and Stefania Pomponi Butler from City Mama and Clever Girls Collective. It’s been a dream team, no question.

    Did I mention, our party is going to be awesome? For food, we’re going to have a bunch of San Francisco food carts serving their delicious eats, and Chef Elizabeth Faulkner of pastry and Top Chef fame will be making cupquettes for the party (thanks to Scharffen Berger!), served alongside wine and drinks. The party is going to be held at a photography studio, which is the perfect venue for a bunch of camera-toting food bloggers! Speaking of those bloggers…we have an amazing guest list, with really talented and wonderful food bloggers and cookbook writers included. I’m giddy with excitement!

    I always end up killing myself stuffing bags for all the parties I throw…La Petite Soirée is no exception! In fact, swag for the bags has completely taken over my patio and garage. And my back hurts a little. But it’s worth it! Here’s a little sneak peak.

    One of the best parts of getting into blogging is the truly amazing people I’ve befriended along the way. Gudrun Enger from Kitchen Gadget Girl definitely falls into that category. I met Gudrun at BlogHer in Chicago last year and, lucky for me, she only lives 2 miles away! She took pity on me today and came over to help organize and stuff swag. Not only did she help me tremendously with party preparations, she brought me lunch! She kept saying, “It’s just leftovers.” But, uh, yeah, her leftovers ROCK and way kick my usual peanut butter and honey’s sandwich patootie.

    Which brings us to the food from the beginning of this post. Gudrun brought Cauliflower Curry, a Delicata Squash and Pumpkin dish, brown rice and naan bread. Mmmmmm. Gudrun is one of my cool friends who is part of a CSA and does a great job using up all the fresh grown food she receives each week. I’ll get there…one day!

    Click more to see the recipes from my delicious lunch!

    Cauliflower Curry
     
    From Chef Jonathan Miller, via Gudrun Enger (complete with Gudrun’s notes below)
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • 1 cauliflower, cut into florets, stems pieces roughly chopped
    • 2 tablespoon olive oil
    • 1 onion, chopped
    • 8 quarter-size slices ginger, peeled (Gudrun used 2 tsps of ground ginger.)
    • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
    • 2 Serrano peppers (Gudrun had a green jalapeno, so that’s what she used. It was a spicy pepper, but the dish was not super spicy)
    • 2 tomatoes, chopped
    • ½ cup yogurt
    • 1 cup water
    • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
    • 2 teaspoon ground coriander
    • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
    • ½ teaspoon garam masala
    • ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
    • small handful of cilantro, chopped
    Instructions
    1. Heat olive oil in large sauce pan until almost smoking, and saute the cauliflower florets until lightly browned. Remove to a bowl.
    2. In a food processor, process the cauliflower stems, onion, ginger, garlic, and Serrano until finely chopped, almost a puree. Transfer to a bowl. Do the same with the tomatoes, transfer to separate bowl. Whisk yogurt, water and nutmeg together until smooth.
    3. In the same pan you used to brown the cauliflower florets, cook the cauliflower stem/onion mixture until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Stir regularly. Add in tomatoes puree and cook until most of the juice has evaporated, up to 10 minutes more. Add in coriander, cumin, garam masala, turmeric and salt and pepper, and bring to a simmer. Add in yogurt-water-nutmeg liquid with ½ the cilantro and bring back to a simmer, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium low, add the cauliflower florets, cover and simmer until the cauliflower is cooked to your liking (I kept it a little on the al dente side).
    4. Finish the dish with remaining cilantro and another sprinkle of garam masala. Great over rice!

     
    Delicata Squash & Pumpkin with Cider Glaze
     
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • 2 medium delicata squash (about 2 pounds) or other firm winter squash (Gudrun did half delicata squash and half pumpkin)
    • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • ¼ cup very coarsely chopped fresh sage
    • 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh rosemary
    • 1½ cups fresh unfiltered apple cider or juice
    • 1 cup water
    • 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • Freshly ground black pepper
    Instructions
    1. If using delicata squash, peel it with a vegetable peeler, cut it lengthwise in half, and scrape out the seeds with a spoon. Cut each piece lengthwise in half again, then crosswise into ½-inch -thick slices. Other types of squash should be peeled with a chef’s knife, seeded, cut into 1-inch wedges, then sliced ½-inch thick.
    2. Melt the butter in a large (12-inch) skillet over low heat. Add the sage and rosemary and cook, stirring, until the butter just begins to turn golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Do not brown the herbs. Cooking the herbs in butter mellows their flavor and improves their texture.
    3. Add the squash to the skillet, then the apple cider, water, vinegar, and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, over medium heat at an even boil until the cider has boiled down to a glaze and the squash is tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Taste and season with pepper, and additional salt if needed.

     


  10. Tuesday, September 28

    Creamy Pesto Fettuccine with Mushrooms & Tomatoes

    Last week when I made the Pesto Tortellini Soup I had on my menu, I ended up with 7 ounces minus 1/4 cup of pesto left over. The next night we had Easy Peasy Bean Tacos, which resulted in a half a container of leftover grape tomatoes. The next night (are you liking this painful play-by-play?) I swung by the store on the way home from a playdate and saw a $2 package of fresh fettuccine that inspired me. I grabbed a half pint of cream, a package of sliced mushrooms and went home to throw dinner together as quickly as possible.

    The result was a simple and fast recipe that was molto delicioso. The best part? My girls ate ALL of their dinner and then some. And I have another meatless recipe to add to the arsenal.

    Buon appetito!

    Creamy Pesto Fettuccine with Mushrooms & Tomatoes
     
    Quick, easy, and super yummy!
    Author:
    Recipe type: Main Dishes, Pasta
    Ingredients
    • 9 oz. fresh fettuccine (or whatever past you have on hand)
    • 8 oz. fresh mushrooms, sliced
    • Couple handfuls of cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
    • 2-4 garlic cloves, minced or smashed through a garlic press
    • ½ pint cream
    • Prepared pesto (I used 7 ounces MINUS ¼ cup since the pesto was leftover from the soup recipe, but I think a 7-ounce package will work just fine…no need to subtract out that ¼ cup…although you could make the Pesto Tortellini Soup the same week to coordinate!)
    • 2 handfuls fresh grated parmesan cheese, plus some for garnish
    • ½ to 1 teaspoon salt (to taste)
    • Olive oil for sautéing
    Instructions
    1. Prepare pasta according to package directions. Drain and drizzle with a bit of butter or olive oil to prevent sticking.
    2. While waiting for water to boil for the pasta, start working on the other stuff. Sauté the mushrooms in a tablespoon or two of olive oil until softened. Add garlic and tomatoes and sauté a few minutes more. Add cream, pesto sauce and salt; simmer to reduce until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Add parmesan cheese and stir until melted.
    3. Pour sauce over pasta and serve, sprinkled with fresh grated parmesan cheese and fresh chopped basil if you have it.
    4. A few things I think would be good to add, but I haven’t actually tried yet: a shallot sautéed with the mushrooms, spinach, or white beans.