Monday, January 28, 2013

Meal Plan Monday - Super Bowl Sunday

I hate to bring an untraditional Meal Plan Monday to the table on the second week of getting back to it...but I'm going to anyway.

It's going to be a busy week between school and work so I'm not sure how much time there will be for dinner making.  Luckily though, I planned ahead and whipped up a few things yesterday to have for leftovers and to share with you later this week.

As I'm sure you already know, we're just a few days away from Super Bowl Sunday.  And while I totally enjoy watching the game, I'm way more excited to make the food.  Especially since the Chiefs won't be playing their little hearts out.  There's always next year....uhum....right?

Kansas City Chiefs...touchy subject...moving on.

I love that "holidays" have their own food theme.  Can you imagine Thanksgiving without pie?  Or the 4th of July without grilling?  Halloween without candy?  Of course not.  Those are must haves.  And as we all know the Super Bowl is about appetizers.  And hearty ones.  "Man food" if you will.

So I've gathered up some of the essentials.  These are more on the vegetarian side but I sprinkled in a few meaty bites.  It is the Super Bowl after all, I wouldn't want to completely deprive you.

One last thing before I leave you to drool on your keyboard...Along with this appetizer feast I'll be making on Sunday, I have a few more coming up.  Including my sister's BRIDAL shower (yes she's getting married! ah!) and The United Scents of America launch party at Shake the Tree on February 21st (if you live in Boston you should come!!).  And that means I need YOUR suggestions.  What are your favorite appetizers?  Ones that are sweep you off your feet, shed a tear kind of good?  Leave comments and I'll love you forever.  And ever.

Have a great week!

Boozy Bacon Jam

French Onion Soup Stuffed Mushrooms

Beer-Cheese Potato Bites

Hot Asiago Crab and Artichoke Dip

Port Glazed Manchego Stuffed Figs with Prosciutto 

Mac and Cheese Bites

Frito Chili Pie

Caramelized Onion Dip

Vegetarian Nachos with Homemade Guacamole

Oven Fried Onion Rings

Homemade Beer Pretzels

Nutella Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

Beer Run Cupcakes with Vanilla Stout Buttercream

Friday, January 25, 2013

Pear Strudel with Brown Sugar Cream

These are possibly the ugliest things I've ever made.

I almost didn't share them with you.  But then I quickly came to my senses.  What was I thinking?  Not sharing because I wasn't happy with what they looked like?  Please.

That's the perfectionist in me.

Now, if they hadn't tasted good...that would have been an entirely different story.  But guess what?  They were um...incredible.  After seeing what they looked like I started judging immediately.  I hesitantly put a dollop of brown sugar cream on top, grabbed a fork with a defeated looking slouch, cut a less than mediocre sized slice, and put it to my lips.

My eyebrows raised, my eyes widened, I went for another bite.  I was blow away.  The fruit was soft, the phyllo was crispy and the cream sealed the deal.

And guess what?  It's pretty darn healthy too.  Fruit, a small amount of brown sugar, phyllo (instead of puff pastry), and a yogurt based cream?  Yep.  That goes down as healthy in my book.  And therefore you're in the clear with your healthy eating ways to go make this...right now.

-Adapted from the Rancho La Puerta Cookbook
Makes: 2 Strudel, 6 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Bake Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

{Printable Recipe}

5 tablespoons packed brown sugar, divided
3 tablespoons skinned and ground hazelnuts
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 firm pears, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch dice - I used bosc
1/3 cup dried fruit - I used figs but any dried fruit will do!
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 package phyllo dough, thawed according to package directions
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/3 cup greek yogurt or sour cream
powdered sugar (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. In a small bowl, combine 1 tablespoon of the brown sugar, the hazelnuts (which I ground with my makeshift mortar and pestle), and cinnamon.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the pears, dried fruit, lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons of the brown sugar.
  4. Make sure and read the directions on the phyllo dough (because it can be tricky!) and then lay out 1 sheet of phyllo.  Make sure to cover the rest with a damp cloth or plastic wrap while you're working.
  5. Brush the sheet of phyllo with melted butter, and evenly sprinkle a small amount of the ground nut mixture over the top.
  6. Top with a second sheet of phyllo, squaring the edges.  Brush with butter and sprinkle again with the nut mixture.  Top with a third sheet.  Place half of the fruit mixture across the short end, leaving a 1-inch margin on the three outer edges.
  7. Fold the phyllo over the fruit once, tuck in the ends, and continue to roll all the way up.  Set seam-side down on a baking sheet.
  8. Repeat 4-7 for a second strudel.  (Any leftover phyllo should be rerolled in it's original plastic, wrapped in parchment or wax paper and then wrapped with plastic wrap and placed in the refrigerator for later use.)
  9. Bake the strudel for 40 minutes or until the filling is soft and the phyllo is crisp and golden brown.  Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes.
  10. Make the Brown Sugar Cream by combining 2 tablespoons of the brown sugar and the yogurt, stirring until smooth.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  11. Cut the strudel into 1-inch-thick slices.  Dust with a little powdered sugar, if desired.  Serve the sauce on top or on the side.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Meal Plan Monday

I'm fairly ashamed to say how long it's been since I've posted a Meal Plan Monday.

We're talking a little over two months here.

And that's just no good.

So I'm back to it because you all seem to like it.  And of course I like it.  I get to "waste" grand amounts of time browsing through delicious recipes from which I then get to make.  That's a win-win.

Because today is a holiday, meaning that I only have class on Wednesday this week, I'm hoping to spend a good amount of time in the kitchen.  (And I've started the week off right by making cinnamon rolls for a house of nearly 20 this morning!)  Getting to all six of these dishes along with all of the baking projects I have lined up would be quite ambitious, but I always like a good challenge.

Hope everyone has a great week!


Portobello Burger with Green Bean Fries and Yogurt Aioli


Soba Bowl with Tea Poached Salmon


Creamy Broccoli-White Bean Soup 


Veggie Noodle Bowl with Spicy Peanut Sauce

friday lunch

Grilled Cheese with Roasted Carrots and Carrot Green Pesto
-from Happyolks

friday dinner

Whole Wheat Black Pepper Fettuccine with Baby Artichokes

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Winter Quinoa Salad with Pear and Squash

I'm finally back in Boston.  Finally back to somewhat of a normal schedule.  Finally back to my teeny tiny kitchen.

And thank goodness.  I was starting to miss it.  And you.  Two blog posts over three weeks isn't exactly what I call sufficient.  But it's a new year, new semester, and time to get back to blogging on a more regular basis.  You can even expect to see a Meal Plan Monday next week.  Gasp.  I know.  It's been a while.

This dish came from somewhat of a compulsive habit that I have when browsing through cookbooks.  You see, I like to browse through cookbooks...quite often.  And I'll do it anytime I spot something of interest, whether that be at work, a bookstore, or another person's kitchen.  And then as I'm browsing I'll find something that makes my mouth like any logical person I whip out my phone and take a picture of the recipe.  Which is brilliant in my opinion.

But that creates a space issue.  As I was sitting in the airport on the way back from Missouri I realized that a large majority of my pictures are recipes.  And unfortunately, I rarely revisit these recipes or go the next step and actually make them.

As I was getting rid of the ones not worthy of keeping, I stopped on this one and couldn't decide whether to delete it immediately or run to the kitchen and make it.  I decided on the latter as more of a challenge.  The flavor combinations were far too interesting to delete.  Soy, sesame, balsamic, cinnamon, and allspice?  Sun-dried tomatoes and pears?  Don't get me wrong.  I love all of those things.  But they don't tend to end up in a bowl together.

And guess what?  I totally loved it.  Something about this combination created fireworks in my mouth.  And the quinoa goodness.  Adding the soy, sesame, and spices to the water while the quinoa is cooking was a miraculous discovery.  I actually don't know if I'll ever go back.  The night I made it I served it warm with a bit of tofu on the side.  The next day for lunch I had it cold over a bed of greens.  Both were equally delicious and deserve your nod of approval.

Makes: 2 main dish servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes (with cooling time)

{Printable Recipe}

1 1/2 cups butternut squash cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 cup quinoa
1 1/2 cups water
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
salt and pepper to taste
1 pear, halved, cored, and diced
1/3 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and halved
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons olive oil
slivered almonds
feta cheese

  1. Place the squash in a microwavable bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave on high for 7-8 minutes, or until tender when pierced with a knife.  Let cool to room temperature.
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine the quinoa, water, soy sauce, sesame oil, cinnamon, allspice, salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce to low, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.  Remove from the heat and let stand for 10 minutes and then fluff with a fork.  Let cool to almost room temperature.  Gently fold in squash, pear, and tomatoes.
  3. In a small bowl whisk together the vinegar, mustard, and olive oil.  Spoon over the quinoa mixture and toss lightly.  Arrange the salad on a platter or individual plates and serve and top with slivered almonds and feta cheese.  Serve warm or chilled.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Marinated Mushroom Salad with Walnut and Tahini Yogurt

Stop rubbing your eyes.

This is real.

I'm really posting.

However, I don't blame your doubt.

Seriously though.  I've just let this little blog be lonely for way too long.  But between the holidays, my sister's bachelorette party, entertaining family and working...I haven't had a ton of spare time on my hands.  So you've already forgiven me right?  Perfect.

As you could probably guess, vegetarian meals are quite a bit harder to come by in Missouri than they are in Boston.  Which is understandable and really my fault for not making my own.  But yesterday as I went to grab the last egg in the carton I decided I couldn't force down another egg and that I needed to utilize one of my new super wonderful cookbooks that I received for Christmas (don't fret, you'll be seeing all of them make an appearance in the near future) and make myself lunch.

I opened the pages of Plenty and started salivating immediately.  It took more time deciding what to make than it did to actually make the dish.  But we've talked about that little problem of mine once before.

I adapted the recipe slightly due to availability but I have only praises for how it turned out.  In the cookbook, the salad was served by itself.  But I decided to eat mine over a bed of baby bok choy.  And then I might have thrown some really pungent blue cheese over the top as a last minute decision.  Neither are necessary.  But highly recommended.  This would also make a great side dish or a quick lunch to drag to work.

Adapt it.  Devour it.  And of course remember to tell me how much you love it.

Adapted from the Plenty Cookbook

Makes: 4 Servings
Prep Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Cook Time: None!
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes

{Printable Recipe}

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • juice of 2 medium lemons
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • black pepper
  • 3 cups sliced cremini mushrooms
  • 2 cups shiitake mushrooms, stems removed
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons tahini
  • 1 small garlic clove, crushed
  • 3 cups shelled edamame (fresh or frozen)
  • 2/3 cup walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon chopped dill
  • 1 tablespoon chopped mint
  • baby bok choy (optional)
  • your favorite cheese (optional)

  1. Start by marinating the mushrooms.  Whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, maple syrup, the juice from one lemon, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and some black pepper.  Pour this over the mushrooms in a large bowl and toss well, making sure all of the mushrooms are coated.  Leave them to marinate for an hour.
  2. While the mushrooms are marinating, mix together the yogurt, tahini, garlic, juice from the other lemon, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.  Use a fork or small whisk to whip everything together, forming a light paste.  Set aside.
  3. After the mushrooms have marinated for an hour, add the edamame, toasted walnuts, and cumin to the bowl and stir to mix.  Taste and adjust the seasoning.
  4. Serve the mushrooms in small bowls or on small places, each portion topped with a dollop of the tahini sauce and sprinkled with the fresh herbs.
  5. OR serve over a bed of baby bok choy and top with your favorite cheese.

Mix these things together.

And pour over the mushrooms.

Toss well to coat and set aside to marinate for an hour.

Grab all of these ingredients.

And mix in a small bowl.  Set aside until the mushrooms are done.

After an hour, grab your mushrooms.

Add the shelled edamame.

And cumin.

And toasted walnuts.  Mix it all together.

Make your bed of baby bok choy if you want to be like me.

Spoon your salad inside.

Top with tahini yogurt and fresh herbs.

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