Wednesday, November 2, 2011

So I have been a bit absent for awhile...

I have a list of excuses, but none are very good except for one that just began recently.  And that is that I recently found out I am expecting.  So my appetite has been here and there and sometimes no where to be found.  Which makes it hard to find the motivation to cook when I can hardly decide what I want to eat.

I am going to work harder at posting something at least once a week.  Hopefully when I begin my 2nd trimester in a couple weeks I'll feel more energetic and motivated to get in the kitchen more often.

Until then, I hope you are enjoying my existing recipes and Happy Cooking!

Beef Stroganoff

So this is one my mom made when we were kids that pretty much everyone has their own sort of version of.  My mom always made it with ground beef, but I know some people prefer to use stew meat or sliced steak.  Steak was a rarity at our house, as there were 7 of us and it gets expensive.  However you make it, this is one of those comfort foods that makes me think of Fall or Winter because it's warm and the gravy just seems to speak cold weather to me.  Something about onions and mushrooms and beef and gravy that just warms me up.... You can serve this with rice or pasta or mashed potatoes or however you like.  This time I chose to serve it with brown rice because I am trying to amp up my whole grain intake.  Enjoy!

Beef Stroganoff

1 lb ground beef
2 small onions or 1 large one, diced
1/2 lb button mushrooms, sliced
2 tbsp butter, plus one
2 tbsp worchestershire sauce
2 tbsp all purpose flour
1-2 c water or beef stock or broth
1/2 c sour cream (I used Daisy Light--you can use whatever you like)

Brown the ground beef in a large skillet.  Add half the onions with the raw meat.  In a separate pan, brown mushrooms and the rest of the onion together in a bit of butter.  Add this to the meat once fully browned and onions have reduced by half.  Add the rest of the butter to the meat and mushrooms and onions, and let it melt and then toss in the flour to create a roux.  Stir everything together to coat the meat with the butter and flour, and then add worchestershire sauce and broth/stock/water.  Stir over medium heat til thickened.  Simmer for about 20 minutes.  Just before serving stir in the sour cream.

Serve over egg noodles, whole wheat pasta, rice, brown rice, or mashed potatoes with your favorite vegetable on the side.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Super Cool Giveaway

My friend Debra, from Housewife Eclectic (also featured on my sidebar--super cool blog, you all should check it out for sure!) is doing this awesome giveaway for these super fun charm bracelets!  The charms are made to look like miniatures of your favorite book covers!  So fun!

What a great idea, and an awesome Christmas present.  I know my mom would love it.

Check it out and mention I sent you when you do!

Here's the link.  I promise you'll love it!

Photo taken from Housewife Eclectic who got it from Sofie's Beads.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Pot Roast

This one is super easy and most people already have a pretty basic idea of how to do it, but I figured since it's what I made for dinner tonight, I may as well post it.   I forgot to take a picture, so I will do that later this week when I pull out the leftovers.  So simple and so tasty, and most people will think you slaved all day, when really all you did was put a hunk of beef in the crock pot with some basic veggies and let it sit for about 6 hours.  As with most of my recipes of this sort (basic comfort foods) the veggies will change from time to time, but in general the recipe stays pretty close to this.

Basic Pot Roast

1 boneless beef roast (about 2-3 lbs)
2-3 carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
1-2 medium onions, peeled and sliced
3 cloves of garlic, smashed and peeled
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper
2 tbsp worchestershire sauce

Whisk together your olive oil, worchestershire, and balsamic in a small bowl.  Pour it over your roast and rub it into the meat all over.  Sprinkle both sides of roast generously with salt and pepper.  Place roast in crock pot and then cover with carrots and garlic and onions.  This is also where you can add other veggies like mushrooms or whatnot.  Set crock pot for 6 hours on low, and let cook til the time runs out.

Remove roast from crock pot, and then slice and place on a plate to serve.  Put the veggies in a bowl and serve as a side dish if desired.   Pour meat juices into a skillet and heat over medium low heat.  Whisk in some flour (a couple tbsp depending on how much of the meat drippings you have) and keep heating til thickened, adding water if too thick.  Pour this into a gravy boat and serve along side the roast and veggies.

I usually serve this with mashed potatoes or baked ones.  You can also toss the potatoes in with your roast and cook them at the same time, but I usually prefer them on the side instead.  You can serve with another veggie on the side too, or just the roasted ones that you had in the crock pot.  We had steamed broccoli with it tonight.


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Sundried Tomatoes

Ok, so it's been awhile since I have been on here.  I haven't been cooking much around here, and when I do, its a lot of repeat recipes.  Once we move to the new house and I have a gas stove again I think I will be more in the mood to experiment in the kitchen.  Until then I thought I would share this little gem my husband and I figured out recently.

Any of you out there enjoy some good sun-dried tomatoes?  I sure do, the are probably one of my favorite ways to eat tomatoes.  Among the hundreds of ways I will eat them of course.....I love to just eat slices of tomato with a bit of salt on them....or in caprese salad...or homemade spaghetti sauce.  The list can go on and on.  So anyway---back to the original subject.  Sun-dried.  They are SO DANG EXPENSIVE at the store.  So why didn't I think of making them at home before?  Because I am crazy, I guess.  It's not like we ever have a shortage of tomatoes in our family, we both love them and try to grow them in our garden.  In addition to the pile we get from our parents.  So here seemed a good idea to try.

Here's what we found out after doing a bit of research.  Very simple.  You will need:

a cookie sheet
some tomatoes (any kind, though romas work well for this because they have a higher flesh to seed ratio)
some wax paper or parchment
a glass pyrex baking dish (just a clear glass 13x9 will do)
    OR a hot car left in the sun all day.  (seriously, I am not kidding here)

Wedge your tomatoes.  Place wax paper on the cookie sheet and then top with tomato wedges.  Place in the sun.  Cover with pyrex dish, or place on the dashboard of your hot car while you're at work all day.  Let  stand for about 10 hours.  Check them, flip them over if needed, and let them dry the rest of the way.  When they are done, seal in an airtight ziplock bag, or in a jar with some garlic and basil and olive oil in the fridge.  Will last up to 6 months in the fridge, or the same in the bag in your cupboard.

Lastly, EAT THEM.  Any way you want.  On salads, with pasta, with chicken...the possibilities are endless. ENJOY!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Cheddar Potato Broccoli Soup

This was something I decided to do to use up the baby red potatoes, 2 heads of broccoli and 1 head of cauliflower we had in the fridge that needed to be used.   Turns out today was a good day to do it, too, because it looks like it might rain at the moment.  Anyway, it's a super simple recipe that gives great results.  I think I will try this again sometime!

Cheddar Potato Broccoli Soup

1 or 2 bunches of broccoli, chopped into small florets
1 head of cauliflower, chopped into small florets
1/2 lb red or russet potatoes, diced
1 stick of butter
1/3 c flour
1 small onion, diced
1 or 2 c sharp cheddar cheese (if you get it pretty sharp it will flavor enough that you don't need as much)
1  12 oz can evaporated milk
3 cans chicken broth or stock (about 6 cups)
1/2 tsp salt
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 tsp onion powder

Melt butter in a large saucepan or stock pot.  Add onions and cook for a few minutes until they are tender. then add your flour.  Add the first 2 cans and stir well til the mixture thickens.  Add your evaporated milk, then your broccoli and cauliflower and potatoes, and the other can of broth and stir well to combine.  Stir in the cheese til it melts and combines with everything else.  Simmer on medium heat til potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes. Then add your seasonings, simmer another 5 minutes and then serve warm with some of your favorite bread.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Spanish Rice

This was something my mom usually did from a box, but I decided to do from scratch today just because we needed to use up some leftover taco meat from last week.   It was pretty simple, generally the same method as the box Mom used, but I used my own ingredients.  This is a one skillet meal, no need for extra veggies or meat or carbs, because everything is in there.  Quick, cheap, and so flavorful.

Spanish Rice

1 1/2 c white rice
2 tbsp butter
taco seasoning, about a teaspoon
about a teaspoon of onion powder
1 can diced tomatoes
2 1/2 c water
leftover taco meat, about a cup or so. (or you could use 1/2 to 1 lb ground beef and half a can each of corn and black beans)

Melt the butter in a medium large skillet.  Add the rice and cook together for about 2 minutes, the rice should start to turn golden.  Add onion powder and taco seasoning and stir well to coat rice.  Add your tomatoes and water and taco meat, and then cover and simmer for about 20 minutes.  Serve hot with grated cheese if you wish.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Ginger Orange Glazed Carrots

I think these are pretty standard all over the place, but I love them and they work great with the rest of the Easter menu I am going with.  And even better, it uses up the carrots my husband's worried we won't use up quick enough.  I am making enough for 10 people today, so I'll downsize the recipe for the blog (usually I don't feed that many people, I don't know about you readers out there...).

Ginger Orange Glazed Carrots

1-2 carrots per person (that's for whole carrots, you can use baby carrots too, just plan for about a cup of carrots per person)
2 oranges, juiced
2-3 tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp ground ginger
a couple of shakes of allspice or nutmeg, if desired

Cut the carrots into sticks or sliced rounds.  Place in a medium saucepan with the orange juice, brown sugar, ginger, and spices.  Over medium heat, stir til carrots are tender and glaze has thickened.  Serve hot with your favorite protein and starch.  Delicious!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Mustard Rosemary Garlic Marinade

Ok kids, this is the amazing recipe that my grandparents used to use on lamb every Easter when I was a kid growing up.  Papa would get a boneless leg of lamb, butterfly it, and then marinate it in this fabulous mixture for a few days before grilling it perfectly and serving it with delicious roasted potatoes and other amazing food.  Yep, I have grandparents that double as gourmet cooks.  Probably where my mom got her love of cooking, and maybe where I adopted it from too.  So you can thank Grandma and Papa for this one, and maybe me too, just for sharing.  It's meant for lamb, of course, but you can use it for chicken too (the ingredients go really well with the flavor of chicken, too.  And I can't afford lamb right now, so that's what it ended up on here...)

Mustard Rosemary Garlic Marinade

1 small onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2/3 c extra virgin olive oil
1/4 c lemon juice
1/4 c rosemary, chopped
2 tbsp dijon mustard
2 tbsp mustard seed, or course ground mustard
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

This makes a lot of marinade, so you might want to downsize it a bit if you aren't doing the whole leg of lamb.  As I said before, it's made for a 8-9 lb leg of lamb, boneless and butterflied.   So if you want to make chicken, it would probably be delicious on a whole chicken, or on LOTS of chicken pieces.  :)

Just mix all of the above ingredients in a large ziplock bag, add the meat, and then mash it around and place in the fridge for a day or so before cooking.  If you are doing lamb, Grandma says to grill the meat 10 minutes per side, after bringing it to room temperature.  If you are cooking a whole chicken, cook it like you would a roast chicken.  If you are doing boneless skinless chicken breasts, pound them thin before you put it in the marinade, and then fry it in a bit of oil in a saute pan.  Slice thin and serve with the roasted potatoes posted previously.


Garlic Rosemary Roasted Potatoes

This is something that I originally ate at my Grandma's house and loved, and it's really a simple recipe.  Super easy, and super tasty.  And goes great with the chicken or lamb you decide to make from the recipe I am going to post next--great for an Easter feast for sure.  Or any other time of the year, for that matter.  Anywho, I hope you like them as much as I do.

Garlic Rosemary Roasted Potatoes

1 lb baby red potatoes, quartered
2 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled, smashed, and minced
4 tbsp olive oil
pinch each of salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  In a medium to large bowl, mix together rosemary, garlic, salt, pepper, potatoes and oil until the potatoes are coated well.  Dump contents of bowl into a large baking dish (I usually use a 13x9 pan).  Spread it out so they don't overlap and they all have enough space to brown nicely.   Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the potatoes are golden brown, whichever comes first.   Make sure to let them rest for a bit before you pop the delicious bites of potato in your mouth, because if you aren't careful, you'll burn your mouth.

Serve with lamb, chicken, steak, whatever you like.  And a veggie of course...because a meal isn't complete without a good veggie.  Stay tuned for a great veggie recipe I plan to make next for Easter dinner....

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Sparkling Limeade

This is sort of inspired by someone I knew when I was in high school.  We went to their house for a party once, and she had made this sparkling cucumber limeade drink thing that was DELICIOUS.  I have ever since been trying to figure out the recipe and have since failed.  But this is close.  And you'd be surprised how easy it is!

Sparkling Limeade

1 2 liter bottle of 7up or Sprite or similar lemon lime soda (I used diet of course, that works fine too.)
1 lime, sliced into rounds
1 can limeade concentrate
1/2 a cucumber, sliced into rounds

Combine the limeade and 7up gently in a pitcher with a spoon.  Be careful, because you don't want the soda to bubble over.  Add the lime and cucumber slices to the mix and serve cold.

See?  It's that easy!  Enjoy!

Creme Brulee with Berries

Who out there doesn't like a good creme brulee?  I mean seriously, the stuff is DIVINE.  It's probably not healthy for any of us, and its not cheap at the fancy restaurants, but soooo worth it when you can have it, right? I found this wonderful recipe on Food Network's awesome index of recipes, and it was wonderful.  The truth is, when it comes to making creme brulee or any other kind of custard, the important part is technique.  So pay close attention to the instructions, because if you do it right you will have a delightfully smooth, creamy custard with a delicious caramelized sugar crust/shell.  Do it wrong, and you'll end up with heavy cream mixed with scrambled eggs and sugar.  And that's just not good eats.  Here we go...

Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee with Sliced Strawberries

2 1/3 c heavy whipping cream
2/3 c sugar (YES, it has to be the real stuff, no substitutions this time)
1 vanilla bean (optional--plain creme brulee just uses a bit of vanilla extract, this recipe is vanilla bean though)
6 egg yolks

Brulee top:
3 tbsp granulated sugar

this can be any berries you want, or have on hand. I used strawberries because I had them.  the original recipe calls for raspberries, which would be equally delicious, as would blueberries or blackberries.  About a cup of whatever berries you choose, and a couple tsp of sugar, depending on the sweetness you want.  It also suggests adding lemon zest, but I didn't and it was delicious.

You will also want to invest in some ramekins.  4 of them, each about 4 inches or 6 oz.    A baker's torch would be nice too, but if you don't have one, use your broiler (that's what I did).


Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Place ramekins in a 9x13x2 baking pan.  In a small saucepan or tea kettle, heat some water.

In a medium saucepan combine heavy cream and sugar (not over heat yet).  Using a sharp paring knife, slice the vanilla bean down the center lengthwise along the seam of the bean.  Scrape out the center of the vanilla bean and add to the cream and sugar mixture.  Toss in the bean too.  If you get some of the stuff in the center of the bean on your hands, just use a bit of sugar to rub it off into the cream mixture.

Heat cream and sugar and vanilla bean over medium heat until it simmers, whisking constantly to keep from burning.  When it comes to a simmer, cover, reduce the heat to low, and continue to simmer for 10 minutes (SET THE TIMER, do not cook longer than the prescribed 10 minutes).  When it's done cooking, remove the vanilla bean (just the shell part) and either throw away or dry it out, and you can use it later to make vanilla sugar.

Now, here is the tricky part: tempering the eggs.  You have to mix the hot cream with the cold eggs without getting scrambled eggs.   I used a ladle and just mixed a small amount of the cream with the eggs as I whisked it, so it brought the eggs to temperature and kept things smooth.  That's probably the best way to do it, because if you just add all of the eggs to the hot cream, you'll end up with scrambled eggs.

**Once you have added a couple of ladles full of the cream to the eggs, whisking the whole time, you should be able to just add the rest of the cream because by then the eggs are up to temp and you've combined them well enough that it won't matter.**  Mix the rest of the cream in, and scrape out all of the vanilla bean goodness into there, and make sure everything is mixed in well.

Now, all you have to do is ladle the mixture into your ramekins.  I actually used a silicone bowl since it was flexible and heat proof and wouldn't move around on me when I was whisking and ladling at the same time while tempering the eggs.  So just evenly portion the custard into your 4 ramekins.  Then you need to create a water bath around them by pouring in the hot water around them into the baking dish you placed them in at the beginning.  You'll want enough water to go up halfway around the ramekins.

Carefully place the 9x13 into your oven and bake custard for 30-35 minutes.  The custard should be set, but jiggle slightly when you lightly shake the pan.  When it's done baking, remove the ramekins from the water bath and let cool to room temperature, then transfer to the fridge to chill the rest of the way.

Once fully cooled, sprinkle sugar on top of each ramekin to cover the whole custard, but not too thick (about 2 tsp per ramekin).  Place on a baking sheet under the broiler for about 3-5 minutes, watching the whole time, making sure the sugar doesnt burn, but turns golden brown.  Let cool.

Mix the berries, sugar, and lemon zest together.  Top the creme brulee with the berries and enjoy!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Homemade Gnocchi

This one is really from Food Network, but I made it and loved it and its going to be a repeat occasion for sure.  Mario Batali is a star chef for a reason, folks!  Trust me, this is totally worth not buying them at the store--they're lighter and more tender and not so dense and dried out like store bought.  So here we go, I hope you like them as much as we did.


3 lbs potatoes, peeled and quartered
2 c flour
pinch of salt
1 egg
1/2 c vegetable oil
extra flour for kneading

Boil potatoes in salted water til very soft.  Drain, and then run them through a food mill or potato ricer (prevents lumps and makes them smoother, which means smoother dough) into a large mixing bowl.  Make a well in the potatoes and sprinkle the 2 cups of all purpose flour over the potatoes, and then add the egg and the oil.  Mix with a fork til soft dough forms, and then move to a well floured pastry board to knead.  Gently knead more flour into it til it becomes firm and not sticky, about 4 minutes.  Divide into 8 small balls of dough and then roll each ball of dough into a rope.  Cut the rope into 1 inch pieces and then roll them on the back of a fork to mark them. Place on a baking sheet dusted with flour.  Recipe makes about 3 lbs of gnocchi, or 12 servings.

We cooked a bit of it tonight and froze the rest for later on the cookie sheets.  Once they are frozen solid you can move them from the cookie sheets to separate bags.  You'll want to freeze them on the sheet to keep them from sticking together and forming a large ball of dough instead of lots of little dumplings.

Serving Suggestion:  Bring a pot of water to a boil.  Drop in gnocchi and cook til they float to the top, about 3-4 minutes.  Drain.  Saute some sliced mushrooms in a bit of butter.  Add cooked gnocchi to mushrooms and continue to cook with the mushrooms.  Add some pesto and stir til combined and heated through.  Serve with parmesan cheese on top.  You'll love it!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Mostaccioli with a Twist

My mom makes this delicious pasta casserole that the whole family loves, which can be found here that is called Mostaccioli.  This week I was looking for a good way to use up the swiss chard I got in the bountiful basket last Saturday and I found a manicotti recipe by Giada De Laurentiis from Food Network that I wanted to try.  I didnt have manicotti noodles and it seemed like I could easily morph it into a sort of mostaccioli recipe with a twist.  Here is what we ended up with.

Sweet Pea and Swiss Chard Mostaccioli

1 1/2 lbs penne rigate pasta (I used whole wheat, but regular works too)
1 15 oz container ricotta cheese
3/4 c frozen peas
olive oil
1 head swiss chard, stems removed
1 medium white onion, diced finely
3 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 c mozzarella cheese
3/4 c parmesan cheese
1/4 c fresh basil leaves, chopped
salt and pepper

white sauce
1/2 stick of butter
3 tbsp flour
2 c milk
1 c chicken broth
1/2 c parmesan cheese
1/4 c fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 diced tomato, optional

Cook pasta to pkg directions to al dente, then drain and rinse with cold water.  Set aside.

In a skillet, heat the olive oil, and then saute the onion and garlic and then add swiss chard til its all wilted.  Set aside to cool slightly.

Most of the time I say you can substitute a blender for a food processor, but in this case I totally wish I had a food processor.   If you use a blender, make sure the frozen peas are defrosted first so you don't have trouble with the blender blades not working.

In the food processor, blend together the ricotta, peas, chard and onion mixture, salt and pepper and mozzarella and parmesan.

Make white sauce by melting the butter and then whisking in the flour to create a roux.  Add your milk and stir til thickened and add the chicken broth and parmesan cheese.  Stir til combined and thickened again, and then add basil and tomato at the very end.  Mix this sauce with the pasta, and then place half of the pasta in the bottom of the pan, cover with the ricotta mixture, and the top with more pasta and more grated mozzarella. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes.


Saturday, March 26, 2011

Jeff's "Heavenly" Pizza

Ok all of you faithful readers...remember last year when my husband and I went to Park City and we had the best pizza we had ever tasted?  Remember how we endeavored to recreate such pizza in our own home?  Well my loving husband has finally mastered the pesto pizza.  We tested it out on Mom for her birthday and it was a standing ovation all around.  So here we go, we will share our masterpiece with you since you are such loyal and wonderful readers.

Heavenly Pesto Pizza

1 recipe basic pizza dough, found here
3-4 tbsp prepared pesto, storebought or recipe can be found here
1 tomato, diced
fresh mozzarella cheese
3 cloves garlic, minced
fresh basil

Preheat oven to 500 degrees.  Roll out pizza dough to a 12 inch round, and place on a pizza stone coated with cornmeal.  Prebake dough for 10 minutes.  Remove from the oven and spread pesto onto the crust, and then cover with the basil and garlic, and then top with cheese and tomatoes.  Bake again for 20 minutes.


Friday, March 25, 2011

Catching up!

Okay, I did follow the menu, but I fell off the blogging wagon this week.  I dont really have a good reason or excuse, but I am going to catch up starting with steamed mahi mahi and mango raspberry salsa and steamed rice.    Then throughout the week I will have the other recipes posted so you can try them all out.  Here we go with the mahi mahi....

Steamed Mahi Mahi with Mango Raspberry Salsa

4 fillets of mahi mahi
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp honey
2 tbsp soy sauce
2-3 drops of sesame oil
1/2 c water


3 mangoes
1 box of fresh raspberries
1/2 a red onion, finely diced
1/2 a bunch of cilantro, chopped finely
lemon juice

In a 9x13 inch pan, place a large piece of aluminum foil.  Place the fish in the middle of the foil and then add the soy sauce, lemon juice, sesame oil and honey.  Raise the sides of the foil and then add the water and then fold and crimp the foil to make a packet.  Place in a 375 degree oven for 25 minutes.

Cut the mango sides away from the pit, then score it with a paring knife vertically, and then again horizontally to create 1/2 inch cubes.  It's sort of like cutting an avacado, but instead of cutting around the pit, you just slice it off the side away from the pit.  Then once you have scored it with the knife, turn mango inside out so you can cut the flesh from the peel.  Do this with all of your mangoes, and you will end up with a bowl of diced mango.

Saute your onion in a bit of olive oil just until its soft, and then add that to the mango, and add the raspberries and cilantro and lemon juice too.  Stir til combined, set aside til ready to serve.

Serve the fish along side steamed rice and topped with the salsa.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Bountiful Baskets: Round 2, Week 2

It's that time again!  I picked up our basket this morning, thankfully this time with my husband's help because it was a whopper this time.  Here is what we got:

2 bunches of swiss chard
1 head of celery
3 mangoes
4 tangelos
5 apples
3 vine tomatoes
1 cantaloupe
1 head cauliflower
1 bunch of broccoli
1 bunch asparagus
1 bunch cilantro

PLUS we ordered 2 add-ons this week:

5 loaves of ciabatta bread

and the Italian Pack which included:

1 pkg white button mushrooms
1 pkg baby bella mushrooms
2 white onions
1 red onion
1 head of garlic
basil, oregano, and rosemary
flat leaf parsley

Still working on the menu for the week, but here is what I have so far:

Today or Tomorrow: Pesto Pizza.  Husband is making it, and its really good.
Monday: Mahi Mahi with Raspberry Mango Salsa (probably with rice and some veggie on the side)
Tuesday: considering making manicotti with the swiss chard
Wednesday: probably spaghetti with leftover spaghetti sauce I have in the freezer
Thursday: Broccoli Cheddar Soup
Friday: Homemade Gnocci

So stick with me this week to see what I can do with what we got.  Try it along with me!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Chicken Curry and Rice

Yesterday my husband decided to cook again, and who am I to complain?  He even cleaned up afterwards too! I was a lucky girl last night.  He made chicken curry, which is a common well loved thing around here.  We love all kinds of curry around here--Japanese, Indian, Chinese, Thai....its all tasty.  This recipe is easy because the curry spices are already done for us--we use a pre-made curry paste called Golden Curry.  Usually it's the mild heat level because I freely admit I am a wuss when it comes to really spicy stuff.  I love the flavor of spices used in curry, I just can't take the heat.  So here we go--simple recipe, delicious results.

Chicken Curry and Rice

2 whole chicken breasts, preferably boneless skinless, cut into bite sized pieces
1 onion, sliced thin
3-4 carrots, sliced into coins about 1/4 inch thick
1 pkg Golden Curry paste/block, in the heat level you desire
1/2 pt heavy cream, optional
cooked white rice, for about 4 people.

In a wok or large skillet, cook chicken pieces til cooked through.  Add carrots and onions and cook til onions are tender. Stir constantly in this process--again, this is to keep things from burning because you will be using high heat for this part of the process.  Add your curry paste and the water the pkg calls for, reduce the heat to a simmer, and let all ingredients simmer until the sauce is thickened and the carrots are tender.  If you choose to add the cream, add that at the very end right before serving and just cook until its well combined and warmed.

Serve over rice.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Oven Steamed Salmon, Steamed Green Beans, and Mashed Potatoes

According to the planned menu for the week, I made salmon tonight.  Thanks to a neighbor who ended up not liking the frozen salmon she bought at the store, I ended up with a couple of fillets in my freezer.  I have done salmon a few different ways in the past but this time I tried something slightly different and a little bit healthier.  I paired it with still crisp steamed green beans and some mashed potatoes to use up the potatoes in the pantry.  I hope you like it as much as we did!

Oven Steamed Salmon

1 large salmon fillet (about a foot long)
1 lemon
1/2 tsp dried dill weed
1/4 tsp each: seasoning salt, black pepper, onion powder
1 tbsp butter, cut in half
1/4 c water
aluminum foil, for cooking
baking dish (keeps your oven clean--catches any leaky juices)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place a large sheet of aluminum foil inside your baking dish (needs to be at least 6 inches longer than the fish) Place salmon in the middle of the foil, and then sliced the lemon into rounds.  Place lemon rounds on top of the fish.  Top with seasonings and dill weed.  Top all of that with dots of the butter.  Pull up the sides of the foil to make a pouch and then add your water.  Pinch together the tops and sides of the foil to close the packet, and bake for 25 minutes.  Serve hot.

Mashed Potatoes (simple recipe, but everyone has a different one, right?)

6 medium potatoes
1 tsp salt
1/4 c butter
1/4 -1/2 c milk

Peel and cut potatoes into wedges.  (You don't have to peel them, sometimes I don't.  Potato peels are actually really good for you--full of vitamins.)  Put potatoes into a large pot, and cover with water.  Add salt, and bring to a boil.  Cook for approximately 25 to 30 minutes, until potatoes are tender and break when poked with a fork.  Drain, and then place them back in the same pot.  Add butter and milk, and mash til you get the consistency you want.

Green Beans-- so simple you'll laugh at how easy it is.

1 lb green beans
1/4 to 1/2 c water

Snap the ends off the green beans.  Place into a steamer basket inside a pot on the stove.  Add your water, which should be below the level of the basket, and cover with lid.  Bring the water to a boil, creating steam for the beans to cook.  Steam beans for 3-5 minutes.  Not long at all, just til they turn bright green.  You want them to still have their snap/crispness.  Steaming keeps as many nutrients in the beans as possible while giving you optimum flavor.  My favorite way to eat them.  Yum!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Sesame Beef and Bok Choy

Alright, this is one of my husband's recipes, and in truth, I am not sure there is really a science to it at all....stir fry is kind of a free for all.  But I am going to try to put this in a recipe form, as well as I can.  My husband loves to cook Chinese food--it reminds him of his 2 year LDS mission in New Zealand, which was about 6 years ago.  He served the Chinese people in Aukland, and he loves cooking with a wok.  So I let him, naturally.  What wife wouldn't let her husband cook if he wants to?  Especially if he is good at it? No one.  So here is what he made the other night.  As I said before, the measurements are approximate, but you get the idea.

Sesame Beef and Bok Choy

2 pkgs stir fry style sliced beef
1 head of bok choy, chopped
1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
3 cloves garlic, chopped fine
1 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tsp sesame oil
1/4 c soy sauce
1/2 an onion, sliced
3 carrots, cut into coins
1 small can water chestnuts, drained and sliced
peanut oil, for stir frying
steamed rice, to serve with

In a large wok, pour a couple of tbsp of the peanut oil and heat til it starts to ripple.  Add the beef, and cook, stirring as you go, until cooked through.  Add carrots and onions, and continue to stir while cooking.  Add garlic and ginger and water chestnuts, and then bok choy.  Add soy sauce, sesame oil and sesame seeds last, and cook til the bok choy begins to wilt.  Remove from heat, and serve over rice.

**Note: if you have never used a wok before, you need to take note of a couple of things.

  • First, woks are best used over high, but controlled heat--it's best to use them over a gas stove or outdoor cooker if possible.  Electric heat is too hard to control.  
  • Also, because the heat is high, you need to continue stirring as you cook so your food does not burn.  
  • Always cook meat first to avoid food contamination.  
  • Follow cooking the meat with the harder, or more solid veggies, such as carrots, celery, and onions.  Wok cooking goes fast, so you have to make sure you time everything right so you get everything to the right tenderness.  

Mango Banana Orange Smoothies

This sounds like a simple enough thing to make, and in truth, it really is.  I got some mangoes and oranges in my bountiful basket, and as usual, I have a load of bananas in the freezer since we never seem to use them all up and we get them every time we get a new basket.  So here we are, with the ingredients of a really tasty smoothie, and in need of breakfast in the morning.  Seems to me we should take advantage of the situation.

Mango Banana Orange Smoothies

3 Ataulfo mangoes (that's what I had on hand, but you can use regular mangoes too, if you like)
2 frozen bananas
3 oranges
1 c milk

Peel and dice mangoes. Peel and quarter oranges.  If you didn't remove the peels from the bananas prior to freezing them (which I completely recommend because it makes things easier all around), peel them and break them in half.

Place all ingredients in a blender, and blend until smooth.   Makes 4 servings.

*I realize I had some fresh bananas on the counter, but I decided rather than using ice to make the smoothie cold, I would use frozen bananas, so the whole thing would be fruit and milk and therefore get more nutrition out of it.  You can use fresh bananas, but in that case you may choose to use ice as well to chill the smoothie.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Stuffed Acorn Squash

We had some crazy weather yesterday so we decided to switch the plans on the menu.  So last night I made stuffed acorn squash, and tonight Jeff is cooking on is outdoor wok, a recipe which will be posted tomorrow.  Some of you may remember I posted a stuffed squash recipe a couple years back from Alton Brown's reportoire on Food Network's website (which can be found here).  This time I kind of took inspiration from him but made up my own recipe as I went along.  I am sorry I dont have a picture this time, I forgot to take one last night, and Jeff took the rest of it to work today for lunch.  I will work on finding a picture for you, or you can look at the one Alton has with his, by clicking on the link provided.

If you are doing this from the Bountiful Basket we got over the weekend, this recipe will use both your acorn squash and your spinach.

Stuffed Acorn Squash

1-4 acorn squashes, depending on size.  Ours was big this time, so I just did one.
1 c cooked rice
1 c pork sausage
2 c chopped spinach (if fresh.  if frozen, only 1 cup) rinsed and shaken dry (or squeezed dry if frozen)
4 oz sliced white button mushrooms
1 tbsp butter (you may need 2 or 3 if you are making multiple squashes)
Optional ingredients: parmesan cheese (about 1/4 cup), toasted pine nuts (about 1/4 cup)

Cut the tops off your acorn squash(s), and scoop out the seeds.  Cut just a little bit off the bottom, just so the squash sits flat on the bottom of your baking dish (only about 1/4 in or less).  Set aside.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a skillet, brown and crumble your sausage.    When sausage is fully cooked, add your mushrooms and cook til they are slightly browned and cooked all the way through.  Add the rice next, stirring til combined well, and then add the spinach, which will probably seem like it's way too big for the pan. Don't worry, it will wilt into everything and shrink quite a bit.  After the spinach has wilted, add your optional ingredients if you choose.

Put half the butter in the bottom of the squash and then fill the cavity with the stuffing, then place the other half of the butter on top, and then top with the top of the squash.  Place in preheated oven and bake for 1 hour.  If you have extra stuffing, you may also bake that for about 15 minutes just before you are ready to take out the squash.

You will know when its done by sticking a fork in it.  It should be soft, but not mushy.  Quarter the squash, and then serve hot.  No need for veggies or meat because its all included.  Enjoy!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Bountiful Baskets: Let's Try this again...

I admit it.  I fell off the wagon with my Bountiful Baskets weekly menu project.  I have been ordering baskets this whole time, but the blogging part has kind of fallen behind.  I am recommitting myself to do better and to make sure I use everything we get.  My husband and I sat down today and decided what we are going to have for dinner each night this week, and planned most of it around what we got in our basket today, so here we go again: I am starting over from scratch and sharing my menu and then recipes of the things I make from what I got in the basket.  I will be probably spreading out the recipes over 2 weeks, but I promise I will be giving you all ideas of how to use up the different things you got.

But before we go there, I must first tell you what was in this magical basket this week.  We got a lot of stuff this time around!  Here is what we got:

1 pineapple
3 ataulfo mangoes
6 beefsteak tomatoes
6 oranges
6 apples
1 acorn squash
4 large turnips
1 bunch of spinach
1 yellow squash
1 bag of green beans
1 bag of baby yukon gold potatoes

PLUS the add-ons which were

5 loaves of sourdough bread ($10.00 extra)

and the Asian Pack ($7.50 extra) which consisted of:
1 head bok choy
1 head napa cabbage
1 bag of snow peas
2 heads of garlic
and 1 bunch of scallions/green onions

Here is the plan for the week so far:

Today: Pizza made from tomatoes and basil and some fresh mozzarella cheese we bought today
Tomorrow, we're eating at my mom's house.
Monday: Chinese Sesame Beef with Bok Choy and rice
Tuesday: Stuffed Acorn Squash
Wednesday: Baked Salmon with Green Beans and Mashed Potatoes
Thursday: either leftovers or Tacos
Friday: Crock Pot Chicken Curry and Rice

Follow along with me in the next week to find recipes you can use to use up that basket.  I'll probably be using the turnips next week, and I will also include a recipe for a couple of desserts and probably a recipe for a mango and orange smoothie, so I can use that too.

Hope you'll join the fun!

Sausage Cheddar and Spinach Quiche

So my husband likes quiche and he was asking for it last month.  We had some spinach that I had gotten in our Bountiful Basket that needed to be used, as well as some red bell peppers.  I had some country sausage in the freezer, so I decided I would see what I could do with the combination.  Here is what I came up with:

Sausage Cheddar and Spinach Quiche

1/2 recipe pie crust, recipe found here
1 lb regular country sausage, or lean country sausage
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 bunch spinach, washed and chopped
1 c sharp cheddar cheese
6 eggs, separated
1 c milk

Roll out pie crust and place in pie dish, and crimp edges.  Set aside.

Brown sausage and crumble into small pieces.  Add bell peppers and cook til tender, and then add your spinach and cook til wilted into the peppers and sausage.  Set aside.

Whip egg whites with hand mixer or in a stand mixer til you get stiff peaks.  Mix egg yolks, milk, and cheese in a small bowl.  Add whipped egg whites, and then your sausage mixture, and combine til well mixed.  Pour this into your prepared pie pan, and bake for 35 minutes at 375 degrees.  Serve hot.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Fresh Strawberry Kiwi Pie

This was a recipe requested by my husband for Valentines Day, and since I got some strawberries in my Bountiful Basket that weekend, I figured why not?  It's a bit late in posting, but it turned out well, and I think you might all enjoy it.  I must warn you though, this is not a diabetic friendly recipe: the glaze for the pie alone is 35 grams of carbohydrates, and its pretty much all sugar.  But trust me, one little slice will be worth it.

Fresh Strawberry Kiwi Pie

1/2 recipe double crust pie crust, recipe found here (you only need one crust, so I would suggest either making two different pies, or maybe a quiche with the second crust)
1-1lb container fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered
4-5 kiwis, peeled and sliced
1 box strawberry flavored Danish Dessert
1 pint or 1 can of heavy whipping cream
2 tbsp powdered sugar (if not using already sweetened canned whipped cream)

Cook Danish Dessert according to pkg directions.  Set aside to cool.  Roll out your pie crust and place in pie dish, and crimp edges.  Prick the bottom of the pie crust with a fork a few times, and then bake in a 400 degree oven for 10 to 12 minutes.  Let cool.  Mix strawberries and kiwi slices into danish dessert until everything is combined well and all fruit is coated.  Pour this mixture into the prepared pie dish and then chill for at least an hour before serving.  When ready to serve, whip the heavy cream with the powdered sugar until you get stiff peaks.  Cover pie with whipping cream, or dollop some of the cream on each slice.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Cranberry Applesauce Muffins

So I was looking for a good recipe to make treats for book club tonight, and I realized I also needed to use up the applesauce I made awhile ago.  It was cranberry applesauce, so I figured I would go with a cran apple muffin recipe.  I found a recipe on and tweaked it to my liking to fit the ingredients I wanted to use and what I had, and here is the recipe I came up with.  The recipe makes 12 muffins, but I decided to double it and get more use out of my applesauce and maybe have something for my husband to eat before running off to work in the morning, too.

Cranberry Applesauce Muffins

1 c cranberry applesauce, recipe here
1/3 c vegetable oil
1 egg
2 c all purpose flour
1/2 c sugar (or half and half splenda/sugar)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 c milk
1 c craisins, or other dried cranberries

Blend applesauce, oil, and egg together and set aside.  In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and cinnamon.  Mix lightly with a fork to incorporate some air.  Add the dry mixture to the wet, and mix til combined.  Add milk, and then mix again til combined, and then fold in the dried cranberries.  Spoon into a greased muffin pan, til each cup is 2/3 full.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.


This is probably the easiest, most self explanatory recipe ever, and I am sure most of you have done it before.  Even better, its also very versatile.  You can change it to your liking to whatever flavors you like, and it's still done in only 20 minutes!  Sometimes I just use apples and water, sometimes I add cinnamon, sometimes I add brown sugar, and sometimes I even use apple juice as the liquid to get it going.  This is the basic recipe, and then I will give a few variations of my liking.

Apple Sauce

6-8 apples of your choosing, peeled, cored and sliced
1 c water

In a large pot, combine apples and water.  Over medium high heat, bring to a simmer.  Continue to simmer til apples are soft and water and juices are comined as one.  Blend in your blender or food processor til smooth. Store in an airtight container for up to 4 weeks, or freeze for up to 1 year.

Variations I like:

Cran Apple Sauce

6-8 apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1 pkg frozen cranberries
3 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 c water or apple juice

Same process as before--Bring to a simmer, cook until apples and cranberries are softened (usually the berries will burst), and then blend til smooth in your blender.  It's a bit more tart, but really tasty.  Storage time is the same as regular applesauce.

Apple Pear Sauce

6 apples, peeled, cored and sliced
2-3 pears, peeled, cored and sliced
1 c water or apple juice

Same process, again.  This is sweeter, and has a slightly grainier texture because of the pears, but also very good.

**Note about apples:  you can use any kind of apple you like, depending on what sweetness or tartness level you prefer.  I find that the softer apples work well for applesauce because you don't have to worry about them going mushy--they're supposed to be that way.  So I would recommend golden delicious, red delicious, macintosh, or any other softer variety.  If you still like tarter apples, then you can go for granny smith, jonathans, or any other tart apple.  It really depends on your taste.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Okay, I have a newfound love.  My name is Carmel, and I love hummus.  I'm addicted, I am telling you.  At least it's a healthy habit, right?  Lots of protein and fiber, and its a low-glycemic food so it doesn't make my blood sugar spike fast.  And oh so delicious.  There are so many ways you can make it with so many different flavor profiles. And it's completely vegetarian, gluten free, and soy it's friendly for most eaters out there, low risk of allergy troubles.  Try this recipe out, I like it, and so did my friends at church.

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

1-16 oz can garbanzo beans/chickpeas
2 red bell peppers
1 jalapeƱo, seeds removed and sliced
1 tbsp chopped garlic
3 tbsp chopped onion
1 tsp paprika
3 tbsp chopped cilantro
1 tsp black pepper
1/4 to 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, depending on your desired heat level
3 tbsp tahini (sesame paste--you can usually find it near the peanut butter in your grocery store)
1/2 c olive oil

Turn your oven on to the broiler.  Cut the tops off the peppers, and then pull out the seeds in the center, and cut them in half.  Place them skin side up on a baking sheet, and broil for 10 to 15 minutes, til the skins are charred on the outside.  Once done roasting them, place them in a bowl with plastic wrap tightly stretched on top.  Let them sit in the bowl and steam for about 15 minutes, this will let them cool, and make the skins come off easily.  Remove the skins, and set the peppers aside til needed. (if you have a gas stove, you can also roast them by just doing this on your range instead of in the broiler.  Just leave them whole, place them over the heat and turn them as each side chars on the outside.  When they are blackened on the outside, steam them just the same as I mentioned before.)

In a food processor, blend garbanzo beans til smooth.  I usually pulse them until they are chopped and then blend them the rest of the way.  Add your bell peppers, jalapeno, garlic, onion, cilantro, and spices.  Blend til well combined, and then add your olive oil and tahini, and blend til smooth.

Chill in refrigerator til ready to serve.  Serve with pita chips, veggies, or spread inside a falafel or any other sandwich of your choosing.  Delicious!!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Lemon Bars

I love this recipe.  By far my favorite version of lemon bars.  My mom has made these since I was little and they have always been a family favorite for as long as I can remember.  I can't give mom full credit, since she got the recipe from Joy, our favorite cookbook on the planet. I hope you love them as much as I do.

Lemon Curd Bars

1 1/2 c all purpose flour
1/4 c powdered sugar
3/4 c butter (1 1/2 sticks)

6 eggs
3 c sugar
zest of 1 lemon (I used two, I like the extra lemony flavor)
1 c plus 2 tbsp lemon juice, fresh is best.  (about 5 lemons worth)
1/2 c all purpose flour

powdered sugar to sprinkle on top

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Whisk together 1 1/2 c of the flour with the powdered sugar.  Cut in the butter with a pastry blender until the mixture is combined well and comes together in clumps like small peas.  Press this into an ungreased 9x13 pan.  Bake for 25 minutes.  Reduce oven heat to 300 degrees.

While baking the crust, whisk together the sugar and eggs until well combined and a light yellow color.  You may want to use a mixer for this.  Add your lemon zest and juice and whisk again til well combined.  Add last half cup of flour and mix well.  When the crust is done baking, remove from the oven and pour the custard filling over top, then bake again for 35 minutes at 300 degrees.

Chill for at least an hour, then sprinkle with powdered sugar and cut into 1 inch squares.  Serve cold.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Mini Meatloaf, Baked Potatoes, and Asparagus

That's what we had for dinner tonight.  It was pretty good, so I think I will blog it for you all.  You can always use the same recipe to make a big meatloaf (or rather, normal sized meatloaf), I just had a husband who wanted what he called "pub steaks."  So I did my best and it was more like meatloaf, I just didn't add bell peppers or mushrooms or other things I sometimes add to meatloaf.  I should clarify that when I make meatloaf, it's never really a specific recipe.  It's more like whatever I have in the fridge that I think will be good in it, which means anything that tastes good with beef.  Sometimes I will even do half sausage and half ground just depends on my mood and what I want it to taste like...  So here is tonight's recipe.

Baked Potatoes

(not really a recipe, but we adopted this method from Alton Brown from Good Eats on Food Network and we will never go back)

1 potato per person eating (I did a few extra to make fries or hashbrowns with later)
olive oil
coarse ground kosher sea salt

Wash and poke potatoes with a sharp knife or fork.  On a cookie sheet or baking sheet, place your potatoes.  Pour a little olive oil on each one, and then rub it all over the potato, and then sprinkle the salt to cover all sides.  Place baking sheet in a 400 degree oven, and bake for an hour.  The result will be tender fluffy potato inside, and a nice crisp crusty peel....yummy!

Mini Meatloaf

1 lb ground beef
1/2 a white onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced finely
1 tbsp worchestershire sauce
1 tsp soy sauce
1/2 c oatmeal or plain breadcrumbs
1 egg
1/2 tsp dried rosemary

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl (I use my hands, but you can also use a spatula or something).  Shape into mini loaves or little football shapes, and place on a greased baking sheet.  Bake for 45 minutes at 400 degrees.


1 bunch of asparagus, ends snapped off
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced fine
salt and pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
juice of half a lemon
1/4 c water

Over medium high heat, heat olive oil.  Add your asparagus and then your garlic.  Saute just til asparagus is almost bright green.  Add your water, and then the dijon, along with the salt, pepper, and lemon juice.  Continue to cook til asparagus is bright green and water is fully absorbed.  Serve hot with baked potato and your mini meatloaf.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Bruscetta Pizza

So I wasn't sure what to call this recipe because its not really like anything else.  I kind of made up the recipe as I went along but used a pizza I had at California Pizza Kitchen as inspiration.  My sister and I had this wonderful roasted pepper and eggplant pizza with goat cheese once when we went to Salt Lake and it was DIVINE.  So this was what I went for, except I had no mozzarella or goat cheese, and I used Parmesan instead.

I was mostly trying to use the stuff I got in my Italian Pack from my Bountiful Basket....yep, I am going with that this week, using the basket stuff.  :)  Anyway, I hope you enjoy.

Bruscetta Pizza

1 eggplant, sliced into 1/2 inch slices
1 red onion, peeled and sliced thin
1 white onion, peeled and sliced thin
8 oz of mushrooms, sliced
olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste
4-5 roma tomatoes, diced
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
basil, oregano, and marjoram to taste (about half a tsp each--I used fresh, but you can used dried)
1/2 c parmesan cheese
1 recipe basic pizza dough, featured here

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Put some olive oil on a baking sheet and spread it around on the sheet.  Place eggplant slices on the baking sheet and then sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Bake for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown.  When they are done roasting, dice into medium cubes and set aside.  In the meantime, in a skillet, place about a tablespoon of olive oil, and then when heated, add onions.  You'll want to caramelize them, so you'll cook them over medium heat for awhile.   Add a bit of salt so they release their liquid, and just keep stirring them so they don't burn.  they will reduce in size to about a third of what you started with.  When they start to turn brown, and really soft, remove from heat and place in a bowl.  In the same skillet, saute your mushrooms.  Just until cooked through.  Remove from heat and place in another small bowl.  In the same skillet, cook your tomatoes with your garlic and herbs.  Add a bit of balsamic vinegar, and cook until liquid is reduced and thickened.

Stretch your dough onto a pizza stone or baking sheet to form about a 12" round.  Bake at 400 for about 10 minutes.  Remove from the oven, then top with the tomato mixture, then the parmesan cheese, then the onions and mushrooms, and then the eggplant.  Add more parmesan to the top and then bake again for roughly 18 minutes.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Couscous with Asparagus

First, I apologize for not posting for awhile.  First there was Thanksgiving, and then there was Christmas crazy when all of my recipes I was using were already posted because they were all traditional.  Then we moved immediately after, and we have been having an interesting time getting settled in.  Not very good excuses, but there they are.

So tonight I felt like making something vegetarian with the asparagus I got in my Bountiful Basket.  Yep, I am still ordering baskets, and yes, I am going to try to start that series again, now that things are a bit more calm.  Tonight I decided to make couscous with some of the asparagus and mushrooms and onions I had in the fridge.  It turned out really tasty even though it was vegetarian.  You could easily serve this with some sort of protein, and I am sure it would have been really good with some of the fish I have in the freezer.  I just didn't have time to thaw the fish and cook it by the time I had already started on the couscous.  Here we go...

Couscous with Asparagus and Mushrooms

1 c couscous
1 c chicken broth or water (recommend the chicken broth, flavors the couscous well), plus 1/4 c
1 tsp olive oil, plus 2 tbsp
1/2 an onion, sliced thin, or diced.
3 cloves garlic, or to taste (I like a lot of garlic, so I was quite liberal with it)
4 oz sliced button mushrooms
1/2 bunch asparagus, cut into about 1 inch pieces
1/4 c parmesan cheese

Bring 1 tsp olive oil and 1 c of the chicken broth to a boil in a small saucepan.  Remove from heat, stir in couscous, and cover and let stand for 5 minutes--all the liquid will be absorbed.  In a large skillet, heat 2 tbsp of the olive oil, and then add onions and saute for a little bit till they are almost tender.  Add garlic, and then mushrooms.   Saute til mushrooms are cooked through.  Add asparagus and the extra 1/4 c of chicken broth. Stir and cook over medium high heat til all of the broth is pretty much steamed off and asparagus is bright green and tender.  Add your couscous to the skillet, and stir everything together til combined.  Transfer to a bowl and then add your cheese and toss til all is combined again.  Serve hot with your favorite protein, or just by itself.