Sometimes I come up with really good last minute dinners. It doesn’t always happen. Usually dinner takes some planning and some thought but last night happened to be one of those rare occasions where I came up with something really good on the fly. (more…)
I should really call this recipe bean soup instead of BLACK bean soup because, truth be told, I actually only had one can of black beans in my pantry when I decided to make this. I used a can of pinto beans as a substitute for the second can of black beans and it was just as good and it actually still looked like black bean soup. So, just pretend it’s truly black bean soup.
I made this soup for lunch one day when I was home sick from work. Nothing I had in my fridge sounded very good and I was craving soup. I always crave soup when I feel under the weather. So, I took stock of what I had in my pantry and came up with this delicious, flavorful, healthy soup. I used chicken broth but you could definitely use vegetable broth and make this vegan. (more…)
Polenta is one of my new favorite items to pick up at the grocery store. I usually buy the precooked polenta “logs”, cut them into 1/3 inch rounds and then sear them in a pan with a little olive oil. Once the polenta rounds are seared you can top them with almost anything. One of the reasons I love cooking with polenta is because it’s a blank canvas and works well with so many different flavors. It’s an easy way to be creative in the kitchen. I’ve made many variations, but this recipe is probably my favorite polenta recipe.
Matt has been sick with the flu and hasn’t had much of an appetite the past few days so last night I was cooking for one, myself. I’ve mentioned before that Matt prefers meals that include some type of meat. I, on the other hand, can take it or leave it and try to eat meat free a few times a week. Since he wasn’t really hungry last night and it had been an incredibly busy day, I wanted to make something quick yet satisfying for myself, preferrably meatless. Enter polenta and portabella mushrooms. I suppose most people might consider this to be a side dish but last night it hit the spot as a main course for me. The creamy mushroom topping was the perfect accompaniment to my seared polenta rounds. (more…)
Broccoli is one of those vegetables I hated as a kid but somehow it’s turned into one of my favorites now that I’m older. I cook with it about once a week. My favorite way to cook broccoli is very simple. I usually just roast it with some olive oil, salt and pepper. It’s one of my staple vegetable side dishes because it always turns out really well and it’s so easy. But sometimes you have to switch it up and last night I was in the mood for something different.
I had some leftover brown rice and some soy and ginger marinated cod from Trader Joe’s so I decided to use some of those same flavors in my broccoli side dish. It turned out really yummy and was perfect served over the leftover rice, which soaked up all the stirfry sauce. (more…)
I love mashed potatoes but I often make too much for just Matt and myself and then we wind up eating mashed potatoes for days. Not that there is anything wrong with leftover mashed potatoes but sometimes they can get a little boring. These potato cakes are the perfect way to spruce up those cold, leftover potatoes.
You guys, these are SO good. I form small patties with the leftover cold mashed potatoes, coat them in crispy breadcrumbs and salty parmesan cheese and then pan fry them until they turn a golden brown color and the coating gets crisp. These take comfort food to a whole new level. They are the perfect side dish for almost any meal. Last night I served these alongside a mediterranean stuffed chicken breast I picked up from Trader Joe’s on the way home from work and Ina Garten’s green beans gremolata. (more…)
I know I’ve been posting a lot of pasta recipes lately but here comes another one and this one doesn’t have anything to do with fall. In fact most of the flavors incorporate traditional springtime ingredients. But, I make no apologies! It’s delicious and quick and wonderful. It’s also a Matt approved meat-free meal.
Between the asparagus, peas and lemon this pasta is full of freshness and bright flavors. The weather has been a bit dreary here in New Jersey and this pasta was the perfect pick-me-up I needed. I happened to have 1/2 lb of penne to use up so this recipe makes a bit less than my usual pasta recipes do. I’m also trying to work on portion control especially when it comes to carbs. I’m always tempted to pile on the pasta and help myself to seconds (and thirds). Cooking less ensures that I will eat less. If you want to use a full pound of pasta, just double the recipe. (more…)
Del – a – what?? I had never heard of delicata squash either but when I stumbled upon this lovely little squash in the grocery store I was intrigued. I wish I had taken a picture of the squash before I chopped it up and cooked it so you could see what it looks like. I didn’t think ahead. Plus, to be honest, I wasn’t sure if I would share this recipe because I had no idea how it would turn out. A delicata squash is a white or cream colored oblong squash with green stripes. They are pretty AND turns out, they are delicious. Delicata delicious. If I had to describe the taste and texture I would say that delicata squash taste like a combination of butternut squash and sweet potato.
The other awesome thing about these squash is that they are so much easier to prepare than butternut squash. The skin is thinner and the squash is smaller so it doesn’t require a lot of dangerous hacking with a sharp knife. I don’t know about you but preparing butternut squash is always a challenge for me. The knife always gets stuck in the squash and I wind up having to use all my strength to pull it out, all the while praying that it doesn’t go flying out of my hand. It’s a stressful process. Preparing delicata squash as opposed to butternut is a cinch. You still need a sharp knife but you can definitely cut into these little guys without risking your life or your fingers. (more…)
I’ve been wanting to cook with spaghetti squash for a while. Spaghetti squash recipes are all the rage on pinterest right now. I think that’s what got me thinking about cooking with it. I also have TONS of fresh vegetables in my fridge right now that I need to cook up ASAP before they all go bad. I always do this. I buy too much fresh produce because everything looks so good in the store and because I love vegetables. Portabella mushrooms and leeks were among the veggies I purchased this time along with the spaghetti squash. I also bought cabbage, carrots, iceberg lettuce, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, regular tomatoes, baby zuccini and a vegetable stir-fry mix from Trader Joes (which had tons of yummy fresh vegetables already chopped up for me). Needless to say, I’ve been eating A LOT of veg.
This was my first time cooking with spaghetti squash and it was fun, very easy, and obviously a healthy alternative to pasta. Also, because I wasn’t eating actual pasta, I felt like I could make the sauce a little more decadent. The sauce started out as a classic bechamel sauce (a white sauce consisting of milk thickened by a butter and flour roux) and then I added a whole bunch of sharp white cheddar cheese and parmesan cheese to the already thick and creamy sauce. I also sauteed some leeks and mushrooms and added that to the sauce. It was the perfect accompaniment to the spaghetti squash. If you don’t like spaghetti squash, you can obviously serve the sauce over pasta but really spaghetti squash is so much fun! It’s also so versatile. This will not be my last time cooking with it. (more…)
Back to veggies! I bought some savoy cabbage with the intention of making Alex Guarnaschelli’s braised cabbage. However I found another recipe for Ethiopian cabbage that sparked my interest so I decided to go that route instead. I wound up changing the recipe quite a bit but the outcome was delicious! This cabbage is spiced with garlic, ginger, cumin, turmeric and lots of red pepper flakes. I’m always looking for unique ways to cook vegetables so I’m really glad this worked out. (more…)
Sometimes some of my best creations in the kitchen happen by accident. This was one of them. I had one lonely leftover eggplant that was in danger of going bad and a whole pack of sliced portabello mushrooms that I hadn’t used yet. I had already decided that I was going to be cooking up some mahi mahi burgers from the freezer that night because I really didn’t feel like cooking but then I remembered that I had these vegetables and the thought of food going bad and then throwing it out makes me really sad. So, I thought I’d just try roasting them. I roast veggies all the time and I think it’s the best way to cook them. They get carmelized and crisp on the outside but tender on the inside. Delicious. To be honest, I wasn’t sure how eggplant and mushrooms would turn out if I just roasted them in the oven like I do so many other favorite vegetables. Sometimes eggplant can be bitter if it’s not cooked the right way so this was a gamble. But, as I said, I didn’t feel like cooking and roasting vegetables is so easy that it almost doesn’t even count as cooking. The oven does all the work.
Let me just say that what I thought would be an average maybe even bad dish turned out to be one of the best vegetable side dishes I’ve ever made. And it is SO easy. I am going to stop at the grocery store after work today to pick up more eggplant and mushrooms because I’m going to make it again tonight. It was THAT good. (more…)