Browsed by
Category: Quick and Easy

Cranberry Poblano Pepper Relish

Cranberry Poblano Pepper Relish

Cranberry Poblano Pepper Relish is a spicy sweet recipe that can do dual duty as a relish for a turkey sandwich or can dress up a cheese and crackers as a holiday appetizer.  This is my homage to my dual roots: the poblano representing the Southwest where I lived for years and the cranberries my adopted PNW home.

I never gave much thought to where cranberries came from before I moved to Oregon, when I first saw a cranberry bog along the coast.  It turns out that  seven percent of the cranberries produced in the US come from Oregon from the southern coastal region.  I bought my first Oregon cranberries seven years ago from a local farm – the first time I’ve ever bought unpackaged cranberries by the pound.  This resulted in bags of frozen cranberries and lots of cranberry related preserves.

I found cranberries from Oregon this year at New Seasons, which is a PNW natural foods chain.   Rather than going crazy and buying more cranberries than I can possibly use in a season, I bought just enough for cranberry sauce and cranberry poblano pepper relish, with a little to set aside in the freezer for baking later in December.

If you are looking for a last minute Thanksgiving recipe to use up excess cranberries, this cranberry poblano pepper relish is perfect and pairs very well with leftover turkey on a sandwich.  It is also worth pinning for use in December for an easy appetizer when paired with cream cheese or brie and crackers.

Cranberry Poblano Pepper Relish

cranberry-relish

Cranberry Poblano Pepper Relish

2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
1 poblano pepper
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon coriander
4 teaspoons brown sugar

Chop the cranberries and poblano pepper finely.  (Alternatively, process both in a food processor to chop finely).  Add the lime, cumin, coriander and brown sugar and combine.  Enjoy!

 

 

Lentil and Delicata Squash Bowl

Lentil and Delicata Squash Bowl

lentil-and-delicata-squash-bowl

This is the weekend before the Thanksgiving food storm here in the US.  You might be (like I am) getting ready to grocery shop and start the pre-cooking process to get ready for the upcoming Thursday feast.  You might be preparing to test out a cream gravy with sausage recipe and getting ready to  buy up dozens of eggs to make pumpkin pies, Black Friday brunch, and fruitcake.  You might be contemplating making marshmallows and gingerbread as a prelude to the next big holiday, because let’s face it: Thanksgiving is the gateway holiday to all manners of foodie sin.  Seriously – how great is that?

But just in case you need a little break between the turkey and the Christmas ham, you might re-purpose some of the seasonal veggies you have lying around and make this Lentil and Delicata Squash Bowl.  Beluga lentils are cute, tiny lentils that cook quickly and have a nutritional punch.  Delicata squash is just wonderful – largely because you don’t have to peel it and can roast it up in no time at all.

I’m linking this recipe up to My Legume Love Affair #101, courtesy of Briciole and Lisa’s Kitchen and encourage you to take a look at the other legume recipes that are being added. Susan, of  The Well Seasoned Cook started My Legume Love Affair and I encourage you to check out her page.

fall-lentil-bowl-undressed

Lentil and Delicata Squash Bowl

Serves 4

1 cup beluga lentils
2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1 Delicata squash
2 parsnips
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup almonds
2 avocados
4 hard boiled eggs

Tahini Dressing
1/2 cup tahini
1/2 cup water
Juice from 1/2 a lemon
Pinch of salt
A few grinds of fresh pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a small saucepan.  Add the lentils and salt, cover, and turn the heat down to a simmer.  Simmer for 20-25 minutes or until lentils are soft and water is absorbed.  Set aside.

While the lentils are cooking, prepare the squash and parsnips.  Cut the squash into 1/2 inch slices and de-seed each slice.  Cut the parsnips into cubes.  Put the squash and parsnip cubes in a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil.  Roast for 50-60 minutes, flipping the squash and parsnip cubes once so both sides get golden brown.

Make the tahini dressing by combining the tahini, water, lemon, salt and pepper in a small bowl or jar.  Whisk until thoroughly combined.

To assemble the bowls, split the lentils between four bowls.  Divide the squash, parsnips, avocado, almonds, and hard-boiled eggs between each.  Spoon the tahini dressing over the top and enjoy!

 

my-legume-love-affair

Super Quick Hummus Red Pepper Wrap

Super Quick Hummus Red Pepper Wrap

Some weeks (and some weekends) are just busier than others.  When you need a very quick, very healthy lunch that can be prepared in about 5 minutes (give or take a minute or two), look no further than this super quick hummus red pepper wrap.  This versatile wrap can be adjusted to taste – you can change out the cheese (feta would be great) or add Kalamata olives.  You might use baby kale instead of baby spinach.  You can also use various types of hummus – whatever suites your tastes and desires.

I made this in anticipation of yet another busy, crazy travel week.  I have one day in the office and then am off again.  I needed something I could throw together quickly on Sunday between doing laundry and packing for my trip.  This wrap is very satisfying and will be perfect with a spinach and persimmon salad (no recipe there – I threw together a sliced persimmon, spinach and a little balsamic vinegar and called it a salad).  No matter how busy tomorrow morning is, I’ll be looking forward to my lunch.

Super Quick Hummus Red Pepper Wrap

Super Quick Hummus Red Pepper Wrap
Serves 4

4 flour tortillas
4 slices of roasted red pepper (either from a jar or roast your own – see below)
8 tablespoons of pre-made hummus
1/2 a log of goat cheese – about 4 ounces
Baby spinach – a handful per wrap

Spread about two tablespoons hummus on each flour tortilla.  Split the goat cheese between the tortillas.  Layer the roasted red pepper on top and then add a handful of baby spinach.  Fold up an end of a tortilla and then roll.  Wrap tightly in aluminum foil and toss in your lunch bag or box for a healthy, tasty lunch.

Enjoy!

Roasting Red Peppers
2 red bell peppers
2 teaspoons olive oil

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Cut each red bell pepper in half.  Place the peppers cut side down on a baking sheet or cake pan.  Drizzle olive oil over the top and roast for 30 – 40 minutes or until the peppers are charred on top.  Let cool and peel.

 

Black Bean and Winter Squash Quesadilla

Black Bean and Winter Squash Quesadilla

If you are looking for a quick snack to accompany the Black Garlic Tomato Soup from yesterday, look no further than these Black Bean and Winter Squash Quesadillas.  I’m starting the process of using up the winter squash I’m hoarding – I mean, storing – for the winter.  I roasted one of the honey nut squash from Trader Joe’s for this recipe.  These squash look like a small butternut squash, but the flesh is a darker orange.

My tip for roasting winter squash is to cook them whole – I posted a tutorial on how to do this with a pumpkin a few weeks ago, but it works for any winter squash.  I have been puncturing a few wholes in the squash before I put it in the oven, mostly because I’ve had a few small potatoes burst in the oven in our rental and don’t want to risk it with a much larger squash.

The quesadillas are great to serve with a soup for lunch.  They can easily be heated up in the microwave and are quick to make the night before.

black-garlic-tomato-soup-and-black-bean-squash-quesadilla

Black Bean and Winter Squash Quesadilla with Black Garlic Soup

black-bean-winter-squash-quesadilla

Black Bean and Winter Squash Quesadillas
Serves 4

1 small winter squash, roasted (or 1 cup of already prepared winter squash puree from a larger squash)
1 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
4 tortillas
4 slices of cheese (Monterey Jack or similar)

Spread several tablespoons of the winter squash puree on half of a quesadilla.  Spread 1/4 cup of the black beans on top and then layer with a slice of cheese.  Fold the tortilla in half over the squash, beans and cheese.  Cook in a preheated skillet, flipping once to ensure both sides are golden brown.  Repeat with remaining ingredients.

Enjoy!

 

Black Garlic Tomato Soup

Black Garlic Tomato Soup

I have a particularly hectic week going on this week with some sort of travel going on every day except for Friday.  I had unavoidable lunches out for two of those days (though in truth, today’s lunch of salad, crab cakes, and a trio of desserts was pretty awesome, especially since it was all made by culinary students in their first term of school).  In planning my week, I knew I’d need to prep things on Sunday that could frozen for lunch for later in the week.  At the same time, I’ve been really intrigued by black garlic, which has been showing up at various natural food stores around town, including Trader Joe’s.  Black garlic, which sounds scary, I know, is actually garlic that’s been fermented for weeks.  It’s possible to make your own, but since we are living in a rental right now, and black garlic is pretty pungent smelling, I’m going to have to rely on buying it for now.

black-garlic

Black garlic – still in the garlic pod on the left and a peeled clove on the right. 

Black garlic has a subtle flavor – somewhere between garlic and licorice.  I decided to experiment and try it out in a tomato soup, which ended up being the perfect use.  The soup is very easy to make – it takes just a few ingredients and about thirty minutes to cook.  The best part – it freezes easily, making it a perfect lunch meal!

I’ve linked this up to Kahakai Kitchen’s Souper Sunday.  If you are looking for other really great soup recipes, check out the link and you won’t be disappointed.

black-garlic-tomato-soup2

Black Garlic Tomato Soup

Serves 4

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves black garlic, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
2 16 ounce cans of diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon salt

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a medium saucepan.  Add the black garlic and onion and sauté until the onions are translucent.  Add the tomatoes and their juice, the paprika and the salt and bring to a boil.  Lower heat to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes.  Puree in a blender or use an immersion blender to get the soup to your desired consistency.  Enjoy!

 

souper_sundays2

 

 

Fall Lentil Bowl

Fall Lentil Bowl

I spent the last two weeks traveling across the country to two very good workforce development conferences.  I ate some great food, but to be honest, I was so ready to be eating at home again.  This week, in addition to feeling like I’m going to have to crawl out from a mountain of paperwork and emails, I’m also eager to eat healthy, satisfying, and low-salt lunches at my desk, which is what inspired me to create this recipe for fall lentil bowls.

I also have been feeling like it’s time to clean out the pantry.  I have a habit of buying interesting ingredients, whether it be lentils or pasta or winter squash, and thinking that I’ll eventually get around to cooking with them.  In this case, I purchased some beluga lentils from Trader Joe’s months ago and decided today that I was really in the mood for a lentil dish.  Beluga lentils are tiny black lentils that keep their shape and don’t get mushy.  They are perfect for a base for adding various toppings.  And since it’s fall, I thought it might be time to start eating the winter squash that are hanging out in storage in our garage.

I used Delicata squash, parsnips, almonds, hard-boiled eggs, and avocado for this recipe, but you could certainly add other ingredients – other squash, other nuts, maybe even spinach or other greens.  If you wanted to create a vegan dish, leave the eggs out.  I would imagine that this would also be good with a fried egg or poached egg, but I didn’t think either would hold up well for a night in the fridge before I go to work.

fall-lentil-bowl-undressed

fall-lentil-bowl-dressed-and-ready-for-lunch

Fall Lentil Bowl
Serves 4

1 cup beluga lentils
2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1 Delicata squash
2 parsnips
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup almonds
2 avocados
4 hard boiled eggs

Tahini Dressing
1/2 cup tahini
1/2 cup water
Juice from 1/2 a lemon
Pinch of salt
A few grinds of fresh pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a small saucepan.  Add the lentils and salt, cover, and turn the heat down to a simmer.  Simmer for 20-25 minutes or until lentils are soft and water is absorbed.  Set aside.

While the lentils are cooking, prepare the squash and parsnips.  Cut the squash into 1/2 inch slices and de-seed each slice.  Cut the parsnips into cubes.  Put the squash and parsnip cubes in a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil.  Roast for 50-60 minutes, flipping the squash and parsnip cubes once so both sides get golden brown.

Make the tahini dressing by combining the tahini, water, lemon, salt and pepper in a small bowl or jar.  Whisk until thoroughly combined.

To assemble the bowls, split the lentils between four bowls.  Divide the squash, parsnips, avocado, almonds, and hard-boiled eggs between each.  Spoon the tahini dressing over the top and enjoy!

(I assemble part of the bowls in advance – the lentils, the squash, the parsnips, the almonds and the dressing, and then add the avocado and egg the night before I plan to eat the bowl for lunch).

Tropical Granola with Apricots and Ginger

Tropical Granola with Apricots and Ginger

I made tropical granola today, because it rained all day today, and I’ve been having dreams of traveling to the tropics.  Instead, I have two full weeks of travel on my schedule – with one trip to the Midwest and one to the South and both because I’m presenting at conferences in my field.  I’ve been absent from the blog because of this (follow me on Instagram to see photos of my travels and, more importantly, my food on my travels).  I’ll be posting a foodie travel update in a couple of weeks to share and review some of the restaurants I’ve been to and the food I’ve eaten.

In the meantime, I have a few days between trips and decided to make some granola, which makes a great travel snack.  I used a combination of almonds, coconut, dried apricots, and chocolate covered ginger to spice things up.  It’s also a quick recipe to make – thirty-five minutes from start to finish.

tropical-granola-up-close

tropical-granola-yogurt-parfait

Tropical Granola
Serves 10

4 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup whole almonds
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup chopped dried apricots
1/4 cup chopped candied ginger (chocolate covered ginger is optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Combine the oats, almonds, coconut flakes, olive oil, honey, and maple syrup in a medium sized bowl.  Make sure the oats are fully covered with the oil, honey, and syrup.  Pour the oat mixture onto a parchment covered baking sheet and spread so that it covers the sheet.  Bake for 10 minutes and stir.  Bake another 10 minutes and stir again.  Bake for a final 10 minutes and then set the granola aside to cool.  Add the apricots and ginger when the granola is cool to the touch.  Store in an airtight container.

DIY Pumpkin Puree the Easy Way

DIY Pumpkin Puree the Easy Way

My first experience with DIY pumpkin puree was probably inspired by Martha Stewart.  As a teenager, I used to watch Martha Stewart’s TV show with my mom when I was on summer break and then again during the winter holiday.  I think this may have been when I started getting interested in where my food actually came from.  The thought of using pumpkin for something other than carving it into a Jack-O-Lantern was really appealing, but I didn’t have a clue where to find a pie pumpkin.  The only pumpkins in the grocery store were the carving kind.

Fast forward to my early twenties: I was still intrigued by all things food related.  I had decided to be a vegetarian and wanted to find farm fresh vegetables.  I started going to the Cherry Creek Farmer’s Market on a semi-regular basis, where I first found edamame (they come in pods on a stick – this was absolutely marvelous and exotic to me), various varieties of kale and chard, freshly made pasta, and, once fall rolled around, pie pumpkins.  I dutifully dusted off my Martha Stewart Cookbook, wrestled the pumpkin open, pulled out the seeds, and roasted it.  Note that this was the mid-nineties and my access to cooking related resources was actual cookbooks (I had a huge collection, including one book that had all sorts of pumpkin recipes in it – it was something of a revelation that pumpkin had uses other than Thanksgiving pie). 

I kept on roasting pie pumpkins and other winter squash, like butternut squash, by dutifully cutting them open, pulling out the seeds and roasting.  I had other encounters with winter squash, including discovering the ubiquitous local pumpkin when I lived in the Marshall Islands.  Local pumpkin was really Kabocha squash, which I didn’t realize until I’d moved back to the US and joined a CSA.  Local pumpkin, or Kabocha squash makes the most heavenly curry, but I digress. 

All of this is to say that one day, in the not too distant past, after I had wrestled a pie pumpkin open to roast, I was browsing Pinterest and came across a recipe that has, frankly, changed my life.  Ok – not changed my life so much, but definitely made an emergency room visit from trying to cut a very tough winter squash in half much less likely.  Here’s the secret – when you need to roast a pumpkin or another winter squash to make a puree, just bake it like you would a baked potato.

That’s it – just put the squash in whole.  I’ve done this for years without incident, but if you are worried about the risk of pumpkin explosion in the oven, you can make a few stabs at the squash like you would a potato.  Bake it at 350 degrees until it’s easy to pierce with a knife.  Let it cool (it’s steamy and hot, so risky to open it too soon and not get a steam burn).  Cut it open, scoop out the seeds, scoop out the flesh and either puree it in a blender or mash it up with your hands or a potato masher. 

roasted-pumpkinpumpkin-puree

I usually roast two pie pumpkins a season.  I freeze it in quart freezer bags in 1 cup serving sizes.  I can generally get around 6 cups of pumpkin from two small pie pumpkins. 

bagged-pumpin-puree

If you are looking for a way to use up your pumpkin puree, check back in tomorrow when I will post a Pumpkin Pie Spice Biscotti that will rock your fall.  Enjoy!

Chicken Cordon Bleu for Two

Chicken Cordon Bleu for Two

My husband and I are a cooking couple – we both enjoy spending time in the kitchen and working on a new recipe, like this recipe for chicken cordon bleu for two.  Cordon bleu is a fun recipe – it’s a combination of meat stuffed with more meat and cheese.  Since I’m pretty avidly anti-ham (it’s just a weird meat to me – too prone to weird meaty bits sneaking in), we opted to make a variation with prosciutto and Swiss cheese.

This is a perfect serving size for two people, thus the chicken cordon bleu for two recipe title.  It’s a very sexy dish for date night – with melty cheese, salty prosciutto and a crisp Panko topping.  We served it with a roasted garlic sauce (because I love, love, love roasted garlic) and some tiny roasted cauliflower heads and some sautéed kale.  And then we curled up and serial watched Deep Space Nine – it’s just how exciting we are.

The key to keeping the Swiss cheese from an excessive melt out is to carefully cut a slit from the thick part of the chicken breast into the middle.  I’ve included a picture – and no, those are not my hands.  Clay took on the bulk of the prep for this dish.

 

cutting-the-chicken stuffed-chicken-breast

stuffed-and-breaded-chicken

chicken-cordon-bleu-plated-and-ready-to-eat

Chicken Cordon Bleu for Two
Serves 2

2 chicken breasts
4 pieces of prosciutto
4 slices of Swiss cheese
1 egg
1 cup Panko bread crumbs
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup milk
1 head roasted garlic, garlic cloves squeezed out and mashed (optional)
3 tablespoons parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Drizzle the olive oil in the bottom of a baking pan.

Cut the Swiss cheese slices into 2 inch long strips.  Put the strips together into two stacks and wrap with two slices of prosciutto each. Set aside.

Combine the Panko bread crumbs, garlic powder, salt, and Italian seasonings in a shallow bowl.  Set aside.  Break the egg in a shallow bowl and whisk until it is fluffy.  Set aside.

Cut a slit into the middle of the chicken breasts (start in the thickest part and gently move the knife back and forth until there is enough space for the cheese and prosciutto).  Once there is a large enough slit, push the prosciutto wrapped cheese into the slit.  Dredge the stuffed chicken breasts in the egg and then in the Panko bread crumb mixture and place each in the baking oiled pan.  Drizzle any egg that is left over the chicken breasts and then sprinkle any of the leftover Panko bread crumb mixture over the chicken.

Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the chicken reaches a meat thermometer temperature of 165 degrees.

In the last 10 minutes of the chicken baking, start the sauce.  Melt the butter in a small saucepan.  Whisk in the roasted garlic (if using) and then incorporate the flour a bit at a time.  Cook the flour/butter mixture for a minute.  Add the milk and continue to whisk until the sauce thickens.  Once the sauce is thickened, take the saucepan off the heat and add the parmesan cheese, whisking to incorporate.

Plate the stuffed chicken breasts and divide the sauce over the top.  Enjoy!

I’m pleased to have this recipe on the Saucy Saturdays Blog Hop linky party.  Please take a minute and check out the links to the hosts’ websites – these are some of my favorite blogs and Instagram feeds!

La Petit Chef
Mid-life Croissant
Take Two Tapas
The Flavor Blender

Roasted Cauliflower Soup

Roasted Cauliflower Soup

I’m looking forward to a cooler week ahead, so made roasted cauliflower soup today to welcome fall.  I’ve been intrigued by a recipe I’ve heard a lot about on several cooking podcasts: roasting a whole cauliflower head.  I experimented with roasted cauliflower earlier this season, which led to a cauliflower and pasta dish (you can find it here).  Roasting gives cauliflower a nutty flavor, so I figured a whole roasted head would be tasty, especially if it was blended into soup.

Soup and salad are one of my favorite combinations for lunch at my desk.  Soup is so comforting and a salad on the side makes it feel like a complete meal.  I enjoy cooler weather for that reason alone – it’s soup making time.

The recipe I used for the roasted cauliflower head came from Bon Appetit.  It calls for poaching the cauliflower first, which takes a little extra time, but it is well worth it.  The cauliflower lends itself to a creamy roasted cauliflower soup and requires so few ingredients – it’s simplicity itself.  Since I often fix lunch for several days in advance, any recipe that freezes well makes me happy, and this freezes exceptionally well.

That, and a fully roasted head of cauliflower is so, so very pretty!

roasted-cauliflower-head

Of course, so is the finished soup.

roasted-cauliflower-soup

Roasted Cauliflower Soup
Serves 4

1 head of cauliflower, roasted using this recipe
1 cup reserved poaching liquid from poaching the cauliflower
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1/4 cup half and half
1 teaspoon salt

After poaching and roasting the cauliflower, combine the roasted cauliflower, poaching liquid, stock, half and half, and salt in a large saucepan.  Use an immersion blender or regular blender to blend until smooth.  Adjust salt to taste.  Enjoy!

Show
Hide