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Freezer Egg, Potato and Bacon Burritos

Freezer Egg, Potato and Bacon Burritos

freezer egg, potato and bacon burritos

This month, for Food ‘N Flix, I’m sharing freezer egg, potato and bacon burritos. I was inspired this month by the movie The Martian.  And while potatoes might have been an obvious one for this movie, I couldn’t resist, since they are without a doubt one of my favorite foods.  A favorite story definitely deserves a favorite food.

So in case you haven’t seen or read The Martian, it is, in short, an amazing story about the possibilities and beauty of science.  The book by Andy Weir came out in 2014.  I adore sci fi, having grown up on reading Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, and Robert Heinlein.  When I saw The Martian in the bookstore, I snapped it up quickly and spent a happy weekend lounging on the couch and reading it.

I was skeptical about how good the movie would be.  I’m a hard critic when it comes to movies that started as books.  It turned out that I also loved the movie.  Matt Damon plays Mark Watney, an astronaut left behind on Mars after a dust storm forces a mission abort.  The crew of the Ares III mission believe Watney to be dead, so leave him behind.  This starts his journey of survival until the Ares crew comes back to rescue him.  There’s lots of NASA control room drama that goes on throughout, in addition to following Watney’s path to survival.  It’s such a great pop-some-popcorn-and-stretch-out-on-the-couch-with-the-dog movie.

Potatoes factor heavily into the plot line, as Watney survives by growing potatoes.  Now in fairness, I would imagine Watney would probably not ever want to eat a potato again.  I probably wouldn’t want to either, and I really love potatoes.  Still, I wanted to do a shout out recipe to the humble spud.  These freezer egg, potato and bacon burritos are one of my favorite foods.  You might have guessed that they can be frozen – which makes them a perfect breakfast or lunch on the go food.

 

freezer egg, potato and bacon burritos

I opted to use these pretty blue, red, and yellow potatoes.  I don’t really notice much difference in flavor between potato types.  That said, I love the fact that potatoes come in so many varieties, so tend to cook with a mix.

freezer egg, potato and bacon burritos

The potatoes get mixed with a chopped up onion and roasted until they are crispy.  It doesn’t get much better than this.

freezer egg, potato and bacon burritos

freezer egg, potato and bacon burritos

I like to serve these with some salsa and some guacamole on the side (but wouldn’t you know it – none of my avocados were ripe when I made these).  I’m going to enjoy these freezer egg, potato and bacon burritos for lunch this week and imagine being on Mars.

Want to participate in Food ‘n Flix? Check out this month’s announcement post at http://adayinthelifeonthefarm.blogspot.com/ and drop by the Food ‘n Flix site to learn more!

Freezer Egg, Potato and Bacon Burritos

Ingredients

  • 8 small potatoes, washed and sliced into small chunks
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 8 pieces of crispy bacon
  • 2 cups shredded cheese
  • 8 large flour tortillas

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. On a parchment lined cookie sheet, combine the chopped potatoes, chopped onion, salt, and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Bake for 30 minutes, turning once half way through the cooking time.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the eggs, milk, cumin, coriander and ground black pepper. Use a fork or a whisk to combine until the eggs are fluffy. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large non-stick or cast iron pan over medium heat. Pour the egg mixture into the skillet and allow to set. When the eggs are nearly cooked through, fold and cook until they are fully set, gently scrambling. Set aside.
  3. To make the burritos, place 1/8th of the scrambled eggs in the middle of a tortilla. Put 1 piece of bacon on top of the egg. Put 1/8th of the roasted potatoes on top of the egg and bacon. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of cheese on top. Roll the burrito by folding up the top and bottom and then rolling the remaining tortilla over the folded part.
  4. Roll the burritos in aluminum foil and freeze. To reheat, remove the aluminum foil and wrap the burrito in a paper towel. Microwave until warm and serve with salsa and guacamole if desired.
  5. Makes 8 burritos.
  6. Enjoy!
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Kale and Gruyere Quiche

Kale and Gruyere Quiche

Kale and Gruyere Quiche

I’m craving spring flavors like those found in this Kale and Gruyere quiche.  I’ve had too many days of gloomy PNW weather.  I love the rain, but found myself outside yesterday in the morning doing my best to soak up the few sun beams we got.  Our cats were positively ecstatic – two of three parked themselves on the cat tree right in front of the window and basked in the sun.  Even Daisy found a sun spot on the carpet and took a good long time warming her belly.  We are all seriously deprived right now.

Kale and Gruyere Quiche to the rescue.  I love the creamy texture of eggs and cheese in a quiche.  Kale is a versatile vegetable and can be a harbinger of both fall and spring.  While I love having kale in pasta dishes in the fall, there’s nothing better in the spring than a good bunch of kale sauteed and tossed into a quiche.  I used lacinato Kale or dinosaur kale because I love the deep green flavor it brings to dishes.  I sauteed it until it was soft and then drained and pressed out the excess moisture in a colander.  This helps keep the crust from getting soggy.

Kale and Gruyere Quiche

I used a quick olive oil crust for this kale and Gruyere quiche.  I’ve been known to go crustless for my quiches, but this week just felt like that extra little touch might be in order.  One tip for baking the quiche – put the quiche on a baking sheet and put it in the oven.  This way, there’s no slopping of egg and milk into your oven.  Yes – I learned this the hard way.

Kale and Gruyere Quiche

One advantage of using Gruyere cheese is that it melts so well.  I also tossed in a few red pepper flakes to add some heat.  I could have gone either with red pepper flakes or with nutmeg – either would create a nice flavor, but nutmeg is to autumnal for me.  I also used a bit of fleur de sel this time around.  Really, it’s a perfect early spring dish.  I’ll be eating this throughout the week with a quick spinach salad on the side.

Kale and Gruyere Quiche

Kale and Gruyere Quiche

Kale and Gruyere Quiche

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch kale, washed, de-stemmed and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup milk
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/2 cup Gruyere cheese
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • salt to taste
  • Olive Oil Crust
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup ice water

Instructions

  1. To make the crust, combine the flour, salt, olive oil, and water in a small bowl. Combine with your hands until the crust holds together. Roll the dough out on a floured surface to the size needed for an 8 inch pie pan. Transfer the crust to the pie pan and refrigerate while you are making the quiche.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Saute the kale in the olive oil for 7 minutes or until it is wilted. Salt to taste. Drain and press out any remaining moisture. Set aside.
  4. Beat the eggs and milk together in a small bowl until frothy. Add the cheese, red pepper flakes, and ground pepper.
  5. Place the sauteed kale at the bottom of the chilled pie crust. Pour the egg/milk/cheese mixture over the top and redistribute the kale as needed.
  6. Bake for 30 - 40 minutes or until the crust is lightly brown and the eggs are set. Enjoy!
  7. Makes 4 hearty servings.
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This post is linked up to Tinned Tomatoes: Meat Free Mondays.  Check out the great posts that Jacqueline posts each week!

This post is also linked up to #CookBlogShare hosted by Easy Peasy Foodie and Hijacked by Twins.

Hijacked By Twins
Triple Mushroom and Truffle Risotto

Triple Mushroom and Truffle Risotto

Triple mushroom and truffle risotto is my contribution to Final FantaFeast February, being hosted by Pixelated Provisions.  This month’s Fandom Foodies theme is all about the Final Fantasy video game.  So full disclosure here – I haven’t actually played Final Fantasy.  However, my husband is hooked on Final Fantasy XV, which is the most recent of the Final Fantasy series.  I watch sometimes as he plays, peeking over my I-Pad as I watch the latest episode of Top Chef, and have thought it looks interesting.  But not interesting enough for me to put down the I-Pad or the latest book I’m reading.

I am, however, fascinated by the role food plays in the game.  One of the characters, Ignis, is the chef for the group and throughout the game, players can unlock various recipes, as well as go to the market, and forage for food.  Uh yeah – that’s an awesome part of the game as far as I’m concerned. When Fandom Foodies put out the schedule of themes for this year and I saw Final FantaFeast February, I immediately started looking for the foods that Ignis cooks in the game.  And when I saw Triple Truffle Risotto, there was no going back.

So the top image is from the game and the bottom is my triple mushroom and truffle recipe.  Since I didn’t have access to funguar, alstrooms, and Saxham rice (all the ingredients to make the dish in the game), I opted to go with a mix of mushrooms for the triple part, as well as some truffle oil and truffle cheese.  I would have gone full out triple truffle, but $21 for truffle salt at Trader Joe’s was a bit out of even my this-food-is-for-my-blog-cost comfort zone.  I love the combination of mushrooms though – some maitakes, some oyster mushrooms, and some creminis.  Feel free to substitute out any combination of mushrooms here – this would be lovely with chanterelles when they are in season, as well as morels, and so on.

Risotto takes a bit of time to make – I usually schedule about an hour from start to finish, as I like to baby it along.  A long slow simmer of the rice and stock is the key to a lush creamy risotto.  I also tossed in a cipollini onion – and honestly, if you can find these in your market, I encourage you to use one to make this dish.  Cipollinis become caramel rich when they are cooked (and even better – when they are cooked in butter), making them a perfect complement to the mushrooms.

triple mushroom truffle risotto

triple mushroom truffle risotto

triple mushroom truffle risotto

I think my triple mushroom and truffle recipe would do Ignis proud.

Triple Mushroom and Truffle Risotto

Ingredients

    For the mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 types of mushrooms, chopped. (About 2 cups of mushrooms, total)
  • 1/4 cup white wine or dry Vermouth
  • For the risotto
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 onion, finely diced
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1/4 cup white wine or dry Vermouth
  • 5 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup truffle cheese, grated (or Parmesan or Asiago cheese)
  • Truffle oil to finish

Instructions

    For the mushrooms
  1. In a small saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the diced onion and saute until the onions are soft and translucent. Add the mushrooms and saute for a minute. Add the white wine or dry Vermouth and salt, and saute until all the liquid has cooked off. Set aside.
  2. For the risotto
  3. In a small saucepan, bring the vegetable or chicken stock to a simmer. Leave simmering.
  4. Meanwhile, melt two tablespoons of butter in a medium saucepan. Add the onions and cook until they are soft and translucent. Add the Arborio rice and cook for a minute, stirring frequently. Add the white wine or dry Vermouth and stir until it is incorporated in the rice/onion mixture.
  5. Add the simmering stock, 1 cup at a time. Cook on a low simmer between each addition until the stock is mostly absorbed. This will take anywhere from 30 - 45 minutes. Continue to do this until all the stock is used and the risotto is al dente. Take off the heat and add the cheese and salt. Stir to incorporate. Add a dash of truffle oil.
  6. Portion into bowls and top each bowl with the mushroom mix. Enjoy!
  7. Serves 4
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This recipe is linked to Meatless Monday, hosted by Deborah (Confessions of a Mother Runner) and Sarah (A Whisk and Two Wands).  Take a look at the great recipes being linked!

Confessions of a Mother Runner

 

 

 

 

 

It’s also hanging out with some other really wonderful recipes on #CookBlogShare at EasyPeasieFoodie.

Hijacked By Twins
Adobo Sweet Potato Soup

Adobo Sweet Potato Soup

Adobo Sweet Potato soup is my answer to the in-between time of winter and spring.  The end of January and the start of February are such awkward times of the year.  In the PNW in particular, it’s not quite winter, but it’s not quite spring, either – it’s still raining, but there are those occasional days of sunshine that suggest that maybe, just maybe, spring is around the corner.  In terms of seasonal foods, it’s a good time to do some pantry and fridge clearing, as well as explore what root veggies have been hanging out for too long underneath the onions.  It’s definitely the time of year when sweet potatoes and potatoes get some love.

I tend not to cook sweet potatoes around the traditional times of year, like Thanksgiving.  I wait, instead, until I’m back to work post-holiday, and looking for lunches that can be frozen easily.  I never know quite what each week is going to bring, so it’s good to have a guaranteed good lunch waiting for me in the freezer.  This adobo sweet potato soup definitely fits the bill.  It’s easy to make, so didn’t consume my entire Sunday to prep.  It freezes beautifully, and I’m already looking forward to eating it at lunch this week.

Canned adobo chilies lend the adobo sweet potato soup a super smokey flavor.  I also used some smoked paprika, which is arguably one of my all time favorite spices.  As part of the fridge/pantry clean up effort, I gathered up all the celery I could find, leaves and all, and tossed those in too.  The end result is a silky, smokey, soup with a bit of sweet and just the slightest kick from the peppers.

If you checked out my post from last week with the black lentil and poached egg bowls, you know that I’m a bit mirepoix obsessed here of late.  The adobo sweet potato soup has a modified mirepoix: adobo chili, celery, and onion.  It’s just so colorful in the pan:

Once the smoked paprika and salt go in, the mirepoix takes on a deep red shade

And then the sweet potatoes go in.

adobo sweet potato soup

All of this beauty becomes a gorgeous adobo sweet potato soup (after the addition of some veggie stock and some pureeing).

adobo sweet potato soup

I added a dollop of Greek yogurt to cut the heat a bit.  Greek yogurt, sour cream, or creme fraiche would all be a lovely addition to this soup.

adobo sweet potato soup

Adobo Sweet Potato Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 adobo chili, diced
  • 4 stalks celery, preferably with leaves, diced
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into small chunks
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 cups water
  • Greek yogurt (optional)

Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a medium sized saucepan. Add the adobo chili, the celery, and the onion and saute until the celery and onion become soft. Add the sweet potatoes, smoked paprika, and salt and stir a few times. Add the veggie stock and water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 - 25 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are soft.
  2. Use an immersion blender or blender and puree to desired smoothness. Serve with a dollop of Greek yogurt. Enjoy!
  3. Serves 4
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This recipe is getting around.  It’s linked up this week to

Souper Sundays at Kahakai Kitchen

and at Meatless Monday on Confessions of a Mother Runner (co-hosted by Sarah at A Whisk and Two Wands).

Confessions of a Mother Runner

 

 

 

 

and at Tinned Tomatoes Meat Free Mondays where it was featured for the week of February 6 (check out the great menu ideas for the week!).

Hijacked By Twins
Hijacked By Twins

 

 

 

 

 

 

and at #CookBlogShare hosted by Hijacked by Twins as well as at #SimplySeasonal hosted by Hijacked by Twins. 

Kale Spinach Saag Paneer

Kale Spinach Saag Paneer

I had a lovely and very foodie indulgent vacation, so it’s definitely time to go back to healthy little lunches, including Kale Spinach Saag Paneer.  Saag Paneer is one of my favorite dishes.  I love using a blend of both spinach and kale.  I found a beautiful bunch of Redbor kale, which is a spectacular shade of purple and threw that in with a large handful of spinach.  The result is a spicy, fragrant mixture of greens.  I’m also feeling ahead of the game on the 2017 food trend for purple vegetables, since I cooked this on New Year’s Day.

Kale Spinach Saag Paneer is a fairly quick dish to put together.  The kale and spinach can be cooked while the rice is cooking.

Making Paneer

You can definitely substitute store bought paneer for the home made paneer in this recipe.  Fresh paneer takes just two ingredients, but is best made the day before and refrigerated overnight, so takes a little bit of planning.  That said, how impressive is it to be able to tell your workmates that you made your own cheese?

Homemade Paneer

I love how the paneer takes on the waffled texture of the cheesecloth.  I also am a big fan of the transformation of milk into whey and curds when an acid is added.  In this case, I use white vinegar to make my paneer.  I’ve tried lemon juice, but haven’t had the same success.  I also don’t salt it when I’m making this recipe, as the kale and spinach saag paneer is well salted from the kale and spinach.  I do, however, take the extra time to lightly brown the paneer.

The lightly browned paneer goes right into the kale and spinach.  This recipe freezes really well, so it’s a great candidate for lunch.  Kale spinach saag paneer is also a light meal and pairs well with a salad or some naan bread.

I hope you enjoy this one as much as I do!  Hope everyone is having a great start to 2017!

Kale Spinach Saag Paneer

 

Kale Saag Paneer

 

Kale Spinach Saag Paneer

Ingredients

  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 bunch kale, de-stemmed and roughly chopped
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup half and half
  • Paneer cheese, chopped into squares
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • For the Paneer
  • 1/2 gallon milk - whole milk works best, but you can also make this with 1% or 2%
  • 3 tablespoons white vinegar

Instructions

  1. If you are making paneer, start with this first. Bring the milk to a boil in a large saucepan. Stir constantly so that the milk doesn't burn. When the milk reaches a full boil, take it off the heat and pour in the vinegar. Let the milk sit for 10 minutes so that the whey and curds have time to separate.
  2. When the curds and whey have separated, strain out the curds into a cheesecloth lined strainer. You can keep the whey and use it in place of water for other recipes. Let the curds drain for at least an hour, pressing them by putting a bowl over them with a heavy can in the bowl. Refrigerate the paneer overnight.
  3. Making the Kale Spinach Saag Paneer
  4. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a non-stick saute pan or a cast iron skillet. Add the onions, and cook until they are soft and fragrant. Add in the kale and cook for 7 minutes. Add the spinach and cook for another 7 - 10 minutes, or until all the vegetables are wilted. Add the spices from the turmeric to the salt and stir well. Add the half and half and simmer for 7 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in another non-stick skillet. Add the paneer and cook for a few minute on each side until it is browned.
  6. Serve the kale spinach saag paneer over the rice, with the paneer evenly divided between each serving.
  7. Serves 3 - 4
  8. Enjoy!
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This post has been linked to Tinned Tomatoes: Meat Free Mondays.  Check out each week’s list of great recipes!

Top Five from 2016 and Five Goals for 2017

Top Five from 2016 and Five Goals for 2017

Like many, I’m glad to see the end of 2016.  I was doing pretty well avoiding whole scale resentment for the year, and then George Michael died.  And my reaction was, really 2016?  Bowie, Prince and George Michael, all in the same year?  And in case you are wondering if my musical tastes are primarily stuck in the 80’s, I’m incredibly sad about Ralph Stanley, Merle Haggard, Leonard Cohen, and Sharon Jones, too.

On the other hand, I’ve cooked a lot of good food this year, including the five most popular recipes here on Fix Me a Little Lunch.

Eggnog Ricotta Pancakes were hands down the most popular recipe this year.  I can see why – who doesn’t love eggnog?  These pancakes were so fluffy and so very, very rich – I’m thinking I’ll be making them again for New Year’s Day brunch.

My Crockpot Posole was also quite popular this year.  It’s such a great slow-cooker recipe, I wasn’t surprised.  We made up a batch of this for Christmas Eve this year and froze several more nights worth.  One of my favorite things about this recipe was that it was the first time I participated in Cook the Books.  I’m really excited about all the inspiration that will come from next year’s book picks.

Greek Spaghetti Squash was a big hit this year, as well.  This was my last office lunch for the year, as we ended up with four snow days and then vacation right around the same time I made this.

Greek Spaghetti Squash

I had a great time this fall going out to Sauvie Island to get winter squash.  As always, I bought a few too many squash, but it wasn’t a problem, since my over indulgence inspired me to make Winter Squash Stuffed Shells with Pesto.  If I had to pick a favorite of my own from this year, it might be this one – mostly because I love cheese, squash and pasta.

And last, but certainly not least, is my Mandarin Orange Mule.  I’m glad I finally got with the times and bought a copper mug for Moscow Mules, as they are now high on my list of favorite cocktails.

Mandarin Orange Mule

So there we are – the top five from 2016.

I’m looking forward to 2017.  I know there are likely to be some major changes on the way (more on that in future blog posts, I’m sure), but I’m hopeful they won’t impact my time working on my blog.  I like to spend a little time reflecting on the year before, as well as looking forward and setting goals moving forward.  So – in no particular order – here are my five goals for Fix Me a Little Lunch for 2017.

  1. Keep improving my photography.  I had one photo accepted by foodgawker this year for my Red Kuri Risotto recipe and would like to keep working on lighting, composition and so on in 2017.
  2. Create and mostly stick to an editorial calendar.  I started working on this in December and realized it wasn’t that hard to plan out December 2017’s blog posts.  Now let’s see if I can fill in all the other months of the year. Some of this is product dependent, of course, as I’m committed to keeping Fix Me a Little Lunch all about seasonal foods and recipes.
  3. Continue to be inspired by blog challenges – Cook the Books and Food n’ Flix were my favorite inspirations this year.  The books and movies kept me inspired, as did the community of other food bloggers who created some really fantastic recipes.
  4. Explore the whole affiliate/sponsored post thing.  I’m a little wary of ads – I’m not a huge fan of navigating them on others sites, so not sure I want to do this on my own blog.  On the other hand, I’d love to share some of the products that I love with my readers.
  5. Grow my email list to at least a 1,000 subscribers.  Right now, I have seven.  I love those seven people who are interested in reading my posts regularly – and would like to find some more.  To this end, I’ll be starting a monthly newsletter in January that will include a round up of my favorite recipes from the month before, a bonus recipe featuring a seasonal veggie or fruit, and a profile of a seasonal veggie or fruit.  Sign up to be on my email list and be on the lookout for my first newsletter.

Happy Near Year everyone!  Let’s hope that 2017 is prosperous and happy, and let’s keep eating good food!

Greek Spaghetti Squash

Greek Spaghetti Squash

Greek Spaghetti Squash is the next recipe I made as I was working on eating the rest of the winter squash I bought back in October.  I lost one squash to rot, which made me quite sad (and surprised me – our garage is quite cold, so I’m not sure what happened).  I love spaghetti squash as an alternative to pasta.  It’s easy to cook and great with all the traditional sauces that go well with spaghetti.  I’ve been feeling a little nostalgic lately about a restaurant we used to go to quite a bit when we lived in Southern Oregon called Alexander’s.  Alexander’s is a Greek restaurant that serves the most yummy hummus and falafel but they also have a pasta dish on their menu called Athenian Pasta, which is a mix of spaghetti, a creamy Alfredo style sauce, feta cheese, and garlic.  I’m salivating a little just writing about it.  I absolutely loved having this pasta for dinner the various times we’d go there, particularly in the winter.  It was totally a comfort food.

So – I had a spaghetti squash in the garage and some feta cheese in the fridge, so thought, why not try to replicate Alexander’s Athenian Pasta?  As it turns out, this version of Greek Spaghetti Squash is as yummy as the traditional pasta version, minus the carbs of the pasta.  I tossed in a little bit of rosemary just because.  I really liked the slight pine taste the rosemary imparts – it’s a great counterpart to the salty feta cheese.

This is another squash dish that survives a few weeks in the freezer without any problems.  The cream sauce can get a little grainy – but give it a few stirs and it tastes just fine.  This dish pairs well with a nice crisp green salad.  If you aren’t too worried about the carbs, it would be great with a little fresh bread as well.  And if you are eating this and not at work, it would be lovely to serve with a Greek Retsina.

greek spaghetti squash

greek spaghetti squash

Greek Spaghetti Squash

Ingredients

  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/2 cups milk or half and half
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary (optional)
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese plus 3 tablespoons

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove the stem from the spaghetti squash. Make a few small slits in the squash with a knife. Bake for 40 - 50 minutes or until the squash is soft. Cut in half and let cool.
  2. When the squash is cool, remove the seeds. Gently scrape out the flesh of the squash - it will come out in small strands that resemble pasta.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a small saucepan or frying pan. Saute the garlic for about a minute and then add the spaghetti squash, cooking for two minutes. Set aside.
  4. Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Add the flour, a bit at a time and whisk with each addition. When all the flour is incorporated, add in the milk or half and half, the rosemary, and the ground pepper. Bring to a low boil and stir until the sauce begins to thicken. Remove from the heat and stir in 1/2 cup of feta cheese.
  5. Add the spaghetti squash and garlic to the sauce and combine. Distribute to three or four bowls and sprinkle the remaining feta cheese over each dish. Enjoy!
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Winter Squash Stuffed Shells with Greens Pesto

Winter Squash Stuffed Shells with Greens Pesto

winter-squash-stuffed-shells

I am a huge fan of all things winter squash (as you’ve probably figured out), making this recipe, a winter squash stuffed shells with greens pesto, one of my absolute favorite December lunches.  This has everything I most love about the fall and winter: the slightly sweet squash, salty cheese, pasta, and pesto made with kale, spinach and walnuts.  Since there is a small chance that there might be a little bit of snow in this part of the PNW tomorrow, this comfort food just seems perfect.

I used a combination of red kuri (my favorite) and the rest of the pumpkin puree I’d frozen earlier in the fall.  Fortunately, I still have one more pie pumpkin in the garage – I figure we still have a few more months of cold weather and might need to make some more pumpkin bread.  I also used a bit of the sage that is still growing out in the herb bed.

The pesto consists of both kale and spinach – really, you could use just about any combination of greens.  I also used walnuts, because it’s what I had on hand.  Pesto can be made out of any combination of herb or green, nuts, garlic, and Parmesan or other hard cheese.  I love to try out different combinations.  I also have started hand chopping my pesto – I think it helps the herbs or greens retain their integrity and not get mushy like they might in a food processor.  The taste is a lot closer to pesto I had in Rome many years ago, so I enjoy it for the nostalgic value, as well.

All together, the winter squash stuffed shells with greens pesto takes about forty minutes to make, and most of that time is hands off while it bakes.  It’s well worth the time.  It also makes a great freezer meal – making it very appealing for lunch.  Since it’s vegetarian, it would also make a great main dish for the holiday festivities for vegetarian friends and family.

winter squash stuffed shells with greens pesto

Winter Squash Stuffed Shells with Greens Pesto

Ingredients

    For the shells:
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree or similar winter squash puree
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 + 1/3 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon chopped sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 box of large pasta shells
  • For the pesto
  • 1 cup tightly packed greens (spinach, kale, etc.)
  • 1/3 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Bring a pot of water in a medium saucepan to a boil. Add the shells and cook for 8-10 minutes or until al dente.
  3. In the meantime, combine the squash puree, the ricotta cheese, 1 cup of the parmesan cheese, the sage, and the pepper in a small bowl. Set aside.
  4. Drain the shells in a colander and rinse under cold water. When the shells are cool enough to handle, stuff each with about 2 tablespoons of the squash and cheese mixture. Place the shells in a single layer in a 9 X 13 baking pan. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/3 cup parmesan cheese. Bake for 30 minutes or until the cheese gets lightly browned on top.
  5. While the shells are baking, prepare the pesto. Put the greens, the walnuts, the garlic, and the parmesan in the middle of a cutting board and gently chop until the ingredients are finely diced and combined. Put the pesto in a small bowl and add the olive oil, gently combining.
  6. Serve the stuffed shells with the pesto and enjoy!
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This post has been linked to Tinned Tomatoes: Meatless Monday.  Check out her great posts!

Red Kuri Squash Risotto

Red Kuri Squash Risotto

After a  holiday break and several days of leftover turkey breast for lunch and dinner, I’m well ready to go back to work on Monday and enjoy this red kuri squash risotto for lunch.  The break was wonderful – I spent a lot of time cooking (no surprise there) and some time working on the blog, reading, and putting up Christmas decorations.  I also feel like I did somewhere around 100 loads of dishes – but that might be a slight exaggeration!

I am definitely ready for a recipe with winter squash again.  I’ve been saving the red kuri squash risotto recipe for a week when I know I want something warm and cozy at lunch.  It will also be sweet relief when I’m catching up on emails and projects on Monday.  Red kuri squash lends such a subtle squash flavor.  I roasted the squash using the easy technique I also use for pumpkins (see the recipe here).  The roasted squash left me with two cups – I used one cup for the red kuri squash risotto and froze the other cup for later use.  This risotto also freezes really well, making it a perfect make-ahead lunch.  Here’s to a productive week ahead with great lunch!

red kuri squash risotto

Red Kuri Squash Risotto

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup cooking sherry, white wine, or dry Vermouth
  • 5 cups vegetable stock or chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup red Kuri squash puree
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. In a small saucepan, heat the chicken stock to a simmer. Leave it simmering.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Add the minced shallot and cook until the shallot is fragrant. Add the Arborio rice and cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes. Add the sherry, white wine, or Vermouth and cook over low heat until it is absorbed.
  3. Add 1 cup of the simmering chicken stock to the rice and stir off and on until the stock is absorbed. Continue to add 1 cup at a time, stirring and simmering, until all the stock is incorporated or until the arborio rice is to your preferred level of doneness. Take the risotto off heat and add the Parmesan cheese and red Kuri squash puree, stirring to incorporate.
  4. Serve with a a bit of grated Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!
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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.

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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!

 

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