Kale Caesar Salad

Want to hear the silliest reason why I haven’t written a blog post lately? Well it’s not because I haven’t been cooking anything. It’s because I forgot my blog password and was too annoyed to reset it. So I got over myself and now here I am!! HI!!!

This recipe is one that I found on realsimple.com. I love that magazine. Not the part that talks about organization because seriously I couldn’t organize a shoe box. But the recipes are always so awesome and simple. So I knew when I saw this recipe that it would be pretty kickass. And I was right!

Kale is so good for you! If you haven’t tried it yet…you should. And I highly recommend you start here:

http://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/browse-all-recipes/kale-caesar-salad-00100000088006/

I think with some grilled chicken or shrimp this would make a fantastic meal on it’s own.

 

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Cheesy Baked Spaghetti Squash

First, a PSA regarding tomato paste.  It annoys me to no end when I open a can of tomato paste and then a recipe only calls for a teaspoon or a tablespoon. What are you supposed to do with the whole rest of the can? So I read somewhere you can freeze it in ice cube trays, which I think is a great idea…I just don’t have that kind of real estate in my freezer. It’s like Manahattan in there. Space is precious and it is crowded!

So this is what I do with my leftover tomato paste. I freeze it in 1 tablespoon sized splotches (for lack of a better word!) in a Ziploc bag.  Then I lay it flat in the freezer, usually on top of a pile of other stuff. It looks like this:

tomato paste

Now for the main event:

I got this recipe from one of my favorite bloggers. If I were a real grown up with a real grown up blog it would look like hers!! I used chicken sausage, shredded Italian Cheese and ricotta. I didn’t change anything so here is the link:

http://againstallgrain.com/2014/03/11/cheesy-baked-spaghetti-squash/

This was really yummy! Spaghetti squash doesn’t sit in your stomach like a ball of heavy carbs. We have been eating it a lot lately!

Enjoy!

 

Weeknight Roast: Kielbasa, Fennel, Potato, Onion & Broccoli

kielbasa

We ate this on a Sunday, but it’s so easy I feel confident that you could easily make it on a weeknight. 🙂

Before I share the recipe, I wanted to share a link to a list of organic foods that can be purchased at Costco. There are some sausages on this list that would make a great weeknight roast with onions, potatoes, or any veggies that you have in your fridge. Also, organic food is so expensive so it is best to buy it cheap when you can!! The only problem with going to Costco is that buying a WHOLE LOT of the cheap stuff adds up and I never get out of there for less than $200. 🙂

http://naturalthrifty.com/costco-organic-price-list.html

And now for the main event:

Ingredients:

1 package Kielbasa, cut into 2 inch chunks and then halved.

2 onions, roughly chopped

1 bulb fennel, roughly chopped

3 large potatoes, chopped

2 heads Broccoli, chopped

3 tablespoons Olive Oil (1 Tablespoon reserved for Broccoli)

Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees (use convection option if your oven has it. My oven has a “convection roast” option so I used that.)

1. Place the kielbasa into the middle of your roasting pan.

2. Put all the cut up veggies EXCEPT the broccoli into a large bowl and then add the olive oil, salt, and pepper and toss to coat.

3. Sprinkle the veggies around the perimeter of the kielbasa.

4. Place roasting pan into oven and bake for 30 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, put broccoli into same bowl from which you removed the veggies and add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, salt, and pepper and toss to coat.

6. When your timer goes off at 30 minutes, stir up all the veggies and kielbasa and then sprinkle the broccoli on top and bake for another 20 minutes.

ENJOY!

Quick and Easy Pizza Crust and Finally the ANSWER to Making Perfect Pizzas!

So if you know us well, you know that we love to make homemade pizza. It just tastes so much better than the frozen or delivery stuff. But it’s kind of a process and trust me we do order our fair share of Dominos and Papa Johns!  Sometimes you just want to dip your crust in that fake buttery sauce, ya know?!

So for a while we were grilling our pizzas. This usually ended up in complete disaster. The crusts were often charred beyond recognition and getting the raw pizza dough with toppings onto the grill proved to be more than a challenge.

So then we tried grilling the pizzas on foil. UM NOPE.

So then we just bought special grilling pizza pans. Those work pretty well but it’s still easy to burn the crust.

So then we started using the grilling pizza pans in the oven. This works even better than grilling. Grilling pizza is cool but we just got really sick of eating burned crusts.

So then we got some pizzas from Homemade Pizza Co. They were yummy and they tell you to bake them on the parchment paper provided. Paper?? Really?? Guess what? The pizzas came out cooked perfectly and the crusts were crispy and not at all burned. I thought it must be a fluke and some proprietary parchment paper thing and that if I tried it myself I would likely start a kitchen fire with burned paper. But it worked!!! On Saturday, we made our own pizzas and baked them on parchment paper. Not only was it easy to transfer the pizzas right to the rack of the oven, the crusts were perfect. The best part is…wait for it….the clean up is a SNAP!! So important!!

So from now on, our preferred method will be to cook our pizzas on parchment paper in the oven at 450 degrees for 8-10 minutes.

Also, I found this recipe for pizza crust and it is what we used this weekend. I doubled this recipe to make 4 small pizzas and I used half bread flour and half whole wheat flour. I also just realized as I was re-reading the recipe that I forgot to put in the sugar and we didn’t miss it.

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/quick-and-easy-pizza-crust/

Ham & Cheese Gnocchi

This was a hit with both the husband and the preschooler! It’s so hard to find recipes these days that everyone will enjoy but this fits the bill!

I have never made gnocchi before. I’m not sure why I thought it was complicated because it’s even simpler than making pasta. Especially with a recipe like this where you can cook all the ingredients in one skillet and then put it under the broiler (I actually transferred my ingredients to a casserole dish for the broiler but if you have an oven proof skillet you can just put it right under the broiler).

For the recipe and pics (I keep forgetting to take pics!) go to these folks’ blog.  This one is definitely a keeper!!

http://www.kevinandamanda.com/recipes/dinner/ham-and-cheese-gnocchi.html#_a5y_p=1385090

 

Sheperd’s Pie

Did you miss me?? Haven’t had time for the blog lately but I’m going to try harder I promise!

I was really in the mood for Sheperd’s Pie this weekend. I searched around for a recipe I thought looked good and stumbled upon Alton Brown’s version from the Food Network. I saw that the prep time was 45 minutes so I thought that wasn’t so bad. Ok…this took me waaaay longer to make. A little over an hour. But that is probably not Alton’s fault. I have two kids and they constantly NEED ALL THE THINGS!  So although it took me a long time to prep, it was worth every scrumptious bite! The fresh herbs in the recipe were a pain to cut up, but they really enhance the flavor. Sometimes Shepard’s Pie can be bland and you just want to scrape the mashies off the top…but not with this recipe!! Sooo good and definitely adding to my favorite recipes to make. It’s especially good as leftovers on a snowy day. I speak from experience! 🙂

Full recipe can be found here:

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/shepherds-pie-recipe2.html

The only alteration I made was to substitute “meatloaf mix” for the ground lamb because I don’t like how lamb tastes.  Meatloaf is a tastier sub than straight up ground beef. It’s 1/3 beef, 1/3 veal and 1/3 pork.

In addition, I served this with mango chutney because a dear friend brought me a sheperd’s pie after I had baby #2 and she brought mango chutney with it and it was AWESOME!! Totally enhances the flavor! Try it!!

 

Weeknight Roast: Sausage, Pearl Onions, Potatoes & Carrots

I often think to myself around 4:30 or 5 that I have nothing to fix for dinner. Do you know that feeling? You’ve been taking care of kids all day or working and the last thing you feel like doing is preparing a meal for your family. You’re tempted to drive through McDonalds or order pizza but feel guilty because you did that yesterday. If so, this recipe is for you! Before I use the pizza app on my phone I scrounge in the kitchen for a meat and some veggies.  If I find anything worth eating, I throw it in a roasting pan with olive oil, salt and pepper and voila…an awesome yummy dinner comes out of the oven.  So I’m going to start a regular segment on the blog about these roasts that I do. But keep in mind pretty much any meat and vegetables will work! Or you could just do vegetables if you are vegetarian or just don’t want to eat meat or don’t have any in the fridge.

Note: if you are going to use green leafy vegetables like broccoli, kale or spinach you want to add those in for the last 20 minutes of baking.

So yesterday I had sausages, pearl onions, potatoes, and carrots and here’s what I did:

Ingredients:

1 package raw Italian sausage (buy enough links to serve 2-3 per person you are serving)

1 package pearl onions, ends chopped off and skin removed (these are a total pain to peal but they are so worth it. They come out very sweet and tasty. If you want to use regular onions that is fine. Just chop them up into chunks)

1 package baby carrots (I only had about half a package in my fridge so that’s what I used)

1 package red potatoes, chopped into fourths

2-3 tbsp olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

PREHEAT OVEN TO 425 degrees (this higher temp makes the veggies more crisp and browns the meat. Also, if you have a convection oven use that function for roasting)

1. Toss your veggies with the olive oil, salt, and pepper

sausage

2.  Then arrange your veggies around the perimeter of your roasting pan to make a nest for your meat:

sausage2

3. Put your meat in the middle:

sausage3

4. Bake for between 30-40 minutes depending on your oven. You want the vegetables crispy and the meat browned and cooked all the way through.

The finished product:

sausage4

Enjoy!!