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Archive for the ‘Savory’ Category

Sweet Potato Soup

After seeing this Sweet Potato, Apple, Carrot, and Lentil soup linked over at Lindsay’s site, I decided to give it a try.

chop chop

It turned out pretty good.  I did puree it and it was smooth and creamy and well balanced (although I did add a little more broth/apple cider I had on hand to thin it out). Sometimes soups like this can leave me a bit gaggy to be honest – too thick and one note. However, when served with some greek yogurt and chopped walnuts, I wolfed this right down. As did Ben.  I served this with a salad and some hearty crackers. Another great fall dish.

Work has calmed down and I am finally back in the kitchen and realizing how much I missed it 🙂

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Tuna Noodle Casserole

During my recent bird watching adventures,  I also made a tuna noodle casserole. Wow, I am a nerd. Oh well.

I used this recipe. It didn’t knock my socks off but I liked that it did not use ‘cream of something’ soup. I would probably add some garlic and maybe some herbs if I made it again. It was definitely creamy and comforting. I also added some panko bread crumbs into the topping. Good food for bird watching.

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Despite never posting, I actually do still cook! For realz!

Over the last month or so, here are a few recipes that made the grade.

Roasted Vegetable Lasagna

I used this recipe to turn some leftover veggies into a lasagna. I wasn’t sure how it would turn out as sometimes veggie laden stuff can still be a little gag-worthy for me. However, this was pretty good – roasting the vegetables was a bit of a pain but seemed to be worth it. I would recommend having slightly more sauce on hand than the recipe calls for. I ended up dumping about half a can of diced tomatoes on top of the lasagna before baking as it looked a little sad.

Also, no-bake noodles are amazing. They taste better (almost like fresh pasta) and are way easier. I will never go back.

Cheese Straws

I made these as a Thanksgiving appetizer and they were kind of delicious. My cheese straw obsession began after reading “Screen Doors and Sweet Tea”, the Southern based cookbook by Martha Foose. Martha says to use a cookie press for cheese straws, which I do not have. After talking myself out of buying another ridiculous kitchen tool, I did some cheese straw research and Paula Deen told me I could roll and cut the cheese straw dough into any shape I liked. Thanks Paula!

Paula’s recipe was pretty much identical to Martha’s so I have linked it here.

The cheese straws were buttery and flaky and just a little spicy. I will definitely make these as an appetizer again – there were super easy with a food processor and kind of addicting. Addicting enough that despite running around like a crazy woman on Thanksgiving (who was late for her grandparent chaffeuring gig), I took time to sample quite a few of these right out of the oven.

Haluski

No real recipe here, just the guidance of Mama Snicks and my Polish heritage.  First cook down about half an onion in 1T butter. Shred a small head of cabbage in your food processor (or by hand) and add to the onion. Cook down this mixture while boiling up some bow-tie pasta. Add the pasta to the onion/cabbage. At this point I will add 1-3 more tablespoons of butter to make sure everything is delicious. Sometimes I will also add some chicken stock. Cook the entire mixture a little longer and you are done. Sweet, buttery, pasta-y and delicious. Comfort food.

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Recipe: Tomato Pie

Damn, this was yummy.

After recently procuring a huge Costco-sized container of tomatoes from my parents house, I knew I needed to seek out a fresh recipe in which to use them. There are only so many sandwiches, salads, and paninis one can eat.

After fussing around a bit, I spotted this Paula Deen gem: Tomato Pie.

Now, I did modify the recipe. Paula Deen served simply as my inspiration – I could not bring myself to top this baby with the insane amounts of cheese and mayo she suggests.

I used a store-bought pie crust, pre-baked it, and loaded it with rough diced tomatoes, chopped basil, chopped green onion, a dash of olive oil, pepper, garlic powder, and salt. No real measurements. As the picture shows, I could have used even more tomatoes – my filling is falling a little shy of the crust-line there.

I topped the pie with a mixture of approximately 1/4 C crumbled goat cheese, 1/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar, and 1-2 T sour cream.

I baked it for a good half hour, peeping in the oven now and again to assess the creamy/golden-ness of the cheesy topping.

To note, my bottom crust did get a little soggy. I seeded and drained the tomatoes, but perhaps not enough. It still tasted lovely to me though.

Pure summer, most certainly.

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Blueberries and Quinoa

Tax season has put quite the damper on my kitchen time (as well as my life in general – boo).

However, here are a few quicks links to items I have made recently and liked.

Blueberry Spelt Muffins

After randomly buying spelt flour during a stop at the new Market District near Robinson, I started looking up recipes to use the new ingredient. Spelt is a different type of wheat and is considered nuttier and sweeter than whole wheat. Spelt flour also contains more protein than regular wheat (according to Wikipedia of course). I really liked these muffins. They puffed up to the perfect shape and had great texture. 

Notes: I used butter rather than canola oil and frozen blueberries rather than fresh. I also used blueberry yogurt in place of the applesauce.

Turkey and Quinoa Loaf

The long hours I work this time of year usually lead to lousy/lazy dinners. I wanted to try and make something I could eat over a few days time and would actually resemble a home-cooked, balanced meal when paired with some quick steamed vegetables. I also had a random box of quinoa banging around in my pantry (aka the largest deep drawer in my tiny kitchen). I liked this loaf. I ate it plain, with potatoes, with veggies, and on a sandwich.

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I will admit to popping open a jar of store bought spaghetti sauce on occasion. Boil some pasta and dinner is ready in minutes. However, I crave the slow cooked, deep rich flavor of homemade tomato sauce. Is there any compromise?

I think so. I came across this tomato sauce over on the blog Smitten Kitchen. If you have never looked at or explored this amazing blog, please do so.  According to the Smitten Kitchen post,  many in the blog world and beyond have jumped on this easy recipe. It is adapted from an older Marcela Hazan recipe. I made this a few weekends ago and have been excited to share my thoughts ever since.

Tomato Sauce with Butter and Onions
Adapted from Marcela Hazan’s Essentials of Italian Cooking as posted on Smitten Kitchen (Snickie adaptations in bold)

Serves 4 as a main course; makes enough sauce to lightly coat most of a pound of spaghetti

28 ounces (800 grams) whole peeled tomatoes from a can (San Marzano, if you can find them)* – I used whole canned plum tomatoes from Trader Joe’s
5 tablespoons (70 grams) unsalted butter – I used 3 T
1 medium-sized yellow onion, peeled and halved
Salt to taste

Put the tomatoes, onion and butter in a heavy saucepan (it fit just right in a 3-quart) over medium heat. Bring the sauce to a simmer then lower the heat to keep the sauce at a slow, steady simmer for about 45 minutes, or until droplets of fat float free of the tomatoes. Stir occasionally, crushing the tomatoes against the side of the pot with a wooden spoon. Remove from heat, discard the onion, add salt to taste (you might find, as I did, that your tomatoes came salted and that you didn’t need to add more) and keep warm while you prepare your pasta.

Serve with spaghetti, with or without grated parmesan cheese to pass.

Verdict: YUM. To note, this did have a strong sweet onion taste – not a raw onion taste but the onion was definitely present. Also, I wasn’t sure about cutting down the butter. However, I could most certainly still detect and taste the rich, deep creaminess the butter brought to the dish. I am not sure I would want any more butter than what I used.

 Overall, this sauce is sweet, thick and full of flavor. I think it would be lovely to serve to company. It truly has that special, ‘secret recipe’ taste to it. It is pleasantly rich and comforting. I served my sauce over penne and stretched my pot into a few dinners and lunches. I don’t think I would add meat to this – it is already rich from the butter. However, I think you could add some veggies as a variation. No matter what, this sauce is keeper for sure.  Minimal effort and awesome outcome – my kind of meal.

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Update

So I have certainly been MIA. I blogged over a week ago about plans for 2010 and my resolve to get some good content on to Snickie.

And then real life happened.

Last week brought a family medical emergency and the beginning of the dreaded ‘busy season’ in accounting. This combination resulted in dinners of jarred spaghetti sauce over pasta all last week. It ain’t always glamorous folks. I did manage to force down some salads here and there – I hope this half-ass effort at balanced eating will keep me going.

Le sigh.

Before the storm of last week hit, I did manage to try a few new recipes. Two weekends ago, I prepped:

Beef Burgundy

Fennel and Orange Salad

Sour Cream Banana Bread

The beef was good but a little salty. I would possibly cut back on the soy sauce if I made this again. Also, it needs to cook for seven hours. If you decide to eat it after cooking for only five hours because it is already almost 8PM, it will be a little chewy. Noted. This recipe was mainly a reason to test out my new slow cooker. It was tasty enough. Leftovers were frozen.

I really loved the fennel and orange salad. I used one fennel bulb, two oranges, red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and fresh mint. I will make this again.

The banana bread was awesome. This quick bread will definitely be in the rotation. The loaf was made on a Saturday night, quietly chipped away at all week, and was gone by the following Saturday. Did I mention I live by myself? I did make this with low-fat sour cream.

Additionally, I have seen some cool food stuff in the PG lately. I want to try it all out!

New Annex Cookery in Homestead – Mom of Snickie visited last weekend. She found the shop pleasant and hoped to visit the cafe attached but it was closed (Sunday morning). Check the hours if you plan to check it out.

Winter Cherry Tomato Pasta  – Looks tasty and quick.

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