Sunday, November 27, 2011

i am piggy, hear me roar...

or just trod about in a permanent food coma. here's the best post of the year- thanksgiving recap. i'll swing through dinner real quick and then get to the main event. a lot of the main foods were repeat favorites from last year but i will insert links to the ones that are new that were based on recipes.

the main meal
the vegetarian's plate (aka, me, the rest of the carnivorous fam had hunks of turkey on their plates). the great thing about being the thanksgiving meal planner is that i get full reign on what people eat :)

- rosemary butter roasted turkey: rub the butter and rosemary under the skin of the turkey, no need to cover or put on new butter!
- smashed potatoes: half of it made up of pureed roasted cauliflower with laughing cow garlic cheese
- roasted brussels sprouts: toss in olive oil with salt and pepper
- roasted autumn squash: chop it up, use a vegetable peeler to take off the tough exterior then chop, olive oil, salt, and pepper and bake in the oven for about 20-30 minutes (flip the pieces every so often)
- rosemary bunny biscuits
- tart cranberry sauce: we used lemon juice instead of orange juice this time, delish!
- corn casserole: eum eum good. corn tastes so much better when it's loaded with cheese, i used yogurt in place of the sour cream. you can go ahead and assemble this (w/o the cheese) earlier in the day or the night before and then pop it into the oven. i also made a thin layer of cheese in the middle of the casserole.
- green beans
- cornbread stuffing
- mushroom gravy: this year we took out the soy sauce, it tastes much better. and try to get some low sodium broth- veg or chicken

i have a slight adoration for pioneer woman, so many of these came from her. i started baking pies wednesday afternoon (i should have made the pumpkin cream pie wednesday and saved one of the pies best served warm for thanksgiving day)
- nantucket pie: the crunchy topping with the tart cranberries is so yummy! i didn't add the 2/3 cup of sugar on top of the cranberries as our family really likes the tartness of cranberries, in place of the almond extract i put in 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract.
- apple pie: i realized in my quest to make a million pies that it would help to actually have pie pans...which i didn't until later when i walked to safeway and bought another. but before that happened i really wanted to bake and baked this pie in a cake pan, which meant the crust was soaked under the bubbling apple juices and never developed a crispy crust...but, heavy cream and apple mix is delicioussssss. so next time, making this in a pie pan
- sweet potato pie: i didn't use any grated orange peel and had korean sweet potatoes
- pecan and date pie: first time our family had anything close to a pecan pie, not my favorite but it was still tasty. the dates give the pie a nice texture difference with the nuts. i just used a pillsbury pre-made pie crust instead of making the one in the recipe. i also didn't have dark corn syrup so i used light corn syrup which i think still looked pretty.
- pumpkin cream pie: probably my favorite for the year. i processed gingersnap cookies and then mixed with melted butter to make the crust. man, i wish i had more...

whoosh, gluttony is probably not very becoming, especially when my pants probably don't fit anymore. i also didn't realize how much i baked until i typed it all out.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

tday menu

i believe this is the final menu for tomorrow's dinner! (i will post links with all the recipes once the food pics go up)

rosemary butter roasted turkey with mushroom gravy
mashed potatoes with roasted pureed cauliflower and cheese
roasted garlic brussels sprouts, green beans, autumn squash
cranberry sauce
cornbread stuffing
kale chips
corn pudding

dessert (the most important part!)
pecan and date pie
nantucket pie
apple pie
sweet potato souffle
pumpkin cream pie

i might be missing some items but don't worry, it will still end up in my tummy

T-1 day!

even though we aren't celebrating thanksgiving until friday doesn't mean it isn't pie baking time! stay tuned for some yummy treats (including a pecan and date pie that's baking right now)

Friday, November 18, 2011

i heart pesto

i highly suggest making extra servings of the broccoli and walnut pesto or any pesto for that matter and keeping it in the fridge or some frozen for later use, such as lunch the next day- whole wheat toast with pesto spread, topped with tomatoes and a fried egg. yum yum. happy friday!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

w.c, thurs- broccoli and walnut pesto pasta w/ tofu

happy thursday! this week has been disaster after disaster at school but once i finally get home on thursday i know that means cooking a real meal and de-compressing from the "real" world. this week's menu included broccoli and walnut pesto pasta with tofu and roasted acorn squash (impulse buy at the korean grocery store b/c the autumn squash looked strange).

we recently bought a Bella little food processor thing (which i used to make persimmon cheesecake...i will have to update on that one day...). suffice it to say i did not enjoy making the cheesecake w/ the Bella but the recipe book that came with the machine said it would work. but i decided to give it another go. i was making a couple of servings (i can't resist toasted walnuts, they are addictive) so i figured i would process all the ingredients separately and then mix it all together in a bowl. lets just say everything at the bottom of the processor keeps getting grinded (have you ever tried walnut butter...i can now check that off my's also not too bad). the same thing happened when i tried to grind the broccoli up, so then i just gave up and whipped out our regular food processor and all was right in the world again.

the recipe comes from 101cookbooks which i haven't used in ages. i cooked my broccoli in a skillet with a splash of olive oil and two small scoops of frozen garlic (we food process up the fresh stuff and freeze tons of it). i forgot to buy a lemon so no lemon, chard/spinach and olives so we were short of that but i didn't mind the loss. i also didn't really measure how much i was making but i did have 2 heads of broccoli and about 3/4 to 1 cup of toasted walnuts. i kept splashing olive oil into the food processor waiting for a more liquidy pesto but after awhile gave up and figured i would be healthier with less olive oil :) the tofu was my "meat" for the dish so i could get a very nice well rounded meal. the tofu was cooked in a skillet with just a bit of olive oil.
if you run out of pasta (which i did after M & D gobbled all that) you can spread some of the pesto between the tofu and top with parmesan and broccoli (totally delicious!)

the acorn squash were looking mighty cute at the korean grocery store so we took one to try it out. tossed in some olive oil, salt and pepper the squash tastes good but it doesn't get that baked fry kind of texture i was looking for. probably excellent for a puree of some sort.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

slow starts

juggling school and three jobs hasn't left much room for those slow mornings that i love- reading the free Sun that comes (confession: i always skim through the coupon booklets knowing it's not worth it but wanting to buy those 3 cans of whatever to save 45 cents just because i can), sitting down and eating real food, and enjoying a hot cup of tea. but occasionally, a morning comes around where it all comes together.
 it's amazing how my diet and running suffers when my schedule is such chaos but hopefully i'll get into the swing of things and be able to have more of these kinds of mornings, at least for the weekends. even on 4 hours of sleep i had enough energy to go on a nice long run this morning and then put together a breakfast (it helps to have a late starting work day). Two slices of whole wheat toast, 1 egg (runny! i love dipping toasted bread into runny egg yolk), and a nice handful of arugula salad with a sprinkling of parmesan cheese. the apple will most likely be a snack later in the morning maybe before work or on the way home from work.

i'm bundled up in my house in multiple layers and drinking some black tea with a splash of skim milk. it feels good to be healthy after days of interesting and late night food choices (i.e. my love affiar with peanut butter and spinach and artichoke dip at 11 at night on thursday come to mind).

i even packed a colorful lunch (persimmon, sweet potato and a banana). i think i'm missing something so i will probably throw in some almonds and walnuts or a Kashi bar, but it's challenging thinking of foods that are easy to eat in a couple bites while i'm working behind the desk and tourists come in.

and for everyone out there, it's 12 days until my favorite holiday! i've got to start researching foods for this year early and i'll try to post the links as i find them. here's some delicious looking pie recipes. anyone ever tried an olallieberry pie?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

wct- savory monkey bread and pumpkin soup

food today was a hit and a miss. kind of like my week. but at least the week is almost over. been living out of my car and crashing at my friend's place (thank you thank you thank you!) i think i would have gone crazy with the commuting. so feeling tired and burnt out which usually means i want something toasty and greasy. after my friend mentioned garlic parmesan monkey bread and we watched a marathon of "chopped" (i love that show!) i was definitely set to make it. and just like the usual sweet monkey bread, the savory version does not disappoint.

 toasty, flakey, garlicky, cheesey goodness. and super quick and easy. recipe at the bottom!
i figured i should balance it out with something healthier and more nutritious (since that is my future work, hopefully) so it's with a baby arugula salad and pumpkin this pumpkin soup, i don't know if it's because i tried to combine two recipes or if it's because i used an uber healthy mayo-clinic recipe as the basis of the soup so i got something very brothy with absolutely no butter...then again, it might just be that b/c i've never had pumpkin soup i have no idea what it should taste like.
it's so darn good it needed an up close and personal. look at all that parsley! drool...

Garlic Parmesean Monkey Bread (serves 5)
adapted from all-recipes
1 Tblsp and 1.5 tsp dried parsley
2 cloves garlic, minced
dash of salt
1 Tblsp, 1/4 tsp butter melted (the 1/4 is to coat the pan...not that it seemed to help)
1 egg
1 can Jumbo Safeway buttermilk biscuits
1/4 cup Parmesean Cheese

Grease a large loaf pan (I greased a bundt pan and when putting the pieces in realized the pan was too large and didn't get a good layering action, so use something smaller). Preheat oven to 350 F.

In a bowl, mix parsley, garlic, salt, melted 1 Tblsp butter and egg until blended. Cut each biscuit into 4 and dip into the mixture. Make a layer in your dish, sprinkle with cheese. Repeat layer and cheese sprinkling. Cover loosely and bake about 30 minutes or until golden brown.

* I think I want to try the pillsbury biscuits next time, these had bits of butter in the dough already to begin with and I think it made my bread a little too buttery (although really can that crispy buttery taste go wrong?). Also, everything stuck completely to my pan, it may to do with the fact that I couldn't get a full layer of biscuit before sprinkling with cheese. 

Pumpkin soup
I combined Mayo Clinic with Simply Recipes
I don't even want to write the recipe that I ended up with b/c I wasn't pleased with the end result, but I ended up with the soup from Mayo and the spice from Simply Recipes. It definitely needed/wanted the cream and/or butter that the spicy soup had.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

what's cooking thursday- tuna casserole

happy thursday! tried out a new recipe today, a nice combination of sorts of two recipes-
 this recipe is not only nice and warm and filling but also pretty healthy!
these recipes come from a mix of a tuna casserole and a mac & cheese.

here's my final take:
Tuna Stuffed Casserole
3 cups whole wheat rotini, cooked al dente
1-2 Tblsp olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 packages button mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp salt
12 Tblsp whole wheat flour (about 1/4 cup)
3 1/2 cups fat free milk
2 tsp ground pepper
14 oz canned tuna, drained
2 cups frozen peas, thawed
1 1/2 cups mild shredded cheddar cheese
2 slices whole wheat bread, toasted and crumbled through food processor

* I prep cooked everything last night and then cooked the pasta today.
Oil a 9 x 13 pan. In a large pot heat oil over medium-high heat, add onion, mushrooms, and salt and cook, stirring until onion is softened. Add spinach until it wilts down and then sprinkle flour over the vegetables to coat. Add milk and pepper and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly. Stir in tuna, peas and 1 cup cheese until it is all incorporated. Stir in the pasta and remove from the heat.

If you want to cook it the same day, sprinkle the casserole with breadcrumbs and 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese, broil until bubbly and lightly brown, 3 to 4 minutes. If you want to cook it later, cover the pan with aluminum foil and refrigerate overnight. When you are ready to cook, sprinkle with cheese and breadcrumbs and bake, covered, 350 F for 40-50 minutes until bubbly. Uncover and cook until browned and bubbly, about 15 more minutes. 
Scoop the pasta into the pan, cover with aluminum foil and place in the fridge over night.