Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner…and then some

In the kitchen at Di's House

Risotto with Swiss Chard

People would be surprised to hear that I’ve been in a slump as far as deciding what to have for dinner, and cooking in general.  A lot of what I cook is a last-minute decision.  I also talk myself into not going the frozen dinner or chicken nugget route, and actually once I start chopping, my momentum gets going.

I wanted something plain for dinner, that used some of the CSA produce.  I started thinking about ingredients and rice popped into my head, which led to the idea of risotto, then I googled “swiss chard risotto” and came up with recipes.  I found this one for red chard risotto that sounded good.

The chard I have is multicolored.  We also got chickweed so I threw a handful of that in the pan as well.  (I sauteed the veggies separately so that they would be cooked through and not chewy.)

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I had always thought risotto was complicated, but actually it’s quite simple.  I was able to chop the chard while waiting for the veggie stock to be absorbed.  The colors of the chard stems made it a colorful dish.  Tasty too.

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Baked Beignets and Homemade Hot Pockets

Last week I tried baked beignets.  I’ve been to New Orleans but have never had “authentic” beignets, so I don’t really have a standard to compare them to.  Warm dough with powdered sugar…what’s not to like.

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I put half the dough in the refrigerator to bake up the next day, only I didn’t get to it right away because we had a stomach bug invade our house once again.  I ended up making homemade “hot pockets” as well as a dessert version.  First was ham and cheese.

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Then kale and feta cheese.

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And lastly, chocolate chips with marshmallows.

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Here is the kale version.  The dough is kind of sweet but it sort of tastes like Hawaiian bread, so it didn’t clash too much with savory flavors.  The blob on the rear right of the plate was a chunk of broccoli that I covered with a yogurt sauce, from a baked cauliflower recipe.  I thought it was too salty and didn’t much care for it.

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The chocolate ones look like regular beignets, only they have a surprise in the middle.  I would call them “better than beignets.”

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Last CSA Share

I had tried to post this a few days ago but there must have been some glitch.  Anyway, the CSA I belong to had its last share of the winter season.  We got broccoli, cabbage, carrots, swiss chard, chickweed, kale, daikon radishes and a ton of sweet potatoes (not pictured).  Gorgeous produce, don’t you think?

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I roasted some of the broccoli and carrots.  Normally I steam veggies but I’ve been on an oven-baked kick lately.  Yum.

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Black Bean Sweet Potato Taco Bowls

I found another recipe for sweet potato black bean tacos.  For this one, the sweet potatoes, onion and garlic are cooked on the stove, instead of the oven.

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I wanted a one-dish dinner so I ended up cooking up a pot of brown basmati rice and putting everything together as a taco bowl, chopping up tortillas to add the “taco” flavor.  I used regular crema since I didn’t have any chipotle en adobo.

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Here’s everything mixed together, along with some lettuce.  Adding a “little bit of this and a little bit of that” made this pretty substantial and filling, and yummy.

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I realized recently that I cook mostly vegetarian now.  A lot of it is just convenience.  I don’t have to remember to thaw meat or cook something up before it goes bad.  When I go out to eat, I often order something with meat since I don’t have it much at home.

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Meatless Monday – Tortellini with Vodka Tomato Cream Sauce

I’m trying to use up a few things in the refrigerator, plus cook up some tortellini I got at Sam’s Club the other day.  I don’t remember where I got the original recipe for vodka tomato cream sauce, it was one of my favorites and one of those recipes I forget about, then wonder why don’t I cook it more often.  It’s pretty simple, saute onion and garlic, then add a can of tomatoes (the recipe calls for chopped up whole tomatoes but I finished off a can of fire-roasted diced tomatoes).  Cook it down a little then add half a cup of cream and two tablespoons of vodka.  I added some baby bella mushrooms too, along with the onions.  I had a craving for iceberg lettuce the other day, so that went into the salad.  DSCN4386

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Meatless Monday

No dinner tonight because I have some stomach bug with nausea & vomiting.  My husband had it and seems better so I’m hoping it is a 24 hour thing.

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Mushroom Wonton Soup

One of the books on my Christmas Wishlist was “The Heart of the Plate by Mollie Katzen.  I thought the plague had descended upon my house because last night my husband couldn’t keep down his dinner or even water.  He’s better today but I didn’t want to take any chances with anything too substantial for dinner.  And of course, I’ve been paranoid all day that whatever it was, I would get it.  So far, so good, knock on wood and all that.  It was a good day to try the recipe for Mushroom Wonton Soup.

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It’s basically mushrooms, onions, white wine or lemon juice, salt and garlic sauteed together, then put into wonton skins.  The recipe calls for just folding the wontons in half. I folded the ends together so I could fit more in the steamer.  I also used quartered eggroll wrappers, since that’s what was on hand.

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The wontons are steamed for 3 minutes, put into bowls, and broth is added.  The cookbook has a recipe for a ginger fennel stock, although it says vegetable stock can be used instead (which is what I used).  I added some ginger, garlic and spinach too, plus a splash of soy sauce and a dollop of Tabasco Hot & Spicy.  Perfect for a day like today.

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Chunky Lentil Soup with Parmesan

The weather is warmer today but there’s no sun so it feels colder.  Good day for soup.  I dug out an old recipe that had been a favorite but that I’d forgotten about, for Chunky Lentil Soup with Parmesan from Almost Vegetarian by Diana Shaw.  I threw in some extra veggies, like diced turnips and mushrooms.  For rice I used arborio.  And because I hate parsley, I made parmesan toasts instead.  The recipe makes a lot.I think the whole recipe is supposed to serve 4-6.  I made half and we have leftovers for at least two more meals.

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Meatless Monday – Potatoes with “Franch” dressing

I’ve been watching “Breaking Bad” and got to the episode with “Franch” dressing (French + Ranch = Franch).  I’ve been wanting to get back into eating more salad, so I thought I’d give it a try.  If I didn’t like it, at least I’d have Ranch and French dressings for the salad.  On TV it looked like the guy was eating chicken nuggets but others have said he is eating tater tots.  For dinner, I made oven fries, using Yukon Gold and sweet potatoes.  (We also had spinach salad with veggies, cheese, and sauteed baby Bella mushrooms.)

DSCN4310It was just fun to try.  As I was eating, I had an epiphany that it tasted like Cane Sauce from Raising Cane’s restaurant.  I looked up a faux recipe for Cane Sauce and the ingredients are very similar to homemade French Dressing and Ranch Dressing.  Actually I liked the “Franch” better because it has the vinegar from the French and the sour cream from the Ranch.

For lunch, I tried out my new grill press I got for Christmas.  (I had the pan but got the press part.)

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Last night I was thinking that my fridge and freezer are full but I have nothing to eat, so I’m back at trying to clean out what’s in there.  I made panini with leftover Trader Joe’s bruschetta sauce, spinach, mushrooms, and arugula.  Oops, there’s a learning curve here, I have to have the lid oriented the right way.  Warm sandwich on a cold, cold day was good, though.  Plus a taste of summer with bread and butter pickles made from cucumbers I got during the summer Farmer’s Market.

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Happy New Year!

I try not to be superstitious but today I tried to have as many New Year’s foods as possible.  For lunch we had ramen, since long noodles symbolize a long and healthy life.  For dinner, we had cornbread (symbolizes money because of its color), purple hull peas (humility and wealth) with ham (pork symbolizes progress), and collards & kale (money).  I grew up with Japanese New Years traditions, where practically everything on the table symbolized something.  Happy New Year, everyone.

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