Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Wednesday night = slow cooker night

Wednesdays we are out through early evening, so by the time we get home everyone is starving. I have a short window of time around 2:30 or 3pm, so that's when I get dinner into my slow cooker. Most of the recipes in my repertoire seem to only need three to four hours, so this works out well.

Tonight I wanted to make a healthy and yummy soup that is usually made stovetop, but I realized how ridiculous it would be to rush to make it, let it cool, put in the fridge, and then reheat a few hours later. So I decided to see if it would adapt to the slow cooker. And good news, it did!

Here is my modified version of
Garlic-Infused Broccoli Soup with Ditalini, from the Washington Post

one small onion
one medium carrot, or a handful of baby carrots
two large broccoli crowns
a few cloves of garlic (I use a jar and just scoop some out)

Throw all of this into your slow cooker, and stir in 6 c of chicken or veggie stock.

Set to cook on high for three hours.

In the meantime, cook up 6 oz of ditalini. Put this in the fridge.

When you get home, use an immersion blender to puree the soup about halfway so it is still chunky. Stir in the pasta; add salt and pepper and enjoy!

This soup is delicious with grated Parmesan on top. This evening, we skipped that because I set out some sliced pumpernickel and a cheese plate, along with some melon.

Monday, January 26, 2015

I haven't posted in a while because honestly, I have grown weary of scrubbing my muffin tins. Especially when I've made anything savory involving eggs or cheese...I confess I am tempted to throw the pan away rather than spend twenty minutes sweating over the sink.

But that doesn't mean I haven't been baking or cooking. Au contraire, food seems to be my sole creative outlet these days, so I do pour myself into making (and eating!) it. So while I do not expect anyone to follow this blog, I will start using it as a food journal for my own purposes, a way to document projects that are successful enough to make again.

Here is what I am cooking this week.

Many moons ago, my mom clipped and sent me a recipe from Cooking Light. This was so long ago that I cannot even dredge up the recipe from their online database, but I am fortunate enough to have it in my beloved recipe binder.

The recipe sat untested for years, until a few months ago, when looking for different ways to use the CSA veggies I picked up each week, I gave it a try.

Why did I wait so long?? This casserole is just delicious. It's not the quickest fix, but it will last you a few days and reheats well. I made it again yesterday to bring to dinner at a friend's home. Even my daughter's best friend pronounced it "actually pretty good!" - high praise coming from a ten year old.

Yellow Squash Gratin, from Cooking Light
makes 8 servings

cooking spray
2 c chopped onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
12 c yellow squash, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/4" slices (about 3 lbs)  - I didn't use this much; recipe is very forgiving.
1/2 c chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 1/2 t salt
1/2 t thyme
1/2 t black pepper
3 c cooked long-grain rice
3/4 c grated Gruyere or Swiss cheese
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 slice white bread
1/4 c grated Parmesan cheese
1 T butter, melted

Heat a dutch oven coated with cooking spray or a bit of oil over med hi heat. Sauté onion for five minutes or till tender. Add garlic, sauté 30 seconds. Add squash, sauté 7 minutes or just till tender.

Remove from heat; stir in parsley, salt, thyme and pepper. Add rice, Gruyere, and eggs, stirring until combined.

Spoon mixture into 13x9" baking dish coated with cooking spray.

Place bread in food processor and pulse till you have fine crumbs. Combine with Parmesan and melted butter. Sprinkle over casserole.

Bake at 375 for 30 minutes or till lightly browned. Let stand five minutes before serving.

Super Easy French Onion Soup

I don't eat red meat, but as my family loves it I try to accommodate their cravings without ruining the meal with my lack of expertise. Over the weekend, I sliced up a bagful of onions, tossed them in the slow cooker with a drizzle of olive oil, some salt and a splash of balsamic vinegar, and let the whole thing sit on low overnight. We woke to the delicious smell of caramelized onions with very little effort. Over the course of the weekend, my husband and daughter enjoyed bowl after bowl of French Onion Soup.

Scoop some of the slow-cooked onions into a broiler-safe bowl. Pour beef broth over. At this point I heated the soup in the microwave for about 30 seconds, just to ensure that it would be heated all the way through.

Tear up a slice of bakery bread, add to the bowl, and top with a generous sprinkle of shredded Swiss and/or Gruyere cheeses. Place under the broiler for five minutes and enjoy!

Side note: I did squirrel away a portion of onions for this evening's steak sandwich dinner. Hopefully I won't overcook the meat for those, and my carnivores will enjoy the onions again, along with marinara and provolone on subs rolls. (I will have an eggplant sub!)