cauliflower power

You’ll have to forgive me, it’s literally been almost a year since I last posted on here. Really, I post mostly for my own ability to find good recipes we’ve had when I am scrambling for dinner ideas at 5:05pm on a weekday after work. So maybe I will apologize to myself. I have a lot of great recipes we’ve discovered this past year that need to find their way on to this site. I am hoping to play some serious catch up. My second apology is for some of the pictures I am going to post (i.e. the one for this recipe) as the sun sets at like 4:30 these days, so lovely, naturally lit pictures are out until the next time change. Oh well.

This recipe is one I found in my real simple magazine after we spent New Year’s Eve cleaning out our pantry (no lie, it was 10pm and being the crazy party animals we are, we were chucking half our pantry to rid ourselves of expired and unhealthy items). Hidden in the depths of the third shelf was a glorious stash of quinoa that I had no idea was back there, so I have been using the opportunity to try out new recipes using what we already have. This was a really simple, delicious dinner that looks so pretty with out all the effort. In our house it was even easier as a team effort–hubby out on his new birthday grill using his deeply ingrained man-tuition to grill the steaks to perfection (he’s surprisingly good for not having had a grill until a few months ago). Now, the real jewel in this recipe is the pureed cauliflower. I always hear about people trying to replace potatoes with cauliflower and I have never been convinced–until now. It was just like mashed potatoes, it was kind of amazing. I cheated with this recipe a little—I used a bag of “steam fresh” frozen lightly seasoned garlic cauliflower, and it was so flavorful. I also cooked the quinoa my traditional way, as the first time I followed the recipe it was a little crunchy and under done. A few other minor tweaks and this is now a go-to meal for us. It really only takes about 15-20 mins to make, and it’s a good healthy meal for two (multiply the recipe as needed to fit your family size). Continue reading “cauliflower power”

my first meatball

 

So somehow I have gone my whole cooking “life” without ever making a meatball. It has literally never even crossed my mind. Strange, huh? I’ve had loads of delicious bbq meatballs at parties on toothpicks and loved them and never thought to ask for the recipe. And if I ever wanted spaghetti and meatball(s) I’d call up the road for some take out with a big bowl of garlic knots (yum! and I put the ‘s’ in parentheses because that wonderful place does one BIG meatball….mmm…). So after 3 days of having a fever and eating ‘cup of noodle’ 3 meals a day (ironically while watching a marathon of Worst Cooks in America BTW…woops…) I decided it was the time to treat my sweet hubs and myself to some real food courtesy of my own personal chef  slow cooker.

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robust, a must!

Lasagna is quite a varying food. There is the frozen kind (“homemade”), the basic ricotta-and-marinara-from-a-jar lay up, the extreme homemade-noodles-sauce-and-expensive-cheeses, and then variations in between (see my white mushroom lasagna and then make it and die happy). This recipe is from the all hailed Pioneer Woman, and you can bet anything out of her kitchen is going to be good. This recipe is so unique in that it is one of the most hearty, robust, flavorful lasagnas I have ever tasted—the kind that makes you want to hide away on the couch with a bowl full and watch the snow come down (says the Floridian-ha!). It comes across as a complex recipe that I would never make on my own because its too much work. BUT the amazing thing is that this recipe uses every short cut and canned item it can, much to the dismay of many food snobs. But all the reviews speak loud—all the chefs were skeptical, even wagged a finger or two but admitted in the end that it is truly a spectacular lasagna. And THAT is my kind of lasagna (also it filled my 9×13 dangerously to the brim so it will feed a lot of people or last for quite a few meals).

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a teeny zucchini

Zucchini isn’t a big part of our lives. Not purposefully, but somehow it just never comes up and I’m not sure it’s the kind of food you get a craving for. Well, until now. Most meals with the word “stuffed” in it tend to make it on this list—the “hey we haven’t had THAT in a while” list that has often surfaces when we’re in a pinch at 5:45. Starving and confused. A dangerous time to hit the grocery stores, by the way (how did 3 boxes of nutter butters get in our cart??). This recipe was as easy as your classic stuffed pepper but with less of a southwestern twist. The flavors are hearty with cumin and a little chili powder lending it a robust flavor that goes great on the zucchini base. The feta and tomatoes add a fresh, light flavor. Pair with some brown or white rice and enjoy a new, healthy and inexpensive  meal that packs flavor and will feed your family all week long.

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chili with a twist

I was so pumped when I found another way to eat quinoa. It’s delicious and packed with so many good things (see my post ‘whoa quinoa’). And it adds a great texture to chili, making it wonderfully thick and hearty. There is nothing bad about this recipe—its got quinoa, lean ground beef, and an assortment of veggies. Use ground turkey if you like for an even healthier option. And my husband and I got a week’s worth of dinner out of this meal, a side of yummy honey cornbread. It is a filling and inexpensive meal, simple to make, and a great addition to your New Year’s resolution to eat awesome healthier food.

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the most in your roast

I don’t know how I did it, but until recently I had never made pot roast. I have eaten it plenty, it’s always the dish of choice when we are invited over to eat at someone’s house and it’s always well loved for it’s ease and almost foolproof assembly. Whether you add a little or a lot, it will always be good. And boy is it the perfect meal for a chilly day. I love coming home after work to find that those slow cooker fairies have done it again—filled my home with a wonderful, savory smell and prepared a delicious meal that I’m sure I couldn’t have made on my own. This version is my own mix and match from several different recipes and friends. It packs a lot of flavor easily with a few packets from the condiment aisle—-it really makes a difference for bringing it up a notch from a traditional style. Throw it all together in the morning and by the end of a long work day you have yourself a wonderful, welcoming meal that is served best with a blanket and a good movie. This will stay on our favorites list for a long time, I just wish we had chillier weather to enjoy it with more frequently.

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enchilada? you gotta!

As I’m sure you can tell from the picture, this isn’t your typical enchilada. Instead of the classic red sauce, there is this creamy white sauce that is too delicious for me to describe to you. I was skeptical when I read through the recipe as soon as I saw the words “mozzarella cheese”. Mozzerella? Rarely do my italian cheeses meander south of the border. I think that’s what makes these so special–the creamy sauce is indistinguishable. Others may not know what’s in it (yogurt!), and they won’t care.  We love these with quinoa–recipe posted on the site as well–as the sauce gets all over everything and well…you won’t hear me complaining. This recipe makes 6 enchiladas, which is 3 meals for my hubby and me. It’s inexpensive and is even better as leftovers, if you ask me.

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