January 21, 2018

Harvest Veggie Soup

Well, we are certainly into full-blown Fall around here!  (How about where you live?)  The brightly colored foliage is fading fast…and the leaves are falling almost faster!  Piles of leaves are on the curbs, our sweaters are unpacked, almost everyone is wearing socks (except me…i still am scooting around in my Birkenstocks! But not for long!)   And we are enjoying soup a few times each week.  One pot of soup that we have enjoyed a few times already is this  Harvest Veggie Soup, full of veggies and grated apples…very yummy.   It is a slightly sweet soup, very satisfying and filling.  I choose to make it vegan/vegetarian but it could easily be made with chicken broth, too.  This would make a great addition to your own menu when you have vegans, vegetarians, and meat-eaters ? sharing a meal together.

Here on our Monday installment of At Home w/ GCH, we have been featuring recipes which included Fall in-season fruits and veggies.  This week, our recipe features a few: apples, cauliflower, and (surprise!) butternut squash.  This week’s recipe fits into our healthy but-oh-so-yummy! category since it is really yummy (did I mention that before?), extremely low in fat, and full of delicious, nutritious vegetables.  Enjoy!

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Harvest Veggie Soup

ingredients:
2 butternut squash
1 large head of cauliflower
2 tablespoons coconut or olive oil
sea salt, freshly ground pepper
1 sweet onion, diced small
1 additional teaspoon olive oil
2-3 tablespoons chopped garlic
2 quarts of vegetable stock
2-3 peeled apples, grated
1 can coconut milk (shake well!)

optional toppings:
cooked, crumbled bacon
sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
shredded sharp cheese
chopped avocado
sprinkle of cinnamon (try it!)

directions:

  • preheat oven to 425; line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper
  • peel the butternut squash; scoop out the seeds and strings and cut up into 2″ chunks.  set aside in a very large bowl
  • cut up the cauliflower into smallish-size florets; add to bowl
  • pour in oil and season veggies with s&p.  stir together well, pour out onto a baking sheet and roast for 20-25 minutes
  • meanwhile, in a large stockpot, saute onion along with 1 teaspoon olive oil over medium high heat for 5 minutes or so; reduce heat to low and add in chopped garlic, stirring constantly for 1 minute
  • pour in the stock; add additional s&p to taste and allow to simmer gently
  • when the veggies in the oven are done roasting, remove from oven and immediately pour into the stockpot; stir well to combine.  allow to simmer for 20 minutes or so, adjusting heat if necessary
  • when done, scoop out about 1/2 of the veggies and use an immersion blender to puree what is left in the stockpot.  (This could also be mashed, or pureed, very carefully,  in a standard blender in batches.)  taste (be careful…it’s hot!) for additional seasoning, and add back in the reserved veggies
  • add the grated apple and pour in the coconut milk; stir well.  done!
  • optional toppings can be added to each individual bowl of soup

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

God loves you!    (Don’t ever forget that!)

♥  coleen

Sweet&Spicy Turnips and Squash

Turnips…do you love ‘em? I do! Whether it’s my Dad’s always delicious, traditional mashed turnips and carrots, or a puree of turnips with butter and brown sugar (I know, I know…), or chunks of turnips in a stew—they are yummy and satisfying. But recently I was looking to do something different with these guys.

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Roasted along with my stand-by fav veggie—butternut squash—they turned out great. A tiny bit sweet, and a little spicy…I believe that fits in nicely with our healthy but oh-so-yummy POV. And, I am thinking they will show up on our Thanksgiving table in a few weeks!  Enjoy.

2015-10-26 13.09.36

Sweet&Spicy Turnips and Squash

ingredients:

1# turnips, peeled
1 small butternut squash (about 1+1/2 – 2#), peeled and seeded
2-3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 small red onion, halved and sliced
2 tablespoons molasses (or 100% pure maple syrup)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon each nutmeg, ground cloves, star anise Chinese five-spice powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

directions:

  • preheat to 450; generously line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper
  • slice turnips in half and then into 1/2# slices; slice butternut crosswise into 3/4″ X 3/4″ sized pieces
  • toss together with oil, s&p in a large bowl until well coated
  • pour onto lined baking sheet and spread out into an even layer (set the bowl aside; don’t wash it just yet!)
  • roast the veggie for 10 minutes. carefully pour back into the bowl (I simply picked up the parchment paper by the edges…don’t worry…it will not burn you.)
  • add in the onions and spices; stir gently to combine. then pour the molasses all around and give another stir to coat thoroughly
  • pour the coated veggies back onto the lined baking sheet
  • return to oven for 20 or so more minutes (give a quick stir about halfway through) ‘til tender
  • sprinkle with additional sea salt before serving

♥   ♥   ♥   ♥   ♥

God loves you!  ♥  (Don’t ever forget that!)

♥  coleen

Spiced Chicken&Butternut in the Slow Cooker

Show of hands…who is thankful for their CrockPot (or slow cooker)?  Meeee…I am, too! And do you find that you use it more in the cold weather months than in the summertime? I do…not quite sure why.  Around the start of autumn, my slow cooker finds it’s way onto the countertop…and usually stays there for quite awhile. Ready to be used for something yummy, whether it’s a batch of apple (or pear!!!) sauce, or some variation of chili, or soup (of course!).  Hey!  What is the best thing that comes out of your slow cooker?  (Leave your answer below in the comments, please!)  Here are a few links that will give you hints and tips as to how to use the slow cooker to your best advantage.

7 Tricks for Better Slow Cooking in your Crockpot

Back to Basics: How to Use a Slow Cooker

Stockpiling Moms: CrockPot Hints and Tips

And here are a few of mine, too….

  • I find that mushrooms get quite mushy if cooked very long in the slow cooker. So I saute them early on and keep in the refrigerator ‘til 30-45 minutes until your food is finished cooking. Toss them in and give everything a good stir.
  • Today’s slow cookers are much more efficient than earlier models. No longer do I put together a meal in my slow cooker early on and let it cook all day long. Now, usually 4-5 hours before suppertime, I will layer everything in and let it start cooking.  Most often I set it on high for 1 hour and then 3-4 hours on low.
  • Keep the lid on!  I’ve read that every time you take the lid off, you add 15 minutes of cooking time!
  • Aspire to attain a programmable slow cooker.  (I’m still working on this!)

This recipe makes enough for 6 generous servings.  And with the yummy, thick ‘sauce’ made by pureeing the veggies there is no need to thicken with flour or sour cream!  This fits in perfectly with our healthy but oh-so-yummy POV!  Enjoy!

Spiced Chicken and Butternut Squash

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ingredients:

2# boneless chicken breast or thighs, cut into large pieces
1/2 large (3# or so) butternut squash, peeled and cut into large cubes
1 large sweet onion, sliced
3 large carrots, cut into large chunks
1 cup chicken broth
1 can coconut milk
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon garam masala seasoning
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 (10 ounce) package of baby bella mushrooms, wiped clean and cut into quarters
1 (10 ounce) bag frozen petite peas, defrosted

2 cups basmati or jasmine rice (when prepared this equals 4 cups)

directions:

  • mix together the spices and liquids; pour into slow cooker
  • turn slow cooker on ‘high’ at this point
  • add (in this order) the butternut squash, onions, carrots, and chicken pieces
  • cover and allow to cook on high for one hour
  • turn knob to low, and cook for 3-4 additional hours
  • don’t forget to toss in the mushrooms towards the end of cooking time

finishing and serving

  • about 15 minutes before you would like to serve, place all of the cooked chicken and about 1/2 of the veggies into a large serving dish
  • use an immersion blender* to carefully puree the rest of the veggies together with the liquid right in the slow cooker bowl
  • taste for seasoning, adding salt&pepper if necessary
  • stir in the defrosted peas
  • pour this ‘sauce’ right over the set aside chicken & veggies

* you can also use a blender, CAREFULLY pureeing the veggies and liquid in small batches.

♥   ♥   ♥   ♥   ♥

God loves you!  ♥  (Don’t ever forget that!)

♥  coleen

Creamy Butternut Casserole

Yes, yes…that does say ‘butternut squash.’ I know, I know…a fall vegetable. But please indulge me! You know my love for butternut…and they had some beauties at the grocery store…and so I just HAD to buy just one more! And then I remembered that I had found a casserole recipe in an older (1994) little recipe book that I came across awhile back. The following has been adapted from the original.

This makes for a great meatless meal! Or perhaps you could cook up some chops or chicken breast to serve alongside for the meat-eaters. This casserole fits in so well with our healthy but oh-so-yummy POV, too! And, while butternut squash is a bit more carb-heavy than some other veggies, balanced out with the fiber and protein contained in it, makes for a great option for those of us keeping our carbs in check. Here is some nutritional info.  Oh!  And this would be an excellent use for Dana’s recipe for Homemade Ricotta!

I would strongly suggest using a food processor to shred this much butternut…or you could work on your upper arm muscles!  I did shred a bit using the largest holes on my handheld grater; so it does work!

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This is a dish with a lot of texture…this is NOT your gramma’s pureed butternut squash casserole traditionally served at Thanksgiving dinner! Try it, I do think that you will thoroughly enjoy it!

And, buh-bye, butternut squash…see you in the Fall!

Creamy Butternut Casserole

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(makes approximately 10 side dish servings)

ingredients:
5 cups peeled and shredded butternut squash
juice of 2 lemons, approximately 1/4 cup *see tip
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup craisins
1 large mango, cut into small cubes
1 (15 ounce) container ricotta cheese
2 medium eggs
1 (5 ounce) container plain Greek yogurt (or sour cream)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon2014-05-18 19.43.55
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg (fresh is best!)
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom (optional)
LOTS of kosher salt and freshly ground pepper (I used lemon pepper)
1/2 cup shredded flavorful cheese (I used provolone)

directions:

  • preheat oven to 375
  • lightly grease an 11 inch x 7 inch (2 quart size) baking dish
  • in a large bowl, toss shredded squash with lemon juice. put half in the bottom of the baking dish
  • sprinkle the fruits over the top of the shredded butternut
  • in a separate bowl, lightly beat the eggs and then combine with the ricotta, yogurt, spices and a generous amount of salt and pepper (this is a dish that requires seasoning!)
  • spread the ricotta mixture over the top of the shredded squash in the baking dish
  • add the remaining squash, spreading evenly over the dish
  • cover TIGHTLY with foil (this will steam the butternut)
  • bake at 375° for 30 minutes
  • remove from oven, stir thoroughly, recover and return to oven for 15 minutes
  • remove foil and sprinkle the top with the shredded cheese (if you are using); bake for an additional 10 minutes
  • allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving

*tip: to get the most juice out of a lemon, heat in microwave for 15 seconds on 50% power. Then place on your countertop and roll back and forth ‘til it gets a little ‘squishy’. Cut in half (keep all the juice!) and squeeze into a measuring cup.

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

God loves you!  ♥  (Don’t ever forget that!)

♥  coleen

The Five B’s: Butternut, Brussels Sprouts, Baby Bellas, Bacon, and Balsamic

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Raise your hand, please, if you—like me—are planning out and testing recipes to serve at your Thanksgiving Day meal!  Over the next few weeks, both here on the blog and also over in our FaceBook GCH-Fellowship page, we will be chatting about recipes for the big feast.  Last Friday, Dana shared that “…it is always good to have a couple of side dish recipes in mind.”  She gave us her recipe for a delicious-looking side dish salad here on the At Home with GCH blog.

So today I am giving you a recipe entitled The Five B’s: bacon (yum!), butternut (oh, yum!), brussels sprouts (yumm-o!), baby bellas (yum-yum!) and balsamic (yummy!)….silly, I know.  But seriously, consider trying this as a side dish for your Thanksgiving feast!  Easy to prepare (the veggies can be prepped the day before).  And the prepared dish can be popped into the oven the moment you take the bird out!  It will be done and piping hot when your bird has finished resting and been carved.  This dish definitely fits into our healthy but oh-so-yummy point of view!  Enjoy!

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Five B’s: Butternut, Brussels Sprouts, Baby Bellas, Bacon and Balsamic

Ingredients:

3-4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2# thickly sliced bacon, chopped
1+1/2# Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
1 medium-large butternut squash, cleaned and cubed
8 ounce container Baby Bellas, cleaned and quartered
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons maple syrup (the REAL stuff, please!)
1+1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
pinch fresh grated nutmeg

Preparation:

  • Preheat oven to 400.
  • In a medium-sized saute pan, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Add the chopped bacon and cook 8-10 minutes ‘til crispy. Lay out on a paper towel to drain; set aside.
  • Lightly oil a large sheet pan (or two!) with olive oil.
  • In a very large bowl, or stockpot, pour in the prepared veggies…Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, Baby Bella mushrooms…along with 1-2 tablespoons olive oil; stir well to evenly disperse the oil and season well with salt & pepper.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together balsamic vinegar, additional 1 tablespoon olive oil, and maple syrup. Drizzle this mixture over the vegetables and toss so that they are evenly coated.
  • Spread out vegetables in a single layer (very important!) in the pan(s); sprinkle with salt, pepper, allspice and nutmeg.
  • Roast in the oven for about 20 minutes; carefully remove pan(s) stir and flip over the veggies so that the other side can caramelize. Place back in over and continue to cook for an additional 10-15 minutes or ‘til the veggies are slightly brown and caramelized.
  • Remove from oven and, just before serving, top with crumbled bacon

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

God loves you ♥  (Don’t ever forget that!)

♥  coleen

Roasted B, B, and B Topping

Ok, so what do you do when your sister food-blogger posts EXACTLY the same recipe you were going to post?  Well, first you tell her how good hers looked (check it out) then you scurry to the refrigerator to see what else you can throw together!

As promised, we are focusing on Fall in-season fruits and veggies for a few weeks.  This week, we have a Roasted ButternutBrussels SproutsBeet recipe.  We enjoyed this topping a salad with goat cheese and candied nuts.   This recipe makes enough for some leftovers, perfect for a Roasted Veggie Lasagna!  Perhaps you might want to try it as a pizza topping, or over pasta or rice.  Enjoy!

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Roasted Butternut Squash, Brussels Sprouts, and Beets

Ingredients:2013-10-04 19.36.19
1/2 large Butternut squash, peeled
1 medium sweet onion, peeled
1 bunch beets (3-5) peeled
6-8 ounces Brussels sprouts
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper

optional:
3-4 tablespoons candied walnuts *
2 links fully-cooked chicken sausage
3 ounces herbed goat cheese

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 425.
  • Cut squash and beets into 1″ cubes.
  • Cut off end of each Brussels sprout and any leaves that are brown or dry.  If large, halve lengthwise.
  • Cut onion in half around the middle, and then slice into half-moons.
  • In a large bowl, combine squash, sprouts, and onions; drizzle 2 tablespoons olive oil over them, season well and stir to evenly distribute the oil among the veggies.
  • Pour onto 2 rimmed baking sheets.
  • Now pour the cubed beets into the bowl adding up to 1 tablespoon additional olive oil, if necessary.  Add the beets to one area of one baking sheet; this will keep the beets from ‘bleeding’ onto the other veggies.
  • Roast for 15-20 minutes or ‘til the veggies begin to caramelize.
  • Remove from oven, stir well turning pieces over, if possible.
  • Roast for an additional 15 minutes or ‘til the other side begins to caramelize.
  • Test with a knife tip to make sure veggies are cooked through.  Allow to cool.

* Candied Walnuts
1 cup apple cider
3 tablespoons coconut sugar
pinch of sea salt
1 cup raw walnuts

  • Bring apple cider to a boil in a small saucepan; turn down heat but keep at a good simmer.  Let reduce by ½.
  • Lower heat, and add sugar stirring ‘til dissolved.  Add salt and walnuts; stir well.
  • Continue to cook at a low simmer, stirring constantly ‘til liquid is almost evaporated.
  • Remove from heat; pour onto a small plate and allow to harden.

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

God loves you!  ♥  (Don’t ever forget that!)

♥  coleen

Butternut Squash-Sausage Soup

♪♬  It’s the most wonderful time of the year!  ♬♪  Yes, I know…that’s a song you might sing during the Christmas holiday season…but for me AUTUMN is the most wonderful time of the year!  The weather is delightful…back to sleeping with the windows open a crack, and we get to break out our beautiful sweaters!  And some of my favorite ingredients to cook and bake with are in-season: pumpkin, apples, cider, pears, cranberries, butternut squash (ok…all the winter squashes!), cauliflower, brussel sprouts, kale!

For the next few weeks, our Monday blog here on At Home w/ GCH will focus on these ingredients while keeping to our healthy but oh-so-yummy! point of view.

Today’s recipe is also our first soup of the season…Butternut Squash-Sausage Soup.  Here’s a link showing the incredible nutritional value of butternut squash.  This recipe remain within our healthy but oh-so-yummy parameters as it is l-o-a-ded with veggies and, while very smooth and  creamy, contains not a speck of butter or sour cream or cheese.  Enjoy!

Butternut Squash-Sausage Soup

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Ingredients:
1 butternut squash, 3#2013-09-27 16.59.05
2-3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2# italian turkey sausage, removed from casings
1/2# ground chicken (or turkey)
1 large sweet onion
6-8 ounces Baby Bella mushrooms
1 red or yellow bell pepper
3-4 tablespoons chopped garlic
kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon each: dried sage, marjoram, and basil
8 cups chicken broth
1 can of white beans, drained and rinsed

 

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 425.
  • Cut and peel butternut squash; dice into 2″ pieces. Place in a large bowl with 2 tablespoons olive oil; liberally season with salt & pepper.  Stir until well-coated.  Pour onto a large baking sheet lined with foil and roast for 10 minutes.  Stir and flip pieces over.  Roast for an additional 10 minutes.  Remove from oven, and set aside.
  • While the butternut squash is roasting, saute meats together in a large frypan, allowing them to brown just a bit.  Use the edge of a wooden spoon (or a potato masher) to break pieces up as they cook into smaller pieces.  Remove to a bowl, leaving the juices in the pan.
  • Dice the onion, the pepper, and the mushrooms into similar-sized pieces, approximately 1+1/2″.  Add the onion to the frypan and saute for 5 minutes on medium-high heat, stirring occasionally.  Then add the mushrooms.  Cook for another 5 minutes; allow the veggies to begin to caramelize.  Add in the peppers; cook for an additional 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Finally add the chopped garlic and the seasonings, cook for 1 minute stirring constantly.
  • Pour in the chicken broth, stir, and bring to a boil.  Add the roasted butternut squash and the beans.  Reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Scoop out about 1+1/2 cups of the chunkier pieces; set aside.
  • With a hand-held immersion blender * carefully puree the soup (or in batches in a countertop blender).
  • Add in the cooked meats plus the veggies you put aside.  Stir all well together, and simmer for 5-10 additional minutes.  Taste (carefully!) for additional seasoning.

* Note: I simply love my immersion blender (we own the Oster 3-in-1)!  I use it almost every day.  It is so handy for many simple, quick blending jobs…even for smoothies or milkshakes.  The best part—it is extremely easy to clean and most often is used right in the cooking pot you are using…not dirtying yet another thing to wash up!   A good quality immersion blender can be purchased for around $25.

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

God loves you!  ♥  (Don’t ever forget that!)

♥  coleen

At Home with GCH: Mac and Cheese

Here on our At Home with GCH blog, Mondays are always focused on healthy but oh-so-yummy! recipes.  This week we are going to bake a yummy mac and cheese that is loaded with veggies, and low on the calories by reducing the amount of cheese.

macncheese

Mac and Cheese. C’mon, who does not like Mac and Cheese?  I read a poll, and Mac and Cheese was voted overwhelmingly as ‘favorite comfort food!’  Now I am hoping that your favorite version does NOT come out of a blue box 😉 but, if it does, perhaps you might consider my recipe and see if it does not convince you to try it instead of the blue box version in the future. 🙂 

This version of Mac & Cheese has lots of veggies snuck in there.  Some of the pasta is made with pureed carrots and tomatoes, and there is butternut squash throughout the cheese sauce.  I love this because it makes the cheese sauce even more colorful (ORANGE)  causing the eaters to ‘think’ it is more cheesy!  Also, there is only 6-ounces of shredded cheese in the whole dish which helps to keep this recipe in our ‘healthy-but-oh-so-yummy!’ category.

Have you ever made a white, or bechamel, sauce?  Well, today you will!  It is very easy, and a great technique to add to your repertoire!  In a future post, I will share some recipes that need a white sauce, and by then you will be a pro at making it!

The following recipe makes an abundantly filled 9×13 pan…enough to feed 6-8 hungry folks, )or, if you have a husband who LOVES leftovers like mine does, lunch for 2-3 days.)  This recipe is easily doubled, and I always make a double batch.  A menu suggestion:  Mac & Cheese, steamed broccoli, grilled ham steak.  A big, delicious salad is often our only accompaniment.

Macaroni:
1#box small macaroni (shells, penne)
12oz box veggie pasta (i used penne made with carrots and tomato) *2012-11-03 19.21.38

Cheese Sauce:
1/2 small onion, diced
2T butter
2T flour
1c 2 percent milk
1c chicken or vegetable broth
2 (10-ounce) packages frozen pureed winter squash, thawed
1/2c part-skim ricotta cheese
4oz sharp Cheddar, shredded (about 1+1/3c)
2oz Monterey jack cheese, shredded (about 2/3c)
1tsp salt, 1 tsp fresh ground pepper
1tsp ground (dry) mustard

Topping:
2 slices stale bread, crumbled into fine crumbs
2T freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1tsp olive oil

Preheat your oven to 375.  Coat a 9 by 13-inch baking pan with a small amount of  butter.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil; add 1 tsp of salt and the macaroni; cook  according to package directions.  Drain in a colander and place back into the cooled pot (this is where you will mix the macaroni and all that cheesy goodness together!)

Meanwhile, over medium heat, melt the butter in a medium saucepan, adding the  diced onion. cook ‘til the onion is soft and translucent, approximately 5 minutes.  Then sprinkle the flour over the cooked onion and, using a whisk, stir constantly for one minute.  Adjust the heat to very low, and cook for 2-3 minutes to get the starchy taste out of the mixture.  Do not let the mixture brown.   Increase the heat back to  medium and immediately slowly pour in 1/4 cup or so of milk while whisking briskly.  Just keep stirring!  As this is absorbed, continue to slowly add the balance of the  milk in a steady stream, followed by the broth; stirring constantly as the liquid  becomes absorbed.  This will take about 3 minutes.  Adjust the heat lower again and  let this mixture simmer slowly for another 5  minutes, stirring occasionally.  (You  have now made a white, or bechamel, sauce; congratulations!!!)  At this point, add in the thawed  butternut squash, stirring ‘til it is incorporated, allowing the mixture to come back  to a simmer.  Remove the saucepan from the heat.  Stir in the ricotta, and the  other cheeses, along with the ground mustard, and salt & pepper.  Carefully taste (it’s hot!) the  cheese sauce, adjusting for seasoning.

2012-11-03 20.00.28

Pour cheese mixture over the macaroni in the large pot and stir gently to combine.  Transfer the macaroni and cheese to the 9×13 baking dish and bake for 20 minutes.  Remove from oven.  Adjust the top rack in the oven to a higher position, and turn  the broiler on.  Combine bread crumbs, parmesan cheese and oil in a small bowl.  Mix with your fingers; get a little messy!  Then sprinkle over the top of the cooked mac and cheese.  Carefully place the baking dish back in the oven and broil for 3  minutes.  Keep your eye on it; you want the breadcrumbs to brown but not burn and  for some of the macaroni to get just a little crispy (my husband loves that part!).  Again, carefully remove from the oven…and you are ready to serve!

*Here is a link to the type of veggie macaroni I used.  Check it out!
http://barilla.com/content/prodottobarilla/veggie-penne-freshly-pureed-tomatoes-and-carrots

 

God loves you!  ♥  (Don’t ever forget that!)

  coleen

*****

If you would like to send a personal message to Coleen, in regards to this blog, please email her at: Coleen@girlfriendscoffeehour.com.

 

GCH: What’s on Your Plate? – Moroccan Vegetable Stew

Let me start off by saying, I have NO idea if this stew actually has anything to do with Morocco. That’s what my Mom called it, and since I never saw the recipe written down, I took her word on it and the name stuck. Apologies if you are of Moroccan descent and you don’t recognize this as something you would ever eat!

Whatever you end up calling this, the fact remains that a simple vegetable stew is always a welcome dinner at our house, especially in the fall. The combination of lentils and butternut squash gets all soft and earthy-sweet, while the green beans add texture. The only things besides veggies are chicken broth (or vegetable broth, if you are vegan) and Madras curry paste.

A quick note about curry (and next week I’ll get into more depth): curry comes from the Indian word “kari”, which simply means “sauce”. There is no one kind of curry – rather, there are hundreds of variations, and you can buy prepared curry in powder, paste, or sauce form. In this recipe, I use Madras curry paste, which is pretty mellow and has a good balance of tangy, spicy, and a little sour. Feel free to use any curry powder or paste you like, but not Thai curry, since most of that is coconut-based.

As far as the veggies you use, feel free to add, subtract, or substitute here. I think diced carrots or tiny cauliflower florets would be good, and you could double up on the tomatoes if you wanted to. If you don’t like lentils, try it with a can of chickpeas instead. Have fun with it!

.
Moroccan Vegetable Stew

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 small butternut squash, or 1 pound fresh butternut squash chunks, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 cup lentils, any kind (I used red, but brown or french green work well too)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 large potato, any kind, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 14-oz. can tomatoes (I like fire-roasted, but any diced tomatoes work)
  • 1 32-oz. carton chicken broth
  • 1 heaping tablespoon Madras curry paste (if using curry powder, use 2 tablespoons)
  • 12 oz. fresh green beans (or frozen) cut into 1-inch pieces
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Prepare the squash: cut off the peel, remove the seeds, and chop into bite-sized pieces. In a large pot with a lid, heat the vegetable oil, then sauté the squash, onion, and potato for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the lentils and stir to combine, then stir in the tomatoes. Cover with chicken broth – about 1 – 2 cups, just level with the top of the vegetables. Turn the heat to low and let simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Stir in the curry paste and green beans. Make sure the curry gets broken up and doesn’t sink to the bottom of the pot! Add more broth if you need to. Cover and let cook until green beans are just done – you want them to be al dente – about 15 – 25 minutes. If you are using frozen green beans, stir them in frozen, but only cook for 5 or 10 minutes – they shouldn’t be mushy.
  4. Taste for salt and pepper. Add more curry if you like!

If you are a vegetarian, or are making this for Meatless Mondays, serve it with bread and some sliced fruit. You could also make it a side dish, with grilled chicken and a salad. And like most stews, this is even better the next day!

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— Dana Kim (also blogs as the Maven of Make-Do at http://frugalgirlmet.blogspot.com)

GCH:What’s on Your Plate? – Mac and Cheese

Coleen’s Mac & Cheese

Mac and Cheese.  C’mon, who does not like mac and cheese?  I read a poll, and Mac and Cheese was voted overwhelmingly as ‘favorite comfort food!’  Now I am hoping that your favorite version doesn’t come out of a blue box. 😉   But, if it does, perhaps you might try my version and see if it does not convince you to try it versus the blue box, in the future.

This version of Mac & Cheese has lots of veggies hidden in there.  Some of the pasta is made with pureed carrots and tomatoes, and there is butternut squash throughout the cheese sauce.  I love this because it makes the cheese sauce even more colorful causing the eaters to ‘think’ it is more cheesy!  Also, there is only 6 ounces of shredded cheese in the whole dish which helps to ‘healthify’ this recipe.

Have you ever made a white, or Bechamel, sauce?  Well, today you will!  It is very easy, and a great technique to add to your repertoire!  In a future post, I will share some recipes that need a white sauce and by then you will be a pro at making it!

The following recipe makes an abundantly filled 9×13 pan…enough to feed 6-8 hungry folks.  (or, if you have a husband who LOVES leftovers like mine, lunch for 2-3 days.)  This recipe is easily doubled, and I always make a double batch.  A menu suggestion: M&C, steamed broccoli, grilled ham steak.  a big, delicious salad is often our only accompaniment.

Macaroni:
1# box small macaroni (shells, penne)
12-oz box veggie pasta (I used penne made with carrots and tomato) *

Cheese Sauce:
1/2 small onion, diced
2 T butter
2 T flour
1 cup 2 percent milk
1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
2 (10-ounce) packages frozen pureed winter squash, thawed
1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
4-oz sharp Cheddar, shredded (about 1+1/3 cup)
2-oz Monterey jack cheese, shredded (about 2/3 cup)
1 tsp salt, 1 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 tsp ground (dry) mustard

Topping:
2 slices stale bread, crumbled into fine crumbs
2 Tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp olive oil

Pre-heat your oven to 375.  Coat a 9 by 13-inch baking pan with small amount of  butter.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil; add 1 tsp of salt and the macaroni;  cook  according to package directions.  Drain in a colander and place back into the  cooled pot (this is where you will mix the macaroni and all that cheesy goodness together!)

Meanwhile, over medium heat, melt the butter in a medium saucepan, adding the  diced onion. Cook ‘til the onion is soft and translucent, approximately 5 minutes.  Then sprinkle the flour over the cooked onion and, using a whisk, stir constantly for  1 minute.  Adjust the heat to very low, and cook for 2-3 minutes to get the starchy taste out of the mixture.  Do not let the mixture brown.

Increase the heat back to  medium and immediately slowly pour in 1/4 cup or so of milk while whisking briskly.  Just keep stirring!  As this is absorbed, continue to slowly add the balance of the  milk in a steady stream, followed by the broth; stirring constantly as the liquid  becomes absorbed.  This will take about 3 minutes.  Adjust the heat lower again and  let this mixture simmer slowly for another 5  minutes, stirring occasionally.  (You  have now made a white sauce!! Congratulations!!!)

At this point, add in the thawed  butternut squash, stirring ‘til it is incorporated, allowing the mixture to come back  to a simmer.  Remove the saucepan from the heat.  Stir in the ricotta, and the  other cheeses, along with the ground mustard, salt & pepper.  Carefully taste (it’s hot!) the  cheese sauce, adjusting for seasoning.

Pour cheese mixture over the macaroni in the large pot and stir gently to combine.  Transfer the macaroni and cheese to the 9×13 baking dish and bake for 20 minutes.  Remove from oven.  Adjust the top rack in the oven to a higher position, and turn  the broiler on.  Combine bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese and oil in a small bowl.  Mix with your fingers; get a little messy!  Then sprinkle over the top of the cooked  mac and cheese.  Carefully place the baking dish back in the oven and broil for 3  minutes.  Keep your eye on it; you want the breadcrumbs to brown but not burn and  for some of the macaroni to get just a little crispy (my husband loves that part!).  Again, carefully remove from the oven…and you are ready to serve!

*here is a link to the type of veggie macaroni I used.  Check it out!

http://barilla.com/content/prodottobarilla/veggie-penne-freshly-pureed-tomatoes-and-carrots

God loves you…and I do, too! <3

Coleen

 

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