Wednesday, March 31, 2010

April Monthly Menu

Wow, I can't believe it's already April. I can't wait for Spring to officially be here. It's been teasing us for the past couple of weeks and it's killing me! The other day it was in the mid 60's and today it snowed. Crazy weather here. My girls are so anxious to be outside. We've started taking walks to the park every relatively warm day we've had lately and I'll look forward to walks every day.

On to my monthly menu for April. I am STILL trying to clean out my freezer, well mostly my deep freeze now, because we just found out we're going to be moving at the end of the month. After 5 long months, we will finally get to close on our condo! Yeah, I'm pretty excited. So, in cleaning out my freezer I think I'm going to be making a lot of smoothies. I did a little inventory the other day and still found a bunch of apricots and raspberries! That's ok though, we've had smoothies for the past 3 days and love them.

I'm trying a few new things this month that will help me use up some of my frozen meat and I've also got some recipes that will help use up that holiday Easter ham.

Pineapple Ham Pockets
Ham, Pear and Cheddar Panini
Chicken Meatball Subs

Pecan Encrusted Chicken w/ Apple Salad and Peanut Butter dressing
Honey Curry Chicken w/coconut rice & sugar snap peas
Cranberry Chicken w/rice & broccoli
Lemon Poppy Chicken with Sweet Pea Couscous
Garlic Rosemary Roast Turkey Breast w/garlic mashed potatoes & green beans
Basil Chicken Burgers w/salad

Sweet and Sour Meatballs w/rice &
Fajitas and homemade refried beans
Spaghetti w/ salad
Homemade Pizza
Penne Pasta with Smoked Ham and Pepper Cream Sauce & sugar snap peas
Spring Risotto

Lentil Soup
White Bean Chili Verde w/ corn tortillas
Sweet Potato Corn Chowder
Tomato & Roasted Red Pepper Soup

Other Goodies
Sour Cream Pound Cake with Lemon curd and fresh berries (hubby's b-day)
Blueberry Cheesecake Bread
Apple Walnut Bread

Monday, March 29, 2010

Pecan Crusted Tilapia with Butter Rum Sauce

I love fish. It is a great option for a quick weeknight meal, even if it's frozen. Tilapia is also great because it doesn't have a really fishy taste either. I don't usually use a recipe for fish, I usually just throw on some olive oil and seasoning and stick it in the oven, but this looked too good to pass up. I think I'm also going through a phase. Last month I did several Greek-inspired dishes; see these, meatballs and these too. This month I have gone southern with my Jambalaya, Red Beans and Rice and now this dish, originally from Southern Living, that I found on This Mommy Cooks.

The pecan crust is great but what really makes this dish is the sauce; oh I love this sauce. It is a little sweet and citrusy with just a hint of rum. I think this sauce would go well on any fish, actually. You could even toast up the pecans and throw them into the sauce at the end of cooking if you didn't want to dredge the fish.

For some reason I ALWAYS serve my fish with wild rice. I don't know why, it just seems to go well together. I also served steamed sugar snap peas. Rice has been a great vehicle in getting my girls to eat meat and veggies; as long as they are cut up pretty small. They have never had a problem eating fish this way either! Yeah!

For the fish:
1/2 cup pecans
4 small tilapia fillets
olive oil

For the Sauce:
3 Tbsp butter
1 shallot, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
*2 Tbsp. rum (substitute 1 tsp. rum extract)
Juice of 1 lemon
2 Tbsp orange juice
2 tsp honey

Preheat oven to 425. Process pecans in a food processor until finely chopped. Drizzle fish fillets with olive oil then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Dredge fish in finely chopped pecans.

Place fillets on a baking sheet lined with foil or a silpat and bake about 8-10 minutes or until fish flakes with a fork.

While fish is baking, prepare the sauce. Melt butter in a small skillet over medium-high heat; add shallot and garlic, and cook, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes or until shallot is tender. Reduce heat to low, and slowly whisk in the rum/rum extract and remaining ingredients. Serve warm over fish.

*You may also omitt the rum completely and just add a little more citrus.

SOURCE:Adapted from This Mommy Cooks, originally from Southern Living 2009

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Creole Style Red Beans and Rice

When I went to make this the other day, I couldn't find the recipe on my blog and I realized that I have never posted it! I just couldn't believe it and even went through my archives like 3 times. Crazy. I have had this recipe for a couple of years and have made it several times. Although I'm not a real southern woman, my mom made this with one of her best friends who IS and it got her approval. This is a very tasty soup with some pretty simple (and inexpensive) ingredients. I think this would also work well in the crock pot.

1 pound dried red beans, rinsed and sorted
3 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup chopped ham
1 cup chopped yellow onions
3/4 cup chopped celery (about 2 ribs)
3/4 cup chopped green bell peppers (about 1 pepper)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pinch cayenne
3 bay leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, or 1 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 pound smoked sausage, split in half lengthwise and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 pound smoked ham hocks
3 tablespoons chopped garlic
10 cups chicken stock, or water

4 cups cooked white rice
queso fresco, crumbled

Place the beans in a large bowl or pot and cover with water by 2 inches. Let soak for 8 hours or overnight. Drain and set aside.

In a large pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the ham and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the onions, celery and bell peppers to the oil in the pot. Season with the salt, pepper, and cayenne, and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are soft, about 4 minutes. Add the bay leaves, parsley, thyme, sausage, and ham hocks, and cook, stirring, to brown the sausage and ham hocks, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the beans and stock or water; I use about half stock and half water. Stir well, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender and starting to thicken, about 1 1/2-2 hours. As the beans cook, skim off the foam that floats to the top. (Should the beans become too thick and dry, add more water, about 1/4 cup at a time.) Remove from the heat and remove the bay leaves.

Serve over rice and garnish with crumbled queso fresco.

SOURCE:Adapted from Emeril Lagasse, Food Network

NOTES:I like to make this over a couple of days. I take the first day to soak the beans then make the soup the next morning. If you chill the soup in the fridge until dinner time (or overnight again) then you can skim off the fat that has solidified on the top.

The first time I made this I did not use a ham hock because, to be honest, I was a little grossed out, but it was really good. The next time I made I used a ham hock and the flavor was amazing and I've used one ever since in making this dish. It does add a lot of fat though, that's why I now chill my pot of beans, so I can skim that fat right off the top.

Lemon Poppyseed Pancakes

If you've been reading my blog for any amount of time, you'll know that I'm a big fan of breakfast. I love to make something special and not just on the weekends. Any 'ol day of the week I'm game.

I have a favorite buttermilk pancake recipe that I love and have used forever. I also have it memorized, so making them are a cinch. I have also fell in love with these oatmeal cookie pancakes (don't be deceived by the name, they're pretty healthy although they taste as good as a cookie), and I use it whenever I need to use up some sour cream or very ripe bananas.

And, these pancakes just might make it into my pancake rotation. First of all, the recipe is almost exactly like my favorite pancake recipe, only with the lemon and poppy seeds. Secondly, they have great flavor!

I served these up with macerated strawberries; you could really use any berry here or a combination of berries. Just cut them, sprinkle with some sugar and leave them out at room temperature while you whip up the pancake batter. I also made this buttermilk syrup to go with the pancakes, and it complimented them perfectly!

Lemon-Poppy Seed Pancakes
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
zest of 2 lemons
juice of 1 lemon
2 cups buttermilk
2 Tbsp sugar
1/4 cup poppy seeds
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup oil

Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt in a large bowl. In another bowl mix together the lemon zest, lemon juice, buttermilk, sugar, poppy seeds, eggs and oil. Add the wet ingredients to the dry. Stir all the ingredients until they are just combined. Don't worry if the batter is a bit lumpy, you don't want to over mix.

Let the batter sit while the griddle heats up. Once hot, use 1/4 cup measuring cup to pour batter. Cook pancakes until golden brown on each side.

SOURCE: Adapted from my Buttermilk Pancakes

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

BYU Mint Brownies

This post is dedicated to my siblings and their spouses who all attended BYU (even though I didn't). (Oh, and to my youngest sibling, you're included even though you haven't gone YET and don't have a spouse YET.) I'm sure they know how legendary this BYU Creamery treat is and while I don't, I can still vouch for how delicious they are. I don't usually make brownies from scratch because, let's be honest, you really can't beat brownies from a box-most of the time. However, this just might become my go-to brownie recipe. They are absolutely wonderful. They are rich and chocolaty without being overly sweet. I love having both the mint and the chocolate frosting, but you can certainly do just one or the other. Make sure you have glass of milk handy.

For the brownie:
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup cocoa
1 Tbsp. honey
2 eggs
1 cup white sugar
3/4 cup flour
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt

Melt butter and mix in cocoa. Allow to cool. Add honey, eggs, sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix well. Pour batter into a greased brownie pan or 8x11.5 inch baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Cool. Frost with mint icing and place in fridge or freezer for a few minutes to stiffen it up. Then frost with chocolate frosting.

For the mint icing:
2 Tbsp. butter
dash of salt
1-2 Tbsp. milk
1 Tbsp. light corn syrup
1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp. peppermint extract
1-2 drops green food coloring

Soften butter. Add salt, corn syrup, and powdered sugar. Beat until smooth and fluffy. Add mint extract and food coloring. Mix. Add milk gradually until the consistency is a little thinner than cake frosting.

Hershey's Perfectly Chocolate Chocolate Frosting:
1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup Hershey's cocoa
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3-4 Tbsp. milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melt butter. Stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency. Add small amount additional milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla.

SOURCE:The Girl Who Ate Everything, originally from BYU Dining.

NOTES:If you're a BYU mint brownie purist, here's what I changed; I only adapted it slightly from the original BYU Dining recipe. First off, I halved the recipe, which makes a 9x13 pan of brownies. They used margarine, I only use butter. I doubled the cocoa. They also added walnuts (1 cup for full recipe); sorry, I don't do walnuts in brownies. They give no recipe for the chocolate frosting and I think the Hershey's is the best there is when it comes to frosting.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Muffin Tin Monday

For today's Muffin Tin Monday, there was no theme so I chose to label ours "Tomato Soup for the Little Sick Soul." My two little girls have been sick for over a week and they have been MISERABLE! So, today, I thought I'd try to lighten up their spirits by using springy muffin cups and warm their insides with some yummy soup.

I made homemade tomato soup, in the middle, with goldfish, flower-shaped cheese and grilled cheese croutons for toppers. There is also fresh strawberries and raspberries.

NOTE: When my first daughter was much younger and I started serving her tomato soup, I found it very difficult because it's so liquidy. I started letting her drink her soup with a straw and she loves it and will finish the whole bowl!
Muffin Tin Monday at Her Cup Overfloweth

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Creamless Tomato Soup

Sunday Soup

Last summer we planted about 10 tomato plants in our garden. When I canned all the spaghetti and pizza sauce as well as salsa that I wanted, I just bottled the rest as stewed tomatoes. Perfect for tomato soup. Only thing is my husband is lactose intolerant and doesn't like to eat tomato soup with dairy. Needless to say, I was pretty happy when I stumbled across this recipe that is dairy-free, yet still thick. This soup is really yummy and very flavorful and super quick to cook up. Throw in fresh basil in season and it's just about perfect!

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 medium garlic clove, minced
1 tsp. dried basil
1 bay leaf
1 quart jar stewed tomatoes or (28-ounce) can plum tomatoes in juice
2 tsp. brown sugar (or to taste)
2 slices sandwich bread, crusts removed, torn into 1-inch pieces
1 cup chicken broth
1/4-1/2 cup cooking sherry (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

chopped fresh basil

Heat oil in large stock pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, dried basil and bay leaf. Cook, stirring frequently, until onion is translucent, 3 to 5 minutes.

Stir in tomatoes and their juice. Using a potato masher, mash until no pieces larger than 2 inches remain.

Stir in sugar, bread, chicken broth and sherry; bring soup to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until bread is completely saturated and starts to break down, about 5 minutes. Remove bay leaf and discard.

Add about 1 tbsp. olive oil to the soup and and process the soup directly in the pot with an immersion blender. (If you don't have an immersion blender, just use a blender, processing in batches.)

Check for seasoning and salt and pepper as needed. Serve warm in soup bowls with fresh basil, when available.

Serves 4

NOTES:This soup does not have to be dairy-free so if you still feel you want a creamier soup, feel free to add about 1 cup of whole milk or heavy cream. We took out half the soup for my husband and added cream to the rest and both tasted great!

SOURCE:Adapted from Ezra Pound Cake

Friday, March 19, 2010

Vanilla Roasted Pears with Oats

It snowed this morning. After walks outside and trips to the park three days this week, it snowed. March is so fickle. However, I think it made the perfect morning for these pears. I have had my eye on this dish for a few weeks now and couldn't wait to make it. I know it's not really pear season right now but they have been on sale at the grocery store which made it perfect. These pears are pretty quick to put together and they taste phenomenal. Even my girls scarfed them up!

1 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted, divided
1/4 water
1 tsp. vanilla
6 slightly-under-ripe, fragrant, medium Bartlett or Bosc pears

Preheat oven to 375. In a small mixing bowl, combine oats, brown sugar, walnuts, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add 1/4 of the melted butter and toss to combine. Combine water, vanilla and the other 1/4 cup of melted butter and pour it into the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish. Peel pears and cut in half, lengthwise. Scoop out the core with a spoon and fill each cavity to overflowing with oat mixture. Place the pears in the baking dish. Roast for 30 minutes, occasionally basting with pan juices. Check for doneness at 30 minutes. If they are still a little firm, continue roasting until tender and slightly caramelized.

Serve warm with yogurt for breakfast or with ice cream for dessert.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Strawberry Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast

Wow, I have had this recipe for years and have made it several times, but I have forgotten about it. I actually thought of it because of my failed attempt at peanut butter stuffed french toast earlier in the week. You see, I make my own bread about 99% of the time. However, I bought Texas toast because it was thick and soft and it works well for stuffed french toast. I had half of the loaf left to use up (after my mishap) then thought of this recipe to use up the rest of the loaf.

With that said, this is the best french toast you will EVER have. Seriously. It is so delicious. The strawberry and orange are a perfect combination and it's not too sweet. I used homemade strawberry freezer jam, that actually tastes like strawberries, and I think it makes a big difference in the taste. This is great for a weekend breakfast or a special occasion. Or if you're like me, it's great for any 'ol day of the week. Enjoy!

For the filling:
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 Tbsp. strawberry jam
1 Tbsp. orange zest (about half an orange)

For the French Toast:
4 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla
juice of half an orange
8 slices, Texas Toast style bread (French bread works too, just cut thick slices-about an inch)

Preheat griddle. Combine filling ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

In wide, shallow dish, such as a pie tin, mix together the eggs, milk, vanilla, and orange juice and set aside.

With a pairing knife, slice a pocket into the top or side of the bread, but don't cut all the way through. Fill the pocket with about a tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture.

Dip the filled bread in the egg mixture, and place on the griddle. Cook about 2-3 minutes per side. Repeat with remaining slices.

Serve hot with additional strawberry cream cheese mixture and powdered sugar, if desired.

SOURCE: Adapted from Sandra Lee, Food Network

Monday, March 15, 2010

Muffin Tin Monday

If you couldn't guess, today's theme for Muffin Tin Monday is green. We had a lot of fun with this. I really liked it too because I was able to get my 3 year old to try some new foods that she normally wouldn't have. I made it such a big deal to eat GREEN foods so she wasn't as caught up on the new foods that were there. She ate pretty well too.

Here's what we had: spinach quesadilla, strawberry-banana smoothie with spinach leaves, green salsa (for the quesadilla), peas, kiwi, guacamole (for the quesadilla) and a green pepper shamrock.

To see what the others are doing, head on over to Muffin Tin Mom and check it out!
Muffin Tin Monday at Her Cup Overfloweth

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Sunday Soup

I have missed posting my Sunday soup recipes, but that's not because we haven't been having them. They are just older recipes so they are ones I've already posted. If you want to take look, here's what we've had the past 3 weeks:

Grandma Noodles

Italian Wedding Soup


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

I made these the other night and hadn't planned on posting them. First of all because everyone has their own cookie recipes and second of all, their just cookies, right? Holy Hannah, not these, they were so good, I couldn't not post the recipe. This dough makes a firm yet tender cookie. Even better, they didn't dry out or harden overnight, they stayed tender. That's one of my biggest pet peeves about cookies is that they harden if you don't eat them right out of the oven. These were heavenly right out of the oven, but any way you eat them grab a glass of milk and you will enjoy them!

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1-2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup white sugar
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter (creamy is fine too)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon. Set aside. In a mixing bowl, fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugars together until creamy; about 2 minutes. Add the peanut butter and mix until incorporated. Add in the egg and vanilla. Mix until well combined.

On low speed, add in the dry ingredients. Mix just until the combined. Stir in the oats and chocolate chips until everything is combined.

With a small scoop, scoop the dough into balls and place on 2 baking sheets. Slightly flatten dough balls. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the cookies are lightly browned and puffed. They will set up after they cool, so don’t over bake.

Remove cookies from oven and let cool on the baking sheet for about 3 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.

Makes about 21 cookies.

SOURCE:Recipe adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Four Cheese Ravioli

Several years ago my husband and I went to this nice Italian restaurant and I ordered porcini ravioli with a gorgonzola cream sauce. It was to die for, I don't think I had ever had anything so delicious. Not too much later, I tried to recreate that same dish at home...and failed miserably! I had never made homemade pasta, other than noodles for chicken soup, and didn't know much about it. I rolled the dough too thick so when it cooked up it was just this big thick piece of pasta and so unappetizing. Since then I have steered clear of homemade pastas.

When I found this recipe, It sounded and looked so delicious and I just knew I had to try it. The only thing was it called for homemade pasta-uh, no thanks (not yet anyway). Then a light went on in my brain and I remembered reading somewhere that won ton wrappers could be used to make ravioli as well. Ha! That's all I needed and I was off to the store.

These are incredibly easy to make and the filling is just out of this world! It practically melts in your mouth. My husband is lactose-intolerant so I try not to make too many things with dairy. When he tried these though, he said I could make them again. So, if he's willing to wage a stomach war to eat these ravioli, I think they are a keeper.

1/2 cup part-skim ricotta
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup shredded fontina
1/2 cup shredded parmesan
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. dried parsley
1/2 tsp. salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 package square won ton wrappers
Marinara sauce, for serving

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the ricotta, mozzarella, fontina, parmesan, garlic, and spices. Mix well to blend. Place about 2 teaspoons of filling in the middle of each won ton wrapper, leaving a clear edge around the perimeter. Dip a finger in water and lightly brush around the edges. Fold opposite edges together, making sure to press out any excess air and sealing the edges compeltely. Repeat with the remaining wrappers. Let dry on a lightly floured surface for about 1-2 hours. (If they are not sufficiently dry, they will open up when you boil them.)

Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Cook the ravioli about 3 minutes. Serve in warmed bowls with marinara sauce. Sprinkle extra parmesan cheese on top for garnish.

Uncooked ravioli may be stored in the fridge for a week or in the freezer for 3 months. There is no need to thaw the ravioli before boiling, just cook it about 6-8 minutes.

SOURCE:Good Things Catered

Muffin Tin Monday-Yellow

Today's theme for Muffin Tin Monday is the color yellow. At first I struggled with something well-balanced and not bland, but in the end I had fun coming up with unique yellow foods. I used those darling butterfly and flower cupcake cups from the dollar bins at Target to put the food in. Yellow is the perfect color for today. It's warm and sunny and spring is just around the corner! On the top row is watergate salad and fresh pineapple and on the bottom is apples and corn risotto. YUMMY!

Muffin Tin Monday at Her Cup Overfloweth

Friday, March 5, 2010

Feta and Sun-Dried Tomato Turkey Sliders

I love it when I spy a new recipe and have all the ingredients to make it on hand! I think this is going to be the end of my Greek streak for a while because I about used up the last of my feta. Even though I've made a lot of Greek lately, I just couldn't resist these flavors; the feta and the sun-dried tomatoes with the fresh spinach, they just go so well together. I actually didn't know what a slider was until recently, but I've seen them popping up a lot in the blogging world lately. A slider is simply a mini burger.

I absolutely LOVE these burgers. My mouth had a little party when I took the first bite. It almost became my favorite burger for a split second, but then I remembered the basil chicken burgers I made last summer (amazing) and decided this would have to take a close second. I personally think grilling them on an outdoor grill is a must; you just can't beat the flavor the outdoor grill adds to meat. However, I'm sure they'd be great cooking them indoors as well. Go have yourself a party and make these little sliders.

For the burgers:
1 lb ground turkey
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
*1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, rehydrated and chopped
1/2 Cup fresh baby spinach leaves, chopped
1-2 tsp. Greek seasoning
olive oil

mini hamburger buns, or dinner rolls
fresh spinach leaves

Place sun-dried tomato slices in a small saucepan and cover with water. Boil for 5 minutes. Drain and chop.

*I used my own sun-dried tomatoes that I dehydrated, but you can also use the same amount of oil-packed tomatoes.

In a mixing bowl combine all ingredients for the burgers, except the olive oil. Mix until just combined. Form 1/4 Cup patties and place onto a plate or cookie sheet. Meat mix should make about 12 mini patties.

Prepare outdoor grill. Just before grilling the patties, brush a little oil on the rack to prevent sticking. Grill about 3-4 minutes per side. You can also cook the patties on an indoor grill or frying pan.

Serve burgers on rolls spread with mayonnaise and layered with fresh spinach leaves.

12 Servings (1 patty)
Calories per serving: 79

SOURCE:Adapted from Picky Palate

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Butternut Squash Casserole

I had actually forgotten that I still have about a dozen butternut squash still left in my basement from my garden. This recipe reminded me that I need to use them up before they ROT! I lost most of my acorn squash already because we didn't eat it fast enough. Thankfully these lasted longer. I've made a few things with butternut squash that I wasn't thrilled about, and my girls would NOT touch. I like the stuff pretty much any way it comes but I have to be a little more creative when it comes to my kids. This recipe seemed like a winner with the caramelized onions and cheese. What kid doesn't like cheese? I liked the spinach in it, I think it was just the right amount to not be overwhelming. The version below is meatless, which we try to do once a week or so, but I would definitely try this with some crumbled bacon or some Italian sausage tossed in there.

About 3 pounds, peeled and cut in 1/4-inch-thick slices (about 6 cups)
1 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 large yellow onions, trimmed, peeled and chopped (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup whole milk
1 large egg, beaten
1-2 tsp. thyme
2-4 slices day old bread, cut into 1-inch cubes and toasted (You can stick them on a cookie sheet and put them under a broiler for a few minutes-watch closely though!)
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1/3 cup parmesan (or more cheddar)
2 handfuls of fresh spinach, washed, stemmed and roughly chopped(not too small)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter or spray a 4-quart casserole dish.

Place 3 quarts water in a large stockpot and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the squash to the water, return to a boil, and cook for 8-10 minutes. The squash will turn a deeper orange. Drain it and set aside.

In the mean time, melt the butter in a large chef's pan with high sides; add the oil. Add the onions and sauté over medium-low heat until they start to carmelize, about 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. They will brown a little, but that's part of the caramelization. Turn off heat and add spinach. Toss to coat (it will wilt as it warms up). Add the warm squash and the milk, egg, thyme, bread crumbs, salt, pepper and 1 cup cheddar cheese. Blend with a wooden spoon or spatula until the ingredients are well combined.

Spread the mixture evenly in the baking dish. Bake for about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the parmesan cheese, or more cheddar cheese. Bake 5-10 minutes more; or until slightly golden on top. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.

SOURCE:Adapted from Ezra Pound Cake

The hosts of the Grow Your Own blog carnival invited me to share this recipe in the February roundup. Oh what fun, come check it out!

This recipe is linked to Recipe Swap Thursday @ Prarie Story.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Muffin Tin Monday

Today there was no theme for Muffin Tin Monday so I chose foods that began with the letter "d" to go with our letter of the week theme. We did a little about doctors and dentists but mostly about dinosaurs. I could not, for the life of me, conjure up something to go with dinosaurs, although I really wanted to. I went out on a limb a little with the "d" foods and this is what I came up with:
domino graham crackers
dried fruit (dried apples and dried plums on the dominoes)
dirt-yogurt (or pudding) with oreos crushed on top

I know it's hard to believe which one Shelby went for first!

Oh, and this is another cute plate I got at Target on clearance after Valentine's Day.
Muffin Tin Monday at Her Cup Overfloweth
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