Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai

_DSC5416

 

 

 

_DSC5417

This recipe was amazing- I am SO relieved that all the selections from our Meal Plan have been so yummy.  Jenny Collier is wonderful!  It’s a little scary when you commit to a month of recipes that you’ve never made before.  I did take a moment to look through most- in order to plan which would take more time and therefore should be made on the weekend.  While this recipe was easy to make, it did take some prep time, I was wishing we’d planned it for a weekend instead.

I prepped it while watching Knox and Jason play in the living room, it’s rare that he’s home early with us- so I thought I would get dinner started….  but sorta wished I was over there with them instead!  It started innocently by turning the oven on to roast up the squash.  I told myself, after bath/ bed for the baby– then I could easily finish the recipe and we’d eat in no time, it’d be nice to have squash ready.  Then it sucked me in one ingredient at a time- I only needed to chop the onion and garlic and green onions… shred some carrots… mix the sauce in a bowl… then I would go play with them… then I saw the meat- “I could just get the shrimp peeled and deviened too…. then it would be so easy for later to cook everything”… and finally,  ” well I should also chop up the chicken while I’m at it”.  And then it was an hour gone and dinner was completely prepped, I had 20 good minutes before Knox was too tired to keep his head up, but we ate a great dinner.

I used a recipe as a base for this but altered everything for what I know and love about Pad Thai.  We made our own peanut sauce for dipping as well- it was amazing.  Finish with a bit of lime juice, and it’s perfection:

_DSC5420

Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai

Makes 4 servings

30-45 minutes of prep for cooking squash and chopping ingredients

10-15 minutes of active cooking

Ingredients

2 medium-sized spaghetti squash

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1/2 red onion, chopped

4 carrots, shredded  ( reserve some for serving)

1 bunch of scallions, chopped ( reserve some for serving)

10 large shrimps, diced

2 chicken breasts, diced

canola oil, for cooking

1 lime,  ( for serving)

Sauce

1/4 cup Teriyaki Sauce

3 tbsp rice vinegar

1 tsp red pepper flakes

1 tsp ground garlic

1 tbsp peanut butter

 

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2. Cut spaghetti squash in half, scoop out the seeds, drizzle each flesh side with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Place squash cut side down on a parchment lined cookie sheet.  Roast in you preheated over for 45 minutes, until squash is fork tender, then set aside to cool before scooping out the squash “noodles” with a fork.

3. In a small bowl mix together sauce ingredients and set aside

4. In a large pan, heat 1 tbsp canola oil, and saute with your chopped garlic, red onion, carrots, and scallions (and any other veggies you like)

5. Once cooked down, add shrimp and chicken and cook for 5-8 minutes, until protein is cooked

6. Add in spaghetti squash (approx. 3 cups) and sauce mixture, mix well to combine

9. Taste and adjust spices to desired liking*

To serve: Top with extra scallions, shredded carrots and a squeeze of lime.  If you like it saucy add this Peanut Sauce as well:  in a small bowl mix 2 tbsp Teriyaki Sauce, 2 tbsp peanut butter and enough rice vinegar, to smooth to desired consistency, using a fork to mix.

Advertisements

Grilled Lemon Pork Chops with Cauliflower Puree and Parmesan Crusted Sweet Potato Chips

_DSC5401

What a title, and what a decadent meal!  It’s been a while since we made such an all consuming dinner like this- but warm weather called for grilling out and our meal plan had some tasty recipes for us to use.  The pork marinates for 2 hours, or overnight- so plan ahead.  The favorite was hard to pick from the trio of yumminess- the crisp cheesy sweet potatoes were perfect bites, creamy cauliflower puree was full of decadent butter and milk set under a perfectly grilled pork chop that was bright and lemony with hints of Dijon and pepper….

_DSC5396

I was really excited to make the puree, I love potatoes and have nothing against them, but when I can use a bonified vegetable that tastes just as good and that the baby can eat too- it’s a major win.  The recipe I very loosely followed called for heavy cream and 1.5 sticks of butter- we used a bit of fat free milk and 1/2 the butter, it was for cauliflower after all, so it’s balanced- right?

GRILLED LEMON + MUSTARD PORK CHOPS, adapted

serves 4

Ingredients:

2 lemons, juiced ( 1/2 cup)

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

4- 8oz bone-in pork chops

  1. In a large resealable bag, combine lemon juice, oil, garlic, mustard, salt, pepper, garlic powder and red pepper. Place chops in bag, seal, and refrigerate 2 hours or overnight. Turn bag frequently to distribute marinade.
  2. Preheat an outdoor grill for high heat. Remove chops from bag to a tray, dicard marinade.
  3. Lightly oil the grill grate. Grill pork chops for 5 to 7 minutes per side.

CAULIFLOWER PUREE, adapted

serves 4

Ingredients:

Two 2-pound heads of cauliflower, cored and separated into 2-inch floret

1 chicken bouillon cube

1 cup fat free milk

1/2 stick unsalted butter

salt, to taste

Cayenne pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the bouillon cube then add cauliflower florets until tender, about 7 minutes. Drain well. Return to pot over medium high heat and stir for 5 minutes, to dry out most of the water.
  2. In a small saucepan, combine the milk with the butter and bring to a simmer over moderate heat just until the butter is melted.
  3. Puree the cauliflower with an immersion blender stick in your pot or in a blender with the warm milk/ butter mixture until smooth, then season with salt and cayenne to your own taste.

THYME + PARMESAN ROASTED SWEET POTATOES, adapted

serves 4

Ingredients:

3 Tbsp. cornstarch

2 medium sweet potatoes, washed and cut into 1/4″ coins

2 Tbsp. olive oil

2 Tbsp. fresh thyme leaves, remove stems and rough chop

1 tsp. kosher salt

1/2 cup grated Parmesan

fresh ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 450′. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large plastic bag, toss the sweet potato coins in the corn starch to coat.

Transfer them to a large mixing bowl, drizzle the olive oil and toss to coat. Add the thyme, salt, Parmesan and a few grinds of pepper, toss again by hand to coat each coin evenly

Transfer the coins to the parchment lined tray in a single layer, sprinkle more Parmesan and cracked pepper if desired, and bake for 20 minutes.  Flip all the coins over so both sides get nice and crisp, return to the oven for 25 minutes ( total 45 minutes)

Serve with ketchup, if desired.

Creamy Cauliflower Soup

souup

Literally the FASTEST and easiest soup I’ve ever made, this recipe is pureed at the end, so chopping does not have to be perfect!  If ever there were a time for fast easy dinners, that are healthy, it is now.  After working all day, we just want to enjoy family time, eating is an important aspect of that.  So if we can make something like this soup, which Knox can eat before bedtime, then it’s really exciting over here!  This soup was tasty, creamy, healthy and filling.  The green onion and grated Parmesan on op truly seal the deal, serve with bread and you’ll be eating within 25 minutes ( only 10 are actively cooking!!).  I did a quick chop of the onions and garlic, got the oil ready, and sauteed them- singing to and chatting with Knox.  While they were softened in the pan, I chopped the base off the cauliflower and rough chopped so everything cooked uniform.  Once the onions were done ( 3-4 minutes) I added everything to the pot, chopped the green onion while it came to a boil, then set to simmer for 15 minutes while I went and played with the baby!  To finish, I used my immersion blender to puree it up and dinner was served!  Love love love this recipe.  I bet you could switch this up to be broccoli instead with cheddar cheese and a hit of cream.  You could also add bright green peas after the puree to add more veggies and bite to this soup.  It’s such a great simple easy base recipe where you can add and edit to create a variety of variations.  If you have the time to roast the garlic, that would add a super amazing flavor depth to this soup.  I added Parmesan to the soup and some half and half and ricotta that we had on hand to give this super healthy original recipe a bit of healthy creamy milk fats ( the baby needs those vitamins!). The original recipe is Vegetarian, gluten-free, paleo and clean eating, if you are in to all that follow the link below!  I hope you enjoy a little more time with your family and make this super weeknight friendly soup today.

 

Adapted from Yummy, Healthy, Easy

4 adult servings, (or 3 adult servings and 3 baby servings)

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, rough chopped
  • 1 onion, rough chopped
  • 1 head cauliflower, remove stem and rough chop to same size pieces
  • 32 ounces chicken broth
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1/4 cup half and half
  • 1/4 cup ricotta
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan, 1/4 cup for serving
  • 4 sliced green onions for serving
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. In a dutch oven pot (or heavy pot), heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic. cook until softened, about 3-4 minutes.
  2. Add cut up cauliflower, broth, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil then cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes until cauliflower is softened.
  3. Turn off heat, add in the half and half, ricotta, and 3/4 cup of the Parmesan, stir to combine.
  4. Using an immersion blender, carefully blend until smooth.
  5. Serve in bowls with grated Parmesan cheese on top, fresh cracked pepper and sliced green onions. Enjoy!

Dark Broth Braised Sweet Potato Soup

Step One:  Rough chop your normal stock veggies like carrots, onion, garlic and celery and add to a heated stock pot with EVOO .  Add peppercorns, 2-3 bay leaves, some fresh sage and a few pinches of salt and let simmer for 8-10 min.   Deglaze the pan with about 1 cup of red wine and let it reduce by half.  This method of deglazing your stock veggies creates a really rich flavor and adds a nice dark color to the broth.

Image

Step 2:  Add your left over chicken carcass and cover with about 8 cups of water. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a low simmer.  Let the stock cook uncovered for 1-3 hours (the longer the better).

Image

Image

Step 3:  After a bit of cooling, place a strainer in your dutch oven and pour the contents of the stock pot though the strainer to separate out your homemade broth.  Give 8 medium sized sweet potatoes a rough chop and add to your broth in the dutch oven.  Feel free to add a handful or two of chopped fresh carrots and celery as well.  Place the dutch oven into your 400 degree oven for 45 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are fork soft.

Image

Step 4:  Remove from oven and puree with an immersion blender.  Salt and pepper to taste and serve!  Nice and easy, healthy and warm.  Mmmmmm!

Image

Image

Braised Chicken with Shallots, Dates and Apricots

BlogPics_20130110

 

Although this recipe has to cook for an hour, it is such an easy meal to prepare.  Not much chopping, not a lot of stirring, just let the chicken cook down freeing up time for you to enjoy elsewhere.  This recipe reheats really well the next day.  The chicken fell right off the bone and had nice flavors from the wine and shallots; the contrast with sweet dates and apricots was really nice but maybe needed a bit of something salty to really bring this home- capers maybe…   Overall very nice meal, great way to cook chicken for a change, and a perfect way to eat brown rice.  Enjoy

Recipe serves 4

Adapted from Williams and Sonoma “Taste” cookbook

 

Ingredients

8 Chicken Thighs, bone in

salt and fresh ground black pepper

3 tablespoons olive oil

10 bay leaves

4 large shallots, cut in 1/4″ rounds or half moons

2/3 cup dry red wine

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

8 dried dates, pitted and halved

8 dried apricots, quartered

2 cups cooked brown rice

Directions:

1.  If preferred, trim the fat and skin from the chicken. Rinse, pat dry, and season with salt and pepper.

2.  Heat oil in a large Dutch oven or heavy pot with a lid (to be used later) over medium-high heat.

3.  Add chicken and bay leaves and cook until browned, about 7-10 minutes on each side. Add a 1/2 cup water, cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for 35-40 minutes.

4.  Pour off pan juices and reserve. Pile chicken on one side of the pan, raise the heat to medium and add the shallots. Cook until the soften, about 2 minutes.

5.   Add wine and vinegar, and scrape up the brown bits from the bottom of the pot. Add dates and apricots, then redistribute the chicken in the pot.

6.   Add the reserved liquid and simmer until chicken is heated through and tender, about 12-15 minutes.

7 Remove and discard bay leaves. Serve immediately over brown rice

Remix- Ice Cream Sandwich?

20130507-115738.jpg

I found this intriguing recipe on one of my new favorite blogs: http://www.theleangreenbean.com
Lindsay ( aka the green bean and an RD!) cooks on the weekends and preps snacks, grains, breakfast foods etc like us to make the week easier and healthy choices seamless. Whole real foods and grains- we’ve made the one ingredient ice cream before and LOVE figs and dates, so I went for this. I adapted it a bit from the original so if you like to see what change check out this awesome blog! And go ahead and make this, they are so so good. The chia seeds are optional but I like that it adds a crunch and nutrition to boot, if you want to use figs rather then dates you’d also get the same crunch and Yum….
Recipe adapted from http://www.theleangreenbean.com

Makes 8 bars

Ingredients
1 cup Dates
1/2 cup cashews
1/3 cup peanut butter
1/ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 teaspoons chia seeds
3 teaspoons water
3 frozen bananas, in chunks
1/4 cup Almond milk

In a food processor, pulse dates, cashews, peanut butter, cocoa, chia seeds until combined and a crumbly mixture forms. Add water by teaspoon if mixture is too dry.

Transfer mixture to a Saran covered jelly roll pan and flatten to about 1/4″ thickness trying to maintain a rectangular shape for uniform sandwiches; about 12″x16″.

Cover and freeze for two hours.

Meanwhile, clean food processor and combine bananas and almond milk. Pulse and process until smooth creamy consistency. Store in freezer until ready to assemble.

To assemble cut with pizza cutter in to 16 equalish rectangles. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of banana cream on one piece, top with a second, wrap in Saran to store in freezer- repeat to complete and enjoy!

 

“Marinated” Kale and Green Bean Salad

Veggie side recipes are abundant, but often never tried out- we all have our favorite ways to eat veggies and usually seeing a recipe like this one seems too much work.  But we made this semi marinated, and served it hot because that’s what we wanted with our dinner.  It’s important to know that you can alter recipes to suit YOU.  So here we have not really marinated the Kale but rather sautéed it with the flavors from the recipe, tossed with steamed green beans and parmesan, wa- lah delicious, fresh with a spicy kick veggie side, that can easily be brought to your Thanksgiving table feast!

Marinated Kale and Green Bean Salad

Adadapted from Bon Appetit: If you want to do this the cold way, BA says “the longer the raw kale sits in its lemony vinaigrette, the more tender it will become. If you prefer a crisper salad, let it sit for an hour or two; for a softer texture, chill it for up to 1 day.”

Ingredients

  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 large bunch Tuscan kale, center ribs and stems removed, leaves cut lengthwise into 1/2″ strips (about 8 cups)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound green beans, trimmed
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan
  • Ingredient Info

    Tuscan kale, also called black kale, dinosaur kale, Lacinato kale, or cavolo nero, has long, narrow, dark-green bumpy leaves; it’s available at farmers’ markets and some supermarkets.

Preparation

  • Heat a large dutch oven skillet over medium heat with Olive oil.  Add kale lemon juice, honey, and red pepper flakes and toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Once the kale is bright green and slightly tender remove from heat and put in a large serving bowl.
  • Cook beans in a large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Drain beans.
  • Add beans to kale and toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Top with grated cheese.