Archive for the ‘Vegetarian’ Category
When it comes to winter produce, squash is where it’s at. This season, I’ve made Roasted Butternut Squash Salad, Roasted Acorn Squash with Mascarpone and Fig Jam, and my favorite: Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese Gnocchi.
So when KitchenAid sent me their new 5-Speed Hand Blender to try out, I immediately thought of smoothies, soup, fresh salsa and squash.
As a cook with a smaller kitchen, I love appliances that can do double duty. This blender can do a whole lot more. From chopping nuts to whisking egg whites to blending my morning smoothie, the 5 attachments can tackle nearly every kitchen project. Not to mention, it comes in an adorable carry case that keeps everything together (and yes, only I would use the word adorable to describe anything kitchen related). Other features include:
- 5 Speeds
- 5 ft Power Cord
- 8″ (20.3 cm) Removable Stainless Steel Blending Arm
- BPA-free Blending Jar Material
- Blend, Puree, Chop, Shred, Mince Froth/Mix and Whisk/Emulsify/Aerate
- Clean and Store
- Easy Clean Up
- FIRST EVER Removable Pan Guard
- Hand Blender
- Industry’s First Interchangeable Stainless Steel Bell Blade Assemblies
- KitchenAid® Hand Blender
- KitchenAid® Hand Blender with Accessories
- Quiet, Powerful DC Motor
- S Blade
- Stainless Steel Frother Beater Bell Blade Assembly
- Stainless Steel Multipurpose Bell Blade Assembly
- Stainless Steel S Blade Bell Blade Assembly
- Storage Case
- The premium stainless steel blending attachment reaches an 8″ immersion depth
- The stainless steel whisk maximizes air in mixtures for fluffier egg whites and whipped cream
- Twist Lock Blending Arm
- 3 speeds provide greater processing control that adjusts to handle a variety of foods, beverages and soups
- Whisk Attachment
- 1 Liter Pitcher with Splash-Free Lid
- 1-Year Hassle Free Warranty
- 2.5 Cup Chopper
- DC Motor
- The stainless steel splashguard covers the blending blade to prevent splattering of ingredients
- Twist Lock Stainless Steel 8″ (20.3 cm) Blending Arm
To really test this hand blender out, I decided to create a new recipe. I love butternut squash soup, but I wanted to add a twist to it. Instead of adding the typical carrot/onion mixture, I wanted to infuse the soup with flavors of pear, ginger and nutmeg. I was going out on a limb with this one, but I love how it turned out.
One of my favorite features of the hand blender is that it comes with a pan guard so the blades don’t scratch your cookware. I also love the fact that I can control the speed. Our old immersion blender doesn’t even have an “on” button, so this is a major upgrade :)
Ginger and Pear Butternut Squash Soup
From She’s on the Run
Makes 4 main-dish (or 6 side-dish) servings
1 small butternut squash, peeled and cubed (about 3 cups)
2 pears, peeled and diced
2 tablespoons coconut oil
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Salt and pepper, to taste
Sliced, candied almonds, optional
In a dutch oven, cook squash in coconut oil over medium heat. Cook for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add pears and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer 30 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Turn off the heat.
Using the Kitchenaid hand blender, puree vegetables until smooth. Stir in ginger, nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste. Serve and garnish with candied almonds.
This soup will definitely make it into my lunch this week (and it’s even DietBet friendly!). Although it’s only been in the teens in Wisconsin with several inches of snow, I vow to make as much soup as a can before spring (which is our neck of the woods means May).
Disclaimer: KitchenAid sent me this hand blender for a review. I was not compensated in any other way and not under any contract to write about it. All opinions are my own.
Working hard and playing hard is the motto in advertising. This past week was a testament to that. Thankfully I got to let lose over the weekend by hanging out with my BFF Hillary and spending time with Tristy (aka Tristan).
I figured 8 months was a long enough wait before his first baking session. This kid is going to be a prodigy in the kitchen if I have anything to say about it.
We started his lesson with a boxed cake mix. I use the term “lesson” loosely. It pretty much included Baby T in his high chair banging the measuring cups and grabbing an NSYNC magnet off the fridge (why my mother has kept that for so long, I have no idea). Still, he loved the cake. So I think this is promising.
Last night I tested a recipe for an article I’m working on for the paper. For a side dish, I made roasted acorn squash.
Best acorn squash ever.
In our house, our squash runneth over. Literally. Oliver was almost plummeted by some of the squash that fell off the counter last week. The truth is, I’ve hit a rut, which is why that squash pile isn’t getting any smaller.
I’ve already made Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese, Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese Gnocchi, Butternut Squash Soup and Roasted Butternut Squash Salad. With so many squash recipes under my belt this year, I have finally figured out what makes squash taste great.
Mascarpone and fig jam.
I’m pretty much convinced that mascarpone is one of the best foods ever created. Schmear some on a quick bread and you’ll be kicking yourself for not trying it sooner. Dolloping a bit on top of squash gives it creamy texture that makes the squash melt in your mouth. The jig jam offers some added sweetness plus a hint of fruit flavor.
Although this is the least glamorous thing you’ll ever eat (hence no picture), it is by far one of the best ways you can prepare squash.
Roasted Acorn Squash with Mascarpone and fig Jam
Serves 6 side dishes or 3 main servings
- 1 Acorn squash
- 2 tablespoons butter (I used Brummel and Brown)
- Cinnamon sugar, to taste
- 6 tablespoons mascarpone
- 6 teaspoons fig jam
Preheat oven to 400°F. Using a knife, cut the acorn squash in half, lengthwise, from stem to end. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and stringy stuff in the center of each half. Place each half in a baking pan, cut side up. Add about a 1/4 inch of water to the bottom of the baking pan so that the skins don’t burn and the squash doesn’t get dried out.
Coat the inside of each half with 2 teaspoons of butter. Sprinkle a tiny bit of cinnamon sugar on top. Bake in the oven for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes, until the squash is very soft and the tops are browned. When finished, remove from oven and let cool a little before serving. Spoon out the flesh and mix in mascarpone and fig jam. Serve.
I can’t believe how fast the time has gone, but I’m celebrating my 2-year blogiversary on Wednesday! To celebrate, I’ll be giving away something extra special that any cook would die to have. I left a hint in this post. Can you guess what it is?
Happy Friday! Why not celebrate with some “things”? Here goes!
1. What I’m disappointed with:
The Melting Pot. I know. I know. Me at a chain restaurant. Who would have thought? It was the Groupon and I can’t resist a sale. To make a long, 1 1/2 hours to be exact, story short, we can make better fondue at home. Also, our waiter was completely awkward and kept giving Brenton googly eyes when we went on Tuesday night. The whole process was so long that I almost fell asleep. Ok, rant over.
2. Package that made my week:
The power of Twitter is amazing. I won a 24-pack of Premier Protein a few months ago and it finally came! I first tried their protein shakes and bars through a blogger giveaway. I LOVE how their drinks taste. When protein is usually so chalky, theirs is smooth and delicious sans a funky aftertaste.
3. What I’m making with my copious amounts of squash:
Olive Oil Roasted Butternut Squash Salad. I tend to love salads with roasted veggies on top and this one is no exception. With Brie cheese, drizzled balsamic vinegar, chopped rosemary and a drizzle of olive oil on a bed of spinach, I felt like I should be eating this salad at a restaurant (not the Melting Pot :) instead of my own table.
Olive Oil Roasted Butternut Squash Salad
2 cups baby spinach
1 cup roasted butternut squash
1 ounce Brie cheese, diced
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
Olive oil, to taste
Drizzle butternut squash with olive oil on a baking sheet. Roast for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees. Let cool on the pan for 5 minutes.
Put spinach in a shallow pasta bowl. Top with roasted butternut squash, Brie cheese, balsamic vinegar and fresh rosemary. Drizzle the salad with a touch of good quality olive oil. Serve.
Question: Chain restaurants: Love ‘em or hate ‘em? And which ones do you love or hate the most?
It’s been way too long since my last Thursday Things post. I have a ton of good post and reviews to share, but today I just need to rant (in a good way!).
What I’m eating for dinner:
Laurie posted this recipe for Spaghetti Squash and Sautéed Vegetables a few days ago, and with a ton of squash on our hands, I couldn’t wait to make this. Like most of my cooking, I used her recipe as a guide and made it my own using what I had on hand. I made more of an Italian version that features olives, Italian spices and Parmesan cheese.
Italian Spaghetti Squash and Sautéed Vegetables
Inspired by Laurie
1 spaghetti squash
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 zucchini, sliced
1 10-ounce bag frozen, chopped spinach, thawed
1 large tomato, diced
1/3 cup sliced olives
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 -2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
Salt and pepper, to taste
Cut the spaghetti squash in half, and put in a pot of water. Bring the water to a boil, and continue boiling the spaghetti squash for 15 minutes. While the squash is boiling, add the olive oil and zucchini to a large pot and sauté for about 7 minutes, or until lightly brown. Add the diced tomatoes, spinach, olives and spices and continue cooking. Remove the spaghetti squash from the water (tongs work well for this), and with a fork, scrape the sides of the squash into the skillet with the other vegetables. Finally, add the cheese, and mix until all the ingredients are combined and heated through.
What I’m eating for breakfast:
Chobani is, by far, my favorite brand of Greek yogurt so I’ll try pretty much anything they make. However, as someone who despises anything pineapple flavored (I LOVE fresh pineapple though), I was skeptical to try their 2% Pineapple yogurt. I have to say though, this is my favorite of their line. It’s so fresh and fruity without tasting artificial at all. YUM!
What I’m coveting:
This blouse…and just about anything from The Limited. This is my favorite clothing store and about 50% of my closet is from here. But whatever they’re showing on their website now is especially calling to me. The tunics…the sheath dresses…the coats. Swoon.
What new gadget I just love:
As someone who brings lunch to work 90% of the time, I know how hard it is to cart salad dressing. Either you bring a full bottle or make a mess trying to fit it into a small Pyrex container. So I was thrilled when I saw this Dressing-2-Go Container from Stonewall Kitchen. At only $4.95, I know I’ll be getting a lot use out of this. Now if I only I had fresh veggies in the house to make a salad :)
Question: Tell me, what’s your favorite clothing store? Chobani flavor? Gadget?
Today is a 3-cup day. Of coffee, that is. I was glued to the election coverage last night despite my usual 9:30 bedtime. And yes, I’m aware that this confession makes me sound incredibly lame. But as someone who needs 8 hours just to function and who normally wakes up at 5:34 to hit the gym (yes, those extra 4 minutes are very important), I don’t have any other choice.
Although eating enough fruits and veggies and working out are extremely important, sleep counts just as much. Even despite the health benefits, I love sleeping. My parents never had to force me to go to bed s a kid. I happily obliged.
So now I’m yawning through the morning and thinking about the fun activities happening after work tonight. A few of us co-workers, past and present, are meeting to discuss Emily Giffin’s “Where We Belong.”
We’re also ordering Topper’s Pizza, which is one of my favorite takeout pizzas. It’s right up there with Pizza Hut’s Stuffed Crust Pizza, which I haven’t been able to eat in years because Brenton doesn’t like it and there isn’t a Pizza Hut nearby.
Speaking of good food, it seems like we’ve been eating our weight in squash lately. I sill have a bunch of acorn and spaghetti squash to use up because we’ve been chipping away at our butternut squash stash (with Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese, Butternut Squash Chipotle Soup and Roasted Butternut Squash Salad – recipe to come!). Our latest creation is a one-pot meal that uses squash, spinach, goat cheese, bacon and gnocchi.
I only discovered gnocchi about 2 years ago and it’s one of my favorite things to make. Gnocchi with White Beans was one of the best meals I made last year.
Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese Gnocchi
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into small cubes
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 3/4 cups chicken broth
3 cups spinach
1 17.5-ounce package potato gnocchi
4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
4 cooked bacon strips, crumbled
1. Melt two tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the squash and cook, stirring until soft, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes and salt, to taste. Continue cooking for 2 minutes more.
2. Add the chicken broth to the skillet. When it starts to simmer, stir in the spinach, gnocchi and bacon, stirring to coat. Cover and cook until the gnocchi are just tender, about 5 minutes. Uncover and stir in the goat cheese. Once the goat cheese is melted, turn off the heat. Serve hot.
Question: What are your favorite things to do with squash? Links welcome!
And don’t forget! You still have until Monday, November 12 to enter my Pasta Shoppe Giveaway! I’m giving away 3 holiday gift sets so get those entries in!
This week has been flying by. Tomorrow Brenton and I get to go on a Milwaukee Food Tour – The Pizza Bus Tour! I have to admit, my Milwaukee pizza knowledge doesn’t extend much beyond Ian’s, Topper’s, Crisp and Transfer. I’ve taken the Wauwatosa Tour and the Bloody Mary Brunch Tour before and they both were fabulous. I can’t wait to see where we head tomorrow. The only question is what to wear. I was thinking about wearing a new blouse from BCBG, but knowing me, I will most definitely get pizza sauce on it…and probably some wine!
On Wednesday, and article I’ve been working on for a few weeks was finally published. As a nut butter lover, I wanted to devote a whole cover story to the stuff, including flavored peanut butters, health butters and more. My favorite part though was the recipe testing. I made a Thai Noodle Dish with Spicy Peanut Sauce that was too good for words. I also interviewed Julie from PB Fingers on her favorite ways to use the stuff (and she even gave me her Almond Butter Granola recipe to share with Milwaukee Journal Sentinel readers). You can check out the digital version plus the recipes I included on JSOnline.com.
For some reason, I think Oliver is wayyy cuter in person. The photos don’t do him justice!
On the culinary side of life, we’ve been eating pretty darn good lately. In a household of two, anything we make tends to last us a few meals. We made this Japanese eggplant parmesan with homemade tomato sauce a few days ago, and we ate it for three nights in a row. When it comes to eating a dish this good, I did not mind at all.
Brigitt (whose blog I completely LOVE, btw), created this slow-cooker pasta sauce, which I used as the base of my Japanese eggplant parmesan. It is my go-to recipe, and I’ve made it a handful of times (which is a lot for me!). Instead of frying the eggplant, you bake it in the oven. Per Brigitt’s suggestion, I used the tomatoes I froze last year. I thawed them slightly, which worked out perfectly (I just broke up the tomatoes further after an hour and then we took an immersion blender to the sauce when it finished cooking). Of course, you can substitute regular eggplant. I happen to love Japanese eggplant — it’s probably the fun, bright purple color.
Japanese Eggplant Parmesan
3 Japanese eggplant, sliced one-inch thick
2 eggs, beaten
3 cups Italian seasoned bread crumbs
6 cups slow cooker pasta sauce (can substitute any pasta sauce)
3 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
Slice the eggplant (throwing away the ends). Sprinkle lightly with salt and let it sweat for 30 minutes. Pat try with a paper towel.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Dip eggplant slices in egg, then in bread crumbs. Place in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 7 minutes on each side.
In a 9×13-inch baking dish, spread 3 cups of pasta sauce on the bottom. Place a layer of eggplant slices in the sauce. Sprinkle with half the mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Spread remaining sauce over eggplant and sprinkle with remaining cheeses. Sprinkle Italian seasoning on top. Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes, or until golden brown. Enjoy!
Question: What dishes do you tend to make over and over? Do you think your pet looks cuter in person? I feel like I’m completely alone on this one, so I’d love to know if you guys feel the same way!
This post is all about the random, but delicious, things I’ve been noshing. First off, I’ve been freezing my own basil with help from Karis’ blog post. This weekend I picked up a heap of fresh basil at the farmers market. And like clockwork, I usually have to throw at least half of it away because I don’t use it in time. Although we do have a dehydrator (shocking, I know!), I’ve never used it to dry herbs. In fact, I’ve only used it once to make fruit leather. opps. But freezing herbs in ice cube trays I can definitely do.
I’ve also discovered the most delicious snack ever. It’s called Skinny Pop and I’m completely obsessed. Thank god the lovely folks over there gave me so many bags because I am tearing through them like a woman on a mission.
With all this running I’ve been doing, I’ve been ravenous most hours of the day. It is hard to find snacks that fill me up without weighing me down or doing damage to my waistline. With only 39 calories a cup, I don’t feel guilty about digging in and eating however much I want (which usually tops off at about 5 cups if I’m really starving). And the only ingredients are all-natural popcorn, sunflower oil and salt.
So far Brenton hasn’t been too interested in this (probably because he is so obsessed with his fat-laden chips and salsa which are always in the house). But before where I would indulge with Brenton, I have a healthier alternative that doesn’t make me feel like I’m giving up something. And believe you me, I will be bringing a Coach tote into the movie theater next time so I can sneak a bag of this in.
Speaking of corn, fresh farmers market corn has been the star in my latest culinary creation – a veggie orzo salad. I also picked up fresh green peppers, banana peppers and tomatoes. Although I’m not into lettuce salads these days, I have been craving “meal-type” salads that are quick to prepare and make for killer leftovers the next day.
Farmers Market Veggie and Orzo Salad
2 ears corn
1 green pepper, diced
1 sweet banana pepper, diced
1 large tomato, diced
1 cup orzo pasta
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil
Place 2 ears of corn in the microwave (husks and all) and microwave for 8 minutes. Set corn aside on the counter.
Cook orzo according to package directions and drain. Place in a bowl with peppers, tomato, lemon juice, Parmesan cheese, basil and olive oil and turn to coat.
Once corn has cooled a bit, run a knife down all the sides to get the kernels off. Add these to the salad and mix.
Question: Do you sneak snacks into the movie theater? What do you pack? I’ve been known to bring apples, homemade trail mix, Good N’ Plenty and Jelly Belly’s (just not all at once). My friend Sun brought Chex Mix when a bunch of us gals saw Magic Mike and I was pleasantly surprised (maybe because I felt like I wasn’t the only one who did this!)
Disclaimer: Skinny Pop has given me this product to review. I was not given the product in exchange for a positive review. All opinions are my own.