I Will Tell You a Story

Sunday was a 25 hour fast.  It is the second most serious fast day in Judaism.  Usually, we break the fast on an omelet with cheese.  When I asked my husband, what he felt like having, he asked if I would mind making spaghetti pie.  It sounded so right to me.  I make it without meat so it is not a heavy dish.  I was planning on using light cheeses and a plain filling.  Sounds good.

I put up the water for the noodles, cooked them, and went to drain them.  I drained them right into the soapy water.  Klutzy me.

While the pasta was cooking, I made a filling of eggplant, onion and tomatoes from the garden.  I stayed away from seasoning since we were looking for more to the bland side.  As it turned out, the tomato flavor is strong when it is a “real” tomato, just picked and ripe.  I had the filling for the spaghetti pie but no crust.  On another day, I would have very likely cooked more spaghetti but, I was grumpy, tired and hot but not hungry.  I was not in the mood to cook it again and I found a way to blame it on the good husband who wasn’t even in the room.  How do we do that?  Maybe, you don’t.  I did.

Bottom line, my filling became the main course.  We took some leftovers out of the refrigerator.  I had potato salad, Oriental spaghetti salad and a yummy egg salad.  A little bit of this and a little bit of that made for the right meal to break our fast.  That is making the best of what one has.

We had the same kind of happening on Saturday, our Sabbath.  At the last-minute, two more guests joined us for dinner.  I usually cook tons of food for the Sabbath but this week, because of the fast that began Saturday evening as the Sabbath ended, I cut way back and made just enough.  It is truly amazing, whatever food, there was, seemed to expand so that everyone had plenty to eat.  Honestly, I can’t figure it out.

I also had to feed the extra guests before the fast.  Keep in mind, we do not cook food on the Sabbath, so it had to be something ready to eat.  I don’t panic when these things happen but before a fast, I have to admit, I was concerned.  We all had to fill ourselves to get through the next 25  hours with food or drink.  Again, we had enough and I think everyone was full.

I do want to share this eggplant dish with you.  The tomato was the dominant flavor of the dish.

The Dish That Wasn’t

1/2 eggplant cut into 1/4 inch pieces

1 – 2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 onion, chopped

1 large tomato, chopped

1/4 cup chopped cheddar

Heat olive oil in large skillet.

Put eggplant and chopped onion in skillet and keep gently mixing them around.  The eggplant browns quickly.

When onion is translucent and eggplant, slightly brown(about 6 minutes), add the chopped tomato and cheddar cheese and cook for an additional 2 minutes until tomato is hot  and cheese is melted.  If  you would like the tomato to really permeate the other ingredients, cook for another then minutes.

You could fill a taco or tortilla with this.  You could use it as a filling in a spaghetti pit.  You could use it in a sandwich.  You could use it as a sauce for rice, pasta or meat.  Feel free to spice it up.  I would have if we weren’t purposely keeping it bland….it really wasn’t.

 

As you can see, the photo, is not clear.  This is still in the skillet.  I apologize but I think, at least, this gives you an idea of what it looks like.

Mini Veggie Pizza Toppings

There is a pizza crust to go under the toppings but the fun is in the topping.  I keep, mini pizza crusts, in my freezer, for the times, we want pizza for dinner.  The two of us eat two each with a heaping bowl of salad.  What I started doing, was making two pizzas with one type of topping and a the other two with something different.  It makes the meal more interesting and enjoyable.

Tonight, we had a more traditional pizza with tomato sauce,broccoli, onions, Parmesan and mozzarella cheese.   The other pizza had carrots, radish, spinach with ricotta, Parmesan and Cheddar.  This is a nice change from pizza as we knew it, a few years ago.

For two mini pizzas……

Pizza 1

1/4 cup Marinara sauce for each of the two pizzas

1 teaspoon chopped onion for each

sprinkle of Parmesan for each

1/4 cup chopped broccoli for each

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella

Lay out the mini crusts.  Pour marinara sauce on two of the crusts.  Cover with vegetables and cheese.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees and bake completed pizza for 10 – 12 minutes or until cheese is browned.

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Pizza 2

1/3 cup Ricotta cheese for each of the two

1/4 cup thin sliced carrots for each

1/4 cup spinach

1/8 cup yellow tomato

few thin sliced pieces of radish

1 teaspoon of Parmesan

1/4 cup of cheddar cheese

Cover crust with Ricotta leaving a small space at the edge that is plain crust.

Spoon spinach on Ricotta.  Top with carrots, tomato and radish.

Sprinkle Parmesan and grated cheddar cheese.  I grate right onto the pizza.

Bake in the same manner as above.

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This is linked to

Hearth and Soul Hop     Slightly Indulgent Tuesday      Fat Tuesday         Naptime Creations Tasty Tuesday Link Party    The Gathering Spot      Delicious Dishes      All My Bloggy Friends      Trick or Treat Tuesdays      Kids in the Kitchen       You’re Gonna Love it Tuesdays   Keep it Real Thursdays

Italian Cauliflower Bake

I came across a recipe for an Italian Zucchini Bake and planned to make it for dinner with a main course salad.  Off I went to the kitchen and pulled out all of the ingredients and set them, on the counter.  I, then went to get out the zucchini, but the cupboard was bare.  No zucchini.  What is a woman to do?  

Substitute, of course……  Now, what to substitute?  What is like zucchini?  Nothing came to mind.  I thought onions and I knew, I would love it but I would probably  be the only one.  I jumped to tomatoes and I do want to try it but it was too far from zucchini.  Then, I noted the fresh cauliflower just sitting there, crowding the shelf and I knew, this was it.  My Zucchini Bake became an Italian Cauliflower Bake and I even used pizza cheese to keep to the theme.

The recipe came from  Jam’s Corner, a brand new blog to me and one, I want to visit often.  There is something about the spirit of the blog that speaks to me.  I bet, you would like it too.

Italian Cauliflower Bake

2 cups chopped cauliflower

1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves  garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 eggs
1/2 cup  grated Parmesan
1/8 cup  chopped fresh parsley
1 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 cup  shredded  Pizza Jack cheese
2 tablespoons cream cheese
 Method:
  1. Saute garlic, onion and cauliflower in olive oil until tender
  2. Meanwhile, chop the basil and parsley.
  3. When the cauliflower mixture is done, remove from the heat.
  4. Whisk the egg, basil, parsley, tarragon, Parmesan cheese and salt together in a large mixing bowl. After mixing well, add the cauliflower mixture, cream cheese and the Pizza Jack cheese. Mix well.
  5. Add the mixture to a greased 1 quart baking dish  and bake at 350 for 25  minutes or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
  6. Let it cool slightly.  Cut into wedges and enjoy.

Power Foods – Asparagus

You might remember, last week, I learned how to handle an artichoke, a brand new vegetable, to me.  This week, I learned how to  hide asparagus, in a recipe so that my husband, who has refused to eat it, since he was a child, wouldn’t know it was there.  When, we married, there were three foods, he would not eat, tuna, chicken and yes, asparagus.  Twice, I tried to have him see the light and made asparagus, the first as a newlywed and the second. twenty years later.  Both times, he soundly rejected the asparagus with moans and groans and a matching facial expression.

I knew, this was going to be a challenge.  I made a stir-fry, hoping to camouflage the asparagus, in the midst of other delicious vegetables. 

Camouflage Stir Fry  – done in great trepidation

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon sesame oil

2 thin asparagus spears, cut into small pieces (about an inch in length)

1 cup cauliflower florets

1 cup broccoli florets

1/2 cup carrot slices

1/4 cup sliced mini orange peppers

1/4 cup onion slices

1/4 cup soy sauce

1 teaspoon ground ginger (fresh is best)

2 tablespoons brown sugar or honey

Procedure:

Combine, in a small bowl, soy sauce, ginger and brown sugar or honey.

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat.  Add vegetables to skillet and cook for 4 minutes.  You can add the asparagus for just the last minute, if you would like it to retain a slight crispness.

Add soy sauce combination to skillet and mix in with the vegetables.  Cook, stirring for an additional two  minutes.

*** I didn’t tell my husband, there was asparagus in the stir-fry but I figured, he would recognize it.  He didn’t.  He cleaned his plate completely.  I have to add that the soy sauce did camouflage the asparagus taste so that he ate with relish.  Can you imagine?  He was not perturbed when I told him those green “sticks” are asparagus.  He just kept eating.  Does that mean, he will eat asparagus, in the future?  I doubt it.   It is deeply ingrained in him that he despises it.

You are entitled to a giggle.  I made him this, the following night and he ate it.  Recipe at a later date…

 

Please check the following blog to see what they did with the asparagus.

Second Course: Asparagus with Morels

Second Course: Asparagus with Morels (Photo credit: ulterior epicure)

Jill – SaucyCooks 2girls@saucycooks.com
Sarah – Everythinginthekitchensink sarah.toskanoski@gmail.com

Potatoes and Onions

It was a moment of  pure desire for a potato.  I didn’t care if it was boiled, baked or fried.  I wanted potato.  I followed my inner guide, cooked this up and had my potato.

Potatoes and Onions

3 medium potatoes, sliced thin (almost as thin as for potato chips)

1 large onion, sliced thin

spray olive oil

chopped parsley

salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Spray a baking pan with olive oil.

Layer potatoes and onions in baking pan.

Spray the top later with additional oil.

Bake at 400 degrees fro 20-30 minutes, until it is golden brown.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste and chopped parsley.

 

How To Rush A Meal

The decision was made – salmon would be for dinner.  We love salmon and I wanted to make a side that we care about as much.  That meant pasta or potatoes and the latter won out.  I had the desire for comfort food and that meant potatoes and cheese.  There is something about noodles or potatoes that fills me up emotionally.

When I opened the refrigerator to get the cheese, I saw a little fresh cauliflower left, less than two cups.  That is when the recipe took a turn, for the better, in my opinion.  That is also when the alarms went off …….roaring symbols in the background.  I had about twenty minutes to get dinner on the table and ten minutes prep and probably an hour bake time.  Not going to happen……

You might ask why I had to get dinner on the table in twenty minutes.  Hubby and I have a humorous Q and A.  He calls, when he is on his way home and I ask him, when he will be home.  He gives me an exact time, like 5:23 or 7:16,  My goal becomes getting the meal done by that time.  I usually don’t but I give it the college try.

I am not being totally honest.  When I get home from work or home from shopping, I check my email and the blog.  You are bloggers.  You know how time flies when you are doing these.  It repeats itself, daily…..good intentions and bad timing.  When, I finally get into the kitchen, if I haven’t prepped, in the morning, I move very quickly.

Tonight, it mean cutting potatoes to be close to hash browns, chopping onions, shredding cheese, measuring and solving problems.  Here is my recipe and I will share how I cut down the time, not to 20 minutes but to something more reasonable than 60.

Creamy Cauliflower Potato Bake

4 medium potatoes (I had Idaho), sliced with a mandolin

2 cups cauliflower, broken into little pieces

salt and black pepper to taste

1 onion, chopped

1 cup vegetable broth, more if needed

1 cup light sour cream

2 cups Mexican cheese or cheese of choice

1/4 cup fresh chives or 2 teaspoon dried chives

1 – 2 cups crumbs (taco, corn chips, bread, cracker – your choice)  I used tortilla chips

Procedure

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Spray a casserole or baking pan with olive oil.

Layer chopped onions on the bottom of pan.

Place paper thin potato slices (the mandolin took no time to make this happen) on top of the onions.

Cover with sour cream and mix everything slightly.

Cover with half of the cheese and again mix slightly.

Pour cauliflower pieces on top and once again mix gently.

Add remaining cheese and give it a slight mix.

Finally, cover with crumbs and spray olive oil on top of crumbs.

Now the way, I made this happen.

Put the casserole or baking dish into a microwave for about 10 minutes, depending on the power of your microwave.

It will be very hot when you remove it so please  take care.  Place it in the 400 degree oven.  Bake, starting to check at 10 minutes.  The top will turn a golden brown when it is done or should be done.  If the potatoes are not cooked through, microwave for another few minutes.

I did not care if the cauliflower cooked through.  I like it crisp and it gives a little crunch to the dish.

This was delicious and went well with the salmon and a tossed salad.

This is linked to  Frugal Food Thursdays       Recipe of the Week – Anything Goes     See Ya in the Gumbo     Seasonal Inspiration    Muffin Monday   Yummy  Inspirations Breakfast     My Meatless Monday  Mop it Up Mondays    Breakfast Ideas Monday   Mix it up Monday     Mealtime Monday Recipe Link  Melt in Your Mouth Mondays      Mangia Mondays      On the Menu Monday

Avocado, Tomato and Sweet Onion Salad

I had a lot of cooking to do, for the next three days, and this salad struck me as just the right salad, to make.  It might have something to do with the fact that I had bought a multiple pack of avocados from Costco and they were sitting there.  I love them but tend to forget about them.  If I am making a salad, in a hurry, I stick to greens and don’t bother with even tomatoes or cucumbers.  When, I make for the family or company, I add a little something.  This is my little something from CD Kitchen

Avocado, Tomato And Sweet Onion Salad

Ingredients

2 medium avocados
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1/4 medium-sized sweet onion (such as Vidalia or Maui)
3 tablespoons rice vinegar  (flavored with basil and oregano)
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and black pepper to taste

1/2 teaspoon sugar

Directions

Peel avocado and remove pit. Cut avocado into 1 inch chunks and sprinkle with lemon juice.

Wash tomatoes, cut each in half and add to bowl with the avocado.

Slice the onion very thin and add to the bowl.

Sprinkle sugar over the vegetable.

Sprinkle vinegar over the vegetables, season with salt and pepper .

Drizzle oil over the mixture and gently stir until all ingredients are well combined. Serve on a lettuce leaf, if desired.

 This is linked to Scrumptious Sunday Link Party      Mop it Up Mondays     Inspire Me Monday       Whole Food Wednesday      Made From Scratch Monday    Real Food Wednesday         Whole Food Wednesday             Cast Party Wednesday         Allergy Free Wednesdays         See Ya in the Gumbo      Gluten-free Wednesdays

Hearth and Soul

Cheap Recipes and Money-Saving Tips

Grilled Cheese Out of the Box

I was looking through all those fabulous grilled cheese recipes from the Crazy Cooking Challenge and I was “plotzing” for one.  A foodie doesn’t simply explode from desire; she acts upon it.  As a foodie in good standing, there was no doubt, we were having grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner.

Then, I had a real dilemma, looking at link after link of grilled cheese sandwiches, how would I choose one, to make, for us?  It didn’t help to explore recipes to find, I wanted to make each one, I peered at.  Not very practical.  I spent time between grilled cheese with tomatoes, inside out grilled cheese, grilled cheese with avocado and even chocolate grilled cheese……..uh huh……chocolate.  What is a girl to do?

This girl shut down her computer, marched to the kitchen, open the refrigerator and took out corn tortillas.  Huh?  What happened to the grilled cheese sandwiches?  Did I give up?  Follow me through my journey. 

The table slowly filled up with food items, the tortillas, Mexican cheese combination, slice tomatoes, some leftover caramelized onions, black pepper and lots of love for my creation to-be.  At this point, it is easy.

Grilled Cheese Tortillas (makes 2)

Ingredients

4 small corn tortillas

spray olive oil

1/2 cup shredded Mexican cheese

1/2 cup caramelized onions

1 tomato, sliced thin

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Procedure

In a large skillet with spray olive oil, on medium heat, toast one side of each tortilla.  When slightly browned, remove and put aside.

If you do not have caramelized onions, sitting around, add 1 tablespoon olive oil to skillet and cook onions, slowly until caramelized (about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.)  (OK, I know you don’t have caramelized onions, just sitting in the refrigerator.)

Take the two tortillas, you have not browned and put them on the skillet.  ( piled everything on it, on the skillet)  Put tomato slices on bottom tortilla, covered with cheese, onions, black pepper and more cheese.  Cover with browned tortilla and cook on a low heat until cheese is melted.   ( I ended up putting it in the microwave for a minute since it was not melting properly.)

You have reached your destination.  Serve with a creamy soup or large salad.  We only ate one because, I had some other interesting dishes, I served.  I would think, one could easily eat 2 or more.

Now, we have a new recipe for grilled cheese or at least, new to me.  If you have  a recipe for a grilled cheese tortilla, please share it with me.

This is linked to Full Plate Thursday       Frugal Food Thursday  

Pennywise Platter       $5 Dinner Challenge

Sausage, Apples and Onions

There are few meats that tempt me, these days but turkey sausage has its appeal so when I decided to throw  together, what I find in the kitchen and make a meal.   My thinking is that everything goes with sausage.  Sausage has so much flavor, it is hard to compete with it and frankly, I don’ think, we should try to.

This  was another recipe that went easily as soon as I decided what I was putting in it.  I tend to go for onions with almost any savory recipe because I cut back on seasoning for my husband.  My daughter complains, I put apples in everything.  She is right.

Turkey Sausage with Slice Apples and Onions

Ingredients  (only a few of them)

 4  sausages

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium  onion, sliced 

1/4 cup dry white wine

 1  apple, peeled, diced

(15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsedProcedure

Procedure

Slice the sausages in to 1/2 inch pieces.

 Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat.

Add the onion, and cook for 2 minutes .

Add the sausage and cook until the sausage is browned, 6 to 8 minutes.

Add the the remaining ingredients and cook everything together for another few minutes (no longer than 4 minutes).  The liquid should thicken into a sauce.

Sweet Potato & Turkey Combo


I still have a lot of food, left over from Passover and we are attempting to eat it before, it is no longer safe to do so.  It makes for an interesting dinner, a little bit of this and a lot of that.  When we eat leftovers, I usually make something new, to give new meaning to the meal.  Leftovers may be delicious but they are still reheated food.

With a few slices of corned beef, mashed potatoes and zucchini, I made a combo dish of Sweet Potatoes and Turkey with Shallots and Onions.  I should have added some sliced apple or maybe cranberries.  It needed a little sweetness and I prefer to go the natural way, so a fruit hopefully will fill the recipe need.

I haven’t been using my cast iron pans, recently which is a big mistake.  They cook evenly and can go from stove to oven.  Their only drawback is that the larger ones are heavy.

Sweet Potato & Turkey Combo
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup cooked turkey chunks
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cubed
  • 1/2 cup organic low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  •  ground black pepper, to taste

                                                                                                                                                            DIRECTIONS

In a large cast iron pan or a skillet, add one tablespoon of olive oil. Cook onions and shallots until translucent.  Remove from pan.


Microwave the sweet potato for 4 minutes or whatever your microwave needs to bake the potato.  Of course, you can do this in the oven.  
In the skillet cook the chunks to lightly brown. Add to onion mixture.

Add the sweet potato,  vegetable broth, thyme, black pepper,  sage to onion mixture and return to pan.  Cook for a few minutes until heated.

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