Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Fast and Easy Turkey Bolognese

Though I do try to curb my natural carb-a-holic tendencies by topping them with vegetables on occasion, sometimes, there's just no substitute for a big bowl of pasta with meat sauce.  This fast and easy turkey bolognese totally hits the spot on those cold winter (or SPRING WHY DID YOU LEAVE ME SO SOON) nights.

Traditional bolognese is made with beef and pork, carrots, celery, and wine.  Then, you simmer it forever and ever so all the flavors meld together in a big, delicious pot of happiness.  You should definitely do this sometime, because it is so worth the time, but I was low on time (starving) and wanted something a little lighter (my pants are snug), so I used ground turkey.

If you have any forethought at all, you should probably take the meat out of the freezer more the 2 hours before you cook it.  However, if you don't, just plop that ish on in there and break it up.  It'll be fine. 

Fast and Easy Turkey Bolognese:

1 Pound Ground Turkey
2 28 oz Cans Crushed Tomatoes
1 6 oz Can Tomato Sauce
1 Medium Onion, Chopped
3 Cloves Garlic, Pressed or Minced
2 Bay Leaves
1-2 Teaspoons Italian Seasoning (or substitute dried thyme, oregano, and parsley separately)
Salt and Pepper to Taste

Heat up some olive oil in the bottom of a large pot.  When hot, add the onion and garlic.  Cook until soft.

Add in the turkey and brown.  When it is almost completely done, add in the tomatoes and seasoning.

Cover and bring up to a simmer; let it cook for at least 15-20 minutes, so that the flavors have some time to meld together.

Don't forget to remove the bay leaves before eating - ICK.

Serve over your choice of pasta and top with cheese.

If you wanted to spice it up some, definitely feel free to add whatever you want/have on hand.  If I had any wine (weird...), I definitely would have added a glug or 5.  Same with other kinds of random veggies (carrots and celery are traditionally used) or spices.

This makes enough for about 10000 people.  Luckily it freezes really well, so check your Tupperware supply before you start.  Now, slip into your carb coma and fall asleep.  You earned it.

More Brussels Sprouts Please!

Probably not what you'd usually expect to hear at the dinner table..but these blackend Brussels are delicious. They're crispy, spicy, lemony...just make them now.  Also, they're super fast and only take one pan.  That's it, no extra dishes to clean up, no random other bowl you discover you're going to need halfway through; just straight up put things in a pan, let them cook, and go eat.

In addition to the little baby cabbages, I also threw some broccoli in there, because it was on it's way out and people keep telling me it's mega healthy.  It was also delicious, but if I were to do this again, I would do two separate pans, since they cook a different rates.  There were a few pieces of broccoli that were way over done, and a few bsprouts that weren't quite ready yet.  I served them with some salmon and grits, because everyday is treat yo self day in my world.

Blackened Brussels Sprouts - Adapted from Mountain Mama Cooks

You will need:
Olive Oil
Garlic Powder
Brussels Sprouts

Chop the veggies.

In a heavy pan, heat some olive oil.  Add as much seasoning as you like (I kind of tried to coat the bottom of my pan).

Let the spices and oil heat up, around 2 minutes on medium-high.

Add in your veggies - you want it to sizzle, this is a good thing.

Turn down the heat and cover.  Set the timer for 8 minutes and DON'T PEEK.

When the timer goes off, check on them.  They should be nice and browned/blackened on the bottom and cooked through.  If not, re-cover and let cook a few more minutes.

This is definitely a recipe that you can tweak to your personal taste.  If you love the spicy, then add some red pepper flakes.  Serving with a Greek style main?  Use Greek seasonings.  Pairing with a stir fry?  Try a little bit of ginger powder.  The possibilities are endless really.

I'm definitely going to try this with a few other kinds of veggies and spices.  It seems like it'd be a good way to use up the little tiny bit at the end of the jar (please tell me I'm not the only one who has 1000000 random jars with like 3 crumbs of seasoning in them) and see what happens.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Sunbutter Chocolate Chip Cookies - The Leftovers Club

Wow - the last month TOTALLY flew by.  It seems like only yesterday I was posting things for the Leftover's Club.

As a reminder, The Leftovers Club is a lovely group of ladies who send each other treats every month.  It's potentially the best club I've ever belonged to (sorry Latin Club, your snacks just weren't up to par...).  If you're interested in joining, and seriously, why wouldn't you be, check out the website.

Last month, I did savory, so I thought that this month, we could go back to sweet.  About a week ago, I made these peanut butter chocolate chip cookies and they were FANTASTIC.  So I thought I'd make them again, but with some substitutions.  I was out of peanut butter, so I subbed sunbutter.  I also was out of vanilla extract, so I subbed chocolate vodka.  This is a great idea.

Simply put, no matter what you do, these are amazing.  Puffy, chewy, buttery perfection.

Puffy Sunbutter Cookies - adapted from How Sweet Eats
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoons baking soda
8 tablespoons of salted butter, melted and cooled
6 tablespoons of sunbutter, melted and cooled
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg + 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
2 teaspoons chocolate vodka 
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Melt the butter and sunbutter together over medium heat.  If you're fancy and own a microwave, you can do it in there instead.  Stick it in the fridge so it cools - you want it to be only slightly warm to the touch when you get down to baking.  
Mix the flour and baking soda in a small bowl. 
Then, mix the cooled butter/peanut butter and sugars until they are combined. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla and stir until mixed. Gradually add flour and mix until a dough forms. It's going to look crumbly at first - don't freak out, this is ok.  Keep mixing until it's incorporated.  You can use your hands if you need to, I give you permission.  
Mix in the chocolate chips.
Shape the dough into a ball the size of however big you want your cookies. Place on a baking sheet two inches apart and bake for 10-12 minutes or until the edges are slightly brown. They might look undercooked; they are not.  Try to let them cool before you shove them in your mouth.  

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Make Ahead Breakfast Sandwiches

So I have a small problem.  You see, there is a Breuggers Bagels downstairs from my office.  And I want to go there all the time.  But, I'm trying to save money.  My life is really hard.  Like so hard.

Anyways, I thought I'd try to bring my own food to work, rather than eating a bagel for every meal of the day.  Not that there's anything wrong with that.  I knew that I'd have to make something amazing to keep me from giving it away and eating the bagel anyways, so I made some breakfast sandwiches.

Over the weekend, I did a TON of cooking for the week; I wanted to make sure that I have food on hand so that I'm not tempted to eat take out for every meal.  It's kind of working (I want a bagel...).  These breakfast sandwiches are SUPER easy to put together, and you can freeze them and then bring them to work with you.  All your co-workers will be jealous.

Make Ahead Breakfast Sandwiches:

6 Slices Bacon
Cheese (shredded, sliced, whatever)
6 English Muffins
6 Eggs
Salt and Pepper

First, make the bacon.  I do mine in the oven because I'm a weirdo who doesn't own a microwave.  To make it in the oven, put the slices on a cooling rack, over a foil covered cookie sheet.  Put into the cold oven, then turn the heat to 375.  It takes about 15-20 minutes.

While that's happening, prepare the muffins.  You can obviously use whatever kind of bread you'd like - but these were on sale at Shaw's, so I went with it.  Split them open and add the cheese.  If you're so inclined, you can also add some kind of vegetable here, but I'm not.  Big surprise.

After the bacon is done, prepare the eggs.  Lower the oven to 350 and crack one egg into each of 6 muffin cups.  Season the tops with salt and pepper.  You could scramble them if you wanted, while in the cups, but then you'd have to wash another fork, so...don't.

Cook the eggs at 350 for about 30 minutes.  For some odd reason, one of my puffed up like crazy.  I'm not sure why, but it was kinda cool.

After the eggs have cooled, put them into the sammiches with the bacon.  Put into individual baggies and freeze.

So, I'm going to warn you, these aren't as good as if you made it and ate it immediately.  When you re-heat, the bread gets a little moist.  It's not too bad, but just keep in mind that things you pull from the freezer aren't the same as things you just made.  They're still really good and will totally save you $3 a day.

Question of the Day: 

What's your favorite breakfast food?

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Spinach, Caramelized Onion, and Olive Oil Quick Bread - The Leftovers Club

Once again, it's time for another post for the Leftovers Club.  In case you're out of the loop, The Leftovers Club is a great group of bloggers who share food.  And, you get to meet some pretty cool people, like Lacey, who blogs at It Is Well.  This is actually the second time I've been paired up with her, which is super exciting.  I haven't yet received my goodies, but go look at her blog and check them out.  I love M&M cookies!

I decided to try something a little different this time, and I have promised Lacey that if it's gross, I will make her something else.  Because, let's face it, the point of this is to eat delicious food.  However, I found this recipe for a Greek style quick bread and thought I'd give it a try.  All my pictures but one came out TERRIBLE, so there's just the one.  Oops.  I'm getting a new camera soon...promise! 

3 tsp olive oil, divided
1 large yellow onion, cut in half through the root, and thinly sliced
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 cups (packed) fresh spinach leaves
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup 2% milk
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 oz. crumbled feta (I clearly used more)
Butter and flour for pan

Pre-heat the oven to 350.  Then, heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat.  Add in the onion and some salt.  Cook on medium for about 10 minutes, then turn the heat down and continue to cook until the onions are nice and brown. 

Add a little more oil to the pan, then add your spinach and garlic.  Cook until the spinach is wilted, about 2 minutes. 

In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, and salt.  In a large bowl, mix together eggs, milk, and EVOO.  Combine the two, being careful not to over mix; you don't want it to get tough. 

Add in the veggies and the cheese.  Mix lightly to combine.  Cook at 350 for about 40-45 minutes.  Slice and enjoy! 

If you're a blogger looking to get some delicious treats and want to make some new friends, then definitely check out The Leftovers Club. 


Thursday, February 6, 2014

Bok Bok Bok

Hopefully, everyone got the title of the post and did some kind of chicken dance.  Ok, good, thanks.

Anyways, as I was perusing the grocery store, wondering what kind of vegetables to buy, I saw the biggest bok choy ever.  It legit took up a whole bag.  Clearly I needed it.  I mean, how could you not want the world's biggest bok choy?  So I bought it and took it home.  And then realized that I'm not entirely sure how to cook it.  Luckily, Pinterest came through for me, yet again, and I was saved.

I served this with some Greek Deviled Eggs and some bread.  But you should definitely serve it with another form of Asian inspired fare, because this was a little out of control random.  It would go nicely in a stir fry or with some salmon.  It's also really good on its own, so there's always that option.

Spicy Roasted Bok Choy - The Wheatless Kitchen

1 Large Head Bok Choy
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Teaspoons Sesame Oil
2-3 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
2 Cloves Garlic
2 Teaspoons Red Pepper Flakes

Pre-heat the oven to 400.

While the oven is heating, mix the sauce up in a bowl.  Separate out the bok choy, so that you can coat it.

Load it all up on a baking sheet and coat it with the sauce.  Since I had the biggest freaking bok choy ever, we actually layered it up, so make sure the yumminess was evenly distributed. 

Bake for 6-7 minutes, until wilted and tender.  Mine took more like 12-15 because there was so much, so after about 6-7 minutes, I took it out and tossed it a little, to make sure the sauce was distributed and that it could cook evenly.

This is a great, healthy side dish that takes approximately no time to make.  Even I couldn't come up with an excuse not to make this, and goodness knows I'm good at that.  Big ole dose of vitamins, with a little added spice?  Absolutely :)

Also, sorry the pictures suck.  It's so dark here!  

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

No Lettuce Greek Salad

I think I've discovered the root of my unwillingness to eat lots of salad.  I don't really like lettuce.  It's just...blah.  Because I eat a ton of kale salad, and Lord knows I ate a ton of this Greek Salad.  Lettuce gets slimy and weird quickly, which is a total turn off.  However, you don't have to have lettuce to have salad, thank goodness.

I added in a little quinoa, since I had some leftover and wasn't quite sure what else to do with it.  Great idea, because it added a bit of extra texture and it has a ton of protein in it, so it makes the salad more filling.  When I make it again, I'll definitely use more quiona, but I didn't want to cook more just for this.

I made a simple Greek dressing to go on top, but any kind of vinaigrette would be delicious as well.  I wouldn't do a creamy dressing, just because I think that it would take away from the feta.  Remember guys, feta makes it betta.

No Lettuce Greek Salad:

1 Medium Cucumber
1 Pint Cherry Tomatoes
4-5 Ounces Feta (like I'd measure cheese...)
1/2 Cup Kalamata Olives
1/2 Cup Quinoa
1/4 of a Red Onion
Salad Dressing to Taste

I don't have process pictures, because this isn't exactly rocket science.  Basically, you chop things and put them in a bowl.

I scooped out the seeds from the cucumber, because I think they get mushy, especially if you have leftovers. Then I chopped up the onion pretty finely - you don't want to have giant pieces.  I didn't cut the tomatoes or the olives, but you can if you want.  I'm just too lazy.

Then, pour some dressing over the whole thing and toss.  Because of the lack of delicate ingredients, you can make a giant bowl and eat it for days.  Which is exactly what I did.

Question of the Day: 
What is your favorite kind of alternative salad?