Lemony Asparagus Salad

Ah Pinterest. I found this delicious looking asparagus salad on there a few weeks back. Asparagus is in season so I kept meaning to make it to go with dinner. However, I never seemed to be ahead of the ball enough to make it happen. This weekend I got all organized and decided it needed to happen for Monday lunch, so I made it happen. 

Adapted from WholeFoods 

1 bunch asparagus
4 garlic cloves, minced
Juice of 2 lemons
1 tbl honey 
1 tsp stone ground mustard
Fresh mint, minced 

1.  Start by chopping the tips  off of the asparagus and throwing them in a bowl. Next, I quartered the asparagus, although in retrospect I would have just coarsely chopped it. Blanche the asparagus for less than a minute. 

2. Meanwhile combine the remaining ingredients in a bowl as dressing. Toss the asparagus with the dressing and enjoy. 

I enjoyed mine as a Meatless Monday lunch with a ton of feta. It seemed to call for feta. Deliciously lemony and minty with my feta. Looking forward to trying this again! 


Smokey Weeknight Chili

Last year I got a free subscription to Better Homes and Gardens at the Home Show.  I didn't make it to the Home Show this year, so I guess I can say goodbye to BHG.  I like it, but not enough to pay for it.  I find that most of what I got out of the magazine was recipes or garden tips.  Occaisionally I saw things for the home, but never wanted them for the house enough to go find them.  However, I did find some tasty recipes, including the basis for this vegetarian chili. 

David would argue that this is not chili in the eyes of the International Chili Cookoff world since it had no meat. I would argue that his opinion doesn't count since he is a meat-and-starch-a-tarian. We agree to disagree and we both ate this chili and enjoyed it (although he may have beefed his half up with meat :) )

1/2 Cup dried garbanzo beans 
1/2 Cup dried chick peas
1 small can tomato sauce
1 tbl cocoa powder
3 tsp brown sugar 
1 tbl chili powder
1 can diced tomatoes 
1 green pepper, chopped
1 tbl oil

Soak the beans overnight and cook thoroughly, ahead of time.

The Monday we ate this I started out by chopping up a green pepper and cooking it for few minutes in oil to soften it. Next, I combined the all of the remaining all remaining ingredients except for the tomatoes. At this point we split the mix in half. David added ground beef to his half and I stayed meatless by adding the peppers and tomatoes to mine. Simmer until cooked and serve with cheddar cheese and chunks of avacado. 

I thought this was an incredibly filling meal. BHG claimed it was was smokey and easy, I would have to agree. I really liked this and it would be worth repeating for a quickly healthy meatless meal. For now in looking forward to the last serving sitting in my freezer for lunch one day. We can repeat our definition of chili quabble again now that we've actually eaten this version. 

Ps now you know my secret methods for incorporating produce into my culinary world while making food Mr. Meat finds acceptable. 


Turkey Parmesan Meatballs

Meatball madness has been taking the country over. Here in the 'Burgh a new meatball joint finally opened up downtown and everything (it exceeded my months of expectations, btw).  While on Pinterest I ran across a recipe for Parmesan meatballs that caught my fancy.  This is my spin on the Meatballa alla Parmigiana from I Breathe I'm Hungry

9 oz ground turkey
Parsley to taste, chopped
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup Italian breadcrumbs
1 large egg
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp garlic powder 
1/4 cup warm water
Pepper to taste

1 cup spaghetti sauce
3-4 oz fresh mozzarella cheese

Combine the turkey, Parmesan, breadcrunbs, egg, and seasonings and form into balls (I made 13). 

Place the meatballs on a baking sheet and bake for 20 min at 350F. Next cover each meatball with about a tbl of Sunday gravy and too with a small slice of fresh mozzarella. Bake for 20 minutes at 350 until warm and melty and delicious!

These turkey out awesome. We had them over pasta and I also enjoyed some asparagus. 4-5 meatballs made for an adequate size serving. They were super moist, as promised on I Breathe I'm Hungry. I used fresh mozzarella and that really showed taste-wise.  These are definitely in the potential to repeat category, although it is pretty rare that happens ;). There are a lot more meatballs on my Pinterest that need to go through the rotation first. 


Thai Street Noodles -aka Drunken Noodles

First, work has been insane, as usual. So, I haven't been a good blogger. 

However, I have still been cooking. I'm always reading magazines, flipping through cookbooks, and browsing Pinterest for inspiration.  I made these "drunken noodles" based on a Pinterest find from popsugar (http://www.fitsugar.com/Healthy-Stir-Fry-Thai-Noodle-Recipe-16072881). 

112 g whole grain vermicelli (2 servings)
10 oz ground turkey
1 head broccoli, chopped
Baby carrots, chopped
Onions and peppers to taste, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbl olive oil
1 jalapeño minced
2tbl Shredded basil 

Sauce Ingredients
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
3 tbl Sriracha Sauce
Juice, 1 lime
1/2 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp fish sauce

1. Start with sauteeing the garlic and jalapeño in 1/2 tbl of olive oil.  Add the ground turkey and cook until no longer pink.  Add the basil at the very end.

2. Meanwhile, boil water and cook noodles in another pot.

3.  In a third pot, take the leftover olive oil and saute the remaining produce.  If your home is not adverse to produce you can just take the turkey out of the pot and use that same pot for the remaining produce.  Alas, that isn't our house.

4.  Combine the sauce ingredients and add to the meat and produce pan.  Cook on low for 2-5 minutes until warmed through.  

5. To serve, mix all the ingedients and serve with extra lime wedges.

Verdict:  This was a winner.  I was able to get three servins out of this for us, 2 for dinner and one for leftovers for lunch the following day.  It somewhat filled my current Thai craving, although I still want to go over to the Thai Spoon for dinner one night soon.  The noodles had plenty of limeyness and saltiness from the fish sauce.  I expected it to be a different type of hot - the heat was hiding underneath the layers of flavor.  David seemed to like his boring version without produce too.  I bet it is even better with rice noodles in the traditional style. 


Salami potato frittata

Last year my parents picked up a subscription to Food Network Magazine for us for Christmas. I always enjoy flipping through the new issues, and occasionally I even make something out of the issue. The January-February issue had a Salami and Swiss Chard Frittata that inspired me, so it went on the future dinners list. I've been looking forward to making this one for a couple of weeks now. 

2 potatoes, peeled and sliced
1/2 tbl olive oil
5 garlic cloves, minced
Red pepper flakes to taste
Italian herb mix to taste
1/4 lb good salami, chopped
2 eggs
10 egg whites
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella
2 tbl shredded Parmesan

I started out with slicing the potatoes and boiled them for about 10 min. Meanwhile I took the olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes, and italian seasoning and heated them on low in an oven proof pan to soften the garlic. 

Combine the cooked potatoes, chopped salami, the herb mix, and the mozzarella in a bowl. I combined the eggs and egg whites - combine and beat lightly. Add the eggs to the filling and place in the oven proof pan. Top with the Parmesan cheese. 

Heat the frittata on the stovetop for about 3 minutes until the edges are set. Move into the oven and bake at 400F for about 15 minutes. I finished it off under the broiler for a few minutes to brown the cheese. 

David had never even heard of a frittata, let alone eaten one. Now that I eat eggs, I am all about them. This one turned out pretty well;however, next time I would cube the potatoes and cut the salami thick and cube it. The potatoes were a little over cooked, but otherwise tasty. Looking forward to leftovers for lunch later this week and our next frittata!  David has thrown the gauntlet for a buffalo chicken frittata, pretty sure I can do that. 



Couscous with tomatoes, greens, and chick peas

In 2010 I went vegetarian for Lent. It was difficult, but fun.  Difficult - I lived in the south where yu can justifiably ask which vegetables are vegetarian. Fun - I really explored some new foods and continued to expand my culinary horizons. Living with a carnivore, I sometimes miss the days when I would do a Meatless Monday. Earlier this week David went to the Pitt game with our friend Jamie. I took the opportunity to expand my horizons to include the trendiness that is kale. I originally intended to do a quick kale minestrone that my cousin shared with me last year, but whe making the store list  there i wound up playing follow the links and funding the New York Times recipe that this is based on. I loved it. It was awesome both warm and cold. If I didn't have a backlog of vegetarian recipes to try I would totally do this again. Heck, maybe I still will.  I have one more serving frozen away for a lunchtime treat in a couple of weeks. It will enter my rotation!

1/2 cup couscous
1 tsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
Pinch ref pepper flakes
14 oz can diced tomatoes 
Pinch of sugar
1 cup chick peas
St and pepper to taste 

1. Start by cooking the couscous   
2. Cook the minced garlic and red pepper flakes in the oil for a few minutes until fragrant. 
3. Add the tomatoes, salt, pepper, and sugar to the pan. Bring to a boil and summer for a few minutes. 
4 meanwhile bringing water to a boil.  Balance kale for approx 3-5 min. Remove, dry, and chop kale. 
5. Stir the kale, tomatoes, and brand together and hear to warm. 
6. Combine sauce and couscous and enjoy!  

Note:  I used about 2 cups of of kale and added some spinach that needs using 


Italian Sausage & Potato Soup (Part Deux)

I actually made this soup last week on New Years Day.  This was based on a Soup created by the girls over at Our Best Bites.  

2 pre-cooked chicken italian sausages, chopped (I used al fresco)
pinch of red pepper flakes, to taste
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp paprika
4 cups chicken stock
3/4-1 lb russet potatoes, chopped to various sizes (skins on)
Italian seasoning, to taste
1 cup milk
2 oz cream cheese
3 tbl flour
1 tbl butter
1 cup spinach

1.  Slice up the chicken sausage into small-medium sized pieces and heat it up with a few sprays of the misto.  Add minced garlic, paprika, and red pepper flakes and cook for a few minutes.  
2.  Add the chicken stock and italian seasoning and bring to a boil. Add the potatoes and cover and simmer until cooked thoroughly (tender)
3.  Mix the milk, cream cheese, flour, and butter in a blender.  Once the potatoes are cooked add the milk mixture and heat thoroughly.  Theoretically add your spinach at this point, although I just place mine in the bottom of my soup bowl since I am the produce consumer in the house.  

I seriously love this soup. I made it a couple of years ago and it made it into my recipe recycling
program!  It really is pretty rare that I repeat, so you know it was good. David liked this too. I'm not normally a creamy soup girl, but this wasn't overly rich. The sausage flavor was strong and tasty ;)

Barefoot Contessa's Sausage and Lentil Soup

Winter is here, so it is time to eat warm soupy goodness. I have always loved soups, but since getting interested in cooking, i have really grown a new appreciation for them. It is hard to think I used to think all soups came from a red and white striped can or from a box!  The Barefoot Contessa's Sausage Lentil soup is one of my favorite hearty soups out there.  This is the Missenda-ification of it to make it edible in our house (and not have soup for days)

1 cup green lentils
1 tsp olive oil
3/4 head roasted garlic
1 1/2 cup chopped carrots
1 1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 tbl salt
3/4 tsp groutnd black pepper
1 tsp thyme leaves
1/2 tsp ground cumin
6 cups stock
2 tbl tomato paste
14 oz turkey kielbasa
2 tbl red wine vinegar

1.  Place lentils in a bowl and cover with boiling water, allowing to sit for 15+minutes.  Drain.

2. Chop up the carrots and celery.  I chop them coarsely, sto allow the veggie haters to identify them.  In a stock pot, heat the olive oil up with the carrots, celery, salt, peper, theme, and cumin.  Saute for about10 minutes.  

3.  Add tomatoe paste, stock, roasted garlic, and lentils.  Stir well.   Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for about an hour until the lentils are tender.  Add the kielbasa and vinegar and simmer until cooked.

As I said before, this is one of my favorite soups.  My cousin Abby itroduced me to it 5 years ago, and it comes out every winter at least once.  She also introduced me to the idea of using roasted garlic in lieu of onions.  I have to say, I loved the sweet garlicy taste that was imparted with this switch.  This was the first time I actually roasted garlic, and wow was it easy.  I see this substitution coming up in my future.  

We enjoyed this with some delicious sourdough bread from the bakery.  I love that this is hearty and filling and so healthy.  I *think* David liked it; he wasn't totally turned off by the lentils this time around.  We easily made 5 filling servings from this soup, so I have some for lunch and some frozen for a treat later in the winter.  A little more vegetabe would extend it evenfurther.  Plus, I will admit, I enjoy having oppertunitites to bring out "Big Red".  I have never had something made using Big Red come out anything short of successful.  

Here is to some more warm soup this frigid winter!


Ginger Pumpkin Tart

I am going to admit, I am a cookbook addict. I have a few. Then people discovered I like to cook, so now I have a LOT of cook books. One of these days I need to do another purge, that is how bad they are getting. I have overtaken a corner in the kitchen....  

So knowing my kitchen love, my brother usually gets me a cookbook at Christmas. My first Christmas in Pittsburgh he have me Claire Tobinson's 5 Ingredient Fix. I admit, I haven't made much from there, but everything I have made has been great. I love her philosophy of using fewer ingredients but using good quality ingredients for those that you do use. One thing I have always wanted to make was her pumpkin Ginger Tart. No tart pan?  Solution:  buy one while in Paris on your honeymoon! So this Christmas I made everyone deal with a twist on the norm, giving them the Ginger Pumpkin Tart. 

2 1/2 cups crushed ginger snaps
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1-15 oz can pumpkin purée
3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
2 large egg yolks
Pinch of salt 

1.  Preheat oven to 350. Place tart pan on a baking sheet (this IS actually important!)

2. Mix the cookie crumbs and butter. Press the crumb mixture into the bottom and sides of the tart pan. So exciting to use our fancy French tart pan and the awesome rolling pin that came home with us from our honeymoon!

3. Bake for 10-12 minutes until set and starting to brown slightly. Remove and cool. 

4. Mix remaining ingredients (pumpkin, sweetened condensed milk, egg yolks, and salt). Pour the filling into the crust. 

5. Bake until set, cool and refrigerate until ready to serve. Robinson's instructions were for 30 minutes of baking, but my oven took much longer. Based on problems I've had this year, I have decided my ovens temperature is off/not getting a good seal and I probably need to do a slight altitude adjustment. 

6.  Remove the sides of the pan, cut and enjoy!

Ok, I have to admit, I was super proud to have made a tart!  They seem so fancy. Thurs out, this wasn't so difficult once I had the right equipment. 

My sister enjoyed, David felt ambiguous, and I don't think my in laws liked the change from regular pie. I liked it, but meant to add some cinnamon to the pumpkin mix too. I probably won't repeat this tart, but see another in my future!!