Saturday, February 28, 2015

Easy Braised Collard Greens

This allllll goes back to two of my girl friends bachelorette parties almost a year and two years ago.  We went to Nashville for both and had the most amazing collard greens.  Well I haven't been able to get them out of my mind since and have made them a few times, but finally captured a picture to blog the recipe!  Its a pretty loose recipe since I don't really measure the seasonings and have made them with both bacon and ham (from a leftover whole ham roast), but if you follow the jist of it, you can make it your own and I'm positive it will be amazing like ours have always turned out.  They are just so savory and delicious.  Like I said in my last post, we had these with Scalloped Potatoes & Butternut Squash for the perfect dinner.

Easy Braised Collard Greens
loosely adapted via the Kitchn

2 bunches collard greens 
10 cloves garlic
1 onion
Red pepper flakes, to taste
1/4 pound bacon (or ham, I am never exact on measurements here) 
4 cups chicken broth (I used a 32 oz box vegetable broth)
Salt and pepper

Fold the collard leaves in half and cut out the tough stems. Stack the leaves, roll tightly and slice into ribbons. Wash the ribbons thoroughly and set aside to drain. Dice the onion and the garlic.

Cut the bacon into 1-inch pieces. Heat the olive oil in a large deep pot over medium heat and add the red pepper flakes and bacon. Cook until the fat renders out and the bacon is getting crispy. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon.

Add the onion and garlic and turn the heat to low. Cook them slowly in the bacon fat, stirring frequently, until soft and golden. This should take at least 10 minutes. Turn the heat lower if they begin to darken.

Add the collard greens and bacon, stirring until wilted (you might have to add more in batches if they don't all fit). Pour in the broth and season with a little salt and pepper. Bring to a low simmer, cover, and cook for as long as it takes to reach the tenderness you prefer. This will take time, plan for at least 30 mins.  Taste and season with more salt & pepper if desired.

Scalloped Potatoes and Butternut Squash

I had been craving some collard greens (recipe coming next!) and was looking for something to make along side them for dinner.  While I've made regular scalloped potatoes and they are freaking delicious, they are usually made packed full of heavy cream and butter so I wanted to find something a little healthier.  I loved this fall spin Rachael Ray put on them by adding the butternut squash; and incorporating the sage and garlic into the sauce made them absolutely delicious.  Seriously, me and Corey stood at the stove eating them straight from the pan before even making our plates.  In addition I also made the sauce with 1 cup half and half and 1 cup milk, verses the 2 cups heavy cream per the recipe to make it healthier.  Note:  the sauce sort of separated when I made it since its not as creamy I guess, but it was still so so good. 

Scalloped Potatoes & Butternut Squash
via Rachael Ray
2 cups heavy cream  (I used 1 cup milk and 1 cup half & half)
4 large sage sprigs  
3 cloves garlic, smashed 
2 pounds baking potatoes (about 4 large), peeled and thinly sliced  
1 butternut squash (2 lbs.), peeled and thinly sliced 
cups coarsely grated Gruyere (I used shredded monterey jack)  
Salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees . In a small saucepan, bring the cream, sage sprigs and garlic just to a boil over medium heat. Remove from heat; let steep.  
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, toss the potatoes and squash with 1 1/2 cups cheese, 2 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. pepper. Transfer to a greased 3-qt. baking dish. Remove the sage and garlic from the cream mixture, then pour over the vegetables. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup cheese and more pepper. 
Bake, covered, until the edges begin to bubble, about 30 minutes. Uncover and bake until the vegetables are tender and the top is browned, 25 to 30 minutes. Let rest for 15 minutes before serving.

Feel Good Hearty Granola Bars

Yum.  These granola bars are exactly as they sound they are sweet and hearty and make you feel great knowing they're good for you!  They aren't packed with butter or sugar or anything bad to make them taste great.  We've made them multiple times and Reese loves them just as much as we do.  I usually make the full batch and freeze half to eat the following week.

Feel Good Hearty Granola Bars
via Oh She Glows (check out her blog!!!)
  • 1.5 cups mashed ripe banana (about 3 medium/large bananas)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries, raisins, or cherries, chopped (I haven't tried cherries yet)
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup pepita seeds (shelled pumpkin seeds)
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/4 cup hulled hemp seeds (I didn't have so used chia seeds)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a large rectangular baking dish (approx. 8.5" x 12.5") with foil or parchment paper so the bars are easier to lift out and lightly grease the foil.
  2. In a large bowl, mash the banana until smooth. Stir in the vanilla.
  3. Place the rolled oats into a food processor (or blender on the lowest speed) and pulse until the oats are coarsely chopped (but still with lots of texture). Stir oats into the banana mixture.
  4. Chop the walnuts and dried fruit and stir these and the rest of the ingredients into the banana-oat mixture until thoroughly combined.
  5. Spoon mixture into prepared dish. Press down until compacted and smooth out until even.
  6. Bake for 23-27 minutes until firm and lightly golden along the edge - do not overcook! Place dish on a cooling rack for 10 minutes then carefully slide a knife to loosen the ends and lift out. Place granola slab on a cooling rack until completely cool.
  7. Slice into bars once they are cool.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Pumpkin Cornbread

I really really love cornbread, lets just start there.  I make it all the time from the little blue Jiffy brand box (especially with chili!) because the two times I've tried to make it homemade, it just wasn't good at all.  This recipe on the other hand is on point!  Its delicious, not the least bit dry, and has the perfect hint of pumpkin.  I've made this a few times with this black bean chili, but it would be perfect with any soup!

Pumpkin Cornbread
via Recipe Girl

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup cornmeal
2 large eggs
1 cup unsweetened pumpkin puree (canned or freshly cooked and processed)
2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup canola oil
1 Tablespoon molasses

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease 10-inch glass pie pan or 9-inch square baking pan.
2. Sift flours, baking powder, salt and spices into a large mixing bowl. Whisk in cornmeal.
3. In separate bowl, beat eggs lightly. Whisk in pumpkin, brown sugar, oil and molasses.
4. Make a well in the dry mixture. Add pumpkin mixture and blend batter with a few quick strokes (just until blended- don't over-mix).
5. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 30 minutes, or until cornbread is browned and the surface has a slightly springy feel.

Curried Lentils & Rice Bowl w Cashew Cilantro Dressing

I planned to make this dinner last week, but kept putting it off for some reason.  I just couldn't decide what it would turn out like and wasn't sure if we would like it.  Oh man it was delicious.  I think the thing with this meal is you can really have it anyway you like.  We chose to make it into big spinach salads with the cashew cilantro dressing with a big ole scoop of the lentils and rice on the side of the bowl.  It was nothing short of delicious!

I loved how the curry flavor wasn't overpowering at all.  I replaced some of the water with a can of coconut milk and it made the rice and lentils so creamy and delicious.  I also added sweet potatoes with the carrots and loved the combo.  I thought the salad dressing was delicious, but a little runny for my taste so that's the only other change I made in the recipe below.

Curried Lentils & Rice Bowl w Cashew Cilantro Dressing
adapted from In Pursuit of More
**Note this makes a TON of rice & lentils in my opinion.  If you are just cooking for two or don't want a ton of leftovers, half this part of the recipe.  I just put our leftovers in the freezer and defrosted them to have this dinner another week!

**Curried Lentils & Rice:
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 tomatoes, chopped
1 tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 tbsp curry powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
4 cups vegetable broth, 32 oz box
1 can coconut milk
1 cup water
2 cups brown rice
1 cup green lentils
1 tsp salt

Roasted Carrots/Sweet Potatoes:
4 medium carrots, peeled and diced
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 tbsp olive oil for roasting
salt & pepper

Cilantro Cashew Dressing:
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1.5 cups fresh cilantro (about 1 bunch)
1 fresh scallion, optional
1/2 cup cider vinegar
3/4 cup cashews
1/2 fresh jalapeƱo

To Serve for each bowl:
minced or sliced red onion (I omitted)
fresh spinach or greens of choice
1/4 cup roasted carrots/sweet potato
1/4 to 1/2 avocado
Cilantro Cashew Dressing to taste

To start, heat the olive oil in a large warm pot and add the chopped onion and salt. Cook, on medium, for 8-10 minutes or until the onion becomes translucent. Next, add the remaining dry spices and grated ginger to the pot and cook a further 2-3 minutes, stirring regularly until the spices become fragrant (being careful not to overcook and burn). Add the chopped tomato and cook a further 2-3 minutes. Next, add the lentils, brown rice, additional salt, broth, coconut milk, and water to the pot and stir well until thoroughly mixed together. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook, covered, on medium heat for 25-35 minutes, stirring here and there to ensure even cooking, until most of the liquid is absorbed and rice and lentils are tender. Feel free to add additional water if the mixture becomes too dry too quickly, a little at a time to achieve a mixture that isn’t too liquid-heavy.

While the mixture is on the stove, heat the oven to 400 degrees and wash, peel, and dice your carrots and sweet potatoes. Toss in the olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper and roast in the oven for 25-35 minutes or so, turning them once or twice to ensure even browning. Once ready, remove from the oven and set aside until ready to use.

Finally, throw all of the dressing ingredients together into a blender and blend until perfectly smooth and creamy. Set aside in a clean jar until ready.

Serve each bowl filled how you would like.  Again we filled our bowls with spinach, drizzled with the dressing, topped with carrots, sweet potatoes and avocado and a huge scoop of the rice and lentils on the side.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Aloha BBQ Sliders

 Oh man, this combo is delicious.  If you haven't tried a "hawaiian" burger you need to make these!  Bacon, pineapple, bbq, so so good.  These are really fun summery burgers made on the grill and served on hawaiian buns.  But, you can make them anytime of year if you want a fun meal!  Just cook the burgers in a skillet.

Aloha BBQ Sliders
via Tidy Mom

1-1/2 pound ground beef
2/3 cups Barbecue Sauce, divided
3/4 teaspoon Montreal steak seasoning
1 pkg (12 each) Hawaiian dinner rolls
sliced Swiss cheese, around 3-4 slices
1 can (8 oz each) pineapple slices, drained (reserve juice)
6 slices of bacon
lettuce (I skipped)
cooking spray

Spray cold grate of gas grill with grilling spray.  Preheat grill for medium heat.  Combine barbecue sauce with 2 tablespoons pineapple juice.  Meanwhile, combine 1/3 cup of Barbeque sauce mixture to beef and steak seasoning in large bowl.  Shape mixture into 12 small patties.  Grill patties 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until cooked through (160°F).  Meanwhile, remove attached rolls from package; do NOT separate.  Cut in half horizontally.  Spray cut sides with grilling spray; toast on grill.  Grill pineapple slices for 1-2 minutes on each side (if desired).  Separate toasted rolls and assemble sliders;  Spread remaining barbecue sauce mixture on rolls, place a small piece of lettuce then patties on bottom halves of rolls; top with cheese, bacon and pineapple.  Close with tops of rolls.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Southwest Goat Cheese Pizza

This was one of our favorite pizzas I've made in a long time.  It was delicious!  The goat cheese was awesome with the southwestern flavors of cilantro, lime, and pablanos.  Such a great pizza.  I used the Pioneer Woman's pizza dough because it is by far our favorite!  Its so so so easy to make if you have a stand mixer and it is really delicious.  I try to make it at least the day before because the flavors really get better the longer it sits in the fridge (within 3-4 days).

Southwest Goat Cheese Pizza
via Sprouted Kitchen - (please check out her blog, its amazing!)
  • 1/2 cup creme fraiche, room temperature
  • sprinkle of smoked paprika
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1 roasted poblano pepper*
  • 1 ear of corn, kernels removed (you can use 1/2 - 3/4 cup frozen corn)
  • 1 cup crumbled goat cheese (I used a 5 oz log, crumbled)
  • 1 packed cup baby arugula
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • 1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • juice of half a lime
  • pinch of salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 500'. Prepare the dough according to instructions and set up your pizza stone or baking sheet.  Collect all of your topppings together. Roll the dough out super thin, about 1/8''. Transfer the dough to your pan.  Spread the creme fraiche across the top. Sprinkle a bit of smoked paprika on top (chipotle powder works too if you like it spicy). Distribute half the goat cheese, the poblanos, shallots, corn and the rest of the goat cheese. Bake in the upper third of the oven for 12-15 minutes until the top browns in parts. Turn the oven to broil and cook another minute.  Remove the pizza to cool. In a bowl, combine the baby arugula, cilantro, oil, lime juice, and pinch of salt and pepper. Toss gently to coat. Top the pizza with the greens and cut as you wish.

* To roast the pepper, broil them in the oven until blackened on all sides.  Remove the pepper to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a towel. Allow them to steam for five minutes or until cool, this makes the skin easier to peel. Once they are cool enough to touch, rub or peel off the charred skin. Discard the stem and seeds and chop into small pieces.