Sunday, November 27, 2011

Veggie Flatbreads with Hummus

Talk about a quick and easy recipe!  Veggie Flatbreads with Hummus came together basically in the time it took to heat the oven.  Fortunately we have a toaster oven so that's pretty quick!  We loved the hummus on the naan bread.  What great concept.  We aren't huge fans of fennel but it worked just fine on the flatbread.  This is a great recipe that you can have a lot of fun with.  We made one flatbread following the directions and then a second one using stuff we had in the fridge.  It all came out great and this will definitely become one of our go to recipes for something quick, easy and fun to make!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Easy Brunswick Stew

The only soup I have ever been able to come up with that uses pork is an Asian inspired one that involves garlic and ginger and scallions and noodles and is super yummy.  I'll have to post that one someday.  So when I saw that this was a recipe for using pork in a soup I was definitely intrigued.  I'm a big fan of stews but I have never heard of Brunswick stew.  This stew is truly easy to make.  It uses a lot of vegetables, so it's healthy, too.  I don't think I had ever had okra before I came across this recipe, so I was a little nervous about using it.  I'm also not a fan of peas in general but the peas I used for the pilaf were nice so I figured I'd give it a whirl.  Now, once again keep in mind that you are taking thawed items and putting them in this stew.  I don't care what the directions say, it takes longer than 5 minutes to get everything heated up.  At least on my crappy electric stove anyway.  Also, I usually cook on instinct so I'm not a big measure-er.  This kind of messed me up with this recipe because I wasn't paying attention to the directions and just started dumping veggies in and well, I bought the wrong size packages and ended up with about double the number of veggies I was supposed to put into the soup!  So now it was a veggie soup with some pork in it!  It actually tasted pretty good and was very thick.  I liked it a lot and will definitely make it again.  The only difference will be that I will be a little more true to the measurements!  Oh and I'll probably put whatever vegetables I feel like putting in there instead of sticking with the list.  But the okra really wasn't bad!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Butternut Squash and Spinach Strata

Next up on the list Butternut Squash and Spinach Strata!  So what is a strata?  It's a casserole made of day old bread and milk and eggs and pretty much anything else you would like to put in there.  It's a lot like a bread pudding and makes a great meal for breakfast, lunch, dinner, brunch, whatever.  With all that said, this was not my favorite.  I'm not a huge egg fan and this is eggy.  I always want to like eggs, especially interesting recipes like this or frittatas but I just don't.  I'm always willing to give things a try though and here are my thoughts on this try:  This recipe calls for white bread, but I was listening to a program on Martha Stewart radio on Sirius XM last week and the guest suggested using some more interesting bread such as ciabatta or brioche.  Definitely something to keep in mind.  Due to the nature of this meal plan, you make the night you are going to eat it but it is actually recommended that you throw the whole thing in the fridge the night before and put it in the oven the next day.  I might try these changes this month and see how it goes.  Overall, it looks very cool when it comes out of the oven.  It rises and becomes golden and fluffy.  It's really just too much bread and egg for me but I think with a more interesting bread, I might enjoy this more.  I wasn't a huge fan of the butternut squash in it either because it already seemed too much like bread pudding and then the sweetness of the squash really underlined that.  I will probably try mushrooms and thyme or sage next time along with the spinach because I love that combination.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Fusilli with Chicken and Tomato Sauce

This recipe was really a no brainer in the sense that how could homemade tomato sauce and roasted chicken be bad?  Fusilli with Chicken and Tomato Sauce was incredibly simple to make.  Make sure you don't forget to reserve that pasta water!  It makes any sauce better. :-)  The only thing that tripped me up in this recipe was the mozzarella cheese.  The description calls for "6 oz. mozzarella, diced (1 1/2 cups)" but doesn't say whether it is fresh mozzarella or regular mozzarella.  I went with the fresh and honestly it didn't do the fresh mozzarella justice.  It became very melty and stringy and not really worth the effort.  Save the money and buy regular!  I'll be making this recipe again sometime this week without the fresh mozz so hopefully I will see a difference.  We really enjoyed this recipe and we will definitely be making it again.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Make Ahead Meals: Mango, Pork and Watercress Salad

And we're back!  Just in time for me to start a new month of MAM, let's continue the recap of last month's successes and alterations.  I have to admit this recipe gave me pause.  I only started eating pork about 5 years ago, I've never been a fan of mango and I'm not sure I have ever even eaten watercress... So this was going to be a taste adventure!  (or disaster...)
The salad came together very easily as most salads should.  There was absolutely no cooking involved which is great for a week night.  I forgot to save one bell pepper from my pepper roasting extravaganza so I didn't have a raw pepper to throw into it.  I think it would have done just fine in the mix.  This recipe also calls for toasted almonds and I always hesitate to put nuts in food, but just like the olives were great in the shrimp and rice dish, the almonds definitely served their purpose in this dish.  Overall, I liked this salad a lot and look forward to having it again this month!  Keep in mind that once again you are pulling the pork either out of the fridge or freezer and act accordingly.  In a salad, cold pork isn't so bad but frozen is!