Heirloom Tomato and Roasted Lemon Salad with an Orange Vinaigrette

  Sometimes during the summer, all I want to eat is vegetables. Red peppers, tomatoes, onions, carrots, cucumbers…. Sometimes I juice them and drink them all day long, and other times I make a big salad. This salad was pictured … Continue reading

Turkey Chili for a Crowd

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I’ve put myself on a pretty strict budget lately. The best way to keep to it? Cooking for myself. Big pot meals like casseroles, pasta dishes, and the like are the easiest and most cost effective way to stick to my financial plan.

Every Halloween my mom makes a huge batch of chili and invites everyone in town over. Her chili is legendary and is based primarily on the Silver Palate Cookbook’s “Chili For a Crowd.” To make chili healthier and more inexpensive per serving I’ve substituted in turkey and added mushrooms. I suggest topping it off with grated cheddar cheese and sour cream.

TURKEY CHILI FOR A CROWD (serves 10)

1 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 pound yellow onions coarsely chopped
1.5 lb ground turkey
6 oz tomato paste
1 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tbsp cup ground cumin
1.5 tbsp cup chili powder
2 tbsp cup Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 tablespoon dried oregano
salt to taste
1 tablespoons freshly-ground black pepper
2 cans Italian plum tomatoes – (28 oz ea) drained
10 oz sliced white mushrooms
1 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp cup chopped parsley
1 can dark-red kidney beans – (16 oz ea) drained

Heat the olive oil in a large pot. Add the onions and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until wilted, about 15 minutes. Add the ground turkey; cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until the meat is cooked through. Stir in mushrooms, cook for 3 minutes.

Stir in the tomato paste, garlic, cumin, chili powder, mustard, basil, oregano, salt and pepper. Add the tomatoes, lemon juice, parsley, mushrooms, and kidney beans. Stir well and lower to a simmer. Cook covered for 30 minutes and uncovered for another 30 minutes.

Serve immediately or portion into containers to freeze.

(adapted from the Silver Palate Cookbook)

Fresh and Light Marinated Mushroom Pasta

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With the cold weather dragging on and on I’ve burnt out on heavy winter food. This mushroom dish, inspired by one of Nigella Lawson’s recipes, is the perfect quick fix. It’s hearty enough to serve as a main dish but light enough, with a strong lemon finish, to remind you that warm weather is on the way!

Marinated Mushroom Pasta (Serves 5)

1 package Linguine
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 tsp fresh oregano
1 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tsp fresh thyme
1 lemon, juiced and zested
2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper
10-12oz baby bella mushrooms, sliced very thinly

1. Toss all ingredients except linguine in a large bowl. Cover and let sit for at least 1 hour.
2. Cook pasta till al dente. Drain loosely, reserving about 1/2 cup of pasta water.
3. Add pasta and reserved pasta water to the bowl of mushrooms.
4. Toss and serve immediately. Garnish with shaved Parmesan and parsley if desired.

Weeknight Loaded Mac & Cheese

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The other night I looked at the clock and it was 9:30pm. I hadn’t had dinner yet, was starving, and had lots of work left to do. I had two options: delivery or get creative. Not one to turn down a challenge, I decided to get creative.

When you need to cook a meal fast it is all about deciding on an easy base. My go-to is Annie’s Mac & Cheese. I grew up on Annie’s and I still love it. It is never a bad pick. Rummaging through the fridge, I pulled out butter (duh), milk, asparagus, a shallot, mushrooms, mozzarella cheese, and bacon (why not?). Next, I headed to the pantry for some bread crumbs and olive oil.

When you make a loaded Mac & Cheese the key is to use up the stuff you have in your fridge. Cauliflower? Throw it in! Brussels Sprouts? Chop those suckers up! Mushrooms? I am in love!

This takes a grand total of 30 minutes max. and the left overs are to die for.

Weeknight Loaded Mac & Cheese (feeds 2-3) 

  • 1 box Annie’s Mac & Cheese + ingredients box calls for (typically milk and a little butter)
  • 1 medium shallot sliced thinly
  • 4 pieces of bacon
  • 1.5 cups sliced baby bella mushrooms
  • 1.5 cups chopped asparagus (1″ long chunks)
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/2 tbsp butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup grated mozzarella cheese
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  1. Cook pasta till al dente.
  2. Cook bacon in a small oven-safe skillet or caste iron pan. When crisp, remove from pan and chop coarsely.
  3. Sauté shallots and mushrooms in bacon fat.
  4. When soft, add asparagus, season, and cover until steamed (about 8 minutes)
  5. Make ‘cheese sauce’ in a small bowl following the boxes instructions. Set aside.
  6. Combine breadcrumbs and butter in small bowl. Set aside.
  7. Add cooked pasta, bacon and mozzarella to vegetables, stir until combined evenly.
  8. Pour cheese sauce over top of the pasta mixture.
  9. Top with breadcrumbs and some black pepper.
  10. Broil for 3-5 minutes or until golden brown and bubbling.
  11. Enjoy!

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