Category Archives: Dinner

Potato and Turnip Pancakes

potato-latkesWith Hanukkah here you have every excuse to embrace one of the best winter comfort foods there is: the potato latke. This is a flavorful twist on the traditional that is so easy to make. Turnips add a delicious bit of crunchiness and flavor. This recipe makes a manageable sized batch so you are not standing over the stove too long. But if you are having guests (or you’re really hungry) its easily doubled, or tripled.

  • 1 lb peeled russet potatoes
  • ½ lb white turnips
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp coarse salt
  • ¼ tsp ground pepper

Grate the potatoes and turnips in a food processor. A box grater will work as well but a food processor is easier if you have one. Wrap them in a clean towel and squeeze to remove as much moisture as possible. Transfer to a bowl and toss with salt and pepper.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Form potato mixture into tightly packed patties, place in skillet and flatten with a spatula. They should be less than an inch thick. Keeping an eye on how quickly they brown, cook about 10 minutes per side only flipping once. Transfer to a tray with a paper towel and sprinkle with salt. Serve warm with sour cream or applesauce.

 

 

Quiche with fresh greens

quicheslice
There’s nothing a mom loves more than a meal that satisfies all your nutritional and taste bud needs in one dish. Right now that dish for me is a quiche. Its got your carb group, your dairy group, your protein group and your vegetable groups all in one place.

My summer CSA has started up and I already have greens in my refrigerator that defy my usual comfort zone. Turnips, garlic scapes, collard greens. Whenever I’ve had collard greens they usually accompany barbecue and to be honest, I’m not a huge fan. They are limp, flaccid, over-sauteed. When fresh they are leafy and green and I know I can do better that the mushy stuff I feel like I’m supposed to like but never really do. But baked in a quiche they add a fresh crunch of healthiness.

If you don’t have collard greens you can substitute kale, Swiss chard or another hearty, leafy green. For a gluten free version look for a pre-made GF crust in your local store. I find mine in the freezer section of my natural market.  whole

  • 1 roll-out pie crust
  • 3 eggs, 1 seperated
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 8 garlic scapes, chopped to ½ inch pcs
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 bunch collard greens, ribs removed and chopped into ½ inch pcs
  • 4 scallions, chopped white parts
  • 6 oz hard cheese;  gruyere or fontina or Alpine blend
  • 1 cup milk
  • salt & pepper

Preheat the oven to 450. Roll out the crust and fit it into a quiche pan or pie plate using foil to protect the top edges. Using a fork, poke a few holes in the bottom. Bake until light golden brown, about 15 minutes. While the crust is baking, beat the white of one egg in a small bowl. Remove crust from from oven. Brush thoroughly with egg white and bake for 2 more minutes. Remove from oven and reduce temp to 375.

Heat the butter in a large pan over medium-low heat. Add garlic scapes and sautee for 8 minutes or until soft, stirring regularly. Add the garlic and sautee for one minute. Add the collards and toss to cover with butter. Cook until limp, about 2 minutes. Remove from pan into a bowl to cool.

Beat the 2 eggs and 1 yoke together with the milk until smooth. Fold in the vegetable mixture. Season with salt and pepper.  Scatter half the cheese evenly over the bottom of the crust. Pour in the egg mixture top with the rest of the cheese. Top with chopped scallions. Bake for 25 minutes or until set in the center. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Chicken and Cabbage Salad

chickencabbage salad

Not long ago I talked about my love for the roasted chicken and its many uses. What I didn’t tell you is that more than anything I love the rotisserie chicken you pick up at the grocery, the one that they have cooked for you. The appeal is obvious-no cooking for me tonight! My work is done. If you are not one to sit at the table and assail the roasted chicken with your bare hands but want a more civilized experience here is an easy way to add a few other things into the mix and have a nice one plate meal.

  • The meat from one rotisserie chicken, shredded
  • ½ head of a small red cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and shredded
  • 4 scallions, sliced
  • ½ small red onion thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup fresh chopped cilantro
  • Sesame-ginger salad dressing

Combine the first 6 ingredients in a large bowl, dress with your favorite sesame-ginger salad dressing to you liking.

Potato Lentil Salad with a Garlic Mustard Vinaigrette

Purple potatoes are pretty.

Purple potatoes are pretty.

I got these beautiful purple potatoes from my winter CSA share and really wanted to share them with someone-why not you? They look so nice next to lentils, which are not known for their good looks. Or taste for that matter. I think of lentils as one of the more blah foods out there even though they’re healthy and full of good stuff for you and all that, I still need to disguise them with other ingredients to reap their benefits. You can buy lentils in a can, which eliminates the overnight soaking or whatever those people who write recipes and don’t have babies will tell you to do (look for them with the Goya canned goods if you have a hard time finding them in your store).

This is a fantastic example of a make-in-stages recipe. The dressing can be made hours ahead of time. Potatoes can be boiled and left to cool at any point. After that, it’s just throwing things together in a serving bowl. Keeps for 3 days refrigerated in an air-tight container.

  • 1 lb potatoes, peeled
  • 1 15 oz can lentils, drained and rinsed
  • Salt and pepper

Dressing

  • 2 large shallots finely diced,
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 to 2 garlic cloves, minced or smashed to a paste
  • 1 tablespoon smooth Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup of your favorite olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons capers, rinsed if salted, drained if brined, and roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons pickle relish
  • 1 to 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped flat leaf parsley

Make the dressing: Place the chopped shallot and red wine vinegar in the bottom of a small bowl and let sit for 5 minutes. Whisk in minced garlic, dijon, a pinch of salt, a few grinds of black pepper and olive oil. Stir in chopped capers, relish and scallions.

In a large pot cover the potatoes with 2 inches of cold water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and simmer until potatoes a re soft when poked with a sharp knife. Remove and let cool enough to handle. Cut into 1 inch pieces.

Assemble salad:  Place potatoes in a serving bowl. Add lentils, dressing and all but 1 tablespoon of parsley and combine. Adjust seasoning with additional salt and pepper if needed. Scatter salad with remaining parsley and serve.

The whole enchilada and the kitchen sink

fullycooked1


Taco night in my house is one of my go-to meals every week. Its easy and everyone at the table will eat it. No special prep needed. Looking to expand my repetoire of easy meals, I set out to master the enchilada. Its similar to the tacos I make but with enchiladas you put everything in one big dish and bake it. This means it can be put together ahead of time or in phases as you have time in between diaper changes and feedings. If you’re lucky enough to have an extra hand around the house one day, try to put a second enchilada dish together and stick it in the freezer for a future meal.

What I like about enchiladas is that you can throw just about anything you have into them. It’s an excellent way to clean out the produce drawer or the cabinet. Leftover chicken can go into the filling but also any combination of the following things work well if you have them in your refrigerator or cabinet: spinach, corn, rice, black beans, tomatoes, green onions, peppers of any color, olives, salsa. I could go on but I think you get the picture.

Enchiladas are also a great way to sneak veggies to a picky eater. I suggest shredding carrots or using finely chopped spinach because finely chopping or shredding anything is the best way to sneak foods past the picky one. In the interest of saving time I am going to suggest that you buy enchilada sauce, rather than make your own. Buying pre-grated cheese will save you some work as well.

Here is a basic recipe

  • 12 Corn tortillas
  • Grapeseed, peanut or canola oil
  • 1 lb of grated jack cheese or mild cheddar
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Enchilada sauce
  • Fillings of your choice

tortillastack

Preheat the oven to 350

In a small skillet saute the onion and garlic in 1 tbsp of oil until soft, about 5 minutes. Remove from the pan and let cool.

Add a little more oil to cover the bottom of the pan and turn the heat to medium. Now add one corn tortilla and fry for about 30 seconds on each side so the tortilla is browned and softened. Remove from pan and put the tortilla on a plate with a paper towel. Repeat for the remaining tortillas.

Here I've made a smaller, 6 enchilada version of this recipe

Here I’ve made a smaller, 6 enchilada version of this recipe

Spread ½ cup of enchilada sauce to cover the bottom of a 9×13 pan. Take a prepared tortilla and cover 2/3 of it with shredded cheese. Add a scoop of the onion-garlic mixture. Now add the fillings of your choice and roll up into a tube. Place it seam-side down in the 9×13 pan. When the pan is filled cover with the remaining sauce and top with the remaining cheese. Garnish with chopped green onions or black olives if you’re feeling fancy-pantsy.

Bake for 20 minutes until bubbling.

Leftovers reborn, hot & cold

Let’s say you roasted a chicken last night and now you have the leftover meat in your fridge. If you have a few cans of the right stuff on the shelf you can have a whole new meal with that leftover chicken. With mostly the same ingredients you have 2 choices, a salad or a soup. Both are easy and don’t require much more that opening a few cans and chopping a vegetable or two. 

Go ahead and toss in any other vegetables you have kicking around the produce drawer-both of these recipes are excellent with celery or carrots added. The salad could benefit from a few slivers of red onion, too.  

The rice can be cooked ahead of time and let cool.

salad

Salad

  • Leftover chicken chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 15oz can corn
  • 1 15oz can Cannellini beans
  • 2-ish cups cooked rice
  • 4 large kale leaves, chopped (Swiss chard or spinach will also work)
  • salt & pepper
  • olive oil
  • balsamic vinegar
  • herbs fresh or dried like rosemary, basin or thyme

Measure out one cup of rice (dry) and cook according to directions. Rinse the corn and beans in a colander, drain to dry. When the rice is done let it cool in a large bowl. Add the corn, beans, chicken and kale to the bowl. Toss with olive oil, balsamic and any herbs you have. You can also use salad dressing from a bottle.  Add salt & pepper to taste.

If it feels a little bland, this is a really good place to add a little hot sauce like Sriracha.

soup

Soup

  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • ½ onion chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Leftover chicken copped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 15oz can corn
  • 1 15oz can Cannellini beans
  • 1cup cooked rice
  • 4 large kale leaves, chopped (Swiss chard or spinach will also work)
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 tbsp herbs fresh or dried like rosemary, basin or thyme
  • Sriracha or another hot sauce of your

Rinse the corn and beans in a colander, drain to dry. Heat the olive oil in a soup pot over med-low heat. Cook for 5 minutes or until onion gets soft but does not burn. Add chicken broth, corn, beans, kale, rice, and leftover chicken. Add herbs, salt & pepper.

Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Put a lid on the pot but leave it ajar and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring once or twice to ensure the rice is not sticking. Serve with a little Sriracha.

Dinner in one hour

Roasted Chicken, potatoes and squash

wholechickenNot only can this meal be comforting and satisfying it can be cooked in one hour. Bonus: it yields not one but three potential leftover dishes.

I can’t believe I pulled it off. A meat and potatoes dinner made in one hour with three food groups and no recipe. I covered the meat group, the starch group and the vegetable group and here is how I did it.

The salt brings out the moisture in the chicken and makes the skin nice and crispy. This is why you do not baste until the roasting is almost complete, you need the salt to do its job. The basting will rinse off the super-saltiness towards the end of the process.  With nothing in the cavern of the chicken it will roast quickly and thoroughly at a high heat.

Do ahead: the potatoes and squash can be peeled and chopped at any time earlier in the day.

Roasted Chicken with potatoes and squash

  • Whole chicken about 4 lbs, more or less
  • Salt
  • Water
  • 3 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 1 med onion chopped
  • 1 tbsp dried sage
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt & pepper

Preheat the oven to 450

Rinse the chicken and remove any neck and giblets. Generously salt inside the cavern and outside of the chicken on both sides. Place on a roasting rack in a shallow roasting pan. Fill the pan with a ½  inch of water. Roast for an hour basting only once, 45 minutes after the bird has been in the oven.

Meanwhile, peel the potatoes and cut roughly into 1” chunks. Peel the squash and cut into 1” chunks. Toss in a large bowl with olive oil, onions, salt and pepper. Melt the butter over low heat in a small saute pan. Add the sage and sauté for 1 minute, until fragrant. Pour over potatoes and squash. Add thyme and toss well. Transfer to a small roasting pan and add to the oven where the chicken has been roasting. Roast for 30 minutes or until the potatoes feel soft when pierced with a fork. Stir once halfway through roasting.

After an hour, remove the chicken from the oven and test the done-ness by cutting onto the breast.

Check my next post for the leftover magic.