Orzo With Eggplant and Red Pepper Sauce

14 10 2014

This tasty dish comes together in less than a half hour, perfect for weeknight dinners and meatless Mondays. Comfort food can be healthy, and it doesn’t have to take all day either!

Orzo With Eggplant and Red Pepper Sauce

The following serves 4 (compliments of Cuisine Light and This Girl’s Gotta Eat):

  • 1 heaping cup of dry whole wheat orzo
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup diced red onion
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • Kosher salt
  • Red pepper flakes
  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup low-sodium, reduced-fat chicken broth
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 can (15 oz) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tsp red wine vinegar
  • Lemon zest
  • Fresh parsley, chopped
  • Grated parmesan

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Season liberally with salt and cook orzo to al dente, according to package directions. Reserve a little of the pasta water, then drain the orzo.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute a few minutes. Add garlic and saute until fragrant, 1 minute. Add bell pepper and saute another few minutes. Season with salt to taste and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Next add the eggplant and cook until eggplant begins to soften, about 5 minutes, stirring often.

Add wine to eggplant and simmer until liquid is almost evaporated. Stir in the broth and tomato paste and mix well. Add chickpeas and  simmer until mixture begins to thicken, about 5 minutes. Add the vinegar and season with salt to taste.

Next add the orzo and a little of the pasta water, mix well to combine and cook on low for another minute or so. Stir in a good dusting of lemon zest and some of the chopped parsley. Mix to combine and taste, adjusting seasoning if needed.

Dish out the orzo and garnish with more parsley and parmesan.





Chipotle Beef and Black Bean Chilaquiles

9 10 2014

Chilaquiles are a popular Mexican breakfast, great for using up day-old tortillas which are crisped up and tossed in sauce. But this spicy and bold-flavored version makes for a delicious dinner too! This meal is also great for using up overripe tomatoes too, because you’ll never know the difference once you quickly puree them. I love finding creative ways to use up ingredients that might otherwise get tossed.

Chipotle Beef and Black Bean Chilaquiles

The following serves 4 (compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat and Everyday With Rachel Ray):

  • 1 cup dry organic black beans
  • Low-sodium, reduced-fat chicken broth
  • Ground cumin
  • Ground chipotle chile pepper
  • Granulated garlic
  • Ground coriander
  • 1 (4 oz) can diced green chiles
  • 6 whole grain small tortillas (or 3 large), quartered
  • Olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 chipotle in adobo, plus some of the adobo sauce (about 1 tsp)
  • 1 lb organic ground beef
  • 1 lb tomatoes, pureed in a Vitamix or high-powered blender
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • Cilantro, chopped
  • Green onions, chopped
  • Lime juice
  • Eggs, one per person
  • Reduced-fat, shredded Mexican cheese blend

Either the night before, or the morning you want to serve this, soak the dry black beans in 3 cups of water for at least 8 hours. Drain the beans and add to a medium pot. Add 3 cups of chicken broth and bring to a boil over medium heat. Add spices – about 1.5 tsp cumin, 1 tsp each of chipotle chile pepper and granulated garlic and 1/2 tsp of coriander. Mix well, cover and cook over medium for 60 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the liquid seems to be evaporating too quickly, just add a little bit more chicken broth. During the last 10 minutes, stir in the diced chiles.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350. Lay tortillas on a baking sheet in a single layer and bake until golden brown and crisp, about 10-15 minutes. You can use day-old tortillas here to help use up leftovers you may have. Once crisp, remove from the oven and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat a little olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute until soft 3-5 minutes. Add garlic and saute until fragrant, 30 seconds. Next add dry spices and let them toast. Add 1 tsp cumin and 1/2 tsp coriander. Next add the chipotle in adobo and the sauce. Mix spices together, breaking up the chipotle well. Next add the ground beef, breaking up with the back of a wooden spoon. Mix the spices into the meat well, and saute beef until browned and cooked through. Season with salt to taste and add pureed tomatoes. Mix well and bring to a low bubble, then reduce heat to low and cook for 5-10 minutes. You want the sauce to be on the loose side because you’re going to toss the tortilla into it, so if it looks to thick, add some chicken broth to thin out. Season lightly with salt to taste.

Just before you’re ready to serve, add the tortillas and stir into the meat sauce to fully cover the tortillas.

In another skillet with some oil heated, fry one egg per person until the whites are just set and the eggs are sunny-side up, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

To serve, dish out some of the meat sauce and tortillas on each plate. Top with some black beans and garnish with cilantro and green onions. Squeeze on some lime juice, then top each plate with a fried egg. Garnish with shredded cheese and more cilantro and green onions.





Cabbage and Apple Salad

7 10 2014

Here’s a crunchy, healthy and super flavorful salad which I like to serve as a side dish. You can quickly whip it up and let it hang out in the fridge while you cook dinner – which will allow the flavors to combine. Don’t worry about the measurements, just wing it and adjust to your taste as you go. If you like salad a little on the tangy side, add more vinegar. If you don’t like it as dressed, don’t add as much liquid. Just have fun with it! :)

Cabbage and Apple Salad

The following is compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat:

  • Dijon mustard
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Cabbage, shredded or sliced thin
  • Apple, cored and sliced thin
  • Shallot, sliced thin
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Fresh parsley, chopped

Whisk a little Dijon mustard with some apple cider vinegar, olive oil and salt and pepper to taste in a medium bowl. Add shredded or sliced cabbage, sliced apples and sliced shallots. Mix well. Taste and adjust seasoning, vinegar or oil as needed. Add sunflower seeds and fresh parsley before serving.





Butternut Squash Penne With Bacon, Corn and Sauteed Broccoli Greens

6 10 2014

I can’t help but feel like I knocked dinner out of the park tonight with this luscious, Alfredo-like pasta dish that’s healthy to boot! I didn’t use cream, butter or flour – but still achieved the rich and silky consistency we’ve all come to love from Alfredo, thanks to roasted butternut squash puree. I recommend making the puree over the weekend (it’s super easy, just will take an hour or so)…this way you can whip this meal faster during a busy weeknight.

Butternut Squash Penne With Bacon, Corn and Sauteed Broccoli Greens

The following serves 4-6 (adapted from Cuisine at Home):

  • 1 butternut squash, cut in half lengthwise and seeds removed
  • Olive oil
  • 8 strips of bacon, diced
  • Chopped broccoli greens from 1-2 heads of broccoli (alternatively, you could also use kale, about 1.5 cups worth or so)
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt
  • 13 oz whole wheat penne or fettuccine pasta
  • 2 ears of sweet corn, kernels cut off the cobs
  • 1/2 cup minced shallots
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup dry Marsala
  • 1/2 cup milk (I used skim, while the original recipe called for heavy cream – use what you have)
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup toasted chopped nuts like walnuts or hazelnuts
  • Grated parmesan
  • Chopped fresh parsley
  • Fresh ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400. Line a baking sheet or casserole dish with foil. Lightly coat the squash halves with olive oil on both sides. Place squash, flesh side down on pan. Add 1 cup of water to the pan. Bake squash until tender, about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. Scoop flesh from the squash and puree in a Vitamix or blender, discard the skin. At this point you can cover and store the puree in the fridge until you’re ready to make this meal.

In a large non-stick skillet, cook bacon until crisp and remove to a paper towel lined plate. Discard most of the bacon grease, but leave a little in your skillet. Add the broccoli greens or kale and saute until wilted a few minutes. Season with salt to taste and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Remove to paper towel lined plate.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and season liberally with salt. Boil pasta in salted water according to package directions, cooking to al dente. During the last 2 minutes of cooking, add the corn kernels. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water, then strain pasta and corn.

To the skillet you used to cook the bacon and greens in, add a Tbsp or so of olive oil and heat over medium-high. Add shallots and cool until soft, a couple of minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Deglaze skillet with Marsala and cook until nearly evaporated.

Stir in squash puree (about 2 cups worth, but no worries if you have a little less – the sauce will still be great). Next add the milk and broth, stir to combine and season with salt to taste.

Stir in the pasta and corn, along with 1/4 – 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water. Add a little at first, then more as needed to reach your desired sauce consistency. Toss the pasta and corn with the sauce over heat for a minute or two. Add sautéed greens and most of the bacon, reserving a little for garnish, and toss well. If your sauce seems a little loose, remove from the heat and allow it to sit for a few minutes which will thicken it up.

To serve, dish out the pasta and garnish with toasted nuts, parmesan, parsley and black pepper to taste.





Bacon, Onion and Apple Pizza

27 09 2014

This easy bacon pie came about after I saw an idea in Food Network Magazine for ham and apple pizza, as I desperate continue to try to use up all the apples from our CSA share. I used the bacon grease to help cook some of the ingredients, which imparted extra flavor as well. Not something I typically do. But my grandma used to save and use bacon grease to cook nearly everything, so I thought, why not be like her! Of course I used a paper-towel lined plate to soak up some of the drippings after the fact, helping the pizza be not too greasy in the end.

Bacon, Onion and Apple Pizza

The following serves 2-3 (compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat with inspiration from Food Network Magazine):

  • 1 package refrigerated whole wheat pizza dough
  • 4-6 slices thick-cut smoked pork bacon, diced
  • Half an onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 apple, thinly sliced
  • Grated cheese – use whatever you like, I used a combo of mozzarella and cheddar
  • Green onion, chopped

Preheat oven to 400.

In a large saute pan, cook diced bacon over medium-high heat until crispy (or done to your liking). Remove bacon to a paper-towel lined plate and set aside.

Roll out refrigerated dough onto a pizza stone in a thin layer either in the shape of a circle or rectangle. Brush a little of the bacon grease onto the rolled out pizza dough using a pastry brush. Bake pizza crust for about 7-10 minutes.

Meanwhile to the bacon grease, add the sliced onion and cook over medium a few minutes until the onion softens. Using tongs, remove to paper-towel lined plate. Finally, add the apple to the warm bacon grease and toss quickly. Using tongs and remove to paper-towel lined plate.

Once the crust has cooked through a little, remove the pizza dough from the oven. Top with some cheese (I did mozzarella first), then add your bacon, onion and apple slices – spreading out evenly on the pizza. Top with more cheese – I used sharp cheddar for the top. Return pizza to the oven and bake another 15 minutes or so, until the pizza is cooked through and the top is golden.

Remove the pizza from the oven and garnish with chopped green onions before serving.





Chipotle Crab, Corn and Bacon Bisque

15 09 2014

It’s really felt like fall around CLE this past week. The crisp air was calling for a bisque or chowder, especially after we ended up with corn and thick-cut bacon from our Fresh Fork Market share. This bisque features sweet crab and corn paired with the smokey flavors of chipotle and bacon. So delicious and comforting, and perfect for enjoying on a cool Saturday night. Make the whole batch and dive into the leftovers throughout the week!

Chipotle Crab, Corn and Bacon Bisque

The following serves 6 (compliments of This Girl’s Gotta Eat with inspiration from Cuisine at Home):

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 slices thick-cut smoked pork bacon, diced
  • 6 corn cobs (if you can, use leftover grilled corn cobs)
  • 4 cups skim milk (I use skim milk for a healthier option, but for a richer flavor you can use cream or whole milk instead)
  • 3 cups reduced-fat, low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 small white or candy onion, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1-2 chipotle in adobo
  • 1/4 – 1/3 cup flour (white or whole wheat)
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry
  • Corn from 4 corn cobs
  • 16 oz wild caught crab meat, drained
  • Chopped cilantro

In a large dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat and add diced bacon. Cook bacon until crisp, stirring often. Remove bacon to a paper-towel lined plate and set aside.

To the bacon drippings, add the onion, celery and carrots and saute veggies for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, add 6 corn cobs (kernels removed) to a large pot and cover with milk and chicken stock. (When I make grilled corn, I’ll cut the corn off the cob after it’s grilled and then freeze the cobs to use in soups like this later. You could of course use fresh corn instead). Heat over medium and bring to a low simmer, then reduce heat to low for about 20-25 minutes to infuse the flavor of the cobs into the liquid. Remove cobs from the liquid and discard.

Add the minced garlic and salt to taste to your sautéed veggies and cook until fragrant, about a minute. Next add the tomato paste and chipotle in adobo (add the whole chipotle, 1 for less heat 2 for more heat). Cook for a minute or so, stirring everything together. Next add the flour, stir to combine, and cook for another minute (use 1/3 cup for a slightly thicker consistency if you’d like).

Deglaze with the wine, whisking to combine. Cook until the wine is nearly evaporated and gets nice and thick. Next whisk in the warmed milk and stock, along with the sherry. Simmer on low until it starts to bubble, stirring occasionally. Season with salt to taste.

Remove from the heat and puree until smooth using an immersion blender. Turn the heat back onto low and add the corn (to cut the corn off the cobs, put a small bowl upside down inside a large bowl, stand the corn straight up and from the top to the bottom, cut the corn off the cob using a large knife – the large bowl will collect the kernels). Simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste and season with salt if needed. Fold in the crab gently just before serving.

Serve bisque garnished with crisp bacon and chopped cilantro.





Seared Scallops with Braised Cauliflower

9 09 2014

Top braised cauliflower with quick seared mini scallops for a fast and healthy weeknight meal. Loaded with flavor and super easy to make!

Seared Scallops with Braised Cauliflower

The following serves 3 (compliments of Lidia Bastianich and This Girl’s Gotta Eat):

  • 5 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 large head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • Dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup chopped kalamata olives
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 5 large Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1-2 Tbsp capers, drained and rinsed
  • 12 oz frozen mini scallops, thawed and patted dry
  • Ground black pepper
  • Fresh parsley, chopped
  • Parmesan cheese, grated

Heat 3 Tbsp of the olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add 4 cloves of minced garlic, and let it sizzle for a minute or two, stirring. Toss the cauliflower and stir to coat with the oil. Deglaze with a splash of dry white wine.

Add the olives, oregano, salt and red pepper flakes and stir. Next add the tomatoes and their juices, along with the capers. Bring the cauliflower/sauce to a rapid simmer. Cover, and cook 10 minutes. Uncover, and simmer until the cauliflower is tender and the sauce has thickened, about 10 to 12 minutes.

Right before you’re ready to serve, heat the remaining 2 Tbsp olive oil in a medium-large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the remaining minced garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add dry scallops and sear for 4-5 minutes, constantly tossing the scallops in the garlic oil. Remove from heat and season lightly with salt and pepper to taste and garnish with fresh parsley. Serve immediately.

Garnish cauliflower with a good handful of chopped parsley. To serve, dish out the cauliflower, top with a little parmesan cheese and finish with scallops and some of the garlic oil they were cooked in.








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