Butternut Squash Soup

Mmmmhhh….

I love this because it’s so simple. And because it’s a great fall dish!

Ingredients:

1 large butternut squash (or precut squash works well too)

1 large yellow onion

1/2-1 tsp Thyme – preferably fresh but dried is ok

1/2-1 tsp Sage – ditto

Chicken stock

2 tablespoons butter

Salt and pepper

Directions:

Peel, seed and cube the squash into 1 inch(ish) chunks.

Dice onion and saute in butter. Add sage and thyme. Then add in cubed squash and lightly cook adding salt and pepper to taste. Add chicken stock and cover and let simmer for about 20 minutes or until the squash is fork tender.

Transfer mixture to a food processor. Cover food processor with a towel before blending. Again add salt to taste. Ladle in to bowls and serve as an appetizer, soup course or the main meal. I think it would be delicious with fresh bacon crumbles and a blue cheese salad on the side!

Lenten Deliciousness – Fish Tacos

Because it’s Lent, we’re not supposed to eat meat on Fridays. Because we’re not supposed to eat meat, all I want to eat is meat.

I have honed this recipe over the last two Fridays and I ate so many tacos this past Friday night, I nearly grew gills. This is a super easy dish and it got rave reviews from my toughest food critic, Peter.

Tortillas – we used flour, but corn is good too

Frozen breaded fish fillets

Cabbage – the already chopped kind, like for coleslaw

Avocado

Shredded cheese

Sour cream

Pineapple or another fruit based salsa – something sweet and spicy

 

Cook the fish according to instructions. Warm tortillas and layer with sour cream, fish, cheese, cabbage salsa and top with avocado. Roll up and dive in!

 

Fast + Easy + Cheap = Dinner

This is one of our favorite dinners and it actually is fast, cheap and easy. It’s one of those recipes where I don’t actually have measurements. I throw this together and sample along the way and whatever tastes good is what I use.  So I’m going to estimate the measurements and feel free to make it what tastes good to you.:

1 flank steak

Red potatoes – or some other kind of potatoes, whatever is available and looks good

A1 Steak Sauce

Teriyaki marinade

Soy Sauce

Grainy mustard (not sure the proper term but look for a mustard where you can see the seeds)

Chives

Garlic cloves

Sour cream

Butter

Cheddar Cheese

Salt and Pepper

At least 2 hours before cooking (the longer the better), put the steak in a dish and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Pour A1, teriyaki, Soy Sauce onto steak. Enough that there is some liquid in the bottom of the dish – go lighter with the A1 than with the Soy and teriyaki. Flip the steak – same salt and pepper and then spread the grainy mustard on. Add a little more liquid to this side. Cover and put in the fridge until you’re ready to cook. Depending on the thickness, broil or grill to preferred done-ness (if it’s a very thick steak, broiling can cause the marinade drippings to burn, thus making your house smell like steak for a few days).

Wash and cut potatoes into equal sizes. Boil until fork tender. Mash with a good helping of salt and pepper, sour cream, butter, minced garlic and chives. Stir in a little shredded cheddar cheese. Sample along the way and add more of whatever you like best – the dish tastes best with lots of seasoning so go nuts. Put in a baking dish and top with a good portion of cheddar cheese.  Bake for a few minutes at 350 degrees until the cheese is melted and getting bubbly.

Slice the flank steak against the grain into long, thin strips. Serve with a heaping mound of potatoes and a big glass of wine. Enjoy!

Fresh and Easy Tomato Sauce

I really dislike jarred tomato sauce – I think it has a funny taste no matter how much I mess with it. (There is a yiddish word that I want to use here and although I can say it, apparently I can’t spell it to even begin to look up how to actually spell it!). So I made up my own little sauce last night and it was delicious. It was approved by Peter by evidence of his second helping of dinner and actually eaten by Baylie so it must be a winner:

2 cans of diced tomatoes. I like the organic kind and without added salt if possible

20-30 basil leaves depending on size

1 tablespoon of sugar

2 diced cloves of garlic or about a tea-spoon of minced, jarred garlic (I think Safeway’s organic is the best)

some spices – oregano, “pasta sprinkle”, whatever sounds good and is on hand

salt and pepper

Saute the garlic in some olive oil. Add in the two cans of sauce and stir. Chiffonade the basil leaves and add them to the pot. Add in a dash of whatever spice sounds good (oregano is my favorite) and salt and pepper. Add in the sugar and stir. Let it simmer for a few minutes and then taste for more seasoning.

That’s it! It’s a thinner sauce but the fresh taste is great. Add in partially cooked pasta to soak up some of the juice and or turkey meatballs to warm in the sauce. Serve with garlic bread, as a sandwich, with pasta or by themselves. If you don’t have canned tomatoes or would prefer fresh – hull the fresh tomatoes and put them on a foil lined tray. Add some salt and olive oil and roast for approximately 45 minutes in the oven. Add all parts of the tomatoes to a sauce pan and then the same ingredients above.  Enjoy!

My Meatballs Are Better Than Your Meatballs

I like to cook with ground turkey a lot – however, my recipes always need a little tweaking. The extra lean turkey is a little dry because of the lack of fat so it needs a little extra work to make it tasty. I hit pay dirt with my meatball recipe last night. The proof? I thought they were delicious and Baylie ate an entire meatball!

1 lb of ground turkey – lean or extra lean

1 packet of ranch dressing mix

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 mozzarella cheese sticks

1-2 eggs

bread crumbs or cracker crumbs

Combine the turkey, garlic, 1 egg and ranch packet. Chop the cheese sticks into small quarters (cut lengthwise into 4ths, then dice) and add to the turkey mix. If the mixture seems dry, add the second egg. If it’s too wet, add some bread crumbs. It should be very moist, but hold a ball shape.

In a big skillet, heat some olive oil. Roll the meatballs and drop them into the pan. If you leave them alone until  you see browning on the pan, then you can easily roll them to the opposite side to continue browning (i.e. if they stick, they aren’t ready to turn). Cover with a lid and reduce the heat until cooked through.

Sauce:

1 small zucchini or yellow squash OR 1/2 a large one

1 pint of grape tomatoes

1 jar of  your favorite red sauce

Dice the zucchini into small chunks. Add zucchini and tomatoes to a sauce pan with a tablespoon of butter. Saute until soft and a little brown and the tomatoes are popping. Add sauce and let simmer until you’re ready to eat.

Combine whole wheat pasta shells, meatballs and pour sauce over all of it. A little sprinkle of parmesan and you’re ready to eat a delicious and healthy meal! Some fresh basil or parsley would be a great addition too. It makes a ton and is awesome for lunches the next day (and probably the day after!). Bon appetite!