root-veggie pot pie

I love meals you can make in advance, either days in advance or mere hours.
Basically I love meals that make the dinner hour a little easier. Because at my house it is typically “the bewitching hour” —that mysterious time of day when everyone is transitioning from physical location and varying degrees of emotional stability. (Getting home from school/going to activities, getting home from work/going to meetings, getting up from naps/going to fall-apart on the floor, etc).

That said, even if your house boasts a considerably more calm dinner hour, this recipe is particularly tasty, easy to make, good for you, and pretty. All the necessary qualifications for a great meal.
Enjoy!

ROOT VEGGIE POT PIE 

1 large rutabaga (peeled and cubed)
2 sweet potatoes (peeled and cubed)
3 parsnips (peeled and cubed)
4 large carrots (peeled and cubed)
3 turnips (peeled and cubed)
1 cup + vegetable broth
1 onion, (peeled and diced)
1 teaspoon diced garlic
3 tablespoons clarified butter
salt and pepper top taste

CRUST:
1  3/4 Cup flour + 2 tablespoons (or as needed should the dough be too moist).
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup water
1/2 cup Vegetable Oil

Start with this pie crust recipe and method. Mix it up, use the waxed-paper method to roll out and fit the bottom crust to the pie plate, and set it aside.
I use this recipe and method for every pie I make—sweet, savory, fruit, cream, or otherwise. It’s the only fail-proof pie crust recipe I’ve ever found and I’ll love it forever.

Once all of your root vegetables are peeled and cubed, melt butter in a large fry pan, add garlic and diced onion, and sauté until caramelized.
Then add all of the cubed root veggies, about 1/2 cup vegetable broth, cover, and simmer until broth is absorbed by the veggies. Add the rest of the broth, cover again, and cook. Veggies should be fork-tender by the time the remainder of the broth is absorbed. Feel free to adjust quantity of broth as needed. It will vary a bit based on the size of your veggies. Ultimately, your vegetables need to be tender enough to pierce with a fork but not mushy as they will continue to cook once inside the pie.

Once the veggies are ready and all of the broth is absorbed, sprinkle salt and pepper over the cooked vegetables until the flavor is to your liking. Then gently scrape the vegetable from the pan into the prepared crust. Roll out and fit the top crust to the pie using the waxed-paper method. Trim and crimp the edges, lightly sprinkle to top with salt and pepper, and bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for about 40 minutes—until the crust is golden brown across the top.

Allow to rest and cool slightly for about 40 minutes. This will help the juices be re-absorbed into the cooked vegetables rather than spilling out of your crust when you cut into the pie.

Serve warm.

 

fire-roasted cream-of-tomato-soup

I love food with history—food that invokes a memory, both with its preparation and its enjoyment. This particular soup recipe comes with story and memory and a long history for me. It was passed down from my great-grandmother, to my grandmother, to my mother, and to me. It has some inherited some variations along the way, specifically in regard to the tomatoes.

(It can be easier to pick up a couple cans at the grocery than it is to head down to the cellar and grab a couple jars off the shelf from last summer’s canning session —as my great-grandmother did. I love canning and tomatoes are definitely on that list, but for this recipe, feel free to get yours at the grocery store, unless you happen to have a few Ball canning jars of summer’s bounty tucked away).

I have this distinct memory of my mom with her hands on her hips, my sisters and I lined up in front of her, while the classic question was posed:
“What should we have for lunch, girls?”
I was probably no more than nine or ten at the time. But I remember the smile on her face when she suggested, with a mysterious grin, “How about Cream-of-tomato soup?”
At that point, we had never had cream of tomato soup, but the look on her face told us it would be wonderful, so we agreed happily and helped as she pulled out a saucepan, a couple cans of tomatoes, whole cream, garlic, onion, butter, and cheese. And I distinctly remember thinking, this is how memories are made.
So from my family to yours,
Enjoy!

3 cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes
3 tablespoons clarified butter
1 teaspoon diced garlic
1 teaspoon diced onion
3 cups vegetable broth
2 tablespoons balsamic vinaigrette
3/4 cup cream
salt and pepper to taste

In a sauce pan melt butter over med-high heat. Add the garlic and onion and simmer until both caramelize and begin to brown. Open tomatoes and empty all three in the the pan with the garlic, onion, and butter. Stir to combine. Add broth and heat through. Turn off heat and balsamic and cream. Stir and taste. Adjust salt and pepper to liking.
Serve hot the grated cheddar on top (and with a side of grilled cheese!)

garlicky chicken and fresh tomato scramble

You know when you’re so hungry because you forgot to eat breakfast or plan for lunch and it’s 2pm and you’re ready to eat your arm?
Yah. Good times.
Well, this one’s for you.
Prep and cook time: 10 minutes flat. Boom.
You can eat and just tuck that Hangry back in a little.
The world is safe for another day.
I love how a good scramble can do that. *wink*
Enjoy!

GARLICKY CHICKEN AND FRESH TOMATO SCRAMBLE

 Note: This recipe is super versatile. Fresh out of chicken? Turkey works. Or pork. Or last night’s steak. Or even a can of tuna. Not a meat person? No biggie. Leave it out.

Meat of some kind, about 1/2 a cup, or not! (See note above).
1 fresh tomato
1 teaspoon diced garlic
1 teaspoon onion flakes
Pepper to taste
1 teaspoon clarified butter

In a frying pan over medium heat, melt butter and toss in meat. Turn and coat and then toss in garlic, onion, and diced tomato. Simmer and mix until everything is heated through and smells AMAZING. Crack two eggs right into the pan, and using a spatula mix it around a little to combine all the ingredients. Then allow the whole thing to cook, covered, for about three minutes or until everything has set. You shouldn’t have any runny eggs.
Serve hot with your favorite fruit or veggie.

 

roasted acorn squash soup

I very nearly destroyed dinner last night.
This happens to me sometimes when I forgot that I put something in the oven and it overcooks. In a big way.
Fortunately, I was cooking squash. And squash are redeemable. I mean, with a name like squash, they almost have to be, right?

They were going to be a side dish, but instead they became the main dish. And it was serendipity all around. —A happy accident. And also delicious. Worthy of sharing.
Enjoy!

ROASTED ACORN SQUASH SOUP

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2 medium-large acorn squash
32oz/1 qt chicken broth
1 15oz can of whole-fat coconut milk
1 tsp onion flakes
1 teaspoon fresh garlic
3/4 teaspoon of salt (moire or less, depending on taste preference)
2 tablespoons clarified butter

In a 400-degree oven roast the squash until the rinds are blackened. About an hour or more. —I simply pierce the rinds with a sharp knife so they can vent while cooking, and place them whole right on the rack (with tinfoil underneath to catch drips). I find they are easier to de-seed post roasting. I’m all about simplifying the process.

When they have finished cooking and the rinds are blackened, remove from the oven, allow to cool, then slice open, and scoop out the seeds. scoop the cooked squash from the blackened rind and set aside.

In a soup pot over med-high heat, melt clarified butter and simmer garlic and onion flakes until cartelized. Add the acorn squash, broth, and can of coconut milk. With an emulsion blender (or in a standard blender) emulsify until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with rosemary, or parmesan, or both!

 

 

cauliflower rice with fresh guac and cucumbers

Lunch is hard.

By lunch I’ve usually exhausted any energy my coffee addiction provided, the kids are clamoring for something super healthy like Kraft MacNCheese, chips, and bread, and all I can think about is eating something that will make the noise stop for just a few minutes. That, or a second to pee by myself.
Ahem.
Lunch is hard.

But sometimes, lunch can be less hard—and this usually happens when you thought to plan ahead, or when whatever you made for dinner last night can ride in on a sliver spoon, reimagined as something new and tasty.

And thusly lunch rode in today. It was quick, easy, whole30 friendly (!) and while it didn’t make any of the clamoring cease, it did give me a little extra energy where coffee failed. Winning. Happy lunching friends!

CAULIFLOWER RICE WITH FRESH GUACAMOLE AND CUCUMBER SLICES

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Cauliflower rice is a staple I try to have on hand all the time. It’s a great vegetarian base for almost any meal and it goes with everything. It’s a little odiferously strong, but the flavor is fantastic and it keeps in the fridge for about three to four days—though my batch rarely lasts that long.

CAULIFLOWER RICE:
1 head of cauliflower
3 tablespoons (or more as needed) Olive or Avocado oil
1 tablespoon Sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon salt (+ additional to taste)

Chop a head of cauliflower into bite-sized pieces, and then in a food processor, pulse into rice-sized bits. I have a 7-cup processor and it takes several batches to get the whole head of cauliflower processed. This is the messy part of the recipe.

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In a large wok or deep skillet, heat olive (or avocado) oil on med heat. You’re not going to fry the cauliflower, you’re going to cook it, so make sure your pan isn’t too hot or it will splatter and burn. (Believe me, I learned this the hard way!) Add the cauliflower to the oil, sprinkle in salt, and mix thoroughly with a spatula. Feel free to taste and adjust salt as desired. Continue stirring occasionally until the rice begins to soften a bit and stick together. It will not be as sticky as actual rice, but it will clump a bit when moved around the pan. You don’t want it too soft or mushy (like a paste) so be careful not to overcook.

Once cooked through, remove the pan from heat and set aside. For this recipe, the rice can be served either hot or cold, your choice.

GUACAMOLE:
2 ripe avocados
3 tablespoons chunky salsa
1 teaspoon diced garlic
1 teaspoon diced onion
1 teaspoon lemon juice

In a food processor, pulse the ingredients until combined but not soupy. You’ll want to be able to tell what the ingredients were, before they were combined. So, kinda chunky. (Good foodie terms there, I know).

In a bowl, spoon cauliflower rice (hot or cold) and top generously with fresh guac. Throw on handful of fresh cucumber slices (the baby ones are my fav!) for a nice fresh crunch and call it good. Good lunch.
Enjoy!

 

 

 

spicy coconut chicken soup

In the Midwest, we are really good at winter. We’ve got that department mastered like it’s our JOB. I’d much rather be known for summer, but that’s what places like Florida and California and Georgia are good at. Someone’s got to do winter. *sigh*
Also, in the midwest, we are good at thick creamy soups. Because we are trying to stay warm. Anything with cream, or milk, or butter, or cream-of-anything additions to rice and chicken and broccoli and potatoes . . . Yah. You get the idea. Hey, it was -15 for the past week where I live (-25 and lower with wind chills). I’ve got cold on the brain. And also thick creamy soup.

But what happens when you crave that sort of thing but you’re all, “Oh shoot. Whole 30. No dairy . . .”?

Well, then you turn to the glorious creamy sweetness that is coconut milk. No lie, this stuff really is amazing. Chilled in the fridge overnight it separates and all the heavy vegetarian fat rises to the top and thickens. You can scoop it out with a spoon and drop it in your coffee. Or if you whip it (like with a hand-mixer) the consistency changes to something reminiscent of whipped cream. Great for topping pumpkin pie, brownies, or yaknow, coffee. And in this case, it provides an exotic note to an otherwise ordinary soup. Paired with the heat of some Sriracha sauce it’s the perfect blend of east and west—Midwest, in this case. Midwest on Whole30. In winter. Burrrrrr.
Enjoy!

SPICY COCONUT CHICKEN SOUP

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1 quart chicken stock
1 tablespoon clarified butter
¼ cup diced onion
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup carrots, diced
½ cup Celery, diced
2 cups yellow summer squash, cut in rounds
2 cups of arugula
bean thread noodles
1  13.5 oz can of coconut milk
Sriracha sauce

In a stockpot, over medium high heat, melt clarified butter and cook onions and celery until caramelized. Add chicken stock and heat until boiling. Carrots, diced, can be added next. Turn down the heat and scoop the coconut milk/cream into the broth and whisk until well incorporated. The broth will have a sweet-savory flavor at this point. How much sriracha you add is totally dependent upon preference. I like enough heat to warm my soul. —Not burning, but I want my mouth to remember what it feels like to be warm during a mid January freeze in northern Minnesota.

The noodles can be dropped into the soup and the heat raised again to boiling. Cook them through—they’ll be translucent and soft, but shouldn’t be chewy. Bean thread noodles are my new fav. Their texture is unique and a nice alternatives to egg noddles or a standard pasta.

Lastly, add the squash and arugula as these two soften quickly.

Serve in hot steaming bowls on a cold day.