Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Vegetable Baked Ziti

This was a huge hit at our house last night, and super easy to make. In keeping with our weekly grocery budget, we try to have at least 2 or 3 meatless meals each week. This is one that turned out great...

In a large pot, saute 4-5 carrots, peeled and diced, in olive oil. 5 minutes later, add one bag of frozen broccoli florets and cover. 5 minutes later, uncover and add 1/2 pound of mushrooms, sliced. 5 minutes later, add a couple of cloves of minced garlic, one large (28 oz) can of crushed tomatoes, 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, and oregano, basil, and pepper to taste.

Meanwhile, cook up a box of whole wheat penne according to package directions. Drain the pasta a minute or so shy of being done, as it will continue to cook in the sauce. Add the drained pasta to the tomato and vegetable sauce, mix together, and transfer to a large baking dish. Top with mozzarella cheese, cover with aluminum foil, and bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes. As always, if you are prepping this meal during naptime, you can just cut the oven off at 25 or 30 minutes and leave the casserole in there until you are ready to eat!


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Apple Cider Chicken

OH my word.

I dare you to try this and see if it is not wonderful. Then make it for all of your friends.

I got the recipe from Rachael Ray and made just a couple of adjustments.

It tastes like autumn. In the best way possible.

Start with some bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts (which you can probably get for less than a dollar a pound at least once every 4-6 weeks.) In a large pot, heat a Tablespoon or two of olive oil and then brown the chicken, about 5 minutes on each side. Remove the chicken and add to the pot 2-3 thinly sliced sweet onions, 3 Tablespoons of honey, 4 cloves minced garlic, and salt and pepper, adding a touch more of oil if needed. Cook the onions over medium heat for about 30 minutes. When the onions are brown and soft, stir in 1 cup apple cider vinegar and 2 cups chicken stock. Add 3 or 4 red potatoes, chopped, and put your chicken back in to finish cooking. Bring to a boil and then cover and reduce to a simmer for about 20 or 30 minutes, until the chicken is done. Remove chicken one more time, discard the skin, and pull the chicken off the bone with 2 forks, or with your fingers if cool enough. Put all the meat back in the pot, stir, cover, and turn off the heat. Let it sit until you are ready to eat, heating it back up just before serving.

Oh, and if you have a breadmaker or if you enjoy kneading, please make a loaf of honey wheat bread to go along with it. Or just serve it up with any thick bread of your choice, to sop up the goodness left on your plate after the chicken is gone.

I apologize for the picture; I had already eaten half my chicken before I remembered to take a picture.

It's that good.


Monday, October 10, 2011

Portugese Style Stew

With the onset of fall, stews and soups, filled with rich, deep colors and flavors, are calling my name. Here is something that my mother in law originally introduced me to, though she makes hers with collards rather than kale, and this version has a few additions.

In a skillet, brown one chopped onion and one pound of sliced sausage. I used smoked turkey sausage because that's what was on sale, but a spicier sausage would be even better. Add the browned sausage and onions to a crock pot, along with one can diced tomatoes, one can drained chickpeas, lots of chopped red-skinned potatoes, and a whole bunch of kale, stemmed and torn. Yes, it will look like the crock pot is going to leak kale, but trust me, it will wilt down considerably. Bring it all together with four cups of homemade or store-bought chicken broth, season with salt and pepper, and set on low for 8 hours.

Later that day...

Mmmm. Enjoy!