Saturday, September 24, 2016

Spaghetti Squash with Browned Butter and Mizithra Cheese


First - I am so sad that squash is not a photogenic beauty.  There was a Kerry VS Squash battle in the kitchen and this squash would just not be any more "noodley" or appetizing that this.

I am going to ask you to trust me on this one, it tastes so much better than it looks.


Years and years ago, when we lived separately and both lived by and Old Spaghetti Factory, Joseph and I would both go there and get the exact same thing - Spaghetti with Burnt Butter. Which is just noodles with browned butter and mizithra cheese.  

Our local grocery store carries mizithra cheese and it is really reasonably priced and so for date nights when we stay in, we make this for each other. It tastes so much fancier than the fact that it is just noodles, butter and cheese. 


So when we got our first spaghetti squash of the season, I asked him if he was brave enough to swap out the pasta for squash and see what it was like.  He was totally game, because he has truly deep desire to eat healthy, unlike me, I am just trying to make myself feel less terrible about eating such yummy butter and cheese.


So you should either make this because 1. You really love squash and are looking for another amazing way to make it or 2. You really love butter and cheese and think you should add something to make it really actually Good for you.  Either way, you should make this. It's good.


Ingredients:

1 Spaghetti Squash, cooked and scooped out into Noodles

1 cup butter
1 cup Mizithra cheese

Instructions:

Cook your Spaghetti Squash your favorite way..  Mine:
Cut the squash in half lengthwise from stem to tail and scrape out the seeds. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Place squash, cut-side down, onto the prepared baking dish. Place into oven and roast until tender, about 35-45 minutes.

Browned Butter Procedure: Cut butter into tablespoon-sized pieces and place in a 2-quart sauce pan. Place the pan of butter on a burner on medium heat. Bring butter to a slow boil (about 5 minutes).

Once the butter begins to boil, stir constantly to prevent residue from sticking to the bottom of the pan. As the butter cooks, it will start to foam and rise. Continue stirring, otherwise the butter foam could overflow (about 5 minutes) and catch fire.

Once the butter stops foaming and rising, cook until amber in color (about 1 to 2 minutes). It will have a pleasant caramel aroma.

Turn off the heat and remove pan from burner. Let the sediment settle to the bottom of the pan for a few minutes.

Pour the brown butter through a strainer into a small bowl. Do not disturb the residue at the bottom of the pan.

Divide your squash into four servings. Spread 1/4 cup of Mizithra over each pasta serving. Top with 1/4 cup of hot brown butter.



Friday, September 23, 2016

Veggie Filled P.F. Chang Lettuce Wraps



 P.F. Chang's lettuce wraps are a seriously HUGE internet copycat sensation. Everyone with a food blog has practically done it - this is actually my second time.  - But this time, I wanted to save money and make it a little more veggie friendly, so I chopped up pretty much every vegetable that I had in my fridge and added it to the meat mixture.

SERIOUS WIN! I will never ever ever make them the other way again.


Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound ground chicken
2 Cups total chopped Veggies ( I used Cauliflower, Zucchini, Celery - but you could try Broccoli, Carrots, Mushrooms, Sweet Potato or Butternut Squash Cubes)

2 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, diced
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1 tablespoon Sriracha, optional
1 (8-ounce) can whole water chestnuts, drained and diced
2 green onions, thinly sliced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 head butter lettuce (Butter lettuce is used traditionally, but I had Romaine in the fridge)


Instructions:

Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium high heat. Add ground chicken and cook until browned, about 3-5 minutes, making sure to crumble the chicken as it cooks; drain excess fat.

In a separate pan, (or in the same chicken skillet - with the cooked chicken removed) add your veggies and cook them to your desired done-ness. I wanted mine to stay crisp so I cooked mine for just a few minutes.  Then add your chicken back to the pan. 

Stir in garlic, onion, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, ginger and Sriracha until onions have become translucent, about 1-2 minutes.

Stir in chestnuts and green onions until tender, about 1-2 minutes; season with salt and pepper, to taste.

To serve, spoon several tablespoons of the chicken mixture into the center of a lettuce leaf, taco-style.


Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Mexican Street Corn Pasta Salad



Yes, I am just searching for ways to get more street corn flavor into my life. I don't apologize. 

I did however, substitute Greek Yogurt in the dressing, so I feel a little bit better about us all eating this 4 times a week. 


Ingredients:


Salad:
3-4 ears corn on the cob
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 ounces shaped pasta
1 bell pepper, seeded and chopped
3 green onions, chopped
2-3 tablespoons seeded, chopped jalapeno
1/2 cup Cotija or feta cheese, crumbled
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Salt and pepper, to taste

Dressing:
(I have used Greek yogurt for each of these in turns, Once Mayo, once Sour Cream. - Subbing the Sour Cream is a little "better" in my opinion - if you get brave, do it All yogurt!)
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon chile powder
2 tablespoons lime juice



Instructions:

(Grilling the corn makes ALL the difference)
Preheat outdoor grill for medium-high heat.
Brush corn with olive oil. Grill, turning frequently, until lightly charred all over, 10-15 minutes; cool and cut corn from the cob.

Cook pasta according to package directions. Rinse under cool water and drain.

In a large bowl, combine pasta, grilled corn, red pepper, green onions, jalapeno, cheeses and cilantro.

In a small bowl, whisk together ingredients for dressing.

Stir dressing into pasta and corn mixture. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Refrigerate until serving.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Greek Tzatziki Chicken Salad


I just love a good creamy chicken salad packed with lots of veggies.  This Greek one is really good because it uses Greek Yogurt for the sauce base - and not just as a substitute for mayonnaise.

In true chicken salad style, this is better the second day, if you can resist it that long and not just eat it straight out of the bowl.

Ingredients:

2/3 cup plain 2% reduced-fat Greek yogurt
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill
3/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cucumber, seeded and shredded
1 garlic clove, minced
2 cups shredded skinless, boneless chicken breast (Cooked!) Mine was a Deli Chicken

Bread, Crackers, Whole Grain Wrap, Pita Chips, Lettuce Leaves for wrapping - Imagine! 

Instructions:


Combine first 8 ingredients in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add chicken; toss to coat.

Serving ideas, see ingredients above.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Pumpkin Bread with Maple Glaze


This bread is fabulous in all sorts of ways. Not only is the maple glaze to-die-for, but with the addition of the glaze, the bread is made less sweet to compensate. I used my 1/2 mix of whole grain flour to all purpose flour to make it an even healthier choice. Pumpkin is super good for you and so you should eat a ton of it. And it doesn't get much easier than the fact that it comes in a can.


The way this bread was devoured at my house, I can tell I am going to be making a lot of it. 


this makes 1 loaf, even though 2 are pictured
Ingredients:

Bread:
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil (or coconut oil)
1 cup pumpkin puree
2 eggs
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup buttermilk
2 cups flour (2 cups all-purpose or 1 cup all-purpose + 1 cup whole wheat)

Glaze:
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon maple extract
1-2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream


Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9x5” loaf pan with cooking spray.

Stir granulated sugar and brown sugar with oil and pumpkin. Stir in the eggs, pumpkin pie spice, salt, and baking soda. Stir until combined.

Stir in buttermilk and flour. (I used 1 cup each of all-purpose and whole wheat. You can use my combo or 2 cups all-purpose flour.)

Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 37-40 minutes. Since I doubled the recipe my loaves took a bit longer to reach that point. Always test the top (inside the crack) of your bread with a toothpick.

Let the bread cool before glazing.




Make the glaze: whisk melted butter and powdered sugar. Mixture will be thick and gloppy. Whisk in extracts and 1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream. It will smooth out, just keep whisking. Add more cream, up to 1 extra tablespoon, for desired consistency. Spread on bread, let dry before serving.

** You can absolutely use milk to make your glaze, but the glaze will be thinner. More fat = thicker glaze