Artichoke and Swiss Chard Risotto

ArtichokeRisotto

Kale gets all the attention, but Swiss Chard is so much prettier, tastier and unlike Kale, you can eat all of it. Leaves and stems are equally tasty! Where Kale has a thick rib, the Chard stem is crisp, juicy and full of flavor. It is also a great winter crop for the garden!

ArtichokeRisotto
Artichoke and Swiss Chard Risotto

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups broth
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • 2/3 cup arborio rice
  • 1 bunch red swiss chard (see below)
  • 1 cup marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped (see notes)
  • ½ to 1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Directions:

Wash chard throughly by soaking it in a basin. Drain and repeat. Strip leaves off stems, spin dry in a salad spinner. Roughly chop and set aside. Trim stems, chop into bite size pieces.

Heat the broth in a small saucepan to boiling, then keep warm over low.

Meanwhile, heat a large deep skillet over medium, add oil and onion, saute until onion is tender. Add in garlic and pepper, cook for a minute, then add rice, cook, stirring constantly for two minutes.

Add in swiss chard leaves and stems, cook for a minute, tossing constantly.

Add in ½ cup of the hot broth to the rice, stirring constantly. Let cook over medium, until broth is absorbed. Slowly add the remaining broth in ¼ cup ladles, letting each addition to absorb into the rice before adding more, stirring with each ladleful. This takes 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in artichokes and cheese, let heat through on medium-low for a few minutes.

Serves 4.

Note:

1 cup marinated artichokes drained, is about 12 ounces in liquid. Buy your artichokes at Costco for a price saving.

Baked Pumpkin Mac ‘N Cheese

BakedPumpkinMac

EatSkinnycover

If I want to rate a successful recipe, I need only see how the Teen reacts to it. He had two helpings, ate all the leftovers and has bugged me since making it – that I need to make it again. And that he liked the pumpkin flavor. Today’s recipe comes from a new cookbook, Eat Skinny, Be Skinny: 100 Wholesome and Delicious Recipes Under 300 Calories, which came out in April of this year. The premise of the book is 100 recipes with every serving being under 300 calories.

BakedPumpkinMac

Warming, comfort food. Delicious. The original recipe I doubled (the Teen can eat 8 ounces pasta if left alone….), I left the panko crumbs off the top and used whole milk instead of a mixture of milks called for. Not huge changes, just personal preferences.

Baked Pumpkin Mac ‘N Cheese (As adapted from paged 222-223)

Ingredients:

  • 16 ounces small pasta shapes
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 4 ounces lower fat cream cheese
  • 15 ounce can pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Ground black pepper
  • Salt, to taste, if desired
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice, divided
  • ½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Directions:

Lightly oil a 9×13″ glass baking dish. Preheat oven to 350°.

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil, cook pasta as directed on package, taking off a minute early, drain and return to pot.

Meanwhile, heat a saucepan over medium. Melt butter, whisk in flour, letting cook for a few minutes. Slowly whisk in milk, till smooth, then add in cream cheese and pumpkin puree, whisking in. Let cook, stirring often, until it starts to bubble and is thickened. Stir in cheddar and mozzarella cheeses and 1½ tsp of the pumpkin pie spice, whisking until melted. Take off the heat, season to taste with pepper and salt.

Pour sauce over hot pasta, toss to coat. Spread in prepared pan. Toss Parmesan cheese with remaining pie spice, sprinkle over the pasta. Bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes.

Serves 4 to 8, depending on appetite.

FTC Disclosure: We received an advance copy for review.

Sunflower Pesto Sauce

PurpleBasil

I got the base recipe for this pesto in a package of goodies from a favorite local farm, The Mason Jar Farm (which is in Enumclaw, Washington). Easy enough to change the pine nuts to sunflower seeds – and I prefer it with the faintly sweet sunflower, rather than the more astringent flavor of pine nuts.

BasilPesto

Sunflower Pesto Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 cups packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1-2 cloves fresh garlic, peeled
  • ¼ cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 2/3 cup high quality extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Ground black pepper
  • Fine sea salt

Directions:

Add basil, garlic and sunflower seeds in a food processor, pulse until finely chopped. Add in ½ cup of the olive oil, processing until smooth. Liberally season with black pepper, add in the cheese, pulse to mix in.

If you will be using the sauce immediately, pulse in the remaining olive oil and season with salt to taste, if needed. Otherwise, transfer sauce to a glass storage container and pour the oil over the top (it will keep it from darkening). At this point you can store the pesto in the refrigerator for a day or two, or freeze it for longer storage. Stir in the oil on top before using.

Makes about 1 cup sauce.

PurpleBasil

PS: Purple Basil flowers are also simply gorgeous, they are very tiny (the stem here is the size of my pinky finger).

To make pasta, cook pasta in salted water, reserve a bit of cooking water, drain pasta and toss with pesto, adding reserved pasta water as needed to smooth the sauce out. One batch of sauce will coat 16 ounces pasta (and for a fun take on dinner, I added in 3 fresh gold potatoes, which I cooked with the pasta).

Parmesan Cheese Sauce

ParmesanCheeseSauce

After stopping by one of my favorite farms last week, I came home with a lot of fresh vegetables. Early season broccoli, new potatoes, summer squash…so I set out to making a dinner with it all, with a simple lightly flavored cheese sauce to ladle on top. It was simple. It was delicious.

ParmesanCheeseSauce

Parmesan Cheese Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 bunches green onions, darkest greens discarded, thinly sliced
  • 1 Tbsp garlic, minced
  • 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • ¾ cup Parmesan cheese (see below)
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste

Directions:

Heat a large saucepan over medium, melt butter. Add in onions, saute until tender. Add in garlic, cook for a minute. Whisk in flour, cook for a few minutes, whisking often. Slowly stir in milk, whisking till sauce is smooth. Let cook until just simmering, and sauce thickens, whisking constantly.

Whisk in Parmesan cheese, and salt and pepper to taste.

Will cover 1 pound new potatoes, 1 pound broccoli and 8 hot biscuits – and still have leftover ;-)

Parmesan cheese notes:

Use the shelf style, yes the gasp, in a green can kind. Why? In a cheese sauce it melts in perfectly, where the actual product, from the cheese counter does not act the same. Save the high-end cheese for garnish on dishes.

Single Serving Petite Pea Soup

mugmeals

Camilla V. Saulsbury is one of my favorite cookbook authors, and 250 Best Meals in a Mug: Delicious Homemade Microwave Meals in Minutes is a fun book to wander through.

mugmeals

All one needs is a microwave and a large microwave safe mug – and an appetite. This is the cookbook for solo eaters, dorm livers, travelers living in hotel rooms and anyone craving a quick meal – that is real food! Camilla lays it out in an easy to follow method.

PetitePeaSoup

My choice was this incredibly pretty green soup. Green peas are a great source of protein and somehow, this summer, I have been awarded basil plants that are healthy by the gardening gods. If you love basil, you will want to have this soup every day. It was tasty cold even! The recipe does need a blender, so you can smooth soup.

Single Serving Petite Pea Soup

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup frozen petite peas, thawed
  • ¼ cup packed fresh basil leaves
  • ½ cup vegetable broth (or chicken if non-vegan)
  • ½ tsp lemon juice
  • Ground black pepper

Directions:

In a blender, combine peas, basil and broth, puree until smooth.

Transfer puree to mug. Microwave on high for 1 to 2 minutes (checking at 1) or until heated through. Stir in lemon juice and season to taste with pepper.

Serves 1.

PS: A bowl also works well for heating the soup in. It is also delicious served over a bed of rice, as a sauce.

FTC Disclosure: We received a review copy of the book.

Summer Squash & Basil Pasta

Squashbasilpasta

Let me brag for a second. My basil is amazing this year. That means I am sure it will flop over in the night, since I just bragged :-P I can grow most anything, but basil and me….we don’t do well together. I almost always kill it via root rot. Well, this year? My 4 plants bake all day against the back fence – in nearly all day sun. So they are producing. Which means I am enjoying fabulous fresh basil now! And the never-ending heat wave here has helped as well, keeping the plants nice and dry.

Squashbasilpasta

 

Harvest a few baby squash and basil – and have a quick dinner. On the deck of course – so you can enjoy your garden!

Summer Squash & Basil Pasta

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound rotini pasta
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 pound green and yellow zucchini
  • Fine sea salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • ½ cup packed fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
  • Parmesan cheese

Directions:

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add pasta, cook as directed on package. Reserve 1 cup pasta water, drain pasta.

Meanwhile, trim zucchini, slice into thin rounds. Heat a large skillet over medium-high, add in oil and zucchini, with a pinch of salt. Saute until turning golden. Sprinkle pepper on liberally, reduce heat to medium-low. Stir in lemon juice. Add pasta, toss gently. Slowly add in reserved water, then liberally add in Parmesan cheese (start with ¼ cup, add as desired). Toss until pasta is coated, then add in basil and serve.

Serves 6.

Caprese Pasta

CapresePasta

Have I mentioned how much I love the few short months when I can walk out to my garden and pick fresh Basil for dinner? Life has been busy here – especially with the garden! Everything is coming in, which makes me so happy. The boys love after dinner picking time every night. Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, marionberries, green beans and soon carrots and tomatoes!

CapresePasta

Caprese Pasta

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 3 large tomatoes
  • 12 ounces fresh mozzarella
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1 handful fresh basil
  • Ground black pepper

Directions:

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil, cook spaghetti as directed, drain.

Meanwhile, core tomatoes, dice up, add to a large bowl. Cut mozzarella into small pieces, add to bowl. Toss with olive oil, vinegar and garlic. Remove basil leaves, discard stems and rip leaves into small pieces, add to bowl. Season to taste with black pepper, and salt, if desired.

Add hot pasta back to cooking pot, toss with sauce. Serve immediately.

Serves 4 to 6.

Zucchini & Sausage Parmigiana

Zuke

I had an idea for a zucchini parmigiana, and made it a meal by adding vegan sausage. The meal takes a bit of work, but is well worth it! And a perfect use for all the budding zukes loitering in your garden ;-) Use the smaller, less seedy ones for best taste!

Zuke

Zucchini & Sausage Parmigiana

Ingredients:

  • 1½ pounds zucchini
  • 1 package Tofurky Italian sausages
  • 24-ounce jar pasta sauce
  • 2 slices whole wheat bread, toasted and crumbed
  • 1½ cups mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 handful basil leaves, torn

Directions:

Lightly oil a 9×13″ glass baking dish, preheat oven to 375°.

Heat a grill pan over medium-high. Slice zucchini and sausage into coins. Working in two batches, grill zucchini for 3 minutes, flip over and grill for another 3 minutes, remove and transfer to a bowl. Add sausage to grill, cook for a minute or two on each side.

Spread 1/3 of pasta sauce on bottom of pan, sprinkle bread crumbs over. Layer half the zucchini and sausage on top, then spread 1/3 more of the pasta sauce on top. Sprinkle on half of the mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.

Spread the remaining zucchini and sausage, remaining pasta sauce and remaining cheese on top.

Bake uncovered for 30 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes before cutting and serving.

Serves 6 to 8.

Fueled For A Day!

CCollage

Do you like to travel, road trip, hike, backpack, or be-on-the-go? Craving an entire day’s of meals, that lean towards the Hippy Hut™? Take a look at this collection of recipes from my site, TrailCooking, and see if you have some inspiration!

CCollage

Breakfast:

Creamsicle Protein Smoothie

Chocolate Covered Cherry Granola Bars

Lunch:

Chickpea and Sweet Corn Salad

Snack:

Sweet Coconut Curry Granola Bars

Dinner:

Edamame Noodle Bowl

Dessert:

Chai Ginger Pudding

Zucchini & Corn Pizzas

ZukePizza1

Summer living should always be so easy – and tasty!

ZukePizza1

Zucchini & Corn Pizzas

Pizza Dough

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 2¼ tsp active dry yeast (1 packet)
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 cup warm water (120-130°)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil

Directions:

Add 1¼ cups flour, yeast, salt to a stand mixer bowl. Add in warm water and oil, mix on low until blended. Put on dough hook, add in another cup of flour and knead dough for 10 minutes, checking to see if it needs more of the remaining flour periodically (dough should be smooth and elastic, not sticky).

Let rest for 10 minutes before using.

Makes about 1½ pounds pizza dough.

ZukePizza2

Pizza

Ingredients:

  • 1 batch pizza dough
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 large zucchini, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 2 ears fresh corn, kernels cut off

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450°, lightly oil 2 large baking sheets.

Divide dough into 4 sections, roll out thinly. Each piece will take up half a baking sheet. Place on sheets.

Brush oil over dough. Spread ¼ cup ricotta cheese on each dough section. Place zucchini slices on top. Sprinkle a little ground black pepper on the top.

Bake all 4, with one sheet on top rack, one on bottom rack, switching every 10 minutes. Depending on your oven, it will take 20 to 30 minutes. If you choose to bake one sheet at a time, 15 to 20 minutes.

Take out, sprinkle fresh corn kernels on top, with a bit more olive oil drizzled on, if desired. Pop back into oven for 2-3 minutes, then slice up.

Store leftover pizza covered in refrigerator. Heat for 30 seconds in microwave for a tasty breakfast!

Makes 4 pizzas, serving 4 to 6.

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