One Pot Caprese Pasta

CapresePasta

I was feeling the need for a late summer dish, in the middle of winter. And paid $$ for that pleasure: greenhouse grown tomatoes and basil from Canada are never cheap in January – but so worth it. At the same time, while the base ingredients were not cheap, considering it served 6 amply, it was still an affordable pleasure. (The basil? $4 Tomatoes? $4 Cheese? $5 Ack!) Walker, our 4-year-old, had 3 servings! Anytime my children keep asking for more helpings, it is well worth the indulgence.

CapresePasta

One Pot Caprese Pasta

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • 4 cups broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 8-12 ounces small tomatoes, cut in halves or quarters
  • 1 bunch fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 16 ounces dry pasta
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella balls (such as Ciliegine size), cut into bite size pieces

Directions:

Heat a large pot over medium, add oil and onion, saute until onion is tender.

Add in remaining ingredients, except for mozzarella cheese. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-high, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring often.

Take off heat, stir in mozzarella cheese, and serve.

Serves about 6.

One Pot Beyond Chicken Creamy Pasta

BeyondChicken

Craving a hearty winter pasta dish to whisk you off to carb-coma land? If you haven’t tried Beyond Meat’s faux meat products, keep an eye out for them.

BeyondChicken

One Pot Beyond Chicken Creamy Pasta

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 small bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 4 cups lower sodium broth
  • 1 cup half & half
  • 16 ounces linguine, broken in half
  • 1 package Beyond Chicken
  • 4 ounces cheese, shredded  (see below)

Directions:

Heat a deep skillet or stock pot over medium, add oil, onions and bell peppers, saute until tender. Add in broth and half & half, bring to a boil.

Add in pasta, stirring well. Return to a boil, reduce heat and simmer mostly covered, for 10 minutes. Stir in cheese till melted.

On preparing Beyond Chicken:

There are two options – follow the package directions for best texture/taste and add in at the end, or you can add the frozen product with the broth step.

Notes:

Any melting cheese will work.Cheddar or a Co-Jack work well. There are 3 flavors of Beyond Chicken, so you can play with the flavors.

Holiday Dishes: Cranberry Cherry Sauce

Before you read the long dissertation below, have you checked out the giveaway this week yet?

ST

I’ll be first to admit I can be a very, very, very, verrrrryyyy petty person and hold grudges. Years ago, when I was first blogging on my Trail Cooking website (so long ago it had a different name!), I got into a snit-fit with a certain cranberry company (lets call them “O.S.”) and their legal department. I was sent a very unpleasant email from their legal department because I had forgotten to use a “™” symbol after 1, yes, 1, reference to a certain dried cranberry product they market. Every other reference of it had it on my site, and all had links to the product page and the product names were capitalized. A simple “Hey, can you fix that?” would have been a quick fix. But no, I got a threatening letter from legal, telling me all the horrid things they would do to me. I instead went through my site and removed EVERY reference to the company, and a good 8-9 years later have avoided buying anything from them. So…..making fresh cranberry sauce can be a fun one come the Holidays. Why? Because the majority of the cranberries grown in the US are sold to this company. If I search hard enough, I can find independent farms selling their berries frozen. This year I scooped up a 5 pound bag frozen, from a farm on the border of Canada here in Washington.

Anyhow, petty grudges aside, this was an interesting take on the traditional whole cranberry sauce – it is almost a fruit preserve. Perfect for serving as a side dish, or even better, spread thickly on sandwiches.

Cranberry Cherry Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound cranberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1½ cups Dried Cherries
  • 1½ cups granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup orange juice
  • Fine sea salt

Directions:

In a tall saucepan, combine cranberries, dried cherries, sugar, and organe juice. Heat over medium-high until simmering, reduce heat to medium, let simmer until the cranberries burst open, and the sauce is thickened, to jam-like.

Take off the heat, season to taste with salt (a good pinch to start). Let cool down before stashing in a serving bowl and refrigerating until cold.

Make in advance and store chilled for up to a week.

Enjoy with a side of long-holding grudges 😉

Holiday Dishes: Handcrafted Green Bean Casserole

GreenBean

Green Bean Casserole is something you either love or hate. There is no middle road on this side dish.

At the same time though, it isn’t a recipe one should mess with overall. Fancy dishes of just steamed green beans topped with panko crumbs? Pffffttttt. No, lets keep it real but minus the can full of grey soup mix……make the soup base yourself in a few minutes time, full of fresh mushrooms and onions. And, bonus, you can have this dish vegan even…..

GreenBean

Handcrafted Green Bean Casserole

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 8 ounces button mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1 small sweet onion, diced
  • 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1½ cups milk, dairy or unsweetened non-dairy
  • 1 tsp vegetable bouillon base
  • 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning blend
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • Ground black pepper
  • 2 14.5-ounce cans green beans, drained
  • 6 ounces french fried onions

Directions:

Heat oven to 350° and lightly oil a medium baking dish. Heat the milk in the microwave for 1 to 2 minutes, until warm. Stir in bouillon base.

Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium-high, add mushrooms and onions, saute until tender. Sprinkle flour on top, cook for a minute.

Slowly whisk in milk, Italian seasoning blend, soy sauce and ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper. Cook until thickened and bubbling, whisking often.

Reduce heat to medium, stir in green beans and heat through. Take off heat, stir in ¾ of the fried onions. Transfer to baking dish, top with remaining onions.

Bake for 25 minutes.

Bonus points if you serve it in vintage Pyrex or Fire King dishes….

GreenBean2

One Skillet Creamy Pasta with Spinach and Chickpeas

ChickpeaPasta

The bread crumbs make this dish – and if you have leftover homemade bread, this is the way to go. Psssttt….if you love bread crumbs on pasta like I do, you might want to double that part!

ChickpeaPasta

One Skillet Creamy Pasta with Spinach and Chickpeas

Ingredients:

  • 1 thick slice bread
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter, divided
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced, divided
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
  • 4 cups broth
  • 1 cup half and half
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • 16 ounces small pasta, rotini or penne
  • 14.5 ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 6 ounces spinach leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Directions:

Tear the bread into small pieces, add to a mini food chopper, process until coarsely ground. Heat a large skillet over medium, add in 1 Tablespoon butter and 1 cloves worth garlic, saute for 30 seconds. Add in bread crumbs, toss to coat and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often. Transfer to a large rimmed plate to cool.

Return skillet to heat, add in remaining butter, garlic and red pepper flakes, saute for 30 seconds. Turn up to high, stir in broth, cream and a healthy grinding of black pepper, bring to a boil. Add in the pasta and chickpeas, return to a simmer, and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring often. Reduce heat as needed to medium-high, to keep it at a steady simmer. Turn off the heat, stir in the spinach, allowing to wilt. Stir in the parmesan cheese until melted.

Serve with bread crumbs to sprinkle liberally over.

Serves 6.

A Vegan Thanksgiving

PieCrust

A Vegan Thanksgiving might strike fear in many people – as they envision roasted tofu and no dessert. But no, it can be fun and delicious!

Fall Chickpea Tart:

FallChickpeaTart

Quinoa Chickpea Dressing:

QuinoaDressing2

Savory Broth Powder:

Broth

Cranberry Apple Whip:

Cranberry1

Dried Cranberry Maple Sauce:

Cran2

Vegan Pecan Pie & Crust:

VeganPecanPie

Pecan & Coffee Mini Pies:

PieCrust

Maple Rum Pecan Pie:

MaplePecanPie

Sous Vide Fall Spiced Roots

Spicedroots

Working with my Sous Vide Supreme Demi machine, I wanted to play with more root vegetables for fall. It makes wonderful carrots I might add, and this is a fun way to add in lesser loved roots, such as Parsnips and Turnips. If you are looking for a more unusual recipe for Thanksgiving, this is a fun one to consider.

Spicedroots

Sous Vide Fall Spiced Roots

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces carrots
  • 8 ounces parsnips
  • 4 ounces turnips
  • 1 Tbsp raw honey
  • 2 Tbsp mild oil, such as sunflower or safflower
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp fine sea salt
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • Pinch ground nutmeg

Directions:

Fill your sous vide machine to the minimum fill line with water, making sure the perforated grill bottom is in place, with the pouch rack on top. and set for 185°.

Peel the root vegetables, cut the carrots and parsnips into bite size coins, chop the turnips into bite size pieces.

While water is heating, mix seasonings in a gallon size pouch, then add root vegetables, gently stir to coat everything. If your pouch is the zip top style, press out air as directed. If using a standard pouch, roll over a few times carefully to push out air, then seal bag with vac sealer, using the seal only (do not vacuum seal it). Place in pouch rack, making sure the water covers the food in the bag.

Cook for 1 hour, or until the vegetables feel tender through the bag. Remove from water bath, wipe off bag and cut open. Pour into a serving dish, stirring well. Season to taste, if needed, with salt.

Serves 4 to 6 as a side dish.

FTC Disclosure: We were provided with a Sous Vide Supreme Demi machine to develop recipes in.

Tomato Couscous

Couscous

Couscous

Tomato Couscous

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups broth
  • 2 Tbsp sunflower or olive oil
  • 2½ cups couscous
  • 4-5 green onions (half of a bunch)
  • 1 hand size tomato
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp dried parsley, or 4 Tbsp fresh

Directions:

Bring broth and oil to a boil in a medium saucepan. Turn off heat, add in couscous, stirring. Cover and set aside for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, thinly slice green onions, with white and lighter part of the greens. Core the tomato, chop finely.

Fluff up with a fork, fold in green onions, tomatoes (with any juices), lemon juice and parsley.

Season to taste, if needed.

Serves 6 to 8 as a side dish.

Hearty Spanish Rice

SpanishRice

I grew up on many a night of “spanish rice” that always featured rice, canned green beans and hamburger. Starchy, fill you up food. But pretty much bland, due to my Dad’s tastebuds. But also, my Mom made it in the oven, where she cooked it slowly, stirring often. Me? I have better things to do with my time….like wasting it on the internet! Hah! In the time it takes a pot of rice to cook up, you will have dinner on the table. Use vegan cheeze and it is vegan, or just leave it off – it is great either way.

Have you tried Beyond Meat? I found them awhile back and have been hooked. No gluten, no soy, no bloated belly – which many fake meats give me. The texture and flavor work perfectly in casseroles! Look in the freezer section for it – at $5 a bag it is more affordable than actual beef, on top of being healthier!

SpanishRice

Spanish Rice

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups water
  • 1½ cups long grain white rice
  • 1 Tbsp sunflower oil (or any similar oil)
  • 1 large sweet onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 large green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 package Beyond Meat Beefy Crumbles
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 14.5 ounces can diced tomatoes
  • Grated cheese and sour cream, if desired

Directions:

Bring water to a boil in a tall saucepan, add in rice and return to a boil. Stir well, cover tightly and reduce heat to medium-low, let cook for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Add in onion and bell pepper, saute until tender (about 10 minutes). Add in Beyond Meat, cumin, chili powder and garlic, cook for a few minutes.

Add in tomato sauce and tomatoes, bring to a boil while stirring, reduce heat to medium-low. Fluff up rice, gently fold into sauce, until rice is coated. Taste for salt, add if needed.

Serve with cheese and sour cream, if desired.

Serves 6.

Sous Vide Artichoke & Red Pepper Risotto

ArtichokeRisotto

Boy do I feel behind this week! I haven’t posted so far this week – I had this inspiration to do a new look for my sites – and I ran with it. TrailCooking and her blog have a totally new look:

NewTCFBCSign

And Gazing In has a new header and look as well :)

NewGICollageforblog.jpg

This dinner came out of “what do I happen to have in my pantry?”, due to all this work. I was craving a fall-inspired risotto (to me that is comfort food!) and wanted to see just how well my Sous Vide Supreme Demi machine could pull it off. Nothing like putting everything in the bag and walking away for an hour….and it does produce a smooth risotto. Not quite the same as making it on the stove, yet it is flavorful, delicious and did I mention hands-off cooking??

ArtichokeRisotto

Artichoke & Red Pepper Risotto

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 3 cups broth
  • 14 ounce can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 12 ounce jar roasted red peppers (equivalent to 1 freshly roasted red pepper), drained and chopped
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Directions:

Fill your sous vide machine to the minimum fill line with water, making sure the perforated grill bottom is in place, with the pouch rack on top. and set for 185°.

While water is heating, mix everything but the cheese together, pour into a gallon size pouch. If your pouch is the zip top style, press out air as directed. If using a standard pouch, roll over a few times carefully to push out air, then seal bag with vac sealer, using the seal only (do not vacuum seal it). Place in pouch rack, making sure the water covers the food in the bag.

Place lid on machine, let cook for 1 hour, remove carefully and set on a towel. Cut off top of bag, pour into a serving bowl, stir in Parmesan cheese.

Serves 4 to 6 as a side dish.

FTC Disclosure: We were provided with a Sous Vide Supreme Demi machine to develop recipes in.

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