Archive for the ‘weeknight meals’ Category

Asparagus and Egg Pizzas

Friday, May 1st, 2015

An updated take on pizza for spring … fresh from the farmers market!

My kids, no surprise to anyone who knows my husband and I, are true night owls. The boy has suddenly become a voracious reader, thanks in great part to the Spirit Animal series he devoured over the past couple months. We’d just concluded our year in Hogwarts, reading the Harry Potter series aloud each night, and this was the first series he really got into reading on his own. Now, we have to pry the books out of his hand at least twice each night to get him to turn off the light and go to sleep. The upside of their pushing the limits on bedtime is that they tend to sleep in later, and we’ve reached that sweet spot of parenting where they don’t need our attention the second they wake up — at least on the weekends. On the downside, it means we were late getting to the market this past Sunday and my good mood at getting to sleep in was quickly turning sour at missing asparagus for the second week. After we made our other purchases and were walking out, I saw the vendor at the end had a huge cooler labeled “asparagus.” I leaned over to confirm it was, in fact, empty — only to have the vendor announce, “Oh, we still have some if you need it.” Hallelujah!

asparagus ramp and egg pizza | foodietots.com

I’ve written before about the fickleness with which the foodie tots approach asparagus each year, alternately loving and hating it. A few weeks ago, we’d gotten some (non-local) asparagus in a veggie delivery from our dairy farm and the boy declared it one of his top favorite vegetables. The girl, however, is on an off-year with it. Likely thanks to Instagram, I had pizza on the mind and decided to make asparagus and egg pizzas. Not wanting to go back out just for pizza dough, I had the revolutionary idea to make it from scratch. I followed Mark Bittman’s Basic Pizza Dough recipe and am now completely embarrassed that I’ve never made it before. It came out perfectly, after just an hour to rise, and handled beautifully — so much better than store bought. (If you’ve already mastered this simple bit of kitchen alchemy, indulge me.) The dough comes together quickly in a food processor, no kneading necessary. It can be frozen, so I plan to make another batch ASAP to keep on hand and ready to pull out the next time a pizza craving strikes.

homemade pizza dough | foodietots.com

Now about the eggs. We only buy cage-free eggs from free-range chickens from local farmers. I’ve done the side-by-side comparison of grocery store eggs and local eggs, and the yolks are visibly, shockingly bright orange next to the bland yellow of grocery store eggs. Pastured eggs have nutrition benefits too — “2 1/2 times more omega-3s and twice the vitamin E in the eggs of pasture-raised hens,” according to a Pennsylvania State University study. And I will never believe that confined chickens are happier than chickens with access to fresh air, no matter what the Big Chicken industry would have your believe.

But when it comes to eating eggs, the male half of our family doesn’t like runny yolks, only scrambled. Thankfully the girl is coming around to my side, although that often means she’s swiping the yolk off my plate if I’m not careful.

making asparagus and scrambled egg pizza | foodietots.com

Most of the egg-topped pizzas you see have the whole egg with runny yolk, but I knew that wouldn’t go over well. I was afraid the scrambled eggs would dry out in the oven, so I cooked them on the stove only until just beginning to set. For the kids’ pizzas, I put the eggs on the pizza before cooking — they came out well done but not dry. (The brown crust is from the parmiggiano on top.) For my and the husband’s pizza, I cooked it half-dressed (oil, cheese, asparagus, ramps and radish) for 10 minutes, then added his scrambled eggs and my whole egg to the already hot crust. After another 6 minutes, his eggs were still soft and my white was set.

asparagus and scrambled egg pizza | foodietots.com

And yes, the girl swiped a piece of my runny yolk pie.

asparagus egg and ramp pizza recipe | foodietots.com

For the recipe below, I’ve written it as prepared with scrambled eggs. If you want runny eggs, see the note at the end. I also added ramps, but I’ve omitted them from the recipe due to their fleeting availability. Thin slices of garlic or green onions will lend a similar flavor, if desired. (I plan to make this again with garlic scapes, when they’re available.) I also added a few thin slices of an early radish from our garden.

Recipe: Asparagus and Egg Pizza

Makes: 3 personal-sized pizzas, or 2 regular

Ingredients:

  • 1 batch pizza dough (“Basic Pizza Dough” recipe)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup half and half (or whole milk)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 pound asparagus
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • sea salt and pepper

Instructions:

1. Prepare pizza crust as instructed. Divide dough into 2 or 3 balls and set aside to rest while preparing toppings.
2. Preheat oven (and pizza stone, if using) to 450 degrees.
3. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Wash asparagus and trim ends. Cut into about 2-inch pieces. Prepare a separate bowl half full with ice and water. When water boils, add 1/2 teaspoon salt and asparagus and cook for 2 minutes. Immediately remove asparagus and place into ice water for a minute, then drain and set aside.
4. Melt butter in a frying pan over medium low heat. Add eggs and half and half (or milk) and whisk together. Cook, stirring frequently, until eggs just begin to thicken. Turn off heat.
5. Roll out pizza crusts and place on baking sheet or parchment paper. Brush each with 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with a base layer of parmigiano cheese. Spoon scrambled eggs around the pizza, then arrange asparagus over. Sprinkle with another generous dose of cheese and a pinch of salt and pepper.
6. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until crust is golden and eggs are thoroughly cooked (will be firm to the touch.)

Note: To make with whole, runny eggs, skip step 4. Prepare pizzas and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and carefully crack eggs onto the pizza (it helps contain the whites if you push asparagus to make a border on two sides). Return to oven and bake another 5 to 6 minutes, until eggs are white and mostly firm.

Squash Farro Salad {#MeatlessMonday}

Monday, November 11th, 2013

Have you been to the farmers market lately? So many colors and varieties of winter squash are on display at ours right now. When I came home with the Kabocha squash I used for tacos a few weeks ago, the boy was disappointed it was not an acorn squash. So we’ve been getting acorn squash once a week, and I decided to use this week’s in a warm grain salad. I discovered quick cooking grains at Trader Joe’s recently and wanted to give the farro a try. I simmered it in water with a pinch of salt and splash of olive oil and it was ready in just 15 minutes — not bad! If you have regular farro, though, be sure to cook according to the package directions.

Squash Farro Salad | FoodieTots.com

Recipe: Squash Farro Salad

This warm grain salad can be made with barley or rice if you prefer. We used acorn squash, which is easier to peel after cooking. If you’d rather use butternut, peel and cube it before roasting. And cranberries add a nice color contrast, but golden raisins are equally tasty in a pinch!

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup uncooked farro
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 acorn squash
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries or raisins
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds

Dressing:

  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon champagne or cider vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

Instructions:

1. Prepare farro according to package instructions. If using quick-cooking farro, place farro and two cups of water in a medium saucepan. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon olive oil. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to low, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Turn off heat and let stand for another 5 minutes, then drain any excess water. Keep covered while preparing the remaining ingredients.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut acorn squash in half lengthwise and remove seeds. Place cut side down on a greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Cook 25 to 30 minutes, until tender when pricked with a fork. Remove and let cool slightly before cutting off peel and cutting into small pieces.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together salt, maple syrup and vinegar. Drizzle olive oil, whisking until smooth. Set aside.

4. Combine farro, squash, cranberries or raisins and dressing in a large bowl, stirring to evenly distribute dressing. Sprinkle with sunflower seeds and serve warm.

squash at Homestead Farm | FoodieTots.com

Looking for more squash inspiration? Savory Simple has a round-up of dozens of food blogger recipes using all types of squash. I can’t wait to try these three, in particular:

cheesy pumpkin quinoa stuffed peppers from What Jew Wanna Eat
Asian peanut spaghetti squash stir-fry
from Snappy Gourmet
winter squash pies
from Adventures in Cooking

This post has also been shared with Meatless Monday blog hops hosted by Recipe Renovator and The Midnight Baker.

Slow Cooker Carnitas {#Crocktoberfest2013}

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

Now that we’re back into the thick of school and after-school activities, I find myself falling even more in love with my slow cooker. Frankly, I’m a little embarrassed it took me so long to get on the bandwagon. But now that I’m here, I’m always looking for more ideas and recipes that make use of real, whole food ingredients — rather than the instant-soup-packet-based casseroles that have long given slow cookers a bad name. Today, I’m sharing a super easy recipe for Slow Cooker Carnitas as part of #Crocktoberfest. Read on for the recipe and stick around to to the end for more delicious links.

Slow Cooker Carnitas #Crocktober | FoodieTots.com

These pork carnitas take just 15 minutes to prep in the morning and last for two meals in our house — tacos one night, then with rice and beans or even on sandwich rolls (a la pulled pork) to mix it up a little for the next night. These are mild, but you could easily add some peppers to spice it up.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Carnitas
Makes 8 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 3- to 4-pound pork shoulder
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 cup salsa verde
  • 1 bottle dark Mexican beer (e.g. Modelo)
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • cilantro and additional salsa to serve

Instructions:

  1. Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium high heat. Season the pork shoulder with salt and pepper and sear, 4 minutes on each side, until browned.
  2. Place pork shoulder in slow cooker. Cover with sliced onion, salsa verde and beer.
  3. Set slow cooker according to manufacturer’s instructions, typically 8 hours on low or 5 to 6 hours on high.
  4. When cooked through (should fall apart easily when prodded), remove pork to cutting board and use two forks to shred. Serve atop tortillas for tacos or however you prefer.

…..

Crocktoberfest Main Dishes Collage

I’ve teamed up with some of my friends to bring you a great list of slow cooker main dish recipes today! There are 17 delicious recipes to check out today. If you love slow cooker dishes then check out #crocktoberfest2013 on facebook, twitter, and instagram to find all the other recipes that will be shared this week.

Baja Chicken Soup from Around My Family Table

Crockpot Pot Roast from Eat Drink Love

Crockpot French Dip from White Lights on Wednesday

Chicken Enchilada Soup from {I Love} My Disorganized Life

Grammy’s Crock Pot Turkey Legs from Dizzy Busy & Hungry

Beef & Barley Soup from Peanut Butter & Peppers

Beef Stew from Curry & Comfort

Sweet Potato Cheddar Slow Cooker Soup from Homemaking Hacks

Crock Pot French Onion Soup from Cookie Monster Cooking

Crock Pot Green Chili Chicken from Mom Endeavors

Italian Pork Chops with Parmesan Noodles from Pink Cake Plate

Slow Cooker 15 Bean Soup from 365 Days of Crockpot

Slow Cooker Tomato & Brown Sugar Pork Chops from Brie Brie Blooms

Slow Cooker Sesame Beef from Slender Kitchen

Slow Cooker Italian Beef Sandwiches from Dinners, Dishes, & Desserts

Pumpkin Chili from Celebrating Family

Refried Beans without Lard from Kitchen Treaty

Happy #Crocktoberfest!

Shrimp with Corn and Tomato Garlic Sauce {#6SecondRecipe}

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

There’s a shrimp dish at our favorite tapas restaurant that is pretty simple — shrimp in a garlic and chili infused olive oil. I used some of our last-of-the-season corn and tomatoes from our CSA to build on that garlic-and-shrimp combo for a really fast, fresh and flavorful weeknight family dinner. Shrimp is one of the things I always keep on hand in the freezer for throwing together a meal in a hurry — it can defrost in the time it takes to boil water for pasta to go with it.

shrimp with corn, tomato and garlic | foodietots.com

{FoodieTots Tip: look for wild caught Bay or Gulf/Key West shrimp, which have a higher Seafood Watch sustainability rating than the farmed imports.}

To make the sauce, I employed a trick learned from the chef of that tapas restaurant, José Andrés (you may have caught his Made in Spain series on PBS): grating fresh tomatoes to extract the juice and pulp and leave behind the skin. This way your finished dish doesn’t have those bits of tomato skin mucking up the texture. Older kids can help with that step, too.

Watch the six-second video here, or scroll down for the recipe. (Apologies for the awkward end to the video, I seem to have recorded my carrying it outside for it’s finished photo….)

Shrimp with Corn and Tomato from Colleen | GlassBottle on Vimeo.

Recipe: Shrimp with Corn and Tomato
Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound peeled and deveined uncooked shrimp, defrosted
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 ear corn, kernels removed (or 1 cup frozen corn kernels, defrosted)
  • 2 large tomatoes, halved and grated over a bowl to catch pulp and juice
  • pinch of Merken, a Chilean red pepper, or other red pepper flakes
  • pinch of sea salt

Instructions:

1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until just beginning to brown around edges.

2. Add shrimp and cook, turning once or twice, until pink, about 4-6 minutes.

3. Add corn and tomato pulp and cook 2 minutes.

4. Remove from heat and season with red pepper and salt.

Serve with crusty bread to sop up the sauce, or over rice or pasta if desired.

What’s your favorite shrimp recipe?

Sweet Corn Chowder with Shrimp

Monday, September 10th, 2012

With fall on the way, I had the idea of a fresh corn chowder teeming with local sweet corn before it disappears from the markets. I kept it as simple as possible to really let the corn shine. To make a meal out of it, I sauteed some wild Key West shrimp in garlic, finished with a splash of white wine, and served those on top of the chowder for the husband and I. The kids don’t like their foods to mix….so they had their shrimp on the side. If you have less finicky eaters, you could even stir the shrimp into the chowder for the final minutes of cooking. But I’ll give you the chowder recipe straight up and leave those tough decisions up to you.

sweet corn chowder with shrimp

Recipe: Sweet Corn Chowder
Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • pinch black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 1 large russet potato, peeled and chopped small
  • 4 ears corn, kernels cut from cob
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock*
  • 2 cups half and half (or whole milk)
  • optional: 1/2 pound cooked shrimp, smoked paprika to garnish

Instructions:

1. Heat olive oil in soup pan over medium heat. Cook onion and garlic just until soft and translucent, about 4 minutes. Add salt, pepper, thyme and potato, and cook, stirring, another minute.

2. Add stock and raise heat to medium high until it begins to boil. Reduce heat, stir in half and half or milk, and let simmer for 10 minutes, until potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork.

3. Remove from heat and serve, topping with cooked shrimp if desired, and a dash of smoked paprika.

*If you want to really let the corn flavors shine, check out my friend One Hungry Mama’s corncob stock — brilliant!