Happy New Year

Happy (belated) New Year!

Like most, I’ve got a pile of resolutions in front of me, though I think I’ve managed to keep them reasonable and achievable this year. Among those that are applicable here, I plan to get back to posting regularly (once the season kicks up, though perhaps some before then), eating homemade/healthy more consistently, and – my stretch goal – to go for zero-waste this year with my CSA share.

These things didn’t happen in 2019. I was full of good intentions, but it was just too hard with an infant, a new house, and a lot of emotional/postpartum/grief struggle. 2020 is poised to be more conducive to my goals.

I started this post on the 4th and never finished writing, but I’m happy to say that, a couple of weeks in, all is going smoothly so far. I did get a splurge night out for my birthday, but otherwise, we’ve been good about eating at home and keeping it pretty healthy.

Among the notable meals was a crock pot soup from a crock pot magazine that I’d inherited in the pile of cookbooks from my mother’s house.

I made Thai coconut chicken and rice soup. It was delicious and deeply satisfying, despite being from a “diet” cookbook.

I’m happy to report that the leftover froze and reheated well. I’ll be repeating the recipe. It is worth noting a few changes I made based on preference and what I had in the house. I used fresh onions and mushrooms, and I used dried ginger. I also used homemade stock, not packaged. I can’t overstate how good it is to use homemade stock, both for taste and for the health benefits, since it isn’t loaded with salt.

Administrative note – would it be better for me to type out recipes like this? I’m hesitant to retype recipes that might be copyrighted or still in print, but this is old and I couldn’t find any instance of it online for a link. I personally often save recipes as images, but if text works better, I can experiment with format. Let me know in the comments.

Anyway, if you’re looking for good but light comfort food, especially as we seem to be heading toward actual winter weather later this week, I’d recommend this recipe. My next post will be about another lightened-up comfort food I made – my own take on vegetable lasagna.

 

Red Chili

Last week, I got beets in both of my CSA shares. I love beets, but I’ve been feeling a little off lately, and didn’t want any of my usual beet options. So, I made Beet Chili to freeze for this winter!

The recipe comes from Light & Healthy Cooking, a Good Housekeeping cookbook that I got on a bargain rack at PathMark years ago. A very well-spent $7, as many of my favorite recipes come from this book.

I normally hesitate to post pages of published cookbooks, but this recipe is readily available online here: https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/food-recipes/a9756/valentine-red-chili-recipe/

I had to change a few things, none of which impacted the quality of the chili. I had green peppers, not red (thoroughly an aesthetic change), and I discovered partway through assembly that I did not have a can of tomatoes. However, I did have several fresh tomatoes, so I diced them up, along with some cherry tomatoes.

Before the long simmer:

And after:

As I implied above, this recipe freezes really well. If you’ve got a lot of beets and are running out of ways to use them, I highly recommend this recipe.

Vegetable Upside-Down Casserole

Tonight’s dinner ended up really delicious, though for a while there, I was convinced it was going to be a fail.

I picked up this book, used, at the local bookstore.

From it, I decided to make the “vegetable upside-down casserole.” For this, one can use basically any combination of veggies that sounds good. I used zucchini, carrots, peas, broccoli, and microgreens. She suggests you sautee them. I was lazy and did not.

To this baking dish of deliciousness, you add a biscuit-like dough, which is supposed to fill in the cracks as it bakes.

It was at this point that I started to worry. The dough didn’t go to the edges! It wasn’t particularly seep-y, so it didn’t seem to be getting down around the vegetable chunks. I was all set to have to pick up sandwiches on my way back from the afternoon’s plans.

Then, this magic happened:

It was delicious. It tasted like a pot pie without a ton of sauce, basically. I’m definitely going to make this again, perhaps with varying combinations of veggies.

Stromboli

Stromboli is pretty straightforward, but I was so proud of the ones I made a few days ago. One was more traditional – I used slicing pepperoni (from Wrong Direction Farm!) and portabello mushrooms. For the other, I used more mushrooms… and swiss chard. Each had 3 cheeses inside (mozzarella, cheddar, and parmesan) and was made with multi-grain dough. It was ridiculously satisfying, and disappeared quickly.

The lesson? Spinach doesn’t have a monopoly on stromboli stuffing.