Category Archives: dinner

Squash Dumplings

I’m still alive! (sort of).  I’m actually home sick today so I figured I could FINALLY update my blog.  Since the semester has started back up I have been busy teaching, taking a class, and doing research.  This usually accounts for 10-16 hour workdays.  By the time I get home I make something quick and easy (omelette, 10 bowls of cereal, oatmeal…) but occasionally I have a particularly bad day and need to cook.  I think I have 4 or 5 recipes that I will be posting today, so stay tuned!

When my CSA decided to call it quits, they cleared out their farm and gave each of us 2 boxes – about 40 pounds – of produce.  In the end, I probably received as much as I would have over the following weeks.  Among my bounty was 17 squash, an enormous bag filled with garlic (I would estimate 30-40 bulbs), bags of potatoes, and lots and  lots of greens.  Also, my CSA gave us this link http://www.localgrowers.org/csa-programs/ to help us find a new farm to support.  I joined a winter CSA and am very excited about it.

So, I have a lot of squash.  Becca and I took a cute date to Nashville, Indiana, and I bought a down home, kitschy squash cookbook.  I’ve been getting ideas from it, but mostly for breads.  When I have a lot of squash, I typically roast 2 or 3 at a time and just keep the roasted sqash in the fridge to put on oatmeal, bake into a casserole, or make breads.  I wanted pasta the other day so I had the idea to adapt my gnocchi recipe for squash.  I got lazy so instead of making “pillows” I just rolled the dough into balls.

Squash Dumplings

-In a mixing bowl combine 1 egg and 1.5 cups roasted squash
-Continue mixing in 2 cups flour (I use wheat) and 1/4 teaspoon salt
-Once dough reaches dough-like consistency, roll into balls and boil until no longer chewy

Mizuna Pesto
-combine (with a mortar and pestle, blender, imersion blender, or however you want) chopped mizuna, 1-2 cloves crushed or finely chopped garlic, 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, 1-2 tablespoons olive oil, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/8 tsp pepper

It’s really tough to quantify how much any of this costs because of how I got 4 week’s worth of vegetables at once.  These are my best estimates:

Total Cost: $3.29

organic squash: $0.75
organic garlic clove: $0.10
2 cups organic flour: $0.52
1 organic egg: $0.17
Mizuna: $0.75
1/4 cup paremean cheese: $1.00

Advertisements

Roasted Tandoori-Chipotle Chili Powder Chicken with CSA Veggies

I have to say, chicken has never been a favorite meal of mine.

My biggest issue with chicken is that my mom (as amazing of a cook as she is) has always overcooked chicken to the point of it being as crumbly as the fantastic baking powder biscuits she usually made to go with them.  I never really realized chicken was supposed to be…juicy.

As a result, my diet had largely consisted of red meat throughout my cooking-on-my-own years.

Fast forward to now and me not really eating red meat anymore, and I’m finding more and more chicken in my diet (when it’s on sale, of course).

I’ve been making this meal lately, partly because picky-boyfriend-Dave likes it a lot and partly because it’s really freaking easy.

Picky-boyfriend-Dave also lives in Indy now, so we’ve been making it out to Trader Joes every week or two.  This past time I went I picked up a bag of all natural chicken breasts for $7.00.

I don’t know about everyone else in the CSA world, but I am completley overrun with potatoes and garlic.  Especially garlic.  I literally have 15 bulbs sitting in my pie cabinet right now.  Fortunately, potatoes and garlic go perfectly with roasted chicken. 🙂

One thing I have been doing with my roasted chicken is seasoning it to the point I feel as though I may be over seasoning it  I have determined, however, that this is not possible, and the more seasoning the better (especially if you have chicken from a butcher that has good skin on it).

Something I did at the end was put parmesan on top.  I totally don’t recommend this.  I don’t know..I just don’t think it goes well with roasted potatoes (but tastes good with the chicken).  I also don’t think I like parmesan cheese that much, so maybe my opinion on this isn’t the best.

Roasted Tandoor-Chipotle Chili Powder Chicken with CSA Veggies

-chop potatoes, greens, garlic, and cucumber and toss them in olive oil in a roasting pan

-liberally rub two chicken breasts with tandoori, chipotle chili powder, cumin, and salt; place on top of veggies

-chop quarter tomatoes and place on top of chicken

-roast at 400 degrees for ~30 minutes; cut the thickest part of the chicken to make sure it is completley done

Total Price: $8.08

2 all natural chicken breasts: $2.20
5 organic potatoes: $2.00
1 organic cucumber: $0.88
4 cloves organic garlic: $0.40
4 stalks organic collard greens: $1.30
3 organic tomatoes: $1.30

$8.08 isn’t bad since this fed 2 and there is still 25% of the chicken leftover, plus a lunch worth’s amount of veggies.

Poor Girl Pizza

I really think summer ’12 is going to go down as one of the craziest of my life.  What’s my excuse now for not posting in a while?  Oh, you know, I got invited very last minute to attend my sister’s elopement (word?) in Nashville.  No big deal.  Then my niece ended up coming to Bloomington so I’ve been taking her out to eat instead of cooking.

I did,  however, make these pizzas for her after an especially exhausting day.

The great thing about using tortillas is that they can make the tortillas nice and crisp by preheating them in the oven while you prepare the other ingredients.  Oh, and a 12 pack of corn tortillas costs $0.59.  No joke (El Millagro from Chicago).

The other great thing about these pizzas is that any leftover ingredient in the fridge tastes great.  Got left over pasta sauce? great! Leftover salsa?  That works out perfectly, too.  You can literally do anything- alfredo, salad dressing, olive oil…at some point they become flat breads and not pizzas though 🙂  My other favorite thing about these is that sometimes I just don’t want leftovers.  I can make as many as I want and not worry about storing the rest in the fridge.

So, anyway, now that I’ve told you all the reasons I’m in love with these pizzas, I suppose I’ll tell you what I did.

Poor Girl Pizza

-preheat the oven to 400 degrees
-place as many tortillas as desired on a pizza pan and let the tortillas heat while the oven preheats
-chop whatever vegetables you would like (aka leftover CSA veggies) (I used zucchini, onion, garlic, and tomato)
-take the tortillas out of the oven, spread pasta sauce on tortillas
-top with slices of mozzarella cheese (or goat, or parmesan, or whatever strikes your fancy 🙂 )
-add your veggies
-season with salt, crushed red pepper, and fennel
-bake in oven for 5-10 minutes

Total Cost: $4.13 (or $0.59/pizza)
7 tortillas: $0.34
-1/2 organic zucchini: $0.50
-2 small organic onions: $1.00
-2 cloves of organic garlic: $0.30
-1/6 jar of pasta sauce: $0.33
-1/3 lb mozzarella: $1.67

7 were enough for 2, so I’d say you can’t beat that.

Organic Whole Wheat Gnocchi with steamed CSA veggies

Yikes, it’s been a long time since I’ve posted!

I’m writing from the comfort of my porch, borrowing (stealing) my neighbors comfortable patio furniture, and relaxing from what has been a whirlwind July.  This past weekend I ran Great Lakes Relay- a 300 mile relay race across northern Michigan.   Needless to say, I haven’t been doing much cooking, and when I have it’s been the same old things I’ve already blogged about.

view from my porch

Well, not last night.  Last night I made one of my favorite meals in the world- gnocchi.  I’ve been getting these great potatoes lately from the CSA, but I’ve been boiling them almost immediately and never saving myself enough for pasta.  I vowed last night to take the time to make my favorite meal.

Along with the potatoes, I’ve also been getting a good number of cucumber, zucchini, onion, cherry tomatoes, and garlic.  I decided to steam the veggies and toss them over the pasta.  I typically make pesto, but I didn’t have any basil, so I threw in walnuts, olive oil, parmesan cheese, and dried basil in hopes of a pesto deconstruction.  It didn’t really work, fyi.  In the end, I tossed in some mediterranean sea salt (thanks Becca!) and that made my meal much better.

Organic Whole Wheat Gnocchi

-chop and boil enough potatoes to make 1-1/2 cups mashed potatoes (I prefer to mash potatoes with milk only and omit the butter for this recipe)

chieftan potatoes!

-Once you have 1-1/2 cups of mashed potatoes, stir together with 1 egg and 1/4 tsp salt (I use tea smoked sea salt)
-Stir in 1-1/2 cups whole wheat flour.  Sometimes I need to add more flour, up to ~1/2 cup more, if the dough is too sticky.
-roll the dough into long thin logs

it doesn’t matter if this looks perfect if you’re going for the “rustic” look 🙂

-using a pizza cutter, cut the pasta into “pillows”


-place the pasta into boiling water and let boil until they rise to the top of the water.

-While you are making the pasta, steam your veggies.  This can be done in the microwave, a steamer, or a rice cooker (thanks, Jill!)
-chop 1 zucchini, a handful of baby tomatoes, and an onion


-Once the pasta and the veggies are finished, toss together with olive oil, grated parmesan cheese, basil, crushed walnuts, salt, and any other seasonings you desire.

Bon Appetit! (only to be said in a Julia Child -esque way)

Total Cost: $6.91
-7 organic chieftan potatoes: $2.00
-1-1/2 cup organic whole wheat flour: $0.39
-1 egg: $0.17
-1 organic zucchini: $1.00
-handful of organic baby tomatoes: $0.50
-2 organic baby onions: $1.00
-1 clove organic garlic: $0.10
-grated all natural parmesan cheese: $1.00
-handful organic walnuts: $0.75

This meal comfortably fed 2, plus there were leftovers!

Pickled Tofu, Cabbage, Cucumber, and Yukina Savoy over Black Beans and Red Quinoa

Tonight’s meal was an experiment.  It seems as though every chef on chopped ends up pickling something in the 30 minutes they’re given, but that doesn’t make sense to me.  Don’t you need 5-7 days?!?

As it turns out, you can still do a semi-pickle in about 10 minutes.  Which is good for me, because I’m slowly becoming addicted to the vinegary tang that comes with pickling.

finished meal

I’m also becoming addicted to quinoa.  I don’t know why, though.  The red quinoa doesn’t seem to have much taste to me.  I do like the texture a lot, which, when combined with the soft beans is really nice.

Pickled CSA Veggies over Black Beans and Red Quinoa

-bring water, 1/2 cup of red quinoa, three mint leaves, and a 29 oz can of drain black beans to a boil
-chop half a head of cabbage, half a cucumber, half a package of tofu, 1 swiss chard leaf, and 1 yukina savoy leaf
-sautee in olive oil
-add 1/8 cup white balsamic vinegar and 1/8 cup apple cidar vinegar
-add equal amounts of salt and sugar
-veggies should be simmering in liquid, if not, add more

-combine black beans/quinoa/veggies and enjoy!

This tasted really good, one thing I’m confused about is that half the cucumbers had an astringent taste.  Maybe those were the cucumbers that soaked up the white balsamic vinegar?  The cabbage really tasted good with the vinegar.

Total Cost: $4.63

1 29 oz. black beans: $0.99
-1/2 package tofu: $1.00
-1/2 organic cucumber: $0.75
-1 organic yukina savoy leaf: $0.44
-1 organic swiss chard leaf: free! (garden)
-3 organic mint leaves: $0.15
– 1/2 a head of organic cabbage: $1.30

As per usual, plenty leftover for lunch, so another organic meal under $3.00!

Kohlrabi and Yukina Savoy Sautee over Red Quinoa and Barley in Garlic Scape Tzatziki Sauce

As of late, I feel like the names of my meals have become more and more complicated.

I was so excited to come home and cook today.  I had a long, frustratingly unproductive day in the chemistry building after an AMAZING weekend with my best friend from college.  This meal came out better than I expected it to, and I absolutely attribute that to the sauce.  I had a few moments of trepidation about mixing the sauce with the grains and greens, being afraid to ruin the dish, but it came out so. great.

Before I talk about that dish, first I want to share the pasta salad I took to a picnic I had with my visiting friend (Dani) and two new friends, Matt and Matt.

We went to Oliver Winery, bought a bottle of Moscato, and sat outside to eat the food we each brought.  I had so many veggies to use up from the CSA that I thought mixing them with pasta would make a perfect picnic food.  I don’t have any pictures of it, but I do have a picture from our picnic!

Dani and me!

CSA Pasta Salad
boil a 1 lb bag of rigatoni with 1 cup (cooked) black beans.  When I’m making pasta salad I cook the noodles a little bit past al dente since they will be served cold
-while the pasta is cooking, toss 2 sliced beets, 8 chopped garlic scapes, and 2 chopped kohlrabi, including stems and greens in olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and salt.
-roast the veggies at 400 degrees for 20ish minutes
-add olive oil to the pasta and toss the veggies together
-add goat or another soft cheese and blend all together

This salad was so cheap.  I had bought the pasta for $1, the leftover black beans cost me about $0.20, and all in all the CSA veggies were probably $3.25.  That makes this salad about $4.50, but it lasted through the picnic and 3 more meals!

Anyway, onto the main meal I’m trying to blog about.  I’ve been really, really bad about posting what I’ve been getting in the CSA as of late.  This week I got Irish Cobbler potatoes (already gone, boiled them, then seasoned with olive oil, rosemary, salt, and parsley), Yukina Savoy, Kohlrabi, Cabbage, and a cucumber. When I came home, I went through the fridge and pulled out everything that *needed* to get used soon, along with some grains that had been sitting in my pantry for a while, and the tofu I opened last night.

tonight’s ingredients

Let me take you through my thought process:

1.  Jesus, Mary, and Joseph that’s a lot of garlic scapes.  I’m going to pickle those with the kohlrabi because I am getting sick of kohlrabi
2.  I have a cucumber, garlic, AND plain yogurt?  tzatziki- no brainer
3.  Does tzatziki go with quinoa?
4.  Does it matter?
5.  I’m sick of eating greens raw so I’m going to sautee them.
6.  I can add mint leaves to the tzatziki.
7.  Browned tofu sounds really good.
8.  I’m going to sautee the tofu/greens and serve them over the quinoa/barley, and mix in the sauce.

..and that is pretty much a look inside my brain at how meals are made.

If you’ve never heard of yukina savoy before, you’re not alone.  I never had, either, before the CSA.  If you’ve ever eaten in a Japanese restaurant before, though, you have probably had it, or something similar.  It’s what I consider to be hardy.  It sautees really well because it maintains some of its crunchy silkiness.  if that makes sense.

-chop tofu, kohlrabi greens, and yukina savoy
-coat a large pan with olive oil and add the veggies.  Season with salt, pepper, cumin, and zahtar
-sautee, but also let sit for 2-3 minutes at a time to allow tofu to brown
-combine quinoa and greens/tofu
-in a separate bowl, combine 1/4 cup plain yogurt, 1/4 finely chopped cucumber, 2 finely chopped garlic scapes, a couple dashes of salt, and 3 finely chopped mint leaves
-combine, add black sesame seeds, and toss together in a large bowl

Like I said, I was worried about adding the sauce and ruining the flavors.  The zahtar and black sesame seeds, however, went really well with the garlicy sauce.  Also, I’m not sure when I got so into tofu, but it’s most definitely thanks to Becca!

Total Cost: $5.35

1/2 cup organic red quinoa: $0.88
-1/4 cup organic barley: $0.40
-1/2 package organic tofu: $1.00
-1/4 organic cucumber: $0.25
-greens from two organic kohlrabi: $1.00
-2 organic garlic scapes: $0.15
-1/4 cup organic plain yogurt: $0.42
-3 organic yukina savoy leaves: $1.00
-3 organic mint leaves: $0.25

Considering I had enough for 2 helpings, plus lunch tomorrow, I’d say this turned out pretty great 🙂

Pickled Kohlrabi and Garlic Scapes

I can’t believe how I become more and more overrun with vegetables every week.

I also can’t believe how much fun I have coming up with new ways to make my vegetables.

Like pickling!

This has seriously become one of my favorite ways to use up the vegetables that I’m getting sick or have too many of.  I’m trying extremely hard to not let anything go to waste, and I’m proud to say I haven’t had to throw anything away yet (I will admit I let some otherwise edible beet greens/stems go into the produce bag because I just couldn’t stomach the thought of eating any more).

I adapted this recipe for pickled kohlrabi in my cookbook DIY Delicious.  As per usual, I made quite a few adjustments.

Pickled Kohlrabi and Garlic Scapes

-dice two kohlrabi including greens and stems
-chop ~5 garlic scapes
-in a saucepan combine 1 cup distilled vinegar, 1 whole garlic clove (peeled), 1 teaspoon raw sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon ground turmeric, 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds, and 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds.

i love the turmeric color

-let ingredients simmer until everything is combined
-meanwhile, sterilize a mason jar and pack the vegetables into the bottom

this part always reminds me of sand art from when I was little

-once the vinegar mixture is ready (~5 minutes), pour over vegetables, seal jar, and let sit in fridge for 3 days.

I wish I had a picture of what everything looked like after the 3 days- such a great yellow color.  The kohlrabi pickles really well and the best part is, if you have people over they’re always super impressed by pretty much everything about pickling.  First of all, it looks so freaking quaint to pull a mason jar out of your fridge.  Secondly, the colors of pickled vegetables are usually amazing.  Third, even though it’s easy to do, just saying that you pickled something if you’re under 65 sounds kind of BA.  Maybe the Bloomington hipster mindset is starting to infiltrate my brain.

Tonight I served this with grilled tofu, bison burgers, and a brown rice/red quinoa side dish I made last night that I totally regret not taking pictures of.  Basically, I combined brown rice, red quinoa, chopped kohlrabi, chopped mint leaves, black beans, and garlic scapes in the rice cooker so that I could have something for lunch today.  Totally delicious.

Total Price: $2.65

2 organic kohlrabi: $2.00
-5 organic garlic scapes: $0.25
-1 organic garlic clove: $0.10
-vinegar/spices: $0.30

$2.65 seems like a lot to me, at first, but when I think about it, I’ve had the pickled veggies for a side dish in two meals for myself, I served it tonight as a side for 3 people, and I put the rest in my lunch.  I’d say I stretched every last cent out of that.