Pork and Butternut Squash Stew

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I didn’t think to take a picture until after I tasted the stew and found out how delicious it was.

I had a little pork loin and half a butternut squash to cook, so I turned to the Internet and found this great recipe. I had everything on hand except the fresh kale, so I used a one-pound bag of kale from my freezer. Next time, I’ll spend the extra time driving to the market for fresh, because the frozen kale made a crumbly mess. A crumbly, delicious mess.

This recipe from Oxmoor House was found on myrecipes.com, and I imagine it would taste great as a vegan stew, as well. I’ll have to try it without the pork sometime.

Yield: 8 servings (serving size 1 1/2 cups)
Cook time: 40 minutes
Prep time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

2 tsp. olive oil
1 pound boneless pork loin, trimmed and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, divided
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 tsp. ground coriander
2 garlic cloves, minced
6 cups coarsely chopped fresh kale (about 1 pound)
5 cups cubed, peeled butternut squash (about 2 1/4 pounds)
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
3 (14-ounce) cans chicken broth
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained

Preparation

1. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add pork, salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper, and cook 9 minutes or until pork is browned.
2. Remove pork from pan and set aside.
3. Add onion to pan and sauté 5 minutes or until tender.
4. Add coriander and garlic. Sauté 1 minute.
5. Return pork to pan and add remaining 1/4 tsp. pepper, kale, and remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil.
6. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

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Here’s a pic just before step 6, with frozen kale. Please excuse my greasy stove; browning pork is messy work.

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Easy pancakes

When I was young, my dad used to make pancakes every Saturday morning for my sisters and me. He’d make them in the shape of our initials and would sometimes color them pink. When I started to make my own breakfast, I asked him to write down his recipe, and while I changed his “milk ’til it looks right” to an actual measurement and made the recipe allergen-free, it comes pretty close to my Saturday-morning favorites. Just not pink.

Ingredients

1 cup + 1-2 Tbsp. gluten-free flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup milk substitute
1 tsp. vanilla
*1/4 – 1/2 cup optional fruit

1. Mix dry ingredients together in a medium bowl, using only 1 cup flour.
2. Mix wet ingredients in a small bowl.
3. Combine wet and dry ingredients with a whisk, thickening as needed using the extra 1-2 Tbsp. flour.
4. For optional fruit, I like to place the pieces of fruit into the pancakes by hand when they first go into the pan. Fruit can also be stirred into the bowl of batter, if desired, but it tends to sink to the bottom.
5. Cook over low heat, turning when bubbles appear.
6. Enjoy with syrup, jam, or whatever topping you desire.

Menu – December 2-7

After several days visiting my family in South Alabama for Thanksgiving, I’m a little blasé about food. I decided not to try much of anything new this week, and most of these meals are ones I made up and for which no recipes exist. When I cook them, I’ll write down ingredients and amounts and post soon after.

Monday
Breakfast – blueberry pancakes, sausage patties
Supper – roasted chicken, rice pilaf, sautéed carrots and broccoli with garlic

Tuesday
Breakfast – apple, cranberry, and pecan oatmeal; turkey bacon
Supper – large baked potatoes topped with smoked sausage, green peppers, mushrooms, and caramelized onions; salad

Wednesday
Breakfast – blueberry muffins, sausage patties
Supper – beef and broccoli (with Chinese five spice sauce), mandarin oranges, salad

Thursday
Breakfast – hash browns and bacon
Supper – chicken pot pie, mixed berries

Friday
Breakfast – Daiya cheese grits with sausage crumbles, eggs
Supper – scrambled meat (ground turkey and beef) and mushrooms, mashed potatoes, butter beans, steamed spinach

Saturday
Breakfast – strawberry oatmeal with coconut cream

Menu – November 23 – December 1

Thanksgiving. . .

I was tempted to publish a menu with an amazing Thanksgiving feast, but the truth is that I enjoy traveling to South Alabama and letting someone else cook for a few days. And as I sit here stuffed with turkey and sweet-potato soufflé, avoiding the ridiculous Black Friday crowds, I can’t help but think about the burgers and fries we’ll eat Sunday evening when we return home to Atlanta. No fuss, easy cleanup, no prep.

I took a week off from cooking, and I have to admit we even chowed down on Amy’s bean and rice burritos Wednesday night. We don’t do it often, but sometimes even the most die-hard cooks want a break.

Barley and oat waffles with apple pecan topping

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These waffles are a world apart from your typical white flour and cream concoctions. They have no wheat, eggs, milk, or soy, but they do have a good balance of protein and fiber. Adapted from an Arrowhead Mills recipe, this recipe works best with waffles and should be altered to make pancakes*.

Ingredients:

1 cup barley flour
1 cup oat flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 Tbsp. honey (or sugar, if necessary)
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups milk substitute
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Topping:

2 Apples
1/4-1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1-3 Tbsp. brown sugar
Handful of pecans
Margarine

1. Place pecan halves or pieces in a small frying pan with a little margarine. Brown these on low heat, stirring frequently. Be careful; they will burn easily.
2. Mix all the waffle ingredients together in a large bowl. Let it sit for a few minutes.
3. While batter is resting, peel and slice apples.
4. Put apples, cinnamon, nutmeg, and brown sugar in a microwave-safe bowl and fill up bowl halfway with water. (May cook on stovetop, if desired.)
5. Microwave apples until they are tender and the sugar water is syrupy, stirring frequently.
6. Meanwhile, cook waffles in a lightly oiled waffle iron.
7. Cook waffles until no more steam escapes from the waffle iron.
8. When everything is done, serve waffles topped with cooked apples and pecans. Add a little maple syrup if desired.

*For pancakes, increase milk substitute to 2 cups.

Easy Sweet Potatoes with Cranberries

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Root vegetables helped our ancestors survive harsh winters for millennia, so it only makes sense that I stock my pantry with sweet potatoes this time of year. Twenty pounds next to the paper towels and cat food on the bottom shelf, waiting to be baked and eaten.

But if you’re like me, waiting an hour or more for sweet potatoes to bake in the oven just isn’t always an option. When I need dinner in a hurry, I make this quick-cooking version of a family favorite.

Ingredients:

2 or 3 largish sweet potatoes
1/2 cup dried cranberries or Craisins
3 Tbsp. margarine
Milk or milk substitute
Brown sugar
Cinnamon (optional)
Nutmeg (optional)

1. Peel sweet potatoes and chop into roughly 1-inch chunks.
2. Place sweet potatoes and cranberries is a small pot of water.
3. Boil until sweet potatoes can be easily mashed with a fork. Drain.
4. Add margarine and drained sweet potatoes back into pot and mash well.
5. Add a bit of milk and stir, repeating until you reach desired consistency.
6. Add brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg to taste. Mix well.

Turnip Green Soup

So. . . turnips. When I first purchased a CSA share, I learned that I like turnips. As a child, my few encounters involved some kind of canned monstrosity that masqueraded as turnip greens. In my mind, turnips were just as appetizing as pond scum (just as green, just as slimy). They were outright gross. The CSA share changed that. When I found myself the owner of pounds and pounds of turnips each week, I knew I had to learn how to cook them. . . and fast!

So the experiments began. I added the root to mashed potatoes with garlic. I tried baking sliced turnips with beets and other root vegetables with just a little olive oil and salt (not so great). I cooked turnip and potato patties, which were pretty tasty with ketchup. But the greens still gave me pause. This turnip green soup recipe changed my mind about eating greens. And while my entire family was skeptical at first, it’s now a favorite. Follow the link above, or try my much better, fresher version.

Note: The bitterness of turnip greens is still somewhat unpalatable to my sons, so I tone that down a bit with steps 1 and 2 below. However, this removes some of the calcium (the cause of the bitterness) from the greens.

Ingredients:

A big bunch of turnip greens
1/2 lb. soaked and cooked black-eyed peas (or two cans)
1/2 – 1 onion
2 potatoes, diced
1 lb. smoked sausage, sliced or diced
1 Tbsp. hot sauce
6 cups chicken stock
Olive oil

1. Wash and de-stem enough fresh turnip greens to fill a stock pot. Cover with water and boil for a few minutes.

2. Pour the contents of the stock pot through a strainer and set greens aside.

3. Sauté onions and sausage in a little olive oil.

4. Add diced potatoes and continue cooking until they get a little color on them.

5. Add remaining ingredients.

6. Let simmer (or cook at a rapid boil, if you’re short on time) until potatoes are done.

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