dinner


This is by far one of the most delicious sides I’ve ever made- it’s so good, in fact, that tonight, this will most likely be my entire dinner! 😉

It’s really simple too- you just need 4o minutes to bake the sweet potatoes, but the prep literally took about 5 minutes.

Anyway, here’s the recipe, from Epicurious.com:

  • 4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch-thick rounds
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3 cup fresh thyme leaves, plus 6 thyme sprigs for garnish
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Preheat oven to 450°F. In large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and toss. Arrange potato slices in single layer on heavyweight rimmed baking sheet or in 13×9-inch baking dish. Place on top rack of oven and roast until tender and slightly browned, about 40 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature, garnished with thyme sprigs.
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Headed into the oven:
And, after roasting for 40-all done!
* Omgoodness, I can’t stop drooling- this is so good! *
You need to make these! 🙂
(I don’t know what’s going on w/the spacing…annoying!)
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This recipe is from “Veganomicon”, a vegan cookbook I got awhile back when…ugh, it’s embarrassing to admit, but I got it right after baby #2 bc I wanted to lose baby weight fast- and so, I started eating vegan.  And I learned that that’s incredibly difficult, especially for someone who loves meat more than anything!  At any rate, the book has some really great recipes, and I still try to use it for meatless meal ideas.

Anyway, after making the vegetable broth yesterday, I really wanted to make some soup- and after a pantry reorganizing project the other day, I found that I have way too many bags of beans lying around.  So, here’s hoping to reduce that number by usin’ up some lentils!

Here’s the recipe- I’m going to do a photo-dump style post:

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into fine dice
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried tarragon
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon paprika (Hungarian if you’ve got it)
  • 5 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 6 cups water or vegetable broth
  • 2 cups French lentils
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • Several pinches of freshly ground black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat a large pot over medium heat and add oil. Sauté the onion and carrots for about 10 minutes, until onions have browned a bit. Add the garlic, tarragon, thyme, and paprika, and sauté for 2 more minutes. Add the tomatoes and a little splash of water if necessary, and stir to deglaze the pot. Cover and cook for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the water, lentils, bay leaves, salt, and pepper, then cover and bring to a boil. Once the soup is boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, covered, for about 45 minutes, or until the lentils are tender. If the soup looks too thin, uncover and simmer for a couple more minutes. If it looks too thick, add a little more water. Serve with good, crusty bread.

Sauteeing carrots and onions

W/garlic and herbs...I have to admit that the smell of tarragon kinda makes me queasy. It's the same way w/celery- once it's cooked, I'm fine 🙂

W/everything added in and simmering

And now, we wait- it should simmer for about 45 minutes, or until the liquid’s reduced a bit and the lentil’s are tender.  Be back soon!

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Wow, it’s really good- despite the tarragon! 😉  No, really…this is yummy!  If I have any criticism for the recipe, it’d be that there are WAY too many lentils- I didn’t even cook it for 20 minutes when the liquid was gone, and it was like lentil craziness.  Way, way too many lentils- if I made this again, I’d probably only use one cup, and not two.  This time, though, I scooped out some, and added in another cup of broth.

All set!

But wow, sooo good- the tarragon really adds something unique.  It’s much more of a complex blend of flavors than I might have thought, and wow, the leftovers will be so good for lunch!  (And I’m sure the yummy homemade broth had a lot to do w/this delicious meal…or, at least I’ll pretend it did!)

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E did have some “constructive criticisms” when he tried this- mainly that it was just a “giant bowls of beans” (It’s not, clearly- just look at that ingredient list up there, mister!  But again, this was why I think the amount of lentils should be cut down- seriously, it’s a lot!).  So anyway, for the leftovers, I’m going to add in more tomatoes and maybe even some roast chicken (we still have some leftover from the other night).  The flavor of the soup was really great…just maybe too many lentils! 🙂

I’ve saved the easiest broth for last!  Really, after fooling w/huge cow bones and chicken carcasses for beef and chicken stocks, a little veggie broth will be a breeze!  And, since I wanted to make soup for dinner tonight, it seemed like the perfect time to try out veggie broth-making.

I found this recipe on AllRecipes.com, and it’s listed as the “World’s Greatest Vegetable Broth,” and even has 4.5 stars.  Sounds perfect!

Here’s the list of ingredients:

  • 1 pound celery
  • 1 1/2 pounds sweet onions
  • 1 pound carrots, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 pound tomatoes, cored
  • 1 pound green bell pepper, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1/2 pound turnips, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 whole black peppercorns
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 gallon water

First, roast the onions, carrots, tomatoes, bell peppers, and turnips (all tossed w/olive oil) for a little over an hour at 450-degrees (oh, I used parsnips instead of turnips bc I had some, and didn’t wanna buy turnips!):

Gettin' roasted

Once the veggies were roasted, they went into the stock pot w/the celery and…well, everything else:

After that, it was boiled for about…maybe two hours?  The idea was to boil it until the liquid had reduced by half- I think it took about two hours.  When it was finished, I poured the mix through a colander, and discarded the veggies- I know I should have saved them, but…I didn’t.

Anyway, tada- vegetable broth!  🙂

Another fun project, courtesy of Pinterest! 🙂  This was the “silly” project I had in mind the other day, that I never got around to making, and honestly, it wasn’t nearly as tricky as I thought it’d be.

For starters, I used pre-made crust, which takes out all the usual pie-making nonsense.  Next, the pies are super-small, so the lattice work is really easy to do!

Anyway, the recipe in the link above is for caramel apple pies- I just made apple.  Cut up about two small apples, mix w/a little bit of sugar, some cinnamon, the smallest dash of nutmeg, and sprinkle w/lemon.  Tada!  Then, cut out circles for your pies (I used one of the kids snack containers bc it was bigger than a glass), and press it into a cupcake pan:

Press the dough into the pan, and add the apples:

Next up, the lattice work.  I made another circle in the dough, and then just cut tiny strips into it. Assemble the strips to cover the apples, and just weave them together:

A little egg wash, and then into the oven (350-degrees) for about 25 minutes.

All done- and, yum!  I only made one, as a tester, and now I’m off to make more!  So cute! 🙂

(Just be sure to really let it cool before trying to take it out of the pan- I lost a bit of the bottom by being too impatient!)

 

I recently joined Pinterest, and have been loving every second of it- it’s so fun!  Anyway, one of the first things I “pinned” was a recipe for authentic Chick-fil-A chicken nuggets…which I had to try, considering how much the kids love them.  And, as it turns out, the homemade version was extremely popular w/husbands, too! 😉

Anyway, on to the nuggets- cut up two boneless, skinless chicken breasts into bite-size pieces; “marinate” in a mix of one egg and one cup of milk for 2-4 hrs, to soften the chicken.  Then, dredge the chicken pieces in a mix of flour, powdered sugar, salt, and pepper, and fry in…2″ of peanut oil.  I didn’t do this- I really don’t ever wanna deep fry things for the kids, so I just poured some peanut oil in the pan, and fake-fried the nuggets that way.

I made our nuggets in two batches, and learned to use tongs to turn them only occasionally after the first batch lost most of their breading due to too much flipping w/a spatula.

When they’re finished, I put them on a plate w/a paper towel to absorb some of the extra oil:

I’d also made some homemade fries for our Super Bowl meal, but threw in some blueberries w/the finished products bc…our plates looked a little too fast food-ish!  😉

Anyway, these were really good, and E and I ate way too many.  They really did taste similar to Chick-fil-As, and I’m guessing it’s the powdered sugar- sounded weird to add to the breading mix, but that was totally the key ingredient.

The kids, however, choked them down (just barely), and said that Chick-fil-A had better ones. Can’t please everyone, I guess- even if you were trying to!  Still, if you have normal eaters in your house and not super-picky little people, you should definitely make these!

Wait, let me guess- that superweird title drew you in? 😉

I found a salmon recipe the other night in my Real Simple magazine (where else, honestly?), and was all set to make it tonight when I realized…it called for real maple syrup, and we had it- but, apparently someone must have used it all.  Oh well.  The recipe was for a maple-glazed salmon, so I went online for new salmon recipes, and chose this one from Epicurious.com, bc it’s a sweet-ish one that seemed similar to the maple syrup recipe- it uses brown sugar.

But first, the roasted Brussels sprouts w/red onion:  this was in the Real Simple recipe, and was the most easy thing to make.  And, it looked gorgeous, and tasted great- definitely planning to save this side!

Cut up one red onion into big chunks and toss w/about a pound of halved Brussels sprouts in 2 T olive oil.  Season w/salt and pepper, and add to a baking sheet- roast for 15-20 minutes, turning once:

How pretty is this?

Still looks great after roasting!

When this was in the oven, I started on the salmon.  First, mix the marinade (white wine, butter, Old Bay) and pour it over the salmon; then bake it for about 15 minutes:

Anything's better w/loads of butter!

Then, add the mustard/brown sugar glaze, and bake for another few minutes:

Gotta tell you, I was totally scared at this point! My poor salmon!

The result- surprisingly delicious salmon!  I was pretty skeptical about pouring mustard and brown sugar on yummy-looking salmon, but did it anyway, and wow- this was sooooo good!  After the first bite, E was raving about how good this was- and, he rarely goes on about salmon!  Last-minute salmon recipe=huge success!

Omgoodness, you need to make this!

I can’t even tell you how good this meal was- HIGHLY recommended! 🙂

I’ve never made marinara sauce before, but wanted to try it as I had every ingredient (it’s not a huge list), and I bought pasta today from my favorite pasta maker in the Italian Market (they had a Facebook 25%-off fresh pasta sale, why wouldn’t I go?)…so, it was just meant-to-be, really 🙂

I feel funny about posting the full recipe (since I can’t find it online), but I’ll email it to you if you’re interested.  It’s pretty straight-forward, and even uses canned crushed tomatoes.  I used this can that I bought back in September when we went to a local farm:

Anyway, you start off w/a base of chopped onions and garlic w/a little bit of red pepper:

Then, add in the crushed tomatoes to simmer for about 30 mins:

And voila- marinara sauce!  Smells delicious– can’t wait to enjoy it w/our 3-cheese ravioli! 🙂

This is a really great sauce- and, it’s kinda spicy!  Never would have thought of making marinara spicy, but it really works- yum! 🙂

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