Black Bean and Bulgur Sloppy Joe's

     IMG_0540 And that's how I know that this is a winner. IMG_0499As an awesome aunt, when I have any of my nieces or nephews,  I feel the need to make something special for dinner, something that the kiddos might not get very often, but also keep it on he healthy side. I have 2 littles for the night which gives me the perfect opportunity for a trash food recipe. You know trash food, things like boxed mac and cheese, beefaroni in a can, or, in this case, sloppy joes.

Sloppy yes, trashy, not so much. These are made with beans and bulgur. No meat.

And I figured it is nice enough out that I can make the kiddos some messy food and then just bring them out back and hose them off… I mean, why not right?

IMG_0475The stuff… We start with onion and green pepper, chopped into pieces. Black beans, bulgur, can crushed tomatoes. Chili powder, garlic powder, a bit o apple cider vinegar (which I forgot to picture) ,and some salt and pepper. Oh and cheese if you want… Plus a bun of some sort is necessary.IMG_0490     IMG_0493 Toss the chopped onion and peppers into a deep skillet or pot with a drizzle of oil. Cook on medium heat until tender and toss in the spices. Give a stir. Add in the beans, bulgur, and tomato, a splash of vinegar. Stir it all up, cover, and let simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the bulgur has absorbed the liquid and is nice and tender.

If you are a bun toaster… toast while waiting. If not, just get the buns readyIMG_0504 And Then dump a good heaping pile right onto a bun. Add some cheese, or not..and eat with wild abandonment,  making sure to get as much on your face as you get in you mouth. 

Fantastic Friday!! Live it up. 

-C


Black Bean and Bulgur Sloppy Joes 

  • 2 cups or 1 can cooked black beans
  • 1 16 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup bulgur
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder 
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • salt and pepper
  • a splash of apple cider vinegar
  • olive oil
  • 4-6 burger or bulky buns
  • cheese (optional)

Dice the onion and the pepper and toss with a drizzle of olive oil into a large skillet. Sauté on medium heat until veggies become tender. Add in the spices, stir in and let cook for a minutes, then add in the beans, the tomato,water and the bugler. Cover skillet and let simmer until bugler becomes soft.

When the slop is ready, either toasted or not, scoop a generous portions onto buns. If so inclined, add some cheese. 

Eat with hands… Sloppy is good.

Butternut Broccoli Soup

IMG_0472 Happy Friday!

A simple post for the simplest of soups. Minimal ingredients, no fuss, fast to make but can be left all day to simmer……. And oh so very very good. 

This has been one of my go to soups this winter. Warming, hardy, comforting….every kind of soft cozy feeling that I need when I can't leave my house because it's so cold out that all I want to do is sit on the couch wrapped up in a blanket, with a book, and eat hot soup. (That's the my plan for the weekend) But it's also good for any type of weekend activities you might have… it't kind of the perfect soup.

IMG_0315The Stuff. A medium sized butternut squash, seeded and diced (no need to peel, but go for it if you want) About a pound of broccoli, (fresh or frozen) and a few shallots. Salt, pepper and a few cups of water. 

Note.. I didn't add any spices to this batch because I really love the flavor without anything. With that being said, I have made this same soup with sage, rosemary, turmeric, even curry. Almost any flavor works in this soup. 

IMG_0399    IMG_0364The chopped squash and broccoli go into a big pot with about 2-3 cups of water. Add about a tablespoon of salt and pepper. Lid up the pot and place on medium low heat for about a half hour, or unitl squash and broccoli is fork tender. Now blend together with either a emulsion stick blender or place in a blender for 3-5 minutes until completely smooth. Add enough water to keep things moving. Add more water if you want a thinner soup, less for a thicker soup. Season with more salt and pepper to taste. Once blended, place back in pot on simmer until ready to serve. 

When the soup is simmering, thinly slice the shallots and toss into a pan. Sauté until soft and fragrant. 

IMG_0426 Finish off with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and top with the  sautéed shallots.IMG_0455

Soup and a spoon. So simple, so good.

Have a great weekend…..Try and stay warm!

-C


Butternut Broccoli Soup

The Stuff 

  • 1 medium butternut squash 
  • 1 pound of broccoli (crown and stem and can use frozen)
  • 4 shallots
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • salt and pepper

Split squash in half, remove seeds, and dice into chunks.  Place in big pot. Chop up broccoli and add to pot. (or just add frozen chopped broccoli) Add water until stuff is about half way summered. Place a lid on the pot and cook on medium low heat for about 30 minutes or  until squash and broccoli are fork tender. Blend together with either a stick blender or place in a blender. Add enough water to keep things moving. Add more water if you want a thinner soup, less for a thicker soup. Add more salt and pepper to taste. Once blended, place back in pot on simmer until ready to serve. 

When the soup is on simmer, thinly slice the shallots and place in a pan to sautee until soft and fragrant.  

To serve, ladle soup into bowl, drizzle with balsamic vinegar, and top with sautéed shallot.

Eat with a spoon

Parsnip and Carrot Fries with Smokey Sriracha sauce

   IMG_0792  IMG_0950Before we get to the fries, I just want to mention that  yesterday was one of those fantastic winter days that reminds me why I love living in Vermont.  Pretty white snow everywhere, the sun was out, and 20 degrees without a gust of wind. The trash dog an I were even able to go for a little hike.  It was so nice and soooo sooo needed!  Anyways, the other day as me, my sister and the mister where putting together  one more piece of Ikea furniture, (I am the master at Ikea assembling!)  a little runs into the room and presents the mister with a Dominos pizza. Yup, a whole pizza just for him. Why you might ask? Well I guess my sister was  delivered the wrong pizza and the place didn't want it back and she didn't want it, so she gave it to him.

A whole pizza to himself. I didn't mind too much..he was just going to be eating it for lunch and dinner until it was out of the fridge. But for dinner I did want him to eat something of the vegetable matter that didn't come out of a box. I was going to make him a big salad, but then realized that would mean sharing the last of the greens that I had for MY dinner and I was not about to do that, so I made him parsnip and carrot fries instead. No biggy, just some slicing, a little tossing and a bit of time in the old oven. And I figured I might as well make a nice sauce for those fries because I be so very nice.

The biggest problem that I ran into when I made these fries was that I didn't make enough, so you should probably make twice as many as you think you will eat. If you end up not eating them all (which you probably will), well then you now have a great start for a soup or a nice addition to a salad. Either way, you will eat them because they are amazing and addicting… and as healthy as can be!

IMG_0818The carrots and the parsnips are all sliced up into big matchsticks and ready to be baked to crispy browned perfection.  I added the oil to the pan to toss the fries in and then sprinkled with a fair amount of salt and pepper.  If you don't have and or want to use a cast iron pan, a baking sheet works just the same.

IMG_0852   IMG_0896Oh saucy sauce stuff. Tomato puree, sriracha, and yellow mustard. Add a little bit of honey to lighten it up (can use brown sugar if keeping it vegan), a splash of apple cider vinegar and a couple minced cloves of garlic. Topped off with the smokey delightful spice of cumin. I cold eat this on everything…and I kind of did. 

All mixed up in an oven safe dish, I stuck it into the oven for a about 8 minutes until it got a little bubbly, just to let all the flavors fuse together…

IMG_0917Fries are done, Sauce is ready. Served in super cute tea cups.(from now on I want to serve everything in tea cups.) A perfect side dish, snack, or even a light meal.  It lead the mister to ask the question...What pizza? 

Happy Day!

-C


Parsnip and Carrot Fries with Smokey Sriracha Sauce

The Stuff

For the Fries

  • 2 large parsnips
  • 2 large carrot
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon oil

For the Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha
  • 1 tablespoon mustard
  • 2 tablespoon tomato puree (or 1 tablespoon tomato paste and 1 tablespoon water)
  • 2 cloves or garlic
  • 1 teaspoon honey or brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • a splash of apple cider vinegar
  • a pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 425.

Wash and trim carrots and parsnips and cut into large matchsticks (any shape is good, just make them all uniform) Toss with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place on cast iron pan or baking sheet and stick in oven for 30 or so minutes, and rotating after about 20. The fries are done when  crispy and brown.

For the sauce. Mince garlic and add to all the sauce ingredients in an oven safe bowl. stick into oven for about 8 minutes until slightly bubbly and hot.

Dip fries in sauce

Focaccia with or without stuff

IMG_9014One of the best things about winter is that I can have something in the oven at any time and not worry about how hot the house is going to get.  I get to spend my free time (or my in between free minutes) baking up all the thing that I would not dare bake in the summer. (lots of bread and cakes) Yeah, I might complain a little about how cold it is outside (to my defense, -20 is kind of a bitch) but then I think of the super hot humid days that come during the summer and cringe.  At least when its cold out I am able to get warm, (que oven)  but when its super hot and humid, I just turn into something that border lines a wet towel and the rabbit animal… Not so pleasant.   I much prefer cooler weather. So no big surprise….I made bread.. or focaccia to be exact. And now you should too because first off, you want to eat it, and secondly, you can probably whip this up faster then it would take to get all of you winter warmies on and leave the house. Don't leave, just turn the oven on.  IMG_8863The stuff, which isn't a whole lot… Flour and salt.  A mixture of honey, water, and yeast. And olive oil. Its pretty much my pizza dough recipe, tweaked with the addition of oil, less flour and no kneading.  IMG_8891Mix together the wet and dry…I used my nifty dough whisk, but a wooden spoon or even your hand works. Mix mix mix. The dough should  be really slack and sticky.  And guess what.. no need to knead! Just make sure the dough is uniformly incorporated…hehe.. uniformly incorporated… sounds weird.  IMG_8902       IMG_8931Drizzle the dough (don't worry about making it into a ball, a blob is good) with a little oil and place in a nice warm place topped with a towel to rise for about an hour or until dough has doubled in size. Once is has fully risen, drizzle 2 tablespoons oil in two 9 inch cake pans.  Divide dough in half, and kind of smoosh dough into pans. Cover and let rise for another 20 minutes or so. IMG_8977When dough has finished its second rise, drizzle each  with another tablespoon of oil and with your fingers, fill out the pan and indent the dough, kind of like playing a piano or tickling a puppy(?)….Then layer your toppings (if you want any)  Start with any herbs, then the veggies. Then last, any cheese you got. I used thyme, cracked black pepper, tomato, onion, topped with parmesan cheese. And the other one is just plain old salt.  IMG_9021Pulled from the oven when nice and golden brown..set on a wire rack to cool for a few minute and removed from the pans. IMG_9083The mister was practically salivating waiting for a slice… and he was so not disappointed. Crispy outside with soft airy insides… Everything a perfect focaccia should be. The one with the toppings was the favorite for the first night, but for a peanut butter and cheese panini for lunch the next day…plain is the way to go.. My suggestion, do what I did, jazz one up and leave one plain. And then make more if you need too because the forecast call for another week of below zero!!! Oh the things that I'll get to make! (me being positive) Stay warm! -C

Focaccia with out without stuff

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 1 tablespoon salt plus 2 teaspoons for topping (can use more or less if you want)
  • 2 teaspoons active yeast (or one package)
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 tablespoon honey (or sugar if vegan)
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil

Optional toppings

  • Fresh cracked pepper
  • Thyme or any other spices
  • Thinly sliced tomato
  • Thinly sliced onion 
  • Parmesan Cheese 
  • Anything you want!

In a bowl or jar, mix honey (or sugar), yeast and warm water together and let sit for about 5 minutes or until yeast is activated and starts to foam In a large bowl, whisk together flour and 1 tablespoon of salt. With either a wooden spoon, dough whisk, or if you have one, a stand mixer with a dough hook, mix the yeast mixture with the flour. The dough is going to be really sticky so mixing might get a little gloppy, but keep at it until everything is full incorporated.. for about 3-5 minutes and don't be afraid to use your hand… you can wash it off.  Once mixed drizzle with oil and cover with a towel. Let rise for about an hour or until dough has dubbed in size. When dough has double, coat two 8 or 9 inch cake pans each with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Dump dough onto floured surface and cut in half. Take each half a place in pan. cover and let rise again for another 20ish minutes. preheat over to 400 degrees After second rise, lightly take your fingers and push down dough, making little indents all over the surface. Drizzle each with another tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle each with a teaspoon of salt. If using spices or any other toppings, nows the time to layer them on. And do any cheese last! Place in oven and bake for about 30 minutes or until the tops are golden brown. When done, place on a wire rack and let cool a bit before removing  from pans. Done!!  To store, place in a paper bag.. best eaten within a few days!

Cabbage Cauliflower and Chick Peas Braised with Caraway and Mustard

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What a way to start the day, with a mouth full of c words…….Caraway, cauliflower, chick peas and cabbage…What did you think I meant?

This week has been nippy, no, its been chilly…..nah, it's been freaking freezing! Yeah, freezing cold. When I woke up this morning to walk the pup, it was 5 degrees. So needless to say, when it gets this cold, I like to keep inside. Tying not to be a complete lazy bones, I went to town on my spices… refilling jars with all the little baggies scattering the kitchen, screwing on lids, and wiping down the shelves. Not a bad accomplishment for a day. While cleaning I came upon a little bag or caraway seeds,  Not enough to warrant a jar on the wall, but defiantly enough for one dish.  

When I think of the bright, somewhat sweet and peppery caraway, I think cabbage.(anything cabbage and I am sold) A big pan cabbage, added cauliflower for the mister,(his favorite) creamy chick peas because we need  protein and they be tasty, and of course mustard, because everything tastes better with mustard.(I'll let you in on a little secret.I eat a lot of mustard, I am kind of obsessed. Mustards of all kind; grainy, homemade, dijon…but usually just plan old yellow. And I eat it on everything.. but my go to is French's yellow mustard and carrots…don't judge) A warm, bright and filling dish, perfect for a freezing cold evening stuck inside. You can eat it as main dish or add a pile of quinoa or wild rice, or even a big plate of greens. What ever say you eat it, you and your stomach will be happy.(If your worries about cabbage bloat..don't be. Cooking cabbage helps breaks down the enzymes that create gas, plus caraway has anti bloating properties…WIN!) 

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Cabbage, cauliflower,(fresh of frozen….I used frozen in this recipe) pre-cooked or canned chick peas, caraway seeds, yellow mustard, and salt..(I added pepper too)

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Chop the cabbage and toss into a lightly oiled pan with the rest of the stuff. Heat pan with everything but water  for a couple of minutes.. to warm the caraway and give everything a cooking head start, then add the water. Stick a lid on it and let simmer. After about 15 minutes, give it a stir or two and do a taste test. At this point, it's up to you…how cooked you want the veggies? I kept mine cooking for another 10 minutes. I also added another 1/2 cup of water. Not enough water and the pan will burn, a little extra water is good, it creates a yummy broth.

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When you are happy with the flavor and doneness, eat it. I made myself a  bowl with a heap of pickled beets(holy yes!). I am sorry if you don't have any pickled beets, but the dish is still amazing without them.  Fresh ground pepper really does the trick too!

So there you go, make it tonight, it will make you warm,smart and happy

-C


Cabbage Cauliflower and Chick Pea Braised with Caraway and Mustard

serves 2-3

  • 1/2 small head of green cabbage(about 2 cups chopped)
  • 2 cups cauliflower(fresh or frozen)
  • 1 cup cooked chick peas
  • 1 1/2 -2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon caraway seed
  • 2 tablespoons yellow mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste

Lightly oil a medium sized skillet and add all ingredients except water. Heat for a few minutes to warm up veggie and caraway seeds then add a 1 1/2 cups of water. Keep on medium heat with a lid and stir on occasion If water evaporates completely out, add another 1/2 cup.  Dish is done when veggies are tender.. about 20 minutes….but whenever tastes best to you!