Butternut Squash Parmigiana

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I was going to make eggplant parmigiana, but I decided last week mid-week that I wasn’t going to do any grocery shipping and I was going to use the ingredients I had in the house. I had planned to make this eggplant parmigiana, but didn’t have an eggplant . . . so I searched through my fridge and found a butternut squash that was asking for me to use it. I’ve made mini pizzas on butternut squash before, so I figured this was a good choice of foods to make parmigiana with. I really love butternut squash. This meal turned out to be decadent – with the sweetness of the squash mixed with the salty of the tomato sauce . . . YUM!!! I’m going to not go grocery shopping more and force myself to make do with what I have in the house, because this was magical.

Butternut Squash Parmigiana

Ingredients
3 cups crushed tomatoes
2 medium butternut squash
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
1 cup parmesan cheese, grated

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350. Slice the squash into slices 1/3 of an inch thick. Make sure you clean out the center of the squash, disposing of the seeds.

2. Brush the squash slices with olive oil. Place on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, or until tender.

3. Raise oven heat to 400. Place the tender squash slices in a casserole dish, layering the bottom of the dish. Spoon the tomato sauce on top, followed by the mozzarella, and then the parmesan.

4. Cover the casserole dish with foil. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes.

5. Cool for 10 minutes before enjoying!

* serves 4
* shared with Tasty Tuesdays

Foodie Pen Pals: September

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I haven’t participated in Foodie Pen Pals in SO LONG! The last time was last May. But due to major changes in my life (such as getting a job and having spending money,) I’ve been able to afford to participate again. This month my FPP buddy was Libby from Louisiana who runs Libby’s Library. The box Libby made me is full of Louisiana goodies – things that hail from the state of Louisiana. I’m excited to try everything, but there’s so much to try! And then I got strep throat… So, I will be making more things out of the box, but haven’t gotten around to it yet for the most part.

  • On the 5th of the month you receive an email pairing you with information about who you’re paired with. You email that person to get information pertaining to allergies and dietary restriction.
  • By the 15th you put together a box of treats and mail them to your partner.
  • On the last day of the month you post a blog post about your box of treat

It’s your turn to sign up!

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This box is full of Louisiana goodies for me to make dinners with – from roux to spices to packaged mixes, I got it all! I even got mardi gras beads without having to do anything for them!

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Slap Ya Mama’s Cajun Red Beans & Rice. I don’t know if my mama wants me slapping her ;) But I do bet that her and my dad would love this with a meal. What makes that even better is they’re coming to visit at the end of October! I’ll have to make a protein with this rice for them.

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I used this Queen Bee seasoning on a piece of chicken I threw on the grill and made a chicken sandwich with. I have some other Cajun seasoning, but this beats it by 100%. It’s so much more flavorful and left a bang in my mouth!

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I also received this roux. Anyone have ideas what I can do with it!? I’ve looked online and got some recipes that I can include this in – but I’m sure it’s super flavorful.

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Next… Cafe Du Monde’s beignet mix. I made a batch of these the first weekend I got them. They were easy to make, but I didn’t have powdered sugar so I used Nutella instead. I have a sweet tooth. To note, I also sent Libby Nutella in her package. Maybe she should try beignets with Nutella ;)

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The last photo is three items – etoufee mix, gumbo mix, and jambalaya mix. There’s recipes on the packets to make cooking these three dishes even easier. I’m excited! Maybe I can have some authentic Louisiana in here (if I stop doing things like putting Nutella on the beignets!)

Quick-Fried Prawns with Spices

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Have you noticed my banner has changed in the last few months? While I will always technically be a student of the law, I decided to make it a bit more accurate. I’ve had a busy few weeks, that aren’t over yet. It’s been trial after trial and this week I got my first not guilty. Being a criminal defense attorney, generally the verdicts come back guilty, so this is a huge victory. And as my tiredness from trial wears off this week, the next one starts Monday.

But in between court and trials and suits and high heels that hurt my feet, I’ve still found time to cook.

Anyway – this month at Belleau Kitchen’s Random Recipes we were instructed to randomly pick a book off our shelf, open it to a random page, and cook that recipe. My random number generator landed me on one of my favorite cookbooks, Best Ever Indian Cookbook. I got this book years ago, before Borders closed down, off the sale table for $9.99. I never realized it would provide me so many delicious foods.

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I’ve cooked out of it a lot. In fact, it’s been the book chosen by Random Recipes before too.

Anywho, this shrimp dish was in the Soups and Appetizers section and it was suggested in the book to serve it with naan. I didn’t end up doing that. I served the shrimp as the main dish and I served it over basmati rice. It was a light meal, but it was all I really needed today. I made a few alterations with the spices because I didn’t have cardamom pods or black mustard seeds.

Now, I think I’ll stop blabbering on. I could go on forever right now.

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Quick-Fried Prawns with Spices

Ingredients
1 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 inch ginger, grated
2 cloves garlic, grated
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground mustard
1 tsp ground cardamom
4 tbsp butter
1/2 cup coconut milk
salt and pepper, to taste
3 tbsp cilantro, chopped

Directions

1. Combine the ginger, garlic, chili powder, turmeric, mustard, and cardamom in a bowl. Add the shrimp and toss to coat. Set aside temporarily.

2. Heat a wok until hot. Add butter and swirl until melted.

3. Add the shrimp and spices and stir-fry for 2 minutes, until they begin to turn pink,

4. Stir in the coconut milk and simmer for 3-4 minutes, until the shrimp are cooked all the way through. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Sprinkle with coriander and serve.

* serves 4
* besides Random Recipes, this is also shared with Foodie Friday

Cheddar Cheese Pasta with Cabbage, Cauliflower, and Fried Capers

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Pasta Please is one of the challenges I try to participate in every month, though sometimes the month passes before I get to it.. This was not one of those months! I’m trying to participate in all the fun round-ups that I normally do. This month’s Pasta Please was hosted by Allotment2Kitchen who also hosts a new round up I’m going to start participating in called Eat Your Greens. The idea of Eat Your Greens is to share your vegetarian dishes made with green veggies. This month’s Eat Your Greens was paired together with Pasta Please.

I decided to use cabbage in my recipe for the challenge. My quick google search tells me cabbage may have cancer fighting qualities, as it contains a good amount of sinigrin, which has been in the attention of cancer researchers in developing a cure. However, the way to get the most benefit from the cabbage is to steam it which is not how I cooked it.

For a quick cabbage story, I love cabbage but I hate the smell of it. When I was in college one of my roommates decided she was going to go on a cabbage soup diet or something. She made this huge batch of cabbage soup which just made the house reek. In the end, she couldn’t stomach the soup because of the strong cabbage scent – so that diet was incredibly short lived, but the smell has definitely made an impact on me forever.

But, I haven’t let that get in the way of eating cabbage. It still tastes good to me at least.

This cheesy pasta recipe was delicious. The fried capers were a big hit. I’d never prepared capers like that before, but I definitely will again!

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Cheddar Cheese Pasta with Cabbage, Cauliflower, and Fried Capers
(source)

Ingredients
1/3 cup + 3 tbsp olive oil
1 cauliflower, cut into florets
1/2 cabbage, cut into strips
1 onion, chopped
3 sprigs thyme
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup capers, drained and patted dry
8 oz rotini pasta
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
2 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

1. Place a baking sheet in the oven. Preheat oven to 425. Once preheated, remove the sheet from the oven. Pour 1 tbsp of olive oil over the baking sheet. Place the cauliflower on the sheet and drizzle 2 tbsp of olive oil over the cauliflower. Season with salt and pepper. Bake for 30 minutes, shaking the baking sheet halfway through.

2. While the cauliflower is roasting, heat the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the cabbage, onion, and thyme sprigs. Saute for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, add the white wine to deglaze. Set aside.

3. In a small skillet add the 1/3 cup remaining oil. Once the oil is hot, add the capers. Fry for 2 minutes and remove with a slotted spoon to a plate covered with a paper towel to drain.

4. Cook pasta per the directions on the box. Drain, saving 1 cup of the water the pasta cooked in.

5. Once the pasta is cooked, pour the noodles into the skillet with the cabbage. Put over medium heat. Add the cheese. Add the saved pasta water, 1/4 cup at a time. Cook until you have a sauce develop. Add the thyme.

6. Serve and top with capers.

* serves 4
* besides Pasta Please and Eat Your Greens, this recipe is being shared with See Ya In The Gumbo

Mushroom Turkey Burgers

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I love burgers. They’re actually a huge downfall for me when we go out to eat. I just want a burger. With bacon. And cheese. And lots of mayo.

For a little silly story about me, I grew up hating hamburgers. I would temper tantrum, I would cry, and I would end up getting chicken nuggets or a hot dog whenever hamburgers were served. They repulsed me. I didn’t want to have anything to do with that weird piece of pressed together meat that I had no idea what was mixed in (yet, I’d eat a hot dog haha.) My first hamburger that I ate willingly without a temper tantrum was after my senior year in high school, when In ‘n Out Burger moved into town. It changed my life. And I began to experiment with burgers from other places and burgers with other meats.

Today, burgers are one of my favorite foods.

Though ground beef is my favorite meat in a burger, this turkey burger was divine. The flavors were great, it was juicy, and I wish I had room to eat a second!

Mushroom Turkey Burgers

Ingredients
1 oz dried mushrooms
4 mushrooms, diced
1 lb ground turkey
2 green onions, chopped
1/4 tsp kosher salt
2 tbsp parsley, chopped
1 tsp spicy mustard
1 tsp steak sauce
4 hamburger buns

Directions

1. In a large bowl mix together the diced mushrooms, turkey, green onions, salt, parsley, mustard, and steak sauce with your hands. Form the meat into four even sized patties.

2. Press the dried mushrooms onto both sides of all four patties.

3. Heat up a cast iron skillet. Spray with cooking spray. Add the patties and cook for 7 minutes per side.

4. Serve you burgers on buns and add any condiments you desire. I had mayonnaise, mustard, lettuce, tomato, and onion.

* serves 4
* I’m sharing this with See Ya In The Gumbo

Spaghetti and Bacon Meatballs

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This month’s Food ‘n Flix movie of the month is a double feature: Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs and it’s sequel hosted by Culinary Adventures with Camilla. When I first saw this movie, a few years back, I loved it. My boyfriend and I even adopted the way they kiss.

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Anyway, Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs was originally a child’s book. I never experienced the children’s book though, so the movie has been my sole experience with the story.

The movie is about Flint Lockwood, an aspiring scientist. His newest creation is a machine that can transform water into food. But, it backfires and it begins raining food, meatballs included. Both the first movie and its sequel, both feature a ton of food (and even food monsters!)

 

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I could have been more creative and made something else from the movie, but alas, I chose the meatballs for the movie’s namesake. My boyfriend has the palette of a little boy and loves spaghetti and meatballs. The meatballs I made have hunks of cheese in them, pieces of bacon, and were just all around delicious.

Anyway, you still have time to participate in this month’s movie! Check it out here.

Spaghetti and Bacon Meatballs

Ingredients
4 pieces bacon
1/2 lb ground beef
1/2 tbsp onion powder
1/8 tsp paprika
1/4 cup bread crumbs
2 tsp ground black pepper
3 oz mozzarella, cut into chunks
1 tbsp chicken broth
14 oz marinara sauce
4 oz spaghetti noodles

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place the bacon on the baking sheet. Bake for 8 minutes, until crisp. Set aside and let cool. Cut into pieces.

2. In a large bowl combine the bacon, ground beef, onion powder, paprika, bread crumbs, pepper, mozzarella, and chicken broth together with your hands. Shape the meat into balls (like ping pong balls.) Place on baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees until the meatballs are cooked all the way through (about 10 minutes.)

3. Cook the noodles per the box directions and heat up the marinara.

4. When the meatballs are done, put them in the marinara sauce. Serve on top of spaghetti noodles.

* serves 2

FoodnFlix* Besides Food ‘n Flix, this recipe is being shared with Weekend Cooking

 

 

 

Strawberry Ice Cream

Strawberry Ice CreamSince I moved to the land of no ice cream parlors, I’ve been making an ice cream a week. Starting from the White Chocolate Lemon, I’ve also made Salted Caramel as well as Grape Nut ice creams. It’s fun trying so many different types and techniques for making ice creams.

It couldn’t have come at a better time that the Random Recipes challenge this month involved ice cream. Dom has introduced me to a new challenge as well, one I’ll need to participate in, Bloggers Scream For Ice Cream. So not only was Random Recipes on point with ice cream, I now also have a dedicated ice cream round up I can participate in! SCORE!

I pulled out all my cookbooks that I knew had ice cream or other frozen desserts in them. Random.org chose Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream & Dessert Book for me. I couldn’t have asked for a better selection.

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This cookbook has never done me wrong with ice cream. There’s three ice cream bases at the beginning of the book. The rest of the recipes basically just alter the base, adding whatever ingredients to make a delicious ice cream (with recipes such as Vanilla Fudge Chunk, Banana Peanut Butter, and both Ben’s Chocolate and Jerry’s Chocolate.) The first of the bases is my favorite and the one I used in the ice cream I randomly selected. It does use raw eggs though, so it’s not something everyone would be into.

When I randomly opened the book I happened upon page 54, Strawberry. While not the most exciting of the ice cream flavors in this book, it did create a creamy, fruity, and delicious ice cream!

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Strawberry Ice Cream

Ingredients

BASE
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup milk

FLAVORING
1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
1/3 cup sugar
juice from 1/2 a lemon

Directions

1. Combine the strawberries, sugar for the filling, and lemon juice together in a mixing bowl. Cover and place in the refrigerator for an hour.

2. Whisk the eggs together in a mixing bowl for 2 minutes or until light and fluffy. Whisk in the sugar until blended. Pour in the cream and milk and whisk to blend.

3. Mash the strawberries into a puree and fold into the cream base.

4. Transfer the mixture to an ice cream maker and freeze per manufacturer’s instructions.

* makes about a quart of ice cream
* I’m also sharing this ice cream with Full Plate Thursday

Roasted Pepper Pesto (with no nuts)

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Though pestos traditionally have nuts (and usually pine nuts,) I forgot to buy nuts this week for this pesto. As a result, I had zero nuts in my house. I decided to make the pesto anyway, sans the nuts. This dish was delicious. The sauce was light with a slight kick to it (thanks peppers!)

To roast your peppers, heat your oven up to 500. Cut you peppers in half and seed them. Place on a baking sheet. Bake until the peppers are turning black. Remove them and put them in a ziplock. Let them cool off and then the skins will peel off nice and easy.

This dish was made specifically for the Pasta Please challenge from Tinned Tomatoes, hosted this month by simply.food.

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Roasted Pepper Pesto Sauce (with no nuts)

Ingredients
1 roasted jalapeno, with the ribs and seeds removed and with the skin removed
2 roasted poblano pepper, with the ribs and seeds removed and with the skin removed
2 garlic clove
1 cup cilantro
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
pinch of salt and pepper

Directions

1. Process the peppers, garlic, and cilantro together in a food processor. Add the olive oil slowly and continue to process. Add cheese and pulse a few times until blended. Add salt and pepper to taste and pulse a few more times.

2. Serve over your favorite noodle.

* Besides Pasta Please, I’m sharing this recipe with Wednesday Whatsits & Cast Party Wednesday

Food ‘n Flix: Like Water for Chocolate Roundup

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And again, we end another round of Food ‘n Flix. This month we traveled to Mexico to visit Tita and her family. This movie had very fantastical elements, while still hitting on the very essence of humanity. Tita can infuse her food with her emotions which have profound effects on the eaters of the food throughout the movie. The wedding cake made everyone cry, the quails in rose petals made everyone sexual – Tita could control how people felt by what she made them and how she was feeling as she cooked it.

I hope everyone this month enjoyed our movie pick. If you want to participate next month, Culinary Adventures with Camellia will be hosting Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs!

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Speaking of Camilla, she made us our first dish for this month’s movie. Camilla made a beautiful dish full of flowers, the Passion Igniting Quail in Rose Petal Sauce. She didn’t say, but I’m wondering what type of passion this dish ignited!

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Caroline from Caroline Makes also made a version of a poultry in a rose petal sauce, making Chicken in Rose Petal Sauce. Despite the hurdles of not being able to get certain ingredients due to the seasons, Caroline forged ahead! Her version of this dish looks lovely and I’m sure ignited some passion as well!

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The next dish up is my Chicken Breast in Mole. I decided to stick with the chocolate of the title and make Tita’s mole. I loved it.

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Wendy from A Day in the Life on the Farm was next and shared batch of Mexican Fritters. Though she was tempted to make the amorous rose petal sauce dish, she decided to make something more family friendly!

Cold Mexican Hot Chocolate

Evelyne from Cheap Ethnic Eatz shared a cold glass of Cold Mexican Hot Chocolate. I want to try this hot chocolate recipe, both hot and cold!

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Joanna from What’s On The List? cooked with Mexican chocolate, making a festive microwave brownie, which she has dubbed Joanna’s Mexican Chocolate Microwave Brownie. I wonder what mood eating this would put me in? But I’m guessing it would make me happy!

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Debra from Eliot’s Eats brings us our next dish, Chorizo Stuffed Chiles in Walnut Sauce. Though she was unable to find pomegranates, she made a beautiful version of Chiles en Nogada. What a lovely recipe!

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That brings us to our next dish, another version of Chiles en Nogada, this time prepared by Heather at girlifchef. Made with lots of love, these chiles look beautiful.

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Our last recipe this month comes from Deb from Kahakai Kitchen, sharing Watermelon and Mint Chia Tea Fresca. Taking inspiration from several parts of the movie, this fresca looks so refreshing!

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And with that, we transition from Mexican dishes to spaghetti – or whatever else inspires you for next month’s film, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs!

 

 

Chicken Breast in Mole

MoleThis month at Food ‘n Flix we’re watching Like Water For Chocolate and yours truly is hosting it! There’s still plenty of time to join us. Come get the information about how to participate here. Having both read the book and seen the movie, I thought both were impressive. In the movie there are so many food scenes – for any food blogger to find inspiration.

Tita, a young woman in Mexico, falls in love. However, tradition prevents her from marrying, as her duty in life is to care for her mother. Tita’s love ends up marrying her sister instead, so that he can still be close to her. This creates many tensions in the household, between Tita and her mother, Tita and her sister, and Tita and her love.

Tita is tasked with cooking food for the family. Luckily for the family, this is a strong skill of hers. However, Tita learns that the emotion she has when she cooks the food can make the people who eat the food react. The cake that Tita made for her sister’s wedding made everyone throw up because of her emotions when making it.

Tita helps care for her sister’s infant son, Roberto. At Roberto’s baptism Tita serves mole. When asked for the recipe she answers, “The secret is that when you cook it, you do it with much love.”

Perhaps this is why I never liked mole growing up (or my palate was still immature.) My dad would always order it when we would get Mexican food and tell me to try his chocolate chicken. Being excited I would. And then I would down a bunch of water because I hated the taste. But perhaps the mole was never made with love. I decided to give the recipe a go and I tried to make it with love. I was nervous to taste it due to my prior experiences with mole, but either my tastes have changed or I really did make this sauce with love.

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Because the title of the movie is Like Water For Chocolate, I opted to make this chocolate chicken. It was a great dish when made with love.

Chicken Breast in Mole

Ingredients
2 chicken breasts, cut in half
kosher salt, to taste
3 tbsp sesame seeds
3 whole cloves
1/4 cinnamon stick
1/8 tsp caraway seeds
1/8 tsp coriander seeds
1 1/2 dried guajillo chile peppers
1 dried ancho chile pepper
1 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp dried cranberries
1 tbsp pecan halves
1/2 6-inch corn tortilla, cut into pieces
3/4 oz chocolate chips
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
drop of almond extract
pinch of sugar

Directions

1. In a large pot place the chicken breasts. Cover with water. Bring to a boil. Cook until the chicken is cooked all the way through. Set aside and save the cooking liquid.

2. Toast the sesame seeds in a dry skillet for 5 minutes or until brown. Pour into a food processor. In the same skillet add the cloves, caraway seeds, coriander, and cinnamon. Toast for 3 minutes. Pour into food processor.

3. Remove the stems and seeds from the dried chile peppers. Heat 1 tbsp vegetable oil into the skillet. Fry the peppers for 2 minutes on each side. Fill a bowl with water and place the chile peppers in the water. Soak for 30 minutes.

4. In the same skillet add the dried cranberries, pecans, and corn tortilla. Cook for about 4 minutes, until the tortillas are brown. Add everything in the skillet, including the vegetable oil, into the food processor.

5. Once the chiles are pliable, add the chiles and 3/4 cup of the liquid the chiles were soaking in into the food processor. Puree until you get a smooth thick sauce.

6. Heat the remaining vegetable oil in a deep skillet over medium heat. Add the chile sauce and fry for 5 minutes. Add 1 cup of the reserved water the chicken cooked in. Bring to a simmer and let simmer for 20 minutes.

7. Add the chocolate chips, cinnamon, and almond extract, stirring frequently until the chocolate melts. Cook for 10 minutes. Add the sugar and salt to taste. Add the chicken and cook for 10 more minutes.

FoodnFlix

* serves 2
* Besides Food ‘n Flix I’m sharing this recipe with See Ya In The Gumbo