Sunday Food Prep

sunday food prep

Sundays are busy days at our house. J  cleans (could I be any luckier?!) while I cook up a storm in the kitchen. During rotations I just don’t have time to cook during the week. And if I do have time, I really don’t want to slave away in the kitchen after a 10-12 hour day. Here is an example of what we eat for the week:

Back Left – Salads

  • Fresh lettuce washed and chopped, ready to eat
  • Celery sticks, washed and trimmed
  • Cucumbers and Tomatoes, washed and diced, ready for salads

Front Left – snacks

Center – Breakfast and Lunch

  • Roasted mixed vegetables with wheat pasta and balsamic vinegar. Roasted veggies are so easy – just throw them in a large pan, toss with olive oil and spices, and roast at 425F for 30 minutes stirring every 10 minutes or so to prevent burning.
  • Egg Bakes – the easiest way to get a vegetable serving in before 7am

Back Right – Dinner

  • Crock pot chili, half for this week and for the freezer for a week when I don’t want to cook 😉

Front Right – Dessert

  • Black bean brownies, because pregnant women love chocolate and desserts…and since I’m a dietitian I will feel less guilty if I know they are full of nutritious black beans.

 

 

Butternut Squash and Black Bean Skillet

This was the first meal I made in the new year. Absolutely delicious. I had never thought to mix butternut squash with black beans, let alone put it in an enchilada skillet. Genius. I modified the recipe a bit, so to see the original over at ambitious kitchen, click here. I added ground beef from our cow to make this a little heartier. If you want a vegetarian dish, you can omit it all together (like the original recipe) or substitute TVP or tofu.

Butternut Squash and Black Bean Skillet
adapted from Ambitious Kitchen

photo 1

Ingredients
  • 3 cups 1/2-inch-diced, peeled butternut squash (from about a 2-lb. squash)*
  • Olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 8 ounces of lean ground beef
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1/2 jalapeno or equivalent amount of hot peppers, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 green pepper, diced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 – 15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup reduced-fat colby jack or mexican cheese (or whatever you prefer), divided
  • cilantro and low-fat sour cream, for serving
  • Round corn tortilla chips, for serving
Instructions
*To prepare the butternut squash, I think it is easiest to roast it in the oven. I do this every fall with all of my squash and then freeze the cooked squash to use in the winter.  Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a baking pan with foil and spray with cooking spray. If you want you can peel the squash now, but I prefer to wait until after it is cooked. Cut the butternut squash in half lengthwise. Remove seeds with a metal spoon (roast them if you want). I always find that the base of the squash cooks faster because of that hole, so I like to cut just above the base. You should now have 4 pieces of squash  – 2 half circles and 2 rectangular pieces. Place squash face down on the pan. Roast in the oven for 45 minutes, or until a fork can easily pierce the fleshy part of the squash (or when you touch the outside skin it feel soft). Remove from the oven and let cool slightly. With a metal spoon, scoop out the base pieces and mash up in a bowl. Freeze this as a paste to use as a pasta sauce or in soup (or just as mashed squash). Peel the rectangular pieces of squash. The skin should come off pretty easily now. Chop the squash into 1/2″ size pieces. I freeze them in quart-size freezer bags.
  1. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat in large oven-proof skillet. Add onions, garlic, jalapeno, and ground beef. Cook until beef is browned all the way through. Add in green pepper and cook 2-3 minutes. Add cubed squash, black beans, cumin, and chili powder. Cook, stirring regularly to prevent the squash from becoming mushy. 
  2. Reduce heat to medium-low and sprinkle in 1 cup of cheese. Cover with a lid and let sit for 3-5 minutes, until the cheese is fully melted.
  3. Serve immediately. Top with sour cream and serve with corn tortilla chips.

Eggplant Pizza

When I saw eggplant on the CSA list two weeks ago, my first reaction wasn’t great. Not that the CSA shouldn’t include such a healthy, seasonal item, but because I really dislike eggplant. Something with the texture just isn’t for me. If tried masking it with herbs and sauce and cheese, but nothing works. So, unless it is cut up and mixed in with 10 other vegetables, it isn’t for me. However J likes eggplant – yeah! and the eggplant was a more reasonable size than what I used to get at the grocery store – yeah!  This meant I was able to put together an eggplant dish just for Jason that would be eaten in a meal or two (turns out just one meal for this hungry man).

Eggplant Pizzas

Julia Child’s Eggplant Pizza
Recipe from Kalyn’s Kitchen

Eggplant Pizzas2

Ingredients

  • 1 small globe eggplant (white or purple), about 8-10 inches long
  • 1 T salt, for drawing water out of eggplant
  • cooking spray
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 4 beefsteak tomatoes, cut into chunks
    (I left the skins on, but you could scald them and remove the skins first, or use 1 can of diced tomatoes)
  • 2-3 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese

Directions

  1. Cut off both ends of the eggplant and slice it into 1″ thick circles. Place on a plate that has 2 pieces of paper towel set down. Salt both sides and let stand for 20-30 minutes to remove the moisture.
  2. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 375 and begin preparing the sauce.
  3. Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat and add add garlic. Cook until lightly browned. Add tomatoes and herbs. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring to prevent sticking or  burning. Lower heat to low and let simmer to remove some moisture.
  4. Once the eggplant are done sitting, wipe off salt and blot dry. Spray both sides with non-stick spray and place in a small baking dish. Roast in the oven for 25 minutes.
  5. Once done roasting, Remove from oven and top with tomato mixture. Add cheese. Change oven to broil and place pan under the broiler for a few minutes, until the cheese is melted.

Corn and Zucchini Cakes

Between our CSA and garden, we have more sweet corn and zucchini than we know what to do with! We get a dozen ears of corn each week, which means J and I need to eat an ear a night…eek! The first week of sweet corn J was in CA and we were going out-of-town for the weekend. This meant I needed to single-handedly consume at least 8 ears in 4 days so we’d be on track for them to get eaten up within a week. I rarely turn down challenges, so I managed to eat corn 2 (sometime 3) times a day while J was gone. There were only 2 ears left when he got home 🙂

After that corn-filled week, I decided it was time to mix things up a bit. There was no way I was eating corn everyday for the rest of the summer. We had a few ears with dinners during the week, but then I decided to cut the kernels off the cob and use them in a few recipes. I also had a ton of zucchini on hand, which I had shredded up when I made Ambitious Kitchen’s Zucchini Brownies. The brownies only used a cup, so I was left with 3 cups of shredded zucchini.

photo(4)So now I was left with 3 cups of shredded/julienned zucchini and 5 cups of fresh sweet corn. Now what?? First, came a salsa-dip inspired by Smitten Kitchen’s charred corn tacos and zucchini-radish salsa.  I didn’t have any radishes on-hand and we were having a cookout in a few days, so I opted for making a dip instead. I will hopefully post that recipe soon. Then came corn and zucchini cakes, inspired by this post on Serious Eats‘ and this post on Whole Foods‘ blogs. I pretty much used serious eats’ recipe as the flavor guide and whole foods’ recipe as the logistical guide.

Zucchini Corn Cakes
Recipe adapted from Serious Eats and Whole Foods

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (I use buttermilk powder + water)
  • 1 tbsp oil (this was on accident, so you probably don’t need it)
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 cups zucchini, julienne or shredded
  • 1 cups corn kernels
  • 1 small hot red pepper, diced with seeds removed (you can keep the seeds in to make it spicier if you’d like)
  • 1 tbsp cilantro, diced

image(7)Directions

  1. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, buttermilk, and oil.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix the zucchini, corn, pepper, and cilantro.
  4. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and stir well.
  5. Add the zucchini mixture to the egg-flour mixture and mix well.
  6. Heat a pancake griddle to 300F. Using a large spoon (usually tablespoon size), scoop batter on the griddle. Cook for 3-5 minutes on each side, or until lightly browned.*
  7. Serve warm or room-temperature. They are tasty plain, but you could top them with sour cream if you wanted.

*I was worried about the centers being done, so I ended up putting the finished cakes back on the griddle once they were all done.

Thanksgiving

I am so excited right now – I don’t know if it is from the mug of coffee I just finished or because I have found so many amazing recipes for Thanksgiving that I just can’t wait to share! Every year my parents host Thanksgiving. About 8 years ago I asked if I could help cook. This was around the same time I became very interested in nutrition, so my ulterior motive was to turn our traditional WI thanksgiving into a more wholesome, healthful, and nutritious meal.  Thankfully that first successful year has turned into tradition of homemade pies, fresh vegetables, and made-from-scratch cranberry sauce.

Each year I search for new recipes to try. In the last few weeks I have found dozens of fall dishes that I can’t wait to try (but will likely have to with this thing called medical school in my way). Here are some of the favorites I have found so far:

Brunch

Sides

Dessert

Breads

Leftovers

Roast Lamb with Tahini Sauce

Middle Eastern Roast Lamb with Tahini Sauce by eatingwell.com

Ingredients

  • 8 clove(s) (medium) garlic, divided
  • 2 1/2 teaspoon(s) salt, divided
  • 2 tablespoon(s) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon(s) ground mace
  • 1 teaspoon(s) ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon(s) paprika
  • 1 teaspoon(s) ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon(s) ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) cayenne pepper
  • 1 (4-pound) boneless leg of lamb, butterflied and trimmed
  • 1/2 cup(s) lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup(s) tahini
  • 1/2 cup(s) minced fresh parsley
  • 6 tablespoon(s) nonfat plain yogurt, preferably Greek-style
  • 1/4 cup(s) water
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) freshly ground pepper

Directions

  1. Mince 6 garlic cloves. Place in a small bowl with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and mash into a paste using the back of a spoon. Stir in oil, mace, cardamom, paprika, cinnamon, cumin, and cayenne until combined.
  2. Open lamb so it’s flat, with the cut side up. Spread 3/4 of the spice paste over the cut surface. Roll the lamb closed and tie in several places so it is about the shape of a large football. Spread the remaining paste over the outside. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  3. Mince the remaining 2 garlic cloves. Combine with the remaining 1 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl with lemon juice, tahini, parsley, yogurt, water, and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  4. About 20 minutes before you are ready to grill, preheat a gas grill (with all burners lit) to 400°F.
  5. If using a gas grill, turn off one burner (leaving 1 to 2 burners lit, depending on your grill). If using a charcoal grill, move the coals to one side. Place the lamb on the unheated side of the grill rack. Close the lid and roast undisturbed for 30 minutes.
  6. Rotate the lamb 180 degrees, cover, and continue roasting until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat registers 140°F (for medium-rare) to 145° (for medium), 20 to 40 minutes more. Transfer to a clean cutting board; let stand for 10 minutes before slicing. Serve with the tahini sauce.

Peppercorn Crusted Beef Tenderloin

Peppercorn Crusted Beef Tenderloin by eatingwell.com

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoon(s) whole green peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon(s) whole white peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon(s) whole black peppercorns
  • 3 pound(s) trimmed beef tenderloin, preferably center-cut (see Tips & Techniques)
  • 1 tablespoon(s) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon(s) kosher salt

Directions

  1. Preheat a gas grill (with all burners lit) to 400°F
  2. Coarsely crack peppercorns with a small heavy skillet (or saucepan), in a mortar and pestle, or in a spice grinder.
  3. Tie kitchen string around tenderloin in several places so the meat will hold its shape as it cooks. Rub with oil, sprinkle with salt, and coat with the cracked peppercorns.
  4. If using a gas grill, turn off one burner (leaving 1 to 2 burners lit, depending on your grill). If using a charcoal grill, move the coals to one side. Place the tenderloin on the unheated side of the grill rack. Close the lid and roast undisturbed for 20 minutes.
  5. Rotate the tenderloin 180 degrees, cover and continue roasting until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat registers 140°F (for medium-rare), 15 to 35 minutes more. Transfer to a clean cutting board and let stand for 10 minutes before slicing.

Chile-Lime Chicken

Grilled Chicken with Chile-Lime Rub by eatingwell.com

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoon(s) chile powder, preferably New Mexico chile, or Hungarian paprika
  • 2 tablespoon(s) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoon(s) freshly grated lime zest
  • 3 tablespoon(s) lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon(s) minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon(s) ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon(s) ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon(s) dried oregano, preferably Mexican
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon(s) kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon(s) freshly ground pepper
  • 1 pinch(s) ground cinnamon
  • 1 whole(s) 3 1/2- to 4-pound chicken

Directions

  1. Combine chile powder (or paprika) and oil in a small bowl with lime zest and juice, garlic, coriander, cumin, oregano, salt, pepper, and cinnamon to form a wet paste.
  2. Using kitchen shears, cut the chicken down one side of the backbone, through the ribs. Make an identical cut on the opposite side to remove the backbone completely; discard. Place the chicken cut-side down and flatten with the heel of your hand. Generously smear the spice rub under and over the skin and on the interior of the bird. Place in a nonreactive baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or up to 24 hours.
  3. Preheat half the grill to medium-high; leave the other half unheated. Have a squirt bottle of water ready by the grill.
  4. Leave all the spice rub on the chicken. Place the chicken skin-side down over the heat and grill until the skin begins to color and char marks form, about 5 minutes. (Extinguish any flare-ups with the squirt bottle.) Flip over and grill 5 minutes more. Move the chicken to the unheated side. Close the lid and cook, making sure the chicken is flat against the grate, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of a thigh without touching bone registers 165 degrees F, 30 to 40 minutes. Transfer to a platter and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes before carving.

Grilled Chicken with Cherry-Chipotle BBQ Sauce

Grilled Chicken with Cherry-Chipotle BBQ Sauce by eatingwell.com

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cup(s) fresh or frozen (thawed) dark sweet cherries
  • 1/2 cup(s) reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup(s) ketchup
  • 2 tablespoon(s) cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon(s) minced canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon(s) dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) ground allspice
  • 2 pound(s) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Directions
  1. Stir cherries, broth, sugar, ketchup, vinegar, chipotle peppers, thyme and allspice in a small deep bowl. Transfer to a shallow non-reactive dish large enough to hold chicken. Add the chicken and turn to coat well. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  2. Preheat grill to high. Oil the grill rack. Remove the chicken from the marinade. Transfer the marinade to a medium skillet.
  3. Reduce the grill heat to medium and grill the chicken until cooked through and no longer pink in the middle, 7 to 9 minutes per side. Meanwhile, bring the marinade to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the sauce is reduced by about half, 12 to 15 minutes. Let the chicken cool slightly; serve with the sauce.