Are you looking for a new side for your Thanksgiving dinner? Maybe something a little more grownup and sophisticated? This gratin with sweet potato, chard, Gruyere, fresh herbs, and lots of garlic may be perfect for you. You could certainly make it for a non-holiday dinner as well, though it does take quite a bit of time with pre-cooking, layering, and baking. Luckily, I was with my dear friend Melissa (Smells Like Brownies), who helped with the prep-work.
Start with a big sweet potato (or two smaller ones) and a whole lot of chard (seriously - a lot)
Peel the sweet potato and slice thinly, then set aside.
Remove the stems from the chard, chop, and place in a big pot with some onion that has been sauteing in butter. Look at those colors! Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg; and cook until soft.
You know that cheesy broccoli and rice casserole that makes it's way to every potluck ever? That is so bad for you, but so yummy, that you eat heaps of it and you tell yourself that it's got broccoli so it's okay? Well here's your chance to pig out, because this version (made with quinoa instead of rice) is a lot better for you.
Of course, to convince my husband to eat it (and because I wanted more protein without having to make a separate dish), I threw some shredded rotisserie chicken in there. You can see in the photo that I just threw big florets of steamed broccoli in there. I ended up wishing that the broccoli was more evenly spread throughout, so I will recommend chopping it first.
This is hearty, and creamy, and just plain awesome. Kids (and big kids) will gobble it up.
Who would stuff a mushroom with more mushrooms? Melissa from Smells Like Brownies and I, that's who, for our weekly vegetarian lunch get together. Melissa had a ton of farro given to her by a neighbor that she needed to start using, and she was craving mushrooms. So she found a recipe for balsamic roasted mushrooms with goat cheese to mix with the farro, yum. You know how much we love goat cheese. But then she thought, what if we put that inside of a portabella and grilled it? And I said, why the heck not! Mushrooms inside of mushrooms, people - it's inception with fungi.
Mix up some baby bellas and tomatoes with olive oil, balsamic, thyme, garlic, and red pepper. Careful there - we thought we just added a pinch, but it turned out spiiiiiiiiicy. Thank goodness for goat cheese, amirite? Then roast those babies up.
Once they are roasted, mix them together with cooked farro, spinach,and goat cheese and spoon the mixture into portobello caps. The baby bellas are going inside the mamma bella! No? No one else finds that funny? Just me? Fine.
Here's a quick little semi-homemade cold weather meal, perfect for weeknights. I took some store-bought fresh spinach fettuccine and thick sliced roasted turkey from the deli counter, and tossed them with a homemade pumpkin goat cheese alfredo. It's interesting enough to not be boring, but it's easy enough to not cause a headache.
The homemade part is the decadent sauce, which involves butter, garlic, cream, pumpkin, goat cheese, sage, and pumpkin pie spice. I wanted to do something a little different, which is why I went with turkey, but chicken would work just as well. And I like how the spinach pasta brought a little color to the table.
Pumpkin Goat Cheese Alfredo
adapted from Closet Kitchen
8 oz pasta of choice (I used fresh spinach fettuccine from the refrigerated section), cooked
8 oz cooked turkey or chicken, diced or shredded
1 tbsp butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
4 oz goat cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan, grated
1 tbsp sage, sliced thinly (or dried)
1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
salt and pepper to taste
Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about a minute. Add the cream, pumpkin puree, goat cheese, Parmesan, sage, and pumpkin pie spice and simmer until the cheese has melted.
Add in the poultry and allow to warm through. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper.
Toss with pasta and serve immediately.
It's been a while since I've posted a Smells Like Brownies & Well Dined vegetarian lunch team-up recipe, what with holidays and traveling and all. Now I return to you with this delicious flatbread made with hearty whole-wheat dough, tender brussels sprouts sauteed in brown butter, creamy goat cheese, and salty Parmesan and capers. So good.
We called it a flatbread instead of a pizza simply because the toppings seemed more along those lines, and they were a bit loose and not glued down by cheese. But it doesn't really matter what it is called.
I think brussels sprouts got a bad rap in the 80's when everybody was boiling them to death, gross. But when they are roasted until they caramelize or shaved thin and served raw - yum. Here we saute them quickly in some brown butter and toss them with goat cheese and capers - double yum.
Lots of freshly grated Parmesan goes on top (plus more when it comes out of the oven). It's just beautiful.
Oh my gosh, you guys. This might be my favorite butternut squash pasta since the life-saving mac and cheese.
Sheets of homemade pasta filled with roasted butternut squash, apple, onion, sausage, and three cheeses; topped with a creamy sage bechamel. It's totally swoon worthy.
The filling is a little complicated, but totally worth it. While your butternut squash is roasting in the oven, mix up and brown your sausage mixture. Did I mention that you are creating your own sausage, so you can adjust the spices to your liking? And you can be sure that there are no weird preservatives or sugar? Awesome. Anyway, next you saute some onions, garlic, and apple. Plus a little white wine - aww, yeah.
Oh my gosh this filling. It's insane. You may want to make extra to use in other ways. I'll talk about that later.
Is there anything better than a big pot of comforting beef stew in the Winter? Maybe if you add a lot of veggies, Middle Eastern spices, and some apricots for sweetness. Yum, yum, yum. At least I thought so - my husband wasn't really sold on the whole sweet things in a stew concept, and he doesn't like all those vegetables getting in the way of his meat. But whatever, I thought it was awesome. If you are not limiting carbs, you could serve this over some couscous and let it soak up all the juices.
Start by cooking some red onion and browning some beef chuck that has been seasoned with cumin, ginger, and cinnamon. I feel like red onions only work well in specific places, and this is one of them. Cooking them enough that they start to caramelize and release some sweetness is the way to go, here. Remove the meat to a plate temporarily and deglaze the pot with some red wine to scrape up all those browned spices and good bits that are stuck to the bottom.
Add in some sweet potato, apricots, and a can of whole tomatoes in their juices; then add enough water to cover and let simmer for a few hours. Your house is going to smell AWESOME. For reals.
After it is done simmering and the meat and potatoes are all soft and luscious - throw in some chickpeas and spinach. Oh my gosh. There is so much going on here! The apricots absorb the liquid and plump up, and the sweetness from them and the sweet potatoes contrasts the warm spices. I love all the different colors and textures, too. Let's get cooking, peeps!
I've written about my favorite lasagna recipe before, but it was years ago and I think it needs to be revisited - especially now that my neighbors confirm it is the best lasagna they have ever had.
The cast of characters is pretty simple, but I think what makes this lasagna stand out is the use of veal and white wine. It's a bit different from the standard, but that's what makes it special.
I really like for my veg to be finely diced for this ragu, so that there aren't any big chunks. But I did not make those perfect cuts on my own - I use a veggie chopper. It's fast and it makes everything uniform.
The other thing that makes this ragu great is that it is simmered for up to 5 hours. That low and slow cooking brings out all the flavor. I highly recommend using San Marzano tomatoes in this, they are just the best.
Americans might be used to the type of lasagna with ricotta and mozzarella, which is fine but not very authentic. This version has a creamy bechamel (aka my favorite food) and tons of Parmesan, and it is just so dreamy.
I really went all out for this batch and made my own lasagna noodles for the first time. It is certainly not necessary to do that, but I do think it took it up one final step to perfection. I did have several issues while doing this, though. The learning curve is pretty steep. Don't try to be clever when you roll out your own pasta and leave the sheets really long - trust me, it makes them almost impossible to cook. Now I know why the store-bought ones are short. I'm also going to edit the pasta dough recipe in the original post because it was awful and really soft and hard to work with.
Anyway, go make the best lasagna of your life. You will thank me. Recipe here.
Super comforting spiced lamb on top of creamy mashed potatoes - how could that be healthy? Well for starters, there are no potatoes - that is a cauliflower and white bean puree. This looks like comfort food, and it totally is, but it is all veggies and protein with no carbs!
Start by caramelizing some carrots to release that sweetness. Then brown up some lamb. I used lamb chops and discovered that there is very little meat on them - next time I am definitely using cubed meat.
When the lamb is browned, add in garlic, spices, chard, and chickpeas (more protein!). I wondered why the original recipe didn't call for tomatoes - they make so much sense here. So I went ahead and added them. The original recipe also just used paprika, which I thought was a little boring. I used paprika, cinnamon, cumin, and coriander.
Another change from the original was that it called for polenta to serve with the lamb. Polenta is cooked corn meal, and I am trying to avoid grains. So I used a cauliflower puree instead and it was creamy and delicious - a good counterpoint for the tangy spiced lamb.