I've had to pause my Try The World subscription, because I have been so slow to go through the boxes, plan a meal/blog post, make it, and write it up. Oops! So I've made a goal for 2017 (I don't like the word "resolution") to work on 1 Try The World post per month. This month I made tapas with the Spain Box! So much food!!!
The Spain Box came with El Navarrico salsa tumaca con ajo (tomato sauce with garlic); El Avión paprika; Oleum Hispania extra-virgin olive oil; and Espinaler canned white tuna - all of which were used to make the tapas.
It also contained P. listo jasmine floral jam; Ines Rosales cortadillo citrus crumble cakes; and El Almendro turrón (almond candy).
Remember when I thought that the fall SRC post was my last one? Well, I had completely forgotten that I still had one more regular Secret Recipe Club post. Oops! Luckily I did remember in time and was able to look through my assigned blog - Making Miracles.
Rebekah is a mother of two who traveled extensively as a child, including living in Africa - wow! Most of her meals are "quick, easy, and family friendly", but sometimes she has time for something more complicated. She has also been a surrogate for many years resulting in 4 baby girls, 2 of whom are twins! What an amazing gift! I can't imagine how challenging and rewarding that must be.
On Rebekah's blog I saw lots of casseroles, and you KNOW I love casseroles. I was particularly interested in this Crockpot Turkey and Rice Casserole, this Deconstructed Stuffed Cabbage Casserole, this Creamy Wild Rice and Chicken Casserole, this Chicken Bacon Ranch Casserole with Doritos, and this Thanksgiving Leftover Casserole.
I let my husband look through all of my top choices (so generous of me *wink*). He picked out these classic Stuffed Shells, and I was happy to oblige! But then I ran into a problem - the store didn't have any jumbo pasta shells! I thought I remembered having a box at home, so I bought the rest of the stuff and went back to check. It turns out that what I had was actually large shells, not jumbo. I was out of time and had already bought the other ingredients, so I decided to improvise.
I have been really digging the slow cooker lately, I think it's the long dreariness of the middle of winter. This soup is sure to brighten even the dreariest day, warm you up, and make you smile. Plus it is easy and mostly hands off.
Tomatoes, onion, celery, and carrots soften for hours with chicken broth, oregano, basil, and bay. Then you make, essentially, a bechamel and stir it in along with Parmesan to make it thick and creamy an luscious. This simple but lovely soup was met with rave reviews from the friends I served it to. I hope you enjoy!
Slow Cooker Parmesan Tomato Soup
adapted from Today's Mama
2 (14 oz) cans diced tomatoes, with liquid
1 cup finely diced celery
1 cup finely diced carrots
1 cup finely diced onions
4 cups chicken broth (use vegetable broth to make it vegetarian)
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tbsp dried basil
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup flour (use sweet rice flour to make it gluten free)
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 cup Parmesan cheese
2 cups whole milk
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
Add tomatoes, celery, carrots, onions, chicken broth, oregano, basil, and bay leaf to a large slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 5-7 hours, until flavors are blended and vegetables are soft.
About 30 minutes before serving, melt butter over low heat in a saucepan and add flour. Cook, stirring, for a few minutes until the floury smell is gone. Slowly stir in the milk, a little at a time, until the mixture is smooth.
Add to the vegetables along with the Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper. Taste for seasoning and add additional basil and oregano, if needed.
Cover and cook on low for another 30 minutes or so until ready to serve.
One Year Ago - Apple Galette with Salted Bourbon Caramel
Two Years Ago - Daube Provencal (French beef stew with red wine)
Three Years Ago - Spiced Carrot Soup with Crispy Chickpeas and Tahini
Four Years Ago - Roast Beef Sandwiches
Five Years Ago - Aji de Gallina; Kheer
You may have heard about Snowzilla, the crazy blizzard that dropped 30 inches of snow in as many hours on the east coast this weekend. People were were panicking about it all week and preparing for the end of the world. (Not that they were wrong, our street still hasn't been plowed, 3 days after the end of the storm.) I knew that we would want some comforting food options, so I made a big batch of chili and decided to revisit and revamp my old recipe for you.
Hubby likes both ground meat and tiny bits of steak, and not too many beans or extra frills. So this chili is his extra special version made just for him. Plus I made it in the slow cooker so that it would be easy - that part's for me.
I give full credit to Melissa (Smells Like Brownies) for this idea. I'd heard of cauliflower pizza crust before and thought I should try it, but I never got around to it. So I was really glad when she brought it up and suggested we try it.
It turns out that cauliflower crust is really easy! It doesn't taste or feel like traditional crust, but it is yummy and chewy - I liked it! I was surprised that I could actually pick up a slice and it held together. So whether you are gluten-free, looking for low-carb, or just like to try new things, I highly recommend this pizza crust!
The first step is to pulse the cauliflower in a food processor until very fine. Then place in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave to steam. Carefully remove the plastic wrap and transfer to a cheesecloth lined colander to cool. Once it is cool enough to handle, twist the cloth and squeeze to release as much moisture as possible. Like really squeeze this thing to death, I'm not joking. You may need to take turns with a cooking buddy like we did.
When you've removed as much moisture as you can, add mozzarella, Parmesan, oregano, garlic powder, red pepper, salt, and an egg. Use your hands to combine into a dough.
Last month, I signed up to bring pasta salad to a potluck. In typical me fashion, I decided that I had to make it myself. After cruising the internet for a bit, I came across a recipe with smoked gouda, which was all I needed to be sold. Roasted red peppers and artichoke hearts? Total bonus.
I choose to use gemelli for my pasta because it is my favorite and it is really structurally sound - it holds up to anything. While that was boiling, I diced up my roasted peppers and artichoke hearts (I was lucky to find grilled ones at the store). I had a couple of tomatoes hanging around, so I chopped those up and threw them in too. After I rinsed the pasta in cold water (normally a big no-no, but good for pasta salads), I tossed it with the veggies and the cubed gouda.
Then came the dressing, where I inexplicably decided to take the opposite route and go quick and easy. I used mayonnaise and bottled Italian dressing and it came out just right - light and flavorful. You are of course welcome to make your own dressing from scratch. Top with fresh herbs and go! This is hearty and fresh and super yummy - it was very popular at the potluck, thank goodness!
I've been doing this thing lately where I pretend that making a pasta sauce out of vegetables makes up for the fact that I am eating pasta. Leave me to my delusions, I'm not ready to face the truth. I have three such recipes for you today, and the first is this gorgeous roasted beet sauce that will make your pasta intensely fuschia. Simply roast some beets, allow to cool slightly, peel, and puree with some starchy pasta water. Toss with cooked pasta, season, and serve. I topped mine with ricotta and fresh oregano.
Next up is a broccoli sauce - what could be more healthy than broccoli? I am not really used to broccoli because my father is allergic and we never really had it growing up. My poor husband loves broccoli (shocking since he is NOT a veggie eater), so I am trying to familiarize myself.
Did you know that you should peel broccoli? I didn't. Apparently the outside part is tough and bitter. Anyway, peel and chop the broccoli, steam, and then saute with butter, onion, and garlic. Add some cream, puree, and toss with pasta and a bit of that magical pasta water. Top with a gratuitous amount of Parmesan. And before you start yelling at me - know that many vegetables need to be eaten with fat in order to allow the body to fully absorb the nutrients - FACT.
Lastly we have a roasted red pepper alfredo. I think this one might be my favorite - super creamy and cheesy with a ton of roasted pepper flavor. I topped it with grilled chicken that I marinated in olive oil, lemon juice and zest, garlic, rosemary, and oregano.
They sell roasted peppers in jars at the grocery store, but it turns out that it is super easy (and cheaper) to do at home - just pop them in a 500 degree oven for 30 minutes, allow to cool, then remove the stem, seeds, and core. Toss the roasted peppers into a mixture of onion, garlic, half and half, herbed goat cheese, and Parmesan; puree and enjoy.
I don't know about you, but I am not a huge fan of raw carrots. Warm spiced carrot soup with tahini on a cold day, though? Yeah, I'm a big fan of that.
This is another dish brought to you by my vegetarian lunches with Melissa at Smells Like Brownies. She pulled together a couple of recipes to come up with this one.
Carrots, onion, garlic, coriander, and cumin all go into the pot with vegetable stock.
Just because it's cold outside, doesn't mean you can't still make burgers. And they don't have to be the standard plain burgers, either. Here are two recipes that put a bit of a twist on the classic burger.
First up - a Middle Eastern inspired spiced lamb burger with a creamy yogurt sauce.
To make the patties, combine bread crumbs, lamb, turkey, onion, an egg, parsley, garlic, coriander, cumin, cinnamon, allspice, salt, and pepper. Use a grill pan, griddle, or electric grill to cook the burgers.
Make a sauce with yogurt, scallions, parsley, mint, oregano, lemon zest, lemon juice, cumin, coriander, sugar, and pepper.
Place the burgers inside pitas and stuff with fresh tomatoes and the yogurt sauce.
For a Southwestern twist, we have Salsa Verde Turkey Burgers with Avocado Mayonnaise.
To form the burgers, simply combine ground turkey, jarred salsa verde, breadcrumbs, and an egg. Combine avocado, mayonnaise, and garlic to make a sauce. Cook the burgers on a griddle (turkey falls apart too much to grill) and top with Pepperjack cheese and the sauce. If they are in season - green tomatoes are also an excellent topper.
This salad is packed with a ton of flavor, and all the vegetables make sure that it is actually a healthy salad. For those who don't know - it is easy for a salad to get out of control with cheese and dressing and restaurant salads can have well over 1000 calories. This salad doesn't need a whole lot of dressing, b/c the ingredients have a lot of flavor. Also - Feta cheese is low-fat and it has a strong flavor, so you don't need to use much.