dinner tonight : polenta with root veggies

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Whenever we go out to restaurants, polenta is always something that catches our eye. Bryan has had it for breakfast with a big egg on top. I had it for lunch in San Francisco with a maple sausage and a beer. It can go with anything, and every time we eat it, we love it!

Well, I learned tonight that it is so EASY! Definitely going to be a winter favorite this year.

Tonight I threw together some spinach and root vegetables on top of the polenta, and we had a meal!

Polenta with Root Vegetables
Ingredients:
1 1/2 cup water
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup corn meal/polenta
1 cup fontina cheese (any semi-soft cheese would work here)
1 shallot, chopped
1 T butter
2 cups spinach
2 sweet potatoes
2 beets
Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Peel the beets (and sweet potatoes, if you’d like – I left the skin on). Dice the sweet potatoes and beets. Coat them lightly with olive oil and salt and pepper. Roast them for 20-30 minutes (until you can poke with a fork).

Bring your water and cream to a boil. Add the corn meal slowly, stirring constantly. Stir until it starts to thicken. Put the lid on and simmer for an additional 5 minutes. Add in the cheese and stir until melted.

Melt the butter on a saute pan. Add the chopped shallot until translucent. Add in the spinach and saute just until it is wilted. (Salt and pepper to taste)

Top the cooked polenta with spinach and roasted veggies.

Enjoy.

casserole, rewritten.

I married a Dutch boy. A big, Dutch boy who likes warm, hearty, filling meals. Casseroles are an easy solution to that. They’re usually quick, easy to put together, and filled with a lot of (terrible for you) tasty ingredients. Starchy grains (with little nutritional value), condensed whatever soups, and artery-cloggers.

Well, this take on casserole is still not the best, but there is some nutritional value, and it can satisfy that need for a hearty dish on a cold, wintry night. Using quinoa instead of rice ups the nutrition (and protein content!). Adding a ton of broccoli gives you some of that green that you need daily as well.

Start off cooking your quinoa. Some say that you should rinse the quinoa before you cook it, but I don’t find that necessary. I guess if you don’t love the nutty flavor that quinoa can have, rinsing may help with that. But seems like an unneccessary step to me.
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After putting your quinoa on, get your broccoli ready. Chop it up well, stems and all, but leaving some bigger florets (I love those!). Put all of your broccoli in a medium pot, cover with water, and bring it to a boil. Then reduce the heat and let it simmer just until you poke it with a fork. Then drain the water.

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While you’ve got your pots going, mix together all your other ingredients. This is what holds it all together, but feel free to cut back on some of the amounts. I don’t think you need as much mayo as is called for, and you could probably cut back on the cheese (but who can resist all that chessey yum?).

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Once the broccoli and quinoa are ready, mix them all into the bowl. Spread in an 8×8 pan (this is actually an 8×10 … it’s what I have!) and top with some parmesean cheese.
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Pull it out of the oven when the top cheese starts to get a little brown or bubbly.
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This is definitely one of my favorite winter recipes! It satisfies the need for something warm and hearty and even not so good for you, while still maintaining some nutrition.
Enjoy!

Quinoa-Broccoli Casserole
Ingredients:
One 10 oz can condensed Cream of Broccoli soup (or mushroom), low-sodium if you prefer
1/3 cup reduced fat mayonnaise
2 tablespoons milk
1 1/4 cups reduced fat shredded cheese (cheddar, colby-jack, etc)
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Dash freshly grated nutmeg
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2 cups cooked broccoli
1 1/2 cups  COOKED quinoa (see note*)
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
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*To cook quinoa:
3/4 cup quinoa
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 teaspoon salt

In a small saucepan combine the quinoa, water, and salt.  Bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce heat to low and cover.  Cook for 18-20 minutes, or until fluffy and the white ring/tail is visible.  Fluff with a fork.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl combine the soup, mayonnaise, milk, shredded cheese, sugar, pepper, and nutmeg until well mixed. Stir in the quinoa and broccoli.

Spoon mixture into 8×8 casserole dish.  Sprinkle on a couple tablespoons of Parmesan and bake for 35-40 minutes or until bubbly on the edges and golden.  Makes 8 generous 1/2-cup servings.

Found on: http://eatingwelllivingthin.wordpress.com/2011/04/14/blast-from-the-past-with-a-new-twist/

 

brussel sprout salad

I found this tasty salad on pinterest the other day. I thought it would be a little different salad, but still tasty and healthy.

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It turned out that when I started chopping, Bryan reminded me that he didn’t like pomegranates OR brussel sprouts. So no matter what, it probably would not be a hit with him…

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Oh well! I actually love pomegranate and I enjoy brussel sprouts. This was my first time eating them raw, but still enjoyable! Plus, with the bacon and creamy dressing, I was sure it’d be yummy for me!:)

 

It was easy to throw together … taking only about 20 minutes.

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In the end, I loved it! I’d compare it to a broccoli salad, with a little tart-sweetness from the pomegranates hut not as heavy as some broccoli salads can be. It would also be great to throw in some quinoa!

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Found on: http://pinchofyum.com/chopped-brussels-sprout-salad-creamy-shallot-dressing

the cheesiest.

Who doesn’t love a good box of Kraft Mac ‘n’ Cheese? Seriously. If nothing else, it is a childhood memory that we all cherish.

Bryan introduced me to a recipe (not positive where it comes from), and mac ‘n’ cheese will never be the same. It is rich, cheesy, and cozy as all get out.

Last weekend was the first real cold. I was picking up part of our neighbor’s fence that blew off onto our driveway (different story, different time), and my fingers were in PAIN from the cold. Terrible. I’m completely conflicted with enjoying the snow and the approaching Christmas season, and the desire for winter to just wait. Because we all know that when it comes, it will be with a fury.

To deal with the cold, we decided it was a mac ‘n’ cheese night. We also built our first fire in our fireplace and sipped on some Glenfidditch scotch (a gift from some dear friends). It was cozy and warming – body and soul 🙂

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Clearly, we overate. But enough for leftovers!

Crockpot Mac ‘n’ Cheese

1 bottle dry white wine
16oz. elbow macaroni
1/2cup (stick) butter, melted
2 eggs, beaten
1 can (12oz) evaporated milk
1 can (10 3/4oz) condensed cheddar cheese soup, undiluted
1 cup milk
4 cups (16oz) shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1/8 tsp paprika

Directions:

Pour wine into pan, add 1 cup of water and bring to a boil. Cook macaroni in it. Do not drain – pour into a 5-qt slow cooker; add butter. In a bowl, combine the eggs, evaporated milk, soup, milk and 3 cups cheese. Pour over macaroni mixture; stir to combine. Cover and cook on low for 4 hours.

Sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Cook 15 min longer or until cheese is melted. Sprinkle with paprika. Yield: 10 servings. Enjoy!