Category Archives: Midweek Menu

Arugula, Hummus & Mozzarella Panini

One of my favorite things to make for dinner on busy days are paninis. Warm and creamy filling in between crisp, hot bread just seems a lot more fulfilling than the cold sandwich alternative when you are tight on time. I’ve learned that the soft cheese or spread, greens, protein, and harder cheese order of filling seems to work pretty well, with the spread and cheese acting as glue to hold the yumminess together. Good, crusty bread is also a must for paninis. If you don’t have good bread, stick with grilled American cheese & tomato soup (actually, even that should have good bread involved).

On these particular paninis, we paired some zesty spring arugula with creamy hummus, earthy mushrooms, bright pesto, and fresh mozzerella. It tastes like it takes a lot longer to make than it does!

Arugula, Hummus & Mozzerella Panini

Ingredients:

Makes 2 paninis

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 2 T. pesto
  • 4 T. hummus (I used roasted red pepper)
  • 4 white mushrooms
  • 1/4 red onion (or 1 very small red onion)
  • 2 handfuls arugula
  • 4 oz. mozzarella
  • 4 slices wheat bread

Directions:

  1. Thinly slice mushrooms & onion and sauté until onion is translucent.
  2. Spread pesto on two bread slices.

    Pesto on bread

    Pesto on bread

  3. Spread hummus on remaining two bread slices.

    Hummus

    Hummus on other side.

  4. Divide sautéed mushrooms & onions over hummus.

    Mushrooms & Onions

    Mushrooms & Onions

  5. Place handful of arugula on top of mushrooms & onions.

    Arugula

    Arugula

  6. Slice mozzarella and place on top of arugula.

    Mozzarella

    Mozzarella

  7. Top with pesto-spread slice of bread.
  8. Grill in preheated panini press for 3-5 minutes, or until cheese is melted, or in skillet for 3 minutes per side.
  9. Serve hot with pesto roasted radishes and salad.
Arugula, Hummus & Mozzarella Panini

Compared to the mellower flavors of winter, this really shows of the variety of flavors for warmer months!


Radish Green & Potato Soup

It’s radish season! Raw radishes in salads, grilled with butter & salt, or sautéed with mint and onions—radishes take on completely different personalities depending on how you prepare them. The greens offer a whole different culinary perspective that is often overlooked. We had to adopt out our bunny for the sake of Kevin’s lungs (allergy-induced asthma), which has left us trying to find new ways to use up plant parts we used to feed to the bunny. Radish greens are one thing I am glad I learned how to cook with! They are so delicious, and have tons of nutrients. You can sautée them like you would other greens, or, you can make them into this crazy simple soup. It is simultaneously earthy, fresh and zesty.

Radish Green & Potato Soup

Ingredients:

Ingredients

Ingredients. (Not pictured: Hot Sauce,

  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 1 shallot
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 large bunch radish greens
  • 2 large potatoes
  • 2-3 c. water (or broth) (enough to cover potatoes in pan)
  • 2 T. parsley
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • hot sauce, to taste
  • chives, parsley, mint, sprouts, etc. for topping

Directions:

  1. Chop shallot, parsley, & garlic
  2. Heat olive oil in large pot over medium heat. Add shallot & garlic. Sauté, stirring frequently, until shallots are translucent.

    Sautéeing

    Sautéeing shallots, garlic & parsley.

  3. Chop radish greens and add to pot. Sautée until wilted.

    Radish Greens

    Wilting radish greens

  4. Wash & dice potatoes. (You can peel them if using russets, but I used yellow potatoes with pretty thin skin & left it on. No need to peel red ones, either.)
  5. Add potatoes to pot and add water or broth to just cover top of potatoes.

    Simmering potatoes

    Potatoes in the pot

  6. Bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer for about 10-15 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.
  7. Season with salt and pepper.
  8. Remove from heat; purée with an immersion blender or in batches in the blender.
  9. Ladle into bowls. Top each bowl with a few dashes of hot sauce.
  10. Finely chop remaining herbs and place on top of soup.
Radish Green & Potato Soup

It may look like something from a swamp, but it is seriously good eating.


Mushroom & Turnip Couscous

Believe it or not, despite the warm temperatures, it’s still root vegetable season (although I think I see the light at the end of the tunnel—Today is the second day of spring, and I’ve got some pea shoots!). Winter is at times the toughest season to be a locavore, but at other points, it’s so rewarding. Root vegetables & mushrooms are much more fulfilling on a cool day than a summer salad or bowlful of sautéed spring veggies. There’s a reason why certain foods grow at certain times—Because that’s when our bodies need the nutrients they offer! In this transitional period between winter and spring, heartier vegetables are still in abundance, but slow cooked stew and tagine just don’t seem as appealing when the temperature is slated to be in the 70s. So, I embraced the challenge of using the hearty offerings of the earth in a manner that doesn’t feel quite so heavy in the stomach or heat up the house so much. Plus, for my vegetarian & vegan friends, you can eat this too!

(P.S. Speaking of mushrooms, I can’t wait—Tomorrow I am picking up my very own shiitake mushroom grow log. Yes. Shiitakes fresh from the back yard. Mmm.)

Mushroom & Turnip Couscous

Ingredients:
Note: You’ll notice that this post does not include the individual farm’s name next to each ingredient. From feedback I received, that made it more difficult to follow & print recipes. SO, I am working on a page that will list all of the farmers & local businesses I buy from, their specialties, and their contact info. Then you can see where all of the great spots to purchase ingredients are. I’ll still highlight specialty/exclusive ingredient sources in the specific recipe. I assure you, even though the name of the farm isn’t right there, it was all still purchased from local producers.

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 3 T. olive oil
  • 1 small onion (or half large)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • pinch of thyme
  • pinch of rosemary
  • pinch of sage
  • 4 white mushrooms
  • 4 cremini mushrooms
  • 2 c. broth (I used turkey stock, but chicken or vegetable would work, too)
  • 4 medium turnips (I used 3 golden, 1 white)
  • 1 c. couscous

Directions:

  1. Mince garlic and chop onion and mushrooms. Heat olive oil in large saucepan or dutch oven and add garlic & onion, sautéeing until onion is almost translucent.
  2. Meanwhile, chop mushrooms and crush herbs. Also, peel and dice turnips.
  3. Add herbs and mushrooms to onion mixture, cooking for two more minutes, or until mushrooms are slightly golden and herbs are fragrant.

    Mushrooms, onion, garlic & herbs

    Mushrooms, onion, garlic & herbs, a good base for many things!

  4. Add turnips and broth to pan and bring to a boil.

    Turnips & other veggies in broth

    A photographed pot never boils.

  5. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer, covered for about 15 minutes, or until turnips are fork tender.
  6. Add couscous to pan and stir. Immediately remove from heat and let sit, covered, for 5 minutes.
  7. Fluff with a fork and serve hot.
Mushroom & Turnip Couscous

Mushroom & Turnip Couscous

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Kielbasa, Cabbage & Pierogi Casserole

After you’ve scooped out the insides for your stuffed mini cabbages, don’t throw those scraps away- save them to turn into this fabulous eastern European-inspired casserole! My father was born in Poland, so it’s in my blood to love pierogies. I love making them, cooking them, eating them … I dream of someday opening a pierogi restaurant called Babushka …

Anyway, I digress. This casserole is a cinch to throw together and is a fulfilling blend of creaminess, buttery-ness and saltiness.

Kielbasa, Cabbage & Pierogi Casserole

Ingredients:

Ingredients

Ingredients

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Finely chop kielbasa and cook in a skillet until browned (if your kielbasa is fully cooked, just warm it in the skillet).
  3. Chop onion and add to kielbasa and drippings in skillet. Cook until just softened.

    Kielbasa & Onions

    Kielbasa & Onions

  4. Place six pierogies in bottom of casserole dish.
  5. Spoon kielbasa and onions, with drippings, evenly over pierogies.
  6. Sprinkle half the cabbage over the meat and onion mixture.
  7. Top cabbage with another 6 pierogies.
  8. Sprinkle remaining cabbage evenly over second layer of pierogies. Dot with butter and season with salt and pepper.

    Cabbage & Butter

    Cabbage & Butter

  9. Add final 6 pierogies on top of cabbage and butter.

    Last 6 pierogies

    Last 6 pierogies

  10. Top casserole with grated swiss cheese.
  11. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until cabbage is tender and cheese is bubbly.
Pierogi Casserole

Pierogi Casserole

Pierogi Casserole

A satisfying blend of flavors and textures!


Feta & Butternut Pasta

Butternut squash. Mmm. This creamy, orange squash is well-documented as one of my favorite bits of produce. I eat it all fall and winter long. Elsewhere on this blog, you can find Butternut Squash Dip, Butternut Mushroom & Ricotta TartButternut Spinach Quiche, Butternut Apple Soup, and Whole Wheat Butternut Ravioli. Look at that diversity! You can do anything with this squash. In an effort to try out even another flavor profile, I tossed up this easy pasta dish with tangy Keepsake Farm feta and sweet butternut.

Feta & Butternut Pasta

Ingredients:

Ingredients

Ingredients

Directions:

  1. Heat 2 T. olive oil in large skillet or dutch oven.
  2. Chop onion and add to oil, cooking until softened.
  3. Chop basil and add to onion. Cook until fragrant.
  4. Add creamy garlic dressing and stir.
  5. Cube roasted butternut squash and toss with onions and basil.
  6. Add pasta to pan and toss. Cook over low heat until pasta is hot.
  7. Drizzle remaining olive oil over pasta and toss with crumbled feta.
Feta & Butternut Pasta

Feta & Butternut Pasta


Ricotta, Eggplant & Mushroom Paninis

Eggplant is one of my favorite vegetables. It is flavorful, rich and versatile, providing an excellent base for all sorts of main dishes. The large purplish black veggie isn’t available in winter, though, so I had been missing it. So, when I found a container of grilled eggplant buried in our freezer from the summer, I was sooo excited to use it! A taste of summer in these dreary months was a welcome treat. Combined with some crusty bread, creamy ricotta, earthy mushrooms and zesty microgreens, these paninis are a great way to enjoy a variety of flavors and textures.

Ricotta, Eggplant & Mushroom Paninis

Ingredients:
No ingredient amounts here! It’s a sandwich, you can figure out what proportions you’d like!

Ingredients

Ingredients

Directions:

  1. Cut wheat bread into thick slices, and brush or spray outside of slices with olive oil. (I got to use our new oil mister here!)
  2. Spread ricotta cheese on inside of bread.
  3. Slice mushrooms.
  4. Layer eggplant and mushroom slices over ricotta.
  5. Top with microgreens or basil.
  6. Add mozzerella, if using.
  7. Grill sandwich on panini press for 3-4 minutes, or cook in skillet for about 3 minutes per side.
  8. Serve hot!
Ricotta, Eggplant & Mushroom Panini

Ricotta, Eggplant & Mushroom Panini


Beef & Cheddar on a Whole New Level

We’ve been insane-o busy lately, so speedy food has been a necessity. However, when you are not eating processed foods or stopping at fast food joints, it can seem a bit impossible to have a fulfilling meal in a hurry. If you make the tortillas ahead, my quesadillas (inspired by Taco Bell) are ready in mere moments. One of Kevin’s favorite fast food items was the beef and cheddar sandwich from Arby’s. So, with that fast food in mind, I whipped up a batch of these undeniably tastier (and healthier!) beef and cheddars on a night we were tight on time. You’ll notice that I did use a packaged bread item—Thomas’ English Muffins—as the base for these open faced mounds of yumminess … While I rarely buy grocery store bread items anymore, I passed an endcap of these on my way to the cat litter and could not turn down a buy 1, get 2 free deal! In the future, I would probably pile these toppings on a locally baked or homemade whole wheat or onion roll, but these were really great, too!

Open Faced Beef and Cheddar Sandwiches
Could be made with a top, too, for taking on the road! Just put a bit less filling and pop on a top.

Ingredients:

Ingredients

Ingredients

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Dice onion.
  3. Cook onion and chipsteak in large skillet over medium-high heat until meat is browned and onions are translucent.
  4. Split English muffins and arrange, nooks & crannies side up, on baking sheet.
  5. Spread 1 T. creamy garlic dressing on each muffin half.
  6. Distribute spinach evenly muffins.
  7. Divide beef and onion mixture evenly over spinach.
  8. Thinly slice cheddar cheese and distribute evenly over meat.
  9. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted.
  10. Enjoy!
Better than Arby's!

Better than Arby's!


Who Needs Taco Bell Anyway?

One thing I’ve been missing since we went local and largely unprocessed for our food is tortillas. Quick to prepare food has been a small challenge since we switched our grocery habits, but we’ve filled the gap by preparing larger quantities of meals and freezing leftovers for quick reheating, eating more salads, and having bases like pizza crusts ready to go for easy topping.

My love for quesadillas began years ago, when I was a vegetarian and I lived a few blocks from a Taco Bell. With their big tortillas oozing cheese and special tex-mex white sauce, combined with their inexpensive price tag, I ate more than my fair share of these treats. I don’t even want to know what I was ingesting in those meals. After we cut fast food from our diets, we began making quesadillas at home, mixing up our own special sauce to try and recreate the effect of the ones I used to eat. We used to keep a pack of tortillas in the fridge at all times so that we could quickly whip some up if we were in a rush, but since we don’t shop at grocery stores anymore, tortillas have been lacking. Since I hadn’t had the guts to try making these simple flat breads, we had been quesa-deprived for about a year.

So, last week, I gave tortilla making a try, and I can confidently say there will no longer be tortilla shortages in this household! They cost pennies to make, and since I was preparing them from scratch, I could control the quality of ingredients that went in. Next time, I might try doing a blend of whole wheat and white flour to make them a little less dense, but these were flavorful and hearty. They also freeze well, so make a bunch a save them to have on hand.

Take a look below the tortilla recipe for my basic quesadilla recipe!

Whole Wheat Tortillas

Ingredients:

Whole Wheat Tortilla Ingredients

Super Inexpensive Ingredients

  • 2.5 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 c. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 c. warm water

Directions:

  1. Put flour, oil and salt in mixer bowl. Mix until crumbly, about 3 minutes.

    Crumbly Flour & Oil Mixture

    Crumbly Flour & Oil Mixture

  2. With mixer running, gradually add warm water and continue to mix until combined.
  3. Knead dough for 3 minutes or until smooth, either by hand on a lightly floured surface or using the dough hook on your stand mixer.
  4. Shape dough into a log about 3 inches wide, then cut into 16 equally sized portions.

    Portioned Dough

    Portioned Dough

  5. Roll each portion into a ball and slightly flatten it on to a baking sheet. Cover baking sheet with plastic wrap and let sit 20 minutes.

    Dough Balls

    Dough Balls

  6. Preheat cast iron skillet or griddle.
  7. On a very lightly floured surface, roll a dough ball into a circle about 8-9″ inches in diameter.
  8. Place the rolled circle into the hot skillet and cook until surface begins to bubble.
  9. Flip and cook until light brown spots appear on bottom. (You may have to test a few the first time to get the timing right—If you cook too long, they will harden as they cool.)

    Cooking Tortilla

    Cooking Tortilla

  10. Remove and set aside. Repeat with remaining dough balls. (I found that the time it took me to (rather clumsily) roll the dough balls was the amount of time it took to cook on both sides.)
  11. Use immediately or store in refrigerator or freezer.
Stack O' Tortillas

Stack O' Tortillas

A Few Steps Up From Taco Bell Quesadillas
Makes 4 Quesadillas

Ingredients:

Filling Ingredients

Filling Ingredients

  • 8 tortillas (homemade are best!)
  • 4 T. fromage blanc or sour cream (I used fromage blanc from Keepsake Farm)
  • 8 oz. sharp cheddar cheese (Groffdale Meadows Dairy)
  • 1/2 c. cooked protein or veggies (we used shredded cooked turkey)
  • Aw Shucks seasoning, to taste
  • chili powder, to taste
  • cumin, to taste

Directions:

  1.  Mix fromage blanc or sour cream with Aw Shucks seasoning, chili powder and cumin.
  2. Spread 1 T. of fromage blanc mixture on 4 of the tortillas.

    The "Special Sauce"

    The "Special Sauce"

  3. Sprinkle protein or veggies over fromage blanc.
  4. Grate cheddar cheese over protein.
  5. Place each of the plain tortillas over the topped tortillas.
  6. Cook quesadillas in hot skillet or on hot griddle, flipping once, until each side is golden and cheese is melted.
  7. Serve with salsa.
Quesadillas!

Quesadillas!


Superfood Soup & Turkey Paninis

I normally don’t post on the weekends, but with the snow in the Lehigh Valley today, I thought a soup recipe might be necessary. I’ll be headed out shortly to chaperone some cookie booth sales all day, but for those of you who are happily snowed in (or if you live elsewhere without snow and just want something delicious and healthy to warm you up today), give this soup a try! Also, if you can get there, the SteelStacks winter market will have many of these ingredients from 12-4 today. The veggies in this soup are all known “super foods” so it’s also jam packed with healthy nutrients and amazing flavor. Of course, one of the best things about soup is that you can’t really mess it up, so if you can’t get to the grocery store and are missing some ingredients, substitute as you see fit!

I’ve also included a ridiculously simple recipe for smoked turkey paninis that pair really well with this soup. So, curl up under a blanket, put on a good movie, and cozy up with this soup and sandwich duo. (It’s also a relatively quick meal to make on a weeknight!)

Superfood Soup

Ingredients:

Ingredients

kale, leftover sweet potato, garlic, onion, leftover brussel sprouts, smoked turkey broth, olive oil

Directions:

  1. Chop onions and mince garlic, then sauté in olive oil in large dutch oven.
  2. Roughly chop Brussels sprouts and add to onion mixture.

    Brussels Sprouts, Onion, Garlic

    Veggies Sautéing

  3. Separate thick stems from kale, chop, and add to veggies in pan, saving leaves for later.
  4. Sauté veggies over medium-high heat until sprouts are just turning golden and onions are translucent.
  5. Add stock or broth to pan. Bring to boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.
  6. Chop sweet potato and kale leaves and add to soup. Simmer 5 minutes.
  7. Serve hot with paninis!

Turkey Paninis with Kale & Mozzerella

Ingredients:
To make 2 paninis.

Ingredients

seeded sourdough bread, mozzerella cheese, kale, smoked turkey breast

  • good, crusty bread (we used seeded sourdough from Apple Ridge Farm)
  • fresh mozzarella (Klein Farms)
  • 4 kale leaves (use the thick stems in the soup)(Jett’s Produce)
  • 4 slices turkey breast (I used leftover smoked turkey)

Directions:

  1. Cut bread into four 1/2″ slices.
  2. Arrange kale leaves on 2 slices of bread.
  3. Arrange turkey on top of kale.
  4. Slice mozzarella and place on top of turkey.
  5. Add top piece of bread and grill on preheated panini press or tabletop grill for 3-5 minutes, or until bread is toasted and cheese is melted.
  6. Serve with soup!
Soup and sandwich

The perfect combination for a snowy day.

 


Leftover Do-Over: Asian Salad with Chicken

Did you make Slow Cooker Curried Chicken and Applesthis weekend? If you did, chance are that you have some leftover chicken. If you didn’t, you should, but in the meantime, you can use any precooked chicken breast for this recipe. Or, leave it off completely—It’ll still be delicious! Kevin feels much the same way about salads for dinner as he does about soup for dinner—He eats and enjoys them, then asks, “Great, so what’s for dinner?” This salad, though, was substantial enough to fill the void for him, so it should be sure to satisfy your heartiest diner! If you enjoy creating Asian food, you’ll most likely have the dressing ingredients on hand. If you don’t your local grocery store or Asian market should have them inexpensively. I am usually not a big fan of vinaigrette dressings (yogurt-based is my preference), but these ingredients blend to create a delightful, non-acidic tasting dressing.

Asian Salad with Chicken

Dressing Ingredients:

Dressing Ingredients

Dressing Ingredients

  •  1.5 T. rice wine vinegar
  • 2 T. sesame oil
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 2 T. soy sauce
  • 1 T. tahini or peanut butter
  • 2 tsp. honey or maple syrup (Rush Apiaries)
  • 1/4 tsp. ginger (fresh is best)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tsp. toasted sesame seeds
  • wasabi, to taste (use caution! a teensy bit goes a loooong way!)

Salad Ingredients:
One of the great things about salads is that you can leave just about anything off or add anything in!

Salad Ingredients

Salad Ingredients

Dressing Directions:
Make the dressing first so that it can sit for at least 30 minutes so the flavors will meld.

  1. Whisk together rice wine vinegar and oils until well blended.
  2. Add soy sauce, tahini or peanut butter, and honey or syrup, whisk until smooth.
  3. Mince garlic (and ginger, if using fresh).
  4. Add garlic, ginger and sesame seeds, plus wasabi, if using, and whisk again.
  5. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.

    Asian Vinaigrette

    Not too vinegary!

Salad Directions:

  1. Cut cabbage leaves into thin strips. Thinly slice mushrooms, carrot and apple.
  2. Place lettuce on bottom of serving dish.
  3. Top with red cabbage.
  4. Arrange carrots, mushrooms and apple over lettuce & cabbage
  5. Chop or shred chicken and place on top of veggies.
  6. Chop scallions and almonds. Sprinkle over chicken.
  7. Top with bean sprouts and drizzle with vinaigrette.

    Asian Salad with Chicken

    The combination of flavors and textures in this blend is simply exquisite, not to mention nutritious!


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