Foodie Friday

January 17, 2014 at 5:40 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , )

Hey look!  I remembered this was a thing (at least on my blog)!

What with the whole still not working thing, I’ve been doing a lot of cooking.  And it’s not like I’m not TRYING to find work – duh.  I’ve had three interviews in the last three days and I have another scheduled for Monday, so that’s something.  I’ve also been contracted out to do some content writing for a former client of mine, all of which is at least keeping me busy.  As is the cooking, since it’s not exactly like I’m eating out every night of the week these days.

Soup's On!

Soup’s On!

Soups have been a big hit due to the cold weather and this meal was no exception.  This particular soup was made in the crock pot and featured garbanzo beans, lima beans, kale, red and yellow peppers, tomatoes and onions.  The salad was a simple combination of arugula, spinach and romaine lettuce with onions, cranberries, feta cheese and a dark Italian dressing.  The bread shows off my homemade pesto, which I created by putting a cup of basil, half a cup of olive oil, crushed garlic and sunflower seeds into a food processor.  Most pesto recipes call for pine nuts or even walnuts but hey, I was working with what was on hand and trying to avoid going to the grocery.  The sunflower seeds worked and the pesto was a perfect touch to some toasted bread.

As for the spaghetti, to tell the truth that was leftover from I don’t even know when and I found it in my fridge as I was making the pesto.  When I originally made it I mixed kale and peppers in the sauce and then added some vegetarian meatballs.  When I reheated it for this meal I put it all in the oven with a generous layer of cheese on top and it tasted almost as good as new.

My shoestring budget may not allow many trips to restaurants right now but with some creativity and a whole internet’s worth of recipe choices, I can still eat like a queen!

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Squash This

October 2, 2012 at 10:48 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , )

Last week (or two weeks ago…man time flies), I prepared a dish using a vegetable I haven’t messed with in a long time – spaghetti squash.  It was super easy and surprisingly healthy, so even though I neglected to take any photos of my final creation, I thought I’d share with you just what I did.  For those of you who don’t know, spaghetti squash gets its name because its insides look and taste somewhat like spaghetti, at least once they’re nice and cooked.  Scott didn’t believe me that one squash would yield enough to feed three or four people and he was convinced he could eat an entire one himself, so we bought two for the whopping price of $2.  Boy, was he surprised when he saw how they turned out.

Crazy, huh?

To cook them, Scott took a huge knife (because I don’t trust myself with such things) and sliced them lengthways down the middle.  Then I put some oil on a baking sheet and placed them on there face down before setting them in the oven for about half an hour.  Then I proceeded to have a dance party in the kitchen to kill some time.  30 minutes later, after letting them cool so they weren’t too hot to touch, I removed the seeds much like I would do with a pumpkin (note: I believe you can do this before cooking them and as I was in a hurry and didn’t wait until they were really cooled down, I kicked myself for not doing it sooner.  Steaming hot squash insides burn when you’re wrist deep in them).  After I removed all of the seeds my delicate hands could handle, I took a large spoon and basically scooped out the innards, again much like a pumpkin.  Those insides are what became the “spaghetti” and Scott was amazed at how much there was (we ended up having leftovers for a week).  I then took whatever else I had in my fridge that I thought would pare well (this is my preferred method of cooking) and sautéed it: orange peppers, spinach, mushrooms, zucchini, black olives and feta cheese.  I threw it all into the squash, along with some olive oil and seasonings, and voila!  Dinner!

This is a great substitute for pasta, although it has a bit of a squash taste instead of that of grain (shocking, I know).  It’s still really good and the dinner guests we had that night seemed to enjoy it, or at least were able to lie well enough that I believed them.  Scott really did like it though, as did I, and next time we’ll add some marinara sauce or something to spice it up even more.  So if you’re feeling hungry and lazy, pick up one of these bad boys and give it a go.  Your stomach will thank you – and so will your wallet!

 

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Dinner Guest!

February 20, 2012 at 1:45 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , )

The very first dinner guest to sit at our new dining room table was entertained last week and I was so proud of my meal that I had to share:

Mmm

What we have here is cheese stuffed manicotti that had been sitting in my freezer for entirely too long (hey, I’m all about honesty here).  I used a food processor to shred some broccoli, spinach, carrots and mushrooms and added that to the marinara sauce then poured all that over the manicotti, which I had placed in a glass baking pan.  I threw that all in for about an hour and then poured a glass of wine as I set about the rest.  Not pictured is the salad with goat cheese, cranberries and walnuts that I made but that’s because it was devoured before I had a chance to take the pic.  I did manage to snap the photo while the flat bread was still around, though.  I took that and covered it lightly with olive oil, black pepper, basil and oregano and then baked it for a while with the pasta.  Then I added the olive oil/pepper dipping combo here and was able to present it nicely before the boys dug in.  Both Scott and our house/dinner guest Nate told me they thought the meal was delicious and I definitely agreed, especially considering most of it was pulled from pantry or freezer shelves.

Gotta love grown up dinners – perhaps this table will inspire me to get off my ass and cook even more!  Although carryout fits nicely on it as well…

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Caro Mio!

October 3, 2011 at 10:47 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , )

On Saturday evening, I was lucky enough to dine with two great friends of mine who recently moved far, far away from Chicagoland.  Actually, I suppose 5 hours isn’t that far but to me, it feels like light years.  They were in town for the evening so the bf and I met up with them and some of their other friends at a lovely little place in my neighborhood, Caro Mio.

Not my pasta but it looked pretty similar

The restaurant itself is rather small so it’s a good thing we had reservations.  The atmosphere was dimly lit and there were original paintings available for purchase hanging on the walls.  It was a little noisy since it was so crowded but we managed.  The place is also BYOB which I guess is one reason service seemed a little slower than usual – there were no drinks to refill as our wine and water were already on the table.  We ordered garlic bread and bruschetta for appetizers in addition to the house bread and oil they provided us with, which was good because it seemed to take forever for the server to take our dinner orders.  This may have been because I was extremely hungry and therefore impatient when we arrived but the appetizers held me over until our meal was served.  The food was all hand-made in the back so that added to the wait time but it was definitely worth it.  I ordered one of the specials for the night, a stuffed gnocchi full of ricotta cheese and pesto, covered in creamy tomato sauce.  It was so good it should have been outlawed.  Seriously, it was a massive serving of pasta and I completely cleaned my plate.  I tried to savor every bite but some of the pieces were just shoveled in gracelessly anyway and I couldn’t have been any happier or less embarrassed.

One of the best parts about this place is that it was but a 13 minute walk from home, so I was able to pretend like I was burning off some of the meal by the time I rolled back onto my couch.  I thoroughly enjoyed this entire dining experience (though I think the great company also contributed to this fantastic night) and I’ve already picked the dish I’m going to order when I go back!

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