Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Preview

Happy Thanksgiving to all! I scheduled, organized, and planned out my cooking and now have a few hours to spare before the guests come over. Here's a preview of some of our dishes! The menu is an assortment of family favorites, new recipes, and my favorites! A full post will come later - after the food coma has passed. For now, here are some pictures to get you in the mood for Thanksgiving.

First up, appetizers. Spinach balls (with fresh spinach) and Beet-pickled deviled eggs:

Next up - sides! My grandmother's famous dressing, roasted maple-ginger veggies, brown sugar baked sweet potatoes and acorn squash, and jellied cranberry sauce with fuji apple.


And last, but not least, dessert! Homemade pecan pie and a pumpkin pie (made with red kuri squash).

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Hearty Vegetable Tomato Sauce and Meatballs

We were at a housewarming party recently and were talking with some friends about easy weeknight dinners and recipes that we make a lot. They had some great ideas - Greek inspired tacos, avocado boats - but one idea had me thinking about it the whole way home. Good old spaghetti and meatballs. It is such a comfort food. With our recent trend toward recipes good for leftovers, this definitely filled the bill. And since the slowcooker is still on the counter, I decided to to put it to work again.

Instead of a boring tomato, garlic, and basil sauce, I wanted to make something that packed a nice veggie punch. A trip to the store yielded some nice nutritionally rich ingredients.

Before throwing everything into the pot, the ingredients got a little pre-cooking. First in the saute pan - diced baby bella mushrooms. Next the onions and carrots. Finally, minced garlic and spinach.

After the veggies were sweated and softened it was time to go in the slowcooker. I used a few cans of diced tomatoes with no salt added. I'm not a fan of the off-season tomatoes at the grocery store, the canned tomatoes are a tastier option. The sauce got off to a simmer and then it was time to get to work on the meatballs.

My grandmother makes a mean meatball - so I stick with her method when making mine. They get thrown into the sauce and soak up the flavors of the sauce.

Hearty Veggie Tomato Sauce and Meatballs
1 bag of spinach leaves
1 medium yellow onion, diced
About 1 cup carrots, diced
1-2 cups mushrooms, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans diced tomatoes (no salt added) - Drained
2 cans diced tomatoes (no salt added) - Not drained
1-2 tablespoons tomato paste
Handful of fresh basil leaves
Salt and Pepper

Turn on the slow cooker to the highest setting (mine is 4 hours - high)
Add tomatoes
Heat a small amount of olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat
Add chopped mushrooms and cook for 3-4 minutes, then add to slowcooker
Add more oil if necessary, and then saute onions and carrots for about 5 minutes, then add to slowcooker
Cook the minced garlic for a minute, then add spinach to the pan, cooking until just wilted
Add spinach to the slowcooker
Cover with lid and let simmer

1 pound ground sirloin
About a cup of Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
1 egg, lightly beaten
Salt and Pepper

Mix all ingredients by hand until just combined - do not over mix
Form into 1 inch balls
Add to sauce
When last meatball has been added to the sauce, cook for 1.5 - 2 hours until cooked through

I left the sauce chunky - but if you wanted a smoother consistency you could use an immersion blender to blend it. For the first night, we had the sauce and meatballs the traditional way - over whole wheat spaghetti noodles. On the side - whole wheat garlic bread.

For the second night, I planned to make meatball subs with the rest of the whole wheat bread. What I didn't realize is that the hubby had packed all the remaining meatballs for my lunch that day. So we had delicious veggie sauce subs with melted provolone cheese. Still hearty and tasty - just missing a little protein.

Anyway you want to serve it - this is a great way to add some veggies to your diet and have a great comforting meal!

Stay tuned for some more fall favorites like beef stew and roasted root vegetables. Leave a note about your favorite hearty dish or favorite comfort food!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Farmer's Market Finds: Simple Potato Leek Soup

While my squash pie was baking away in the oven, I took my other farmer's market finds and whipped them up into a simple and delicious soup. The change of the seasons means new veggies to buy at the market. Inspired by Mike I.'s apparent poor cooking of leeks on Top Chef, I decided to pick some up and give them a try. I think I have succeeded in buying a new to me veggie or fruit each week at the market this season!

When I cut them open, I loved the way the layers looked. I also picked up some potatoes and decided to make a potato leek soup. Lately we've been trying to cook dairy-free (well, lactose-free) here at the Good Cook Doris kitchen. This soup was delicious and creamy with only seven ingredients! You won't even miss the cream.

Simple Potato Leek Soup
2 leeks, cleaned and cut into 1 inch pieces
About 2 lbs. potatoes, peeled and cut into half inch pieces
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups of water
1 14-oz. can of low-sodium chicken broth
Salt and pepper
Dash of poultry seasoning (marjoram, sage, thyme)

Melt the butter in a medium soup pot over low heat
Add leeks, cover and cook until soft, about 10 minutes, making sure not to brown the leeks
Add water, broth, and potatoes
Simmer for about 20 minutes, until potatoes are fork-tender
Puree with an immersion blender (or food processor)
Season with poultry seasoning, salt, and pepper

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Cutting board, knife, soup pot, immersion blender, serving bowl and ladle


Related Posts with Thumbnails