Butternut Squash Casserole

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I was so excited about this fall dish… then I had a vision of how to make it even more fall fabulous. After already returning home from buying all the ingredients, I marched myself back to the store to get some fresh cranberries. I had never actually cooked with fresh cranberries before so I had no idea if it was going to work or not, but it came out exactly as I had imagined. You never know until you try, right?… 

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Crispy Polenta Stars with Pesto

Polenta Stars

My dear and very classy friend Alli hosts an Oscar party every year. She pulls out all the stops, red carpet included, so amongst our group of friends it is one of the most highly anticipated events of the year! That being said, there is no question that each year, I am thinking far in advance about what I can bring to this star studded affair. Sometimes it is fun to theme your appetizer or drink to the nominees but this is one that you can use year after year. By the way, you can check out Alli’s blog here. Beware, it will change your life!

Crispy Polenta Stars with Pesto
 
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 8-10
Ingredients
  • 2½ cups soy milk or water
  • 1 thyme sprig
  • 1 rosemary sprig
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Fine Sea Salt
  • Freshly ground white pepper
  • 1 cup polenta or fine yellow cornmeal
  • Pesto
  • Homemade recipe can be found here
  • Garnish
  • Pine nuts or shaved parmesan
Instructions
  1. Line an 8-inch square cake pan with parchment paper, and cut another piece of parchment to the same size.
  2. Place the milk or water, thyme, rosemary, and garlic in a pot over medium heat. Season with salt and pepper, and simmer for 5 minutes. Strain the milk into a bowl; discard the garlic and herbs. Return the milk to the pot and place it over low heat. Add the polenta in a slow stream while you whisk it in vigorously with the other hand. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring often, until smooth.
  3. Pour the polenta into the prepared cake pan, and spread it out in an even ½-inch-think layer. Cover with the other piece of parchment and refrigerate for about 1 hour. Cut the chilled polenta into 20 rounds with a star shaped cookie cutter.
  4. Meanwhile prepare pesto according to directions.
  5. Heat a small amount of oil in a pan and saute polenta stars until slightly crispy on either side. Top with pesto and garnish of your choice.

Notes: You can always use premade tube version if you don’t have time or don’t want to make your own.

Kale and Roasted Vegetable Soup

Roasted Veggie and Kale Soup

It is definitely becoming soup weather here in SF. This is your rainy Sunday afternoon kind of soup as it is a bit time consuming but definitely worth every minute of it!!!

Kale and Roasted Vegetable Soup
 
Cook time
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Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and quartered lengthwise
  • 2 large tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 large onion, cut into 8 wedges or 4 or 5 slices
  • ½ small butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut lengthwise into ½ inch thick wedges
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 6 cups or more of vegetable broth
  • 4 cups of finely chopped kale
  • 3 large fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 15 oz can of Great Northern white beans, drained or homemade beans!
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Brush rimmed baking sheet with a thin coat of olive oil. Arrange carrots, squash, tomatoes, onion, and garlic on sheet. Drizzle with more olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Roast vegetables until they are brown and tender, stirring occasionally, about 45 minutes.
  2. Cut squash and carrots into ½ inch pieces; set aside. Peel garlic cloves; place in food processor. Add tomatoes and onion; puree until almost smooth. Pour ½ cup broth onto the baking sheet; scrape up any browned bits. Transfer broth and vegetable puree to large pot. Add 5½ cups broth, kale, thyme and bay leaf to pot. Bring to boil. Reduce heat. Simmer uncovered until kale is tender, about 30 minutes.
  3. Add carrots, beans, and squash to soup. Simmer 8 minutes to blend flavors, adding more broth to thin soup if necessary. Season with salt and pepper. Discard thyme sprigs and bay leaf.

Photo Credit: Simply Recipes

Crock Pot Jambalaya

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This is one of my favorite crock pot dishes. Very little prep time and you come home to an absolutely delicious meal!

For updated recipes and photos check out The Simple Kitchen!

Average Time: 10 minutes prep, 4-8 hours cook time

Serves: 6

Ingredients

1 onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 stalks celery, diced

2 carrots, diced

2 red bell peppers, chopped

1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes (I used fire roasted with green chilies)

1 can (15 oz) garbanzo beans, drained

1 cup long grain brown rice

1 Tbsp hot sauce

2 tbsp fresh thyme, minced (or 2 tsp dried)

1 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1 Tbsp spicy paprika

2 C water

3 tbsp fresh parsley, minced

Directions

1. Place onion, garlic, celery, carrots, peppers, tomatoes, rice, and beans in the crockpot in that order.

2. Add hot sauce, thyme, salt, pepper, paprika and water.

3. Cover and cook on low for 8 to 9 hours or on high for 4-6 hours.

4. Once it’s finished cooking, toss in parsley and stir until well combined.

Serving suggestion: Serve with brussel sprouts or vegetable of choice. To make a non veggie version of this, add in sausage during step one and/or throw in shrimp and hour before it is done cooking.

Photo Credit: Aine Carlin