Winter Turkey Chili

Last week it suddenly turned into fall around here. The weather cooled off, and the leaves are finally showing some autumn colors (instead of just dropping onto our postage-stamp yard and turning brown). Although last week saw a high temperature of 78 degrees, the brisk autumn weather is here to stay. And I am not exaggerating when I say that this makes me want to eat soup/chili/stew every day of the week.photo 3-6

This recipe is officially called “Rose Bowl Chili,” and is one that my husband brought to our marriage (so I call it Dan’s Turkey Chili). As I know it, his friend’s mom used to make this each year while they watched the Rose Bowl. My husband remains fairly particular about this recipe and follows it exactly. I, of course, cannot be bothered to be so particular. (This is why, while we were dating and for the first two years of our marriage, he would make this chili. I was allowed to chop things only.)

The most difficult part of this recipe, for me, is using the butternut squash. In fact, prior to this time, I’ve always used the pre-cut squash from the grocery store. However, once I realized that it was not as difficult as I’d expected to prep the squash, I felt kind of silly that I’d avoided it for so long. In case you feel intimated like I did, here’s a brief tutorial: Continue reading

One-Pot Tomato Basil Pasta

So it’s been a while since I’ve last blogged. We’ve continued to enjoy our CSA bounty, and I will work to catch up on all the good things we’ve been eating. My hiatus happened because we’ve been busy with all the wonderful things that make summer so fun, including my sister-in-law’s wedding…

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And this…

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Which apparently includes learning to crawling, sprouting two bottom teeth, and pulling up on everything he can possibly reach.

When I finally got around to writing about a blueberry dessert we tried, the post was deleted when when I attempted to publish it. (WHY??) This was sufficiently discouraging, but I’m willing to give it another go.

Anyway, with all the hectic-ness of summer, quick, easy, dinners are always my favorite. Usually that involves me my husband throwing some chicken on the grill. But with this week’s CSA delivery came all the ingredients I needed for a simple one-pot pasta: tomatoes, onion, basil. If you don’t like to wash dishes, but you like pasta, you should give it a try. I’m not Italian, so maybe this is horrifying if you’re Italian. Otherwise, it’s convenient. And tasty.

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Basically, the steps are this. (1) Put all your ingredients in a pot. (2) Boil, then simmer for 12-ish minutes. (3) Serve and eat. (I know, right?!? Why is this not on my weekly menu?)

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In reality, you might want to be a little more discerning with your pasta. Because you are making your sauce and your pasta all at once, the chances of them actually ending up properly cooked at the same time are not great, but after an attempt or two, it’s fairly simple to figure out.

You’ll want to pay attention to the time it takes to cook the pasta that you’re using. For instance, I used penne pasta that was supposed to take 7 minutes to be al dente. Had I remembered from the previous time that I made this, I would have waited for the sauce to reduce for 5-7 minutes, then added my pasta to cook for the remaining time. I highly recommend this. The stock and tomatoes will take about 12 minutes to reduce (if you use the amounts that I used… longer if you double the recipe), so plan to put your pasta in accordingly. It didn’t ruin our dinner to put the pasta in for the entire time, but the pasta was definitely overcooked.

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This was the first time I’ve ever tried heirloom tomatoes, but, basically, they’re tomatoes. The heirloom part is because they are grown from “passed down” seeds, supposedly from at least 1940. However, there are different types of heirloom tomatoes, so this isn’t necessarily the case. They tend to look funky and come in a variety of colors. Ours were that perfect combination of sweet and acid that you always hope tomatoes will have, and I would have preferred to eat them raw, simply because store-bought tomatoes are never this good. Later, I realized that I should have set aside 1/2 cup or so of the tomato, to stir in at the end, giving the sauce a chunkier texture and keeping some of that fresh tomato flavor.

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It would also be easy enough to throw in some spinach, zucchini, or steamed butternut squash, also towards the end of the cooking time, to add some more flavor and variety. I didn’t follow a recipe for this one, but there are several out there, if you take the time to look.

Enjoy! I’m off to turn some of our excess zuchinni into baby food for the little guy!


 

One-Pot Tomato Basil Pasta

Serves 2-3 people

2 cups chopped tomatoes (about 2 large tomatoes)

1 small to medium onion (about 1/2 cup)

1 clove crushed garlic

1 bunch basil (I used Thai basil, from our CSA box)

1 tsp. dried oregeno

1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper

2 1/2 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock, if you’re keeping it vegetarian)

1 Tbls. olive oil

2 cups penne pasta (Mine cooked in 7 minutes… check the box! And adjust your cooking time accordingly.)

grated fresh Parmesan cheese

In a medium to large pot or stock pot, combine tomatoes, onions, garlic, basil, oregano, red pepper, and chicken stock. Drizzle with olive oil. Bring to a boil. Cover and let simmer for about 5-7 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes, until the tomatoes and stock begin to reduce. Add in the pasta. Stir and cover the pot. Continue to stir every 2 minutes until the pasta is cooked and about 2 inches of liquid remains in the pot. Serve topped with grated Parmesan cheese.

 

 

Pan Roasted Chicken with Potatoes, Asparagus and Peas

Dinnertime seems to be happening later and later at our house. There is nothing quite like trying to get food cooked – and not burnt – while my 7 month old guy is having a full meltdown over his inability to crawl, or pull books out of a basket, or, sometimes, nothing at all. So mostly, I ignore dinner and try to keep the little guy occupied and happy until bath and bedtime – and then, finally, get some food made for us.

This recipe has been a go-to springtime recipe here, because I can get it prepped earlier in the day and (as long as I time it correctly) get it started and cooking while providing some entertainment for the little one! (Full disclosure: I have burnt dinner this way….)  Although it takes a little bit of time to actually cook, and you DO have to keep an eye on it, its “simpleness to tastiness” ratio is, in my opinion, very high. Plus, you cook it all in only one pan!

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Asian Lettuce Wraps

In this house, we have been eating salads nightly. Our weekly boxes have been full of leafy greens – red and green romaine, green and red leaf lettuce, spring mixes, frisee… There’s nothing like eating a fresh, crisp salad while I wait for dinner to cook. And there’s nothing easier than grilling a piece of chicken, chopping up some lettuce and other veggies, and calling it dinner. As much as we’ve enjoyed these nightly salads, I was excited to stumble across a new way to use some of our weekly lettuce share. I actually found this recipe on a friend’s Pinterest page – and if you’ve ever attempted to make something off of a Pinterest idea, you may know that it’s a mixed bag. We love Asian food (or Asian-American food, as this may be), and I had the ingredients on hand, so I decided to give it a go.

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