Posts tagged ‘food’

Christmas Cookies

Every year I try to make a couple of different cookie recipes to take to my parents’ house.  This year I went with ‘white chocolate topped gingerbread cookies’ and ‘lemon burst cake mix cookies’.  A is a big fan of lemon, so these were really for him.  The lemon cookies needed to be baked about 1 minute longer than the recipe called for, but they were super easy to make.  A liked them, but I wasn’t as keen.  The gingerbread cookies were perfect, though.  I will definitely be making them again.

{Lemon burst cake mix cookies}

 

{White chocolate topped gingerbread cookies}

xo Saree

 

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No-Bake Lasagna

Courtesy TLC

This lasagna recipe has changed my life! Seriously.  I love lasagna, but A isn’t really a fan.  I also love recipes that don’t take a lot of time.  This is the perfect recipe and A actually likes it.

I found the recipe from TLC via Apartment Therapy and it can be found here. I’ll list it below in the original format and tell you some things you can do to modify it as well.

Summertime Lasagna Recipe

serve 4

1 cup ricotta
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
3 tablespoons olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
8 lasagne noodles, broken into thirds, cooked according to package instructions and drained
1 minced garlic clove
2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved
2 small zucchini, thinly sliced
1/2 cup torn basil leaves

1. Combine ricotta, Parmesan and olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

2. Heat oil in skillet over medium high and add garlic and tomatoes. Cook until slightly broken down, about 3 minutes. Transfer to bowl.

3. Add zucchini to skillet (with a little more oil if needed). Season with salt and pepper and cook about 5 minutes until tender. Transfer to another bowl.

4. Scatter a few tomatoes over four plates. Top with one noodle, a spoonful of ricotta mixture, zucchini and more tomatoes. Repeat layering twice, ending with noodle and tomatoes. Drizzle a little more olive oil on top. Garnish with basil and serve.

Now for my modifications.  I use whole wheat lasagna, which take a bit longer to cook, but makes this recipe healthier.  I usually start the water boiling and then when I add the lasagna to the water, I start cooking the other ingredients.  I cook the zucchini first with salt and pepper for 2 minutes, then I add the tomatoes and garlic and cook for the remaining 3 minutes.  This way I don’t need to use an extra dish.  I just assemble my lasagna straight out of the skillet.  The last thing I do, which helps in the winter months, is I use canned diced tomatoes instead of cherry tomatoes.  It tastes just as good and is fine for the winter when the cherry tomatoes don’t always look so good.  I also omit basil for this reason.

That’s it.  Super fast.  It’s ready in about 20 minutes from the time you start heating the water.  Enjoy!

xo Saree

Lentil Soup

Lentils are a great way to get protein, iron, and fibre, especially for those on a vegetarian or vegan diet.  This lentil soup recipe isn’t only for vegetarians or vegans, though.  Everyone will love it.  It’s hearty and great tasting.  Plus, it uses a number of ingredients that you probably have on hand.

The recipe is from allrecipes.com and can be found here.

Lentil Soup

Below includes my alterations.  Click the link above for the original recipe.  Serves 3-4 if used as the main dish, serves 6 as side dish.

Ingredients

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cups dry lentils
  • 8 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup spinach, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. In a large soup pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, and celery; cook and stir until onion is tender. Stir in garlic, bay leaf, oregano, and basil; cook for 2 minutes.
  2. Stir in lentils, and add water and tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for at least 1 hour. When ready to serve stir in spinach, and cook until it wilts. Stir in vinegar, and season to taste with salt and pepper, and more vinegar if desired.

I tend to use more garlic than the original recipe calls for.  I also add vegetable broth instead of water.  I find the powdered vegetable broth to be economical.  I use white wine vinegar instead of the white vinegar used in the original recipe.  You could use lemon juice instead.  Finally, if you eat cheese, some parmesan cheese is a nice addition when you are ready to serve.

Enjoy!

xo Saree

Pasta with Kale and Feta

Since we started getting a CSA produce box, we’ve received a few bunches of kale.  Kale isn’t something I normally buy at the grocery store or farmer’s market, but it is very good for you (even my optometrist recommends eating it for eye health), and it’s versatile.  You can easily add kale to smoothies, and not even notice it’s presence. Kale is a pretty good tasting vegetable though, and I want to share a pasta recipe that I’ve made a few times with the kale from our produce box.

The recipe is from allrecipes.com and can be found here.

Pasta with Kale & Feta

Below includes my alterations.  Click the link above for the original recipe.  Serves 2 if used as the main dish, serves 4 as side dish.

Ingredients

  • 3/4  of an (8 ounce) package uncooked farfalle (bow tie) pasta
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 cups roughly chopped kale
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 pinch dried basil
  • 1 pinch ground cayenne pepper
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 can of pitted, whole black olives

Directions

  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to package until al dente; drain.
  2. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in red pepper, kale and garlic. Season with basil, cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper. Cook until vegetables are tender.
  3. In a large bowl, toss cooked pasta with skillet mixture. Sprinkle with feta cheese and black olives to serve.

I tend to use more kale and red pepper than the original recipe calls for.  The kale wilts while cooking, so you can add a lot.  I also use whole wheat pasta and I cook a smaller amount than the original recipe, since it can be a lot of carbs.

This recipe is easy and healthy.  Enjoy!

xo Saree

Almond Sugar Cookies

Lest you think that I, here at Hookie’s Cookies, do not actually make cookies, I thought I’d share this new stand-by with you.  This recipe was born out of necessity.  It was my turn to bring a snack to our meeting and I had said that I would bring homemade cookies, but when I went to make the cookies the night before the meeting, I realized (to my horror) that I was out of eggs.  I didn’t feel like going out to get more (I prefer to bake in the late evening, so it was also really dark), so I searched online for an egg-free recipe and stumbled upon this one, which I modified slightly.  Now, I have no idea where I got this recipe from.  I wrote it out on a post-it note and now I can’t find it online.  I even searched my history, but nothing, so if this is a modification of your recipe, please claim it.

Almond Sugar Cookies

Makes about 36 cookies

1 cup butter

1 tsp almond extract

1 cup sugar

1.5 cups flour

0.5 tsp baking soda

0.5 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees with rack in middle of oven.  Combine butter, almond extract, and sugar in a stand mixer until smooth.  In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt, and add to mixer until combined.  Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Using your hands, press about 1 tbsp of dough into a ball and place on sheet.  Leave about 2 inches between cookies.  You can either bake the cookies as round balls, giving the center a really soft texture, or squish the cookies down with your fingers prior to baking.  Bake one sheet at a time in the oven for 8-10 min.  If you left the cookies as balls, you will want to bake for closer to 10 min.  Cool fully on a rack (the cookies are quite soft when they come out of the oven).

These cookies were a big hit at the meeting and I often make them, not only when we are out of eggs, but also when I want to make a small batch of cookies quickly (this recipe can be scaled easily to accommodate the batch size you want).  Enjoy!

xo Saree

CSA Food Box

Since the New Year, A and I have been trying to eat more healthy and consume less ‘stuff’.  This isn’t a resolution, and would have occurred anytime of year, but the decision just happened to occur following New Year’s.  We had already banned the purchase of meats since the summer (although this doesn’t prevent us from eating meat if we are at a restaurant or someone’s home) in order to decrease the impact that our consumption has.  Following the holidays that saw us buying a lot of food for Christmas dinner, house guests, and a New Year’s party, we decided to take a week and a half and not buy any food at all (no restaurants and no groceries) so that we could eat all the leftovers we had.  We also made a dent in the pantry.  Finally, when that was complete, we went to the farmer’s market and bought fresh produce and eggs, to keep us stocked up.  That week and a half saw us only spend about $40 at the grocery store getting things like broth, sour cream, and crackers.

This brings us to the present.  Last week I went online to research the CSA farms with shares available in our area for the winter.  The two with websites were ManoRun Farm and plan b organics.  ManoRun seemed to have a few winter shares, but I think we may have been too late to buy in.  As for plan b, their site included an online ordering form and we were easily able to order our shares.  We decided to get the regular 1-2 person box and skipped purchasing the local box (our thinking being that we would get the local produce box when we have entered the local growing season).  The boxes are available for pick up at a number of locations and there was one very near to our house.  The boxes are placed outside at the pick up location once a week for 4 hours (Tuesday 5-9pm in our case), which is a perfect window to make a pick up after work.

The first box was picked up last night and here is what we got:

1 butternut squash, 1 avocado, 1 bunch of kale, 1 grapefruit, 6 onions, 2 pears, 4 apples, 1 bunch of living basil, 1 head of romaine lettuce, about 20 carrots, apple cider

When you order your box with plan b, there are a few options besides size and local vs. regular- you can also choose weekly or biweekly delivery, add eggs to your order, add apple cider to your order, and make substitutions.  You can make up to 5 substitutions for $3 per box, and I was tempted to do this since I have an intolerance to white potatoes, but didn’t want to spend an additional $3 per week to get the potatoes removed (A will happily eat any potatoes).  Fortunately, this box was potato-free! Since we didn’t pay for the apple cider as an add-on to our box, it’s inclusion was quite a nice surprise as well.  In fact, as you can see from the picture, A was so keen to try the cider (prepared Jan. 13th), that he managed to drink some while I ran to get my phone for the picture.

We are now on our way to eating better, one step at a time.  There are a lot of blogs that have helped with inspiration, as well.  For inspiration of your own, check out the blog “Crackers”, which I’ve linked to on the sidebar.  It has gorgeous photos, local field trips, and many ideas.

xo Saree