Every Day CSA Stir Fry

Sorry it has been a while. What has happened in 11 months? Well, I got an actual job. The husband and I moved into a real house. With a real kitchen. So, a lot! I have still been cooking, just not blogging about it.

My latest obsession is my Community Supported Agriculture, or CSA. It is The. Best. Invention. Every week, I pick up a giant box of fresh veggies from a local farmer. And they are delicious. You never know what you are going to get, which forces me to find creative ways to eat new veggies. It also cuts down on time at the grocery store.

It also makes me feel really guilty if something goes bad. So, we have been trying to find some creative ways to eat a LOT of veggies. Lucky for you vegetarian readers.

This is one of those recipes that is so easy, it is almost embarrassing. But, it is also delicious, and a great way to get your vegetables.

Every Day CSA Stir Fry (A Delectable Endeavors original)

20141002_2031211 lb of protein or tofu (I used a 14 oz package of firm tofu)

2 1/2 cups of your favorite veggies, chopped (I used broccoli, kohlrabi, carrot, onion, and pepper)

2 Tbl canola or vegetable oil

salt and pepper to taste

2-3 gloves of garlic

1 Tbl of chopped ginger

2 Tbl soy sauce

1/4 cup hoisin

Rice, prepared as you like it

20141002_203238Start by cooking the protein. You can use any type of protein, as long as it is sliced into small, thin slices (i.e.: flank steak or chicken tenderloin).

Put oil into a sauté pan on medium high. Season protein with salt and pepper. Once oil is warm through, add protein and cook through. Remove from pan and let drain on paper towel.

With remaining oil, add aromatics (garlic, onion, ginger). Cook until nearly translucent. Season with salt and pepper. Add other vegetables and toss until nearly done, but still crisp (only a few minutes). Deglaze pan with soy sauce, toss vegetables. Pour hoisin and mix well. Serve warm over rice. Voila!

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The Best Way to Use Leftovers (No Rise Pizza Crust)

This is one of those recipes that is so easy, I’m almost embarrassed to write about it. But it is one of my favorite dirty little secrets that everyone should know about. Making pizza with your leftovers is genius. And using this super simple no-rise dough makes it super fast too. It is a total no-brainer.

unnamedThe first time I saw this recipe on America’s Test Kitchen I thought, “neat, I wonder if it actually works”. I love the people at America’s Test Kitchen, but sometimes they set you up for something “easy” only to find out it takes 5 different steps including 3 hours of refrigeration. Ain’t nobody got time for that! So, I tried this recipe with a touch of skepticism. As it turns out, it is ridiculously easy. You could easily have your toddler help you with this.

And you toddler would love it.

Additionally, I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, homemade pizza is the best pizza. Pizza falls into those categories of things that you should always make from scratch along with cranberry sauce and mac and cheese. I say this because once you make this dough you’ll realize all you need to have delicious pizza at home is 15 minutes and basic ingredients everyone has in their pantry.

Now, this is not a fluffy, bready recipe. This is a no-rise pizza crust (hence the super fast part – no waiting for dough to rise). Since it has no yeast and doesn’t rise, it has a crisp, cracker like crust. This recipe also makes 2 medium sized pizzas. If you have a hungry family (read: teenagers), I would double the recipe and pair it with a salad.

This recipe is for the crust only. That is because you use whatever meager amounts of leftovers you have to top it. I really mean this. The next time you look in your fridge and see just enough leftover chicken to feed one person, but not a family, make this pizza. My husband and I have tried all sorts of crazy combinations, and some of them were fantastic! Don’t have tomato sauce? No big deal. Use olive oil or pesto or one of my favorites, barbecue sauce. Some of our favorite combinations include things you would never think of putting on a pizza. Pesto with thinly sliced potato and mozzarella. Barbecue sauce with onion, zucchini and cheddar. Leftover pork ragu with giardiniera and cheddar (pictured). Get creative.

St. Louis Style Pizza Crust, taken from America’s Test Kitchen

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup water, plus 2 Tablespoons (sometimes I add up to 1 additional Tablespoon if my dough is dry)
2 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Use a nonstick baking pan. If you don’t have one, place parchment paper on your pan.

Combine flour, cornstarch, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Combine water and olive oil in measuring cup and mix. Stir water mixture into flour mixture until dough starts to come together. Turn dough onto slightly floured surface and knead 3 or 4 times, until cohesive.

Divide dough into 2 balls. Using a rolling pin, roll dough into a rough oval. As you can see from the picture, mine are far from perfect. Don’t worry about it – just make sure it will fit on your pan. Roll your dough until only about 1 mm thick. Place on pan and top the dough with sauce and toppings as you wish!

You can make dough in advance and wrap in plastic wrap to keep in the fridge. It will only last a couple of days, however.

Smothered Pork

This is a fabulous fall dish. And let’s be honest. Fall food is the best food. Root vegetables of every color and shape; fragrant apples and pears juicy as can be; and leafy greens and radish in brilliant Van Gogh shades. Fall is the ideal time to convince children that veggies are good because they become intensely beautiful and delicious.

76391_10101777959651549_1257622926_nI actually didn’t have very high hopes for this recipe. I thought it would be a way to class up some kale, but as it turns out, it was fantastic! I think this dish would make almost anyone happy. Add a roasted veggie side and you have a delicious, fairly healthy meal. It doesn’t take a ton of work. I have even put a crockpot version at the bottom. It will also please meat eaters, because, come on, who doesn’t like pork?

Essentially, this is a pork, onion and kale melange all cooked in its own sauce. The sauce is really lovely in its simplicity. I wasn’t sure how the final product would turn out, but it is actually amazing. I would recommend sifting off some of the fat, though, which I didn’t do.

Adapted from Cooking Light

1 Tbl canola oil

2 lb pork shoulder

salt and pepper to taste

2 1/2 cups sliced onion

1/2 cup chicken broth

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

2 tsp cumin

1 tsp five spice

2 garlic cloves, chopped

5 cups chopped kale

Preheat oven to 325°. Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add canola oil to Dutch oven. Sprinkle pork evenly with salt and pepper. Add pork to pan; cook 7 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove pork from pan and keep warm.

Add onion to pan (add more oil if needed). Cook 5 minutes or until onion begins to brown, stirring occasionally. Add chicken broth, vinegar, spices, and garlic to pan. Bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits.

Return pork to pan. Cover and bake in the oven at 325° for 1 1/2 hours. Add kale to pan; cover and bake at 325° for 30 minutes. Take out and let cool for 15 minutes before serving. Spoon sauce over pork and veggies and serve.

If making in the crockpot, brown all sides of pork roast, then add all of the ingredients to a crockpot and cook on high for 6-8 hours (depending on the strength of your crockpot).

Truffle Veggie Mac and Cheese

Oh. My. God. This recipe is soooo good and soooo easy. It truly is quick gourmet food. This would be a great way to easily impress a bunch of people. Present it with a French accent and REALLY impress them.

“For zee entree – macaroni et fromage.”

If you ever make mac and cheese at home, you’ll never understand why people buy the boxed stuff.  It is so easy. Step 1. Boil some pasta. Step 2. Make a roux. (fancy French word) 3. Add cheese and pour over pasta. Voila! It’s that easy. And then you can impress people that you know the word roux. Don’t let the French words intimidate you. A roux is just some fat (think oil and butter) heated up and whisked with flour. That’s it! It helps make your milk and cheese the thick, creamy consistency that comes to mind when we think of macaroni and cheese. And homemade is far superior to the powdered junk.

This recipe isn’t exactly healthy, but the fact that half of the pasta is subbed out for vegetables not only makes you feel *less* guilty, but adds a nice added layer of texture. Plus, it uses whole wheat pasta and olive oil instead of butter.  So while it still tastes incredibly rich and delicious it is slightly better for you than most mac and cheese.

Adapted from The Comfort of Cooking 

1380565_10101750806766149_1241242200_n1 cup broccoli florets, chopped into small chunks

1 red pepper, diced (I used yellow, but I would use red for color)

1 zucchini, quartered and diced

2 cups whole wheat pasta

1/4 cup olive oil

1 garlic clove, minced

3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups milk

2 cups (8 oz.) shredded Truffle Cheddar (I use Hook’s. If you can get it, you should.)

1/2 tsp thyme

Salt and pepper, to taste

2 Tbsp panko breadcrumbs

Heat oven to 400 degrees (Farenheit).  Put vegetables in a pan large enough to hold the veggies plus the pasta cooked. With just the vegetables in the pan, drizzle with some olive oil. Add thyme in addition to salt and pepper to taste. Roast in the oven for approximately 20 minutes.

While vegetables are roasting, boil a large pot of water. Add 2 cups of pasta and cook until al dente. Strain.

In a saucepan, heat 1/4 cup of oil in the pan, add garlic and cook until fragrant (only a minute). Add flour and whisk vigorously. This will thicken quite fast; you only need to cook for a minute. Gradually whisk in milk, 1/2 cup at a time. Continue to whisk once all the milk is added until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and whisk in cheese. (It is important to do this off of the heat so it doesn’t scorch.)

Pour the cooked pasta into the dish with roasted vegetables and mix. Pour cheese mixture on top. Top with breadcrumbs and place under broiler in your oven for approximately 4-5 minutes.

Let cool for 8-10 minutes before serving.

Quick and Healthy – Greek Turkey Meatballs

My husband and I have been looking at new places to rent and I keep running into the same problem – Small Kitchens!  Some places have less counter space than we have now, which I thought was impossible! When will builders begin making what I want? A house that is half kitchen! I don’t need a bigger bedroom – all I do is sleep in there! Give me a big kitchen.

Sigh. In the meantime, I continue to bake away in the tiny kitchen we have now.

I have been making these meatballs a lot lately. Mainly because they are so versatile. You could easily double this recipe for a small family and use the leftovers to make, meatball sandwiches, toss with pasta, or eat with some roasted vegetables. They are packed with flavor too. Really, these should be called healthier-than-sausage meatballs because they taste a lot like pork sausage, but with much less fat. I like to eat them with tzatziki and pita.

And just wait to see how easy they are to make.

A Delectable Endeavors original

0-31 lb of ground turkey

1/2 cup of breadcrumbs (I like panko)

1 large egg

1/3 of an onion finely minced

red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to taste

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp fennel seeds

1/2 tsp garlic salt

1/2 tsp cracked oregano

1/4 cup of crumbled feta

Mix everything together with your hands. Form into 1 inch large balls.

You have 2 choices for baking. 1. Lightly spray a baking pan and bake them at 350 degrees for approximately 20 minutes. 2. Lightly spray a saute pan and cook them until nicely brown on all sides and cooked all the way through.

The Best (Healthy) Chicken Salad Ever

I know that the title might seem hyperbolic, but this is seriously the tastiest chicken salad I’ve ever had. Honestly, I don’t even really like chicken salad that much. Something about the texture of gooey mayo with chunks of whole chicken just doesn’t do it for me. However, I have found a magical solution to my texture problem – don’t use mayo.

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I know what you are thinking. That’s crazy! Mayonnaise is what makes chicken salad stick together! It is the classic glue of chicken salad! But here is the rub with mayo. 1. It has a strange, sticky texture that doesn’t really lend itself gracefully to nice, delicate chicken salad 2. It is not very healthy.

I’m not saying chicken salad HAS to be healthy. But if you can make it more healthy, and more delicious, why not?

I scoured the internet for recipes for versions of chicken salad that didn’t use mayonnaise. Most use greek yogurt. But I wanted a punch of flavor in mine. Not just plan old yogurt. So, what is a great option instead? Tzatziki!

This is a light, refreshing, Greek flavor inspired chicken salad. It is what I always imagined chicken salad to be. It works really well.

The Best (Healthy) Chicken Salad Ever – A Delectable Endeavor original

1 lb chicken breast cooked and cubed

1 cup tzatziki

5 scallions, thinly sliced

1 red or yellow pepper cut into small, bite-sized pieces

1/2 cucumber cut into small, bite-sized pieces

2-3 oz crumbled feta (depending on how much you like feta)

squeeze of fresh lemon

salt and pepper to taste

Start by draining the tzatziki. You need to get rid of some of the water, or it will make your chicken salad watery and unappetizing. I do this by lining a sieve or strainer with cheesecloth (or paper towel will work too). Place the strainer over an empty bowl. Pour tzatziki into lined strainer and let sit in your refrigerator for a couple of hours.

After tzatziki is strained, take strained mixture and place into a large, clean bowl. Add cubed chicken, scallions, pepper, cucumber, and feta. Fold the mixture gently until well incorporated. Finish by folding in a squeeze of fresh lemon and a little salt and pepper to taste. I like to eat it with pita chips.

Spinach Ricotta Stuffed Shells

Remember how I said I was going to make more vegetarian food?  Here’s a doozy.

When I saw this recipe, I knew I had to made it. Stuffed shells sound and seem like a fancy meal, but they are actually quite easy. Shells are quite forgiving. Even if you tear one, you can just stuff it with some delicious filling and bake away – no one will even notice! And although this is a special-looking dish, it is easy enough to make any night of the week, rounded out with a nice salad.

Adapted from Spoon Fork Bacon

approximately 25 jumbo pasta shells

2 Tbls olive oil 0-1

1 1/2 cup marinara sauce

1/3 cup Parmesan, grated

1 to 1 1/2 cups fresh spinach, washed and torn into pieces

2 cups part-skim ricotta

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 shallot, minced

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tablespoon basil, minced

salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350°F. Pour marinara into the bottom of a 8 x 8 pan.

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add salt, pasta and stir. Cook the pasta until al dente, according to box instructions. Drain pasta and toss with olive oil while still warm.

In a large bowl, mix ricotta, egg, shallot, basil, garlic powder, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Using a spoon, scoop a small about (about a Tablespoon) into each shell, then place shell into the baking dish, on top of sauce. Top with parmesan cheese.

Lightly spray a piece of aluminum foil large enough to cover baking pan. Cover pan with sprayed side down, facing the shells. Tightly cover the pan and bake for 20 minutes. Then, remove foil and continue to bake for approximately 5 more minutes or until parmesan bubbles. Remove from oven and let set for at least 5 minutes before serving.