I found GFreeLaura through Twitter awhile back and tweeted her to say I loved her bio slogan: “Young, wild & #glutenfree.” That turned into us planning guest posts for each others’ blogs since we both share a love of the gluten-free lifestyle.
And a quick funny story about this recipe: I had a red pepper on hand, as well as gluten-free pasta and leeks left over from butternut squash mac and cheese with leeks, so I used my handy dandy sourcing skills and performed a Boolean search on Google for a fitting recipe:
(noodles OR pasta) AND “red pepper” AND leeks
I then tweeted my old boss the following: “I now use #Boolean searches for everyday things, like finding recipes on Google. #sourcerproblems.”
His response: “@cmroman Ah we raised you well. #perfectstudent #sourcing.” Haha!
They say you are what you eat, so I may turn into a cauliflower soon. In one evening, I made cauliflower rice, butternut squash cauliflower risotto, and cauliflower fritters (which taste like potato latkes!).
Cauliflower “rice” has been been floating around the blogosphere for some time now, so I decided it was time to take the plunge and try it out. Even if you’re not super nutrition-conscious, it’s hard to ignore these stats:
Not to mention that the cauliflower rice is SO good!
- 1/2 head of cauliflower
- 1/2 bag of frozen peas and carrots
- 1/2 medium onion
- 2 eggs
- Soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, and/or sriracha for seasoning
- Canola oil
In a bowl, thaw frozen peas and carrots. Clean and dry cauliflower thoroughly, then destem and chop into bite-sized chunks. Use a food processor on the pulse setting or a knife to chop cauliflower into rice-sized pieces.* Finely chop half a medium onion and saute over medium-low with canola oil until translucent (4-5 minutes). Add peas and carrots, and cook until the water evaporates (1-2 minutes). Add 2 scrambled eggs and cook fully. Add cauliflower “rice” and cook over medium-high, adding several dashes each of soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, and sriracha, if you like spicy foods. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 8-10 minutes or until cauliflower is crispy.
In order to ensure crispy, not soggy ingredients:
- Use a large skillet so the ingredients aren’t crowded
- You may need to cook the cauliflower rice in two batches
- Use canola oil (not olive oil); add more if needed for added crunch
- Make sure that the cauliflower is dry
- Don’t overstir!
You can also add chicken or pork to the dish to make it more hearty!
*This step can be a bit tedious if you don’t have a food processor, so share the task with a friend or rock out (carefully) to Stereo Love on Pandora
I recently made potato leek soup and mourned the loss of the dark green part of the leeks as I went to throw them away. Right as my hand hovered over the trash can, I decided to keep the leek scraps and find something to do with them.
After a quick Google search, I decided to put half of them into a bowl with other vegetable scraps to make turkey stock and the other half into a skillet with a bit of olive oil and butter. I had no idea that the final product would be crunchy, salty sticks with tons of flavor!
If you like salty snacks like chips, popcorn, nuts, or Trader Joe’s Inner Peas, this is the snack for you! If you hate wasting food, also for you
Thinly slice the dark green parts of the top of leeks. In a skillet, heat a pat of butter and a dash of olive oil over medium-low. Add leek pieces. Saute for 20-25 minutes, then turn to high for 1 minute to make the sticks extra crunchy. Season with sea salt and enjoy!
P.S. Please feel free to sing my made-up song as you prepare these weird snack sticks: “Oooh, the weirdest snack!” Sung to the tune of Sweetest Thing by U2. Haha, normal…
If you had shown me this recipe or given me this open-faced apple cheddar sandwich a year ago, I would have
politely wholeheartedly declined. Sweet apples, sharp cheddar, and spicy mustard? Nooooo thanks (says former me).
But current me says, “The sweetness and slight crunch of the Gonagold apples, the sharpness of the New York cheddar, and the spiciness of the mustard? Bring it on!”
Add to the pretty amazing mix of flavors the fact that this is insanely easy to make- pretty much a winner for a snack or as part of a meal!
Just spread bread (gluten-free if you need) with spicy mustard then layer with thinly sliced apples and sharp cheddar. Broil until the bread is toasted and the cheese is melted.
P.S. For a more hearty snack or meal (albeit not vegetarian), consider adding sliced chicken a la Iowa Girl Eats.
Though I’m a soup aficionado (though more so on the enthusiasm side than the knowledge side), I’ve never made my own stock. I cooked a 6 pound turkey- nicknamed Bradley- for my second Thanksgiving on Saturday, so I figured I’d give stock a test-drive with the leftover turkey carcass (sounds appetizing, huh?).
I just placed the turkey remnants in my Crockpot and added in carrot peels, the dark green tops of leeks, onion skins, and celery tops. I covered everything with water and let it stew overnight on low.
The next morning, after straining all the big pieces out, I had a richly colored, flavorful stock to use as a base for soups!
Haha, you can see the apple icon from my computer in the reflection!
Here are a few tips:
- Be sure to clean your vegetable scraps thoroughly before adding them to the stock
- Keep a Ziploc bag of meat and vegetable scraps in the freezer to add to as they come. Once you have enough, make a pot of stock
- Once the stock is cooled, you can skim the fat off the top and dispose of it
- Wilted vegetables and herbs are great for stock
- Seafood shells (crab, lobster, etc) can be used for seafood stock
- Cheese rinds can be used for a slightly cheesy stock
- Freeze stock in a silicone muffin tin. When frozen, pop out and put in a Ziploc bag for individually-sized stock portions
P.S. Here is a helpful roundup of posts about making homemade stocks and broths from TheKitchn
Stop- do not throw away those butternut squash or spaghetti squash or acorn squash seeds! I have an easy and insanely use for them. Have you ever had Trader Joe’s Popcorn with Herbs and Spices? This is kind of like that, but maybe healthier. They also taste similar to an everything bagel, but definitely healthier!
- Sea salt
- Italian seasoning
- Dried minced onions
- Garlic powder
Separate butternut squash seeds from all other butternut squash pieces. Rinse and pat dry with a paper towel. Preheat oven to 325. Put seeds in a baking pan and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle dried minced onion, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning over top; stir to distribute evenly. Bake for 30-40 minutes, tossing every 5-10 minutes, or until seeds are crunchy and golden brown. Be sure to watch carefully since they can go from golden brown to burnt in a matter of minutes!
Remember how I used to make tofu masala relatively frequently? I decided to revamp the recipe to include butternut squash, which means I have another easy fall recipe for you!
- 1 block of firm tofu
- 1 jar of Trader Joe’s Masala Simmer Sauce
- 1/2 butternut squash
- 1 leek
- 1/2 onion
- Olive oil
- Dried red chili peppers
- Soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil (all optional)
1. Press tofu (you can do this with a tool like the Tofu Xpress or with this method)
2. If desired, marinate pressed tofu with soy sauce (gluten-free if need be), garlic, rice vinegar, olive oil, and/or sesame oil for added flavor
3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut butternut squash in half and remove seeds (put aside for my next recipe!). Drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper, and dried red chili pepper flakes. Put in baking pan with about an inch of water on bottom. Roast half of the squash until tender, about 30 minutes. Cut into bite-sized cubes.
4. Trim, clean, and slice leeks. Peel and chop onion. In a skillet over medium low, saute leeks and onion with olive oil and red chili peppers until tender.
5. Add all other ingredients (tofu, butternut squash, and masala sauce) to the skillet and simmer for 20-30 minutes.
Enjoy over rice (gluten-free) or with naan (unfortunately not gluten-free)!
P.S. Ever used a Tofu Xpress? I hadn’t until I moved in with my roommate, who has one. It’s a pretty convenient little contraption that presses the water out of tofu, making it better for grilling and baking. It can also be used to press water out of things like sliced eggplant (I used it for eggplant moussaka the other day) and thawed spinach or kale (which I did for this spiced lentil kale soup from Oh She Glows). It comes for the pretty hefty price tag of about $39. It’s nice to have in the kitchen, but I’m not sure I’d paid that much for it! So thanks, roommate
Nothing says fall to me like butternut squash. I’m so obsessed that my friend once told me if I had a word cloud for my life, butternut squash would be in big letters (“That’s what she said” would probably be in huge letters too…).
And leeks in soup? Such a delicious way to get a creamy texture without dairy. If you’re my friend, you’ve probably heard me go on and on about potato leek soup.
You could even play around with this soup by adding a potato for an even creamier texture. Or mix up the spices by subbing basil and oregano for the nutmeg.
Or just follow my recipe
- 1/2 large butternut squash (peeled, de-seeded, and chopped into bite-sized chunks)
- 1 1/2 leeks (trimmed, cleaned, and sliced)
- 1 medium onion (chopped)
- 1 clove of garlic (diced)
- 4 chicken bouillon cubes and 4 cups of water or 4 cups of chicken broth or 4 cups of vegetable broth
Prep vegetables. Combine broth and vegetables in Crockpot. Sprinkle 2-3 dashes each of salt, pepper, and nutmeg on top. Cook on low in Crockpot for 6-7 hours. Allow to cool for several minutes, then blend with an immersion blender (or leave chunky if desired). Serve hot with a dollop of sour cream, if desired.
P.S. Do your hands ever get itchy, red, and start peeling when you handle butternut squash? Mine do and I found out why: butternut squash dermatitis! The best solution is to wear gloves or buy pre-chopped butternut squash.
I’m not going out of town this weekend (WOOHOO!), which means I did some pretty serious stocking up on groceries at Trader Joe’s and the farmers’ market yesterday. I also bought some nonperishables, including quinoa, red lentils, and nutritional yeast, from the bulk section of Whole Foods last week.
My boyfriend and I kicked off the week with an amazing home-cooked meal of Trader Joe’s Garlic & Herb Sirloin Steak (cooked on the grill then dipped in this horseradish dipping sauce), a green bean casserole (adapted from this gluten-free recipe), and mashed parsnips with caramelized onions, feta, and horseradish (inspired by the meal at the wedding I went to this past weekend). Not too shabby for a Monday night (or any night!), huh?
Ingredients for horseradish dipping sauce
Here’s what else caught my eye online this week:
This week, I’ll also be making butternut squash leek bisque, an eggplant dish, and spinach quinoa turkey meatloaf. I haven’t found the recipes that I’m using yet, so feel free to send me suggestions!
Cooking with these beat up bad boys this week
Last Sunday, I went to Trader Joe’s for the first time in way too long! I stocked (overstocked?!) up on my usual food items, but discovered a few new items to test out.
From top, clockwise: Pumpkin Cream Cheese ($2.99 for 7 oz), Instant Miso Soup ($3.29 for 4 packages), Pumpkin Spice Rooibos ($3.99 for 20 bags), Inner Peas ($1.29), and Spicy Jalapeno Chicken Sausage ($3.99 for 5 sausages).
I’ll be spreading the cream cheese on rice cakes and possibly baking with it, throwing vegetables and meat into the miso soup to make it more filling, serving the pumpkin tea with a tiny bit of honey, trying not to eat the whole bag of Inner Peas as a snack, and eating the chicken sausages in soup or served on gluten-free bread with onions, peppers, and Frank’s Red Hot.
Have you tried any of these products? What are your favorite Trader Joe’s finds?
P.S. Did you know that Trader Joe’s will open any product for you to sample? I can’t remember where I read that but I asked to do it for the pumpkin cream cheese and they were very gracious about it. That stuff is aaaamzing, so I immediately threw it into my cart! Don’t forget the tip about bringing your own bag too.