Thursday, August 29, 2013

CSA Week 7

I think this is the week that I'm gonna get creative with fruit.  Why?  Because I have so stinking MUCH of it!!

A smart person would have made special note of the two melons listed in our "head's up" e-mail and maybe only purchased one or two other fruits to supplement.  But no.... I went ahead and caved to my (and my boys') fruit obsession.  I bought five.  I know.

It's ok though!  Because there's a watermelon & feta salad I've always wanted to try.  And I'm pretty sure there are a few cantaloupe popsicle recipes out there.  I'll get it used up!

For Week 7 we have:
  • Onions
  • Potatoes
  • Tomatoes
  • Kale
  • Cucumber
  • Scallions
  • Corn
  • Melon
  • Watermelon
  • Purple carrots
  • Basil
  • Eggs (not pictured)

We are supporting LOTFOTL Farm by purchasing a Seesaw Share, plus a dozen eggs.  This means we will get a box of produce and a dozen eggs every other week. To learn more about CSA's and how to participate, visit 
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This Week's Menu

After a summer of "meh" and even downright flop recipes, I'm finally seeing some successes again!  I just added a whole bunch of drafts to my post line up and can't wait to figure out when on earth I'm going to sneak some time away from my crazy kiddos to finish writing them.  I'll figure it out. They have to sleep eventually, right?

Well, until I can get those posted, I'll leave you with this week's plan:
  • Thursday: New Recipe!  Roasted Zucchini Pasta Bake, fresh CSA veggies, and maybe some bread too.
  • Saturday: Last weekend's rib cookoff wasn't quite enough for my winner of this year's Best Rub.  He's cooking more ribs for us and who am I to complain? ;)  I think loaded baked potato casserole and salad would be good.
  • Sunday: New Recipe! Parmesan-Crusted Chicken with Cream Sauce, rice, and steamed veggies.
  • Monday: Happy Labor Day!  We're celebrating with more cooking out... burgers, fries, and some CSA veggies
  • Tuesday: First Day of School for my big 1st grader!!  I think he needs some mac & cheese for dinner.
  • Wednesday: Freezer Find.  I regularly add things to my freezer, I need to make sure I periodically go through and use them up so they don't get freezer burn.
Happy planning!!
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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Pasta with Corn & Kale

I am seriously loving this CSA and all the awesome veggies we get every other week.  Truly, I enjoy the excitement and mystery of "what's in the box this time" and "how am I going to use these.

But MAN it's overwhelming too.  I mean, how on earth can I use up all these veggies and herbs before they go bad??

So when I stumbled across a recipe that used not one, but THREE, of the CSA veggies from our most recent pickup I thought "WOOHOO."  Nevermind the fact that I would normally completely bypass this one, was convinced my boys would hate it, and wasn't even sure I would like it.

Let's hear it for experimentation!!  Because this one is so good I'm seriously contemplating eating this for breakfast.

Pasta with Corn & Kale
Recipe slightly adapted from Food Network Magazine
Prep time: 35 minutes   Cook time: 45 minutes

3 ears of corn
2 1/2 cups uncooked, short-cut pasta [I used whole wheat rotini]
2-3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2-3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 bunch kale, stems removed and chopped or torn into bite-sized pieces
2 scallions, chopped
2 tbsp butter
Salt & freshly ground black pepper

1.  Get out your rarely-used Bundt pan and stand the corn up in the middle of it.  This little tube will hold the corn steady while the kernals fall beautifully into the dish below it.  Using a sharp knife, cut the corn kernals off the cob. Then scrape the sobs with the back of your knife to extract the liquid.  Set aside.
Picture courtesy of my 6-year-old, with the help of a chair.

See? All neatly contained.

2.  Put the corncobs in a large pot and fill with water.  Cover and bring to a boil; salt, then add the pasta and cook as the label directs.  Reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water before draining.  Discard the cobs.
These help give the cooking water SO MUCH extra flavor!!

3.  Meanwhile, heat 2 tbsp EVOO in a large skillet over high heat.  Add the chopped mushrooms in a single layer and cook, undisturbed, until golden, 4 to 5 minutes (psst! You may need to do these in batches if you have a lot of mushrooms).  Season with salt, stir and continue cooking until tender, about 5 more minutes.  Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
I went for the "rustic" look and just hacked away at the 'shrooms

Don't salt until AFTER they get some color; salt brings out the water.

4.  Add the remaining 1 tbsp oil, the garlic, and pepper flakes to the skillet.  Cook, stirring, until the garlic is soft, about a minute.  Stir in the kale and season with salt.  Cover and cook until wilted, about 3 minutes.  Add the corn kernels, mushrooms, scallions, and butter.  Cook, stirring, until the butter is melted and the mixture is heated through, about 2 minutes.
Kale: before wilting

Kale: after wilting.  So pretty!!

5.  Add the pasta and 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water.  Cook, stirring, until heated through, adding more pasta water as needed to loosen the sauce.  Season with salt and pepper.
Just start tossing everything back into the pot.

About 2/3 of the way through cooking this I really couldn't decide how this dish was going to go.  I mean, it's got mushrooms and kale in it.  But it smelled SO GOOD!!  But it has weird ingredients in it.  But it smelled SO GOOD!!  I was in some serious inner turmoil.

I scooped this into bowls and served it with some crusty, whole wheat bread.  I don't think I ate the bread though, as I was too busy inhaling this garlicky, corny, pasta-y goodness.  I truly could not eat my first bowl fast enough because I wanted a second so badly.  I did look up long enough to notice my youngest chowing down on the pasta bits and mushrooms.  And even my Picky Eater, who declared he didn't like it, didn't make that Super Gross Painful Gagging face as he ate his required six bites.  I sense an opportunity there to change his mind.

Because there will be other opportunities as I am SO MAKING THIS AGAIN!!
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Sunday, August 25, 2013

Bacon-Wrapped Cilantro Chicken

It's back-to-school time!  Kids are heading back into the classrooms, back onto sports teams, back into organized groups and activities......

In other words, let the REAL insanity begin.

Now, just because we're all racing around from school to practice to scouts to some other such thing does NOT mean dinner has to be equally rushed and crazy.  By now, y'all should know that it pretty much doesn't matter to me how crazy my life gets.

I WILL figure out a way to get a nutritious, home-cooked meal into my family.  And recipes like this one totally make that easier.

Bacon-Wrapped Cilantro Chicken
Recipe slightly adapted from You Hunt, I Gather
Prep time: 5 minutes   Cook time: 30 minutes

1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped
3 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/4 cup honey
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
12 - 16 chicken tenders
6 - 8 strips of bacon, cut in half

1.  Preheat oven to 400.  Heat a large skillet over medium high heat.

2.  In a large bowl, whisk together the cilantro, mustard and honey.
Basically, you want equal parts honey and cilantro, with slightly less mustard.

3.  Add the chicken to the bowl and toss to coat.  Wrap each piece of chicken in a half strip of bacon and carefully lay in the hot skillet (No toothpicks required?!?!?  HALLELUJAH and PRAISE JESUS!!!).  Quickly brown the bacon-wrapped chicken on all sides and then remove to an ungreased baking dish.  You don't want to cook the chicken in the skillet, just get the bacon starting to crisp.
No need to get fancy; use your hands to coat the chicken.

4.  Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until the juices run clear.
I may have gotten distracted unloading the dishwasher while the 2nd batch was in the pan.

When I first saw the measurements for this recipe, I was super skeptical.  I mean, I like cilantro but this really calls for that much?  So glad that I actually followed the recipe for once and didn't reduce it.  The Dijon totally stands up to cilantro's distinct flavor while the honey plays mediator and calms everyone down.  And with the salty bacon coming along and giving everyone a group hug, how could this dish not have a happy ending?!

Seriously, it takes seconds to whip up this marinade and minutes to wrap up the chicken.  And there's no reason why these couldn't be assembled in the morning, waiting to be cooked up when you get home at night.  See?  Homemade dinner is totally doable, even on the busiest of evenings.              

p.s. If cilantro truly isn't your thing then use another herb you like instead.  Just remember that you might need more or less depending on what you pick.  Parsley might need a larger measurement, while rosemary might need to be cut down a bit.  Play around with it!                                                                                                                                                                                                            
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Thursday, August 22, 2013

This Week's Menu

I'm working on the post for last night's dinner.  But since my boys rarely give me a ... Excuse me a second while I go get my youngest a snack.

Where was I? Oh yes, no time to myself.  Certainly not to blog much at least as you've most likely noticedx this summer. ;)  But while you're patiently waiting for recipes, I hope I can tide you over with this week's meal plan:

  • Thursday: Quesadillas.  Cheese for my boys but I like a little more substance to mine.
  • Friday: Pizza and popcorn
  • Saturday: Some friend's of ours have a "little" festival every year and always incorporate a rib cook-off.  Rob's won the best all-around ribs for the last couple years so he'll be defending his title again!  I think I'll make a vat of cole slaw to bring along.
  • Sunday: Roast chicken with root vegetables, and mashed potatoes just sounds really good right now.
  • Monday: Pancakes!  With blueberries too if I can hide them from my kiddos for that long.
  • Tuesday: New Recipe! Slow Cooker Barbecue Brisket, a kale salad, and cornbread
  • Wednesday: Leftovers.
Happy planning!!
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Saturday, August 17, 2013

CSA Week 6

At this moment, when all around me is crazy, and I'm just trying to get my kids and my life back to normal, all I can think is...."I got tomatoes and onions, and I have jalapenos in my own garden....SALSA TIME!!!"

Now who wants to make me a margarita to go with?

For Week 6 we got:
  • Red onions
  • Potatoes
  • Scallions
  • Tomatoes
  • Kale
  • Cucumber
  • Beets
  • Cabbage (again????  Ok LOTFOTL, I'm over the cabbage)
  • Corn
  • Summer Savory Herb (some kind of thyme I think?)
  • Eggs (not pictured)
Besides the salsa that I'm so stinking excited about, I'm going to use the corn in a couple different meals this week, and the potatoes and beets too.  The herbs I need to think on, and the cabbage is really beginning to stump me.  But I'll get it all figured out!

We are supporting LOTFOTL Farm by purchasing a Seesaw Share, plus a dozen eggs.  This means we will get a box of produce and a dozen eggs every other week. To learn more about CSA's and how to participate, visit 
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Thursday, August 15, 2013

This Week's Menu

I've been home from our latest (and LAST) vacation this summer for about an hour.  There are bags yet to be unpacked, toys everywhere as my kids get re-acquainted with them, and Rob's out picking up the dog from the vet and our CSA vegetables from our local coffee-shop pickup site.  So of course now just seemed like the perfect time to ignore it all and play on my computer.

And since I have to plan meals anyway so I can get the right groceries tomorrow, why not take an extra moment to tell you about what I have in mind this week? :)

  • Thursday: Leftovers OR sandwiches. I discovered a bag of pizza from last Friday and I think I have some other still-good goodies hidden in there somewhere.  Tonight it all about Free-For-All
  • Friday: Pizza and popcorn
  • Saturday: Grilling some kind of meat (whatever's on sale), corn-on-the-cob, and roasted potatoes/carrots/beets
  • Sunday: New Recipe! Bacon-Wrapped Cilantro Chicken, rice, and a CSA veggie
  • Monday: Sandwiches and carrot sticks for my boys as Rob and I have another date planned!
  • Tuesday: Leftovers
  • Wednesday: New Recipe! Pasta with Corn & Kale.  It's possible this might actually turn into a side dish and I'll make some kind of meat to appease my Carnivore Hubby.
I'll try to get this week's CSA post up tomorrow.  Until then...

Happy planning!!
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Thursday, August 1, 2013

CSA Week 5

Our CSA life is still going strong!!  If I haven't talked you into trying one yet, I seriously recommend at least checking it out and seeing what farms in your area do this.  I LOVE discovering what new little gems are waiting for us at each pickup.

For Week 5 we got:

  • Beans
  • Sweet Onion
  • Cabbage
  • Young Potatoes
  • Summer Squash OR Cucumbers
  • Kale
  • Parsley
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Eggs (not pictured but we did get them; I didn't feel like pulling them back out of the fridge)
Now, you might notice that there are some things in the above picture that I don't have listed, and vice versa.  That's because we decided to participate in the Swap Box this week.  There's always a bin at the pickup location where you can take out things you don't like, leave them in the Swap Box, and grab extras of things you do like.  We've really tried to not use this too much because I didn't want to be tempted to take out the veggies that scared me and leave them in the Swap Box; that would defeat the purpose of our experiment!  However, I planted parsley in my little garden this year and it's going NUTS.  So I felt good leaving that in the box and taking a gorgeous head of lettuce.  Plus, I wanted a cucumber so we kept the zucchini, but traded the yellow squash for the cucumber.  So this week we really customized our veggies to what we wanted.  I'm looking forward to using them!!

We are supporting LOTFOTL Farm by purchasing a Seesaw Share, plus a dozen eggs.  This means we will get a box of produce and a dozen eggs every other week. To learn more about CSA's and how to participate, visit 
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This Week's Menu

These are the weeks (you know...the ones right after a week or more of vacation) where I am SO STINKING THANKFUL for my freezer.  I am such a planner, especially with food, that it's incredibly hard to figure out meals each night without a game plan.  I would say 3 of the last 4 nights I've planted myself in front of my beloved deep freezer to see what bounteous offering she had for me.

Her offerings are starting to look a little light now actually.  Thank God harvest season is fast approaching!

But until I get to dealing with restocking her, I first need to deal with the next week's meals:

  • Thursday: Leftovers. I've pulled some big meals out of the freezer this week; plenty for us to clear out and make some space for our CSA vegetables!
  • Friday: Pizza and popcorn for my boys.  It's stadium food for Rob and I as we finally head out on a DATE!!  Gee, is it obvious I don't get much alone time with my hubby? ;)
  • Sunday: Cookout with friends.  And I volunteered to bring a dish but I don't have any guidelines on that yet.  So I'm thinking I just might get creative with my pantry.
  • Monday: Tuna Casserole, fresh bread.
  • Tuesday: Leftovers. Again.  When it's just my little guys and me, we don't go through dinners quite as quickly so I can get away with two leftover nights in a week.
  • Wednesday: New Recipe! Chicken (and broccoli??) Alfredo, tossed salad.
Happy planning!!
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