Category Archives: Dinner Ideas

Smoky Thyme Sweet Potato Hash

Sweet potatoes are such a staple in my life; they can be prepared so many ways, and are appropriate for every occasion.  I always like to have 1 or 2 on hand so I can whip up a meal at a moment’s notice without having to go to the grocery store.  Today I felt like brunch, so I came up with this dish.

Smoky Thyme Sweet Potato Hash | real food. home made.

Smoky Thyme Sweet Potato Hash

Serves: 3

Ingredients:

  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and grated
  • 2 large shallots, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 t sea salt
  • 1/2 t black pepper
  • 1/2 t smoked paprika
  • 1 T fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1-2 T extra virgin olive oil
  • grated fontina cheese (optional)
  • 3 pastured eggs, over easy

Method:

  1. Mix the first batch of ingredients together in a bowl.
  2. Heat EVOO in a large pan or skillet with lid over medium heat.
  3. Add hash mixture, and alternate between frying and steaming with the lid on, stirring intermittently.  (If  you want to attempt to make them super crispy, more power to you, but I’ve never been able to master the technique.)
  4. Prepare your over-easy eggs.
  5. When your hash is done cooking, put a scoop on your plate, a few pinches of cheese (if desired), and the egg on top.

Smoky Thyme Sweet Potato Hash | real food. home made.

Grant likes his with sri racha.  I have a feeling I am going to be making this a lot for dinner this winter.  I hate going to the grocery store after work in sub zero temperatures!  “Iiiiiiiiit’s SMOKY THYME” is surely going to become my new catch phrase.

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Filed under Breakfast, Brunch, Dinner Ideas, Gluten Free, Vegetarian

Orzo Salad with Chickpeas and Kale

Orzo Salad with Chickpeas and Kale | real food. home made.

“Not Your Mama’s Pasta Salad”

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup uncooked Delallo organic whole wheat orzo
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 t dijon mustard
  • juice of 1 small lemon
  • 2 T extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • big handful of kale, torn and stems removed
  • 1 can of garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/3 cup feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup roasted sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup chopped marinated artichoke hearts
  • sea salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Cook your pasta according to package directions.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, combine all other ingredients except kale and 1 T olive oil.
  3. When the pasta is done cooking, strain it and add it to the bowl.
  4. Heat remaining olive oil in a large skillet with lid.  Fry/steam your kale until it both wilts and becomes slightly charred.
  5. Add the kale to the bowl and season to taste!

This is a great combination of textures and flavours.  You can subsitute rice, quinoa, farro or israeli couscous for the pasta if you’d like.  I like Delallo organic whole wheat pastas because they have only one ingredient.

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Filed under Dinner Ideas, Lunch, Salads, Vegetarian

Sweet Potato Noodle & Quinoa Bowl with Roasted Onions

Sweet Potato Noodle & Quinoa Bowl with Roasted Onions | real food. home made.

This amazing creation was invented by the wonderful Ali at her inspirational Inspiralized blog.  I made a few changes, and have come up with one of the most perfect quick after-work dinners!  Most of the time I can make this without even going to the grocery store.

Sweet Potato Noodle Bowl with Quinoa and Roasted Onions

Serves: 3

Ingredients:

  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and spiralized
  • 1 large carrot, spiralized
  • 1 large yellow onion, cut into large chunks
  • 3/4 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 1/3 cups free range chicken broth (buy this one from Trader Joe’s) plus extra, so get a 32 oz carton

For the sauce:

  • 3 T apple cider vinegar
  • 2 T tahini
  • 1 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 T maple syrup, grade b
  • 1 T chicken broth
  • 1 t garlic powder
  • 1/2 t turmeric
  • salt and pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Heat your oven to 425º.
  2. Spread onion chunks on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt & pepper.  Cook for about 20 minutes, until pleasantly roasted.
  3. Put quinoa and chicken broth in a medium sized pot with lid, bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat, cooking for 20 minutes.  (I time this so the onions and quinoa cook at the same time with the same timer).
  4. Use this time to mix your sauce ingredients.
  5. In a large skillet with lid on medium heat, pour in about a 1/4 cup of chicken broth and then add your spiralized veggies, seasoning with salt and pepper.  Alternate between stirring and steaming with the lid on, adding more chicken broth if necessary.
  6. When the noodles reach your desired tenderness, put a scoop of them in a bowl with a scoop of quinoa and a scoop of onions.
  7. Top with your delicious sauce and enjoy!’

Vegan Option: Use vegetable broth

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Filed under Dinner Ideas, Gluten Free, Lunch, Vegetarian

Dirty Bastard Chipotle Chili

It’s been too cold lately & all I want is chili!  Dirty Bastard Chipotle Chili to be exact.

Dirty Bastard Chipotle Chili | real food. home made.

Ingredients:

  • 2 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper (any colour), seeded, and diced
  • 3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lb ground beef or turkey from a local farm
  • 2 1/2 T chili powder
  • 1 1/2 t sea salt
  • 3 t ground cumin
  • 1 t freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 t dried basil
  • 1 bottle of Founders’ Dirty Bastard Ale (or other dark beer if not available)
  • 1/4 cup worcestershire sauce
  • 28 oz diced tomatoes (fresh or canned)
  • 2 T tomato paste
  • 28 oz free range chicken broth
  • 2 cans of beans, rinsed and drained (pinto, kidney, black, navy, cannellini, great northern)

Method:

  1. First, brown your meat and set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a large heavy saucepan over medium heat.
  3. Add your onion, reduce heat to low, and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes.
  4. Add diced bell pepper and cook 5 more minutes.
  5. Add chipotle pepper and garlic, cook 1 minute.
  6. Add browned beef or turkey, your spices, and then the beer, and simmer about 2 minutes.
  7. Stir in Worcestershire sauce and next three ingredients.
  8. Bring to a low boil, and reduce heat to low.
  9. Simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes.
  10. Crack open another Dirty Bastard and sip thoughtfully.
  11. Add beans, stir, and continue to simmer for 10 minutes.
  12. Garnish with shredded cheese if desired, and serve with a slice of  Everyday Crusty Bread.

Dirty Bastard Chipotle Chili | real food. home made.

This recipe makes quite a large batch, so feel free to have some friends over for some snowed-in crafts or board games.  Warning: do not go to sleep or take a nap immediately after eating this chili!  You will get heartburn.  😉  Give this chili recipe a try and let me know how you like it!

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Filed under Dinner Ideas, Soups & Chilis

Sauerkraut, Mushroom & Onion Pierogies

Sauerkraut, Mushroom & Onion Pierogies | real food. home made.

This recipe has two steps.  First you have to make your sauerkraut.  This will be great to have on hand at all times.  It will store in the fridge practically indefinitely, so you can choose to make your pierogies at any time.  You can also feel free to buy pre-made sauerkraut.  Western Market in Ferndale has some incredible sauerkraut varieties, I noticed when I was there today.  I highly suggest making your own sometime, though.  There is something so magical about eating something that has fermented in your basement for a fortnight.  😉

Roasted Jalapeno & Garlic Raw Sauerkraut (from Practical Paleo)

Ingredients:

  • 1 large head of green cabbage, sliced into thin strips (set large outer leaves aside)
  • 1-2 T sea salt
  • 2 large carrots, shredded
  • 2-4 cloves of garlic, finely sliced (2 if large, 4 if smaller)
  • 1-2 jalapeno peppers, roasted then sliced
  • Black pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Place 1/3 of your sliced cabbage into a large bowl and sprinkle 1 T of salt over it.  Using your hands, squeeze the cabbage until water begins to come out of it.
  2. Repeat this process, adding the remaining cabbage and salt 1/3 at a time to the bowl.  This will take time and will be a great workout.
  3. Add the shredded carrots, garlic, jalapenos and black pepper to the mixture and combine with your hands.
  4. Fill two 32 oz mason jars evenly, pressing the mixture down so that water releases and raises above the line of the vegetables with 2 inches of air space remaining at the top.
  5. Wedge the large outer cabbage leaves into the top of the jars so that the mixture is pressed below and the water level raises above the leaf.  A shot glass serves nicely as additional weight to keep the mixture held securely down.
  6. Store the jars in a secure, cool, dark place where they will not be disturbed.
  7. Check on your sauerkraut every few days to make sure that all the vegetables remain under water.  If needed, add some fresh water on top, but you should be okay, especially if you use a shot glass weight.
  8. After two weeks, your sauerkraut will be ready to eat!
  9. Store it in the refrigerator until you are ready to make your pierogies.

Sauerkraut, Mushroom & Onion Pierogies

Ingredients:

For the dough:

  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 large pastured egg
  • 2 tablespoons organic sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup water

For the filling:

  • 1 tablespoon grass-fed butter
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 14-ounces home made sauerkraut
  • 8 oz baby bella mushrooms, coarsley chopped
  • Several grinds of black pepper

For cooking and serving:

  • more butter
  • the other half of the onion, sautéed
  • more sour cream
  • salt to taste

Method:

  1. Knead the dough ingredients together, and store it under a towel until required.
  2. Heat the butter in a frying pan over medium-high heat.  Add the onions and mushrooms, and cook until sufficiently wilted.  Add the sauerkraut, and cook for a few minutes.  Add the pepper, and taste for seasoning.  Add some salt if it needs it.
  3. Transfer the filling mixture to a bowl and let cool.
  4. Start a pot of water boiling.
  5. Flour your workstation.  Take out your dough, and roll it out until it is pretty thin.  I run the dough through my pasta maker, which makes it a bit easier, but I’ve made many a pierogi without one.  If you don’t have a rolling pin, use a pint glass or a 40.
  6. Use a glass or small bowl as a cookie cutter, to create multiple little dough circles.
  7. Taking one dough circle at a time, roll it out slightly bigger, add filling, moisten the edges, and crimp shut around the edges with a fork.
  8. Drop 6 pierogi at a time into the boiling water, letting them swim for about a minute.  Remove them from the water, and place immediately into an adjacent frying pan lined with butter set at medium-high heat.  Fry the pierogi on both sides until desired level of brown-ness has been achieved.  At the polish banquet hall I used to work at, they liked us to brown them ever-so-slightly.  I myself prefer them a darker golden brown.
  9. Serve with sautéed onions and sour cream.

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Filed under Appetizers, Dinner Ideas, Vegetarian

Pesto Pasta with Brussels Sprouts and Apple Chicken Sausage

Pesto Pasta with Brussels Sprouts and Apple Chicken Sausage | real food. home made.

This is a fantastic quick, simple recipe to have in your arsenal.  In a pinch, grab some sausage and brussels sprouts on your way home from work and you can have a delicious dinner on the table in no time.  I almost always have pesto, parmesan, garlic and a variety of whole wheat pastas in stock at home.  One time, the store had no brussels sprouts, so I roasted up some zucchini “coins” instead.  That was okay, but nothing like the brussels sprouts.

Pesto Pasta with Brussels Sprouts and Apple Chicken Sausage

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb brussels sprouts, trimmed and sliced in half
  • 3 T extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 t each of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 12-16 oz whole wheat orecchiette or Tinykada brown rice pasta or pasta of choice (I use 14 oz)
  • 4 chicken & apple sausage links, sliced medium (or any other sausage that you like, just make sure you recognize all the ingredients on the label)
  • 5 cloves garlic, sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup pesto (I never dirty a measuring cup, just spoon in however much you prefer)
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400º.
  2. Slice brussels sprouts, and add them to a bowl with 2 T EVOO and the salt and pepper.  Mix gently and spread them out on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.
  3. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until sprouts are tender and crispys are crispy.
  4. Cook your pasta according to package directions while slicing your garlic and sausage links.
  5. When pasta is cooked, add it to a large bowl with the pesto, parmesan, and the finished brussels sprouts.
  6. In a large skillet, heat 1 T of olive oil over medium-high heat and cook your sausage links until they are browned.  During the last minute of cooking, add in the garlic.
  7. Add your garlic and sausage to the bowl with the rest of the ingredients, stir together, and then serve!

Adapted from Gimme Some Oven

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Rosemary Salmon Risotto

Rosemary Salmon Risotto | real food. home made.

This creamy risotto is perfect for a cool fall evening.  Haven’t made risotto before? Don’t fret!  It is not as difficult as you think.  The trick is to have all your ingredients prepped, measured, and ready to go at a moment’s notice.  As I was making this yesterday, it came time to add the wine and I couldn’t find my wine bottle opener.  Talk about a risotto disaster!

Rosemary Salmon Risotto

Serves: 4

  • 1 pound salmon, preferably wild-caught
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 fresh 6″ rosemary sprigs, chopped
  • sea salt and black pepper
  • 3 T grass-fed butter
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 cup of chopped mushrooms (shiitake or any you prefer)
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 4 cups chicken stock or broth (organic & free-range, preferably homemade)
  • 1 bunch fresh asparagus, top 2/3 of each stalk chopped into thirds then blanched
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 1 T fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 additional chopped rosemary sprig
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese (or a blend)
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 425º
  2. Mince garlic and 2 rosemary sprigs.
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, set the salmon skin side down, and season with garlic, rosemary, salt and papper.
  4. Pour chicken stock in a pot and bring to a boil.  Keep a ladle nearby.
  5. In a separate pot of fairly large size, heat your butter over medium heat.
  6. Add shallot, mushrooms, and a pinch of salt, and sauté for 1-2 minutes.
  7. Add the rice, and cook another 4-5 minutes, stirring constantly.
  8. Add the wine, and stir until almost all liquid is absorbed.
  9. Add one ladle full of stock at a time, stirring intermittently, waiting for the previous liquid to be absorbed before you add the next.  You are going to have to stir quite often.  Not constantly, but often.
  10. When the stock is half gone, roast salmon for about 12-14 minutes or until it is flaky.
  11. When the stock is almost gone, add your asparagus, peas, sun-dried tomatoes, additional rosemary and lemon juice to the rice.
  12. Continue stirring and tasting your rice until it is no longer chewy.
  13. Remove your pot from the heat and stir in the cheese.
  14. Garnish with freshly ground black pepper.
  15. Top with salmon and enjoy.

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Filed under Dinner Ideas, Gluten Free