Time to Cook!

Inspiration for wholesome weeknight & weekend cooking.

Posts from the ‘grains / pasta / potatoes’ category

This is a fun recipe because it’s easy to make, yet looks so elegant!  My kids like this (they think the stack is fun) or it could also make a nice side dish to a fancier dinner if you are entertaining.  It’s so delicious…

Personal Potato Gratin Stacks

Recipe from blog Witty in the City, which was adapted from Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food.

Personal Potato Gratin Stacks

Ingredients:

  • Baking potato – 1 (for 2 servings)
  • Gruyère cheese
  • Cream
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

To make these potato gratins, preheat your oven to 400ºF. Use a mandoline to slice a baking potato into 1/8th of an inch slices. Make sure the slices are all the same size so that the potatoes cook evenly. One potato makes about 6 gratin stacks. Two stacks per person is probably sufficient for most people, but we each ate 3 and wanted more!

Coat a muffin tin with non-stick spray. Put 2 potato slices into each of the cups, and season them with salt and pepper. Sprinkle on some shredded Gruyère cheese. Repeat this process until your muffin tins are full, about 2 more times/4 more slices.

After you’ve salted and peppered the top potatoes, pour 1 tablespoon of cream into each cup. Sprinkle more shredded cheese over the tops.

Bake the potato gratins for 30 minutes or until the cheese is brown and the potatoes can easily be pierced with a fork. Run a small knife around the edges of the stacks to break them free from the muffin tin, and pop them out. I don’t know what happens to the cream, but these potato stacks aren’t liquidy at all.

The top layer is crisp from the cheese and the heat, and the bottom layer is crisp from touching the hot metal muffin tin. And the in-between layers are perfectly soft and cheesy. You can pick these stacks up with your fingers and take bites out of them (me), cut them with a fork and knife like a civilized person (David), or peel each layer apart for more individualized attention (also me). I want another one right now.

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My mother-in-law “Cille” made this for our family when she was visiting and we loved it.  It’s healthy and tasty, it’s a meal in and of itself, it doesn’t make a huge mess in your kitchen, it can be made ahead (I love this!), and you can easily freeze extras for a future dinner.  She used to make this all the time for her four hungry boys growing up (they loved this in high school).  I thought I would take a crack at updating this classic.  For the bell peppers, I substitute yellow and orange peppers for the traditional green peppers (I still make a green one for my husband who is nostalgic!)  Instead of hamburger meat, I use ground bison (it’s healthier and I think tastes so much better).  Instead of white rice, I use farro (it has a nice chewy texture and is fiber rich and is full of minerals) and you can also use pearl barley (also a great source of fiber and can lower cholesterol) or just brown rice.

Meat Stuffed Bell Peppers

Adapted from my mother-in-law Cille’s recipe and one from Emeril Lagasse.

Meat Stuffed Peppers

Serves 6.

Ingredients:

6 bell peppers (try a mix of colors), tops cut away and seeds removed

1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 cup onion, finely chopped

1 pound ground Bison meat (can substitute turkey)

1 garlic clove, minced

1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

pinch of red pepper flakes

2 cups cooked farro or pearl barley (or brown rice)

8-ounce can tomato sauce (Muir Glen Organic)

shredded cheese (mozzarella or cheddar)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large pot of boiling water, parboil the peppers until just tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and dry on paper towels.

In a large saute pan or skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring, until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the bison meat, garlic, parsley, salt, black pepper, and pepper flakes. Cook until the meat is browned, stirring with a heavy wooden spoon to break up the lumps, about 5 minutes. Pour off any excess fat. Add the farro or barley and tomato sauce and stir well. Remove from the heat and adjust the seasoning, to taste.

Pour enough water into a baking dish to just cover the bottom, about 1/8-inch deep. Stuff the bell peppers with the rice mixture and place in the baking dish. Top each pepper with plenty of shredded cheese. Bake until the peppers are very tender and the filling is heated through, 30-35 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

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This rice is so delicious — one taste and you won’t believe you made it!  Nothing hard about this — it just requires you to make the rice the day/night before.  Great served with fish, chicken or steak with an Asian flavor profile.  I have served this with Miso-Glazed Black Cod.

Stir-Fried Brown Rice with Seaweed & Black Sesame

Recipe from Gwyneth Paltrow’s cookbook “It’s All Good

Stir-Fried Brown Rice with Nori + Black Sesame

“This simple dish isn’t just a great way to dress up leftover rice, it actually depends on leftover rice, since leftover rice is drier than freshly cooked rice and the kernels get browned and crispy when you stir-fry them with this lovely combination of flavors.”

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 cups day-old Perfectly Cooked Brown Rice

Coarse sea salt

2 sheets toasted nori seaweed

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

1 teaspoon soy sauce or Tamari

1 teaspoon toasted black sesame seeds

2 scallions, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced

Directions:

Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet set over high heat.  Add the rice, along with a big pinch of salt, and cook, stirring, until warmed through and just barely beginning to brown, 2-3 minutes. Using scissors, shred the nori finely and add it along with the remaining ingredients.  Stir to combine and serve immediately.

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This is such an amazing salad!!  My friend Nicole does catering and cooking classes in San Francisco (Savory Pear) and she came up with this brilliant creation.  She says it gets even better the next day, so a great “make ahead” dish.  To save time, I often buy the container of butternut squash that has already been cut up (but use immediately – it doesn’t last that long!)

Farro Salad with Roasted Squash, Radicchio & Sage

Recipe from blog Savory Pear in the November 2012 Newsletter.

Farro Salad with Roasted Squash, Radicchio & Sage

Ingredients:

1 medium sugar pie pumpkin, butternut squash, delicata squash, or kabocha

1 cup olive oil, divided

1 cup semi pearled farro

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1 medium head of radicchio, cut into 1/4 inch ribbons

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

1 cup vegetable oil

1/2 bunch sage

Directions:

Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees.  Peel, seed, and cut the squash or pumpkin into 1/3 inch cubes.  Toss with 1/2 cup olive oil, pinch of salt and pepper.  Spread into a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet.  Roast for 20-30 minutes until a toothpick inserts easily and the squash or pumpkin is nicely browned.  Let cool.

Place the farro in a large pot of lightly salted water.  Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer until the grains are tender, 15-20 minutes.

While the farro is cooking, combine the vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon salt and some fresh ground pepper in a small bowl and slowly whisk in 1/2 cup olive oil.  Drain the farro and add to a medium or large bowl.  Toss in the vinaigrette (you might not need to use it all) and add radicchio, tossing well and allowing it to wilt slightly.

Heat 1 cup vegetable oil in a saucepan to 350 degrees.  Add 5-6 sage leaves at a time and fry until crispy, 20-30 seconds.  Remove and drain on paper towels.  Repeat with remaining sage.

Just before serving, toss in the roasted pumpkin, crumbled fried sage, and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Serves 6

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I love this simple and versatile side dish.  The texture of Israeli couscous is fun and the fresh herbs make it beautiful and tasty.  I’m not a big fan of tarragon, so I substitute with sage (since I grow it).  If your couscous is at all sticky (mine was), just add another drizzle of olive oil and work through it w/ a spoon, breaking up any clumps.  This can be served warm or at room temperature.

Herbed Israeli Couscous

Recipe from The Culinary Institute of America’s Gourmet Meals in Minutes.

Herbed Israeli Couscous

Total Time: 25 minutes

Makes: 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups israeli couscous
  • 4 cups chicken broth or 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon tarragon, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon rosemary, chopped
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Directions

  1. Heat the olive oil in 2-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the couscous and sauté, stirring constantly, until well coated and aromatic, about 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until just tender, about 10-12 minutes.
  3. Add the herbs and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.
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This is a wonderful and interesting dish – a great option for a vegetarian night.  There are so many tastes (and textures) going on: salty feta and olives , sour dried cranberries, bitter kale, sweet red onion, and aromatic garlic.  I could eat this once every two weeks — and I don’t know why I don’t!  It’s great with linguine, but also great with healthier penne (we often use Barilla Plus or Barilla Whole Grain). In this photo I tried a brown rice penne from Trader Joe’s which was also good.  Two notes: 1) whole wheat pastas don’t reheat that well (so chewy!) just in case you plan to make enough to have leftovers and 2) I thought 5-6 cloves of garlic was plenty (recipe calls for an entire head).

Pasta with Kale, Olives and Cranberries

Recipe from the blog Two Peas and Their Pod.

Pasta with Kale, Kalamata Olives, Dried Cranberries, Toasted Garlic & Feta

Yield: Serves 6-8

This pasta dish is also known as “crazy spaghetti” because it is crazy good-a family favorite!

Ingredients:

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 head garlic, cloves peeled and thinly sliced lengthwise
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 large bunch of kale, stems removed and leaves coarsely chopped
1/2 cup water
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 pound spaghetti or other pasta (we use whole wheat)
1/2 cup Kalamata olives, cut into slivers-pits removed
1 1/2 cups crumbled feta cheese

Directions:

1. Heat olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat until it shimmers, then cook garlic, stirring, until golden, about 3 minutes. Transfer garlic with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Cook onion in the remaining oil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add dried cranberries and cook until plumped, about 1 minute.

2. Add kale leaves into onion mixture with water and 3/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Cook, covered, over medium-high heat until almost tender, about 5 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, cook pasta in a pasta pot of boiling salted water until aldente. Reserve 1 cup pasta-cooking water and drain pasta.

4. Toss pasta with kale, Kalamata olives, and 1/2 cup pasta water. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle feta cheese and garlic chips over the pasta dish and serve warm.

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