As the weather gets cooler, creamy dishes sound better and better. I mean, let’s be real, creamy dishes are ALWAYS good but I actually start to crave them as the temperature drops. We had a weird snap of cool weather in August that spawned this alfredo-esque recipe. I didn’t even have a fully formed plan when I started making this but when I had the first bite I knew I was onto something. Continue reading
We have entered into the season of parties. Office parties, family gatherings, downtown bashes. Everywhere you look there seems to be another party celebrating the season.
And I love it. Continue reading
Because I mostly eat a plant based diet, I don’t make many marinades. For some reason, I always forget about marinading vegetables and this makes me sad because I love the flavor a good marinade can impart. Plus marinades don’t have to be super complicated and can be made with the things you already have on hand.
Mushrooms were on sale at Jewel the past week so I decided it was time to make a good vegetable marinade. This one would also be really good with eggplant or maybe some jicama. Oooo, jicama would be tasty…. Anyway, this marinade pulls double duty in this recipe because it turns into the sauce at the end of the process. Good for you because it means less work for a super tasty dinner.
Make sure you leave enough time to marinate the mushrooms for at least 12 hours, preferably a full 24. That gives the dish the most intense flavor.
Marinated Mushrooms and Roasted Rutabaga with Smoked Paprika Sauce
For the marinade:
- 4-5 cups sliced mushrooms, I used cremini but use what you like
- 1 cup onion, chopped
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 tbsp cilantro, chopped
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp smoked paprika
- 2 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp cumin
- salt and pepper to taste
- Place all ingredients into a large container or zip lock bag and mix to combine. Put in the fridge to marinade for at least 12 hours, 24 hours if you can.
For the roasted rutabaga:
- 3 cups rutabaga, cubed (I used a medium-sized rutabaga)
- olive oil
- Italian seasonings
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1-quart vegetable broth or water
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- Preheat oven to 400. Place cubed rutabaga onto a large baking sheet lined with a Silpat or parchment paper. Drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle with herbs and spices. Toss to coat and roast for 30 minutes rotating halfway through.
- Once the rutabaga has finished roasting, heat a teaspoon of olive oil in a large pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add in the mushrooms and all the marinade and saute for 5-7 minutes.
- Add in the rutabaga and mix to make sure they are covered with the marinade too. Cook for another minute. Pour in the vegetable broth or water and season with extra smoked paprika and salt and pepper.
- Stir everything together and bring the broth to a boil. Once it’s boiling lower to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once the sauce has thickened it’s ready.
At first glance, it looks like there are a lot of steps and a lot of ingredients, but half of them are for the marinaded mushrooms and that is the easiest part. This meal is good enough on its own but if you want an even heartier meal you can serve it over rice or pasta. You can also use this marinade on chicken or pork and use those instead of the mushrooms. Or use all of the meat and vegetables, it’s all fair game!
It’s been a struggle, but I think spring is almost here. Every time I say that we slip back into 30 degree temperatures with a chance of flurries in the forecast. But I’m going to be optimistic and say the worst is passed and sunshine and warmth is right on the horizon.
One of the ways I’m able to stay so optimistic is that spring produce is starting to hit the shelves. Things like asparagus, peas, leeks, and mushrooms are all emerging and signaling the end of a long winter. When new fruits and vegetables come to the grocery store I always get excited to try new recipes and come up with some delicious meals.
I can’t take all the credit for this dish though. It was largely influenced by Keepin’ It Kind’s Pumpkin Seed Pesto Rice Casserole. I really liked the idea of using a pesto as the sauce in a casserole. I changed a few things up and loaded it with a lot of yummy spring vegetables. I brought it along with me to my families Easter brunch and they seemed to enjoy it. It’s great to feed a crowd and really simple to put together, plus the leftovers are delicious!
Slightly adapted from Keepin’ It Kind’s Pumpkin Seed Pesto Rice Casserole
- 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
- 1 cup spinach (I used frozen but if you use fresh add another cup)
- 3 large cloves garlic
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1 cup chopped asparagus
- 1 package mushrooms, sliced (any variety, I used baby bella)
- 1 cup peas
- 2 leeks, white parts only, sliced
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 1 15 oz. can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup cooked brown rice or quinoa
- 2 tsp Italian seasoning
- salt and pepper to taste
- lemon juice to taste
Bread crumb topping
This topping is totally optional but adds a nice crunch. If you’re gluten-free use your favorite gluten free bread.
- 2-3 slices bread, dried out
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1/2 tsp basil
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- 1/4 tsp salt
1. Start by making your bread crumbs. Place everything in a food processor or blender and pulse a few times until you have a crumb consistency. Set aside.
2. Make your pesto next. Combine all pesto ingredients in a food processor or blender until you reach desired consistency.
3. Next, heat a large pan over medium high heat. Saute the onion and leeks until soft, about 5 minutes. Then add in the mushrooms and cook until their size reduces by half. Then add in the peas, asparagus, rice, beans, and seasonings and heat through for another 5 to 8 minutes. Place this mixture into a large bowl.
4. Preheat oven to 375. Scoop the pesto into the large bowl and combine everything really well. You don’t want any large chunks of pesto hanging out in the mix. Then pour the mixture into a lightly oiled casserole dish and sprinkle the bread crumbs across the top. Place in the oven and cook for 20 to 25 minutes or until the bread crumbs are golden brown.
And that’s it! A simple spring casserole that is easy to make and tasty to eat!
What are some of your favorite spring vegetables and how do you like to eat them?
Happy Friday everyone and have a great weekend!
Polenta is one of my favorite things because it is so versatile and super tasty. Maybe you have heard of it or you’re scratching your head right now going, “Po-whatta?” Polenta is a fairly simple dish made of cornmeal that has been boiled into a porridge like consistency. After it has been boiled, polenta can be served in a variety of ways. You can eat it as is, or you can let it set and bake, fry, saute, or even grill it. It pairs well with so many things; one of my favorite ways to eat it is to top it with a mushroom gravy. Because it is so easy to make, polenta makes a really great side dish, but it can easily be made into the main course. I have a few different recipes that utilize polenta that I plan on sharing soon, but I thought that I would just give you the basic steps to making polenta as well as a few easy ways to “fancy” it up.
- 1 cup yellow cornmeal
- 3-4 cups water/milk/non-dairy milk*
- 1 tsp salt
*If you are going to be eating the polenta in it’s porridge like form, use 4 cups of your choice of liquid. If you want to let it set and then use it, use 3 cups. I like doing a mix of water and either almond or coconut milk. Using milk makes it a little creamier than just plain water, but water works just as well.
1. In a medium saucepan bring your water/milk and 1 tsp salt to a rolling boil. Once at a boil, grab a whisk in one hand and your one cup of cornmeal in the other. Slowly add the cornmeal to the water while constantly whisking with your other hand. This helps to make sure there are no lumps.
2. Turn the heat down to low and cook until the cornmeal is nice and thick and starting to pull away from the sides of the pot. Stir often and watch out for polenta splatters!
3. You can eat it as is at this point or you can let the polenta set so you can slice it and bake or grill it. Grease or line any pan that has an edge with parchment paper and pour the polenta out. Spread the polenta evenly and place it in the fridge for at least an hour or in the freezer for 20 to 30 minutes. Once the polenta is set you can cut it up and prepare it however you would like!
That is seriously it when it comes to making polenta. I told you it was really easy! Now there are a few things that you can do to jazz it up and make it even tastier. You could:
- Add in shredded cheese or butter to make it even creamier.
- Try out different seasonings. I like adding in garlic and Italian seasonings as well as taco seasonings
- Top with gravy, vegetables, meat, or any kind of sauce
- Use it as the base for a casserole (I have a recipe for this coming soon!)
Experiment with a few different things and find out what you like best. Polenta is a very neutral canvas when it comes to food, so it is really easy to pair with many different creations. Go pick up a bag of cornmeal (if you can find it in bulk, it is really cheap!) and get your polenta on!