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Liz’s Beef Ragu

 

Weekends are perfect for those meals that take just a bit more time to prepare. This recipe is perfect for that. Not only does it make a ton (yay leftovers!) but it makes the house smell wonderful. I loved walking into the house and smelling the wine, sauce, veggies, and herbs. In the midst of getting all the ingredients together I realized I forgot the mushrooms. Luckily, thanks to my amazing garden, I have a ton of alternatives. I opted to use zucchini since those made an appearance in my garden first. It was a nice replacement for this version. I have made it previously with mushrooms and it’s perfection, but in a pinch any substitute will do, honestly. Even eggplant would be great. It’s also a great way to use those veggies sitting around. I always buy carrots and celery with the best intentions and then usually they go to waste. I REALLY need to be better about composting. Another great alternative to those about to expire veggies is making your own veggie broth. So good! This hearty meal also freezes well, so you can enjoy a nice weekend meal on a week night.

 

 

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in a heavy pot. Season the meat with salt and pepper, and sear on both sides. Remove from the pot and set aside. Add veggies to the pot a cook on medium heat, adding more oil if needed. Add the meat back into the pot along with the crushed tomato, diced tomatoes, beef broth, red wine, herbs, and Worcestershire. Stir all ingredients together and cook for about 3 hours or until the meat falls apart easily. Serve with pasta of your choice. Top with Parmesan cheese (obv!)

Notes

Creamy Corn Pasta With Basil

 

I feel like I’m back in business. I’m at least feeling better and I’m so excited to share this recipe with you. Like literally excited. It’s so good and so easy. It tastes like you are eating something that was super complicated to make, but could not be easier. It all comes together in the time it takes to boil the pasta. I first hear about this recipe from Clinton Kelly. Because I’m obsessed with The Chew and I love Clinton, I had to trust his suggestion to give this recipe a shot. It also makes great left overs. Like great in the sense that I brought my leftovers and a coworker smelled it and asked for the recipe and made it for dinner that night great. The best part about this healthier pasta dish is that although it says creamy, there is literally no cream in it. It’s a lighter dish that is so satisfying. I love the flavor with the torn basil, fresh lemon juice, extra Parmesan cheese (because you must have cheese). If you wanted to add some meat to this, I would suggest some crisp bacon or pancetta. I’m sure it would be absolutely lovely.

 

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cooking the pasta according to the box instructions for al dente. Drain the pasta reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta water.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the scallion whites and a pinch of salt. Cook until the scallions are soft, about 3 minutes. Add 1/4 cup of water and all but 1/4 cup of the corn. Heat the corn mixture until the corn is almost tender, about 3-5 minutes. Add some salt and pepper and then transfer the mixture to a blender. Puree until smooth adding some water to thin as needed. You want the mixture to be thick, yet pourable.
  3. In the same skillet, melt the butter over high heat. Add the reserved 1/4 cup of corn and cook until tender. It's ok if the butter browns at this point. Add the corn puree and cook for 30 seconds.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium and add in the pasta. Add half of the reserved pasta water tossing to coat. Cook for about 1 minutes and gradually add more pasta water as needed, if the mixture seems too thick. Stir in 1/4 cup scallion greens, the Parmesan cheese, basil, and salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with fresh lemon juice. Serve warm! Top with additional scallions, basil, and cheese as you would like.

Notes

This recipe is very slightly adapted from NYT cooking.

Creamy Tomato Orzo Soup

 

We are half way through the week! This week has felt like the longest week. Honestly it feels like it took an eternity to get to Wednesday, but we’re here and that feels comforting. So, I offer you this comforting classic. Something about a creamy tomato soup makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. This version is super easy and healthy. Rather than adding cream, you use Greek yogurt which provides creaminess, but also ups the protein of the dish. It’s such a quick and easy weeknight meal. I used my immersion blender to blend it up, but you can use your food processor or blender to get the job done. What I find, when I use the immersion blender, the more liquid the better success you will have (duh!). I use a heavier pot for soups, so often the liquid is shallow, especially if I’m not making a huge pot. If you start out on the slower speed, tilt the pot to allow the liquid to pool on one side, giving you more liquid to work with. Once you slowly start to blend the liquid, you can crank that baby up and go to town. It’s seriously that easy. This soup is incredibly tasty and pairs VERY well with grilled cheese sandwiches or a nice piece of toasty warm bread.

Instructions

  1. In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add in the onion cooking until tender, about 8 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about a minute more. Stir in the bay leaves and dried basil.
  2. Add in the diced tomatoes and chicken broth. Stir in brown sugar and season with salt and pepper. Simmer on low for about 15 minutes allowing the flavors to combine.
  3. Remove the bay leaves and using your immersion blender, blend the soup together. Stir in the Greek yogurt and Orzo. Serve warm.

Notes

This recipe is slightly adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod.

Steak and Veggie Kabob

 

You know what I usually love about this time of year? Grilling. You know what we haven’t been able to do a ton of? Grilling. On the days it’s nice, you can bet that we will be out there making something on the grill. Lately though, it’s been unseasonably cooler, which wouldn’t be a problem, I’m from New England after all, but it’s been rainy. But, on one of the warmer days I was able to test out this recipe. The homemade marinade was so good. We happened to use steak for this version, but you could use anything, even just veggies. The marinade is so simple. You probably have everything you need already on hand. I literally just combine everything in a mason jar and shake it up to combine. Pour over the kabob and let it sit overnight, and you have got yourself a tasty lunch or dinner. It’s always a delicate balance to make sure you don’t under or overcook the veggies that you are using. Keeping cuts consistent, is key. And get creative with the combination. I personally love the grilled flavor of vegetables and pretty much anything.

 

Instructions

  1. To make the marinade, combine the marinade ingredients in a mason jar and shake it up.
  2. For the kabobs, soak wooden skewers in water for about 20 minutes. Assemble the kabob by alternating vegetables and meat. Pour marinade over the kabobs and let them sit overnight.
  3. To cook, place on a hot grill and grill up to preferred doneness.

Notes

BLT Pasta Salad

 

Since flaking on my post yesterday, I wanted to make up for it by posting something that included bacon. This BLT pasta salad is something I’ve been dreaming about. When reality set in, I was not disappointed. This turned out fantastically. For me, spring/summer time sides are so fun. Various salads, fresh produce, so many options. Pasta salad is not something we eat often, but when we do, I want to make it worthwhile. Also, any time I have an excuse to add bacon to a dish, I will gladly do so. Any pasta would be great, but for this I opted for heartier tortellini. The dressing is adapted from this veggie dip that I had made, which essentially tasted like a homemade ranch dip. It was the perfect dressing for this dish. Bonus, the fresh herbs make it look so pretty.

Ingredients

For the salad

For the dressing

Instructions

  1. Cook your tortellini according to the package instructions. For the bacon, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Place strips of bacon on your baking sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes or until crispy. Baking time will vary depending on the thickness of your bacon.
  2. To make the dressing combine the ingredients in a small bowl, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. Let the tortellini cool. Once at least room temp, add to a medium size bowl. Add in the dressing. I start with small amounts and gradually add more as I feel it needs it. Add in the chopped tomato and spinach. Toss to combine. Crumble the bacon over the top of the dish.

Notes