Fall-spiced roasted butternut squash

Fall-spiced roasted butternut squash

Tonight, Michael emailed me before leaving work and suggested that we make butternut squash for dinner tonight. I thought it was a good idea, but had never cooked it before, so I promptly googled “how to cook butternut squash.” After putting the squash in the oven, I then had to figure out what to do with them after they were baked.

I decided to make a simple filling of mushrooms, herbs, and butter for the squash, which I added just before the squash were done baking. The squash was delicious — Michael said he wants me to make them again, and was only disappointed that I hadn’t baked two squash instead of one.

Updated 09/17/12: This recipe can also be used to make a delicious, sweet side dish! Just top the roasted squash with butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg instead of the listed filling ingredients.

Continue reading Fall-spiced roasted butternut squash

Green bean and red potato hot dish

Green bean and red potato hot dish

According to Minnesotans, this recipe would be considered “hot dish.” When I moved to Minnesota last year, I had no idea what “hot dish” was, but I soon found out that it was essentially a casserole — usually with a cream of mushroom or chicken soup. Michael made this green bean and red potato hot dish last week with the green beans that my parents gave us.

The verdict? Michael says it was one of the best “haaaaat dishes” he’s ever eaten. I, on the other hand, have never liked green beans all that much. But I liked this casserole too — especially the delicious red potato topping!

Continue reading Green bean and red potato hot dish

Garden-fresh polenta pizza with homemade pesto

Garden-fresh polenta pizza with homemade pesto

Michael went to the farmer’s market at the University of Minnesota this past week, and picked up some fresh veggies for our kitchen. While we didn’t have anything specific in mind to make, we figured we could cook something delicious with them. While browsing the internets, Michael found a polenta pizza recipe that looked good–but we didn’t have the ingredients it called for. So we made our own, substituting homemade pesto and grilled veggies as pizza toppings.

This polenta pizza recipe is chock-full of fresh garden veggies, and was as delicious as we had hoped. While it’s not difficult to make, it does take a bit of time, as the polenta crust needs to chill in the fridge before the pizza can be assembled.

Continue reading Garden-fresh polenta pizza with homemade pesto

Carrot, sausage, and rib stew

Carrot, sausage, and rib stew

Michael made this simple and delicious stew for lunch today when we finally cleaned out our fridge after returning home from our honeymoon. We found an abundance of celery about to go bad, and 4 already-opened bags of baby carrots — and so immediately thought stew.

This delicious stew takes a couple hours to simmer on the stove, and so it would also be a perfect recipe to cook in a crockpot on a busy day. Michael and I enjoyed the hearty combination of flavors from the bratwurst, pork ribs, and shiitake mushrooms. We served this simple lunch with rye toast and baby dill pickles, and recommend that you give it a try too!

Continue reading Carrot, sausage, and rib stew

Provencal stuffed peppers

Provencal stuffed peppers

A couple months ago, Michael and I stopped by a Barnes and Nobles bookstore on our way home from the mall. In the entrance-way, we found several cookbooks with enticing recipes pictured on their covers. I selected the vegetarian cookbook, which boasted over 300 recipes, and proudly brought it home.

Today I finally made the first recipe out of it — which was, in fact, the recipe pictured on the cover. These stuffed peppers are filled with delicious vegetables, and make a simple, light summer meal. If you have a garden, this would be a perfect way to use some of its bounty. Michael and I served the peppers with a grilled bratwurst, rice, and homemade applesauce.

Continue reading Provencal stuffed peppers

Beef stroganoff

Beef stroganoff

When Michael returned from a conference in Spain this past weekend, he mentioned that he had eaten stroganoff while he was there. While stroganoff is by no means a Spanish dish (it’s actually Russian), it did remind him of how much he liked it. My knowledge of stroganoff, on the other hand, was limited to the Hamburger Helper variety. So Michael decided that we had better make the real thing.

Just as he promised, the beef stroganoff we made was delicious. Not only that, but it’s a simple recipe made with common ingredients. The hardest part is patiently waiting for it to simmer on the stove while you’re smelling its delicious aroma. Next time, we think that julienned red and green peppers would make a tasty addition.

Continue reading Beef stroganoff

Savory turkey burgers on flatbread topped with onions, mushrooms, and Dubliner cheese

Savory turkey burgers on flatbread

After reading this turkey burger recipe on Crepes of Wrath several months ago, I bookmarked it and then promptly forgot about it — until last Friday, when I was searching for some dinner inspiration online.

These turkey burgers were absolutely delicious. I modified several of the ingredients to the what I had on hand, and since we didn’t have buns or bread, I used our pizza dough recipe to make flatbread instead.

The pita-like breads were the perfect complement to the juicy, savory turkey burgers, which we topped with Dubliner cheese and caramelized onions and mushrooms. Served alongside a simple spinach salad of carrots, cheese, pistachios, and raisins, it’s a meal that we will definitely be repeating in the future.

Continue reading Savory turkey burgers on flatbread topped with onions, mushrooms, and Dubliner cheese

Sausage and rice stuffed red peppers

Sausage and rice stuffed red peppers

I’ve always been intrigued by recipes for stuffed peppers, though I’ve never made them. So, last weekend I decided enough was enough — and planned to make stuffed green peppers.

Last Sunday, Michael and I ended up spending a leisurely afternoon with friends at an antique show at the HarMar Mall in Roseville. While there, Michael went to Cub Foods for me to buy a couple green peppers to stuff. He came back with 3 red peppers instead — they were on sale for $1 each! So naturally, we then returned to the store together and bought even more of them, and my plans were changed to stuffed red peppers.

Well, it turns out that my first attempt at stuffed peppers was quite the successful attempt, despite my approach of using as many leftovers as I could find in the fridge. By using leftover rice in the recipe, total prep + cooking time is an easy 45 minutes. The filling in this recipe makes enough to fill 3 peppers, halved lengthwise, though I only stuffed 2 peppers and saved the rest of the filling to use later.

Continue reading Sausage and rice stuffed red peppers

Vodka sauce and meatballs on rice

Vodka sauce and meatballs on rice

Oh, boy. This is one FANTASTIC meal. It is, and we’re not even kidding. When I first moved to the Twin Cities, I began shopping at my local Cub and Rainbow for groceries. Every time I passed through the aisle with spaghetti sauces, I somehow managed to notice a jar from Classico labeled “Vodka Sauce”. I began to wonder what such a sauce would taste like, so I went home and threw a shot of vodka into some marinara sauce. It was horrifying. After that point, I began to wonder who in their right mind would even like such a crazy sauce.

Then, one day, I was brave and thought, “Well, you know, I must have just screwed that one up, and I bet Classico could do a better job.” At this point, I searched online for what vodka sauce really was to discover that it was a tomato sauce mixed with cream and vodka. I forgot to add the cream (and probably other things too) when I foolishly tried to create such an amazing sauce. So I ran to the store and picked up a jar of the wonderful bliss called vodka sauce.

The recipe described here is amazing, yet also very simple. It was discovered as a result of thinking “what if we were to mix…” etc. We created a recipe for a sauce that can be served with meatballs and rice. In fact, it’s not a necessity to use meatballs, as this recipe goes quite well with stir-fried pork meat on rice or even pierogies.

Continue reading Vodka sauce and meatballs on rice

Pumpkin and sausage lasagna (recipe review)

Pumpkin and sausage lasagna
Pumpkin and sausage lasagna

This is an item from last November, when it was much warmer and more pleasant in the Twin Cities than it is now. Jane and I came across a fall-inspired lasagna over at Pithy and Cleaver, which we laughed at and ridiculed to nearly no end due to the strange sounding recipe and “odd” ingredients. Well, we eventually stopped laughing and decided to try our hand at the recipe, and we were shocked at the result.

This pumpkin lasagna was amazing. It was very delicious with salt, pepper, and parmesan cheese sprinkled on top, accompanied by a sprig of thyme and a sage leaf on the side. A nice glass of wine increased the intensity of the flavors, leading to something akin of a perfect meal.

As is the case with any lasagna, the flavors of this one became more intense and improved as it aged a day or two. It made for several great meals of leftovers without any sort of regret or angst. Overall, it was an excellent dish, which we highly recommend and will probably make sometime again in the future.