Thursday, October 25, 2012

Spinach and Artichoke Mac & Cheese

You know when you go out to dinner and you are SO hungry that you are convinced if you don't get an appetizer you won't make it?

And there is one appetizer out there I am pretty much CERTAIN that EVERYBODY loves.

Not everyone likes buffalo wings. And not everyone can scarf down fried calamari the way I can (I accept this. It is ok).

But let's all agree that pretty much everyone out there loves a good spinach and artichoke dip.

Cream cheese. Sour cream. Parmesan cheese. Spinach. Artichokes. Maybe you bake it with mozzerella cheese on top. So wrong, but so entirely 100% right.

I started thinking about "spin-dip" randomly a few days ago. Weird, yes. But I digress.

I felt like I couldn't just whip up a batch of spin-dip and eat it with greasy pita chips on my couch while watching The Devil Wears Prada (I should have just done this). I came to a quick conclusion that it would, on the other hand, be completely ok to whip up a dinner inspired by spin-dip and then sit on my couch watching The Devil Wears Prada.

So I made Spinach and Artichoke Mac & Cheese.

And I don't want to be pushy or anything. But it is time for you to go to the grocery store, pick up whatever ingredients below you don't have, and make this. Nobody will be mad. Everyone will be happy (and in a very euphoric comfort food coma).

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Honey Balsamic Glazed Asparagus

Can we all agree that when it is not raining here in New England, the weather has been just beautiful recently?

Boston, MA

I wanted to take some time with the windows open and the breeze pouring through the share a quick but yummy side dish I made recently.

If you check out my last post, you can get more of an idea as to why I have been slightly MIA from the blog world, and when you can expect me back in full swing!

One of my favorite veggies is asparagus. It has such great flavor and pairs well with so many different meals. I usually will just roast up a bunch of full spears with lots of salt, cracked black pepper and a little lemon juice drizzled on top. Sprinkle that with Parmesan cheese and we are totally in business.

I decided to try something a little different this weekend and I was quite pleased with the results.

I roughly chopped the asparagus and sauteed in a little bit of lemon olive oil (O brand), then tossed it all in honey and balsamic vinegar until a lovely glaze formed. I balanced the sweetness of the honey and the bite of the balsamic with just a dash of chili powder and some salt and pepper to taste.

 The end result was tender and flavorful asparagus that paired beautiful with roasted red potatoes (recipe here) and a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store.

Friday, October 19, 2012

While I'm Out...

Hello out there!

I know what you're thinking. "Where have you been, Jess?!" "I AM STARVING HERE." "I don't know what to make for dinner EVER!"

Ok, alright. I know I am not inspiring your every waking meal. And I know there are thousands of wonderful food blogs and recipes out there to keep our kitchens bustling for days.

I just wanted to stop by and say hello. I haven't forgotten about my blog here. The problem is, it's exam season right now and life is full of math equations and number 2 pencils and financial calculators.

And in between word problems and seminar videos, I'm trying to do some fun things. Fun things like Ziplining and going to New York Giants games!

I am not spending much time in the kitchen. And, when I am cooking, it's a quick meal that can come together in a matter of minutes (look, honestly, to give you some perspective a few nights ago I had a Lean Cuisine for dinner. Why do people do that to themselves? Those things are snacks, at most. But, I mean, the 5 minute prep time is what I'd needed).

After November 1, I promise to be back in full swing with new recipes (inspired by the Fall season!) and new stories.

If there are any dishes you'd like me to experiment with next month, leave a comment here and I'll see what I can pull together!
Otherwise, keep cooking. But don't forget about me!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Beef Barley 'Stoup'

There are few things I love more than a big blanket, a comfy couch, the Food Network, and a warm bowl of soup. If it were socially acceptable to do this every day, I would. I'd be really good at it, too.

I'm pretty much an expert couch potato. Not to say I don't stay active, because I do. I'm just saying that my delusional fantasy would be kicking back and relaxing from morning to night.

In any couch-slouching situation, one must have a heart-warming bowl of goodness on hand. I just love soups. Tomato soup, chicken noodle soup, potato leek soup...for me, no food is more comforting.

This week, my soup of choice turned into more of a stew because it is quite rich and hearty. It wasn't as thick as a stew, however. So, as Rachel Ray says, this mixture of a stew and a soup can affectionately be known as a "stoup."

Beef Barley Stoup is a great marriage of beef barley soup and a traditional beef stew. With a little help from the grocery store, the stoup tastes like it's been simmering all day (even though it comes together in about 60 minutes!) Whenever you feel like you need a big bear hug, try pulling together a pot of this stoup--it'll have you warm and comforted in no time!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Turkey Pumpkin Chili

Pumpkin is so hip. It’s like the chambray of the food world. Everyone wants to get on the pumpkin bandwagon.

Hey, I won’t lie. I’m on it too. I’m loving it.

Last week I went all sweet on myself and made dark chocolate and walnut pumpkin cookies. I brought them to work and they were gone in a flash. Whether people were just being nice or if they really enjoyed them is a mystery, but I think it was the latter. They were super yummy. I’m being a good daughter and bringing my mother home some of these treats this weekend…go me!

Well, a few nights ago, I wanted to go all pumpkin overload again but I also didn’t want to bake. My poor Crock Pot has been collecting dust the past few months…the dog days of summer didn’t have me craving stew or chili or anything of that nature.

So, are you ready for the kicker? We are going to bring our love of pumpkin together with our love of our Crock Pots, and we are going to call it Pumpkin Chili.

I decided that a Turkey Pumpkin chili would work best…turkey is more mild than ground beef and so I was able to get a little crazy with the other flavors that went into the dish.

Because this is a Crock Pot meal, you can guarantee this is super simple and also super delicious. If the reality of fall hasn’t hit you yet, give this chili a try—it will have you dreaming of foliage and jack-o-laterns!