Monday, February 28, 2011

Turkey and Vegetable Meatloaf

This has always been a crowd pleaser. A couple of years ago I decided to make it for my youngest child’s 2nd birthday. I also decided I was only going to use fresh veggies, nothing frozen. Well….I didn’t cook the spinach before putting it in the meatloaf and we had lime green meatloaf for dinner. The kids thought they were eating something out of Dr. Seuss, my husband he couldn’t even eat it. Lesson learned, cook the spinach before putting it in the meatloaf mixture.

Sunday Menu – Turkey and Vegetable Meatloaf, Crisp Potato Roast, Broccoli
Farm Share Produce – Carrot, Rutabaga
Other Local Produce – Mushroom, Garlic, Spinach

Turkey and Vegetable Meatloaf
From a good friend

5 oz. spinach, roughly chopped
2 T olive oil
1 c mushrooms, chopped
¼ c onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 carrot, finely grated
1 cup cheese, parmesan, mozzarella, or combination of both
Salt and Pepper, to taste
1 ½ lb. ground turkey
¾ c quick cook oats
½ c milk
1 large egg
1 t Italian Seasoning

In boiling water cook fresh spinach 3-5 minutes. Drain well and squeeze out all the water. Set aside.
(Frozen chopped spinach could be substituted and just added with the carrots and cheese.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In Dutch oven or cast iron skillet heat oil and then sauté mushrooms, onions, and garlic until onions are soft. Remove from pan and drain on a paper towel.

Combine spinach, carrot, cheese and salt and pepper in the warm pan.

In a large mixing bowl combine turkey, oats, milk, egg and seasoning. Add meat mixture to pan and combine with vegetables.

Spread mixture evenly in the bottom of the pan and bake for 35 minutes.

Crisp Roast Potatoes

Last night I used rutabaga slices in between the potatoes. This is one of my favorite potato dishes. Be forewarned it takes 2 hours total to prepare.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Purple Plan for the Week of Feb. 27

Regular Preparation (in about an hour)

Sweet ‘n’ Spicy Salmon, Carrot Rice, Simple Roasted Carrots
Local Produce: Carrots
Carrot Rice

Fried Rice
Local Produce: Carrots, Cabbage (???)
If I’m luck at my local winter farmer’s market I’ll get the eggs, garlic, and scallions too.

Sriracha Marinara and Meatballs
Local Produce: Spinach, Onions
I’m going to half this recipe.

Turkey and Spinach Meatloaf, Roasted Potatoes, Broccoli
Local Produce: Onions, Spinach, Carrots, and Potatoes

Extended Preparation

Stuffed Eggplant Steaks, Pasta
I’m designating this extended prep because there are a lot of steps, and it will likely take more than one hour to make.

I could probably get the spinach, ciabatta and mozzarella all at my local winter farmer’s market.

A Study of Beets - Part One

Check below for the recipe for this yummy beet tart!

In the late spring I plan to have a poll on the blog. I’m going to ask you to pick one of three books to be featured each of the 25 weeks of the regular CSA season. Since beets seem to be the “uhhh” vegetable of Vegetable Box #2, I thought I’d use them to sample each of the books I’d like to feature in the upcoming season.

Book #1 is “Produce” by Brad Matthews and Paul Wigsten
This is the textbook on produce for the Culinary Institute of America. I thought it would be fun to learn about one vegetable each week in depth. This book has descriptions of each vegetable, how it can be used in cooking, storage information, and nutritional information.

In “Produce” we learn from Matthews and Wigsten that BEETS (pg. 90) are closely related to chard and spinach. The beet greens can be used, and should be done so in the same manner chard and spinach are used. Beets have a very high sugar content and are the sweetest vegetable available.
Applications listed for beets are
• Boil
• Roast
• Pickle
• Cream
• Grate raw
• Puree for soup

The first thing I learned from this book was the high sugar content of beets. It was probably that same week I saw the idea for using beets to sweeten a red velvet cake. So here is one of my favorite all time blog recipes – Beet Red Velvet Cupcakes

I wanted to share another recipe that highlights the sweetness of beets. I made these as part of dinner- not a great application, but they would make a fabulous appetizer for a party or potluck.

Beet, Cheddar, and Apple Tarts

The only thing I didn’t do was cut the puff pastry into rounds. I thought square was just fine and didn’t waste any of the dough.

Here is a bonus link. The Cooking Channel had an article on their blog about beets.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Spicy Potatoes and Peas with Chicken

We really liked this meal. My children are the type who don’t like any of their food to touch each other. This meal makes the preparation of their plates easy. You cook the potatoes, peas, and chicken separately and then combine them with the spice. We had a yummy, spicy dinner and they had all the same food, but not touching each other!

Tuesday Menu – Spicy Potatoes and Peas with Chicken
Farm Share Produce – Potatoes

Spicy Potatoes and Peas with Chicken
From Everyday Food vol. 80

1 ½ pounds starchy potato – Yukon Gold
Salt and pepper
10 oz. frozen peas
Olive oil
4 chicken thighs
½ heaping t ground cumin
½ heaping t ground coriander
¼ heaping t cayenne
1 T lemon juice
2 T cilantro, roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 400.

In a medium pot, bring potatoes to a boil in salted water over high heat and cook until fork tender, 10 minutes. Remove with a spider or slotted spoon and transfer to a paper towel lined bowl, set aside. Add peas to water and cook 3 minutes. Drain peas and set aside.

While potatoes are boiling, in an oven proof skillet or Dutch oven, heat olive oil – 2 turns of the pan. Season hot oil with salt and pepper and add chicken, cook 5 minutes until golden brown. Flip and transfer to oven, roast 15-20 minutes.

Make spice mixture – combine cumin, coriander, and cayenne. Set aside.

When chicken is finished roasting, remove from the pan. Drain off all but 1 T of fat. On the stovetop in the same skillet, add potatoes and spice mixture. Cook over medium-high until potatoes are golden, stir occasionally – 7 minutes. Stir in peas, lemon juice, and cilantro. To serve place chicken on top of peas and potatoes.

NOTE: The recipe calls for boneless, skin-on thighs. I could find any. I used boneless, skinless thighs.

Pasta with Crispy Kale and Ricotta

Meatless Monday – Pasta with Crispy Kale and Ricotta
Local Produce – Kale

Pasta with Crispy Kale and Ricotta
Adapted from Every Day with Rachael Ray March 2011

1 pound pasta – fusilli or penne
1 bunch kale – stemmed, washed, dried
Approx. 5 T of olive oil, divided
Salt and pepper
1 pound pasta – fusilli or penne
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
1 T dried thyme
1 t dried rosemary leaves
1 ½ cups ricotta cheese
Parmesan cheese, for serving

Cook pasta according to package directions. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Roughly chop Kale. Toss Kale with 2-3 T of olive oil, salt, and pepper. Arrange on a baking sheet (you may need two) and bake for about 15 minutes. Toss Kale midway through cooking time. Kale should be crispy at the end of cooking – it will break up nicely in the sauce for the pasta.

Heat remaining 2 T of olive oil in a large skillet on medium-low. Cook garlic and jalapeno for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the thyme and rosemary. Whisk the reserved pasta water into the garlic oil. Stir in the pasta. Then add crispy kale and ricotta, stir vigorously to coat the pasta. Serve with parmesan cheese.

Pasta and Bean Stew with Kale

We’re off school for the week, have a couple of playdates (lunch included), so…I made a big pot of soup.

Lunch Menu – Pasta and Bean Stew with Kale, Crusty Bread
Farm Share Produce – Onion
Other Local Produce – Kale

Pasta and Bean Stew with Kale
Adapted from Pasta and Bean Stew in “Williams-Sonoma Soups & Stews”

¼ cup olive oil
½ onion, thinly sliced into half moons
2 cloves garlic, minced
15 oz. can diced tomatoes with juice
¼ t crushed red pepper flakes
3 cups stock (chicken or vegetable)
1 can cannellini beans, UNdrained
Salt and pepper
1 cup orecchiette or small shell pasta
1 bunch kale, small, rough chopped
Parmesan cheese, for serving

In a Dutch oven on medium-low, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and cook until softened, 5 minutes. Add the garlic, cook 1 minute until fragrant. Add the tomatoes and their juice, red pepper flakes, stock, and cannellini beans. Add salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil and then add pasta, turn down the heat, but maintain the boil so the pasta will cook, 8-10 minutes. Add the kale, cook another 10 minutes.
Serve with parmesan.

NOTES: This would work well with any green. I’ve made it with spinach and the recipe originally calls for chard. My favorite pasta for this stew is orecchiette, but any small pasta will work.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Cabbage with Tomatoes

Another great way to use that cabbage!

Saturday Menu – Hoison Glazed Salmon, Cabbage with Tomatoes, Rice
Farm Share Produce - Cabbage

Cabbage with Tomatoes
Adapted From Everyday Food vol. 80

2 T unsalted butter
½ cabbage, cut length wide in ½ inch strips
½ cup water
Salt and pepper
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1 T red wine vinegar
3 T cilantro, roughly chopped

In a large skillet melt the butter on medium-high heat. Add cabbage and cook 4 minutes. Stir occasionally and cabbage should begin to soften and brown around the edges. Add water, cover, and cook 5 minutes. Cabbage should become crisp-tender. Uncover, season with salt and pepper. Add tomatoes and cook 2 minutes, until tomatoes soften. Stir in vinegar. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve.

The Purple Plan for the week of Feb. 20

I had a hard time coming up with recipes I wanted to make this week. Said and done, I’m trying some new recipes and going back to some favorites. Here are some meals with local ingredients that I’ve come up with for the week.

Do Ahead Preparation

Beet, Cheddar, and Apple Tarts, Salad
Pizza for the kids
Local Foods: Beets, Apples
Beet, Cheddar and Apple Tarts
I am putting this under Do Ahead Prep because I will roast the beets ahead of time. The recipe calls for slicing thin raw beets, but I’m concerned they won’t cook enough and would rather place roasted beets on the tart. I’m thinking of serving these like mini pizzas with salad on the side.

Regular Preparation (in about an hour)

Chickpea Burgers, Rutabaga Fries
Local Food: Rutabaga
Rutabaga Fries
I never got to the Chickpea Burgers last week and the Rutabaga Fries were a hit, so we are having them again.

Fusilli with Crispy Kale and Ricotta
Local Food: Kale

Spicy Potatoes and Peas with Chicken
Local Food: Potatoes

Oven Fried Chicken, Sautéed Carrots, Dinner Rolls
Local Food: Carrots
Oven Fried Chicken
Sautéed Carrots

Extended Preparation

Pasta and Bean Soup with Kale, Dutch Oven Bread
Local Food: Kale, Onion
Dutch Oven Bread
The extended prep is for the bread, it takes 20 hours.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Rutabaga Fries

Thursday Menu – Hamburgers, Rutabaga Fries, Broccoli
Farm Share Produce – Rutabaga

The Rutabaga Fries were delicious! A little spicy, which we like, but you can control that by altering the amount of cayenne you put in. These would work with any root vegetable – parsnips, rutabaga, potatoes, sweet potatoes, etc.

Rutabaga Fries
This recipe calls for parsnips, I substituted rutabaga.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Chicken and Cabbage Stir-Fry with Peanut Sauce

This recipe was suggested by a reader, I finally tried it, AND it is a keeper because it is actually a good way to use cabbage. Reminder: I’m not a huge fan of cabbage.

Wednesday Menu – Chicken and Cabbage Stir Fry with Peanut Sauce, Brown Rice
Farm Share Produce – Cabbage, Carrots

I made a few basic changes. I used chicken instead of beef, regular cabbage instead of savoy, and I added some chile garlic sauce for some heat.

Chicken and Cabbage Stir-Fry with Peanut Sauce
Based on

1/4 cup smooth natural peanut butter
1/3 cup orange juice
3 T reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 T rice vinegar
2 t sugar
1 t chile garlic sauce
4 t oil (canola or vegetable), divided
3 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 pound chicken breast, thinly sliced
½ head cabbage, shredded
2 T water
4 carrots, shredded
¼ cup chopped peanuts

Whisk together peanut butter, orange juice, soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, and chile garlic sauce until smooth. Set Aside.

Heat 2 t oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic, salt and pepper, and cook about 1 minute. Add chicken slices and cook until beginning to brown and cooked through, 5-7 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.

Reduce heat to medium, heat additional 2 t of oil and add cabbage and water. Cook 3-5 minutes. Add carrots and cook stirring 3 minutes. Return the chicken to the pan and toss with peanut sauce. Serve sprinkled with peanuts.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Fish Tacos with Cabbage Slaw, Beet Chips

Valentine Monday Menu – Fish Tacos with Cabbage Slaw, Beet Chips, Hot Fudge Pudding Cake
Farm Share Produce – Cabbage, Beets

Fish Tacos with Cabbage Slaw

These were great!

Beet Chips

As you can see, I tried to make a festive chip. These were not something to make while trying to get the rest of dinner on the table. The recipe reads very easily, but the chips all finish at different times and so I was constantly in and out of the oven, not something that makes sense when you are making other dinner items. I liked them, but would only make them again for something special.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Purple Plan for the Week of Feb. 13, 2011

When I sat down to plan this week’s menu my goal was to start using the veggies that came in my new 40 pound vegetable box. We got so many beets and more cabbage than I would ever want. Cabbage is not my favorite, so I’m always looking for ways to use it and want to get it out of the way quickly. Here are some of the meals I’ve come up with for the week.

Regular Preparation (in about an hour)

On Valentine’s Day we’ll have...
Fish Tacos with Cabbage Slaw and Beet Chips, Hot Fudge Pudding Cake
Local Foods: Cabbage, Beets (maybe I’ll cut them into hearts)
Fish Tacos:
Beet Chips:

Chickpea Burgers, Rutabaga Fries
Local Foods: Rutabaga, Potatoes (I’ll make French fries for the kids)
This recipe is for parsnips, but I’m going to try rutabaga.
Rutabaga Fries:
French Fries:

Beef and Cabbage Stir Fry, Brown Rice
Local Foods: Cabbage, Carrots
Stir Fry Recipe:
Brown Rice in a Steamer – Freezes well:

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Vegetable Box #2

We got our second 40 pound vegetable box yesterday. It contained Beets, Cabbage, Carrots, Onions, Potatoes, Radicchio, and Rutabaga.

Here are some of my plans…


I’ve suggested this before, but have yet to do it, Beet Chips.

I’ve seen a couple of different recipes for beet risotto. Maybe I’ll try that. Here is one of them.

As always I’ll find excuses to make Red Velvet Cake.


A reader suggested this recipe a long time ago. I want to give it a try.

I thought my husband didn’t like fish tacos, but it turns out he orders them for lunch at work frequently. I might give these a try – they have a cabbage slaw.

Here are a couple of my favorites from the past…

Yogurt Coleslaw

Indian Cabbage


I don’t have any definite plans, but I’m just happy to have carrots around again. I use them all the time!


I saw this recipe and then ran out of potatoes from the last box. It will be so fun to try and make my own tater tots.

I’ve been making our own French fries. They get gobbled up.


I want to make this recipe that reminds me of the sweet potato fries. It calls for parsnips but Aarti Sequeira says any root vegetable. I thought Rutabaga would be perfect.

I also can’t wait to make this one pot Chicken and Brown Rice again with Rutabaga. It’s a favorite winter meal around here.

Carrots with Thyme

Tuesday Menu – Honey Glazed Chicken, Cous Cous, Carrots with Thyme
Farm Share Produce – Carrots

I made these carrots once from an Everyday Food recipe and they worked great. I thought this was that recipe, it wasn’t. This recipe was just okay. It doesn’t ask you to cover the carrots and I think that would have helped them to cook. I would cover initially, let them steam and then allow the liquid to absorb.

Carrots with Thyme

NOTE: I used chicken broth instead of water. I had to cook them longer than 9 minutes for the carrots to become tender.

I need to dig around for that other carrot recipe.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Stir Fried Green Beans

Sunday Menu – Roasted Chicken, Lemon Rosemary Potatoes, Stir Fried Green Beans
Farm Share Produce – Green Beans, leafy Fennel tops (both frozen from summer)

Roasted Mustard Chicken
I didn’t have fresh tarragon, so I used the Fennel tops frozen from summer to stuff the cavity of the bird. The sauce was really good and this recipe made for a moist chicken. I used chicken broth and not water for the sauce.

Stir Fried Green Beans
Based on

2 T olive oil
2-3 cups frozen greens beans (fresh can be used too)
1 jalapeno, ribs and seed removed, cut into one inch strips
2 dried chiles, rehydrated in hot water and chopped
1 T lemon juice

Heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the green beans, jalapeno and chiles. Season with salt and cook covered until green beans defrost and/or warm through, about 5 minutes. Continue to cook uncovered until green beans begin to brown, another 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat, toss with lemon juice and taste for salt.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Purple Plan for the Week of Feb. 6, 2011

My goal when planning my menu this week was to have what I call a “Pantry Week”. I wanted to put to use some of what I have stored in the pantry and freezer. Here are the meals I’ve come up with for the week that include items from my CSA and items I can get locally.

Quick and Easy Preparation

Creamy Pesto Tortellini with Broccoli, Salad
Local Foods: frozen pesto from CSA basil

Regular Preparation (in about an hour)

Toor Dal, Jasmine Rice
Local Foods: Onions

Honey Glazed Chicken, Carrots, Cous Cous
Local Foods: Carrots
Carrot Recipe:

Extended Preparation

Roasted Chicken, Lemon Rosemary Potatoes, Green Beans
Local Foods: Potatoes, Green Beans
I use the potato part of this full recipe
Green Bean Recipe:

Friday, February 4, 2011

Introducing The Purple Plan

I am introducing a new reader inspired feature. Each weekend I will post, The Purple Plan - the meals I have planned in the coming week that include CSA and local foods.
After my posting on meal planning I was asked to share my weekly menu for ideas and inspiration. I thought I would share the menu items I have planned with the following designations…

Quick and Easy Preparation

Do Ahead Preparation

Regular Preparation (in about an hour)

Extended Preparation

The designations are designed to help you in your meal planning – make a Quick and Easy Prep on the days everyone is eating at different times and in and out of the house, make a Regular Preparation on a normal everyday day.
Meal Planning Post

Winter is a good time to try this new feature, although there might not be a whole lot of menu items with CSA and local foods. BUT wait, I’m getting another 40 pound vegetable box next week, posts there will be!
Winter is good because it gives me a chance to try this feature out. Last year I would share Market Menus during the winter. I haven’t been to the winter market due to my first veggie box, sickness, and weather. I’ll get there eventually. During CSA season I would do a post each week about what we got and my plans for the items. The Purple Plan may or may not replace this weekly CSA season post. I’ll take the winter months to see how things shape up.