{Recipe} Marinated Butter Beans for your Antipasto Platter

Marinated butter beans

When we have parties, my favorite appetizer to prepare is an antipasto platter — delicious savory treats, piled high on a platter, and shared family style. Add some crostini or baguette to soak up the vinegar and oil from the various foods and you’ve got a treat that will please everyone. The time may be over for summer BBQs, but as the holidays approach, so will entertaining opportunities!

My typical antipasto platter includes cured meat (usually pepperoni or salami), fresh mozzarella, olives, roasted red peppers, maybe some artichokes or pickled asparagus… really, whatever I have on hand. Last month I got the idea of using beans on the antipasto tray I prepared for the boys’ birthday party. Not sure how or why that popped into my head (possibly they were talking about a bean salad on an NPR program about picnic foods that I was listening to as I drove). I threw this recipe together for Marinated Butter Beans and they were a huge hit! Not only were they delicious on their own, but they added zing to a tossed salad and bulked up a pasta salad, too. You may have seen marinated butter beans at the deli case or in the “olive bar” area of your grocery store, but why pay those prices when you can make it yourself for a whole lot less? 

Marinated Butter Beans
A tasty addition to your antipasto tray
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Ingredients
  1. 1 15-oz. can of butter beans
  2. 1/4 c. olive oil
  3. 3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
  4. 1 tsp. capers
  5. 1 Tbsp. minced onion (not dried)
  6. 1 tsp. diced red pepper
  7. 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
  8. pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. In the bottom of a mason jar or a bowl, combine olive oil, vinegar, capers, onion, red pepper, Italian seasoning, and salt. Drain butter beans and rinse well. Add beans to the jar and stir to coat. Refrigerate the beans for at least a few hours, or better yet, overnight.
Notes
  1. Add to your antipasto platter, salad, or just enjoy as a snack.
Pure Sugar http://www.puresugar.net/

For more yummy recipes, head over to Diary of a Stay at Home Mom for Cooking Thursday!

{Recipe} Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Winter Salad

This is another one of those recipes that I kind of feel silly posting. It’s just so simple! But just in case you are still looking for a way to prepare Brussels sprouts that leaves them nutty and delicious… here it is!

My friend, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, was talking to me about Brussels sprouts last summer, and how he roasts an entire pan on Sunday and lives off of them all week because they are just so good. In addition to being a trained chef, he’s a kettle bell champ and he works at one of the Canyon Ranch resorts, so I definitely trust his opinion when it comes to healthy, delicious food. The first time I made these, my 10-year-old went back for seconds, so that’s just further proof of their yumminess!

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

sprouts

Brussels sprouts
olive oil
salt
pepper

Cut each sprout in half and toss into a bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Make sure the olive oil is on every sprout. Use a spoon or your hands to mix it all up. Then, place the sprouts on a foil-lined baking sheet. My friend suggested I put them cut-side down to get more of that roasty goodness. Place in a 400-degree oven and cook for about 25-30 minutes.

Now, what do you with them after this? Well, they are delicious as-is, or with a squeeze of lemon juice to kick it up a bit. Or you can toss them in a salad. I know — what? That sounds a little weird. Well, just trust me.

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Make yourself up a salad with your favorite greens, dried cranberries, walnuts, and a bit of goat cheese. Add the Brussels sprouts and toss with a bit of Balsamic vinaigrette. Delicious!!!

Many of us grew up knowing only boiled, tasteless Brussels sprouts. Give this method a try and I bet it will change your mind.

I’m linking up with Sandra at Diary of a SAHM
because it’s Cooking Thursday!
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{Recipe} Overnight Bone Broth

BoneBroth

I have admitted in the past that I am a soup snob. And it’s true. As a child, I was spoiled by my mom and grandmother with their delicious, homemade soups. Sure, there was the occasional bowl of Campbell’s Tomato, but the soups I remember from my childhood were full of barley, veggies, and homemade broth. The stuff in the cans or cartons just can’t compare, I don’t care which celebrity chef is on the label.

Making your own stock, or bone broth, is so ridiculously easy that it shouldn’t even need a recipe. In fact, I feel a little silly even writing about it. But I know people who have found it daunting to make homemade stock. If you’re making it on the stove top, it’s true — you need to pay a little bit of attention to it (only because you don’t want it to boil for too long). But there’s an easier way, perfect for even the laziest cook: just use your Crock Pot.

In the fall and winter, I roast a whole chicken twice a month on average. And often the weeks I don’t roast one on my own, I’ll pick up a rotisserie bird at Sam’s. After dinner, I just throw everything into my slow cooker and let it go. Here are the basic directions!

 Overnight Bone Broth

  • carcass from a roasted (or rotisserie) chicken (or turkey!), including skin, bones, and any resulting cooking liquid from roasting if you don’t use it for gravy
  • 1 medium onion
  • celery fronds or 1-2 celery stalks
  • 1-2 carrots
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp. black peppercorns
  • 1 Tbsp. vinegar (white or apple cider recommended)
  • water
Combine first 7 ingredients in your slow cooker. Cover with water (I usually fill it to 1-2 inches below the top of the crock). Cook on HIGH for 2 hours, then turn to LOW and cook overnight. Strain out and discards solids. The amount of broth you end up with will depend upon how much water you use and how hot your Crock Pot cooks, but you should end up with quite a bit.
I know, it’s super-technical and specific right? LOL! Seriously, you just throw it in the pot with water and cook it. Sometimes I add a few cloves of garlic. Sometimes I add oregano or other seasonings, depending on whether or not I have a specific use for the broth.

So now that you have all this yummy stock, what do you do with it? Well you could use some of it to make Spicy Black Bean Soup, Creamy Chicken (or Turkey) and Wild Rice Soup, or maybe some Lazy Stuffed Peppers? I seriously love soup and even though I eat it all summer, it is extra delicious and comforting in the fall and winter. Now I just need some butternut squash so I can make a big pot of autumn bisque!

I’m linking up with Sandra at Diary of a SAHM
because it’s Cooking Thursday!
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CSA 2012 | Share #8

csa8

So… I forgot to write about our 7th farm share and I accidentally deleted the photos. Sorry about that. Let’s just move on to yesterday’s haul, shall we?

As you can see, we’re still rolling in tomatoes. I will be dehydrating another batch or two. They’re just so delicious this way. I don’t really like raw tomatoes, but when they’re dried they have incredible flavor. Here’s the low-down on my basket:

  • 5 lbs. of tomatoes
  • 1 lb. broccoli rabe
  • 1 lb. mixed greens (I chose arugual and tat soi)
  • 1 lb. green beans
  • 3 lbs. potatoes (There were still lots of red and purple potatoes when I got there, so I chose those over “regular” potatoes. I wish the farm shared the names of these varieties. Don’t you just love heirloom names like Black and Mild or Black Chenango or Peach-blow?)
  • dill
  • lettuce
  • carrots
  • summer squash
  • garlic
  • onions

We had some of the potatoes, carrots, and green beans with last night’s roast chicken (as well as most of the lettuce — there’s nothing like those fresh, tender greens). Then I threw a carrot and onion in the slow cooker along with celery, spices, and my chicken carcass to make some overnight bone broth.

I was pretty excited about the broccoli rabe — we haven’t had that in ages. And I have some sun-dried tomato chicken sausage in the freezer, so I know what’s for dinner tomorrow night 😉

{Recipe} Sun(less) Dried Tomatoes

driedtomatoes

Although I have not yet finished this week’s CSA post, we got another 7 lbs. of tomatoes! Hooo-wee! So, I decided to whip out my dehydrator and make some dried tomatoes. They taste like sun-dried tomatoes, but you don’t have to leave them on a screen outside for several days 🙂

The first thing I did was to peel the tomatoes. This step is totally optional, but I don’t love the skin so I took the extra step.

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Next, slice them very thin — 1/4-1/8 of an inch. Use a serrated knife. You may keep the seeds or remove them. I think removing them helps speed the drying time, though.

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Arrange the slices on your dehydrators trays that have been misted with cooking spray or brushed with olive oil. Don’t crowd them — leave plenty of room for the air to circulate! At this point, feel free to season them if you’d like. I sprinkled on some salt and oregano.

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Turn your dehydrator to 135 degree and let it go for 8-12 hours. Check on the tomatoes periodically and rotate your trays if necessary.

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Make sure the tomatoes get very dry, not just chewy and tacky. Once they’re done, let the tomatoes cool off and then package them in an airtight jar or bag. Store in a cool, dry place. For long-term storage, stick them in your freezer.

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Use the dried tomatoes on pizza or salads, or add to stews or pasta dishes. Or just eat them for a snack. I don’t really care for raw tomatoes, but these are oh so good!

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I’m linking up with Sandra at Diary of a SAHM
because it’s Cooking Thursday!
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{CSA 2012} Share #3

CSA 2012 | Share #3

Hoo boy, this post is going up late! Yes, this is Tuesday’s farm share. I just haven’t had the chance to get much blogging done this week. But better late than never, right?

Lots of good things this week, especially the PYO flowers! 20 stems! Laura had a great time picking them out with me. We also got:

  • 3 heads of lettuce
  • kale  & chard
  • 1 bunch of beets
  • 1 sweet onion (My favorite! I just love these so much!)
  • 1 head of cabbage
  • 1 decent-sized bunch of basil
  • 1/2 lb. of broccoli
  • zucchini & summer squash

The chard wilted before I had a chance to use it, but… that’s how it goes with chard. I feel like you have to use it as soon as it’s picked or else it just gets icky. We grilled the zucchini and summer squash on the 4th of July and they were fantastic! I didn’t do anything special: just salt, pepper, and olive oil in a foil packet. Delicious, though.

The beets…. ah, beets. If you’ve read my blog for any length of time you know that beets are my culinary nemesis. I know they’re super healthy, and I think they’re a very pretty vegetable, but I have a hard time getting past the fact that (to my palate) they taste like dirt. Last year I pickled them and that was OK. Back in 2008 I made this beet cake and that was actually really delicious. I’ve tried boiling, roasting and I choke them down, but beets are just not my favorite thing.

Still, I press on. So for last night’s dinner I decided to try them raw. I peeled a large beet and then shredded it in the food processor along with a carrot, a granny smith apple, and some fresh ginger. I tossed the slaw with some champagne vinaigrette and you know what? It was delicious! It’s a magic combination of ingredients that accentuates the beet’s natural sweetness without the earthiness that I don’t like. So that was a win. What to do with the rest of them now? I’ll make the slaw again, but I might resort to roasting.  A friend suggested sprinkling with dill, so I may give that a shot.

Anyway, that’s it for my week in vegetables 🙂

{CSA 2012} Share #2

CSA 2012 | Share #2

Yesterday was our second farm share pickup of the season. While there are still lots of greens, that lone summer squash has me hopeful that by our next share, we’ll have more of what I call “exciting” vegetables.

Let’s see what we have here…

  • 2 heads of lettuce
  • 1 head of Chinese cabbage
  • kale
  • arugula and tat soi
  • Swiss chard
  • scallions
  • yellow summer squash
  • hakuri turnips
  • broccoli

I skipped the bok choi and the garlic scapes (go ahead and slap me for it — I know, I know… I’m just not into them this year for some reason). Last night for dinner I roasted the broccoli and sauteed half of the chard. There isn’t too much to experiment with here. I wanted to make some zuppa toscana with the kale, but considering the next few days are going to be in the 90s, well… I’m not sure that’s an ace idea!

I might try making this Tuscan Kale Salad with Roasted Chickpeas. Kale is one of those goitrogenic veggies that people with thyroid problems really shouldn’t eat raw. (It interferes with thyroid function.) But since I don’t eat a ton of raw kale, it really shouldn’t be a problem. It’s all about balance, right? Anyway, I’ll let you know what I end up doing with it.

At least we should be good for salads for a while! 🙂

{Recipe} Cheesesteak Stuffed Peppers

cheesesteak stuffed peppers

I’ll be honest with you: I’ve never been a fan of stuffed peppers. I hate mushy peppers and when you bake them, that texture seems inevitable. But then I saw a recipe for Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed Peppers from Peace, Love, and Low Carb. They looked so good, that I knew I had to try them.

Originally I was going to make these for dinner tonight, but then I realized that the boys would probably complain and since I’m not feeling great today, I just didn’t want to deal with that. And it’s just as well because I only had enough steak for two servings — me and Drew!

I did make several changes to the original recipe. But since I didn’t measure anything (I rarely do!), I can only give you a basic idea of what I did.

First, I melted butter (I used clarified butter for no real reason other than that’s what I grabbed out of the fridge). Then, I sauteed a bunch of sliced onions with salt and pepper until the got soft.

Next I added thinly sliced steak. I used beef tenderloin. (Grass-fed beef tenderloin is on sale at Shop Rite this week, so I was all over that — I cut it into steaks and used the small end to make this dish.) I seasoned it with a little more salt and pepper and a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce. While the steak cooked I cut a green bell pepper in half and removed the seeds.

I put some shredded Italian cheese blend on the bottom of each pepper half, then divided the cooked steak and onion mixture between the pepper and then topped it with more shredded cheese.

I baked the peppers at 400 degrees until the cheese was all melty and delicious-looking. I think it took about 15 minutes (really, I wasn’t paying attention).

Then I served those babies up with an arugula, tomato, and sunflower seed salad with My Friend Michelle’s Vinaigrette.

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Then the real test: would Drew like it? And yes. Yes, he did. He requested I make it again, even 🙂

These were so much more fun to eat than many of the other low-carb cheesesteak recipes where you basically throw all the ingredients in a bowl. The peppers retained a crispness and the cheese was gooey and the steak was delicious (of course — it’s steak!).

Be sure to check out the original recipe for exact measurements if you don’t want to fly by the seat of your pants like me 🙂

{Recipe} Blueberry-Coconut Chia Pudding

Have you ever tried chia seeds? If you like the texture of tapioca, chances are you will enjoy them. I discovered chia several years ago and I absolutely love them! They’re high in Omega-3, they can help reduce blood pressure, they provide excellent hydration, and because they are so full of protein and fiber they keep you full.

I love this recipe for a mid-morning snack, but it would also make a great breakfast or dessert.

Blueberry-Coconut Chia Pudding

blueberry-coconut chia pudding
1 can full-fat coconut milk (DO NOT waste your money on “light” coconut milk — you want these healthy fats!)
4 Tbsp. chia seeds
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
(optional) sweetner of choice
fresh blueberries, slivered almonds

Shake the can of coconut milk and empty it into a bowl (I mix and store my pudding in the same dish, so I use a Rubbermaid container). Add the chia seeds and coconut flakes and combine well. Sweeten to taste if desired. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight. When you’re ready to serve, top each dish with fresh blueberries and slivered almonds.

It’s very simple, and so yummy! If you’ve never given chia a try, they’re a fun little seeds. I usually order mine from Amazon, but they’re available in health food stores, and I have even seen them at Shop Rite in the natural foods aisle, so they are not as hard to find as they once were.

Be sure to visit Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom to check out other delicious recipes!