Let’s Party! — Salad in a Jar Party That Is

Salad in a Jar-6337 on Whisk Together copy

Want a healthy side dish or lunch in the fridge for every single day of the week?  This is a great solution.  And no there is nothing to buy or sell.

My friend Alison hosted this super-fun and uber-productive party and I had to share it with you!  She posted the event on Facebook and each of us responded whether we were going to attend or not.  Those attending were asked to bring two salad toppings (and the jars to put the salads in of course…. you could use ziplock storage, pyrex, tupperware, etc.).  The host provided the lettuce and baby spinach.

Salad in a Jar-6369 copy

On the day of the party, we had a ton of fun chatting and making our salads.  Look at them all!  Everyone’s toppings were laid out and we dished what ingredients we wanted into our salad jars.  I brought my stuff in a cooler and then simply put the jars back into the empty cooler to keep them cold.

I think this would be fun with smoothies too.  We really like green smoothies here 🙂

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The document below is my compilation of all the Panera Salads that I have tried.  This is my favorite go-to salad place.  I have others… but Panera is everywhere.  So, I listed all of the salads, their ingredients and ingredient shopping lists to take with you!  These can be used for inspiration or to hand out.  It is a LOT of ingredients of course.  But, I figured you can also cross it out if you don’t like the ingredient or don’t need to make that many salads.

Salad in a Jar-6353 copy

I just eyeball the amounts.  If I like it, I add more.  If I don’t like it, I omit or add less.

 

Here are the Panera salads on the list:

Strawberry Poppyseed Salad

Power Kale Caesar Salad

Cobb Salad

Thai Salad

BBQ Chicken Salad

Fuji Apple Chicken Salad

Asian Sesame Salad

Here is the FREE DOCUMENT for printing and making your own Panera Salads at home ready to go!  Or just make your own to your tastes.  I include some tips on how to layer the salad in the jar in the document as well.  Remember you can add chicken or hard-boiled eggs to any salad to make it a protein/main meal!

Panera- Lovers

{Copycat} Salad Menu & Grocery List

Strawberry Poppyseed Salad

Power Kale Caesar Salad

Cobb Salad

Thai Salad

BBQ Chicken Salad

Fuji Apple Chicken Salad

Asian Sesame Salad

What is included?

  1.  Recipes
  2.  Grocery List broken down by Category
  3.  Grocery Master List

How Do I Use This?

  1.  You can simple use the recipes as they are.
  2.  You could team up with a few friends.  Everyone bring a salad ingredient and make Quart Jar salads.  Everyone takes home 7  salads!
  3.  Divide among friends or yourself a few favorites and trade.  

Strawberry Poppyseed Salad

Romaine Lettuce

Strawberries

Blueberries

Pineapple tidbits

Poppyseed

Chicken

Pecans

Power Kale Caesar Salad

Kale

Romaine Lettuce

Caesar Dressing

Chicken

Fat: Parmesan Cheese

Cobb Salad

Romaine Lettuce

Grape Tomatoes

Bacon

Protein: Chicken and Hard-boiled Egg

Dressing: Herb Vinaigrette

Fat: Avocado

Thai Salad

Romaine Lettuce

Cilantro

Shredded carrots

Red Pepper, small dice

Edamame

Chicken

Thai Chili Vinaigrette

Cashews

BBQ Chicken Salad

Romaine Lettuce

Fire Roasted Corn

Black Beans

BBQ Sauce

Chicken

BBQ Dressing

Fried Onions or Tortilla Chip Strips

Fuji Apple Chicken Salad

Romaine Lettuce

Field Greens

Red onion

Grape Tomatoes

Dried Apples

White Balsamic Apple Vinagrette

Chicken

Pecans

Asian Sesame Salad

Romaine Lettuce

Cilantro

Almonds, sliced

Sesame seeds

Asian Sesame Vinaigrette

Chicken

Wonton Strips

For Quart Jar Salads layer the ingredients as follows (from bottom to top):  

  1.  Salad Dressing
  2.  Hard Vegetables such as carrots, cucumbers, peppers, etc.
  3.  Grains, beans or pasta.
  4.  Cheese/protein
  5.  Nuts and seeds
  6.  Lettuce

Master List

Romaine Lettuce

Field Greens

Kale

Strawberries

Blueberries

Pineapple tidbits

Grape Tomatoes

Bacon

Cilantro

Shredded carrots

Red Pepper, small dice

Edamame

Fire Roasted Corn

Black Beans

BBQ Sauce

Red onion

Dried Apples

Cilantro

Almonds, sliced

Sesame seeds

Chicken

Hard Boiled Egg

Pecans

Parmesan Cheese

Avocado

Cashews

Fried Onions

Pecans

Wonton Strips

Dressing: Poppyseed, Caesar, Herb Vinaigrette, Thai Chili Vinaigrette, White Balsamic Apple Vinaigrette, Asian Sesame Vinaigrette

Grocery List by Category

Produce:

Romaine Lettuce x7

Kale x1

Field Greens x1

Strawberries

Blueberries

Grape Tomatoes x2

Shredded Carrots

Red Bell Pepper

Cilantro

Red onion

Dried Apples

Avocado

Nuts/Seeds:

Pecans

Cashews

Sliced almonds

Sesame Seeds

Dairy:

Eggs

Parmesan Cheese

Meat:

Chicken

Grocery:

Black Beans

Pineapple tidbits *

Fried Onions * or Tortilla Chip Strips

BBQ Sauce

Wonton Strips *

Frozen:

Fire Roasted Corn *

Edamame *

Dressing: Poppyseed, Caesar, Herb Vinaigrette, Thai Chili Vinaigrette, White Balsamic Apple Vinaigrette, Asian Sesame Vinaigrette

Cranberry Sauce and Christmas Menu

Cranberry Sauce on Whisk Together

 

Cranberry sauce is a nice side dish with most meats at Christmastime.  Even though it is a traditional “Thanksgiving” side dish, I really like to make it also at Thanksgiving.  The flavor and texture of cranberry sauce tastes fantastic with ham, turkey and chicken!

Christmas Menu

Best Ham Ever on Whisk Together

Best Ham Ever

Honey Wheat RollsHoney Wheat Rolls

sweet potato casseroleCR

 

Sweet Potato Casserole

Cheesey Spaghetti Squash and Spinach on WT

 

Cheesy Spaghetti Squash and Spinach

Cranberry Apple Cake (recipe coming this week!)

Recipe:

Why I love this recipe:

1.  It’s all homemade.
2.  You can make it 1-2 days ahead of your party.
3.  The flavor and texture is a little different than standard sauce – I like that.
4.  Super simple.

Perfect Cranberry Sauce and Christmas Menu
 
:
Ingredients
  • 12 ounce fresh or frozen cranberries, rinsed
  • ½ cup sugar (up to 1 cup for sweeter sauce)
  • 1 orange, zested and juiced
  • 2 Tb. water
  • 1 cinnamon stick or ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. ground allspice
  • ¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
Instructions
  1. Put a medium pot on the stove. Set aside ½ cup of the cranberries.
  2. Add the rest of the cranberries to the saucepan with the sugar, orange zest, orange juice and water.
  3. Cook on low for 10 minutes.
  4. Add the spices: cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg. Stir together.
  5. Cook on medium heat for 12 minutes. Gently stir and smash the cranberries. They will burst.
  6. Turn the heat down to low.
  7. Add the reserved ½ cup cranberries. Stir together.
  8. Add any sugar, salt or pepper to taste.
  9. Remove from heat and serve once cooled off. Or let cool on the stove and store in the fridge until ready to serve.
Notes
Recipe adapted from Food Network's "Perfect Cranberry Sauce"

 

Butternut Squash Salad

Butternut Squash Salad on Whisk Together-5528

If you followed the last post regarding roasting your Fall vegetables, then this salad will be easy!  It is the quintessential salad for Thanksgiving:  lots of bright greens, deep orange squash and radiant red fruit.  Simple to put together and it can be prepared the day before or even several days before you need the salad.  Just keep the vegetables in separate containers until it is ready to put together.

Here is a photo looking out from my kitchen in the morning!

House on Whisk Together-5352

I like to have a salad like this sitting in a large bowl in the fridge.  It lasts the week and we take out what we need with tongs throughout the week.  I prep them on Sunday after church along with the other meal prep for the week like hard boiled eggs, celery sticks, etc.  Hopefully, I will have my meal prep post ready soon!

Butternut Squash Salad on Whisk Together-5529

Speaking of meal prep.  Remember freezer cooking is a life saver around the holidays.  Prep and freeze baked mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, homemade rolls, gravy,  pumpkin pie, Dutch apple pie, and cherry pie.

To make my gravy ahead of time, I use my recipe for the slow cooker turkey breast.  I simply make the gravy in a saucepan separately.  This time of year, Trader Joe’s carries turkey stock or you can make your own.  Follow the recipe for the gravy and put it on the stovetop.  Most importantly, you do not need so much liquid.  Start with half the amount and add more later if necessary.  Cool and freeze.  Thaw and then pop it back onto the stovetop to heat through or in the microwave for a gravy that doesn’t have 50 chemical ingredients in it (yes, you know who you are you 99 cents jars of gravy this time of year).  Okay, not 50. Only 30 ingredients.

For the juiciest turkey ever, follow this recipe.  I have been using it several times a year for 7 years and without fail makes the best turkey ever.  Over the years, I did learn one trick.  It is hard to brine the turkey in the fridge and sometimes the garage isn’t cold enough.  Two ways have worked for me.  One, putting the turkey and brine in an oven bag.  Place this in the roasting pan in case of drips (My new preferred method).  Or two, put the turkey into a stockpot with the brine.  The entire amount of brine won’t fit and that is probably why I gave up on this method.  But, it does work as long as you use the 12-14 lb. turkey size in the recipe.

Butternut Squash Salad on Whisk Together-5531

 

Butternut Squash Salad
 
:
Ingredients
  • 1 small butternut squash
  • 1 Tb. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 Tb. brown sugar
  • 8 oz. baby spinach
  • 1 red onion, sliced thin
  • ¼-1/2 cup dried cranberries (like Craisins) or pomegranate arils
  • Dressing: balsamic vinaigrette
Instructions
  1. To prep the butternut squash: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Trim the ends of the butternut squash. Slice off the skin. Cut the flesh into ½" cubes. Toss the cubed squash in olive oil. Sprinkle the cinnamon and brown sugar on top. Lay on a rimmed cookie sheet and roast in the oven for about 18-20 minutes. Allow to cool slightly.
  2. To prep the salad: Pour spinach into a large salad bowl. Top with prepped butternut squash, sliced red onion, and dried cranberries or pomegranate arils. Drizzle with dressing. Eat immediately or store items separately and store in the fridge until ready to eat.

 

Individual Squash Mac and Cheese

Squash Mac and Cheese-5397 on Whisk Together

 

Oh yes, we have LOTS of spaghetti squash here thanks to Aldi.  The stock up store.  And their 69 cents squash sale!

Unless you want to stock up on: canned green chilies and whole wheat sandwich buns…. then you’re pretty much out of luck at Aldi. 🙂

But back to the squash.  This recipe is based on one of my favorite recipes: Cheesy Spaghetti Squash and Spinach.  On meal prep day, I will roast some items for lunches and include a few spaghetti squash.  I don’t recommend freezing this dish.  Squash just doesn’t usually freeze well and becomes very mushy.

Why I love this recipe:

1.  It’s super fast (once the squash is roasted)
2.  It’s full of flavor
3.  You can add what you want to it
4.  You can make it just for yourself because your kids aren’t being fooled by squash instead of pasta 🙂
5.  Simple ingredients you probably have at home
6.  It’s healthy, nutritious and filling

To pack this in your lunchbox, just layer everything in a sealed microwave safe bowl.  Then, at work you can just pop it into the microwave and stir!  Hot lunch that tastes as good as mac and cheese without all the calories.

How to Roast Spaghetti Squash:
The last post is how to roast all the squash on sale at Aldi.  But here is a refresher for spaghetti squash.

Cut it in half lengthwise.  Scoop out the seeds.  Spray the inside with a little olive oil.  Place cut side DOWN on a rimmed cookie sheet that has been sprayed with olive oil.  Bake 375 degrees for 40 minutes.  Or bake at 350 degrees for about an hour.  Or bake 400 degrees for 30 minutes.  It is soooo easy!  You can’t mess it up.  Then let it cool a little bit and drag your fork inside to get the “spaghetti”!  I would not recommend freezing the cooked spaghetti squash.

Trick for Scooping Seeds
The trick for scooping seeds out of the squash is… wait for it…. a grapefruit spoon!  Yes we love grapefruit spoons because they are NOT uni-taskers.  Instead, grapefruit spoons are perfect for using their serrated edges to scoop out the fibers and seeds inside your squash.

 

Squash Mac and Cheese-5388 on Whisk Together

Squash Mac and Cheese-5391 on Whisk Together

 

Squash Mac and Cheese-5393 on Whisk Together

Squash Mac and Cheese-5394 on Whisk Together

Individual Squash Mac and Cheese
 
:
Ingredients
  • 1 cup roasted spaghetti squash
  • 1 Tb. milk
  • ¼ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1-2 Tb. shredded Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper
  • ¼ tsp. onion powder
  • ¼-1/2 cup baby spinach (optional)
Instructions
  1. In a microwave safe bowl, add the spaghetti squash.
  2. Pour in a splash of milk (about a tablespoon).
  3. Sprinkle cheese on top.
  4. Sprinkle salt, pepper and onion powder.
  5. Stir in baby spinach.
  6. Microwave covered and on high for 30 seconds. Stir. Microwave for another 30 seconds if cheese needs to melt more. Mac and Cheese is ready once cheese is melted and the squash is hot.
  7. Top with more Parmesan cheese if you like.

 

 

How to Roast Squash

Roasted Acorn Squash on Whisk Together-5451

Book:  Still re-reading “The Last Child” by John Hart.  In the meantime, I discovered “The Good Wife” has Season 6 released on Hulu.  One of the smartest shows ever!  The writing is so funny, and you learn so much about the behind the scenes of politics and the law.

Recipes:  I almost titled this post “How to Roast Autumn”…. but then felt bad for the little girl I know 🙂

So… here is how to Roast Acorn Squash and the other Fall Vegetables.   I find roasting is my favorite way to eat vegetables (other than perhaps hidden in a warm soup).  It isn’t the fastest, but with a little prep you can have yummy veggies quick and easy while the main dish cooks.  This is also another reason why I love having a little convection oven in the kitchen – I can cook the main meal in the oven and use the little oven to roast the veggies.  I know it is $250 – but it lasts forever.

Unlike my Keurig machine.  Which was totally awesome until it died last week.
My French press hasn’t died in 20 years.

Roasted Acorn Squash on Whisk Together-5454

Aldi right now has spaghetti squash on sale for 99 cents and butternut and acorn squash on sale for 69 cents.  Super cheap side dishes with a huge nutritional boost as well!  So what’s the best way to make them?

This acorn squash is cooked differently than most.  Spaghetti and Butternut squash do well in the oven.  Acorn squash turns stringy or grainy and tends to be dry.  This microwave method is faster and results in a nutty and silky acorn squash you are sure to love.  The printable recipe is at the bottom.

How do you roast the other vegetables?

Roasted Butternut Squash Lasagna_3 on WT

Butternut Squash:  First, you could cut it in half lengthwise.  Scoop out the seeds.  Spray it with olive oil.  Place on a rimmed cookie sheet that has been sprayed with oil.  It should be cut side DOWN.  Bake 375 degrees for 40 minutes.  Or bake at 350 degrees for about an hour.  Or bake 400 degrees for 30 minutes.  Your fork should pierce through easily.  Scoop, mash and eat!
Second, you could cut the skin off.  It is tough skinned, but it is possible.  This is the kid’s favorite way to eat squash.  Cut it into 1/2″ cubes.  Toss in a little olive oil or melted butter. Throw on some cinnamon/brown sugar or thyme/rosemary/garlic.  Bake for 25-30 minutes at 375 degrees or until tender.

Make Butternut Squash Lasagna!  You will not regret it!  I STILL here about this recipe a year after I served it.

Cheesey Spaghetti Squash and Spinach on WT

Spaghetti Squash:   Cut it in half lengthwise.  Scoop out the seeds.  Spray the inside with a little olive oil.  Place cut side DOWN on a rimmed cookie sheet that has been sprayed with olive oil.  Bake 375 degrees for 40 minutes.  Or bake at 350 degrees for about an hour.  Or bake 400 degrees for 30 minutes.  It is soooo easy!  You can’t mess it up.  Then let it cool a little bit and drag your fork inside to get the “spaghetti”!  I would not recommend freezing the cooked spaghetti squash.

Make Spaghetti Squash Mac and Cheese!  Or Spaghetti and Meatballs!  Or any favorite dish with squash instead of pasta.

Pumpkin Bowl Soup_7 on Whisk Together

Pumpkin:  Cut off the top.  Scoop out the seeds.  Spray inside with olive oil.  Roast at 425 degrees for 25-30 minutes.  It will be tender when pierced with a fork when done.  Fill it up with your favorite soup and eat!  Coolest eating bowl ever and much healthier than a bread bowl.

Try with this Squash Soup in a Pumpkin Bowl!

sweet potato casseroleCR

Sweet Potatoes:  I peel and cut these into cubes and store in the freezer.  When I want sweet potatoes as a side dish, I just thrown some olive oil, brown sugar and cinnamon on them and pop into the oven at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes or so.  When I want mashed potatoes, I’ll nuke the frozen cubes until tender.  Storing sweet potatoes in the pantry works, but I would forget about them and they would go rancid.  So now I prefer storing them in the freezer.  Mashed sweet potatoes freeze well, too.

Make Sweet Potato Soup or Sweet Potato Casserole!

Brussel Sprouts CR

Brussels Sprouts:  Break off the outer leaves if they are about to fall off.  Slice them in half lengthwise.  Toss in a little olive oil, salt and pepper.  Roast in the oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.  Toss in a little lemon zest, browned butter or maple syrup.

Try Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Browned Butter Glaze!

**Technically most of these are NOT vegetables.  Pumpkins are large berries.  Squash obviously have seeds.  But most people consider them veggies, and they are on the vegetable side of Aldi.  Plus “How to Roast Fall Fruit” just doesn’t have the same ring to it.**

How to Roast Acorn Squash
 
:
Ingredients
  • 1 acorn squash
  • salt
  • 2 Tb. butter
  • 2 Tb. light or dark brown sugar
Instructions
  1. Cut the acorn squash in half longways. From top to bottom. Use a nice big sharp chef's knife because these are pretty tough.
  2. Scoop out the seeds in the middle along with the stringy stuff attached to them. I find the best way to do this is with a grapefruit spoon! Yes. Grapefruit spoon! My saving grace in Fall in this spoon.
  3. Now sprinkle a little salt on the inside.
  4. Place the squash cut side DOWN into a pyrex dish or other microwave safe and oven safe container. If using pyrex (I use my 7x11 dish), fill the bottom with ⅛ cup of water).
  5. Cover the squash with a microwave safe lid like glass or the plastic one made for microwaves.
  6. Microwave for 15 minutes.
  7. Pierce a fork through the center of the squash. It should go through easily and this means the squash is done.
  8. While that cools, melt the butter in the microwave. Add the brown sugar and give it a stir.
  9. Flip squash over. Drizzle the butter/sugar mixture.
  10. Broil the acorn squash on high for a few minutes. Of course, always remember to keep the door slightly ajar when broiling. Keep an eye on it because the sugar will caramelize quickly.
  11. Scoop and eat!
Notes
Recipe adapted from Cook's Illustrated

 

 

Mexican Cauliflower “Rice”

Mexican Cauliflower Rice_1 on Whisk Together

Good Morning!  It is our First Day of School here!


Book:
  I finished “Big Little Lies” by Liane Moriarty.  I think her last name rocks!  What a fun last name, don’t you think?  But anyway, the book is hilarious, the ending is jaw dropping and the conclusion perfect.  Great beach read and fun fiction.

Here’s a photo of my reading buddy, Oreo 🙂

Oreo on Whisk Together

Recipe:  After making Cauliflower Fried “Rice”, I thought we would try a Mexican version to go with our beef enchilada burritos.  That recipe is next!  The food processor makes this super simple to pulse into little bits of rice.  Everything is made in the skillet in less than 15 minutes!  You can make this one day and store it in the fridge or freezer – it reheats great.  The recipes makes enough for 7-8 servings, so you could freeze some of it if it is too much food for the week.

Mexican Cauliflower Rice can be served inside a lunch burrito, a breakfast burrito, a side dish to chimichangas, tacos, enchiladas, dinner burritos, taco lasagna, Mexican beef casserole, quesadillas, taco chili, etc.  Add a can of black beans on top tossed with a little cumin and chili powder for a veggie and protein dinner.

I used salsa verde and a green bell pepper in this recipe.  But feel free to use what salsa and bell peppers that you have on hand.

Mexican Cauliflower "Rice"
 
:
Ingredients
  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 1 Tb. olive oil or bacon fat
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • ½ green or red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • ½ cup salsa
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro (optional)
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Cut off the florets from the cauliflower head. Chop into same size chunks. Pulse the cauliflower in the food processor about 15 times - about the size of rice. This will take 2-3 batches.
  2. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium high heat.
  3. Add onion and pepper. Cook about 5 minutes or onion is translucent.
  4. Add the garlic and spices. Cook thirty seconds.
  5. Add the cauliflower rice and salsa. Put the lid on the skillet. Reduce heat to medium. Cook 7-8 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat and salt and pepper to taste. Add tomatoes and cilantro. Serve warm.
  7. Alternatively, you could mix everything together into a baking dish and bake for 40 minutes at 350 degrees - being sure to stir halfway through.

 

Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

Cauliflower Mac and Cheese on Whisk Together Blog

Book:  The reviews for “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo are quite amusing.  Here are the major points of the book.  I like how they are highlighted in bold.  That way I can just read the bold font and skip over the rest 🙂

Let’s start with one of the funniest lines.  The rest isn’t too bad.  But page 70 is where she really gets me: “If you are a woman, try wearing something elegant as nightwear.  The worst thing you can do is to wear a sloppy sweat suit.”

Oh, and make sure you don’t “ball up your socks.”  They need to rest and breathe.  Seriously.  I couldn’t make this stuff up myself.  Seriously, the book has some good points.  Here are some from the first half:

page 16:  “If you tidy up in one shot, rather than little by little, you can dramatically change your mind-set.”  (I do agree with this one… tackle it once and get ‘er done.  Otherwise it feels like I always have something left to do.)

page 22: “A booby trap lies within the term ‘storage’.”   (I thought this was interesting.  Anyway, it is the irony of buying and obtaining more stuff (organizing storage) to store more stuff.  Not that it is wrong to store things.  But I like the reflection and the thought process behind whether it is important to keep it to begin with.)

page 23:  “Putting things away creates the illusion that the clutter problem has been solved.”  Hmmm…

page 25: “Tidying up by location is a fatal mistake.”  (Again with doing it in one shot, you don’t have to buy things you couldn’t find because they were in another location.)

page 41: “…we should choose what we want to keep instead of choosing what we want to get rid of.”  (Ahh, the priorities game…Does this apply to family and friends?  Ha ha.  Just kidding!)

11694122_10206713063483334_7262394879101562266_nCheck out this workshop!!  There are few that I would LOVE everything in it and this is one of them.  It is a Wildtree Freezer Meal Workshop.  I provide the shopping list, the labels for the bags, extra ingredients and the kitchen.  You purchase the food bundle and get ready to party!  I used to do freezer workshops and loved them, but I would have loved it even more to take home some of the extra ingredients which you get to do here.  Email me or Facebook on how to get on board.  If you don’t live in the area – that is fine!  I send the bundles out all the time and email you all of the recipes, step by step shopping lists, and workshop checklist for your freezer full of meals.

Which reminds me the kids are going to school soon.  I’m going to miss my buddy 🙁  At least we will have some meals ready to go!

Cauliflower Mac and Cheese on Whisk Together

Recipe:  This is another weeknight recipe from Food Network Magazine (Jan/Feb. 2014).  It is paired with BBQ chicken or taste great all on its own.  The cauliflower used is 3 cups or 8 ounces – I bought a whole head of cauliflower and used half of it.  The pasta is a typical elbow macaroni, but you could substitute your own favorite shape or even a gluten free variety.  Trader Joe’s carries a brown rice and quinoa pasta.

Cauliflower Mac and Cheese
 
:
Ingredients
  • 6 oz. elbow macaroni (1 and ¾ cups)
  • 3 cups chopped cauliflower florets (about 8 oz/half a head)
  • 1 cup low fat milk
  • 1 and ½ cups shredded reduced fat cheddar cheese
  • 1 Tb. grated Parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. In a large pot, on medium high heat boil the milk and cauliflower together.
  2. Put on the lid, turn the heat down to medium and simmer for 8 minutes. The cauliflower should be tender and a fork should pierce through it easily.
  3. Put everything in the pot into a blender or food processor and turn it on until the mixture is smooth. Pour back into the pot and add only 1 and ¼ cup of the cheddar and all the Parmesan cheese.
  4. While the sauce is cooking: In a medium pot, boil some lightly salted water. Add pasta and cook 6-7 minutes (or what the package says). Keep about ½ cup of pasta water and drain the rest.
  5. Add cooked pasta to the cheese sauce you made. Add a little of the reserved pasta water to the sauce or as much or little as needed to make the sauce to how thick you want it. Heat through over low heat. Top with the rest of the cheddar cheese.
Notes
Serve with BBQ chicken, or add ground beef, or add chili for chili mac, etc.

Recipe from Food Network Magazine Jan/Feb 2014

The hubby and kiddos all ate it.  I try to tell them about halfway through what is in it because I’m mean like that.  Plus, I do offer them regular cauliflower when we have it.  They don’t like cauliflower roasted/steamed/cooked/raw, but we’ll keep trying.  I don’t agree with”hiding” vegetables in kids’ food for every meal, but this added interesting flavor and texture.   Plus, I don’t need to cook a separate vegetable because it is already in the side dish!  Two for one!  Woot woot!

Cauliflower Fried Rice

Cauliflower Fried Rice on Whisk Together

TED Talks “Math Class Needs a Makeover”:  I always find these TED talks sooooo mind-bendingly interesting.  This one is my new latest favorite.  Dan Meyer speaks to the audience about the backwards way students are presented with problems.  His premise is that the math problems in textbooks are nothing like real life.  No one in real life asks you a series of small questions to get the real answer they want.  No one in real life is going to label your items neatly “A”, “B”, and “C”.  Instead, he proposes that students receive only the basic picture and the last question – what the person really wants to know.  From that information, students need to work to figure out what steps they need to take in order to formulate the final answer.  (It sounds more complicated than it really is.)  Here is the link if you are interested. 

Recipe:  I made this recipe to go with the Steak and Broccoli Stir Fry posted yesterday.  If only cauliflower was as cheap as rice and spaghetti squash as cheap as pasta!  Oh what a wonderful world that would be 🙂  I should just get off my butt and grow my own I guess….

Well, anyway, this recipe was awesome and no one really cared or noticed that cauliflower was substituted for rice.  The soy sauce pretty much covers up all flavor profiles anyway.  Due to running out of soy sauce, I used Trader Joe’s Island Soyaki sauce instead.  The main ingredient is soy sauce, so it does make a great substitute if you have that instead.  Someone asked at the dinner table, “What’s it really called?”  They still didn’t believe me.  Of course, we were also joking around and I kept calling it Island “So-Yucky” sauce.

flyer-islandsoyaki(photo credit:  Trader Joe’s)

Anything related to the bathroom or yuck brings forth immense giggling in the under age 10 set.  Sigh.

Cauliflower Fried Rice_2 on Whisk Together

Cauliflower Fried Rice

Ingredients

  • 1 head of cauliflower or 24 oz. bag of fresh or frozen cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1 Tb. sesame oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas and carrots
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4-5 scallions, chopped and keep the greens separate from the white
  • 3 Tb. soy sauce (use less or more to your tastes)

Instructions

  1. In your food processor, pulse the cauliflower until it is the size of grains of rice. Do not simply turn it on and let it run, or the cauliflower will be mush. You will need to do this in 2-3 batches and set aside.
  2. In a large skillet, heat 1/2 Tb. sesame oil on medium heat. Add egg and scramble. Cook until cooked through (firm). Set aside.
  3. Add the rest of the sesame oil (1/2 Tb) to the skillet. Cook the onion for 2 minutes. Add the peas and carrots and cook 5 minutes. Add garlic and white scallion and cook 30 seconds.
  4. Turn up the heat to medium high and add the cauliflower and cook with the lid on for about 7-8 minutes. You will need to stir it quite often.
  5. Add the egg back in and add the soy sauce. Stir until heated through. Take the skillet off the stove and sprinkle the top with the green scallions. Serve warm with extra soy sauce.
  6. Recipe from Skinnytaste
http://www.whisktogether.com/2015/02/10/cauliflower-fried-rice/

Cauliflower Fried Rice
serves 4-6

1 head of cauliflower or 24 oz. bag of fresh or frozen cauliflower, cut into florets
1 Tb. sesame oil
2 eggs
1/2 onion, finely diced
1/2 cup frozen peas and carrots
2 garlic cloves, minced
4-5 scallions, chopped and keep the greens separate from the white
3 Tb. soy sauce (use less or more to your tastes)

In your food processor, pulse the cauliflower until it is the size of grains of rice.  Do not simply turn it on and let it run, or the cauliflower will be mush.  You will need to do this in 2-3 batches and set aside.
In a large skillet, heat 1/2 Tb. sesame oil on medium heat.  Add egg and scramble.  Cook until cooked through (firm).  Set aside.
Add the rest of the sesame oil (1/2 Tb) to the skillet.  Cook the onion for 2 minutes.  Add the peas and carrots and cook 5 minutes.  Add garlic and white scallion and cook 30 seconds.
Turn up the heat to medium high and add the cauliflower and cook with the lid on for about 7-8 minutes.  You will need to stir it quite often.
Add the egg back in and add the soy sauce.  Stir until heated through.  Take the skillet off the stove and sprinkle the top with the green scallions.

Recipe from Skinnytaste

Apple Raisin Dressing

Apple Raisin Dressing on Whisk Together

 

 

Book Update:  I finally finished a book!  Good golly it’s been like 3 months.  Anyway, I read the book  Michael Connely’s “The Gods of Guilt”.  It was a typical Michael Connely book – fun, twists and turns, fast paced.  If you haven’t read one then start with “The Lincoln Lawyer”.  And, no I haven’t seen the movie. But I am dying to see the new Hobbit movie!!

Recipe:  I wanted to make the Thanksgiving dressing that we grew up with without the bags or boxes of preservatives.  Don’t worry – it isn’t hard!  It’s just old, dried out bread.  You can’t screw it up.  This makes a big batch and transports well to take to a dinner.  It was almost all gone at the end of the day, so it was good!

Apple Raisin Dressing_3 on Whisk Together

Apple Raisin Dressing
serves 12

8 Tb. butter (I think you MIGHT be able to cut this in half if you want to try)
1 onion, finely chopped
4 celery ribs, chopped
2 apples, chopped (like Granny Smith or something tart)
8 cups bread cubes, crust removed and at least 1 day old
1 cup raisins (regular dark ones or golden)
1 tsp. salt
1 and 1/2 tsp. dried sage
1/2 tsp. dried thyme (or use 1 tsp. poultry seasoning instead of thyme and 1/2 tsp. sage)
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. black pepper
2 cups chicken broth
8 cups bread cubes, crust removed and at least 1 day old

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees if baking and serving immediately.  In a large pot, heat the butter over medium heat.  Add onion, celery and apples.  Cook until soft – about 5 minutes.
2.  While that cooks, place bread cubes in a 9×13 casserole dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray.
3.  Back to the pot:  Add raisins, salt, sage, thyme and pepper to the butter mixture.  Heat up for 1-2 minutes.
4.  Add the broth a little at a time – start out with 1 and 3/4 cups.  Stir that in and pour over your bread.  If it looks like everything has been coated, hold back on the broth.  If it looks dry, add a little more or reserve for serving, too.  A few times I added all 2 cups of the broth and thought that it was a little too much in the end.
5.  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes covered with foil.  Bake another 15 minutes uncovered.

OR After assembly, simply cover and refrigerate until ready to eat the next day.  I never make this on Thanksgiving.  I make it the day before in order to free up the kitchen and have a dish ready to just place in the oven.

Recipe adapted from Taste of Home

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