Sunday, October 30, 2011

Week 92 Menu

Sunday: Peach Whiskey BBQ Chicken (PW) with roasted vegetables from CSA basket & pumpkin cornbread (Two Peas)
Monday: Carroty Mac and Cheese
Tuesday: Grilled cheese with spinach pesto
Wednesday: Dinner at church
Thursday: Leftovers
Friday: Lasagna roll-ups from the freezer
Saturday: Out.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Week 91 Menu

Sunday: Leftovers from yesterday's birthday party!
Monday: Chicken Pad Thai with bok choy from CSA basket
Tuesday: Yorkshire Pudding (TWFD) with cranberry sauce....ready for Thanksgiving!
Wednesday: Dinner at church
Thursday: Carrot Mac and Cheese (Three Many Cooks) and roasted parsnip and avocado salad from CSA basket
Friday: Leftovers
Saturday: Out

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Baked, Stuffed Pumpkin

Last winter my brother-in-law Mike introduced me to a new foodie podcast (Splendid Table). So, of course, I had to listen to all the past episodes. One of the autumn guests was Dorie Greenspan talking about her baked, stuffed pumpkin. A little pie pumpkin stuffed with cheese, bread, and cream and baked. could that be bad!!! I wanted to make one!

The only bad thing was that when I was listening to the podcast, pumpkins were already out of season! Not a baking pumpkin in sight. So, I set a calendar reminder for the following October. So, last week, I got my iPhone reminder to make a baked, stuffed pumpkin (I freely admit how nerdy I am).

There is very little active prep time for this recipe - really only hollowing out a pumpkin and toasting up some bread if you don't already have some stale bread on hand. And, that's about it! The recipe calls for a 3 - 5 pound pumpkin. When I had already hollowed the pumpkin out, I had no clue how much it weighed. Thank goodness you buy them by the pound, so I could just consult my grocery store receipt! It looked like the standard pie pumpkin was about 3 - 3.5 pounds.This dish is best served table side. How impressive and elegant to serve your dinner out of a pumpkin!!!

Baked, Stuffed Pumpkin

Makes 2 very generous servings
1 pumpkin, about 3 pounds
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3 slices stale bread, thinly sliced and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2–4 garlic cloves (to taste), minced
4 strips bacon, cooked until crisp, drained, and chopped
About 1/4 cup snipped fresh chives or sliced scallions
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
About 1/3 cup heavy cream
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

***The link to her recipe has some great alternate stuffing ideas as well as storage and serving tips.***
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil [be warned: if moving the cooked pumpkin to a serving tray, it will be a little tricky!].
Using a very sturdy knife, cut a cap out of the top of the pumpkin. Work your knife around the top of the pumpkin at a 45-degree angle. You want to cut off enough of the top to make it easy for you to work inside the pumpkin. Scoop out the seeds and strings from the cap and from inside the pumpkin. Season the inside of the pumpkin generously with salt and pepper, and put it on the baking sheet or in the pot. 
Toss the bread, cheese, garlic, bacon, and herbs together in a bowl. Season with pepper and pack the mix into the pumpkin. The pumpkin should be well filled (don't be shy about stuffing the little guy!). Stir the cream with the nutmeg and some salt and pepper and pour it into the pumpkin. Play it by ear - you don't want the ingredients to swim in cream, but you do want them nicely moistened. 
Put the cap in place and bake the pumpkin for about 2 hours — check after 90 minutes — or until everything inside the pumpkin is bubbling and the flesh of the pumpkin is tender enough to be pierced easily with the tip of a knife. Because the pumpkin will have exuded liquid, remove the cap during the last 20 minutes or so, so that the liquid can bake away and the top of the stuffing can brown a little.
When the pumpkin is ready, very carefully bring it to the table or transfer it to a platter (I used two spatulas to maneuver the pump.

Week 90 Menu

I love fall/winter veggies. We're trying a lot of new recipes this week that feature my favorites!

Sunday: Baked, Stuffed Pumpkin with sautéed kale from CSA basket
       I saved this recipe from last winter until I could get my hands on a baking pumpkin this season!!! I can't wait to try it!
Monday: Carroty Mac & Cheese (Three Many Cooks)
Tuesday: Roasted Squash and Potato Soup and Pumpkin Cornbread (Two Peas & Their Pod) featuring CSA veggies
Wednesday: Dinner at church
Thursday: Leftovers
Friday: Herb Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Preserves (PW)....back by popular demand
Saturday: All the Grandparents in town for Shelby's 3rd birthday!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Meatless Mondays

On the food blogs I follow, I have read a lot about Meatless Mondays. I've always thought dismissively, "well, that's nice." I've also been reading Michael Pollan's "In Defense of Food." And he has really shamed me and challenged me to eat less meat/dairy and more whole grains/veggies for ethical and health reasons.

Most recently I read that by cutting meat out of one meal a week, it's the carbon-footprint-reducing equivalent of driving a Prius! Being an engineer with a data/numbers mind, that made me pay attention. Really? It can make that much of a difference? But, how do you execute that on a daily basis when you've been working all day and don't have a lot of time?! And, how do you fill up your vegetarian-skeptical family? When I talked to Scott about it, the business-mind in him asked, "Isn't the meat you already have just a sunk cost?" This is what I'm dealing with, people.

 I looked back over my last month's menus and was shocked to see how many meatless meals we were already eating: Stuffed Shells, Corn Cheddar Frittata, Eggplant Parmesan!

I can really do this! And, now that we're getting the CSA basket every other week, it's really forcing me to branch out and find ways to use these veggies. I'm so glad that my favorite recipe blogs are making it easy to cook delicious vegetarian recipes! Now, I think I'm making a point to serve at least one meatless meal a week.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Week 89 Menu

Not a lot of motivation to make a menu after a family vacation! So I'm relying on my freezer stash to make it through!

Sunday: scrounging around the kitchen after vacation
Monday: Lasagna roll-ups from freezer
Tuesday: Schezuan chicken (just can't seem to make this one!)
Wednesday: dinner at church
Thursday: Meatballs and marinara from the freezer
Friday: leftovers
Saturday: out

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Week 88 Menu

Sunday: Homemade calzone with "fiesta corn"
Monday: Schezuan Chicken with assorted veggies
Tuesday: Lasagna Roll-up from freezer with spinach
Wednesday: Dinner at church
Thursday - Saturday: At Disney for family vacation!!!