Tuesday, December 20, 2011

New Tag: Cook Once Eat Twice

I have added a new tag to some previous posts, and to this new one. Cook Once, Eat Twice. It could be called Cook Once, Eat a Bunch of Times but that was too long.

I love it when I can use up leftovers in a new way. It makes meals so quick and easy. So why not plan meals to have left overs to re-invent the next night? I'm not talking my step mom's classic "casserole". Growing up when we were having "casserole" it meant leftovers mixed into rice and warmed up in a casserole dish.

So today's recipe is a roasted vegetable puree that can be made in to many other meals. Or just mix a little into whatever you are making- I mixed some into Bolognese sauce last night and nobody was the wiser. Since Tyler doesn't read this blog (because he says "he lives it"), it's still our little secret.


The vegetables and their amounts are a rough guide- use which ever vegetables you like, but ensure they all have roughly the same cooking time. 

To peel celery root, use a knife to take off the outside 1/4-inch all around the vegetable- the skin is too tough to use a peeler. The squash and sweet potato aren't peeled as the skin adds more fiber and nutrients, and it get soft in the oven and pureed anyway.
  • 2 carrots, scrubbed and chopped into large pieces
  • 1 medium celery root (celeriac), scrubbed, peeled, and chopped into large pieces
  • 1/2 medium butternut squash, scrubbed and chopped into large pieces
  • 1 large sweet potato scrubbed and chopped into large pieces
  • 1 large parsnip, peeled and chopped into large pieces
  • 1 large onion peeled and quartered
  • 3 cloves garlic, unpeeled
  • olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 cups chicken stock
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a large, or 2 small, baking sheets with parchment paper or foil. If using foil spray with cooking spray. Toss all vegetables with a good drizzle of olive oil, rosemary, salt and pepper. Arrange on baking tray so that they are all in one layer. Roast until golden brown on the bottom, about 15 minutes. Stir the vegetables on the tray and return to oven for another 10-15 minutes- until vegetables are golden and cooked through. Allow to cool on the tray 15 minutes.

Peel garlic cloves and discard the peels. In two or three batches, puree vegetables with enough stock to just cover them in a blender until smooth- use water if you run out of stock. Puree can be kept in the fridge for up to 4 days, or frozen in smaller portions for up to 4 months.


Add enough water or chicken stock to vegetable puree above to get it to the consistency you want for soup. Heat and serve. With grilled cheese would be nice.

Serves 4
Some white kidney beans would be a good addition as well. Or to make this vegetarian, replace the sausage with beans.
  • 500 g dried pasta
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp butter
  • 1 onion, cut in half and sliced thinly
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 hot Italian sausages, casings removed
  • 1 small bunch kale, washed, ribs removed, chopped
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • roasted vegetable puree
  • tomato sauce
In a large pot of salted boiling water cook pasta to al dente and drain, reserving 1/2 cup of cooking water.

Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil, butter, onions. Season with salt and pepper. Stir to break up onions into individual strands. Cover for 5 minutes. Remove lid and cook onions, stirring occasionally, until just slightly caramelized. Remove onions from pan and set them aside.

Heat same pan to medium high heat. Add sausage and break up into small pieces with a spatula while it is cooking. Once sausage is cooked through and browned, add kale. Stir and cook for 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium. Add 2 large ladles of roasted vegetable puree and the same amount of tomato sauce. Stir until heated through. Add pasta and feta. Stir to combine. Add enough pasta water until the sauce is the consistency you want. Serve with a little more feta crumbled on top if desired.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Slow Cooker Pulled Beef

Grilled Cheese with Pulled Beef
I have made this beef twice and both times didn't take a photo for the blog. I wish I had a nice, juicy, mouthwatering photo of a hunk of beef to show you, but alas, you'll have to use your imagination. It is a thing of beauty. And easy. I'm not even going to give you a real recipe for the beef.

Here's what you do for amazing falling-apart beef: Get a good sized bottom round roast. We get ours marinated already from the store, but if yours isn't seasoned then coat with your favorite rub. Cut it in half. Place in the bottom of your slow cooker. Add about 3/4 cup of water. Set to low and go about your day. It is done when it shreds easily, 6-8 hours. If you have to leave it longer, don't cut the meat in half. I'm sure it's possible to overcook it, but it would take a really long time. Remove from the slow cooker, shred the meat (discard the liquid in the pot), add barbecue sauce.

So, what do you do with all that beef? A better question would be what don't you do with all that beef? This is what we used it for. It could also be frozen in small portions.

Pizza with Pulled Beef, Mushrooms, Broccoli, Feta
Grilled Cheese with Pulled Beef
Beef Wraps with Giardinera
Pulled Beef Mac n' Cheese
Pasta With Pulled Beef, Roasted Peppers and Goat Cheese
Pulled Beef Ravioli (I didn't make this, but it would be easy to make with wonton wrappers)
Pulled Beef Sandwiches - on Kaiser buns with more BBQ sauce. And just in case you thought I was getting too fancy with the ravioli; I like to put potato chips on my sandwiches (I'm in love with these ones)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Leek, Chicken, and Feta Stuffed Pitas

First off, sorry if you had tried to read Four Seasons Kitchen in the last few days. There was "suspicious activity" and I was temporarily shut down. Everything is good now, obviously. I had a mini coronary when I went to my blog and it wasn't there though.

Last night I finally made a dinner worth blogging about. I've made some good meals in the last couple of weeks, sure, but with getting Parker fed, Christmas stuff, wine, etc I forgot to take photos. The fact that there is a photo of this dish from last night isn't saying that there was no wine with dinner- in fact Riesling went very well with this dish- I just finally got my butt in gear. Kind of. Hence the smile fries accompanying the pitas. Shut up, they're awesome.

One Year Ago: Chicken Pot Pie

Two Years Ago: Spanakopita 

Adapted from Food and Drink
Serves 2-4 depending on what you have on the side

If you are having trouble opening the pita, microwave them for about 30 seconds to soften. This recipe is pretty forgiving if your pitas rip though, because the egg holds everything together.

  • 3 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 large leeks, washed well, sliced thinly (white and light green parts only- save the tops for stock)
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, chopped 
  • salt and pepper 
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 2 tbsp fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 pita pockets, sliced in half and opened carefully

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil. Saute leeks and garlic until softened, stirring occasionaly, about 10 minutes. Remove to a bowl. Increase heat in pan to medium high. Add remaining oil and chicken, season with oregano, salt and pepper, saute until chicken is browned and just cooked through- about 5 minutes. Add white wine to pan to deglaze, letting wine boil until almost all is evaporated. Add contents of pan to bowl with leeks and let cool slightly.

To chicken and leek mixture add parsley, feta, egg, Parmesan and stir to combine. Stuff pita pockets with mixture and place on a baking sheet. Bake 10 minutes.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

On Kale and Man Food

A funny thing happened in our kitchen last weekend. Tyler was making pancakes for breakfast on Saturday morning*. I suggested that he make them with whole wheat flour at least to make them healthier. He refused, saying something to the effect of "don't mess with man food". I was in charge of making BLTs**. I made BKTs instead. Bacon. KALE. Tomato. Take that man food.

I think kale can stand in for lettuce almost all of the time. Tyler seems to agree, cause he assembled sandwiches for us the next meal using... you guessed it. Go on, healthy up your bacon man-wich with some kale.

*Since I have starting working at 8am on Sundays, Tyler has learned to make pancakes. He keeps telling me how much Parker loves pancakes, but I hadn't witnessed the pancake phenomenon until this weekend. Wow. The kid goes bananas for pancakes. He ate more than I did. Incidentally, he also goes bananas for bananas. I wonder what would happen if we gave him banana pancakes?

**Are BLTs global, or is this a Canadian acronym? Just in case, BLT stands for Bacon Lettuce Tomato sandwich.