Saturday, November 27, 2010

Spicy Sausage and Bean Casserole

This recipe is a staple in our home, and, dare I say, it should be in yours too.  It's super cheap, makes a lot, and always comes out fantastic.  The casserole calls for ground pieces of bread, which are really just bread crumbs the last time I checked.  So, that's what I use.  I also use more red pepper than is called for...but more on my great love of spicy food later...

Also, our good friends are hosting a second Thanksgiving tomorrow!  Todd  cobbled together a mix of pretty sweet (and gigantic!!) beers for the party, so I'm pretty excited about that, too!

(Recipe adapted from Cooking Light).


  • Cooking spray
  • 1  cup  chopped onion (about 1 medium)
  • 1  (16-ounce) package spicy turkey sausage
  • 2  garlic cloves, minced
  • 1  (14-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 2  tablespoons  brown sugar
  • 2  tablespoons  tomato paste
  • 1/2  teaspoon  dried thyme
  • 1/2  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  • 3  (16-ounce) cans cannellini beans or other white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1  bay leaf
  • 1/8  teaspoon  ground red pepper (optional) I like a lot!
  • 1.5 cups breadcrumbs 
  • 2  tablespoons  chopped fresh parsley


Preheat oven to 375°.
Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion and turkey sausage to pan; sauté for 5 minutes or until browned. Add garlic, and sauté for 2 minutes. Stir in chicken broth, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Stir in 2 tablespoons brown sugar, tomato paste, dried thyme, freshly ground black pepper, cannellini beans, and bay leaf. Add ground red pepper, if desired. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
Sprinkle breadcrumbs evenly over bean mixture, and lightly coat with cooking spray. Bake at 375° for 15 minutes or until browned. Discard bay leaf. Sprinkle with parsley.

Gratuitous Nutritional Information Below!

Nutritional Information

205 (14% from fat)
3.3g (sat 1.1g,mono 0.1g,poly 0.5g)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Butternut Squash and Caramelized Onion Galette

Tarts so good I eat them before I take pictures for you!  Sorry!

Seriously, though, this galette is the tops.  It's super yummy, and if I didn't have to share it with friends, I probably would have eaten it like a personal pizza.  

It's fun to make, too!  I've never put plain flour in the freezer before!  And sour cream in the dough?  Double wow!  Just make sure you reserve enough time to make it, so you don't get yourself all frazzled!

Butternut Squash and Caramelized Onion Galette
(via Smitten Kitchen)
For the pastry:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into
1/4 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup ice water
For the filling:
1 small butternut squash (about one pound)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 to 2 tablespoons butter (if you have only non-stick, the smaller amount will do)
1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced in half-moons
1 teaspoon salt
Pinch of sugar
1/4 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
3/4 cup fontina cheese (about 2 1/2 ounces), grated or cut into small bits
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage leaves
1. Make pastry: In a bowl, combine the flour and salt. Place the butter in another bowl. Place both bowls in the freezer for 1 hour. Remove the bowls from the freezer and make a well in the center of the flour. Add the butter to the well and, using a pastry blender, cut it in until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Make another well in the center. In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream, lemon juice and water and add half of this mixture to the well. With your fingertips, mix in the liquid until large lumps form. Remove the large lumps and repeat with the remaining liquid and flour-butter mixture. Pat the lumps into a ball; do not overwork the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
2. Prepare squash: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Peel squash, then halve and scoop out seeds. Cut into a 1/2-inch dice. Toss pieces with olive oil and a half-teaspoon of the salt and roast on foil lined (for neatness sake) sheet for 30 minutes or until pieces are tender, turning it midway if your oven bakes unevenly. Set aside to cool slightly.
3. Caramelize onions: While squash is roasting, melt butter in a heavy skillet and cook onion over low heat with the remaining half-teaspoon of salt and pinch of sugar, stirring occasionally, until soft and lightly golden brown, about 20 minutes. Stir in cayenne.
4. Raise the oven temperature to 400 degrees. Mix squash, caramelized onions, cheese and herbs together in a bowl.
5. Assemble galette: On a floured work surface, roll the dough out into a 12-inch round. Transfer to an ungreased baking sheet. Spread squash, onions, cheese and herb mixture over the dough, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border. Fold the border over the squash, onion and cheese mixture, pleating the edge to make it fit. The center will be open.
6. Bake until golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven, let stand for 5 minutes, then slide the galette onto a serving plate. Cut into wedges and serve hot, warm or at room temperature. Serves 6.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Pumpkin and Sausage Pasta

Here--have some pumpkin!  

Todd made this guy.  

This recipe is so Rachel's just soooo like her to do this.  The meat is easily omitted, since we ate the sausage in the process of cooking.  You can also forgo the cream because the pumpkin does pretty much the same thing.  If you want some more punkin', you might try this thing here.  

If you're into Rachel Ray recipes, may I recommend this guy here?

Pumpkin and Sausage Pasta
(adapted from Rachel Ray)

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon
1 pound bulk sweet Italian sausage
4 cloves garlic, cracked and chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 bay leaf, fresh or dried
4 to 6 sprigs sage leaves, cut into chiffonade, about 2 tablespoons
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken stock, canned or paper container
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup (3 turns around the pan) heavy cream (or omit, like I did)
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, ground or freshly grated
Coarse salt and black pepper
1 pound penne rigate, cooked to al dente

Heat a large, deep nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and brown the sausage in it. Transfer sausage to paper towel lined plate. Drain fat from skillet and return pan to the stove. Add the remaining tablespoon oil, and then the garlic and onion. Saute 3 to 5 minutes until the onions are tender.

Add bay leaf, sage, and wine to the pan. Reduce wine by half, about 2 minutes. Add stock and pumpkin and stir to combine, stirring sauce until it comes to a bubble. Return sausage to pan, reduce heat, and stir in cream. Season the sauce with the cinnamon and nutmeg, and salt and pepper, to taste. Simmer mixture 5 to 10 minutes to thicken sauce.

Return drained pasta to the pot you cooked it in. Remove the bay leaf from sauce and pour the sausage pumpkin sauce over pasta. Combine sauce and pasta and toss over low heat for 1 minute. Garnish the pasta with lots of shaved cheese and sage leaves.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Tomato Leek Quinoa

A nice, quick weeknight meal.  The most difficult part is chopping the leeks, because those puppies tend to curl up into themselves.  Todd says it tastes "a little healthy," meaning it's a little shy of awesome.  I omitted the oil and butter, which may have contributed to that evaluation.  He does concede that it would make a good side dish at vegan restaurant...Nonetheless, we managed to eat it all! 

Tomato Leek Quinoa
(Bon Appetit)
Serves 2 for dinner
1 1/2 cups quinoa
2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon butter
2 cups finely chopped leeks (white and pale green parts only), about 3 medium-sized leeks
1/4 cup chicken broth
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium-size tomatoes, seeded, chopped
3 tablespoons chopped scallions
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil (or dried...that's what I used and it tasted fine)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice 
Mix quinoa, 2 cups water, and salt in heavy medium saucepan. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until quinoa is just tender and water is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Set aside.
Melt butter in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add leeks; sauté until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Add broth and cover. Simmer until leeks are tender, about 5 minutes. Add quinoa and oil, stirring until heated through, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, onions, basil, and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. 

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Pumpkin Pie + 520 Swing!

Fact: I ate pumpkin pie for dinner at 8pm tonight.  Good gracious.

Also, it's my favorite time of the month--520 Swing is this Saturday!  Come dance with us.  It will be fun.

Todd and I are teaching a free rough and ready beginner swing lesson at 7:30.  Absolutely no partner, experience, or special shoes necessary.  Just wear something comfortable--you may even break a sweat!

520 Swing

When: 3rd Saturdays of the month; Dance starting 8:00pm goes until 11 pm
Lessons: Beginner Lesson at 7:30pm.
Where: 2512 E. 6th Street. Across from Rincon Market
Price: $5 for all. FREE water.

Also, check out my current fav lindy hop clip!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Apple Walnut Gorgonzola Rustic Tart

(food stylings by Todd)
Make this tart.  Trust me.  It's so easy you would not believe...and it turns out kinda cute lookin', right?  But seriously, it has a nice savory flavor...and when you divvy it up into little slices, well, like I said, it's really cute.

With unlimited funds, I'd spring for fresh thyme, since its flavor really stands out in the recipe.  I'll probably use more cheese next time, because I love cheese.  Made this for a get together near our home, so after I pulled it out of the oven and wrapped it up, we walked over to the party, allowing the tart cool in the chilly fall air.

(actual size)
Apple Walnut Gorgonzola Rustic Tart
From Simply Recipes, 6-8 slices
  • 1 Pâte Brisée (tart dough) for a 10-inch tart or 1 packaged, flat pie crust
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1/4 cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese (or blue cheese)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 large granny smith apples (or other good cooking apples such as jonagold or fuji), peeled, cored, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon juice (optional)
Toss the walnuts, gorgonzola, thyme, chopped apples, and maple syrup together in a medium size bowl. As you are working with the apples (chopping them, mixing them in with the other ingredients), if you want, you can squeeze a little lemon juice on them to help keep them from discoloring. Cover the mixture with plastic wrap while you prepare the crust.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Roll out pastry dough to 13-inches, at an 1/8 of an inch thickness. Place pastry dough on a rimmed baking sheet. (Rimmed because the pastry will leak butter during the cooking process.) Mound the filling in the middle of the rolled out dough, and spread out evenly to 1 1/2 inches to 2 inches from the edge of the dough. Pleat the edges of the dough over the filling.
Bake for 45 minutes to an hour, until crust is nicely browned. If at any time it looks like the walnuts are getting a little burnt, you can lightly tent a piece of aluminum foil over the center.
Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before serving. 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Creamy Cauliflower Soup

This soup is good.  So, so good.  I made it for the first time this weekend.  It's supposed to serve eight, yet four of us managed to split it as an appetizer.  Todd loved it so much that we made it again tonight, although this time the two of us ate the whole thing!  Might use less butter and sour cream next time so I don't feel so guilty when I eat 4x the amount I should.  I accompanied it with cabbage sauteed in water and seasoned with salt and pepper, so we had a completely colorless yet tasty meal!
P.S. I wanted to take a picture of something for y'all, but Todd and I literally ate everything...we'll work on it.

Creamy Cauliflower Soup
Serves 8, or 2 greedy adults
(From Pink of Perfection)
This soup can be made two days ahead of time. Just wait until you’re reheating it to add the sour cream.

2 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, chopped
1 head cauliflower, florets separated and stems chopped
½ cup white wine
3 cups chicken stock
1 cup sour cream
chives or scallion greens to garnish

Melt the butter in a large, deep saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, cauliflower, salt and pepper. Cook until the onion is softened, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add the white wine and cook for 1 minute, then add the stock and cook until the cauliflower is very tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Purée the soup in a blender in batches. Stir in the sour cream, adjust the seasoning if necessary, and garnish.