Roasted Beets with Feta

It’s beet season! I think beets are one of those vegetables that can often get a bad rap. They look kind of funny when you pull them out of the ground…they stain everything…and they do have an earthy taste. Then again, I grew up eating beets (albeit out of a can, but I did eat them) so I guess it’s one of those vegetables where you love ’em, or you don’t.

The best way to get your beets ready to eat is to roast them. Because of the sugar, they carmelize really nicely and sweeten right up. All you need to do to roast them is trim off the greens, wrap each beet with aluminum foil, and roast for about an hour or two or until they soften (see recipe below). Let them cool and use your hands to gently peel off the skin under running cold water (it seriously rubs right off). You may or may not want to wear gloves during the peeling process because there is plenty of magenta-colored juice under that skin!

This recipe was given to me by my husband’s step mom, who made this with some beets they had also received from their Fresh Fork basket. My father-in-law is not a fan of beets, but really liked this dish. I’m not sure if it made him a believer (beet-leiver? Ha!) of sorts, but she was was really pleased with the result and forwarded it to me. And now, I share the love with you.

Roasted Beets with Feta

from Allrecipes.com

  • 4 beets, trimmed of greens
  • 1/4 cup minced shallots
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, minced
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar (or more to taste)
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar (or more to taste)
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • salt and pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 400*F. Wrap each beet individually in aluminum foil, and place onto a baking sheet or into a muffin pan (to keep them from rolling around). Bake the beets in the preheated oven until easily pierced with a fork, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  2. While the beets are in the oven, make your vinaigrette: whisk together the shallot, parsley, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and red wine vinegar in a bowl until it blends. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and set aside. Periodically whisk together to keep the dressing emulsified.
  3. Once the beets are done, remove them from the oven and let cool. Discard the foil and peel the beets under cold running water, and cut into 1/4 inch slices. Again, you may want to wear gloves or you risk staining your hands!
  4. Place the sliced beets onto a serving dish or into a bowl and pour the vinaigrette over the beets, and sprinkle with feta cheese.

imageI have to admit, my picture is a bit terrible…but you get the idea.

This is a great side dish to share with others, or just to keep all for yourself (if you like beets, like I do). The leftovers lasted maybe a day or two, tops.

Maybe my recipe will make a beet-liever out of you. Maybe you’ll make it and still hate beets! But I figure it’s at least worth a shot, especially if you are looking for a vegetable that is a bit more in season for this time of year.

Enjoy!

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Fresh Fork Market – Fall Backlog

We are blessed with the overabundance of produce and cursed with a shortage of time in the evenings. The weeks have run together and I realize that I completely forgot to blog!! Then again, I’m still getting back into the swing of things and I’m in the tail end of marching season…so there 😉

September 30, 2015

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– breakfast sausage patties – these were delicious on a Saturday morning
– pinto beans – went into a failed tamale pie. I am not used to cooking with fresh beans!
– acorn squash
– apples
– eggplant (2) – eggplant rollatini was made. Not too shabby!
– green beans – made into a delicious potato & green bean salad on a Sunday with friends
– kale
– green leaf lettuce


October 7, 2015

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– beets – I love that they last forever, like the squash. There’s not a rush to get to them!
– cornmeal – Some was used for soaking clams and for the failed tamale pie. I still have some leftover so I may instruct a certain husband to make some cornbread…
– onion
– broccoli – Used in the chicken & broccoli dish I made after the tamale pie failed
– sweet potatoes – baked in our Sunday night clambake
– cabbage – Made into stuffed cabbage casserole. Post to (hopefully) come!
– chicken patties
– spaghetti squash


October 14, 2015

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– kale
– cherry tomatoes
– concord grapes
– green beans
– green cauliflower
– potatoes
– romaine lettuce
– carrots
– green peppers

Fresh Fork Basket 9/23/15

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Told you I was behind. This past week was even crazier! Thankfully the coming week is going to be a bit more low key – but just a bit, mind you. Irregardless we are munching away with another delicious week of Fresh Fork.

  • Beets – again, roasted and awaiting consumption, probably Monday night.
  • fresh pasta – How cool is this!!!??? We received Butternut Sage linguine. The bag includes 3 servings; one of which has been consumed by Hubs on a night where I was fed at conferences and he was left on his own. Tossed with pesto from the freezer and a few tomatoes, it’s a satisfying meal!
  • carrots – To be roasted for dinner…yummy!
  • butternut squash – to the pantry it goes…I have enough for soup now
  • yellow onion
  • a gigantic kohlrabi – probably to be diced and frozen for winter stir fry
  • yellow summer squash – This was sauteed with the cherry tomatoes and some garlic, basil, salt, pepper and olive oil
  • cherry tomatoes – I wonder how much longer we’ll be receiving these…they’re just oh-so-good
  • green peppers – Not my favorite, but always necessary for casseroles and crock pot meals. 
  • potatoes

Fresh Fork Basket 9/16/15

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A busy week at our house!

I think that most exciting thing about our new CSA is that we get other foods in addition to just vegetables. We are true omnivores in our house and the Small Omnivore Basket that we receive each week is just perfect! As this post is ridiculously late, here is a recap of our 2nd week, as well as how we prepared these foods:

  • pears – I am not a fan of pears, but Hubs is, so most of these were consumed as breakfast
  • roma tomatoes – These were sliced and roasted with some garlic, salt, pepper, and olive oil.
  • red leaf lettuce – Salads. Perfect with those beets
  • golden beets – Roasted for an hour in the oven; holding court in our fridge and used in salads
  • eggplant – One was used in eggplant parmesan. The other is still in the fridge and needs to be used ASAP!
  • zucchini – Shredded and frozen; zucchini fritters TBM.
  • spaghetti squash – Thankfully squash keeps for a little while! Perfect for a weeknight meal.
  • cider – This was gone pretty quickly; a certain Hubs of mine loves cider this time of year
  • turkey patties – These were put in the freezer and thawed when we had family over for lunch. It was a perfect lunch before traveling out of town for the night.

I am loving the variety, and like I said before, really loving having a kitchen of my own again 🙂

One-Pot Pizza Pasta Bake

I may not be a parent yet, but I am a teacher, so back-to-school in our house is a zero-to-sixty time of year with school days, school nights, and marching season! The concept of the one-pot meal is one that, as a busy teacher and lazy pan washer, I absolutely adore. They’re very user-friendly, especially for the multi-tasker. You fix the meal, cover the pot, and go do something else while dinner cooks…in my case, it’s usually laundry or a cleaning chore of some sort.

I came across a round-up of 15 Best Back-To-School Recipes over at Damn Delicious. If you haven’t come across this blog yet, click to it! It’s full of amazing recipes that are easy to cook and true to the blog title. This pasta bake caught my eye and I knew I had to try it. Including prep time it took about 30 minutes. I adapted it based upon the meat and vegetables that I had on hand.

One-Pot Pizza Pasta Bake

adapted from Damn Delicious

  •  1 tbsp olive oil
  • 8 oz ground turkey
  • 1 medium zucchini; peeled, sliced and quartered
  • 4 oz sliced mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup pepperoni, divided – slice regular-sized pepperoni into quarters, or use the mini ones
  • 1 15-oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp oregano, divided
  • 1 tsp dried basil, divided
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder, divided
  • 8 oz dry rotini pasta
  • sat & pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the ground turkey and cook until browned, about 3-5 minutes; break it up as you go so it gets nice and crumbly. Add the zucchini, mushrooms, and half of the oregano, basil and garlic powder. Cook for two minutes until the zucchini starts to get some color. Add half of pepperoni and cook until heated through.
  3. Preheat the oven to broil.
  4. To the skillet add the tomato sauce, pasta, and the rest of the oregano, basil and garlic powder. Pour in 1 1/2 cups water and season with salt and pepper; stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil; then cover, reduce heat and simmer until pasta is cooked, about 15 minutes.
  5. Remove the skillet from the heat. Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese, remaining pepperoni, and parsley on top. Place into the heated oven and cook until the cheese has melted and browns a little (about 2 minutes). Serve immediately!

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This was a hit in our house and my husband said it was ‘really good’, too – so I call that an absolute win. This may sound kind of weird – but this tasted a lot like Hamburger Helper but without all the weird additives in it. It look about as long to prepare, included vegetables and was, well, real food. This dish was good on it’s own, but can be served with a green salad if you want, too. You can also customize the vegetables you use,  especially if you like several toppings on your pizza. You can also adapt this to be meatless but omitting the pepperoni and turkey, and adding more veggies.

It’s a basic dish that’s packed with flavor – and only uses one pot. What’s not to love? Enjoy 🙂

Harissa Ravioli

I have a fun one for you today!

We’re now combining the concept of ‘eating less meat’ and ‘Lent’. I’ve been searching high and low for a few new meatless meals that aren’t all about grains and dairy (which we all know hold the first several spots in my list of favorite foods) and may be relative nice on the waistline.

I came across this one in a cookbook that had been circulating around the bakery; lately we’ve been passing around a cookbook or two to get inspired in our own kitchens. I came across this recipe and was hooked because of its use of harissa.

Harissa is a spicy chili pepper paste that is THE condiment of Tunisia. It has a very rich, spicy flavor and is used for meats, vegetables, dips…you name it. There are several different variations of harissa; all of which vary based upon household preferences and regions. Our version that I found at Spice Merchants (I loooooove this store) includes caraway, cumin, coriander, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, sea salt, and dried chiles. It has such a neat flavor profile and after trying this recipe, I cannot wait to use it again (I’m thinking roasted veggies).

 

Harissa Ravioli

adapted from Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Every Day

  • 1 garlic clove, smashed
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp harissa paste/powder
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 12-oz cheese ravioli (fresh or frozen) (tortellini works too)
  • 8 oz broccoli florets, trimmed and cut into bite-sized pieces (broccolini/rapini works too)
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted (almonds or pepitas work, too)
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 5 or 6 kalamata olives, sliced
  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. While it’s heating up, prepare the harissa mixture: Take the smashed garlic clove and sprinkle the salt over it. Then, chop into a paste. Transfer this to a small bowl and stir in the lemon juice, harissa, and olive oil. Taste and add more salt if needed.
  2. Once the water is boiling, add the ravioli. Cook until they float to the top of the water (usually 1-2 minutes is all it takes). About 30 seconds before the ravioli has finished cooking, add the broccoli to the pot. Boil for about 30 seconds to a minute, then remove from heat.
  3. Put the ravioli and broccoli in a large mixing bowl. Add the harissa mixutre, nuts, cheese and olives. Toss to combine and serve.

This meal from start to finish took approximately 20 minutes to make and was absolutely perfect for a weeknight meal and a Lenten Friday, at that. I used spinach & cheese ravioli; you can use whatever kind you wish, however. The leftovers heated up very well for my hubby and it really was a nice change from our usual meal line-up as of late. The harissa does have a kick, so if you are a bit wary of the heat, use less sauce when you mix up the ravioli for serving.  It’s simple, flavorful and relatively healthy, too.

If you see harissa at your local store, pick some up and give it a try. It’s a really neat condiment that adds depth, heat and flavor to what are otherwise ordinary ingredients. As I said before, I’m thinking that roasted veggies with harissa will be next 🙂

Lemon Parmesan Tortellini

One of the first cooking blogs that I ever started reading was Stephanie Cooks.  Stephanie’s tastes are very similar to my own and I really like her down-to-earth, simple writing style. Her recipes are easy to follow and really user-friendly, too. And, I can’t help but love that she’s also a teacher! 🙂

I too am not the biggest fan of cream sauces, – I feel that they can become extremely ‘heavy’ and almost a little to decadent. The opposite goes for my husband – he loves them and will be the first to admit that I do not cook with them enough! I decided to trust Stephanie’s judgement on the consistency and flavor of this sauce; since I love lemon 24/7, I figured this would be a good compromise for dinner.

Lemon Parmesan Tortellini

adapted from Stephanie Cooks

 

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup broth
  • 1 cup light cream
  • 1 lemon, juiced and zested
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 pound tortellini
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  1. Heat up a pot of hot water to boil.
  2. In a skillet over medium heat, heat up the olive oil. Add the garlic and saute for about 30 seconds.
  3. Add the broth and turn up the heat to high. Cook for about 5 minutes. Add the cream, lemon juice and zest, and Italian seasoning. Reduce the heat to medium and let simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Once you’ve got your sauce going and the water is boiling, cook the tortellini (according to the package directions).
  5. After about 10 minutes, add the parmesan cheese to the sauce and stir to combine, allowing the cheese to melt. Add the peas, stirring constantly so that they begin to thaw. Add the tortellini to the sauce as they finish cooking. Toss and serve.

 

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As you can see, I added peas to the original recipe to get a vegetable into the main dish. You can definitely leave these out if you wish! This dish was filling and decadent, without being too heavy, as some cream sauces tend to do. The lemon in the cream sauce takes it to the next level and makes this meal really shine on a cold winter’s night. It also came together fairly quickly, which you know I never complain about 🙂

If you’ve been an avid fan of my cooking, I definitely recommend you head on over to Stephanie Cooks! You won’t be disappointed.