quick

Hot days

Mostly, we’ve been on Instagram @thesteadytable these days. With our big move back to our new/old house unpacking has taken priority over posting.

But tonight it’s hot. Crazy hot. Too hot for unpacking.

We’re having cilantro-lime chickpea, jalapeño & corn salad, Caesar salad & dawgs (which will ultimately be cooked).

Summer!

Bowties with breadcrumbs, gruere & squash

Bowties with Breadcrumbs, Gruyere and Squash is one of those dishes that sounds kinda weird but is actually really good and interesting. I posted about it once before, but to be honest my photos didn’t make it look all that appealing, and so I won’t blame you if you didn’t try it.

The recipe is from the cookbook Keepers which is a great source for quick weeknight meals. This one takes very little effort, just basically grating and boiling.

I like to serve all of the parts separately, that way if certain people don’t like certain things they can skip them. Also that means I can go real heavy on the squash for a nice, high veg-to-pasta ratio.

You can use whatever kind of pasta you like. In fact, I don’t think we’ve ever used fusilli, which is what the recipe calls for. Also you don’t have to restrict yourself to zucchini, summer squash works real well in this dish too. And if you’re a vegetarian, go ahead and skip the anchovies, it’s just fine without them.

Here’s the recipe. Oh also, we’re on instagram now, please follow us @thesteadytable Enjoy!

Weeknight salad win

Greek Salad

Sometimes in my struggle to get Rose to eat food that isn’t complete junk, I forget that she loves Greek salad. Recently, we’ve been all about feta, romaine and olives.

This is a great salad to make in bulk, so long as you don’t dress it, a big salad can last for a few dinners.

All you need is some nice romaine lettuce (chopped up), decent tomatoes (campari tend to be reliable), cukes, Kalamata olives (pitted – do yourself a favor), some great feta (french and bulgarian are my personal faves) and fresh oregano leaves.

The fresh oregano leaves really make the dish, just wash them and throw them right in there with the romaine. We don’t add raw onions or anchovies, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t.

For dressing, make (or open a bottle of) your favorite vinaigrette. If you use some of the brine from the feta, it adds a nice salty flavor and takes down the tang of the vinegar in the dressing. Don’t forget to serve it on the side if you want to stretch your salad for a few days.

Now go, eat!

All hail the hot dog

Hot DogsLook, I don’t eat hot dogs, I don’t even like them, but give me some dogs on a busy weeknight and I’m one happy mother. Why? Because while my family is happily eating their meat, I can have a lentil salad with roasted beets and goat cheese all to myself.

Lentil SaladI’ve been making lentils cooked like risotto lately and they’re really good. You can eat them on their own or combine them with salad stuff (like roasted beets, goat cheese and arugula) and a simple vinaigrette for a complete meal.

• Risotto-style Lentils •
Serves 4 as a side dish

2 tablespoons butter
1 small or 1/2 an onion chopped fine
1 cup small green lentils
1/4 cup white wine
2 cups vegetable broth or water mixed with 2 teaspoons vegetable Better Than Bouillon

Sauté your onion in the butter on medium low heat until soft and translucent. While that’s happening, heat your broth to a simmer and leave it simmering. When onion is soft, reduce the heat to low, add the lentils and stir until they’re coated with the butter. Add the wine and stir until evaporated. Add the broth one ladle-full at a time, cooking the lentils slowly stirring occasionally until the broth is nearly absorbed. Add more broth as the broth in your lentils gets absorbed.

Cook for about 25 minutes at which time the broth will probably be all gone. Test lentils for doneness and add a bit of water if they are not tender enough yet. Cover and cook until they reach desired tenderness – keep them moist with more water as needed to keep them from getting dry. Serve as part of a salad or however you like.

Puttanesca and Irish silliness 

This week’s dinner awesomeness came in the form of pasta with puttanesca sauce (the kind without tuna) and a simple salad. The puttanesca recipe came from the Italian Classics book which Rose got Shane for Father’s Day at a yard sale. Aw.

We also had some fun on St. Patrick’s Day with green rice and some awfully good (and totally unrelated) lentils cooked like risotto. If you like lentils you should really try cooking them like risotto. Green rice is fine if you can get your head around it, or if you’re hungry enough.

Today is Shane’s birthday, so check back tomorrow for a post about everyone’s favorite topic… cake!

Other accomplishments

Sometimes the bigger accomplishment is not the meal you planned for and executed so well, but the dinner you somehow pulled off when at 6:30 you realize neither of the adults has thought about dinner and there’s seemingly nothing in the fridge.

That was Wednesday this week. I had my head in the fridge and was on the verge of giving up and starting the long and painful conversation that is ordering takeout, when I realized we had everything for Penne with Cherry Tomatoes, Anchovies & Garlic. Plus salad, and grape juice in a mason jar for the hipness factor.

30 minutes later, dinner was on the table. Killed it!

 

 

 

Simple meal, major feat

Ravioli & avocado saladOn Tuesday I made cheese ravioli with the simplest of sauce and an avocado & tomato salad. Easy as it was, this was by far the biggest dinner achievement of the week because the kitchen floor looked like this:kitchen floorIt was a what’s-in-the-fridge kind of meal, cheese ravioli is a freezer staple for us. The sauce was just the juice from a can of plum tomatoes simmered with half a stick of butter. That’s right.

The ravioli and, um, butter, paired surprisingly well with a salad of diced avocado, halved grape tomatoes and finely chopped arugula dressed with lemon juice, olive oil and sea salt.

Another ad-hoc success this week was tortilla soup. You can read all about it here, or just look at the picture below. Wishing you a less-snowy week ahead, unless you like that kind of thing. xoxotortilla soup

Dinner disruptors

 

DinnerDisruptorsWhat I learned this week is that if you want to have a food blog, you should really try to get good shots of the food.

This poses a challenge when there’s all kinds of craziness going on at dinnertime, and your tiny, dark, basement apartment has horrible lighting and only fits a small table. Usually, I manage to shove the juice boxes, homework and washable markers aside and get a salvageable shot of something we ate, but not this week.

So I leave you with this slice-of-life shot. And the assurance that the Chicken Piccata was very well received (and quick!) and the Fennel Baked in Cream was as over-the-top decadent and delicious as ever.

Roast chicken with garbanzo beans, tomatoes & paprika

This week’s dinner-winner was Roast Chicken Breast with Garbanzo Beans, Tomatoes & Paprika. This is one of those bung-it-all-in-one-pan dishes. While it bakes you throw together some sides (broccoli & rice are quick and work well).

Here’s why we loved it:
1. It’s a new (to us) recipe.
2. It works four ways.
3. It takes only 30-ish minutes start to finish.
4. Smoked paprika!

And here’s how it works four ways:
1. If you’re a not-too-picky vegetarian, ignore the chicken and eat the beans and tomatoes with the smoked paprika yogurt sauce over rice with a side of broccoli.
2. If you’re Shane, eat everything.
3. If you’re a not-too-picky 9 year old, opt for chicken with just a hint of tomatoes & beans, broccoli and rice.
4. If you’re a picky vegetarian preschooler, please your parents by eating at least one bite each of broccoli & rice.

• Roast Chicken Breast with Garbanzo Beans, Tomatoes & Paprika •
from epicurious – serves 4

Ingredients
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, pressed
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
1/2 cup plain yogurt or Greek yogurt
4 chicken breast halves with bones
1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained
1 12-ounce container cherry tomatoes
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided

Preheat oven to 450°. Mix first 5 ingredients in medium bowl. Pour 1 teaspoon spiced oil mixture into small bowl; whisk in yogurt and set aside for sauce. Place chicken on large rimmed baking sheet. Rub 2 tablespoons spiced oil mixture over chicken. Add beans, tomatoes, and 1/2 cup cilantro to remaining spiced oil mixture; toss to coat. Pour bean mixture around chicken. Sprinkle everything generously with salt and pepper.

Place in oven and make your sides.

Roast until chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup cilantro. Transfer chicken to plates. Spoon bean mixture over. Serve with yogurt sauce.

 

 

 

Brie quesadillas

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This week we accidentally stumbled upon brie quesadillas (top left) when we ran out of cheddar. Shane and I devoured them and wondered why brie quesadillas are not a thing. The kids were happy with cheddar, and for once we didn’t suggest they try something new because that would have meant fewer for us.

If you take one thing away from this week’s post, it’s brie quesadillas. They add a little pizzaz to a quick last minute meal (that may or may not have been given any forethought). Go ahead and make some while you still can—before a certain someone bans brie and tortillas for being un-American.

In other dinner news (clockwise from top right) 1. Linguine with Arugula, Pecorino and Pepper is something that kids are often uncharacteristically willing to eat despite all the green. 2. More brie for me on the night I fed them chicken. 3. Arugula salad with chili-lime roasted sweet potatoes, balsamic dressing and feta. And not to be left out, probably our all-time favorite dinner: Shane’s pizza (below).

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