Posts Tagged ‘mushrooms’

Chicken Tetrazzini

Finally, finally, finally I am on medication for tonsillitis.  Why did I wait so long before going to the doctor?  Well, I believe in the power of eating five fruits and vegetables a day, (which obviously did not help me out on this one, but I’m sure I have amazing levels of Vitamin C right now), I never actually had a fever (though I run cold so when I have a fever it’s typically a sign that something is SERIOUSLY wrong), and I felt like I was getting better.  Seriously.  My cough didn’t feel the need to express itself so often, my sore throat was lessening, and my tonsils felt smaller….until yesterday at about 5:30pm when everything returned with a vengeance and my mom finally said “Megan, I really think you should go see a doctor.”  And here I am, $48 and 24 hours later, still coughing.

There is good news though.  A) UofL won the national championship for men’s college basketball.  Yes! B) I took a three hour nap last night AND managed to get a full night’s sleep right after, so I’m definitely sleeping something off.  C) Today was my off day and I spent the majority of the day outside, lying around on my back porch taking in the 80° weather and the sunshine!  I now have tan lines.  Take that spring breakers! I look like I went to Florida too!  Hopefully my body will get back to its equilibrium within the next several days and I can finally stop coughing and being in constant pain.  That’d be nice.

Chicken, Mushrooms, and Wine

As I recall, I promised you the recipe for chicken tetrazzini, and I am writing now to make good on that promise.  This recipe is pretty versatile and it tastes just as good on the second and even the third day, so if you’re big into leftovers (and I certainly am), then this is one for you.  Also, the original recipe called for something like a stick and a half of butter.  I am so happy to tell you that I’ve cut that WAY down to less than half of that, and the flavor isn’t sacrificed in the slightest.  Also, feel free to use skim milk if you want with this.  We always use 1% and it comes out plenty flavorful.  If you’re aiming for a vegetarian meal, just triple or quadruple the amount of mushroom and omit the chicken, and feel free to experiment with adding other vegetables too.  I think asparagus could have really great potential with this recipe.  And peas. And, a final tip, this is a super fun recipe to try out flavored salts with.  We seasoned it with truffle salt (which is basically to die for) once it’s all served up on the plates and the dimension that truffle salt adds to the meal is wonderful and inexplicable.  You’ll just have to try it.

Chicken Tetrazzini

3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
3 cups milk
1 teaspoon salt
freshly ground pepper to taste
¼ cup shredded parmesan cheese
1 egg yolk

Melt the butter in a saucepan.  Add the flour and whisk to combine.  Add the milk, whisking constantly, in ½ cup increments.  Bring to a boil.  Add all remaining ingredients (be very generous with the freshly ground pepper), and remove from heat.

1 ½ cups cooked chicken, diced
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper
¼ cup white wine
1 lb. spaghetti
1 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Sauté the chicken and mushrooms in the oil for about three minutes.  Add salt and pepper to taste and wine.  Cook for three more minutes.  Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti according to package directions.  Drain and pour the spaghetti into a large, greased Dutch oven or casserole dish.  Add the chicken mixture, and toss to distribute throughout the spaghetti.  Pour the sauce over the entire pot and add the parmesan cheese.  Mix until the cheese is melted and the sauce is well distributed.  Bake at 350° F for 20 minutes.

Chicken Tetrazzini

I guess the one thing that I forgot to tell you is that this recipe does leave you with a lot of dishes. But it’s really worth it, I promise!  I’m making a new chunky spaghetti sauce tonight that I’m really looking forward to sharing with you guys tomorrow, and I’ve got some frozen bananas that are aching to be used in the near future as well.  I can’t wait to share more yummy recipes!

A Homemade Pre-Fab Meal

I have been TERRIBLE recently.  I’ve eaten my weight in chocolate, cookies, and donuts.  I have only been to the gym once.  And I’ve been unmotivated when it comes to writing more blog posts.  I don’t know why.  Maybe it’s the fact that I haven’t seen sunlight in quite a few days and it makes me mopey or because I’ve worked nine days in a row and I just come home more exhausted each day.  Maybe I’ve been distracted reading the two new Icelandic crime fiction novels that I just ordered off Amazon.  It’s also entirely possible that I’ve just been lazy.  It happens.  It’s that late winter-grey outside-snuggle with cats and books time of year.  I was also out of town for three days.  But I’ll stop making excuses.  Here’s the deal: I’m going out of town again in a week.  Starting now, I promise to post at least three times before I leave town, and then I’ll update when I get back in town.  Hold me to it.  I’m not kidding.  You can send me emails and pester me all day long.  I’ve got to get that motivation back somehow.

We’ve been eating pretty well at home recently, though we’ve also gone out for dinner more than we used to.  I’m trying to do well when I go out to eat, but it’s always so hard for me to eat healthy when we get Chinese takeout.  I did manage to stick to a vegetarian spring roll, but it was most definitely still deep fried, and when we went to the Spanish restaurant I was pretty good except for the giant mango margarita that I indulged in.  I’m doing relatively well with my lunches at work.  I bring fruit: kiwi, applesauce, and a clementine every day, and I typically make a variation on a Caprese salad for lunch: arugula and spinach with cherry tomatoes, kalamata olives, mozzarella cheese, salt, pepper, and a basil-infused olive oil.  Sometimes I splurge and have a L’Enfant Pancake: one pancake with chocolate chips and maple syrup, but I’m trying to stick to my guns.  The real problem is that there always seem to be extra French fries lying around.  Not to mention that Peter brought donuts to work this morning…

But!  Tonight’s dinner was pretty good: eggplant, green pepper, kalamata olives, tomatoes, and onions all stewed together to make a chunky vegetable pasta sauce with a tossed green salad with balsamic vinaigrette on the side.  It was really good and it would have been vegan if I hadn’t added a bit of parmesan cheese to top off the pasta.  My brother (a dedicated carnivore) walked into the house this evening and proclaimed that it smelled amazing and that he couldn’t wait for dinner.  The fact that he proceeded to eat chunks of eggplant and pepper without too much protest (though he did add about a bucket of cheese) serves to prove that this is a very edible pasta sauce for all types of eaters.  Unfortunately I don’t have pictures.

Lucky for you, though, I have another pasta sauce recipe that I want to share with you guys.  A lot of times when I get home from work and I’m tired, it wouldn’t take much to convince me that a pre-fab meal would be the way to go (except that they never taste as good as you think and they are loaded with sodium).  So, instead of going completely pre-fab, this is a quick way to dress up a store-bought alfredo sauce.  In this case my family ate pasta sauce full of Italian sausage and I had to fend for myself.

Quick and Easy Pasta Alfredo

Olive oil
½ cup red onion, sliced
½ – 1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ cup white wine
1-2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1 cup store-bought alfredo sauce

Heat about a tablespoon of olive oil in a small saucepan.  Add the red onion and sauté until translucent and until the onion begins to soften.  Add the mushrooms and garlic and cook until the mushrooms are soft, about seven to ten minutes.  Pour in the white wine and sauté slowly until the majority of the wine has evaporated.  Top with parsley and stir to combine.  Add the alfredo sauce and warm until heated through.  Serve over pasta.

The Homemade Part

Pasta Alfredo

For a meal that’s half homemade and half store-bought, it’s not too shabby.  I had leftover sauce and my dad, thinking it was something else, served it over crackers for his lunch the next day and said it was pretty good.  Granted, I don’t think that is something that I would advise, because my dad will eat and enjoy almost anything, but I think that his response does mean that it is a passable pasta sauce.  The best part is that you’re done in about fifteen minutes, so about the same amount of time it’ll take your water to boil and your pasta to cook.  Serve something green on the side!

Next post I’m going to share a couple of pictures and my thoughts on recipes from Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook and Quick Fix Vegan, both of which Tom got me for my birthday last year.  I’ll give you a sneak preview: one of the recipes is for really fantastic banana bread.

Gourmet Quesadillas

I feel like every time I get older, I also get a little bit younger.  Recently this growing backwards has come in the form of applesauce and string cheese.  I don’t know what exactly it is about these two foods, but they are very ideal for snack time a work and they’re both relatively healthy.  Sure, string cheese isn’t the health food of the year, but it’s a way for me to get protein (since I’m not eating meat), and the part-skim kind isn’t too high in calories or fat.  It’s got some sodium, but in the make-believe world that I live in, eating salt is very easily counteracted by eating applesauce or a pear.  I also am reverting to kindergarten age in the sense that when I come home from work, all I can ever think about doing is taking a nap.  I can’t even read anymore unless I’m super into the book because otherwise it’s just read a page and then fall asleep on the couch.

That said, I have some book recommendations.  I have this passion for Scandinavian crime novels, so a couple authors I’d advise looking out for are Yrsa Sigurðardóttir and Arnaldur Indriðason, both Icelanders, Håkan Nesser, a Swede, and Jo Nesbø, a Norweigan.  I am currently reading the third in a series by Nesser, The Return, which tells the story of a man, recently released from prison (where he ended up in the first place because he was convicted of murdering two women with whom he’d had relations), and is found dead.  The questions clearly are who killed this man and why.  I’m not anywhere near finding out the answers yet, but it’s a really good read and I would highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in crime fiction.

So most of my time is taken up either working at the restaurant or reading (aka sleeping), but sometimes I do get really inspired to cook.  Note: this usually happens on my weekend, because cooking after working for eight hours on my feet while dealing with food is just sometimes too much.  So, the other day I didn’t have to work and I decided to make some quesadillas.  I’m not talking melted cheese on a tortilla.  I’m talking cooked veggies, melted cheese, and a little bit of love made into a quesadilla.

Gourmet Quesadilla

Here’s what I did, very generically of course, because it depends on each person’s individual tastes.  I started with some finely chopped onion and mushrooms sprinkled with red pepper flakes and sautéed them in olive oil for quite a while before adding just a bit of minced garlic, maybe half of a clove.  Then I added a very healthy handful of baby spinach to the pan and cooked it until it was quite wilted and less than half the size it started.  After removing the vegetables from the heat, I spread refried black beans over half of a burrito-sized tortilla, shredded some nice white cheddar over the beans, and spread the veggies over top of it all.  Finally, I folded it in half, cooked it in a small amount of olive oil until it got just a bit browned and crispy, and then served.

Folded and Cripsy

It was super good.  I know I say that just about every time I write a post, but really, this was a gourmet quesadilla.  The nice cheese (Flagstaff, I think it’s called) made a big difference, and we’ve also started stocking our cupboards with really nice olive oil, which actually makes a huge difference in the way that things taste.  Not to mention the garlic and the red pepper flakes, cooked onions and mushrooms, and spinach.  The only thing better than the smells in the kitchen was the taste of the quesadilla.  Mom wandered in when I was cooking my own and asked me to make her one too—that’s how good it was.  Maybe my new life goal will be to open a gourmet quesadilla food truck.

Walnut Tomato Sauce

Okay it’s probably time to start talking about weird meals.  I’m trying to use up all the food in the house: fridge, freezer, cupboards, etc.  The idea behind this is that a) I will not have to throw any perishable food away when I leave Kemmerer, b) I will not have to bring home copious amounts of canned goods and pasta, and c) I will not spend any more money than necessary at the grocery store.  This means that I will go to the grocery store when absolutely necessary to buy fresh fruits and vegetables, but I absolutely refuse to buy anything besides that.  Yesterday I made Mexican rice with green pepper and jalapeno for my lunches next week, and I’m going to make blueberry muffins tomorrow for all of my breakfasts (I have a random bag of blueberries in the freezer and absolutely NO idea where they came from).  I have more sugar and flour in the house than I know what to do with (lucky for me I’m a sweet tea drinker), about two pounds of macaroni, and lots of frozen spinach.  If anyone has ANY idea what to do with frozen spinach, please tell me because right now I’m just incredibly befuddled.

I managed to use up an open bag of spaghetti, walnuts, and a can of tomatoes the other day with this recipe.  It came out pretty well for being so incredibly weird in its ingredients.  Basically, when I was cooking, I just decided to throw in a little bit of everything to start using things up.  Here it goes:

Walnut Tomato Sauce

Olive oil
½ onion, diced
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
Pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
½ cup chopped walnuts
1 cup frozen peas
1 can diced tomatoes, with juice
¼ cup sour cream

Heat olive oil in a large frying pan.  Add mushrooms, onion, and garlic and season with freshly ground pepper.  Sauté until the onion softens and the garlic becomes fragrant. Add vinegar, lemon juice, and walnuts and simmer for three minutes.  Add peas, tomatoes, and sour cream, stirring to evenly distribute the sour cream.  Sauté until the sauce begins to thicken, about five minutes.  Serve over pasta or rice.

So I actually really enjoy eating this (I’m still eating the leftovers)!  It does need a little bit of salt, but otherwise it’s really good.  The nuts add the perfect texture. I used balsamic vinegar as a replacement for the wine that I would normally cook mushrooms in, and it’s good, but the vinegar taste does come through, so feel free to use white wine instead of vinegar.  Otherwise it was super good…another not vegan recipe, I know, but as far as not-veganism goes, I think a few tablespoons of sour cream probably won’t kill me.

I have five work days left and then I’m going to head home on October 6th!  I’ll be home by the 9th and have a couple days to hang out with my little brother and my cat before I take a trip to Minnesota (and I CANNOT wait)!  We’ve got three more school groups coming, I believe, so that makes half of my work days a bit more exciting, and then I have some paperwork to fill out for the Geological Society of America in the last few days.  Things are wrapping up nicely and I cannot wait to see trees again.  And maybe I’ll get lucky and we’ll actually get some rain in Kentucky!

Penne in a Creamy Mushroom Sauce

This is another one of those recipes that I was telling you about where I’m using up the dairy products in the house.  I am proud to say that I have used all the buttermilk, goat cheese, and sour cream, though I do still have four more eggs.  I have no more canned goods that have dairy in them, and the only milk I have in the fridge is vanilla almond milk for my oatmeal.  I’m back on the vegan wagon!  In this recipe I would have liked to cook my mushrooms in wine, but alas, I had none in the house, so I decided to give balsamic vinegar a whirl and it came out fantastic (and smelled SO good in the process).  Unfortunately, I did that stupid thing where I forgot to take a picture, so you’ll definitely just have to trust me on this one.

Penne in a Sour Cream and Mushroom Sauce

2 ½ cups dry penne pasta
Olive oil
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
2 tomatoes, diced
Pepper, to taste
¼ cup vegetable broth
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
¼ cup sour cream
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
2 cups baby spinach

Cook the penne according to pasta directions.  Drain and rinse. Set aside.  Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large saucepan.  Sauté the mushrooms and the tomatoes for about five minutes.  Season with pepper. Add vegetable broth, balsamic vinegar, and lemon juice.  Boil for about 5 minutes, or until the liquid has been reduced by half.  Add sour cream and cream of mushroom soup, stir to coat and cook until slightly thickened, 2-3 minutes.  Add baby spinach and cook until wilted.  Remove from heat.  Spoon the sauce over the cooked pasta and stir to coat.

I know…this is a quick update made much more boring without a picture of scrumptious food, but it is mid-week and I just don’t have the energy to be interesting.  Plus, I just watched Julie & Julia and I’m pretty sure Julie wasn’t uploading pictures of all the food that she cooked to her blog (at least they didn’t show that part in the video), so I know it’s possible to be a successful blogger without pictures.  I do feel bad though, so I promise to blog about my trip to Moab and Salt Lake City with my mom next, and there are so many delicious food pictures you are just not going to know what to do with yourself.


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