Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Banana Squash ???

We have been on a bit of a squash kick at our house.  I have made a habit of chopping up two squash, sauteing them in a pan with some non-stick cooking spray and serving them along side the grilled meat of the night.  Forrest and I are enjoying the change of pace from our usual canned green beans or corn.  Rex, on the other hand, has not been so thrilled.  It isn't that he misses the green beans, he never ate those anyway.  The problem for him is that as I stand at the chopping board dicing our squash, his 34 inches of height only allow him a line of sight to recognize the color of the food I am cutting and the yellow color of squash translates to only one food in my toddlers mind - BANANAS.  It is so sad and pathetic.   It is a mix-up that breaks my heart.  As I hear his little feet pitter patter over to the kitchen my heart sinks because I know the "conversation" that is about to ensue.  It is pretty similar to this almost every night:


Me: "No Rex, it is a squash not a banana. Sorry Sweetie."


Me: "It isn't a banana Buddy.  We are out of bananas.  Do you want some Goldfish?"

Rex: "NANA?"

Me:  "No, it isn't a banana.  It's a squash."

Rex:  "Nana, Nana, Nana - more (insert precious tiny dimpled hands signing the word "more" simultaneously.)  Peees."

And as soon as he breaks out the manners I am toast.  I give him a piece of the raw squash, because I figure it is the only way he will believe me that I am not in fact cutting a banana but withholding it in order to torture him.  And he spits it out in .2 seconds onto the floor and leaves the kitchen.

The moral of this story?  I can't ever let myself run out of Bananas - it is just too sad.

Summer Squash and Corn Chowder
Adapted from Cooking Light August 2010


  • 3 slices applewood-smoked bacon 
  • 3/4 cup sliced green onions, divided
  • 1 pound yellow summer squash, chopped
  • 4 ears of white and yellow fresh corn, removed from the cob and divided
  • 2 1/4 cups fat-free milk, divided
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup (1 ounce) shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese 


1. Cook bacon in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, reserving 2 teaspoons drippings in pan. Crumble bacon, and set aside. Add 1/2 cup onions and squash to drippings in pan; sauté 8 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Season the veggies with a sprinkle of salt and pepper to taste (not included in salt and pepper measurements in the ingredient list).

2. Reserve 1 cup corn; set aside. Place the remaining corn and 1 cup milk in a blender; process until smooth. Add remaining 1 1/4 cups milk, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper to blender;

process just until combined. Add pureed mixture and reserved 1 cup corn to pan.

Reduce heat to medium; cook 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring constantly. Stir in 1/8 teaspoon salt. Ladle about 1 1/2 cups soup into each of 4 bowls; top each serving with about 1 tablespoon bacon, 1 tablespoon remaining onions, and 1 tablespoon cheese.

Click Here for My Printable Adapted Recipe

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Mastered Meat

Last week I worried that with our tantrum throwing toddler we would never have a nice meal again.  My outlook was grim and I didn't have high hopes about future dining options in our home.  But that was after a particularly trying night and things are always better in the morning.  In fact, this is the meal we made the day after I wrote this post and I couldn't have been more pleased with the outcome.  This recipe was the perfect one to get me back to a positive conquer-the-kitchen attitude.  It was easy, half accomplished by my husband on the grill (team work always helps!), and insanely delicious.  I never imagined that this recipe with an ingredient as unfamiliar to me as anchovy paste could have such and impact.  Forrest and I tag-teamed the recipe and were blown away by what we served just a mere 20 minutes after commencing.  The cheap cut of meat (I got two half-pound boneless sirloins for 5 dollars total) was grilled to perfection, the slicing suggestion and presentation were amazing and the anchovy/lemon butter was the most unimaginably perfect accompaniment.  No matter what your situation at home may be, this is a gourmet meal in both taste and appearance that you can serve in little to no time!

Grilled Sirloin with Anchovy Butter and Rapini
Adapted from Cooking Light March 2012



  • 1 (1-pound) boneless sirloin steak
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 3/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon rind, divided
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon anchovy paste
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup sliced onion (about a half of a small onion)
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 cup fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
  • 8 ounces broccoli rabe (rapini/brocollini), two inches of the bottom stems cut off


1. Heat a grill  medium-high heat. Sprinkle steak with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Add steak to grill; cook for 3 minutes on each side. Let stand 5 minutes. Cut steak across grain into thin slices.

2. Place butter in a bowl. Microwave at HIGH 15 seconds. Add 1/8 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, 1/2 teaspoon rind, juice, and anchovy paste;

 stir until combined. Set aside.

3. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil. Add onion; sauté 2 minutes. Add garlic and red pepper; sauté 30 seconds.

Stir in broth and rabe; bring to a boil.

Cover and simmer 3 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in remaining rind and salt.

4. Place 3 ounces steak and 1/2 cup rabe on each of 4 plates. Top each steak with 1 1/2 teaspoons butter.

Click Here for My Adapted Printable Recipe

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Nutty Gnocchi

We just had a REALLY rough evening.  I think we just got our first glimpse into the terrible twos.  From 5pm until about 5 minutes ago we battled tantrums, adamant assertions of independence, and irrational fits.  Our 19 month old has officially worn us out.  How can such a little creature suck the life out of two grown adults? Rex is normally very opinionated and particular, but not in a bad way.  He is a happy, silly little clown that just happens to know what he wants.  He has a routine and we are happy to oblige (we are the ones that created it after all).  But tonight was a different story.  Nothing went his way, he couldn't be pleased, he was miserable.   

Nights like tonight make me wonder how I ever pulled off a recipe like the one below.  Something from scratch that could easily be purchased pre-made in any grocery if needed to be.  I used to create time consuming recipes often - I didn't have any excuse not to.  These days, recipes like the one below are few and far between.  And if my toddler's behavior tonight wasn't a fluke then I don't see myself making much "from scratch" for a while.  Rice-a-Roni, here we come!

Please let tonight be a rare occasion...

Gnocchi with Browned Butter
Adapted from Cooking Light March 2012

  • 2 (12-ounce) baking potatoes, unpeeled 
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 4 1/2 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 cup)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten 
  • 6 quarts boiling water
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large garlic clove, crushed
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped pecan halves
  • 1/2 ounce fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated

1. Place potatoes in a saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook 40 minutes; drain.

Cool; peel. Press potato flesh through a ricer or a metal colander in the absence of a ricer (as I did below, just no need to invest in a ricer if you don't already have one).

Spread potatoes on a baking sheet; sprinkle with salt. Cool.

2. Scoop potatoes into a large bowl. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup. Add flour, and toss.

Form a well in center. Add 2 tablespoons chives, pepper, and eggs; stir.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Gently knead just until dough comes together (about 1 minute).

3. Cut dough into 4 equal portions,

and roll each into a 22-inch-long rope.

Cut each rope into 22 pieces.

Score gnocchi with a fork, by rolling the gnocchi toward you and pulling the fork back in the same direction.

Cook half of gnocchi 3 minutes in boiling water. Repeat with remaining gnocchi; drain.

4. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic; cook for 2 minutes. Add nuts; cook 2 minutes or until butter browns and brown flecks appear.

Discard garlic. Set aside half of butter mixture. Add half of gnocchi to pan; toss. Cook 1 minute or until browned.

Repeat with remaining butter and gnocchi. Divide gnocchi evenly among 4 shallow bowls. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons chives and cheese.

Click Here for My Adapted Printable Recipe