Marsala chicken satay

I wish you could all do your shopping for meals the way I do.  I walk out to the shed, open the cooler and look around to see what we have picked. The other night, I decided that I had seen so many beautiful purple peppers that I needed to cook something with these – even though not a single person in my family like bell peppers.  What a shame, because they are beautiful.

Ingredients

  • 1 purple pepper
  • 1 yellow tomato
  • 1 red tomato
  • 1 onion
  • 1 pound bacon
  • 2 pounds chicken
  • 1/2 cup marsala
  • 1 T fresh basil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1. Cook bacon on medium heat.  Remove from pan and place on paper towel covered plate.

2. Drain bacon grease, leaving 2 – 3 Tbs in the pan.  This is usually enough to coat the bottom.

3. Dice onion, peppers, and tomatoes.

 

4. Place diced onions in the pan with bacon grease.  Lightly salt and cook until onions have carmelized.

5.  Add peppers and let cook until peppers are soft.

6.  Meanwhile, cook noodles in boiling water.

7.  Once peppers are soft and onions carmelized, add 1/4 cup marsala cooking wine and tomatoes.  Bring to a boil, then reduce and let simmer for 5 minutes.

8.  At this point add in chicken and bacon.  I cooked a couple of whole chickens the day before and added my pre-cooked, cut chicken.

9.  Serve over noodles.  I did not snap a picture of this step because we were too busy eating!

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Meatloaf with Honey and Onions – Guest Post

We are so excited this week to have a guest post from Lisa and Abby Lyons of AbBee’s Honey.  This recipe utilizes the honey you received in Week 8 and some yummy onions…….

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • 1 piece of bread, crumbled
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 2-3 Tablespoons Chopped Onion
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Heinz 57
  • AbBee’s Honey

Mix eggs, bread, milk, salt and pepper in a bowl.

Stir in beef and onion until well mixed.

Form into small loaves, using about ½ cup meat mixture for each loaf. (You can make a full size loaf, or bigger or smaller loaves, but cooking time will need to be adjusted.)   Place loaves on a foil lined baking sheet.  (The foil makes clean up a snap!!!)

Spread Heinz 57 sauce on top and drizzle generously with honey.

Bake loaves approximately 45 minutes, more or less depending on how large you make the loaves.

Best served with your favorite potato dish and green beans, sweet corn or your favorite veggies from Pekarek’s Produce.

We also highly recommend McCormick’s onion ring batter mix for making onion rings!!!!

Muskmelon Candy

This is a pretty simple recipe, but something that is very different in our house.

Ingredients

  • 4 pounds cantaloupe, shredded
  • 1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 2 quarts water
  • 1 1/4 cups white sugar

Directions

Mix cantaloupe, evaporated milk, water, and sugar in a large pitcher, stirring until combined. Refrigerate for 10 minutes. Divide shredded cantaloupe and liquid into molds and freeze until firm, about 6 hours.

Cucumber Limeade – We’re going crazy!

This week we are going crazy!  Cucumbers have been producing in huge quantities and we need to move beyond just eating them, so we thought we might drink them!!

This might be the most refreshing drink ever made. It kind of tastes like spa water and lemonade got married.. in my mouth!  So I thought I would enlist the help of the little people in my house.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 4 to 6 cups water
  • 1 cucumber sliced
  • ice

Directions

1. Pour boiling water over sugar and stir until it sugar completely dissolves to make a simple syrup.
2. Combine syrup, lime juice and cool water to taste.
3. Add cucumber slices and chill in fridge.
4. Pour over ice to serve.

Cucumber Limeade

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Eggplant Parmesan

If you’ve eaten eggplant before, there’s a good chance you’ve had it in the form of eggplant parmesan.  This recipe sounds fancy and difficult, but don’t sweat the recipe – ‘sweat’ the eggplant.

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggplants (I cut up two of the big purple ones, and didn’t even use all those)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 c flour
  • 4 c seasoned Italian bread crumbs
  • Large jar (3 lbs.) of your favorite spaghetti sauce (I used Prego mushroom)
  • 16 oz. mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 T fresh basil

Directions

1. Sweat the eggplant. “Sweating” an eggplant means to get out any bitterness that may have developed by making it sweat. Begin by slicing the eggplants into 1/4 inch thick slices.   Sprinkle 2 teaspoons of salt over all of the slices of eggplant – be sure to salt both sides. Set the salted, sliced eggplant into a colander and let it rest for about 30 minutes.After 30 minutes, the eggplant should begin to sweat (droplets of moisture being extracted by salt).  Remove the eggplant from the colander and place the slices on a paper towel.  Place a second paper towel on top to reomove all the excess moisture that has formed.

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2. Preheat oven to 350.
3. Put the eggplant slices in a bag with the flour and shake until the eggplant are coated.
3. One at a time, dip eggplant slices in egg then coat in bread crumbs.  Place in a single layer on baking sheets and bake 10 minutes on each side.  My eggplant don’t often make it past this point because they get eaten!
4. In a 9×13 baking dish, spread spaghetti sauce to cover bottom.  Place a layer of eggplant slices in the sauce.  Sprinkle with mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.  Repeat these 3 layers until all eggplant used up, ending with cheese on top.  Sprinkle basil over the cheese.
5. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes or until golden brown.

Cabbage and Potato Bake – CSA Member Guest Post

We are so excited this week to have a guest post from JB Dixon.  He is what I call a “foodie” and creates some delicious meals…….

Greetings,  Pekarek’s Produce fans!  While the brutal hot & dry Summer drags on, I know that if you’re reading this, you’ll agree that it’s so great to be supporting all of the hard work of the Pekarek family by turning their great vegetables into satisfying meals for our families.  A couple of weeks ago, our full share CSA bag included a beautiful head of green cabbage, a bag of Yukon Gold potatoes, and a few gorgeous onions.  I knew I had to make a family favorite, even though the temperature was soaring outside. While this particular recipe screams for the Mid-March chill of St. Patrick’s Day, I have no problem making this particular recipe any time of year.
Cabbage & Potato Bake has all of the ingredients that remind me of the smells and flavors of my Granny Ocle’s* cooking growing up in Southwest Iowa (*pronounced “Oh-Suhl”….a good German name!), even though I don’t recall this particular dish ever being made by her.  Before she and her sister (Aunt Bernice) passed away a few years ago, I had the opportunity to make this delicious, satisfying dish for them, honoring them in a way.  It warmed me when they gave me their seal of approval; they loved it.
This is a hearty, savory, almost stew-like dish that stands on its own, with the sweetness of the onion and the smokiness of bacon becoming a match made in heaven. (I’ve often said that my own personal Yankee Candle scent would be “Bacon & Onions in a Cast Iron Skillet”… They’re made for one another) I could easily envision a few Seward County German riffs on this that would include a bit of sugar, and that would work fine.  Try it this way first, and see what you think.  Leftovers will freeze up to one month.
CABBAGE AND POTATO BAKE
1 cabbage, about 2 1/2 lbs.
5-6 Yukon Gold or red potatoes, peeled and cut in half or lengthwise, about 2 1/2 lbs
12-16 oz lean smoked bacon, cut to 1/2 in. dice
2 cups white or yellow onions, peeled and sliced lengthwise
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
2-3 cups homemade chicken stock, or canned chicken stock or broth.
Preheat the oven to 375 Degrees.
Rinse the cabbage and remove the first layer of outer leaves.  Cut the cabbage in half and remove the hard core.  Cut the cabbage halves into thirds or quarters and place, rounded side down into a large roasting pan.
Peel and cut the potatoes, and arrange in the roasting pan, alternating with the cabbage pieces.
Fry the bacon in a medium skillet for 7 minutes, or just before it’s crispy, but do not drain.
Add the sliced onions (pause to take in how amazing that smells) salt & black pepper and cook until soft, about 5-6 minutes.
Evenly distribute the bacon mixture and pan drippings over the vegetables, then pour the chicken stock into the pan.  Tightly cover the roasting pan with aluminum foil or a lid and bake for 1 1/2 hours.
Remove the pan from the oven and allow to sit, covered, for 15 minutes before serving.  Serve the vegetables with the bacon & broth spooned over them.  Give thanks. Enjoy.  Repeat.

Zucchini versus Summer Squash

It seems that in Nebraska we are all very familiar with our friend the zucchini – although we may not always spell it correctly.  However, one of its relatives – the yellow squash – is grossly under used.

Summer squash is a term for squash that is harvested at a tender, immature stage.  It has tender skin and does not require peeling like a winter squash.  Most of the nutrients are just under the skin, so try to cook with the skin on.  Summer squash comes in many shapes , colors and sizes.  Zucchini  and yellow squash are just a couple types of summer squash.  Try cooking your yellow squash just like you would a zucchini.

Did you know….

Zucchini seeds, as we know them today, were primarily developed in Italy even though summer squash can trace its ancestry to the Americas.

How to Choose: The stem end of a squash will tell you how fresh it is. Ideally, there should be a little juice coming out of the stem, indicating that it was recently harvested. Steer away from limp or very scratched squashes. The skins should be tight, shiny, and brightly colored and will scratch easily with a fingernail if fresh—handle them gently.

How to Keep: Keep squashes in a plastic bag in the warmest part of the refrigerator.

 

Roasted Carrots

Let’s all have some roasted carrots tonight!  These are great finger food for the kids.

Ingredients

  • 12 carrots
  • 3 tablespoons OLIVE OIL
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh dill or parsley

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut the carrots to desired thickness.  I like 1 1/2 inch thick slices as the carrots will shrink while cooking.  Toss them in a bowl with the olive oil, salt, pepper, and dill.  Transfer to a baking sheet in a single layer and roast for 20 minutes until browned and tender.

 

Sauted Potatoes with Green Onions

It’s almost hard for this to be called a recipe because it is just so simple and delicious.

Saut

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs. potatoes from Pekarek’s Produce
  • 1 bunch green onions from Pekarek’s Produce
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions

Wash the potatoes and slice in to 1/8 inch thick slices.  Chop green onions.  Place 2 Tbs oil in a skillet and heat.  Place the garlic in the pan and cook for 3 – 5 minutes.  Add the potatoes and green onions in the pan with salt and pepper to taste. Turn the potatoes occasionally to prevent burning with a flexible spatula.  Cook for 20 – 25 minutes. Yield: 6 servings.

Potatoes are nutritious!

I don’t think anyone has to ask what to do with potatoes.  Bake, boil, mash or fry, a potato can be delicious – even if you spell it with the extra “e.” Potatoes are the highest consumed vegetable in the U.S., only behind corn.

You know, it seems potatoes got a bad rap from fad diets like the Atkins diet, which encouraged dieters to abandon carbohydrates.  But did you know that a medium sized potato has only 110 calories and has NO fat, sodium or cholesterol??  They are also a great source of potassium, fiber, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and iron!

  • The potassium can help lower blood pressure.  (Most Americans don’t get enough)
  • Vitamin C is an antioxidant that aides in  collagen production; assists with iron absorption; and helps heal wounds and keep your gums healthy. Vitamin C may help support the body’s immune system.
  • Soluble fiber may help with weight loss as it makes you feel full longer, and research has shown it also may help lower blood cholesterol.
  • Vitamin B6 is a water-soluble vitamin that plays important roles in carbohydrate and protein metabolism. It helps the body make nonessential amino acids needed to make various body proteins; it is a cofactor for several co-enzymes involved in energy metabolism; and is required for the synthesis of hemoglobin – an essential component of red blood cells.
  • Iron is a major component of hemoglobin that carries oxygen to all parts of the body. Iron also has a critical role within cells assisting in oxygen utilization, enzymatic systems, especially for neural development, and overall cell function everywhere in the body.

So you just can’t go wrong with a potato!