Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Harvest Veggies & Creamy Polenta Recipe

Here is a recipe that we just created based one we got from the Rachel Ray 365: No Repeats cookbook. Bless her, her stuff is usually good, but not very veggie. Her original recipe has chicken in place of the squash and beans, if you want to meat this puppy back up :).

If you try nothing else, make the creamy polenta part- it is SOOO good!

Fresh Harvest Veggies and Creamy Polenta
1 c. chicken stock or broth (or veg.)
1 lg. Red onion- thinly sliced
1 zucchini, cubed
1 summer squash, cubed
1 can white beans (cannelloni)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
5 cloves garlic- chopped

1 pint whole grape tomatoes (we’ve used chopped tomatoes)
20 fresh basil leaves, chopped or torn

Heat EVOO in a pan. Add squash and zucchini and salt and pepper to taste. After the squash has softened a bit, add the white beans, red onion and garlic and cook 3 min. Add 1 c. of chicken stock and cook until the stock has reduced by half- about 3-4 min.

After the stock has reduced, add the tomatoes and cook for 1 or 2 min. or until the tomatoes are heated and starting to burst. Add basil and toss.

Creamy Polenta:
3 c. Chicken stock or broth (can use veg.)
1 c. polenta
½ c. cream cheese
¼ c. Parmesan cheese

Bring chicken stock to a boil and whisk polenta in until it gets thick-ish. Stir in parmesan and cream cheeses. The polenta should have a mashed-potato consistency. If it gets too thick, add some water or stock to thin it up a bit.

Serve the veggie mixture over the polenta.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Stuff that will change your life- Kitchen Edition

I just have to blog about some kitchen gadgets that we have that are so awesome that I must encourage both of my readers to go and get some.

First is the y-peeler. This will change the way you peel veggies. Seriously. Once you use one, you'll wonder why you ever did it the old way. They are super-cheap at IKEA and places like Target and Walmart.
Next is the super-duper pizza stone. I got one because Macey's ran a deal that involved a cheap one and some free frozen pizza. This thing renders basic blah frozen pizza to crispy, bubbly brown-baked cheesy topped pizza. Better than (or at least equal to) delivery- and hotter. The best part? The stone keeps the pizza hot while you eat your first piece. Totally worth it!

Next up- our smoothie maker. Not just a regular blender- our smoothie maker is heavy duty and takes care of ice lickety split. We get on kicks where we make smoothies almost daily. We've found it is a good way to get rid of ripe fruit in a hurry. Ours has a handy spout at the bottom that makes dispensing super-easy!

Last, but not least, the humble pizza cutter. We use it for sooo much more than pizza at our casa. Quesidillas, waffles, pita pockets, hotcakes- they all get cut into bits by this handy tool. I'm thinking we need at least two...

How 'bout you? What can't you live without at your house?