Archive for October, 2011

by Caitlin Saniga

If you can get your hands on some lavash, a Middle Eastern flatbread, use that instead of tortillas.

  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh oregano, divided
  • 1 medium eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 medium zucchini, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 small onion, peeled, halved lengthwise, cut into 8 wedges
  • 1 cup chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 10 grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • pepper
  • 4 ounces mozzarella, thinly sliced
  • 4 whole-wheat 8-inch tortillas

As always, when roasting, make sure the vegetables are spread in a single layer on the baking sheet.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Whisk together the vinegar, lemon juice, 1 tablespoon oil, and teaspoon each thyme and oregano in a small bowl; set vinaigrette aside.

Lightly coat a large rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray or olive oil.  Toss eggplant, zucchini, onion and remaining 2 teaspoons each thyme and

It doesn't hurt to warm up the chickpeas and tomatoes, too. Just put them in a glass dish and stick them in the oven for the final 5 minutes of cook time.

oregano in a large bowl. Spread in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Roast, tossing occasionally, until golden, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool slightly.

Transfer vegetable mixture to a large bowl. Add chickpeas, tomatoes, and salt; season with pepper. Drizzle with vinaigrette; toss to coat. Arrange mozzarella in center of the tortillas. Top each with 1 1/4 cups vegetable salad. Roll up.

Recipe adapted from: The Martha Stewart Living cookbook – The New Classics

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by Caitlin Saniga

I've never made pumpkin seeds with butter before (usually with just oil), but the butter made these ones nice and crispy.

  • 3 cups seeds (from 2  large carving pumpkins), rinsed and patted dry
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper

Spread out the seeds so they don't overlap!

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

Place the  pumpkin seeds in a medium bowl, and pour the butter over, using a spatula to toss the seeds. Sprinkle the garlic salt and pepper over, and toss seeds again.

On two rimmed baking sheets, spread out the seeds in a single layer.

Bake 35-45 minutes, or until the seeds turn golden brown.

Makes 3 cups.

Happy Halloween!

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by Sarah Steimer

The original recipe didn't call for any beans. Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat.

  • 3 pounds tomatillos; husks removed, washed and cut into quarters
  • 2 pounds ground beef (or pork shoulder cut into pieces – whatever you’d like)
  • 1 large white onion, diced
  • 2 poblano peppers, diced
  • 3 jalapenos, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons dried or fresh cilantro
  • 2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • salt and pepper

In a food processor or blender, puree the tomatillos until smooth.

In a medium skillet, cook the ground meat and drain. Add onions to the pan and saute until translucent. Add the meat and onions to a slow cooker, along with the peppers, cumin, garlic, cilantro and chickpeas.

Cook on low for about 2 hours. Serve with tortilla chips and a dollop of plain yogurt (taste the same as sour cream, I swear)

Serves 6. I cut mine in half and we still were eating it for a few days.

Recipe adapted from: Everyday Food

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by Caitlin Saniga

The batter for this quick bread looks like biscuit dough, but the end result is a fluffy, moist bread. Serve slices of this bread warm or toasted, with butter or a slice of mozzarella cheese.

  • 1/3 cup olive oil, plus more for pan
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for pan
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (about 4 ounces)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 pound (about 1 medium) zucchini, coarsely grated

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brush 3 mini-loaf pans  with oil; dust with flour, and tap out excess.

In a small bowl, whisk oil, milk and eggs together. In a large bowl, whisk flour, Parmesan, baking powder, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. After laying out the zucchini on a couple of paper towels to get rid of some of the excess moisture, mix zucchini into the dry cheese mixture. (I used my hands for these parts!) Then add the egg mixture and blend it until just moistened. (The batter will be very thick, like biscuit dough.)

Transfer batter to the prepared pans; press in gently. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 25 to 35 minutes (tent with foil if if loaves starts to brown too quickly). Cool 15 minutes in the pans; turn out loaves onto a rack to cool completely.

Makes 3 mini-loaves.

Recipe adapted from: MarthaStewart.com

*Throughout October, “Justin Loafin” will feature our favorite quick bread recipes for small loaves, large loaves or even muffins. All of the recipes from the guide can be found here. PLUS – make sure you check our archives for previous quick bread recipes.

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by Sarah Steimer

I got this idea from a kit I saw at World Market, which actually used little skulls instead of cupcake wrappers.

Use this recipe for both the cake and the icing. Add four drops of red food coloring and two drops of yellow food coloring to the icing. Use cupcake liners in your pan and fill about two-thirds of the way full.


I didn't make the plum sauce very sweet so its natural tartness cut through the sweet cake and icing.

  • 15 red plums
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons water

Cut the plums into small pieces and heat in a saucepan with the honey and water. Cook on medium-to-low heat until well softened and bubbly – about 10 minutes. Let cool. Puree in a blender until smooth.

When the cupcakes have cooled, use a pastry injector or long icing tip to inject the cakes with the plum sauce through the top of the

Lil' brains.

cake (pictured). Refrigerate for about an hour so the cupcakes and sauce can settle.

Using a regular round icing tip, draw on your brains as you see in the picture (self explanatory, really). Add a few red sprinkles because when you chop off people’s brains there’s a lot of blood that gets sprayed, according to movies.

Keep refrigerated.

Makes 24 cupcakes.

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by Caitlin Saniga

Don't be afraid to eat the peel and all with this dish. The peel softens up in the roasting process, and that's where lots of nutrients are.

  • 1 2-pound acorn squash, halved, seeded and sliced 3/4-inch thick
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 8 little sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

The amount of cheese on the squash is not enough in this photo. Add more cheese. Lots more cheese. You'll thank me later. ;)

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. On a rimmed baking sheet, lined with parchment paper, toss the squash in olive oil. Sprinkle salt and pepper over, flipping the squash to cover both sides. Sprinkle with thyme and Parmesan.

Roast the squash until golden brown and tender, 25 to 30 minutes.

Makes 4 servings.

Recipe adapted from: Real Simple

I made this as a side dish to Parmesan pasta with chicken and rosemary.

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by Sarah Steimer

The flavors in this are awesome and really hearty (yeah, for vegetables) - and when do I get an opportunity to eat polenta? Not often, that's when.

  • 1 onion, cup in large pieces
  • olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  •  sea salt
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cans chickpeas, drained
  • 1 sweet potato, cut into small 1/2-inch squares (keep skin on)
  • 2 cans stewed tomatoes, OR I used about a handful or so of the last of the season’s grape tomatoes
  • 1 cup wheat pasta shells
  • 2-3 cups of chopped spinach OR kale
  • Pre-cooked polenta, sliced into about 12 pieces

In a large pot, add olive oil, onion, spices and sea salt, and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add the water, bring to a boil and

This is a picture of what that one step looks like.

simmer. Add chickpeas, sweet potatoes, tomatoes and pasta. Simmer, covered, for 7-8 minutes.

Stir in kale or spinach and layer top with sliced polenta, and simmer 5 more minutes.

Remove from heat, but keep covered until ready to serve. Place two or three slices of the polenta on your dishes and top with the chickpea mixture.

Serves 4-6.

Recipe adapted from: Meg Wolff via Huffington Post

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by Caitlin Saniga

The original recipe used shredded rotisserie chicken, but I had some chicken breasts to use up, so I just cooked them up in a pan with some Italian dressing.

  • 12 ounces bow-tie pasta
  • 3 chicken breasts
  • 2 tablespoons Italian dressing
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

I served this pasta with some sauteed zucchini and a Parmesan-roasted acorn squash*.

Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Reserve 1 1/4 cups of the cooking water. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot.

Meanwhile, cut the raw chicken into bite-size pieces. Cook with Italian dressing in a large pan over medium heat, about 5 minutes.

Toss the pasta with the chicken, rosemary, reserved pasta water, 1/2 cup of the Parmesan, salt and pepper.

Cook, stirring, over medium-low heat, until the sauce has thickened slightly, 2/3 minutes. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup of Parmesan.

Makes 4 servings.

Recipe adapted from: Real Simple 

*Recipe for Parmesan-roasted acorn squash.





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by Sarah Steimer

I've had plenty of (usually mushy -why?) pumpkin bread, but the ginger in this recipe really adds another dimension.

  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree (1 3/4 cups)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, ginger, and salt. In a large bowl, whisk together sugars, pumpkin, melted butter, and eggs. Add the dry mixture to the wet, mixing just until combined. Fold in walnuts.

Grease and flour two 8 1/2-by-4 1/2-inch loaf pans, or four mini loaf pans. Divide the batter between the pans and bake at 375 for 50 minutes (less if you choose the smaller pans) or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let cool for about 10 minutes before taking the loaves out of the pans.

Recipe adapted from: Martha Stewart

*Throughout October, “Justin Loafin” will feature our favorite quick bread recipes for small loaves, large loaves or even muffins. All of the recipes from the guide can be found here. PLUS – make sure you check our archives for previous quick bread recipes.

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by Caitlin Saniga

These were so delicious! And I love that these are so versatile and could be used as a main course, side dish or appetizer.

  • 1 carnival squash
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 slices bacon, diced
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon sugar

This was my first forray into carnival squash, and while I eventually conquered this beast, I originally bought it because it looked pretty. To halve the squash, you'll need to use a little force. Press a flat-edge knife between two ridges on the vegetable and firmly rock the knife back and forth to wedge the knife in. Then use the palm of your hand to pound the top of the knife. Repeat this series of motions until you've worked your way through the diameter of the squash. Don't give up!

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Cut the carnival squash into halves, scoop out the seeds and fibers, and cut each half into 4 crescents. Place them cut-side up on a shallow baking tray. Sprinkle them with salt and pepper.

Dice the bacon and combine with olive oil, rosemary, garlic, nutmeg and sugar in a bowl. Divide the mixture among the chunks, placing it in the “bowl” of each one. Bake in the middle of the hot oven for 25-30 minutes.

Makes 8 wedges.

Recipe adapted from: Angie’s Recipes

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