Homework #3 – Whole Grains

For my whole grain I chose Wheat Berries.  In the class cooking assignment, Bill mentioned that he many times boils water and then pours over the grain and lets soak for an hour or so; that way it doesn’t heat up the house.  Well I found a “recipe” to actually make your grains in a crock pot.  This was much better than having the house all steamed up which was very nice with as warm as this last weekend was.


My first two recipes were breakfast items.  I made parfaits and a spinach soufflé/quiche.  Here are the ingredients for the souffle.


I first started with buttering and then adding bread crumbs to a 9″ spring form pan.


I sautéed the onions and garlic in some olive oil.


You mixed all ingredients together and poured into the prepared pan and topped off with the shredded cheese.


In the last few minutes of baking, I turned the oven to broil to get the top nice and brown.


While the souffle was in the over baking, I made the parfaits.


Mix wheat berries with greek yogurt, a small amount of honey and vanilla.  Put into a serving dish and top with graham cracker crumbs and fruit.


This was a great meal with my family on Mothers Day morning!


My final recipe was a veggie stew.  Ingredient list:


Sauté the carrots and onion in the olive oil until softened.  Combine all ingredients into a large pot and simmer.


This is a very easy thing to make ahead and pull out for a quick meal after work.

What a fun assignment!  Happy cooking!



Homework Assignment #2

I didn’t think I would like this assignment at first, but I really enjoyed it.  First to answer the couple of questions.  Yes – I have bought more fresh vegetables during these past few weeks than I normally do.  And most definitely there are drawbacks to buying fresh produce in bulk – unless you’re going to feed an entire extended family of 20 people.  The problem is that most things even though you have good intentions, spoil more quickly.

The two items that I purchased were spaghetti squash and parsnips.IMG_2534.JPG

The first thing I did was bake the squash.


The first meal was a breakfast.  I made bacon and had spaghetti squash pancakes.  The pancakes were simply squash, eggs, flour and a little butter.  It actually tasted like a plain omelet – nothing inside.  Here is the final.


Next I continued with the spaghetti Squash and made a Pesto Chicken Spaghetti Squash bake.  I started with homemade pesto using the recipe from week one.  Here are the rest of the ingredients.


You started with the squash on the bottom of a pan.  I used a 9 x 13 pan but I think it would be better to use a 9 x 9 or a casserole dish to add height to it.  On top of the squash you put a layer of half of the pasta sauce and a layer of half the ricotta cheese and egg mixture.


I browned the chicken first in a pan before adding to the pesto.


Then put half as the next layer in the pan.


The layers are then repeated and topped off with cheese.


Bake for 40 minutes and here is the final product.


But any good dinner needs a dessert so I made Spiced Parsnip muffins.


Mix all ingredients in a pan and put into muffin pan.image1-1.JPG

While baking – mix up a simple cream cheese frosting.


When muffins have cooled after baking – frost and serve.


By far – this meal was a huge success! The casserole was very good (I was hoping it would have had more of the consistency of lasagna but it is little more sloppy) but still very flavorful.  And the muffins were a big hit in the neighborhood.  The entire neighborhood knows that I have “homework” and are always willing to be my samplers.

I wish tonight was anywhere near as successful. Lesson learned: DO NOT TRY TO WRITE  YOUR BLOG WHILE COOKING SOMETHING ON THE GRILL!

I was planning on having hamburgers along with Baked Parsnip Fries with Rosemary.


Mix the sliced parsnips with a little olive oil and rosemary leaves.


Bake and serve.  As I mentioned, I was hoping to have burgers and fries, instead I had a sandwich.  My husband was actually thrilled because he now opted for leftovers of the pesto chicken.


These were better than I thought they would be but I prefer the regular version.

All in all – only one meal failure but not in any of the recipes I made.  Looking forward to next weeks assignment.


My pantry

I live in an old St. Paul home.  Not much for cupboard/pantry space, so unfortunately my back stairwell becomes the pantry overflow.  It is what it is in all its glory!


Meal planning and 2nd recipe

There are three people who currently live at my house – me, my husband , and son.  My two older daughters are out of the house.  We own a business and my son works in retail so planning meals is not something that I usually do.  I never know when they are going to be home so having a scheduled meal is something that I really need to plan on.  My pantry is also filled with staple food – the kinds of things that are used for many spur of the moment meals.  My son is also pretty picky so the general meal is “comfort food”.

Tonight I decided to take our theme from week one (sauces) and make my own alfredo sauce.  Dinner was a salad, chicken alfredo and a nice glass of wine!

Before I move on, I first have a question for the more professional chefs.  I have this Kyocera knife and just LOVE IT.  What do the professionals think of this kind of knife?


Here are the beginnings to the meal.  Chicken breast, pasta, cream, butter, olive oil, shredded cheese (parmesan and mozzarella).


I got the past started and also the butter and cream for the sauce.


While things were cooking, I made a salad and opened the wine to breathe.  The chicken cooked in some grapeseed oil (it is a little lighter than olive oil and I love it for sautéing) and basil.

The final dinner turned to pretty well!


Assignment #1

It was a particularly busy week so my first meal preparation was actually a light lunch with things I had around the house.  I was going to experiment with an old favorite – egg salad – but instead of making a batch of homemade mayo – I chose to use mashed avocado instead for a healthier option.  Here are my ingredients – hard boiled eggs, avocado, tomato for color and some seasoning to taste (garlic and onion powder, paprika, salt and pepper)


OK – so I didn’t make my bread from scratch!

I first started with cutting up all of the ingredients for the egg salad.  After that, not hard to mix all together and season to taste.


Here is the final lunch –

Egg salad sandwich, strawberries and lemon water.  It was a perfect light lunch but very filling.