Entrée

Entrée, Fall

BOWL PREP

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The crusts of a p&j. The butt of a burrito. The shards of Cleo’s egg that she ALWAYS asks for in the morning and barely eats. I hate wasting food, nor do I like making different meals at one time, so I often end up being the garbage disposal to the ends of my kids’ meals. Not dinner, but throughout the day, guilty. I went in to solve my own problem by taking my own advice. If I want to eat well through the day, I need to set myself up for success.

I have been using the same Pyrex containers for years. Maybe ten years? The glass is durable and, does not stain. I have a variety of sizes for all sorts of circumstances. So when they asked me to write a post about how I use them? No question, because it’s a product I am already using daily. When I am taking good care of myself and thinking ahead, and not wanting to eat butts of burritos, I meal prep. If I have food ready, or pieces that get me halfway towards a meal, I am much more likely to eat something well-rounded and filling than a bunch of snacks that still leave me wanting a meal.

These glass Pyrex containers have snap, air tight lids, so I can pop them in the freezer or fridge and not worry about things leaking. It keeps the food fresh longer, and also allows for an easy reheat. I can simply remove the lid and place the dish in my preheated toaster oven. You should not be putting plastic in the microwave - bad for the plastic, bad for the food, bad for you. If my leftovers are something I am not able to reheat on the stove-top, I lay a paper towel over the top and warm it in the microwave. The non-porous glass containers do not stain or smell from acidic products, are better on the environment and while they may be heavy to take on the go, it is a fair trade for how long they last and the whole fridge-to-oven reheat option.

On Sunday afternoon, I dedicated one hour to prep a few things that I knew would make for quicker meals during the week. This may look like a lot, but much of it is hands off. You layer the work. The squash roasts in the oven while you whiz up the pesto. I start the rice and lentils then shake up the vinaigrette and pull out pom seeds while they cook. My plan:

- prepared salad greens (kinds that can be eaten raw or cooked, such as kale and cabbage)

- cilantro pistachio/pepita pesto

- chili maple delicata squash (recipe below)

- pomegranate seeds

- steamed brown rice + lentil mixture

- dijon maple vinaigrette

This leaves me with two meal options that will take under 5 minutes to prepare from here: a big green salad with squash and pom seeds and nuts with the vinaigrette, or rice and lentil bowls, again with more squash, I can sauté some of the greens if I’d like, top with the pesto and then I can easily throw on a little cheese or avocado. The pasta dish that is linked for the cilantro pesto is also amazing and you are 80% of the way to that recipe with these prep pieces too! Use the delicata in place of the butternut and you just need to cook some noodles. The greens I packed are ones I like both in salads, and are not compromised when heated, so they can be either sautéed or dressed for the salad. Tender greens (like butter lettuce, spring mix, arugula) don’t keep as well for me after being washed and stored.

These prepared pieces lasted me the better part of the week for lunches and parts of dinner thanks to my Pyrex glass storage. I also started making a big batch of oats that can easily be reheated with a splash of almond milk, and these pumpkin muffins for breakfast and snack. I’m reminded that I always want to keep my fridge stocked!

This post was sponsored by Pyrex. All words and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting me in working with brands, so that we may continue to create content for you.


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Chili Maple Delicata Squash

The beautiful thing about delicata squash is that you can eat the thin skin, so it makes prep so much faster. I cut them in half, seed them, then cut into half moons, or just into coins, and spoon away the seeds from the center circle.

2 medium delicata squash

1 Tbsp. avocado or extra-virgin olive oil

2 tsp. maple syrup

1/2 tsp. sea salt

1/2 tsp. chili powder

Preheat the oven to 425’ and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut the squash into 1/2” half moons or rings, and remove the seeds. Place all the squash on the prepared sheet and drizzle on the oil, maple, salt and chili powder. Toss everything to coat and spread them in an even layer. Roast for 20-25 minutes until tender and browned in parts.

Remove to cool before storing.

They will keep for a week, stored in a covered container in the fridge.

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Breakfast, Entrée, Gluten Free, Spring

A STUDY ON FRITTATAS

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Brunch for a group. Inexpensive dinner. Cook once, reheat through the week breakfast. Put a slice in a tortilla or between toast and you’re off. Frittatas are just the best. Especially for some who always have leftover bits and hate waste.

*raises hand*

Too much zucchini? Trying to set yourself up to start your day with protein? Frittata! I saved a few videos in my story highlights if a visual helps. I believe a frittata is one of those meals that can go so many directions, that once you understand how they work, you can make them out of all sorts of things.

I am going to add some bullets here, because honestly, it’s just easier to shoot off opinions that way than try to craft sentences that go together. Once you have the basics down, you can make up your own creation. I would love you to chime in with your favorite combos or your tips below! If you’re one for a crust, I’m a big fan of this recipe.


 

Things I know about frittatas:

  • I like the vegetables inside to be cooked. The key to not having a water logged frittata, is cooking some of the water off of the vegetables first. You can roast or saute, and then cool. This includes greens, though they literally need about 30 seconds. Any meats need to be cooked in advance before adding too.

  • I’m going with a ratio of 2 eggs per person for one serving. You can do a 4 egg frittata for 2 in an 8” pan, 4-6 people in a 10” pan and upwards. The thicker you make the frittata, you’ll need to increase the baking time. Just keep giving the middle a little tap and pull it when it’s no longer liquidy. I keep a lower heat to try to keep the bottom from burning.

  • I strongly suggest using a nonstick or well-seasoned cast iron pan (I LOVE this pan - crisps, frittatas, casseroles, the best)…or the whole thing can be baked in a well greased, oven-proof dish. I suppose that would be called an “egg bake” but whatever, does it matter?

  • Cheese. I tend towards sheep or goats cheeses, and those both work well in frittatas. They are lower in fat, so can dry out, but with a short, low oven time, they do fine. You just don’t want a super dry cheese, in my opinion. Parmesan is ok, but it is so dry, you will not get any pockets of creaminess, it will mostly just taste like delicious salt, which is not a terrible thing by any means. If you choose a meltier cheese like cheddar, I def like most mixed in and a little on top.

 

Prep ahead

Let’s say you’re hosting the following morning or trying to get a leg up on Christmas morning (or just a Monday :)

Whisk all your eggs, dairy, seasoning in one bowl you can keep covered in the fridge. Have all your add-ins cooked and ready (zucchini sauteed, sausage cooked, tomatoes roasted, whatever). Pull them all out while preheating the oven, and then proceed with the recipe from there. Gently warm the pan with the fillings in it, add the egg mixture, pop it in the oven.


Favorites

sauteed mushroom, greens and goat cheese
roasted tomatoes, greens, pesto, goat cheese
roasted zucchini, peppers, tomatoes, little bit of minced red onion, feta
just steamed asparagus, tons of herbs, goat cheese
crowd pleaser: potatoes, bacon, greens, white cheddar


GREEN VEGETABLE FRITTATA

Serves 4

I am listing the vegetables I used here, inspired by what I had in the fridge. You really can put anything in a frittata…ok, most thing. Be sure that the vegetables have a similar cooking time, if you’re sauteing everything together. For example, potatoes take longer to become tender than zucchini, so while you can mix these two, you need to start the potatoes off first, and then add the zucchini after the potatoes have been going for 10 minutes, so you don’t burn the zucchini or turn it to moosh. Things like peppers and tomatoes cook the same, assorted greens are typically quick, etc.

Ingredients

1 small leek
1 small zucchini
1 small bundle of broccolini

extra virgin olive oil
sea salt

8 eggs
1/3 cup heavy cream (canned coconut milk works as a non-dairy option)
dollop of pesto or sour cream (or non-dairy alternative), optional
fresh ground pepper
3-4 ounces soft goat cheese
fresh green herbs, for garnish

Instructions

Clean the leek and trim the zucchini. Chop the vegetables small. Heat a drizzle of oil in a medium nonstick or seasoned cast iron pan. Add the vegetables, pinch of salt and saute until tender, and cooked down, about 6 minutes. Turn off the heat and let them cool down. Move them around occasionally to release any steam pockets.

Preheat the oven to 325’.

Whisk the eggs and cream (or non-dairy alternative) well. Lots of air in there, keep whisking. Whisk in a dollop of pesto or sour cream, if using, and a few grinds of fresh black pepper. If you like spice, a dash of red pepper flakes. Crumble half your cheese in here.

With the heat on low, distribute the vegetables around in your nonstick pan and pour the egg mixture on top. Let it sit for a couple minutes just to set the bottom. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top, and put the pan on the middle rack of the oven. Bake for 16-20 minutes until the center juuuuust stops jiggling. Better to pull it out on the side of underdone.

Let it cool down, garnish with tons of fresh herbs. Serve with toasty bread and fresh tomatoes if you have them.

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Entrée, Summer, Winter

PIZZA DOUGH

pizza crust . margherita . sprouted kitchen

Not to be bossy, but you need to read the notes and the recipe all the way through. Lots of words, but I've messed this up enough times that I want to pass down everything I've learned by trial and error of making pizza at home. I typically don’t do fussy, but there are a few steps here and the wait times between them are worth noting before you start. Nothing is difficult, but it's worth a heads up before you jump in.

I know, I’m asking you to plan ahead a day, ideally two if you can stand it... As it sits, the dough ferments, which is the element that adds flavor to a simple mixture of flour, water and yeast. The only way to impart flavor into something as simple as plain pizza dough is time, so while it will still work if you use it a few hours later, it tastes better, and there are more air bubbles the next day and it is best the day after that. The upside of that wait time is how quickly it comes together in the first place. Prep it Sunday, for pizza on Tuesday night. 

You may absolutely use unbleached all purpose flour for this recipe. My tests came back with more bubbles and a lighter feel when I used either bread flour or tipo “00”, both available at Whole Foods, well stocked markets, and online. You want a high protein content for bubble characteristics and these flours deliver. I really enjoyed this pizza article, regardless that it scolded me for my lack of using a scale. See that photo with the cold ferment?! That's what we're doing here. 

Homemade pizza will never turn out like a shop with a legit pizza oven, because it is impossible for a home oven to get that hot. When we moderate our expectation for such, the results are delicious. The photos here don't show any beautiful dark marks on the crust because I used the toaster oven for this pizza, which was the least hot choice. It's so hot and humid here I just couldn't blast the oven mid day :/ I put a few notes below on what we do on the grill versus the oven too. I like keeping the meal outside whenever possible, but a grill doesn't get the top as hot as the bottom so the toppings don't get at much heat and the cheese doesn't really brown. For that reason, I always vote a piping hot oven over a grill. 

For company? I'll have a big, light salad ready to go (usually arugula, shaved fennel, toasted pinenuts and golden raisins with a mustardy vinaigrette). One pizza goes in, out, rests a few minutes while the other cooks, and I just serve them straight off the cutting boards. 

pizza crust . dough in the mixed . sprouted kitchen
pizza crust . sprouted kitchen

PIZZA DOUGH

Makes about 3 medium-ish pizzas

I know. I should be using weights. Real cooks use weights. I'm a shoot-from-the-hip sort of cook, not a chef, and therefore have not been weighing my flour. Sorry. I leave mine to ferment on the wetter, stickier side, and assume that more flour will incorporate during the roll out phase. 

Ingredients

1 tsp. active dry yeast
1 1/3 cups warm (not hot) water
2 tsp. honey
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, more as needed
3 1/2 - 4 cups bread flour or tipo “00”, plus more for rolling it out
1 tsp. sea salt

Cornmeal or semolina, for cooking

Instructions

Combine the yeast and warm water, and let it sit a couple minutes for the yeast to activate. If you don't get any bubbles or fuzz layer, your yeast may be bad. Stir in the honey and olive oil. 

In the bowl of a stand mixer with a dough hook, add the flour and salt. Turn the mixer on low and stream in the water mixture. Mix the dough for 2 minutes. Scrape the dry flour down into the mix if you need to. Let it rest for a minute, then mix it another minute. The dough should look sticky but still resemble a loose ball. Add a tablespoon of water or flour accordingly, it is safer to lean towards wetter than drier as you won’t be able to work water in later, but you can always use more flour to roll it out. When you touch it, your hands will get messy, but you should be able to transfer the lump into an oiled bowl.

Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, cover it, and keep it in the fridge for one (minimum) to three days (ideal). 

Don’t even give it a second thought. Its just hanging out in there, needing zero attention.

On the day of pizza making, pull the dough out 3-4 hours before cooking. Cover a surface with a generous dusting of flour. Divide the dough into three parts, roll them through the flour and into balls, cover them with a dish towel and let them rise for anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. Weather and humidity pending. Preheat your grill or oven as hot as it will go. Preheat the pizza stone or baking sheet if using. Prepare your toppings.

When ready to cook, use your hands to push and stretch the dough super thin. Use a rolling pin if needed, but that pressure pops all of the bubbles. It poofs as it cooks, so the thinner the better. Try not to touch the outer 1/2” in hopes of keeping the air bubbles in tact. 

Sprinkle cornmeal or semolina onto the hot stone or baking sheet. Have your toppings ready because you need to work fast here. If you have a pizza peel, sprinkle cornmeal on that, then your dough and assemble on the peel (we don't have one, so I do this on a cutting board and scoot it onto the stone). Shuffle your pizza from the peel to the hot stone/pan. 

Bake it in your 500 oven for about 10-12 minutes. Remove to cool slightly before slicing. Save any fresh herbs and a sprinkle of parm for finishing. 

* If I'm going with some heavier or wetter toppings, I'll par bake it for a few minutes, then dress with sauce and toppings from there for safety against a soggy center.


Grill it!

On the grill, most of the heat is coming from the bottom. Preheat the grill on high for at least 30 minutes. When you’re ready to go, create a space for indirect heat by leaving one or two burners off (where your pizza will go, so this will depend on the size of your grill). Oil the grates, push out your dough and toss it on the side where the burners are ON. Let it get some grill marks, about 1-2 minutes. Flip the dough over onto the indirect side (burners off but still quite warm). Decorate the par-grilled side of your pizza, this is the time for extra easy sauce and extra easy toppings so they get the chance to warm through with that lower heat. Grill about 7-8 minutes until toppings are melted and warm. Remove to cool slightly before topping with fresh herbs. 

recent favorites:

- pizza sauce, grated zucchini (that has been salted and moisture squeezed out before using), fresh mozzarella (not water packed, preferably), parm, lots of herbs

- pizza sauce, goats milk cheese, roasted tomatoes, barely dressed arugula after cooling

- pesto, peaches, baby tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, red pepper flakes 


pizza crust . slice . sprouted kitchen
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