Pi Day Hand Pies – Butternut Squash, Sage, and Parmesan

Along with Star Wars Day (May the 4th), Pi day (3.14) is one of the more popular geeky “holidays.” My chemistry teacher in high school preferred Mole Day (10-23) while others are devout observers of Free Comic Book Day (the first Saturday in May), and although my anniversary falls on International Talk Like a Pirate Day, my personal favorites may be Tolkien Reading Day (March 25th – the day the Ring was destroyed) and Hobbit Day (September 22 – Bilbo and Frodo’s shared birthday.) The big perk of Pi Day is, of course, getting to lean into the obvious pun and eat a lot of pie. Perhaps a round pie is more appropriate – you can calculate the circumference of your pie using pi! But this year on Pi Day I happened to make hand pies.

These hand pies are filled with a rich and flavorful mixture. The sweet butternut squash and red onions, earthy sage, nutty Parmesan, and toasty pine nuts all blend together and complement each other. I had this recipe bookmarked for years before I was finally was a confident enough cook to make them, but they are actually quite simple to make! Once I had finally made them, I was sure to make them again, soon. These will be a new favorite at home for me.

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Cooking In Season: Winter Squash and Leek Risotto

This past year for Christmas, Joe gave me a cookbook I’ve been interested in checking out for a while: Six Seasons by Joshua McFadden is all about, yes, cooking in-season vegetables. I immediately read through the cookbook including the spring, early summer, mid summer, late summer, and fall sections. Then I bookmarked all the recipes in the “winter” section that I wanted to try right away.

Risottos often catch my eye on recipe blogs and in restaurants, but too be honest, I often find them boring – the flavor can be one-note and the texture a bit like baby food. Not so with this winter squash and leek risotto. The squash, leeks, wine, cheese, and spices created beautiful layers of flavor and the leeks gave it texture. Joe and I enjoyed this a lot and agreed we should make it often.

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Marie Cooks Skyrim: Chicken Dumplings

Fantasy is often stereotyped for excessive descriptions, including descriptions of food. Who could make it through The Chronicles of Narnia without wanting to find out what Turkish Delight tastes like? Or read A Game of Thrones without craving a bowl of beef and barley stew? I am certainly not the only one who has thought so… you could create a library of cookbooks written solely to give people a taste of fictional worlds. The summer before last, I was at the Renaissance Faire and was tempted by a bookseller and several fantasy-themed cookbooks by Chelsea Monroe-Cassel. It should be obvious how my checkbook fared against that temptation.

My recreation of Skyrim’s chicken dumplings is adapted from this book. The filling is flavorful – sweet from the carrots and roasted leeks, spring-like from the dill and fennel, balanced with richness from the cream. I’ve made these 3 times already, and will definitely keep making them.

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Roasted Vegetable Baked Ziti

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Several years ago, I decided I was going to make a lasagna for my friend’s mom (which I like to do for births, funerals, Christmas gifts, get-well presents, and more). She eats very little meat, however, so I decided to make a vegetarian lasagna instead. And she keeps gluten-free, but the only gluten-free noodles I could find in the store were ziti. And when I tried to layer the ingredients they all just kind of smooshed together. It did not turn out like I expected, but my sister and I brought it over to her house, we all shared it while playing Eucher together, and we all had second helpings…

Now, shelter-in-place and limiting shopping trips to once every 2 weeks has made it hard to eat as many fresh vegetables as I would like, so I found myself thinking once again about that vegetable baked ziti and I decided to see if I could recreate it. I tried my hand at it this afternoon, and this evening Joe and I sat on our porch with a glass of red wine to accompany it and we both had second helpings. Continue reading “Roasted Vegetable Baked Ziti”

Cannellini Beans With Garlic, Parmesan, and Artichokes

I’m constantly looking for more bean and lentil dishes that are quick and delicious. Beans are filling and full of protein, which make them very important for vegetarians, or for people like Joe and me who only eat meat occasionally. I particularly like this recipe for taking about 15 minutes altogether. Deb Perelman says she came up with this recipe by treating beans the way you would pasta – using garlic, olive oil, red pepper flakes and topping it all with parmesan. I also love the idea of replacing more pasta recipes with beans since eating pasta too often tends to leave me sleepy and sluggish. I modified this recipe by using dried parsley (because every time I buy fresh herbs, I only use a small amount and the rest goes bad,) and by doubling the amount of artichokes. Honestly doubling the artichokes was an accident, but one that I felt improved the dish, so I will be making it this way from now on. I had no problem throwing this recipe together from items in my pantry for a delicious dinner after work.

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Two Different Cheddar Scones for Autumn

It is rare that I get into a baking mood: usually, if I want to spend time in the kitchen, I would prefer to be making something hearty for dinner.  Last Sunday however, the bright autumn leaves gave me the urge to bake something full of apples. I picked a sweet apple-cheddar scone and then for good measure a savory cheddar jalapeño scone, as well. I shared them with my bar trivia team (and the bartender, and some people on other teams, as well) and everyone had compliments to give. Today, there is a thick covering of snow and it is continuing to fall fast, but the season is still technically autumn, so I’m happy to share these two recipes! Continue reading “Two Different Cheddar Scones for Autumn”

Presidents’ Day Weekend: Butternut Squash and Caramelized Onion Galette

This weekend, my family came from Ohio to visit Joe and me in Milwaukee. Because I had taken some (very needed!) time off work to see them, I also made sure to take time to cook a lot of good food. I used this opportunity to make breakfast every day, since I actually had people to cook for who will eat eggs (Joe does not.) Eggs-in-Purgatory-Style Baked “Huevos Rancheros”; Bacon, Feta, and Scallion Frittata; Breakfast Burritos; I could eat eggs for breakfast, lunch, and midnight snack daily and not get sick of them. However, I know most other people do not share my enthusiasm, so I also made dinner the last 2 nights: a mouth-watering butternut squash galette and an easy! delicious! cheap! black bean soup. The black bean soup I have already made several times over the last couple months and will likely make several more times. The galette – well, I have only made it once before and I admit the only reason I don’t make this all the time is because I fear preparing winter squash. Every time I face my fears though, I realize that it’s really not as difficult as I’m making it out to be and what effort there is, is well worth it in taste. This has become a winter favorite at home. Continue reading “Presidents’ Day Weekend: Butternut Squash and Caramelized Onion Galette”

Sausage Lasagna Makes a Wonderful Freezer Meal.

Ready to bake!

“You know, there’s a million fine looking women in the world, dude. But they don’t all bring you lasagna at work. Most of ’em just cheat on you.”

Early on in our relationship, Joe quoted Clerks while we were hanging out with some friends. One of my friends rapidly thereafter made a lasagna for her new boyfriend to prove she was a “lasagna girlfriend” and not a cheating girlfriend. I also happened to make Joe a lasagna for his next birthday… Lasagna is actually a wonderful freezer meal which is why I make it for: coworkers who are off work for a while for surgery, friends after they have a baby or after a loss, and every single year as a Christmas present for my brother-in-law (who is a single father of 3 and I’m sure welcomes a little break now and then!) It has been a long time since I’ve made one for Joe and myself, though, so tonight I put one together and stuck it in the fridge. Later this week, I’ll be able to have hot lasagna with no prep or assembly to do when I get home from work, which is the true miracle.

Continue reading “Sausage Lasagna Makes a Wonderful Freezer Meal.”