We are on a food adventure, trying to use local meat and produce the majority of the time. Or at least start with what we find at our farmer’s market. Here’s what we were working with last week:
Tomatoes, onions, peaches, cantaloupe, apples, pink oyster mushrooms, and oregano.
Jake and I went out for a breakfast date Sunday to Happy Gillis. He had the best bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich we’ve ever had, and I had grilled ham and cheddar with apple rosemary jelly and a sunny side egg on top. We had to wait forever behind a huge crowd of really annoying hung over people, but it was so worth it.
We meant to make baked black bean sweet potato flautas, but the corn tortillas were ripping. So we did a sort of baked tostada sandwich sort of thing instead. The sweet potato can pass for refried beans for picky eaters, and I snuck red bell pepper and plenty of onion in too!
We’ve had lots of cucumber, tomato, black olive, feta, and Italian dressing salads lately. I was super surprised to find that Jonas will eat them! Toddlers are full of surprises.
We had family over one night and made bruchetta as an appetizer (though when it’s just us bruchetta is totally a whole meal). So easy: just sliced bread with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, tomatoes, fresh basil, and fresh mozzarella. Then pop it under the broiler until the cheese is melted.
For dinner, we cracked open a can of the pasta sauce I made last week for spaghetti. I wanted to test it out before I made more batches. The verdict: good flavor, but I need to cook it down more. It was too thin.
Jonas and I have been chowing down on steamed green beans chilled and dipped in ranch. Yum. I’ve also been freezing some green beans for winter.
We made chicken pot pie (Eliza’s favorite) with crust from the recipe in The Children’s Step-by-step Cook Book. This is a recipe that you can make semi-homemade with rotisserie chicken, refrigerated pie crust, and frozen veggies, but it is the most delicious with home-baked whole chicken, homemade chicken stock, fresh veggies, and homemade pie crust. This time around was somewhere in between with a rotisserie chicken and store bought stock, but with homemade crust and fresh farmers’ market veggies. We had to use frozen peas, because Jonas ate all of ours before I could save any for when they aren’t in season. Hah! They’ll be coming back around for a short season in the fall, though.
Don’t throw away that chicken carcass! Making stock at home is the easiest thing ever, especially if you have a crock pot. I just throw the chicken carcass and skin in, cover it with water, and throw in some veggies, herbs, and seasonings. I don’t even measure anything. For veggies, I just use whatever’s on hand. You can use leftover bits of things, like onion skins, but you can use the veggies themselves too. I tend to stick with vegetables I’d use in soups like onions, carrots, and celery. This time I only had onions, though. I added in a couple of crushed garlic cloves, and some parsley and thyme from our garden. It’s totally good without the herbs too, though. You can also add in something like dried Italian seasonings. The trick is to think about what you’re going to use the stock for, so whatever you’re adding doesn’t clash with the flavors of that later. Throw in a bit of salt and pepper and that’s it!
I let the stock cook all day on low or about four hours on high in my crock pot. After that it’s flavorful and delicious! I couldn’t find my slotted spoon to fish all of the chunks out at the end, so I ladled the stock into a colander over a bowl.
That’s it! Really delicious stock out of something you were going to throw away. Next time you have some sort of bones from your dinner or leftover veggies, consider making a meat or vegetable stock with them. It’s cheaper, more flavorful, and isn’t full of preservatives and sodium like the store version.
I use mine within a couple of days or freeze it.
Jonas and I had a ton of fun making biscuits this week. In case you were wondering, we really just made buttermilk biscuits so that we’d have a vessel for the blackberry jam we made last week, which is DELICIOUS. We’re obsessed with it.
Making biscuits is super easy (we use a recipe from The Everything Cookbook). It also happens to be the perfect activity to embark upon with a toddler, because you get to dump stuff, make a mess (you crumble up the butter in the flour with your fingers), and count (we practice counting when we measure out ingredients). Bonus: they’ll also hold their shape if you cut them out with cookie cutters.
I also used this as an opportunity to do something for the August One Little Word prompt by spelling out my word finish. I’ll be finding more fun ways to spell out my word in the world over the next few days too.
Jake also spelled out something, but I’ll not put it here. You’ll have to check his Instagram.
I used my homemade stock and the fancy pink oyster mushrooms from the market (they smell like shrimp) to make saffron risotto with shrimp and peas. Jake had frozen popcorn chicken instead, because he doesn’t eat fish. So I had my mom over to enjoy the fanciness with me. (I love that my mom and I cook together every few weeks.) I altered the recipe a bit (by adding mushrooms, for one), but stuck to it for the most part. I love that I can get an idea (Wow! These mushrooms would be great in a risotto with shrimp. And maybe saffron!), and then find a recipe for it on the Interwebs so I’m not flying blind. The Internet is magic.
Also, this is one of those things that looks boring but tastes absolutely amazing.
Last but not least, we needed a super easy dinner night, so we had boxed (gasp!) macaroni and cheese with peas and some chicken tenders I just smothered in barbecue sauce and baked. And cantaloupe. And then we ate on TV trays and watched Dr. Who, because that’s what we call a Friday night around here.
That’s a week in the food life at the Nerd Nest!
If you want to see what we picked up at the market this weekend and what we’re eating as it happens, follow me on Instagram.
What have you been eating lately? Do you have any yummy recipes to share?
Check out all of the Savory Sunday posts here.