Dragonfly Home Recipes

Recipes, Photography, Musings

Category: Main Dishes (page 2 of 6)

Savory Stuffed Acorn Squash

Fill roasted acorn squash “bowls” with sautéed mushrooms, chopped walnuts, couscous, and fresh thyme, and you have a festive and nourishing meal.  A bit of melted butter and Parmesan cheese make it even better.  The tender squash goes beautifully with the savory flavors of the filling, and the protein-rich mushrooms and walnuts are satisfying without making you feel over-full.

stuffed acorn squashRoasted acorn squash halves make beautiful and tasty bowls for both sweet and savory fillings.  I love apple-filled roasted squash, but I was recently looking for a way to use my acorn squash more as a main dish.  Then I read a post titled Loaded Tofu, Basmati Rice & Apple Roasted Pumpkin on Amanda’s lovely blog, What’s Cooking.  The title meal itself sounds delicious, and in this post, Amanda goes on to write about the versatility of the fillings as well as the squashes that can be used for stuffing, and she mentions brown rice, mushrooms, and walnuts as a possible filling.  A little lightbulb went off in my head when I read this, because I had mushrooms, walnuts, and couscous on hand, and a pretty acorn squash sitting on my kitchen counter.

A suggestion turned into a delicious meal.  Thank you, Amanda!  The tender squash is a delicious, edible bowl for the savory mushrooms, couscous, walnuts, and thyme.  You can really mix and match your filling ingredients, and prepare them while the squash is roasting.  I happened to have leftover garlic-seasoned couscous in the refrigerator, but rice or quinoa would be good too.  And if you wanted to add more protein, you could add some cooked shredded chicken or other ingredients.  The possibilities are endless, so this recipe is merely one option, though a very delicious one!  The recipe below is for one squash, which feeds about two people, but it can easily be doubled or more, if you are feeding a few people, and the amounts are estimates, because some of it depends on the size of the squash you are filling.

stuffed acorn squashUsing a roasted squash for a bowl is fun and seasonal.  And if you are like me, sometimes you may need a little urging to use that squash.  I end up with them sitting on my counter with the best of intentions, and though they look decorative on the counter, they need to be used!  This is a relatively easy, lovely, healthy, and tasty way to use it.  Rustic elegance on your table in a little over an hour, and much of that is oven time.

The fall color here continues to amaze me with its beauty.  Everywhere I look there are beautiful trees.  I am really hoping to get out into the woods this weekend.  The natural luxury and bounty of this season is always inspiring to me.  Nature is so generous with its display of sumptuous colors and textures, and looking around, I can see every shade of yellow, brown, red, and green.  I hope you all have a beautiful weekend! I will be sharing this recipe over at Angie’s Fiesta Friday, co-hosted this week by Margy @ La Petite Casserole and Suzanne @ apuginthekitchen.stuffed acorn squash on whitered maple tree 2stuffed acorn squash

Savory Stuffed Acorn Squash

  • Servings: 2
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • One small to medium sized acorn squash
  • 1/2 to 1 cup of cooked couscous (rice or quinoa can also be used)
  • 1 cup of sliced mushrooms, sautéed
  • 1/4 cup of raw walnuts, finely chopped
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons of fresh thyme leaves, removed from the stems
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons of butter
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  Cut the squash in half, lengthwise, from stem to base.  Spoon out the seeds.  Place the halves cut-sides down in a buttered baking dish.  Roast in your 375 degree oven for 35 to 50 minutes, or until the squash is tender when pierced with a fork or knife.  (The roasting time will depend on the size of the squash).

While the squash is roasting, prepare your filling.  Cook the couscous and sauté the mushrooms.  Chop the walnuts and remove the thyme leaves from the stems.  Mix the filling together in a bowl and season with salt and pepper and anything else you like.

When the squash is tender, pull it out of the oven and flip it over.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste, and rub with a couple tablespoons or so of butter.  Spoon the filling into the squash “bowls”, packing the filling as high as you want it.  Put the filled squash back into the oven and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes, until the filling is warmed all the way through. In the last five minutes or so, top with Parmesan cheese.  Serve warm.  Enjoy!

Lemon Tarragon Chicken

In this recipe, each chicken breast half is baked in its own foil packet with a lemon-tarragon sauce and sliced mushrooms: so flavorful and so moist! Serve this lemon tarragon chicken with potatoes, rice, or any type of grain, plus a vegetable or a salad, and you have a quick, delicious meal!

DSC_0976I have been making this recipe for many years.  In fact, I made it so often awhile back that I had to take a break from it for a time, and just tonight I made it again.  No wonder I used to make it so often! It is so tasty and so easy! It’s easy, but it tastes like something special.  I think it’s the baking of the chicken in the foil packet.  The foil keeps in all that moisture, and the lemon juice, olive oil, and tarragon blend together so nicely.  This recipe is very loosely adapted from a cookbook called 365 Ways to Cook Chicken by Cheryl Sedaker. Over the years I have tweaked it here and there to fit our tastes.

Do you ever feel like the forces of chaos have been unleashed into your life?  That’s how I have been feeling this week, and in times like that, it’s good to fall back on a meal that is reliable, comforting, and nourishing.  I can’t even quite explain what has been going on–I think it’s just a lot of little things happening all at once.  In any case, food is a constant, food is a comfort.  We all have to eat, no matter what is going on, or how crazy our days can become. If we can make eating enjoyable and restorative, then we are doing one important thing toward fostering a feeling of goodwill, toward building up rather than breaking down.  And if we can pick some flowers and put them in a vase, so much the better!

lemon chicken tarragon with linen 1One thing I love about this recipe is that there is minimal prep work, and then it bakes in the oven for twenty minutes.  During that twenty minutes this evening, I also put some asparagus, mixed with garlic and Parmesan cheese, in the oven to roast along with the chicken, and then threw together some mashed potatoes. It all came together pretty quickly, yet it tasted like a real meal that took lots of time to prepare.  Super-satisfying, yet easy on the one doing the cooking.

I hope you all have a great weekend! This is the perfect time to eat outdoors as much as possible, and don’t forget to marvel at all the beautiful flowers! I am adding this recipe to Angie’s Fiesta Friday, co-hosted this week by Quinn @ dadwhats4dinner and Elaine @ Foodbod.lemon tarragon chicken in foilsweet peas in the window

Lemon Tarragon Chicken

  • Servings: 4
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, pounded to 1/4 inch thickness
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups of fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried tarragon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 4 teaspoons of lemon juice

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, chopped onion, tarragon, salt, and lemon juice. Stir well.

Tear off four sheets of heavy-duty aluminum foil, about 12 by 18 inches.  Line them up on your counter. Place a chicken breast on the lower half of each piece of foil. Season the chicken with salt and pepper.  Evenly top each piece with the mushroom slices.  Spoon the olive oil-lemon juice mixture evenly over each piece of chicken and mushrooms.

Fold the upper half of the foil down and seal it with the lower half. Make a series of locked folds all the way around the foil to seal each foil packet. Fold the edges for a tighter seal, while still allowing room for the heat to circulate and expand. Place the foil packets on a baking sheet and bake in your 450-degree oven for 20 minutes, or until the chicken is done and no longer pink. Cut an X in the top of each foil packet, fold the foil back, and transfer the chicken and mushrooms to a plate.  Pour the remaining juices over the chicken, if desired. Serve with potatoes, rice, or a grain of your choice, plus a vegetable and/or salad. Enjoy!

 

 

White Bean Wraps

Make dinner easy on yourself with these tasty and nutritious white bean wraps.  Fresh thyme leaves and a tangy yogurt-lemon dressing add flavor to the comforting combination of long-grain brown rice, great northern beans, and melted mozzarella cheese.  Add a handful of leafy greens, and you have a tortilla full of delicious vitamins, minerals, and protein.  Serve these wraps with tortilla chips and your favorite salsa, and add avocado and other vegetables too.  They are versatile and easy on the budget.

white bean wrap in morningI am constantly striving for a balance between eating well and staying within a reasonable food budget. If left to my own devices, I am like a kid in a candy store when I go into places like Whole Foods or the little gourmet food shop I recently discovered. However, with many other things going on, staying within a reasonable food budget is a necessity and a challenge I enjoy, so when I find an inexpensive, healthy, and delicious meal, I keep it in our regular meal rotation.  This white bean wrap recipe is one of those, and though it varies a little bit from week to week depending on which vegetables are in season, when it comes to taste and economy, the rice and bean combination always delivers.

white bean wrap on porch 11Now that the weather has finally warmed up around here, I look forward to more and more fresh vegetables at the farm stands that dot the countryside around my home.  Our black raspberries are looking promising so far, and my aunt recently gave me a bunch of rhubarb.  I can’t wait to make a pie!  Our screened-in porch is all cleaned up and ready, we will be eating out there as often as possible.  Last night my husband and I sat out there and listened to the night noises–the insects and frogs, and looked at the stars.

I hope you all have a great weekend, and if you are in the U.S., enjoy a long Memorial Day weekend.  A friend recently said to me, “I feel like the cold is finally out of my bones.” With the warm weather we’ve been having, I feel the same way, and it feels really welcome and really good. I hope you find time to relax, spend time with family or friends, get outdoors, and eat some really good food!  I will be sharing this recipe over at Angie’s Fiesta Friday, along with some inspiring bloggers I admire.greens and white beansgreens, cheese, and white beanswhite bean wrap with curtains 2white bean wrapswhite bean wrap in morning 2

White Bean Wraps

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of long-grain brown rice, cooked
  • 1  14-ounce jar or can of white beans (I used great northern beans)
  • 1 cup of plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • 3-4 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese (optional)
  • a large handful of fresh greens (lettuce, kale, or any type of greens you prefer)
  • 6 to 8 fajita-style tortillas (I used whole wheat ones)

Directions:

Cook the rice according to the package directions.  While the rice is cooking, prepare the rest of the ingredients.  In a small bowl, stir together the Greek yogurt and lemon juice.  Wash the thyme and remove the thyme leaves from the stems.  Place the shredded cheese in a small bowl.  Wash and dry the greens and set them aside.  I like to warm the tortillas (wrapped in foil) in a 160-degree oven while the rice is cooking, so they are warm and soft.  In a small saucepan, gently warm the beans over very low heat.

Once the rice is done and everything else is ready, spoon some rice onto a tortilla.  Top with some beans, thyme leaves, and shredded cheese.  Then top with the Greek yogurt and greens, and wrap up the tortilla.  Repeat until everyone is well fed.  Serve with chips and salsa, and avocado and other vegetables if desired.  Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator and warmed up easily. Enjoy!

Colorful Vegetable Chili

This chili is as pleasing to the taste buds as it is to the eyes.  Sweet potatoes, black beans, tomatoes, corn, lime juice and cilantro give each spoonful vibrant color, flavor, and nutrition.  Serve it with some tortilla chips, sliced avocado, and shredded cheese, and you have a festive, healthy meal.

In a previous post, I mentioned a cookbook my husband somewhat recently bought, called Thrive Energy Cookbook, by Brendan Brazier.  This chili recipe I am sharing below is based on a recipe in that book, though I did change and substitute a few things.  The flavor of the this chili is absolutely rich and warm-tasting, with a subtle zing from the lime juice.  My son, who normally won’t go near a sweet potato, even likes it, and my husband loves it.  All the vegetables blend together beautifully.

colorful chili 1 It really is a good meal to have right now, in early March, when we are longing for color, but our gardens have not caught up to that longing yet.  And though our snow has all melted and it has warmed up some, it is still cold and damp enough outside to appreciate a nice warm bowl of chili.

chopped sweet potatoesSpeaking of gardens and color, I did see some crocus and daffodil shoots poking up just above the soil in our yard yesterday.  Spring is coming, though here in Michigan I’m sure we have some cold days ahead of us before spring really settles in.

Until then, there is the fresh wind, the brighter sun, the earthy smell of the wet ground as it prepares itself for new growth.  I saw some red-winged blackbirds the other day–one of the first signs that spring is coming.  Soon we’ll be looking for fresh greens and asparagus!

daffodil shootsFor now, it is the perfect time to tromp around in my favorite boots through mud and wet undergrowth, cleaning up the yard or hiking down to the lake. My friend and I came across these beautiful milkweed pods on a walk the other day.milkweed pods

If you are longing for spring, but still shivering in the evenings, this chili has just the right amount of warmth and bright color to cheer you up and nourish your body for challenges ahead.  I hope you all have a great weekend!  There is a Fiesta Friday going on at Angie’s blog, co-hosted this week by Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook and Aspara @ Eating Well Diary.  If you are looking for food inspiration or to find great blogs, it’s a great place! I’m looking forward to checking it out!cilantro and lime 3colorful chili with cilantro

Colorful Vegetable Chili

  • Servings: 5-7
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups of sweet potatoes, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil or coconut oil
  • 1 cup of sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons of chili powder (more if desired)
  • 2 teaspoons of ground cumin (more if desired)
  • 3 cups of tomatoes (fresh, or if canned, I like the San Marzano kind), quartered
  • 2 cups of corn (fresh or frozen)
  • 2 cans (14 oz cans) of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup of lime juice (about 2 to 3 limes’ worth)
  • 1 cup of vegetable broth (I like to add a cup of water and a teaspoon of the Better than Bouillon vegetable base)
  • 1 handful of cilantro leaves, stems removed
  • shredded Cheddar cheese for topping (optional)
  • sliced avocado for topping or garnish
  • tortilla chips

Directions:

Wash and cube the sweet potatoes.  Place them in a large pot.  Cover the sweet potatoes with salted water, bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until just barely tender (about 6 minutes, depending on the size of the cubes).  Drain and rinse with cold water. (If desired, transfer to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking, and drain again.) Set aside.

In the same large pot, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium heat.  Add the onions and garlic, and cook until the onions are tender, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the chili powder and cumin and cook for another 2 minutes.

Add the sweet potatoes, tomatoes, corn, black beans, lime juice, and vegetable broth.  Simmer gently, uncovered, for about 30 minutes, at medium-low heat.  Add a little more water if the mixture is too thick.

Spoon the chili into bowls and top with cilantro and shredded Cheddar cheese (if desired). Serve with sliced avocado and tortilla chips. Enjoy!

This recipe is adapted from the Thrive Energy Cookbook by Brendan Brazier

 

 

Tempeh, Vegetables and Noodles

Tempeh is marinated and baked in a tangy sauce made of soy sauce, honey, garlic, and ginger, then combined with stir-fried vegetables and noodles.  This makes a delicious, comforting, and healthy meal.

In keeping with my desire to eat nutritious meals as part of the New Year and a fresh start, I am sharing a recipe for a delicious vegetarian meal using tempeh.  Until recently, I have struggled with using tempeh, because without the right flavorings, it can taste really bland to me.  Yet I know it is such a good source of protein, and from a great source–soy.  Tempeh is made from fermented soybeans, and the whole beans are retained and softened during the fermenting process, making tempeh easier for us to digest than other forms of soybeans.

tempeh and vegetable overheadTherefore, I was SO happy when I found this delicious marinade, which I adapted from one I found on allrecipes.com.  I changed some things, like using honey instead of maple syrup, powdered ginger instead of fresh, and I used less tempeh but kept the same amount of sauce, because I wanted to be able to drizzle the sauce over the whole dish, making it warm and comforting with every bite. This sauce is so good, I will use it with other meals as well!

raw vegetablestempeh and vegetables with red and whiteThe past week, we got some snow.  The birds at our birdfeeder have been eating their seed like crazy, leaving their tiny footprints all over the yard and front porch steps.  In winter, when the outdoor landscape is bleak, certain things stand out to us more, like little birds or little bird footprints.  The comfort of a warm bowl of tempeh, vegetables, and noodles in a tangy sauce tastes that much more comforting on a cold winter day.  The contrasts are starker and more noticeable in winter, and we experience things more strongly.  It makes me think of a quote by one of my favorite writers, Virginia Woolf:  “Never are voices so beautiful as on a winter’s evening, when dusk almost hides the body, and they seem to issue from nothingness with a note of intimacy seldom heard by day.”  That reminds me to turn off the lights and eat by candlelight tonight.  DSC_0153I hope you all have a great weekend, and stay warm!  I am going to make it to Fiesta Friday today, co-hosted this week by the wonderful Julie @ Hostess at Heart and Elaine @ Foodbod.

Tempeh with Vegetables and Noodles

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Print

Ingredients:

For the marinade:

  • 1/4 cup of soy sauce (I use reduced-sodium)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup of honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried, ground ginger
  • 1/4 cup of water

For the rest of the meal:

  • 8 ounces of tempeh, sliced into thin slabs
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil, plus another 2 tablespoons for the vegetables
  • 12 ounces of your choice of noodles
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups of broccoli flowerets, chopped

Directions:

In a medium bowl, combine the ingredients for the marinade sauce and stir vigorously until all combined.  In a 9 inch by 9 inch baking dish (or something similar), pour 2 tablespoons of the olive oil.  Place the slices of tempeh on top of the oil in the baking dish, then pour the marinade over the tempeh.  Cover with foil, refrigerate, and marinate for about 2 hours.

When the tempeh is done marinating, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Bake the tempeh, covered with foil, in your oven for 20-30 minutes.  Then raise the temperature to 375 degrees.  Take the foil off of the tempeh and let it bake for another 10-15 minutes, till it becomes golden brown.

When you take the foil off of the tempeh, bring a large pot of water to boil, and cook your noodles according to package directions. Drain the noodles. While the tempeh is finishing baking and the noodles are cooking, heat a wok or skillet over medium-high heat.  Pour in two tablespoons of olive oil, and stir-fry the vegetables until just tender, about 5-10 minutes.  Pull the tempeh out of the oven.  Arrange the noodles and vegetables in bowls.  Top with pieces of tempeh, and spoon the desired amount of sauce from the tempeh baking dish over the meal. Enjoy!

 

Older posts Newer posts