Wednesday, February 16, 2011

What's For Dinner?

I'm always itching to try new recipes. Some are successful, others fail miserably. I think it's important to branch out, try new ingredients and avoid a culinary rut.

One way I find success in trying to keep things interesting (and healthy), is through a subscription to a biweekly produce co-op. I am a member of the Dallas-based Urban Acres Co-op. This means that every other Saturday, I go to a nearby drop-off location to pick up a bin of organic and local (they aim to distribute food from within a 2 hour radius) fruits and vegetables. The produce is delicious, fresh and I love to learn about what is truly in season. Living in an age where we can go to the store and get strawberries year-round, it's easy to sometimes forget about the source of our food.

Often, I open the bin and have to google to try to figure out what the heck that large elephant-shaped green leaf is (swiss chard). I love the challenge of planning two weeks worth of menus around our new varietal bin. Here's more information on Urban Acres for you interested Dallas readers:

With this blog, I plan to share recipes that we're eating in the Jordan household. Side note: You will see many random ingredients in my blog thanks to the produce co-op. Sometimes a girl has to be pretty creative to figure out how to implement all of the produce and avoid wasting food. :)

BON APPETIT CHICKEN PARMESAN BURGERS: These were a good weeknight meal last week due to the quick prep. They can also be a lower-calorie alternative to the traditional chicken parmesan when cooked in less oil and substituting wheat bread for the bread crumbs and sandwich bread. Rick and I ate these outside on the deck while enjoying the warmer weather for the first time in several months. Divine.

MASHED POTATOES (with TURNIPS): Okay, here was one of those dilemmas where I needed to use the abundant turnips from the produce bin. We get a lot of these in the winter months, which is great, minus one problem: I don't really like them. This recipe masks the flavor of the turnips by using more potatoes. Yet, you still get the nutritional value of extra fiber and vitamin C from the turnips. Plus, what ISN'T yummy when you load on butter, sour cream and cheese? :) Rick had no idea there were turnips in our "mashed potatoes" until I told him.

2 large turnips, peeled and cut into chunks
4 large potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1/3 cup finely cut chives
3 T butter
1/3 cup sour cream
1/3 cup cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Cook turnips, covered, in boiling salted water for 10 minutes. Add potatoes for an additional 15-20 minutes. Drain well. Mash vegetables thru a potato ricer. Mix in remaining ingredients.

RICOTTA AND RED SWISS CHARD CANNELLONI: Think of this recipe as an alternative to the more traditional spinach cannelloni. Swiss chard is a green that cooks down very similarly to spinach and is packed with anti-oxidants like vitamin A and C.

Enjoy! Bethany

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