Never Know What to do With Squash

I must be sick. Over the last month I have been cooking. Not like, toast and microwavable nuggets cooking, like real chop-up-the-veggies and use the oven cooking.  I don’t know what’s come over me, but I’ve come home from work a few times in one week and started slaving away in the kitchen like I’m Donna Reed.

I made a huge Mexican feast one night and I did not even use canned beans or instant Spanish rice! Do you know how long it takes to cook dried beans and real Spanish rice??? A long-ass time! It was delicious though, so I guess it was worth the time it consumed; I felt incredibly accomplished when I finished eating and Husband did the dishes.

We order most of our groceries online from Fresh Direct, and have them delivered to our door because we are real New Yorkers, and real New Yorkers get everything delivered. (Also, it’s actually a little cheaper to get them online, and it’s worth having someone else carry all your groceries up four flights of stairs!). The one problem with online grocery shopping is not being able to see the immense pile of groceries flowing over your virtual shopping cart.

It is too easy to just “click, click, click” away, and end up with items you will never actually eat. I try to avoid over shopping by keeping a list on the fridge that I update anytime I notice we are out of something, or need something specific. That way, when it’s time to order more, I have an exact list to follow. Although, somehow, those sneaky little “On Sale Summer Clearance Fresh Super Cheap Items” advertisements always overpower my list and I still end up with 36 bottles of seltzer water at my door the next day.

The most recent order I made, I “accidently” bought 2 pounds of squash. I like squash, but really, what the hell was I thinking buying 2 pounds of squash and nothing else to compliment it? It wasn’t like I had a squash recipe idea in mind.

Eventually, the dreaded end-of-edible-groceries-in-the-fridge-time came, and all that was left was the squash and a few random ingredients. I decided to google a recipe for squash casserole….hoping we’d have enough to make something work.

I ended up combining about 3 different recipes, picking and choosing the ingredients we had, and invented my own casserole recipe. Because casseroles (like soup, sandwiches, and salads) are the kind of dishes you can just add random ingredients too, and they will still turn out decent. I half followed each casserole recipe, threw in a few of my own ideas, and came up with a pretty yummy dish.

First, I sliced the all the squash and boiled the slices until they were tender.

 

Next, I drained the water and mashed all the squash slices with my potato masher.

 

Third, I added about a cup of milk, about a cup of vegetable broth, and a couple handfuls of shredded parmesan to the mashed squash.

 

After this, I beat one egg, and added it with some of my favorite seasonings to the mixture.

 

Then, I coated a casserole dish with olive oil and put the casserole mixture in the dish.

I’m such an olive oil snob, and this is amazing olive oil!!!!! You MUST try it.

 

I topped off the casserole with 3 different toppings because I couldn’t decide which would taste butter. On one third I used crushed croutons, another third I used crushed tortilla chips, and on the last third I used some left over crumbled cornbread.

I cooked the casserole on 375 degrees for about 35 minutes, and tada!

 

Just call me Hilarie Crocker.

I don’t know what’s come over me, but I hope this cooking phase doesn’t last too long…I’d hate for Husband to lose his touch.

Cheers!

Best Sandwich Ever

For about two days I did not eat out,  buy Starbucks, online shop, or anything else at all. I was still feeling guilty about my shopping spree that I did nothing to earn, so I thought I’d save some money by making myself meals and coffee for a couple days.

Venturing into the kitchen can be an extremely messy and frightening experience for me.

Every morning, I blindly stumble into the kitchen, and manage to start a pot of coffee with just the mere memory of where everything is placed in my kitchen. I then shower*, and it’s around the time that I dry my face off that I feel like my eyes are open and the smell of coffee reminds me that I made coffee and that I do have a reason to get up at such a painful hour.

After drinking a pot of coffee, and finally waking up, I look around the kitchen….horrified…then turn to Belle (who is whining for breakfast) and say, “WHO made this mess Belle?!?!”

The kitchen looks as if a mad person sprinkled coffee grinds on every inch of counter space, dripped water on the floor, the rugs, and down the side of the coffee maker, and took out 3 different coffee mugs.

I’d like to blame this behavior on the fact that I make coffee while still asleep, but my own Mother and Fiance will be all too happy to tell you that this is always how I behave in the kitchen…no matter what the hour. “If you follow any trail of crumbs it is sure to lead to Hilarie.” ~Mom

Even when I try extra hard to be neat while cooking, someone else will walk in and immediately have a look of shock upon their face. “How did you get avocado in your hair?” ~Fiance

Even though I am an obvious mess, I stuck with my plan to cook for myself. (You should know that Fiance was out of town for the weekend so I was really left to fend for myself.)

My first meal was what I will call “The Best Damn Vegetarian Sandwich You Will EVER Have – made by Hilarie”. That’s right I made it, and it was FANTASTIC. Here’s how I did it.

Ingredients:

wheat bread, mayonnaise, cilantro hummus (but any hummus will work), arugula, vegan pepper jack cheese, cherry tomatoes, orange bell pepper, cucumber, avocado, vegetarian chicken nuggets, extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and some random seasonings

Directions:

I pretty much treat my sandwiches like my soups…I just throw all my favorite things together and wish for the best.

First, cook four fake chicken nuggets on a skillet. They turn out crunchy this way, the microwave just makes them mushy. I typically still make them in the microwave because I am impatient, but I was trying to be a real chef this day.

Next, toast the bread. Then, spread the mayonnaise and hummus. After these grueling steps, just toss all the veggies on (after you chopped them up of course), put on the hot nuggets, and add the cheese.

The last step is to add the extra flavor. I pretended to be a Subway sandwich maker and top off my sandwich with olive oil and vinegar, and some seasonings that I like…I think I used some Italian seasonings and pepper.

Viola!

Best sandwich ever

It was so good it was even worth the disaster left in the kitchen. If it wasn’t for my very strong fear of roaches, I would have left the mess until Fiance returned from Pittsburgh.

I hope you enjoyed my super easy vegetarian cooking lesson.

Cheers!

*This is kind of a lie. I do not shower every morning…In fact I only wash my hair every 2 or 3 days, BUT I do wash my face every morning, which can often take as long as a shower.

Dinner Time!

It’s no secret that I am not a very good cook, nor do I enjoy it much. Every once in a while though, I get hungry, and Fiance refuses to cook. Often when this happens we just order delivery. Tonight though, I had inspirateion from Pinterest…Pinspiration as I’d like to call it!

I found a recipe on Pinterest for Taco Soup. I LOVE tacos! And, the one thing I can kind of cook is soup! Soup is so easy, just throw some stuff in a big pot, add a bunch of seasoning, and voila! Soup!

This recipe sounded super simple (right up my ally), and was really easy to turn into a vegetarian dish. (Did I mention I’m a vegetarian?) Anyways, here’s what I used to make my soup.

I would have used garlic, but we were out and neither one of us was willing to leave the apartment and walk the 40 feet to the grocery store on the corner.

First I chopped all the veggies with my new veggie chopper (God bless wedding registries!). As you can see I do not allow cooking to make me miss out on anything. This includes the premier of Fashion Star, so I chopped on the living room rug.

Next, I sautéed the veggies in olive oil until they were squishy and a little brown. When the veggies started to cook a little I went ahead and added my fake ground beef (Morning Star). It’s already cooked, but it’s frozen, so I let it heat up with the chopped veggies.

Then, I rinsed the beans and added them. I added the cans of tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, corn and seasonings  at the same time. Lastly, I added about a cup and a half of water.

I stired, put the lid on, and let it cook on low for a while so that all the seasonings would soak in. I tasted it about 20 minutes later. It was good, but needed to cook a little longer. I let it keep cooking as I left to do better things. That’s the great thing about soup.

About an hour later I remembered I was cooking… woops. Soooo the bottom of the soup was a little burnt.

Eh, it’s not mine if it’s not a little burnt! It was still great, and we added some cheese to top it off. (Soy cheese for me.) I ate the next day on top of a plate of kale to make an extra healthy taco salad. Yum!

You know what the best part of the whole endeavor was???

Fiance got to do the dishes, woohoo!

Cheers!