theboxexperiment

Attempting to live a more sustainable lifestyle.

Thanksgiving Post December 1, 2011

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted- mainly because we haven’t really been trying many new recipes. I’ve got a couple new ones that I’ll post when I’ve got the time. But the main purpose of this is to post my Thanksgiving recipes! We are trying several new ones out that I’m pretty excited about!

Desserts:

Apple Crumble Pie (my family recipe)

Filling:

  • 1 Regular pie shell
  • 4-6 large granny smith apples (peel and cut)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 teaspoon cinnamon
Topping
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup butter ( 1 stick) — do not melt

Mix apples, sugar, and cinnamon. Put in pie dish. Mix flour, butter, and sugar by hand. Crumble on top of pie.
Bake at 400 for 45-50 min.

Texas Pecan Pie (JEM’s family recipe)

  • 1 9″ Unbaked pie shell
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 3 well-beaten eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups pecan (or more)

Mix sugar, corn syrup, melted butter. Add eggs and pecans. Fill pie shell. Bake 10 minutes at 400 then 30-35 minutes at 350. Cool thoroughly.

Pumpkin Pie

recipe coming soon…

Sides

Slow Cooker Candied Sweet Potatoes (adopted from Stephanie O’Dea: A Year of Slow Cooking)

  • 3-4 peeled and chopped sweet potatoes
  • 1 tsp t vanilla
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • a scant pinch of Kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup of orange juice
  • (optional) enough mini marshmallows to dot on top
  • (optional) roasted chopped pecans

Dump the chopped sweet potatoes and all ingredients into your slow cooker. Toss together. Dot enough marshmallows on top to satisfy young children. Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hrs or 2-3 on high. Top with toasted pecans and serve.

Roasting Pecans will bring out their flavor and is quite simple. Pre-heat oven to 350*. Lightly spray a cookie sheet with Pam. Spread out the pecans, pop in the oven. Pull them out once they become aromatic (~ 5 mins). Keep a close eye on them, they can scorch easily.

Chive and Sour Cream Mashed Potatoes

recipe coming soon…

Roasted Red Potatoes

  • 8 baby red potatoes
  • EVOO
  • chopped rosemary
  • chopped garlic
  • Salt and Pepper
Pre-heat oven to 400*. Peel potatoes (if you like, we normally don’t) and cut into bite sized pieces. Drizzle with EVOO till lightly coated. Sprinkle rosemary and garlic evenly, salt and pepper to taste. Really, all the spices are taste. Pop in the oven for ~45 mins. Half way through, toss the potatoes so all sides get nice and crunchy.

Cranberry Sauce 

  • 12 oz bag of fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1 c sugar
  • zest of 1 medium orange
  • juice of 1/2 a medium orange (~ 2 tablespoons)

Empty the cranberries into a saucepan and transfer 1/2 cup to a small bowl. Add 1 cup sugar, add orange zest and 2 tablespoons orange juice to the pan and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves and the cranberries are soft, about 10 minutes. Increase the heat to medium and cook until the cranberries burst, about 12 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the reserved cranberries. Add sugar, salt and pepper to taste and cool to room temperature before serving.

Roasted Asparagus

  • 1 bunch of asparagus
  • EVOO
  • S&P
Pre-heat oven to 350*. Trim the asparagus. Drizzle with EVOO, S&P to taste. Pop them in the oven until roasted till desired tenderness. About 15 minutes.

Homemade Bread

recipe coming soon…

Gravy

recipe coming soon…

Main Course
Brined Turkey 
recipe coming soon…
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Pasta w/ Meatballs! May 8, 2011

Filed under: Dinner,Meat,Poutlry — theboxexperiment @ 9:18 pm
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Happy Mother’s Day to all the mother’s out there. We celebrated the day working on the house and then we headed over to be with JEM’s sister’s family and my in-laws. To help keep the day easy for both mom’s we offered to cook dinner. Keepin’ it easy and yummy we made meatballs, fettucine, and garlic bread. Tonight I used store-bought sauce to save time, but it is better with homemade sauce, though I’ll save that for a future post.

Ingredients (for 6 plus 2 babies)

  • 2 1/2 lbs meatloaf mix (could substitute ground chicken or turkey but the spices might need to be adjusted)
  • 1 box spaghetti/fettucine/linguine/pasta on hand
  • 1/4 of a large Vidalia onion (chopped small)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4-1/2 c. plain bread crumbs
  • 1 tbls dried thyme leaves
  • 1 tbls dried basil
  • 1 tbls dried oregano
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 2 jars of pasta sauce of choice (we used Spicy tomato and basil)
Steps:
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350*.
  2. Mix meat, onion, egg, bread crumbs, and all the spices together.
  3. Ball the meat into sizes of your choice I tend to like them bigger, JEM likes small, so we compromise and place on a baking sheet.
  4. Bake at 350* for 3o mins. Half way through flip them over.
  5. While the meatballs are baking, boil water for the pasta (salt and oil if you want–I always do).
  6. Once the water is boiling add the pasta.
  7. Also while the meatballs are baking, start heating the sauce on med-low.
  8. Once the meatballs are done, add them to the sauce. Allow them to finish baking in the sauce, if needed, otherwise allow the flavors to combine (I always keep them in there for 10-15 mins).
  9. Once everything is cooked, ENJOY!
 

Zucchini w/ Rice April 4, 2011

Filed under: Dinner,Poutlry,Vegetable — theboxexperiment @ 7:53 pm
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Tonight’s dinner was fantastic and simple. More importantly made in 25 minutes!!! We’ve been getting slower about cooking, making us eat later and later. After having dinner at 8 one night, we agreed that we needed to eat at an earlier time so we could get some decent night’s sleep.

For the grilled chicken: coat the chicken in a bit of olive oil and use whatever chicken seasoning you like. We use McCormick Montreal Chicken Seasoning, one of the best pre-made ones we’ve found. Then grill till cooked (~15 mins for 1 chicken breast).

On to the main recipe: zucchini w/ rice. Inspired by the 2 zucchini from last weeks box.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cooked rice
  • 2 zucchini peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
  • 2 tbls olive oil
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp garlic
  • 1 can tomato paste (a little one)
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1/2 c. chopped yellow onion
  • 1 tsp garlic powder (opt.)
  • 1 tsp onion powder (opt.)
  • 1 tsp dried basil (opt.)

Steps:

  1. Heat olive oil in a skillet.
  2. Add the garlic and zucchini.
  3. Saute until soft (~15 mins.)
  4. Once soft add tomato paste, water, onion.
  5. Saute until the tomato paste and water combine.
  6. Add the other seasons, mix till joined.
  7. Add in rice. (We used less than 1 c.–closer to 2/3 of a cup)
  8. Serve and Enjoy.

The seasonings are not yet perfect. Tomato paste has a very strong flavor: salt, onion, garlic, and basil did a pretty good job improving it. Feel free to tweak, if you find something that works well, let me know!!

 

Bok Choy Chicken Stir Fry April 3, 2011

Filed under: Poutlry,Vegetable — theboxexperiment @ 8:46 pm
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We had 2 baby bok choy’s from last weeks box and decided to throw them in to a stir fry tonight. It was awesome, but the one mistake we made was in not testing the flavor of the sauce before throwing everything together. We used a spicy schezuan (store-bought) sauce and then added in a Serrano pepper…the serrano was definitely not need. Our final dish turned out so spicy, luckily we really like spicy food. We used the schezuan sauce but you can definitely use any other stir fry sauce you know of or like.

Ingredients

  • 1 chicken breast
  • 2 baby bok choy
  • 1 c. diced carrots
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 1 c. cooked rice
  • 1 tbls peanut oil
  • 1/3 c. of stir fry sauce

Steps

  • Add oil to wok or skillet, heat up till sizzling.
  • Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces and add to the oil. (We cut it into slices and then once cooked cut it into smaller pieces.)
  • Once the chicken is cooked, remove from pan and set aside.
  • Add the bok choy (we use all of it except for the bottoms) and the diced carrots. (We added some water in now).
  • Cook until tender.
  • Add the chicken, onions, and stir fry sauce.
  • Saute together to combine flavors.
  • Serve over hot rice.
  • Enjoy
 

Asian Noodle Salad with Peanut Sauce and Lime February 28, 2011

Filed under: Dinner,Poutlry,Snack,Vegetable — theboxexperiment @ 7:50 pm
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This recipe was adopted from an awesome cookbook, Everyday Greens by Annie Somerville. My dad bought this for us around the time we moved into the house. It is a wonderful collection of vegetarian recipes that Greens Restaurant in San Francisco serves. Often when I go home to NY, my dad has made another fabulous salad and they generally come from this book. Now when he comes visits us, I’ll have fabulous dishes waiting for him!

Tonight was our first foray into cooking tofu. I leapt in headfirst, spearheading the tofu movement in the house, JEM followed more reluctantly. I think it was definitely a success for me. JEM wasn’t totally opposed to it, but would prefer chicken. If you are definitely not a tofu fan, it can easily be switched out with bite sized pieces of chicken breast.

This is also an easy make ahead type meal. The sauce can be made ahead of time (omit the ginger till right before serving) and the pasta can be made a day ahead of time (toss a bit of oil or some reserve cooking water in to keep the noodles from sticking together).  The rest comes together fairly quickly.

Main Dish

Ingredients

  • Peanut Sauce (recipe follows)
  • Spicy Peanuts (recipe follows), coarsely chopped, about 3/4 cup
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • 1/2 pound firm tofu, cut in 1/2 in. thick slices (1 med-large chicken breast)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 large carrot, peeled, thinly sliced on the diagonal and cut into match sticks, about 1 cup (or use chopped baby carrots as we did)
  • 1 pound dried linguine (or, as we used rice noodles. It would have also been awesome with rice)
  • Radish, peeled, thinly sliced on the diagonal and cut into match sticks, about 1 cup (ended up not using b/c JEM isn’t a radish fan…and ours wasn’t so hot anymore)
  • 3 or 4 scallions, both white and green parts, sliced on the diagonal, about 1/2 cup (ended up using white onion…scallion would have been better)
  • 2 small broccoli crowns, chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 1 cups of snap peas, chopped into small-ish pieces.
  • 1/2 oz fresh ginger, thinly sliced and cut into thin match sticks about 1/4 cup
  • 1/3 cup of coarsely chopped cilantro
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Hot pepper flakes

Steps

  1. Make the Peanut-Ginger Sauce and the Spicy Peanuts
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt lightly.
  3. Cook the pasta, rice, or noodles until tender.
  4. Drain in a colander, rinse under cold water, and shake off extra moisture.
  5. Pour a thin layer of oil (about 1/4 in deep) into a saute pan and heat until just below the point of smoking, when the first wisp of vapor appears.
  6. Fry the tofu until gold and crisp, ~3-4 minutes each side. (Pre-heat oven to 350* F, lightly oil the chicken, salt and pepper both sides, bake for 20 mins–keep an eye on it, it changes every time we do it.)
  7. Place the tofu on paper towels to drain and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.
  8. When cool enough to handle, cut into thin strips.
  9. Toss in a small bowl with 1/4 cup of the Peanut-Ginger Sauce and set aside.
  10. Steam the veggies until tender.
  11. Place pasta in a large bowl with the tofu, veggies, ginger, cilantro, and half of the spicy peanuts.
  12. Add the Peanut-Ginger Sauce, the lime juice, 1/2 tsp of salt, and a pinch of pepper flakes.
  13. Gently toss to coat the noodles.
  14. Add pepper flakes to taste.
  15. Sprinkle the remaining peanuts over the salad and garnish with sprigs of cilantro to be fancy.

Peanut-Ginger Saucethis will keep for a long time in the fridge (according to the authors). If you make it ahead of time, omit the ginger at the time and add it right before serving.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 c. smooth, NATURAL peanut butter
  • 1/2 c. light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 c. peanut oil
  • 1/3 c. rice vinegar (can use Apple Cider Vinegar with a bit of sugar as a substitute)
  • 1/4 c. of tamari or soy sauce
  • 1/4 c. of water
  • 1 tbls grated fresh ginger (I accidentally omitted this and it was still pretty awesome)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • pinch of cayenne

Steps

  1. Puree everything in a blender until smooth

Spicy Peanuts–we actually omitted these because we don’t have raw peanuts on hand. They do however sound fantastic. Definitely sound great to have on hand and the authors say they keep well in an airtight container–so bake away!

Ingredients

  • 1 c. raw peanuts
  • 1/2 tsp peanut oil
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Steps

  1. Preheat the over to 325* F
  2. Toss everything together in a small bowl
  3. Roast on a baking sheet for about 10 minutes, until the mixture smells nutty.
  4. Set aside to cool.
 

Dry Rub Wings February 1, 2011

Filed under: Poutlry,Snack — theboxexperiment @ 2:03 am
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We LOVE wings, really love them. And we’ve begun trying out different recipes. We’ve found one that’s pretty good with a homemade hot buffalo sauce. JEM recently found a dry rub recipe and adjusted it so that it tastes just like the wings at Austin Grill. We’re excited to try them on a grill, but until we can cooking them in the oven has us pretty excited.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of chicken wings (get drumlets or winglets so you don’t have to prep them)
  • 1 ½ tablespoon melted butter (or just enough to lightly coat the wings)

RUB

  • 2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper

Steps:

  1. Combine the dry ingredients in a small bowl.
  2. Wash the wings and pat them dry with a paper towel. Add them to a large bowl with the canola oil. Mix to lightly coat wings.
  3. Put the wings on a roasting rack with a pan beneath it to catch drippings. Sprinkle half the rub on top liberally. Flip the wings and add more rub.
  4. Cook the wings in a 375 degree oven for about 30 minutes. Flip them after 30 minutes and broil for 4 minutes. Stay by the oven and watch them while broiling.
 

Chicken Thai Basil Rice January 26, 2011

Filed under: Dessert,Poutlry,Vegetable — theboxexperiment @ 2:05 am
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JEM and I really enjoy Thai food, so for his birthday last year I bought him a wok, a Thai cook book, and an Indian cookbook. We haven’t tried many of the recipes yet, though many have been dog eared and we want to try them. One of the recipes in the Thai book is a favorite of mine, and a dish I order whenever we are out at a Thai restaurant: Chicken Thai Basil Rice.

This dish can easily be more vegetarian by omitting the chicken and adding in more vegetables. It does call for fish sauce, so it might be difficult for a purist but I assume a substitute can be found. We generally do add in more vegetables, namely slices of red and green pepper and chopped carrots. Tonight we were going for simplicity and omitted them.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbls vegetable oil (the recipe calls for 3 tbls and we typically use no more than 1 tbls)
  • 1 tbl coarsely chopped garlic
  • 1/2 red or yellow onion thinly sliced or roughly chopped
  • 1/2 red and/or green bell peppers
  • 5-15 baby carrots (we throw in some random amount every time)
  • ~1 lb boneless chicken, either ground or cut into bite sized pieces
  • 2 tbls fish sauce
  • 1 tbls dark soy sauce or soy sauce
  • 2 tbls water
  • 2 tsps sugar
  • 1/2 – 1 coarsely chopped hot green chilies (we typically use a Thai chili or a Serrano)
  • 1 c fresh basil (Asian basil or Italian basil)

Steps:

  1. Heat the oil in a wok (a deep skillet would also work) over medium-high heat and then add the garlic, onions, and carrots.
  2. Toss well and when they begin smelling awesome add the chicken.
  3. Toss well to help the meat brown evenly (and/or to break up big chunks of ground chicken.
  4. Add the bell peppers, fish sauce, soy sauce, and sugar.
  5. Cook 2-4 minutes, tossing until the meat is cooked and the seasonings form a thin, smooth sauce.
  6. Add the chilies, basil, and toss well.

JEM likes to mix his rice and chicken basil separately, so his was dished first. He also likes to have cilantro on the top of it.

I like to have my rice and the mixture tossed together in the pan. I’ve convinced myself that the in the few minute the rice and sauce together really help the flavor.

Recipe: Quick & Easy Thai by Nancie McDermott