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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Homemade Pesto July 7, 2011

Filed under: Dinner,Snack,Vegetable — theboxexperiment @ 9:54 pm
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Earlier this summer, we’ve planted 3 basil plants that have really taken off. We have a lot of basil, definitely more than we can use for just the 2 of us. I made a test run of homemade pesto, it turned out fantastic so I am definitely going to make another bigger batch to freeze.

Ingredients for Small Batch

  • small bunch basil leaves (~1 cup)
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic chopped (depending on how much you like garlic)
  • 1/6-1/4 cup of macadamia nuts (most people use pine nuts but they were way to expensive at the grocery store)
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • 1/4 cup  extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt to taste
Steps
  1. Wash the basil leaves with water, dry in colander.
  2. Place basil leaves, nuts of choice, and salt into food processor. Pulse until finely chopped.
  3. Add the chopped garlic and the parmesan to the food processor. Pulse till combined.
  4. Add the olive oil and pulse till joined (the longer you run it, the smoother it will be).
 

Orzo Pasta Salad

Filed under: Dinner,Vegetable — theboxexperiment @ 9:06 pm
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This is one of our favorite summer salads, I first found it on Food Network from Giada De Laurentiis.This is a fresh, light, tasty salad. It is an easy make ahead dish and keeps really well in the fridge for a few days. It’s a quick dish to make, the longest part is waiting for the pasta to cool off slightly. Some like this dish on the warm side (not hot!) and on the cool side. So if you don’t want to wait, you can make this while it’s warm.

Great for a summer potluck or a picnic at your favorite water-side place. It’s also fantastic for a quick weeknight dinner.

Quick Note: the recipe below makes a very large amount of this stuff, I would make the full recipe if I were feeding 4+ people (it’s normally perfect for about 6 with no leftovers). For just the 2 of us, I cut the recipe in half and we have enough leftovers for another full dinner side.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb orzo pasta
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups baby spinach (about 3 oz)
  • 3/4 cup feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 12 fresh torn basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts (sunflower seeds, cashews, and macadamia nuts work well as well)
  • 3 tbsp of fresh lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
Steps
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heats.
  2. Add the pasta. Cook until tender but still firm to the bite (about 8-10 minutes).
  3. Drain pasta and set aside to cool.
  4. Once the orzo is cool, transfer to a large serving bowl.
  5. Add the remaining ingredients.
  6. Toss gently to combine.
  7. Enjoy
 

Macaroni and Cheese June 21, 2011

Filed under: Dinner,Lunch,Vegetable — theboxexperiment @ 10:47 am
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My youngest sister, AbEm, is in town and is a very active kid, so yesterday she and I went on a hike at Great Falls on the Maryland side. We had planned on doing the Billy Goat Trail Section A but I ran a 10 mile race on Saturday and my legs were still very sore. The B.G. trail is supposed to be a good hike, but with some steep rock scrambles that I was worried about being able to do. So we went on a flatter hike, the Gold Mine Hike. It was so beautiful, everything was the bright green and because it was a weekday without many people there we got to see 15-18 deer. The first on our drive in, then one that was about 5 feet from us on a trail, and a family of 5 (2 babies, 1 mom, and 1 male)!  The gold mine is slightly disappointing (mostly because we didn’t do enough research about it before we headed out.) It was in operation from the late 1800’s to the early 1900’s. The mine doesn’t look like much, at this point its a falling down shack with a chain link fence around it. Post-hike research says the mine shaft is dangerous so the average hiker is prohibited from getting close to it.

It was a good long hike so we were quite hungry by early afternoon and were very excited for the mac cheese that we planned to make. This is by far the best macaroni and cheese recipes I have ever made. It came from JEM’s family and both AbEm and J love it. It is flavorful, cheesy, and very easy to make (though a bit time consuming). This is a make ahead type dish. Depending on your schedule you could make the pasta ahead of time or make all of it ahead of time then seal it and bake it later. If you need to travel with it, you could also make it, bake it for half the time, wrap it up, and finish baking it when you get to your place.

 

 

Farmer’s Market and Surprise Box June 15, 2011

Filed under: Box,Vegetable — theboxexperiment @ 8:16 pm
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We went to the farmer’s market again last Saturday. As we get further into summer there are more stands and more shoppers at the farmers market. There are big sellers (one stop produce shops with the longest lines), your small sellers (just a few items and no line), meat, cheese (run by an Amish family), bakeries, plants, and a lettuce speciality stand. I always want to buy things from everyone…and want to buy much more than we actually need. This past Sunday I kept myself in check and only grabbed 2 zucchini (forgetting we had 1 zucchini at home) and 2 lovely tomatoes for a very reasonable $4.92. I had to pull myself away from the strawberries and from the asparagus we had both at home already but fresh strawberries taste so much better and the asparagus at the farmers market was nice and thick (perfect for grilling) unlike the stringy asparagus we had from Teeter (which when cooked did not taste very good).

Tuesday we came home to a surprise box! I went onto WGG a while ago and like I told everyone, canceled several weeks of boxes, unbeknownst to us- we caught up and got a box.In the box: butter lettuce, green beans, eggplant, 2 more zucchini (we recently made Zucchini and Rice using 2 of them), a green bell pepper, bananas, peaches, nectarines, blueberries, and blackberries. I need to admit I ADORE peaches, nectarines, and plums so I was quite excited. I also love blueberries and blackberries so this box was very welcome. If it had apples, oranges, bananas, and mangos I’m not sure what we would’ve done. We definitely need a time out from those.

Apologies for the lack of recipes- we haven’t made much new stuff recently just revisited some old favorites. Monday we made the Zucchini w/Rice and tonight we reheated the leftovers. I was going to use it as the filling of stuffed red bell peppers but the peppers we not stuffable ( too skinny and would not have sat flat). So I halved the bells, drizzled them w/ evoo, salt and peppered and baked them at 350* for 15 mins then 400* for 5 mins until they were tender. The combination was fantastic!

Tomorrow we’ll be doing a new creamy pasta and eggplant dish that I will definitely post for you!

 

Potato Salad May 29, 2011

Filed under: Dinner,Lunch,Snack,Vegetable — theboxexperiment @ 11:13 am
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It’s officially summertime and with summer comes barbecues, picnics, and hot weather. That can only mean grilling and cold salads. I made our first batch of potato salad yesterday and it turned out pretty well. I never remember what I put into it, so I’m here to share with you (and give myself a permanent record!).

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lbs of potatoes (red, white, yukon…)
  • 1/4 cup of mayo
  • 1 tsp of dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 green bell pepper
  • 1/2 red bell pepper
  • 1/4 yellow or red onion or scallions
When I made this I was using 5 lbs of potatoes, so the proportions might be slightly off.
Steps
  1. Wash and cut potatoes into similar sized pieces.
  2. Put in a pot and fill with water until the potatoes are just covered.
  3. Bring potatoes to a boil, once boiling lower the temperature till its lightly boiling. Keep on heat for ~15 mins, until potatoes are tender but not mushy. (If you stick a knife, it should go in and slide off easily.)
  4. Drain and fill pot with cold water. Let sit for a few minutes, drain and rinse with cold water again.
  5. While the potatoes are boiling, chop the pepper and onion into small pieces. (Onion to add flavor so you can omit if you don’t like it, peppers to add color and flavor)
  6. Mix the mayo and dijon mustard.
  7. Once the potatoes are slightly cool, mix the potatoes, peppers, onion, and mayo/dijon mixture together until the potatoes are coated.
  8. Salt and pepper to taste.
  9. At this point you can serve immediately or you can store in the fridge for up to a day. (Making this a great make ahead dish!)
  10. 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!!