Yam’O’Lanterns!

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The one time I tried to carve a pumpkin by myself, I found out it was hard. Scraping and scratching out the stringy insides took forever; carefully carving the thick pumpkin walls took longer.20131019-115459.jpg

Patience: a virtue I’ve never known well and can’t summon for the art of pumpkin carving.

But I can make meals FAST! Thats what I’m good at. I’ve been eating a lot of fast meals recently, to my regret, because this first semester in my PhD program at TCU has been full of studying, events, making new friends, studying, writing everyday, all the time, and studying some more. I’ve gotten good at having some standby ingredients on hand all the time so when I am home I get a wholesome, nutritional meal with “real” ingredients, but I’ll admit that my creative cookery has fallen way by the wayside.20131019-115446.jpg

One of the ingredients I always have on hand are sweet potatoes–been eating them like a fiend! I’ve found that if you microwave the sweet potato fries for a bit, then crisp them up in the oven, things go much, much faster.

Imagine my delight when I saw Apronstring’s Yam’O’Lanterns recipe. A few more minutes added to my sweet potato prep gave me a fun food-craft to try on the fly. Here’s my make-it-fast variation of this festive fall food.

Ingredients

1-8 oz. sweet potato

cooking spray

optional: sea salt

Directions20131019-115512.jpg

-Preheat oven to 375. Lightly grease a cookie sheet. Set aside.

-Using a sharp knife, slice your sweet potato into rounds as you usually might (mine were about 1/5″ thick). Then, use a sharp paring knife to carve in the faces you like. When ready, transfer to a microwave-safe plate and microwave on high for 5 minutes.

-After that, transfer to prepared sheet. Spritz on some cooking spray and sprinkle with sea salt or other seasonings you like (rosemary would be a delicious one to use for these). Toss them up a bit for good coverage and pop in the oven for about 12-15 minutes, longer if you made thicker slices. Remove when cooked all the way through and crispy around all the edges.

Quick Rosemary Rolls

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If you ever need dinner rolls fast, like 30 minutes or less fast, give this recipe a go. You can decrease the recommended rising time as much as you like; I often let it rise for only 20 minutes and that’s because I’m almost always in a bit of a hurry.SAM_4996

I based this recipe off a hybrid of the whole-wheat pizza dough recipe and the rosemary ciabatta loaf recipe I’ve featured in the past. The rolls aren’t gorgeous–they are, after all, just quick and easy drop biscuits–but they are delicious and pair perfectly with soup or pasta.

Ingredients

1 t honey or agave nectar

1/2 of a yeast packet

3/4  cup whole wheat flour

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1 T rolled oats
pinch of garlic salt, if you like1 t cornmeal

Seasonings: Rosemary to taste, a little basil, and dill, too

Directions

-In a bowl, dissolve sweetener and yeast in 1/4 cup hot water. Let stand for about five minutes.

-Add flour and salt to the yeast mixture and stir ’til a soft dough forms. Turn out onto lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic.SAM_4995

-Place in bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat the top. Let rise ’til double in size, about 30 minutes.

-Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

-Punch down and work in seasonings. Use a spoon to scoop the dough into rolls, sort of like drop biscuits. Place on lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake for about 8 minutes. Remove from oven and serve warm. Maybe with my Roasted Corn & Black Bean Soup!

 

Pizza Muffins

I feel, at this point in my culinary journey, that I can turn just about anything into a muffin or cupcake. Anything.

Pizza is no exception. Actually, it’s a delight.

So on a boring Friday night dedicated to the rigors of reading ancient rhetoric, I made pizza muffins for dinner.

…Okay, I secretly love reading Aristotle on a Friday night with some healthy comfort food; I will not lie to you.

If the Greeks originally invented the pizza pie, would Aristotle be proud of my ability to invent and arrange such a wonderful creation. I like to think so.

Ingredients

To make the dough, simply follow my classic, whole-wheat pizza dough recipe:

Ingredients

Dough

1 t honey or agave nectar

1/4 of a yeast packet

1/4 + 3 T whole wheat flour

1 T rolled oats

1 t cornmeal

pinch of salt

Seasonings: garlic, basil, oregano

Toppings

1/4 cup cheese of your choice (I used a soy-based one for my lactose allergy)

3 T favorite marinara or other sauce

whatever toppings you love on regular pizza


Directions

Dough:

-In a bowl, dissolve sweetener and yeast in 2.5 T hot water. Let stand for about five minutes.

-Add flour and salt to the yeast mixture and stir ’til a soft dough forms. Turn out onto lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic.

-Place in bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat the top. Let rise ’til double in size, about 30 minutes.

And get your veggies local if you can!

And get your veggies local if you can!

-Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

-Punch down and work in seasonings. Roll into a circle or square shape. Divide into 3-4 parts and press into the muffin slots of a lightly greased muffin tin. Bake for about 5 minutes. Remove from oven and begin topping process.

Topping:

-Spoon sauce evenly into muffin cups, and then top with cheese (plus any additional seasonings you’d like). Begin layering veggies and cheese and seasonings as desired.

-Place back in oven for about 5 more minutes or until cheese is bubbly. Serve warm.