Monday, April 4, 2016

Bountiful Baskets - March

Do you have Bountiful Baskets where you live?

We just got it back here in Hermiston, and I was so excited to order!  (Find out more about Bountiful Baskets here.)  My sister in law Kristi used to order all of the time in Nebraska and loved it, so I was stoked when we got it here again.  The first week I ordered my normal basket, plus a salad pack, the St. Patrick's Day pack and the sourdough bread pack.  (PS - the sourdough is the bomb.dot.com, and freezes and thaws beautifully!)  The second week this month I ordered the basket, Easter pack, salad pack, snack pack and honey whole wheat bread (which is DELICIOUS as toast in the  morning).
You don't have to order the packs, but they're such a good value and really give you a lot of variety to cook from.  Our fridge was packed - and because there is a large fridge in the sale barn, I can order a lot of packs and not have to worry about storage which is a blessing.

I thought I'd start blogging about what I made with the baskets for a few reasons:

1. When I get future baskets, I'll have my notes about recipes, meal plans, etc. all in one place.


2. Sometimes you get items in your basket you'd normally not buy in the store, and it's nice to see what others do with those ingredients.


3. The above packs bought us A LOT of fruits and veggies.  We've certainly eaten healthier this past month, and would like to keep it up.


With that - here's what I made with this month's baskets -


Kale with Citrus Vinaigrette
With your knife, thinly shred one bunch of kale, and dress with 1/2 of a recipe of this citrus vinaigrette.  (I don' add ginger to my dressing though - and I store the other 1/2 in a lidded mason jar in the fridge for next time.)  Before serving, sprinkle in 1/4 cup of shredded or shaved parmesan.
*I prep this first and stick back in the fridge, before I make the rest of my meal so the kale has time to soften.


Mushroom Rice
Slice 1 pound of mushrooms and saute in 2 Tbs butter along with a clove of minced garlic and 2 sliced green onions.  After the mushrooms have cooked down a bit add in 1/2 cup of beef broth (or other broth or wine) and cook until liquid has reduced.  Sprinkle in chopped parsley and toss into rice to serve.  (I buy the microwaveable packs of Seeds of Change quinoa & brown rice from Costco and add this mixture to one of those.  I think you can buy frozen brown rice at the store, and that'd be delicious too!)


Potato Leek Soup
I followed this recipe for the first time (except I added 2 extra potatoes because mine were small, and I only had 3 leeks and it was fine), and it was delicious.  This one's a keeper.  The weeks I don't have leeks, I'll sub in onions and make the exact same soup.


The Mushroom Soup
I've made this soup a lot over the years, and it is delicious.  It's perfect for Bountiful Baskets because you can throw in whatever you want and the recipe is super adaptable.  I buy V-8 in the cans (it costs more, but I waste less since I only use a bit at a time) instead of tomato juice, hardly ever use wine and double the broth (but add a splash of cooking sherry that I keep in the fridge to my broth) and if I don't have broth I add in a beer and some water.  You can't go wrong with this soup unless you leave out the cream....it needs cream.  :)  Serve with the bread below.


Cream of Asparagus Soup

This recipe is loved at our house.  I use heavy cream (probably a scant 1/4 cup) instead of sour cream, since Clint's not a huge SC fan.  This past week we were able to order bulk asparagus and I got 15 pounds to freeze so I can make this soup all year long. 


Sourdough Bread with Ricotta Spread
I bought the sourdough bread pack the first week and immediately threw the entire bunch in the freezer.  The day I needed the bread, I thawed on the counter for 2 hours, sliced it into 8 slices and laid on a sheet tray.  I spread a bit of butter on it, sprinkled on some garlic salt and popped it into a 350* oven for 8 minutes.  Then I mixed a 1/2 cup of skim ricotta with a 1 tsp of ground pepper and a small handful of parmesan and used this as a spread on the bread.  It's luxurious! 
*Big thank you to Judy Price for the ricotta recipe - who knew!  She served this at their bull sale and I couldn't wait to try it at home.  You could also add a dollop of the ricotta to your soup!


Salads
We eat a lot of green salads (basic lettuce, sliced onion, shredded carrot, shredded cheese and dressing) but this week along with the kale salad, I also made a spinach salad that was tossed with sliced onion & sliced strawberries.  I dressed with a balsamic vinaigrette.


Fake Fajitas
I make these a lot when I have a bit of leftover meat.  I thinly slice what I have (this week it was left over tri-tip from the Rollin' Rock sale) and add it to a pan of onions and green peppers that I've sautéed.  (Usually the ratio of onions and peppers is twice the amount of the meat I have - this is a good "stretch" recipe.)  Once everything is blended, I sprinkle in a bit of taco seasoning and a bit of chili powder and a sprinkle of water.  Serve with tortillas, toppings, etc....however, if I need to stretch this for a group of people, I splash in a bit of cream to  make the mixture a bit saucy and serve over rice. It goes further that way.


Banana Bread
I despise bananas....but Clint and Kylee like banana bread, so that's what I did with the bananas that were in my basket.  I tried this recipe and froze additional loaves for later on during AI season....I'm sure it'll come in handy then.



*Note - I made this bread, and left it out on the table to the crew to eat....but when we went to the airport to pick up Dave and Jace a little dog named Leo decided to help himself and ate the entire top part of the bread off out of the pan!  Naughty dog....but lesson learned - don't leave banana bread out. Turns out even dogs like this recipe!


Roasted Cabbage
I served this on St. Patrick's day, and tried roasting cabbage for the first time.  I just sliced it into 1/2 inch slices, and placed them on a pan I'd brushed with oil.  Then I brushed oil on top of the slices and sprinkled with salt and pepper before roasting at 400* until soft. I love balsamic, and splashed a bit on mine while the cabbage is hot.

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Our baskets come every other week, and it sounds silly but I really look forward to getting them and seeing what's in them!

If you have a recipe you love that uses a lot of fruits and vegetables, or you use Bountiful Baskets where you are and love it, would you share it in the comments below?

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