Friday, April 30, 2010

Introducing Full Plate's Picks!

Great news for all you friends out there who have asked me for kitchen product recs. I finally culled through the dizzying array of offerings and made a "Full Plate's Picks" store on Amazon. All of the products in the online storefront are ones I have used consistently, are budget-friendly, include free "Super-Saver Shipping", and are processed through Amazon for peace of mind.

Those of you who have taken my cooking lessons know that I think less is more. If you’ve got ample counter space and a fridge, oven and some burners that work…you don’t need a lot of fancy equipment.
But, there are a few key tools that I think every cook should have in their home kitchen. So, if you’re husband is looking to buy a Mother’s Day gift idea (to augment the macaroni necklace), you could suggest that these are gifts that just might give back!

For those looking to step up the workout between now and bathing suit season…but who can’t seem to get out of the house between morning and afternoon naps (or who's child is home sick several days in a row, achem), here are my favorite in-home workouts. No excuses now!

And, for those who need more recipes than I can give or are in the market for some pretty cookbooks to stash in your kitchen island bookshelf, here you are.

Last but not least, in time for summer travel and longer, lazier (yeah, right!) days, a couple books I have read lately (when I force myself to stay awake) inspired me to share some of my favorite reads under the store's Book Club header. (The one pictured above is a must read for all of us stay-at-home moms.)

I hope you enjoy this Full Plate Pick's storefront! (My kids thoroughly enjoyed watching TV all afternoon while I put it together.)

Some lunch ideas...

With a summer of lunch packing on the horizon, I thought Gwyneth’s latest post was worth bookmarking for some fresh ideas. None of it is rocket science, but it’s always nice to try something new when it comes to the lunch-packing routine.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Veggie-based entree ideas perfect for spring-- and the whole family!

Tonight I am making a baked mac & cheese, using whole wheat penne and spinach. If it’s a winner, I’ll post the recipe. In the meantime, for those who have asked for more veggie-based, family-friendly entrees these are some of my favorites for springtime:

Citrus-y Black Beans: while I usually make these beans as a side (with my decadent chicken enchiladas), they can also make a colorful veggie-based entrée. Think of it as a family taco night, minus the meat and fried taco shells. Put bowls of various toppings out for the kids (and adults) and let everyone concoct their own bowl of rice and beans (pictured above). Topping ideas: yellow rice + the citrus-y black beans + avocado chunks + organic corn + chunks of tomato + diced bell pepper + sour cream + shredded cheddar + salsa + baked tortilla chips.

Greens & Cheese Pie: I love, love, love this entrée. This just might be what I whip up for my cook day next Wednesday.

Homemade Pesto: is great in so many ways: on pasta, drizzled over grilled veggies, mixed into a quinoa salad. In addition to this nut + basil one that I like to make a big batch of and freeze, I made a nutritious and delicious Broccoli/Hazelnut Pesto last week. Stay tuned for that recipe.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Asparagus Gratins - Fancy Side or Simple Vegetarian Supper

The follow-up to yesterday’s post about asparagus is that one of my children has turned picky on me. He’s decided that he doesn’t like asparagus grilled. To say that we had leftover asparagus from when I threw a couple bunches on the grill would be an understatement. (You know that I like to grill or roast once, and then use the bounty throughout the days ahead…) So, I turned the grilled asparagus into individual gratins. Down the little hatch the asparagus went. This makes an upscale side…or if you recently viewed Food Inc. and are thinking whipping up more meatless meals for your family sounds like a good thing, this one is a winner when it comes to simple, seasonal vegetarian entrees.

Asparagus Gratins

(makes 8-10 individual gratins)

2 bunches of grilled asparagus

Hearty handful of fresh spinach (optional)

¼ cup of whole milk

4 eggs

¾ cup of shredded cheese (I used Gruyere, but any cheese will work)

Olive oil



Assuming you already have grilled asparagus, cut off the asparagus tips, and reserve for later. (Otherwise, please grill your asparagus and then continue with the recipe.) Place asparagus stalks in your Cuisinart, add milk, eggs, shredded cheese and spinach (if you’re adding it) and blend until pureed.

Preheat oven to 375. Brush 8 to 10 individual ramekins with a bit of olive oil. Fill the ramekins with asparagus/egg mixture. Leave as is if your child likes their food smooth. Otherwise, it’s nice to top them with the reserved asparagus tips for some texture, and sprinkle them with a bit more shredded cheese. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown on top.

We ate 4 the evening I made them, and then I stored the remaining ones in the fridge. They sunk down a bit, so weren’t quite as pretty, but they still tasted great reheated on days ahead.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Super Easy Spring Side: Grilled Asparagus

Spring is here! And equally exciting in my world, I have a working computer again. I’ve actually had my computer back for several weeks now. See, I had these grand plans of launching a new site (at the recommendation of the web savvy producers who came up to film a pilot in our kitchen last month). But, instead of figuring all of that tech stuff out, I have been spending my free time taking yoga classes, jumping on the elliptical, playing outside with my kids, and cooking up a storm. That beats sitting at the computer!

So, for now we’ll stick with this same site and I’ll get back to sharing some great family-friendly recipes. First up for spring: asparagus.

One of my super simple spring sides involves tossing asparagus on our grill, drizzled with a little olive oil and some kosher salt. (I put the spears on foil, so they don’t slip through the grates on the grill.) Simply turn the grill onto medium high and grill the asparagus until it’s tender, but not soft. No one likes mushy asparagus!

This makes a perfect side at dinner, but can also add some green to your plate at weekend breakfast/brunch. (Pictured above: my grilled asparagus + a wedge of veggie frittata + Applegate Farms chicken maple sausages + some hearty toast + baked potato wedges that were sprinkled with herbs.)