Hello, hello – happy Monday, everyone! Did you have a good weekend?
It felt so great to finally put the business side of ebooking to the, well, side, this weekend, since everything for pre-orders was all setup to go on Friday (thank you SO much to everyone who pre-ordered an ebook – I can’t wait to get it into your hot little gluten-free hands on Wednesday!) and go out and enjoy the great outdoors!
Saturday morning the boys and I met my Mom (my Dad was working,) brother, niece, and nephew for a morning of fun with historical farming at Living History Farms! (Which is way more fun that it sounds.) ;)
I used to work in marketing at Living History Farms, an open air museum with four historical sites showing what life would have been like living on a farm in the 1700s, 1850s, and 1900s, and visiting a town in 1875. It’s basically the coolest place ever, and while I worked there for two years a few years back, I hadn’t toured as a visitor since 2009 when I dragged Ben along with me (<– holy cow, we were babies!) It was so much fun this time around having the kids with us. Lincoln and his cousins had the best time!
The farm sites are working farms with animals, crops, and interpreters dressed in period appropriate clothing so there’s lots to do, see, hear, and touch – perfect for curious kids.
Saturday was Apple Fest at the farms, so they had apple-themed games, contests, and food to play, join, and eat. The kids had fun apple bowling and drinking an ungodly amount of apple cider. ;)
If you are local, have kids, and have never visited LHF – get it on your calendar ASAP. It’s good, clean (well, not that clean – expect your kids to literally dig into life on the farm!) fun, and fall is one of the best times to visit. Great weather, fun events, and as always, free tractor rides. Lincoln kept begging “ONE MORE!” every time we hopped off. Can’t wait to return for their Halloween events!
On Sunday the whole family gathered at our house to celebrate my dear Mom’s birthday! Ben grilled steaks and made mashed potatoes, while I whipped up Green Beans and Bacon, then Finn helped Grammie blow out the candles on her Pepperidge Farms cake. Wouldn’t be a birthday without it! ;)
I didn’t grow up around any of my extended family – grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles – so these get togethers are truly treasured. Adding more and more kids to the mix just makes it more fun, too. Hello, kids table!
Hello, dinner table is more like it… This weekend I also took some time write up the recipe I’m excited to share with you today – Mushroom and Brussels Sprouts Penne with Crispy Fried Shallots – the perfect Fall-veggie-packed meatless Monday meal!
Oh yes, a big bowl of penne pasta tossed with a light pan sauce, sauteed mushrooms and brussels sprouts spiked with fresh dill (sounds weird, it’s not,) a blanket of freshly grated parmesan cheese, and a big ol’ haystack of crispy fried shallots. I have waxed poetic about crispy shallots here on the blog before – pan-fried slices of shallots that straight up taste like onion rings yet are made with zero batter – but never have I ever had them on top of pasta.
Game changer, people. Game changer!
I made this dish once with chopped shallots sauteed in with the mushrooms and brussels sprouts, and it was good, but fried until crunchy then piled on top? Sooo much better!
After busting out my Fall wardrobe a few weeks ago and realizing I have exactly TWO pairs of pants that fit me, I’ve been trying to incorporate more salads into our weekly meal plan. Last week I topped mixed greens with sauteed mushrooms and brussels sprouts, and it was delicious, but paired with pasta is when the duo really sung. I’ll still be eating my salads for the forseeable future, lest I be forced to go out and do the damn dreaded thing – new jeans shopping, of course – but a veggie-packed pasta night or two every week never hurt anybody!
Start by slicing 3 jumbo shallots into thin rings, then heating 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot but not smoking, sprinkle in half the shallots then cook until light golden brown (dark brown will taste bitter.) Transfer the shallots to a paper towel-lined plate to drain then lightly sprinkle with salt, and then repeat with the remaining shallots.
I am telling you – fried shallots are better than french fries. No coating nor batter is needed to get a delicate crunch and mild onion flavor. They’re one of my favorite foods!
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil then drop in 8oz gluten-free penne (or regular pasta if you don’t need the dish to be gluten-free.) Cook until al dente then drain and set aside.
Baaack to the skillet: turn the heat down to medium then add 8oz sliced mushrooms to the shallot-infused oil then saute until they begin to release their liquid, about 3 minutes.
Next add a 9oz bag shredded brussels sprouts. I LOVE these bags of pre-shredded sprouts. They’re so convenient – I like to saute them up or just toss with EVOO, salt and pepper then roast for 10-15 minutes at 400 degrees. So yummy.
Turn the heat back up to medium-high, season the vegetables with salt and pepper, and then saute until the brussels sprouts are tender but still have a bite, 6-7 minutes. Add 3 cloves minced garlic then saute for 30 seconds.
Add 1 cup gluten-free chicken broth to the skillet next, then simmer until it’s reduced by half, 3-4 minutes. While this meal doesn’t call for chicken breasts or steak, etc., it does call for chicken broth so if you want to make it vegetarian, use vegetable broth instead.
Last step is to stir in 1 Tablespoon butter or vegan butter (I use Earth Balance because Lincoln’s allergic to dairy,) the juice of 1/2 lemon, and 1 Tablespoon freshly chopped dill. I got the idea to pair mushrooms with fresh dill in the latest issue of Cooking Light and was skeptical, but man is it ever good. Stir the pasta into the sauce then scoop into bowls and top with freshly shredded parmesan cheese and the crispy shallots. Grab a fork and dig in!
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Mushroom and Brussels Sprouts Penne with Crispy Fried Shallots
Mushroom and Brussels Sprouts Penne with Crispy Fried Shallots is a delicious meatless main with a tasty oniony crunch!
- 8oz gluten-free penne pasta
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 jumbo shallots, sliced into thin rings
- 8oz sliced mushrooms
- 9oz bag shredded brussels sprouts (or 12oz whole brussels sprouts, trimmed then shredded)
- salt and pepper
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup gluten-free chicken broth
- 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh dill
- 1 Tablespoon butter
- 1/2 fresh lemon
- parmesan cheese, for topping
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil then add pasta and cook until al dente. Drain then set aside.
- Meanwhile, heat extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When oil is hot but not smoking, add half the shallot rings then fry until light golden brown (dark brown will taste bitter,) 1-2 minutes, stirring often and being careful as the oil may spatter a bit at the beginning. Transfer shallots to a paper towel lined plate to drain then sprinkle lightly with salt. Repeat with remaining shallots then set plate aside.
- Turn heat down slightly then add mushrooms and saute until they begin to shrink and release some of their liquid, 3 minutes. Add brussels sprouts then turn heat up to medium-high, season with salt and pepper, and then saute until brussels sprouts are cooked but still have a tiny bit of bite, 6-8 minutes. Add garlic then saute for 30 more seconds. Add chicken broth then simmer until reduced by half, 3-4 minutes.
Stir in chopped dill, butter, and juice from 1/2 lemon (if you are sensitive to lemon, add just a little bit then more later if you want.) Taste then add salt, pepper, and/or lemon juice and then combine mixture with pasta and stir well. Scoop pasta into bowls then top with freshly grated parmesan cheese and fried shallots.
Inspired by Cooking Light.
This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.
Chewy pasta, crispy shallots, sauteed veggies – this 30 minute meal is a winner for any night of the week. Hope you enjoy, and happy Monday!