Creamy tomato and white bean pasta

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TOMATO SEASON IS HERE!!!!!!! I looooooove tomatoes. Love. And so does M (though he mysteriously won't eat them in his lunchbox anymore).

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M does not always love beans though. He eats them, but they aren't on the top of his list.

As anyone who's read this blog knows, I have a relationship with healthy eating. Like all relationships, it takes work and there are lots of struggles. But any article titled, "The Last Conversation You'll Ever Need To Have About Eating Right," I am 100% going to read. I mean, I'm not going to stop having conversations about eating right, but I liked the article and one of my main takeaways was: Beans are good. Full stop. So, we're eating more beans, which is sometimes a struggle with a toddler.

These beans are not the healthiest things I've ever eaten. But a little bit of cream and Parmesan go a long way. A boat load of tomatoes, onions, garlic, salt, and fresh thyme also do some heavy lifting to form a dish that is hearty and tasty and takes advantage of the best summer produce.

But the secret ingredient here is patience. Reducing the sauce to a syrupy, caramely sauce gives you maximum tomato flavor.

And then your toddler will eat beans.

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Creamy tomato and white bean pasta 

1 Tbsp olive oil
½ large white onion, minced
5 large garlic cloves, minced
2 pounds cherry or other heirloom tomatoes (or a mixture of both)
1 can white beans
2 Tbsp heavy cream
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
1 cup pasta, cooked
¼- ½ tsp salt (more to taste)
pepper
Thyme (2 tsp fresh or 1/2 tsp dried, or to taste)

In a medium pot, bring well- salted water to a boil for the pasta. Cook the pasta according to package directions.

While the water is coming to a boil, mince the onions and garlic. Over medium-low heat, saute the onions for 4-5 minutes or until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for one more minute, or until fragrant.

Chop the tomatoes and add them to the onions and garlic. Turn the flame up to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10-12 minutes, or until the tomatoes release their water and begin to boil.

The liquid should be at a consistent and vigorous boil. If it isn’t, turn the heat up slightly until the liquid begins to boil. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the tomato liquid has reduced by more than half and become syrupy, about another 8-10 minutes.

Add the heavy cream and parmesan cheese and stir to combine. Continue simmering for 4-5 more minutes, stirring regularly, until the sauce thickens. (You should be able to scrape the bottom of the pan and the sauce doesn’t ooze back right away.)

Add the beans and pasta to the sauce and stir to combine. Cook for one more minute to heat the beans and the pasta through.

Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with fresh or dried thyme.

Yield: 4 servings (one heaping cup each)

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Potato leek quiche

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Spring. I love you and hate you. You bring the promise of new things and warm weather, but you never just happen. Last weekend, we ate lunch outside and went for a walk at a state park without jackets. This weekend, we're getting more snow. I DON'T UNDERSTAND. Anyway, I'll stop complaining about the weather because a) it'll be hot before you know it, and b) I'm not a cranky 85-year-old. Or am I?

Anyway, this quiche feels like spring to me. It's light and fresh and simple, but also warm and cheesy and comforting. It straddles the line between weather and feels right for whatever spring throws at us: I can picture myself eating it in a cozy sweater in front of a fire, but also on a picnic blanket in the sun.

The potato crust is so simple and a great substitute for a butter-and-flour crust. Not only is it healthier, but it also speeds up the quiche cooking process considerably.

A couple of tips: The slight fluting outward of the pie plate sides helps the potatoes stay upright while they cook. You also want to slice the potatoes thinly enough that they're pliable, but not so thin that they get crispy or warp too much when initially cooking.

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Potato leek quiche


12-16 oz white potatoes (about 2 large)
4 tsp olive oil, divided
2 small leeks (about 1.5 cups chopped)
1 teaspoon fresh or ½ tsp dried thyme
1 cup shredded gruyere, comte, or cheese of choice
6 eggs
½-2/3 cup milk
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper

Preheat the oven to 400. Wash and dry the potatoes. Very thinly slice (about 1/8 of an inch thick) with a knife or a mandolin. Cut a small slice off of one edge of the thin potato slices to create one flat side.

Spray or brush a pie tin with one tsp of oil. Place a single line of potato slices around the edge of the pie plate with the flat sides down.

Then, cover the bottom of the dish with a layer of potatoes. Using the rest of the potato slices, fill in gaps on the bottom and sides.

Brush or spray the raw potato crust lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Cook for 10 minutes (until the potatoes just start to soften) and then remove from the oven.

While the potato crust cooks, slice and chop the leeks and shred the cheese.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and milk until small bubbles form. Add the Dijon, salt, and pepper and whisk again. Add the leeks and cheese and stir well to combine.

Pour into the potato crust and press lightly to even out the leeks and cheese. Cook for 20-25 minutes or until the center of the quiche is set. To check, jiggle the quiche lightly and if the middle wiggles, continue cooking. If the middle is set, it won’t jiggle. If the top browns too much before the eggs are set, cover with tin foil and continue cooking.

Yield: 6 small servings, 4 large servings

PS: I'd love to know more about anyone who reads this blog! If you feel so inclined, I have a short (10 questions!), anonymous survey that would really help me to know how to best tailor content. Thanks a million! 

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Carrot and ricotta turnovers

Carrot and ricotta turnovers | Me & The Moose. The puree that fills these barely sweet turnovers is delicious on its own or as baby food, a toddler pouch, or a dip. Premade puff pastry dough makes this an easy treat to whip up for unexpected holiday guests. #meandthemoose #carrotrecipes #desserts #babypuree #toddlerfood #carrotandricottaturnovers #turnoverrecipes

I keep choosing holiday recipes that are either multi-stepped, super complicated, or painstaking. I mean, who doesn't love sugar cookies painted with luster dust and puppy cupcakes? But not every holiday dessert or appetizer has to be a labor of love, know what I mean?

These carrot turnovers are a little sweet, a little savory and completely delicious. They're also easy to put together and seem fancier than they actually are. And there are vegetables! I made these guys fairly large when they were just a part of our dinner, but for a crowd, I would cut the rolled out pastry dough into 12 squares and check them after about 14 minutes of cooking.

Carrot and ricotta turnovers | Me & The Moose. The puree that fills these barely sweet turnovers is delicious on its own or as baby food, a toddler pouch, or a dip. Premade puff pastry dough makes this an easy treat to whip up for unexpected holiday guests. #meandthemoose #carrotrecipes #desserts #babypuree #toddlerfood #carrotandricottaturnovers #turnoverrecipes

Carrot, apple, and thyme turnovers

2 medium carrots, peeled and diced (about 1 cup)
1 medium apple (1/2 large apple), peeled and diced (about ½ cup)
½ cup whole milk ricotta
2-3 tsp honey
2 sprigs thyme
1 sheet puff pastry dough

Preheat the oven to 400. Chop the carrots and apples. Place the carrots in a deep pot and cover with cold water, plus one inch. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Once the carrots are boiling, add a steamer basket on top and steam the apples for 8 minutes. Drain the apples and carrots and let cool slightly.

Set aside half of the cooked apple chunks. Pulse the cooked carrots and the rest of the apples with 2 Tbsp water until you've reached your desired consistency, adding more water if necessary. At this point, you have a tasty apple and carrot puree. If stopping here, you could also add a glug of olive oil or some pureed protein for a complete baby meal.

Carrot and ricotta turnovers | Me & The Moose. The puree that fills these barely sweet turnovers is delicious on its own or as baby food, a toddler pouch, or a dip. Premade puff pastry dough makes this an easy treat to whip up for unexpected holiday guests. #meandthemoose #carrotrecipes #desserts #babypuree #toddlerfood #carrotandricottaturnovers #turnoverrecipes

For the turnovers, combine the puree with reserved apple chunks, ricotta, honey (to taste), and thyme. Stir to combine and set aside. Again, you can stop here and have another tasty puree for a baby over the age of one year or sub maple syrup for the honey if feeding to a younger baby.

Carrot and ricotta turnovers | Me & The Moose. The puree that fills these barely sweet turnovers is delicious on its own or as baby food, a toddler pouch, or a dip. Premade puff pastry dough makes this an easy treat to whip up for unexpected holiday guests. #meandthemoose #carrotrecipes #desserts #babypuree #toddlerfood #carrotandricottaturnovers #turnoverrecipes

Cut a piece of parchment that is slightly larger than your sheet pan. Place the puff pastry dough on the parchment and gently roll out the dough to lengthen it, allowing you to cut out squares instead of rectangles. Cut into 6 squares. Move your parchment and dough onto the sheet pan. Spoon 2 Tbsp of the carrot, apple, thyme, and cheese mixture into the bottom corner of the turnovers. Fold over to make triangles and gently press the sides together. Bake for 16 minutes, or until golden brown.

Yield: 6 large turnovers or 12 small turnovers

Carrot and ricotta turnovers | Me & The Moose. The puree that fills these barely sweet turnovers is delicious on its own or as baby food, a toddler pouch, or a dip. Premade puff pastry dough makes this an easy treat to whip up for unexpected holiday guests. #meandthemoose #carrotrecipes #desserts #babypuree #toddlerfood #carrotandricottaturnovers #turnoverrecipes
Carrot and ricotta turnovers | Me & The Moose. The puree that fills these barely sweet turnovers is delicious on its own or as baby food, a toddler pouch, or a dip. Premade puff pastry dough makes this an easy treat to whip up for unexpected holiday guests. #meandthemoose #carrotrecipes #desserts #babypuree #toddlerfood #carrotandricottaturnovers #turnoverrecipes