Tag Archives: goat cheese

Green Beans with Tomatoes, Bacon, and Goat Cheese

14 Aug

In Minnesota, there’s a slim space in time when fresh tomatoes are available.  After making it through a long winter filled with mealy, flavorless tomatoes, homegrown tomatoes taste gloriously wonderful.  If you are like me and your green thumb is actually plant poison, what you hope for is that someone in your family or one of your neighbors have a bumper crop of tomatoes and want to share their bounty.  For the past few years, this has been the case, and almost nothing makes me happier.

For a few awesome weeks, I will have a tomato at every meal.  And I will be so happy.

Last week, my mom loaded me up with treasures from her garden including cucumbers, green beans, and a bag full of tomatoes.  Earlier in the day, I had also purchased a few yellow and pink tomatoes from the farmers market.  And as they lined up like a tomato beauty pageant waiting to see who would be crowned, I pulled a few winners out of the queue and whipped up some dinner.

This is a very simple and fast dish to prepare.  Wonderful as a side dish, or in my case the main course, the combination of tomatoes, green beans, and bacon is divine.  Throw a little goat cheese on there and you can practically hear the archangels sing.  For real.  You can use any variety of tomato, but know that they cook down so the colors that show up when using non-red varieties are fleeting.  But for those few moments, your pan will look really, really pretty.  For my own dinner, I used pink and yellow tomatoes from the Tomato King (location: Albany, MN).  If you’re lucky enough to spot his tomatoes at your local Farmer’s Market or co-op, grab a few.  They are mighty fine.

To start, I cooked up a little bacon until it was crisp, then removed it and set it aside until it was cool enough to crumble.  In the meantime, I added the veggies and a little garlic wine to help sauce it up and add some flavor.  This was my first time using a garlic wine and it might be one of my new favorite things.  Made at the Crow River Winery (location: Hutchinson, MN), the wine is light in color and packed with roasted garlic flavor.  Added to this dish, it gave a nice, mild, and slightly smoky garlic flavor.  If you don’t have any garlic wine on hand (which is a very likely scenario), feel free to use another wine or water in its place (see notes below).

For those of you who love making foods ahead (hey mom!), this dish is excellent reheated.  For best results, add the bacon and goat cheese after reheating.    As a side, I’d definitely recommend this with pork, BBQ, or any grilled or smoked meats.  As a main dish, I’d recommend grabbing a big bowl.

Green Beans with Tomatoes, Bacon, and Goat Cheese
Serving size: 1 to 1-1/2 c.
Serves: 2

2 strips pepper bacon
1/2 lb. green beans, trimmed and snapped into bite sized pieces
1 clove garlic, minced
1 lb. tomatoes, diced
1/4 c. garlic wine
Dash crushed red pepper
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 T. goat cheese, crumbled

In a skillet over medium to medium-high heat, cook bacon until crispy.  Remove from pan and set aside to cool.  Reduce the heat to medium low, add green beans and garlic to the pan and cook for 1 minute.  Add tomatoes and cook for 2 minutes.  Add wine, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper.  Reduce heat to low and cook uncovered for about 20 minutes.

Divide mixture between plates or bowls.  Top with goat cheese and crumbled bacon.  Serve.

Estimated calories:  247 cal/serving

Print it: Green Beans with Tomatoes, Bacon and Goat Cheese

Notes:
– Although this was a really great way to use fresh produce, this is the kind of dish that would also be pretty good in the winter, using frozen green beans and canned, diced tomatoes.  It would not be as fresh tasting, but the flavors would hold up really well as a tasty winter side.
– Don’t have any garlic wine?  You could substitute any wine.  Red will give it a full flavor, white will be a bit crisper.  I’d stay away from any sweet wines for this one.
– If you’re a vegetarian, substitute the bacon for some olive oil.  The flavor will be different, but it will still be quite tasty.
– Need to make it non-dairy?  Simply omit the goat cheese or top it with a dollop of non-dairy sour cream.

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Flatbread with Cauliflower, Rosemary, Kalamata, and Goat Cheese

6 Aug

Last week all I could think about was the Garlic Mashed Potato Pizza from Pizza Luce.  Like an earworm, I knew it would stick there until I did something about it.  I had two options: 1) Drive 90 miles to get some, 2) Make it.  I decided to make it.  All I needed was crust, garlic mashed potatoes, tomatoes, green onions, and tomatoes.  Of those ingredients, I had none, so I had to make do with what I had.

And it is not a real hardship to make do with what you have, when what you have is some goat cheese.

I started out with a pita flatbread.  You can use any variety or size, the one I like is not too dry and around 190 calories.  You can use whatever kind you like, just make sure it is strong enough to hold a big pile of ingredients.  Next, I swapped out garlic mashed potatoes for some pureed cauliflower with garlic.  The consistency is different than mashed potatoes, but not by a whole lot.  Plus, cauliflower is high in calcium, and one serving (2 slices) of this flatbread provides half of the amount of calcium you should consume in a day!  I added a bit of olive oil and goat cheese to the cauliflower mixture to make it taste a little creamier, then mixed in chopped rosemary to give it great flavor.  It looked a little bland, so I threw a few kalamata on the top, and added some extra goat cheese.  If you wanted to cut back on some of the calories, you could leave off the last bit of goat cheese, but it only saves you about 40 calories, and I think its worth it.

This dish would make an excellent starter, would pair well with a salad or bowl of soup, and makes an excellent dinner.  Even if you ate the whole thing all at once, not that I would know (I would totally know).

Flatbread with Cauliflower, Rosemary, Kalamata, & Goat Cheese
Serving size: 2 pieces
Serves: 2

 

8” flatbread pita
1 c. cauliflower florets
1 clove garlic
2 t. olive oil, divided
2 oz. goat cheese, divided
1 t. fresh rosemary
3 kalamata olives, halved
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a microwave safe bowl, add cauliflower and garlic, cover with water and microwave for 4 minutes.  Drain, and place cauliflower and garlic in a food processor.  Add half of the olive oil, and pulse until mostly smooth.  Remove from food processor, and mash in half of the goat cheese and all of the rosemary.  Add a little salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Place the flatbread on a cookie sheet and top with the cauliflower mixture, spreading it out to cover.  Top pizza with the olives and the rest of the goat cheese.  Bake in the oven for about 12 minutes or until the goat cheese just starts to brown.

Remove from the oven and cut into quarters.  Drizzle with remaining olive oil and add salt and pepper to taste.  Serve.

 

Estimated calories:  484 cal/serving

Print it: Flatbread with Cauliflower, Rosemary, Kalamata, and Goat Cheese

Rustic Squash Soup with Mustard Goat Cheese Crostini

8 Nov

A few years ago I went through a Squash Soup phase that was so prolific that it has taken me that long to want to eat it again.  Although it has taken awhile, I’m glad that my hunger for it is back because it is one of my favorite fall foods.  Squash soup is such a great way make the transition from summer produce into fall foods – it is healthy, hearty but low in calories, and full of vegetable goodness.  While I love a good soup, I also love feeling like I’m eating a lot at lunch.  Sometimes if I ONLY have soup with nothing else, I find myself snacking practically before I’m done doing the dishes.

Today I balanced the healthy soup with a side of crunchy baguette topped with the creamy goodness of goat cheese.  Not wanting to blow a bunch of calories with too much bread OR cheese, I mixed the goat cheese with mustard to give it a boost of flavor, and spread it on the bread.  After a light toasting, the result was a perfect complement to the slightly chunky soup.

Rustic Squash Soup with Mustard Goat Cheese Crostini
Serves: 4
Serving Size: 1 c. soup, quarter baguette

SOUP
1 T. olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 c. chicken stock
3 c. butternut squash, roasted and slightly mashed
2 T. fat-free sour cream
Salt and pepper to taste

CROSTINI
1 small baguette (approx. 7-8 oz.)
2 oz. goat cheese
2 T. dijon mustard
2 T. water
1 t. chives, chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a soup pot, heat oil over medium heat.  Add onions and garlic, cook until transluscent.  Add chicken stock and squash.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook on low for 10 minutes.  Using a hand blender, puree slightly so that it thickens but is not yet smooth.  Add sour cream and stir until well combined.

While the soup is cooking, cut the baguette lengthwise and into quarters, for a total of eight pieces.  In a small bowl, mix together the goat cheese, mustard, water and chives until smooth.  Spread about a teaspoon of the goat cheese mixture onto each baguette.  Place in oven and heat for 5 minutes.

Serve soup with two crostini.

Estimated Calories:  285 cal/serving

Print it: Rustic Squash Soup with Mustard Goat Cheese Crostini

Notes:
– Since Sophie swears she hates squash, I decided not to bother making this recipe non-dairy.  In this recipe I used fat-free sour cream, but I’ve also used dairy-free sour cream with great results (adds about 15 calories per serving).
– You can use any kind of squash you like, I just happen to like the flavor and texture of butternut.  A single butternut squash contains about 3 c. worth of squash, but a little more or less won’t make much of a difference.
– If you choose to just make the soup and omit the crostini, one cup of soup is only 110 calories per serving.
– When I made this soup, I had already roasted the squash.  If you haven’t, and you don’t know just what to do, see Related Recipe below.  Super easy.

Related Recipe: Roasting a Butternut Squash
– Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
– Cut the squash in half lengthwise, scoop out all of the seeds and guts.
– Place the squash open side down on a baking sheet and bake until tender, usually around 45-60 minutes.  You’ll know it is done when you can poke it with a fork or knife.
– Remove from oven and flip open side up to cool for about 30 minutes.
– Scoop out all of the insides and either smash with a fork or puree until it reaches desired consistency.
– Squash can be used immediately or placed in baggies and frozen.