Monday, March 31, 2008

Crockpot Chicken Lasanga Florentine

Did I already post this recipe? Sorry there is no picture. I usually get a little grief from my sister if I don't post one. I took one picture and then the camera died, plus, it is a crockpot recipe and it isn't much to look at.

This is one meal that all goes in one pot and it has all the food groups. I am sure I have said this before, but I am very picky about crockpot recipes and I was so surprised when this one turned out pretty tasty. Since it already has spinach in it, I serve mine with sliced apple. If I am really on the ball, I will make sticky chicken in the crockpot early in the week, and then use the leftover meat to make this meal.

Smoked trout, lemon and fennel pasta

This was a new pasta dish we tried out last night. Fantastic! Smoked salmon would work just as easily. The smoked trout was great but trout has a million tiny bones so it was a little labor intensive removing the bones. Here is the original recipe for 4 and then I'll note my additions at the end.

400 grams orecchiette pasta (this is about 1 lb.)
2 fennel bulbs, trimmed and finely sliced
1 T. olive oil
1 T. rinsed small capers
finely grated zest and juice of half a lemon
200 grams (about 1/2 lb.) hot-smoked trout fillets, deboned and flaked
handful of chopped flat leaf parsley

I added:
1/2 zuchini, quartered and cut into chunks
2 handfuls of cherry tomatoes, halved

Cook the pasta in large pot of boiling, salted water for 10-12 minutes. Drain and reserve some of the pasta cooking water.

While pasta is cooking, heat oil in a saute pan. Add fennel and cook slowly for 15 minutes until nicely carmelized. My addition: halfway through cooking the fennel throw in the zuchini and tomatoes. After 15 minutes the fennel should be nicely browned, the tomatoes broken down, and the zuchini nice and soft. Add the lemon zest, rinsed capers and fish. Heat through. Add the drained pasta. Toss well. Add the reserved lemon juice, to taste, and use a little of the pasta cooking water to loosen the sauce and bring it all together. Top with parsley and a little grated parmesan. Buona!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Polenta with Tomato-Braised Beans


I found this recipe while looking for something to use up my Rancho Gordo Canellini Beans and I am always a sucker for anything over polenta! For this challenge, I was trying to keep things in "one-pot" just because I was trying to branch out, but I just though this was too good not to share. I followed the very labor intensive, very specific directions for making the polenta and was rewarded with a very creamy base. The sauce was also good, could use a few more tomatoes...and I subbed rosemary for the sage. It wasn't Mark's favorite, "too beany" he said, but like I said, I liked it!

Shrimp Curry with Yu Choy and Kabocha Squash

Well, that is the official name of the recipe I had cut out from a Bon Appetit magazine but Yu Choy (an Asian green) and Kabocha Squash are hard to come by in Germany so I had to do some substituting. This one, I thought, had potential but it was pretty bland. It came together so easily and smelled great cooking but it was missing more salt or fish sauce maybe ... something. I did like the squash with the curry sauce. The recipe says to serve with rice but I decided on noodles instead.

Here is the original recipe ... I halved it for 2:
1 pound yu choy, bottom 2 inches trimmed, stalks and leaves cut into 1.5" wide strips (or sub brocolli or brocolli rabe)
4 c. kabocha squash (but I had to sub some other type of orange squash)
2 cans unsweetened coconut milk, divided
2/3 c. (packed) Thai basil, divided
6 large fresh cilantro sprigs
3 double leaf kaffir lime leaves, chopped
1 T. vegetable oil
1 large shallot, finely chopped
2 t. green curry paste
1.5 T. minced lemongrass
2.5 T. fish sauce
1 T. brown sugar
3/4 lb. uncooked medium shrimp

Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add yu choy or brocolli. Cook until crisp tender ... about 1 minute. Strain and rinse under cold water. Return water to a boil. Add squash. Boil until almost tender, about 4 minutes. Drain, rinse under cold water and set aside.

Blend 1/2 c. coconut milk, 1/3 c. basil, cilantro, and lime leaves in a mini processor until herbs are finely chopped and loose paste forms.

Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over med-hi heat. Add shallot and curry paste; stir 30 seconds. Add herb paste and lemongrass; stir 1 minute more. Add remaining coconut milk, fish sauce, sugar and squash. Boil until squash is tender, about 4 minutes. Add shrimp and yu choy. Simmer until shrimp are opaque in center, about 2 minutes, mix in 1/3 c. basil leaves. season with Salt and pepper.

Raise of hands ... who is tired of Robin submitting all Asian posts this month? I'll try to get out of my rut for next month.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Carbonara Deep-Dish Pasta-Crusted Pan Pizza

I caught the last 5 minutes of the 30 minute meals show that is was on and I thought it would be perfect for this month's challenge. I added some vegetables to make it more one-dish complete. I also only had 2 eggs, so I didn't take it out of the pan for fear it might have not set all the way. We enjoyed it immensely and one serving(one piece) is definitely enough to fill you up!! This recipe is on the food network site.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Spicy Basque-Style Chicken

Does anyone still have the Cooking Light from last June? Ha, this recipe came from that and we made it for the first time tonight. Page 240 - Spicy Basque-Style Chicken.

1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast tenders
2 teaspoons olive oil (1 tsp)
2 teaspoons bottled minced garlic (4 cloves fresh)
1/4 cup sliced green olives (hard to find without a stuffing)
2 (10-ounce) cans diced tomatoes and green chiles, undrained (more Rotel)
1/4 cup finely chopped prosciutto
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Combine paprika and pepper; sprinkle evenly over chicken. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken to pan; cook 4 minutes. Add garlic to pan; cook 30 seconds. Turn chicken over. Add olives and tomatoes to pan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 6 minutes. Remove chicken from pan. Increase heat to medium-high; cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle with prosciutto and parsley.

I know I have posted a couple of great recipes tonight, and truly, they are great and things we will make many times to come....but...this one was absolutely outstanding! What an incredible blend of flavors. We didn't have smoked paprika, but used the regular. The whole dish was so unbelievable, I wouldn't change a thing next time.

In all fairness, it's 2 dishes, but don't tell anyone. We made the chicken while the "saffron in a bag" was cooking. It's not exactly extra effort, but what a meal.

DH just came in and complimented me again on this recipe. You must make this.

Tomato & Spinach Pasta Toss

This was a first-time recipe and it was great. We used a turkey sausage, but you could use any kind you like.

2 cups rotini or penne pasta, uncooked
1/2 lb hot or mild italian sausage (we used a whole pound, since it was lean)
1 pkg (6 oz) spinach leaves
1 can (14oz) diced tomatoes with basil, garlic, and oregano - undrained
1 cup shredded mozz cheese (we used a 4 cheese italian blend)
2 Tb grated Parm

Cook pasta. In skillet, crumble meat and brown. Drain. Add spinach and tomatoes; cook 2 min or until spinach is wilted, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, cover to keep warm.

Drain pasta, return to pot. Add meat mixture and cheese. Toss lightly.

(I just cooked the sausage/spinach thing in a giant pan and threw in the pasta and cheese at the end. Seemed easier and it was.)

This was definitely a one-dish winner. We have had a string of great ones this week. I am loving the leftovers!

Shrimp Tostadas

This is definitely one of the easiest dishes I've ever made, and it was a hit with the family. I somewhat adapted an original recipe to make it even more ridiculously easy, and it yielded excellent results.

1 lb cooked bay shrimp, tails removed
2 cans Rotel - Mexican style with cilantro and lime juice
little lime juice - maybe 1 Tb
1 can refried black beans, warmed
Tostada shells (they make new baked ones)
Lettuce (optional)

Directions: Throw shrimp and 2 cans Rotel Mexican into bowl. Add about a Tb of lime juice, or whatever you like. Throw in fridge for a few hours, or none at all. Then take tostadas and layer with refried beans, shrimp mix, and optional cilantro on top. If you want to add lettuce, it will make it tougher to put the shrimp mix on top. We opted to leave it out this time, and we thought it was better because it had more shrimp mix on top.

I actually served it with black bean soup, from the blog. Enjoy!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Ma Po Tofu

I had this recipe, Ma Po Tofu , cut out of a Cooking Light magazine from ages ago. I'm sorry I waited so long to try it ... it was so tasty! This would be a great recipe to introduce tofu to someone because it gets flavored by a little ground pork. It was really good and only took 30 minutes to put together.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Garlic Chicken and Peppers with Beans

Finally, a winner!


I found this recipe on epicurious when looking for something to use my Rancho Gordo Runner Cannellini Beans in. When I saw this was also a one pot meal, I figured it was meant to be. It did end up being simple to put together. Just a little prep work, let it cook, a little, more prep work, more cooking, and walla - dinner was done! I used chicken thighs because that is all my grocery store had (weird) and dried sage. The dried worked well, I would be concerned that fresh sage might overpower the dish. I could see thyme and rosemary working in this dish as well. The directions don't say to chop the garlic, so I left most whole, except for one clove, which I sliced. Perfect. Lots of garlic flavor, but not harsh. I served it more soup like, and tried to convince Mark that it was not a soup, but a sauce. I don't think he bought it. He still wants to know when the bacon challenge is!


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Chicken Tikka with Bean Salad

This challenge is proving to be a real challenge for me! I've made a few things and then decided they weren't worth the trouble to post and that I wouldn't make them again. And, then a couple of times I've made something, it turned out, and then I decided it didn't fall within the spirit of the challenge - quick and easy one-dish. I don't even know if this post is really one-dish because it requires a bunch of "side projects" but it only took 30 minutes and the ingredients were relatively easy to find in my local grocery store. This is a recipe I saved from a UK cooking magazine called, Delicious. It was in the Healthy Eating section of the magazine. Serves 4.

Also, tikka masala curry paste is very family friendly ... it didn't taste spicy at all ... rather sweet instead. My little one really liked it.

600 g. (little over a pound) chicken breast strips
3 T. tikka masala curry paste (an Indian style curry paste ... I used a brand called Bamboo Garden)
1 lemon, juiced
2 T. thick greek yogurt (use full fat yogurt if you can't find greek yogurt ... greek yogurt is really thick like sour cream)
300 g. (between 1/2-3/4 lb) thin green beans
1 bag ready to go salad
2 T. olive oil

Mix the curry paste and greek yogurt in a glass dish. Juice 1 lemon and add half to the curry paste mixture. Toss the chicken strips into the curry paste mixture and coat. Let marinate for 1 hour in the fridge.

Blanch in boiling salted water (or steam) the green beans to the desired degree of doneness. Run under cool water to halt the cooking. Toss the green beans with the salad in a large bowl.

Heat 1 T. olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan over med. heat. Cook the chicken strips in batches for 3-4 minutes each side or until cooked through. I followed the recipe this way but I think they would look and taste even better if you throw them on a grill instead.

Mix the remaining lemon juice, 1 T. olive oil and some salt and ground pepper. Toss with the salad and bean mixture. Divide between 4 plates. Place the chicken fillets on top. Garnish with 1 T. greek yogurt, if desired.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Chicken Muffinwiches

These are sandwich muffins. I call them a perfect "mom" meal, because it's soooo easy, and soooo healthy at the same time.

8.5oz corn muffin mix (look for the non-sugary-type)
Egg substitute of 1 egg or 2 egg whites
1/3 cup skim milk
2 cups (8 oz) coarsely chopped cooked chicken
4 green onions, chopped
1/4 tsp dried sage

Preheat oven to 400. Prepare corn muffin mix according to package, but using egg whites/subs and skim milk. Fold in chicken, green onions, and sage. Spray muffin pan and pour in mix for 6 muffins. Bake 15-20 minutes.

This is also great frozen, so you could easily double the recipe and thaw them out fast. The recipe says that each muffin is 205 calories, but I need two muffins to survive. If you like spicy, it goes really good with Frank's hot sauce. In any case, two thumbs up for the chicken muffinwiches.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Cheese Enchilada Casserole

Sigh. I had high hopes for this one. I am not a huge fan of most casseroles because they usually use a lot of processed foods and end up tasting fake, but this one had promise. I used 1 tsp chili powder, 1 tsp cumin, a little salt, and hot taco sauce. It just ended up being really spicy and not in a good way. I think with more doctoring, it could work...more salt, more seasoning, maybe a fresh chili. Anyways, it is worth a try if you have extra corn torillas lying around and really, who doesn't.

Sorry no picture.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Super Salad

1/2 head of lettuce, shredded
1/4 c shredded cheese
handful of grape tomatoes sliced
1/2 onion diced really small
1 can ranch style beans, rinsed and drained
handful of Frito's crunched
Catalina dressing
Mix all ingredients together well. Serve!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Harira is a soup, traditionally served in North Africa at the evening meal during Ramadan. Regardless of its history, it's an amazing blend of flavors. This recipe is probably not going to be loved by everyone, but it was a hit for us. It comes from the Moosewood cookbook.

1c chopped onions
4c Vegetable broth/stock
1tsp cinnamon
1tsp turmeric
1Tb grated fresh ginger
1/8tsp cayenne
1c peeled and diced carrots
1/2c diced celery
1c undrained canned tomatoes, chopped
1 1/2c diced potatoes
pinch of saffron
1c cooked lentils
1c drained cooked chickpeas
1-2Tb chopped fresh cilantro
1Tb fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

In a covered soup pot, simmer the onions in 1c stock for 10 minutes. Combine the cinnamon, turmeric, ginger, and cayenne in a small bowl and add 2-3 Tb of the hot liquid to form a paste. Stir this paste into the pot along with the carrots, celery, and the remaining stock. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and potatoes and continue to cook, covered, for 15-20 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. Crumble in the saffron. Stir in the lentils, chickpeas, cilantro, lemon juice, and salt/pepper to taste. Reheat and serve immediately.

It turned out great, but my hunch is that leftovers will be even better.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Slow-Cooker Beef Stew


Thanks to the recent cold snap, I decided to make a beef stew. I would have prefered to make this myself and stimmer it on the stove, but alas, too busy. I used my crock pot instead. Nothing says "one dish meal" like a crock pot! Now, I am a cook who uses her crock pot, but I am very picky about what I make. To me, most things end up tasting like they are from a crock pot and I always have trouble with certain things that no one else seems to. I made several changes to this dish. I used chuck roast, added onions, celery, garlic, and cooked it on high for about 5 hours, then on the stove for an hour. Again, this one was ok, but I think it has potential. It would definately help if I sauted the onions, celery, garlic before hand. I cut my potatoes and carrots smaller than directed, but they still weren't done (thus the simmering on the stove), maybe even smaller next time? The broth was the real winner...thick and hearty. I am sure I can find a better beef stew recipe, but if you are short on time, this one will do in a pinch. Wonderful with crusy rolls.

Peanutty Noodles

This comes from the infamous wirrek cookbook. We made it last night and it was delicious. Many raves from DH.

2 carrots, peeled entirely with a veggie peeler
1 Tb veggie oil
2 tsp grated peeled fresh ginger
3 garlic cloves, minced
1c chicken broth
1/2c peanut butter
1/4c low-sodium soy sauce
3 Tb rice or white wine vinegar
1 tsp chili garlic sauce
1/4 tsp salt
2c red bell pepper strips
1lb snow peas, trimmed
8c hot cooked linguine
1/2c chopped fresh cilantro

1. Heat 1 tsp oil in small saucepan over medium heat. Add the ginger and minced garlic, saute 30 seconds. Add chicken broth and next 5 ingredients (through salt). Stir until well-blended. Reduce heat, and simmer 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, and keep warm.
2. Heat 2 tsp oil in large non-stick skillet over med-high heat. Add bell pepper and snow peas. Saute 5 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat. Combine shaved carrot, PB mixture, bell pepper mixture, and linguine in a large bowl. Toss well and sprinkle with cilantro.

Serve warm or at room temperature.


Friday, March 7, 2008

One pot wonder - Risi e Bisi (part II)


We went way over our grocery budget this week, so I was trying not to go back to the store when I remembered this post from Robin saying she always seemed to have the ingredients for this dish on hand. After reading the recipe, I was happy to see that I did as well. I had to omit a few things...the procusito (both kinds, we went vegetarian) and the broth (I just used water). I think the original recipe leaves out the addition of the peas. I just stirred them in at the end. All in all, a satisfying, but light dinner, and all was made in one pot!

Monday, March 3, 2008

College Night

Do you ever crave Ramen noodles? How about Mac & Cheese? Well, we were craving that 50 cent box of Kraft Cheese and Macaroni for dinner last night, so we decided on college night. Oddly enough, it tasted so yummy, and was shockingly reasonable on the calories.

Directions -these are complex.
1. Cook Mac & Cheese. Leave out ALL butter. You won't notice.
2. While it's cooking, throw some chicken breast in a non-stick skillet with Salt & Pepper. Then cut into pieces.
3. Open can of Rotel
4. Mix all together and pretend you are in college again.

I realize it's not exactly "blog" material, but it sure did taste good!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Swiss-style Cheese Bake


I made this recipe from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegatarian. My apologies to anyone else with this book who might have been planning on making this ;). I actually don't own the book, I just got it off of my cooking light message board. Love that board.

I used white potatoes, with peels, that had been roasted, and broccoli that had been steamed. I just used swiss cheese (what's it called? The long word that starts with and E?) and I did add the walnuts.

All in all, it wasn't a bad recipe. I think it would be great for leftovers, and I may even plan to make extra potatoes and broccoli one day to make this the next, but I don't think I would made it from stratch like I did. Couldn't help but think while I was eating it that it would make a great side with some simple grilled meat. It was super cheesey though...YUM!!