Sunday, October 23, 2016

Chef John's Lamb and Rice Stuffed Cabbage Rolls (Lambage Rolls)

If you haven't been introduced to Chef John, Allrecipe.com's own pun master, let me be the first to introduce you.  Pinterest has led me astray many times with recipes, but Chef John never has.  I love his videos and I swear by his techniques.  Enter a chilly day in Missouri and I was ready for comfort food.  Chef John suggested cabbage rolls. Turns out I happened to have had a pound of lamb in the freezer.

Game on.

I highly recommend you check out his video for Lamb and Rice Stuffed Cabbage Rolls.  I added some cubed granny Smith apples to the casserole dish.  Winner, winner, lamb and rice dinner.

Downeast Maine Pumpkin Bread

An Allrecipes.com favorite.  Over 7000 reviews and still maintains 5 stars.  What else can I add to this except....I modified it.  Don't worry, the modifications are minor.  This is an excellent pumpkin bread recipe.  I urge you to try it sooner rather than later.

Ingredients

15 oz. pumpkin puree
4 eggs
1/2 cup veg oil
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
3 cups sugar
3.5 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1.5 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup raisins

Directions

Preheat over to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour one extra large loaf pan, a Bundt pan, two large loaf pans, or 3 small loaf pans.  Set aside.

Mix pumpkin, eggs, oil, applesauce and sugar in a mixer.  In a separate bowl, combine flour, soda, salt, and spices.  Whisk to combine.

One low speed of mixer, combine the wet ingredients.  Add the dry ingredients in thirds until combined.  Then add the walnuts and raisins.

Pour mixture into loaf pan(s) and cook 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.


Spiced Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

Who doesn't love fall?  The beautiful colors on the trees. The crisp chill in the air as summer steps aside.  The way that we all begin to look forward to the holidays.  For me, one of the best ways to get in the fall mood is to pick up a sugar pie pumpkin and put it in absolutely everything!

Found this recipe from Giada De Laurentiis and the Food Network and knew it had to happen.

To prepare the pie pumpkin, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Using a large chef's knife, split the pumpkin in half.  Using a sturdy spoon, scrape out the fibers and seeds.  Don't throw the seeds away!  They are great toasted later.

Place the halves of the pumpkin cut side down on a greased cookie sheet.  Bake for 45-50 minutes until a knife inserts smoothly.  After the pumpkin has cooled, scoop out the pulp and place in a food processor.  Pulse until smooth.  Then put that stuff to good use.

Ingredients

1 cup flour
2/3 cup old fashioned oats
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
3/4 raw sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 heaping tablespoons of unsweetened applesauce
1 tablespoon purple maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup raisins

Directions

Preheat oven to 350.  Mix flour, oats, cinnamon, soda, salt, and allspice.  Whisk to combine.  In a separate bowl, mix pumpkin, sugar, oil, applesauce, maple syrup, vanilla extract and raisins.  One cup at a time, add the dry to the wet ingredients, stirring to completely combine.
'
Using a mini cookie scoop, scoop onto a prepared cookie sheet (either lined with parchment or using a silicon mat).  Sprinkle with a bit of sugar before baking.  Bake 20 minutes.  Allow to cool and enjoy!



Mexican Wedding Cookies

Similar to the chocolate snowballs cookies recipe (the one from Dan Savage's mom), this recipe is a traditional Mexican wedding cookie and is so easy and delicious.  The sugar is primarily on the outside, so if you are watching your sugar, you can moderate.  However, this is a butter-based cookie, so if you are watching fat, I'd try a different recipe.

These are so stinking good and remain one of my favorite cookies.

Ingredients

1 cup butter softened
1/2 cup confectioners (powdered) sugar
3/4 cup finely chopped pecans
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 cups flour
Confectioners sugar (for rolling)

Combine butter, sugar, and vanilla in a mixing bowl until well combined.  Add pecans and salt and mix well.  Add flour 1/2 cup at a time until dough comes together.

Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes or until set but not browned.  Cool cookies completely before rolling in confectioners sugar.

Yum.


Saturday, August 20, 2016

Chicken Chili Verde



Fall is upon us and it will soon be soup and stew season.  If you are like me and a fan of Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine, you will really enjoy this recipe.  As for me, I'm in love with New Mexico chilis.  I'm always searching for new and exciting recipes that will allow me to make use these gems of the Southwest.  This traditional chicken stew inspires dreams of Southwest travel.  It makes generous use of lean chicken, tomatoes, tomatillos, onions and garlic.  Not spicy.  Not hot.  Just full of great flavor.  It is packed with protein, incredibly flavorful and only 2 Weight Watchers Smart Points per serving!   It can be made on the stovetop or in a crock pot.

Just a tip, I make this for all my Super Bowl parties.

Ingredients:

1 T olive oil
1.5 pounds cubed pork stew meat or chicken (I use boneless skinless chicken thighs)
salt and pepper to taste
1 large yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups chopped, roasted New Mexico chiles
1.4 oz fire roasted tomatoes, with juice
1.5 c tomatillo salsa (you can buy store bought or make your own below)
2 c chicken broth
0.5 t dried oregano
pinch ground cloves

Tomatillo salsa:
8 large tomatillos, husk removed, cored
4 garlic cloves
2 c water
2 roasted jalapenos, skins removed

Place in blender and puree.  Use as tomatillo salsa above.  This will make more than called for.  If your pot will allow it, use it all.


Directions:

In a Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.  Season the pork or chicken with salt and pepper to taste, then place into the hot oil.  Cook until golden brown on all sides, about 7 minutes.  Once browned, remove the meat and set aside.  Reduce heat to medium, and add the onions.  Cook until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.

Return the meat to the pot, add the garlic and green chiles, diced tomatoes and juice, tomatillo salsa, and chicken broth.  Season with oregano and clove.  Bring to a simmer over medium high heat, then reduce heat to medium low, cover and simmer 20 minutes.

With a hand-held blender, blend a small amount of the soup until smooth.  You don't want to blend all of the vegetables; just enough until the soup is somewhat thickened.  To further thicken the soup, add up to one tablespoon cornmeal or masa .  Continue to simmer at least 35 minutes more.  Remove the chicken and shred, then return to the pot.  Eat with corn tortillas.  These are amazing!

This can also be made in the crockpot.  When I do so, I omit the oil, and I don't pre-cook the onions or meat.  I throw everything else as described in the crock pot and cook it on high for 4 hours or on medium/low for 6 hours.

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Saturday, July 16, 2016

Turkey Chili

Its July and I'm making chili. Yes, chili.  Chili is one of my favorite year-round dishes.  My love of chili runs deep.  I have more chili recipes than any other single type of recipe.  I live for turkey chili, ground beef chili, venison chili, white chicken chili, jerk chili, and refrigerator chili.  It doesn't matter.  I think it's because I like hot, spicy foods and chili is the perfect delivery system for hot and spicy.

Because I've been trying to eat a little more healthfully, I've taken to making my regular ground beef and pork chili with leaner turkey meat.  So, I'll post this here for any who share my love of the hot stuff. Because I love chili and eat it often, I make large batches.  This will feed a fire house full of men.

Ingredients

2 lbs. ground turkey, browned
1 large onion, diced
2 large green bell peppers, diced
2 large jalapenos, diced
3-5 cloves garlic, diced 
2 28 oz. can of whole peeled tomatoes
1 28 oz. can of tomato sauce
16 oz. water
4 15 oz. cans of hot chili beans (I prefer Bush's)
2 Tbls cumin
3 Tbls + 2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp black pepper
1-2 tsp salt

Toppings

shredded cheddar cheese
oyster crackers
sour cream

Brown turkey, onion and bell peppers.  Add cumin, chili powder, black peppers and salt and stir into meat mixture.  Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, jalapenos, garlic and water to desired consistency.  Add chili beans.  Bring to a low boil and reduce heat.  Cook on low for 45-60 minutes.  Serve with shredded cheddar cheese, oyster crackers, and a nice dollop of sour cream.


Red Turkey Chili

Its July and I'm making chili. Yes, chili.  Chili is one of my favorite year-round dishes.  My love of chili runs deep.  I have more chili recipes than any other single type of recipe.  I live for turkey chili, ground beef chili, venison chili, white chicken chili, jerk chili, and refrigerator chili.  It doesn't matter.  I think it's because I like hot, spicy foods and chili is the perfect delivery system for hot and spicy.

Because I've been trying to eat a little more healthfully, I've taken to making my regular ground beef and pork chili with leaner turkey meat.  So, I'll post this here for any who share my love of the hot stuff. Because I love chili and eat it often, I make large batches.  This will feed a fire house full of men.

Ingredients

2 lbs. ground turkey, browned
1 large onion, diced
2 large green bell peppers, diced
2 large jalapenos, diced
3-5 cloves garlic, diced 
2 28 oz. can of whole peeled tomatoes
1 28 oz. can of tomato sauce
16 oz. water
4 15 oz. cans of hot chili beans (I prefer Bush's)
2 Tbls cumin
3 Tbls + 2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp black pepper
1-2 tsp salt

Toppings

shredded cheddar cheese
oyster crackers
sour cream

Brown turkey, onion and bell peppers.  Add cumin, chili powder, black peppers and salt and stir into meat mixture.  Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, jalapenos, garlic and water to desired consistency.  Add chili beans.  Bring to a low boil and reduce heat.  Cook on low for 45-60 minutes.  Serve with shredded cheddar cheese, oyster crackers, and a nice dollop of sour cream.


Friday, July 15, 2016

Summertime Mango Salsa

I love summer. Fresh tomatoes. Fresh fruits. Fresh vegetables.  It's what we wait for all year. And then there are the BBQs and swim parties and holidays and weekend get-togethers. Everyone is always looking for a nice dish to take to a gathering of friends. This is one of my favorites. Quick and easy. Just chop, chop, chop. No cooking required. This is a big hit with the kids due to the slightly sweet taste provided by the mango.


Ingredients

2 mangoes, diced
10 plum tomatoes, diced
1 medium onion, diced
A generous handful of cilantro leaves (stems removed), minced
2 jalapeno peppers, diced small
juice of 2 limes 


Combine in a bowl and chill if desired.  Good with tortilla chips or other dipping chips.  Feeds an army of guests.  Delicious.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Baked Falafel Salad

This recipe is adapted from Flourishing Foodie's Falafel Salad.  
Makes 16 patties
Serves 4
Soak dried chickpeas for 24 hours. Do NOT use canned chickpeas. 

INGREDIENTS
1 3/4 cups dry chickpeas, soaked at least 8 hours
2 cloves garlic, peeled and pulverized
1 yellow onion, small dice
1/3 c fresh parsley, stems removed then chopped
1 t cumin
1 t coriander seeds, ground
1/4 t cayenne pepper
1/2 t baking soda
1 t salt
2 T lemon juice, or 1 small lemon
1/4 - 1/2 cup water
2 T all-purpose flour (enough to slightly hold the mixture together)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup sesame seeds
cooking spray 
tahini

DRESSING INGREDIENTS (makes a little more than 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup oil (canola, olive, safflower, or grapeseed)
2 tbsp lemon juice or 1 small lemon
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1 tsp granulated sugar
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
dash of salt

SALAD INGREDIENTS or use Tabbouleh Salad
8 cups romaine lettuce, chopped
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cucumber, sliced
1/2 onion, sliced

1.  In a food processor, pulse half of the chickpeas until just broken. Place into a large bowl and set aside.
2.  Pulse the remainder of the chickpeas in the food processor with the garlic, onion, parsley, cumin, coriander, cayenne, baking soda, salt, lemon juice and water. Pulse until it resemble a paste. Add to the large bowl with the chickpea pieces and combine. Stir in the flour, beaten egg, and sesame seeds.
3.  Scoop a rough 1/4 cup of the falafel mixture and roll into a ball. Place onto the parchment paper. Continue in this manner until you have rolled all of the falafel balls. Place the baking sheet into the fridge and let sit for 1 hour. Some of the water will seep out onto the tray, this is normal.
4.  Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.  Bake at 350 degrees F.  Check after 20 minutes.  You want a nice crust on the outside while the inside remains tender, but cooked through.
4.  In a mason jar or any jar with a lid, add all of the dressing ingredients. Shake until combined.
5.  To assemble the salad, add the lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, and onion to a bowl, drizzle with the dressing. Place a few falafels on top and drizzle with tahini.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Weight Watchers Super Creamy Mac and Cheese


I didn't have any idea how this was going to go.  I mean, seriously, cauliflower instead of cheese?

Folks, as diet meals go, this isn't bad.  I was getting sort of tired of eating vegetable soup.  Yes, I like vegetable soup. Yes, it is good for me.  Yes, vegetable soup is low cal.  But, after about 8 meals of vegetable soup, I wanted something that didn't scream, "You're on a Diet!"

Enter Super Creamy Mac and Cheese, or cauliflower and cheese as I like to think of it.  This took a leap of faith on my part to make.  Why?  Because I have never.  In my entire adult life.  Purchased.  A head of cauliflower.

There, I said it.

I didn't want to buy something that most people smother in cheese to make it taste better.  But I was desperate for some comfort food. I found myself in the produce department mulling over white heads of broccoli wannabes.

Say what you will, I will make this again.



Weight Watchers Super Creamy Mac and Cheese


Ingredients:
1 t salted butter
1/3 c Panko breadcrumbs
2 T grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1 head uncooked cauliflower (2 lbs)
4 medium uncooked carrots, thinly sliced
1 c reduced sodium vegetable broth
1/4 c low fat cream cheese (Neufchatel)
1.5 t Dijon mustard
1/2 c low-fat shredded cheddar cheese, sharp variety recommended, divided
1.5 oz. Gruyere cheese, shredded (1/4 cup)
1 t table salt
1/4 t hot pepper sauce
8 oz uncooked macaroni
2 sprays cooking spray

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Bring a large pan of salted water to a boil.

Melt butter in medium skillet over medium heat; add panko and cook, stirring occasionally until toasted, about 4 minutes.  Transfer to small bowl and let cool; stir in Pecorino and set aside.  (Just as a head's up here, I didn't use this butter and I didn't toast my panko.  I simply sprinkled the panko mixture on the top of the casserole once I got to that point.  I'm not washing more dishes.)

Cut 3 cups small florets from cauliflower; set aside.  I used 4.  Cauliflower is BIG.  Cut remaining cauliflower (including stem) into 2 inch pieces.  Add cauliflower pieces and carrots to boiling water; cook until very tender, 10-12 minutes.  I forgot to set the timer, so it went 20.  No biggie.

Meanwhile, combine broth, cream cheese, mustard, 1/4 c cheddar, gruyere, salt, and pepper sauce in a large blender.  With a large slotted spoon, transfer cooked vegetables to blender, puree into a creamy sauce.  Can we say thank goodness for the Ninja blender?

Add pasta to same pot of boiling water; cook half the time of package directions, adding reserveed cauliflower florets during last minute of cooking.  Drain pasta and cauliflower, return to pot and stir in pureed sauce.

Coat a 2.5 quarter shallow baking dish with cooking spray; spoon pasta mixture into prepared pan in an even layer.  Sprinkle dish with remaining 1/4 c cheddar and reserved crumb mixture; bake until golden on top, 25-30 minutes.

Here's what you get.



Serving size: 1 c.
Weight Watchers Points Plus: 6

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Gram's Chicken Casserole

This is a recipe from Gram.  My gram is one of the world's great country cooks.  Her green beans are without comparison.  Her potato salad is renowned.  And this.  This.  This chicken casserole is one of our family's leftover favorites.

Ingredients:
1 stick butter
1 bag herbed stuffing
5 carrots, diced
1 medium onion, diced
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 turkey breast or half of a roasted chicken,diced
1 can Campbell's  Cream of Mushroom soup
1 can chicken broth

Stew chicken.  Don't discard chicken broth.  Remove from bone, discard skin and cut or shred into bite-sized portions.  Melt butter in a saucepan and saute diced carrots, celery and onion until soft.  Mix the soup with the chicken broth and set aside.

Grease the bottom of a 13x9 pan.  Layer 1/3rd of the dry stuffing to cover the bottom of the pan.  Top stuffing with 1/2 of the chicken.  Top chicken with 1/2 of the sauteed vegetables.  Pour 1/2 of the liquid over the dry ingredients.  Layer 1/3 of the stuffing over this.  Add the remainder of the chicken and vegetables and liquid.  Top with the final 1/3 of the stuffing.

Bake at 400 F for 1 hour.

Enjoy.

 

Spinach Fritatta

If you read this blog or know me, you know I love breakfast.  I am an egg eater.  An ovivore.  I love eggs, virtually any style.  And yes, I love quiche. But I am not a fan of the pie crust.  When served pie, I give away the rind of the crust.  It's just not my thing.  So when I discovered that one could make a crustless quiche, I was all in.

Enter the fritatta.

The thing about fritattas, about quiches, is that they are best when they are barely set.  They have the consistency of custard and they melt in your mouth.  This is just one of those kinds of recipes.

Ingredients:
3 small Yukon gold potatoes, diced and pre-cooked
1 large vidalia onion, julienned
1 pkg (10 oz.) spinach, wilted
12 eggs, beaten
4 oz. full fat sour cream
4 oz. Gruyere cheese
1/4 t salt
1/4 t pepper
vegetable oil
1 well seasoned 10" cast iron pan

Dice and cook the potatoes in a small amount of oil.  Set aside to cool.  Julienne the onion and cook in a small amount of oil over low heat until onions are caramelized.  Remove from heat and allow to cool.  Wilt one package of baby spinach (stems removed) over medium heat.  Remove from heat and allow to cool.  Dice the Gruyere into small pieces.  Set aside.

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Beat 12 large eggs with a wire whisk.  Add the sour cream and beat until homogeneous. Add the salt and pepper.  Oil the cast iron pan with a generous 2T of oil.  Use a paper towel to oil the sides of the pan. 

Add the potatoes, onion, spinach and cheese to the egg mixture and pour into the pan.  Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.  Check for doneness.  You want the center of the fritatta *just set*.  If not to desired doneness, bake on, checking every 5 minutes for donenes.  Do not overbake.  The fritatta will probably not have a browned top.  If you cook it until the top is browned, you have overcooked the interior of the thing and it will have the texture of a kitchen sponge.  Don't do that.  You are going to have to live with an unbrowned top this time.  

As soon as practically possible, run a knife around the edge of the pan removing the sides of the fritatta.  After 10 minutes, turn the fritatta out onto a plate and serve.