Thursday, January 31, 2008

Sweet and Sour Chicken

This is a very simple weeknight supper. Short of chopping a few veggies, there really isn't much work involved.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon bottled minced garlic
1 teaspoon bottled ground fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 (15 1/4-ounce) can pineapple chunks in juice, undrained
1/3 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons dry sherry
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1/4 cup dry-roasted chopped cashews

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic, ginger, red pepper, and chicken to pan; sauté 5 minutes or until chicken is done. Remove chicken mixture from pan; set aside.

Add onion, celery, and bell pepper to pan, and sauté 4 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain pineapple, reserving 1/2 cup juice. Add 1 cup pineapple chunks to pan; cook 30 seconds. Reserve remaining pineapple for another use. Combine the reserved 1/2 cup juice, soy sauce, sherry, cornstarch, and sugar in a bowl, stirring with a whisk until smooth.

Return chicken mixture to pan. Stir in juice mixture; bring to boil. Cook 1 minute. Sprinkle with cashews.

--Adapted from Cooking Light magazine

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Porcini Risotto with Mascarpone

This is one of the better risotto recipes I have run across. For this dish, I substituted morel mushrooms for the porcini, and cream cheese for the mascarpone. I don;t think it really affected the flavor a great deal.

1 1/2 cups boiling water
1/2 cup dried porcini mushrooms (about 1/2 ounce)
1 (14-ounce) can less-sodium beef broth
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup uncooked Arborio rice or other short-grain rice
3/4 cup chopped shallots
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup (2 ounces) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/4 cup (1 ounce) mascarpone cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fresh or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Combine boiling water and mushrooms; let stand 10 minutes or until soft. Drain through a colander over a bowl. Reserve 1 1/4 cups soaking liquid, and chop mushrooms.

Bring soaking liquid and broth to a simmer in a small saucepan (do not boil). Keep broth mixture warm over low heat.

Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with oil. Add rice, shallots, and garlic; sauté 5 minutes. Add wine, and cook until liquid evaporates (about 2 minutes).

Add 1 cup broth mixture to rice mixture; cook over medium heat 5 minutes or until the liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring occasionally. Add remaining broth mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring occasionally until each portion of broth mixture is absorbed before adding the next (about 25 minutes total). Add mushrooms, cheeses, thyme, salt, and pepper; stir gently just until the cheese melts. Serve warm.

--Adapted from Cooking Light magazine

Garlic Chive Knots

This isn't so much a recipe as a method. You don't have to use garlic and chives. You could use cinnamon and sugar, and make cinnamon rolls. Still, it is a great way to dress up a simple meal.

1 1/2 tablespoons butter or stick margarine
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 (11-ounce) can refrigerated bread stick dough
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives or green onions
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350°.

Melt butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add minced garlic; sauté 30 seconds or until lightly browned. Remove from heat; stir in garlic powder. Unroll the bread stick dough onto a lightly floured surface; brush dough with garlic mixture. Sprinkle the dough with chives and cheese.

Roll the dough back up. Cut the dough into strips (the knife will crimp the ends together, or you can separate the strips, and shape each strip into a knot). Place the knots onto a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 17 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve warm.

--Adapted from Cooking Light magazine

Vegetable Beef Soup

I included this recipe as mostly written. However, I made it with ground beef and half the required water. Then I simmered for 1.5 hours.

One of the best homemade soups. Top notch.

2 tablespoons vegetable oil (if using chuck roast)
2 1/2 to 3 pounds beef short ribs or 2 1/2 to 3 pounds boneless chuck roast*
4 quarts cold water
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
3 tablespoons dried parsley
2 tablespoons beef bouillon granules
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon seasoned salt, plus extra for seasoning
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon celery seed
2 bay leaves
1 cup thinly sliced carrots, frozen
1 cup diced celery
1 cup sliced green beans, frozen
1 cup frozen black-eyed peas, frozen
1 cup frozen butter beans, frozen
1 cup corn kernels, frozen
1 cup diced potatoes
1/2 cup uncooked elbow macaroni

If using chuck roast, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Place the roast in the skillet and cook until browned on both sides, about 5 minutes per side. Remove the roast from the skillet and cut it into 1 1/2 to 2-inch cubes; discard the fat. Place the beef cubes in a large stockpot. (If using short ribs, you can put them right in the pot with no preparation).

If using ground beef, brown the beef; drain. Add 2 quarts water, instead of 4.

Add the water, tomatoes, dried parsley, beef bouillon, dried Italian seasoning, House Seasoning, seasoned salt, Worcestershire sauce, celery salt, garlic powder, black pepper and bay leaves. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover the pot; reduce the heat so that the liquid simmers, and cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until the meat is very tender. If using short ribs, remove them from the pot and cut the meat from the bones, discard the bones and fat, and return the meat to the pot. Add the remaining vegetables and the macaroni and return the soup to a boil, stirring to distribute the ingredients.

Reduce the heat and simmer for 45 minutes. Just before serving, season with salt and pepper and add fresh chopped parsley.

--Adapted from Paula Deen

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Creamy Feta-Spinach Dip

This is a very tasty, hearty dip. It works better with crostini or pita chips than tortilla chips.

1 (8-ounce) carton plain low-fat yogurt
3/4 cup (3 ounces) crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup (2 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup low-fat sour cream
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 1/2 cups finely chopped spinach
1 tablespoon minced fresh or 1 teaspoon dried dill
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Spoon yogurt onto several layers of heavy-duty paper towels; spread to 1/2-inch thickness. Cover with additional paper towels, and let stand 5 minutes. Scrape into a bowl. Add the cream cheese, sour cream, and garlic, and stir until smooth, scraping sides of bowl once. Add feta crumbles. Stir in the spinach, minced dill, and pepper. Cover and chill. Garnish with fresh dill, if desired.

--Adapted from Cooking Light magazine

Monday, January 21, 2008

Spiced Amaretto Coffee

8 cups brewed dark roast coffee
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons whole cloves (about 38)
4 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks
2/3 cup amaretto liqueur
Whipped cream
Orange rind strips

Heat coffee and next 3 ingredients in a saucepan over low heat 10 minutes. (Do not boil.) Stir in amaretto. Pour into mugs; serve with whipped cream and orange rind strips. Place a strip of orange rind on rim of each cup, if desired.

--Adapted from Cooking Light magazine

Linguine with Clams and Peas

Leave your knife in the drawer. You won't need it for this recipe. It's fast and easy.

1 (9-ounce) package fresh linguine
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons bottled minced garlic
3 (6 1/2-ounce) cans chopped clams, undrained
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 cup frozen green peas
1/2 cup (2 ounces) preshredded Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain; keep warm.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic to pan; sauté 1 minute. Drain clams, reserving clams and 1/2 cup juice. Add reserved clam juice, broth, wine, and pepper to pan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add clams and peas to pan; cook 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Add pasta to pan; toss well.

Sprinkle with cheese and basil.

--Adapted from Cooking Light magazine

Bourbon Pork Tenderloin

A fair recipe. Nothing special in the flavor, but easy enough to prepare. It's a change from my traditional grilled pork tenderloin.

2 1/2 pounds pork tenderloins
3/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup bourbon
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup canola oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon salt

Rinse tenderloins, and pat dry. Combine soy sauce and next 9 ingredients in a large zip-top plastic freezer bag or shallow dish; seal or cover, and chill at least 12 hours. Remove pork from marinade, discarding marinade. Sprinkle evenly with salt.

Preheat oven to 350. Bake tenderloins in ovenproof dish (lined with foil for easy clean-up) for 45 to 55 minutes, or until internal temp is 155. Remove from oven; rest for 10-15 minutes.

--Adapted from Cooking Light magazine

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Sour Cream and Scallion Mashed Potatoes

My current favorite mashed potatoes.

10 large Idaho potatoes (7 pounds), peeled and quartered
5 garlic cloves, peeled
1 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1/2 cup milk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
7 scallions, white and light green parts, thinly sliced
black pepper

Place the potatoes and garlic in a large pot and add enough water to cover. Bring to a boil and cook until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain the potatoes and garlic and return to the pot. Add the sour cream, milk, and butter and mash with a potato masher. Add scallions and stir gently to combine well. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot.

Maple Balsamic Glazed Pork Medallions

This is a good alternative to my usual grilled pork tenderloin. The sweet sauce is perfect over broccoli.

1/4 cup maple syrup
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 (1-pound) pork tenderloin, trimmed
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Combine syrup and vinegar in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook until reduced to 1/3 cup (about 3 minutes), stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in mustard.

Cut pork crosswise into 8 pieces. Place each pork piece between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap; pound to 1/4-inch thickness using a meat mallet or small heavy skillet.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle pork evenly with salt and pepper. Add pork to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side. Add vinegar mixture; cook 1 minute or until desired degree of doneness, turning pork to coat.

Place 2 pork medallions on each of 4 plates; drizzle about 1 tablespoon syrup mixture over each serving.

--Adapted from Cooking Light magazine

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Spanish Style Halibut

2 slices applewood-smoked bacon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 (6-ounce) skinless halibut fillets
2 teaspoons bottled minced garlic
1 (6-ounce) package fresh baby spinach
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

Cook the bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, and crumble. Set aside.

Combine 1/2 teaspoon salt, smoked paprika, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper in a small bowl. Sprinkle spice mixture evenly over fish. Add fish to drippings in pan, and cook for 3 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork or until desired degree of doneness. Remove fish from pan, and keep warm.

Add 2 teaspoons garlic to pan, and cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently. Stir in bacon and vinegar. Add spinach to pan, and cook for 1 minute or until the spinach begins to wilt. Serve with fish.

--Adapted from Cooking Light magazine

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Quick Coq Au Vin

This will become a standard recipe. It's great. Simple and tasty. This is the best tasting 30 minute recipe I've seen in a while.

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
2 teaspoon salt, divided
6 (4-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken thighs
1 tablespoon olive oil
6 cups quartered cremini mushrooms
2 cups (1/4-inch-thick) slices carrot
1/3 cup (1/4-inch-thick) slices Canadian bacon
1 cup dry red wine
1 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon minced garlic

Combine flour, thyme, celery, and 1 teaspoon salt in a zip-top plastic bag; add chicken. Seal and shake to coat. Remove chicken from bag, shaking off excess flour.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook 8 minutes or until browned, turning frequently. Remove chicken from pan.

Add mushrooms, carrot, and bacon to pan; sauté 2 minutes.

Stir in wine, broth, garlic, and tomato paste; cook 9 minutes.

Return chicken to pan; cook 8 minutes or until chicken is done.

--Adapted from Cooking Light magazine

Monday, January 14, 2008

Risotto Alle Vongole (Risotto with Clams)

l3 (6 oz.) cans chopped clams, drained liquid reserved
7 cups water, divided
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice or other short-grain rice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Chopped fresh parsley (optional)

Bring 7 cups water to a simmer in a large saucepan (do not boil). Keep warm over low heat.

Put 2 tablespoons olive oil, parsley, and garlic in a large saucepan; cook over medium-high heat until garlic sizzles. Add the rice, and stir until coated; cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in reserved clam liquid; cook until the liquid is absorbed, stirring constantly. Add water, 1 cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion of water is absorbed before adding the next. Continue until rice is tender. Season with salt and pepper. Add clams; cook 3 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Stir in 1 tablespoon olive oil, and sprinkle with parsley, if desired.

Serve immediately.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Sausage Apple Strudel

1 can (10 oz.) refrigerated pizza crust
2 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. cinnamon sugar, divided
1 tart apple, such as Granny Smith or McIntosh, thinly sliced
5 frozen sausage links, chopped (or your favorite country sausage)

Spray 13x9 inch baking pan with cooking spray. Place pizza crust in pan; pat out dough to completely cover bottom of pan. Sprinkle with 2 Tbsp. of the cinnamon sugar.

Arrange apples in lengthwise row down center of dough; top with chopped links. Fold over long sides of dough to cover filling, slightly overlapping edges of dough in center. Pinch ends of dough together to seal. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tsp. cinnamon sugar.

Bake at 400°F for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

--Adapted from Kraft Food and Family

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Grilled Red Snapper with Orzo Salad

This whole meal comes together in less than 10 minutes. Put the water on to boil, prep the dressing. Cook the pasta and fish at the same time. Mix together. Fix some asparagus beside the fish, or another quick vegetable and you have a meal in a flash.

1 1/2 cups uncooked orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
Cooking spray
4 (6-ounce) red snapper fillets
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, divided
1 1/2 tablespoons minced shallots
1 tablespoon chopped dried parsley
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup extravirgin olive oil

Cook pasta according to the package directions, omitting salt and fat.

While the pasta cooks, heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Sprinkle fish evenly with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Add fish to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork or until desired degree of doneness. Combine remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/8 teaspoon pepper, shallots, parsley, lemon juice, orange juice, and mustard in a small bowl, stirring well. Slowly add olive oil, stirring constantly with a whisk. Drizzle the shallot mixture over pasta; toss well to coat.

--Adapted from Cooking Light magazine

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Chicken Mushroom and Bacon Pot Pie

This is a fairly easy recipe. I listed the recipe as I made it, but instead of the flour and stock, it ought to be possible to just use as can of cream of chicken soup. Also, I made this in a rectangular baking dish, mainly because I don't have appropriate sized dished to do individual portions (as listed, the recipe is supposed to be two servings). Because of the shape of the dish, I used a can of crescent rolls. I imagine if you used round dishes, canned biscuits work equally well.

3 strips of bacon, cut into 1" slices
1 teaspoon garlic infused oil
2 cups mushrooms, sliced into 1/4-inch pieces (an 8 oz. container)
8 ounces chicken thigh fillets cut into 1-inch pieces
2 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon butter
1 1/4 cups hot chicken stock
1 tablespoon of white wine
1 can of crescent rolls

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Fry the bacon strips in the oil until beginning to crisp, then add the sliced mushrooms and soften them in the pan with the bacon.

Turn the chicken strips in the flour and thyme (you could toss them in a freezer bag), and then melt the butter in the pan before adding the chicken and all the flour left in the bag. Stir around with the bacon and mushrooms until the chicken browns.

Pour in the hot stock and wine, stirring to form a sauce and let this bubble away for about 7 minutes.

Using a rolling pin, shape the crescent rolls into an appropriate shape for your dish. Add the chicken to the baking dish/dishes, and top with the dough.

Cook the pie for about 15-20 minutes.

--Adapted from Nigella Lawson

Garlicky Pasta with Fresh Tomatoes and Basil

3 tablespoons extravirgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups chopped plum tomatoes (about 1 pound), peeled and seeded
4 cups hot cooked rotini (about 8 ounces uncooked pasta)
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Cut a small X in the bottom of each tomato. Toss the tomatoes into the boiling water for 30 seconds, or until the skin splits - this will make peeling them a cinch. Add the pasta to the boiling water. While the pasta cooks, prepare the tomatoes.

Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add minced garlic; sauté 30 seconds. Add chopped tomatoes; cook for 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring occasionally. Add pasta, basil, cheese, salt, and pepper, tossing gently to combine.

--Adapted from Cooking Light magazine

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Sweet Potato Casserole

This dish is equally tasty as a side dish or as a dessert.

3 cups sweet potatoes (about 3 large)
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp. vanilla
1/3 cup milk

Boil sweet potatoes until soft. Let cool, then peel and mash.

To the mashed sweet potatoes, add the rest of the ingredients, and stir to combine. Pour the mixture into a baking dish.

1 cup brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup butter, melted

Combine topping in a separate bowl.

Top sweet potato mixture with pecan mixture.

Bake uncovered 30 minutes at 350.

The Famous Lasagna

One recipe makes a one dish. However, this freezes very well, so if you are making it, you might as well make two.

For each pound of ground beef:

1 tsp. onion flakes
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 can tomato sauce/diced tomatoes (depending on how chunky you like the sauce)
3/4 cup ketchup
1 cup water

8 oz. lasagna noodles
1 small carton cottage cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
2 cups cheddar cheese
1 can sliced mushrooms, drained

Brown ground beef; drain. Combine the rest of the sauce ingredients, simmer covered for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400.

Boil noodles according to package directions

Line a deep baking dish with noodles, layer ingredients in the following order: noodles, half the carton of cottage cheese, 1/2 the can of mushrooms, half the cheddar cheese, half the meat sauce, half the mozzarella cheese. Top with another layer of all ingredients.

Bake uncovered for 30 minutes. Let stand for 15 minutes after removing from oven.

--Adapted from Mollie Sims Poindexter

Bourbon-Barbeque Chicken

This makes a nice barbeque chicken. Very quick, and very easy.

4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoon butter
1/3 cup minced shallots
1/4 cup bourbon
3/4 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
3 teaspoons tomato-based barbecue sauce

Place each chicken breast half between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap; pound to 1/2-inch thickness using a meat mallet or rolling pin. Sprinkle chicken evenly with salt and pepper.

Heat oil and butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add chicken; cook 6 minutes on each side or until done. Remove chicken from pan; keep warm.

Add shallots to pan; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add bourbon to pan; bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned pits. Cook until bourbon mixture is reduced to 2 tablespoons (about 5 minutes). Add broth and barbecue sauce; cook until broth mixture is reduced to 1/2 cup (about 3 minutes). Serve sauce over chicken.

--Adapted from Cooking Light magazine

Creamy Parmesan Dressing

This is a great salad dressing. It has a really light flavor, so it might not be best with iceberg lettuce. But for romaine or other lettuce with some flavor, then it is perfect.

2/3 cup vegetable or olive oil
1/3 cup rice vinegar
3 tablespoons mayo
3 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese
1 clove finely minced garlic
1 tablespoon chives (optional)

Combine everything in a jar with a tight fitting lid and shake until combined.

--Adapted from Rick Bayless

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Black-Eyed Peas with Smoked Sausage

We made this instead of the traditional Southern approach to black-eyed peas. It's good enough to become a tradition in and of itself. Served over spinach (I'm not a big fan of collards), it covers pretty much all your bases in one dish.

1 pound smoked turkey sausage, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups frozen black-eyed peas (or a 1 lb. bag)
1/4 cup white wine
2 cups water
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon celery seeds
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup green onion, minced fine

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add sausage; sauté 5 minutes or until browned. Remove from pan, and place in an electric slow cooker. Add garlic and wine; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly to deglaze the pan.

Add beans (still frozen), shallot mixture, water, and the remaining ingredients to slow cooker. Cover and cook on high 4 hours or until beans are tender.

--Adapted from Cooking Light magazine