Sunday, January 23, 2011

Rigatoni with Sausage and Broccoli

1/2 pound rigatoni (1⁄2 box)
1 bunch broccoli, cut into florets
3 tablespoons olive oil
kosher salt and black pepper
1 pound Italian sausage links, casings removed and meat broken into 1-inch pieces
1/4 cup grated Parmesan (1 ounce)
red pepper flakes, to taste

Cook the pasta according to the package directions.

While pasta cooks, thoroughly brown sausage in the olive oil. Remove from pan. Deglaze the pan with 1/2 cup pasta water. Add broccoli. Cook broccoli over medium heat, 3 minutes or until crisp tender, adding more water if necessary.

Return sausage and pasta to pan. Top with Parmesan and red pepper flakes.

Easy Chicken Soup

3 cups water
1 package ramen noodles, chicken flavor
2 cups cooked cut up chicken
1 bundle swiss chard
1 medium carrot, thinly sliced into rounds
1 teaspoon sesame oil

Heat water to boiling in a saucepan. Break up noodles, reserving seasoning packet. Stir noodles, chicken, and carrots into water. Return to boil. Boil 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in chard, sesame oil, and seasoning packet. Serve immediately.

--Adapted from Betty Crocker Quick and Easy cookbook

Spiced Pork and Sweet Potato Stew

2 1/2 pounds boneless pork shoulder or butt, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
kosher salt and black pepper
5 green onions, sliced
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/3 cup apricot preserves
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and sliced thin
cooked couscous, sliced scallions, and chopped roasted almonds, for serving

In a large Dutch oven, toss the pork with the paprika, cumin, ginger, cinnamon, cayenne, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Scatter the onion over the pork. Add the chicken broth, preserves, and vinegar to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until tender, about 2 ½ hours.

In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and ¼ cup water and stir into the pot along with the chickpeas and sweet potatoes. Simmer, uncovered, until the cooking liquid is slightly thickened, 15 to 20 minutes more. Serve over couscous and sprinkle with the scallions and almonds, if desired.

--Adapted from Real Simple

Meatballs with Couscous and Feta

1 pound ground lamb or beef
1/4 cup dried apricots, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 cup sliced green onions
kosher salt and black pepper
1 cup couscous
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 plum tomatoes, sliced
1/2 English cucumber, halved and thinly sliced
4 ounces Feta, crumbled

Heat broiler. In a medium bowl, combine the meat, apricots, coriander, chopped green onion, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper.

Form the meat into 1 ½-inch balls (about 20) and place them on a broilerproof baking sheet. Broil until cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes. Meanwhile, place the couscous in a bowl. Add 1 cup boiling water, cover, and let sit for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

In a small bowl, mix together the oil, lemon juice, and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper.

Serve the couscous with the meatballs, tomatoes, cucumber, Feta. Drizzle with the dressing.

--Adapted from Real Simple

Sweet Potato and Brie Flatbread

4 pieces Naan or other premade flatbread
1 medium sweet potato, peeled, halved, and thinly sliced
4 green onions, thinly sliced
8 sprigs fresh thyme
3 tablespoons olive oil
kosher salt and black pepper
4 ounces Brie, sliced

Heat oven to 425° F.

In a medium bowl, toss the sweet potato, shallots, thyme, oil, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper.

Scatter the potato mixture over the flatbread and top with the Brie. Bake until golden brown and crisp, 15 to 20 minutes.

--Adapted from Real Simple

Sugar Cookies

The best sugar cookie recipe ever, courtesy of Alton Brown.

3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon milk
Powdered sugar, for rolling out dough

Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. Place butter and sugar in large bowl of electric stand mixer and beat until light in color. Add egg and milk and beat to combine. Put mixer on low speed, gradually add flour, and beat until mixture pulls away from the side of the bowl. Divide the dough in half, wrap in waxed paper, and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Sprinkle surface where you will roll out dough with powdered sugar. Remove 1 wrapped pack of dough from refrigerator at a time, sprinkle rolling pin with powdered sugar, and roll out dough to 1/4-inch thick. Move the dough around and check underneath frequently to make sure it is not sticking. If dough has warmed during rolling, place cold cookie sheet on top for 10 minutes to chill. Cut into desired shape, place at least 1-inch apart on greased baking sheet, parchment, or silicone baking mat, and bake for 7 to 9 minutes or until cookies are just beginning to turn brown around the edges, rotating cookie sheet halfway through baking time. Let sit on baking sheet for 2 minutes after removal from oven and then move to complete cooling on wire rack. Serve as is or ice as desired. Store in airtight container for up to 1 week.

--Adapted from Alton Brown

Spaghetti Pie

1 pound ground round
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 (8-ounce) cans tomato sauce with garlic
1 1/2 cups low-fat sour cream
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup (2 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
4 cups hot cooked spaghetti (about 8 ounces uncooked pasta)
Cooking spray
1 1/3 cups (about 5 ounces) shredded reduced-fat extra-sharp cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350°.

Cook meat in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until browned, stirring to crumble. Drain well, and return meat to pan. Stir in salt, pepper, and tomato sauce. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes. Combine the sour cream, green onions, and cream cheese in a small bowl, and set aside. Place the spaghetti noodles in a 2-quart casserole dish coated with cooking spray. Spread the sour cream mixture over spaghetti noodles. Top with meat mixture. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese. Cover and bake at 350° for 25 minutes. Uncover; bake an additional 5 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.

--Adapted from Cooking Light magazine