Monday, November 29, 2010

Rotini with Lentil Bolognese

Seriously? I'm actually going to create a post about eating pasta for dinner? Um, yeah. I am.

I actually used to make whole wheat pasta with tomato sauce, every single night, as a side dish, to whatever we were having for dinner. We loved it, but it was a tad excessive - know what I mean?

Anyway, now we all really miss our daily pasta, and since with was a holiday week, and we were both exhausted and itching for some nice comfort food, pasta fit the bill. I really like meat sauce, but since I no longer eat red meat, I have been looking for a substitute, that adds a nice, hearty texture to a pasta sauce. I found this Lentil Bolognese recipe on Epicurious, but the reviews were a tad less than stellar. I ended up doctoring the recipe, to the point where is is basically nothing like the Epicurious version, though I used their recipe as base for inspiration. I will post my recipe below, and if you want to see the original, just click the link! Anyway, this tasted really good. I loved the flavor - Spicy, salty (but not too salty), sweet (but not too sweet!), and hearty. The only issue I had with this recipe, was that the lentils never really cooked well. There is actually a scientific explanation for this, but basically, when you try to cook dried beans in tomato broth, the acidity makes it almost impossible for the beans to get soft. So, basically, I cooked this for a full hour, and the lentils were soft enough, but not really as soft as I would have liked them. My remedy for this? Next time, I will use canned lentils (drained and rinsed), or I will partially cook them separately, then add them for the final 20 minutes of cooking. I personally think this will be crucial, to making this a second time. It didn't matter, because it was a lovely dish, with a lot of leftovers. I will make this again. It was easy, tasty, and a super comforting end, to a long and eventful weekend!

I used whole wheat rotini, which made this even heartier. Mmmmmm.

A big hunk of leftover, homemade focaccia, rounded out this meal very nicely. Jonah loved this bread!

Nothing like a chunky, vegetable ragu.
You should probably make this. Let me know how you modify it, and let me know how your lentils come out! 4 Bowls - gotta take a point off, for toothsome lentils!

Pasta with Lentil Bolognese

Yield: Makes 6 servings


1 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2-3 carrots, chopped
1-2 stalk celery, chopped
1 Bell Pepper, chopped (I used yellow)
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons tomato paste
2 (15-ounce) cans chopped tomatoes, drained and roughly chopped OR pureed (juice reserved)
1 1/4 cups dried French green lentils or regular brown/green lentils
Coarse sea or kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 tsp of dried basil
1/4 tsp seasoning salt (I used Penzey's 4S Seasoned Salt)
Bay Leaf
3-4 cups of Chicken or Veggie Broth
Dash of crushed red pepper

1 pound shaped pasta, such as cavatappi, rigatoni, or ziti
Pecorino cheese, grated or shaved (optional, but tastes better that way)
Fresh basil, chopped (optional)


1. In a large pot over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion, carrot, celery, bell pepper, and garlic and cook slowly until the vegetables soften and turn golden, about 20 minutes.

2. Increase heat to medium-high and add the tomato paste. Cook until the mixture dries out a bit, about 3 minutes. Pour in the reserved juice from the tomatoes and cook, scraping the browned bits from the bottom of the pan, until the liquid has reduced by half, 1 to 2 minutes.

3. Stir in the lentils, tomatoes, and 1 cup water OR broth (I used broth, as per reviews!). Add seasonings and bay leaf (and whatever else you want!)Bring to a boil, then reduce heat. Season with the salt and pepper and simmer until the lentils are tender, 30 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the lentils. (If the sauce begins to dry out, add additional water as needed - I ended up having to add at least 2 cups of broth, throughout the cooking.) Reduce heat to low and keep warm.

** If you choose to use rinsed and drained, canned lentils, you should probably use 2 cans, and add them in the last 10-20 minutes of cooking. I'm not sure how this would change the reduction of the sauce though... Any thoughts on this?

4. Cook the pasta according to the package directions; drain. Serve with the lentil sauce, sprinkle with the pecorino, and garnish with the basil, if desired.

Caramel Crumb Bars

In honor of Thanksgiving, I cooked quite a bit. Did I take photos of what I cooked last week? Nope. I guess I was too busy... As if that's a good excuse. Anyway, here is a rundown of what I cooked, and how it rated:

Honey-Wheat Clover Rolls - 5 Bowls!

Cauliflower Gratin (Thanks Ina - You did me proud!) - 4 Bowls (it isn't meant to be made ahead!)

Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake with Peanut Butter Ganache - 4 Bowls

Caramel Crumb Bars - 5 Bowls (see below)!

Rosemary-Garlic Focaccia Bread - 4 Bowls (you have to take the garlic breath into account - otherwise, it's a 5 bowler).

Chicken Char Siu Skewers - 4 Bowls (I tripled the recipe, and every last bite was eaten. The problem was, no matter how much soaking I did, the skewers still burned. Boo.)

Mac and Cheese (Thanks, again, Ina!) - 4 Bowls (I lowered the fat, significantly, so it wasn't quite as rich as it should have been.)

Spicy Asian Cole Slaw - 4 Bowls (This is really just a "dressing" for coleslaw recipe, but it comes out very tasty and light!).

The caramel bars were the first thing I made, and I was still in photo mode, so I documented this one. I found the recipe in Saveur (kind of a "higher-end" foodie mag), and I just couldn't help myself. I made a giant mistake in these - I used light brown sugar, instead of dark. It wasn't an accident, to be honest. I just didn't have dark brown sugar. I don't think it affected the taste, but they absolutely weren't nearly as pretty as they should have been. Fortunately, people didn't hold it against me. These were devoured at Thanksgiving, and the little gathering we had, on Saturday. They taste like a layered shortbread, with a gooey layer of caramel, topped by buttery crumbles. Mmmmmm... What is there to hate, about a non-fruit dessert, with a crumbled topping? I was even able to pawn off the last half-dozen, on my sis-in-law, who is a caramel lover. Kevin dislikes caramel, because it is made of butter, so I am glad they made it to a good home. These are insanely easy to make, and totally decadent. I wouldn't make them, just for the sake of having cookies in the house, because they are pretty heavy (okay, fattening might be a better word), but they hit the spot, for a special occasion.

Seriously. Make these for your next cookie exchange, Christmas, Hanukkah, or dinner party. Love them. 5 Bowls.

Caramel Crumb Bars

20 tbsp. unsalted butter,
softened, plus more
2 1/2 cups flour, plus
more for pan
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 tbsp. light corn syrup
1 14-oz. can sweetened condensed

Heat oven to 350°. Line a 9" x 13" baking sheet with parchment paper; grease and flour. In a mixer fitted with a paddle, beat together 16 tbsp. butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt until fluffy. Add 2 1/4 cups flour; mix. Transfer 3/4 dough to pan; press into bottom; chill. Rub remaining dough and flour into large crumbles; set aside. Combine remaining butter, brown sugar, syrup, and milk in a 2-qt. saucepan. Cook, stirring, over medium-high heat to make caramel, 8–10 minutes. Pour over dough; scatter crumbles over top. Bake until golden, 25–30 minutes. Let cool. Cut into bars.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

Peanut butter and jelly is obviously one of the most amazing flavor combinations... Ever. I have been looking for a "bar" recipe, to satisfy Maya's desperate need for a daily bar. I am always creating things, and Maya usually loves them, for a short time, and then loses interest. The search continues... I found this one on a blog called The author of the blog created/adapted this recipe, and it looked and sounded absolutely divine - not to mention, relatively healthy. I made it with whole wheat ingredients and natural ingredients, and it came out delicious. They are sort of like peanut butter sandwich cookies, with grape jelly in the middle. They have a great flavor and texture. They aren't quite as neat and compact as Maya's usual, Nutri-Grain type of bar, but that's okay. She really liked them, and so did I. Good thing, since I have 23 more, sitting in the fridge.

I don't think I can post the recipe here, so you'll have to click the link above, if you want to get in on the action. Try these. They are quite a delicious snack.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Cloverleaf Honey-Wheat Rolls

Mmmmmm... Rolls...

We had a couple of friends over this weekend, and their girl, Eve. I decided to make dinner, but I held back from making anything new, since I've always heard that that's an entertaining faux pas. I made Szechwan Chicken Meatloaf, with the Sukiyaki Stir Fry. I decided to try these honey-wheat rolls, because I've been eyeing the recipe for a year now, and I didn't think it could hurt, to try one itty bitty new recipe.

These rolls are really good. Well, fantastic. Let me put it this way: There were 4 adults, and 3 babies eating dinner. We had a dozen rolls. Between the 7 of us, we ate all but 1. They are a great consistency, with a nice light, sweet flavor. They are called "Cloverleaf Rolls," because they are meant to rise into 3 distinct peaks, like a clover. Well, mine didn't "peak" like the photo on the Cooking Light website, but they certainly tore into 3 flaky pieces, which made them really pretty, and easy to eat. They are also extremely easy to throw together (if you have a Cuisinart or Kitchen Aid Mixer). I decided to make 2 more batches for Thanksgiving. This is a great, solid recipe. What's better than home baked bread?

Make these. Now. They were a 5 Bowler.

Cloverleaf Honey-Wheat Rolls

Bake these rolls up to a day ahead; store at room temperature in a zip-top plastic bag, or freeze them for later. Wrap the rolls in foil and reheat at 350� for 10 minutes or until warm.

Yield: 1 dozen (serving size: 1 roll)

1 package dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 cup warm water (100� to 110�)
2 cups bread flour, divided
1 cup whole wheat flour
3 tablespoons honey
2 1/2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon salt
Cooking spray
1 tablespoon water
1 large egg

Dissolve yeast in 1 cup warm water in a large bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Add 1 1/2 cups bread flour, whole wheat flour, honey, butter, and salt to yeast mixture; stir until well blended. Add 1/4 cup bread flour; stir until a soft dough forms.

Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 8 minutes); add enough of remaining bread flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands (dough will feel tacky).

Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85�), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in size. (Press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, the dough has risen enough.) Punch dough down; cover and let rest 5 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425�.

Coat 12 muffin cups with cooking spray. Divide dough into 12 equal portions. Working with 1 portion at a time, divide each portion into 3 pieces; shape each piece into a ball (cover remaining dough to prevent it from drying). Place 3 balls in each muffin cup. Cover and let rise 25 minutes or until doubled in size.

Uncover dough. Combine 1 tablespoon water and egg; brush over rolls. Bake at 425� for 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve warm.

CALORIES 152 (18% from fat); FAT 3g (sat 1.6g,mono 0.9g,poly 0.2g); IRON 1.5mg; CHOLESTEROL 24mg; CALCIUM 4mg; CARBOHYDRATE 27.3g; SODIUM 206mg; PROTEIN 5.1g; FIBER 2g

Cooking Light, SEPTEMBER 2002

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Sukiyaki Style Mixed Grill with Chicken Char Siu

From Wikipedia:

Sukiyaki: It consists of meat (usually thinly sliced beef) slowly cooked or simmered at the table, alongside vegetables and other ingredients, in a shallow iron pot in a mixture of soy sauce, sugar, and mirin. Generally sukiyaki is a single dish for the colder days of the year and it is commonly found at bōnenkai, Japanese year-end parties.

Chicken Char Siu: Chinese Barbecued Chicken.

I made 2 different dishes last night, simply because I was trying to use up the produce I had in the house, and because they both sounded delicious. I didn't realize that one was a Japanese dish, and one was Chinese, but hey, I'm a tolerant type of girl, so I can dig it. Anyway, These are both fairly quick to make, despite the peeling, slicing, and dicing that was involved. The sukiyaki was a vegetarian dish, and was full of veggies, potatoes, and pasta. It was so delicious - super high in flavor, with a perfect amount of salty sweetness. We all loved it. Even Jonah gobbled it down. The ramen/Chinese noodles were an excellent addition. I had never seen non-friend ramen before, so this was a really exciting ingredient for me.

The chicken was also really tasty. It is a recipe that is meant to be made on skewers, but since I didn't have any, I just cut up the chicken and cooked it in 1-inch pieces. It came out really tasty and moist, and was a very nice addition to the sukiyaki. I will definitely make both of these again, and I would be interested to make the Char Siu on skewers, and serve it to company, as an appetizer. It was a seriously successful dinner, according to the family. I love when everyone loves dinner!

Try this one. We all gave it 5 Bowls!

Sukiyaki-Style Mixed Grill

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 cup vegetable mixture and 1 cup noodles)

1 medium zucchini (about 6 ounces)
1 medium carrot (about 3 ounces)
2 teaspoons vegetable oil, divided
1 (6-ounce) package presliced portobello mushrooms
1 medium red onion, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices (about 1/2 pound)
1 medium green bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch strips (about 6 ounces)
1 medium peeled sweet potato, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices (about 6 ounces)
5 (1/8-inch-thick) slices peeled fresh ginger
1 cup sake (rice wine)
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon water
2 green onions, cut into 2-inch pieces
1/2 teaspoon dark sesame oil
4 cups hot cooked Chinese-style noodles (about 8 ounces uncooked pasta)

Cut zucchini and carrot lengthwise into quarters; cut each quarter crosswise in half. Set aside.

Heat a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over high heat. Add 1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil to skillet; swirl to coat bottom of pan. Add zucchini; saut� over medium-high heat 3 minutes or until browned. Place zucchini in a bowl; set aside. Add 1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil to skillet; swirl to coat. Add mushrooms; saut� 2 minutes or until browned. Add mushrooms to zucchini; set aside. Add 1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil to skillet; swirl to coat. Add red onion and bell pepper; saut� 5 minutes or until browned. Place red onion mixture in a bowl; set aside. Add 1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil to skillet; swirl to coat. Add carrot and sweet potato; saut� 2 minutes or until browned. Add to red onion mixture.

Add ginger to skillet; saut� 30 seconds. Stir in sake, 1/4 cup water, soy sauce, and sugar; scrape skillet to loosen browned bits. Add red onion mixture; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes or until tender. Combine cornstarch and 1 tablespoon water in a bowl; stir well. Add cornstarch mixture and zucchini mixture to skillet. Bring to a boil; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in green onions and sesame oil. Serve over noodles.

CALORIES 376 (11% from fat); FAT 4.5g (sat 0.7g,mono 1.1g,poly 2g); IRON 4.2mg; CHOLESTEROL 0.0mg; CALCIUM 55mg; CARBOHYDRATE 73.2g; SODIUM 418mg; PROTEIN 10.7g; FIBER 5.9g

Cooking Light, MARCH 1997
Try this. It's a 5 Bowler!

Chicken Char Siu

Brought by Chinese immigrants to Hawaii, this dish is typically made with baby back ribs. Skinless, boneless chicken thighs are a tender and tasty substitute with less fat.

Yield: 9 servings (serving size: 2 skewers)

1 tablespoon grated peeled fresh ginger
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon honey
1 garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 18 strips
Cooking spray

Combine all ingredients except the cooking spray; marinate in refrigerator for 2 hours.

Preheat broiler.

Thread 1 chicken strip onto each of 18 (6-inch) skewers, reserving marinade. Place skewers on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray; broil 6 minutes. Turn skewers over; baste with reserved marinade. Broil 6 minutes or until done.

CALORIES 108 (26% from fat); FAT 3.1g (sat 0.8g,mono 0.9g,poly 0.8g); IRON 0.9mg; CHOLESTEROL 63mg; CALCIUM 10mg; CARBOHYDRATE 4.1g; SODIUM 241mg; PROTEIN 15.2g; FIBER 0.1g

Cooking Light, MARCH 2005

Chicken and Cornmeal Dumplings

I really struggle with whether or not to post recipes that flopped. Thoughts?

Kevin loves chicken and dumplings - particularly the Cracker Barrel variety. This is so strange to me, since he usually dislikes anything creamy. I have made a shortcut recipe in the past, but last night, I decided to create the dumplings from scratch, which is not anything tremendous, since they are essentially just dough balls.

Anyway, this particular recipe is basically a chicken soup, with dumplings instead of noodles or rice. I ended up using a different dumpling recipe, than the original recipe called for, because cornmeal dumplings sounded pretty awesome. Well, here's the thing - the chicken soup was delicious. We all loved it. The dumplings... Meh. Not so good. In fact, I ended up throwing alphabet pasta into the pot, in order to compensate for the fact that none of us were going to end up eating the dumplings. Basically, they ended up being gritty, bland, tough dough balls, that just tasted plain old strange. Oh well. The good news is, the actually soup recipe was great. It had a terrific flavor, without being overly salty, and the blend of veggies was perfect. I will definitely make this one again, and I might even consider adding matzah balls next time. As for the dumplings - I'm really not finished trying. Perhaps I should have followed the original recipe... Hmmmm. There must be a perfect dumpling out there somewhere.

Try the soup. Kevin gave it 4.5 Bowls! Don't try the dumplings. Kevin gave them a measly 2 Bowls. Add pasta instead!

Chicken and Dumplings

Yield: serves 6

3 tablespoons canola oil
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 skinless chicken thighs (about 12 ounces)
4 cups thinly sliced leek, rinsed and drained
4 cups low-sodium, fat-free chicken broth
1 1/2 cups baby carrots, cut diagonally into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup chopped parsnip
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup frozen petite peas, thawed

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon whole milk
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

Heat the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Combine the flour, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl. Dredge the chicken in flour mixture, and turn to coat; shake off excess flour. Add the chicken to the pot; cook 3 minutes on each side, or until well-browned. Transfer chicken to a plate.

Add leeks to pot; cook over medium heat 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Return chicken to pot, and stir in broth, carrots, parsnips, celery, thyme, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Partially cover; reduce heat. Simmer 15 minutes, or until chicken is cooked. Remove chicken from pan. Pull the meat from bones; discard bones. Return the chicken to the pot, and stir in peas.

To prepare the dumplings, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt 3 times (this makes the dumplings very light). Combine the flour mixture, milk, and chives, and stir until moist.

Drop dough by 3 tablespoonfuls into a barely simmering chicken mixture. Cover and cook over medium-low heat 12 minutes, or until the dumplings are done (do not bring to a boil, or the dumplings will break up).

CALORIES 362 ; FAT 12g (sat 2g,mono 5g,poly 3g); CHOLESTEROL 45mg; CALCIUM 213mg; CARBOHYDRATE 47g; SODIUM 825mg; PROTEIN 18g; FIBER 5g; IRON 4mg

Health, MARCH 2003

Cornmeal-Herb Dumplings

The dough can be prepared, covered, and chilled about a half-hour ahead of time

Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 4 dumplings)

1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons dried dill
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 eggs

Combine the first 6 ingredients in a medium bowl. Combine water, olive oil, and eggs, and stir well. Add to dry ingredients, stirring until well-blended. With moistened hands, shape the dough into 32 (1-inch) balls, and set aside.

Bring 2 quarts of water to a simmer in a large saucepan, and add half of dumplings. Cover and cook for 10 minutes or until done (do not let boil). Remove the dumplings with a slotted spoon; set aside, and keep warm. Repeat procedure with remaining dumplings

CALORIES 148 (23% from fat); FAT 3.7g (sat 0.7g,mono 1.9g,poly 0.6g); IRON 1.7mg; CHOLESTEROL 55mg; CALCIUM 82mg; CARBOHYDRATE 24.3g; SODIUM 316mg; PROTEIN 4.5g; FIBER 2.1g

Cooking Light, MARCH 1996

Monday, November 15, 2010

Potato-Scallion Latkes

Quick story:

Last year, during Hannukkah, Kevin innocently suggested we make latkes one night. Well, I took it upon myself to make latkes from scratch. Let me clarify - I made them without a Cuisinart. Let me clarify (again) - I made them by shredding 2 pounds of potatoes by hand. It was very challenging, very messy, and not worth it. The reviews of my "made from scratch latkes?" Not so good. I believe the words, "bland, eggy, tasteless, unseasoned, and falling apart," were among the expressions used at dinner that night. I vowed never to make an attempt at latkes, again.

Fast forward to tonight, when I was making lentil soup, and thinking about what might be tasty as a side dish. I had a bag of potatoes, some leftover scallions, and a brand spankin' new Cuisinart sitting around, so I made the executive decision to break my vow, and give it another try. I am so glad I did. This recipe makes 12, delicious potato pancakes. They taste so flavorful, with a perfect blend of green onion, salt, and potatoes. There was no need for applesauce, either! These are a definite keeper - I would make them for a Chanukkah party, in a heartbeat. I am always looking for an alternative for the run of the mill, frozen latkes in the grocery store, and I think this is it.

Anyway, I learned several things tonight, about making latkes. If you ever have the desire to try your hand at making them, you might want to read my tips first. Otherwise, you will be faced with a very tedious project. Okay... Here goes...

1. Do NOT attempt latkes, without a Cuisinart or other food processor. It isn't worth the trouble or scraped knuckles.

2. You MUST do an excellent job, squeezing the liquid out of the latkes. Otherwise, they fall apart. Seriously. Do a good job. It will be worth it.

3. You do not need to deep fry latkes, but they are perfectly tasty, pan fried in just a bit of olive oil. My recipe from last year was baked, not fried. Um, latkes are fried. They just are. Period.

4. Don't rush the latkes. They take as much time as they take. If you rush them, and take them off the stove before their allotted "5 minutes per side," they will be undercooked, and under-golden browned. Stop rushing the latkes!

5. I'm not sure if I mentioned this, but do NOT, under any circumstances, make these without a Cuisinart.

6. Making latkes is messy. Suck it up and do your dishes. It's not that big a deal.

Make these. They are really good. Kevin gave my second batch 4 stars, but only after I rushed the first batch (thus, they were undercooked).

Potato-Scallion Latkes

Latkes are a classic Hanukkah dish. The patties are cooked in oil, symbolizing the small amount of oil in a temple lamp that burned for eight days, the miracle the holiday commemorates. Garnish with extra green onions.

Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 2 patties)

4 1/2 cups shredded peeled baking potato (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1/2 cup finely chopped green onions
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large egg whites
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

Combine potato and onions; squeeze moisture from potato mixture over a sieve. Combine potato mixture, flour, salt, and egg whites in a large bowl. Divide mixture into 12 equal portions, and squeeze out any remaining liquid. Discard liquid. Shape each portion into a 1/4-inch-thick patty.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 6 patties to pan; cook 5 minutes on each side or until golden. Repeat procedure with remaining 1 tablespoon oil and 6 patties.

CALORIES 157 (27% from fat); FAT 4.7g (sat 0.7g,mono 3.3g,poly 0.5g); IRON 0.6mg; CHOLESTEROL 0.0mg; CALCIUM 13mg; CARBOHYDRATE 25.8g; SODIUM 321mg; PROTEIN 3.7g; FIBER 1.9g

Cooking Light, DECEMBER 2007

Friday, November 12, 2010

Ancho Chicken and Hominy Stew

I have made this recipe several times in the past, and it has always gotten rave reviews from my family. I didn't try it in the past, because I wasn't eating chicken at the time, and obviously, this dish is a meaty one. The recipe I used actually calls for pork, but I substituted chicken, because we don't have pork in our house. Anyway, Kevin and Maya liked this one, but I was not a fan. Actually, it tasted okay, but the smell of hominy just doesn't sit well with me. I can't explain it, but it's not my thing. Oh, and in addition, I used this organic, low sodium chicken broth from Whole Foods, that was way too low in sodium. I really think it affected the flavor of the dish. Anyway, this is not a recipe that's worthy of company (though the reviews on Cooking Light were terrific) , but it is a solid recipe, if you like all the ingredients. It's not spicy, and it has a lot of interesting flavors that blend together to create a lovely and unique stew. I'm not into it, but my family raved, so I guess if you put all the reviews together, you might call this a 3 bowler.

Maybe you should try this, and tell me what you think...

Ancho Chicken/Pork and Hominy Stew

This stew recipe is an easy way to feed your family meat and veggies in one dish. Readers rave its quick, easy, and consistently delicious!

Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 1 1/3 cups)

2 tablespoons ancho chile powder
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 pounds pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (I used chicken breasts instead)
1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
2 cups chopped onion
1 1/2 cups chopped green bell pepper
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 1/2 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 (28-ounce) can hominy, drained
1 (14.5-ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, undrained

1. Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl; set 1 1/2 teaspoons spice mixture aside. Add pork to remaining spice mixture in bowl, tossing well to coat.

2. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add pork mixture to pan; cook 5 minutes or until browned, stirring occasionally. Remove pork from pan; set aside. Add remaining 1 teaspoon oil to pan. Add onion, bell pepper, and garlic; sauté 5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Return pork to pan. Add reserved 1 1/2 teaspoons spice mixture, broth, hominy, and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Partially cover, reduce heat, and simmer 25 minutes.

CALORIES 300 ; FAT 8.3g (sat 2.1g,mono 3.7g,poly 1.4g); CHOLESTEROL 76mg; CALCIUM 51mg; CARBOHYDRATE 26.9g; SODIUM 523mg; PROTEIN 28.9g; FIBER 6.1g; IRON 3.2mg

Cooking Light, DECEMBER 2009

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Chickpea and Winter Vegetable Stew

We love soups and stews here, at Casa de Marji and Kevin. I haven't been cooking all that much lately, because Kevin has beenn working constantly, and it's difficult to cook and clean, when he isn't home for dinner. Yesterday, he has the afternoon off, so I decided to make something warm and toasty for us. This winter veggie stew is quite delicious. It involves a lot of chopping, but miraculously, it doesn't take all that long to prepare. We are not big fans of turnips here, so I just added more carrots, a green squash, and butternut squash to the mix. I'm sure that changed the flavor a little, but it was definitely to our liking! I was also able to use 2 ingredients that I rarely have a chance to break out. First of all, I used caraway seeds, which involved a mortar and pestle. I love being able to make use of my fun toys. Second, the recipe called for Harrissa, which I used in a lentil dal recipe a few months ago. It's a spicy, tangy, Moroccan condiment, that adds an excellent flavor to soups and stews. Anyway, this dish ended up being a really tasty, mellow blend of sweet (from the squash and honey), and a tangy, underlying spiciness from the harrissa. The cumin, caraway, and coriander made a really delicious, but subtle blend. We loved it - especially with the addition of whole wheat couscous. I will definitely be making this again. Hey, who knows? Maybe next time I'll go crazy and try the turnips... But probably not...

Maya wanted to use my "toy," so I gave her some allspice and coriander to crush. All night, she kept saying, "CRUSH! CRUSH!"

Toasted and crushed caraway seeds.

All aboard. One pot. Lots of veggies. Mmmmmm.

The finished product.

Bottom Line: Try this. It's the ultimate comfort food...
Kevin says: 4 OR 5 Bowls... So, 4.5!

Chickpea and Winter Vegetable Stew

Harissa is a fiery spice paste used in Moroccan cooking. Look for it at Middle Eastern markets. I got it at our local Co-op, in NH, but I think they probably sell it at Whole Foods. It's definitely worth buying!

Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 3/4 cup squash mixture, 1/2 cup couscous, and 1 lemon wedge)

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup (1/2-inch) slices leek (I found frozen, sliced leeks at Trader Joe's! Awesome find!)
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds, crushed
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
3 2/3 cups veggie stock (I used Penzey's Veg Soup Base)
2 cups (1-inch) cubed peeled butternut squash
1 cup (1/2-inch) slices carrot
3/4 cup (1-inch) cubed peeled Yukon gold potato
1 tablespoon harissa
1 1/2 teaspoons tomato paste
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 pound turnips, peeled and each cut into 8 wedges (about 2 medium) (I used a zucchini, and also added more carrots and butternut squash, instead)
1 (15 1/2-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (Meh. I omitted this one.)
1 1/2 teaspoons honey
1 1/3 cups uncooked couscous (Try the whole wheat variety. Get it cheap at TJ's, or in the bulk bins at Whole Foods!)
8 lemon wedges (Omitted)

1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and leek; sauté 5 minutes. Add coriander and next 4 ingredients (through garlic); cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add 3 cups Simple Vegetable Stock and the next 8 ingredients (through chickpeas); bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes. Stir in parsley and honey.

2. Remove 2/3 cup hot cooking liquid from squash mixture. Place cooking liquid and remaining 2/3 cup stock in a medium bowl. Stir in couscous. Cover and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Serve with lemon wedges.

CALORIES 264 ; FAT 2.3g (sat 0.3g,mono 1g,poly 0.6g); CHOLESTEROL 0.0mg; CALCIUM 92mg; CARBOHYDRATE 54.5g; SODIUM 425mg; PROTEIN 8.3g; FIBER 7.5g; IRON 2.4mg

**5 Points, in case you're counting!

Cooking Light, NOVEMBER 2009