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Monday, November 21, 2011

Recipe Review from 11/14/2011

Been a bit of a busy week with some unusual for me late nights, like 11p late nights:  a late season campfire on Sunday night and the weather cooperated quite nicely with just a hint of a breeze and decent temps for November; and watched the abysmal Viking/Packer football game...not entirely certain that it was the Vikings who showed up.... 

Had the car in for it's 3000 mile oil change and needed new wiper blades, a new headlight, a new battery for my car door opener, new rear brakes and something broke in my emergency brakes too.  Kinda need the emergency brakes when you work in a city like Duluth.   Good to have all this done with winter on the doorstep, but still, Ouch...

Couple new recipes for the week.  It would have been more but the Mac-n-Cheese made way more than I had anticipated so several recipes got the bump to a future week.

Creamy, Light Mac-n-Cheese  (Ckng Lght, Nov 2011)
Sure this was creamy when it came off the stove top...but after 25 minutes in the oven to finish it, it wasn't so creamy.  A bit clumpy if anything.  The one thing I did like the addition of the butternut squash, a great way to slip in some veggies.  And a small brain-fart on my part, this does make a 9x13 pan, which is A LOT for two people.  I think this would have been better with the noodles halved and the sauce kept the same. 


3 cups cubed peeled butternut squash (about 1 [1-pound] squash)
1 1/4 cups fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 cups fat-free milk
2 garlic cloves 1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fat-free Greek yogurt
1 1/4 cups (5 ounces) shredded Gruyère cheese
1 cup (4 ounces) grated pecorino Romano cheese
1/4 cup (1 ounce) finely grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided
1 pound uncooked cavatappi
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley


1. Preheat oven to 375°.

2. Combine squash, broth, milk, and garlic in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer until squash is tender when pierced with a fork, about 25 minutes. Remove from heat.

3. Place the hot squash mixture in a blender. Add salt, pepper, and Greek yogurt. Remove the center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters). Blend until smooth. Place blended squash mixture in a bowl; stir in Gruyère, pecorino Romano, and 2 tablespoons Parmigiano-Reggiano. Stir until combined.

4. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain well. Add pasta to squash mixture, and stir until combined. Spread mixture evenly into a 13 x 9-inch glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray.

5. Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add panko, and cook for 2 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from heat; stir in remaining 2 tablespoons Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Sprinkle evenly over the hot pasta mixture. Lightly coat topping with cooking spray.

6. Bake at 375° for 25 minutes or until bubbly. Sprinkle with parsley, and serve immediately.

Sidney Fry, MS, RD, Cooking Light

Black Bean Soup  (Ckng Lght BB)
I love a good black bean soup and since this was made in the slow cooker it met my weekly challenge of one recipe/week ala crock pot.  I'm not real thrilled about ham so it was only a half hearted search for a ham bone.  What I ended up doing was frying two strips of bacon and tossing the partially cooked bacon into the slow cooker, then frying the onion and garlic in the bacon grease.  So I got my 'smokey' flavor but no meat.  This was super tasty and is great with a bit of cheddar cheese sprinkled over the top. 

Source: Slow Cooker Revolution
Yield: 11 1-cup servings

3 whole onions -- minced
6 whole garlic cloves -- minced
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons chili powder
3 cups chicken broth
3 cups water
1 pound dried black beans
3 stalks celery -- minced
2 whole carrots -- minced
2 whole bay leaves
1 whole ham bones   2 strips of bacon
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro

Microwave  Fry bacon till mostly cook and fat has been rendered.  Remove bacon and put in slow cooker.  Add onions, garlic, oil and chili powder in a bowl, to frying pan, stirring occasionally, until onions are softened, about 5 minutes. Transfer to slow cooker.

Stir water, broth, beans, celery, carrots and bay leaves into slow cooker. Nestle ham bone in. Cover and cook until beans are tender, 9 to 11 hours on low or 5 to 7 hours on high.

Transfer ham bone to cutting board, let cool slightly and shred meat into bite-sized pieces, discarding bone. Let soup settle for 5 minutes and then remove fat from the surface using a slotted spoon. Discard bay leaves.

Transfer 1 cup of beans to a bowl and mash with a potato masher. Stir shredded ham and mashed beans back into soup and let sit until heated through, about 5 minutes. Stir in cilantro and season with salt and pepper to taste.

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