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Monday, January 23, 2012

Recipe Review 1/16/12

Totally forgot to make my crockpot dish this past week, so it has been shuffled to next week.  Three good dishes to review:

Bacon and Butternut Pasta  (Ckng Lght, Jan/Feb 2012)   **Omit the bacon and sub veggie broth to make this vegetarian. 
A time consuming recipe best saved for the weekend or a day off.   I had  changes in an attempt to cut down on dishes/prep. My alterations didn't change the length of time it took to prepare, but I think I had more time to clean-up as I went along.  

This turned out pretty darn good. The Husband gave it his nod of approval, though that might have been because I put bacon in it...(his favorite) . Didn't turn out runny at all, good flavor, some of the noodles on top had that nice baked taste (but not dry) that I really like. Was it worth all the dishes? Ummm...not so sure. Again, good for a weekend dish perhaps, but not a weeknight.   Leftovers were even better. 

The two notable changes:

  • I roasted the squash, onions and garlic all at once - tossed in olive oil and spread on a cookie sheet covered in aluminum foil
  • I cooked the bacon in the oven at the same time, and drizzled a little bacon fat over veggies and pasta when tossing everything together.
Cooked pasta and kale as directed.
Cooked broth and creme fraiche as directed

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5 cups (1/2-inch) cubed peeled butternut squash
1 tablespoon olive oil
Cooking spray
12 ounces uncooked ziti (short tube-shaped pasta), campanile, or other short pasta
4 cups chopped kale
2 bacon slices  (my vegetarian readers can easily omit)
2 cups vertically sliced onion
1 teaspoon salt, divided
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth, divided (or veggie broth)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 cup crème fraîche
1/3 cup (about 1 1/2 ounces) shredded Gruyère cheese

1. Preheat oven to 400°.

2. Combine squash and oil in a large bowl; toss well. Arrange squash mixture in a single layer on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400° for 30 minutes or until squash is tender.

3. Cook pasta 7 minutes or until almost al dente, omitting salt and fat. Add kale to pan during last 2 minutes of cooking. Drain pasta mixture.

4. Cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan; crumble. Add onion to drippings in pan; cook 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and garlic; cook 1 minute, stirring occasionally.

5. Bring 1 3/4 cups broth to a boil in a small saucepan. Combine remaining 1/4 cup broth and flour in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add flour mixture, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper to broth. Cook 2 minutes or until slightly thickened. Remove from heat; stir in crème fraîche.

6. Combine squash, pasta mixture, bacon, onion mixture, and sauce in a large bowl; toss gently. Place pasta mixture in a 13 x 9-inch glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray; sprinkle evenly with cheese. Bake at 400° for 25 minutes or until bubbly and slightly browned.

Julianna Grimes, Cooking Light

Open Faced Chicken Club Sandwiches  (Ckng Light Jan/Feb 2012)
These were simple and tasty - but messy.  There is really no good way to eat an "Open Faced" sandwich and mostly I was left wishing for a top.  And that was with skipping the tomato because I forgot to buy one.   I cooked the bacon in the oven then drizzled just a tiny bit of the bacon fat over the chicken in the frying pan.  I forgot to mash the avocado which probably contributed to the messiness.  Loved the sourdough bread flavor, but then I'm a sourdough nut.  If you're in the Duluth area, Amazing Grace or Mt. Royal have the best sourdough.   

1 tablespoon olive oil
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4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons canola mayonnaise
1 ripe peeled avocado, coarsely mashed
4 (1-ounce) slices sourdough bread, toasted
4 pieces green leaf lettuce
2 plum tomatoes, each cut into 6 slices  (forgot to buy; didn't miss it)
4 slices center-cut bacon, cooked and drained

1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Sprinkle chicken evenly with 1/8 teaspoon salt and pepper. Add chicken to pan; sauté 6 minutes on each side or until done. Remove from pan; let stand 5 minutes. Slice.

2. Combine remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt, juice, mayonnaise, and avocado in a small bowl; stir until well blended. Spread about 3 tablespoons avocado mixture over each bread slice. Top each sandwich with 1 lettuce leaf, 1 chicken breast half, 3 tomato slices, and 1 bacon slice.

Julianna Grimes, Cooking Light

Plymouth Bread  (Bernard Clayton's Bread Book)
The Husband made this one.  A bit of background - last summer he grew flour corn - corn meant to be ground up and used in baking.  He's had a bit of trouble finding something to 'shell' his corn - and we did eventually find and ordered a corn sheller from Jung Seeds - but in the interm hr found he could use his thumb or a butter knife.  He did four cobs and we ground the seeds in my spice grinder (coffee grinder really, but we don't drink coffee).  It was a medium-coarse meal, and it was decided to try out a more traditional bread type recipe to see how the ground up corn works and what adjustments need to be made to use it in other recipes. 

This bread, was outstanding!  Sweet, light, flavorful, good crust and crumb; absolutely perfect in my opinion.   This is a pretty wordy recipe, so my apologies for not retyping it.   This is a great bread cookbook and has become my go-to for making bread. 

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