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Monday, March 18, 2013

Recipe Review from 3/11/13

A quiet week overall.  The Husband was down at Ft. McCoy in Wisconsin for a military function.  I made the three dishes below on the weekend and didn't have to cook again for the week.  Niicce.  One evening I met up with a friend and we tried out a new Micro-brew Pub in town: Canal Park Brewery.   I tried a flight of the less hoppy beers, my friend had the Nut Hatchet Brown ale.  Everything was tasty.  I brought home a growler for the Husband which we enjoyed watching the Big Ten Basketball tournaments over the weekend.  Minnesota was bumped out right from the start, but Wisconsin is going up against Ohio on Sunday.  Go Wisconsin!
Speaking of tasty and successful dishes, three really good recipes from last week:

Roast Chicken Breasts with Garbanzo Beans, Tomatoes, and Smoked Paprika  (CL BB, Epicurious)
This was an excellent dish that comes together in a snap, tastes great, and is fancy enough to serve to company.  The recipe does call for cherry tomatoes, but I had three regular tomatoes languishing on my counter so we just chopped those coarsely and they worked fine.  This is not a spicy dish - don't skip the yogurt sauce because that really pulls all the flavors together at the end.  Gluten Free
Prep: 15 minutes; Total: 35 minutes
Serves 4

Use leftovers for sandwiches the next day: Place shredded chicken, garbanzos, and tomatoes in a pita bread and top with the yogurt sauce.

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, pressed
1 tablespoon smoked paprika*
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
1/2 cup plain yogurt or Greek yogurt (I used Fage 2%)
4 chicken breast halves (I used boneless/skinless; thighs would also work well)
1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained
1 12-ounce container cherry tomatoes (I used regular tomatoes, chopped)
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided

Preheat oven to 450*. Mix first 5 ingredients in medium bowl. Pour 1 teaspoon spiced oil mixture into small bowl; whisk in yogurt and set aside for sauce. Place chicken on large rimmed baking sheet. Rub 2 tablespoons spiced oil mixture over chicken. Add beans, tomatoes, and 1/2 cup cilantro to remaining spiced oil mixture; toss to coat. Pour bean mixture around chicken. Sprinkle everything generously with salt and pepper.

Roast until chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup cilantro. Transfer chicken to plates. Spoon bean mixture over. Serve with yogurt sauce.

Three-Cheese Lasagna  (Ckng Lght March 2013)  Vegetarian; GF if sub alternate noodles
This would be a really good dish for Fall, to use all the those fresh herbs available at farmers markets and in gardens.  But, because it is not fall and instead, March, with three feet of snow still on the ground, I only bought fresh parsley and basil for this dish because the quantities justified the cost.  I subbed 1 cup caramelized onions for the garlic because I didn't feel like futzing with 4 garlic cloves and I had an extra cup of chopped onions from a different dish ready to go.

This does come together in a snap - and doubly so if using no-boil noodles.  I had a extra 1/2 cup of marinara sauce in an open jar in the fridge, so I added that for extra liquid.  If you don't have a bit of extra sauce lying around, add 1/4-1/3 cup water to your sauce IF using no-boil noodles.  Trust me, you need the extra liquid.

The other change I made was I did NOT add the cheese topping right away.  Again, because I used no-boil noodles, I made my layers ending in sauce, covered in aluminum foil, and cooked for 40 minutes.  THEN I uncovered, added the last two cheeses and baked for another 12-15 minutes.

This turned out really good!  Saucy, nicely seasoned, not to cheesy, and the noodles perfectly al dente.  I love how Cooking Light has been doing more dishes that are 8x8 or 7x11 - just the right size for two people with leftovers, or for four adults with minimal to no leftovers.

photo from
  • 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, divided
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano  (or 1 tsp dried)
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme (or 1 tsp dried)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 ounces shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 ounce fresh Parmesan cheese, grated and divided (about 1/4 cup) 
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten 
  • 1/4 cup torn fresh basil
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced  (or 1 cup chopped onions, caramelized)
  • 1 (24-ounce) jar lower-sodium pasta sauce 
  • 1/4-1/3 cup water
  • 1 pkg no-boil lasagna noodles
  • Cooking spray
  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Combine ricotta, 2 tablespoons parsley, oregano, thyme, salt, black pepper, 1 cup mozzarella, 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese, and egg in a small bowl. 
  3. Combine basil, red pepper, garlic (or onions), water and pasta sauce in a medium bowl.
  4. Spread 1/2 cup pasta sauce mixture in bottom of an 8-inch square glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray. Arrange 4 noodles over pasta sauce mixture; top with about 2/3 cup ricotta mixture and 3/4 cup pasta sauce mixture. Repeat layers twice, ending with 1/2 cup pasta sauce mixture. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 375° for 40 minutes.
  5. Top evenly with the remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella and remaining 3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese and bake for another 10-15 minutes or until cheese is golden and sauce is bubbly. 
  6. Let stand 10 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons parsley.

Thai Butternut Squash Soup  (Ckng Lght Mar 2013)  Gluten free (watch stock ingrd, vegetarian)
I have mixed thoughts on this dish - it was good, but the "Thai" flavors really weren't outstanding.  It is super easy to make, comes together very quickly, and has a subtle interesting flavor.  Don't be put off by the fish sauce - this is what brings out the red curry flavors and deepens the background notes.  I used one of my last butternut squashes from the garden (cubed and frozen) and it cooked up quite nicely.  Fresh would also work just fine, adjusting cooking times accordingly.  This made enough for 5 lunches. 
  • 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons red curry paste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 cup fat-free, lower-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 2 (12-ounce) packages frozen pureed butternut squash (or 4 cups fresh, cubed)
  • 1 (14-ounce) can light coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped unsalted, dry-roasted peanuts
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves
  • 1 lime, cut into 8 wedges
  1. Heat a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add oil; swirl to coat. Add onion; sauté 3 minutes. Add curry paste, garlic, and ginger; sauté 45 seconds, stirring constantly.
  2. Add broth and next 5 ingredients (through salt); cover. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Place half of squash mixture in a blender. Remove 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. Pour into a large bowl. Repeat procedure with remaining squash mixture. Spoon about 1 cup soup into each of 4 bowls; top with 2 tablespoons peanuts and 1 tablespoon cilantro. Serve with lime wedges.

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