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Sunday, November 3, 2013

Recipe Review from 10/28/13

Fall has officially settled on us here in Duluth, where the weather can't seem to make up it's mind if it's going to rain or snow.  Instead, we get a both, with temperatures hanging right about 32*(0*C). This weekend however, the sun made an appearance and the temps were perfect for some late season yard work.  We tackled winterizing the mowers and snow blower, garage got cleaned out and prepped for sloppy melting snow, bird feeder received a coat of paint and polyurethane and was put up, and the garden dismantled.  Whew!

Best of all, we had a perfect evening for a bonfire accompanied with some hot cider and popcorn. 

But my biggest news of the week has nothing to do with me: my friend Kerry successfully completed a four-week, 200 hour, yoga Teacher Training Intensive in Rishikesh, India!  Congratulations Kerry!

Kerry on the Ganges in Rishikesh, India

One-Pot Sausage, Kale and Bean Pasta  (Cooks Country, Nov 2013)  Vegetarian option, GF option
We grow our own beans, and just due to timing this particular Sunday, I didn't get them prepped in time and ended up adding them later.  Not sure if it was because of that, but I thought the dish was better sans beans.  I used a hot Italian sausage ("hot" for most Minnesotan's) and omitted the red pepper flakes.  Kale was the last harvest of the season.  I really liked the flavors and textures in this one - it's a one pot dish which really seemed to bring everything out and is perfect for a Fall day or company.  Recommended.

photo from
2 tbsp EVOO
1 lb hot Italian sausage, casings removed
and sausage broken into 1/2 pieces
1 onion, chopped fine
1 (15oz) can cannellini beans, rinsed
6 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/8-1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
8 oz orecchiette pasta  (I used shells)
12 oz kale, stemmed and chopped
1 oz Pecorino Romano Cheese, grated (~ 1/2 cup)
 (I used Parmesan)

1) Heat 1 tbsp oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat until just smoking.  Add sausage and cook until lightly browned all over, 5-7 minutes.  Add onion and beans and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is lightly browned, about 5 minutes.  Stir in garlic, fennel seeds, oregano, and pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
2) Stir in broth and water and bring to a boil.   Stir in pasta and half of the kale.  Cover and reduce heat to medium, and simmer for 4 minutes.  Without stirring, place remaining kale on top of pasta.  Cover and continue to cook until kale is just tender, about 4 minutes longer.
3) Stir to incorporate kale into pasta.  Simmer, uncovered and stirring occasionally until most of the liquid is absorbed and pasta is al dente, 3-6 minutes.  Off heat, stir in Pecorinio and remaining oil.  Season with salt and pepper and extra Pecorino. 

Slow Cooker Ratatoullie  (Cooks County, Sept 2013)    vegetarian; GF option
As I've noted in the past, I tend to be a chop and plop person when it comes to my slow cooker.  The idea that I need to pre-cook before slow cooking seems counter productive.  This recipe calls to broil the veggies briefly to enhance flavor and evaporate some liquid.  That, I can handle.  And I have to say broiling worked far, far better than any pre-sauteing I've done with other recipes.  This method has merit.

However, with my dish, this ended up being more vegetable saute than soup/stew like.  The reason for this was I was using re-hydrated dried summer squash so I didn't have as much liquid to play around with at the start.  Not that I'm complaining - I served this very yummy vegetable mix over rice.   I would make this again in a heartbeat. Serves 8-10 easily.

photo from
2 lbs eggplant, cut into 1/2" pieces
3 medium zucchini, cut into 1/2" pieces
2 red pepper, cut into 1/2" pieces
2 onion, chopped (I used one)
1/2 cup EVOO  (I used 1/4 cup)
1 tbsp sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp herbs de Provance
28 oz can diced tomatoes, drained
1/4 cup AP flour  (I skipped per my comments above)
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 grated Parmesan Cheese
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil

Preheat broiler.  Cover jelly roll pan (or two) with aluminum foil and lightly coat with cooking spray.

Combine vegetables in a large bowl.  Toss with 6 tbsp olive oil, garlic, herbs de Provance, and sugar.  Spread in a single layer on prepared jelly roll pan(s).  Broil 10 minutes or until lightly browned.  Rotate pans as necessary.

Place vegetables in slow cooker.  Cook on low for 4 hours.   Stir in  Parmesan, basil and a bit of EVOO.  Serve. 

Chicken Salad Melts (Cooking Light, Sept 2013)
This is one of the "Duh" recipes, that if I had thought about it a bit more, one just doesn't need a recipe for.  But, in my defense, sometimes the brain cells need a little nudge.  This is perfect for a quick mid-week meal, or add some soup and make it the ideal weekend lunch. 

  • 2 cups shredded skinless, boneless rotisserie chicken breast 
  • 1/4 cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup canola mayonnaise (such as Hellmann's) 
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill  
  • 1/8 cup grated carrot
  • 1/4 cup diced celery
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 6 whole-wheat English muffins, split and toasted
  • 3 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (about 3/4 cup)
  • 3/4 cup thinly sliced apple 
  • 6 Bibb lettuce leaves
  1. Preheat broiler to high.
  2. Combine first 7 ingredients in a medium bowl; stir well. Place 1/3 cup chicken mixture on bottom half of each muffin. Top evenly with cheese. Broil 1 minute or until cheese melts. Top sandwiches evenly with apple, lettuce, and top halves of muffins.

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