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Monday, November 18, 2013

Recipe Review from 11/11/13

A balmy 12* (-11*C) started the week and by Friday we were back up in the 40*'s (5*C).  I love the crisp mornings...loved the warmer temps too!  I filled the birdfeeder for the first time this fall and the chickadee-dee-dee's were lined up waiting for the buffet.  Love watching my little black-capped feathered friends.

The big news of the week is the Husband bagged a spike deer on Sunday.  We haven't had venison in our freezer since 2006, when I used the last bit up.  Three years of deployments, a couple years of not seriously hunting, and a couple years of sucky weather contributed to our lack of deer, so we are looking forward to some of our favorite venison dishes this coming winter.

Meanwhile, some good dishes this past week: 

Spanish Chicken with Saffron Cream Sauce (Ckng Lght, Nov 2013)  gluten free option**
I did this as a two-pot dish rather than as directed and wrote my changes below.  Follow the link if you want to see the recipe as written.  Mostly I just simplified the number of dishes being used. 

This was a really good meal!  It's like a creamy paella.  The saffron came through more the following days, but the night of, the dish was creamier being fresh out of the oven.  I loved the creaminess, the chicken was incredibly tender, and the flavors were just perfect - neither spicy nor bland.  I do think that brown rice could easily be substituted for the white to up the nutrients a bit.  The Husband doesn't like green olives so I skipped those.  Recommended. 
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces 
    photo from
  • 1 cup chopped white onion
  • 2 ounces cured Spanish chorizo sausage, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 cups hot cooked long-grain white rice
  • 1 cup frozen green peas, thawed
  • 16 pimiento-stuffed green olives, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour  (**or alternative thickener)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads, lightly crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup sour cream  (I used Chobani plain yogurt) 
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°.
  2. Heat a LARGE oven safe - nonstick skillet over medium-high heat (If don't have an oven safe skillet, proceed as directed and put in a 11x7 baking dish at end). Add 1 teaspoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add half of chicken (all of it if it will fit); cook 4 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove chicken from pan; place in a large bowl. Repeat procedure with 1 teaspoon oil and remaining chicken. Add to bowl. Place remaining 1 teaspoon oil, onion, and chorizo in pan; cook 10 minutes or until onion is tender and golden, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and bell pepper; cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add chorizo mixture, peas, and olives to chicken and set aside. 
  3. Combine milk and next 5 ingredients (through black pepper) stir well with a whisk. Add to large saucepan and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil; cook 1 minute or until thick and bubbly. Remove pan from heat; stir in sour cream. Add chicken mixture and cooked rice to sour cream mixture, stirring to combine. (IF don't have oven safe skillet - spoon the chicken mixture into an 11 x 7-inch glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray.) Cover pan with aluminum foil coated with cooking spray. Bake at 375° for 15 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 10 minutes or until chicken is done.

Quick Quinoa and Pork Meatballs  (Ckng Lght Oct 2013)  gluten free
I made these to accompany spaghetti squash with sauce.  I had measured everything out, made the meatballs, put in the oven and saw my little ramikin of spices still sitting on the counter.  Argh!  Everything came out of the oven, recombined, re-shaped and put back in.  I realized upon typing this out that I still managed to forget the cayenne pepper, darn it all!  Oh well.  These are quick, I like the use of quinoa as a binder, and they were flavorful.  I had more pork than called for (1.2 lbs) so I had something close to 30 meatballs.  Plenty for supper and leftovers. 
photo from
  • 1/2 cup washed quinoa
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1/2 cup diced shallot
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 2 large eggs 
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  1. Preheat the oven to 450°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Put the quinoa and 1 cup water into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Once you have strong bubble action, reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the water is absorbed, 12 to 15 minutes. Check occasionally and stir to make sure no quinoa is burning at the bottom of the pan. Take the saucepan off the heat, transfer the quinoa to a medium mixing bowl, and allow it to cool for 10 minutes.
  3. While the quinoa is cooling, add all of the remaining ingredients to the bowl. Using your hands or a spoon, mix until all the ingredients are evenly distributed and well combined.
  4. Shape the meat mixture into balls that are a little smaller than a golf ball. Place them in even rows on the lined baking sheet. Place the sheet in the oven and cook the meatballs until they're slightly browned and crispy on top, 12 to 15 minutes. If you have a meat thermometer, the safe internal temperature for pork is 165°.
Moroccan Lentil Soup (A Year of Slow Cooking Blog)  gluten free, vegetarian
Suppers and lunches toward the end of the week and into the weekend.  This is a wonderfully 'bean-y' dish, tho, since I did use my own beans in place of the canned pinto beans, I probably had more than 15oz.  I liked the subtle flavors in this one, that just kinda hint at 'exotic' but don't come right out and shout it at your tastebuds.  I cooked overnight, let cool while prepping lunches and breakfast, then into the fridge it went.  I think this helped enhance the flavors.  I served with crackers, sausage and cheese.   Recommended.  

--1 cup dried lentils
--1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
--1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
--1 onion, chopped
--2 garlic cloves, smashed and chopped
--1/2 cup chopped celery
--1/2 cup chopped carrots
--28 oz can of diced tomatoes (and juice)
--4 cups vegetable broth
--1 1/2 tsp garam masala
--1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
--1/2 tsp cumin
--1/4 tsp nutmeg
--1/4 tsp cinnamon
--1 inch ginger, peeled and grated

Author notes: Use at least a 5 quart crockpot for this. It makes a lot.  My notes - I agree! 

Chop up all of your vegetables and add them to the crockpot. If you are rushed in the morning, consider chopping the vegetables at night---it took me longer than I wanted it to. Drain and rinse off the beans, add to the pot. Add the dried lentils. Grate your ginger, and add it along with the dried spices. Stir in the vegetable broth and tomatoes.

Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours. Soup tastes best the longer you cook it, and it is even better the next day.

Before serving, use an immersible blender and pulse to blend some of the vegetables and beans together. This isn't necessary, but it really improves the texture of the soup and melds the flavors nicely.

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