Pups are getting cabin fever - Tuesday night I bundled myself up and took them out back for a 20 minute snowshoe. Wednesday bundled up and went down to the lake for a solid 30 minute run (well, then ran, I walked). Didn't help. Ben-pup was still misbehaving in boredom - he wants to be outside freezing his paws while eating yucky things. I don't want him eating yucky things.
One fun adventure to report on: the Sea Caves on Wisconsin's Bayfield Peninsula in the Apostle Island National Lakeshore are accessible this year. We bundled up the pups on Sunday and day tripped over - really, a great opportunity and fun to do. The sheer number of people walking out was astounding: we estimated at least 1000 people walking to/from and the Park Service folks said this was a "slow" day. Everyone seemed really happy to be outside, enjoying the view. Several people stopped to comment on our dogs and say 'hello' to the pups. Pups were decked out in their neon orange booties and we heard more than one "Ohhh! Lookit the booties!" or "How do you keep them on their paws?" It was well worth the drive and walk on a sunny and chilly Sunday!
|The Boat Access Point - Sea Caves in the distance. Tiny dots are people.|
|Ice formation from water dripping of the stones.|
|Rock and ice, icicles form from water moving through the rock.|
|Looking out from one of the caves.|
Which brings me to last weeks meal plan:
Sat - (L) leftovers (S) American Legion Chili cook-off (long story short: ended up being tomato soup and grilled cheese for supper, not much of a cook-off).
Sun - (L) grilled cheese and soup (S) Creamy Chicken Casserole (made soup for lunches)
Tues - Sloppy Joes on diced potatoes
Wed - leftover chicken for me
Fri - leftovers
Lunches - Slow Cooked Quinoa and Squash soup with crackers, fruit, luna bars and nuts
Which came to three new dishes this week, two recommended, one with reservations.
Creamy Chicken and Broccoli Casserole (Ckng Lght Jan/Feb 2014) gluten free option**
This is very quick to assemble and tastes...well, hearty but not heavy. My qualifier - I don't have a microwave so I had to steam/blanch the broccoli. I also find it ridiculous to pay for prechopped/sliced things so I chopped my own onion as well as the mushrooms. The mushrooms moreso because you can't really wash sliced mushrooms off and they are quite dirty. Bleck. A minor amount of prep time added - maybe 30-40 minutes to make from start to finish.
Otherwise - lovely, creamy, warm dish for a blustery cold evening. Cheddar cheese adds a nice touch on top. This made enough for three dinners for two of us.
- 1 (12-ounce) package steam-in-bag broccoli florets
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
photo from cookinglight.com
- 2 (8-ounce) packages presliced mushrooms
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour**
- 1 1/2 cups fat-free milk
- 12 ounces chopped skinless, boneless rotisserie chicken breast (about 3 cups)
- 1/2 cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup canola mayonnaise
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (about 1/2 cup)
- 1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1/4 cup)
- Preheat broiler.
- Prepare broccoli in microwave according to package directions.
- Heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion and mushrooms; cook 12 minutes or until mushrooms brown and liquid evaporates, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle mushroom mixture with flour; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in milk. Bring to a boil; cook 3 minutes or until thick and bubbly. Stir in broccoli and chicken; cook 1 minute. Remove pan from heat. Stir in yogurt, mayonnaise, pepper, and salt. Top evenly with cheeses; broil 2 minutes.
Sloppy Joe Pie (Mpls Star Tribune, Jan 23, 2014) gluten free option**
I forgot to buy a pie crust and I forgot to by frozen corn. I only had 1 pound of meat, not the 1 1/2 pounds called for. So, I served over diced potatoes, I used mixed vegetables, and I cut back the ingredients to account for less meat. Taste-wise, it turned out just fine, probably most comparable to a hamburger hash. Husband liked it; it wasn't my cuppa tea. Tasted better as leftovers, but still not my thing.
Recipe Note: This flaky, one-skillet savory pie isn't really a pie at all, in that it just has a top crust. But no one will miss the buns, guaranteed. Adapted from "The Big Book of Pies and Tarts".
1 refrigerated pie crust, softened as directed on box ** (I substituted frozen, diced potatoes)
1 1/2 lb bulk turkey or pork sausage (I used venison)
|photo from Mpls Star Tribune 1/24/14|
1 medium onion, chopped (~1/2 cup)
1 cup frozen corn, thawed (I used mixed veggies)
1 cup chunky-style salsa
1/2 cup chili sauce
2 tbsp packed brown sugar
1 (4oz) can chopped green chilies (I used 1/2 a can)
2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro optional
Heat oven to 450*. Unroll pie crust on ungreased baking sheet. With sharp knife, cut into a circle to fit the top of the pie pan. Cut out squares for a checker board pattern. If desired, place cutouts on crust to decorate, securing each with small amount of water. Bake 9-11 minutes or until crust is light golden brown.
In a 10" skillet, cook sausage and onion over medium high heat 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently, until sausage is no longer pink. Stir in corn, salsa, chili sauce, brown sugar and chilies. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat to medium-low, stirring occasionally, until corn is cooked and sauce is desired consistency.
Stir in cilantro. Place warm crust over top of skillet and serve.
Quinoa and Squash Soup (Mpls Star Tribune, Jan 16, 2014) gluten free, vegetarian option
Combining three! of my favorite things: quinoa, squash and the slow cooker! This dish is so easy as to be almost silly. Chop, plop, cook, puree, eat. Lovely flavors reminiscent of Thai or maybe Moroccan cooking. Ease off on the cayenne pepper or skip completely as this does lend some heat to the dish. This made enough for four lunches for two of us for the week. Absolutely perfect for cold weather yet eating light!
Recipe note: This recipe fits in a 4-5 1/2 qt slow cooker. From the "Great American Slow Cooker Book" by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough.
|photo from Mpls Star Tribune 1/17/14|
4 cup (1 1/4lb) peeled, seeded and chopped butternut squash (mine was about 2lbs)
1 can coconut milk (light or regular)
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
3/4 cup white quinoa, rinsed (I had less than this so I used 4 cups broth)
2 1/2 tsp curry powder
3/4 tsp salt (or to taste)
about 1/2 tsp caynne (I used 1/4 tsp and I had plenty of zing!)
- Mix the broth, squash, coconut milk, onion, quinoa, curry powder, salt and cayenne in the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours or until squash and quinoa are very tender.
- Puree the soup.
- Cover and cook on low another 15 minutes to heat through. Garnish and serve.