Search This Blog

Monday, February 10, 2014

Recipe Review from 2/3/14

A pretty uneventful week all in all both activity wise and weather wise.  We did watch the Olympic opening ceremonies and have caught a few of the events.  We don't have cable so we're pretty limited with what events we can see. 

It was, however, a good week meal wise.  Several super easy and fast meals to recommend!

The Meal Plan
Sat - leftovers  (S)  Chipolte Black Bean Chili 
Sun (L) leftover chili  (S)  Take-n-bake pizza for Super Bowl!   (make lunch soup)
Mon - leftover chili
Tues - Chicken in Beer Sauce and Brussel Sprouts (assuming sprouts haven't composted)
Wed - I get leftover chicken
Thurs - Sausage, Spinach and Rice
Fri - leftovers

Lunches - Slow cooked Barley, Bean and Veggie Soup, crackers, fruit, luna bars and nuts.

Spiced Rubbed Chicken  (Ckng Lght Sept 2012)  gluten free
This was a DOH! moment:  I had everything all set to make Chicken in Honey Beer Sauce, I was pulling together seasonings, and realized I was making the Spiced Rubbed Chicken recipe on the opposite page in the cookbook!  Not wanting to waste ingredients, I went ahead with the Spiced Rubbed Chicken and served it with some blue-cheese mustard.   Wow, really good combination!

Super simple recipe.  I would not call this one "kid friendly" as the seasonings can be pretty intense for heat-sensitive adults.  I butterflied my chicken and pan-seared (my grill is currently under about 4' of snow and it's 0* outside).  Served with roasted brussel sprouts.

photo from
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons Hungarian sweet paprika
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery seeds
  • 4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves $
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • Cooking spray
  1. Combine first 7 ingredients. Brush both sides of chicken evenly with oil; rub with garlic. Sprinkle spice mixture evenly over chicken; coat with cooking spray. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add chicken to pan, and grill for 5 minutes on each side or until done.

Roasted Brussel Sprouts   (Ckng Lght Nov 2012)   vegetarian, gluten free
Sometimes all a recipe is, is a nudge to use an ingredient languishing in the fridge, freezer or pantry.  That was this recipe with my sprouts that I bought back in December.  Yes.  December.  I knew they were in the drawer, but just kinda kept dismissing them.  This was the encouragement I needed to use those sprouts up!

Nothing spectacular about this: it's a basic roasted veggie recipe sprinkled with cheese at the end.  My only comment would be to watch your cooking times.  Smaller sprouts won't need the full 20 minutes.

photo from
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved lengthwise
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 ounce pecorino Romano cheese, shaved (about 1/3 cup)
  1. Preheat oven to 425°.
  2. Combine olive oil, salt, black pepper, and Brussels sprouts in a medium bowl; toss well to coat. Divide Brussels sprouts mixture evenly between 2 small roasting pans or jelly-roll pans coated with cooking spray. Bake at 425° for 20 minutes or until Brussels sprouts are browned and crisp-tender, rotating pans after 10 minutes. Remove from oven. Sprinkle Brussels sprouts evenly with cheese. Serve immediately.

Chipolte Black Bean Chili  (Ckng Lght Nov 1995)   gluten free, vegetarian
Easy peasy chili should be the name of this one!  Chop a bit of onion and garlic, open a few cans, plop and cook!  Dinner on the table in 30.  Flavors are bright and flavorful.  Perfect for a chilly Fall or Winter weekend.  A side of cornbread would be perfect accompaniment. 
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion 
    photo from
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • I added 1/2 tsp cumin 
  • 1 teaspoon minced drained canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, drained
  • 2 (14.5-ounce) cans no-salt-added whole tomatoes, undrained and chopped  (I used 2 14.5oz cans of diced tomatoes)
  • 1 (4.5-ounce) can chopped green chiles, drained
  • Cilantro sprigs (optional)
  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; sauté 3 minutes or until tender. Add chili powder and next 6 ingredients (chili powder through green chiles); bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes. Ladle chili into individual bowls, and garnish with cilantro sprigs, if desired.

Sausage-Spinach Rice Bowl (Ckng Lght, April 2012)  gluten free
Super easy and very tasty.  If you don't liked spinach, substitute some lightly steamed broccoli.  I like spinach so I stayed with that.  I did cut back on the garlic to three cloves as I don't care to still be tasteing my dinner hours later.  This is perfect for an evening where you don't want to put a lot to time into a dish, yet don't want to eat out.   Serves 3
photo from
  • 1 (8.8-ounce) pouch precooked brown rice (such as Uncle Ben's)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 6 ounces hot turkey Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 (6-ounce) package fresh baby spinach
  • 1 ounce Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, shaved (about 1/4 cup)
  1. Heat rice according to directions.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add sausage and pepper; cook 4 minutes or until sausage is browned, stirring to crumble. Add garlic; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add spinach; cook 30 seconds or until spinach begins to wilt, tossing constantly. Stir in rice; cook 1 minute or until heated. Sprinkle with cheese.


Barley Bean Vegetable Soup  (Saavy Vegetarian Blog)  vegetarian/vegan
Don't be put off by the lengthy ingredient list or wordy directions.  This is a pretty simple soup.  I'm not entirely sure the barley absolutely needs to be pre-cooked - I've never done that before - but decided to follow directions this go around (unusual, I know!).  I bought canned chickpeas and then used my own dried beans (soldier beans).  I pre-cooked my beans in the slow cooker, with filtered water, a bay leaf AND the barley.   I ended up with two cups of liquid (note, I halved the amounts below) and supplemented with a cup of broth I had in the freezer.  

FOR A 8-10 QT SLOW COOKER  (I halved for a 4-5 quart slowcooker)
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked garbanzo beans, OR 1 16 oz can, drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked kidney beans, OR 1 16 oz can, drained and rinsed
  • *Bean cooking directions below
  • 1/2 cup pearl barley, directions below, soaked 4 or more hours, or pre-cooked 45 minutes in 3 cups water
  • 6 cups TOTAL liquid from these sources: water, bean cooking liquid, barley soaking liquid
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil or other cooking oil
  • 2 med. carrots, peeled & diced
  • 3 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1/2 lb green beans, 1" slice
  • 1/2 red pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 green pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced, OR 1 pinch cayenne (use the whole pepper if you like heat)
  • 2 thin slices fresh ginger, peeled and minced, OR 1/2 tsp dried ginger
  • 1 -2 cloves garlic, crushed, peeled and minced OR 1/2 tsp powdered garlic
  • 1 tsp each: basil, thyme, marjoram, paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground fennel
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 unsalted veggie bouillon cube
  • 2 - 3 Tbsp unsalted tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp Braggs, soy sauce or miso
  • 2 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley
*How To Cook Beans:  Note: If you're going to soak and cook beans, it's worth making extra, to freeze in small amounts for future vegetarian meals.
  1. Sort and clean the dried beans
  2. Soak the beans in hot water for four hours, or overnight in cold water
  3. Drain and rinse
  4. Place in medium saucepan, cover with cold unsalted water
  5. Bring to boil uncovered, boil for ten minutes, skim the foam
  6. Cover and simmer for 2 hours
  7. OR cook 9 minutes at high pressure in a pressure cooker
  8. Slow cooker or Crockpot: After boiling and skimming, cook for 6 - 8 hours on low
How To Cook Pearl Barley:
  1. Wash, rinse, then soak barley 4 hours in hot water, or refrigerate overnight in 3 cups water
  2. OR cook for 45 minutes in 3 cups water
  3. Don't discard the barley soaking or cooking water - it should go in the soup, as part of the TOTAL liquid
Barley Bean Soup Directions:
  1. Heat oil on medium in a 6 - 8 qt pot
  2. Chop carrots, potatoes, celery, pepper & green beans
  3. Increase the heat a bit, and sauté 5 minutes
  4. Add spices and sauté another few minutes
  5. Add the barley + soaking or cooking water
  6. Add the beans + enough of the cooking liquid to suit you
  7. Add tomato paste + bouillon cube
  8. Bring to boil, cover and simmer 20 - 30 minutes, until veggies are nicely tender
  9. Add more water as needed for desired consistency
  10. Add Braggs, soy sauce or miso & fresh minced herb
  11. Optional: Add salt + pepper to taste
  1. Slow Slow Cooking: You can either sauté the veggies and spices first, then add to the crockpot, or just throw everything in cold, set the crockpot on low, cover and cook for 6 hours. Add the fresh herbs, salt & pepper + Braggs or soy sauce at the end of cooking 
  2. Quick Slow Cooking: Sauté veggies & spices as above, transfer to preheated Crockpot with hot beans, barley & liquid. Simmer 2 - 3 hours on low. Keep your eye on it for the first time, as cooking times vary with crockpot size and make. Add the fresh herbs, salt & pepper + Braggs or soy sauce at the end of cooking 
Recipe Tips:  Since this recipe makes a BIG pot of soup, it's perfect for feeding a crowd. 
The beans and barley can be soaked overnight or while you work, to save cooking time, and the soup can go in the slow cooker or crockpot, once the vegetables are sautéd - or skip that step, and just throw everything in the crockpot! Of course you can also use canned beans - just be sure to drain and rinse them first to get rid of the excess salt.

No comments:

Popular Posts