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Monday, March 3, 2014

Recipe Review from 2/24/14

This is actually combining a week and a half's worth of new recipes.  The Husband was in charge of several meals after I got back from Texas, which I've included here. 

If you noticed a trend in the first two recipes, you would be quite correct - BACON!  Food Network Magazine ran a "bacon" issue, a food near and dear to The Husband's heart.  He made both of the bacon themed dishes, the kielbasa recipe, and the anchovy pasta dish.    

The extended meal plan was:
Thurs   Pasta with Bacon and Leeks
Fri  (L) sandwiches  (S) leftover pasta
Sat   (L) sandwiches  (S) out
Sun (L) Kielbasa with veggies  (S) Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing
Mon (yoga/bkgrp) (Legion mtg) 
Tues- leftover Kielbasa and Veggies
Wed  (Bullseye league) leftover salad
Thurs (yoga) Anchovy and Garlic Pasta
Fri - Slow cooked Chicken with Mushrooms, Rice and Cranberries (will be on next review)
Sat - leftovers

Lunches (made on Sunday) Slow Cooked Minestrone Soup, fruit, veggies, crackers, luna bars

Pasta with Bacon and Leeks  (Food Network Magazine, Mar 2014)  gluten free option
I can't comment on how this one was to make, but it seems pretty straight forward - the recipe says a total of 30 minutes from start to finish.  This was quite tasty!  The flavor of the leeks was allowed to shine with any sharp flavors tempered by the white sauce and all balanced with a bit of bacon.  Leftovers were just as good; this made enough for two meals for two of us.

Kosher salt
photo from
12 ounces mezzi rigatoni (or other short fat pasta **gluten free optional)
4 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 bunch leeks (white and light green parts only), halved lengthwise, thinly sliced and rinsed well
Freshly ground pepper
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
Chopped fresh parsley, for topping

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook as the label directs. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water; drain the pasta.

Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 8 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels; pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the drippings from the skillet.

Add the leeks to the drippings in the skillet. Season with 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the heavy cream and cook until it begins to thicken, about 2 minutes.

Add the pasta to the skillet along with the parmesan, half of the bacon and 1/2 teaspoon pepper; toss to coat, adding enough of the reserved pasta cooking water to loosen. To serve, top with the remaining bacon, more parmesan and parsley.

Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing  (Food Network Magazine, Mar 2014) gluten free
This was perfect for a mid-winter salad pick-me-up: a warm bacon-y vinaigrette dressing served over a big bowl of greens, all topped off with sweet grapes and tangy blue cheese.  What's there not to like?  This can easily be halved. 
photo from

5 slices bacon, roughly chopped
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar or honey
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound spinach (not baby), tough stems removed
2 cups seedless red grapes, halved
4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled (about 3/4 cup)
Croutons, for topping

Cook the bacon in a medium skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp, 9 to 11 minutes. Remove to paper towels; reserve the drippings in the skillet.

Whisk the vinegar, sugar, mustard and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper into the drippings. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until emulsified.

Place the spinach in a large bowl and pour the warm dressing on top; add the grapes, blue cheese and the reserved bacon and toss. Season with salt and pepper. Top with croutons.

One-Pot Keilbasa with Veggies (Dutch Oven Experiments Blog) gluten free
Another dish the Husband made, modified for the oven.  Result - outstanding!  A perfect balance of veggies and, in our case, polish sausage.  I loved the flavors of this dish - creamy, veggie, spicy all in one pot.  The Husband thought the veggies were a bit overcooked, I thought they were about right for this dish, so adjust our noted cooking times to your preference.  We also halved the recipe as there are only two of us eating this.  It made enough for two meals for two of us - perfect!

Camper's One Pot Meal
1 packages pre-cooked kielbasa (or polish), sliced into 1/2" thick rounds
1 red onion, cut into large chunks
photo from SciFi with Paprika blog.

1 bell peppers (he used green), cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2-pound package baby carrots
2 large potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/8 cup oil
2 tablespoons garlic salt
Freshly ground black pepper- to taste

Preheat oven to 400*

Combine all ingredients in a 6" deep dutch oven. 
Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour.  Perhaps giving everything a quick stir halfway through. 

Anchovy and Garlic Pasta (
When the Husband's Dad, Bill, passed away a couple of years ago, his Dad's wife cleaned out some of Bill's food-stuff that she knew she wouldn't eat.  This was mostly cans of anchovies and sardines.  The Husband was creative and found a way to use up a can of anchovies that didn't involve a traditional Caesar Salad. This is a very simple, quick and flavorful pasta dish.  The Husband thought it was delicious, I found it a tad 'fishy', but some fresh grated parmesan and coarse ground salt helped ameliorate that taste. 

The Husband did comment that his little anchovy fillets didn't 'melt' as noted below. 

1/2 lb spaghetti (Husband used rotini pasta)
2 garlic cloves
1 (10 oz can) anchovies
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 spoonfuls pasta water

Cook pasta as directed. Drain, putting aside 2 spoonfuls of pasta water. Keep warm.In a skillet, sauté garlic in oil until golden. Add anchovies and 2 spoonfuls of pasta water. Let melt. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Serve sauce over pasta.
Very simple, but delicious supper.

Minestrone Soup (The Great American Slow Cooker Book by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough)
Vegetarian option, gluten free
This is a new cookbook that was being promoted in the Minneapolis Star Tribune about a month ago.  I made the Squash and Quinoa Soup and decided this might be worth buying.  I'll do a more thorough review later.

This is a non-pasta minestrone, which makes it a good choice for my gluten free peeps.  A very simple dish that comes together quite quickly.   The recipe does promote the use of dried beans, but canned would also work.  The cookbook offers directions for three sizes of slow cookers.  Mine is a 4-5 1/2 quart cooker so that's what this recipe represents. 

3/4 lbs dried white beans
5 cups chicken or vegetable broth**  (**vegetarian option)
1 (14oz) can diced tomatoes  (no salt preferred)
2 medium diced yellow potatoes (like Yukon Golds)
1 cup chopped yellow onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/3 cup chopped carrot
2 tsp fresh oregano (I used 1 tsp fresh parsley)
2 tsp minced fresh rosemary (I used 1/2 tsp dried)
1 clove minced garlic
bay leaves
White balsamic vinegar

Pour the beans into a large bowl, then douse them with water until bowl is about 2/3 full.  Set aside to soak overnight.

Drain the beans in a colander set in the sink, and pour them into the slow cooker.  Stir in the broth, tomatoes, potatoes, onion, celery carrot, oregano, rosemary, garlic and bay leaves.  Cover and cook on low for 10 hours, or until the bean are quite tender.

Remove and discard the bay leaves.  Stir in the vinegar and salt before serving.

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