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Monday, March 31, 2014

Recipe Review from 3/24/14

It snows.  I snowblow. It melts.  It snows. I snowblow. It melts.  Welcome to my so-called "spring".  Where one day we are in blizzard like conditions with awful roads, and the next day it's 50 and sunny.  At some point here we need to strike a balance...

The Meal Plan:
Sun:- make Winter Squash Stew;  make Risotto
Mon (yoga and bookgroup) (legion meeting)
Tues - leftovers
Wed - (Bullseye League) make Quiche
Thurs (yoga) leftover quiche
Fri - (Husband at Outdoor show) leftover quiche;  make quinoa dish.
Sat (Sister up) Husband leftover quiche for lunch, me with sis. 

Lunches - Winter Squash Stew; fruit, bread, luna bars, yogurt and nut cups.

Cherry Ricotta Scones  (Ckng Lght March, 2014)  vegetarian
A putsy recipe that I didn't think was worth the bowls, saucepan, and utensils I dirtied to assemble this.  I don't have a microwave so I brought the cherries and OJ to a simmer on the stove and then covered and set aside.  The "ricotta" devonshire cream mix was better than I thought it would be, but it had a granular texture that I didn't find appealing.  Upon reviewing this...I might have shorted myself on the butter, but I'm not certain.  The flavor is good (I love cherries!) and had I remembered almonds, it probably would have helped.  In hindsight, I should have tossed a bit of almond flavor into the batter.  Oh well.  Ultimately, an "okay" scone.
  • 1/2 cup dried tart cherries
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice 
    photo from cookinglight.com
  • 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese 
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange rind 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon fat-free buttermilk, divided
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 4.5 ounces whole-grain pastry flour (about 1 cup)
  • 3.4 ounces unbleached all-purpose flour (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, diced
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  1. Preheat oven to 425°.
  2. Combine cherries and juice in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at HIGH 1 minute; let stand 5 minutes. Drain; discard liquid. Finely chop cherries.
  3. Combine ricotta cheese, 1 tablespoon sugar, rind, and vanilla in a medium bowl. Reserve 1/2 cup of the ricotta mixture. Add 1/3 cup buttermilk and canola oil to remaining ricotta mixture, stirring until smooth.
  4. Weigh or lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flours, remaining 3 tablespoons sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl; cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add cherries and almonds; toss. Add buttermilk mixture; stir just until combined.
  5. Drop dough by 1/4 cupfuls 3 inches apart onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Combine egg and remaining 1 tablespoon buttermilk, stirring with a whisk. Gently brush top and sides of dough with egg mixture. Bake at 425° for 15 to 16 minutes or until golden. Remove from pan; cool slightly on a wire rack.
  6. Beat the reserved ricotta mixture at medium speed 3 minutes or until fluffy. Serve with warm scones.

Risotto with Red Peppers and Asparagus (Ckng Lght Apr 2014)  gluten free, vegetarian
I LOVE risotto!  Something about the creamy rice just appeals to me in a comfort food way.  The April issue had an article on how to simplify risotto, where you rinse the rice in the broth before hand, then you don't have to stand and stir-stir-stir; but I can't seem to find that blurb on-line.  I tried the method and it worked great

My complaint with this recipe was the veggies amounts called for were way too much!  I halved the asparagus and thought there was still too much.  One red pepper would have been plenty.  The Husband thought the dish was overly bland.  I liked it except for the excessive veggies.  Broccoli would also be a good substitute for the asparagus. 
photo from cookinglight.com
  • 2 large 1 large red bell peppers
  • 1 pound 1/2 pound (or less) asparagus, trimmed and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • 2 cups organic vegetable broth 
  • 2 cups water 
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon chopped shallots
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup uncooked Arborio rice
  • 1 cup Champagne or sparkling wine  I used regular white wine
  • 2 ounces goat cheese (about 1/4 cup)
  1. Preheat broiler to high.
  2. Cut bell peppers in half lengthwise; discard seeds and membranes. Place pepper halves, skin sides up, on a foil-lined baking sheet; flatten with hand. Combine asparagus and 1 tablespoon oil in a medium bowl; add to baking sheet. Broil 5 minutes. Remove asparagus from pan; set aside. Broil peppers an additional 5 minutes or until blackened. Place peppers in a paper bag; fold to close tightly. Let stand 10 minutes. Peel and chop peppers. Combine asparagus, peppers, and rind in a medium bowl; toss to combine.
  3. Bring broth and 2 cups water to a simmer in a medium saucepan (do not boil). Keep warm over low heat.
  4. Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion; cook 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add garlic, shallots, black pepper, and salt; cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add rice; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Stir in Champagne; cook until liquid is absorbed (about 2 minutes), stirring constantly. Stir in 1/2 cup broth mixture; cook 4 minutes or until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Reserve 1/4 cup broth mixture. Add remaining broth mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion is absorbed before adding the next (about 22 minutes total). Stir in asparagus mixture; cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated. Remove from heat; stir in reserved 1/4 cup broth mixture and cheese.


Winter Squash Stew with Beans and Corn  (Ckng Lght, Oct 2000)  vegetarian, gluten free
Super easy to assemble!  Cooks in about 45 minutes.  Easily made ahead and in fact, it's one of those recipes where it's better the next day after all the flavors have had a chance to meld.   Flavors are reminiscent of a chili or the southwest.  I did find this a bit on the bland side - so some hot sauce or chili powder if you like a little extra zing.

photo from cookinglight.com
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil 
  • 3 cups (3/4-inch) cubed peeled buttercup or butternut squash (about 1 1/4 pounds)
  • 1 cup diced onion 
  • 2 1/2 cups water, divided
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 dried New Mexican chile, seeded
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 cup frozen whole-kernel corn
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
  1. Heat vegetable oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the squash and onion, and sauté 5 minutes. Add 1 cup water and the next 4 ingredients (1 cup water through chile); cover and cook 5 minutes. Add 1 1/2 cups water, salt, and tomatoes; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes. Add the corn and beans; cover and cook 15 minutes. Discard the chile.

Mushroom, Gruyere and Spinach Quiche (Ckng Light April, 2014) vegetarian, gluten free option
I do love a good quiche and while this wasn't as "spectacular" as the magazine made it out to be (hell-O! It's just quiche!) it was still really good and even better as leftovers.  Great for breakfast, lunch or dinner, and in this case, dinner.  I did modify the recipe greatly in that I did NOT make my own crust.  I wasn't in the mood to add an hour to my prep-time and I had a single Pillsbury crust to use up in the fridge. 
photo from cookinglight.com
  •  1 homemade crust, OR 1 pre-made crust of choice OR 1 gluten free pie crust - all baked according to pie crust directions.
  • 3 center-cut bacon slices
  • 1/4 cup chopped shallots
  • 1 (8-ounce) package presliced mushrooms
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
  • 2 cups packed baby spinach
  • 1 cup 1% low-fat milk
  • 1/3 cup half-and-half
  • 3 large eggs  (I used 4 large eggs)
  • 1 large egg white
  • 2 ounces cave-aged Gruyère cheese, grated
  1. Preheat oven temperature to 350°.
  2. Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, reserving drippings; crumble. Return pan to medium-high heat. Add shallots to drippings in pan; sauté 2 minutes. Add mushrooms and thyme; cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in spinach; cook 2 minutes or until spinach wilts. Remove from heat; let stand 10 minutes. Drain any excess liquid.
  3. Place milk, half-and-half, eggs, egg white, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a blender; process until smooth.
  4. Arrange half of cheese over bottom of crust; top with spinach mixture and remaining half of cheese. Carefully pour milk mixture over cheese. Sprinkle with bacon. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until filling is set. Let stand 10 minutes.


Quinoa Salad with Roasted Corn and Tomates (Ckng Lght)  gluten free, vegetarian, vegan option
Quinoa Salad with Oven-Roasted Corn and Tomatoes
1 cup uncooked quinoa
1 ½ cups fresh corn kernels (about 3 ears)
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
½ cup crumbled queso fresco cheese
¼ cup chopped fresh basil
1. Prepare quinoa according to package directions. Cool to room temperature.
2. Preheat oven to 375°.
3. Combine corn and 1 tablespoon oil in a medium bowl; toss to coat. Spread corn in a single layer on a jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray. Roast corn at 375° for 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool slightly.
4. Combine juice, remaining 1 tablespoon oil, salt, and pepper in a large bowl; stir with a whisk. Add corn, quinoa, and tomatoes to bowl; toss to coat. Add cheese and basil; toss gently.
- See more at: http://simmerandboil.cookinglight.com/2012/05/05/salad-saturday/#sthash.OeJMmAab.dpuf
The sister and little nephew came up to visit on short notice and I needed an easy and fast lunch that was gluten free, soy free, dairy free and high protein.  Quinoa has become my go-to meal base in situations like this and this recipe popped up on the first search.  The steps below can be done pretty much at the same time - once the quinoa is started, the corn can be popped into the oven, the tomatoes chopped and dressing whisked. 

I did cook up some lightly seasoned chicken tenders and add them to the dish for the adults - little nephew got chicken and veggies.  This would be great for a picnic or lunches because it can be served hot, warm or cold.  Recommended with and without the chicken!

Quinoa Salad with Oven-Roasted Corn and Tomatoes
1 cup uncooked quinoa
1 ½ cups fresh corn kernels (about 3 ears)
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
½ cup crumbled queso fresco cheese
¼ cup chopped fresh basil
1. Prepare quinoa according to package directions. Cool to room temperature.
2. Preheat oven to 375°.
3. Combine corn and 1 tablespoon oil in a medium bowl; toss to coat. Spread corn in a single layer on a jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray. Roast corn at 375° for 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool slightly.
4. Combine juice, remaining 1 tablespoon oil, salt, and pepper in a large bowl; stir with a whisk. Add corn, quinoa, and tomatoes to bowl; toss to coat. Add cheese and basil; toss gently.
- See more at: http://simmerandboil.cookinglight.com/2012/05/05/salad-saturday/#sthash.OeJMmAab.dpuf1 cup uncooked quinoa
1 1/2 cups water or broth
1 1/2 cups fresh corn kernels (about  three ears)
Photo from cookinglight.com
I used frozen corn.
2 tbsp olive oil, divided
2 tsp fresh lemon juice 
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 cup grape tomaotes, halved
1/2 cup crumbled queso fresco cheese - I used goat cheese
1/4 chopped fresh basil

1. Rinse quinoa; drain and combine with 1 1/2 cups water or broth. Bring to a boil and simmer until water is completely evaporated.  Set aside.
2. Preheat oven to 375*
3. Combine corn and 1 tbsp oil in a medium bowl;  Spread corn in a single layer on a jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray.  Roast corn at 375* for 20 minutes or until lightly brown and roasted.  Cool slightly.
4. Combine juice, remaining 1 tbsp oil, salt, and pepper in a large bowl stirring with a whisk.  Add corn, quinoa and tomatoes to bowl; toss to coat.  Add cheese and basil; toss gently.  Can be served warm, room temp or cold.
Combine corn and 1 tablespoon oil in a medium bowl; toss to coat. Spread corn in a single layer on a jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray. Roast corn at 375° for 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool slightly. - See more at: http://simmerandboil.cookinglight.com/2012/05/05/salad-saturday/#sthash.OeJMmAab.dpuf

Quinoa Salad with Oven-Roasted Corn and Tomatoes
1 cup uncooked quinoa
1 ½ cups fresh corn kernels (about 3 ears)
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
½ cup crumbled queso fresco cheese
¼ cup chopped fresh basil
1. Prepare quinoa according to package directions. Cool to room temperature.
2. Preheat oven to 375°.
3. Combine corn and 1 tablespoon oil in a medium bowl; toss to coat. Spread corn in a single layer on a jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray. Roast corn at 375° for 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool slightly.
4. Combine juice, remaining 1 tablespoon oil, salt, and pepper in a large bowl; stir with a whisk. Add corn, quinoa, and tomatoes to bowl; toss to coat. Add cheese and basil; toss gently.
- See more at: http://simmerandboil.cookinglight.com/2012/05/05/salad-saturday/#sthash.OeJMmAab.dpuf
Quinoa Salad with Oven-Roasted Corn and Tomatoes
1 cup uncooked quinoa
1 ½ cups fresh corn kernels (about 3 ears)
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
½ cup crumbled queso fresco cheese
¼ cup chopped fresh basil
1. Prepare quinoa according to package directions. Cool to room temperature.
2. Preheat oven to 375°.
3. Combine corn and 1 tablespoon oil in a medium bowl; toss to coat. Spread corn in a single layer on a jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray. Roast corn at 375° for 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool slightly.
4. Combine juice, remaining 1 tablespoon oil, salt, and pepper in a large bowl; stir with a whisk. Add corn, quinoa, and tomatoes to bowl; toss to coat. Add cheese and basil; toss gently.
- See more at: http://simmerandboil.cookinglight.com/2012/05/05/salad-saturday/#sthash.OeJMmAab.dpuf

Quinoa Salad with Oven-Roasted Corn and Tomatoes
1 cup uncooked quinoa
1 ½ cups fresh corn kernels (about 3 ears)
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
½ cup crumbled queso fresco cheese
¼ cup chopped fresh basil
1. Prepare quinoa according to package directions. Cool to room temperature.
2. Preheat oven to 375°.
3. Combine corn and 1 tablespoon oil in a medium bowl; toss to coat. Spread corn in a single layer on a jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray. Roast corn at 375° for 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool slightly.
4. Combine juice, remaining 1 tablespoon oil, salt, and pepper in a large bowl; stir with a whisk. Add corn, quinoa, and tomatoes to bowl; toss to coat. Add cheese and basil; toss gently.
- See more at: http://simmerandboil.cookinglight.com/2012/05/05/salad-saturday/#sthash.OeJMmAab.dpuf
Quinoa Salad with Oven-Roasted Corn and Tomatoes
1 cup uncooked quinoa
1 ½ cups fresh corn kernels (about 3 ears)
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
½ cup crumbled queso fresco cheese
¼ cup chopped fresh basil
1. Prepare quinoa according to package directions. Cool to room temperature.
2. Preheat oven to 375°.
3. Combine corn and 1 tablespoon oil in a medium bowl; toss to coat. Spread corn in a single layer on a jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray. Roast corn at 375° for 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool slightly.
4. Combine juice, remaining 1 tablespoon oil, salt, and pepper in a large bowl; stir with a whisk. Add corn, quinoa, and tomatoes to bowl; toss to coat. Add cheese and basil; toss gently.
- See more at: http://simmerandboil.cookinglight.com/2012/05/05/salad-saturday/#sthash.OeJMmAab.dpuf

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