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Monday, October 6, 2014

Recipe Review from 9/29/2014

One weekend ago it was 80* (27*C) and sunny.  This past weekend...37* (3*C), snow showers and 30 mph winds. 

As the front moved in on Friday, there was a bit of dash after work to bring in the partially ripe tomatoes (I am officially giving up on growing tomatoes - our season is too short and too cool), the zucchini,  eggplant, and cover the butternut squash, kale and swiss chard.  Mission accomplished though I knew the wind would probably wreak havoc on the plastic over the squash. 

But!  The weather was a GREAT excuse to stay put inside, watch some college football, do a bit of knitting and reading, and bake some muffins.  Which we did.

The Meal Plan from last week.  It changed a bit because I kept forgetting to buy barley.  Then I found a big bag of barley in my freezer.  Oops... 

Sun:  Barley Risotto  Broccoli Quinoa
Mon (yoga)  leftovers
Tues (sub yoga) leftovers
Wed (AM yoga)  Broccoli Quinoa  pizza
Thurs (yoga) Broccoli Cheddar Stuffed Potatoes
Fri - Cod with rice and kale.
Sat - (L) leftover fish  (S)  Barley Risotto

Lunches - rice and bean burritos, chips, fruit, luna bars, yogurt. 

Broccoli-Quinoa Casserole  (Ckng Lght, Oct 2014)   gluten free option**
This was really tasty.  I do think a dash of red pepper flakes would be a good addition if serving to adult tastebuds, just for a little zing.  This is creamy, flavorful, and very "comfort food".   This can easily be made completely gluten free by using an alternative thickener for the sauce. 

I did do a couple of small changes.  I cut up my own broccoli and lightly steamed it (I don't have a microwave).  I also baked everything right in the main skillet, thus saving dish to wash.  You do need at least a 12" oven-safe skillet to pull that off.   This made enough for 4 hungry people, or 6 with sides. 

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained
    photo from
  • 1 1/4 cups water (use leftover chicken stock from can below)
  • 1 (12-ounce) package microwave-in-bag fresh broccoli florets
  • (I bought and used bulk broccoli for above, and steamed lightly) 
  • Cooking spray 
  • 12 ounces skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces 
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onion 
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup 1% low-fat milk
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour ** (or GF thickener of choice)
  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted chicken stock
  • 2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 cup canola mayonnaise (regular mayo worked fine)
  • 4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (1 cup) 
  1. Heat a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons oil; swirl to coat. Add quinoa; cook 2 minutes or until toasted, stirring frequently. Add 1 1/4 cups water; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until quinoa is tender. Remove from heat; let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
  2. Preheat oven to 400°.
  3. Cook broccoli in microwave according to package directions, reducing cook time to 2 1/2 minutes.   I lightly steamed on the stove, removed from heat, covered and set aside. 
  4. Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add chicken to pan; sprinkle with 1/8 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Cook 5 minutes or until browned, turning occasionally; remove from pan.
  5. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion and garlic; sauté 5 minutes. Combine milk and flour, stirring with a whisk. Add milk mixture, stock, remaining 3/8 teaspoon salt, and remaining 3/8 teaspoon pepper to pan. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently; cook 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat; cool slightly. Add Parmesan, stirring until cheese melts. Stir in quinoa, broccoli, chicken, and mayonnaise. Spoon mixture into a 2-quart glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray.  Sprinkle with cheddar. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until casserole is bubbly and cheese melts.

Broccoli and Cheddar Stuffed Potatoes (Ckng Lght Oct 2014)  gluten free option**
This was really good.  As in, we ate the whole dish in one sitting good.  Though, in our defense, we used baby red potatoes rather than baking, so the potato ratio was probably a bit smaller. 

Husband assembled this one.  I arrived in time to grate the cheese (my favorite!).   I do find it interesting the recipe above calls for "1 (12-ounce) package microwave-in-bag fresh broccoli florets"  which is about two cups, and here, no prepackaged veggies for convenience.  Inconsistent message there Cooking Light.  This made enough for two of us.  Could have probably fed four if we had used baking potatoes and hadn't been piggies.  But it was really good. 
photo from
  • 4 (6-ounce) baking potatoes  (we used 5 or 6 baby reds)
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 3 ounces thick-cut ham slices, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons minced onion 
  • 1 cup 1% low-fat milk, divided
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 ounces mild cheddar cheese, shredded (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 cups water   (you don't need two cups of water to steam 2 cups of broccoli, about an inch or so at the bottom of the pan will do quite nicely.
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  1. Preheat oven to 450°.
  2. Place potatoes on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake at 450° for 50 minutes or until tender. Let stand 10 minutes.   (We halved the potatoes, and boiled for about 30 minutes)
  3. Heat a saucepan over medium heat. Add oil; swirl to coat. Add ham; sauté 3 minutes or until lightly browned. Add onion to pan; sauté 2 minutes. Combine 1/4 cup milk and flour in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add flour mixture and remaining 3/4 cup milk to pan, stirring constantly with a whisk. Cook 4 minutes or until slightly thickened. Remove pan from heat. Stir in mustard, salt, pepper, and cheese.
  4. Bring 2 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add broccoli; cook 4 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain.
  5. Cut a lengthwise slit in each potato. (If using baby reds, lightly mash) Gently squeeze potatoes at both ends to open. Divide broccoli among potatoes; top evenly with sauce.

Barley and Butternut Risotto  (Ckng Lght, Oct 2014)  vegetarian option
First off, I think there was a type in the magazine.  It called for warming 1 cup of stock, but then didn't say what to do with the one cup stock, nor what to do with the other three cups.  I just warmed the stock as I would do for risotto.  And I don't recall the recipe even calling for 1 cup water...   I don't have it handy so I can't check.

So, one tiny modification, I used the four cups stock without the extra cup water.  The only noticable difference might be the barley was al dente, which might put some people off as "not done".  But it was.

This was a very tasty dish.  The nutty barley compliments the sweet squash so very nicely.  Add that parmesan cheese for just the right hit of tangy saltiness!   Add some red pepper flakes right at the beginning to add a bit of heat for adult tastebuds.  Start the barley when you put the squash in the oven - everything should be done about the same time.  I also found I could add the broth to the pan, give everything a good stir, then go do dishes or something. Come back, give it another good stir, and repeat.  Really not necessary to continuously stir like a true risotto.  Leftovers were just as good as the main dish.  Recommended! 
photo from
  • 2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • Cooking spray
  • 4 cups unsalted chicken stock
  • 1 cup water 
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion 
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/4 cups uncooked pearl barley
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1.5 ounces shaved Parmesan cheese (about 1/3 cup), divided
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  1. Preheat oven to 425°.
  2. Place squash on a jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 425° for 25 minutes.
  3. Bring stock and 1 cup water to a simmer in a saucepan. Keep warm.
  4. Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan. Add onion, salt, and pepper; cook 4 minutes. Add barley and garlic; cook 2 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup stock mixture; cook 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to medium-low. Reserve 1/4 cup stock. Add remaining stock, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently until each portion is absorbed. Remove from heat. Stir in reserved 1/4 cup stock and 1 ounce cheese. Fold in squash. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and sage.


Karl A. said...

That's a rough temperature swing. It cooled off here too, today it was 70 degrees when I walked outside at 6:00am...

Kristin said...

I don't think I remember what 70* feels like... :P

Heck, most of our mornings this summer were mid-50's! I heard on the radio a couple weeks ago MN didn't record a single 90* this year.

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