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Monday, January 19, 2015

Recipe Review from 1/12/15

An uneventful week overall.  Husband has started work with H&R block for tax season, my work has been busy which keeps me happy, a bit of yoga on the side and that's about it.   So I'll jump right into...

...The Meal Plan
Fri - Skillet Pizza
Sat (L) leftover Farmhouse Chowder Soup   (S)  Hosin-Lime Glazed Salmon
Sun (L) leftovers  (S)  Cuban Pork with Yellow Rice
Mon (yoga/Husband work mtg)  leftovers
Tues - Chicken Piccatta
Wed (AM yoga) - leftovers
Thurs (yoga) - leftovers
Fri - leftovers

Sausage and Kale Pesto Skillet Pizza  (Ckng Lght Jan/Feb 2015)  vegetarian option
This review was for the previous week's meals. I was hoping Cooking Light would have January/February's recipes posted by now, but they don't.  I'll try and remember to come back and put the links in along with some pictures. 

A couple of deviations from the original recipe - we made our own crust, and I omitted the sausage and used red pepper instead.  The downside to the homemade crust was it was definitely a Chicago Style and for a 10" skillet, too thick.  I started it on the stove and finished baking it in the oven for 20 minutes at 350*, rather than broil.

photo from
10 oz refrigerated fresh whole-wheat or whole grain pizza dough
3 oz pork Italian sausage, casings removed
3 oz curley Kale, chopped (about 3 tightly packed cups)
2 tbsp water
1 tsp sugar
1/4 cup pine nuts or slivered almonds
2 large garlic cloves, minced and divided
1/4 cup EVOO, divided
1 oz Parmigaiano-Reggiano Cheese, grated (I used Parmesan)
2 oz shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese (about 1/2 cup)

1, Place dough on counter at room temp; cover to prevent drying.

2. Preheat broiler to high.

3. Heat a 10" cast iron skillet over medium high heat.  Coat pan with cooking spray.  Add sausage; cook 3 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble.  Remove sausage casing from pan.  Add kale, 2 tbsp water and sugar to pan; cover and cook 2 minutes or until kale wilts.  Place kale on 2 layers of paper towels; squeeze out excess moisture.  Wipe pan clean with paper towels.

4.  Place nuts and 1 garlic clove into food processor; pulse until finely chopped.  Add 2 tbsp oil; process until almost pastelike (add 1 - 1 1/2tbsp water if necessary).  Add Parmesan; pulse until just combined.

5. Heat skillet over medium-high heat.  Roll dough into a 10 1/2" circle.  Add 1 tbsp oil to pan; swirl to coat.  Fit dough in pan. Top evenly with pesto; sprinkle with sausage and mozzarella.  Cook 2 minutes over medium-high heat or until browned on the bottom.  Place pan in the over; broil 2 minutes or until cheese melts.  Cut into 8 wedges and serve.   Serves 4 (2 slices each). 

Hoisin-Lime Glazed Salmon with Bok Choi Slaw (Ckng Lght Jan/Feb 2015)  gluten free** watch soy sauce and hoisin
Recipe called for 20 minutes from start to finish for this dish, I think I clocked it closer to 30 minutes, which is still really good for a very nice meal from start to plating.  The boc choy salad was crisp and refreshing, with just a bit of zing from the sriracha sauce.  Much to my surprise, the broiled salmon actually turned out!  I usually don't have much success with my broiler.  This time it worked perfectly, and the hoisin-lime glaze was seriously good.

What I liked most about this recipe was it used the Asian ingredients I already had on hand.  Hoisin sauce, sesame oil, soy sauce and sriracha.  The basics.  I also felt the glaze would be outstanding on chicken or pork, so you might see some variations on this down the road.

2 cups thinly sliced bok choy
1//2 cup grated carrot
photo from Scifi with Paprika blog
1/2 cup sliced red bell pepper
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp dark sesame oil
1 1/2 tsp Sriracha
1/2 cup dry roasted unsalted cashews
2 tbsp hoisin sauce
1 tbsp fresh lime juice (I used bottled)
1 garlic clove, grated
4 (6oz) salmon fillets (about 1" thick)
1/4 tsp kosher salt
2 cups hot cooked brown rice

1) Place bok choy and next five ingredients in a large bowl; toss to combine.  Sprinkle with cashews.

2) Place a jelly-roll pan on upper rack in oven.  Preheat broiler to high (leave pan in oven).

3) Combine hoisin, juice, and garlic in a small bowl.  Sprinkle salmon with salt, and lightly coat with cooking spray (I use olive oil).  Place salmon on preheated pan; broil 6 minutes.  Brush salmon with 1 1/2 tbsp hoisin mixture.  Broil an additional 2 minutes or until desired degree of doneness.  Brush salmon with remainder of sauce.  Serve with rice and slaw.

Charred Lemon Chicken Piccata  (Ckng Lght Jan/Feb 2015)  gluten free option**
This felt just a wee bit putzy in the assembly - chop and set aside, pound and set aside, cook and set aside...  But the end result I have to say was really good.  Bright lemon flavor and tangy capers married with a bit of white wine and chicken stock, everything nicely seasoned with herbs.  This took about 45 minutes from start to end, about 10 minutes more than recipe had estimated. 

This would have been outstanding over some egg noodles, something to catch all that yummy sauce.  I served it with peas, which not only made a veggie serving, but the green was so nice and bright in the middle of winter.  Peas tasted really good in the sauce too. 

2 small lemons cut into thin rounds
4 garlic cloves, halved
4 (6oz) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, pounded into 3/4" thickness
1/2 tsp salt, divided
photo from
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 tbsp olive oil, divided
2 tbsp unsalted butter, divided
1 tsp grated shallot
1/2 tsp grated garlic
1 oregano sprig (I used 1/2 tsp dried oregano)
1 thyme sprig (I used 1/2 tsp dried thyme)
1/2 cup dry white wine  (Like a Pino Grigio)
1 cup unsalted chicken stock
1 tsp all-purpose flour
1 tbsp capers, rinsed and drained
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

1) Combine lemon slices, sugar and garlic in a medium bowl.

2) Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper.  Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add tsp oil, swirl to coat.  Add chicken to pan and cook 4 minutes on each side or until done.  Place chicken on a plate.  Add 1 tsp oil to pan; swirl to coat.  Add lemon mixture to pan; cook 1 minute or until lemon slices are lightly browned, turning occasionally.  Return lemon mixture to bowl.

3) Wipe pan with paper towels.  Heat pan over medium high heat.  Add 1 1/2 tsp butter to pan, swirl till butter melts.  Add shallot, 1/2 tsp grated garlic {and oregano and thyme sprigs if using} and cook 1 minute.  Add wine to pan, scraping to loosen browned bits.  Bring to a boil; cook 3 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates.  Add dash of salt, stock, flour [dried thyme and dried oregano], stirring with a wisk.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 3 minutes or until liquid is reduced to about 2/3 cup.  Remove pan from heat {remove oregano and thyme sprigs if using}.  Stir in remaining butter and capers until butter melts.  Return chicken to pan with any juices and coat with sauce.  Serve. 

Cuban Ropa Vieja (modified; The Frugal Gourmet: Our Immigrant Ancestors)  gluten free
This was probably my least favorite meal of the week, and only because of the cut of meat I selected.  Talk about fatty! I don't recall ever seeing this much fat on a shoulder roast.   When I inquired at the grocery store what would make good pulled pork, the butcher recommended the Boston Butt or shoulder.  Well, the butt cuts were like 6lbs each and I only wanted 3lbs.  So I went with a shoulder.  Fatty. Fatty. Fatty.   Next time I'm heading to the meat market.

I also cooked this in the slow cooker for convenience, and that's reflected in the recipe below. 

1 - 3 1/2 lb beef chuck or pot roast (I used pork shoulder)
olive oil
1/2 cup water
1 large yellow onion, peeled and sliced
2 cloves garlic; peeled and [cut into quarters]
1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
1 cup tomato sauce
1 tsp salt
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup dry wine

Rub meat with oil, salt and pepper.  With a sharp knife, poke small holes in meat and push quartered garlic into meat.  Heat a skillet over medium high heat and coat with cooking spray.  Sear meat on all sides.

Place sliced onions on bottom of slow cooker.  Place meat on top of onions.  Put more onions on top of meat.  Add 1/2 cup water.  Cover and cook 4-6 hours on high, or 6-8 hours on low.

Remove meat from juices; cool slightly, then shred.  Remove onions from juices and set aside.

In a skillet coated with cooking spray and heated to medium-high, lightly saute green pepper.  Add shredded meat, onions, tomato sauce, salt, wine and bay leaf.  Heat through and let simmer about 10-15 minutes.  Serve over Yellow Rice (below).

Yellow Rice (modified; The Frugal Gourmet: Our Immigrant Ancestors) vegetarian; gluten free
This came together very quickly using regular white rice, and it made a lot, which I really liked.  Flavor was good, peas and pepper added some bright color, and it was just...good comfort food.  

2 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped (I grate)
1 medium onion, diced
2 medium red bell pepper, cored, seeded and diced
1 cup frozen peas
1 tsp paprika
pinch saffron (or 1 tbsp Annatto oil) (I used saffron)
2 cups white rice
4 cups water.

1) Heat a 4 quart heavy covered pot  and add the oil, garlic, onion and bell pepper.  Saute for a few minutes until the vegetables are tender.  Add the remaining ingredients, cover and simmer over low heat 20-25 minutes until the rice is tender and liquid is absorbed.  

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