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Monday, January 26, 2015

Recipe Review from 1/20/2015

A rather uneventful week where our work schedules had me moving the meal plan around a bit.  I had to drop the slow cooked butternut squash risotto originally planned because we (oddly enough) didn't have the time for it.  It only cooks for three hours so a bit problematic if neither one of us are home. 


The three recipes we did make were all quite good, especially the ham soup.  Best I've ever made.

The Meal Plan:
Sun (L) soup and grilled cheese  (S) Veggified Spaghetti
Mon (yoga) grilled cheese
Tues -leftovers
Wed - (AM yoga) pasty with peas and gravy
Thurs (Grand Rapids/yoga) take n-bake pizza
Fri - Lemon Chicken Teriyaki Rice Bowl
Sat (L) leftovers

Lunches - Slow Cooker White Bean and Ham Soup


Slow Cooker White Bean and Ham Soup  (eHow Food Blog)
This was the inaugural use of our new 7 quart slow cooker and it worked splendidly.  Initially I thought it might even bee too be big for this dish, but it was perfect.  I loved the locking lid, I loved how the lid hinged, and the food was simmering quite nicely by late afternoon.

I did pre-cook my beans separately, and I recommend this method if you have hard water in your area.  I have a high calcium content in my water which is problematic, and I've solved the 'crunchy bean' dilemma by using filtered water and pre-soaking/cooking.  For this recipe I covered my beans in filtered water, added one bay leaf, brought to a boil, covered and walked away.  Two-three hours later I came back, drained and rinsed, and then added to the soup already in progress.  My beans turned out absolutely creamy.  Simple! Delicious!  

I'm not a big ham fan, but I have to say this was probably the best ham soup I've ever made.  Recommended!
  • 1 large ham bone
  • 1 cup chopped ham
  • 1 cup white onion, chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb. Great Northern beans, rinsed
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 12 ounces pale ale
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup fresh shaved parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup baby arugula
Directions:
  1. In a large slow cooker stir together the ham bone, ham, white onion, celery, carrot, garlic, beans, broth and beer.
  2. Cook on low for 8 to 10 hours or until beans are tender.
  3. Salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Ladle into bowls, top with shaved Parmesan and baby arugula


Read more : http://www.ehow.com/ehow-food/blog/slow-cooker-white-bean-beer-and-ham-soup/


1 ham bone
1 cup chopped or diced ham (I used 1 lb because that's what I had frozen)
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
2 celery ribs, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb Great Northern Beans (not sure what variety I had - from last years garden)
6 cups chicken stock (I used duck stock)
12 oz pale ale (we used one of the husband's home brews, was not a pale ale)
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup fresh shaved Parmesan cheese (skipped because gets messy reheating in lunches)
1 cup fresh arugula

Put ham bone and next 9 ingredients (through salt and pepper) into slow cooker.  [Note: I sauted my aromatics first then put them in slow cooker.  Entirely optional.].  Cook on low 6-8 hours or until beans are tender.

Serve with shaved Parmesan and arugula if using.   

Note:  I have hard water, as do many places in the country.  Chicken stock tends to be high in sodium - even the "low sodium brand". Both of these factors can contribute to uncooked, crunchy beans.  To prevent this, I cooked my beans separately, then added partway through the slow cooking process.   This will affect how broth-y your final soup is, so adjust liquid accordingly if you want a less brothy soup. 


Whole Grain Spaghetti with Veggi-fied Meat Sauce (Ckng Lght, Jan/Feb 2015)  gluten free option
This was OUTSTANDING!  Seriously, really good.  I'm flagging this one and it might become my go-to spaghetti sauce.  Chunky, sauce-y, a bit zingy because I subbed mild Italian sausage for ground beef (bland, people! bland!) and I upped the red pepper flakes just a bit.  Other than the sausage swap for beef, I didn't change a thing.  This would be a perfect sauce for summer garden produce.

Go make it right now!



6 oz whole grain spaghetti (I used Barilla)
1 cup finely chopped onion
photo from cookinglight.com

8 oz 93% lean ground beef (I used Italian sausage)
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup finely chopped zucchini
8 oz cremini mushrooms, finely chopped
1 (14.5oz) can unsalted diced tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp dried crushed red pepper
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
2 tbsp finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (I used Parmesan)

1) Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat.  Drain and keep warm.   (My notes - start pasta water after you start cooking sauce below.  Easier to let sauce sit and simmer than it is to keep pasta warm.)

2) While pasta cooks (see note above), heat a large skillet over medium high heat.  Coat pan with cooking spray.  Add onion, beef (or sausage), and garlic; cook four minutes, stirring to crumble beef (or sausage).  Add zucchini and mushroom; cook 10 minutes or until most of liquid evaporates, stirring occasionally.

3) Place tomatoes in a mini food processor, pulse four times until almost smooth.  Add tomato paste, oregano, and red pepper to pan; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Stir in tomatoes; reduce heat and simmer five minutes or until slightly thickened.  Stir in salt/pepper to taste.  Serve sauce over pasta and top with cheese.


Lemon Chicken Teriyaki Rice Bowl (Ckng Lght Jan/Feb 2015)  gluten free - watch the soy sauce!
This was fairly quick to make and I deviated from the original recipe a bit for simplicity.  My notes are written below because I still can't link to the original recipes (not posted as of this date).  I did use brown rice, though raman or soba noodles would also be tasty (but not gluten free).  I only had two chicken breasts, not the three called for.  If you double the sauce, it will easily accommodate four.

This was nicely tangy, I didn't add any sriracha sauce for heat, and this made for a well rounded weeknight meal. I  didn't find this lemony, which was fine. One could get fancy with the rice and make (or buy) stir fried rice, but I thought the sauce was tasty enough for plain.  Recommended.
photo from cookinglight.com

Cook:  1 cup brown rice according to directions on package. 

Combine: 2 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce and 1/2 tsp cornstarch in a small bowl, stirring with a wisk.  In a small sauce pan, combine 2 tbsp dark brown sugar, 4 tsp mirin (sweet rice wine) (I used tequila)  and 2 tsp lemon juice.  Add soy sauce to sugar mixture and bring to a boil.  Cook until thickened, stirring frequently.

Prepare: Pound 3 (6oz) chicken breasts to 1/2" thickness, and season with salt and pepper.  Heat a large sauce pan to medium-high heat and drizzle with 2 tbsp oil.  Add chicken to pan, cooking 4 minutes each side or until done.  Drizzle each side with soy sauce mixture during cooking. Reserving 1 tbsp for serving. 

Prepare:  Veggie of choice (recipe called for broccolini).  I used zucchini and sauteed at same time as chicken. 

Serve:  Drizzle remaining soy sauce mixture over chicken, rice and veggie. 

     
  • 1 large ham bone
  • 1 cup chopped ham
  • 1 cup white onion, chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb. Great Northern beans, rinsed
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 12 ounces pale ale
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup fresh shaved parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup baby arugula
Directions:
  1. In a large slow cooker stir together the ham bone, ham, white onion, celery, carrot, garlic, beans, broth and beer.
  2. Cook on low for 8 to 10 hours or until beans are tender.
  3. Salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Ladle into bowls, top with shaved Parmesan and baby arugula.


Read more : http://www.ehow.com/ehow-food/blog/slow-cooker-white-bean-beer-and-ham-soup/

1 comment:

Dee said...

I'll be your house smelled wonderful while that soup was simmering.

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