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Monday, March 23, 2015

Recipe Reveiw from 3/16/15

Cleaning up and cleaning out the downstairs continues.  It's like moving, but worse, because now I'm trying to find nooks and crannies and floor space to sstash 18 years of accumulated stuff yet keep out what we need to get by with.  

A couple small setbacks, which really aren't setbacks per se:  new cabinet estimate blew the budget out of the water (I haven't even gotten the estimate for the counter tops yet) so I'm back to either completely refurbishing the cabinets, or refurbishing and putting on new doors.  Contractor is coming out this week to measure for new doors for that estimate.

Otherwise, flooring is picked out, counter tops are picked out (just waiting on a price), back splash is picked out (settled on that this weekend).  Need to run to Menards and look at range hoods, and probably a sink and new faucet as well.

The Meal Plan from last week:
Sunday (L) Leftover quinoa  (S) One pot pasta
Mon (Yoga)  leftover pasta
Tues Slow cooked Chicken in a mole sauce
Wed (AM yoga/sub spin)  leftovers
Thurs (Grand Rapids/yoga) leftovers
Fri- Fish or pizza
Sat - Leftovers

One Pot Pasta with Spinach and Tomatoes  (CkngLght, Mar 2015)  gluten free option**, vegetarian
Made as directed with no alterations or substitutions.  Someone should note that on the calendar!  Quick to assemble and tasty to eat.  This could be made with GF pasta but adjust your liquids and cooking times as necessary so you don't end up with a gummy mess.   I do think some kalmata olives would have been a nice touch, or, as the recipe notes below, perhaps some mild Italian sausage.  Perfect for a mid-week meal.  This made enough for two of us plus leftover dinner for one.

photo from

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 (14.5-ounce) can unsalted petite diced tomatoes, undrained
1 1/2 cups unsalted chicken or vegetable stock (such as Swanson)
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
8 ounces whole-grain spaghetti or linguine** (such as Barilla)
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 ounce fresh spinach
1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1/4 cup)
1. Heat a Dutch oven or large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add oil; swirl to coat.

2. Add onion and garlic to pan; sauté 3 minutes or until onion starts to brown.

3. Add tomatoes, stock, oregano, and pasta, in that order. Bring to a boil.

4. Stir to submerge noodles in liquid.

5. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook 7 minutes or until pasta is almost done.

6. Uncover; stir in salt.

7. Add spinach in batches, stirring until spinach wilts. Remove from heat; let stand 5 minutes.

8. Sprinkle with cheese.

Magazine recommendations: 
Riff: Use fresh grape tomatoes instead, and add fresh herbs.
Riff: Swap out spaghetti for any short pasta shape, such as elbow macaroni, rotini, or shells.
Riff: Try adding chopped skinless, boneless chicken thighs, ground beef, or ground turkey for a heartier dish.

Slow Cooker Chicken Mole (Ckng Light, April 2015)  gluten free
This was outstanding!  So simple to pull together, tasted great, very versatile - I served it over rice with a side of veggies, I make it into burritos for lunches and supper.  Serve plain, with brown rice, cheese and spinach.  This made four meals for two of us. 

I was concerned it would be too spicy with two chipolte chilies, but the seasoning was about perfect - not to spicy, not to smokey.

**One noteworthy adjustment - I used one 3.25lb "Family" pack of boneless, skinless chicken thighs instead of the 4lbs bone-in thighs and legs.  I didn't want to futz with bones.  The thighs I did use shredded up right in the slow cooker with just a wooden stir-spoon.  Perfect!

4 skinless, bone in chicken leg-thigh quarters** (about 4 lbs)
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup smoked almonds
1/4 cup raisins
2 tbsp unweetened cocoa
1 tbsp ground cumin
2 tbsp chipolte chilies in adobo sauce
1 tbsp adobo sauce only
1 tsp ground cinnamon
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 small sweet onion, chopped

1) sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper.  Place in a 5-6 qt slow cooker.

2) Place 1/4 cup water and remaining ingredients in a food processor; process until smooth.  Spread mixture over chicken.  Cover and cook on LOW for 8 hours or until chicken is tender.  

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