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Monday, March 2, 2015

Recipe Review from 2/23/15

A bit of a belated posting.  Cooking Light id being a bit pokey about getting the March recipe index on-line (I suspect it has to do with the print version being released first), and I really wasn't in the mood to type out three recipes.

The Meal Plan from week of 2/23/15:
Sun - leftovers from previous week
Mon (Yoga/Bkgrp/Legion mtg) - out
Tues - Chicken and Shrimp Gumbo
Wed  (AM Yoga)  Chicken, Broccoli and Rice
Thurs (Yoga)  leftovers
Fri -(Yoga)  Pizza?
Sat - leftovers

Lunches - Butnut Squash Soup, kaiser roll, luna bar, yogurt...the usual. 

Chicken and Shrimp Gumbo  (Ckng Lght, March 2015)   gluten free option**
Directions for this are overly complicated, and could be greatly simplified without sacrificing any flavor.  And this is a very good dish!  I did add 8oz of sliced kielbasa (andoullie would also be tasty), and subbed 1 tsp cayenne pepper for the 2 tsp ground red pepper.  This makes things a bit...spicy.  Another good substitution would be paprika for the red pepper.  I do have a suspicion that the spiciness might also be a factor of the poblano pepper, which isn't usually noted for zing, but sometimes can be.  I also just served the cooked rice alongside, rather than adding to the entire dish.  This makes a robust 8 servings - more with the rice along side.  Recommended!

6 tablespoons canola oil, divided
3/4 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs
photo from
3/4 cup all-purpose flour**
3 cups sliced fresh or frozen okra
2 cups chopped onion
1 1/2 cups chopped seeded poblano chile
1 cup chopped celery
10 garlic cloves, chopped
1 cup dry white wine
4 cups unsalted chicken stock
2 cups water
2 teaspoons ground red pepper
1 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
1 (14.5-ounce) can unsalted petite diced tomatoes, drained
3/4 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 (8.8-ounce) packages precooked brown rice (such as Uncle Ben's)
1/3 cup thinly sliced green onions 

1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook 2 minutes on each side. Remove from pan; let stand 10 minutes. Slice across the grain.

2. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add remaining 5 tablespoons oil to pan. Stir in flour; cook 25 minutes, stirring frequently with a whisk until the color of melted semisweet chocolate. Stir in okra and next 4 ingredients. Increase heat to medium-high; cook 3 minutes. Stir in wine; cook 2 minutes. Add stock and next 4 ingredients; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 15 minutes. Add chicken and shrimp; cook 3 minutes. Stir in vinegar, black pepper, and rice; cook 1 minute. Top with green onions.

Chicken, Rice, and Broccoli Casserole  (Ckng Lght, March 2015)  gluten free option**
This is a fairly quick dish to pull together - I prepped the chicken and rice the night before when making the gumbo.  I made as written, but would love to explore some of the other substitutions the magazine recommended, like quinoa for the rice.  This was a nice balance of rice, chicken and broccoli that wasn't over inundated with sauce or cheese.  Recommended.

2 (3 1/2-ounce) bags boil-in-bag brown rice
1 tablespoon olive oil
photo from
1 small onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
8 ounces presliced button mushrooms
8 ounces skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 (12-ounce) bag microwave-in-bag fresh broccoli florets
1 1/2 cups 1% low-fat milk
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour**
3 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (about 3/4 cup) 

1. Preheat broiler to high. Cook rice according to package directions; drain.

2. While rice cooks, heat a large 12-inch ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion, mushrooms, and chicken; sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Sauté 6 minutes or until chicken and onion are done.

3. Cook broccoli in microwave according to package directions for 3 minutes. Open package to release steam.

4. Combine milk and flour, stirring with a whisk or fork until smooth.

5. Stir milk mixture into chicken mixture in skillet.

6. Cook 2 minutes or until bubbly and thick, stirring frequently.

7. Stir in remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, rice, and broccoli. Sprinkle with cheese.

8. Broil 1 minute or until cheese melts and just begins to brown.

Magazine noted: 
Riff: Try ground beef in place of the chicken.
Riff: Not a fan of broccoli? Try cauliflower, spinach, green peas, carrots, or green beans instead.
Riff: In place of rice, use 3 cups cooked quinoa (1 cup uncooked)

Butternut Squash Soup  (Ckng Lght, March 2015)   gluten free, vegetarian option**
This turned out so creamy and flavorful that I might make this again in the near future.  The buttermilk adds a very subtle bit of "tang" to the sweetness of the squash which I liked better than the traditional half n half or even milk.  I also decided to roast the squash instead of completely simmering for a bit of added flavor boost - the 2014 garden year did not produce the best squash we've had.  Which brings me to my third point - this recipe made a great freezer reduction meal by using 5 cups of squash.  Now I tend to go by weight, but I figure one quart bag holds about two cups.  Might be a bit more than the recipe calls for, but we do like our squash soup to be on the thicker side.  Recommended. 

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion
1/4 teaspoon sugar
5 cups (1/2-inch) cubed butternut squash
1 1/4 cups water
3/4 cup unsalted chicken stock (or vegetable**)
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/3 cup low-fat buttermilk
6 teaspoons toasted pumpkinseeds 

Heat butter and olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and sugar to pan; cook 5 minutes or until soft, stirring frequently. Add butternut squash, water, and chicken stock. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover, and simmer 20 minutes or until squash is tender. Remove from heat, and puree with an immersion blender until smooth. Stir in salt, pepper, and buttermilk. Divide among 4 serving bowls; top each with 1 1/2 teaspoons toasted pumpkinseeds.

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