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Monday, November 23, 2015

Recipe Review from 11/19/2015

Winter has arrived.  We had 12*F on the porch this fine Sunday morning.   A bit chilly for my tastes, but! on the positive side, a great excuse to stay inside, watch a bit of football, read and knit.  In between the laundry and general cleaning that is.    A week of decent dishes, all in all.  

The Meal Plan:
Sat (L) leftover soup  (S) prosciutto wrapped fish
Sun (L) leftover soup  (S)  baked spaghetti
Mon (yoga)  leftover spaghetti
Tues (PM yoga)  leftover spaghetti
Wed -leftover spaghetti
Thurs (yoga) Tacos!
Fri - leftover tacos!
Sat - Dublin's for lunch

Lunches - Leftover Tuscan Stew (previous post); then
Butternut squash chili,  cornbread muffins 

Baked Spaghetti (Simply Recipes via Pinterest)
I will say upfront, this is a weekend recipe.  There is nothing quick about this dish - expect at least an hour prep on top of an hour baking.  I did a couple of notable things:  I used hot Italian sausage because I like things with a bit more flavor zing.  I had some cottage cheese in the fridge so I used that instead of ricotta.  Some of the comments on Simply Recipes indicated this is a perfectly fine substitute, so what the heck?  Why not?

This could also be made meatless very easily by either dropping the meat completely, or dropping the meat and upping the mushrooms and adding some more veggies.

Overall, it was tasty, but I would have liked a bit more sauce to go with it.  It made good leftovers - very easy to reheat.  Again, I would have liked it a bit more saucy.  I would have an extra jar on hand to heat up and serve along side.  

There are a slew of assembly pictures and more notes on  Simply Recipes.

  • 3/4 lb vermicelli pasta or thin spaghetti (I used angel hair)
  • 1 lb bulk sweet Italian sausage (I used hot Italian)
  • 1/4 pound shiitake or cremini mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped, about 1 1/2 cups
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 3 cups or 24 ounces of marinara or meatless tomato sauce*
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil plus more for greasing the casserole dish
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese (I used cottage cheese)
  • 2-3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1. Put a large pot of water on the stove on high heat. Add salt to the water, about 2 Tbsp for 6 quarts of water. While the pasta water is heating, continue with the next steps.

2. Break up the sausage into clumps into a large sauté pan. Turn the heat on, to medium. Slowly cook the sausage, breaking it up into smaller pieces with the a wooden spoon. The slow cooking will help the fat render out. Cook until the sausage is cooked through, no longer pink anywhere, and lightly browned. Remove the sausage from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside. Drain the fat from the pan (not into your sink or you may clog it!)

3. Add the chopped onions and mushrooms to the pan. Increase the heat to medium high. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions become translucent and the mushrooms have given up some of their liquid. Add the minced garlic and red chili pepper flakes, and cook a minute more.

4. Add the marinara sauce and the 1 1/2 cups of water to the pan with the onions and mushrooms. Add the sausage back to the pan.  Add the Italian seasoning and chopped parsley.  Bring to a simmer and reduce the heat to a very low simmer on the lowest simmer setting on your stovetop.  Cook for 10 to 15 minutes or so while you make the pasta.

5. By this time your pasta water in step one should be boiling. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook, uncovered, at a rolling boil, for 5 to 6 minutes, al dente. Note that the pasta will continue to cook and absorb some of the sauce when it is in the casserole dish in the oven, so the pasta should be al dente. When ready, drain the pasta and rinse in cold water.

6. Place the cooled pasta in a large bowl.  Toss with olive oil, then the Parmesan, then 2 beaten eggs. It's easiest to do this with your (clean) hands.

7. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Rub the inside of a 13x9 inch casserole dish (a Pyrex dish works great) with olive oil. Spread 1 cup of the sauce over the bottom of the casserole dish.

8. Place half of the pasta in an even layer in the casserole dish. Cover with half of the sauce. Then dot the sauce with all of the ricotta cheese. Sprinkle half of the Mozzarella over the ricotta layer. Layer again with the remaining pasta, the remaining sauce, and the remaining Mozzarella.

9. Cover with foil and bake for 40 min at 350°F. Remove the foil and bake an additional 20 minutes uncovered. Remove from oven and let rest for at least 10 minutes before cutting into squares and serving.

Lentil and Butternut Squash Chili  (Little Broken blog via Pinterest)  gluten free, vegetarian option*
Fairly quick to assemble, especially if you have the squash pre-chopped.  Which I did.   You could also use frozen pre-chopped squash - don't thaw before using, just add to pot and bring to a simmer.  While it doesn't "look" like a conventional chili, it certainly tastes like one.  I liked this a lot

  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • medium onion, chopped
    photo from Little Broken Blog
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large bell pepper (any color), chopped
  • 2 cups dry brown lentils
  • 3 tsp. chili powder
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 2 tsp. dry oregano
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 (14.5 oz.) cans [petite] diced tomatoes
  • 1 dry bay leaf
  • 7 cups chicken stock* 
  • 3 cups cubed butternut squash
  • 2 (15 oz.) cans pink beans or small red beans (I rinsed and drained, and added 1 extra cup of stock to mixture)
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper, as need
  1. In a 6-quart heavy duty stockpot or dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and chopped bell pepper; saute for 5-6 minutes or just until the vegetables begin to soften.
  2. Add lentils, cumin, oregano, chili powder, and salt. Cook for 1 minute.
  3. Add tomatoes, bay leaf and stock. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low and simmer partially covered for 20 minutes or until lentils are soft around the edges but firm to bite. Add butternut squash and continue to simmer for 15 more minutes. Add beans and cook for additional 5 minutes or just until beans are heated through and squash knife tender.
  4. Discard the bay leaf. Taste for salt and pepper and adjust as needed.
  5. Serve hot with your favorite toppings, such as chopped fresh cilantro/parsley/chives/green onions, sour cream, shredded cheese, tortilla chips or chopped avocado.

Fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes (Ckng Lght Dec 2015)   vegetarian
Putsy.  This used three bowls for assembly: one for flour, one for buttermilk, one for egg whites.   Add in griddle pan, anything extra (sausage, bacon, eggs) and suddenly you have a sink full of dishes on a weekend morning. 

A decent pancake, but worth the egg white business?  Not in my opinion.  

3.5 oz white whole-wheat flour (about 3/4 cup)
3.4 oz all-purpose flour (about 3/4 cup)
2 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/8 tsp salt  (seriously, who does 3/8's?)
1 1/2  cups low-fat buttermilk
2 large egg yolks
2 tbsp canola oil
3 large egg whites

1.  Measure flour, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda into a large bow and stir with a wisk.

2. Combine buttermilk and yolks into a bowl;  stir with a whisk.  Gradually add buttermilk mixture to flour mixture; stir with a whisk just until moist (batter will be slightly lumpy).  Stir in oil.  Let stand 15 minutes.

3.  Place egg whites in a bowl; beat with a mixer until medium peeks form.  Spoon half of the egg whites into batter and gently fold in.  Add remaining egg whites; gently fold into batter.

4. Heat non-stick skillet over medium high heat.  Spoon 3 tbsp batter per pancake onto griddle.  Cook 2 minutes or until edges begin to bubble and bottom is browned.  Turn cakes and cook 2 minutes more or until done. 


Karl A. said...

Seriously!?! Longest blog post ever. The baked spaghetti sounds great, especially on these brisk 55 degree mornings!

Kristin said...

Lol! Yes. Seriously. :D I'm behind on my recipes for 2015 due to the remodel.

And the chili was made on Tuesday so not everything landed on the weekend.

Stay tuned - more goods stuff to come!

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