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Monday, November 9, 2015

Recipe Review from 11/2/2015

Another uneventful week that was busy work-wise and had me out of the office and in the field for a couple of days.  At home the garage received it's fall cleaning and organizing in preparation for winter weather.  Stuff was put away, chicken feed cans put up on some 2x4's, snowblower made accessible and as much things pushed out of the future "snow water zone" as possible.   Everything got a good sweeping.

Saturday evening we joined a group of hiking companions for a potluck dinner.  We were unable to partake in Saturday's hike, but met with everyone for supper.  Oh my!  What a dinner it was!  Fresh fruit and a charcuterie selection with honey mustard for appetizers, boneless country pork ribs, fresh salad, wild rice pilaf, and a German apple cake for dessert.  Delish!

Dinner conversation was just as fascinating as we had a interesting discussion on ethnic holiday meals and traditions that ranged from Irish, to Slovenian, to Norwegian and more. 

The Meal Plan:
Sun (L) Leftovers   (S)  Moroccan Flavored Pork Ragu
Mon (yoga) leftovers
Tues - leftovers
Wed - Stovetop Tuna Casserole;  Butnut Squash Soup
Thurs (yoga)  leftovers
Fri - leftovers
Sat  (L) leftovers   (S) potluck

Lunches - Bean and Rice burrito bowls, chips, fruit, yogurt, luna bars, the usual...
Butternut squash soup later in the week.  

Buckwheat Chia Pancakes (  gluten free, vegetarian option
Don't be put off by the serving size, seriously, four pancakes are plenty!  Besides being hearty, these taste really good - the buckwheat flour really shines.  The Husband thought they were almost like ginger cookies, minus the ginger and molasses.  That kind of hearty flavor.   We did not serve with yogurt and berries, but stuck to the traditional butter and maple syrup.  Yum!   Raspberry, blackberry or blueberry jam would also be delicious! 

Serving Size: 4 pancakes
Number of Servings: 2
10g of fiber and 12g of protein!

Arrowhead Organic Buckwheat Flour, 0.5 cup
photo form

Chia dry seeds, 2 tbsp
Egg, fresh, whole, raw, 1 large
Egg white, fresh, 2 large
Almond Breeze Almond Milk, Unsweetened Vanilla, o.5 cup
Baking soda, 1/2 tsp,
Baking powder, 1/2 tsp,
Cinnamon, 2 tsp,
Vanilla extract, 1 tsp,
Salt, at the tip of knife

Mix all the ingredients,
Cook on a skillet coated with spray.

Recipe submitted by SparkPeople user MARIA_M2FITNESS.

Mexican Rice  (SkinnyMs via Pinterest)
I had one tiny goof in this.  I was making the recipe below and mixed up how much tomatoes went where.  Oh well. I used some pre-cooked white beans I had hand.  I skipped the green chiles intending to use some hot salsa and I forgot that too.  Still, it turned out good and I would make it again.   This made enough for about five lunches.  Not enough for two of us for the week.
photo from
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small sweet onion, diced
  • 1 cup long grain brown rice (recommend Uncle Ben's Long Grain Brown Rice - not the quick or instant kind)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Kosher or sea salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup freshly chopped cilantro
  • 1(14.5 ounce) can petit diced tomatoes
  • 1(4 ounce) can diced green chiles (optional)
  • 2 cups vegetable broth, low sodium (optional, chicken broth)
In a large skillet or sauce pan add oil, turn to medium-low heat and saute onion until tender, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and continue to saute one additional minute. Add remaining ingredients, cover, reduce heat and simmer on low for approximately 45 minutes or until rice has soaked up the liquid and is tender.

Authors NOTE: The time it takes to cook the rice will depend on the brand. Some brands take 35 minutes, while others take up to an hour. We prefer Uncle Ben's Long Grain Rice because it is tender in approximately 35-45 minutes.

Remove from heat, leave covered and allow to set 10 minutes before serving. 

Moroccan Flavored Pork Ragu (Eating Well via Pinterest) 
Don't be put off by the ingredient list - it comes together very quickly and with minimal fuss. The only thing I omitted or changed in this was the preserved lemon.  Oh, and I was out of tomato paste (even in the freezer!) so I subbed a splort of ketchup.  I'll do in a pinch.   Tasty, a bit bland (surprisingly), and made enough for four dinners.

I was also thinking the pork could be skipped completely for a vegetarian dish - just increase the carrots, butnut squash and use a whole can of tomatoes.  Maybe even add some turnip or rutabega.  Lamb or venison would also be good substitutes for pork.   Lots of options.   Recommended! 
photo from
  • 2 lemons
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 teaspoons paprika, preferably Hungarian
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, plus 1 pinch, divided
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless pork chops, (1 inch thick), trimmed of fat, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 14-ounce can reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup butternut squash, diced (1/2-inch dice)
  • 1 cup carrots, sliced (1/2 inch thick)
  • 1 cup canned chickpeas, rinsed
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup canned diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons preserved lemon, chopped rinsed, (see Note; optional)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce, such as Tabasco
  • 1 Pinch ground cinnamon
  • 1 Pinch ground allspice
  1. Zest and juice the lemon(s) to get 1 tablespoon zest and 2 tablespoons juice; reserve the zest. Combine the juice, 1/2 teaspoon oil, paprika, turmeric, coriander, cumin, pepper and 1/4 teaspoon ginger in a medium bowl. Add pork; stir to coat. Marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or up to 4 hours.
  2. Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pork and cook, stirring, until no longer pink on the outside and beginning to brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the pork to a plate.
  3. Add broth, squash, carrots, chickpeas, onion, tomatoes, preserved lemon (if using), tomato paste, garlic, hot sauce, cinnamon, allspice, the reserved lemon zest and the remaining pinch of ginger to the pan. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally; reduce heat to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Stir in the pork, return to a simmer and cook, stirring, until the pork is just cooked through, 2 to 5 minutes more.
  • Make Ahead Tip: The pork can be marinated (Step 1) for up to 4 hours.
  • Note: Although entirely optional, preserved lemons make this ragu more authentic. A signature flavor in Moroccan dishes, lemons that are preserved in a salt-lemon juice mixture for at least 30 days have a salty, sweet taste and tender texture. Find them at specialty food stores or online at

Slow Cooked Butternut Squash Soup  (Gimme Some Oven via Pinterest)  gluten free, vegetarian 
Some items of note:  I didn't slow cook this because I found the recipe after I started the squash on the stove.  I was looking for seasoning ideas when I found the recipe, so this was a mid-cooking shift.  I also had 6 cups of liquid (oops, darn it! again, I was winging it early in the recipe), and I didn't add carrots.   Stovetop worked just fine. 
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
    photo from
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, cored and diced
  • 1 medium (uncooked) butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced
  • 1 sprig fresh sage
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper, or more to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne, or more to taste
  • pinch of ground cinnamon and nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup canned coconut milk
  • (optional garnishes: extra coconut milk and cayenne)

Add vegetable stock, garlic, carrot, apple, butternut squash, sage, onion, salt, pepper, cayenne, cinnamon and nutmeg to a slow cooker.  Toss to combine.

Cook for 6-8 hours on low, or 3-4 hours on high, or until the squash is completely tender and mashes easily with a fork.  Stir in the coconut milk.

Use an immersion blender to puree the soup until smooth.  (Or you can transfer the soup in two batches into a traditional blender, and puree until smooth, being very careful when working with the hot liquid.)  Taste, and season with additional salt, pepper and cayenne if needed.

Serve warm, with optional garnishes if desired.

Butternut Squash and Cranberry Pilaf  (A Communal Table via Pinterest)  gluten free, vegetarian option**

I made this for a potluck for about 10 people.  I did...a fair number of things different but still stayed true to the integrity of the dish.   I made my own wild rice mix using half wild rice and half brown rice, and baked it rather than a stove-top preparation.  Always turns out fantastic. I baked the rice and the squash at the same time.  Squash and onions on the top rack, rice on the bottom, squash comes out first.  When the rice was done, I combined rice, squash mixture, and cranberries, covered and let everything steam and combine.   I forgot the parsley so that didn't get added.   I served the dressing and pecans on the side because some folks just don't like nuts or can't have them. 

This turned out fantastic!  Dressing is a wonderful bright and flavorful counterpoint to the sweetness of the squash and cranberries.  The pecans add some great crunch and roasted flavor that really helps balance everything else out.  If you are looking for an alternate dish for the Holiday table, I highly recommend this one.   
  • 1 cup wild rice mix
    photo from
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock**
  • 1½ cups butternut squash, cut into ½ inch cubes
  • 1 large onion, cut into ½ inch dice
  • 1 cup dried cranberries or dried cherries
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 3 Tbsp. canola oil
  • ¼ cup minced italian parsley
  • 1 cup citrus dressing
Citrus Dressing:
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/4. tsp cardamon
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger
  • 1 Tbsp. honey
  • 1/4 lemon olive oil or 1/4 cup olive oil with zest from 1 lemon
  1. Pr- heat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray a sheet pan with cooking spray. Add the butternut squash and toss with 1 Tbsp. canola oil Season with salt and pepper. Roast squash for 20 - 25 minutes or until softened and slightly caramelized. Remove from oven.
  2. While squash is roasting, combine the stock and rice in a large saucepan. Cover and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and simmer for 20 - 30 minutes until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender.
  3. While rice is cooking, heat a large saute pan over medium high heat. Add the 2 Tbsp. of canola oil. Add the chopped onions and saute for about 6 minutes until translucent. Reduce heat and continue to cook onions until slightly caramelized. Remove onions from the pan and set aside.
  4. Add pecans to saute pan and cook over medium heat, until toasted - watch closely so they don't burn!. Add the cooked rice, butternut squash, onions and dried cranberries. Drizzle with ¼ cup of the citrus dressing. Stir. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more dressing if needed. Garnish with minced parsley if desired. Serve!

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