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Monday, December 7, 2015

Recipe Review from 11/30/15

Oi.  What a week.  We had a service man out for the well because the water pressure in the house has been all over the place.  Come to find out it was the clogged filter on the new in-house water filter we had installed back in June.  Thought those were supposed to last a year...nope.  Only 3-4 months.  Easy fix.

We had a service fellow out for the furnace because something was smelling funky.  Called my propane provider to do a service check and describe the problem...nope!  It's a heat exchange and you need to call the installer.  Call the installer, they whine and snivel and blame the oil provider but ultimately get me on the schedule.  But then the part doesn't come in so they cancel.  But then the part shows up via speedy delivery three hours later so we're back on.  And ultimately it wasn't even the heat exchanger but rusty nozzles!!  Urk.  But, furnace is running better, which is all that matters.

THEN the wash machine broke.  Service woman pokes around underneath, runs the machine, hooks gizmos up and calls me down to the basement.  Not good news.  Give the machine last rites and get a new one.

Which I did on Saturday after spending two hours at the laundromat.   The good news there is they can deliver it on the same day as my new fridge, thus saving us from an extra delivery charge and from having to take two days off.

And in between alllll of that, I made a few new recipes.  

The Meal Plan:
Sun (L)  leftover meatloaf and potatoes  (S) leftover spicy veggie hash
Mon (yoga) leftover butnut rice pilaf and green beans
Tues - Butternut Squash Tart
Wed -Fried rice and (spam)
Thurs (lunch with friend/yoga pm) - leftovers
Fri - (Virginia) leftovers
Sat (both out)      (S) ??

Lunches - Root vegetable and lentil soup, bread, luna bars, yogurt, fruit

Chard-Studded Root Vegetable and Lentil Soup (Vegetarian Slow Cooker)  vegetarian, gluten free
I have a feeling I made this before.  I also have a feeling I made this before and didn't care for it then.  Husband and I didn't care for it now.  So I will make a note in the cookbook accordingly this time and highlight it in yellow. 

This had the potential to be good - it has ingredients I like with the lentils, carrots, celery, onion, potato and Swiss Chard.  But something was lacking and I can't put my finger on exactly what -maybe more root vegetables?  It might be the shredded potatoes would have been better cubed.  Perhaps spinach instead of the more bitter Swiss chard (or perhaps I should have blanched or pre-cooked the chard a bit?).  And the broth comes out looking like dirty dishwater and tasted not much better.

Not recommended without significant tweaking. 

1 onion, diced
4 carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp salt
1/2 tbsp cracked black peppercorns
1 cup lentils (brown or green)
6 cups vegetable broth
1 potato, shredded
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, dissolved in 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
4 cups packed, shredded swiss chard, stems removed

6 cups water (I used chicken broth)
5 cups Swiss Chard, stems removed and thinly sliced

Butternut Squash and Swiss Chard Tart with Olive Oil Crust (Ckng Light, Dec 2015)   vegetarian
NOT recommended for a weeknight dish, but due to overly ambitious meal planning, this ended up as a weeknight dish.  This is a solid 2 hours from start to table, including washing dishes.   Now, I did save some time by having my squash  pre-chopped, so I could pop the squash and crust into the oven at the same time.  That helped a lot.  While squash and crust cooked, I prepped the rest of the filling.  When everything was in the oven for the final 30 minutes of baking, I washed dishes and set the table.

RECOMMENDED as a dish however.  This was very tasty.  My one complaint (other than the prep time) is the crust does need a bit more oil than called for - or some additional pinenuts.  While the crust held together, I had predominant "flour" taste that I didn't care for. 

I only had one minor substitution - I had half chard/half spinach.  

Cooking Light is being REALLY pokey about putting their recipes on the website, and this one is just too long to type out.  I'll try to remember to come back and post, but if not,

Fried Rice with Crispy Spam  (Ckng Lght, Dec 2015) vegetarian option**
Yes, you read that correctly.  Spam.   Note: original recipe doesn't call for Spam, but for ham.  I didn't want to buy 2oz of ham when I had a can of Spam in the cupboard.  Yes.  I eat Spam.  I like Spam a lot in fact.  It's a nice change from sausage and bacon on Pancake Sundays.  And I felt the flavor of Spam would work perfectly in this dish, which it did. 

So.  Now that you've gotten over your shock, I'll move on.   The other thing of note is I have no idea where a person would get pre-prepared boxes of rice.   My recommendation - make the rice a day or two in advance.  It makes for a better fried rice.  Which is what I did.

2 1/2 tbsp dark sesame oil, divided
2 oz ham, diced (I used Spam)
4 large eggs, beaten
1 cup (1/2 inch) sliced green onion
1 cup frozen shelled edamame, thawed
1 (6 oz) pkg fresh spinach
2 (8.8 packages) pre-cooked brown rice
2 tbsp soy sauce

1.  Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add 1 1/2 tsp oil to pan and swirl to coat. Add ham, cook three minutes or until browned, stirring occasionally.  Remove from pan and set aside.

2. Add 1 1/2 tsp oil to pan, swirl to coat.  Add eggs; cook 1 minute or until soft-scrambled, stirring constantly.  Place eggs in a large bowl and set aside.

3.  Add 1 1/2 tsp oil to pan, swirl to coat.  Add onions, saute 1 minute.  Add edamame and spinach; cover and cook 2 1/2 minutes or until spinach wilts, stirring occasionally.  Add vegetable mixture to eggs in bowl. 

4.  (IF using pre-prepared rice)  Knead rice packages to separate rice.  Add remaining 1 tbsp oil to pan; swirl to coat.  Add rice, stir to coat.  Pat rice down into an even layer and cook three minutes.  Stir rice, pat rice down into an even layer, and cook additional 3 minutes.  (MY NOTES - I had to stir constantly to prevent sticking with my homemade rice)

5.  Stir in egg-vegetable mixture with soy sauce.  Sprinkle with ham.

Serves 4. 

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