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Monday, December 14, 2015

Recipe review from 12/7/2015

It rained.  Then it snowed.  Then it got warmish (33*).  And misted a bit more.  Misting this morning in fact.  While this is causing the skiers, snowboarders, snowmobiler's, and outside hockey rinks angst, I'm quite happy with the weather. 

The somewhat ambitious Meal Plan:
Sun (L)  Pea Soup   (S)  Spaghetti Squash Lasagna
Mon (yoga)  leftoverws
Tues - leftovers
Wed - [Bison] Taco Dish
Thurs (yoga)  pasty
Fri (yoga)  pasty

Lunches - White chili, Fritos, luna bars, yogurt, fruit...the usual

Ground Beef Taco Skillet  (FitMom blog via Pinterest)
I have to admit, I didn't care for this, and the reason why is I just don't care for ground beef/bison.  It's a personal thing, not a recipe thing.   The Husband, however, enjoyed this.   This is super quick, prep to table in about 30-40 minutes.  Flavoring is about perfect, but we would have preferred a tich more heat.  This would be a good dish for little tastebuds because there's not a lot of heat or spice seasonings.  

I served this with a side of spinach and homegrown sprouts, with salsa as the dressing. This would also be good over rice or in soft taco shells. 

1 lb lean ground beef  (I used bison)
photo from FitMom blog
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 yellow and/or 1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 large zucchini, quartered and sliced
½ red onion, diced
1 can of diced Fire Roasted Tomatoes, drained
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp onion powder
2 tsp chili powder
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
1 cup Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded
Fresh cilantro, chopped, to taste
optional 1 can diced green chilis (if you like spicy!)
  1. In a 12" skillet, break up and brown ground beef, drain excess fat once beef is browned.
  2. Add in veggies and seasonings and cook until onions are translucent.
  3. Top evenly with cheese and cilantro
Serving Suggestions
Serve over brown rice or in a whole wheat tortilla (add 1 yellow for 21 Day Fix)
Top with hot sauce

Pea Soup with Shrimp and Pepper Confit   (adapted from Nic Stellino, PBS Create)
Sometime after we moved back into the house and sometime after we finally hooked the TV back up (which was actually a period of several months), I caught a marathon on PBS Create.  Loved the show!  Most of the recipes I caught were actually approachable and doable by the average person.   First one I went off and tried was a variation of his creamy mac and cheese with shrimp.  Omg.  Yum!

Then I caught the soup episode, which I've linked to above.  I could do these recipes.  The fanciest thing he used was an immersion blender.  The most complicated ingredient - maybe the shrimp.   The most difficult technique, none - it's all basic kitchen skills of chopping, sauteing and simmering.

I noted the ingredients and I made the pea soup with a couple of modifications.   Note, amounts are approximate and you can increase or decrease to taste.  This made enough for two meals for two of us, and one more bowl as leftover.  It will depend on how "soupy" you like your mixture. 

1/2 cup onions, diced
1/2 cup celery, diced
1/2 cup carrots, diced

1/8 - 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2- 1 tsp dried thyme

1-2  cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1/8 cup brandy, sherry, marsala, OR sweet wine

10oz-1lb peas (frozen works just fine)
1 quart chicken stock

1/2 cup chopped bacon (about 2 slices)
1/2 cup chopped shrimp
1/4 cup yellow peppers
1/4 cup red peppers
1/2 cup onion
1 clove garlic, chopped

1.  Heat oil in a small or medium stock pot over medium high heat.  Saute onions, celery and carrots until slightly softened but not browned.

2. Add red pepper flakes and thyme, saute 30 seconds.

3. Add garlic.  Saute 1 minute (don't burn)

4.  Add [brandy] and reduced to a glaze.  (This took less than a minute)

5.  Add peas and chicken stock.  Bring to a boil and simmer 45 minutes.  With an immersion blender, blend to a "perfect" consistency (what ever that might be for you).   **For Nic, it was well pureed, then pushed through a strainer to get out any overly lumpy bits, and then simmered a bit more.  I skipped that bit. 

6.  For the Confit:  Cook bacon until crispy but not burned.  Remove from pan, and set aside.  Drain out excess bacon fat leaving about 2 tsp.  Add peppers, onion and garlic, saute until lightly softened but not browned.  Add shrimp, saute until just cooked, about 1-2 minutes.  Add bacon back in.

7,  Ladle soup into bowls, dollup with confit mixture, and add a drizzle of olive oil.  Serve!

White Chili [with Avocado Cream]  (Ckng Lght Oct 2015) 
This was lunches for the week.  A bit putzy to toss together - it will definitely consume an hour or more including clean up.  Don't skip the cilantro if possible.  I forgot to add it early in the week, came back and did so, and it really makes a difference.   I did skip the avocado cream because I didn't want to futz with another container in the lunch box. 

Overall, pretty good.  Now, I say this knowing that I'm not overly wild about ground meats.  The Husband was quite happy.  I would also up the spice/heat a bit if you are a hot head.  I did find this a tich on the bland side.  With the avocado cream topping, this would be good for company and could easily be made ahead of time for such an occasion. 

1 serrano chile
1 jalapeño pepper
1 medium onion, peeled and halved 
4 cups unsalted chicken stock, divided 
photo from
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 
1 1/2 teaspoons adobo sauce
1 chipotle chile, canned in adobo sauce
2 (15-ounce) cans unsalted cannellini beans, rinsed, drained, and divided
5 1/2 teaspoons olive oil 
8 garlic cloves, minced 
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1 pound ground pork
2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces (I used 1.75 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs)
3 cups fresh white corn kernels 
1 (15-ounce) can unsalted chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
1 cup half-and-half 
3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided
1/3 cup plus 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lime juice, divided
1 tsp kosher salt
1 medium ripe peeled avocado 
1/3 cup light sour cream 
3/4 cup diced tomatillo
1. Preheat broiler to high.

2. Arrange first 3 ingredients on a foil-lined baking sheet. Coat with cooking spray. Place pan on middle oven rack; broil 15 minutes or until charred on all sides, turning occasionally. Wrap peppers in foil; let stand 5 minutes. Peel peppers; discard peels, stems, and seeds. Combine peppers, onion, 1/2 cup stock, flour, adobo sauce, chipotle, and 1 can cannellini beans in a blender; process until smooth.

3. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add garlic to pan; sauté 30 seconds. Add cumin, oregano, and coriander to pan; sauté 30 seconds. Add pork; cook 4 minutes, stirring to crumble. Stir in onion mixture and remaining 3 1/2 cups stock. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes, stirring frequently.

4. Add chicken to pan; cook 5 minutes. Stir in remaining can of cannellini beans, corn, and chickpeas; cook 7 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low. Stir in half-and-half, 1/2 cup cilantro, and 1/3 cup juice; cook 3 minutes. Stir in 2 1/4 teaspoons salt.

5. OPTIONAL.  Place avocado in a small bowl; mash with the back of a fork. Stir in sour cream, remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons juice, and remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt. Serve chili with remaining 1/4 cup cilantro, avocado cream, and tomatillo.

Spaghetti Squash Lasagna (Ckng Lght, Dec 2015)  gluten free, vegetarian option
Noting up front, this is a weekend dish and plan on about two hours from start to finish, including clean-up.  

What I liked about this dish was it was a riff more on a baked spaghetti than lasagna.  The squash flavors work well with Italian, and I liked adding the cheeses to make it a bit more substantial than straight up "spaghetti".   What I didn't care for was the prep time, but, I knew that going in. 

DON'T skip the squishing the water out of the squash bit otherwise you will end up with spaghetti soup.  And if you sub mushrooms like I did, make sure to saute until the majority of the water has bubbled out.

This made enough for two meals for two of us.   Leftover "boat", is easily stored in the fridge and just scoop out filling before reheating. 
  • 2 small spaghetti squash (about 1½ pounds each)   (I used one large squash, weight unknown, but it was big)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 (8-ounce) package fresh baby spinach
  • ½ cup part-skim ricotta cheese  (I used cottage cheese)
  • ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 ounces shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese (about ½ cup), divided  (I used fresh mozzarella because I had some to use up)
  • 8 ounces 93% lean ground turkey  (I used 80z cremini mushrooms, stems removed, and coarsely chopped)
  • 1½ cups lower-sodium marinara sauce (such as Dell'Amore)
  • 1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (about ¼ cup)
  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Cut each squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds; discard. Place squash halves, cut sides up, on a baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 50 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes. Scrape inside of squash with a fork to remove spaghetti-like strands. Place strands on a clean dish towel; squeeze until barely moist.
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add garlic; cook 30 seconds. Add spinach; cook 1 minute or until spinach wilts. Remove from heat. Combine spinach mixture, squash strands, ricotta cheese, salt, and half of mozzarella cheese in a medium bowl.
  4. Return skillet to medium-high heat. Add turkey to pan; cook 4 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Add marinara sauce; cover, reduce heat to medium, and simmer 4 minutes. Remove from heat.
  5. Increase oven temperature to 425°.
  6. Spoon sauce evenly into the bottom of each squash half. Top evenly with squash mixture. Sprinkle evenly with remaining mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese. Bake at 425° for 20 minutes.
  7. Preheat broiler to high (keep squash in oven). Broil squash 1 to 2 minutes or until cheese is golden brown and bubbly. Remove from oven; let stand 10 minutes. 
photo from


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

All the recipes sound good, but that first one is right up our alley. Anything with cilantro is a big hit around here.

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