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Monday, February 1, 2016

Recipe Review from 1/25/2015

Warmer temps brought snow early in the week, and even warmer temps (37*F) brought slushy melting.  Which is a good thing since it helps clear the roads off, especially after a spate of rain (yes rain! In February!) coated cars and roads in a little layer of ice.  But that too, melted and we reveled in sun and warmth. 

The Meal Plan:
Sun (L) Grilled Chicken Cordon Bleu Sandwiches   (S)  Spiced Chicken Stew
Mon (yoga/Legion/Bkgrp)  out
Tues (H&R)  leftover Chicken Cordon Bleu Sandwiches
Wed - leftover Spiced Chicken Stew
Thurs (yoga)  salmon
Fri - leftovers
Sat (L) out   (S) poached cod with rice and green salad

Lunches - Ham and bean soup, bread, fruit, luna bars, yogurt...the usual

Spiced Chicken Stew  (Martha Stewart)  gluten free
My meal planning buddy pointed me in the direction of this recipe.   I have to say, a slow cooked dish doesn't get any easier than this.  If you use baby carrots, there isn't even any chopping!  It's all plopping!  This is a bit reminiscent of a Moroccan tagine, with the flavors of cinnamon and cumin infusing everything.  The flavors are mild to mellow, more of a hint than "in your face".  I served this over Israeli couscous, but basmati rice or brown rice would be just as tasty.  

photo from
2 pounds carrots, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch lengths (I used 1 1/2 lb baby carrots)
8 skinless chicken thighs (about 2 1/2 pounds total)
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced 1 cinnamon stick
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted if desired
Couscous, for serving (optional)

Slow-Cooker Method:
  1. Place carrots in slow cooker. In a bowl, toss together chicken, garlic, cinnamon, cumin, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; add to slow cooker. Cover, and cook on high, 4 hours (or on low, 8 hours), adding raisins 15 minutes before cooking is done.
  2. Using a slotted spoon, transfer chicken and carrots to a dish (remove cinnamon stick); top with cilantro and almonds. Season cooking liquid with salt and pepper; spoon over chicken. Serve with couscous, if desired.

Oven Method:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In step 1, use a 5-quart Dutch oven or ovenproof pot with a tight-fitting lid, adding 1 cup water. Cover, and bake until chicken is tender, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Proceed with step 2.

 Slow Cooker Ham and White Bean Soup (Damn Delicious Blog via Pinterest)  gluten free
I've made several dishes from the blog noted above, and I have yet to be disappointed in any of them.  This was no exception. 

I bought a smoked ham bone for this dish, so I skipped the diced leftover ham because I could use what was on the bone.   What I don't like about using a smoked ham bone is the meat tends to be a bit fatty and gristly.  But, it's cheap so that's why I use it.  The other substitution was I used dried beans and pre-cooked them instead of canned beans.  We just purchased a bag of fresh northern beans and I'm looking for ways to use them. And really?  Nothing beats the taste of fresh beans - oh so creamy!  Yum!

What I liked about this ham and bean soup was the added veggies.  I have noted several variations that are basically just beans and ham, but I like a bit more flavor and color in my soup.  This assembles quickly - no need to saute anything - and smells divine while cooking.   

photo from damn delicious blog
1 leftover hambone
2 cups leftover diced ham*
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, diced
3 carrots, peeled and diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 (15-ounce) cans white beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
2 bay leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

  1. Place hambone, ham, garlic, onion, carrots, celery, beans, oregano, rosemary and bay leaves into a 6-qt slow cooker. Stir in 6 cups water until well combined; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  2. Cover and cook on low heat for 7-8 hours or high heat for 3-4 hours. Remove and discard hambone.
  3. Serve immediately, garnished with parsley, if desired.

Grilled Chicken Cordon Bleu Sandwiches  (Ckng Lght, Jan/Feb 2016)
Well, I don't know what the heck has gotten into Cooking Light, but since about last October, they stopped posting the magazine recipes to their website.  Very annoying - I can't pin them to Pinterest for reference, and I have to type it in for review here.

This is pretty tasty,  more like a panini than a "grilled cheese sandwich".   I plan on making this dish at least one more time during the week because I have the ingredients on hand, it's simple, and comes together very quickly.

1 1/2 tsp olive oil
8 slices multi-grail country bread (or whatever you have handy)
2 oz (~1/2 cup) shredded Gruyere cheese
2 oz very thinly sliced prosciutto (I used pancetta)
1 1/3 cups shredded skinless, boneless chicken breast
2 tbsp reduced fat sour cream
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp fresh thyme

Simplified directions:
Mix sour cream and Dijon mustard together. 

Butter both sides of the bread. 

Make a sandwich out of the above ingredients and lightly grill on the stove like a fancy grilled cheese sandwich or panini.   If you have a George Foreman grill or panini maker, even better!  Use that.  Eat! 

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