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Monday, February 29, 2016

Recipe Review from 2/22/2016

Have I mentioned how weird the weather can be up here in Duluth?   We can easily have temperature swings of 30* and go from sunny and warm to cold and snowing in less than 12 hours.  Like this past weekend.  48* and sunny on Saturday (a record, I'm sure), to 23* and snowing on Sunday, to 45mph wind gusts and 1* by Monday.    And of course, I washed my car on Saturday because the roads were dry and clear and my doors wouldn't freeze shut while everything dried.  Well, at least the last round of road grime is off.

The Meal Plan:
Sun  (L)  leftovers   (S) Quinoa Burgers
Mon (Yoga)  leftovers
Tues (Block) Turkey meatballs
Wed - leftovers
Thurs (yoga) Tofu Soup (reviewed last week)
Fri (Block) leftovers
Sat - (L) out   (S)  Cabbage Pasta

I thought I had pictures for the dishes below, because Cooking Light hasn't been posting links to the recipes in any timely fashion, but I can't find those pictures which makes me wonder if I actually did take any?  

Quinoa Burgers  (Ckng Lght, Mar 2016)  vegetarian
These were pretty easy to assemble, most of the work can be done simultaneously such as prepping chick peas while the quinoa mixture cooks.

I also made these ahead of time - the recipe noted that these can be made up to two days in advance.  This will help with making the burgers stick together.   These are big enough that you could easily skip the buns.  First dinner I put them on half of an English muffing (the ones I buy are large enough to do so) and found it to be just too much "stuff".  And messy to eat.  So I skipped the buns the second go around and just served over a bed of lettuce, sprouts, and blue cheese crumbles.  Simple and yum!  Recommended.

Time +/- 45 minutes to make on the stove (does not including baking time)
Serves 4 (made two dinners for two of us)

7 tsp canola oil, divided
3/4 finely chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped peeled carrots
3 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup water
1/3 cup uncooked quinoa
1/2 cup panko
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 1/2 cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed (I used the whole can)
1 large egg
2 tbsp hot sauce (I used Siracha)

4 whole wheat hamburger buns, toasted
4 romaine lettuce leaves   (I used a lettuce spring blend)
4 tomato slices 

1. Heat a saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add 2 tsp oil; swirl to coat.  Add onion, carrot and garlic; saute 3 minutes.  A 1/4 cup water and quinoa;  bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat to medium and simmer 18 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.  Spoon cooked quinoa onto a large plate;  cool 5 minutes.  Combine quinoa mixture, panko, salt, pepper, chickpeas and egg in a food processor; pulse until chickpeas are slightly mashed and mixture comes together.  Shape quinoa mixture into 4 (1/2" thick) patties.

2. Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add 1 tbsp oil to pan; swirl to coat.  Add patties to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until lightly browned.    I baked in a 375* oven for about 20-30 minutes.  

3. Combine remaining 2 tsp oil and hot sauce in a bowl. Place patties on bottom halves of buns; top evenly with hot sauce mixture, lettuce, tomato and bun halves.   I used half of an english muffin bun, but ultimately ended up pulling muffin half out and eating burger straight.   With the leftovers, I just served over a bed of greens.  

Sweet and Sour Turkey Meatballs  (Ckng Lght, Mar 2016)  gluten free**  
Surprisingly easy and very tasty.  I really enjoyed the sauce over the polenta - it was a nice flavor contrast to the usual Italian dishes.   I did end up substituting soy sauce for the Worcestershire sauce because I forgot I was out.

If I were to make this again, I think I would opt for baking the meatballs in the oven and just prepping the sauce on the stove.  Yes, it would add time to the cooking process (could be made ahead tho...), but I think it would make for a better meatball.  Just a thought.   Recommended.

+/- 45 minutes start to finish
Serves 4 (made two dinners for two of us)

3 cups unsalted chicken stock
1/4 tsp kosher salt
3/4 cup stone-ground polenta
1 tsp unsalted butter
1 1/4 tsp 93% lean ground turkey
2 tbsp dark sesame oil

1/4 cup water
1/4 cup unsalted ketchup
2 tbsp Siriacha
1 1/2 tbsp oyster sauce**  watch for gluten
1 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce**  substitute a GF product; a GF soy sauce would work fine
Suggestion - double the sauce!

1) Bring stock ans alt to a boil in a medium sauce pan over medium-high heat.  Gradually add polenta, stirring constantly with a whisk.  Reduce heat and simmer 25 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and polenta is thickened.  Add butter, stirring until melted (OR...follow directions on polenta package.)

2) Combine turkey and sesame oil in a medium bowl.  Divide and shape turkey mixture into 20 meatballs.  Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Coat pan with cooking spray.  Add meatballs to pan, cook 6 minutes, turning to brown on all sides.  Remove meatballs from pan.  Add 1/4 cup water from pan, stirring with a whisk; bring to a boil.  Return meatballs to pan.  Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes or until meatballs are done.  Serve over polenta.

Caramelized Cabbage and Pasta  (Ckgn Lght, Mar 2016)  vegetarian
This dish is very quick and has a great fresh flavor.  Don't be put off by the amount of cabbage - it will reduce slightly as it cooks.  Do be careful tho not to overcook the cabbage.   I did use regular rigatoni for this dish because I had half a box on hand.  I also used a roasted poblano for the Fresno chili because we just don't get that type of pepper up here.   Recommended. 

I decided to skip adding the cheese to the pan before serving.  It becomes a mess to clean off the pan and utensils, and makes reheating just as messy.   I just served a portion of cheese over the top.   I should add, I used a pre-shredded Asiago, Parmesan, Fontina and Provolone blend because I had it on hand for another dish.

+/- 30 minutes from start to table
Serves 4 (made two meals for two of us)

6oz uncooked whole-wheat penne (I used regular rigatoni)
3 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
6 cups coarsely chopped green cabbage (about 1/2 cabbage)
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 Fresno chili, thinly sliced (I used a roasted poblano)
2 tsp grated lemon rind
3 oz aged provolone cheese, shredded and divided
1 tbsp fresh thyme

1) Bring a large saucepan filled with water to a boil.  Add pasta; cook 7-9 minutes or until al dente.  Drain and reserve 1/4 cup pasta water.

2) Heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Add oil; swirl to coat.  Add garlic to pan; saute 30 seconds or until beginning to brown.  Remove garlic from pan with a slotted spoon; set aside.  Increase heat to medium-high.  Add cabbage to pan; cook 6 minutes or until browned and tender, stirring occasionally.  Stir in salt, black pepper, and chili; cook 2 minutes.  Stir in pasta, reserved 1/4 cup pasta water, and reserved garlic.  Stir in rind and 1.5oz cheese.  Divide pasta mixture into four bowls and top with remaining cheese and thyme.

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