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Monday, March 7, 2016

Recipe Review from 2/29/2016

Not an overly busy week, which was nice, but an rather busy Saturday instead.  In town early for a facilitated hike on the Superior Hiking Trail.  We hiked from the Grand Chalet, up along Kingsbury Creek, then followed the old Thompson Hill road and came back down alongside Spirit Mountain.  I did not know that there were still remnants of the original road into Duluth still being used as snowmobile trails and hiking trails.  Basements long abandoned and falling over could be found along the old road, and the hike leader said at one bend in the road, was a pile of old smashed milk bottles, as if a truck had tipped over and spilled it's cargo down the side of the hill.   Hike was relatively quick, only a couple of miles, and we were done in about an hour.

Saturday evening we were back downtown for the Finnegan's Irish Pipe and Drum band pup crawl.  Except we skipped the pup crawl bit.  First stop for the group was Grizzlies, so we got their early, grabbed a seat in the bar and ordered dinner.   Band showed up around six, did a circuit of the restaurant, played for about 5 minutes, and drinks all around.  Band marched out for it's next destination and we puttered home. 

Not a lot of recipes to review this past week. Ended up with a fair amount of leftovers that took us though the week. 

The Meal Plan:
Sun (L) leftover Texas Roadhouse  (S) Roast Chicken and garlic mashed potatoes
Mon (yoga/Bkgrp)  leftover chicken
Tues (ABC D)  leftover pasta
Wed - Roasted Tomato Mac and Cheese
Thurs (yoga) leftovers
Fri - leftovers
Sat (L) snowshoe (S) Grizzlies

Lunches (Husband) wraps,chips, luna bars, fruit, yogurt
              (Me) hummus sandwiches, corn chips, luna bars, fruit, yogurt,

Frybread Mix  (Southwestern style)
First and foremost - this was a mix from a box we received as a gift.   I don't generally fry things, so it took me a while to get around to making this.  But this particular Sunday, I pulled out our cast iron dutch oven, managed to find enough oil to get 1" (peanut oil, canola oil, grapeseed oil), found the candy thermometer, and followed the directions.

I have to admit, this was kinda fun.  The oil behaved.  The frybread did what it was supposed to do - puff up and turn lightly brown - and I served it warm with honey and raspberry jam.  We both agreed the jam was a bit tastier than the honey.

Would I do this again?  Probably.  I might even try my hand at making it from scratch. 

Freshly fried!  photo from Scifi with Paprika blog

Drizzled with a bit of honey.  photo from Scifi with Paprika blog

Roasted Tomato Mac and Cheese (Ckng Lght, Mar 2016)  vegetarian, gluten free option**
This is touted as a one-pot dish, and the recipe almost manages that with the exception of using a pan for roasting the tomatoes.  But if you cover the cookie sheet in aluminum foil, there should be no clean-up at all - remove foil, done!  In the original recipe, they actually just had the cook cover the oven grate with aluminum foil, but I thought farting around with little tomato slices over an open oven door fell under "bad idea".   I can deal with a cookie sheet. 

This recipe seems complicated, but it really does come together quickly, with enough time to do the dishes before everything goes on the table.  The key - make sure you cheese is grated before you start anything.

The recipe is actually written for the gluten free option.  I subbed whole wheat pasta shells and all-purpose flour with no problem. I also used canned artichokes rather than fart around with frozen and I used the whole can.  I thought the dish could have used more artichokes.   And if you like a bit of zing in your dish, I would recommend adding a dash of cayanne pepper.  Given the amount of milk and cheese in this, it leans toward bland.

I don't usually say this about mac and cheese - but this made really good leftovers.  The sauce stayed saucy!  Recommended.

Made three meals for two of us, plus one lunch for one. 

5 plum tomatoes, cut into 1/2 inch thick slices (about 16)
photo from
2 tbsp brown rice flour** or AP flour
2 tbsp butter, softened
4 cups unsalted cooking stock
3 cups 1% low-fat milk, divided
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp Dijon mustard
18 oz brown rice elbows** or whole-grain pasta shells
4 1/4 oz (1/2 pkg) frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and halved
I used 1 14.5 oz can artichoke hearts, quartered, rinsed and drained
6 oz (1 1/2 cups) sharp cheddar cheese  (I used medium)
3 oz (3/4 cup) fontina cheese
2.5 oz (10 tbsp) Parmesan cheese, divided
fresh ground pepper

1.  Line a baking sheet (jelly roll pan) with aluminum foil. Lightly coat with cooking spray.  Preheat broiler to high.
2. Arrange tomato slices on prepared pan, lightly coat with cooking spray.  Broil 8-10 minutes or until tomatoes are slightly browned.  Remove and set aside.
3.  Combine flour and butter in a bowl until a paste forms.
4.  Place a large (think 14" here, 12" pan would be waaayyy to small)  high sided saute pan over medium-high heat.  Add stock, two cups milk, salt, and mustard, stirring with a whisk.  Add pasta to pan; bring to a boil.  Cook 12 minutes or until pasta is done, stirring frequently.  Stir in remaining 1 cup milk and artichokes; cook 2 minutes.  Add butter-flour paste in pieces, stirring constantly to blend and thicken.  Remove from heat; stir in cheddar, fontina, 6 tbsp Parmesan and pepper.
5. Arrange broiled tomato slices on top of pasta.  Sprinkle with remaining 4 tbsp Parmesan.  Broil 2 minutes or until cheese begins to brown (but don't burn the tomatoes!).

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