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Monday, May 9, 2016

Recipe Review from 5/4/2016

Recipe heavy post this week!  Lots of good ones to review.  I did a Cook Once, Eat 3x meal plan this week - make a larger than usual batch of chorizo for the first recipe, then use that in two more dishes.  The meat is NOT the main part of any one dish, more of a background note, which I really like.

I will say right up front, Cook Once, Eat 3x wasn't necessarily a time saver.  I was still in the kitchen on the following nights for about two hours, start to finish (which includes all prep time, all clean-up, eating and lunch assembly for the next day).  Still, nothing was overly difficult and puttering in the kitchen was a nice way to unwind from the day.

I also highly recommend all three Cook Once, Eat 3x recipes.  Every dish was really good and could be made independently of the others - just adjust how much chorizo you need accordingly.  These were almost enough to get our household of two through the week, just shy of two meals worth.   Family of four?  Perfect for three nights. 

The Meal Plan:
Sun (L)  leftover salmon and couscous    (S)  Stuffed Sweet Potato
Mon (yoga) leftover sweet potatoes
Tues - Chorizo Nachos! 
Wed - Saucy Chorizo and Egg Skillet
Thurs (yoga) leftover egg skillet
Fri -  kebabs (store bought)
Sat (L) Leftover zucchini burritos   (S) Soba bowls

Lunches - lentil salad and bean and zucchini burritos;  chips, fruit, yogurt, luna bars

Chorizo and Kale-stuffed Sweet Potatoes  (Ckng Lght, May 2016)   gluten free
This recipe could be greatly simplified by just buying 2 lbs of chorizo.   This is a fair amount of work to make a lower-fat substitute for the small amount that each recipe actually uses.   If you don't have any overriding health concerns (hypertension, cholesterol, low-fat diet, etc), consider just buying the chorizo and save yourself some time.   OR, buy 1lb chorizo and 1 lb turkey sausage and supplement with some additional spices for extra zing. 

This was seriously good.  I loved the flavor of the sweet potatoes against the spicy chorizo and kale all topped with the creamy tang of a good goat cheese.  We took the two extra potatoes, mashed and themcombined with the leftover kale mixture and re-heated that for leftovers the next day.   Kinda like a mashed hash.  Sooo good!    Recommended! 

**Cook once, eat 3x - meal #1
Serves 4

4 (8oz) sweet potatoes
1/4 cup white vinegar
photo from
3 1/2 tsp EVOO
2 tbsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt, divided
10 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb ground turkey breast
1 lb ground pork
6 cups torn curly kale
1/4 cup golden raisins
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
2 oz goat cheese, crumbled

1) Preheat oven (or grill) to 400*

2) Pierce potatoes with a fork; wrap each in foil.  Bake at (or grill) 400* for 1 hour.

3) Combine vinegar, 2 tbsp oil, paprika, cumin, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper and garlic in a bowl.

4) Combine turkey and pork in a bowl, mixing well with hands.   Heat a skillet over medium high heat.  Add turkey mixture to pan; cook 7  minutes or until done, stirring to crumble. Drain any excess liquid from meat mixture in pan; return to medium-high heat.  Stir in vinegar mixture; cook 2 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates.  Place chorizo in a bowl.   RESERVE 3 2/3 cups chorizo for next two recipes.   Wipe pan clean.

5) Heat 1 1/2 tsp oil in pan over medium-high heat; swirl to coat.  Add kale; cover and cook 4 minutes.  Stir in 1 1/3 cups chorizo, 1/4 tsp salt, raisins, and 1 1/2 tsp lemon juice.

6) Cut a lengthwise slit in each potato and gently squeeze to open.  Spoon about 3/4 cup kale mixture onto each potato; top with goat cheese.

Loaded Chorizo Nacho's  (Ckng Lght, May 2016)  gluten free
Bit of simplification here too - I just bought a bag of corn chips instead of cooking my own tortillas.  The broiler and I don't always have the best relationship and I tend to burn things more than not.  Since I skipped the homemade chips, I heated the oven to 425* along with a foil lined jelly roll pan.  Once oven came to temp, I tossed the chips on top the heated pan, then everything on the chips.  Popped back in and baked until cheese was melted. 

Recipe says this serves four.  HA!  This served two adequately.  A nice surprise for the Husband for dinner, not a dish I would make outside of Super Bowl, World Series, or Final Four playoffs.  It's nachos.  What more can I say? 

**Cook once, eat 3x - meal #2
Served 2

1 2/3 cups chorizo (from above recipe)
1 cup drained canned unsalted pinto beans
8 (6") corn tortillas, cut into wedges (I just used regular corn chips)

2 oz (1/2 cup) reduced-fat colby-Jack cheese, shredded
photo from
2 oz (1/2 cup) queso fresco, crumbled
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1 cup chopped tomato  (I used grape tomatoes)
1/4 cup sliced radishes
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 ripe avocado, peeled and chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp kosher salt

1) Preheat broiler to high.

2) Combine chorizo and beans in a small saucepan over medium heat; cook 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring occasionally.

3) Arrange tortilla wedges in a single layer on a large foil-lined baking sheet coated with cooking spray.  Coat tortillas with cooking spray.  Broil 2 minutes on each side or until lightly browned and crisp.  Sprinkle cheese and onions over chips, broil 1 minute or until cheese melts.

4)  Top nachos evenly with chorizo mixture, tomato, radishes, cilantro, avocado, and jalapeno pepper.  Sprinkle kosher salt evenly over nachos.  Serve immediately.

Saucy Chorizo and Egg Skillet (Ckng Lght, May 2016)  gluten free
One significant alteration - I skipped the bread and made a batch of polenta instead.  This dish just hollered to be served over a batch of creamy buttery polenta.   One small alteration - I poached two eggs separately then added to the dish.   That way I knew they were cooked to taste.   Plus, since I knew we would not be eating the entire dish in one evening, I wouldn't have leftover eggs to deal with.    Recommended! 

**Cook once, eat 3x - meal #3
Serves 4

4 (1 1/4oz) slices whole grain bread   (I substituted polenta)
cooking spray
photo from
3 cloves garlic, divided  (mince 2, halve 1)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 cups sliced onion
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp ground red pepper
2 cups strained unsalted tomatoes or canned unsalted crushed tomatoes
2 cups cooked chorizo (from recipe #1)
4 large eggs 
2 tbsp chopped cilantro  (which I bought and forgot to add!)

1) Preheat broiler to high (skip if making polenta).

2) Arrange bread on a baking sheet; coat both sides of bread with cooking spray.  Broil 1 1/2 minutes on each side. Cut 1 garlic clove in half; rub bread slices with cut sides of garlic.   (skip if making polenta)

3) Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add onion; saute 3 minutes.  Mince remaining 2 garlic cloves.  Add minced garlic and bell pepper to pan;  cook 5 minutes.   Stir in cumin, salt and ground red pepper; cook 30 seconds.  Stir in tomatoes and chorizo; bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes.

4) Uncover and form 4 (2") indentation in sauce, using back of a spoon.  Crack eggs, one at a time, into small indentations.  Cover and cook 8 minutes or until whites are set.  Top with cilantro.  Place 1 bread slice on each 4 plates; top with sauce and one egg.  Serve immediately.

Zucchini and Bean Burritos  (Ckng Lght, May 2016)  vegetarian, gluten free option**
MORE simplification!   I skipped the baking bit on these because they would be for lunches and it's easier to just assemble day of.  Bean mixture in one tub, rice mixture in another, crumbled cheese third.  Put in a tortilla or not (I like to just do a burrito bowl ala Chipolte style).

I also don't know where the heck Ckng Lght is finding salt-free beans or pre-cooked rice.  Or do they mean instant rice?  Not sure, but regular and instant are all I got up here.   Best I can do is a low sodium bean and rinse well. 

photo from
1/2 cup spicy enchilada sauce
1 (14.5 oz) can unsalted pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 (14.5 oz) can fat-free refried beans
1 tbsp olive oil
3 cups diced zucchini (about three small 6" zucchini)
1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/8 ground red pepper
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 (8.8 oz package) precooked brown rice
8 (8") whole-wheat flour tortillas (**or just skip and serve out of a bowl)
4 oz (1 cup)  reduced-fat cheddar cheese, shredded
Cooking spray
1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1/2 cup refrigerated fresh pico de gallo
cilantro (optional)

1) Place large baking sheet covered in aluminum foil in the oven.  Preheat the oven to 450* (leave pan in the oven as it preheats).

2)  Place first three ingredients in a sauce pan over medium heat; cook 4 minutes stirring occasionally.

3) Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add oil; swirl.  Add zucchini; saute 2 minutes.  Add oregano, cumin, black pepper, red pepper and garlic; cook 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

4) Prepare rice according to directions.

5) Warm tortillas according to package directions.  Spread about 1/3 cup bean mixture evenly over each tortilla, leaving a 1/2 inch border.  Top each tortilla with 1/3 cup rice, 1/3 cup zucchini mixture, and 2 tbsp cheese.  Fold in sides of tortilla over filling; roll up.  Repeat procedure with remaining 7 tortillas, bean mixture, rice, zucchini mixture and cheese.

6)  Lightly coat burritos with cooking spray.  Arrange burritos, seam sides down on preheated baking sheet.  Bake at 450* for 4 minutes, turning after 2 minutes.  Top each serving with 1 tbsp sour cream, 1 tbsp pico de gallo and cilantro if desired.  Serve, or freeze for later meals.

Soba-Edamame Noodle Bowl  (Ckng Lght May, 2016)  vegetarian, gluten free
This recipe comes together in about 30-40 minutes, less if you skip the peeling carrots into ribbons bit and just purchase shredded carrot.  Easier to eat too.  This is nicely flavorful, I didn't need any extra sauces and could use what was already on hand in the fridge.  Always a bonus with Asian dishes!  This would be perfect for a hot summer evening, a picnic, or lunches. 

I served kale chips along side for some extra green.  The original recipe suggested grilled baby boc choy. 

1 cup frozen shelled edamame (I used peas)
photo from
6 ounces uncooked soba noodles
1 cup thinly vertically sliced snow peas  (I forgot...)
2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon lower-sodium soy sauce or tamari
1 tablespoon yellow miso
1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons grated peeled fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups very thinly sliced red cabbage
2/3 cup thinly sliced green onions 
1 cup plus some grated carrot (store bought) 
2 large carrots, peeled and shaved into ribbons
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves (optional) 
1. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add edamame and soba noodles; cook 2 minutes. Add snow peas; cook 1 minute or until noodles are tender. Drain; rinse noodle mixture well with cold water. Drain.

2. Combine oil and next 6 ingredients (through salt) in a large bowl. Add noodle mixture, cabbage, onions, and carrots; toss gently to combine. Sprinkle with cilantro, if desired.

Lentil Salad (modified from America's Test Kitchen)  gluten free
This is a little putzy what with the soaking and baking, but I have to say it does produce a nice non-mushy lentil.  One main alteration I did was I minced the garlic - use less if you do this - and combined with the lentils as directed before baking, but I did not remove afterwards.  I like a bit of garlic in my lentil dishes. 

Overall,  a very tasty dish that would be great as a main meal along side some crusty bread, as lunches with some pita crackers, or out on a picnic.   I did double the recipe for lunches for two for the week, which made seven 1 cup-ish meals. 

1 cup lentils, picked over and rinsed  du Puy recommended by ATK, I used basic brown.
salt and pepper
6 cups water
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
5 tbsp EVOO
5 garlic cloves, lightly crushed and peeled  (I use less and minced)
1 bay leaf
5 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/2 cup pitted kalmata olives, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup minced fresh mint
1 large shallot, minced
1 oz feta cheese, crumbled

1) Place lentils and 1 tsp salt in a bowl.  Cover with 4 cups of warm water (about 110*) and soak for one hour.  Drain well.  Drained lentils can be refrigerated for up to 2 days before cooking.

2) Adjust oven rack to middle position and hat oven to 325*.  Combine drained lentils, remaining 2 cups water, broth, garlic, bay leaf and 1/2 tsp salt in oven safe medium saucepan.  Cover and bake until lentils are tender but remain intact, 40 minutes to 1 hour.

3) Whisk oil and vinegar together in a large bowl.

4) Drain lentils well; remove and discard garlic and bay leaf.  Add drained lentils, olives, int and shallot to dressing and toss to combine.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Transfer to serving dish, sprinkle with feta and serve. 

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