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Monday, September 5, 2016

Recipe Review from 8/29/2016

I made a few recipes last week.  The September issue of Cooking Light is simply loaded with awesome ideas this month!  *Most* of them seem to be in the 30-45 minutes to prep time frame, which works well in my world.  And and few need a bit of advanced planning or make on the weekend. 


The Meal Plan:
Sat:  (L) Out   (S)  Stuffed sweet potatoes
Sun (L)  Leftovers       (S)    Chicken and Chili hash
Mon (Yoga/Bkgrp)    leftovers
Tues    Honey Dijon Fish with zucchini
Wed (Field day) Stacked Chicken Enchiladas  (grill a chicken ahead of time)
Thurs (Yoga)   leftovers
Fri  - I forgot what I made... 

Lunches - Apple, Kale and Chicken salad wraps

Sausage and Broccoli Stuffed Sweet Potatoes   (Ckng Lght, Sept 2016) gluten free; vegetarian option**
Okay!  I had a few changes to this dish!  I subbed ground breakfast sausage for the beef (I had a package of sausage in my freezer and I don't eat beef); I baked the sweet potatoes because I don't have a microwave; I used fresh broccoli instead of frozen.  Some tweaking to cooking directions was necessary, and I noted those below.  My tweaks require a bit more pre-planning (like starting the potatoes an hour ahead). 

For my vegetarian readers - this would be great with black beans.

Overall, this was very tasty (full disclosure - not the Husbands favorite, he doesn't care for sweet potatoes).  The creamy sweetness of the sweet potatoes contrasted nicely with the bell peppers and tangy sausage.  

Photo from
4 (8-oz.) sweet potatoes
1 tablespoon canola oil, divided
1 cup chopped red onion
3/4 cup drained and chopped bottled roasted red bell peppers
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
10 ounce 90% lean ground sirloin (I used ground sausage)
** Vegetarian option - use two cans of rinsed and drained black beans.  
2 cups frozen steam-in-bag broccoli florets (I used fresh broccoli)
2 ounces pre-shredded 2% reduced-fat Mexican-blend cheese (about 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1. Rub sweet potatoes with 1 1/2 teaspoons oil; pierce several times with a fork. Microwave at HIGH 12 to 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender.   I don't have a microwave; I baked in a 350* oven for just over an hour or until easily pierced by a fork

2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high. Add remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil; swirl to coat. Add onion and red bell peppers; cook 5 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently. Add garlic, and cook 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in chili powder, 1/4 tea­spoon salt, cumin, and ground red pepper. Add beef (or pork); cook 6 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble.

3. Preheat broiler to high.  Because I had the oven on, I just used the oven.

4. Heat broccoli according to package directions; stir into beef mixture. Arrange potatoes on a baking sheet. Partially split potatoes lengthwise; fluff the flesh with a fork. Top potatoes evenly with beef mixture, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and cheese. Broil  [Baked] 30 seconds or until cheese melts. Sprinkle with green onions.

Chicken and Chili Hash  (Ckng Lght, Sept 2016)  gluten free, vegetarian option**
Another dish were I greatly modified because I don't have a microwave - which really isn't an issue, but does require a tich more planning ahead.  While I was grilling chicken for the Kale, Apple and Almond Chicken salad (below) and the Stacked Enchiladas (below) I cooked the potatoes and set aside to dry.  The potatoes were then ready for final assembly when I went to make supper. 

The other significant substitution was I used the leftover breakfast sausage from the Stuffed Sweet Potatoes instead of chicken.  And dried thyme for fresh.  I'm NOT paying those prices for fresh herbs at the store, and I didn't think to plant some this spring.

Overall, a very tasty "brinner" (breakfast for dinner, as my friend calls it).  Fairly easy to assemble, hearty, and tastes great. 

2 tablespoons water
Photo from
12 ounces Yukon Gold potatoes, cubed
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
12 ounces ground chicken  I used breakfast sausage
1 cup thinly vertically sliced red onion
1 poblano chile, seeded and chopped
2 cups cremini mushrooms, quartered (about 6 oz.)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme, divided (I used 1/2 tsp dried thyme)
5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar, divided
4 large eggs

1. Place 2 tablespoons water and potatoes in a microwave-safe dish; cover with plastic wrap. Microwave at HIGH 5 minutes or until tender. Place potatoes on a paper towel-lined plate.   I don't have a microwave.  I placed cubed potatoes into a pot of cold water, brought to a boil, and cooked for about 15 minutes or until fork tender. 

2. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over high. Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, red pepper, and chicken; cook 5 minutes, stirring to crumble. Remove chicken mixture to a bowl with a slotted spoon. Add onion and poblano chile to drippings in pan; cook 4 minutes. Add the mushrooms, 2 teaspoons thyme, and garlic; cook 5 minutes. Add mushroom mixture to chicken mixture.

3. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add potatoes; cook 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, chicken mixture, and 1 tablespoon vinegar to pan; cook 2 minutes.

4. Add water to a saucepan, filling two-thirds full; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; add remaining 2 tablespoons vinegar. Break each egg into a custard cup, and pour each gently into pan; cook 3 minutes. Carefully remove eggs from pan using a slotted spoon.

5. Divide hash evenly among 4 plates; top with eggs and remaining 1 teaspoon thyme.

Honey-dijon Glazed Salmon with Zucchini Chips  (Ckng Lght, Sept 2016)
As usual, a few modifications - I turned this into a one meal dish; I used Lake Trout instead of salmon, and I grilled instead of broiling (broiling never works for me).  The downside of grilling was I didn't quite get the glaze effect of broiling. 

The glaze worked really well with Lake Trout, which can be a oily fish.  Grilling helps with that oily taste/flavor.  While I halved the amount of fish, I didn't halve the glaze/sauce.

For the zucchini mix, I did substitute regular onion for the shallot because I forgot to add to the grocery list.  I lightly browned/caramelized the onion, then cooked up the zucchini.  Nothing special there.  I served everything over brown rice.

Overall, a fast and tasty mid-week dish.

Photo from
2 tablespoons honey
1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
Cooking spray
4 (6-oz.) salmon fillets
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 shallot, thinly sliced and divided
2 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/4-in. slices (about 3 cups), divided
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

1. Place a rimmed baking sheet in oven. Preheat broiler to high (keep pan in oven as it preheats).

2. Combine honey, mustard, vinegar, 3/4 teaspoon pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at HIGH for 2 minutes, stirring after 1 minute. Reserve 2 tablespoons honey mixture.

3. Carefully remove pan from oven. Coat pan with cooking spray. Arrange fillets, skin side down, on pan; broil 6 minutes. Brush remaining 2 1/2 tablespoons honey mixture over fillets; broil 2 minutes. Remove pan from oven; brush fillets with reserved 2 tablespoons honey mixture. Keep warm.

4. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over high. Add half of shallots; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add half of zucchini; cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Place zucchini mixture in a bowl. Repeat procedure with remaining 1 tablespoon oil, remaining shallots, and remaining zucchini. Add remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and cilantro to zucchini mixture; toss. Serve zucchini with salmon fillets.

Stacked Chicken Enchiladas (Ckng Lght, Sept 2016)  gluten free
MORE modifications!  But not too many, mostly just some simplification.  Instead of cooking up a bunch of chicken thighs, I had cooked a chicken earlier and shredded it ahead of time.  So I skipped right to the "combine yogurt, chicken and green onions".

After I cooked the onions, jalepeno and garlic, I skipped the whole "put in a blender bit".  I layered tortillas, sauce, chicken, onion mixture and cheese.  Blending seemed like an unnecessary extra step that just created more dishes to wash.

Because the chicken was not warm, I did change the baking time and temperature:  I cooked for 30 minutes at 350*.  This gave me time to wash dishes and help with an outside chore.  I let stand for 10 minutes, then served.

This would be great with some fresh cornbread. 

1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
Photo from
12 ounces skinless, boneless chicken thighs (I used shredded chicken I had cooked earlier)
5/8 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/2 cup plain 2% reduced-fat Greek yogurt
1/4 cup chopped green onions, divided
1 medium-size red onion, cut into 1/2-in. slices
1 medium jalapeño
4 garlic cloves
1 1/2 cups canned unsalted crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup unsalted chicken stock (such as Swanson)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
6 (6-in.) corn tortillas, divided
Cooking spray
4 ounces preshredded 2% reduced-fat Mexican-blend cheese (about 1 cup), divided

1. Preheat oven to 425°F.

2. Heat oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high. Add chicken to pan; cook 4 minutes on each side. Remove from pan; cool slightly. Shred chicken; sprinkle with 1/8 teaspoon salt. Combine chicken, yogurt, and 2 tablespoons green onions in a bowl.

3. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over high. Add red onion and jalapeño; cook 4 minutes, turning occasionally. Add garlic to pan; cook 4 minutes or until vegetables are charred on all sides. Place remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, jalapeño mixture, tomatoes, stock, and cumin in a blender; blend until smooth.

4. Place 2 tortillas in the bottom of an 8-inch square baking dish coated with cooking spray, tearing tortillas as needed to fit in a single layer. Spread 1/2 cup tomato mixture over tortillas in dish; top with half of chicken mixture and 1/4 cup shredded cheese. Repeat layers once with 2 tortillas, 1/2 cup tomato mixture, remaining chicken mixture, and 1/4 cup cheese. Top with the remaining 2 tortillas, remaining 3/4 cup tomato mixture, and remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Bake at 425°F for 15 minutes. Top with remaining 2 tablespoons green onions

Apple, Kale, and Chicken Salad  (Ckng Lght, Sept 2016)
Yup, I had an substitution/alteration here too.  I just can't leave a recipe as is!  Same as above, I used pre-cooked shredded chicken that I had prepped over the weekend (those two grilled birds went a long way!). 

This was for lunches during the week.  For the husband, I initially put in a large wrap, but he reported back it all just kinda fell out.  Mine went into a lunch container with the dressing in a separate tub.

This is a very tasty salad - I love the celery and apple combo with the mustard dressing.  What I didn't like was being hungry two hours later.  I either needed to make a BIGGER salad to bring to work, or have this as a side to a small sandwich.   Either way, I recommend this one!

1/4 cup olive oil
Photo from
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
12 ounces skinless, boneless chicken thighs
Cooking spray
6 cups baby kale
2 medium carrots, peeled and thinly sliced diagonally
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
1 apple, halved and cut into 1/4-in.-thick slices
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted

1. Combine oil, rind, juice, thyme, mustard, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a bowl, stirring with a whisk. Place 2 tablespoons juice mixture in a large ziplock plastic bag; reserve remaining juice mixture. Add chicken to bag; seal bag. Let stand at room temperature 10 minutes, turning bag occasionally.
2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Remove chicken from marinade; discard marinade. Pat chicken dry. Sprinkle chicken with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Add chicken to pan; cook 5 minutes on each side or until done. Place chicken on a cutting board; let stand 5 minutes. Cut across the grain into thin slices.
3. Combine kale, carrots, celery, and apple in large bowl. Add remaining juice mixture; toss to coat. Divide kale mixture evenly among 4 plates; top evenly with chicken. Sprinkle with almonds and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

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