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Monday, September 12, 2016

Recipe Review from 9/5/2016

I made a few more recipes this past week.  Might I draw your attention to a particular stand out:  the Pear-Proscuitto Toast.  So good!!   This is going to make a regular appearance in our house when I have some bread on hand.

In other news, the chicken's were downsized this past week.  Twenty birds went away to Camp Freezer and the Husband sold eight hens/pullets. The Husband is keeping enough chicklets to bring the laying hens up to 16 birds, including a Gentleman.

Last years birds were named after Big Bang Theory characters: Penny, Bernadette, Amy Farah Fowler, and Priya.  I'll let you guess where we pulled inspiration from for this year:  Dick (our boy bird), Sally, and Mrs. Dubcheck.

Meanwhile, I made a few more new recipes:

The Meal Plan:
Sat (L)  sausage, crackers, cheese, fruit  (S)  Chinese take-out
Sun (L) I forgot what I made....  (S)  Burger Steaks
Mon (off) (L) Gnocchi   (S)  Leftovers
Tues:  pork chops and apples
Wed: pork chops and apples
Thurs (yoga) Leftover gnocchi
Fri - was supposed to be a pasta dish, but I got home late late. 

Lunches - Miso soup

Pear-Prosciutto Toast  (Ckng Lght, Sept 2016)
This, believe it or not, is a breakfast dish.  And this was AWESOME!  Like, I made it twice awesome.  I did have two small modifications: I used honey instead of fig preserves (I couldn't find fig, but I DO have honey), and I forgot to buy the swiss cheese, so I used a pre-grated provolone/parmesan mix that I had on hand.  I think I liked that better than Swiss plus I could use less cheese.

This is a salty-sweet combination that is absolutely perfect for breakfast with an additional piece of fruit.  

1 1/2 teaspoons butter, softened
Photo from
1 teaspoon fig preserves (I used honey)
1 (1-oz.) slice whole-grain bread, toasted
1 thin slice Swiss cheese (such as Sargento Ultra Thin) 
(I used grated provolone/parmesan mix)
1/4 cup thinly vertically sliced ripe pear
1 very thin slice prosciutto 
1. Combine butter and preserves honey in a small bowl;  (My notes...seriously?  "Combine" butter and spread?  Just slather it on and save yourself a bowl to wash. Sheesh.) Spread butter and preserves/honey evenly over toast. Top with cheese, prosciutto and pear.  

Burger Steaks with Mushroom Gravy and Sweet Potato Fries (Ckng Lght, Sept 2016)
I don't have a microwave, so I baked the sliced sweet potatoes in a 450* oven for 30 minutes, which was about 5-10 minutes too long.  Yeah, I burnt my fries.  Poo.  I skipped the green beans because with the potato, it was plenty of food for the two of us.   

Everything else came together pretty quickly once assembly started.  You can easily sub a gluten free flower mix for All-purpose to make the gravy.   I did use buffalo instead of sirloin, and I have to say, this was not a favorite for me.  I'm just not wild about ground beef; Husband seemed to enjoy it.  Recommended if you like ground beef. 

3 (8-oz.) sweet potatoes
Photo from
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Cooking spray
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1 pound 90% lean ground sirloin (I used buffalo)
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
1 (8-oz.) pkg. presliced cremini mushrooms
1/4 cup water
1 cup unsalted chicken stock (such as Swanson)
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour (or GF blend)
1 (8-oz.) pkg. microwave-in-bag haricots verts (French green beans)

1 1/2 teaspoons unsalted butter

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

1. Place a rimmed baking sheet in oven. Preheat oven to 450°F (leave pan in oven as it preheats).

2. Place sweet potatoes in a microwave-safe dish. Cover with plastic wrap; pierce 2 or 3 times to vent. Microwave at HIGH 5 minutes or until just tender. Cool slightly. Cut each potato lengthwise into 8 wedges; return to dish. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil; toss. Remove baking sheet from oven; coat with cooking spray. Arrange potato wedges on pan. Bake at 450°F for 18 minutes, stirring after 9 minutes. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon pepper and 1/4 teaspoon salt.

3. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high. Shape beef into 4 (1/2-inch-thick) patties; sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon pepper and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add patties to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side. Remove from pan.

4. Add remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil to pan; swirl. Add onion, rosemary, and mushrooms; cook 5 minutes. Add 1/4 cup water, scraping pan to loosen browned bits.

5. Combine stock and flour in a bowl. Add stock mixture, remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt to mushroom mixture; bring to a boil. Add patties; cook 4 minutes.

6. Cook beans according to package directions. Place in a bowl. Add butter; toss. Divide potatoes, beans, and patties among 4 plates. Top patties evenly with mushroom mixture and parsley.

Pea, Tomato and Bacon Gnocchi (Ckng Lght, Sept 2016)  vegetarian option**
This comes together in about 20-25 minutes, which is perfect for a mid-week meal.  I served a salad along side for some additional greens.  Recipe calls for peas, but I subbed some chopped summer squash and cooked with the onions and tomatoes.  Tasty, bright, easy!  Recommended.

1 (16-oz.) pkg. whole-wheat gnocchi (such as Gia Russa) (Or whatever you find...)
Photo from
1 cup frozen green peas (I used summer squash)
2 center-cut bacon slices, chopped**  optional
1/2 cup chopped green onions
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup halved grape tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese 
1. Bring a large saucepan filled with water to a boil over high heat. Add gnocchi; cook 2 to 3 minutes or until gnocchi float to the surface. Add peas; cook 1 minute. Drain in a colander over a bowl, reserving 1/3 cup cooking liquid.

2. Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat 4 minutes or until crisp. Remove bacon from pan with a slotted spoon. **Or just heat a tbsp cooking oil.  Add onions and garlic to drippings in pan; cook 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add tomatoes; cook 5 minutes or until slightly broken down, stirring occasionally. Add reserved 1/3 cup cooking liquid; cook 2 minutes. Add gnocchi mixture to pan; toss to coat. Stir in bacon and pepper. Sprinkle with cheese.

Skillet Apple Pork Chops (Ckng Lght, Sept 2016) gluten free
This is a quick recipe to assemble, prep, and cook - there's minimal chopping, and things can be prepped as other things cook.  Chicken can easily be substituted for the pork chops without loosing any great flavor combinations. And I'm super excited to say, I used my FRESH herbs from my porch containers in this! 

A great fall dish.  Recommended!

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Photo from
4 (6-oz.) bone-in pork chops (or equivalent amount in chicken)
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1/2 cup unsalted chicken stock (such as Swanson)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
2 medium apples, thinly sliced
1 small red onion, thinly vertically sliced 
1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons oil to pan; swirl to coat. Sprinkle pork chops evenly with 3/8 teaspoon salt and 3/8 teaspoon pepper. Add pork chops to pan; cook 5 minutes on each side or until pork chops are done. Remove from pan.

2. Combine stock and mustard, stirring with a whisk. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl. Add remaining 3/8 teaspoon salt, remaining 3/8 teaspoon pepper, sage, rosemary, apple, and onion to pan; cook 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in stock mixture. Return pork chops to pan; cook 3 minutes or until liquid is reduced by half.

Miso Noodle Soup  (Ckng Lght, Sept 2016)  gluten free, vegetarian
This is meant to be a transportable lunch soup - assemble, refrigerate, add hot water at work (or home or where ever you are), let stand a couple minutes and eat!

Now, because I am NOT going to cook an ounce of noodles every night, nor am I going to prep one pint jar a night, I made five jars at once and tossed in the fridge.  I did leave the eggs unpeeled - they'll stay fresher in their own self made "packages".  I also forgot to by 'shrooms, so I subbed summer squash (I've got plenty on hand...).

Definitely portable. I have two complaints - the miso combination stays stuck on the bottom so you either need two swirl vigorously and hope your lid doesn't leak, or take a knife and stir, OR put the miso paste on top of the cabbage, then layer 'shroom, noodles and cilantro.  That way the miso paste won't make the noodles soggy.

Second complaint is, long noodles are messy to eat out of a jar!  I seriously question whether anyone tested eating this in a one-pint jar because well, it was slurpy, sloppy messy.  But I suspect eating noodles out of a bowl would be messy too.   

Overall?  Tasty, satisfying, and a bit messy to eat out of a jar. 

1 tablespoon white miso  (I used red miso)
Photo from
1 tablespoon warm water
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1/2 small garlic clove, grated
1/3 cup thinly sliced red cabbage
1/2 cup cooked flat brown rice (pad Thai) noodles (about 1 oz. uncooked)
2 shiitake mushroom caps, thinly sliced  (Forgot...used summer squash instead)
1 tablespoon chopped green onions
4 thin slices red jalapeño
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 hard-cooked large egg  (I used a whole egg.  Seriously, half an egg?)
1. Combine miso, 1 tablespoon water, oil, and garlic in the bottom of a 1-pint wide-mouth jar, stirring with a fork. Layer in cabbage, noodles, mushrooms, onions, jalapeño, cilantro, and egg; seal. Refrigerate until ready to use.

2. Add very hot water to jar to within 1 inch of rim. Cover and let stand 2 minutes before eating.

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