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Monday, November 28, 2016

Recipe Review from 11/21/2016

I trust everyone had a pleasant Thanksgiving, and if you had to work, I hope it was quiet and uneventful!  Nothing much to report from the Northland - a couple nice days, a foggy day, and now it's raining. 

I didn't host the big meal this year, so my recipes reflect a pretty standard week.  Several good ones to recommend! 

The Meal Plan:
Sun (L) leftover soups (S) Spaghetti Bake
Mon (yoga) leftover spaghetti
Tue - Beans and Frizzy eggs
Wed - leftovers
Fri -  slow cooker chicken chili
Sat (L)  out   (S)  leftover chili

Sausage and Spinach Spaghetti Bake  (Ckng Lght Oct 2016)  gluten free option
This was fairly quick to pull together and definitely hearty.  One pan makes enough for four people, which I found to be somewhat large portion sizes for a given individual (ie - me).  Could easily stretch this out by serving a green salad or some warm crusty bread along side.

I didn't have any substitutions this go around, and my only observation is this comes out on the dry side - which shouldn't be surprising since this is basically a "sauceless" pasta dish.   Perhaps don't cook as much liquid off?   End result - I would make this again. 

8 ounces uncooked whole-grain spaghetti
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
photo from
1 teaspoon olive oil
3 ounces hot chicken Italian sausage, casings removed
2 cups chopped tomato
1 cup prechopped onion
1 (9-oz.) bag fresh spinach
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 ounces preshredded reduced-fat Italian-blend cheese (about 3/4 cup), divided
Cooking spray  
  1. Place an 8-inch round cake pan in oven. Preheat oven to 500°F (leave pan in oven as it preheats).

  2. Bring a large saucepan filled with water to a boil over high heat. Add pasta; cook 8 minutes or until almost done; drain. Place eggs in a large bowl. Add hot pasta; toss to coat.

  3. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add sausage; cook 2 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Add tomato, onion, and spinach; cook 7 minutes or until liquid has almost evaporated, stirring occasionally. Add sausage mixture to pasta mixture. Stir in pepper, salt, and 2 ounces cheese.

  4. Carefully remove cake pan from oven; coat pan with cooking spray. Add pasta mixture to cake pan; sprinkle with remaining 1 ounce cheese. Bake at 500°F for 20 minutes. Remove pan from oven; cut spaghetti pie into 4 wedges.

White Bean and Veggies with Frizzled Eggs (Ckng Lght, Oct 2016)  gluten free
I really liked this dish not only for ease of prep but for the delightful taste!  I loved how the egg yolk mixed with everything to make this delectable creamy dish.  Don't skip the vinegar - it adds a great tangy flavor burst!  Recommended!

4 teaspoons olive oil, divided
photo from
3/4 cup prechopped yellow onion
2 tablespoons sliced garlic
8 ounces cremini mushrooms, quartered
3 cups chopped tomatoes (about 2 large tomatoes)
1 cup unsalted vegetable stock
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 (15-oz.) can unsalted Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
5 ounces baby spinach
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
Freshly ground pepper

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high. Add onion and garlic to pan; cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add mushrooms to pan; cook 5 to 6 minutes or until browned, stirring occa­sionally. Add tomatoes, stock, salt, and beans to pan, and bring to a boil. Cook 5 minutes or until mixture thickens and about half of the liquid has evaporated, stirring occasionally. Add spinach; cook 2 minutes or until wilted, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; cover and keep warm.

  2. Heat remaining 1 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high. Gently break eggs into pan; cook 3 minutes or until whites are set and yolks are still runny. Divide bean mixture among 4 shallow bowls. Top each serving with 1 egg; drizzle with vinegar, and sprinkle with pepper.

Slow Cooker Chicken Chili  (Ckng Lght, Oct 2016)  gluten free
Recipe notes active prep time is 20 minutes.  HA!  It takes 20 minutes just to peel and chop the squash!  Prep time is closer to 40-45 minutes unless you are using all pre-chopped/packaged foods.  Which I was not.  This would be a prep the night before or on a weekend morning.  Not suitable for week day prep unless you have a lot of time in the morning.

My rant noted, this is a really good chili.  Classic chili flavor, creamy beans and hominy, tender chicken - absolutely delicious!  A couple of notes - I used my own dried beans (navy), pre-cooked.  I also used one of my homegrown chickens (about 3lbs whole).  The Husband was kind enough to quarter the chicken and I used the thighs, legs, and breasts, bone-in and skin off.  My homegrown chickens are very lean so I wasn't worried about excess fat from the bones.

This made about 8 servings - or enough for four meals for two of us.   Recommended!

3 (15-oz.) cans unsalted cannellini beans, rinsed, drained, and divided
1 (25-oz.) can hominy, rinsed and drained
photo from
3 cups unsalted chicken stock (such as Swanson)
2 cups peeled cubed butternut squash
1 cup chopped yellow onion
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 oregano sprigs
1 (5-oz.) can diced green chiles, drained and divided
1 1/4 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs
1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt
6 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves, divided

2 ounces preshredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese (about 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1 jalapeño, thinly sliced
Lime wedges

  1. Process 1 can beans in a mini food processor until smooth. Place bean puree, remaining 2 cans beans, hominy, and next 8 ingredients (through oregano) in a 6-quart electric slow cooker. Reserve 1 tablespoon green chiles. Add remaining green chiles to cooker. Top with chicken thighs. Cover and cook on LOW 8 hours.
  2. Place chicken on a cutting board; cool 5 minutes. Shred chicken; stir into chili. Cover and keep warm.
  3. Process reserved 1 tablespoon green chiles, yogurt, and 2 tablespoons cilantro in a mini food processor until smooth.    Serve.
  4. Place 1 1/2 cups chili in each of 8 bowls; top evenly with yogurt mixture, remaining cilantro, cheese, green onions, and jalapeño. Serve with lime wedges.

Cheesy Jalapeno-Sour Cream Muffins  (Ckng Lght, Oct 2016)
These were...okay.  I thought the texture turned out a bit odd, the cheese didn't want to evenly distribute in the batter so I ran the risk of over-mixing if I really tried to break up the clumps.  I didn't have pickled jalapenos, so I substituted yellow banana peppers (had an open jar in the fridge).  I think the substitution added a nice bright flavor.  I don't know that I would make these again.

Cooking spray
3/4 cup fine yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons light sour cream
3 tablespoons canola oil
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon chopped pickled jalapeños
2 ounces preshredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese (about 1/2 cup)
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly coat 8 muffin cups with cooking spray.
  2. Combine cornmeal and next 5 ingredients (through baking soda) in a large bowl. Combine sour cream, oil, and eggs in a bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add sour cream mixture to cornmeal mixture, stirring just until combined. Fold in jalapeños and cheese.
  3. Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups. Bake at 400°F for 12 to 15 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 5 minutes.

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