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Monday, December 19, 2016

Recipe Review from 12/12/2016

Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!  Which is what it did everywhere but here.  Here, it just got cold. 

The Meal Plan:
Sun (L) leftover pizza from get-together  (S) leftover beef/barely stew
Mon (yoga) leftover beef barley stew
Tues - Skillet Chicken Parmesan
Wed - leftover
Thurs (yoga)
Fri (yoga) Chicken Tikka Masala
Sat (L) leftovers  (D) Dinner with Parents

(Husband) sandwiches, fruit, yogurt, luna bars, figgy bars
(Me) leftover cassoulet, leftover barley stew, potluck

One-Pan Chicken Parmesan (Pinterest via The Cookie Rookie)  gluten free option, vegetarian option!
I was craving a baked pasta dish and I remembered I had this one saved on Pinterest.  This fit what I was looking for: tubular pasta, saucy, little bit of cheese, flavorful, and EASY. 

This could easily be modified to fit a Gluten Free pasta (just don't over cook), and  can be made meat free - skip the chicken and add quartered brown mushrooms, maybe some onions and bell peppers.  \

My modifications: I used turkey tenders for the chicken, and I made my own "Italian dressing" (1 1/2 tbsp. olive oil, 1/2 tsp red wine vinegar, 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning - let stand 5 minutes)

photo from the Rookie Cookie blog
2 tablespoons Italian dressing (not the creamy kind)
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into cubes 
16 ounces small/medium sized rigatoni pasta
1 24-ounce jar of your favorite Marinara pasta sauce
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Chopped fresh basil for garnish (optional)  (It's winter, I'm not paying for fresh basil)
  1. Heat chicken and Italian dressing in a large 12 inch skillet over medium high heat (If you don't own a large skillet, you can use a stock pot). Season chicken with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Cook chicken until browned and just cooked through, about 5 minutes depending on thickness of chicken.
  3. Add the box of pasta and the entire jar of marinara. Fill the empty marinara jar with water and add to the skillet. If using a stockpot, use 2 cups water. Lightly stir the mixture to combine.
  4. Bring mixture to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook for 15 minutes or until pasta is tender to your liking. ***
  5. Cover with grated parmesan and then shredded mozzarella. No need to stir. Continue to cook for 2-3 more minutes or until cheese is fully melted. You can also broil the entire skillet for about 4 minutes to make the cheese extra melty!
  6. Top with chopped basil (optional) and serve! Enjoy!
***The pasta in the middle of the skillet and underneath will be more tender than the outside pasta. It's okay if those pieces are a bit toastier and less soft. The inside will be plenty soft.

Quick Chicken Tikki Masala (Cooking Classy blog via Pinterest via Epicurious)  gluten free, vegetarian option
This would have been really good if I hadn't tired to get "creative" and use smoked paprika instead of regular.  While not inedible - far from it - it just wasn't "tikki masala" as I know and love. 
That being said, I would make this again (san's attempted modifications).  It comes together very quickly, it's flavorful, and with some boil in a bag basmati rice, makes for great homemade Indian food.

This could also be made vegetarian buy subbing two cans of chickpeas for the chicken. 
photo from Cooking Classy
1 1/2-inch knob ginger, peeled
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 large yellow onion, peeled
1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced into 1-inch cubes
1 1/2 Tbsp garam masala spice blend, divided (see notes)
2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 1/2 tsp ground paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, more or less to taste
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt (I used fat-free, any kind will work fine though)
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup cilantro leaves
Cooked jasmine or basmati rice, for serving

1. Pulse ginger and garlic in a food processor until finely chopped. Add onion and pulse until finely chopped. Toss chicken with 1 1/2 tsp garam masala and 1 tsp salt. Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook, rotating halfway through cooking, until cooked through, about 6 - 7 minutes total. Transfer chicken to a plate.

2. Heat remaining 1 Tbsp olive oil in same skillet over medium-high heat. Add chopped onion mixture and saute until onions have softened, about 3 minutes. Add tomato paste, remaining 1 Tbsp garam masala, the paprika, and cayenne and cook, stirring constantly, 30 seconds. Add crushed tomatoes, season with salt to taste, and cook stirring occasionally until mixture is hot, about 2 minutes (you can let it simmer longer if needed if the canned tomatoes used were watery. If the canned tomatoes were thick you can add a few Tbsp of water if needed to thin the sauce mixture). Return chicken to pan and cook 1 minute longer. 

3. Remove from heat, stir in Greek yogurt and lemon juice. Serve warm over rice topped with cilantro.

Cooking Classy recipe source: loosely based off of this recipe on Epicurious

County Potatoes au Gratin  (Ckng Lght, May 2006)  vegetarian option, gluten free option
I halved this recipe because a 9x13 was too much for four people.  It halved nicely.

Mixed thoughts on this one - easy to assemble, I admit I liked the longer baking time (time to clean up, relax, and pull the rest of the meal together.  What I didn't care for was the milk mix seemed to...curdle? coagulate?  get glumpy? when all was said and done.  I even let it stand for the allotted 15 minutes.  So...presentation was less than stellar. 

The Husband commented that it wasn't very cheesy, and I had to agree.  The cheese flavor that I love and expect in au gratin just wasn't there.  Recommended with reservations.

Photo from
1 medium onion (about 5 1/2 ounces), thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 ounces all-purpose flour (about 2/3 cup) or gluten free mix
6 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese (1 1/2 cups), divided
6 ounces diced ham (about 1 1/4 cups)
3 pounds peeled baking potatoes, cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices
Cooking spray
1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; sauté 5 minutes or until onion is tender. Combine milk, salt, pepper, and flour, stirring with a whisk. Add milk mixture to pan. Bring to a simmer; cook until slightly thick (about 2 minutes), stirring frequently. Add 4 ounces cheese and ham, stirring until cheese melts. Stir in potatoes.

3. Place the potato mixture in a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle potato mixture with remaining 2 ounces of cheese. Cover with foil coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 30 minutes or until lightly browned and potatoes are tender. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.

Garlic Honey Mustard Slow Cooked Ham ( via Pinterest) 
 I wanted a slow cooked recipe for the last of our heritage ham for my Holiday dinner with the Folks.  This fit the bill perfectly!  I did have to HALVE the recipe - my ham was only 4lbs.  This makes a lot of sauce, even halved.  This had the perfect amount of sweet/tangy to compliment the rest of the dinner of potatoes, cranberry dressing, and roasted squash.  I would totally make this again.

9-10 pound precooked spiral cut ham, bone in
2 cups honey
1 cup Dijon mustard
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons minced garlic (I use jarred)
  1. Combine all ingredients except ham in your blender and pulse until well blended. Reserve one cup of glaze.
  2. Place ham in crock pot, flat side down. Slowly pour glaze over ham, making sure to get some between each spiral slice. Lift ham to get glaze underneath as well.
  3. Cook on low for 2 hours. Pour remaining glaze over ham and continue cooking on low for an additional 1 to 2 hours depending on the size of your ham.
  4. Enjoy!

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