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Monday, March 13, 2017

Recipe Review from 3/6/2017

Whoops!  I forgot to hit "publish" on last weeks meals!

But that gave me the chance to add a hike review from Saturday.  We agreed to participate in the Superior Hiking Trails Guided Hike (I really dislike the term "guided", it's a "facilitated" hike, not "guided") on Saturday morning - an out and back from Oberg Mtn to Rollins Creek Campsite for a round trip of 3.5 miles.  It was a brisk 10*, sunny, with about 10 people total.  It was advertised as a snowshoe hike, but snowshoes were not necessary.  Mostly.  While the trail was well packed, it was slick and treacherous and some kind of yaktrax or cleats would have been really nice.  Which the Husband and I don't have.  So...there was a bit of slipping and sliding on our part.

Lunch on the way back to Duluth was in Beaver Bay at Camp 61 Restaurant

Drinks at Bock Fest at Fitgers followed, with a piece of apple kuchen to nosh on.

Later we met some of our co-hikers for a pizza dinner.

And that, was a wrap for the weekend. 

The Meal Plan:
Sun (L) leftovers  (S)  Chicken Wild Rice Casserole
Mon (yoga)  leftovers
Tues (yoga) leftovers
Wed - brats, baked beans and homemade kraut
Thurs (yoga) leftover wild rice
Fri (yoga) brats
Sat - out and about!

Lunches - 13 Bean Soup (me), Sandwiches (him)

Creamy Chicken Wild Rice Casserole  (Ckng Lght, March 2017)  gluten free option**
I will say upfront, this is NOT a good dish to make on a week night unless you got home about 3p in the afternoon.  I had pre-cooked my rice earlier in the day, the chicken came from a pot of stock we had in the slow cooker, and even with those 'short-cuts', this still took and hour and a half to assemble.  At least while it baked I could clean up the kitchen.

I'm thinking it would be possible to make this vegetarian - increase the carrot and celery, and perhaps add some chopped red pepper, turnip, rutabaga or similar root vegetable. 

End result? Very tasty, good for a crowd.  I would totally make this again - it stays creamy with a splash of water added during reheating and leftover were just as good as same day.  Recommended.

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1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts
I used the meat from one 4lb chicken, slow cooked for broth
2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1 teaspoon black pepper, divided 
1/4 cup all-purpose flour**
5 cups 2% reduced-fat milk, divided
1 1/2 cups sliced leeks
1 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
I used 1 tsp dried thyme
2 (8-oz.) pkg. presliced cremini mushrooms
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 ounce 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
3 cups hot cooked wild rice
3 green onions, sliced
1/2 cup sliced almonds

Ckng Lght notes:  Simmer 1 1/2 cups rice in 6 cups water for 45 minutes and drain. You can also use 1 (13-ounce) package frozen cooked wild rice, such as Engine 2, which is sold at Whole Foods. 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Sprinkle chicken with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Add chicken to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side. Divide chicken between 2 square (8-inch) baking dishes coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350°F for 10 minutes or until done. Cool and chop. 
3. Return skillet to medium-high. Combine flour and 1/2 cup milk in a bowl. Add leeks and next 4 ingredients (through mushrooms) to pan; cook 13 minutes or until browned and tender. Stir in flour mixture, remaining 4 1/2 cups milk, and parsley; cook 3 minutes. Stir in cream cheese until smooth; cook 2 minutes or until slightly thickened. Combine chicken, remaining 1 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper, mushroom mixture, rice, and green onions in a bowl. Coat baking dishes with cooking spray. Divide chicken mixture between dishes; top with almonds. Follow freezing directions, or bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes or until browned and bubbly.

How-To FREEZE: Cool mixture completely. Cover with heavy-duty foil or airtight lids. Freeze up to 2 months. THAW: Uncover and microwave at MEDIUM (50% power) 15 minutes or until thawed. REHEAT: Cover and bake at 450 degrees F for 25 to 30 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Slow Cooked 15 Bean Soup (modified from ATK Slow Cooker Revolution) gluten free, vegetarian option**
I really enjoyed this dish!  So incredibly flavorful!  Hearty without being heavy.   EASY!  All that plus I forgot two major ingredients!  Yes indeedy.  I was rushing around because we had to get out the door, and I totally forgot the last two items and the soup didn't suffer a bit.

Again, I don't have a microwave, so I bloom my onion, garlic and spices on the stove and I've reflected that in the directions below.  

1 onion, chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp dried thyme
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
12 ounces cremini mushroom2, de-stemmed, cleaned and quartered
8 oz 15-bean soup mix, flavoring packet discarded, beans picked over, and salt soaked
4 oz bacon (about 4 slices)**
1 oz dried shitake mushrooms, chopped (recipe called for porcini, my stores don't carry porcini so I subbed and used the whole package)
2 bay leaves

8 oz Swiss Chard, stemmed and leaves sliced
1 (14.5 Oz) can whole tomatoes, drained and chopped

1. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat.  Coat with cooking spray/oil of choice.  Add onion, garlic, and thyme and cook until onion is just softened.  Transfer to slow cooker.

2. Stir broth, mushrooms, soaked beans bacon, dried mushrooms and bay leaves into slow cooker.  Cover and cook until beans are tender 9-11 hours on low, or 5-7 hours on high.

3.  Let soup settle for 5 minutes, then remove fat from surface using a large spoon.  Remove bacon and bay leaves.

4. Stir in Chard and tomatoes, cover and cook on high until chard is tender, 20-30 minutes more.  Season to taste and serve. 

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