Saturday, May 29, 2010

Smoked Sausage, Butternut Squash and Wild Rice Soup

I am not a big fan of squash, but this was pretty darn tasty. I found Emeril's recipe when I was trying to find a recipe to use our butternut squash. It received really good reviews on Food Network, and it ended up being very good. Butternut squash is a pain to cut, so we just cut it in half instead of cubes to do the roasting part. Oh and fresh corn off the cob makes it super good.

Smoked Sausage, Butternut Squash and Wild Rice Soup

2 medium butternut squash, about 3 to 4 pounds, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch chunks

2 tablespoons olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
12 cups chicken stock
2 1/2 cups chopped onions
1 cup wild rice
3/4 pound smoked sausage, such as kielbasa, cut into 1/4-inch
2 cups fresh corn kernels
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Season the squash with 1 tablespoon of the oil, salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until tender. Remove from the oven and cool completely. In a blender or food processor, puree the squash with 2 cups of the chicken stock. Puree until smooth and set aside.

In a saucepan, over medium heat, bring 4 cups of the stock and 1/2 cup of the chopped onions to a simmer. Stir in the rice and cook until the rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed, about 1 hour, stirring occasionally with a fork. Remove the rice from the pan and cool. In a large saucepan, over medium heat, add the remaining tablespoon of oil. When the oil is hot, add the sausage and brown for 3 minutes. Add the remaining 2 cups of onions and corn. Season with salt and pepper. Saute for 3 minutes. Add the remaining 6 cups of stock and squash puree. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Skim off any fat that rises to the surface. Stir in the rice and continue to cook for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the half-and-half and reason with salt and pepper. Stir in the parsley and serve.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Penne with Asparagus, Spinach and Bacon

Nothing like a simple and easy pasta dish ....with bacon. Yum.

Penne with Asparagus, Spinach and Bacon

8 ounces uncooked penne pasta

2 bacon slices
1/2 cup chopped sweet onion
2 1/2 cups (1-inch) slices asparagus (about 1 pound)
1 1/2 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
4 cups bagged baby spinach leaves
1/2 cup (2 ounces) preshredded Parmesan cheese, divided
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Cook pasta according to the package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain; keep warm.

Cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan; crumble. Add onion to drippings in pan; sauté 1 minute. Add asparagus and broth to pan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes or until asparagus is crisp-tender. Add pasta, spinach, 1/4 cup cheese, and pepper to pan; toss well. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup cheese and bacon

Source: Cooking Light

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Creamed Chicken and Biscuits

I was inspired while reading the most recent Sookie Stackhouse book to make creamed chicken and biscuits. I don't know if the ones I made are anything like the ones in the book, but they were good. I wanted to make the spinach casserole that Sookie ate as well, but my husband said no to that one. He doesn't like cooked spinach. I had my husband make the biscuits from scratch. He uses Alton Brown's recipe. They are  really good.
So I didn't follow the recipe exactly. I bought a rotisserie chicken, mixed the cream part, heated it up and served it on top of the biscuits. My husband sprinkled cheese on his and I just used pepper. It was mighty good and very easy to make--except the biscuits from scratch. Feel free to buy the premade kind or it would even be good on rice.

Creamed Chicken and Biscuits

1/2 Large onion

1 1/2 tsp Butter (or margarine)
4 cups Chopped cooked chicken breasts
1 (10 3/4 oz) can reduced fat cream of chicken soup
1 cup Lowfat sour cream
1/2 cup Fat free milk
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (optional)
Black pepper

Chop the onion. Heat butter in a small nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until melted. Stir in onion. Saute until tender. Add chicken, soup, sour cream, and milk to skillet. Heat through. Serve over biscuits. Sprinkle with cheese and black pepper.

Source: meals matter

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Banana Cream Pie Gluten Free Cupcakes

I had bananas and almond meal. Elana's Pantry is posting a bunch of cupcake recipes. Made sense to try one out. The cupcake is decent. It wasn't as intense of a banana flavor as I expected, but it was moist. I do think that a cream cheese frosting would be better than the whipped cream. It needed a stronger flavor.

Banana Cream Pie Gluten Free Cupcakes

1 ½ cups blanched almond flour

1 tablespoon arrowroot powder
¼ teaspoon celtic sea salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs
¼ cup grapeseed oil
¼ cup agave nectar
1-2 very ripe bananas (about ¾ to 1 cup mashed)

In a large bowl, mix together almond flour, arrowroot powder, salt and baking soda. In a smaller bowl, combine eggs, grapeseed oil and agave and then stir in mashed bananas. Mix wet ingredients into dry. Scoop batter one heaping ¼ cup at a time into lined cupcake tins. Bake at 350° for 15-18 minutes. Remove from oven, allow to cool, then frost with whipped cream frosting and dust with chocolate "Dirt" or mini chocolate chips.

Source: Elana's Pantry

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Banana Coffee Cake with Macadamia Nuts and Coconut

This cake is very dessert-like. It's moist and sweet and has yummy crunchies on top-- I doubled the topping amount. It's from Cooking Light magazine, but it definitely doesn't taste light. Someone who reviewed it even substituted the egg with an extra banana, so it can be vegan.

Banana Coffee Cake with Macadamia Nuts and Coconut

Cooking spray

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup mashed ripe banana (about 2 large bananas)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 large egg
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon water
2 teaspoons butter
2 tablespoons chopped macadamia nuts, toasted
2 tablespoons flaked sweetened coconut

Preheat oven to 350°.

Coat a 9-inch round cake pan with cooking spray; line bottom of pan with wax paper. Coat wax paper with cooking spray.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a bowl, stirring with a whisk. Combine banana and next 5 ingredients (banana through egg) in a bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed for 1 minute or until well blended. Add flour mixture to banana mixture, and beat until blended. Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pan. Carefully peel off wax paper.

Combine brown sugar, water, and butter in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in nuts and coconut. Spread over cake. Serve cake warm.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Fruit Salad

This is a recipe that came from my great grandmother. My grandma made it and it has become a family favorite. Even my vegan sister has made a vegan version of it. Some people might call it ambrosia, but I call it fruit salad. It is super yum and always reminds me of the holidays.

Fruit Salad

1 cup maraschino cherries
1 cup mandarin oranges
1 cup pineapple chunks
1 cup mini marshmallows
1 cup sweetened flake coconut
1 cup sour cream

Mix all ingredients together in bowl. Let it sit for at least several hours.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Soft Pretzels with Queso Poblano Sauce

I am not sure which is better-- soft pretzels or queso. I love soft pretzels. They totally beat bagels or the hard crunchy little pretzels. But the queso sauce is awesome. I would make it again to eat with just tortilla chips ....or anything really. I am drooling just thinking about this again. Yum!

Soft Pretzels with Queso Poblano Sauce

Queso Poblano Sauce:

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 cup whole milk
12 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, grated
2 poblano chiles, roasted, peeled, seeded and chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons freshly chopped cilantro leaves
Soft Pretzels:

1 1/2 cups warm water
2 tablespoons light brown muscovado sugar
1 package active dry yeast
3 ounces unsalted butter, melted
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
4 1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour
Vegetable oil
3 quarts water
3/4 cup baking soda
2 whole eggs, beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water
Coarse sea salt

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and cook 1 minute. Whisk in the milk and cook until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and stir in the Monterey Jack cheese, poblano chiles, and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Place the queso sauce into a bowl and sprinkle with chopped poblano.

Line 2 half sheet pans with parchment paper and spray liberally with vegetable spray.

Combine the water, sugar, yeast, and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix with the dough hook until combined. Let sit for 5 minutes.
Add the salt and flour and mix on low speed until combined. Increase the speed to medium and continue kneading until the dough is smooth and begins to pull away from the side of the bowl, about 3 to 4 minutes. If the dough appears too wet, add additional flour, 1 tablespoon at a time. Remove the dough from the bowl, place on a flat surface and knead into a ball with your hands.
Oil a bowl with vegetable oil, add the dough and turn to coat with the oil. Cover with a clean towel or plastic wrap and place in a warm spot until the dough doubles in size, about 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Bring the water to a boil in a small roasting pan over high heat and add the baking soda.
Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a flat surface. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces, about 4 1/4 to 4 1/2 ounces each. Roll each piece into a long rope measuring 22 inches and shape: take the right side and cross over to the left. Cross right to left again and flip up. Boil the pretzels in the water solution, 2 at a time for 30 seconds, splashing the tops with the warmed water using a spoon. Remove with a large flat slotted spatula or a spider. Place 4 pretzels on each baking sheet, brush the tops with the egg wash and season liberally with the salt. Place into the oven and bake for 15 to 18 minutes until golden brown.
Remove to a baking rack and let rest 5 minutes before eating. Dip into desired sauces.

Bobby Flay--Food Network

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Chicken with Sugar Snap Peas and Spring Herbs

This recipe sounded good. It was only okay. I think it had a little too much mustard flavor and not enough vegetable flavor. I probably won't make it again though.

Chicken with Sugar Snap Peas and Spring Herbs

1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
2 teaspoons plus 1 tablespoon flour, divided
1 pound thin-sliced chicken breast cutlets
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
8 ounces sugar snap peas, cut in half (2 cups)
1 14-ounce can quartered artichoke hearts, rinsed
1/4 cup sprouted beans, (see Note), optional
3 tablespoons minced fresh herbs, such as chives, tarragon or dill
2 teaspoons champagne vinegar, or white-wine vinegar

Whisk broth, mustard, salt, pepper and 2 teaspoons flour in a small bowl until smooth. Sprinkle both sides of the chicken with the remaining 1 tablespoon flour. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the chicken in two batches, adjusting heat as necessary to prevent burning, until golden, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a plate; tent with foil to keep warm. Stir the broth mixture and add to the pan along with snap peas, artichoke hearts and sprouted beans (if using). Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook until the snap peas are tender-crisp, 3 to 5 minutes. Return the chicken to the pan, nestling it into the vegetables, and simmer until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in herbs and vinegar.

Source: Eating Well

Monday, May 3, 2010

Quick Taco Salad

Easy. Quick. Delicious. Depending on what salsa you pick, the flavor of this can really change. Of course, you can always just use taco seasoning instead.

Quick Taco Salad

12 ounces ground round
2 cups chopped yellow, red, or green bell pepper
2 cups bottled salsa
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
4 cups coarsely chopped romaine lettuce
2 cups chopped plum tomato
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup crumbled baked tortilla chips (about 12 chips)
1/4 cup chopped green onions

Cook beef and bell pepper in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until beef is browned; stir to crumble. Add salsa; bring to a boil. Stir in cilantro; keep warm.

Place 1 cup lettuce on each of 4 plates; top with 1 cup meat mixture. Sprinkle each serving with 1/2 cup tomato, 1/4 cup cheese, 1/4 cup chips, and 1 tablespoon onions.

Cooking Light

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Island Pork Tenderloin

I like pork tenderloin. They are lower fat and easy to make. I especially love finding spice rubs for them. This recipe has a spicy sweet crust that bakes on top. It's pretty good.

Island Pork Tenderloin

For Spice Rub:
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 pork tenderloins (2 1/4 - 2 1/2 pound total) trimmed
2 tablespoons olive oil
For Glaze:
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
1 tablespoon Tabasco

Prepare the Pork:

Stir together salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Coat pork with spice rub.
Heat oil in an ovenproof 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until just beginning to smoke. Brown pork, turning occasionally, about 4 minutes total. Remove from heat; leave pork in skillet.

Make the Glaze and Roast the Pork:

Stir together brown sugar, garlic and Tabasco in a small bowl. Pat the mixture on top of the tenderloins.
Place the skillet in the oven at 350 degrees. Roast until thermometer inserted diagonally into the center of each tenderloin registers 140 degrees, about 20 minutes. Let pork stand in skillet, loosely covered with foil for 10 minutes.

Source: Pennies on the Platter

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Seared Salmon with Jalapeno Ponzu

Salmon is one of my favorite fish. It is also good for you. Give you some of that good cholesterol and omegas. This recipe from Cooking Light magazine is incredibly easy and quick. Oh, and yummy.

Seared Salmon with Jalapeno Ponzu

1/4 c soy sauce
2 T orange juice
2 T mirin
1 T lemon juice
1 T dark sesame oil
4 (6 oz) salmon fillets
1 large jalapeno pepper, cut into thin slices

Combine first 4 ingredients in a small bowl, mix well. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add salmon, skin side down; cook 4 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily with a fork or until desired doneness. Arrange 1 fillet on each plate. Top fillets evenly with jalapeno slices. Spoon about 2 T of soy sauce mixture over each serving; let stand 10 minutes before serving.