Chicken and Dumpling Soup Sunday, Jan 22 2017 

3/4 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth, divided
1 cup water
2 cups frozen french-cut green beans
1-1/2 cups sliced onions
1 cup shredded carrots
1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
2/3 cup reduced-fat biscuit/baking mix
1/3 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese
1/3 cup fat-free milk

Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook and stir until no longer pink. Remove from heat.

In a large saucepan, whisk flour and 1/2 cup broth until smooth. Stir in water and remaining broth. Add beans, onions, carrots and marjoram. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes. Add chicken; return to a simmer.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix biscuit mix, cornmeal and cheese. Stir in milk just until moistened. Drop batter in 12 portions on top of the simmering soup. Reduce heat to low; cover and cook 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center of dumpling comes out clean.

Taste of Home, September/October 2013, page 17

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Shrimp Lo Mein Friday, Jan 20 2017 

8 ounces lo mein noodles
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 pound peeled and deveined medium shrimp
½ pound snow peas, trimmed
4 scallions, thinly sliced, white and green parts separated
2 cloves garlic, chopped
kosher salt
¼ cup oyster sauce (found in the Asian aisle of most supermarkets)
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
crushed red pepper, for serving

Cook the noodles according to the package directions.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the shrimp, snow peas, scallion whites, garlic, and ½ teaspoon salt. Cook, tossing occasionally, until the shrimp are cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the oyster sauce, vinegar, soy sauce, and ¼ cup water; cook, tossing, until thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the noodles and toss to combine. Serve sprinkled with the red pepper and scallion greens.

Real Simple, January 2012, page 124

Cabernet Short Ribs with Parmesan Polenta Thursday, Jan 19 2017 

Ribs:16 (3-ounce) bone-in beef short ribs, trimmed
5/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped shallots
1/2 cup chopped carrot
1/2 cup chopped celery
6 garlic cloves, sliced
1 rosemary sprig
2 1/2 cups cabernet sauvignon or other dry red wine
1 1/4 cups lower-sodium beef broth
1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons water
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Gremolata:
1/3 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1 garlic clove, minced

Polenta:
3 cups fat-free milk
1 cup water
5/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup quick-cooking polenta
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Sprinkle ribs with salt and pepper. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add 1 teaspoon olive oil to pan. Add 8 ribs, and sauté for 6 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove ribs. Repeat procedure with remaining 1 teaspoon oil and 8 ribs. Add onion and the next 5 ingredients (through rosemary) to pan; sauté 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add wine to pan, and bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Cook for 13 minutes or until reduced to 2 cups.

Preheat oven to 350°.

Add broth to pan, and bring to a boil. Return ribs to pan. Cover and bake at 350° for 1 1/2 hours, turning ribs after 45 minutes. Remove ribs from pan, and strain cooking liquid through a fine-mesh sieve over a bowl. Discard the solids. Skim fat; discard. Return cooking liquid to pan. Combine flour and 2 teaspoons water in a small bowl, stirring well. Add to pan, and bring to a boil. Cook for 11 minutes or until reduced to about 1 cup. Stir in vinegar.

To prepare gremolata, combine 1/3 cup parsley, 1/2 teaspoon lemon rind, and minced garlic.

To prepare polenta, bring 3 cups milk, 1 cup water, 5/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper to a boil over medium heat. Slowly stir in 1 cup polenta. Cook 5 minutes or until thick, stirring frequently. Stir in cheese. Place 1/2 cup polenta in each of 8 shallow bowls, and top each serving with 2 ribs, 2 tablespoons sauce, and about 2 teaspoons gremolata.

Cooking Light, October 2011, page 88

Cabernet Short Ribs with Parmesan Polenta Thursday, Jan 19 2017 

Ribs:
16 (3-ounce) bone-in beef short ribs, trimmed
5/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped shallots
1/2 cup chopped carrot
1/2 cup chopped celery
6 garlic cloves, sliced
1 rosemary sprig
2 1/2 cups cabernet sauvignon or other dry red wine
1 1/4 cups lower-sodium beef broth
1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons water
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Gremolata:
1/3 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1 garlic clove, minced

Polenta:
3 cups fat-free milk
1 cup water
5/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup quick-cooking polenta
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Sprinkle ribs with salt and pepper. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add 1 teaspoon olive oil to pan. Add 8 ribs, and sauté for 6 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove ribs. Repeat procedure with remaining 1 teaspoon oil and 8 ribs. Add onion and the next 5 ingredients (through rosemary) to pan; sauté 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add wine to pan, and bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Cook for 13 minutes or until reduced to 2 cups.

Preheat oven to 350°.

Add broth to pan, and bring to a boil. Return ribs to pan. Cover and bake at 350° for 1 1/2 hours, turning ribs after 45 minutes. Remove ribs from pan, and strain cooking liquid through a fine-mesh sieve over a bowl. Discard the solids. Skim fat; discard. Return cooking liquid to pan. Combine flour and 2 teaspoons water in a small bowl, stirring well. Add to pan, and bring to a boil. Cook for 11 minutes or until reduced to about 1 cup. Stir in vinegar.

To prepare gremolata, combine 1/3 cup parsley, 1/2 teaspoon lemon rind, and minced garlic.
To prepare polenta, bring 3 cups milk, 1 cup water, 5/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper to a boil over medium heat. Slowly stir in 1 cup polenta. Cook 5 minutes or until thick, stirring frequently. Stir in cheese. Place 1/2 cup polenta in each of 8 shallow bowls, and top each serving with 2 ribs, 2 tablespoons sauce, and about 2 teaspoons gremolata.

Cooking Light, October 2011, page 88

Chicken and Gruyère turnovers Monday, Jan 16 2017 

1 ½ cups shredded rotisserie chicken
1 ½ cups grated Gruyère
1 cup frozen peas
2 sheets puff pastry (one 17.25-ounce package frozen), thawed
1 large egg, beaten
¼ cup Dijon mustard

Heat oven to 400° F. In a medium bowl, combine the chicken, Gruyère, and peas.

Cut the 2 sheets of puff pastry in half to form 4 rectangles and place on a baking sheet. Dividing evenly, top half of each rectangle with the chicken mixture. Fold over and seal the turnovers; brush the tops with the egg. Bake until golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Serve with the mustard.

Real Simple, March 2011, page 198

Meatball Banh Mi Wednesday, Oct 19 2016 

Slaw
3 tablespoons lime juice
2 teaspoons sugar
1 3/4 cups shredded carrot
1 3 /4 cups shredded daikon radish
1/2 cup thinly sliced scallion greens
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

Meatballs
8 ounces ground pork
8 ounces ground chicken breast
1 8-ounce can water chestnuts, drained and finely chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped scallion whites
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon chile-garlic sauce or other Asian hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

2 20-inch baguettes, preferably whole-wheat, cut into thirds
1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise
1-2 teaspoons chile-garlic sauce or other Asian hot sauce
36 thin slices English cucumber (about 1/2 large)
2/3 cup gently packed fresh cilantro

To prepare slaw: Whisk lime juice and sugar in a medium bowl. Add carrot, daikon, scallion greens and basil and toss to coat. Set aside.

To prepare meatballs: Preheat oven to 450 °F. Line a large baking sheet with foil and coat with cooking spray. Gently mix pork, chicken, water chestnuts, scallion whites, garlic, fish sauce, chile-garlic sauce and pepper in a large bowl (do not overmix). Using a generous 2 tablespoons each, make 18 meatballs. Bake on the prepared baking sheet until just cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes.

To assemble sandwiches: Cut each portion of baguette in half horizontally, then pull out about half of the soft bread in the center of each piece (reserve for another use, if desired). Combine mayonnaise and chile-garlic sauce to taste in a small bowl. Spread about 1/2 tablespoon of the mixture on each piece of baguette. Divide the reserved slaw among the sandwiches and top with cucumber and cilantro. Add 3 meatballs to each sandwich. Serve immediately.

Eating Well, March/April 2012, pages 74-75

Shrimp Pho Monday, Oct 17 2016 

12 cups water
2 cups chicken broth
Shells from 3 pounds large peeled shrimp
½ bunch fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
1½ cups chopped yellow onion
1⅓ cups chopped green bell pepper
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon chile-garlic sauce (Sriracha)
½ teaspoon ground coriander
1½ pounds peeled and deveined large fresh shrimp
1 (8-ounce) package rice noodles
1 to 2 jalapeño peppers, sliced
2 limes, cut into wedges
½ cup Thai basil leaves

In a large stockpot, combine 12 cups water, broth, shells, cilantro, onion, bell pepper, garlic, fish sauce, lime juice, soy sauce, ginger, chile-garlic sauce, and coriander. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, 1 hour. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve, discarding solids. (At this point, the pho base can be refrigerated up to 3 days or frozen up to 3 months.)

In a large stockpot, bring pho base to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to a simmer, and add shrimp and rice noodles. Cook until shrimp are pink and firm and noodles are cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes.

Serve pho topped with sliced jalapeño peppers, lime wedges, and basil. Add additional chile-garlic sauce to each serving to taste.

Louisiana Cooking, September/October 2013, page 73

Sesame Chicken and Noodles in Mushroom Broth Sunday, Oct 16 2016 

4 shiitake mushrooms
1 cup fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
1 cup water
4 teaspoons lower-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons fish sauce
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger, sliced
1 serrano chile, thinly sliced
1 quart water
2 cups uncooked fresh Chinese-style noodles
1 pound chicken cutlets
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup toasted sesame seeds
2 teaspoons sesame oil
4 baby bok choy, cut in half lengthwise
1/2 cup (1/4-inch-thick) slices red bell pepper
1 lime, cut into 8 wedges

Remove mushroom stems. Thinly slice caps; set caps aside. Bring stems, broth, and next 6 ingredients to a boil in a saucepan. Remove pan from heat.

Bring 1 quart of water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add noodles; cook 3 minutes or until done. Drain.

Sprinkle chicken with black pepper. Place seeds in a dish. Press seeds into both sides of chicken. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil; swirl to coat. Add chicken; cook 3 minutes on each side or until done. Remove from pan. Add bok choy, cut sides down; cook 3 minutes or until browned. Add reserved mushroom slices and bell pepper. Strain broth mixture through a sieve into pan; cover and cook 2 minutes. Remove vegetables with a slotted spoon.

Thinly slice chicken. Place 1/2 cup noodles, about 1/4 cup vegetables, and 4 ounces chicken into 4 shallow bowls. Spoon 1/4 cup broth mixture over each. Garnish each with two lime wedges.

Cooking Light, August 2012, page 26

Tortellini with Broccoli Pesto Friday, Oct 14 2016 

1 bunch broccoli (about 1 pound), trimmed and cut into florets
kosher salt and black pepper
1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
1 ounce Parmesan, grated (about 1/4 cup), plus more for serving
1 pound fresh or frozen cheese tortellini

Cook the broccoli in a large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, 2 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool slightly; reserve the water for cooking the tortellini.

Pulse the broccoli, parsley, oil, pine nuts, Parmesan, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper in a food processor until finely chopped, 15 to 20 seconds.

Cook the tortellini according to the package directions, reserving ¾ cup of the cooking water. Drain and return the tortellini to the pot.

Add the broccoli pesto and ¼ cup of the reserved cooking water and toss to combine. (Add more cooking water as needed to loosen the sauce.)

Serve sprinkled with more Parmesan.

Real Simple, February 2014, page 168

Lamb & Rice Stuffed Grape Leaves  Wednesday, Oct 12 2016 

1 15- to 16-ounce jar grape leaves, drained
1 pound ground lamb
2 cups instant brown rice
1/3 cup minced fresh parsley
2 tablespoons minced fresh mint or 2 teaspoons dried
1 tablespoon dried marjoram leaves
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground cumin1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
4 tablespoons lemon juice, plus lemon wedges for serving
Plain yogurt for serving

Time: 2 1/2 hours

Put a large saucepan of water on to boil. Remove grape leaves from the jar and unroll. Separate into two piles—one of whole leaves and one with any torn leaves or pieces of leaves. The whole leaves will be used for rolling. Set aside the others for Step 5.

Cook the whole grape leaves in the boiling water for 5 minutes; drain in a colander.

To prepare filling: Combine lamb, rice, parsley, mint, marjoram, oil, cinnamon, cumin, salt, pepper and allspice in a medium bowl until well combined.

To assemble grape leaves: Lay a clean kitchen towel on a work surface. Place 4 to 6 whole grape leaves at a time on the towel with the stem-side up and stem end pointing toward you. Pinch or trim off any long or tough stems. Depending on the size of the leaf, shape 2 teaspoons to 1 tablespoon of the filling into a 1 1/2- to 2-inch log and place it on the leaf, perpendicular to the stem end. Roll the end of the leaf over the filling, tuck in the sides and roll tightly into a cigar shape. Repeat with the remaining grape leaves and filling. (You may have filling or grape leaves left over.)

Place the torn or very small leftover grape leaves in a large saucepan, covering the bottom completely; this will prevent the stuffed leaves from sticking as they cook. Place about half of the stuffed grape leaves in one tight layer in the pan and drizzle with 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Make a second layer of grape leaves on top of the first and drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons lemon juice.

Place the largest heatproof plate you have that will fit in the pot on top of the grape leaves. Place a small-to-medium heatproof bowl on top of the plate and fill it three-quarters full with water (this will act as a weight to keep the grape leaves submerged). Add water to the pan until it reaches the rim of the plate.

Timing: Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until the rice is tender, adding water as necessary to keep the grape leaves submerged, about 45 minutes. (To check if the rice is done, carefully remove the bowl and plate, take out one stuffed grape leaf using a slotted spoon and cut it open.)

Carefully remove the bowl and plate, then transfer the grape leaves from the water using a slotted spoon. Serve warm with lemon wedges and yogurt for dipping, if desired.

Eating Well, May/June 2011, page 83

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