Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Penne with Sage and Mushrooms

I'm not normally a cooking Light magazine fan, but earlier this fall I came across thier recipe for Penne with sage and mushrooms and had to try it. In the Snoogoose household we love pasta and sage and mushrooms, so we figured this would be a hit.

From Cooking Light, September 2009

Ingredients

1 whole garlic head
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
2 1/2 cups boiling water, divided
1/2 ounce dried wild mushroom blend (about 3/4 cup)
8 ounces uncooked 100 percent whole-grain penne pasta
1/4 cup fresh sage leaves
2 1/2 cups sliced cremini mushrooms (about 6 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2 ounces fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided

Preparation
1. Preheat oven to 400°.

2. Cut top off garlic head. Place in a small baking dish, and drizzle with 1 teaspoon oil; cover with foil, and bake at 400° for 45 minutes. Remove dish from oven. Add 1/2 cup boiling water to dish; cover and let stand 30 minutes. Separate cloves; squeeze to extract garlic pulp into water. Discard skins. Mash garlic pulp mixture with a fork, and set aside.

3. Combine remaining 2 cups boiling water and dried mushrooms in a bowl; cover and let stand 30 minutes. Rinse mushrooms; drain well, and roughly chop. Set aside.

4. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat.

5. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add sage to pan; sauté 1 minute or until crisp and browned. Remove from pan using a slotted spoon; set aside. Add cremini mushrooms, salt, and pepper to pan; sauté 4 minutes. Add garlic mixture, chopped mushrooms, and broth to pan; cook 5 minutes or until liquid is reduced by about half. Grate 1 1/2 ounces cheese. Stir pasta and grated cheese into pan; cover and let stand 5 minutes. Thinly shave remaining 1/2 ounce cheese; top each serving evenly with cheese shavings and sage leaves.

Cook's Notes:
1. We omited steps one and two because roasting garlic is a pain in the ass and does not make for quick dinner prep.

2. This sounds really good on paper, but it wasn't that great once we made it. In fact, in order to eat the leftovers I had to add jarred pasta sauce to make it taste better. We will not be making this again.

Roast Turkey with Sage (and Rosemary!)

Our house came with sage and rosemary bushes, so for the last six months we've enjoyed cooking with fresh herbs. We made this roasted turkey with sage last Thanksgiving and it was easy enough so we repeated it again, only we added rosemary and extra garlic to our turkey breast.

This was also from the November 2008 issue of Real Simple Magazine.

Ingredients
1 12-pound turkey, giblets removed (or tutkey breast!)
1 bunch sage (plus 1 bunch rosemary)
6 onions, unpeeled and quartered
4 carrots, unpeeled and cut in half crosswise
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
kosher salt
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
Directions

Heat oven to 400° F. Stuff the turkey cavity with the sage and 4 onion quarters. Scatter the carrots and the remaining onions in a large roasting pan.
Place the turkey on top of the onions and carrots. Tie the legs together with kitchen twine and tuck the wings underneath the body. Brush the turkey with the butter and season with 1 teaspoon salt.
Roast the turkey for 45 minutes. Add the broth to the roasting pan. Continue to roast the turkey, covering it loosely with foil if it browns too quickly, until a thermometer inserted into a thigh registers 165° F, 2 to 2 1/4 hours.

Carefully tilt the turkey to empty the juices from the cavity into the pan. Transfer the turkey to a cutting board, tent loosely with foil, and let rest for at least 20 minutes before carving. Discard the onions and carrots.



Cook's notes
1. We used a 4 pound turky breast but it still cooked for a couple of hours.
2. We actually used twice as much sage as the recipe called for!

Our Thanksgiving table:

sage and apple stuffing

On Thanksgiving I tried my hand at stuffing from scratch. I'll admit, for years I was a Stove Top stuffing kind of girl. It was easy and tasty and good enough. I didn't know what I was missing.

I had this recipe for rye and apple stuffing from the November 2008 issue of Real Simple Magazine. I had been saving breadcrumbs for months, mostly sourdough and french, so I omitted the rye from the recipe.

Ingredients
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for the dish
1/2 loaf rye bread, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 6 cups)
1/2 loaf sourdough bread, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 6 cups)
2 onions, chopped
4 stalks celery, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
kosher salt and black pepper
2 Granny Smith apples, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1/4 cup fresh sage, chopped
2 large eggs, beaten

Directions
Heat oven to 400° F.
Butter a deep 3-quart casserole dish.
Place the bread on a rimmed baking sheet and toast until golden, 10 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.
Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onions, celery, and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the apples and cook for 2 minutes. Add the broth and bring to a boil.
Add the vegetable mixture, parsley, and sage to the bread and toss to combine. Mix in the eggs. Transfer to the prepared dish and cover loosely with buttered foil.



Bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake until golden, 12 to 15 minutes.


Cook's notes:
1. I actually had homemade chicken broth on hand from earlier this fall. I think it's what made the stuffing so good.
2. The sage came from our yard!
3. Sausage would have been a nice addition to the recipe. Maybe next year?
4. The stuffing was so good I decided it will be my go-to Thanksgiving stuffing from now on. It was time consuming and occasionally a pain in the ass, but it was worth it. So long Stove Top!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Goat cheese and roasted corn quesadillas

I came across this dish in an advertisement for Propel water. We had most of the stuff on hand and needed a quick dinner post-yoga one Monday night and tried our hand at it.

Ingredients:
1 cup fresh corn kernels (we used frozen)
2/3 cup (5 ounces) goat cheese, softened
8 6-inch tortillas
1/4 cup chopped green onion
10 tablespoons salsa
cooking spray

Directions:

1.Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add corn and saute for 2 minutes or until browned. Add goat cheese to corn.


2.Divide corn mix among 4 tortillas and sprinkle each tortilla with 1 tbsp green onion. Top with remaining tortilla shell
3.Heat pan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray and place 2 quesadillas in pan, cook 1 1/2 minutes on each side or until golden. Remove from pan, keep warm.
4.Wipe pan clean and repeat step 3.
5. Cut each quesadilla into 4 wedges and top with 8 tbsp salsa. Serve with a side of black beans.



Cook's notes:
1. This wasn't the most spectacular meal, but it was good. We just made jumbo 10 inch quesadillas as we didn't have any small ones.
2. We also added shredded cheddar cheese to either side of the tortilla's during cooking.

broccoli and cheese macaroni

I've never made mac and cheese before. In organizing my recipe file a few weeks back I cam across a recipe for cheesy baked shells and broccoli. Since it's wicked cold in the Emerald City these days and it was a "quick" meal, I decided to try it Thursday night. Now I veered off the recipe's path a bit. I used an entire box of whole wheat ziti instead of shells and used skim milk rather than whole (we all know that Real Simple is trying to give me a heart attack).

Here is the original recipe from the October 2008 issue of Real Simple:

Ingredients
3/4 pound medium pasta shells
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
2 cups grated Cheddar
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
kosher salt and pepper
1 16-ounce package frozen broccoli florets

Directions
1. Heat broiler.
2. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Meanwhile, heat the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Whisk in the milk and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, 4 to 5 minutes.
3. Add 1 1/2 cups of the cheese and stir until melted. Stir in the nutmeg, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1⁄4 teaspoon pepper.
4. Add the pasta and broccoli and toss to combine. Transfer to a broiler proof 8-inch square or another 1 1/2-quart baking dish. Sprinkle with the remaining 1⁄2 cup of cheese. Broil until golden, 3 to 4 minutes.


Cook's notes:
1. In true Snowgoose home cooking tradition, we fried three strips of bacon and crumbled them in the pasta during step 4.
2. If we make it again (not very likely) we'd add more cheese. It wasn't cheesy enough for us.

Super fast and super easy Creole Shrimp and Sausage Stew

We like spicy foods in the Snowgoose household. We also like anything with sausage in it. So when I came across this recipe for Creole Shrimp and Sausage Stew in Cooking Light (September '09), I knew I had to make it.

It's probably the easiest thing I've made in a long time and aside from the shrimp and suasage, it uses indredients that are staples in my fridge and pantry.

Creole Shrinp and Sausage Stew

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: about 1 cup)


Ingredients

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 cup thinly sliced turkey smoked sausage (about 6 ounces)
1 teaspoon bottled minced garlic
3/4 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 (10-ounce) can diced tomatoes and green chiles, undrained (such as Rotel)
8 ounces peeled and deveined medium shrimp
1 (15-ounce) can organic kidney beans, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Preparation

1. Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add bell pepper, sausage, and garlic to pan; sauté 3 minutes or until bell pepper is tender, stirring occasionally. Add broth and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Stir in shrimp and beans; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 6 minutes or until shrimp are done. Sprinkle with parsley.

Nutritional Information
Calories:191
Fat:6g (sat 1.7g,mono 2.7g,poly 1g)
Protein:21.3g
Carbohydrate:13.2g
Fiber:3.5g
Cholesterol:97mg
Iron:2.9mg
Sodium:694mg
Calcium:127mg

Cooks notes:

1. It took slightly longer than 20 minutes and I used a red bell pepper instead of green. Since my tomatoes didn't have chiles in them, I subsituted several dashes of tabasco sauce for heat.
2. Make a double or triple batch because it's so damn good you'll go through it wicked fast. It freezes well and makes a great lunch or quick super. You can even serve it with rice or french bread. My FIL and Mr. Snowgoose loved it so much I've made this two more times in the last few months for them. It will be in heavy rotation on our menu this winter. It's a nice change from chili.

Note:
The next time I make this I'll take photos and post them!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Herb-Pesto Barley Soup

I found this soup to be incredibly boring and in need of Parmesan cheese. Mr. Snowgoose thought it was savory (though he refused to add yogurt to his). I was surprised to see how willing I was to try and make pesto again so soon! This also came from the January 2009 issue of Body and Soul Magazine.

Ingredients

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 cup pearled barley
1 can (15 1/2 ounces) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (15 1/2 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
3 cups flat-leaf parsley leaves (from a large bunch)
1 cup fresh dill, coarsely chopped
1 cup fresh mint leaves, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
1/4 cup plain 2 percent Greek yogurt

Directions:
1. In a 5-quart Dutch oven or large pot, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high. Add onions and garlic and cook until caramelized and tender, stirring frequently, about 15 minutes, scraping up the browned bits (add a little water to the bottom of the pot if it begins to overbrown). Season with salt and pepper.

2. Add barley and 6 cups water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer partially covered over medium until barley is tender, about 40 minutes. Stir in beans and chickpeas and cook until heated through, about 1 minute. Remove from heat, stir in the 2 cups whole parsley leaves. Add more water to thin soup as necessary. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Meanwhile, in blender, combine dill, mint, chopped parsley, vinegar, remaining 1/4 cup oil, and 2 tablespoons water. Puree to desired consistency. Serve soup topped with herb pesto and a dollop of yogurt.


Cook's notes:
1. Did you see how much salt and pepper I had to add?
2. The mint made the soup too minty for my liking and I added fresh basil to the pesto mix along with Parmesan cheese.
3. I goofed on the vinegar added the wrong kind.

Chicken Cacciatore with Cremini Mushrooms

We're big cremini mushroom fans in the Snowgoose household. Well, at least I am. I probably go through two packages a week.

In cleaning out my recipe file I found this recipe from last January's Body and Soul Magazine.

Note: this is not a quick recipe. It requires at least four hours in the crock-pot. But it's a classic! I made some slight modifications and this is the result.

Ingredients:

4 chicken breasts
8 ounces cremini mushrooms, quartered
1 can (28 ounces) whole peeled plum tomatoes in juice
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup dry white wine like as Sauvignon Blanc
1 celery stalk, thinly sliced
1 small onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 sprig fresh rosemary or 1/2 teaspoon dried

Directions:

1. In a 5-quart slow cooker, stir together chicken, mushrooms, tomatoes, flour, wine, celery, onion, rosemary, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

2. Cover; cook on high setting until meat is tender, 4 hours. Do not lift the cover of the slow cooker while cooking. To serve, discard rosemary sprig.

Cook's notes:

1. I somehow ran out of onions and thought I'd add extra celery for crunch. Guess what? Celery is not a good onion substitute! As my FIL said, "maybe next time include the onion."
2. I didn't use a rosemary sprig. Instead I added lots of fresh rosemary from my garden and it worked fine.
3. I did not serve it with brown rice, but we did use sourdough bread to mop up the juice.

Would I make it again? Hell yes!

I can't find the photos, but I will upload them eventually!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

How to get your husband to eat more veggies:baked spinch and swiss

This one is for all you vegetarians out there.

This is a Real Simple Classic. We've got wine, cheese, and whole milk and cream!

Hands-On Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1hour 25 minutes (not really. We watched like 2 1/2 episodes of Mad Men).

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for the dish
6 shallots, thinly sliced
kosher salt and black pepper
6 large eggs
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
4 10-ounce boxes frozen leaf spinach, thawed
1/2 cup grated Parmesan (2 ounces)
2 cups grated Gruyere (8 ounces)
1 cup dry white wine

Directions
Heat oven to 400° F. Coat a shallow 2 1/2- to 3-quart baking dish with oil; set aside.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shallots, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the wine and simmer until evaporated, 4 to 6 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, milk, nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1⁄4 teaspoon pepper.

Squeeze the spinach to remove excess liquid. Stir the spinach, shallots, Gruyère, and Parmesan into the egg mixture. Transfer to the prepared baking dish.

Bake until bubbling and the top is golden brown, 45 to 55 minutes.



Cook's Notes:
Because I love my husband and like my father-in-law, I pulled the old bait-and-switch and used half and half and skim milk.

The recipe calls for Gruyere but the grocery store I was at charged an arm and leg for it, so I went with Swiss.

I also forgot the shallots, so I omitted the step with the shallots and wine.

Mr. Snowgoose roasted potatoes and winter squash to add as a side. H even had seconds!

My father-in-law demanded the leftovers and that I make it again soon, which I will. It was wicked good.

And the baking time was only about 35 minutes.

Rosemary Apple Scones

A few weekends back, before the pesto incident and all the rain, I had family over for coffee one Sunday morning. Since it was above 50 and not raining (and there was sun!) we dined al fresco at the patio Chez Snowgoose.

I haven't made scones from scratch (or if I have I can't remember) and was eager to try them. I had seen a vegan apple-rosemary scone recipe in the Vegan Brunch cookbook, but want to feed it to my carnivore family, so I merged the VB apple-rosemary scone recipe with the scone recipe in Joy of Cooking.

8 to 12 scones

Increase the sugar up to 1⁄4 cup for a sweeter scone.
Preheat the oven to 450°F.
Sift together into a large bowl:
1 3⁄4 cups all-purpose flour
2 1⁄4 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
Cut in, using a pastry blender or 2 knives, until the size of small peas:
1⁄4 cup (1⁄2 stick) cold butter
Beat in a small bowl:
2 large eggs
Reserve 2 tablespoons of the beaten eggs. Beat in to the reminder:
1⁄3 cup heavy cream
1 cup diced apple
1/4 cup fresh rosemary (less if you don't like it)
Make a well in the dry ingredients. Pour in the liquid and combine with a few swift strokes. Handle the dough as little as possible. Turn it out onto a lightly floured board. Pat to 3⁄4 inch thick. To make the classic wedge shape, pat into an 8-inch round and then cut into 8 to 12 wedges or cut into diamond shapes or as for Biscuit Sticks, above. Place on an ungreased baking sheet. Brush with the reserved egg and sprinkle with:
Salt or sugar



Bake until golden, about 15 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Cook's Notes

Of course we added extra sugar.

Who owns a pastry blender. What is that?

The rosemary was from our yard!



Trying to make them into wedges was a pain in the ass. I just dropped them in lumps like cookie dough. No one complained.

Serve with butter and jam.

The four of us ate them all within an hour. They were that good.
And I will totally make this one again. It's perfect for fall baking.

How to give yourself a heart attack: creamy shrimp and bacon

As much as I love Real Simple magazine, I think they might be trying to kill me. I swear that every dish has at least three of these ingredients:
1)bacon
2)whole cream
3)wine
4)cheese

Not that it's a bad thing, but I would like us to still be cooking 50 years from now.

Creamy Shrimp With Corn and Bacon

From the April 2009 issue

Serves 4
Hands-On Time: 25 minutes (ha!)

Total Time: 25 (more like 40!)

Ingredients
1 cup long-grain white rice
Kosher salt and black pepper
4 slices bacon
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 1/4 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined (or depooped in the Snowgoose house!)
1 10-ounce package frozen corn

Directions

In a medium saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, combine rice, 1 1/4 cups water, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil. Stir once, cover, and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 18 minutes. (Do not lift the lid or stir!) Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes; fluff with a fork before serving.

Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat until crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel, let cool, then break into pieces. Wipe out the skillet.

Heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 4 to 6 minutes. Add the wine and cook until reduced by half, 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the cream and bring to a boil. Stir in the shrimp, corn, and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Simmer until cooked through, 4 to 6 minutes. Stir in the bacon; serve over the rice.

Cooks notes:

We don't eat white rice in the Snowgoose household and we didn't have brown rice on hand, so we used orzo instead.

As requested by Mr. S, we used 2x the bacon

But omitted the white wine because SOMEONE drank the cooking wine. I'm not naming any names (Mr. Snowgoose). But actually, the wine wasn't missed.

We cooked this late one Sunday night, so there are no photos, by Real Simple has what theirs looks like.

I sent the leftovers to work with Mr. S and his dad and all they other attorneys were jealous of the bacon goodness.

Would I make this again. Probably not.

The time I tried to make pesto and nearly cut off my finger

You know how this one ends, but do you know how it begun?

Ten or so days ago, I was home prepping dinner before yoga for Mr. Snowgoose and I. We had just cleaned out the lettuce and herb containers and planted garlic and onions, so I was using the last of our homegrown basil to make pesto.



We love pesto in the Snowgoose household, and Mr. Snowgoose usually makes it.

This time I decided to try. The recipe was from Better Homes and Gardens.



Ingredients
1 box Thin Spaghetti
1 cup fresh basil
1/2 clove garlic
2 tablespoon pine nuts (I used 1/4 cup cheese)
2 tablespoon Parmigiano cheese
1 tablespoon Romano cheese (Actually I used more like 1/4 c cheese)
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
To taste salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

Add garlic, pine nuts, grated cheese to blender and blend for about 15 seconds until brought together.



(note: this was when it went downhill and when I discovered that Mr. Food. Processer would not be fufilling his sous chef duties.

Add basil, oil, salt and pepper and continue to blend until a slightly loose pesto forms, about 2 minutes.


Cook pasta according to directions.

Toss pasta with pesto in a bowl and serve immediately.

Cooks notes:

I think the key to success in this dish is just mixing in the amount of oil, pine nuts, cheese, garlic, and basil, that you feel like and it makes a creamy paste.

What you don't want to do is use your immersion blender to grind the stuff up when you can't work your husband's food processor that was made in 1984. Immersion blenders do not bode well with dry goods, stick to soups that need to be pureed. Otherwise, this happens:



and this:




8 stitches, 4 cute fireman, and a trip to the ER in an ambulance. Fortunately I still have a functional index finger.

But I'll leave the pesto to chef Snowgoose.

Oh, and yes, the pesto was ruined.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Zucchini boats with quinoa stuffing

I've been cooking a lot of vegetarian meals as of late (not on purpose). This recipe for zucchini with quinoa stuffing was another one rescued from the recipe folder. It wasn't as easy to make as I'd hope, but it made a great Sunday dinner and worked well as leftovers for Mr. Snowgoose and his dad. It came from the September 2008 issue of Real Simple magazine.


Ingredients

1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed
4 medium zucchini
1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed
1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/2 cup almonds, chopped (about 2 ounces)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3/4 cup grated Parmesan (3 ounces)
4 tablespoons olive oil

Directions

1. Heat oven to 400° F. In a large saucepan, combine the quinoa and 1 cup water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the quinoa is tender and the water is absorbed, 12 to 15 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, cut the zucchini in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Arrange in a large baking dish, cut-side up.

3. Fluff the quinoa and fold in the beans, tomatoes, almonds, garlic, 1/2 cup of the Parmesan, and 3 tablespoons of the oil.



4. Spoon the mixture into the zucchini. Top with the remaining tablespoon of oil and 1/4 cup Parmesan. Cover with foil and bake until the zucchini is tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake until golden, 8 to 10 minutes.



Serves 4 (actually served five!)
Hands-On Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

Cooks notes:


1. We had trouble scooping the seeds out of the zucchini to make a boat and wound up chopping it in half. Maybe next time we'll use a grapefruit spoon to scoop it out.
2. A coworker brought in the most delicious cherry tomatoes from her garden, so we used those instead of the ones I bought from the store.
3. It's an odd mix of ingredients, but the texture is nice. There is something crunchy, sweet, and creamy in each bite.
4. I might make a version of this using ground sausage or turkey.
5. I found the quinoa in the bulf food section at my neighborhood store. This is another under $10 meal!

Shrimp with tomatoes and olives

This was another recipe I found in my file, and it was only a year old! I had to work late last week, so I left the ingredients out with directions and came home to a late dinner made by Mr. Snowgoose (which explains why there are no photos of it). You can see how Real Simple did it here.

Ingredients

1 10-ounce box couscous (1 1/3 cups)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
3/4 cup pitted green olives
1/2 cup dry white wine (such as Sauvignon Blanc)
kosher salt and pepper
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

Directions

1. Cook the couscous according to the package directions.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 4 minutes.
2. Add the tomatoes, olives, wine, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, 4 to 6 minutes.
Add the shrimp, cover, and cook until the shrimp are cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes. Serve with the couscous.

(Non)cook's notes:
1. I always by already cooked and shelled and de-pooped shrimp in packages from Trader Joes to make things easier.
2. This was really good hot or cold! I think this might find itself into our meal rotation since it was so easy and relatively cheap (under $10) to make.

Creamy Gorgonzola Polenta with Summer Squash Saute

Apparently I found this recipe in an Eating Well magazine three years ago and tore it out and managed to stash it away until it was forgotten. Flashforward to last weekend when I was sorting through my folder of recipes (and tossing out all the one I knew I'd never make) I came across this creamy Gorgonzola polenta with summer squash saute. Now I love polenta and squash and cheese, as do my father-in-law. Mr. Snowgoose likes polenta and cheese and will only eat squash if it's covered in oil or cheese.

Since summer is winding down and my neighbor had given us a bunch of squash, I opted it to make it for one of our Sunday night dinners.



Look at the size of this squash!


Ingredients

2 14-ounce cans vegetable broth, or reduced-sodium chicken broth, divided
1 cup water
3/4 cup cornmeal (I bought my cornmeal from a bulk bin at the store. It was wicked cheap)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2/3 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons minced garlic

2 small zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced
2 small yellow summer squash, halved lengthwise and sliced
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

Preparation

1. Combine 2 1/2 cups broth and 1 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Slowly whisk in cornmeal and pepper until smooth. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until very thick and no longer grainy, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in Gorgonzola; remove the polenta from the heat.


2.Meanwhile, heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Stir in zucchini and squash and cook, stirring occasionally, until starting to soften and brown in places, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle flour over the vegetables; stir to coat. Stir in the remaining 1 cup broth and bring to a boil, stirring often. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened and the vegetables are tender, 1 to 3 minutes. Stir in basil; serve the sauté over the polenta.



Nutrition
Per serving: 264 calories; 14 g fat (5 g sat, 5 g mono); 20 mg cholesterol; 27 g carbohydrates; 11 g protein; 5 g fiber; 356 mg sodium; 351 mg potassium.

4 servings, 3/4 cup polenta & 1 cup vegetables each

Cooking time 40 minutes.



Cook's notes:

1. I added extra cheese which would have been fine had it not been such a rich cheese. It was actually too rich for my f-i-l. It kind of overwhelmed the squash, so your could barely taste it, which made Mr. Snowgoose very happy.
2. We used basil from our garden!
3. Since I had such a superlong summer squash, I just used one. We probably had more squash than we needed.

Mr. Snowgoose and I made it again last night, only we ommited the squash and added bacon. Polenta is super easy to make. I think I'll continue to experiment with different cheeses and veggies.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Maple Bacon Bars are the Bomb

There's an awesome new gourmet donut shop that opened across the street from work. The donuts are so delicious I have to limit myself to one a week, otherwise my jeans start to get a little tight.

These maple bacon bars are the best things I've ever tasted:



When they're fresh out of the oven they taste like what I imagine a pancake-bacon burrito would taste like.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Turkey burgers and caprese salad

I've only made hamburgers once before (on a grill pan) and it was slightly disastrous. We got a grill for a housewarming present and have slowly begun teaching ourselves how to grill. I cam across this recipe for burgers and since we were having a cookout I decided to let my guests in on the experiment. I had a pound of ground turkey so I opted to make turkey burgers instead of beef.

Turkey Burgers

Ingredients
1 slightly beaten egg white
2 tablespoons water
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup finely shredded carrot
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
1 pound lean ground beef (or turkey)
6 whole-grain buns
Lettuce, tomato slices, and red-onion slices

Directions


1. Combine egg white, water, bread crumbs, carrot, onion, bell pepper, salt, and pepper in a large bowl.

2. Add Parmesan and turkey; mix. Shape into six 1/2-inch-thick patties.



3. Grill burgers on an oiled grill rack for 7 minutes. Turn and grill 8 to 11 minutes more, or until no pink remains.

4. Serve burgers on buns with veggies.



Cook's notes:

1. We used lettuce from our garden for the burgers!



2. I didn't actually measure any of the bread crumbs, red pepper, onion, or carrots. I don't think it matters.
3. These were surprisingly good and you couldn't even taste the veggies in the burger. Mr. Snowgoose ate three burgers! Looks like I found another way to sneak him vegetables.
4. And for a side, Mr. Snowgoose made Caprese salad with the fresh basil from our garden. Unfortunately our tomatoes haven't ripened yet.

Easy Summer succotash

What I love best about summer is all the fresh produce. I'm not so much a fan of winter vegetables, but come summer I could eat squash and zucchini every day (much to Mr. Snowgooses's horror). Earlier this month I came across a recipe for edamame succotash with scallops and I just had to make it.

Note: for some reason I swore there was squash in succotash, so I cooked a bunch on the side and mixed it in.

From Heath magazine:

Ingredients

1 1/2 pounds sea scallops (I used frozen)
Black pepper, to taste
3 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 finely chopped shallot
1 large garlic clove, minced
4 cups fresh corn kernels (about 7 ears) or 2 (10-ounce) packages frozen whole-kernel corn, thawed
1 (8-ounce) bag frozen shelled edamame, thawed
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/4 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons fresh chopped tarragon or basil, plus sprigs for garnish
Preparation

Directions
1. Rinse scallops, and pat dry. Pull muscle from side of scallops, and discard. Season with pepper, to taste.

2. Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a medium nonstick or well-seasoned cast-iron skillet over moderately high heat. Cook scallops, turning once, 4 minutes (depending on size of scallops) or until golden brown and cooked through. Transfer to a plate; cover and keep warm.


3. Lower heat to medium; add remaining 1 teaspoon oil to skillet. Cook bell pepper, shallot, and garlic, stirring occasionally, 4 minutes or until slightly softened.


4. Stir in the corn and edamame, and cook, stirring occasionally, an additional 4 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

5. Add the cider vinegar, and cook, stirring constantly, until completely evaporated, about 1 minute. Pour in the buttermilk; cook, stirring, until reduced in half. Stir in chopped tarragon, and spoon vegetables into 4 bowls. Top evenly with scallops; serve immediately.



Ta da!



Cook's notes:

1. This was the first time I've ever used or bought buttermilk. I was surprised a "health" recipe actually called for it.
2. I served it with some brown rice, but you could totally eat it without it.
3. I would probably make this vegetarian in the future and omit the scallops (though they were good- but expensive) or possibly toss in some shrimp.
4. It tastes good hot or cold and makes plenty of leftovers.
5. There are no lima beans in this!

The verdict from the men in my life was "it'd be nice if you made this again." Apparently if I add enough oil and sauce to vegitables, Mr. Snowgoose will eat it.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Turkey Meatloaf with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

I don't recall eating much meatloaf growing up. If my mom made it, it certainly didn't leave an lasting impression (no offense, mom). I don't think I've eaten meatloaf in years.

Flash forward to 2009. We've been eating a lot of ground turkey lately on the account it's been on sale. I've exhausted turkey tacos and turkey burgers for awhile. I was trying to come up with turkey recipes and came across this recipe for turkey meatloaf. Mr. Snowgoose likes roasted red peppers, so the recipe with the sauce sounded appealing. I was making dinner for Mr. Snowgoose and his dad and they were game to try it.

Turkey Meatloaf Ingredients

* 1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion
* 1 tablespoon minced garlic
* 1 teaspoon olive oil
* 1 medium carrot, cut into 1/8-inch dice
* 3/4 pound cremini mushrooms, trimmed and very finely chopped in a food processor
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
* 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
* 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
* 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon ketchup
* 1 cup fine fresh bread crumbs (from 2 slices firm white sandwich bread)
* 1/3 cup 1% milk
* 1 whole large egg, lightly beaten
* 1 large egg white, lightly beaten
* 1 1/4 pound ground turkey (mix of dark and light meat)

Roasted Red Pepper Sauce


* 1 small head garlic (2 inches in diameter)
* 1/2 pound plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise
* 1 large red bell pepper (1/2 pound)
* 1 teaspoon olive oil
* 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
* 1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar, or to taste

Directions for Turkey Meatloaf:
Preheat oven to 400°F.

Cook onion and garlic in oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderate heat, stirring, until onion is softened, about 2 minutes. Add carrot and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes.



Add mushrooms, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid mushrooms give off is evaporated and they are very tender, 10 to 15 minutes.



Stir in Worcestershire sauce, parsley, and 3 tablespoons ketchup, then transfer vegetables to a large bowl and cool.



Stir together bread crumbs and milk in a small bowl and let stand 5 minutes.



Stir in egg and egg white, then add to vegetables. Add turkey and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper to vegetable mixture and mix well with your hands. (Mixture will be very moist.)

Form into a 9- by 5-inch oval loaf in a lightly oiled 13- by 9- by 2-inch metal baking pan and brush meatloaf evenly with remaining 2 tablespoons ketchup. Bake in middle of oven until thermometer inserted into meatloaf registers 170°F, 50 to 55 minutes.




Let meatloaf stand 5 minutes before serving.



Directions for Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Cut off and discard top quarter of garlic head and wrap remainder in foil. Arrange tomatoes, cut sides up, in a foil-lined 13- by 9- by 2-inch baking pan and sprinkle lightly with salt. Add whole bell pepper and garlic (in foil) to pan and roast vegetables in middle of oven 1 hour.

Transfer bell pepper to a bowl and cover bowl with plastic wrap, then let stand about 20 minutes. When cool enough to handle, peel pepper, discarding stem and seeds, and transfer to a food processor or blender along with tomatoes.

Unwrap garlic and squeeze roasted cloves from skin into food processor. Add remaining ingredients and salt and pepper to taste, then purée sauce until smooth.



Cooks' note: • Sauce can be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered.

Notes:


My only gripe with the meal was the fact it took two hours to make and I cheated by using already roasted red peppers from Trader Joes. Next time I won't roast the garlic and I'll just use already minced garlic from a jar.

It turned out really watery and moist, probably because there was an entire salad in the meatloaf. Mr. Snowgoose was hesitant to eat meatloaf at first because it tends to be dry, but this was not the case.

The roasted red pepper sauce was incredible. I recommend making a double or triple batch and using it with other meals.

Serve with mixed vegetables and salad (or mashed sweet potatoes and green beans).


It looks like I'll be making this again.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Crock pot classic: pulled pork shoulder

Last week my mom was telling me about pulled pork that she made in the crock pot and served on nachos for my dad during the Superbowl. Mr. Snowgoose agreed that pork sounded good so we decided to attempt to make pulled pork for dinner last night.

Pulled Pork in the Crock pot:

Ingredients:
2.5 pounds boneless pork shoulder, seared
2 sweet onions, sliced
salt and pepper
1 cup of water
various seasonings

Directions:

1. Sear pork in a pan on the stove so that it is lightly brown on all sides
2. Slice onions and add to bottom of crock pot.
3. Add pork on top of onions.
4. Add seasoning and water.
5. Set cooker to low for 6.5 hours or high for 2.5- 3 hours.
6. Spend the day away from home.
7. Come back later and enjoy a nice home cooked meal.

The ingredient list was pretty short (sweet onions and 2.5 pounds of boneless pork shoulder) and we needed some sides, so we headed to the grocery store.

We couldn't find boneless pork shoulder, let alone only 2.5 pounds, we we wound up with a little over 3 pounds with bone (it was only $4. Who knew pork was so cheap?).

We came home and seared it. However, our 3lbs of pork were too big for the crock pot so we had to cut it in half and stand them diagonally to fit.

We left it alone while we did errands and laundry and went for a walk. When we came home about 6 hours later I popped a couple of sweet potatoes in the microwave to bake them and boiled some green beans.

The pork cooked perfectly and just fell off the bone. We enjoyed it with bar-b-que sauce (hickory smoked), pickles, and hot peppers. Mr. Snowgoose made pulled pork sandwiches.

This was seriously one of the best meals I've made in a long time. I think pork might make a regular appearance at the Snowgoose household. Plus the 3 pounds made enough to take left overs to Mr. Snowgoose's dad and have enough for tomorrow night's dinner.