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!