Friday, December 25, 2009

(123) Scallops with Browned Butter Vinaigrette

I don't make scallops very often, but we decided to add a little surf to go with the turf for Christmas Eve dinner! This recipe was VERY easy and so fantastic! This served 4 for us (3 scallops each), but you could make a full meal of it for 2 people! Don't skimp - use the big scallops!!

Scallops with Browned Butter Vinaigrette

Source: Adapted from an Epicurious recipe
Yield: 2 or 4 servings

5 tablespoons unsalted butter
12 large sea scallops (about 1 pound)
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme, divided
1/3 cup chopped shallots
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Cook butter in large nonstick skillet over medium heat until deep golden brown and most of foam subsides, stirring frequently, about 4 minutes. Transfer butter to bowl, reserving skillet.

Sprinkle scallops with salt, pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon thyme; add to reserved skillet and cook until just opaque in center, about 1 1/2 minutes per side. Transfer scallops to plate.

Add shallots, a small amount (~ 1 to 2 tsp, as needed) reserved butter, and remaining 1 teaspoon thyme to skillet; saute until shallots are softened. Remove skillet from heat. Add remaining browned butter and vinegar; stir to blend. Season vinaigrette with salt and pepper.

(121) Spinach Gratin

In my book this recipe is hands down the winner of my Christmas meals!! OH HOLY GOODNESS!! I wanted to eat this and not much else. I thought I had ruined it after I added the salt. It calls for a full Tablespoon. I put half of that in there and it was SALTY. But it sat in the fridge while we went to church on Christmas Eve. Then we came home and I baked it. VOILA. Not salty at all - just right! So try a teaspoon or a tsp and a half. You can always salt it on your plate after you serve it!

Also, we used plain swiss instead of Gruyere. Gruyere cost a fortune ($12 for a small square at my grocery store!) and maybe I'm cheap, but I went for swiss. It was still delish! This is a recipe I see getting repeated often.

PS: This seems to yield 12 (or more) servings, not 8.

Spinach Gratin

Source: Barefoot Contessa Parties
Yield: 8 servings (but to me, more like 12+!)

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
4 cups chopped yellow onions (2 large)
1/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups milk
3 pounds frozen chopped spinach, defrosted (5 (10-ounce) packages)
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup grated Gruyere cheese

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed saute pan over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until translucent, about 15 minutes. Add the flour and nutmeg and cook, stirring, for 2 more minutes. Add the cream and milk and cook until thickened. Squeeze as much liquid as possible from the spinach and add the spinach to the sauce. Add 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese and mix well. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.

Transfer the spinach to a baking dish and sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan and the Gruyere on top. Bake for 20 minutes until hot and bubbly. Serve hot.

(122) Horseradish and Mustard-Crusted Beef

We like to do a beef tenderloin for Christmas. It's tough to come up with different ways to cook it, so this year I thought I'd try this recipe. I had to cook it a LOT longer than the recipe calls for to get it to 145 in the middle. I'm not sure if it was my cut of beef or the fact that my oven was full or what?! It never really browned either (maybe it wasn't supposed to?!), but it was still so tender and delicious! So the moral of the story, go by your meat thermometer. 145 degrees coming out of the oven = is a perfect pink!!

PS: I made it way ahead of time and just stuck it in the fridge! This is so super easy!!

Horseradish and Mustard-Crusted Beef Tenderloin

Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 3 ounces)
Source: Cooking Light Magazine, December 2004

Prep this entrée up to a day ahead, then just pop it in the oven. It'll be ready in only 35 minutes. Be sure to ask for a center-cut beef tenderloin, which has a consistent width and cooks more evenly than a piece with a tapered end.

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
1 (2-pound) center-cut beef tenderloin, trimmed
1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs
Cooking spray

Combine mustard and horseradish; spread evenly over tenderloin. Pat breadcrumbs into mustard mixture. Wrap tenderloin in plastic wrap; refrigerate 1 to 24 hours.

Preheat oven to 400°.

Remove and discard plastic wrap from tenderloin. Place tenderloin on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400° for 25 minutes or until a thermometer registers 145° (medium-rare) or until desired degree of doneness. Place tenderloin on a cutting board; cover and let stand 10 minutes before slicing.

CALORIES 205 (40% from fat); FAT 9g (sat 3.3g,mono 3.6g,poly 0.6g); IRON 1.8mg; CHOLESTEROL 63mg; CALCIUM 37mg; CARBOHYDRATE 5.5g; SODIUM 199mg; PROTEIN 24.1g; FIBER 0.4g

Monday, December 21, 2009

(120) Pretzel Turtles

These are absolutely the cutest things ever! And they are SO GOOD. One of my favorite candy bars is "Take Five" and this is very much like that (minus the peanut butter part). YUM. So easy, so good. Did I mention they are good?! :)

Pretzel Turtles

Yield: 20 pieces

20 mini pretzel twists
20 chocolate covered caramels (aka: Rolos)
20 pecan halves

1) Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
2) Arrange the pretzels in a single layer on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Place one chocolate covered caramel candy on each pretzel.
3) Bake for 4 minutes. While the candy is warm, press a pecan half onto each candy covered pretzel. Cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

Nutritional Information per piece:
Calories 78, Fat 1.9g, Sodium 263mg, Carbs 14.1g, Fiber .6g, Protein 1.6g

(119) Chocolate-Hazelnut Thumbprints

This was another win from the December Cooking Light! These are little bites of chocolaty goodness!! Can't go wrong with chocolate, nuts, and Nutella

Chocolate-Hazelnut Thumbprints

With a double shot of chocolate and hazelnut flavors, kids and adults will rave over these filled cookies. The espresso powder is optional, but it intensifies the chocolate flavor.

Yield: 28 cookies (serving size: 1 cookie)
Source: Cooking Light Magazine, December 2009

4.5 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 cup)
1 cup powdered sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon instant espresso (optional)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup finely chopped hazelnuts, toasted
1/3 cup hazelnut-chocolate spread (such as Nutella)

1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, sugar, cocoa, and salt; stir with a whisk. Place butter in a large bowl, and beat with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes). Stir egg yolks with a whisk, adding espresso, if desired. Add the yolk mixture and vanilla to butter; beat well. Add flour mixture to butter mixture; beat at low speed just until combined.

3. Turn dough out onto a sheet of wax paper; knead 6 times or until smooth and shiny. Shape dough into 28 (1-inch) balls. Roll sides of balls in nuts, pressing gently. Arrange balls 1 inch apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Press thumb into center of each cookie, leaving an indentation. Bake, 1 batch at a time, at 350° for 10 minutes. Remove cookies from pans; cool completely on wire racks. Spoon a scant 1/2 teaspoon hazelnut-chocolate spread into center of each cookie.

Nutritional Information
CALORIES 104 ; FAT 6.5g (sat 2.7g,mono 2.3g,poly 0.4g); CHOLESTEROL 23mg; CALCIUM 11mg; CARBOHYDRATE 10.9g; SODIUM 46mg; PROTEIN 1.6g; FIBER 0.8g; IRON 0.6mg

(118) Chocolate Baklava

We forgot to cut it before we baked, but it still came out of the pan just fine! What a neat twist on baklava! The Nutella in the middle is AMAZING. Delish!

Chocolate Baklava

Layered phyllo dough and Nutella—the creamy chocolate-hazelnut spread—form the base of this nutty pastry dish that's sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

Yield: 24 servings (serving size: 1 piece)
Source: Cooking Light Magazine, December 2009

3/4 cup honey
1/2 cup water
1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
1 cup hazelnut-chocolate spread (such as Nutella)
1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup roasted pistachios, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup blanched toasted almonds, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
Cooking spray
24 (14 x 9–inch) sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed
1/2 cup butter, melted

1. Combine the first 3 ingredients in a medium saucepan over low heat; stir until honey dissolves. Increase heat to medium; cook, without stirring, until a candy thermometer registers 230° (about 10 minutes). Remove from heat; keep warm. Discard cinnamon stick.

2. Preheat oven to 350°.

3. Place hazelnut-chocolate spread in a microwave-safe bowl; microwave at HIGH for 30 seconds or until melted. Combine hazelnuts and next 5 ingredients (through salt). Lightly coat a 13 x 9-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Working with 1 phyllo sheet at a time (cover remaining dough to prevent drying), place 1 phyllo sheet lengthwise in bottom of prepared pan, allowing ends of sheet to extend over edges of dish; lightly brush with butter. Repeat procedure with 5 phyllo sheets and butter. Drizzle about 1/3 cup melted hazelnut -chocolate spread over phyllo. Sprinkle evenly with one-third of nut mixture (about 1/2 cup). Repeat procedure twice with phyllo, butter, hazelnut-chocolate spread, and nut mixture. Top last layer of nut mixture with remaining 6 sheets phyllo, each lightly brushed with butter. Press gently into pan.

4. Make 3 lengthwise cuts and 5 crosswise cuts to form 24 portions using a sharp knife. Bake at 350° for 35 minutes or until phyllo is golden. Remove from oven. Drizzle honey mixture over baklava. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Cover; store at room temperature.

Nutritional Information:
CALORIES 238 ; FAT 13.4g (sat 4.3g,mono 5.6g,poly 2g); CHOLESTEROL 10mg; CALCIUM 29mg; CARBOHYDRATE 27.8g; SODIUM 148mg; PROTEIN 4g; FIBER 1.6g; IRON 1.3mg

Sunday, December 20, 2009

(117) Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

Last Christmas my neighbor (Tonya) made these cookies for the cookie swap. I couldn't stay away!! I had to make them this year. This recipe below includes the recipe for a cream cheese frosting. Tonya just used regular white frosting from a can. We made both ways this year and I have to say, I'm a fan of the white frosting, but you have your choice! Enjoy!

Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

Source: My neighbor Tonya

2 packages (18 1/4 oz each) devil's food cake mix
4 eggs
2/3 cup vegetable oil

1-8oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup softened butter
3-4 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
food coloring, optional

1) In a mixing bowl, beat cake mixes, eggs, and oil (batter should be stiff). Roll into 1-inch balls; place on ungreased baking sheets and flatten slightly. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes.

2) In another mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and butter. Add sugar and vanilla; mix until smooth. if desired, tint with food coloring.

3) Spread icing on bottom half of cookies. Top with remaining cookies.

(116) Classic Beef Pot Roast

I normally make my pot roast in the crockpot and I use a slightly different flavor/veggie combo. I liked this in the oven because we didn't have to wait all day for it! It's a knife and fork kind of pot roast. It was tender, but it was not falling apart like my crockpot version does.

I will make it again but will make a few adjustments. First, I will leave out the potatoes and instead do more carrots, some onion chunks, and whole mushrooms. We love mushrooms :) I will also serve it over noodles or mashed potatoes. There was so much delicious sauce, it needed something to soak it all up!

PS: I'm not sure this makes 10 servings....

Classic Beef Pot Roast

Cuts of beef that perform well for pot roasting go by many different names: Blade roast, cross-rib roast (or shoulder clod), seven-bone pot roast, arm pot roast, and boneless chuck roast are all acceptable cuts for this traditional recipe.

Yield: 10 servings (serving size: 3 ounces roast, about 3/4 cup vegetables, and about 3 tablespoons cooking liquid)
Source: Cooking Light Magazine, October 2006

1 teaspoon olive oil
1 (3-pound) boneless chuck roast, trimmed
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups coarsely chopped onion
1 cup dry red wine
4 thyme sprigs
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 (14-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium beef broth
1 bay leaf
4 large carrots, peeled and cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces
2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
Fresh thyme leaves (optional)

Preheat oven to 350º.

Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chuck roast with salt and pepper. Add roast to pan; cook 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove roast from pan. Add onion to pan; sauté 8 minutes or until tender.

Return browned roast to pan. Add the red wine, thyme sprigs, chopped garlic, beef broth, and bay leaf to pan; bring to a simmer. Cover pan and bake at 350° for 1 1/2 hours or until the roast is almost tender.

Add carrots and potatoes to pan. Cover and bake an additional 1 hour or until vegetables are tender. Remove thyme sprigs and bay leaf from pan; discard. Shred meat with 2 forks. Serve roast with vegetable mixture and cooking liquid. Garnish with thyme leaves, if desired.

Nutritional Information
Calories: 307 (31% from fat), Fat: 10.4g (sat 3.5g,mono 4.8g,poly 0.5g), Protein: 28.6g, Carbohydrate: 23.7g, Fiber: 2.8g, Cholesterol: 85mg, Iron: 3.9mg, Sodium: 340mg, Calcium: 34mg

Monday, December 14, 2009

Holiday treats

It's that time again! YAY! I am SO not a baker, but I can't resist trying my hand at new treats around Christmas. Our cooking club makes cookies every December. We gather again this coming Sunday and I can't wait!! This year my contribution is a scrumptious gooey sandwich cookie that I got from my neighbor (and baking GODDESS!), Tonya. YUM. I can't wait!

I read an awful lot of food blogs and have recently come across two additional things I plan to make this holiday season. The first is macaroons. No, not the pile of coconut things. Blech. I'm talking about REAL macaroons. The French kind. *DROOL*. I fell in love with macaroons when we went to Paris a few years ago. They are heaven in cookie form! Let me tell you, the airport security guard almost made me leave them behind because the jelly was 'liquid like'!?! SAY WHAT?! There was an angry American woman in Charles deGalle!! Thankfully, he understood the lure of the macaroon and let me pass!! ( but not before he frisked my husband! WEIRD experience... but I digress).

I made basic macaroons a few years ago and didn't screw them up, so this year my attempt will be Candy Cane & Egg Nog Macaroons from one of my recently discovered blogs, Tartelette. She's a French woman living in Charleston, so I'm gonna go with my gut and assume she knows her macaroons!

The second thing I want to try just comes out of a recent craving. I don't know WHY (and no, I'm not pregnant!) but I have been craving caramel corn! Well lo and behold, my Google Reader delivered me this tasty post on Saturday! SCORE! Caramel corn, here we come!

So now, please share with me some other tasty treats that I need to try my hand at this holiday season?!! Let the calories begin!!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

(115) Butternut Squash and Leek Gratins

This is one of those recipes that takes forever to put together. Maybe I'm stingy, but if I spend that much time working on a recipe, it better be DARN good and this one was!! My only comment is that the recipe states to test with a knife coming out clean. I don't quite understand how squash is supposed to ever be dry or clean?! So don't make the mistake that I did and cook it an extra 10 minutes! It was a touch dry, but that was my own fault. I will certainly make this recipe again!

Butternut Squash and Leek Gratins
Individual gratins bake more quickly than a large casserole would.

Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 1 gratin)
Source: Cooking Light, DECEMBER 2004

1 (2-pound) butternut squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
Cooking spray
1 teaspoon butter
4 cups finely chopped leek (about 6 large)
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Dash of ground nutmeg
4 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese


Preheat oven to 375°.

Place squash halves, cut sides down, on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 375° for 45 minutes or until tender. Cool 30 minutes. Scoop out pulp, and mash with a potato masher or fork until smooth.

Reduce oven temperature to 325°.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat; coat pan with cooking spray. Melt butter in pan. Add leek; cover and cook 20 minutes or until tender, stirring once. Reduce heat to medium-low; uncover and cook 10 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Cool slightly.

Combine sugar and next 5 ingredients (through egg yolk) in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add squash and leek; stir until well combined. Divide the squash mixture evenly among 6 (6-ounce) ramekins or custard cups coated with cooking spray. Place ramekins in a 13 x 9-inch baking pan; add hot water to pan to a depth of 1 inch. Cover pan with foil; bake at 325° for 25 minutes. Uncover and cook an additional 15 minutes or until a knife inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven, and place the ramekins on a baking sheet.

Sprinkle 2 teaspoons Parmesan cheese over each ramekin.

Preheat broiler.

Broil gratins for 2 minutes or until cheese melts and begins to brown.

Nutritional Information
Calories: 186 (31% from fat), Fat: 6.4g (sat 2.6g,mono 2.2g,poly 0.8g), Protein: 8.6g, Carbohydrate: 25.9g, Fiber: 3.6g, Cholesterol: 181mg, Iron: 2.9mg, Sodium: 437mg, Calcium: 170mg

(114) Garlic-Rosemary Roasted Chicken

I did not do the entire recipe (roasted garlic & onions) simply because I didn't have the time or energy. But the rosemary and garlic under the chicken skin was AMAZING. So flavorful! I also rubbed about 1 Tbsp of olive oil on the bird to help with crisping. I will make this one again!

Garlic-Rosemary Roasted Chicken

When it first ran in our October 1996 issue, this dish was accompanied by five other roasted-chicken recipes, each one an herb-infused, earthy delight. Of all those recipes, this classic French version proved to be everyone's favorite. It's amazing how the simple combination of rosemary and garlic can so infuse the chicken, making it taste every bit as glorious as it smells when it's cooking in the oven.

Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 3 ounces chicken and 1 onion quarter)
Source: Cooking Light, APRIL 1997

1 (5 to 6-pound) roasting chicken
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
8 garlic cloves, crushed
2 medium red onions, quartered
2 whole garlic heads
2 teaspoons olive oil

Preheat oven to 450°.

Remove and discard giblets and neck from chicken. Rinse chicken under cold water; pat dry. Trim excess fat. Starting at neck cavity, loosen skin from breast and drumsticks by inserting fingers and gently pushing fingers between the skin and meat. Place rosemary and crushed garlic beneath skin of breast and drumsticks. Lift wing tips up and over back; tuck under chicken. Place chicken, breast side up, on a broiler pan.

Cut a thin slice from end of each onion. Remove white papery skins from garlic heads (do not peel or separate cloves). Cut tops off garlic heads, leaving root end intact.

Insert meat thermometer into meaty part of thigh, making sure not to touch bone. Bake at 450° for 30 minutes. Brush onions and garlic heads with olive oil. Arrange onions and garlic heads around chicken. Reduce oven temperature to 350°; bake an additional 1 hour and 15 minutes or until meat thermometer registers 180°. Cover chicken loosely with foil; let stand 10 minutes. Discard skin from chicken. Squeeze roasted heads of garlic to extract pulp; serve as a spread on French bread, if desired.

Nutritional Information
Calories: 231 (30% from fat), Fat: 7.7g (sat 1.9g,mono 3.1g,poly 1.6g), Protein: 26.5g, Carbohydrate: 13.5g, Fiber: 2.7g, Cholesterol: 76mg, Iron: 1.4mg, Sodium: 78mg, Calcium: 50mg

(113) 20 Minute Chicken Creole

I got this recipe from our health & wellness website at work. I was a little leary, but figured hey, why not. I'm glad I took the chance! The veggies were a little crunchy, which was a nice surprise!! It was spicy, but not 'light you on fire' hot! I served over rice.

This quick Southern dish contains no added fat and very little added salt in its spicy tomato sauce.

Yield: 4 servings--Serving Size: 1-1/2 cup

nonstick cooking spray
4 medium chicken breast halves, skinned, boned, and cut into 1-inch strips
1 can (14 oz) tomatoes, cut up
1 C low-sodium chili sauce
1-1/2 C green peppers, chopped (1 large)
1/2 C celery, chopped
1/4 C onion, chopped
2 cloves minced garlic
1 Tbsp fresh basil or 1 tsp dried
1 Tbsp fresh parsley or 1 tsp dried
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1/4 tsp salt

1. Spray a deep skillet with nonstick spray coating. Preheat pan over high heat.
2. Cook chicken in hot skillet, stirring, for 3-5 minutes, or until no longer pink. Reduce heat.
3. Add tomatoes and their juice, low-sodium chili sauce, green pepper, celery, onion, garlic, basil, parsley, crushed red pepper, and salt. Bring to boiling; reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes.
4. Serve over hot cooked rice or whole wheat pasta.

Each serving provides:

Calories: 255
Total fat: 3 g
Saturated fat: less than 1 g
Cholesterol: 100 mg
Sodium: 465 mg

Saturday, December 5, 2009

(112) Beef Chili with Bacon and Black Beans

I made this for a chili cook-off and I am so glad to have discovered the recipe! It's not quick, but it is fairly easy to make. We really enjoyed it! The bacon makes this dish very smokey and flavorful! I will certainly make this one again!!

Beef Chili with Bacon and Black Beans

Yield: About 3 quarts, serving 8 to 10.
Source: Cooks Illustrated, March 2003.

Good choices for condiments include diced fresh tomatoes, diced avocado, sliced scallions, chopped red onion, chopped cilantro leaves, sour cream, and shredded Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese. If you are a fan of spicy food, consider using a little more of the red pepper flakes or cayenne--or both. The flavor of the chili improves with age; if possible, make it a day or up to five days in advance and reheat before serving. Leftovers can be frozen for up to a month.

8 ounces bacon (about 8 strips), cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 medium onions , chopped fine (about 2 cups)
1 red bell pepper , cut into 1/2-inch cubes
6 medium cloves garlic , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 2 tablespoons)
1/4 cup chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 pounds 85 percent lean ground beef
2 cans (16 ounces each) black beans , drained and rinsed
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes , with juice
1 can (28 ounces) tomato puree
table salt
2 limes cut into wedges

1. Fry bacon in large heavy-bottomed nonreactive Dutch oven over medium heat, stirring frequently, until browned, about 8 minutes. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons fat, leaving bacon in pot. Add onions, bell pepper, garlic, chili powder, cumin, coriander, pepper flakes, oregano, and cayenne; cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high and add half the beef; cook, breaking up pieces with wooden spoon, until no longer pink and just beginning to brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Add remaining beef and cook, breaking up pieces with wooden spoon, until no longer pink, 3 to 4 minutes.

2. Add beans, tomatoes, tomato puree, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; bring to boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour. Remove cover and continue to simmer 1 hour longer, stirring occasionally (if chili begins to stick to bottom of pot, stir in 1/2 cup water and continue to simmer), until beef is tender and chili is dark, rich, and slightly thickened. Adjust seasoning with additional salt. Serve with lime wedges and condiments if desired.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

(111) Mediterranean Chicken Stew

A little bit of chopping beforehand paid off when it was time to actually cook! We all enjoyed this recipe. I didn't have any kalamata olives so I used regular black olives. This was delish eaten with the Creamy Polenta. For us, this was a 5 serving meal at a little more than 1c/serving. That was plenty!

Mediterranean Chicken Stew

If you plan to make the polenta, bring water to a boil while chicken is browning, then add polenta to water when beginning step three of chicken recipe.

Source: Everyday Food, Jan/Feb 2005
Yield: 4-6 servings

1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into 3/4-inch chunks
Coarse salt and ground pepper
3 teaspoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 can (15.5 ounces) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
4 plum tomatoes, cored and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (2 cups)
2 tablespoons chopped pitted Kalamata olives (about 5)
1 teaspoon white-wine vinegar
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Creamy Polenta, for serving

1. Season chicken with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 2 teaspoons oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken, and cook, turning occasionally, until golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

2. Reduce heat to medium-low; add remaining teaspoon oil to skillet. Add garlic, and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add chickpeas and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil; cook until liquid is reduced by half, about 2 minutes.

3. Add tomatoes; cook over medium heat until starting to break down, 3 to 4 minutes. Add olives, vinegar, and chicken along with any accumulated juices to pan; toss until warmed through, about 1 minute. Stir in parsley. Serve over polenta.

Nutritional Information for 5 servings (per
Calories 288.2, Total Fat 6.0 g, Cholesterol 81.7 mg, Sodium 1,163.7 mg, Potassium 355.4 mg, Total Carbohydrate 25.9 g, Dietary Fiber 5.3 g, Sugars 0.1 g, Protein 34.5 g

(110) Creamy Polenta

Delish! I have never quite had the knack for making a good polenta, but this recipe was it for me!!

Creamy Polenta

Source: Everyday Food - Jan/Feb 2005
Yield: 4 servings (approx: 3/4 cup per serving)

4 cups water
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
1/8 teaspoon ground pepper
3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon butter

1. In a large saucepan, bring water, salt, and pepper to a boil over high heat
2. Whisking constantly, very gradually add cornmeal. Simmer over medium heat, whisking frequently, until thickened, 10 to 12 minutes.
3. Remove from heat; stir in Parmesan cheese and butter until smooth.

Nutritional Information (per
Calories 137, Total Fat 5.6 g, Cholesterol 12.7 mg, Sodium 1,001.6 mg, Potassium 74.3 mg, Total Carbohydrate 17.9 g, Dietary Fiber 1.7 g, Sugars 0.1 g, Protein 4.5 g