Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Spaghetti with onions and yogurt...I'll pass, thanks!

We had a pasta dinner which featured a different topping from our usual Spaghetti Sauce (or gravy, if you prefer!).  We are not strangers to trying pasta with a twist, like our Pasta with Lentils and Walnuts.  But this time, the experiment just didn't pan out.

I made Spaghetti with Caramelized Onions and Yogurt, and while it was ok, it just wasn't exciting enough to go into our permanent file.  You may very well feel differently! 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Moist and meaty meatloaf

The Sept/Oct issue of Cook's Illustrated took on the problem of meatloaf, which tends to either have great meat flavor but be dry dry dry, or be nice and moist but taste bready from all the panade.  Not surprisingly, given how they've been able to make a better turkey burger with similar additions, the solution calls for a small amount of bread along with chopped white mushrooms (great umami enhancers) and a tablespoon of unflavored gelatin. 

I passed on making the glaze, because we're just not much for putting ketchup on our meatloaf.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Spinach with prosciutto and Parmesan cheese

I don't have a real recipe to share for this, but then, you really don't need is that simple!

Spinach with Prosciutto and Parmesan Cheese

Olive oil
Prosciutto, cut in short strips
Onion, chopped
Clove of garlic, chopped
Parmesan cheese

In a skillet or dutch oven, heat the oil and crisp up the prosciutto strips; remove and set aside.  Saute the onions and garlic until soft.  Lower the heat and add the spinach to wilt, stirring the onions and garlic together with it.  Just before serving, stir in the prosciutto and top with Parmesan cheese.   

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Chicken fajitas

We love fajitas, especially chicken, but I've been looking for a way to get a bit more interesting flavor into them.  The obvious step is to marinate the chicken before sauteing, but I was also looking for ways to punch up the flavor of the vegetables.  So recently it was suggested to me that broiled poblano peppers would be a great substitute for my mild green peppers, and I jumped at the chance to try it out.


Monday, January 21, 2013

Roasted boniatos

Have you tried boniatos yet?  They are commonly called Cuban sweet potatoes, or sometimes white sweet potatoes.  I've tried them a couple of different ways now, and I've got a few tips for you.  I was told to roast them in their jackets just like you would a regular sweet potato, and that worked quite well, except that they seemed to take just a bit longer to fully soften.

And then I decided to experiment.  Although I generally recommend experimenting, this one did not turn out very well.  I peeled them first, intending to boil and mash them.  The boiling and mashing went ok, but the peeling was very very disconcerting: boniatos oxidize RAPIDLY, leaving the exterior flesh grayish.  Not at all appealing, no pun intended.  I don't think it affected the taste, but they were not pretty!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Baked white fish with crab topping

You can barely even tell there's any white fish under there!  That's because you won't want to waste one spoonful of this crab topping, even if you have to pile it on the fish to the point of being ridiculous!  I found the recipe in Hannaford's Fresh magazine and only modified it slightly.  I can't eat mayonnaise, so I subbed in Greek yogurt, and I left off the parsley...which would have made it prettier.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Mashed potato add-ins

We love our potatoes both mashed and whipped, but when you're going to add a bunch of savory bits to them, lightly mashing them by hand seems the best way to go. 

Mashed Potatoes

4 large Russet potatoes, peeled
1/2 stick (4 T) butter
Salt and pepper
1 c half-and-half, warm

4 - 5 T horseradish
3 - 4 scallions, sliced thin green and white parts

2 T brown mustard
3 - 4 oz smoked cheese like gouda

Boil the potatoes whole and then simmer until tender, about 20 minutes.  Drain and return the potatoes to the warm pan to dry out slightly.  Cut the butter into pieces and mash it into the potatoes to melt, along with the salt and pepper.  Chose one of the add-in groups to mix with the warm half-and-half. and mash it all into the potatoes.  Keep warm until time to serve.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Cookies from the waffle maker

I feel like I should have known about this years ago, but noooooo.  My neighbor brought over a batch of these amazing Waffle Cookies, and told me that the recipe had been passed around her family for years.  Turns out that you can find it all over the net, but more than that, many many different types of cookies can be made on your waffle maker in about 90 seconds instead of 8 to 12 minutes!

Well, what do you know?  Use a spray oil, even if you have a non-stick maker, if you're going to make cookies with chocolate chips or other burnable ingredients.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Hoo-rags for the kitchen?

I'm not much for wearing hats and stuff in the kitchen, but I do mostly pull it back out of the way.  After all, even the tolerant people in my family do not want a piece of my long red and fuchsia hair in their meal.  So when the the folks from asked if I'd like to see and try a sample of their seamless micro-fiber bandanas, I said sure, why not?

Kind of seams, no hems, moisture-wicking, and they come with lots of different suggestions for how to wear them.  You can use use them for everything from a face mask to a traditional head band or pirate rag.  There are some pretty fun patterns available; I received this Sunflower Power rag (shown above), which the copy claims will have (some) people doing whatever you tell them.  There's always got to be a disclaimer, huh?

Here's the one I wish they'd sent to me:

As regards FTC disclosure guidelines: I have received a bandana free of charge from Hoo-rag in order to write a review for you.  I have not been paid for my endorsement as it pertains to the products received.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Creamed greens

Lots of people go nuts for creamed greens.  I guess I'm just not one of them.  I made this dish, using kale and chard, and it was good, but...

But I felt like I had somehow wasted two bunches of perfectly good greens.

Still, if you like creamed greens, here's how I did it.

Creamed Greens

Bunches of greens: kale, collards, chard, spinach, or whatever
Onions, shallots, garlic

Heavy cream
Nuts (optional)

Steam the greens until wilted.  Set aside.

Melt the butter in a large pot with a cover.  Saute the onions, shallots, and garlic until tender.  Add more butter if needed and make a white sauce with flour and milk.  Add cream and a sprinkle of nutmeg.  Stir in the greens and heat through just before serving.  Add nuts to individual servings. 

Monday, January 7, 2013

Pasta with bacon, onions, and mushrooms


Oh, how delicious!  I can imagine this dish with prosciutto instead of bacon too.  I found the recipe in Martha Stewart Living magazine, back in April...but for some reason it took me awhile to get around to trying it.  I'm glad I finally did.  Some of her pasta recipes leave me cold, but this one is a keeper for us.  An unexpected (to me, at least) twist has you adding mint leaves.  Do!  Don't substitute parsley unless you really hate mint.  The flavor is more subtle than you'd think.  The only change I made was to sub rotini for fusilli.  

Friday, January 4, 2013

Mediterranean Cobb Salad

I love Cobb Salad, but sometimes they're a bit too heavy on the egg and bacon to be as healthy as I'd like.  Hannaford's Fresh magazine printed a version that I really liked.  The dressing was delicious, and subbing prosciutto for bacon was inspired.  Yes, I love bacon, but I liked this combo even better, especially because we got to serve it layered in a big bowl and everyone could add what they wanted.  The only thing missing from the picture above is the chicken, which was being kept warm nearby! The only thing I changed from the Hannaford recipe is feta cheese subbed in for regular goat cheese.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Baked fish "sticks" worth eating

I love the crunchy covering on deep fried fish sticks, but I hate how greasy they are, all the extra fat calories, and those pathetic pieces of pressed white fish under all that crispy coating. The trick to making fish sticks that are worth eating is to start with good quality strips of real fish and to triple-coat them before baking.  I served them with a mound of Greek yogurt spiced with pickle relish.

Baked Fish Sticks

1 1/2 - 3 lbs firm white fish like cod
1 c milk
1 c  flour
Old Bay seasoning
1 egg plus 2 egg whites
4 c cornflakes

1/2 c nonfat plain Greek yogurt
Pickle relish to taste

Preheat oven to 450.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Cut fish into 8 sticks. Place fish sticks in a shallow dish and pour milk over them.  Let the fish soak while you prepare the dips.

In a zip loc bag, mix the flour and 1 t of Old Bay.  In a shallow bowl, whisk together the egg and egg whites.  In another zip loc bag, crush the cornflakes using a rolling pin.  Add another 1 t of Old Bay to the cornflakes and mix.  Remove the fish sticks from the milk and shake off excess.  A few at a time, coat them with flour, then eggs, then the crushed cornflakes.

Place fish sticks on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until cooked through, golden brown, and crunchy, about 10 minutes. While the fish bakes, mix the yogurt and relish together in a small bowl.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Mostly Vegetable Soups!

Mostly Vegetable Soups

Click to purchase ~ $2

Mike and I are starting our two-week course of healthy soups to help us get rid of the pounds we picked up during the holidays!  You can read about my recipe e-booklet here.