Saturday, January 31, 2009

Easier Chicken and Dumplings


  • 2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 small onion, chopped fine
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed (about 1/2 tablespoon)
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 3/8 cup dry sherry
  • 1/6 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 ounces frozen peas (about 3/4 cup)
  • 2 tablespoon minced parsley


  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream

1. FOR THE STEW: Bring broth to a simmer in Dutch oven over high heat. Add chicken and return to simmer. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until chicken is just cooked through, about 10 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate and tent loosely with foil. Transfer broth to a large bowl.

2. Return empty Dutch oven to medium-high heat and melt butter. Add carrots, onion, and salt and cook until softened, about 7 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in flour and cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute. Stir in sherry, scraping up browned bits. Stir in reserved broth, cream, thyme, bay leaf, and pepper, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until stew thickens, about 20 minutes.

3. FOR THE DUMPLINGS: Stir flour, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl. Stir in cream until incorporated (dough will be very thick and shaggy).

4. TO FINISH: Discard bay leaf and return stew to a rapid simmer. Shred reserved chicken and add to stew along with any accumulated juices, peas, and half the parsley. Shape dumplings by dividing into 9 equal pieces and rolling each into a ball. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until dumplings have doubled in size, 15 to 18 minutes. Garnish with remaining parsley. Serve.

serves 3 to 4

adapted from Cook's Illustrated

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Winter Vegetable Soup

  • 4 slices bacon in 1-inch piece
  • 4 tb unsalted butter
  • 2 c diced leeks
  • 1 1/2 c diced onions
  • 1 c diced celery
  • 1 1/2 ts dried tarragon
  • 1/2 ts dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 5 c chicken stock (homemade preferred)
  • 2 1/2 c diced potatoes
  • 1 lb rinsed spinach 1/8 inch slivers
  • 1 1/2 c sliced carrots*
  • 1 1/2 c shredded cabbage*

1. In large soup pot, cook bacon till fat is rendered (5 min), remove & discard.

2. Add butter, then leeks, onion and celery. Cook over low heat till wilted (15 min). Season with tarragon, thyme salt & pepper. Stir well.

3. Add stock, potatoes & carrots. Simmer till tender but not mushy (15 min).

4. add half the spinach and the cabbage, simmer 1 minute.

5. Remove from heat. Puree half the soup in a food processor or blender & return to pot.

6. Simmer over low heat and add the remaining spinach and the cream. Heat well but don't boil. Adjust seasoning and serve.

Serving Size : 6

Recipe found in “The New Basics” cookbook Lulins/Rossi *ingredients added by me! Mark in NJ

Friday, January 23, 2009

Orecchiette with Cauliflower Il Melograno

  • 1 large head green cauliflower (sometimes called broccoflower, about 2 1/2 pounds) or 1/2 large head cauliflower and 1/2 bunch broccoli, cut into 1/2-inch flowerets, stems reserved for another use
  • 3/4 pound dried orecchiette
  • 5 tablespoons good-quality extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2/3 cup fresh bread crumbs
  • 1/4 pound bacon (about 4 slices), chopped
  • 2 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • Accompaniment: freshly grated Parmesan

In a 5-quart kettle bring 4 quarts salted water to a boil for cauliflower (or cauliflower mixture) and pasta.

In a 12-inch deep heavy skillet heat 1 1/2 tablespoons oil over moderate heat until hot but not smoking and cook bread crumbs, stirring, until golden. Transfer bread crumbs to a bowl and wipe skillet clean with paper towel. In skillet cook bacon over moderate heat until crisp.

While bacon is cooking, add vegetables to boiling water and cook 2 to 3 minutes, or until just tender. Transfer vegetables with a slotted spoon to a colander to drain and keep water at a boil.

Add vegetables, garlic, and salt to taste to bacon and sauté until cauliflower is pale golden, about 3 minutes. Keep mixture warm.

Cook pasta in boiling water until al dente and drain well in colander. Add pasta, remaining 3 1/2 tablespoons oil, and salt and pepper to taste to cauliflower mixture and toss until combined well.

Sprinkle pasta with bread crumbs and serve with Parmesan.

yield: Serves 4 as a first course

from Gourmet

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Wheat Berry, Lentil, and Kielbasa Salad

I improvised this one. I liked it warm for dinner, but should work well at room temp for lunch. The orange flavor from the infused olive oil was especially nice. Next time try adding sections of orange for serving. Was not a hit with husband or toddler.

  • 1 cup cooked green lentils
  • 2 cups cooked wheat berries
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 bag baby spinach, chopped
  • olive oil
  • light or turkey kielbasa
  • orange olive oil
  • white balsamic vinegar
  • feta cheese

Cook onion and carrots in olive oil until softened. Add spinach and stir until wilted. Add cooked lentils wheat berries to warm. Meanwhile, in a separate pan, cook kielbasa until browned and warmed through. Combine all ingredients and dress with orange olive oil and vinegar. Sprinkle feta cheese on for serving, if desired.

[To cook lentils: Place in slow cooker with water to cover by 1 inch. Cook on high setting for 2 hours. Drain and season to taste with salt.

To cook wheat berries: Place in slow cooker with water (1:4 ratio). Cook on high setting for 4 hours. Drain and season to taste with salt.]

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Cowboy Christmas Breakfast

Sausage, egg, scallion, and cheese are layered over garlicky "Texas toast" in the heartiest take on savory bread pudding we've ever come across — just the sight of it could stir a cowboy-size appetite. This stick-to-your-ribs breakfast for a crowd can be completely assembled the night before.

  • 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened, plus additional for greasing baking dish
  • 1 (1-lb) package bulk breakfast sausage (not links)
  • 1 (15-inch-long) loaf Italian bread (about 4 inches wide)
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 2 dozen large eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 large bunch scallions
  • 1/4 lb sharp Cheddar, coarsely grated (1 cup)

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 375°F. Generously butter bottom and sides of a 13- by 9-inch baking dish.

Cook sausage in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat, stirring frequently and breaking up any large lumps with a fork, until browned, about 10 minutes. Pour off fat from skillet, then cool sausage to room temperature.

Cut half of bread into 1-inch-thick slices and reserve remaining half for another use. Pulse butter (1/2 stick) and garlic in a food processor until smooth. Spread a thin layer of garlic butter on both sides of each bread slice, arranging bread in 1 layer in bottom of baking dish. Sprinkle sausage on top.

Whisk together eggs, milk, salt, and pepper in a large bowl until frothy, then whisk in scallions and half of cheese. Pour egg mixture over sausage (bread will float to the top), pushing down on bread with a spatula to help it absorb liquid. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Bake, tightly covered with a large sheet of buttered foil (buttered side down), 30 minutes, then carefully remove foil and bake until top is slightly puffed and custard is set in center, about 20 minutes more. Transfer baking dish to a rack and let stand 10 minutes. Cut into 12 squares and serve immediately.

Cooks' note: Dish can be assembled (but not baked) 12 hours ahead and chilled, tightly covered with buttered foil. Bake as directed above.

Makes 12 servings (or 8 for cowboys)

Active time: 30 min, total time: 1 1/2 hr

From Epicurious

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Sausage, Spinach and Cheese-Stuffed Shells

  • 12-ounce box jumbo pasta shells
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped yellow onions
  • 1 pound hot or sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 large egg
  • 16-ounce container part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 10-ounce box chopped frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 cup unseasoned bread crumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 32-ounce jar pasta sauce (4 cups)

If serving immediately, heat the oven to 375 degrees.

Bring a large stockpot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta shells according to package directions. Drain and rinse under cold water. Set aside.

In a large skillet over medium-high, heat the oil. Add the onions and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the sausage and cook, breaking it up with a spoon, until no traces of pink remain, about 5 minutes.

Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Remove the skillet from the heat and set aside to cool.

In a large bowl lightly beat the egg. Add the ricotta, spinach, 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese, dried basil, bread crumbs, salt, pepper and the reserved sausage mixture.

Spread 1/2 cup of the pasta sauce over the bottom of each of two 9-inch-by-13-inch or similarly sized shallow baking dishes. Fill each of the reserved shells with the sausage and ricotta filling.

Arrange half of the shells in each of the baking dishes, then spread half of the remaining pasta sauce over each dish of shells. Cover the pans with foil and bake for 30 minutes, or until hot and bubbling.

Uncover and sprinkle each dish with 1/4 cup of the remaining Parmesan cheese. Bake for another 10 minutes.

Alternatively, one or both baking dishes can be frozen for up to 4 months. The dishes should be covered tightly with foil and plastic wrap before freezing. When ready to serve, heat the oven to 375 degrees. Remove the plastic wrap (leaving the foil) and bake directly from the freezer for 1 hour, or until hot and bubbling. Uncover and sprinkle each dish with 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese. Bake for another 10 minutes.

From and tested by the Associated Press. 523 calories (40% from fat), 23 grams fat (8 grams sat. fat), 54 grams carbohydrates, 27 grams protein, 1,562 mg sodium, 69 mg cholesterol, 383 mg calcium, 6 grams fiber.

Serves: 8 / Preparation time: 40 minutes / Total time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Pot Roast with Root Vegetables

For pot roast, we recommend a chuck-eye roast. Most markets sell this roast with twine tied around the center. If necessary, do this yourself (see illustrations, "How To Tie A Top-Blade Roast," below). Seven-bone and top-blade roasts are also good choices for this recipe. Remember to add only enough water to come halfway up the sides of these thinner roasts, and begin checking for doneness after 2 hours. If using a top-blade roast, tie it before cooking to keep it from falling apart.

  • 1 chuck-eye roast (about 3 1/2 pounds), boneless
  • Table salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion , chopped medium
  • 1 small carrot , chopped medium
  • 1 small rib celery , chopped medium
  • 2 medium cloves garlic , minced
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup low-sodium beef broth
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine
  • 1 1/2 pounds carrots (about 8 medium carrots), sliced 1/2 inch thick (about 3 cups)
  • 1 1/2 pounds small red potatoes , halved if larger than 1 1/2 inches in diameter (about 5 cups)
  • 1 pound large parsnips (about 5), sliced 1/2 inch thick (about 3 cups)

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees. Thoroughly pat roast dry with paper towels; sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.

2. Heat oil in large heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering but not smoking. Brown roast thoroughly on all sides, reducing heat if fat begins to smoke, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer roast to large plate; set aside. Reduce heat to medium; add onion, carrot, and celery to pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Add garlic and sugar; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add chicken and beef broths and thyme, scraping bottom of pan with wooden spoon to loosen browned bits. Return roast and any accumulated juices to pot; add enough water to come halfway up sides of roast. Bring liquid to simmer over medium heat, then place large piece of foil over pot and cover tightly with lid; transfer pot to oven. Cook, turning roast every 30 minutes, until roast is almost tender (sharp knife should meet little resistance), 3 to 3 1/2 hours. Add carrots, red potatoes, and parsnips to Dutch oven, submerging them in liquid. Continue to cook until vegetables are almost tender, 20 to 30 minutes.

3. Transfer roast to carving board; tent with foil to keep warm. Allow liquid in pot to settle about 5 minutes, then use wide spoon to skim fat off surface; discard thyme sprig. Add wine and salt and pepper to taste; boil over high heat until vegetables are fully tender, 5 to 10 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer vegetables to warmed serving bowl or platter. Using chef’s or carving knife, cut meat into 1/2-inch-thick slices or pull apart into large pieces; transfer to bowl or platter with vegetables and pour about 1/2 cup sauce over meat and vegetables. Serve, passing remaining sauce separately.

Serves 6 to 8. From Cook's Illustrated; Published March 1, 2002.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Diet Lunches

soups: chicken noodle, pasta e fageol, broccoli puree, carrot orange, mushroom barley, tortilla soup, butternut squash, winter vegetable salads: greens, chicken, feta, cucumber, tomato, red onion, greek vinaigrette grain salad crudite (cucumber, cherry tomatoes, carrot sticks, peapods (in season)) and pita bread with hummus apple or orange sparkling water

Diet Breakfasts

  • plain yogurt with fruit preserves, granola
  • whole-grain bread with peanut butter, fruit
  • scrambled eggs with veg (spinach, arugula, broccoli), low-fat ricotta, whole-grain bread
  • oatmeal with pears or apples, walnuts, a little sweetener and milk
  • oatmeal with apricots, almonds, a little sweetener and milk
  • egg sandwich with tomatoes and cheddar, ham or turkey sausage on whole-grain bread
  • whole-grain french toast with fruit, ricotta
  • whole-grain pancakes or waffles
  • smoothie

pantry: sugar, apricot jam, granola, peanut butter, eggs, oatmeal, dried fruit (apricots, raisins, cranberries), whole milk, 1% milk, eggs, buttermilk, protein powder, frozen fruit for smoothies, cocoa powder, coffee, tea

shopping list: whole-grain bread, fruit (apples, pears, oranges, berries and stone fruit in season), spinach or arugula, low-fat ricotta, slicing tomatoes, ham or turkey sausage, bananas, basic4 cereal (for Peter), cheerios (for Maggie)