Archive for October, 2011

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Squash and Beef Tagine

October 28, 2011

Growing up, one of my favorite meals was my mom’s beef stew. There is something about beef cooked in a delicious sauce with slow cooked vegetables that is very comforting. This entree is a lot like that with its beef, tomato sauce and butternut squash. It also has some interesting flavors from the spice rub. This recipe was inspired by a Cooking Light that I recently perused while in line at the grocery store.

You will need:

  • 2 t paprika
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1/2 t ground ginger
  • 1/2 t crushed red pepper flakes (omit if you don’t like spicy foods)
  • 1/2 t ground pepper
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1 lb beef roast, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 half of a small onion, sliced thin
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 c low-sodium broth
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes with their juices (I used fire roasted)
  • 3 c (1 lb) butternut squash, peeled and cubed into 1-inch pieces

Then you will…

  1. Mix together the paprika, cinnamon, ginger, red pepper, black pepper and salt in a medium bowl.
  2. Toss the beef with the spice rub until well coated.
  3. In a large (deep), heavy non-stick skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.
  4. Add the seasoned beef and the onions to the hot pan and cook until browned, about 4 minutes, while stirring occasionally.
  5. Stir in the garlic and cook for another minute or two.
  6. Stir in the broth, scraping the bottom and sides of the pan to pick up any browned bits.
  7. Stir in the tomatoes with their juices and bring to a boil.
  8. Mix in the squash. Then reduce the heat to a simmer and cover. Allow to simmer until the squash is tender, about 15 minutes.
  9. Serve with couscous and enjoy!

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Cranberry Chocolate Walnut Biscotti

October 24, 2011

There is a coffee shop downstairs from my new office that has been there since 1916. It’s got this cool old world feel when you walk in the doors from the decor to the service provided. One of my treats is a hot cup of drip coffee with one of their biscotti. I’d never tried to make biscotti before, so here’s my first attempt! It is a mix of a bunch of flavors I love: cranberries, walnuts and dark chocolate. Share with your favorite friends along with some coffee and good stories.

You will need:

  • 2 3/4 c flour
  • 1 c sugar
  • 1/2 c dried cranberries
  • 1/3 c dark chocolate chips
  • 1/3 c walnuts, chopped
  • 2 t baking powder
  • 1/8 t salt
  • 1 T vegetable oil
  • 1 t almond extract
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs

Then you will…

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour with the sugar, cranberries, chocolate, walnuts and salt.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, extracts and eggs.
  4. Stir the egg mixture into the flour mixture, stirring until well-blended (dough will be dry and crumbly).
  5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead lightly 7 to 8 times.
  6. Divide the dough in half. Shape each portion into an 8-inch-long roll.
  7. Place rolls 6 inches apart on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray; flatten each roll to 1-inch thickness.
  8. Bake for 35 minutes. Remove rolls from baking sheet; cool 10 minutes on a wire rack.
  9. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees.
  10. Cut each roll diagonally into 15 (1/2-inch) slices. Place the slices, cut sides down, on baking sheet.
  11. Bake for 10 minutes. Turn cookies over; bake an additional 10 minutes (cookies will be slightly soft in center but will harden as they cool).
  12. Remove from baking sheet; cool completely on wire rack.

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Slow Roasted Grape Parfait

October 20, 2011

This is an unusual way to eat your grapes, but the slow roasting makes them extra sweet to balance out the tang of Greek yogurt. It would make a scrumptious breakfast, but it is still sweet enough to finish a meal with at the end of the day.

You will need:

  • 4 c seedless grapes (mix of black and red or whatever you like)
  • 3 T sugar
  • Low-fat Greek yogurt
  • Chopped walnuts
  • Honey

Then you will…

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
  2. Line a baking sheet with edges with tinfoil and lightly spray with non-stick cooking spray.
  3. Rinse grapes in a colander; sprinkle with the sugar and spread in a single layer on the prepared tray.
  4. Bake for 3 hours or until the grapes soften but still hold their shape.
  5. Serve with yogurt, walnuts and honey.

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Coconut-Curry Tomato Sauce

October 16, 2011

This is a delicious sauce with lots of flavor and a bit of spice. It’s yummy on noodles, but it is equally great for poaching seafood or as a spicy addition to a soup base.

You will need:

  • 2 T canola oil
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 to 1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped (depending on how spicy you want it!)
  • 1 1/2 inches fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 T + 1/2 t mild curry powder
  • 1 can (28 oz) fire roasted diced tomato
  • 1 can (14 oz) light coconut milk
  • 1 t sugar
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Then you will…

  1. In a medium saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat.
  2. Add the onions, garlic, jalapeno and ginger. Cook, while stirring, for about 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in the curry powder.
  4. Mix in the tomatoes with their juice, coconut milk and the touch of sugar.
  5. Bring to a boil. Allow to simmer over low heat, until thickened and reduced by one-third.
  6. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
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Celery Soup

October 12, 2011

Celery soup, you say? That sounds weird! I saw a recipe for a celery soup about a year ago, and I figured I would give it a try. It’s an interesting fall soup, so give it a whirl yourself.

You will need:

  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 small bunch of scallions, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb celery with its leaves, chopped
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 T tarragon, chopped
  • 4 c stock
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3 T whipping cream (optional)

Then you will…

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot.
  2. Add the scallions and garlic and saute for about 3 minutes or until just starting to soften.
  3. Add the celery, potato, tarragon and the stock.
  4. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium. Allow to simmer about 15 minutes until the celery and potatoes are softened.
  5. Puree in small batches and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Stir in whipping cream, if desired. Note: if you will be freezing the soup, skip the cream step now and then add it in after you defrost when you are ready to serve.
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Chicken with Fall Apples

October 9, 2011

You know it’s fall when the apple piles at the grocery store look extra glossy and apple cider is in stock. This is a quick and easy chicken dish that makes the most of crisp green apples and tart apple cider.

You will need:

  • 1 lb chicken breasts, trimmed of extra fat
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 c flour
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 T butter
  • 1 tart apple, cored and thinly sliced (I used Granny Smith)
  • 1/3 c onion, minced
  • 2 t fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 2/3 c apple cider
  • 1 T Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 c sour cream

Then you…

  1. Pat the chicken dry and season with salt and pepper on both sides.
  2. Heat oil and butter over medium heat in a large non-stick skillet.
  3. Dredge the chicken lightly in the flour, shaking off any excess flour.
  4. Cook the chicken in the oil-butter mix about 8 minutes on each side, turning once, until golden on each side and cooked through.
  5. Transfer chicken to a plate & tent with foil to keep warm.
  6. In the same pan, add the apple, onion and rosemary to the chicken drippings.
  7. Saute until the apple begins to soften, about three minutes.
  8. Stir in the apple cider and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes while stirring to reduce the cider by half.
  9. Mix in the mustard and sour cream, stirring until blended. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  10. Allow sauce to thicken by cooking another 2-3 minutes.
  11. Spoon over chicken and serve!

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Rosemary-Honey Bread

October 6, 2011

The other day I noticed I had a very large amount of honey in my house, and I wanted to use some. I also felt like it had been awhile since I’d make a fresh bread that wasn’t fruit-based. This is a variation on a bread recipe I found through Epicuriou that is sort of like a honey wheat bread, so you could use it for sandwiches or just to snack on after toasting! At the end of this recipe, you will have two loaves – perfect for sharing.

You will need:

  • 2 1/2 c warm water
  • 2 packets (4 1/2 t) active yeast
  • 1/4 c olive oil
  • 7 c flour (plus a little extra for kneading)
  • 2 1/2 t salt
  • 1 T dried rosemary, roughly chopped
  • 3/4 c honey

Then you…

  1. Mix together the water, yeast and olive oil in a medium to small bowl. Allow to rest 5 minutes or until yeast is dissolved and foamy.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt and rosemary.
  3. Make a well in the middle and pour the yeast mixture into the well.
  4. Slowly work the liquids into the flour. Then mix in the honey.
  5. Lightly flour a counter top, and knead the bread just until well-combined and not sticky.
  6. Place the dough in a well-oiled, large bowl and turn the dough to coat with oil.
  7. Cover with a warm, damp cloth or with plastic wrap. Allow to rise until 1.5 times original size, or about an hour.
  8. Punch the dough down.
  9. Spray to 9×4 inch loaf pans with non-stick cooking spray.
  10. On your lightly floured surface, knead the dough once more for about 5 minutes.
  11. Divide the dough in half and shape into loaves. Place each loaf into one of the prepared pans.
  12. Cover once more and allow to rise another 15-20 minutes.
  13. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  14. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until golden brown and loaf sounds hollow when you tap it.
  15. Allow to cool in the pans for 10 minutes before turning out onto a rack to cool completely.
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