Monthly Archives: November 2012

Scalloped Corn

When I was a kid, one of the only vegetables I let near my mouth without a grimace and scowl was corn.  I could eat corn with every meal and especially loved mixing corn with my applesauce (don’t ask).  This dish of Scalloped Corn was a dish my mom would sometimes make at holidays and takes me back each and every time I have it.  It’s one of those dishes that will forever remind me of childhood, cozy fires, cookies in the oven and Christmas music playing subtly in the background.  Which to me, is the best possible compliment for a dish.

Simple canned corn and canned creamed corn is mixed together with onion, pepper, milk, an egg and crushed saltine crackers (bread crumbs or any kind of cracker will also work).  The concoction resembles something close to slop but once cooked and thickened, it’s a true celebration of corn’s sweet freshness and comfort.  I don’t include the pepper when I make this dish but only because I didn’t eat peppers as a kid so my mom left them out.  Just because I eat peppers now doesn’t mean I’m changing a good thing.  My only recommendation is that you double this recipe because as it is, it doesn’t make much.  I double it even when I’m the only person eating it.  Also, I have to leave this in the oven for double the amount of time recommended (60-70 minutes total) because it needs to be baked until no longer runny in the center.  An hour may seem long but trust me, the long cooking time will make it worth it.  I didn’t take pictures of my cooking process for this but I do have a few of the finished product.

Scalloped Corn (makes 4 small servings)

Recipe from Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook

  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped green or red pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup crushed saltine crackers
  • 1 8 3/4-ounce can cream-style corn
  • 1 7-ounce can whole kernel corn, drained

Cook onion and pepper in 1 tablespoon of butter until soft and tender.  Combine egg, milk, 1/3 cup crackers, and dash of black pepper.  Stir in onion mixture and corn.  Pour into a 1-quart dish.  Melt remaining butter and toss with remaining cracker crumbs.  Sprinkle crumb mixture over corn mixture.  Bake in a 350°F oven about 35 minutes (or 70 minutes if doubling the recipe) or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.

Additions:  None

Omissions:

  • Green pepper

Substitutions:  None

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook

Rice-Nut Loaf

Yes, this a vegetarian loaf – don’t freak out.  It’s an oldie and a goodie.  As I’ve mentioned, I was a vegetarian for 13 years and grew accustomed to making a plate at holiday meals of nothing but a bunch of sides which sounds good but ultimately isn’t satisfying.  Then, one year for Thanksgiving, my aunt pulled out one of her favorite vegetarian cookbooks and made this Rice-Nut Loaf.  At first glance, there really isn’t anything appetizing, interesting or appealing about the name of this dish or the list of ingredients.  But once combined, these ingredients have come to make not just my favorite vegetarian dish ever but my favorite Thanksgiving dish ever.  Hands down.

Brown rice is mixed with wheat germ, walnuts, sunflower seeds, cheese and onion and then binded with eggs and baked to golden brown perfection.  Served alone, with gravy or a scoop of mashed potatoes, this meatless meatloaf-like dish is a perfect high protein addition to any dinner table, especially for the picky vegetarian in your family.  Even better, true to Thanksgiving form, slices of this loaf sandwich perfectly between two slices of bread, spread with cranberry sauce and stuffing for the days after.  Give this a try and maybe you might start to think of vegetarian loaves as a little less weird.  It’s tasty enough for vegetarians and meat eaters alike.  This year, I ate this instead of turkey for Thanksgiving.  And I’m not even vegetarian anymore.

Rice-Nut Loaf (makes 6 servings)

From Nikki & David Goldbeck’s American Wholefoods Cuisine

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1/2 cup wheat germ
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup chopped sunflower seeds
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • black pepper, to taste
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 350ºF.  Combine all ingredients and pack into a 9-inch loaf pan coated in oil or non-stick spray.  Bake for about 50 minutes until firm.  Let cool in pan for 10 minutes; unmold and slice.

The ingredients:

Preheat oven to 350ºF.  Combine all ingredients and pack into a 9-inch loaf pan coated in oil or non-stick spray.

Bake for about 50 minutes until firm.  Let cool in pan for 10 minutes.  Unmold and slice.

Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Nikki & David Goldbeck’s American Wholefoods Cuisine

Cheddar and Chive Smashed Potatoes

I hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving weekend and didn’t eat too much or spend too much money shopping all of the sales that have been advertised for days and days.  Once again, as Thanksgiving came to a close and I was left eating mounds of leftovers until yesterday, I kept wondering why in the world I only eat these delicious foods once every November?  Is it because only eating them once makes them more special?  Or is it laziness?  These foods really aren’t hard to make so I’m really not sure the answer.  This week I have a few foods I made over Thanksgiving that I think deserve a fair shot at being put on the dinner table throughout the year, starting with Cheddar and Chive Smashed Potatoes.

Red potatoes are cooked until perfectly soft and coated in a warm milk, butter and garlic bath before being hand mashed until creamy and still slightly lumpy.  Cheddar cheese, chives and sour cream are added to make these potatoes even more decadent, fluffy and flavorful.  The worse part about making mashed potatoes to me is the pealing but this recipe keeps the skin on so that painful process is eliminated (although you do still have to scrub them).  This recipe made a TON of potatoes which I barely made a dent into and still sadly have in my fridge.  These would make for great base for potato pancakes or just as a side to a good ol’ chicken dinner.  Winner winner.

The ingredients:

Add potatoes to a large pot and cover with water by 1 inch.  Cover pot and heat to boiling on high.  Add 2 teaspoons salt. Reduce heat to medium; cook  potatoes, partially covered, 30 minutes or until tender.

In a small saucepan, melt butter and add garlic; cook 1 minute or until golden, stirring.  Stir in milk and heat for 1 minute.  Remove  from heat; set aside.

Drain potatoes well and return to pot.  Add milk mixture, 1/2 teaspoon  salt, and 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper.  With potato masher, mash until smooth.

Stir in cheese, sour cream, and chives.  

Serve hot.

Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:

  • Reduced-fat cheddar cheese
  • Light sour cream
  • Fat-free milk

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source: Good Housekeeping Magazine

Turkey, Apple, and Swiss Melt

I’m staying local for Thanksgiving this week and by local, I mean home.  I’m not planning on leaving my house or making a ton of food, but just enough for me to think I made too much.  I couldn’t scale down my menu because things like stuffing and scalloped corn are foods I only eat once a year so they have to be made.  I also have to make something called Rice-Nut Loaf which probably sounds gross to you but it was my main protein source for 13 Thanksgivings while I was a vegetarian and I still want it each year (I might even share it with you soon!).  This year, I decided to forgo the turkey and just stick to the loaf.  Weird, probably, but it’s nothing I’m not used to.  So, since I’m not planning on having any turkey, therefore no leftover turkey for sandwiches, I picked up some sliced turkey last weekend to make myself this Turkey, Apple, and Swiss Melt.  Hardly a leftover turkey day sandwich but it fit my bill.

Sliced deli turkey is layered with thin slices of Granny Smith apple, lowfat Swiss cheese and homemade honey-Dijon before being toasted in a pan until crispy and golden brown.  The apple provides a crunchy tartness while the cheese melts just enough to make each bite gooey.  You might find yourself left with some turkey, a random apple you didn’t use for the stuffing and a little extra cheese from your cheesy mashed potatoes and realize you’ve got what it takes to make this sandwich.  Even if it’s on a leftover dinner roll and all you have is yellow mustard, give it a try.  By Friday, I’ll be making a rice-nut loaf-smashed potato-scalloped corn sandwich which won’t even come close to this one.  But I bet you I’ll love it anyway.  Have a great Thanksgiving!

The ingredients:

Combine mustard and honey in a small bowl.  Spread one side of each of 4 bread slices with 1 1/2 teaspoons mustard mixture.

Place one cheese slice on dressed side of bread slices; top each with 5 apple slices and 2 ounces turkey.

Top sandwiches with remaining 4 bread slices.  Coat both sides of sandwiches with cooking spray.  Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add sandwiches to pan. Cook 2 minutes on each side or until bread is browned and cheese melts.

Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:  None

Overall Rating:  Like It

Source:  Cooking Light Magazine

Ricotta-Spinach Pasta

I poured a bowl of cereal the other morning and suddenly realized just how different my eating habits are from when I was younger.  The cereal is the same but the teaspoons of sugar on top are no longer there.  The cartons of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream which I used to scarf down in one sitting doesn’t even make its way into my shopping basket anymore.  And the overflowing bowls of pasta I used to eat for dinner day after day are few and far between now.  But I still love pasta so the fact that I don’t eat it so often makes it all the more better when I do eat it.  I try to eat whole-wheat pasta whenever possible but since I’ve started this blog, I’ve been introduced to refrigerated pasta which cooks in two minutes and has a softer texture.  This recipe for Ricotta-Spinach Pasta uses refrigerated pasta which means it can be made in no time.

Fettuccine is tossed with sautéed red peppers, chopped walnuts and spinach before being topped with lemon-flavored ricotta cheese.  The walnuts, which I love, give the dish a crunch which is interesting with the pasta.  The ricotta provides a creamy element and the lemon provides a fresh brightness.  The is a light pasta dish that I liked but thought was missing something.  I ate all of it, so it was good enough to me.  But I kept thinking that a splash of balsamic vinegar would bring it to life.  If you try this, let me know what you think.

The ingredients:

Cook the pasta according to package directions and drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water.

In a small bowl, combine ricotta, lemon rind, salt and pepper.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add bell pepper; sauté 2 minutes.  Add walnuts, salt, and garlic; sauté 2 minutes.  Stir in remaining oil and lemon juice.

Add pasta, pasta water, and spinach; cook 1 minute or until spinach wilts.

Top with ricotta mixture and rind strips, if desired.

Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:

  • Part-skim ricotta

Overall Rating:  Like It

Source:  Cooking Light Magazine

Kung Pao Chicken Tacos

I haven’t been getting much cooking done lately with the hurricane and back-to-back trips out of state which have occupied my past few weekends. By the time I slept in my own bed this past Saturday night, all I looked forward to doing was settling down in my kitchen and making some food. Ahh, sometimes it’s nice just getting back into a routine, you know? Anyway, want to knock someone’s socks off tonight? Make these Kung Pao Chicken Tacos. I know, you’re thinking…huh?? Who mixes Chinese food and Mexican food? Well, I do. And trust me, you want to too. My friend Jodi benefits from some of the food I make for this blog and each time I make something new for her to eat, she always says it’s her new favorite. Well, this is now her new favorite. She says this is even better than her all-time favorite, Rustic Summer Squash Tart. I have to say that I think might have to I agree with her on this. These tacos are WOW.

Chicken is marinated in soy sauce before being lightly coated in cornstarch which gives it the subtle crispiness you find in Chinese food without it being too much of a guilty pleasure. A rich sauce of soy sauce, honey, sesame oil, rice vinegar and sambal oelek adds a sweet but spicy punch of flavor to the chicken which is wrapped in broiled corn tortillas and topped with celery, fresh red pepper, and peanuts. My only recommendation with this is to warm the tortillas rather than broil them because the broiled tortillas make these a little tough to eat. I made leftovers by just warming the tortillas and they were perfect. The sauce is so good that I fully plan on making it anytime I need a sauce for chicken or pasta in a pinch. Please, give these a try. You’ll realize that Chinese food isn’t just for take out anymore.

The ingredients:

Place chicken in a large zip-top plastic bag with 1 tablespoon soy sauce to bag; seal. Marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Remove chicken from bag and discard marinade. Place cornstarch in a shallow dish. Sprinkle the chicken evenly with salt. Add chicken to cornstarch in dish, and toss chicken to thoroughly coat. Shake off excess cornstarch.

Heat canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add half of coated chicken and sauté for 6 minutes or until done, turning to brown. Remove chicken from pan using a slotted spoon; drain on paper towels. Repeat the procedure with remaining canola oil and coated chicken.

Combine remaining cornstarch, soy sauce, honey, sesame oil, rice vinegar and sambal oelek in a microwave-safe bowl, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Microwave at HIGH for 1 1/2 minutes or until slightly thick, stirring twice. Stir in garlic.

Combine soy sauce mixture, chicken, peanuts, and celery; toss to coat chicken.

Toast tortillas under broiler or on a griddle until lightly blistered, turning frequently.

Spoon chicken mixture onto tortillas and top each taco taco with green onions and bell pepper strips. Serve with lime wedges, if desired.

Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions: None

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Cooking Light Magazine

Spinach and Tomato Stuffed Chicken Roulade

Now that I’m finally able to use my stove and oven to make some healthy food since Hurricane Sandy swept through, I haven’t made anything.  After Sandy, I had to throw out everything in my refrigerator (due to 3 days of power loss) and ended up eating take-out for a few days before I jumped on a plane for a whirlwind weekend in New Orleans.  My diet is taking a beating as a result.  Days of Chinese food followed by days of Cajun, deep-fried food does not bode well for my waistline.  And since I haven’t been home, I have yet to get to the grocery store so my fridge has nothing but water in it.  Oh and a scary-looking left0ver piece of Spinach and Tomato Stuffed Chicken Roulade.

Thin-sliced chicken is layered with spinach, cheese and tomato before being rolled up and baked.  To top it off, a simple sauce of tomatoes, basil, spinach and red wine vinegar adds another layer of vibrant flavor.  I made this dish last week when I was trying to cook all of the chicken in my freezer, knowing the hurricane was coming and my power was going.  This dish is light and perfect if you are looking to make a low-calorie, high-flavor chicken dinner.  I made a batch of this and took it to my friend’s house before the hurricane.  If we’d chosen to not eat so badly, we would have eaten all of it.  But when the weather is bad, the only thing I want is bad food like cheese fries and chicken parm sandwiches.  I’ll end up making this dish again because it’s very tasty and can be made with other ingredients like kale or feta.  However I make it next time, I will eat every bite.

The ingredients:

Place thin chicken breasts on work surface, smooth side down. Top with 1∕4 cup of the spinach, 1∕4 cup of the cheese, and 1 tomato slice.

Fold in ends and roll tightly.  Place seam side down on a platter.  Repeat with remaining chicken.


Whisk together egg whites and broth.  Divide flour onto two large plates.  Coat stuffed chicken with flour, then dip into egg mixture and
back into flour.

 

Heat oil over medium heat in large sauté pan.  Brown each chicken roulade, then place on a baking sheet.  Bake in a 325 oven for 20 minutes.

While chicken is baking, combine tomato, spinach, vinegar, broth, and herbs in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil; cook 2 minutes.  Season with salt and
pepper.

Slice each chicken roulade horizontally into 1-inch slices and top each portion with warm tomato mixture.

Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:  None

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Shape Magazine

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