Sunday, January 30, 2011

Roasted Garlic Hummus

I have made this recipe many times, but this is the first time I ever took a photo of it. This hummus is worth sharing, so I quickly snapped this photo as we brought it to a football get together. (The tray's empty spot was later taken up by pita chips). I love the taste and texture of this hummus. The scent of garlic roasting is also amazing in this house! The hummus is easy to make and one of the first staples I started making more frequently than buying the premade. We've used it as dip on crackers and veggies, and as a topping on sandwiches. This recipe was found on The Novice Chef. This is one of the first food blogs I started reading, and I have never been disappointed by any of the recipes. I highly recommend checking it out.

You will need:
*2 cups canned chickpeas
*3 tablespoons tahini
*4 tablespoons olive oil
*1/4 cup warm water
*1 extra large head of garlic
*1 lemon, juice of
*1/2 teaspoon sea salt
*1/2 teaspoon cumin
*1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1. Preheat oven to 375°F Cut off the very top of the garlic clove (about 1/4) so that the tops of most of the cloves are exposed slightly. Coat with a little olive oil and wrap securely in tin foil. Roast garlic in oven for 1 hour. Remove and allow cool.

2. Once the garlic has cooled completely, squeeze the roasted garlic out of each clove into food processor. Rinse and drain chickpeas. Add them, and all other ingredients except olive oil, and blend until completely smooth. You will want to scrape the sides to make sure everything is even textured.

3. Add a tablespoon of olive oil at a time, allowing it to combine fully, until you have reached your desired consistency.

4. Serve at room temperature with crackers or veggies. Use as a topping on sandwiches. You can also refrigerate the hummus in an airtight container for up to a week.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Pork Chops with Blue Cheese Sauce

We made another successful recipe from the Taste of Home Comfort Food Diet Cookbook. This met our weeknight meal requirements of something quick and easy to prepare. From start to finish, this recipe took the two of us about 15 minutes. It paired nicely with some green beans to help soak up the sauce. You do have to like blue cheese to enjoy this recipe. I followed the original recipe use of ingredients with the one substitution of boneless pork chops instead of bone-in. I also grilled my meat until of using the broiler. The nutritional information can be found on the original recipe; just modify for any changes made. We had quite a bit of sauce leftover.

You will need:
*4 pork chops
*1 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
*1 scallion, finely chopped
*1 garlic clove, minced
*1 teaspoon butter
*1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
*2/3 cup skim milk
*3 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese
*1 tablespoon white wine or reduced-sodium chicken broth

1. Heat a grill pan or press to medium heat. Sprinkle the pork chops on both sides with pepper. Grill for about 5-7 minutes per side, or until the internal temperature is 160°.

2. While the pork is cooking, use a small saucepan to saute onion and garlic in butter until tender. Sprinkle with flour and stir until blended. Gradually add milk. Bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Add cheese and wine; heat through. Serve sauce over pork chops.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Edamole or Guacamame (Edmame Guacamole)

As soon as I saw this recipe on Carrots N Cake, I knew I'd love it. Don't ask me why I waited until January to make it. The dip was popular for Sunday afternoon football watching, and I think it would be great on wraps and sandwiches too. We had a lot of fun coming up with names for this, hence the post title. I can picture myself making this a lot more when/if the warm weather ever returns! I also love that it is made out of ingredients we tend to have on hand and that it is quick to make.

You will need:
*1 ripe avocado
*1 cup edamame, shelled (I used frozen and just let them thaw a bit before combining)
*1 lime, juiced
*1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (omitted)
*2 tsp minced garlic
*1/3 bunch of cilantro
*1/2 cup chopped tomato
*1/4 cup chopped onion
*Salt and pepper to taste

1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until smooth.

2. Serve cold with tortilla chips, pita chips, crackers, and/or veggies.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Beef and Stout Stew/Pie

This is a classic winter dinner that we enjoyed on New Year's Day. It is a time consuming recipe, but I was surprised by how simple it was. The Guinness added wonderful flavor, and we liked the stew consistency. I named it a stew/pie because I think you could even skip adding the crust and enjoy it on its own. The leftovers provided us another dinner and a few lunches. As we are about to enter a major snowstorm, I am wishing I had the ingredients to make this again. It will certainly be making another appearance on our winter menu plans. I found this version of the recipe on My Adventures in Food and it is originally from Williams Sonoma.

You will need:
*about 6 Tbs. olive oil
*1 lb. white button mushrooms, quartered
*2 cups frozen pearl onions, thawed
*salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
*3 1/2 lb. beef chuck roast, cut into 1-inch cubes (I used 3lbs)
*1 cup all-purpose flour
*3 garlic cloves, minced
*2 tablespoons tomato paste
*2 1/2 cups Irish stout (Guinness)
*1 cup beef broth
*1 lb. carrots, cut into chunks
*1 lb. red potatoes, cut into chunks
*1 Tbs. finely chopped fresh thyme
*One 16-inch round Stilton pastry (recipe below)
*1 egg, beaten with 1 tsp. water

1. In a 5 1/2-quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat, warm 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the mushrooms, onions, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, about 12 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.

2. Season the cubed beef with salt and pepper. Dredge the beef in the flour, shaking off the excess.

3. In the Dutch oven over medium-high heat, warm 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add about 1/3 of the beef and brown on all sides, about 7 minutes total. Transfer to a separate bowl. Add 1/2 cup water to the pot, stirring to scrape up the browned bits. Pour the liquid into a separate bowl. Repeat the process 2 more times, using 2 tablespoons oil to brown each batch of beef and deglazing the pot with 1/2 cup water after each batch.

4. Return the pot to medium-high heat. Add the garlic and tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds. Add the beef, stout, broth and reserved liquid, stirring to scrape the bottom of the pan. Then add the mushrooms, onions, carrots, potatoes and thyme and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the beef and vegetables are tender, about 3 hours.

5. Preheat an oven to 400°F.

6. Brush the rim of the pot with water. Lay the pastry strips on top (from recipe below), allowing it to droop onto the filling. Trim the dough, leaving a 1-inch overhang, and crimp to seal. Brush the pastry with the egg mixture. Bake for 30 minutes. Let the potpie rest for 15 minutes before serving.

For the Stilton pastry topping, you will need:
*1 pre-made pie crust
*4 oz. stilton or other pungent cheese, crumbled (gorgonzola)

1. Unroll pie crust on a lightly floured surface. Sprinkle the cheese over half of the dough, then fold the other half over the cheese. Roll out the dough to a 1/8 inch thickness. Cut into 1” strips.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Quinoa Pilaf

I finally bought quinoa! For the past two years, quinoa has popped up on the salad bar at work. The local grocery store I shop at does not carry it. Finally, I remembered to look for this grain when I was in Trader Joes. Quinoa is a great sorce of protein, so I look forward to creating some meatless meals with this grain. You can prepare it a variety of ways. They key with preparing quinoa is to rinse it well to reduce bitterness. I found this pilaf recipe on Apple A Day.

You will need:
*1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
*2 cups of chicken stock or vegetable stock
*2 tbsp olive oil, divided
*1 small red onion, finely chopped
*1/3 cup dried cranberries
*1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
*3 tbsp parsley, roughly chopped

1. Bring the quinoa and stock to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer; cover and allow to cook for 18 minutes.

2. While the quinoa is cooking, add one tablespoon of oil to a saute pan, and cook the onions until slightly soft and translucent (About 5 minutes)

3. Once the quinoa is cooked, remove from the heat, uncover, and fluff with a fork. Fold in remaining oil, onions, cranberries, walnuts, and parsley. Serve.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Smoked Sausage Supper

January. The crash after the holiday rush, and a time for reflections and goals. I love the feel of a fresh start, but as I've mentioned before, I tend to get that feeling each September with that start of the school year and a new crop of students. Most of my 2011 resolutions are to continue with what was going well in 2010. One of these big intentions is to continue making many dinners at home. I also want to use my cookbooks more this year.

After battling the new onset of members at my gym this week, I came home to cook dinner and regain sanity. We've discovered another weeknight friendly recipe that is a nice change of pace from what we usually eat. I found this recipe on Kate's Recipe Box. I increased the recipe so that we could have leftovers available for lunches.

You will need:
*1 pound smoked sausage, coin sliced
*medium green pepper, chopped
*small yellow onion
*1 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
*1 teaspoon dried basil
1 tablespoon olive oil

*1 1/2 cups V8 juice

1. In a large skillet, saute the sausage, green pepper, onion, garlic, oregano and basil in oil until vegetables are crisp-tender.

2 Add V8 juice and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 7-8 minutes or until thickened.

3. Serve over rice or small-shaped pasta.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Chicken Biscuit Pie

Last year, I was gifted a free subscription to Taste of Home. I found some interesting recipes, but many of them just seemed too high in calories for me. I recently received the 2010 edition of the Taste of Home Comfort Food Diet Cookbook, and I have marked a few recipes to try. This simple chicken potpie was a winner in our dinner rotation. Dave loves chicken potpie, but I do not really care for the traditional style with peas and carrots. This recipe caught my eye because it is made with onions and broccoli. If you are looking for a new simple, warm, winter dinner, I suggest giving this a try. I think I will play around with a few other recipes from this magazine soon.

You will need:
*1 small onion, chopped
*1 teaspoon oil
*1 1/2 cups fat-free milk, divided
*1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
*3/4 teaspoon rubbed sage
*1/8 teaspoon pepper
*1/4 cup all-purpose flour
*4 cups cubed cooked chicken breast
*3 cups frozen chopped broccoli, thawed and drained
*1 1/2 cups shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese
*1 tube refrigerated dinner rolls (I used Pillsbury biscuits)

1. In a large nonstick saucepan, saute onion in oil until tender. Stir in 3/4 cup milk, broth, sage and pepper.

2. In a small bowl, combine flour and remaining milk until smooth; gradually stir into onion mixture. Bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 1-2 minutes or until thickened. Stir in the chicken, broccoli and cheese until heated thoroughly.

3. Transfer to a 2-qt. baking dish coated with cooking spray. Separate rolls and arrange over chicken mixture. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until filling is bubbly and rolls are golden brown.

This recipe yields about 8 servings. We enjoyed it for dinner and a few leftover lunches.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Champagne Cupcakes

Happy New Year!
Can you believe another year has passed and that it's 2011? We had fun ringing in the new year with some of our best friends. The night started off with a potluck style dinner, and I made these cupcakes as the dessert. These had a nice light taste and texture to them, and you could really taste the champagne but it didn't overpower the cupcake. These cupcakes would be wonderful for any celebration. This is another successful cupcake recipe found on Homemade by Holman.

For the cupcakes, you will need:
*2 3/4 cup all purpose flour
*3 tsp baking powder
*1 tsp salt
*2/3 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
*1 3/4 cups sugar
*3/4 cup champagne, sweeter tasting such as asti or spumante
*1/2 tsp vanilla extract
*6 egg whites

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line muffin pan with paper liners. (I made 21 cupcakes)

2. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl and whisk to combine.

3. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar on medium high speed until light and fluffy. Add flour mixture in three additions, alternating with two additions of champagne combined with vanilla.

4. In a clean bowl, beat egg whites on high speed until they hold stiff peaks. Fold in about 1/3 of the egg whites to lighten the batter then gently fold in the remaining egg whites.

5. Transfer batter to cupcake liners, filling each about 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

6. Cool about five minutes in the pan and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Once cooled completely, frost with buttercream champagne frosting listed below.

For the frosting, you will need:
*1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
*1/2 tsp vanilla extract
*3-4 cups powdered sugar
*3 tablespoons champagne

1. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter on medium high speed until smooth and fluffy.

2. Add vanilla extract and about three cups of powdered sugar. Mix on low speed to combine.

3. Add in champagne and mix on low to incorporate. Increase speed to medium and beat about one minute to whip frosting. If frosting appears to be thin, add additional powdered sugar as necessary to reach desired consistency. Frost cooled cupcakes as desired.