Monday, April 30, 2012

Stovetop Chili Mac

This was pretty good, way better than say a hamburger helper type meal.  It needed to grow a pair and spice it up (apparently Martha Stewart like bland food)... so here is my modified version below.

Stovetop Chili Mac
Serves:  4
Calories:  About 600 per serving

Coarse salt and ground pepper
8 oz rigatoni or other tube-shaped pasta
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 small yellow onion, diced small
12 oz ground beef chuck (85 percent lean)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
1 cup corn kernels, thawed if frozen
1 small zucchini, diced medium
1 can (14 ounces) diced tomatoes
1/2 tablespoon sugar
2+ ounces cheddar, grated (3/4 cup)
In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain and return to pot. Meanwhile, in a large skillet heat oil over medium. Add garlic and onion and cook until onion is translucent, 3 minutes.
Increase heat to medium-high, add beef, and cook, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Add spices and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. Add corn and zucchini and cook until zucchini is crisp-tender, 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and juice and sugar, bring to a simmer, and cook until mixture is heated through, about 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide pasta among four bowls, top with meat sauce, and sprinkle with cheese.

Spicy Mac and Cheese

We loved this, and the leftovers were good too!  I made a couple substitutions but this was another winner from Annie.

Spicy Mac and Cheese
Serves:  4 piggies, 6 is more realistic
Calories:  About 3600 in the recipe, my way

4 cups pasta shapes (I used 2.5 cups of mini penne and it was perfect) 1/3 cup onion, finely chopped
1/3 cup roasted red pepper (jarred or home roasted), finely chopped (I used like 1/2 cup+)
1-2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely minced  (I used jarred sliced)
6½ tbsp. butter, divided
4 tbsp. all-purpose flour
2½ cups milk
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
¼ tsp. onion powder
¼ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. ground black pepper
8 oz. colby jack cheese, shredded
4 oz. pepper jack cheese, shredded
4 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
4 oz. baguette or crusty Italian bread, torn into large chunks  (I used about 2 cups of dry corn flakes, smashed)

Bring a large pot of water to boil.  When the water boils, cook the pasta according to the package directions.  In the meantime, melt ½ tablespoon of butter in a small skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the onion, red pepper and jalapeno to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally until fragrant and tender, about 5-7 minutes.  Remove from heat and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat.  Once the butter is completely melted, whisk in the flour.  Cook the mixture, whisking constantly, until it turns a light golden brown color and begins to foam, about 2 minutes.  (Be careful not to burn!)  Whisk in the milk until well blended.  Cook the mixture, whisking or stirring frequently, until it begins to bubble and thicken, about 5 minutes.  Reduce the heat to medium-low.  Whisk in the spices.  Add the cheeses to the mixture and whisk until completely melted and well incorporated.  Remove the mixture from the heat.

Preheat the oven to 375° F.  Grease a 2-quart casserole dish. (I used a 2.5 quart)  Return the drained pasta to the large pot.  Add in the cooked vegetables and the cheese sauce, and mix until well blended.  Transfer the mixture to the prepared casserole dish.

Use a food processor to pulse the bread into coarse crumbs.  Transfer the crumbs to a small bowl.  Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and toss with the bread crumbs.  Sprinkle the crumb mixture in an even layer on top of the pasta.  Bake for 25 minutes, or until the mixture is heated through and the topping is golden brown.  Let stand 5-10 minutes before serving.

Shrimp, Black Bean, and Grilled Corn Pizza

I thought the flavors of this were pretty good, but I wasn't a huge fan of the shrimp.  Matt preferred the shrimp part over everything.  

Shrimp, Black Bean, and Grilled Corn Pizza
Serves: about 4
Calories:  About 2500 per pizza

1 lb pizza dough  (I used a premade tube of thin crust dough from Pillsbury)
1/2 lb small shrimp, peeled and deveined  (I thawed out frozen precooked)
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 tsp ancho chile powder  (I used regular chili powder)
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/3 cup canned black beans, drained
1 ear of corn, grilled, and kernels removed
4 oz Manchego, grated  (I used some cotija cheese and a little cheddar)
4 oz Monterrey Jack, grated
Small handful cilantro, chopped  (yuck... but I threw on some parsley)

  1. Preheat oven to 450.
  2. Toss shrimp with lime juice and add chile powder, cumin, coriander, a pinch of salt and pepper.
  3. Heat olive oil over medium-high and add garlic, cooking for about a minute.
  4. Add shrimp and cook 3-5 minutes, until pink and mostly opaque.
  5. Shape ball of pizza dough into a 12-14" round.
  6. Sprinkle cheese over the crust, leaving the edges bare.
  7. Toss beans, red bell pepper, and corn together and then sprinkle evenly over the pizza.
  8. Bake 5-7 minutes, until pizza is bubbly and the edges begin to brown.
  9. Remove from oven, sprinkle with cilantro, and let sit 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

Lazy Sunday Casserole

I really liked this, Matt said he isn't that into meat and potato dishes.

Lazy Sunday Casserole
Serves: 4
Calories:  About 450 per serving

4 sausages (beef or pork)  (I used hot italian sausages)
1 pound potatoes  (I used redskins)
1/2 pound carrots
1/2 bell pepper
1 large onion
1 fennel bulb  (omitted, used mushrooms)
2 garlic cloves
2 tbsp oil
freshly cracked black pepper
1 1/2 tsp Italian herbs
1/2 cup chicken broth
4 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Peel the potatoes, wash them and cut each potato in four pieces. (I left the skins on)
Peel one large or two smaller onions and cut them in wedges.
Remove the base and stalks of the fennel, and turn that one into wedges as well.  (omitted, added large mushroom slices)
Slice 1/2 to 1 bell pepper in strips. (I also added some green peppers)
Grab a couple handfuls of baby carrots, or peel and cut a couple regular carrots

Place everything in a big roasting tray.  Use a big bowl to combine the oil with the Italian herbs, grated or chopped garlic, and chicken broth.  Pour over your veggies and toss them around a bit.
Season with a generous amount of salt (kosher salt would be great) and cracked black pepper.

Cover the tray with aluminum foil and pop it in a preheated oven. Bake at 450F (225C) for 45 minutes.
That gives you plenty time to brown the sausages. No need to cook them all the way through, just lightly brown them.
Slice each sausage in half.  You can use Italian sausage or any type of flavored sausage.

After 45 minutes the potatoes and vegetables should be fork tender. If they’re not, cover the tray with the foil and pop them back in the oven for a few more minutes. If they are fork tender, place the sausages in there and pour the balsamic vinegar all over. Place the tray back in the oven, uncovered.

Take it out after 15 minutes, flip over those sausages and ladle some of the juices lurking at the bottom all over the vegetables and sausages. Put it back in the oven for another 15 minutes or so, until everything is nice and brown.

Chicken Saltimbocca

Yummy yummy in my tummy.  this looks fancy, but it is pretty simple (and delicious) as long as you can get a good crisp on the prosciutto.  We will totally make this again.  I don't think I used all the butter and oil, and got away with only 1 slice of prosciutto, so the calories were lower.

Chicken Saltimbocca
Serves: 4
Calories:  About 540 per piece

4 chicken breasts, pounded to 1/3-1/2 inch thickness
8 slices thinly sliced prosciutto
1 bunch sage leaves
All-purpose flour, for dredging
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
4 Tbsp dry white wine
1/2 cup chicken broth
Lemon wedges, for sauce and serving  (instead I had some lemon juice that I drizzled)
  1. Top the flattened chicken breasts with sage leaves (laid flat; I used 4 large leaves per). Cover each chicken breast with 1-2 slices of prosciutto (depending on the size of the chicken).
  2. Cover the chicken with a piece of plastic wrap and gently tap with the tenderizing side of a meat mallet to make the prosciutto and sage adhere.
  3. Put some flour in a shallow platter and season with a fair amount of salt and pepper.
  4. Dredge the chicken in the seasoned flour, shaking off the excess.
  5. Heat the oil and 2 Tbsp of the butter and in a large skillet over medium flame.
  6. Put the chicken in the pan, prosciutto-side down first. Cook for 3-4 minutes to crisp it up and then flip the chicken over and saute the other side for 2-3 minutes, until golden.
  7. Transfer the saltimbocca to a serving platter and keep warm.
  8. Add the wine to the pan, stirring to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan; let the wine cook down for a minute to burn off some of the alcohol.
  9. Add the chicken broth, the juice from one lemon wedge, and remaining butter, swirling the pan around.
  10. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the sauce over the saltimbocca, garnish with sage leaves and lemon wedges; serve immediately.
  11. (Optional) Drop several sage leaves into the pan during the last few minutes of cooking, before starting the sauce, turning once after a minute. Remove with slotted spoon and use as garnish.

Roasted Red Pepper Chicken

This was pretty good.  The biggest change I made was to increase the roasted red peppers by a lot, which totally made it a tasty dish in my opinion.  We will make this again as we usually have most/all the ingredients.

Roasted Red Pepper Chicken
Serves:  3
Calories:  About 460 in 1/3 recipe

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 (284 mL) can CAMPBELL'S® Condensed Low Fat Cream of Chicken Soup
1/4 cup finely chopped roasted red peppers (I used way more, around 3/4 cup)
1/4 cup apple juice  (I didn't have any so I threw in a little applesauce and water)
2 tablespoons ketchup
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves  (I used dried, about 3/4 Tbsp)
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (more like 1/2 cup)
2 cups hot cooked brown rice, cooked without salt

Brown chicken well in large non-stick skillet at medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium.
Stir in soup, red pepper, apple juice, ketchup, garlic and black pepper. Heat to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer until chicken is fully cooked - about 20 minutes.
Add basil and stir well. Serve on rice and sprinkle with Mozzarella cheese.