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Archive for January, 2009

Hearty and healthy for a cool winters night.

While it’s nice to have the traditional meat, starch and vegetable dinner on a plate, I am always looking for one pot dishes. I feel like after a long day of work, a one pot dish is so simple for a weeknight dinner. Not only do you not have to concentrate on three different pots and pans on the stove while you are trying to unwind, but you also have a lot less dishes to wash at the end of the night.

I was delighted when I found not only a great sounding stew dish but a healthy stew dish at Erin’s Eats. My husband is not a fan of a traditional stew because he really doesn’t like gravy, so I love the fact that this stew has more of a light sauce rather than a gravy. It’s light but hearty.

This is also a recipe that you can very simply alter to fit your taste.

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Chicken Stew with White Beans and Spinach

adapted from Erin’s Eats
2-3 slices of bacon, chopped (I used turkey bacon)
2 chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces (I used boneless skinless)
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbs. tomato paste
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken broth
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. oregano
1 can cannellini, or your favorite white beans, drained
3 cups fresh spinach
salt and pepper, to taste

In a large saute pan with lid, cook bacon until it is crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. You want about 1 tbs. of fat/oil remaining in the pan. If you used pork bacon then you may need to remove some excess fat and if you used turkey bacon you may have to actually add a bit of olive oil to the pan to compensate.

Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper and sear it in the pan, browning both sides. Remove from pan.

Add the onions and cook until tender. Stir in the garlic and once the garlic becomes fragrant, stir in tomato paste. Cook approximately 1 minute.

Add wine to the pan to deglaze. Cook for about 2 minutes, scraping up the brown bits. Add the chicken broth, bay leaf, oregano, salt and pepper to taste, and bring to a boil. Add the chicken back to the pan. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, mash about 1/3 of the can of beans with a fork or back of a wooden spoon–not into a paste, but just breaking up some of the beans (this will make the texture of the final product a bit thicker). After the chicken has simmered for 15 minutes, add the whole beans and the mashed beans into the pan. Cover, simmering an additional 15 minutes.

Add the bacon back in and the spinach. Cook just until spinach is wilted, about 2 minutes.

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Nutella, enough said!

I would like to start out by saying that I never felt that I was a deprived child (food wise) until my husband introduced me to Nutella. Yes, I had never tasted or even knew about Nutella until I was about 20 years old and in college. I did have my share of Fluffer Nutter sandwiches as a child though, so I guess I wasn’t too deprived. : p The ironic part of this situation is that my husband was actually the yummy food deprived child, but yet knew of the fabulous Nutella. Yeah, he was the kid who went to birthday parties and then got sick afterwards because he gorged himself on so much junk food (since he wasn’t allowed to have any at home).

Okay, so where was I going with this whole Nutella discussion? Well, I was going to a Dolphins football game with some family and I wanted to make cookies to bring along for tailgating. On my quest for a new cookie recipe I came across Culinary Concoctions by Peabody. While browsing through her wonderful site I found a cookie recipe that called for the cookies to be stuffed with Nutella. I mean could you really ask for anything more than a Nutella stuffed cookie…I DON’T THINK SO!! Of course I had to make them.

The outcome was delicious! It is also a great recipe if you are looking for something homemade but don’t have a ton of time because you can always use store bought sugar cookie dough for the base.

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Nutella Ravioli Cookies

courtesy of Culinary Concoctions by Peabody
18 oz. of fresh sugar cookie dough (I used Peabody’s Sugar Cookie recipe)
OR
18 oz. of store bought cookie dough
1/2 cup Nutella
3 tbs. white chocolate chips
3 tbs. chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Roll out cookie dough to about 1/4 of an inch thickness. Using a cookie cutter or glass dipped in flour, cut out rounds ( I used a glass and it worked perfectly). Using a piping bag or a plastic bag with the end snipped off, pipe about a 1/2 tsp. of Nutella into the center of each round. Fold rounds over to create a half moon shape and seal off edge. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for about 9-10 minutes. Move to racks and cool completely.

When cookies are completely cooled, melt the white chocolate and chocolate chips separately in the microwave for 1 minute. Using a fork, drizzle both chocolates over the top of the cookies. Then enjoy!

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Not your ordinary fish n’ chips

Have you ever come across a recipe and when you read the name you think to yourself, “I’m not so sure about this one?”  Well that is exactly what I was thinking when I found Cod-and-Shrimp Stoup with Salt-and-Vinegar Mashed Potatoes in the November 2008 issue of Everyday with Rachael Ray.  It just did not sound that appealing; the first thing that came to mind were potato chips!

Of course anything that sounds odd is also intriguing, so I decided to read through the recipe anyway.  As I skimmed through it actually began to sound quite yummy.  Okay, so now I am convinced that I may actually try this one out but the next obstacle is my husband.  He isn’t exactly a picky eater, but he tends to like things a bit more on the simple side.  With that said, I was shocked when he told me to go ahead and try out the recipe.

To our surprise (no offense Rachael), the dish was delicious!  It is also a great one for cooler days, not that we see many of those here in south Florida.  It would be great for a cold winter night in the north though.  I recommend this recipe to anyone looking for a bit of comfort food but without too much guilt (as it is a fairly light recipe).

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Cod-and-Shrimp Stoup 
with Salt-and-Vinegar Mashed Potatoes

courtesy of Everyday with Rachael Ray
4 large baking potatoes, peeled and thickly sliced
salt
3 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
2 onions, thinly sliced
3 to 4 ribs celery from the heart, with leafy greens, chopped
1 large bay leaf
2 tbs. fresh thyme leaves, chopped (I used dry thyme*)
zest and juice from 1 lemon
pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken broth
1 (14.5 oz.) can diced or stewed tomatoes
1 1/2 pounds thick cod fillets, cut into chunks (I used haddock)
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar or white wine vinegar
2 tbs. butter

In a deep pot, add the potatoes and enough water to cover.  Bring to a boil, salt the water and cook the potatoes until tender, about 15 minutes.  Drain

In a Dutch oven or large, deep skillet with a lid, heat the extra-virgin olive oil, about 3 turns of the pan,  over medium-high heat.  Add the onions, celery, garlic, bay leaf, thyme and lemon zest; season with salt and pepper.  Cook until the onions are softened, 7 to 8 minutes.  Pour in the wine and cook for 1 minute.  Stir in 1/2 cup chicken broth and the tomatoes with their juice; bring to a simmer.  Add the cod in a single layer, cover and cook for 3 minutes.  Gently stir in the shrimp, season with salt and pepper.  Cover and cook until the cod and shrimp are opaque throughout, about 3 minutes.  Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice; discard the bay leaf.

Mash the potatoes with the remaining 1/2 cup chicken broth, the vinegar and butter; season with salt.

To serve, mound the potatoes into shallow bowls.  Ladle the stoup around the potatoes.

Note:  This recipe can easily be cut in half for 2 servings.

*when using dried herbs remember to reduce the amount the recipe calls for.

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Hearty, Healthy and Colorful

I found this recipe while flipping through the October 2008 edition of Cooking Light.  It sounded almost too decadent to be considered a “light” recipe…what more could you ask for?  I decided to try it out while my mom came to stay with us for a weekend.  Of course it is a risotto so it was a bit time consuming, but in the end it was worth the time spent.  It sounded decadent and it was decadent, but without the guilt of the high calories of course.  I also usually adapt recipes to mine or my husbands liking, but this one was great just the way it was.

If you aren’t in a hurry and you are looking for a recipe that looks like it was a lot harder to make than it actually was, then I would definitely recommend this seafood risotto.  It also doesn’t hurt that it is very colorful and pleasing to the eye.

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Seafood Risotto

courtesy of cooking light
2 cups fat-free, less sodium chicken broth
1 (8 oz) bottle of clam juice
2 tsp. butter
1/4 cup chopped shallots
1/2 cup uncooked Arborio rice
1/8 tsp. saffron threads, crushed
1 tbs. fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved
4 ounces medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
4 ounces bay scallops
2 tbs. whipping cream
chopped fresh parsley

Bring broth and clam juice to a simmer in a medium sauce pan (do not boil).  Keep warm over low-heat.

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add shallots to pan; cook 2 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently.  Add rice and saffron to pan; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly.  Add lemon juice to pan; cook 15 seconds, stirring constantly.  Stir in 1/2 cup hot broth mixture; cook 2 minutes or until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly.  Add remaining broth mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion is absorbed before adding the next (about 18 minutes total).

Stir in tomatoes; cook for 1 minute.  Stir in shrimp and scallops, cook 4 minutes or until shrimp and scallops are done; stirring occasionally.   Remove from heat; stir in cream.  Sprinkle with parsley, if desired.

Yields 2 servings.

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