Thursday, February 21, 2008

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Foolproof Pot Roast

1 (3 lb) chuck roast
salt and pepper to taste
1 can condensed French Onion soup
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 cup water
additional pepper as needed

Preheat oven to 325ºF.

Season the roast lightly with salt and pepper, and place in a dutch oven or other roasting pan with a lid.

Pour the condensed soup over the roast (do not add water). Put the lid on the pot and slide in the oven.

Do not disturb for 2 hours. Smaller size roasts will be done around 2 hours- larger roasts may take longer. Check to see that the meat is falling apart- when it does that, it's ready. If it doesn't fall apart, it needs more time- give it 20 minutes increments until done.

Remove from the oven and set aside for 15 minutes- leave the lid on!

Transfer the roast to a serving platter. Pour the juices left behind into a saucepan over medium-high heat.

Combine the flour and water, whisking until combined. Add to the pan juices, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil and check for seasonings- I usually find it needs added pepper, but not salt.

Once the mixture has come to a boil, it's done. Pour over the roast and serve immediately.

Serves 4

Monday, February 18, 2008

Rotini and Cheese with Broccoli and Ham

Serving Size : 6

4 quarts water
2 cups rotini -- about 8 ozs. pasta
1 package frozen chopped broccoli -- (10-ounce)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups skim milk
1 1/2 cups Velveeta Light -- (6 ounces) cubed
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup ham -- reduced fat, chopped

Bring water to a boil in a large stockpot. Add pasta; cook 5 minutes. Add broccoli; cook an additional 5 minutes or until pasta is done; drain.
While pasta cooks, lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Place flour in a medium saucepan; gradually add milk, stirring with a whisk until blended. Cook over medium heat 8 minutes or until mixture is thick, stirring frequently.

Remove from heat; stir in cheese and next 4 ingredients (cheese through pepper). Combine pasta mixture, cheese sauce, and ham.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Pina-Colada Bars

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons cold butter
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 (20 oz) can crushed pineapple in juice
2 egg yolks
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar
7 oz. sweetened flaked coconut
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 egg whites
1 whole egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon almon extract

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray.

Combine all-purpose flour, pastry flour, brown sugar and salt in a mixing bowl. Cut in the cold butter with a pastry blender until the butter is well incorporated and the mixture is crumbly.

Press into the 9x13 pan and bake for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine sugar, cornstarch, crushed pineapple with juice, and egg yolks in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and begins to bubble. Remove from heat, and stir in lemon juice.

Pour pineapple mixture over the hot crust, spreading gently with the back of a spoon.

In a small mixing bowl, combine remaining sugar, coconut, flour, salt, egg whites, egg, and extracts. Mix well.

Using a combination of fork and your fingers, dollop coconut mixture all over the pineapple mixture, trying your best to cover all of the pineapple with the coconut evenly.

Return the pan to the oven and bake for an additional 35-40 minutes, or until the coconut is beginning to turn golden brown and the bars seem to be set.

Allow to cool completely before cutting into bars. They taste best after being chilled for awhile as well.

Yield: About 30 bars

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Chicken Noodle Soup

2 teaspoons butter
1 cup sliced celery
2 cups chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped fennel
1/2 cup chopped onions
3 or 4 potatoes — peeled and diced
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
2 quarts homemade chicken stock
1/2 cup sliced sugar snap peas
4 ounces egg noodles or 1/2 cup stellini
3 or 4 cups cooked chicken
Salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter in a large soup pot.

Saute the celery, carrot and onion for 2 minutes.

Add potato, basil, poultry seasoning, and chicken stock.

Bring to a boil.

Add sugar snap peas, noodles, and chicken, and cook on low for 20 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.

Broccoli Chicken Supreme

adapted from Taste Of Home Feb/Mar 08

4 cups fresh broccoli, or frozen, thawed
2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
1 tablespoon butter
4 cups cubed, cooked chicken
2 (8 oz) cans sliced water chestnuts, drained
4 TBS butter, cubed
1/4 cup plus 1 TBS flour
1 tsp seasoned salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups chicken broth
2/3 cup half & half (I suspect milk or evap. milk will work well here)
4 egg yolks, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
dash ground nutmeg
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted

Steam fresh broccoli for 5 to 7 minutes, or until crisp tender. Thaw frozen broccoli by running under cook water in a colander.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, saute the mushrooms in the butter until tender.

In a greased 13 x 9 x 2 pan, layer the chicken, mushrooms, water chestnuts, and broccoli.

For Sauce:
In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Stir in the flour, seasoned salt and pepper until smooth. Gradually add the broth and half & half. Bring to a boill cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened and bubbly. Remove from the heat.

Stir a small amount of the hot mixture into the egg yolkls. Return all to the saucepan, cook and stir until the mixture reaches 160º and coats the back of a metal spoon. Remove from the heat, stir in lemon juice and nutmeg.

Pour the sauce over the layered ingredients in the casserole; sprinkle with almonds. Bake, uncovered at 375º for 20-25 minutes, or until bubbly and heated through.

Yield: 8 servings

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


a la Mark Bittman and How To Cook Everything Vegetarian

1 cup all-purpose flour
Pinch salt
1 tablespoon sugar (optional)
1 1/4 cups milk, plus more if needed
2 eggs
2 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled, plus more for cooking

1. Whisk together all the ingredients except the butter for cooking until smooth; you can do this in a blender. If the mixture isn't quite pourable, add a little more milk. If the time allows, let the batter rest in the refrigerator for an hour or up to 24 hours.

2. Put an 8 or 10 inch nonstick skillet over medium heat and wait a couple of minutes; add a small pat of butter. Stir the batter and use a large spoon or ladle to pour a couple of tablespoons of the batter into the skillet. Swirl it around so that it forms a thin layer on the bottom of the pan.

3. When the top of the crêpe is dry, after about a minute, turn and cook the other side for 15 to 30 seconds. (The crêpe should brown only very slightly and not become crisp at all.) Bear in mind that the first crêpe almost never works, even for professionals, so discard it if necessary, there is plenty of batter.

4. Stack the crêpes on a plate as you make them, and keep them warm in a low oven while you make the remaining crêpes. Even better, fill each crêpe while it's still in the pan, putting the filling in the center of the bottom third of the crêpe. If you want your filling warmed, keep the pan over low heat for a few minutes. Either roll the crêpe starting at the end with the filling or fold the bottom third over the filling, fold in the sides, then fold the crêpe from the bottom up. Slide it onto a plate and serve. Repeat the process, adding butter to the skillet and adjusting the heat as needed, until all the batter is used up.

Chocolate Braids

2 packages active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1/3 cup honey -- divided
6 tablespoons butter -- softened
1 egg
1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups bread flour -- to 3 cups
Cream Cheese Filling:
4 Ounces cream cheese -- softened
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter -- cold
1/4 cup chopped nuts
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon cocoa
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons milk

In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add 2 teaspoons honey; let stand for 5 minutes.

Add the butter, egg, cocoa, salt, 1 1/2 cups bread flour, and remaining honey. Beat for 2 minutes, or until smooth. Stir in enough remaining bread flour to form a soft dough.

Turn out onto a floured surface knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes.

Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

Punch dough down, divide in half. On a lightly floured surface, roll one portion into a 12x7 rectangle.

In a small mixing bowl, beat together the filling ingredients until smooth. Spread half of the filling over the dough to within 1-inch of the edges. Roll up jelly roll style, starting with the long side; pinch the seams to seal.

Place seam side down on a greased baking sheet. With a sharp knife, carefully cut roll in half lengthwise, not cutting all the way through one end. Carefully, turn cut sides up. Loosely twist strips around each other, keeping cut sides up. Pinch ends to seal.

Repeat with remaining dough and filling. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.

For the topping, combine the flour, sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl; cut in butter until crumbly. Add nuts, and sprinkle over risen loaves.

Bake at 350ºF for 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool. Combine icing ingredients and drizzle over loaves.

"Taste of Home"
"Feb/Mar 2008"
"2 loaves"

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Tortilla Soup

6 tablespoons vegetable oil
8 corn tortillas -- chopped
6 garlic cloves -- minced
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 medium onion -- chopped
1 can diced tomatoes -- (28 oz) undrained
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
3 bay leaves
6 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 cooked chicken breast halves -- shredded (about 2 cups) (Or cooked and shredded pork)

Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat.

Add tortillas, garlic, cilantro, and onion. Saute 2 to 3 minutes.

Stir in tomatoes. Bring to a boil and add cumin, chili powder, bay leaves, and chicken stock. Return to a boil. Reduce heat. Add salt and cayenne. Simmer 30 minutes.

Remove bay leaves and stir in chicken. Reheat.

Garnish with monterey jack, avocado, sour cream, tortilla strips and a squeeze of lime

Baked Oatmeal

3 cups milk, plus more for serving if desired
6 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons margarine
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
2 apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
3/4 cup dried cranberries, raisins, or other berries
3/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

Combine milk, brown sugar, margarine and cinnamon in a saucepan. Cook, stirring frequently, until it comes to a boil. Remove from heat.

In a mixing bowl, combine the oats, apple, cranberries, and nuts. Add the hot milk mixture and stir well to combine.

Spray a 9x9 square baking dish with cooking spray. Pour oatmeal into the baking dish and bake in a 350º oven for 30 minutes.

Serve immediately, or refrigerate and heat up individual portions in the microwave.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Peanut Butter Fudge Cups

from Cooking Light Annual, 2002

Serving Size : 24

1/4 cup chunky peanut butter
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons chilled butter -- cut into small pieces
1 1/2 tablespoons corn syrup
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons cold water
Cooking spray
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
2 tablespoons semisweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon butter
3 tablespoons 1% low-fat milk
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 large egg
2 teaspoons powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350°.

To prepare crust, place first 4 ingredients in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Lightly spoon 1 cup flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Add flour and salt to peanut butter mixture; cut in flour with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Sprinkle surface with cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time; toss with a fork until combined.

Shape mixture into 24 balls. Place 1 ball in each of 24 miniature muffin cups coated with cooking spray. Press dough into bottoms and up sides of muffin cups.

To prepare filling, combine 2/3 cup brown sugar and the next 4 ingredients (2/3 cup brown sugar through milk) in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook 3 to 4 minutes or until smooth, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; stir in 2 tablespoons flour and egg until well blended. Divide chocolate mixture evenly among muffin cups. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes or until the pastry is lightly browned; cool in pan on a wire rack 5 minutes. Run a knife around outside edges of cups. Remove cups from pan; cool completely on wire rack. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 83 Calories; 2g Fat (25.3% calories from fat); 2g Protein; 14g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 9mg Cholesterol; 37mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1/2 Grain(Starch); 0 Lean Meat; 0 Non-Fat Milk; 1/2 Fat; 1/2 Other Carbohydrates.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Bean and Cheese Empanadas

from Mark Bittman's How To Cook Everything Vegetarian

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus a little more
1/2 cup masa harina, fine cornmeal or more all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons shortening or vegetable oil
2 1/2 cups cooked and well-seasoned beans
2 cups grated or crumbled queso fresco, Monterey Jack, or coltija cheese
1/2 cup milk

1. Mix the flour, masa harina, baking powder, and salt together in the food processor and process for about 5 seconds. With the machine running, add the 1/2 cup shortening and process for 10 seconds. Then, with the machine running, add about 1/2 cup cold water, just enough for the dough to form a ball. Don't add more water than necessary; the dough should be fairly dry. Knead by hand until smooth, just a minute or so.

2. Divide into 12 pieces, roll into balls, and wrap in plastic or cover with a damp towel and let rest for at elast 20 minutes. (You can refrigerate the dough overnight; be sure to let it come to room temperature before proceeding.) On a well-floured surface, rolle ach piece into a 6-inch circle, adding flour as necessary.

3. Preheat the oven to 450ºF. Place a couple of tablespoons of the beans in the center of each circle of dough, followed by a sprinkling of cheese, then fold each circle overl seal the seam with a few drops of water and press with the tines of a fork to close. Put on an ungreased baking sheet and brush lightly with milk. Bake until the dough is golden brown and hot, and about 20 minutes. Serve immediately or at room temperature.

**The sky is the limit with these empanadas, they will take well to any filling, as long as the filling isn't too wet.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Vegetable Curry

(Don't be daunted by the long list of ingredients. Use the vegetables you have on hand, and it comes together very quickly!)

1 tsp olive oil
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup coarsely chopped almonds
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
2 jalapenos, stems removed, coarsely chopped (remove seeds for less heat)
1 onion- 1/2 chopped, 1/2 sliced thinly and reserved for later
2 tsps oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
4 cardamom pods
2 bay leaves
1 tsp Garam Masala
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 (15 oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (or 2 cups prepared from dried)
1 1/2 cup cubed butternut squash
1 cup fresh green beans, snapped (or 1 cup frozen)
1/4 cup thinly sliced fennel
1/2 large red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
2 handfuls baby spinach
To serve:
Basmati rice
plain yogurt or raita
assorted chutneys

In a large pot or dutch oven heat the 1 tsp of oil over medium high heat. Add the raisins and almonds and saute for about 2 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.

Combine the can of diced tomatoes, jalapenos, and chopped onion in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth.

Add the 2 teaspoons of oil to the pot. Add the cumin seeds, cardamom pods and bay leaves, and saute for about 1 minute, or until nice and fragrant. Add the thinly sliced onion to the pot, and cook for about 3 minutes- or until onion begins to turn golden, stir very frequently ro prevent burning.

Carefully, add the tomato mixture to the pot, as well as the Garam masala, cinnamon, salt, and turmeric. Bring to a boil, and add the vegetables all at once. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover the pot, and cook for 20 minutes- or until the vegetables are tender.

Serve with your choice of accompaniments, sprinkling the top with the raisins and almonds.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Herb Roasted Mushrooms, Chicken, and Vegetables

1/3 cup olive oil
3 teaspoons dried rosemary, crushed
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 2-1/2 inch pieces
1 pound fresh white mushrooms, halved (about 6 cups)
1 pound small red potatoes, halved (about 3 cups)
3 medium onions, cut in wedges (about 3 cups)
1 large red bell pepper, cut in 2-inch pieces (about 2 cups)
6 large garlic cloves, peeled

Preheat oven to 425ºF. In a large bowl combine oil, rosemary, salt and pepper until well blended. Add chicken, mushrooms, potatoes, onions, red bell pepper and garlic; toss until well coated. Divide mixture into two baking or roasting pans. Roast until chicken and vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally and rotating pans on shelves once during roasting.

Serves 8.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Devil's Food Cake

from King Arthur Flour's Baker's Companion

12 tablespoons butter (I used margarine very successfully)
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cups natural cocoa powder
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups milk or water (I used rice milk)

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, salt, baking soda, and vanilla until fluffy- about 5 minutes.

Whisk together the flour and cocoa- sieve if necessary to remove lumps.

Add the eggs to the butter mixture, one at a time, beating well after each egg until completely combined before adding the next one. Slowly, blend one-third of the flour mixture into the creamed mixture, then half the milk, another third of the flour, the remaining milk, and the remaining flour. be sure to mix well after each addition, and to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl occasionally throughout the process.

Grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans (or three 8-inch pans, or 24 cupcake papers). Divide the batter evenly. Bake the cakes for 30-35 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted near the middle comes out clean. Cupcakes will take about 20 minutes to bake. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before removing from the pans to cool completely.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Baked Cod with Chorizo and White Beans

1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 shallot, finely chopped
2 ounces Spanish chorizo or turkey kielbasa, diced
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup dry white wine, divided (I used chicken stock)
1 15-ounce can great northern beans, rinsed
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1 1/4 pounds Pacific cod, cut into 4 pieces
Freshly ground pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Coat a 9-by-13 inch baking dish with cooking spray.

2. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add shallot, chorizo (or kielbasa) and thyme and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes and 1/4 cup wine. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes are broken down and the wine is almost evaporated, 2 to 4 minutes. Stir in beans and 1/4 teaspoon salt and remove from the heat.

3. Sprinkle fish with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper; place in the prepared baking dish. Top each piece of fish with equal amounts of the tomato mixture (about 1/2 cup per fillet). Pour the remaining 1/4 cup wine into the pan and cover the pan with foil. Bake until the fish is just cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve the fish with the sauce spooned over the top.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Autumn Harvest Red Lentil Soup

Recipe By The Healthy Hedonist, Myra Kornfeld

1 cup red lentils -- sorted and rinsed
5 1/2 cups water
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 onions -- cut into small dice (2 cups)
4 garlic cloves -- minced
One 2-inch piece fresh ginger -- minced
2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 pound butternut squash -- cut into 1/2-inch dice (2 cups)
1 parsnip -- cut into 1/2-inch dice (1/2 cup)
2 carrots -- cut into 1/2-inch dice (1 cup)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 pound spinach -- stemmed, washed, and torn into bite-size pieces or one 5-ounce bag baby spinach, rinsed
Cayenne pepper

Combine the lentils, 4 cups of the water, the bay leaf, and 1 teaspoon salt in a medium saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil. Then lower the heat and simmer, partially covered, for 20 minutes, or until the lentils are tender.

Discard the bay leaf, and purée the lentils with an immersion blender or in a standing blender. (If you want a little texture, you can simply whisk the lentils until creamy.) Set the lentils aside.

Meanwhile, warm the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onions and sauté until they are softened, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, cumin, and coriander, and sauté for 3 minutes. Add the squash, parsnips, carrots, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and the remaining 1 1/2 cups water. Cover and simmer until the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes.

Stir the lemon juice and spinach into the lentils. The heat will immediately wilt the spinach. Add the vegetables and simmer for 5 minutes to marry the flavors. Season with a generous pinch of cayenne. Taste and add salt if necessary. Serve hot.

Makes 4 generous servings.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Per Serving: 184 Calories; 8g Fat (34.6% calories from fat); 4g Protein; 28g Carbohydrate; 7g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 79mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1 Grain(Starch); 0 Lean Meat; 2 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 1 1/2 Fat.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Olive Oil Salt Bread

from How To Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman

1/3 cup olive oil, plus more for greasing pan
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt, preferably coarse or sea salt, plus more for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 375ºF. Grease and 8-inch skillet or square baking pan with about a tablespoon of olive oil. Put the flour, baking powder and salt in a food processor and turn themachine on. Pour through the feed tube first the 1/3 cup of olive oil, then most of 1 cup of warm water. Process for about 30 seconds, then remove the cover. The dough should be a well-defined, barely sticky, easy to handle ball. If it is too dry, add the remaining water 1 tablespoon at a time and process for 5 to 10 seconds after each addition. If it is too wet, which is unlikely, add a tablespoon or two of flour and process briefly.

Put the dough into the prepared pan and press until it fits to the edges. Flip it over and press again. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes; then remove the foil, sprinkle the top with a little coarse salt, and bake for another 20 to 25 minutes, until the top is lightly golden and springs back a bit when touched gently. Cool in the pan a bit, then cut into wedges or squares and serve.

Griddled Variation: Instead of preheating the oven, heat a griddle or set a heavy pan over medium heat. Have the extra olive oil handy for greasing. In step 2, divide the dough into 8 to 12 pieces and pat them into patties between your hands until they're about 1/2 inch thick. When the griddle or pan is hot, use enough olive oil to film the bottom and put in as many breads as will fit comfortably without crowding (you will probably have to work in batches). Cook, undisturbed, until they begin to brown around the edges and the tops bubble a bit, about 5 minutes. Then turn and cook the other side until crisp and golden.

Serves 4 to 6

Monday, January 21, 2008

Squash-Topped Cottage Pies

from Eating Well magazine

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
12 ounces 93%-lean ground beef
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup reduced-sodium beef broth
6 ounces baby spinach, chopped
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, divided
2 12-ounce packages frozen winter squash puree, thawed
1/3 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese

1. Position rack in upper third of oven; preheat broiler.
2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until beginning to soften, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, stir in beef, tomato paste and flour, and cook, stirring, until the beef is mostly browned, about 3 minutes. Add broth, scraping up any browned bits with a wooden spoon. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until the broth is the consistency of thick gravy, about 4 minutes. Stir in spinach, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder; cook until the spinach is just wilted, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat.
3. Place squash in a fine-mesh sieve and gently press on it to extract excess liquid. Transfer to a bowl. Stir in the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder. Divide the meat mixture among four 10-ounce broiler-safe ramekins. Top each with about 1/2 cup of the squash. Place the ramekins on a baking sheet. Broil until heated through and bubbling around the edges, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese and broil until it is just melted, about 3 minutes more.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Tomato and White Bean Soup

from Cooking Light Magazine, October, 1997

Serving Size : 4

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
3 garlic cloves -- crushed
2 cans no-salt-added whole tomatoes -- (14.5-ounce) undrained and chopped
2 cans white beans -- (16-ounce) drained
1 can fat-free chicken broth -- (14 1/2-ounce)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, and sauté 4 minutes or until tender. Add tomatoes and next 5 ingredients (tomatoes through pepper), and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes. Ladle into bowls, and sprinkle with cheese.