Monday, April 30, 2007

Baked Sesame Chicken Noodles

a Cooking Light recipe

This can certainly be made into a vegetarian version by omitting the chicken breast and using veggie or mushroom broth instead of the chicken broth. I always use more veggies than what is called for, and don't forget to remove the stems from your shiitakes. These are really woody and tough to chew- but they do make an excellent addition to a stock, so save them for future stocks.

ounces uncooked spaghetti or linguine, broken in half
tablespoon dark sesame oil
1 cup red bell pepper strips
8 ounces shiitake mushroom caps, sliced
2 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons cream sherry
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 cups thinly sliced bok choy
3/4 cup sliced green onions
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, divided
Cooking spray
1 cup panko (coarse, dry) breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat oven to 400°.

Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain well.

Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add red bell pepper strips and mushrooms; sauté 2 minutes. Add chicken, ginger, and garlic; sauté 3 minutes. Stir in soy sauce; cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently.

Combine broth and cornstarch, stirring well with a whisk. Add broth mixture to pan, and cook 2 minutes or until mixture is slightly thick, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in sherry, vinegar, and crushed red pepper. Add pasta, bok choy, green onions, and 2 teaspoons sesame seeds to pan, tossing well to combine. Spoon pasta mixture into an 8-inch square baking dish lightly coated with cooking spray.

Combine breadcrumbs, butter, and remaining sesame seeds; sprinkle evenly over pasta mixture. Bake at 400° for 20 minutes or until breadcrumbs begin to brown.

**This is also an excellent make-ahead dish. Assemble it early in the day and refrigerate it until you are ready for it to be cooked. Allow a few extra minutes to heat through.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

White Chocolate Brownies with Dulce De Leche Filling

1 cup butter
2 cups white chocolate -- coarsely chopped
4 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 cup sugar
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup mini chocolate chips
1 can Dulce De Leche
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted

Melt butter and chocolate together.

Mix eggs, sugar, milk and vanilla together. Add to butter mixture.

Add flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix well and stir in mini chocolate chips.

Heat dulce de leche in a microwave to spreadable consistency.

Pour half of the brownie mixture into a 9 x 13 pan sprayed with cooking spray. **Sprinkle toasted pecans over the brownie mixture. Dollop the dulce de leche onto the pecans, and carefully spread evenly to within one inch of the edge. Do not spread all the way to the edges or it will burn during baking. Pour the remaining brownie batter over the dulce de leche.

Bake in a 350ºF oven for 45 to 50 minutes. Allow to cook completely before cutting and serving.

** It's important to sprinkle the nuts on first so you have a something slightly firm to spread the dulce de leche onto.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Aegean Meatballs with Pita Bread

by Cat Cora- from Cat Cora's Kitchen

Keftethakia Kai Pita

1 pound lean ground beef
1/2 cup whole milk
1 1/2 slices white bread with crust
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh oregano or other fresh herbs
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 large egg
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
flour for dusting
1/4 cup vegetable oil or light olive oil
6 rounds of pita bread, cut into quarters

Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Line a 9x13 inch baking dish with aluminum foil.

Place the ground beef in a large bowl. In another bowl, pour the milk over the bread slices and allow to soak for 2 minutes, then squeeze out the excess milk. Crumble up the bread and add it to the beef. Add the onion, garlic, mint, oregano, salt, and pepper and mix well. Add the egg, olive oil, and vinegar, and mix again.

Roll the mixture into walnut sized portions and dust with flour. Once all the meatballs are formed, heart the vegetable oil in a large saute pan over high heat until hot but not smoking. Reduce the heat to medium and add the meatballs. Brown on all sides, 2 to 3 minutes, and drain on paper towels. Transfer to the prepared dish and bake until cooked through, about 15 minutes.

Serve with several quarters of the pita bread on each plate, then stuff the pita with meatballs and top with Tzatziki.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Asparagus-Pesto Lasagna

from Vegetarian Times; April 2006
Serves 10

1/3 cup all purpose flour
3-1/2 cups low fat milk, divided
6 Tbsps pesto, or more to taste*
2 Tbsps. Grated Parmesan, plus additional for garnish, optional
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. black pepper
2 tsp olive oil
1-1/4 lb. asparagus spears, tips cut off and reserved, spears trimmed and chopped into 1/4” pieces
1 clove garlic, minced (about 1 tsp)
16 no-cook lasagna noodles (9 oz)**
(I used 9 noodles)
2 cups shredded Fontina or part-skim mozzarella (8 oz), divided

1. Preheat oven to 350. Whisk flour and ½ cup milk in saucepan until smooth. Gradually whisk in remaining milk. Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly, and boil 1 minute until thickened. Remove from heat: stir in pesto, parmesan, salt and pepper. Reserve one cup of the white sauce.

2. Warm oil in a large nonstick skillet over med-high heat. Add chopped asparagus (not tips) and cook, stirring often, 5 minutes or until tender. Add garlic, cook, stirring, 1 minute and season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from heat.

3. Coat 13 x 9 baking dish with cooking spray. Place layer of noodles in dish, overlapping slightly. Layer with half of cooked asparagus, ¾ cup cheese and half of sauce. Add another layer of pasta, remaining sauce, remaining cooked asparagus, and ¾ cup cheese. Top with a layer of noodles, then with reserved cup of white sauce. Arrange reserved asparagus tipes over top and sprinkle with remaining cheese.

4. Bake, uncovered. 35 to 45 minutes, or until golden. Let stand 10 minutes; serve with additional grated parmesan, if desired.

* Look for the freshest, most flavorful pesto in the refrigerator section of the supermaket, packed in vacuum sealed bags or plastic tubs.

**Using no-boil noodles, they expand so much, I don't overlap them when laying them in the pan. The noodles I used, I ended up only using 9 of them-three per layer, so use what fits your pan best.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Salmon Pasta

An Erika Original

2 tablespoons finely chopped yellow onion
1 tablespoon butter
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup milk
8 ounces chive and onion flavored cream cheese
2 cups leftover smoked salmon, broken into pieces
1 cup cooked green peas
1/2 pound bowtie pasta, cooked according to package directions
1/2 cup pasta cooking water
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced

Melt butter in a saucepan and add yellow onions. Saute over medium-low heat until translucent. Add pepper and milk. Bring milk to a simmer and then add the cream cheese. Stir until melted and combined with the milk. Add extra milk if it is too thick. Add smoked salmon and green peas, and bring mixture to a gentle boil over medium heat. Add 1/2 cup of the pasta water used for cooking the bowties. Add the pasta to the sauce and stir gently to combine. Add more pasta water as necessary to get a smooth creamy texture to the sauce.

Toss pasta and red onion slices together and serve immediately.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Pumpkin White Chocolate Chunk Cookies

from Fresh Every Day by Sara Foster

2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup butterscotch chips
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened (1 1/2 sticks)
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup light brown sugar
1 egg
2/3 cup cooked pumpkin puree
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
8 ounces white chocolate, cut into 1/4 inch chunks OR
1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Lightly grease baking sheets or line with parchment. (I skipped this step and had no problems with sticking)

Put the flour and baking soda in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the butterscotch chips and process until the chips are ground into the flour, with a few slightly larger chips remaining. Turn the flour mixture out into a large bowl.

In another bowl, cream the butter and two sugars together until light and fluffy- about 2 minutes. Add the egg and pumpkin and mix together by hand. Pour the pumpkin mixture into the flour mixture, and stir just until combined. Add the oats, white chocolate and walnuts and stir until all mixed in and no flour remains. Cover the bowl and chill at least 10 minutes or overnight.

Use a 1/4 cup measure or ice cream scoop to drop the cookie dough onto the prepared cookie sheets, leaving 2 inches between cookies. Bake on a center rack in the oven for 13 to 15 minutes or until they're light golden brown and no longer doughy looking. Cool the cookies on the sheets for 10 to 15 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack.

Makes about 2 dozen 3 inch cookies.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Crock Pot Meatloaf

1 cup crushed herb crackers
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped green pepper
1/4 cup chili sauce
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds lean ground beef

In a bowl, mix everything except the beef. Mix well.

Gently mix in ground beef and form into a flattened ball.

Place in crock pot, cover, and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Cooking time will depend on your crock pot, mine tends to run hot and the meatloaf was done at 6 1/2 hours.