Tuesday, November 27, 2012

french toast casserole with blueberries and cream cheese

Based on this recipe, with some fairly substantial modifications. I've made it once with the blueberry sauce and once without, and I think it's actually better with just plain maple syrup on top.

You could make this right before eating it, of course, but letting it sit overnight helps everything meld together.

  • A loaf and a half of challah (the best way) or a substantial amount of any kind of bread
  • One package cream cheese (you can use reduced fat, but the regular kind melts better)
  • A pint of fresh blueberries or a few handfuls of frozen
  • 8 eggs
  • 1/2 to 1 c milk
  • 1/2 c maple syrup
  • dash of vanilla
  • dash of cinnamon
Grease a 9x13 glass baking dish.

Cut the cream cheese into little squares.

Tear the bread into bite-sized pieces and layer them in the dish with the cream cheese and blueberries, distributing things somewhat evenly.

Whisk together the eggs, milk, syrup, vanilla and cinnamon. Pour it over the casserole a little at a time, making sure it's absorbed. You might have a little extra, but stop at the first sign of egg puddles.

Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.

In the morning, preheat the oven to 350 and bake covered for half an hour. Remove the foil and bake for another 20-25 minutes until everything is toasty brown and all the eggs are fully cooked through.

Monday, November 19, 2012

White Bean and Chicken Chili - slow cooker recipe

Adapted from ATK's Slow Cooker Revolution and a recipe I swiped from I's.

1 container low-sodium chx broth
1 can hominy, drained and rinsed or 2 C fire roasted frozen corn (no need to thaw)
2 T veg oil
2 onions, small dice
3 large bell peppers, medium dice
4 jalapeno chiles, stemmed, seeded and minced OR 2 chiles in adobo, minced
6 garlic cloves, minced
4 t ground cumin
2 t ground coriander
1 t smoked paprika
1/2 t cayenne
3 15 oz cans cannellini or Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
3 lbs bone-in chx thighs, skin removed and trimmed (I used 2 large breasts and 6 drumsticks because that's what was in my freezer)
potato flakes for thickening soup, optional

In a microwave safe bowl add oil, onions, spices and jalapenos/chiles in adobo and microwave on high for 4 min then stir.  Microwave another 3 min and add to slow cooker along with broth, bell peppers and beans.  Season chx with S&P and nestle into slow cooker.  Cover and cook until chx is tender, 4-6 hrs on low.

Transfer chx to cutting board and allow to cool slightly.  Using an immersion blender or potato masher, blend/mash stew a bit to release starch from beans.  Avoid blending until all veg is pureed.  Add corn and potato flakes if needed.  Shred chx and return to soup.  Allow to sit 5 min, season with S&P if needed and serve with cilantro, avocado and lime wedges.  Would be very tasty with rice or tortilla chips on the side.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

spicy lentil soup with chicken sausage

From Joy the Baker.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound spicy chicken sausage, uncased
1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
3 celery stalks, finely diced
2 carrots, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons dried ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes
2 cups uncooked French lentils, rinsed
8 cups chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste
parmesan cheese, olive oil, and bread to serve

In a large saucepan over medium heat, warm olive oil.  Add the uncased chicken sausage and cook, breaking up with a spatula as it cooks.  Sausage should finish cooking in small chunks.  Remove from the pan.

Add a touch more olive oil if necessary.  Add onions, celery, and carrots.  Cook until the onions are transluscent, about 5 to seven minutes.  Stir occasionally.  Add the garlic, cumin, and chili flakes, and cook for one minute more.

Add the sausage back to the pan.  Stir to incorporate.  Add the lentils and chicken stock.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer the soup, uncovered, until the lentils are tender, about 45 minutes.
Serve soup with a generous sprinkling of parmesan cheese, a drizzle of olive oil, and good crusty bread.  Soup will last, in an airtight container in the fridge, for up to 5 days.  Soup also freezes well.

baked pasta with ricotta and butternut squash

This has officially replaced the old way I used to make this meal, because this way is easier and better. That is all.

  • Up to two lbs. peeled, seeded butternut squash, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 large onions, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Some tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 ounces dried corkscrew-shaped pasta, such as fusilli or rotelli
  • 1 1/2 cups low-fat ricotta cheese
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with heavy-duty aluminum foil and spray with olive oil or cooking spray.

Oil the baking sheet and spread out the squash and onions in a single layer. Grate nutmeg over everything, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and spray or drizzle with olive oil.

Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, until the squash is tender and the onion has browned lightly. Remove the vegetables from the oven; reduce the temperature to 350 degrees.

While the vegetables roast, cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain.

Combine most of the ricotta with some of the Parmesan cheese in a large bowl; add salt and pepper to taste. Add the cooked pasta and toss to incorporate.

Add the roasted vegetables to the bowl and gently mix to combine. Transfer the mixture to a greased 9x13 baking dish. 

Spread the rest of the ricotta over the pasta, smoothing it out, but it doesn't have to be completely even. Sprinkle more Parmesan over it. 

Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until heated through. After the pasta has baked, turn on the broiler, uncover the pasta and broil for 3 to 4 minutes, until the cheese has lightly browned.