30 January 2010

Gnocchi Alfredo



This is another Taste of Home recipe I tried last night. I had a little trouble with it; mostly because I read it wrong. (That's why it doesn't look so hot in the picture.) It can be made as a side dish, or as a main dish with the addition of cooked chicken. I found the serving size to be off, so here is my amended recipe.

Gnocchi Alfredo

Ingredients:
1 lb. gnocchi, frozen, refrigerated, or boxed
3 tbsp butter, divided
1 tbsp flour
¾ cup milk
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Dash ground nutmeg
4 oz. baby portobello mushrooms, sliced
2 cups chicken breast, cooked and cubed, optional

Directions:
Cook gnocchi according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, melt 1 tbsp butter. Stir in flour until smooth; gradually add milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1-2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from the heat; stir in cheese and nutmeg until blended. Keep warm.

Drain gnocchi. In a large skillet, cook remaining butter over medium heat for 5-7 minutes or until golden brown. Add mushrooms, gnocchi, and chicken. Cook and stir 4-5 minutes or until gnocchi are lightly browned and mushrooms are tender. Serve with sauce.

Makes 4 servings.

Nutrition Facts (excluding chicken)
Serving Size: 1 cup gnocchi with ⅓ cup sauce
Calories: 529
Fat: 14g
Sat. Fat: 8g
Cholesterol: 46mg
Sodium: 996mg
Carbohydrates: 81g
Fiber: 5g
Protein: 19g

Taste of Home, August/September 2009


So where I went wrong was with the sauce. Every bechamel sauce I have ever made called for a one-to-one ratio of butter to flour. So I didn't notice that this one called for 1 tbsp butter and 1½ tbsp flour. I made it with 1 tbsp of each. Which would have been fine, except that the recipe originally calls for 1½ cups of milk. That is not enough flour for that much liquid and it didn't thicken up for me. I melted another tbsp of butter and mixed it with another tbsp of flour and added that to the saucepan and then it thickened up for me.

So the other issue I had with this recipe was the serving size. It originally called for 2 lbs. of gnocchi and 8 oz. mushrooms. It said that it made 5 servings, but I thought that 2 lbs. of gnocchi for 5 servings seemed like a lot. I decided to cut it in half, using only 1 lb. of gnocchi. That was fine, the problem was that I didn't halve the sauce. I realized this after it was done and I set it aside to cook the mushrooms. I decided I would just use half of it, and save the other half in the fridge for some other application. Again, that would have been fine, except that by the time I added the sauce, I had forgotten and accidentally added it all. Oops! It was way too much sauce and looked gloopy and yucky. It tasted okay, but did not look pretty enough for a picture. I had taken some of the gnocchi out of the pan before adding the sauce because my daughter is somewhat lactose intolerant and can't have much dairy in the evening. I added a teeny tiny bit of the sauce to her serving (not enough to bother her), and took the picture with that.

So I can't say that dinner last night was a success, but I will be trying this recipe again, using the right ratio of sauce to gnocchi! I did like how the gnocchi and mushrooms were sauteed in browned butter; I snuck one of the gnocchi out of the pan before adding the sauce, and it was delicious. Too bad I then drowned it in alfredo sauce!

So that the picture does not turn you off completely from trying this recipe, here is what it was supposed to look like:






29 January 2010

Creamy Turkey Curry with Summer Vegetables


This is a Taste of Home recipe I tried last night that we absolutely loved. You can't access the original recipe online unless you are a subscriber of Taste of Home, so I can't give you the link, but here is my amended recipe.

Creamy Turkey Curry with Summer Vegetables

Ingredients:
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
½ tsp curry powder
1 cup chicken broth
¼ cup milk
1 small yellow squash, sliced
1 small zucchini, sliced
½ small onion, diced
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cups turkey breast, cooked and cubed
4 servings rice, cooked

Directions:
In a small saucepan, melt butter; stir in flour and curry until smooth. Gradually add broth and milk, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1 to 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from the heat; set aside.

In a large skillet, sauté the squash, zucchini, and onion in oil until desired tenderness. Add turkey and reserved sauce; heat through. Serve over hot rice.

Makes 4 servings.


This is so tasty! And super easy to prepare. It was originally meant to use up leftover turkey from Thanksgiving, but since I didn't have that, I used a can of cooked turkey breast from the store (right next to the tuna). If you don't have to cook the turkey, this dish comes together very quickly.

I made only two tiny changes. The original recipe called for grated lemon peel and a garnish of chopped cashews. I didn't think the lemon peel went with curry that well and I don't care for chopped nuts on my food, so I left them out.

Even though they are out-of-season, the zucchini and squash are so good in this. They were teeny tiny. I can't wait to try it when they are in season.

A note about the chicken broth: I used regular chicken broth for this. If you are using reduced-sodium, you might want to check it towards the end to see if it needs salt.

This is definitely going into my regular dinner rotation!

21 January 2010

White Trash


This is a dessert that Alton Brown mentioned on an episode of Dear Food Network last year. It sounded so good that people hounded him for the recipe until he posted it on his personal website. I heard about it this Christmas and found it on Recipezaar. My sister and I made it when we got together for Christmas.

White Trash

Ingredients:
6 cups Cinnamon Chex

3 cups Cheerios
16 oz. plain M&Ms or Reese’s Pieces
2 cups small pretzels
2 cups mixed nuts
3 (11 oz.) packages white chocolate chips


Directions:
Dump the cereal, M&Ms, nuts & pretzels in a large bowl.
Melt the white chocolate in a double boiler. Melt very slowly, stirring occasionally, being careful not to burn the chocolate.
Dump melted chocolate over the rest of the ingredients and fold over and over until you have well-coated hunks and chunks.
Spread the whole mess out on parchment paper and set in a cool place until it sets up, then break it into pieces.
Store in zip-top bags or air-tight containers.

Makes 25 cups.


Yummy! This is so good! I made a few changes. The original recipe called for 3 cups of Rice Chex and 3 cups of Corn Chex. My grocery store was out of regular Chex (because it was on sale that week), so I got a box of Cinnamon Chex. This ended up being the best substitution ever! The Cinnamon Chex was so good in this. I will definitely use that from now on. I also left out the nuts, just because I don't really like them. And I can't eat chocolate right now (sad, I know!), so I used Reese's Pieces instead of the M&Ms. It was okay, but I am looking forward to trying it with M&Ms. I didn't really like the Cheerios in this recipe. They tasted too much like Cheerios to me! I think next time I will leave them out and substitute more of the Cinnamon Chex.

The only other change I made was to increase the amount of white chocolate. It called for two bags, but I saw pictures of the result on Recipezaar, and it didn't look very white to me. I wanted it to be more on the sweet side, so we used three bags. This definitely makes it sweeter!

We didn't have a bowl big enough to mix all of this together at once, so we split it up and mixed in two batches. Then we dumped it all out on parchment and let it harden. Then we had trouble not eating it while it was hardening!

The great thing about this recipe is how easy it is to customize it to your preferences. You can throw anything you want in there! And remember, it makes a lot! If you are making it just for yourself, you will probably want to reduce the recipe. Or be prepared to give some of it away.




Sausage Roll Rosettes


This is a new recipe I made for our church breakfast last Sunday. I saw it in Cooking Light magazine.

Sausage Roll Rosettes

Ingredients:
1 (11 oz.) can refrigerated French bread dough
2 tbsp butter, melted
8 oz. sage flavored pork sausage, cooked and crumbled
¾ cup shredded Gruyère or mozzarella cheese
Cooking spray

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350°.

Find lengthwise seam in dough. Beginning at seam, gently unroll dough into a rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Brush with butter, leaving a ½" border. Sprinkle sausage mixture evenly over dough, leaving a ½" border; top with cheese. Press toppings firmly into dough. Starting with a long side, roll dough up, jelly-roll fashion; press seam to seal. Cut 1 (½" thick) crosswise slice from each end; discard. Slice roll crosswise into 12 (½" thick) pieces; arrange in a 13 x 9" baking dish coated with cooking spray.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden.

Makes 6 servings (serving size: 2 rolls)

Nutritional Information
Calories 312
Fat 17g
Sat. Fat 8g
Cholesterol 52mg
Sodium 640mg
Carbs 25g
Fiber 0g
Protein 16g
Calcium 146mg
Iron 2mg


These were a hit at the church breakfast. I served them with fruit salad. I made four batches. I baked them the night before, refrigerated them in a large bowl, then heated them up in a very low (170) oven during the worship service. They were nice and warm after church. (I covered the bowl with foil so that they didn't get any more brown.)

I only changed a few things from the original recipe. It called for fresh sage and salt to be added to the sausage. I skipped the sage and just bought sage-flavored sausage. I didn't think the sausage would need salt because sausage is usually pretty salty, and so is cheese, so I didn't see the need.

I couldn't find Gruyere at the little grocery store in our town, so I used an Italian blend that was pre-shredded. While it worked okay, it wasn't ideal. It had parmesan in it, which doesn't melt. It just kind of got brown instead. So I think next time I will use mozzarella instead.

Here are a few pics of the process:


Unrolling the dough. I did four of these, and some were easier than others. Make sure you keep the dough in the fridge until right before you unroll it, because it gets harder to separate it the warmer it gets. Just be gentle with it so that it doesn't tear. The original recipe said to roll it out to be 13" by 8", but I had a hard time with this and decided to just keep it the size and shape it was. That worked just fine.



Brush with butter and sprinkle on the sausage. I'm not really convinced the butter is necessary. Next time I might try it without and see if it makes a difference.


Sprinkle on the cheese. The recipe didn't say this, but I found it beneficial to press the sauage and cheese into the dough before rolling it up.


Roll it up. There were a few thin spots on this one because it was the first one I did, and the only one I tried to press out to the stated size. The thin spots were why I abandoned that idea.


Place in the pan. Make sure they have a bit of room because they will expand a little bit. Instead of 12 rolls, I got about 15 per batch.


This is what they look like coming out of the oven. You don't want to do more than 15 per batch.



I was really surprised when they came out looking like little roses! So pretty! When you cut the rolls, usually one side will be a little bit scrunched together from where the knife went through. If you don't correct that, they come out looking like this. Personally, I like them this way. (That's why I changed the name from "Savory Sausage Breakfast Rolls" to "Sausage Roll Rosettes"!)

11 January 2010

Tasty Turkey and Mushrooms


This is another Taste of Home recipe. I actually tried it over two years ago, but I didn't write anything down about it and therefore, don't remember much about it. I ran across it again recently and decided to treat it as a new recipe. It was good, but I will make a few changes the next time I make it. Here is my amended recipe.

Tasty Turkey and Mushrooms

Ingredients:
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 lb. boneless skinless turkey breast, cut into strips
1 cup reduced-sodium beef broth
2 tbsp tomato paste
8 oz. sliced fresh mushrooms
¼ tsp salt
Cooked rice or egg noodles (optional)

Directions:
In a large nonstick skillet, saute garlic in oil until tender. Add turkey; cook until juices run clear. Remove and keep warm. Add the mushrooms to skillet; cook for 3-5 minutes or until mushrooms are tender, stirring occasionally. Add tomato paste, broth, and salt. Return turkey to the pan and heat through. Serve over rice or egg noodles.

Note: If sauce is too runny, combine 1 tsp cornstarch and 1 tsp beef broth and add to pan. Stir and cook until sauce thickens.

Makes 4 servings.


The original recipe called for butter instead of olive oil. But I always use olive oil for sauteing veggies, so I used that. The original recipe also said to add the broth, tomato paste, and mushrooms all at once. I made it that way, and it took a long time for the mushrooms to get soft; longer than the 3-5 minutes it said it would take. I think it will work better next time to saute the mushrooms first, then when they are soft, add the broth and tomato paste. I also reduced the amount of broth because I thought the sauce was too thin. As mentioned in the note above, I added cornstarch to it to thicken it. Otherwise it would have just run all over the plate.

Before I made it, I wasn't sure if I should serve this dish over something, like rice or pasta, or if it was a stand-alone dish. The recipe didn't have any serving suggestions. So I served it alone with Mashed Potatoes with Spinach on the side. After eating, I think it would be good served over egg noodles, and maybe even rice. I'll use the noodles next time.

Mashed Potatoes with Spinach



This is a recipe I saved a while ago from BHG.com and made the other night.

Mashed Potatoes with Spinach

Ingredients:
4 medium potatoes
½ cup sour cream (I use lowfat)
2 tbsp butter or margarine
1 tbsp chives
5 oz. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well-drained
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400°. Peel and dice potatoes. In a medium pot, boil potatoes in salted water for 20 to 25 minutes or until tender. Drain and mash. Add sour cream, butter, and chives; mash again until butter is melted and mixture is smooth. Stir in spinach. Transfer to a 1½ quart casserole. Bake uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes or until heated through. Sprinkle with cheese.

Makes 4 servings.

Nutrition Facts (calculated using regular sour cream and real butter)
Calories 306
Fat 17g
Sat. Fat 11g
Cholesterol 44mg
Sodium 200mg
Carbohydrate 30g
Fiber 5g
Protein 11g


We love mashed potatoes and spinach, so this dish was right up our alley. I didn't find much to change about it. The original recipe made 12 servings, so I halved it. I found that halving the recipe made four servings for us, instead of 6. Like I said, we love our mashed potatoes! I recalculated the nutrition info to match the bigger portion size, but not to reflect using lowfat sour cream instead of regular.

A note on the chives: I don't usually have fresh on hand, but I have freeze-dried chives from Penzey's. I soaked them in a bit of warm water before adding to the potatoes to make sure they were soft. I didn't want little crunchy bits in there. It worked really well.


Just before going into the oven.


Ready to serve. Yum! (I really need to get a new round baking dish! See the lovely chips and cracks in mine?)

09 January 2010

Sweet Potato Pork Chops with Citrus Gravy


Dinner last night. This recipe comes from Taste of Home.

Sweet Potato Pork Chops

Ingredients:
Salt
4 boneless pork loin chops (5 oz. each and ¾” thick)
2 tsp canola oil
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into ¼” slices
2 tbsp butter, melted
⅔ cup orange juice
2 tsp brown sugar
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp fresh ginger, grated
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp cold water

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350°. Season pork chops with salt. In a medium skillet, brown pork chops in oil. Place in an 8” square baking dish coated with cooking spray. Layer with sweet potato; drizzle with butter.

In a small saucepan, combine the orange juice, brown sugar, salt, and ginger; bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Pour over sweet potato.

Cover and bake for 40 minutes or until the pork reaches 160° and potato is tender. Remove pork and potato; keep warm. Pour pan juices into a small saucepan. Combine cornstarch and water until smooth; stir into juices. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1 minute or until thickened. Serve with pork and sweet potato.

Makes 4 servings.

Nutrition Facts
One serving: 1 pork chop with ½ cup sweet potato
Calories: 356
Fat: 16g
Sat. Fat: 7g
Cholesterol: 84mg
Sodium: 252mg
Carbohydrate: 23g
Fiber: 2g
Protein: 28g


We absolutely loved this dish. Sweet potatoes and pork chops go so well together for some reason. I only made a few minor changes to this recipe. It called for mace in the orange juice mixture. I don't have mace and since I have run across very few recipes that call for it, I had no interest in purchasing it. It was such a small amount that it didn't seem worth it. Also, it called for ground ginger instead of fresh, but I don't really like using ground ginger (it has little flavor) and I always have fresh on hand.

The original recipe said to bake it for 30-35 minutes, but mine took longer. I checked it at 30 and the potatoes were still too firm, so I put it on for another 10 minutes. I took it out then and set it in the extremely warm spot on the top of my stove (where the oven vents) to stay warm while I finished the gravy. So it's possible that it did a little carry over cooking then. The sweet potatoes weren't mushy and kept their shape well. Perfect.

I amended the recipe to season the pork before browning. The original recipe didn't call for that and I thought the pork could use it.

This was definitely a winner. I served it with Parmesan Broccoli for a wonderful meal.


Parmesan Broccoli


I got this recipe from Food Network Magazine. It's simple, yet tasty. Fresh broccoli tossed with parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs and roasted in the oven. Here's how I will make it next time:

Parmesan Broccoli

Ingredients:
1 head fresh broccoli, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
¼ cup breadcrumbs
¼ cup parmesan

Directions:
Preheat a baking sheet on the lower rack in a 450° oven. Combine breadcrumbs and parmesan. Toss broccoli with olive oil and then the breadcrumb mixture. Place on the hot baking sheet and top with more cheese and breadcrumbs; roast until golden, 15 minutes, stirring halfway through.

Makes 4 servings.


The original recipe called for boiling the broccoli in salted water with sliced garlic before roasting. I made it that way last night and it came out mushy. We like our broccoli with a little bit of bite to it, so this was too mushy for us. Next time I make it, I will cut out the boiling and roast it fresh. That's usually how I roast veggies: asparagus, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, carrots, and broccoli. I don't see the need to boil first.

Oh, and I forgot to preheat the baking sheet. I'm not sure what difference this makes.

Last night I served this with another new recipe: Sweet Potato Pork Chops with Citrus Gravy. It made a wonderful meal.