Kale and sausage stew

Been getting random veggies from a local farm delivered and decided to make a stew out of the green kale.

1 lb green kale
1 lb hot italian sausage
1 can condensed cream of chicken soup
16 oz of chicken broth
2 medium potatoes cubed
2 parsnips diced
1 chopped onion
2 medium carrots
1 can pinto beans
3 minced garlic cloves & two tablespoons olive oil.
Salt and pepper to flavor.

Brown the sausage, drain and set aside. Sauté the onions, carrots, potatoes, and parsnip to soften with the garlic and olive oil. In a large stock pot mix the broth and condensed cream of chicken and start dumping in the rest of the ingredients except the beans and kale. Add just enough water to make sure everything is covered and bring it to a boil. After boiling for a minute reduce to a simmer. Add the beans and kale and simmer for 60 minutes before serving.

Dan’s famous gretchen-wants-to-marry-this Chocolate Pudding

image Our friend from Philly, Dan, came over last week and made this outstanding bittersweet chocolate pudding that will make your wife want to leave you for chocolate. Recommended for anything from parties to apologies to simply celebrating the good times.

 

  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/8 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 12 ounces grated semi sweet chocolate
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 5 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
  1. In a large bowl whisk cocoa powder, flour, and sugar.  Gradually whisk in just enough of the milk to form a paste, then slowly whisk in the remaining milk.  Transfer to a large sauce pan and slowly bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly.
  2. Remove from the heat, add the chocolate, vanilla, and cinnamon, and stir to blend and to melt the chocolate.  Pour the pudding into ten 6-ounce ramekins.  Allow to cool, then cover and refrigerate until cold.
  3. Sprinkle the puddings with toasted pine nuts, and serve.  (Optional – we didn’t do this.)

One thing that’s critical here is that the service size feels a little large for one person.  Use either large shotglasses or small ramekins to serve.

Chunky Potato-Crab Chowder

If I were to make this again I’d recommend adding a little more salt and pepper for flavor than it recommends.  Less healthy, perhaps, but it tastes better.

Via Cooking Light

2 tablespoons butter
1 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped celery
1 garlic clove, minced
3 1/2 cups (1-inch) cubed red potato (about 1 pound)
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon grated whole nutmeg
1 (14 3/4-ounce) can cream-style corn
1 (14-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
8 ounces lump crabmeat, shell pieces removed
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon salt

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery, and garlic; sauté 4 minutes. Add potato; sauté 1 minute. Sprinkle with flour; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in milk, thyme, pepper, nutmeg, corn, and broth. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until potato is tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in crab, parsley, and salt; cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Yield:  6 servings (serving size: 1 1/2 cups)

CALORIES 265 (23% from fat); FAT 6.8g (sat 3.8g,mono 1.9g,poly 0.6g); PROTEIN 16.3g; CHOLESTEROL 47mg; CALCIUM 176mg; SODIUM 968mg; FIBER 3.1g; IRON 1.5mg; CARBOHYDRATE 36.5g

Peanut-Crusted Chicken with Pineapple Salsa

Pretty easy. Goes well with red wine steamed vegetables. 

Via Cooking Light

Ingredients

1 cup chopped fresh pineapple
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon finely chopped red onion
1/3 cup unsalted, dry-roasted peanuts
1 (1-ounce) slice white bread
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
4 (4-ounce) chicken cutlets
1 1/2 teaspoons canola oil
Cooking spray
Cilantro sprigs (optional)

Preparation

1. Combine first 3 ingredients in a small bowl, tossing well.

2. Combine peanuts and bread slice in a food processor; process until finely chopped. Sprinkle salt and pepper evenly over chicken. Dredge chicken in the breadcrumb mixture.

3. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add chicken to pan; cook 2 minutes on each side or until done. Serve chicken with pineapple mixture. Garnish with cilantro sprigs, if desired.

Yield

4 servings (serving size: 1 cutlet and 1/4 cup salsa)

Nutritional Information

CALORIES 219(30% from fat); FAT 7.4g (sat 1.1g,mono 3.4g,poly 2.1g); PROTEIN 28.9g; CHOLESTEROL 66mg; CALCIUM 27mg; SODIUM 398mg; FIBER 1.3g; IRON 1.2mg; CARBOHYDRATE 9.1g

Reduced Twice Red Wine Spaghetti Sauce

We had some left over red wine that was just past drinkable so we decided to cook with it last Friday.  I found this on Cooks.com.

http://www.cooks.com/rec/view/0,1826,144164-243206,00.html

I'd recommend adding 1 or 2 bell peppers, but I'm a bell pepper fan in my pasta sauce. Just mix them in with the onion mixture.  The second thing you can do is cook the pasta in a mixture of both wine and water for some extra decadence.  I'd certainly make this again.  Enjoy!

REDUCED TWICE RED WINE SPAGHETTI SAUCE

1 lb. hot ground Italian sausage
2 lg. onions, chopped
6 garlic cloves
2 c. hearty red wine
8 oz. beef broth
2 lg. cans pureed tomatoes
3 to 5 fresh tomatoes, chopped
2 bay leaves
1/4 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. basil
Handful of crushed red peppers
Salt and pepper

In a heavy frypan, cook the sausage (we get extra hot sausage). Drain off the fat. Set the meat aside and put the fat back in the pan. Add the chopped onions. Saute over medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes until the onions are golden brown. Crush the garlic and add directly to the onions. Stir for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the red wine and bring to a boil. Scrape the bottom of the pan with a spatula.
Place the sausage in a deep cooking kettle. Add the red wine and onion mixture to the sausage. Add boiling hot beef broth. Bring the liquid to a boil and reduce until the liquid has almost completely evaporated.

Add the fresh and canned tomatoes and the spices. Return the sauce to a boil, lower heat and let simmer, stirring frequently for 30 minutes or until the sauce has reduced to desired consistency. Remove the bay leaves and season with salt and pepper. (We're convinced the more you reduce something, the better it tastes. If you have the time, this is a wonderful spaghetti sauce. Try this sauce with our Spaghetti Pie recipe.)

Simple Sausage and Spinach Soup

This was very quick to make, very tasty, and was pairs excellently with a bold white wine.  We served with some bruscetta and baguettes.  Four stars!

Sausage and spinach soup

Fresh herbs are added after the soup cooks so they'll retain their bright color and flavor. You can substitute 1 teaspoon dried herbs for each tablespoon fresh, but add them with the tomatoes. Serve with a toasted baguette.

Ingredients

10 ounce sweet turkey Italian sausage
 Cooking spray
1 cup prechopped onion
2 teaspoons bottled minced garlic
1/2 cup water
1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 (14.5-ounce) can organic stewed tomatoes, undrained (such as Muir Glen)
1 (14-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2 cups baby spinach
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
2 tablespoons grated fresh Romano cheese

Preparation

Remove casings from sausage. Cook sausage in a large saucepan coated with cooking spray over high heat until browned, stirring to crumble. Add onion and 2 teaspoons garlic to pan; cook for 2 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup water, beans, tomatoes, and broth. Cover and bring to a boil. Uncover and cook for 3 minutes or until slightly thick. Remove from heat, and stir in spinach, basil, and oregano. Ladle 1 1/2 cups soup into each of 4 bowls, and sprinkle each serving with 1 1/2 teaspoons cheese.

Chicken Chilaquiles or Mexican Lasagna?

Gret and I tried this recipe earlier in the week.  I'd give the results a 2 of 5.  If you wanted to try this I'd highly recommend using only 6 or 8 of the corn tortillas and make a bit more of the tomatillo sauce because I think the recipe, as described, comes out too dry.

Chicken Chilaquiles

2 cups shredded skinless, boneless rotisserie chicken ***
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese with jalapeño peppers, divided
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 cup 1% low-fat milk
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 (11-ounce) can tomatillos, drained
1 (4.5-ounce) can chopped green chiles, drained
12 (6-inch) corn tortillas
 Cooking spray

Preparation

Preheat oven to 375°.

Combine chicken, green onions, 1/4 cup Monterey Jack cheese, Parmesan, chili powder, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl. Place milk and next 3 ingredients (through chiles) in a food processor or blender; process until smooth.

Heat tortillas according to package directions. Pour 1/3 cup tomatillo mixture into bottom of an 11 x 7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Arrange 4 corn tortillas in dish, and top with half of chicken mixture. Repeat layer with remaining tortillas and chicken mixture, ending with tortillas.

Pour remaining 1 1/2 cups tomatillo mixture over tortillas; sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup Monterey Jack cheese. Bake at 375° for 20 minutes or until bubbly.

Yield

4 servings (serving size: 1 1/2 cups)

Nutritional Information

CALORIES 347(28% from fat); FAT 10.9g (sat 4.5g,mono 2.9g,poly 1.9g); PROTEIN 30.9g; CHOLESTEROL 79mg; CALCIUM 272mg; SODIUM 560mg; FIBER 5.9g; IRON 1.5mg; CARBOHYDRATE 33.3g

A Parting Gift for Microsofties: Free Mocha

I realized that there were so many blog entries I hadn't written about life at Microsoft. Of all the posts I had in mind I think this has to be the most important since it has to do with free caffine.  We all know that Microsoft has those swanky iCup machines from starbucks, but did you know you can make yourself a really good mocha as well as drip coffee?

Step One: Make a short "left side" coffee

Step Two: Make a short cocoa… I bet you know where this is going now.

Step Three: Combine cocoa and coffee to desired level of mocha-ness. I prefer to pour about 50% of the cocoa into the coffee since I like my mocha's less sweet. 

And that's my parting gift to anyone at Microsoft who hasn't discovered this delicacy.

 

Stovetop Sausage Mac and Cheese

I've made this simple recipe a few times now since I spotted it in Cooking Light.  It's one of those where you question the "light-ness", but you really don't need a larger serving since it's very filling. 

The one change I'd recommend to the recipe below is using hot or spicy Italian sausage instead of the sun-dried tomato sausages.  It gives this recipe a bit more of a kick.  Enjoy!

Ingredients

4 ounces chicken and sun-dried tomato sausage (such as Gerhard's), chopped
1 1/4 cups fat-free milk
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese
1/3 cup (about 1 1/3 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/4 cup (2 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
5 cups hot cooked elbow macaroni (about 8 ounces uncooked pasta)
Chopped fresh parsley (optional)

Preparation

Heat a large nonstick saucepan over medium-high heat. Add sausage; sauté 4 minutes or until browned. Combine milk and flour in a small bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Add milk mixture to pan; bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium. Stir in cheeses, onion powder, and garlic salt; cook 3 minutes or until cheeses melt, stirring constantly. Stir in pasta. Garnish with parsley, if desired. Serve immediately.

Yield

4 servings (serving size: about 1 1/4 cups)

Nutritional Information

CALORIES 433(29% from fat); FAT 13.9g (sat 7.8g,mono 3.8g,poly 0.9g); PROTEIN 23.6g; CHOLESTEROL 56mg; CALCIUM 340mg; SODIUM 538mg; FIBER 2.7g; IRON 2.4mg; CARBOHYDRATE 53.1g

Beef Stew in Red Wine Sauce

This recipe was great but there are couple of things I'd recommend.  You only get four servings with what you see below.  For all the effort I'd recommend doubling up so you can freeze some or serve a larger crowd.  I also think a stew like this could use some starch so some cubed potatoes might had added a lot.  Other than that the stew was a fantastic 4 of 5 as long as you know it's going to take you a while to make.

Via Food & Wine

ingredients

  • 2 pounds beef from the flatiron part of the shoulder
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 bottle of red wine
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 15 cipollini or pearl onions
  • 15 cremini mushrooms
  • 15 baby carrots
  • 5-ounce piece of pancetta
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Dash of sugar
  • Chopped fresh parsley
directions
  1. For many Americans, the quintessential French stew is boeuf bourguignon—beef cooked in Burgundy red wine. The stew, featured regularly at my mother’s restaurant, was made from tougher, cheaper cuts of beef, which had to be braised a long time to get tender and to stay moist.
  2. For my beef stew, I like to use a special piece of the shoulder called the flatiron steak. This long, narrow piece is extremely lean, tender and moist, and it makes an ideal stew. I do not use stock, demiglace or even water. I make my stew strictly with a robust red wine. This rich, winey beef stew is always a hit with my chef friends.
  3. Buy about 2 pounds of beef from the flatiron part of the shoulder. Remove the skin or sinew from the top. Alternatively, use lean beef chuck in the same manner. Cut the meat into 8 pieces.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350°. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter with 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a cast-iron pot that is attractive enough for the table. Arrange the meat in one layer in the pot, and season it with salt and pepper. Cook on top of the stove over high heat for about 8 minutes, browning the meat on all sides.
  5. Add 1 cup of finely chopped onion and 1 tablespoon of finely chopped garlic. Cook over moderate heat for an additional 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 1 tablespoon of flour. Mix in well so that the flour doesn’t form lumps. Stir in 1 bottle of red wine. Add 2 bay leaves, a sprig of fresh thyme, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Stir well and cover.
  6. Place the pot in the oven and continue to cook for about 1 1/2 hours; the meat should be soft and tender and the liquid properly reduced. The recipe can be prepared to this point up to a day ahead.
  7. For the garnishes, peel 15 cipollini or pearl onions, wash 15 cremini mushrooms and peel 15 baby carrots. For the lardons, you will need one 5-ounce piece of pancetta. Bring the pancetta and 2 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan and simmer for about 30 minutes; drain. Cut the pancetta into 1/2-inch slices and then cut the slices into 1-inch-wide lardons.
  8. Combine the onions, mushrooms, carrots and pancetta in a skillet with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1/4 cup of water and a good dash each of sugar, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and simmer, covered, for about 15 minutes; at this point, there should be practically no water left. Uncover and cook over high heat, sautéing the vegetables until nicely browned on all sides, about 4 minutes.
  9. To serve, mix some of the vegetables and lardons into the stew and sprinkle the rest on top as a garnish. Add a little chopped fresh parsley and serve.