Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Shaker Chicken Pudding

(adapted from Old Shaker Recipes, from Bear Wallow Books, 1982)

2 c cooked chicken (or turkey)
1 c fresh sliced mushrooms
1/2 c diced onion
1/2 c thinly sliced celery
1 t salt
1/4 t pepper
1 t dried rosemary
2 c chicken stock
5 eggs, beaten
1 T butter, in slivers
Dash nutmeg

Preheat oven to 325. In a baking dish, combine chicken, vegetables, salt, pepper and rosemary. Mix well. Combine chicken stock with beaten eggs and pour them over the chicken and veggies. Dot the top with slivers of butter and a dash of nutmeg. Place baking dish in a pan with 1” hot water. (Put the larger pan in the oven and add boiling water, then the baking dish. Don’t put the water in the pan and then try to move it to the oven. You’re likely to splash hot water on yourself.) Bake at 325 for 50 – 60 minutes.

Turkey and Noodles

(Part of the LEFTOVERS from my THANKSGIVING DINNER for 12 for under $50)

To get the very last meal out of the Thanksgiving leftovers, make Turkey and Noodles. Like Chicken and Noodles, but with turkey instead of chicken. This was my aunt’s signature dish. Make it like CARCASS STEW, but add a pound or two of noodles to the broth. Homemade are best, of course, but probably more effort than you want to make right after Thanksgiving. I like curly noodles, but whatever you like – or whatever is cheapest. Meanwhile, boil up some more potatoes, and mash them. You serve the turkey and noodles over the mashed potatoes. Talk about carb heaven comfort food! You can really stretch the last of the leftover turkey this way, because the broth gives a strong turkey flavor to the noodles even if there wasn’t much meat left. You should be able to get more than four servings of Turkey and Noodles, because you’ve got the noodles and the potatoes to stretch it. It depends on how much water you used to cook the bones. In fact, if you really need to stretch it, make the Carcass Stew up through taking the meat off the bones, but save the bones. Put the bones back in more water, add a couple of tablespoons of vinegar and some more salt and pepper and poultry seasoning, and simmer them all for at least twelve hours, and up to 24, or even 36. You’ll be amazed at how much flavor was left in the bones. You can use this turkey broth, along with the leftovers, to make Carcass Stew, and use the first bunch of broth to make Turkey and Noodles. That’s really stretching things, but both meals should still be good even if they don’t have quite as much flavor as if you just make one meal out of the carcass. 

Turkey Carcass Stew

(part of the LEFTOVERS from my THANKSGIVING DINNER for 12 for under $50)

The last thing to do with Thanksgiving leftovers is to make CARCASS STEW. It uses up the leftovers that you haven’t done something else with, so make it after you’ve made the other leftover meals. After you’ve picked most of the meat off of the TURKEY bones (and I do mean most of it!), make turkey broth out of the carcass. Put the bones, an onion, and a couple of stalks of celery in a big soup pot, then add enough water to cover the bones. You should have at least six cups of water, and eight or ten cups isn’t too much. Add a bay leaf if you have it, and some poultry seasoning, salt and pepper. Add any leftover drippings, too, that you didn’t use to make the GRAVY, and the broth from cooking the turkey neck and giblets. Bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer at least a couple of hours. Pour the broth through a strainer (Don’t forget to save the broth! I did once. I carefully poured it all through a strainer and right down the drain. I’d forgotten to put a big bowl under the strainer.), wipe out the pot to be sure there are no tiny bones left in it, then pour the broth back in the pot. Add the leftover GRAVY, MASHED POTATOES, STUFFING and peas. Leftover SWEET POTATOES are good in it, too, as is a bit of CRANBERRY SAUCE. Not too much cranberry sauce, though. No more than half a cup or so. Add a cup or two of sliced celery and a chopped onion or two. Bring it back to a boil, then simmer it for about 30 minutes. You could add a chopped carrot or two or three. Meanwhile, take the remaining meat off of the bones. You’ll be amazed at how much meat there was left! Add the meat to the soup. You should end up with 10 or more cups, depending on how many leftovers you had. If there weren’t very many leftovers to put in it, dice a few potatoes and add them when you add the celery, onions and carrots. This should make at least four very generous servings. 

Turkey, Broccoli and Spinach Casserole

(part of the LEFTOVERS from my Thanksgiving Dinner for 12 for under $50)

3 or 4 cups of leftover turkey, diced
The leftover creamed spinach
1 pound frozen broccoli
4 ounces cream cheese
1 cup chopped onion

Cook the frozen broccoli with the chopped onion. If it was chopped broccoli, great. If it wasn’t, run it quickly through your food processor before you cook it so it ends up as chopped broccoli. If you process it after it’s cooked it’s likely to turn to mush. Combine everything and mix well. Put it in a casserole dish and bake it for about 40 minutes, or until it’s hot and bubbly. 

Waldorf Turkey Salad

(part of the  LEFTOVERS from my Thanksgiving Dinner for 12 for under $50)

The leftover apple/celery/grape/nut salad plus enough sliced celery to make 5 cups
3 cups leftover turkey, in large dice

Combine the leftover salad, the celery and the turkey. Add the cranberry sauce and mix it well. Add some more mayo if it needs it. Sprinkle each serving with some more chopped walnuts. If you have some lettuce, you could put each serving on a lettuce leaf.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Whipped Cream

(Part of my Thanksgiving Dinner for 12 for under $50)

I put about 2 cups of whipping cream in a medium-sized but deep bowl and whipped it with my mixer. When it was thick but not stiff, I added about a fourth of a cup of sugar and kept whipping it until it was as stiff as I wanted it.

Apple/Celery/Grape/Nut Salad

(Part of my Thanksgiving Dinner for 12 for under $50)

We always used to have this at Thanksgiving and Christmas, except we used raisins instead of grapes and we added marshmallows. The grapes and no marshmallows were to make it a bit lower carb so I could eat some, too. Either way works. I cut three apples, or a pound and a half (I happened to use one each of three different kinds, but use whatever is cheapest) into eighths, cored them, and then sliced them cross-wise. I cut half a pound of seedless black grapes into halves, and cut about a fourth of a head of celery into thin slices. (I just cut it off of the end, instead of pulling off the stalks and cutting them. It’s a lot easier.) I mixed the apples, grapes and celery with a cup of chopped walnuts and about half a cup of mayo and it was done. 

Creamed Spinach

(Part of my Thanksgiving Dinner for 12 for under $50)

I sautéed a chopped onion and a minced clove of garlic in a couple of tablespoons of butter until soft, then added about half a cup of whipping cream and 4 ounces of cream cheese. Meanwhile, I nuked a pound and a half (one bag) of spinach until it was hot, then added it to the cream mixture. I stirred it up good and it was ready to go. (Thanks to Dana Carpender for the recipe which is in one of her books.)

Cranberry Sauce

(Part of my Thanksgiving Dinner for 12 for under $50)

I just used the recipe from the bag, except I used Splenda instead of sugar (I assume you’ll use sugar), and I added a stick of cinnamon. So for a 12 ounce bag of cranberries, I put a cup each of water and Splenda in a saucepan, then added the cranberries and a stick of cinnamon. (You could use ground cinnamon if that’s what you have.) I brought it to a boil, then reduced it to a simmer and cooked it for about 5 minutes or so, or until the cranberries had mostly popped. I let it cool, then stuck it in the fridge, where it remains to this day, since I forgot to get it out for Thanksgiving dinner.

Sweet Potatoes

(Part of my Thanksgiving Dinner for 12 for under $50)

I fixed them very simply. I roasted them in their skins at 475 until they were soft, about half an hour or so. (Roasting them at the high temperature caramelizes them and makes them extra sweet.) I let them cool a bit, then peeled them. (The skin comes right off when they’re done.) I put them in a big bowl, added about a fourth of a cup of butter, and whipped them until they were smooth. No sugar or sweetener or marshmallows needed.

Mashed Potatoes

(Part of my Thanksgiving Dinner for 12 for under $50)

And they were really mashed, too – not whipped! But whipping works just as well and you may not have a potato masher. I peeled 8 potatoes (they were pretty small) and cut them in fourths. I put them in cold water (you want to start with cold water so they cook evenly), brought them to a boil, then reduced the heat and simmered them until they were done. I should have salted the water but I think I forgot. When they were done, I drained them, but saved the water. I put the potatoes in a big bowl and added about half a cup of the water they cooked in, and mashed them a bit. Then I added about a quarter of a cup of whipping cream and a couple of tablespoons of butter and mashed them until they were nice and smooth and creamy. If you were going to whip them, you’d do the same thing except use a mixer instead of a potato masher. I tossed the rest of the water they cooked in, but you could save it and use it to make soup or bread.


(Part of my Thanksgiving Dinner for 12 for under $50)

I chopped two onions and thinly sliced about a quarter of a head of celery, then sautéed them in a quarter of a cup of butter. I added them to stuffing mix and some broth from cooking the neck and giblets. (Actually, since I don’t eat grains, I cooked the celery and onions with some sausage and mushrooms, and didn’t use any butter or broth. Most people wouldn’t recognize what I made as dressing, but it serves the purpose as far as I’m concerned.)

Turkey Gravy

(Part of my Thanksgiving Dinner for 12 for under $50)

I took most of the drippings from the turkey and skimmed off some of the fat. I put the drippings in a skillet. Then I mixed a couple of tablespoons of flour with some water and added that to the drippings, stirring constantly. I added some salt and pepper and poultry seasoning and that’s it. (Actually, because I don’t eat any grains, I used another kind of thickener, but flour is what’s usually used.)

Roast Turkey

(Part of my Thanksgiving Dinner for 12 for under $50)

I thawed the turkey, then put it in one of those oven bags. I rubbed a couple of tablespoons of butter over the skin and under the skin on the breast, then baked it for about 3 hours. I find that the turkey comes out a lot moister when I roast it in the bag, even though it doesn’t look quite as nice. But it’s cut up before it goes on the table anyway (mangled is more like it, the way I carve it!) so it doesn’t really matter that it isn’t as pretty as if it had been roasted out of the bag. The time that the directions with the bag give are pretty close, and quite a bit shorter than if you roast it out of the bag, so be sure to use those directions and not the ones that come with the turkey itself.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Broiled Catfish with Mustard

(based on a recipe from Jane Brody’s Good Seafood Cookbook, 1994)

24 oz catfish (Swai) nuggets                                       
1 T oil or bacon grease                                                
Salt and pepper to taste                                             
2 T Dijon style mustard
2 T chopped fresh chives (see note below)
4 to 8 lemon wedges for garnish (see note below)

Place the broiler rack about 6 inches from the heat source. Heat the broiler. In a small bowl, combine the oil, salt and pepper, and mustard. Lightly grease a baking pan. Place the nuggets in the pan, then top with the mustard mixture. Place the pan on the broiler rack and broil the fish for about 5 minutes or until it is done. The mustard will become rich and dark in color but should not burn. Sprinkle the nuggets with the fresh chives and garnish with the lemon wedges.

Instead of using chives for garnish, you could add 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder to the mustard mix. Use fresh parsley instead to garnish, or just leave off the garnish. While fresh lemon is best, you could sprinkle the cooked nuggets with a bit of bottled lemon juice instead.

Italian Fish Soup

(adapted from a recipe in Jane Brody’s Good Food Book)

2 carrots, finely diced                                                 
1 onion, finely diced (about 8 oz)                                     
2 T olive oil                                                                 
2 large cloves garlic, minced                                             
3/4 t thyme                                                                  
1 14-oz can diced tomatoes (Italian or regular)  
2 lbs fish, in 1" to 2" pieces
4 c fish stock, heated (or water or a combination of water and chicken stock)
2 T minced fresh parsley (or 1 T dried)
salt and pepper to taste

In a large, heavy saucepan, cook the carrots and onion in the oil, stirring, until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the garlic and cook the vegetables for another minute. Add the thyme and tomatoes and simmer the mixture for 5 minutes. Add the fish and simmer the mixture for another 5 minutes. Add the hot stock, bring the soup to a boil and simmer it for 5 minutes. Stir in the parsley, salt and pepper.

Tartar Sauce

(like we used to make when I was a kid)

Combine mayo and chopped dill pickle. That’s it, though you could add a bit of finely chopped onion if you wanted to. 

Crispy Baked Catfish (Swai) Nuggets

(based on a recipe from catfishinstitute.com)

3/4 c grated parmesan cheese or finely grated sharp cheddar cheese        
1/4 t garlic powder                                                      
Dash pepper
1/3 c lemon juice (preferably fresh, but bottled will do)
2 T olive oil (or other oil)
24 oz catfish (Swai) nuggets
1/2 t paprika

Position oven rack on the bottom shelf of the oven. Preheat oven to 400. Grease a baking sheet well. In a shallow dish, combine cheese, garlic powder, and pepper. In another dish, whisk the lemon juice and olive oil together. (Note – if you don’t have lemon juice and olive oil, you can just use mayo instead.) Roll catfish nuggets in the lemon juice mixture (or coat with mayo). The easiest way is to add the nuggets to the oil and lemon juice (or put the nuggets in a bowl and add some mayo) and then get your hands in there and mix it up really well. It’s messy on the hands, but easy. Wash your hands, then roll the nuggets in the cheese mixture. (If you don’t wash your hands first, you’re going to have that cheese coating your hands instead of the fish.) Dust with the paprika. Place catfish on the prepared baking dish. Bake for 10 – 12 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350 and bake for another 8 to 10 minutes, or until the crust is golden and the fish flakes easily.

Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Parmesan and Herbs

·       2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter

·       2 shallots, diced small
·       2 garlic cloves, minced
·       1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
·       3/4 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
·       6 cups Roasted Spaghetti Squash*
·       1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
·       2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
·       Coarse salt and ground pepper

In a large nonstick skillet, melt butter over medium. Add shallots and garlic and cook until softened, 7 minutes. Stir in thyme and rosemary and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Add squash and toss to combine. Cook until warmed through. Stir in parsley and Parmesan and season with salt and pepper.

* How to Roast a Spaghetti Squash

Because a spaghetti squash is difficult to cut through when uncooked, we found that roasting it whole is the easiest way to prepare it for these spaghetti squash recipe. Here’s how:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. With a small sharp knife, prick squash all over. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and roast until tender when pierced with knife, about 1 hour 20 minutes, flipping halfway through. When cool enough to handle, halve lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Scrape squash with a fork to remove flesh in long strands.

You can refrigerate squash in an airtight container, up to 3 days.


Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin pie is one of the healthier desserts, since it consists of mostly squash (you can substitute butternut squash, by the way, in almost every recipe calling for pumpkin puree).

Bake the pumpkin ahead of time. Simply cut a small pumpkin in half, place it face down on a cookie sheet, and bake it at 350F, for an hour and 15 minutes, to an hour and a half. Once it has cooled a bit, the peel comes off easily (just scoop it out). Then puree it in the food processor or food mill (you could also use a potato masher or a fork).

I sometimes make the crust the night before, stick it in the fridge, and make the pie in the morning, but either way, you will want to chill the dough for 30 minutes before.
Use the Flaky Pie Crust recipe for the pumpkin pie crust. For this recipe, and other moist, custard-type pies, you can pre-bake the crust to keep it from getting soggy but it is not necessary for this particular filling.

CLASSIC PUMPKIN PIE FILLING  Adapted from Once Upon a Tart by Frank Mentesana and Jerome Audureau

2 large eggs
1 ¾ cup fresh pumpkin puree
1 tablespoon molasses
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon cloves (optional)
1 12-ounce can (1 ½ cup) evaporated milk
1 par-baked flaky piecrust

Position your oven racks so that one is in the center, and preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Whisk the eggs in a big bowl to break up the yolks. Whisk in the pumpkin, molasses and fresh ginger.  In a separate, medium-sized bowl, whisk the sugars and spices together. Add this to the pumpkin mixture, and whisk some more.  Gradually add the evaporated milk, stirring until the filling is smooth and the milk is fully incorporated into the pumpkin. Pour the pumpkin filling into the par-baked pie shell and bake for 35-40 minutes until the filling is firm to the touch and doesn’t jiggle when you shake the pan. Don’t worry if the top cracks slightly, that happens.  Cool on a wire rack before cutting into it.
Pastry Cookies on Top
If you like, you can make some decorations with pie dough scraps, bake them, and arrange them on top.  Here’s how: Roll out some dough scraps. Use a leaf-shaped cookie cutter (or whatever shape you like) to cut out some shapes. Brush the pastry with some cream, or milk. Sprinkle with sugar, place them on a baking sheet and bake until they are golden brown and crispy. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack. Just before serving the pie, arrange these “cookies” on top. 

Hey! What's Swai?

From what I’ve read, it’s mostly just a fancy name for catfish, designed to get you to think you’re getting something special instead of plain old catfish. (Note: It's farmed in Vietnam, in case you're concerned about imported fish.) My favorite seafood cookbook, Jane Brody’s Good Seafood Book, which came out in 1994, doesn’t mention Swai, but does talk about catfish. Here’s what she had to say about catfish.

Fish with similar taste and texture to catfish - carp, mullet, perch, porgy, salmon trout, sea bass, smelt, Spanish mackerel, striped bass, tilefish, and walleye

Fish with similar taste but more delicate texture than catfish – pollack, sea trout, trout and whiting

Fish with similar taste but firmer texture than catfish – char, grouper, mahi-mahi, and red snapper

Fish with similar texture but more delicate flavor than catfish – blackfish, cod, croaker, halibut, ocean pout, pike, pompano, redfish, skate, triggerfish, turbot, wahoo, and whitefish

Fish with similar texture but stronger flavor than catfish – bluefish, eel, mackerel, pomfret, sablefish, salmon, and yellowtail

What I found when I cooked some was that it fell apart easily and didn’t taste particularly fishy. I guess I would call that delicate taste and texture, though Jane Brody’s book calls them both medium.

You can use catfish or Swai in any recipe that calls for any of the fish listed above, though of course you need to consider the size of the pieces, too. Substituting Swai nuggets for a halibut steak, for example, wouldn’t work, though you could use the same seasonings and adjust the cooking time and method for the smaller pieces.

Flaky Pie Crust

Adapted from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything. 
For an 8 to 10 inch, two-crust pie. 

1  1/8  cups of all purpose flour, plus some for dusting the work surface.
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
8 Tablespoons cold unsalted butter (2 sticks, cut into 16 pieces)
about 3 Tablespoons ice water, plus more as needed.

Combine the flour, salt, and sugar in the container of a food processor; pulse once or twice. Add the butter and turn on the machine; process until the butter and flour are blended and the mixture looks like cornmeal, with a few pea-sized chunks (about 10 seconds).
Dump the mixture in a bowl and sprinkle 2 tablespoons of water over it. Use a wooden spoon or a rubber spatula to toss and combine, then sprinkle 1more tablespoon of water, and toss to combine. Gradually gather the mixture into a ball; if the mixture seems dry, add another ½ tablespoon ice water. When you can make the mixture into a ball with your hands, do so. Wrap in plastic wrap, flatten into a small disk, and freeze the dough for 10 minutes (or refrigerate for 30 minutes); this will ease rolling. (You can also refrigerate the dough for a day or two, or freeze it for up to 3 months).
You can roll the dough between two sheets of plastic wrap, usually quite successfully; sprinkle both sides of it with a little more flour, then proceed. Or sprinkle a countertop or large board with flour. Unwrap the dough disk and place it on the work surface; sprinkle its top with flour. If the dough is hard, let it rest for a few minutes; it should give a little when you press your fingers into it.
Roll with light pressure, from the center out. (If the dough seems very sticky at first, add flour liberally; but if it becomes sticky only after you roll it for a few minutes, return it to the refrigerator for 10 minutes before proceeding.) Continue to roll, adding small amounts of flour as necessary, rotating the dough occasionally, and turning it over once or twice during the process. (Use ragged edges of dough to repair any tears, adding a drop of water while you press the patch into place.) When the dough is about 10 inches in diameter (it will be less than ¼-inch thick), place your pie plate upside down over it to check the size. Move the dough into the pie plate by draping it over the rolling pin or by folding it into quarters, then moving it into the pan and unfolding it. When the dough is in the pan, press it firmly into the bottom, sides, and junction of bottom and sides. Trim the excess dough to about ½ inch all around. Freeze for 10 minutes (or refrigerate it for 30 minutes).

To par-bake the crust
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Refrigerate pie crust for 30 minutes. When you’re ready to bake, prick it all over with a fork.
Tear off a piece of foil large enough to fit over the entire crust when folded in half. then press it into the crust. Weight the foil with a pile of dried beans or pie weights or a tight fitting skillet or sauce pan--anything that will sit flat on the surface.
Bake 10 minutes on the center rack of your oven. Remove from the oven and carefully remove the weight and foil. Bake another 5 minutes, or until the bed of the pie shell appears dry. Remove from the oven and set it on a wire rack to cool.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Vegetable Lasagna with Butternut Bechamel

This one has several steps, but if you do it in stages, ahead of time, the final assembly will go quickly. It would also travel well, and will be wonderful reheated.

1 pound (about 16) lasagna noodles
2 to 2 1/2 pound butternut squash (or 2 pounds chopped squash)
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 large bunch (about 5 large leaves) chard, well-washed
1 pound fresh mushrooms, washed and sliced
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/4 cup water or white wine
1 cup milk, plus additional if needed
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 lemon, zested *
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves, plus extra for the top of the lasagna
1 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan and mozzarella cheese mix

Heat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease a 9x13-inch baking dish with olive oil. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil over high heat. Add the lasagna noodles and cook as directed on the package. When cooked, drain and lay out on clean kitchen towels to dry.
While the pasta is cooking, cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Brush the cut sides with olive oil and place in baking pan, cut side down. Bake for 40 minutes or until extremely soft.
Remove the stems and ribs from the chard leaves by folding each leaf in half lengthwise and using the tip of a chef's knife to slit away the main rib. Chop each rib and stem into 1/2-inch pieces. Roll each leaf up into a cigar shape, cut it in half lengthwise, and then crossways into thin ribbons.
Heat a thin drizzle of oil  in a 10-inch sauté pan. Turn the heat to medium-high and add the mushrooms. Cook without stirring until quite brown — about 5 to 7 minutes. Flip them over and cook for an additional 3 minutes. Turn the heat down to medium, and add the garlic and chard stems to the pan. Cook, stirring frequently, until the garlic is fragrant — about 3 minutes. Add the chopped chard leaves and 1/4 cup water or white wine and cook until the leaves are tender and wilted. Turn off the heat and season the vegetables lightly with salt and pepper.
At this point the butternut squash should be quite soft. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly. Scoop all the squash out of the peel, into a bowl and add 1/2 cup milk, the nutmeg, lemon zest and thyme. Use an immersion blender to puree the mixture, adding the remaining milk as you go (this can also be done in a traditional blender). Add extra milk if necessary to make the sauce smooth and creamy, but not too thin. (Think thin fruit smoothie.) Add salt and pepper to taste.
To assemble the lasagna, spoon about 1/4 of the butternut sauce into the bottom of the prepared baking pan and spread to thinly coat the bottom. Place 1/4 of the noodles on top (four noodles) and then spread 1/3 of remaining sauce on noodles. Top with 1/2 of the cooked vegetables, and 1/2 cup of cheese. Add another layer of noodles, then sauce, then the rest of the vegetables, and 1/2 cup of cheese. Place the final layer of noodles over the vegetables and spread the last 1/3 of the sauce over top. Sprinkle evenly with the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese and a pinch of thyme leaves.
Cover the lasagna with foil and bake at 375°F for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until the top is golden and the cheese is gooey. Remove from the oven and let stand uncovered for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing. Serve with a good green salad and some bread.

* the zest is the bright yellow part of the lemon peel. You can grate it off, with a fine grater, or carefully slice it off in thin strips, and then chop it finely. Be sure to avoid the white part of the peel, it doesn’t taste good.  Serves 6 to 8
This recipe was featured on http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-chard-mushroom-lasagna-137482

Roasted Acorn Squash with Wild Rice Stuffing

The acorn squash serves as a bowl for individual servings. An excellent balance of savory and sweet, this pilaf stuffing is autumnal and flavorful. The stuffing is versatile, try different grains, or other varieties of winter squash. This dish is gluten free, and can be made vegan by replacing the butter with olive oil or coconut oil. It works well as a vegetarian main dish at a Thanksgiving meal.

3 medium acorn squash (about 1 1/2 pounds each), halved lengthwise and seeds removed
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon packed dark brown sugar
1/2 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
2 medium shallots, finely chopped (or just use the other half of the onion)
4 celery stalks, finely chopped

1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves (or 2 teaspoons dried)
2 cups cooked wild rice mix (or brown rice, quinoa, cous-cous or a mix of cooked grains)
2/3 cup pecans, toasted and finely chopped
1/4 cup dried cranberries, finely chopped (or raisins or other dried fruit)
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed

Heat the oven to 450°F and arrange a rack in the middle.
Place the squash cut-side up on a baking sheet, brush 1 tablespoon of the melted butter over the tops and insides of the squash halves, sprinkle with the brown sugar, and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven until just fork tender, about 25 to 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, place 1 tablespoon of the melted butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. When it foams, add the onion, shallots, and celery, season with salt and pepper, and stir to coat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until just softened, about 6 minutes. Stir in the thyme and cook until just fragrant, about 1 minute.
Remove from the heat and stir in the rice, pecans, cranberries, and measured salt and pepper.

Divide the rice filling among the roasted squash halves (about 1/2 cup for each) and drizzle the remaining tablespoon of butter over top. Continue roasting until the squash is completely fork tender, the edges have started to brown, and the filling is heated through, about 20 to 25 minutes.

Thursday, November 8, 2012


(from a recipe in The Compleat I Hate to Cook Book, by Peg Bracken, 1986)

4 chicken leg quarters (or cut them into thighs and drumsticks, and save the backs for soup)
Salt and pepper
3/4 c ketchup (I usually use tomato sauce whenever a recipe calls for ketchup – it has less sugar)
1 c Coke (probably best to use regular not diet but a different brand would probably work

Salt and pepper the chicken pieces. In a casserole, warm up the ketchup, then add the chicken. Pour a cup of Coke over it all, and cover the casserole. Bake it at 350 for 30 minutes, then uncover it and cook it another half hour. That’s it. You might want to rearrange the pieces when you uncover it if the pieces on top aren’t getting any of the sauce.

5 Minute Chili Chicken

(from a recipe in The Compleat I Hate to Cook Book, by Peg Bracken, 1986)

8 to 10 chicken thighs or drumsticks (cut up the leg quarters, and save the back pieces for soup)
Salt and pepper
1/4 jar Chili Seasoning (or half a batch of CHILI SEASONING)
1/4 cup cider vinegar

Lay the chicken out in a big baking dish or a rimmed cookie sheet. Salt and pepper the chicken. In a small bowl, combine the vinegar and the chili seasoning, and paint each piece with it. (Use a pastry brush if you have one, otherwise, dip each piece in the mixture and shake off any excess back into the bowl.) Bake them at 350 for about an hour, or until done.

Chili Seasoning

(based on a recipe at food.com)

1-1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons dried onion (or 2 teaspoons onion powder)
1 teaspoon seasoning salt
1/2 teaspoon dried garlic (or 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin


(based on a recipe from The Compleat I Hate to Cook Book, by Peg Bracken, 1986)

4 chicken leg quarters, separated into thighs                    1/4 c dried onion flakes
      thighs and drumsticks, backs saved for soup             1/4 t crushed dried thyme
      (or 4 pounds thighs and/or drumsticks)                     1/4 t dried basil
1/2 c non-fat dry milk                                                     dash pepper
3 T cornstarch                                                                2-1/2 c chicken broth (or water)
1 T instant chicken bouillon                                             2/3 c dry white wine (or water)

Put the chicken pieces in a single layer in a large, flat baking dish. Combine everything else except the chicken broth and wine in a saucepan and mix well. Add the chicken broth (if you’re using water, add another tablespoon of instant chicken bouillon) and stir until combined. Cook and stir until thickened. Remove from heat and add the wine. Spoon this mixture over the chicken pieces. Cover, and bake at 300 for 2-1/2 hours. If you like a thicker sauce, mix 2 tablespoons of cornstarch with a little water and stir it into the sauce, giving it a chance to cook for a few minutes and thicken. You could use cream instead of the wine, too. Or, instead of my sauce or the canned soups in the original recipe, use the Campbell’s Soup Casserole Sauce Mix from last week’s column, but add a chopped onion or 3 or 4 tablespoons of dried onion. Or, come to think of it, you could use a cup and a half of milk instead of the dry milk, and reduce the chicken broth (or water) to a cup. Which might be cheaper than buying a whole carton of powdered milk just for this recipe.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Caribbean Chicken and Squash


4 chicken thighs, skin removed (about 2 pounds)  (don’t forget to save the skin for GRIBENES!)
1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
1 medium onion, cut into wedges
14 1/2 ounce can diced tomatoes
1/4 cup water or broth
1 tablespoon hot curry powder
1 teaspoon chopped fresh gingerroot
1/2 teaspoon salt, optional

In a 3 1/2 to 4 quart slow cooker, combine all ingredients except chicken. Mix well. Place chicken on top of mixture. Cook on LOW 8 to 10 hours or until squash is done and chicken juices run clear when pierced. Remove chicken from bones, and then cut into pieces. Stir into vegetable mixture.  

Cheese-Crusted Chicken with Cream

(unknown source)

4 large chicken thighs
1 Tablespoon Butter -- melted
4 Ounces Gruyere (Swiss) Cheese -- shredded
1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
3/4 Cup Whipping Cream

Rinse chicken, then pat dry. Brush skin with butter. Place chicken skin side up, preferably on a rack, in a baking dish or on a cookie sheet. Roast, uncovered, in a 375 degree oven for about 45 minutes to an hour, or until meat at thighbone is no longer pink (cut to test). Carefully pour drippings into a small sauce pan. Sprinkle the thighs with 1/2 cup of the cheese, return to oven and turn off heat.

Skim the fat from pan drippings. (Save them to scramble eggs in, or to pour over cooked veggies instead of butter.) Stir in the mustard and cream; bring to a boil over high heat and boil, stirring, until shiny bubbles form, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat, add remaining 1/2 cup of cheese, and stir until cheese is melted and sauce is smooth (if necessary, thin sauce with a little more cream). Keep sauce warm. Turn on broiler, and broil chicken 4 to 5 inches below heat until cheese is bubbly, about 1 minute. Pour sauce around chicken.