Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Butternut Squash Macaroni and Cheese

Squash and Mac and Cheese?  Who knew that combination could be so delicious.  Though I will warn you this is not a budget dish.  We went and bought gruyere , pecorino Romano , and parmigiano-reggiano cheese.  Add that with the squash, and you've got a bit of a grocery bill.  But it was definitely worth it because it tasted so good.  The plus: using the squash makes it creamy so you can get away with a bit less cheese than the normal mac and cheese.  And you feel good about yourself because there is a veggie somewhere in all that cheesy goodness.

3 C butternut squash, peeled and cubed (throw it in the microwave for a few minutes first to make peeling and cubing easier)
1 1/4 C chicken broth
1 1/2 C milk
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 Tbsp greek yogurt
1 1/4 C (about 5 oz) Gruyere cheese, shredded
1 C (about 4 oz) Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
1/4 C (about 1 ounce) Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated, divided
1 lb cavatappi, cooked
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 C panko
2 Tbsp fresh parsley

Combine squash, broth, milk, and garlic in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium nd simmer until squash is tender.  Place squash mixture in a blender.  Add salt, pepper, and greek yogurt.  Remove the center piece of the blender lid, cover the opening with a towel, and blend until smooth.  Place squash in a bowl and stir in the gruyere, pecorino Romano, and 2 Tbsp Parmigiano-Reggiano.  Add cooked pasta to squash mixture.  Spread in a greased 9x13 baking dish.

 Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat.  Add panko and cook until golden brown.  Remove from heat.  Stir in remaining 2 Tbsp Parmigiano-Reggiano.  Sprinkle over pasta.

Bake at 375 for 25 minutes.  Sprinkle with parsley.

Original recipe from September 2011 Cooking Light article by Sidney Fry

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Chicken with Mushroom Sauce

Oh how I love mushrooms.  This recipe is also from January when we had a plethora of mushrooms in the house.

4 chicken breast halves
Olive oil
Salt, pepper
1/4 C chopped shallots
8 oz presliced mushrooms
2 minced garlic cloves
1/2 C dry white wine
1 1/2 tsp flour
3/4 C chicken broth
2 Tbsp butter
1 tsp fresh thyme

Pound each chicken breast to 1/2 inch thickness.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Heat a little olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add chicken to pan and cook 3 minutes on each side or until done.  Remove chicken and keep warm. 

Add shallots and mushrooms to the pan.  Saute until browned.  Add garlic, saute for 1 minute.  Stir in wine.  Bring to a boil.  Cook until liquid almost evaporates completely.  Sprinkle with salt and flour.  Cook 30 seconds, stirring frequently.  Add broth to pan, bring to a boil.  Cook until slightly thick.  Remove from heat.  Add butter and thyme, stirring until butter melts.  Serve with chicken.

Some tasty fungi and now a cute little fun guy:

Monday, February 20, 2012

Pimiento Cheese Chicken

The cheese mixture kind of gooed out the side of the chicken, making for an odd looking picture but a delicious meal!

1 slice bacon
3/4 C shredded cheddar cheese
2 Tbsp green onions
1 1/2 Tbsp diced pimientos (I used red peppers because it's what I had in the fridge)
1 C mayonnaise
2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp hot sauce
Salt and pepper
4 chicken breast halves
1 Tbsp canola oil

Cook bacon.  Remove bacon but reserve drippings.  Combine bacon, cheese, green onions, pimientos, mayonnaise, lemon juice, hot sauce, and a bit of salt.  Cut a 1-inch wide slit into each chicken breast and create a pocket.  Divide cheese mixture evenly among chicken, stuffing into the pockets.  Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper.  Saute chicken in bacon drippings for 4 minutes on each side (it was only one slice of bacon, and therefore not that much drippings.  I promise this wont break your calorie budget for the day).  Bake at 350 for 12 minutes.  Let stand for 5 minutes.

Recipe from article by Julianna Grimes in the Jan/Feb 2011 Cooking Light Magazine. 

Friday, February 17, 2012

Mushroom Lasagna

Confession:  We ate this over a month ago, and I'm just barely getting to posting it.  The dish was delicious, don't get me wrong, but for awhile the camera battery was always dead every time I had a free moment (i.e. nap time) to sit down and blog.  Now the fates have aligned, the camera is charged, and the baby is napping and as a result, you get this delicious recipe.  Thanks Po and Ted for making this delicious dinner!

A few notes: We couldn't find the fresh exotic mushroom blend.  Po got a variety of dried mushrooms and fresh mushrooms and tweaked the recipe slightly.  I'm not really sure how she altered the recipe, but whatever she did was delicious.  What I'm posting below is the original recipe since I don't know the changes she made.  Also, she didn't use all of the baking liquid because she thought it looked like too much liquid.  After it baked, however, we all agreed the extra liquid would not have been too much and that we could have used all of it.

1 C boiling water
1 oz dried porcini mushrooms
1 Tbsp butter
Olive oil
1 1/4 C shallots
8 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced
4 oz presliced exotic mushroom blend
salt and pepper
1 1/2 Tbsp fresh Thyme
6 garlic cloves, minced, divided
1/2 C white wine
1/3 C neufchatel cream cheese
2 Tbsp fresh chives, chopped, divided
3 C milk, dividied
1/4 C flour
9 no-boil lasagna noodles
1/2 C Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated

Combine the boiling water and dried porcini mushrooms.  Cover and let stand 30 minutes.  Drain mushrooms, reserving cooking liquid.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add shallots to pan; saute.  Add the fresh mushrooms, salt, and pepper.  Saute 6 minutes or until mushrooms are browned.  Add thyme and 3 garlic cloves.  Saute 1 minute.  Stir in wine.  Bring to a boil.  Cook until almost all the liquid evaporates.  Remove from heat.  Stir in cream cheese and 1 Tbsp chives.  Add porcini mushrooms.

Heat a saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add olive oil.  Saute 3 garlic cloves.  Add reserved porcini cooking liquid, 2 3/4 C milk, salt, and pepper.  Bring to a boil.  Whisk together 1/4 C milk and flour.  Slowly add flour mixture to milk mixture.  Simmer  2 minutes or until slightly thick, stirring constantly with a whisk.

Spoon 1/2 C sauce into a sprayed 9x13 baking dish.  Top with 3 noodles.  Spread half of the mushroom mixture over noodles.  Repeat layers, ending with remaining sauce.  Sprinkle with cheese.  Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.  Top with remaining chives.

Recipe from Jan/Feb 2012 Cooking Light Magazine

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine Treats: Cranberry Bliss Bars

Happy Valentine's Day!  This was delicious!  Anything with cream cheese, white chocolate, and craisins is good in my book.

Blondie Layer:
3/4 C salted butter, melted
1 1/2 C brown sugar
2 eggs
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 C flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/2 C dried cranberries
6 oz white chocolate chips

Combine butter and brown sugar.  Beat in eggs and vanilla.  In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.  Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture.  Stir in dried cranberries and chocolate chips.

Spread in a greased 9x13 pan.  Bake at 350 for 18-20 minutes.  Cool completely before frosting.

1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
 6 ounces white baking chocolate, divided
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Beat the cream cheese and powdered sugar until combined. Melt 3 oz. of the white chocolate.  Gradually add the melted white chocolate to the cream cheese mixture; beat until blended. 
Frost brownies. Sprinkle with chopped cranberries. Melt remaining 3 oz of white chocolate and drizzle over the bars. Let the frosting set. Store in the refrigerator.

Thanks to The Girl Who Ate Everything blog for this delicious recipe!

And the little boy, because he's so cute (and so big!  3 months old and 13 lbs!)

Kicking and wacking things in his baby play gym.