• Tuscan Bean Salad

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    This recipe comes from the May 2007 issue of Cooking Light. I modified it slightly, namely I omitted the parsley because we didn’t have any and when I went to the grocery store they were all out too. It was good, but nothing great. I thought it needed some more texture, so I added some red pepper. It still didn’t have enough texture for me. Maybe this salad is better on top of some crisp lettuce.

    Ingredients:

    • 1 c. tomatoes, chopped
    • 1 red pepper, minced
    • 1 TBSP chopped fresh rosemary
    • 1 TBSP chopped fresh parsley
    • 2 TBSP balsamic vinegar
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1 tsp. olive oil
    • 1 (16-ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
    • 1/4 tsp. salt
    • pepper to taste

    Directions:

    1. Combine everything in a bowl and toss.

    Tuscan Bean Salad:

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  • Velveeta Ultimate Macaroni & Cheese

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    I had such high hopes for this mac-n-cheese recipe, as it came straight from Velveeta. What a huge disappointment. The cheese sauce had a funky taste and the consistency of glue. Only our youngest liked it, and our oldest wouldn’t even touch it–he said it smelled gross.

    Ingredients:

    • 8 oz elbow macaroni or shells, uncooked
    • 12 oz. 2% milk Velveeta, cubed
    • 1/3 c. milk
    • 1/8 tsp. pepper

    Directions:

    1. Cook pasta according to directions, drain and return pasta to pot.
    2. Add remaining ingredients and over low heat heat until everything is combined.

    Velveeta Ultimate Macaroni & Cheese:

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  • Orange Teriyaki Chicken

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    It’s Thursday, which means it’s time for this week’s crock pot recipe. This recipe is adapted from Beth Hensperger’s Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Recipes for Two cookbook.  This dish smelled so good as it cooked…I had such high hopes.  It cooked for just under 3 hours, and by the time we got home from swim lessons, the chicken was completely dried out, and the sauce had pretty much simmered away, leaving the chicken way too salty.

    Ingredients:

    • 1 lb. chicken breasts, bite size pieces
    • 1/4 c. soy sauce
    • 2 TBSP mirin or dry sherry
    • 1 TBSP brown sugar
    • 1 garlic clove, crushed
    • Grated zest of 1 orange
    • One 2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
    • Steamed rice and broccoli

    Directions:

    1. Spray the inside of the crock with cooking spray.
    2. Heat a small skillet over medium-high heat and add chicken. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, to form a nice browned surface. Turn the chicken and brown the other side. Transfer chicken to crock pot.
    3. Return skillet to stove, turn the heat to medium, add the soy sauce, mirin, brown sugar, and garlic. Stir to heat and dissolve the brown sugar. Pour mixture over chicken and add zest and ginger slices. Cover and cook on HIGH for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
    4. Serve over rice.

    Orange Teriyaki Chicken:

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  • Southwest Pumpkin Soup

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    This recipe comes from the Watermark restaurant in Cleveland, republished in our local paper. This soup had so much potential, and I was so excited to try it, but it fell flat and it was too sweet. As is, I wouldn’t make it again, but with some changes I might give it a try. I’ll post the recipe as is and then what I would do differently.

    Ingredients:

    • 3 c. chicken stock
    • 1 c. whipping cream
    • 1 15 oz can pumpkin
    • 3 TBSP packed dark brown sugar
    • 1 tsp. ground cumin
    • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
    • 1/2 tsp. ground coriander
    • 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
    • salt and pepper
    • 3/4 c. grated sharp cheddar cheese
    • chopped fresh cilantro

    Directions:

    1. Bring chicken stock and whipping cream to a boil in a heavy pot. Whisk in canned pumpkin, brown sugar, cumin, chili powder, coriander and nutmeg. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until soup thickens slightly and flavors blend, about 15 minutes.
    2. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
    3. Garnish with cheese and cilantro.

    What I would do next time:

    Ingredients:

    • 3 c. chicken stock
    • 1 c. whipping cream
    • 1 15 oz can pumpkin
    • 1 TBSP brown sugar
    • 1 tsp. ground cumin
    • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
    • 1/2 tsp. ground coriander
    • 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
    • 1 c. sweet corn
    • 1-2 chipotles in adobo, minced
    • salt and pepper
    • 2 c. cooked chicken, bite sized pieces
    • 3/4 c. grated sharp cheddar cheese
    • 1 avocado, chopped
    • chopped fresh cilantro

    Directions:

    1. Bring chicken stock and whipping cream to a boil in a heavy pot. Whisk in canned pumpkin, brown sugar, cumin, chili powder, coriander and nutmeg. Add corn and chipotles. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until soup thickens slightly and flavors blend, about 15 minutes.
    2. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
    3. Stir in cooked chicken
    4. Garnish with cheese, avocado, and cilantro.

    Southwest Pumpkin Soup:

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    But willing to give it another try with the above changes

  • Orange Black Beans with Cumin

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    This recipe comes from Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Cookbook, and the recipe was quite a disappointment. I had high hopes for it, but it fell short on many levels, primarily it was too sweet. Maybe if you leave out the brown sugar it would taste good, but even so, I’m not willing to give it a second chance.

    Ingredients:

    • 2 15 ounce cans of black beans, rinsed and drained
    • 2 TBSP firmly packed light or dark brown sugar
    • 1 medium size shallot, minced
    • 1 celery rib, minced
    • 1/2 cup orange juice
    • 1/2 cup chicken broth
    • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
    • pinch of ground cinnamon or cardamom
    • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

    For Serving:

    • Hot cooked white rice
    • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
    • 1/2 cup chopped fresh tomatoes

    Assembly:

    1. Combine the beans, brown sugar, shallot, celery, oj, broth, cumin, and cinnamon in the slow cooker. Cover and cook on HIGH for about 1.5 hours.
    2. Season with salt and pepper and serve hot ladled over rice, and garnished with the cilantro and tomatoes.

    Orange Black Bean with Cumin Recipe

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  • Semolina Pasta With Four-Cheese Sauce

    We used 2 cookbooks for this dish. The pasta recipe is from Cooking with Seasons, which redeemed itself from the disasterous mole recipe, and the sauce recipe is from 50 Great Pasta Sauces. I’d skip buying both of these cookbooks, and just use the recipes posted here. The sauce cookbook is pretty basic, and not much sounds good to us. If you already cook Italian cuisine you already make or have a cookbook with similar recipes. I guess if you are a novice at Italian cooking, this one might be a good purchase, but I would highly recommend you actually browse the cookbook before purchasing it, because I still don’t think that most of the recipes sound spectacular.

    The pasta recipe was a pleasant surprise. The pasta turned out wonderful, which is great, because this recipe has far fewer calories, fat and cholesterol than the traditional egg based dough recipes. Now we just have to figure out the proper proportions to make spinach semolina pasta. Of course all these “savings” from the semolina pasta over the egg pasta are negated with the scrumptious cheese sauce, that’s not low cal or low fat.
    Semolina Pasta:

    2 cups semolina flour or 1 cup unbleached flour and 1 cup semolina flour

    1 tsp extra virgin olive oil (optional)

    1 egg white

    water as needed

    The instructions from the recipe are in italics:

    1. Blend the flours in a bowl and make a well in the center.

    Add the olive oil and egg white and mix with a fork.

    2. Gradually mix in up to a 1/2 cup water until the dough can be pressed together into a solid ball.

    We blended 2 cups of semolina flour only with the olive oil, egg white, and water in the mixer with the dough hook on. It ended up pretty crumbly, but once the dough got onto the pastry board we use it was easy to make into a ball and begin kneading.

    3. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead it for a few minutes. The dough should come cleanly away from the surface. If it is too wet, incorporate flour 1 TBSP at a time until the dough is no longer sticky. If the dough is dry and crumbly incorporate water until it is pliable.4. Knead the dough about 3 minutes or until smooth and elastic.

    5. Wrap the dough in a towel and let it rest for 15 minutes before rolling it out.

    We skipped step #5.

    6. Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces. Work with 1 piece at a time, keeping the other pieces in the towel.

    Keep water nearby as well, as it seems like the dough dries out faster than the egg doughs. This could just be operator error, but that will take another time making it to determine :)

    7. Flatten the first piece and lightly flour both sides. Set the knob of the pasta machine’s roller for the widest setting. Pass the dough through the feeder, cranking the rollers with one hand and catching the dough with the other.

    8. On a lightly floured surface, fold the piece into thirds and press down to flatten it. Run it lengthwise through the machine once more. Repeat the process 2 more times, folding the dough into thirds each time.

    9. Adjust the control to the next smaller setting, and feed the entire sheet through the machine, without folding. Repeat, narrowing the setting each time, until the desired thickness is achieved-usually to the second to last setting. Flour the dough as necessary to prevent it from sticking. Continue with remaining pieces of dough.

    We made spaghetti with the dough and the final setting on the roller was #5 (it’s a KitchenAid pasta roller which works on their mixers.) The order of roller numbers is #1, then #3, then finally #5.

    10. Let noodles dry slightly on a drying rack or laid flat over towels or cook promptly is generously salted water for 2-3 minutes.

    The cooking time is pretty accurate. Be sure to check at 2 minutes.

    Four-Cheese Sauce

    1/2 cup heavy cream

    1/4 cup shredded fontina cheese or fresh mozzarella

    2 oz Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled

    1/2 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese (can substitute cottage cheese)

    1/2 tsp. minced fresh thyme (or 1/4 tsp. dried thyme)Salt and Pepper to taste

    Top with basil and parmesan cheese

    Note: we actually doubled the sauce to make a super creamy sauce for 1 pound of pasta. The recipe as written doesn’t seem to make a whole lot of sauce.

    1. In a medium saucepan, combine the cream, fontina, Gorgonzola and ricotta. You can substitute cottage cheese for the ricotta. I know it sounds strange but it works–I took out our ricotta, opened it up and discovered the seal was broken, so we substituted with the cottage cheese and it was tasty.

    2. Warm slowly over low heat, stirring constantly, until the cheeses have melted. Stir in the thyme, salt and pepper.

    3. In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the past until al dente. Transfer cooked pasta into the cheese sauce sauce pan and mix or put pasta into a large serving bowl and combine with sauce. Garnish with parmesan and basil.

    Viola

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    Cooking with Seasons Cookbook Rating

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    50 Great Pasta Sauces Cookbook Rating

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    Semolina Pasta Recipe
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    Four-Cheese Sauce Recipe

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