weeknight gourmet

Posts Tagged ‘Everyday Food’

Roasted Chicken and Butternut Squash Soup

Here’s a tasty fall soup and a nice alternative to a traditional chicken soup.

To save time I used pre-cut butternut squash.  I used chicken stock rather than water to add additional flavor.  I used a potato masher to break up / puree the roasted squash which gives nice texture to the soup.

I enjoyed a bowl tonight and am hoping Charlotte enjoys it for lunch tomorrow!

Roasted Chicken and Butternut Squash Soup
Everyday Food

4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
1 medium butternut squash (about 2 1/2 pounds), peeled, seeded, and diced medium
1 small yellow onion, diced medium
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse salt and ground pepper
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth or water
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Fresh cilantro (optional)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a roasting pan or rimmed baking sheet, toss together chicken, squash, onion, and oil; season with salt and pepper. Arrange in a single layer and roast until squash and chicken are cooked through, about 30 minutes.

Transfer chicken to a plate and let cool. Transfer squash and onions to a medium pot and add broth, cumin, and coriander. Bring to a simmer over medium-high. With a potato masher or back of a wooden spoon, mash some vegetables until soup is thick and chunky. Discard skin and bones from chicken; cut meat into small pieces and add to soup. Stir in lemon juice; season to taste with salt and pepper. To serve, top with fresh cilantro, if desired.

Slow-Cooker Cajun Stew

Here’s a great slow cooker recipe — Cajun stew with andouille sausage and shrimp.  The dish has great flavor and a mild heat from the sausage and cayenne pepper.

Like my favorite slow cooker recipes, this one requires little prep work — only a bit of chopping.

A few notes: I used fresh andouille but I’d recommend smoked.  It will be easier to slice and will stay together through the cooking process better than fresh.  Serve the stew with some rice or quinoa as a side.  Don’t forget the okra like I did (oops!).  The dish was still tasty without the okra but I’m sure it would have been a nice add.

Enjoy!

Slow-Cooker Cajun Stew
Everyday Food

  • ⅔ pound andouille or kielbasa, sliced into ½-inch-thick rounds
  • 1 red onion, sliced into wedges
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
  • 1 red or green bell pepper, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup water
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Coarse salt
  • ½ pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 cups frozen sliced okra, thawed
  • Cooked rice for serving

In a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker, place sausage, onion, garlic, celery and bell pepper. Sprinkle with flour and toss to coat. Add tomatoes and their liquid, ½ cup water and cayenne; season with salt.

Cover and cook until vegetables are tender, 3 ½ hours on high or 7 hours on low. Add shrimp and okra, then cover and cook until shrimp are opaque throughout, 30 minutes on high or 1 hour on low.

To serve, scoop spoonful of rice into individual serving bowls and place stew on top.

Serves 4.

Rigatoni with Broccoli & Sausage

Sorry for the Weeknight Gourmet hiatus!  I was a bit under the weather and then was on vacation!  We had a great time in Vail, Colorado.  But, after a over a week of dining out, I was very excited to cook a meal at home!

The latest Everyday Food magazine greeted me upon our return and I couldn’t resist the cover recipe, Rigatoni with Sausage and Broccoli.

The recipe is super easy and has great flavor from the sausage and the lemon-anchovy-garlic oil.  I know some people shy away from anchovies but they provide a great salty flavor.

The dish was a hit!  I plan to make it again.

Rigatoni with Broccoli & Sausage
Everyday Food

  • 1 lb rigatoni
  • 2 heads broccoli, cut into florets (about 4 cups)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest, plus 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 4 anchovy fillets, minced
  • 1 lb sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
  • Grated parmesan

Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite, adding broccoli the last 2 minutes of cooking time. Drain, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the oil, garlic, lemon zest and juice, anchovies, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Cook sausage in a pan over medium heat, breaking up with a wooden spoon, until cooked through. Add broccoli and pasta plus oil mixture. Toss well, adding enough pasta cooking liquid to make a thin sauce.

Serve sprinkled with Parmesan.

Christmas Cookies: Chocolate Peppermint Thumbprints

My friend Emily made these cookies for Thanksgiving and they were delicious!  I needed to make a holiday treat for Tim’s office so I decided to make them.  What says Christmas more than chocolate + peppermint?!

Do not overbake the cookies.  I followed the instructions exactly and the cookies were so moist and delicious.

To make the chocolate – peppermint filling, all you need is butter, chocolate chips, and some peppermint extract.  You can pipe the filling through a Ziploc bag with a corner cut off.

The cookies were a hit in Tim’s office.  I think they were all gone within two days!  I was a little sad I didn’t save any for myself but my waistline probably thanks me.

Chocolate Peppermint Thumbprints
Everyday Food

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 1/4 cups (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 5 ounces semisweet chocolate chips (3/4 cup)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure peppermint extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, with racks in upper and lower thirds. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, and salt. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat 1 cup each butter and sugar on medium-high until light and fluffy, 3 minutes. Add egg and vanilla; beat to combine. With mixer on low, gradually add flour mixture and beat to combine. Place 1/2 cup sugar in a small bowl. Roll dough into 1-inch balls, then roll in sugar to coat. Place balls, 1 inch apart, on two parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake 5 minutes. Remove sheets from oven; with the small end of a melon baller or the bottom of a small round measuring spoon, make an indentation in center of each cookie.

Bake until cookies are just set but still look moist, 4 minutes (do not overbake). Let cool on sheets on wire racks. In a microwave-safe bowl, microwave chocolate chips and ¼ cup butter in 10-second increments until melted; stir in peppermint extract. Let cool until thick enough to pipe, 5 minutes. Transfer mixture to a large zip-top bag; snip 1/4-inch hole in one corner. Pipe chocolate into cookie indentations. (Store in airtight containers, up to 1 week.)

Active time: 35 minutes

Total time: 50 minutes + cooling

Makes 4 dozen

Carbonara with a Twist

This pasta is a delicious twist on a traditional carbonara.  The lemon gives the dish a bit of zest and the leeks lend some great flavor.  And, of course there is great smokiness from the bacon.

I used to think carbonara was a cream sauce.  For those of you not familiar with how carbonara is made, it is a sauce made with eggs and parmesan.  It’s definitely a bit heavier but its creaminess is entirely from the eggs and cheese.  The heat of the pasta actually cooks the raw eggs in the sauce so make sure your pasta is fresh out of the pot.

A delicious and quick weeknight pasta!

Pasta Carbonara with Leeks & Lemon
Everyday Food

  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 6 slices bacon, cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces
  • 4 leeks (white and light-green parts only), halved lengthwise, rinsed well, and thinly sliced
  • 3/4 pound short pasta, such as campanelle or orecchiette
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 ounce parmesan, grated (1/4 cup), plus more for serving (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest, plus 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves, coarsely chopped

Set a large pot of salted water to boil. In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium, stirring occasionally, until crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels to drain. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons fat from skillet. Add leeks, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring often, until leeks are golden brown, about 10 minutes.

Add pasta to pot and cook according to package instructions. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, parmesan, and lemon zest and juice. Whisk ¼ cup pasta water into egg mixture. Drain pasta and immediately add to egg mixture, along with bacon, leeks, and parsley. Season with salt and pepper and stir to combine. Sprinkle with more cheese if desired and serve immediately.

Active time: 30 minutes

Sunday Sauce: Pasta with Sicilian Pork and Sausage Ragù

Perhaps I should join the Fine Cooking payroll? Many of my recent recipes have come from the magazine. The recipes tend to be relatively simple while still very flavorful.  Good food that is not overly complicated — my cooking mantra!

This dish is not a weeknight meal because it cooks for a few hours.  But, it is perfect to make on a Sunday and either enjoy that evening or during the week.

Honestly, I think this was one of the best meat sauces I have ever made.  And, I LOVE meat sauce so this is high praise.  The sausage and pork shoulder simmer away for over two hours in the red wine and tomato puree mixture.  The pork shoulder shreds easily and the resulting sauce is incredibly rich and flavorful.

I made two notes for next time I cook this dish.  Keep an eye on the pot as it simmers — I should have lowered the heat to prevent the liquid from cooking down too much.  When you add the ragù to the pasta make sure to add some of the pasta water to bind the sauce and thin it out a bit.

Overall, though, this was an amazing dinner and I will definitely be making it again!

A final note, I borrowed the photo in this post from Fine Cooking’s website because my photo made this delicious dish look terrible.  Hopefully my upcoming photography class can help me figure out how to take good food photos when the lighting is less than ideal!

 

Pasta with Sicilian Pork and Sausage Ragù
Fine Cooking

  • 1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 lb. boneless pork shoulder (Boston butt)
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped (2 cups)
  • 1 cup dry red wine, such as Sicilian Nero d’Avola
  • 3 cups strained tomatoes or tomato purée
  • 3 dried bay leaves
  • 1/2 lb. sweet Italian pork sausage (3 links)
  • 2 lb. short, sturdy pasta, such as penne, rigatoni, or cavatappi
  • Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, for serving

Heat the oil in a 5- to 6-quart Dutch oven or other heavy-duty pot over medium-high heat until shimmering. Season the pork generously on both sides with salt and pepper and sear the meat on both sides until well browned, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Using tongs, transfer the pork to a deep platter.

Reduce the heat to medium low and add the garlic and onion to the pot. Cook, stirring frequently, until softened and translucent, 7 to 8 minutes. Return the pork to the pot, raise the heat to medium high, and add the wine. Let it bubble for a minute or two and then add the tomatoes and bay leaves. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium low to maintain a gentle simmer.

Remove the sausages from their casings and break the meat apart over the pot, allowing it to fall into the sauce in small clumps. Cover the pot and simmer gently, adjusting the heat as necessary, for 30 minutes. Uncover and turn the pork shoulder; then re-cover and continue to cook at a gentle simmer, turning the meat once or twice more, until very tender, about 1-1/2 hours.

Transfer the pork to a cutting board with tongs and let cool for a few minutes. Using two forks, shred the meat and return it to the sauce. Cook over low heat until the meat and sauce are heated through. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Cook the pasta and serve

When ready to serve, bring a large pot of well salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta until al dente—you want it to still have some bite because it will continue to cook a bit while you’re tossing it with the ragù. Reserve about 1 cup of the cooking water and then drain the pasta. Return it to the pot and toss it with some of the ragù, adding a little cooking water if it seems dry. Serve the pasta with more ragù spooned over the top, garnished with freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, if you like.

Make Ahead Tips
The ragù can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months. Reheat gently before tossing with the pasta.

Meatloaf with a Kick!

Who doesn’t love meatloaf?!  It’s a perfect dinner as the cool fall weather arrives.  The Barefoot Contessa Turkey Meatloaf is my go-to but I decided to try a beef – pork version and came across this Emeril recipe.  Looked up my alley with the added kick from the chorizo, chili sauce and creole seasoning!

I forgot my shopping list at home so I ended up making a fair number of substitutions.  I used a meatball mix (beef, pork and veal); seasoned breadcrumbs with some red pepper flakes added because I did not have any creole seasoning; whole milk instead of the heavy cream; and, hot Italian sausage instead of chorizo because I could only find smoked chorizo.

I served the meatloaf with pureed cauliflower for a great fall dinner.  The meatloaf was delicious even with my multitude of changes!  I will definitely make it again and am curious how it will turn out if I am more faithful to the recipe.

Mr. John’s Meatloaf
Emeril Lagasse for Everyday Food

  • 1 pound ground beef chuck
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup plain dried breadcrumbs
  • 1 green bell pepper (ribs and seeds removed), finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Emeril’s Creole Seasoning
  • 8 ounces fresh chorizo sausage (not smoked)
  • 1/2 cup bottled chili sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil; set aside. In a large bowl, combine beef, pork, eggs, onion, breadcrumbs, bell pepper, cream, 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and Creole Seasoning. Gently mix to combine (do not overmix).

Place half of meat mixture on prepared sheet; form into a 9-by-4-inch loaf. Using a paring knife, remove casing from chorizo (keeping the shape intact). Place chorizo lengthwise down center of loaf. Cover with rest of meat mixture, enclosing the chorizo and patting to adhere.

Brush chili sauce over meatloaf. Bake, basting occasionally with pan juices, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in center of loaf registers 160 degrees, about 1 hour. Let rest 15 minutes before serving.

Weeknight Chicken: Roasted Chicken with Cauliflower & Chickpeas

Here is a great roasted chicken recipe — perfect for the fall weather!  The dish takes about an hour to cook but has minimal prep work so it is definitely doable on a weeknight.

I made two minor additions to the recipe.  In addition to seasoning the chicken with salt and pepper, I also sprinkled it with some Italian seasoning for a little extra flavor.  I also added a couple of tablespoons of capers for the final five minutes of roasting.  I love the combo of cauliflower and capers.

The chicken was perfectly cooked — nice and juicy — and the veggies were delicious.  Although next time, I’ll use smaller florets — not all of the cauliflower was as tender as I would have liked.

Enjoy!

Roasted Chicken with Cauliflower & Chickpeas
Everyday Food

  • 1 whole chicken (3 1/2 to 4 pounds), rinsed, patted dry, and cut into 8 pieces
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes
  • 1 small head cauliflower, cored and cut into 2-inch florets
  • 1 large red onion, cut into wedges
  • 1 can (15.5 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed and drained

Place a rimmed baking sheet in oven and preheat to 450 degrees, with racks in upper and middle thirds. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Carefully remove sheet from oven and arrange chicken, skin side up, in a single layer. Roast on upper rack, 20 minutes.

Remove chicken from oven and, with tongs, transfer to another rimmed baking sheet along with tomatoes. Add cauliflower, onion, and chickpeas to drippings on first sheet and toss to combine; season with salt and pepper. Roast chicken on upper rack and vegetables on middle rack until chicken is golden and cooked through and cauliflower is tender when pierced with a knife, about 30 minutes. Transfer chicken and vegetables to a serving dish and serve immediately.

Note: Roasting the chicken on a preheated pan saves time and helps the meat brown. You don’t need to add oil to the vegetables; they cook in the drippings from the chicken.

Slow Cooker Recipes: Pot Roast

Just as I was skeptical of the Slow Cooker Beef Stew recipe that did not require me to brown the stew cubes, I was highly skeptical of this slow-cooker pot roast recipe that did not require me to brow the chuck roast and called for very little liquid.  Adding to my skepticism was the fact that the only seasoning was salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce.

Well, I guess those folks at Everyday Food know a bit more about slow cooking than I do!  The pot roast was incredibly tender, the carrots and onions were infused with flavor, and there was a ton of “jus”.

Just a few comments…

As an added time save you can use baby carrots — no peeling needed!

Be sure to trim the roast of excess fat — the sauce will be better!

I cooked the pot roast on low for 11 hours because my piece of meat (from our half-steer) was closer to 4 pounds than the 3 pounds in the recipe.

Lastly, I might add an additional tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce next time for some added oomph!  But the recipe was (somewhat surprisingly) delicious as written!

Slow-Cooker Pot Roast
Everyday Food

  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 8 medium carrots, cut into thirds
  • 2 medium onions, each cut into 8 wedges
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 beef chuck roast (3 pounds), trimmed of excess fat
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

In slow cooker, stir together cornstarch and 2 tablespoons cold water until smooth. Add carrots and onions; season with salt and pepper, and toss.

Sprinkle roast with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper; place on top of vegetables, and drizzle with Worcestershire. Cover; cook on high, 6 hours (or on low, 10 hours).

Transfer roast to a cutting board; thinly slice against the grain. Place vegetables in a serving dish; pour pan juices through a fine-mesh sieve, if desired. Serve roast with vegetables and pan juices.

Easiest Beef Stew Ever!

It has been a while since I posted.  I have been cooking but between work, some illness making its way through our family, and taking a much needed vacation, there really hasn’t been much time to devote to my blog.  Hopefully that will change soon!

I made this super easy beef stew a few weeks ago — you basically just throw all the ingredients in a pot, bring to a boil and then put in the oven.  I was a bit skeptical of the recipe because it does not call for you to brown the beef as most stew recipes do.  But the stew was very flavorful, the beef tender, and the veggies perfectly cooked.

Make sure to have some crusty bread for dipping.

Best Beef Stew
Everyday Food

  • 3 pounds beef chuck, trimmed of visible fat and cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/3 cup tomato paste
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 pound medium onions (about 2), cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 pound small white or red new potatoes (about 6), well scrubbed, halved if large
  • 1 pound carrots, cut into 1 1/2-inch lengths
  • 6 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 2 bay leaves
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a Dutch oven (5-quart) with a tight-fitting lid, combine beef, tomato paste, vinegar, and flour; season with salt and pepper.
Add onions, potatoes, carrots, garlic, bay leaves, and 3 cups water. Bring to a boil.
Cover, transfer to oven, and cook until meat is fork-tender, 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Remove bay leaves and, if desired, season with salt and pepper before serving.