Sunday, November 30, 2008

Cauliflower Spinach and Chicken Gratin

Cauliflower Spinach and Chicken Gratin


SERVES 6 ACTIVE TIME: 25 min TOTAL TIME: 1 hour 20 min

1 Rotisserie Chicken (any flavor), meat diced (3-4 cups), juices reserved
1 head cauliflower, broken into small florets (or 2 lbs cauliflower florets)
1 pkg (10 oz) Food You Feel Good About Fresh Spinach, large stems removed, rinsed
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup Italian Classics Seasoned Bread Crumbs, divided
1 container (13 oz) Italian Classics Alfredo Sauce (Dairy Dept)
1/2 cup Wegmans Low-Moisture Part-Skim Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
1 Tbsp Wegmans Basting Oil
1 Tbsp Wegmans Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

You'll Need: 13 x 9-inch baking dish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1. Add chicken and reserved juices, cauliflower, and spinach to extra-large mixing bowl; season with salt and pepper. Add 1/2 cup bread crumbs, alfredo sauce, and mozzarella; mix well. Set aside.

2. Make topping: Combine remaining 1/2 cup of bread crumbs and basting oil in small bowl. Set aside.

3. Grease baking dish with olive oil; add chicken-vegetable mixture.

4. Bake, uncovered, 40 min, stirring halfway through cooking time. Remove from oven; sprinkle with topping. Return to oven; bake 15 min, until topping is light golden brown.

Chef Tip(s):
Large stock pot can be used for mixing ingredients in step 1.
[Fruits & Vegetables ]

Vegetables: 1 cup(s)
[High Calcium ]

Calories: 400
Nutrition Info: Each serving (2 cups) contains 400 calories, 33 g carbohydrate, (5 g fiber), 32 g protein, 16 g fat, (7 g saturated fat), 90 mg cholesterol, and 770 mg sodium.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Cranberry Salad - From Sara

**Susan's Note: My friend Sara made this for Thanksgiving and it was amazing. My favorite thing. And I'm not usually a "cold cranberry" person. It's definitely not from a can!!

Cranberry Salad

1 Cup Water
1 Cup Sugar

Bring to a boil. Then add:
1 bag of Cranberries - washed and de-stemmed.

Allow cranberries to pop open and become soft. Take off heat.
Then add:

1 large package of raspberry Jell-O gelatin. Stir.

Then add:
1 C chopped walnuts or pecans
1 C tokay (or other seedless) red grapes, cut in half
1 20oz can of crushed pineapple

Put in dish you want to serve it in, and let it set in the fridge, about 4


Friday, November 28, 2008

Almond Bark, Peanut Bark, Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

****Susan's note: An easy, delicious holiday treat. The photo is by Ben Eley, copyright 11/27/08. It is my holiday cookie tray this year! All the treats shown are on this blog, except for the Honey Peanut cookies (recipe from MasterCook) which were just ok - not my favorite.

Toss raw almonds with a little oil and salt on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast at 425 degrees for about 3 minutes. Cool.

Pour 1 bag butterscotch chips and 1 bag semisweet chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at 30 second intervals and stir, until melted together, about 1 minute.

Spread melted chocolate mixture over nuts. Allow to cool (refrigeration or freezing is ok). Break up with hands to make "bark" pieces.

Follow directions above, using raw peanuts and peanut butter chips instead of butterscotch chips. Yum.

Chewy Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies
"These cookies are absolutely delicious and absolutely addictive! I keep rolls of it on hand in the freezer and just slice off as many as I want to bake at one time. They never last long. My 2 year old LOVES them. Another winner from FC..."

31 min | 20 min prep

48 cookies

* 6 3/4 ounces all-purpose flour (1 1/2 c.)
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 2 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
* 8 ounces unsalted butter, slightly softened
* 1 cup packed light brown sugar
* 1/2 cup granulated sugar
* 2 large eggs, beaten lightly
* 1 tablespoon honey
* 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
* 6 ounces dried cranberries (1 1/3 c.)
* 5 ounces chopped pecans (about 1 c.)

1. Oven to 350 degrees F.
2. (if baking right away).
3. Line sheet pans with parchment.
4. Mix the dry ingredients together, then stir in the oats.
5. Set aside.
6. Beat the butter and both sugars together until light and fluffy.
7. Add the eggs, then scrape down the bowl; add the honey and vanilla and beat until blended.
8. Add the flour mixture in two additions, beating each until well combined.
9. Stir in the cranberries and pecans.
10. At this point, you can either bake, or freeze.
11. To freeze, just scrape the dough onto plastic wrap, roll into a log, wrap tightly, and freeze until ready to bake.
12. Then just take them out of the freezer, let sit for about 15 minutes, then slice into 3/16" thick slices and bake as directed.
13. To bake immediately: drop by tablespoonfuls about 2 inches apart on parchment lined sheet pans.
14. Bake until the centers of the cookies are soft and no longer look wet; about 9-11 minutes.
15. Let cool on the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool.

Burritos with Squash and Goat Cheese

***SUSAN'S NOTE: I made these tonight and hubby really loved them. I used fresh baby spinach instead of frozen. We used 8 inch low carb tortillas to make them even more healthy, and I ran out of goat cheese and used cream cheese for his instead - yum! Sean and Sarah, if you're reading, this one's for you!

Burritos with Squash and Goat Cheese

Tailor the flavor of these burritos by picking a salsa that pleases your palate. Choose a chipotle variety for smokiness or a spicy tomatillo one for heat.

Prep: 20 minutes
Total: 20 minutes

Serves 4

* 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, such as safflower
* 1 medium onion, finely chopped
* 2 garlic cloves, minced
* 1 teaspoon ground cumin
* 1 package (10 ounces) frozen cooked winter squash, thawed
* 2 cans (15 ounces each) black beans, rinsed and drained
* 1 package (10 ounces) frozen leaf spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
* Coarse salt and ground pepper
* 4 flour tortillas (10-inch)
* 5 ounces fresh goat cheese, crumbled
* 1/2 cup store-bought salsa, plus more for serving


1. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium. Add onion, garlic, and cumin; cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is tender, 5 to 6 minutes.
2. Add squash, and cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture is slightly thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in beans and spinach. Cook until warmed through, 4 to 6 minutes; season with salt and pepper, and set aside.
3. Stack tortillas, and wrap in a double layer of damp paper towels; microwave until hot, about 2 minutes. Place tortillas on a work surface. Spoon goat cheese, then salsa in a line down center of each tortilla.
4. Spoon bean mixture on top of salsa. Fold side of tortilla closest to you over filling, then fold right and left sides in toward center; tightly roll up burrito. Cut burritos in half, and serve with more salsa.

Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies

Photo Copyright Ben Eley 11/27/08

***Susan's Note: Hands down, this is the best sugar cookie recipe you will ever try. I originally found it in Guideposts magazine. The cream cheese adds a delicious tang and moistness that takes a boring, dry, sugar cookie to an MMMMMM yummy sugar cookie. I've made these for years. I've sent them to friends, and they tell me they're addictive. Don't forget to chill the dough and then work it with your hands a little before rolling it out onto a floured surface.

Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies

Original recipe yield 6 dozen

* 1 cup white sugar
* 1 cup butter, softened
* 1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
* 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1 egg yolk
* 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour


1. In a large bowl, combine the sugar, butter, cream cheese, salt, almond and vanilla extracts, and egg yolk. Beat until smooth. Stir in flour until well blended. Chill the dough for 1-3 hours, or overnight.

2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

3. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough 1/3 at a time to 1/8 inch thickness, refrigerating remaining dough until ready to use. Cut into desired shapes with lightly floured cookie cutters. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Leave cookies plain for frosting, or brush with slightly beaten egg white and sprinkle with candy sprinkles or colored sugar. (SUSAN'S NOTE: I don't use an egg wash. Just press the sprinkles in lightly.)

4. Bake for 7 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until light and golden brown. Cool cookies completely before frosting.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Farfalle with Cauliflower and Turkey Sausage (Cooking Light)

Farfalle with Cauliflower and Turkey Sausage (Cooking Light)

***Susan's Note: I made this with a side of Weight Watchers spinach/pine nuts/raisins. Yum. Hubby and I loved it. The picture shows peas and mushrooms, not in the recipe below, but you could add them instead of the cauliflower!

Pierce sausage casings with the tip of a knife before combining them with the cauliflower to ensure they retain their uniform shape as they cook. Garnish with chopped parsley. Total time: 42 minutes.

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

* 2 (4-ounce) links mild Italian turkey sausage
* 3 cups small cauliflower florets
* 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
* 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
* 5 garlic cloves, sliced
* 4 cups uncooked farfalle (bow tie pasta)
* 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
* 1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated fresh pecorino Romano cheese
* 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


1. Preheat oven to 450°.

2. Pierce sausage several times with a knife. Combine sausage, cauliflower, and 1 tablespoon oil in a small roasting pan; toss. Sprinkle evenly with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Bake at 450° for 15 minutes. Add garlic to pan; toss. Bake an additional 5 minutes or until sausage is done. Let stand 5 minutes. Cut sausage crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices.

3. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain, reserving 2 tablespoons pasta cooking water. Combine pasta, reserved cooking water, remaining 1 tablespoon oil, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and crushed red pepper in a large bowl; toss. Add cauliflower mixture, sausage, and cheese; toss gently to combine. Sprinkle with black pepper.
Nutritional Information

436 (35% from fat)
16.8g (sat 5.2g,mono 7.5g,poly 1.8g)

Lia Huber, Cooking Light, DECEMBER 2008

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

***Susan's note: Another blogger posted her favorite chocolate chip cookie, these Chocolate Chip Amish Puff Cookies. I, like her husband, though, prefer the "thick and chewy chocolate chip cookie." Recipe she provides is below. I originally found this blogpost through the This Week for Dinner blog.

Thick & Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies (from delish blog)

Thick & Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 c plus 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
12 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled until warm
1 c brown sugar, packed
1/2 c white sugar
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 c semi-sweet chocolate chips

Adjust oven racks to upper and lower-middle positions. Preheat oven 325°. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Whisk dry ingredients together in a medium bowl; set aside. With electric mixer, or by hand, mix butter and sugars until thoroughly combined. Beat in egg, yolk, and vanilla until combined. Add dry ingredients and beat at low-speed just until combined. Stir in chocolate chips.

Roll a scant half-cup of dough into a ball. Holding dough ball in fingertips of both hands, pull apart into two equal halves. Rotate halves 90 degrees and, with jagged surfaces facing up, place formed dough onto cookie sheet, leaving ample room between each ball. Bake, reversing position of cookie sheets halfway through baking, until cookies are light golden brown and outer edges start to harden yet centers are still soft and puffy (approximately 11-14 minutes). Do not overbake.

Cool cookies on sheets until able to lift without breaking. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Source: adapted from Baking Illustrated, page 434

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese

Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese (Thanks Carrie!)

***Susan's note: A friend gave me this recipe...a yummy mac & cheese with a veggie snuck in! I used Wegman's "cleaned and cut" butternut squash, roasted it for 15 min at 450 degrees with oil and salt, and then pureed most of it. I used 0.65 lbs of sharp NY cheddar, and the rest of the cheese was muenster. I used medium shell pasta. The only thing I didn't understand was the topping, which was ok but I expected plain bread crumbs - but then I read the original recipe and I saw it was meant to be broiled. Ohhhh. Here's Rachael Ray's version. Here's Martha's version.

with notes by Carrie - the self proclaimed LAZY blogger!

1 butternut squash LAZY ALERT: I use frozen winter squash, and defrost in the microwave
1 pound elbow macaroni
4 Tablespoons butter
1/3 cup flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1 teaspoon dry mustard LAZY ALERT: I have no dry mustard, I use jar mustard
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg plus more for sprinkling
1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper LAZY ALERT: Do NOT over cayenne your dish, no matter how tired and lazy you are.
1 pound sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (about 4 cups)
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock LAZY ALERT: I've never added the stock, maybe because the cooked winter squash has more liquid naturally than a real squash? I dunno.
1 slice of bread LAZY ALERT: I use bread crumbs from a can. About a half cup.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Slice squash in half and discard seeds . Peel one of the squash halves and cut into 1-inch cubes. Spray the half and the chunks with cooking oil and sprinkle with a little nutmeg. Place the squash half, cut side down, on a baking sheet and scatter the squash chunks next to it in a single layer. Roast for 45 minutes until very tender.

While squash is cooking, make breadcrumbs by putting 1 slice of bread in the food processor and pulsing until it creates fine breadcrumbs. Set aside.

After removing squash from the oven, reduce the heat to 350.

When squash has cooled, set aside the chunks of squash. Peel skin off the squash half and discard. Puree squash half in food processor until it has a smooth consistency. Set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Salt generously. Boil pasta to al dente - about 6 minutes. Drain pasta and set aside.

Melt 3 Tablespoons butter (set aside 1 Tablespoon) and slowly stir in the 1/3 cup of flour to form a paste.

Off heat, SLOWLY whisk in 1 1/2 cups of milk. Return to medium low heat until sauce fully blends and thickens.

Add pureed squash to the thickened sauce.

Add mustard, salt, nutmeg, and cayenne pepper. Stir in 3 1/2 cups of cheese (set aside 1/2 cup for the topping) and 1 cup of stock, alternating cheese and stock by cupfuls. Taste sauce, adjust seasonings if needed.

Combine pasta, squash chunks, and cheese sauce in a large casserole dish, toss to coat evenly.

Melt the remaining Tablespoon of butter and blend with remaining 1/2 cup of cheese and the breadcrumbs to form topping. Sprinkle mixture over the macaroni.

Place macaroni uncovered in a 350 degree oven until cheese sauce is bubbling and breadcrumb topping is lightly browned, about 20 minutes.