Monday, September 22, 2014

Sunday Suppers: Chili, Chicken Soup & Lasagna

Sunday Suppers: Chili, Chicken Soup & Lasagna... I have to say, I don't actually have this love affair with Fall that the rest of the world seems to have. You know, the one full of pumpkin spice everything, heavier clothes, and chillier neighborhood strolls. I really love warm weather so this foray into a season where laying out at the pool is no longer in the cards is really not my favorite. That being said, what I do love about this time of year, is that I feel good about staying in on a Sunday and cooking up a storm. Normally if it's lovely outside I want to be in the sun catching every ray there is - but as the leaves change and air gets crisp I find myself feeling more confined to the great indoors, AKA the kitchen.

So this Sunday, while it did end up being a sunny afternoon, was a bit cooler than weekends past and I took it as my first chance to get my heavy pots simmering with fall delights.

I made a Chili for Sunday Supper, a Chicken and Veggie Soup for lunch this week, and a Spinach and Ricotta Lasagna for some friends who just welcomed a new baby. There were a lot of things happening at once in the kitchen which is a feeling I happen to love, the challenge of swapping this pot to that burner, determining the exact timing to chop this and add that, and of course the occasional break for a quick mid-cooking clean up.

The Chili:
1 lb ground chuck
2 brats
1 can diced tomatoes (I used some that had green chili's in them)
1 can rinsed drained corn
1 can rinsed drained black beans
1 can rinsed drained kidney beans
1 package of your favorite chili seasoning

Over medium/high heat brown your ground beef and sausage in a large pot. I squeezed the sausage out of the casing this time so that it was ground into the beef. Once browned add all of the other ingredients - bring to a simmer and then let it go for a couple hours to enhance the flavors.

The Chicken Soup:
My mom's classic chicken noodle without the noodles, my favorite go to. I've come accustomed to doing the chicken breasts in my slow cooker so they are perfectly shreddy. It's really almost a stoup.

1 yellow onion diced
2-3 large carrots diced
5 or so celery stalks diced
1 can diced seasoned tomatoes (garlic, basil, etc)
1 bag spinach (or kale)
28oz chicken stock
salt, pepper, dried oregano, dried basil, bay leaves
2 large chicken breasts

See instructions here.

This is also a classic, I really didn't do anything special but it was super simple and I think (and hope) it turned out quite Dahlish for those eating it - sadly not me!

12 lasagna noodles
1 jar tomato sauce - or homemade
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
15 oz ricotta cheese
1 box of frozen chopped spinach - or similar quantity of freshly sauteed at home
salt & pepper

Boil the lasagna noodles per the instructions, about 10 minutes (I used the kind with pretty little ruffled edges). Once done cooking drain them in a strainer and rinse with cold water.

If you do use frozen spinach, thaw per the instructions on the package and remove as much of the water as possible.

In a large bowl mix the spinach, ricotta, parm, mozz, salt and pepper until you have an evenly distributed paste.

Add a light layer of sauce to the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish. Then take 1 lasagna noodle and spread a spoonful of the ricotta/spinach mix down the center. Roll it up and add it to the pan. Finish the rest of the dozen lasagna rolls, add the rest of the sauce to the top (letting the cut ruffled edges show) and finish it off with a sprinkle of cheese. This is easy to pop in the fridge or freezer for later - baking should take about 20-30 minutes if right out of the fridge at about 350 degrees.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Cauliflower Pizza Crust

Cauliflower Pizza Crust... So how many of you out there have tried this Pinterest inspired recipe? I've seen it floating around the internet for months and I've heard mixed reviews. I knew someone who tried it sometime back and said it was mush, and then I've read reviews that rave about the simplicity.

My best friend recently tried it at home and per her review I decided to give it a go. There are a lot of versions of this recipe out there, but I used her guidelines and I'm happy to say it turned out quite well. If you think about it, its basically a GIANT cheese crisp, you know like the Parmesan ones that you get atop a Caesar salad occasionally? I'd say that overall it was pretty easy and pretty yummy... however I definitely finished the meal feeling like I'd consumer a lot of cheese and a lot of sodium. So be warned, it might be a better side dish!

What I used:

  • 1 head of cauliflower grated = 2.5 cups
  • 1/4 cup grated mozzarella
  • 2-3 spoonfuls grated Parmesan
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • Toppings: Pizza Sauce, Prosciutto, Mozz

How To:
Cut the cauliflower head into a couple of large hunks after removing the green leafy bits on the bottom. Use a grater to turn the cauliflower essentially into "rice". Beware this part is a little messy depending on your grater so just lay down some paper towels to catch the pieces that might fly off the cutting board. Measure out approximately 2.5 cups, place it in a microwave safe bowl and pop it in the microwave for 8 minutes. Then let it cool for about 5 minutes outside of the microwave.

Note I hate my grater

While the cauli is cookin', measure out 1/4 cup of shredded mozzarella, a couple spoonfuls of grated Parmesan, and whisk up 1 egg.

Once the cauli is done cooking and has cooled a few minutes, dump all of those ingredients into a big bowl, give it a mix and form it into a "dough" ball. It will be a bit slimy/squishy of course.

Next, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and plop down your cauli dough ball. Use your hands to press it out into the shape and thickness you desire. I'd say mine was about a 1/4 inch thick and about 9 inches in diameter.

Pop it in the oven for about 15 minutes at 425 degrees, the edges will get golden brown and the center will be bubbling. Remove the "crust" from the oven and add your toppings, I put a few large spoonfuls of pizza sauce and spread it around, then I added 4 thin slices of  prosciutto and put it back in the oven for about 10 minutes. With a few minutes remaining I sprinkled some extra mozz on the top to melt... probably unnecessary to be honest.

Side Salad: Arugula, Avocado, Olive Oil, Lemon Juice

When it was ready to come out I sliced it into quarters and served it up with a light salad of arugula, avocado, olive oil, and lemon juice.

The bottom even looks like pizza crust!

It was very easy and pretty Dahlicious however, I'd suggest doing a topping that was less salty seeing as the mozz and parm in the crust already have that going. Perhaps some veggies? Hope this inspires a few of you to give it a try & report back on how it worked for ya! Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Indian Butter Chicken & Cauliflower Rice

Indian Butter Chicken & Cauliflower Rice... Life has been pretty crazy the last few weeks, filled with excitiment and travel, and all the opportunities to stuff your face that generally come along with weekends out of town.

I've been home and recovering from a weekend in LaLa land visiting my family for 3 jam packed days of eating, a Bachelorette weekend in the swanky Hamptons town of Montauk where food and drinks were aplenty, and topped it all off with a leisurely long weekend spent in the Windy City and at "the lake" munching on summer snacks and every type of BBQ'd meat you can think of. So my recovery has been to basically eat smaller portions and reduce the carb intake. Usually if I can swing that for a week or two I'm back at fighting weight. Before I get to the main meal of the post I'll fill you in on what I ate earlier this week...

Yummy pool time bagel and lox indulgence over LDW!

More poolside treats on the healthful side

Nothing like a Family Dinner Al Fresco in the Summer!

My landlord and roomie was out of town on Monday & Tuesday nights this week so I enjoyed a protein packed chicken and black bean tortilla soup on Monday and then the most boring, but kind of simplistically perfect, tofu and broccoli soup on Tuesday. It was really stinkin easy and if you occasionally just crave simplicity this might be up your alley. I pretty much made soup in about 10 minutes with chicken stock (or bouillon & water), a handful of broccoli florets, a block of tofu diced, a handful of wheat noddles, cilantro, lime, and a dash of soy sauce. I let the broth come to a boil,, added the noodles and broccoli to cook for about 3 minutes then added the other contents and let it simmer for a minute or two before serving hot.

Without the carbs I would have been starving... so they had to be added!

Simple soup

Now for the main event...

What I used:
2 chicken breasts cut into bite sized pieces
1 yellow onion diced
1 red bell pepper diced
1 package of Indian Butter Chicken seasoning paste
1 cup water
1/2 stick butter
Juice from 1/2 lemon
1 head cauliflower

First I sauteed the veggies until golden brown, I removed them, melted the butter and then added the rest of the contents listed above (minus the cauliflower) and let it simmer until the chicken was cooked through about 15 minutes. Before serving I added the sauteed veggies back in the mix.

Simmering away

For the Cauliflower Rice, I used a whole head of cauliflower and basically just chopped it all up with a large knife until it was in rice sized pieces. You could also do this in the food processor. Once I had my "rice" I laid it on a baking sheet with a tiny olive oil, salt and pepper, and popped it in the oven at 450 degrees for 10 minutes just to get it cooked through with a slight crunch.

Post roasting, it was evenly spread out before I gave it a toss after cooking

I served the Indian Butter Chicken atop this low carb "rice" option and it was Dahlish!