Posts Tagged ‘fall meals

26
Nov
08

What to take to Thanksgiving Dinner?

rrv

I’m going to make a couple things to take to my husband’s family’s Thanksgiving celebration.  My job is a side-dish and a dessert.  I picked two things already posted on this blog:  Roasted Root Vegetables and Alayne’s Pumpkin Bars.  Why these recipes?  They’re both easy to scale for a crowd, fairly simple to prepare, tried-and-true recipes (so no ugly surprises the day of the party) and I think both dishes have pretty broad appeal.  Also, I think these items will travel fairly easily in covered dishes. We’ll see how it goes!

pumpkinbars1

27
Oct
08

Chicken Stew with Apples and Bacon

I started out with this Chicken Stew with Cider and Parsnips recipe from Food and Wine.  I made quite a few changes, some based on ingredient availability, some based on preference.

Ingredient changes:

-Halved the quantities to make 2 servings instead of 4.

-Used 3 cut-up chicken breasts instead of thighs and drumsticks.

-Added 4 chopped strips of bacon to add flavor and prevent dryness since white meat was used instead of dark meat.

-Used chopped apples instead of parsnips because it’s what I had on hand.

-Used 1/2 cup white wine instead of apple cider because it’s what I had on hand.  I reduced the total amount of liquid by about 1/4 cup to account for using apples, which release some water as they cook.

-Added 1 clove of minced garlic and 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary.

Process changes:

-My first step was to cook the bacon in the stew pot until crispy.  I then removed it from the pan and used the drippings to brown the  chicken pieces, and then removed the chicken from the pan.

-Next, I cooked the onions, garlic, carrots and apples in the pan for 3-4 minutes before adding the liquid.  I think I should have let them cook a little longer at this stage, particularly the carrots.  They were still a little undercooked when the rest of the stew was ready.

-At this point I added the white wine and then the chicken broth, and the thyme and rosemary, and simmered the mixture for 10 minutes, then put the chicken and bacon back in, and cooked it in the oven for 10 minutes.  It could have done with more time for the vegetables to cook and the liquid to reduce a little more, but the chicken was done after ten minutes and I didn’t want it to be overcooked.

I served this over white rice.  The bacon added what the chicken breasts left wanting as far as flavor and richness.  This turned out to be a flavorful and satisfying meal.

21
Oct
08

Mini Meatloaves with Garlic Parmesan Mashed Red Potatoes

Mini Meatloaves

This recipe is from Cooking Light and it really tastes fantastic. I hated meatloaf as a kid, not because there was anything wrong with the way my mom made it – it was mostly because of the name!  It sounds terrible.  Tip to moms – call it something, anything but “meatloaf.”  Anyway, I followed this recipe exactly and it worked really well.

Garlic Parmesan Mashed Red Potatoes

After reading quite a few mashed potato recipes, none of them sounded quite like what I was after, so I just concocted this combination.  They turned out nice and creamy.

8 medium red-skinned potatoes
2 cloves of garlic, minced (divided)
¼ cup butter
¼ cup sour cream
¼ cup milk
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan
Freshly ground salt and pepper
Seasonings of your choice such as Lawry’s seasoned salt and garlic powder

Wash potatoes and remove eyes and bad spots with a peeler, but leave skin on.  Place in a large pot and cover with cold water.  Add 1 tablespoon of salt and 1 minced garlic clove to the water.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, cooking until potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes. Drain potatoes and return to hot pot to cook off excess water.  Remove from heat.  Smash up potatoes and add 1 clove minced garlic, butter, sour cream, milk, Parmesan and seasonings.  I added about ¼ teaspoon of Lawry’s, a couple dashes of garlic powder and some more salt and pepper.  Mix until smooth using a hand or stand mixer.  Makes  4 servings.

17
Sep
08

Pasta Bolognese

I love to make this recipe when cooler weather rolls around.  It takes over an hour to cook, so it’s one of those dishes with deep, rich flavor.  The Pasta Bolognese recipe I used is from Food and Wine.

I didn’t make major changes to the recipe, just a few minor tweaks based on ingredient availability:

1)  I didn’t have veal, so I just used ground beef and ground pork.

2)  I didn’t have canned whole tomatoes, but I did have tomato puree, so I used that instead. Another Bolognese recipe I’ve seen uses the puree, so I figured it would work out ok.

3)  I didn’t have chicken stock or broth, so I used beef bouillon instead.

4)  I grated some Parmigiano Reggiano to sprinkle on the dish when it’s ready.   I put the Parmesan rind in the sauce while it cooked to add flavor and then removed it when the sauce was ready.

The Food and Wine recipe makes 8-10 servings and there were just 2 of us, so I made a much smaller amount of the penne pasta and froze the extra sauce.  Since this dish takes a while to cook, it’s really nice to be able to pull a batch out of the freezer at short notice.

Wine

We drank Bogle Old Vine Zinfandel 2006 with this dish.  Zinfandel, Shiraz, Barbera or Chianti would all probably work with Bolognese.




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