Thursday, January 26, 2012

Recipe Finds - January

Welcome to Recipe Finds, where I'll share and review recipes that we've tried.  Can't always do step-by-step instructions so I thought this would be the next best thing!  

Quinoa Mac N' Cheese

In lieu of my oat problem and a growing number of workers with gluten issues, I've been investigating other sources of whole grain. Quinoa is one of those super foods that's just too nutritious to pass up. It's best described as a combination of brown rice (nutty) and couscous (soft).

This recipe for mac n'cheese is a nice introduction.  I had a few personal mishaps with the recipe (halved it but forgot to do that with the water, didn't have any garlic on hand) but it was overall easy.  It is a little on the bland side, even though I added some sour cream and cream cheese I had laying around, so I would recommend boosting this with a flavored cheese like pepper jack or smoked cheddar.  Bacon, of course, makes everything taste better.

3 forks out of 5 - worth trying again.

Southwestern Pinto Bean Soup

Even though January hasn't been very cold, I've been experimenting with soups.  They're easy to make, cheap, and you can pack a lot of nutrients in them.  Plus they freeze and reheat well so you can make a big batch.

I've never worked with dried beans before, so I simply used one can of pintos.  Technically you should use 2 to equal the dry portion in the recipe, but it was what I had on hand.

This soup was really good!  Mike and I are leery of cumin but it blends well with the other flavors. Instead of a gob of shredded cheddar, use 1 tsp of grated parmesan for your cheese kick.

4 forks out of 5

Berry-Banana Smoothie

I heart this smoothie!!!  I always have these ingredients on hand, there's tons of fiber, and I never get bored of the flavor.  Don't be scared of the cinnamon - it adds a beautiful pop of flavor! 

As for the fruit, I've found that it's not necessary to have raspberries in specific.  I often use a berry fruit blend along with the 1/2 cup of blueberries.  You can also swap the apple juice for berry juice.

5 forks out of 5

Sweet Potato and Apple Casserole

Beware this recipe - 6 servings is a lie!

Mike and I demolished this casserole in one sitting, making me fear I had misread the ingredients or something.  But no, it's just. that. tasty.

The portions on this recipe are fine, but the cooking may need a little adjustment.  2 hours is a big time commitment. First, definitely roast your sweet potatoes - you cannot duplicate this flavor otherwise. 

The apples don't need to be cut in rings (I don't have a corer anyways) and will hold together just fine if you cut them up into toddler-sized chunks.  This way, they probably don't need as long as 45 minutes to soften.  Luckily I had another dish in the oven so no harm done and the potatoes soften to the point where they started to mash themselves, which I personally liked but you may not.

I imagine that this should take 30 minutes or less (after the 1 hr needed for potato roasting), depending on if you want any semblance of firmness.  Curious if you could do it in a crock pot as well.

5 out of 5 folks

Chorizo & Sweet Potato Enchiladas

Confession - I have never liked sausage.  Chorizo is making me sing a different tune.

This is a FANTASTIC dish, particularly if you love enchiladas.  It offers up a familiar taste with a refreshing spin.  I cannot get over the combination of sweet potatoes and chorizo!  Spicy and sweet = Jennie's comfort food.

Prep isn't difficult but will take up a bit of time between chopping and sauteing.  The bonus, though, is that this makes a huge batch.  Using corn tortillas, we got 15 enchiladas out of this.  9 went into one baking pan, which at 3 enchiladas per serving created dinner for Mike and I and leftovers for just me.  The other 6 were frozen for a one-night meal.   

5 forks out of 5

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