Sunday, January 14, 2018

Cold Outside!

I can't seem to get away from comfort food this time of year...

I haven't made this in a few years, but I was totally craving it over the holidays and it didn't disappoint! This can be assembled (and even baked!) the day before if you're crunched for time. A pre-baked casserole can be re-heated in a 425 degree oven for about 30 minutes.

Hash Brown Casserole (adapted from Gigi 😘) - V
Serves 12
1/2 onion, diced
1 stick butter, divided
2 cups reduced fat shredded cheddar
16 oz. light sour cream
10.75 oz. can low-fat cream of mushroom soup
28 oz. package frozen Potatoes O'Brien (with onions and peppers)
3 cups crushed corn flakes
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large skillet over medium heat, combine onion with 1/2 stick of butter and saute for 5 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in cheese, sour cream, and soup. Stir in frozen potatoes. Spread mixture into a 9"x13" baking dish. Melt remaining 1/2 stick of butter in empty skillet and stir in crushed corn flakes. Arrange cornflakes and butter evenly on top of potatoes. Cover with aluminum foil and bake 45 minutes. Remove foil and bake 15 minutes more.

I've also been craving this lately! It's a repeat recipe from Valentine's Day 2013, but it's a good one! I usually make this alongside a half recipe of regular Mac 'n' Cheese to keep the boys happy.

Mediterranean Mac 'n' Cheese (adapted from Everyday Food) - V
Serves 4
Cooking spray

14.5 oz. can petite diced tomatoes, drained
1/3 cup pitted Kalamata olives, chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

8 ounces macaroni
1/2 stick butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup flour
2 cups fat-free milk
8 oz. reduced-fat feta, crumbled and divided

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Set a large pot of water to boil and spray an 8-inch square baking dish with cooking spray. In a small bowl, combine tomatoes, olives, and oregano. Cook pasta 2 minutes less than package instructions; drain pasta and return to pot. Meanwhile, melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Whisk in milk and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, whisking constantly, until sauce thickens, 3 minutes. Remove from heat; whisk in 4 ounces feta. Stir in tomato mixture. Pour mixture over pasta; stir to combine. Pour pasta mixture into prepared baking dish and top with 4 ounces feta. Bake until sauce is bubbling and cheese begins to brown, about 25 minutes. 

This is a simpler, nutritionally enhanced version of Julia Child's classic. It's a great cold weather weekend recipe that can simmer in your oven all day long and make your whole house smell fantastic! The meat and potatoes tend to fall apart when you freeze it, so I don't make more than we can eat in a few days.

Serves 4
2 T. olive oil, divided
8 oz. button mushrooms, quartered
1 1/2 lb. stew beef
Salt & pepper
3 strips of bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 onion, sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 T. tomato paste
1 T. flour
1 1/2 cup dry red wine
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 bay leaf
1/4 t. dried thyme
1/2 lb. yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1 inch pieces
12 frozen pearl onions, thawed
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
1 T. butter*
1. Move oven rack to lower middle position and remove upper rack. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large oven safe pot with a lid, heat 1 T. olive oil over medium high heat. Add mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, and cook until browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Pat beef dry with paper towels and season generously with salt and pepper. Add remaining 1 T. oil to pot. In batches, brown beef 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a separate plate. Add bacon to the pot and cook until brown, about 5 minutes. Add onion, garlic, and carrot and stir to coat with bacon fat about 1 minute. Then stir in tomato paste until incorporated. Sprinkle with flour and cook while stirring about 1 minute. Add wine, broth, bay leaf, and thyme. Bring to a boil and use a wooden spoon to loosen brown bits on bottom of pan.
2. Return beef to pot. Cover and transfer to oven for 1 1/2 hours. Add potatoes and pearl onions and cook 1 1/2 hours more. Remove from oven and stir in peas and butter. Season with salt and pepper.

The first time I made this, I took all sorts of liberties with the original recipe and it turned out fabulous! The second time, I made it for the boys, followed the recipe exactly, and hated it! But, I so remembered loving the first dish I made that I gave it one more try - this time, writing down my recipe adjustments. And voila! Sweet, creamy, perfection! It also freezes well so I would recommend making two square pans - baking one and freezing the other, uncooked. To bake from frozen just double the baking time!

Serves 12
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes (about 3 lb. or 4 cups)
1 T. olive oil
Salt & pepper
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1/2 onion, diced small
1 T. Dijon mustard
1/3 cup flour
4 cups milk
2 cups fat free cottage cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded Swiss cheese, divided
2/3 grated Parmesan
1 large egg
12 sheets no-boil lasagna noodles
5 oz. baby spinach
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss squash with oil and spread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper. Roast about 15 minutes or until tender, stirring halfway through baking time. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees.
2. Meanwhile make the sauce by melting butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, a pinch of nutmeg, and 2 t. salt. Cook until onion is translucent, about 3 minutes. Stir in mustard and sprinkle with flour, stirring constantly for about 30 seconds. Slowly whisk in milk and simmer.
3. In a medium bowl make the filling by stirring together cottage cheese, 1 cup of Swiss cheese, Parmesan, egg, and a pinch of nutmeg.
4. Spread 1 cup of sauce in the bottom of a 9" x 13" baking dish. Arrange 4 noodles on top. Dot with 1/3 of the filling. Top with half of the squash. Spread spinach over the squash. Pour 1 cup of sauce over the spinach. Top with 4 more noodles, 1/3 of the filling, the rest of the squash, and 1 cup of sauce. Finish with 4 more noodles, the rest of the filling, and the rest of the sauce. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup of Swiss cheese.
4. Cover with foil and bake 35 to 40 minutes until bubbling at edges. Remove foil and broil until brown in spots, 2-3 minutes. Let cool 20 minutes before serving.

Here's an easy, yummy chili from Cooking Light that achieves creaminess without dairy and a nice brightness from lime juice.

Serves 4
1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth, divided
15 oz. can Great Northern beans, rinsed, drained, and divided
2 T. olive oil
1 cup onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 t. flour
1 T. cumin
2 (4 oz.) cans mild green chiles, drained and chopped
Salt & pepper
1 cup cooked chicken breast, shredded
2 T. lime juice
Sour cream*, avocado, and cilantro for serving (optional)
Blend 1/2 cup chicken broth and 1/2 of Great Northern beans in a blender until smooth. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat and add onion. Cook 4 minutes, then add garlic and cook another 2 minutes. Sprinkle with flour and cook 1 minute while stirring. Add cumin and chiles and cook 1 minute more. Add bean mixture, remaining 1 cup chicken broth, remaining beans, 1/2 t. salt and 1/4 t. pepper. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes until slightly thickened. Stir in chicken and lime juice. Serve with sour cream, avocado and cilantro if desired.

Delicious, dairy-free, mashed potatoes from Ellie Krieger.  You're welcome. :)

Serves 4
1 1/4 lb. Yukon gold potatoes, unpeeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
1 T. olive oil
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper 
Steam potatoes and garlic in a steamer basket over 2 inches of boiling water. Cover and cook 15 minutes until tender. Remove steamer basket and drain water from large pot. Transfer potatoes and garlic to pot and add broth, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Mash until smooth.