Friday, September 30, 2011

Slow Cooker Chicken with Corn and Poblanos

Ah slow cooker, how I have come to love you.  I'll be honest, I was kind of scared of you at first.  I'd heard the stories of houses burning down and what not because someone had left you on all day while they were away.  Why those few stories stood out more than those of the many, many food bloggers proclaiming they leave their slow cookers all the time, I'm still not quite sure.  But over time, slow cooker, you've won me over.

Sure, there have been a few setback recipes which resulted in the dreaded mushy texture and dead flavor.  But from those failures, I've learned how to choose recipes that will stand up to the low and slow heat.  And I've found some real winners, like this chicken with corn and poblanos.  The texture of the meat was perfect and they flavors balanced beautifully.  Sweet corn, spicy poblanos, and just a touch of creaminess to finish.  With everything finished except some brown rice for serving, how could I not come to love you, slow cooker?

Slow Cooker Chicken with Corn and Poblanos
adapted from Gourmet, August 2010

1 large white onion, chopped
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts OR
6 whole chicken legs
1/2 lb. fresh poblano chiles (about 4), stems, seeds, and ribs removed and chiles chopped
1 (12 oz. bag) frozen corn
1/2 c. sour cream
3/4 c. chopped cilantro
salt and pepper, to taste

1.  Place onion and garlic in slow cooker.  Top with chicken and season with 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper. 

2.  Layer poblanos and corn over chicken and season with 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cover and cook according to manufacturer's instructions depending on length of cooking time.

3.  Lift chicken from cooking liquid and shred into large pieces.  Whisk sour cream and 1/2 c. cilantro into cooking liquid.  Return chicken to sauce.  Season with salt and pepper and serve over white or brown rice.  Garnish with remaining cilantro.   Serves 4-6.

three years ago: applesauce spice cookies

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Pan-Seared Steak with Mustard Cream Sauce

It's been unseasonably hot here (108 on the first day of fall!) but at least the mornings and evenings are becoming more enjoyable.  This may sound silly to some of you, but an 80 degree mornings and evenings feels just heavenly when you're still dealing with afternoon highs consistently above 100.  The promise of those wonderfully lower temperatures prompted me to finally get my little patio in batter shape.  I dug up the bed, painted and hung a trellis, and planted bougainvillea.  I've really enjoyed the handful of mornings and evenings I've been able to sit out there, admire the handiwork, and enjoy a delicious meal.  

This incredibly simple steak was made for sitting out on that patio.  I served it with roasted potatoes, a simple side salad, and a glass of wine.  It came together in the amount of time it took the potatoes to roast and was just the kind of meal that felt like a real indulgence. 

Pan-Seared Steak with Mustard Cream Sauce
originally from Cook's Illustrated, September/October 2005

1 TBSP vegetable oil
1 (1 lb.) boneless Sirloin steak, such as shell sirloin or skirt steak (steak should be about 1 1/4 in. thick)
1 small shallot, minced (about 2 TBSP)
1 1/2 TBSP dry white wine
1/4 c. low-sodium chicken broth
3 TBSP heavy cream
1 1/2 TBSP whole-grain Dijon or coarse brown mustard

1.  Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season both sides of the steak with salt and pepper, then lay in skillet.  Cook, without moving, until well browned, about 2 minutes. Flip steak, using tongs, and reduce heat to medium.  Continue cooking until well browned on the second side. For medium-rare, cook about 5 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 125 degrees F.  For medium, cook for about 6 minutes or until steak reaches 130 degrees F.

2.  Remove steak from skillet and place on a platter or cutting board. Tent loosely with foil and allow to rest 12-15 minutes or until the temperature reaches 130 degrees F for medium-rare and 135 degrees F for medium.

3.  Meanwhile, pour off all but 1 TBSP fat from the skillet.   Return to low heat and add shallot. Cook, stirring frequently, until the shallot begins to brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Add wine and increase heat to medium-high. Simmer rapidly for about 30 seconds and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the skillet.

4.  Add broth and simmer until reduced to 2 TBSP, about 3 minutes.  Add cream and any juices from the resting steak. Continue cooking 1 minute more, then stir in mustard. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

5.  Using a sharp knife, slice steak about 1/4 inch thick, against the grain, on the bias. Arrange on two plates, spoon sauce over the top and serve immediately.

two years ago: Black Forest cheesecake, a treat created with love for my mom's birthday.
three years ago: simple sloppy Joes

Monday, September 26, 2011

Meatless Monday--Baked Oatmeal with Fruit

This may sound strange to many of you, but one of the reasons I look forward to fall and winter is having oatmeal for breakfast.  Now before you stop reading, please know I realize there are oatmeal haters out there.  I recognize you.  And I'm going to keep trying to reform you.

This baked oatmeal had great texture; none of that mushy grossness you get from the sugary packets.  Old-fashioned rolled oats are the key here.  They maintain their body even with a long baking time and reheat beautifully.  Another big plus for this oatmeal is its versatility.  I used almond milk and both M and I thought it was delicious.  You can use any fruit you like, play with the sweeteners, and even substitute different types of nuts.  I personally cannot wait to experiment with apples, fresh cranberries, and pieces of pumpkin.

If you're an oatmeal lover, you'll want to make this ASAP.  If you're an oatmeal hater, I still think you'll want to make this ASAP.  You never know, it could be the oatmeal that changes your mind.

baked oatmeal

Baked Oatmeal with Fruit
originally from Heidi Swanson, Super Natural Every Day

1 c. old fashioned rolled oats
1/4 c. chopped walnuts or pecans, lightly toasted, divided
1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
1/4 c. maple syrup
1 c. milk, almond milk, or coconut milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 TBSP unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2-3 ripe bananas, peeled and sliced 1/2-in. thick
1 c. blackberries (fresh or frozen), divided

1.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.   Lightly grease or spray a 2-qt. baking dish.  

2.  In a medium bowl, use a fork to stir together oats, half of the nuts, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.  

3.  In a liquid measuring cup, combine maple syrup, milk, egg, butter, and vanilla.  

4.  Spread the sliced bananas in a single layer over the bottom of the baking dish.  Top with half of the berries.  Sprinkle the dry oat mixture over the fruit in an even layer.  Pour the liquid ingredients evenly over the oats.  Sprinkle the remaining nuts and berries over the top.  Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the top is browned and the oats have set.  Let cool 10 minutes before serving.  Serves 4-6.

one year ago: quinoa pilaf
three years ago: My favorite fall quick bread, autumn harvest bread.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Classic Pumpkin Bread

Fall is officially here.  FINALLY!  It's supposed to be about 105 here today, but I am not about to let that stop me from cooking and baking with all the apples, pumpkin, pears, and cinnamon I can handle.

As far as muffins, cookies, and quick breads go, I've been a "stuff" kinda girl.  My current favorite quick bread is this autumn harvest bread--a pumpkin bread brimming with apples, raisins, cranberries, and walnuts.  But lately, I've been leaning more toward some simpler flavors.  With this new development, I decided the first day of fall would be the perfect day to share a classic pumpkin bread recipe.

classic pumpkin bread

Classic Pumpkin Bread
adapted from The All-New Joy of Cooking

6 TBSP unsalted butter, softened
2/3 c. granulated sugar
1/3 c. light brown sugar
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp freshly-grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/3 c. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
2 large eggs
1 c. pumpkin puree

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease or spray a 9x5-inch loaf pan.  (This recipe can be used for mini pans, as well.  Just follow the timing instructions that may have come with them.)

2.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together on medium-high heat until light and fluffy, about three minutes.  

3.  In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves.  

4.  Combine milk and vanilla in a measuring cup.

5.  Reduce mixer speed to medium-low and beat in eggs, one at a time, then pumpkin until incorporated.  

6.  Reduce mixer speed further to low and add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the milk mixture.  Stop the mixture and scrape down sides of bowl with a spatula when necessary.

7.  Pour batter into prepared pan and spread evenly.  Bake 55-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out mostly clean.  Let cool ten minutes in the pan on a wire rack.  Then turn out and allow to cool completely.

one year ago: salmon florentine
two years ago: Another fall staple in our house, butternut squash, black beans, and feta quesadillas.
three years ago: lemon crostata with fresh figs and goat cheese

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Queso Fundido

I was hard at work on my patio last weekend.  It's a small space (thank goodness!) but it was in sad shape.  After digging out the flower bed that had clearly been used as a dumping ground for the remodel contractor, hauling out the dirt, bag by bag, through the front door (we don't have an exterior gate), sanding down the metal trellis, giving it a few coats of spray paint, and planting three beautiful bougainvillea, I was pretty beat. 

I was planning to make a healthy dinner of chicken with tomato-herb pan sauce, but just as I was about to leave for the grocery store, I got a craving and did a check to see if I had chips and salsa on the list.  After such a hard day of work, what was a decidedly unhealthy dinner of chips and dip going to hurt?  So I took the chips and salsa idea and ran with it.  Queso fundido it would be.  I'd been looking for a reason to make it and a long day of yard work seemed just as good as any.

Oh wow, was this yummy.  Ooey, gooey, and so delicious with chips, some college football, and a nice cold beer.  I think I've found just the right motivation I need to get after the rest of the home improvement tasks on my list...

queso fundido

Queso Fundido
adapted from Homesick Texan

1/4-1/2 lb. chorizo (I used 1/2 lb. to make a hearty dinner)
3 c. grated asadero or Muenster cheese
1 c. grated Monterey Jack
1 (4 oz.) can chopped green chiles

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease the bottom of an 8x8 stoneware baker or a medium cast iron skillet.

2.  While oven is heating, crumble chorizo into a skillet and brown over medium heat, about 5 minutes.  

3.  Place cheeses in dish and top with green chiles.  When chorizo is finished, sprinkle over the top using a slotted spoon.

4.  Place in oven and bake until cheese is bubbling, about 15 minutes.  Serve immediately with chips and/or warm corn tortillas.  Serves 4-6 as an appetizer (or 2 very hungry people for dinner).

two years ago: cheese straws made with homemade puff pastry

Monday, September 19, 2011

Meatless Monday--15 Minute Creamy Avocado Pasta

It's funny to me how busy times seem to wax and wane.  Some days, I feel like a complete success--I accomplish everything I set out to, I don't feel rushed, and I even have the time to find the joy in the many tasks of the day.  (Wouldn't we all like more of those days?)  But most of time, I feel more like I'm on the go from the time my feet hit the floor.  When I finally get to bed on those days, I lay down and think to myself, "What just happened?"  

On those days, I am so thankful for recipes like this.  Low-maintenance, easily adaptable, delicious, and healthy.  With your favorite pasta, 15 minutes, and a handful of basic ingredients, this comforting meal can be yours.  Thank goodness.

easy avocado pasta

15 Minute Creamy Avocado Pasta
slightly adapted from Oh She Glows

6 oz. dried pasta of your choice 
1-3 garlic cloves, to taste
juice and zest of 1/2 a lemon
1/2 tsp. kosher salt, or to taste
1 medium-sized ripe avocado
1/4 c. basil
1/4 c. freshly-grated Parmesan cheese (omit for vegan recipe)
2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper, to taste 

1. Bring a medium-sized pot of water to a boil.  Add pasta and cook according to package directions.

2. Meanwhile, make the sauce by placing the garlic cloves, lemon juice, and olive oil into a food processor. Process until smooth.  Add in avocado, basil, cheese, and salt. Process until smooth and creamy. 

3. When pasta is done cooking, drain and rinse in a strainer and place pasta into a large bowl. Pour on sauce and toss until fully combined. Garnish with lemon zest and black pepper.  Serves 2.  **Note: because of the avocado, this pasta does not reheat very well.  It can be eaten as leftovers, but is much better when served immediately.

two years ago: sugar and spice cupcakes 
three years ago: A delicious recipe with what may be one of the worst pictures on my blog, warm couscous salad.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Chipotle Chicken and Rice Soup

Sorry this wasn't up yesterday.  I had a serious bout with allergies and a sinus infection.  I went from slightly uncomfortable to calling a substitute for my classes within an hour.  That hour was when I was going to write this entry.  I am passionate beyond belief about this little blog and I love sharing with all of you, but I just couldn't do it.  Luckily, I think I'm on the mend.  I have absolutely NO voice (a special challenge for a teacher) but I don't need one of those to cook, photograph, and write.

This soup was an attempt to kick the sinus infection out of me.  It didn't work, but the soup was tasty.  The original recipe, called "Chipotle Chicken Tortilla Soup," is quite involved.  I definitely wasn't up for involved.  So I took the inspiration and greatly simplified it.  The soup didn't have a typical tortilla soup flavor.  Rather, it was like a hearty chicken and rice soup with a southwestern flare, which is why I've changed the name.  With fall and winter coming up, readers, keep this one in your back pocket.  I hope you'll make it in good health.

chipotle chicken soup

Chipotle Chicken and Rice Soup
inspired by Gourmet, December 2008

2 TBSP canola or vegetable oil
1 medium white onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1/2 tsp. allspice
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. salt, plus more to taste
1/2 tsp. black pepper, plus more to taste
2-3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1/2 c. chopped cilantro, divided
4 c. low-sodium chicken broth
3 c. water
1 dried bay leaf
3/4 c. medium-grain brown rice
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 (14.5-oz.) can black beans, rinsed
3 c. shredded chicken (from about half a chicken)
1 ripe avocado, cut into 1/2-in. cubes  
1/2 c. sour cream
2 limes, cut into wedges
tortilla chips

1.  Heat oil over medium heat in the bottom of a heavy soup pot.  Add onion and saute until softened, about five minutes.  Add garlic, allspice, cloves, cumin, salt, and pepper, and saute three minutes more, until very fragrant.

2.  Place onion mixture in a food processor.  Add chipotle peppers and 1/4 c. cilantro and process until fully pureed.

3.  Place pot back on burner and increase heat to medium-high.  Pour broth, water, pureed onion mixture, and bay leaf into the pot and bring to a boil.  

4.  Reduce heat to a simmer and add rice.  Let simmer 20 minutes, then add sweet potato and let simmer 15 minutes more.  Finally, add beans and chicken and simmer 10 minutes to heat through.  Taste and adjust seasoning.

5.  To serve, remove bay leaf and ladle soup into individual bowls.  Garnish with avocado and sour cream.  Serve with chips, remaining cilantro, and lime wedges alongside.  Serves six.

three years ago: Korean barbecued beef

Monday, September 12, 2011

Meatless Monday--Zucchini Tart with Feta

Every now and then I come across a recipe that looks so, so perfect.  Just the right ingredients, treated simply and with respect, and presented beautifully.  A dish worth spending the extra time on.  A dish worth taking extra care with, placing on the table with pride, and enjoying slowly with great music and a glass of wine.

This zucchini tart was exactly that.  It was elegant and delicious and paired, with a salad, a terrific late summer meal.  It does take some time to create, but none of the steps are difficult.  So before summer is over, find some time to make this, our a glass of wine, and enjoy the end of the season with someone you love.

zucchini feta tart

Zucchini Tart with Feta

1  (10 × 13) sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed and chilled
12 sheets phyllo dough, plus melted butter or olive oil for brushing
2 1⁄2 lbs. zucchini, trimmed
1 TBSP salt, plus more to taste
3 TBSP butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 tomatoes, soft insides removed and finely chopped
1 c. crumbled feta cheese
1⁄2 c. ricotta
2 TBSP chopped basil
freshly ground black pepper
1 egg, lightly beaten

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Fit pastry into a 9" × 12" baking sheet, pressing it against sides. Score around bottom inner edge of pastry, with a paring knife.  Prick bottom of pastry all over with a fork, line with a sheet of parchment paper that fits in bottom only, and fill with pie weights or dry beans. Bake until edge of crust begins to puff and color, about 25 minutes (10 for phyllo).  Watch the dough carefully and shield edges with foil if they brown too quickly.  Remove weights and paper. Bake until bottom is golden, 6–8 minutes more. Let crust cool slightly.

2. Coarsely grate half of the zucchini into a sieve or strainer placed over large bowl. Add 1 TBSP salt, toss well, and set aside to let weep for 30 minutes. Transfer to a clean kitchen towel and wring throughly to remove moisture.

3. Meanwhile, slice remaining zucchini into 1⁄4"-thick rounds. Working in batches, blanch rounds in a large pot of boiling salted water for 1 minute. Drain and spread out on a paper towel–lined sheet pan; set aside.

4. Heat butter in a large skillet over medium heat. (Spoon out 1 TBSP and reserve.) Add onions and cook until soft, 5–6 minutes. Add grated zucchini and cook, stirring often, until just beginning to brown, 5–7 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool to room temperature.

5. Stir tomatoes, half of the feta, ricotta, basil, and salt and pepper to taste into zucchini mixture. Stir in egg and spread mixture evenly in crust. Arrange zucchini rounds, slightly overlapping in rows, on top. Bake for 15 minutes, then brush top with reserved butter. Continue to bake until crust is deep golden, 10 minutes more. Let cool to room temperature, then sprinkle remaining feta over top. To serve, cut tart into squares.  Serves 4 as a main course.

two years ago: banana-nut bread
three years ago: honey-peach ice cream

Friday, September 9, 2011

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Despite the title, this dip is more commonly known as "crack dip" out in the blogosphere.  I'm sure you can figure out why.  It is so. darn. addicting.  Not just "I'm full but I can't stop eating" addicting.  This dip falls more into the category of "I want to make this for every football game" addicting.

Is it healthy?  No way.  In fact, it contains not one but TWO types of processed bottled dressing.  I can't remember the last time I bought a bottle of ranch dressing.  But this dip, complete with a promise of greatness and legendary back story, combined with the first weekend of the college football season, convinced me that I should break the rules.  It certainly didn't hurt that this dip is bright orange, the perfect color for rooting on my Oklahoma State Cowboys.  In my defense, I did use low-fat cream cheese and dressings.  (I know, not really any better.  I had to try.)

So jump in, readers.  Throw caution and your better judgment to the wind and fix up a batch of this dip for you and your football-watching friends.  If you're tailgating, keep it warm in a slow cooker.  I do have one piece of good news about the nutritional value state of this dip--you definitely won't have leftovers sitting around to tempt you.

Buffalo chicken dip

Buffalo Chicken Dip aka "Crack Dip"

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/4 c. ranch salad dressing
1/4 c. blue cheese salad dressing
1/2 c. buffalo sauce
1/2 c. crumbled blue cheese  
3 c. shredded chicken

1.  Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. 

2.  In a deep baking dish, mix cream cheese, salad dress, buffalo sauce, and cheese. Stir until combined. Stir in chicken.
3.  Bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes, until the dish is heated through.  Serve with carrots, celery, crackers, or toasted baguette slices.

one year ago: ricotta-lemon pancakes
two years ago: My most favorite super snickerdoodles.
three years ago: raspberry ebelskivers

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Banana-Coconut Bread

I've been on a bit of a quick bread kick lately.  I know this is my first post for one, but you'll see more, I promise.  With my three very ripe bananas and just the right amount of unsweetened coconut in my pantry, I was sold.  The rum might have been part of the decision, as well. 

As I usually do, I decreased the amount of sugar a bit.  If you like things on the sweeter side, bring it back up to one cup.  If you don't want to use alcohol or don't have rum on hand, I think vanilla extract would work just fine.  The result was a slightly sweet bread with a wonderful balance of banana and coconut, two flavors I adore.  It was even better the next morning, after the flavors had a chance to really developed.

banana coconut bread

Banana-Coconut Bread
seen on Orangette
originally from Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid, HomeBaking: The Artful Mix of Flour and Tradition around the World

About 3 large, overripe bananas
2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
pinch of salt
1 stick (4 oz.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 c. granulated sugar
1/8 tsp. distilled white vinegar
1 1/2 TBSP dark rum
1/2 c. flaked unsweetened coconut
1 TBSP raw sugar, such as demerara

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter or spray a standard-size loaf pan.

2.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mash the bananas on medium-low speed.  Measure out 1 1/2 c. and set aside.  (Any remaining banana can be saved.  Molly from Orangette recommends stirring it into plain yogurt.)

3.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, nutmeg, and salt. Set aside.

4.  In the stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the vinegar and rum, and beat to mix well. Add the banana and flour mixtures alternately, about 1 cup at a time, beginning with the banana and beating to just incorporate.

5.  Use a spatula to fold in any flour that has not been absorbed, and stir in the coconut. Do not overmix.

6.  Scrape the batter (it will be quite thick) into the prepared pan.  Smooth the top, and sprinkle evenly with the raw sugar.  Bake for 50-65 minutes, or until the top is nicely browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let cool on a wire rack for about 20 minutes, then turn the loaf out of the pan and allow to cool completely.  Keeps, sealed airtight, for three to four days.

two years ago: raspberry chess pie
three years ago: heirloom caprese with pesto vinaigrette and aromatic noodles with peanut-lime sauce

Monday, September 5, 2011

Meatless Monday--Farro Salad

I wasn't entirely sure how this meal would turn out.  To start with, I've never eaten, let alone cooked, farro.  I've heard the raves.  I've just never had it.  I started with a recipe from one of my favorite blogs, The Way the Cookie Crumbles.  The thing was, I didn't have a good amount of the ingredients called for.  What I did have, though, was a bunch of other stuff sorta close-ish to what the recipe called for.  I decided to go for it anyway.  I mean, how bad could a hearty grain mixed with other tasty ingredients be?

In the end, this farro turned out wonderfully.  It was nutty and chewy and delicious.  Its hearty flavor and texture stood up to the vinegar, vegetables, and feta.  It kept quite well in the refrigerator, tasting just as good for lunch three days later as it did the night I made it. 

farro salad

Farro Salad

1 c. farro (or other whole grain)
2 tsp. salt, plus more to taste
juice from 1 lemon
1 clove garlic, minced 
1/2 small red onion, very thinly sliced
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1 small cucumber, quartered and sliced into 1/8-in. pieces
1 (15-oz.) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 c. feta, crumbled
3 TBSP-virgin olive oil
1 loosely-packed c. spinach, chopped
1/3 c. walnuts, toasted and chopped
1. Place farro in a bowl and cover with water.  Allow to soak about one hour.

2.  Bring 2 quarts of water to a roiling boil; add the farro and 2 teaspoons of salt. Cook 25 minutes, until the farro is tender but slightly chewy.  Drain and reserve.

3. Meanwhile, squeeze the juice of the lemon into a large bowl.  Add the onions, garlic, and a pinch of salt.  Set aside.

4. Stir the drained farro into the lemon juice mixture.  Add the remaining ingredients.  Let stand at room temperature about 15 minutes before serving.

three years ago: balsamic-marinated skirt steak and oven roasted potatoes

Friday, September 2, 2011

Balsamic Farfalle with Sausage

My pantry is full.  I mean fuuuulllll.  I've been using my coupons wisely.  Not in an "86 bottles of body wash" kind of way.  My couponing is more of the "Yes, I will buy my limit four boxes of pasta for eleven cents each.  They won't go bad and it's something I'll actually use" persuasion.  Just like I'm sure you all have, I've been greatly enjoying the deals on summer produce.  And now I've got a whole lotta stuff I need to use.  I'm busting at the seams.

That's how this pasta came about.  A box of farfalle I got for eleven cents, some sausage that was nearing it's use by date, a bottle of balsamic vinegar taking up way more space than it's measly contents were worth, and a sweet Vidalia onion that was about to be less sweet.  

And it worked.  It was a very tasty meal.  Tasty enough to buy the ingredients with the purpose of making this dish again.  I'd say that's about as good as it gets with a meal that initially happened as a way to clean the pantry.

balsamic farfalle with sausage

Balsamic Farfalle with Sausage
an "Apple a Day" original

1 lb. farfalle
1 pkg. chicken apple sausage, sliced
3 TBSP olive oil, divided
1 large Vidalia onion, sliced into half moons
1 clove garlic, minced
2 TBSP balsamic vinegar, divided
1/2 c. grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 c. walnuts, toasted and chopped
3 TBSP basil, chiffonade

1.  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Cook farfalle according to package directions.  Drain and set aside.

2.  Meanwhile, cook sausage in a medium pan over medium heat.  Remove from the pan and reserve on a plate.

3.  Add 1 TBSP oil to the pan and bring to temperature.  Add onion and cook, stirring often, 5 minutes.  Add 1 TBSP balsamic vinegar and season with salt and pepper, to taste.  Cook 3 minutes more.  Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

4.  Toss drained pasta in remaining oil and vinegar.  Add sausage, tomatoes, and red pepper flakes.  Taste and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

5.  Divide pasta among 6 bowls or pour into large serving bowl.  Top with walnuts and basil.  Serve immediately.

three years ago: Mango-pineapple salsa, a delicious topper for teriyaki chicken.