Chipotle Meatballs.

one last meat-tastic recipe, these are a rick bayless recipe.

3 slices bacon, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup bread crumbs (could shift to some amount almond flour for paleo)
1 1/4 lbs gr. pork (again, meat could vary here)
1 28 oz. can of diced tomato, mostly drained (1/4 cup juice left)
2-3 chipotles in adobo
1 med. onion, diced
1 tsp oregano, dried
1.5 tsp chili powder
1.5 cups broth (beef or chicken)
bonus: 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint (didn’t use)

preheat oven to 400.

in a bowl, combine bacon, 2 cloves garlic, eggs, bread crumbs, pork, mint, chili powder, and 1.5 tsp salt. make into small meatballs – we used out minimuffin tin and it was a good decision, i think. bake about 15 minutes, until lightly browned.

while they bake, saute your onions well, until in they brown a touch. add remaining 3 cloves garlic for a minute, then add tomatoes, broth, chipotles, and oregano. mix well, add salt to taste. when meatballs are ready, mix well and you can serve.

we’ve served this with cauliflower rice, and it’s a nice pairing. it’s also fine by itself, as a sort of appetizer.

Apple, Sage and Chestnut Stuffing

This was a hit at our recent Thanksgiving dinner. David and I have made this before, but we wanted to be sure to include it here to remember. We didn’t use packaged stuffing bread mix, but we have in the past. It usually turns out better with half stuffing bread mix and dried bread.

1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
1 cup thinly sliced celery, about 4 celery stalks
1 1/2 cups chopped onion, about 1 medium onion
4 cups chopped Fuji apples, about 3 apples (we used Braeburn apples)
3 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
10 cup (1-inch) cubes from assorted whole-grain bread, toasted until dry (we used white bread)
2 cups coarsely chopped cooked shelled chestnuts
2 cups cooked crumbled lean sweet Italian chicken sausage (optional)(We used regular sausage.
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3 1/4 cups fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth, heated
4 tablespoons unsalted butter

Preparation

1. Preheat the oven to 350º. Coat a 9- x 13-inch baking dish with 2 teaspoons olive oil.

2. Heat remaining 1 teaspoon olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add celery and onion; sauté 5 minutes. Add apple, parsley, sage, thyme, and rosemary; sauté 3 minutes.

3. Combine apple mixture, bread, and next 5 ingredients (through egg) in a large bowl. Add hot broth; stir well. (Mixture should be moist but not soaked.) Spoon into prepared baking dish. Dot with butter. Cover with foil.

4. Bake at 350º for 30 minutes. Uncover; bake 25 minutes or until top is golden brown. Let stand 15–20 minutes before serving.

Ancho Lentil Soup.

so…we’re back from the gluttony-filled holidays and vacations, and trying to settle back into eating habits that are a bit more moderate. and to me, nothing says moderation like lentils.

Ancho lentil soup, from theppk

Ingredients
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
2 dried ancho chilies, seeds removed and ripped into bite sized pieces

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced small
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Seranno pepper, seeded and chopped (we omitted this, but I would add it next time)
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon salt

2 cups green lentils, washed
7 to 8 cups broth

3 tablespoons of lime juice (we used juice from one half a lime)
6 to 8 pineapple rings

slices of lime to serve
hot sauce to serve

Directions

Preheat a small frying pan over low-medium heat. Add the cumin seeds and ancho chili pieces and toast, stirring often, until fragrant and toasted, 3 to 5 minutes.

Transfer to a spice grinder (I use a clean coffee grinder) or small food processor and grind to a coarse powder. Some bigger pieces of chili are okay. Add the coriander seeds to the cumin and anchos and pulse a few times to crush them.

Preheat a big stock pot over medium heat. Saute the onions in the olive oil until transparent, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the serrano and garlic and cook for another minute. Add the spices and stir. Add the bay leaves, salt, lentils and 7 cups of broth. Mix well. Bring up the heat, cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling lower heat to low-medium and let simmer for 1/2 an hour, stirring every now and again.

Meanwhile, preheat a broiler. Cook on one side for 3 minutes and the other for about 2, until pineapple begins to brown and slightly carmelize.

Once the lentils are tender, add an extra cup of water/stock if you think it needs thinning. Add the lime juice and stir.

Remove the bay leaf. Use an immersion blender to puree about half the soup. If you don’t have an immersion blender, use a potato masher to mash it up a bit, until desired thickness is achieved. Taste for salt.

To serve: ladle into bowls and top with a pineapple ring, a slice of lime and dot with hot sauce.

This turned out pretty nicely for us. I did a couple things askew of the recipe – I didn’t mash the lentils up much, leaving the soup brothy. Also, the pineapple garnish, while fine, didn’t really blow me away. Still, a rather simple soup that was pretty enjoyable.

Sour Cream, Cheddar, and Jalapeno Biscuits.

it’s smitten kitchen, as always. these were FANTASTIC on the side of whatever we ate them with.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
1/4 pound sharp Cheddar cheese, coarsely grated (about 1 1/2 cups)
Drained and chopped pickled jalapeños, to taste (I used about 2 tablespoons)
1 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 425°F. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Either cut the butter pieces into the flour mixture with a pastry blender or rub them in with your fingertips until well-combined. Stir in the cheddar, jalapeños and sour cream until the mixture forms a sticky dough. Pat it out to a 1/2-inch thickness on a very well-floured counter and use a 3 1/2-inch biscuit cutter to cut six rounds. Bake on an ungreased (or parchment-lined, if your baking sheets are as “weathered” as mine are) for 15 to 17 minutes, until golden on top.

Mexican Quinoa Salad.

this one was a quick lunch that was found on the nourishing gourmet. it turned out really nice and easy, but next time we make it, it needs black beans.

1/2 cup of olive oil
1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon cumin
2-3 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon sea salt
half a bunch of cilantro
5 cups of cooked quinoa (about 2-2.5 cups dry)
2 corn on the cobs (2 small cans)
1 bunch of spinach

Mix the olive oil, apple cider vinegar, cumin, garlic and salt together in a small jar. Toss most of it with the quinoa and corn in a bowl. Serve with spinach; you can leave some dressing behind to add as you eat if you eat some later, as we did.

The recipe calls for cooked (wilted) spinach, but we tossed it in raw as we ate it during the week. No big thing. The recipe also says to lightly cook the corn in some oil on the stove – I don’t recall if we did this either. Nothing fancy going on here, but it was a pleasant lunch.

Wild Mushroom-Barley Risotto

Serves 4

14 oz. wild mushrooms (such as cepes or porcini, trompettes de la mort, and chantrelles) (We used portobellos – so, maybe not that wild…)
3 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable stock
1 1/2 Tbs. butter
3 Tbs. olive oil
1 onion, minced
1 c pearl barley
slash of dry white wine
1/4 c freshly grated Parmesan
2 tbs. mascarpone
handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley, leaves minced

Clean the mushrooms and thickly slice the large ones. Set aside while you start the risotto.

Brink the stock to a gentle simmer in a medium saucepan. Meanwhile, heat the butter and a tablespoon of olive oil in a large saucepan or sauté pan and add the onion and a little seasoning. Gently fry the onion, stirring occasionally, until it begins to soften 4-6 minutes. Tip in the barley and stir well to coat. Toast the barley for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add the splash of wine and let it bubble until reduced by half. Stir in two-thirds of the hot stock and simmer, stirring every once in a while, until the barley has absorbed almost all the liquid. Add more stock, a ladleful at a time, and simmer until the barley is just tender (you may not need all the stock). Stir in the Parmesan and mascarpone and season well to taste. Remove the pan from the heat and cover with a lid to keep warm.

Heat the remaining oil in a large frying pan. Fry the mushrooms with some seasoning until they are lightly browned and any moisture released has evaporated, 3-4 minutes. Add the mushrooms to the risotto and stir well to mix.

Divide the risotto among warm plates and sprinkle with the minced parsley. Serve immediately.

David: I thought it was great! It came together pretty easily and I feel like it could go on the side with a lot of different things. A.

Carla: I also really enjoyed this risotto. It went together nicely. And who doesn’t love cheese? A.

Carrot Miso Soup.

this is a really nice soup from the people at smitten kitchen. it goes like this:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds carrots, peeled and sliced thin
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped
1 tablespoon grated ginger (i totally use more than this)
4 cups vegetable broth
1/4 cup white miso paste, or more to taste (i used a touch more)
Drizzle of toasted sesame oil
2 scallions, very thinly sliced (didn’t use these)

Heat oil in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add carrots, onion and garlic sauté until onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Add broth and ginger. Cover and simmer until carrots are tender when pierced, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.

Puree soup in batches in blender. In a small bowl, whisk together the miso an a half-cup of the soup. Stir the mixture back into the pot of soup. Taste the soup and season with salt, pepper or additional miso to taste.

Ladle into bowls and garnish each with a drizzle of sesame oil and small mound of scallions.

Miso is still pretty new to me, but I’ve really wanted to try something with it, and this worked great. It adds a depth and richness to the carrot soup that makes the whole thing very satisfying. And I’ll be honest, the touch of sesame oil at the very end is pretty special. A relatively straightforward, but satisfying, soup.