I try to keep a can of pumpkin puree in the pantry at all times. For pumpkin pie? Nope. For my dog. Yes, my health-conscious pit bull LOVES him some pumpkin. He also loves sweet potatoes and squash (all varieties, but I suspect his favorite is butternut), for what it’s worth. At least SOMEONE in our house gets excited about winter produce.
When I saw this recipe in one of my Martha Stewart cookbooks, I knew that the pupster was going to (temporarily) give up his pumpkiny treats – that can of puree was going to be sacrificed for delicious enchiladas. They couldn’t be easier, and they were absolutely bursting with flavor. For the roast chicken, you can use any recipe you like, or you can use a store-bought rotisserie bird. I opted to keep the seeds in the jalapeno, and I used a “Mexican” shredded cheese blend that I happened to have on hand. The result was a spicy, rich, satisfying meal that took practically no time to put together (I had roasted the chicken the day before). I hope you enjoy!
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine chicken and scallions. Season generously with salt and pepper; set aside.
In a blender, puree pumpkin, garlic, jalapeno, chili powder, 2 1/2 cups water, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper until smooth (hold top firmly as blender will be quite full). Pour 1 cup of sauce in the bottom of an 8-inch square (or other shallow 2-quart) baking dish. Lay tortillas on work surface; mound chicken mixture on half of each tortilla, dividing evenly. Roll up tortillas; place, seam side down, in baking dish. Pour remaining sauce on top; sprinkle with cheese.
Place dish on a baking sheet; bake until cheese is golden and sauce is bubbling, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes before serving.
My love for chicken thighs is well-documented, so it should come as no surprise that I dog-eared this recipe from Fresh Flavor Fast for a dinner last week. This is a relatively quick braise, so you can certainly tackle this meal on a weeknight (as I did). I was a little surprised that there was no butter in the recipe, but the sauce was plenty thick and rich on its own, between the Dijon mustard and the time in the pot. I served this with homemade baguettes, which were essential in soaking up all of the delicious juices – but you could certainly opt for potatoes, rice, pasta, or some other variety of starch. The cookbook suggested that this dish was better the next day, but I loved it the most right after it was served the first time. Yum!
Season chicken with salt and pepper. Coat with flour, shaking off excess.
In a Dutch oven or 5-quart pot with tight-fitting lid, heat oil over medium-high. Cook chicken until browned, 3-4 minutes per side. Remove and set aside.
Add shallots and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened and golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add wine; cook until evaporated, 3-5 minutes. Stir in mustard and 1 1/2 cups water and bring to a boil.
Return chicken, bone side down, to pot. Reduce heat to a simmer; cover and cook until chicken is tender and cooked through, 30-35 minutes. Transfer chicken to plate and keep warm. Add tomatoes to pot, season with salt and pepper. Cook on high until sauce is thickened, 6-8 minutes. Reduce heat to medium low and return chicken to pot. Cook until heated through. Serve.
As much as I love “the other white meat,” pork tenderloin isn’t the most naturally robust and flavorful cut of meat. The texture is great, but you have to pair it with something that brings out its potential. Whenever I cook pork, I can’t help but think of apples, so this recipe (from Fresh Flavor Fast) grabbed my attention right away. My dinner dates (dad and husband) were not so sure. Apples and leeks? Honey and vinegar? They weren’t as convinced as I was that this would be a delicious fall meal.
Not only was the dinner super tasty, but it was also pretty darn easy. Broiling the pork allows you to forget about it for a bit and tend to the sauteing. You don’t have to peel the apples, which eliminates a lot of time and effort. The whole shebang took less than 30 minutes to put together, which is definitely appreciated after a long day. Everyone really enjoyed the flavors – even those who were skeptical at the start.
Heat broiler, with rack set 4 inches from heat. On a broilerproof rimmed baking sheet, rub pork with 1 tablespoon oil; generously season with salt and pepper. Broil, until pork registers 145 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a plate, cover loosely with aluminum foil, and let rest, 10 minutes (temperature will rise about 5 degrees as it sits).
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat remaining tablespoon oil over medium. Add leeks and fennel seeds; cook, stirring occasionally, until leeks are tender, about 6 minutes. Add apples, and cook, tossing, until just beginning to soften, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in honey and vinegar, and season with salt and pepper. Thinly slice pork, and serve with apples and leeks.
I love chicken thighs. They are, by far, my favorite part of the bird, and the reason I volunteer as chicken-carver in my house (so I can get first dibs). When they go on sale at the supermarket, I buy them in bulk and then freeze them for tasty future meals like this one.
As I was flipping through my newest cookbook (Martha Stewart’s Fresh Flavor Fast, a follow up to Great Food Fast, which I really enjoyed), this recipe immediately caught my eye – not only because it used chicken thighs, but because it highlighted everything that I love about that paticular piece of meat.
The dish was very tasty, and pretty darn simple. The spice mixture rubbed under the skin really emphasizes the rich flavor of the thigh meat. And broiling the thighs is a great way to crisp up the delicious skin without having to keep your eyes on an oil-laden pan. I served this with some couscous and carrots, and it was a fantastically fresh weeknight treat. Sorry, no photos, as I completely forgot to get the camera out before I chowed down - I told you I really liked chicken thighs!
Heat broiler, with rack set 4 inches from heat. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil; set aside. In a small bowl, combine ginger, lime juice, curry powder, scallions, 1 teaspoon salt, and teaspoon pepper.
Arrange chicken on prepared baking sheet; season with salt and pepper. Gently loosen skin from each piece of chicken. Dividing evenly, rub ginger mixture under skin.
Turn thighs, skin side down, on baking sheet. Broil about 5 minutes. Flip thighs, skin side up, and continue to broil until skin is crisp and an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of thighs (avoiding bone) registers 165 degrees, 6 to 8 minutes more. Serve chicken drizzled with pan juices.
On our last outlet shopping excursion, my mom bought me this cute little cookbook stand (since I complained that my recipes were getting splattered with assorted cooking debris). Unless I’m actually preparing a recipe, I usually just keep a random cookbook up there, flipped to a pretty page.
After looking at this recipe (from my Good Food Fast cookbook) for a couple of weeks, I decided to give it a try. It is a healthy dish that has infinite possibilities: you could switch out the arugula for spinach, parsley, or really any green you prefer. You could use fire-roasted tomatoes rather than fresh (for more flavor, or if tomatoes are out of season). You could substitute another kind of pasta. My only complaint was that the end result lacked the oomph that I was hoping for. Next time, I’ll add some garlic and/or red pepper flakes. Some fresh herbs could amp up the flavor, too.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add onions and ½ teaspoon salt; cover, and cook until onions wilt, about 20 minutes. Uncover; raise heat to medium. Cook, stirring often, until onions are dark brown, 20 to 25 minutes more.
Add ¼ cup water; stir to loosen any browned bits from pan. Stir in tomatoes; remove from heat.
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, cover lentils with water by 1 inch. Bring to a simmer. Cover; cook until lentils are tender but still holding their shape, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain; stir into onion mixture. Season with salt and pepper.
Cook pasta in a pot of salted water until al dente. Reserve 1 cup pasta water; drain pasta, and return to pot.
Add lentil mixture, arugula, cheese, and reserved pasta water; toss. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with more cheese, if desired.
Day two of soup week involved an ingredient I’ve never used before: the parsnip. Related to the carrot (but nutritionally richer), the parsnip never popped into my brain as a star ingredient until I saw this appealing recipe in my handy dandy “Good Food Fast” cookbook. I was excited about potentially discovering another winter veggie that would bridge the gap between my favorite fall and spring flavors.
Sadly, the parsnip did not win me over. While this soup was quite creamy and comforting, and while it certainly didn’t taste BAD, it really didn’t have any oomph. Perhaps some garlic or herbs would have built another layer of flavor, or perhaps things would have been tastier if I had used an apple with a little more tartness, like a Granny Smith (I opted for Gala). Who knows? Until I figure out that missing link, though, parsnips and I will continue to be casual acquaintances instead of dear friends.
Heat butter in a large pot over medium heat. Cook, stirring,5 minutes. Add parsnips, apples, potato, broth, and 4 cups water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until vegetables are tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Working in batches, puree soup in a blender until smooth. Return it to pot; stir in cream. Season with salt and pepper.
Soup, how I love thee! Let me count the ways…
One: you are warm and comforting when the weather is cold.
Two: when I am sicky sickerson (which I have been for the past three days), you make me feel slightly less like battered ass.
Three: when homemade, you are a relatively low-calorie meal that is healthy yet satisfying.
Four: contrary to popular belief, you are not complicated to make.
I could go on, but I think you get the drift–yes, it’s soup week here at Trouble With Toast! The stars aligned, and the circumstances seemed perfect to focus on recipes that can cure your ills, help trim your waistline, and make you feel warm and cuddly in the cruelest of winter months.
Let’s start with one of my favorites, an underappreciated powerhouse of nutrition and flavor. Lentils contain high levels of protein, dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They have a nutty, earthy flavor that pairs well with many veggies and starches. And bonus–they’re cheap! You can buy a bag of dried lentils for about a buck, and they’ll last in your pantry forever (just keep in mind that the older they are, the longer they’ll need to cook to get tender). This recipe, which I adapted slightly from ”Good Food Fast,” is pretty straightforward and uses ingredients that should be standard in every kitchen. The vinegar at the end is a great touch, and you can certainly adjust the amount based on your personal taste. Just a couple of notes: 1) if you want to make this a true vegetarian soup, omit the bacon (duh), cook the veggies in olive oil, and use vegetable broth; 2) the cooking time will depend on how old your lentils are, so continually taste them and make sure they’re to your liking before cutting off the heat; and 3) if you find that the soup is getting too thick, just add more water till you achieve your preferred consistency.
In a Dutch oven (or other 5-quart pot with a tight-fitting lid), cook bacon over medium-low heat until browned and crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat. Add onion and carrots; cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in tomato paste, and cook 1 minute. Add lentils, thyme, broth, and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer. Cover; cook until lentils are tender, 30 to 45 minutes. Stir in vinegar, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Serve immediately.
Most of the time, my fiance and I agree on which recipes should go in the “keeper” file and which ones are better suited for the trash bin. This dish, however, garnered mixed reviews–Jason didn’t care for it at all, but I thought it would be a good standby (with a couple of tweaks).
The biggest change I would make? Swapping out the Cornish game hens for bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts. The hens are visually beautiful, but they are damn hard to eat and yield relatively little meat (though their crispy skin was quite a treat). Also, I would try to get grapes that were already off the stems, and I would either lighty saute or pre-roast the shallots before adding them to the hen/grape pan in the oven, as they weren’t as soft and caramelized as I would have preferred.
I won’t rush to make this recipe again, since my hunny didn’t love it, but if you decide to give it a go, let me know how it turns out–and don’t be afraid of salt in this one, as the grapes and shallots are very sweet!
Preheat oven to 450°. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss grapes and shallots with thyme sprigs, oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
Tie legs with kitchen twine; nestle hens among grapes on baking sheet, breast side up. Season hens generously with salt and pepper; sprinkle with thyme leaves.
Roast, basting hens occasionally with pan juices, until an instant- read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of leg (avoiding bone) registers 160°, 30 to 35 minutes.
In this troubling economy, dinner preparers everywhere are looking for affordable and nutritious meals to serve themselves and their loved ones. Here at Trouble With Toast, while we love to make decadent dishes with expensive ingredients, we also sometimes just crave hearty fare that doesn’t give our wallets a heart attack.
Enter this satisfying and healthy meal. Salmon can often be found on sale at your local megamart, and dried lentils, like most other legumes, can be found in bags for a very paltry price. The other ingredients should be pantry/refrigerator staples, particularly the mustard, which I am convinced is the secret ingredient for all killer dinners. I suggest doubling the amount of dressing and saving some for later salads–it is that good. I also suggest, if you suspect that your lentils have been sitting on the shelf for a while, that you cook them for an extra 5-10 minutes. Mine simmered for 25 minutes, and they were still a bit too al dente for my liking.
A photo will be forthcoming. Enjoy!
Heat broiler. Combine lentils and 2 1/2 cups water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, covered, for about 5 minutes. Add onion and celery; cover and continue cooking until lentils and vegetables are just tender, 15-25 minutes more. Drain over a bowl, reserving cooking liquid. Transfer lentils and vegetables to a bowl.
In a bowl, whisk 2 tablespoons reserved cooking liquid with vinegar, oil, mustard, garlic, and parsley; season with salt and pepper. Toss half the dressing with the lentil mixture.
Meanwhile, sesaon salmong with salt and pepper. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. Arrange salmon on sheet; broil until opaque throughout, 8-10 minutes. Spoon lentils onto plates; top with salmon, flaking it into large pieces if desired. Drizzle with remaining dressing.
When I was a little girl living in Long Island (before my family relocated to Atlanta), one of my favorite activities was going to the nearby apple orchard. Nothing said fall like crunching through the fallen leaves to choose my favorite crisp, sweet specimens. I would also beg my mom for a gallon of fresh cider, which I always preferred cold.
I’ve tried a lot of apple varieties over the years, but my all-time favorite has to be the Granny Smith. As a child, I marveled at its bright green skin and its tart-but-sweet (and never grainy) flavor. Now, as an adult, I still turn to it for its resilient texture and its ability to “play nice” with many different proteins and accompaniments. In this recipe, the acidity of the apples and the wine bounces off the sweetness of the shallots and the meatiness of the bone-in chops to create a balanced meal that is simple to prepare. You could certainly use onions instead of shallots, though you might want to add a teaspoon or so of sugar. I served this with salad, but you could also pair it with cooked veggies or a starch of some sort.
Just don’t skimp on the Granny Smiths. Your inner child will thank you.
Heat broiler; set rack 4 inches from heat. In a large skillet, heat butter over medium-high. Add shallots; cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 5 minutes. Cover pan; reduce heat to medium. Continue cooking until shallots are soft, about 5 minutes more.
Add apples and wine; cover, and cook until apples are beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Uncover; cook, stirring, until most of the liquid has evaporated and apples are tender, 2 to 4 minutes more. Remove from heat; cover to keep warm.
While apples are cooking, season pork chops generously with salt and pepper; place on a rimmed baking sheet. Broil until cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes per side. To serve, spoon warm apple mixture over chops.