Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Beef and Broccoli Supreme

Is it bad that I almost never taste my cookings before I finish them? I feel like I should be sampling along the way, like all the great chefs and cooks I know, but aside from eating the bits that I accidently drop on the floor, I rarely sample my creations in progress. Perhaps it will come when I graduate to the "dash of this and splash of that" level of cooking?

I've had this recipe card kicking around for a while. It's one that you pick up for free in the grocery store, and I finally got tired of moving it out of the way. Luckily, to save me from typing the darn thing out, I found a link to it online so you won't have to email me for the details.

As usual, there are a few alterations in my version. In lieu of ground beef, I dug some lean ground pork out of the freezer, thus freeing upa mere 3 cubic inches of space in an otherwise packed environment. It might be time to plug in the deep freeze soon, but we're trying to avoid it if we don't have to. I didn't add the ginger to my recipe. Unlike my grandma, I dislike ginger. I tolerate in the form of gingerbread and my mom's gingersnap cookies, but only in the winter during the holidays. Blech. We happened to have brown jasmine rice in the cupboard, not white, and my cream of chicken soup can was a low-fat version. I eyeballed the cheese measurement - not a bad thing to go over the recommended 1 cup when you live with a Cheese-a-tarian. I skipped adding the salt and was delighted to be able to measure my black pepper properly, now that I finally bought some in bulk. I got tired of grinding and grinding and grinding and grinding....

I struggled to cook the rice a bit (part of why I don't make rice very often), but eventually I coerced it into behaving properly. It might have been a smidge still watery when I was done, but not nearly as soupy as most of the rehydrated food I ate on a recent mountaineering expedition. Alas, I digress. As for the rest of the recipe, it actually came together pretty easily. I didn't accidently rub onion into my eye this time! I only ended up baking it for 30 minutes and the edges were quite bubbly by then. It's a teeny bit runny if that matters to anyone, but it's hot and delicious so I ate it anyway. The Cheese-a-tarian liked it too, and not just because I instructed him that he was going to like it whether it was actually good or not. Lucky for us, we've got leftovers for tomorrow now. Enjoy!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

STOVE TOP Spinach Balls

Well, here's a peek at a recipe that just came out in the latest issue of What's Cooking, in case you don't get the magazine yourself. I thought it would be a good way to ingest some more vegetables in my diet.

As far as ingredients go, this was not a challenging recipe. The magazine version recommended the "low sodium" version of the stuffing mix and "light" parmesan cheese. I used regular stuffing mix because it's all I had. It also only called for 1 cup of hot water, 3 eggs, 3/4 cup of onion, 1/4 cup of margarine (I used butter), and 1/2 cup of the parmesan. The magazine recipe says to cook for 25 to 30 minutes, or until lightly browned, rotating the pans after 15 minutes. Mine were done in 25 minutes.

I added a little something extra to my version of this recipe: roughly 1 lb of extra lean ground chicken. I cooked it thorougly first, let it cool a bit, then added it to the bowl with the spinach, eggs, etc. A nice little bit of lean protein to make this meal a little more complete and to go well with the salad I made.

I had some mixing issues and ended up combining the ingredients by hand. It was more fun anyway. Some of my spinach balls didn't stay together very well so you may have to use a firm hand. I thawed the spinach in the fridge overnight last night, then out in the sink while I was at work today. To get it drier, I squeezed and squished the water out of it in a colander. Mauling spinach was fun too.

The resulting spinach balls were fairly tasty, if a tiny bit bland. That could be fixed with some spices next time. They're an interesting shape for dinner and the spinach is very good for you. I'm not in love with the amount of onion I'm crunching on when I eat them, but that's because I don't like onion unless it's blended in and virtually unflavoured. The Meatatarian said they were good so at this point, I'll make them again. Try them yourself and let me know if you like them.