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Saturday, November 20, 2010

Weekly Recipes: November 20

It's bonus week for you who check my Saturday recipes. I have an easy macaroni and cheese recipe we tried for lunch last week, lentil and sausage soup, spelt biscuits and pear pie along with the promised taco skillet recipe.

Easy Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese

This is easy and quick. It takes probably five minutes more than the box stuff, but doesn't involve any powdered cheese or orange powder. It is not as good as making a bechamel based cheese sauce and baking with buttered crumbs on top, but it also doesn't take 45 minutes and does taste good. I started with this recipe, but found it to be a bit too bland for us, so I added some elements of my own baked macaroni and cheese and this is what resulted.

1 pound elbow macaroni
6 cups whole milk
1 teaspoon garlic salt
2 cups shredded cheese
2 tablespoons prepared mustard (we used dijon)
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce

Put macaroni, milk and salt in a heavy pot and heat over medium high heat, stirring constantly, for about 10 minutes. Turn off heat and stir in cheese, mustard and hot sauce until cheese is melted. Serve.

Lentil-Chorizo Soup

This is very good with bread or biscuits and some fruit for a nice, hearty meal.

1 pound bulk chorizo
2 onions, chopped
4 carrots, scraped and diced
4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped roughly
2 1/2 cups lentils (I used French green lentils, and 3 cups because of a certain male adult here who doesn't care for thinner soups)
1 teaspoon oregano
1 bay leaf
1 pound diced tomatoes with their juices, fresh or canned
8 cups chicken stock or packaged broth
salt, to taste (I don't use any, as the salt from the sausage and stock is enough for us)

In your soup pot, cook the sausage over medium heat to brown and render fat. Remove sausage and reserve. Add onions, carrots and garlic to the pot and cook until onions become translucent. Add lentils, oregano and bay leaf and stir to mix with vegetables. Add tomatoes and juices along with stock to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 40 minutes, or until lentils are done to your liking. Return sausage to the pot to heat and taste for seasoning.

Spelt Biscuits

We liked the spelt biscuits we tried before, but we found it to be too wet of a dough, even for spelt, so here is how I changed it.

4 cups spelt flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup cold butter, cut into small pieces
1 cup buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.

Whisk together spelt flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Rub butter into flour mixture until you have a mixture resembling corn meal with larger pieces of butter the size of peas and beans dispersed throughout the mix. Pour all of the buttermilk into the flour mixture and mix until the dough comes together. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead a little. Pat out to 1/2 inch thickness and cut with a biscuit cutter or a glass and place on an ungreased baking pan. Bake for 12 minutes, or until risen and golden brown.

Pear Pie

Here is a simple, tasty pear pie. You can eat it with a caramel sauce or with vanilla ice cream or both or neither.

pie pastry for double crust
8 large pears, peeled, cored and sliced
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup corn starch
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
unsalted butter to top filling

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F and make sure the rack is in the lower third of the oven.

Mix pears with sugar, corn starch, nutmeg and lemon juice. Pour filling into lined pie pan. Dot with butter and cover with top crust. Flute edges and cut vents into the top crust.

Bake for about 40 - 45 minutes or until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbly.

Taco Skillet

2 pounds ground beef (or 1 pound beef and one pound bulk chorizo)
2 large onions, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons ancho chile powder
1 tablespoon cumin
2 teaspoons oregano
1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder
2 cans black olives, drained and roughly chopped
24 corn tortillas, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cups chile based enchilada sauce (or one 16 ounce can)
1 pound bolitas or pintos, cooked and drained (about six cups of cooked beans)
salt, to taste
1 cup shredded cheddar
1 cup shredded pepper jack
sour cream (optional)
salsa (optional)
guacamole (optional)

Cook beef with onions and garlic, until meat is browned and onions are translucent and limp. Mix in ancho powder, cumin, oregano and chipotle powder. Add tortilla pieces, enchilada sauce and beans. Combine and cook over medium heat until heated through. Taste and add salt if necessary.

Sprinkle with cheese and serve with sour cream, salsa and guacamole if you like.

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Now how did you know we were just discussing the need for a macaroni and cheese recipe yesterday?! So I will be cutting and pasting it into my own list. Thanks!

Also, I have to say 14 degrees! Yikes! We have just dropped down into the 70's during the day, a welcome relief, and into the 60's at night. Now where did I put my sweater?! :) Stay warm and have a wonderful Thanksgiving.
They are saying a high of 11 tomorrow now! Poor Rich is out there in the cold and wind, digging his way out of drifts, trying to get to work. He left the house at 10 to four and it's 6:30 now. Normally, it's about a 10 - 15 minute drive.
I'm glad the macaroni and cheese recipe will help. Try the baked one, too.

I wish we had some of that 70 degree weather. Can we arrange for a swap of 15 degrees?
Tell Rich very warm regards from us and to your whole family too! And we can do a weather swap if you promise to send RAIN! Our rainy season should have kicked in around the beginning of Oct. but we have only had 2 days. We actually miss the PNW wet! Who have thought?! Send me the back Mac and cheese recipe if you have time, would love to try it and if you think of it, the mayonnaise recipe too! Also I am going to e-mail later and pick your brain on a very simple rye bread recipe. One that does not need molasses or give me a good sub. Enjoy your turkey tomorrow. Love, your pooh loving Jew! ;)
You rock... I needed these recipes, esp. the one involving ground beef, as that is all I have left of the grass-fed stuff in my freezer.

We lost electrity for 48 hrs. and I was FREEZING in my living room at 40 degrees. I couldn't move without blankets.
You make me feel like a wimp.
I am a wimp.
We have heat, Kim. I sent the children outside to do the animal chores and spent as little time out there as possible. Do you remember that winter, was it 2005 or 2006, when the power was out for a week?
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