Sunday, April 5, 2009

Weekly Recipe Roundup

As I was compiling this week's recipes worth mentioning, I noticed that all but one were side dishes. Sides are generally an after thought and usually take a backseat to the main entree. Although I rarely cook the same main dish twice, I feel like I get stuck in a rut with side dishes. Determined to turn that around, I turned to the Whole Foods website. I think I initially got on there looking for a side dish utilizing some type of grain, but I veered totally away from that and found several others that I will be repeating.

Corn Pudding - This was probably my favorite of the bunch, possibly because I didn't have to make it, Wes did! Things always taste better when someone else prepares them, don't you think? I loved the addition of cheese to counteract the sweetness in the pudding. The cheese seemingly floated to the top, creating a lovely crust. The recipe says this will sever 8-10 but we must love corn pudding because I only got about 7 servings.

Stovetop Simmered Maple Beans - While this side wasn't my favorite, it's still worth mentioning because with some adjustments I think it could be really good. I opted for the crock pot form of cooking, instead of the stovetop. I'm sure the stovetop would produce a less dried out bean but when time is an issue, the crock pot works just fine. The beans have to be soaked overnight and cooked before proceeding. So be sure to plan ahead with this one! If you go the crock pot route, I'd advise cooking on low for no more than 6 hours. I think I'd even check them after about 4. We cooked ours closer to 8 hours and they were drier than I would have preferred. I'd be interested to see if the stovetop method yielded any sauce. The crock pot did not. I definitely do prefer this method to the canned variety for the sodium content alone!

Skillet Lima Beans - Oh good grief, I can hear you all know, "Ew, we don't like lima beans. Who eats lima beans?" I do okay and if you'd just give them a try, you might be surprised too. This recipe grabbed my attention because I feel like we have the same green sides over and over. This uses frozen lima beans that you cook and then roast in the oven. The end result is a bean that is slightly dry, yet tasty, that you could almost pop in your mouth as a snack. I think you'd be surprised with this one.

Although this could be just a side, I served this as my main course on a veggie plate. The fact that this risotto is cooked in the oven, and doesn't require constant stirring and babysitting on the stovetop, caught my attention. I'm a sucker for a good, creamy risotto and this one fit the bill. I actually would go out on a limb and say it was creamier than most of the stovetop risottos I've made. After having this oven variety, remind me again why anyone would be crazy enough to waste an hour stirring?

I did have to modify the recipe slightly because I wasn't willing to pay the exhorbatant price for dried porcini mushrooms. I opted for fresh ones and thought they were just fine. The artichokes steal the show in this one anyways, so the mushrooms are pretty trivial.

On to the only recipe that wasn't a side and wasn't from Whole Foods. My friend, Cara, posted this Chicken Pot Pie recipe a week or so ago and I flagged it for Wes' birthday week of meals. His birthday week of meals started tonight and started with a bang! I made my own pastry dough and this was a huge hit. We LOVED it and were both literally licking the bowl. I prepared them in individual bowls so we (I) wouldn't be fighting over the crust. This one was easier and tasted better than the 10-hour one (that's a slight exaggeration) I made about a month ago. Thanks, Cara, this one is a keeper! I just noticed that Cara said she doubled the sauce. Although I did noticed there wasn't much sauce, I did not double it and it came out fine. That might have to do with my individual cooking dishes though. Oh and enjoy the picture of the birthday boy about to chow down on his dinner. Being a blogger's wife has it's advantages and disadvantages. One of the disadvantages is having to wait to eat until the blogger takes 15 pictures of the food. So tonight he was feeling a little saucy and decided he wanted to be in the picture as well. Bless his heart for putting up with my latest addiction!

Sauteed Kale with Shallots - This doesn't really need a recipe, I just wanted to
post it for another green option. Kale is a very mild green. Unlike some of it's counterparts, it cooks very quickly and doesn't have a strong flavor. We have grown to really love it and I'd venture to say it's Wes' favorite green veggie. To make it, I saute 1 large diced shallot in some olive oil. After that has time to sweat and slightly brown, I add in 1 minced garlic clove. Then I add the chopped kale in bunches, stirring until each addition wilts down. I finish it off with a couple dashes of white balsamic vinegar.


  1. Love the picture of Colin at the top!
    I'm glad you liked the chicken pot pie. I did try to double the sauce the first time because of comments on the original recipe, but it doesn't fit into my pie pan that way. I ended up saving the leftover sauce and used it to make another pot pie for the freezer. This is one of our favorites now! Madelyn wanted me to make it last night so she could take leftovers to school in her thermos. :) I'm not sure that would be too yummy...

  2. all these recipes look good. thanks for sharing. i am definitely going to try the lima bean one!

  3. That corn pudding looks good!