Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Potato Mushroom Gratin with Chicken

No sooner did I scrape my plate clean than I jumped to the computer to share this recipe. Seriously, this is one of those easy peasy recipes that seem like you've been slaving away all day in the kitchen. So when you get the accolades, and you will, just say thanks and be at peace because you still have energy to make dessert if you want!

This recipe starts from one I found in my Nigella Express Cookbook, by my favorite foodie, Nigella Lawson. She emphasizes using your preference in the ingredients and amounts, things can be substituted easily and added just as quick. So although, her original recipe was much easier. I found myself at a loss for protein and wanted to make use of the leftover Rotisserie Chicken I picked up at Costco a few days ago. Here's how I adapted her recipe.

3 average-sized/1-1/2 lbs baking potatoes, thinly sliced
1-1/2 cups milk
3 Tbsp white wine
salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp Butter
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/4 tsp chopped garlic, approx 1 clove minced
4 oz shitake mushrooms finely sliced
3 stalks green onions sliced
1/2 rotisserie chicken leftovers cut small
1/4 lb jack cheese cubed


1. Heat the oven to 425'F and butter a shallow baking dish or gratin.

2. Bring the sliced potatoes, milk, wine, salt and pepper to a boil in a saucepan, stirring occasionally, and leave at a simmer while you get on with the mushrooms.

3. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil, garlic, mushrooms green onions and cook stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes.

4. Pour the mushrooms and their garlicky, buttery juices into the pan of potatoes, stir to mix. Warm up the chicken in the pan you were cooking mushrooms in. Once done, add to the potatoes. Mix to combine ingredients and pour straight into the gratin dish. Fold in cubed cheese. Bake for 45 minutes until piping hot, and crisp on the top.

The original recipe called for double the mushrooms - and cremini's, but I didn't realize that when I sifted through the bin at Henry's. In addition to the Chicken, the onions & cheese were wonderful additions that might make the dish a little more complex, but were much worth the extra few minutes to prepare.

Including chopping and extracting the chicken, this dish only took about 15 minutes to prepare. If I had planned it properly, I would have also combined some vegetable, maybe asparagus - and popped it in the oven 1 hour prior to dishing up for dinner so it had a few minutes to cool. Instead I just popped the kids dishes into the refrig. for a few minutes and we were good to go. I'm so looking forward to eating up the leftovers!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Lemon Blueberry Muffins

After spending an adventurous week in Blackberry Land, I came home to find a large carton of fresh Blueberries in my refrig. What to do... Great treats for the kids, but they can only eat so many raw blueberries. So I scoured my recipe books for something that nutrition packed to feed to the kiddos. Kudos to Deceptively Delicious for capturing my eye with these temptuous treats!

1/2 cup firmly packed light or dark brown sugar
4 Tbsp Butter
1 cup lowfat lemon yogurt
1 cup blueberries
1/2 cup fresh yellow squash finely shredded
1 large egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
Zest of 1 lemon, approx 1 tsp
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup masa, cornmeal
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

1. Preheat the oven to 350'F. Prep muffin tin, makes 12-18 muffins.

2. In a large bowl, beat the sugar and butter with a wooden spoon. Stir in the yogurt, egg, vanilla extract, lemon zest and blueberries.

3. Add the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, soda and salt. Stir just to combine, but do not overmix - the batter is supposed to be lumpy.

4. Fill the muffin cups approx 3/4 full. Bake until the tops of the muffins are lightly browned and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center, 13 to 16 minutes. Turn the muffins out onto a rack to cool.

So, per usual, I have substituted a few things. The recipe called for flaxseed meal, I used masa a corn flour 'cuz I could not for the life of me find flaxseed meal in Ralphs! And I was not about to drop $3.50 for Lemon Extract... She likes margarine, but I can't stand the stuff and somehow feel like I am being healthier because I know butter comes from milk... PERIOD! Didn't have time to pre-make the puree so I just finely shredded the fresh yellow squash which by nature is a very soft vegetable and it seemed to be fine!

The muffins were very light and fresh, blueberries still a bit bitter and surprisingly were mostly still whole after baking. Now, I mentioned a nutrition packed muffin earlier in my thoughts. And you might wonder, there is nothing yucky - besides maybe the masa - in this to make it healthy. But as some may know, Blueberries and Lemons are quite nutritious and full of antioxidants. There wasn't too much sugar, and the added yellow zucchini brings Vitamin A, Calcium, and Potassium to the table.

Yum, yum and yum were the only words to be heard when my toddler gobbled down his 3rd muffin and the baby smeared hers across her face, high chair and new outfit! Incredible, these will definitely be gone in a few days:)