Thursday, January 03, 2008

A few good recipes that got lost along the way....

There were a few recipes we tried and really liked that I never got around to getting a photo of, but I want to share them just the same. All of these recipes made our top 20 favorite new recipes of 2007.

The first recipe, Smokey Mushroom Ragout from Cooking Light, is a vegetarian dish with a layer of polenta that is topped with a tomato, mushroom and chipotle mixture and finished with a sprinkling of queso fresco. The polenta is baked in a 9x13-inch dish in the oven which takes more time than the more traditional stovetop method, but it does free you up to tackle the mushroom layer. I really enjoyed the flavor combinations in this dish. I used a combination of cremini and shiitake mushrooms which worked just fine in place of the harder-to-find oyster mushrooms. If at all possible, do not skip the queso fresco on top; this cheese was the perfect flavor complement to the spicy mushroom mixture - not too strong, not too salty, not too mild - just right.

A while back, I tried a stuffed chicken breast recipe from Cooking Light and was very pleased to discover just how easy they are to prepare - they always look and sound fancy or complicated. Encouraged, I have been meaning to try more recipes and finally tried Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Garlic and Goat Cheese. We had plain goat cheese on hand (I buy large logs and vacuum pack them), so instead of spending money on herbed goat cheese, I simply mashed our plain goat cheese with some dried Italian Herb seasoning. The only hard part about this recipe is remembering to start far enough in advance since the garlic needs to roast for an hour. I also love the flexibility of stuffed chicken breasts - it's very easy to accommodate my son who dislikes goat cheese - he can have provolone or mozzarella instead.

Over the holidays, we tried two new salads. For Thanksgiving, I was in charge of bringing the salad. I wanted to try something new and stumbled on one over at Epicurious - Mixed Green Salad with Oranges, Dried Cranberries and Pecans - that sounded perfect for a Thanksgiving meal. Not only did oranges, cranberries and pecans pair well with the rest of the meal, it was a nice, light complement to all of the other carb-heavy foods. The salad really couldn't be simpler - just a few ingredients and very little prep work, but lots of fresh flavors. This one will definitely stay on our repeater list. Note: I did not boil the dried cranberries - I agreed with the other reviewers who said they thought the dried cranberries would add more texture as is, rather than softened.

Right after Thanksgiving, we prepared dinner for family visiting from out of town and tried another Epicurious salad - Almond-Crusted Goat Cheese Salad with Raspberry Dressing. Another Epicurious salad, another winner. The goat cheese was luscious - warm and creamy with a pleasing crunch from the almonds. The raspberry dressing was a huge hit, especially with my youngest - he was dragging out the bag of mixed greens for several days afterward, just so he could have more dressing. The goat cheese rounds are a bit time-consuming and messy to assemble, but they can be done ahead of time and kept in the fridge until you are ready to bake them. Note: I added much less olive oil then the recipe indicates - I just added oil until I thought the dressing was thin enough.

I hate posts with no pictures, but these recipes were just too good not to share.


  1. How funny, I just posted today the Chicken Breast stuffed with goat cheese recipe!! (take a peek, although not the prettiest, I did post a pic!)
    It is so good, isn't it?! And I also used plain cheese mixed up with fresh herbs I had on hand!!
    Thanks for the great reviews, and Happy 2008!!

  2. Ana - Too funny. :) I have my eye on another one from CL - one with mushrooms and a madeira sauce - sounds divine. Happy New Year!