Sauteed Green Beans and Butternut Squash

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Sauteed Green Beans and Butternut Squash
Serves 4

1 pound fresh or frozen whole green beans (4 cups)
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch cubes (2 cups)
3 teaspoons olive oil
2 clove garlic, sliced thinly
Salt and/or Pepper

  1. Preheat a 10-11″ non-stick skillet over med-high heat.
  2. Add 1 teaspoon oil. When it is hot, add the squash cubes.
  3. Saute for 4-5 minutes, until the cubes begin to get lightly browned. Remove from the skillet, cover and keep warm.
  4. Add remaining 2 teaspoons oil to skillet. When hot, add green beans.
  5. Toss frequently, until the beans become hot and are beginning to lightly brown (4-5 minutes if fresh, 7-10 minutes if frozen.)
  6. Return the squash to the skillet. Add garlic. Toss together until thoroughly hot (1-3 minutes.) Season with salt/pepper as desired.
  7. Serve.

Nutritional data:
Calories:      64
Fat:            2.5g
Sat fat:       0.4g
Chol:            0mg
Sodium:     6.3mg
Carbs:      10.6g
Fiber:         2.9g
Protein:      1.8g

Beer Braised Pork Chops

BLOGGER WON’T LET ME UPLOAD A PICTURE AT THIS TIME! I have a nice photo of the meal, but Blogger seems to have changed it’s procedures. 🙁

Beer Braised Pork Chops
Serves 4

2 teaspoon olive oil
4 boneless pork chops (approximately 6 ounces each)
2 Anjou pears, peeled, cored and each cut into 8 wedges
12 ounces beer (it can be a lager or an ale, but NOT a hoppy beer!)
1/4 teaspoon dried sage
Your preferred seasoning (I like Penzey’s Krakow Nights.)

  1. Season pork chops with pepper or your preferred seasoning blend.
  2. Preheat large 10-11″ non-stick skillet over med-high heat.
  3. Add oil.
  4. When oil is hot, place chops in skillet and sear 4 minutes per side, or until lightly browned. Remove to a plate and cover loosely with foil to keep warm.
  5. Add pears to the skillet, cooking about 6 minutes, or until golden. Remove to a plate.
  6. Add beer and sage to the pan. With a plastic or wooden spoon, scrape any caramelized bits from the bottom of the skillet.
  7. Return pork and pears to pan, partially cover the skillet and bring to a simmer.
  8. Keep heat on low and braise 5-7 minutes, or until the pork is heated completely.
  9. Remove pork and pears from skillet, cover to keep warm. Increase heat to medium, and cook about 10 minutes, or until the sauce is reduced by half.

Nutritional data:
Calories:        305
Fat:                8.5g
Sat fat:           2.6g
Chol:            82.5mg
Sodium:         3.5mg
Carbs:          20.9g
Fiber:             3.6g
Protein:        32.3g

I specifically said “NOT a hoppy beer.”  When the beer gets boiled down, all the flavors will become concentrated. If the chosen beer is a hoppy, deliciously bitter ale (such as the classic Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, or Dogfish Head’s 60 Minute IPA) the resulting sauce will be overwhelmingly bitter. Find a soft, mild beer. I used New Glarus Spotted Cow. A German wheat ale (Franziskaner), a malty and fruity Belgian white ale (Hoegaarden) or Ommegang’s Rare Vos would all work very well in this recipe because their flavors would pair well with the pork, the pears and the sage.

Mac ‘n Cheese, Baked

Mac ‘n Cheese, Baked
Serves 4

Note: this is not an ooey-gooey cheese-dripping version of Mac ‘n Cheese. It uses relatively small amounts of cheese, but the end result is still a rich-tasting, warm comfort food meal.

2 cups dry shell pasta (8 ounces by weight)
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt (5 ounces by weight)
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese (2 ounces by weight)
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (1 ounce by weight)

  1. Preheat oven to 450F.
  2. Prepare pasta according to directions on package.
  3. Spray a 1 or 1.5 quart casserole with cooking spray (makes clean up easier).
  4. Drain cooked pasta.
  5. Combine pasta and remaining ingredients. Add to casserole.
  6. Bake uncovered, until the cheese melts and gets browned (about 10-15 minutes).

Nutritional data:
Calories:        301
Fat:               6.5g
Sat fat:          3.3g
Chol:             19mg
Sodium:       145mg
Carbs:         43.9g
Fiber:               2g
Protein:       15.6g

As I served it with my Roasted Carrots and Peas.

Chicken Lo Mein

Chicken Lo Mein
Serve 6 (or fewer if there are hungry teenagers involved.)
6 ounces angel hair pasta (dry)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 medium onion, sliced and quartered
1/2 cup matchstick carrots
1 large green bell pepper, sliced
1 large red bell pepper, sliced
1/4 cup white wine
2 cups fresh mushrooms, sliced (8 ounces by weight)
2 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
1/4 cup Asian Toasted Sesame salad dressing
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
1 pound precooked chicken, shredded and heated.
  1. Cook pasta according to directions.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, heat a large (10-11″ non-stick skillet over med-high heat. Add olive oil.
  3. When the oil is hot, add the onions. Saute for 3-5 minutes, or until they are beginning to become soft.
  4. Add carrots, green peppers, red peppers and mushrooms.
  5. Turn heat to high and add wine.
  6. In a small dish, combine salad dressing and peanut butter. Warm in microwave to melt the peanut butter. Stir together.
  7. Add salad dressing/peanut butter mixture to the vegetables. Stir to coat.
  8. Add chicken. Stir to combine.
  9. Either mix the angel hair into the chicken-vegetable mixture, or portion out the pasta per plate and top with 1/6 of the chicken-vegetable mixture.

Nutritional data:
Calories:        345
Fat:              17.6g
Sat fat:           4.2g
Chol:              60mg
Sodium:        248mg
Carbs:          28.5g
Fiber:             2.3g
Protein:        18.6g

Baked Alaska (built on Lemon Cake)

This is my first attempt at a Baked Alaska. I made a two person piece and two individual servings because I didn’t know if any would work. I think this was a good first attempt, but I need to work a bit more on getting the meringue brown. (It went from was white for the first 3 minutes under the broiler, and then went from white to browned in about 15 seconds. I think it needed about another 10 seconds, but I panicked.)
All the various attempts.

The best single portion.
Already starting to melt.
Melty, but tasty.
Since I haven’t mastered the Baked Alaska (yet) I am not going to give the recipe here. (If you want it, you can easily find one online.) However, I will give the recipe for the incredibly lemony cake that I used as the foundation. It is part cake, part souffle, and total deliciousness.
Lemon Cake
Serves 8
3 tablespoon butter, softened
1 cup sugar (or I used Splenda)
2 tablespoons lemon zest
1 egg
1 cup Greek Yogurt
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup flour
3 egg whites
About 1 liter boiling water (for the water bath in the oven.)
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Spray eight 5 ounce ramekins or 6 ounce custard cups with cooking spray
  3. With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter until creamy. Add sugar and lemon zest, beating until light and fluffy. Beat in egg at low speed.
  4. Add half the yogurt, half the lemon juice and half the flour. Beat until smooth.
  5. Add remaining yogurt, juice and flour, beating until smooth. Set aside.
  6. With clean beaters, beat egg whites in a clean bowl until stiff peaks form.
  7. With a rubber scraper, fold half of the egg whites into lemon mixture, gently folding until no white remains. Repeat with remaining egg whites.
  8. Divide mixture between ramekins. Place ramekins in a 9×13 baking dish. Add boiling water to the baking dish to surround the bowls with about one inch of water.
  9. Bake until golden brown and just set in the center (about 30 minutes.)
  10. Transfer the ramekins to a cooling rack and let cool for 10 minutes
  11. Dust with confectioner’s sugar and serve warm. As the cake cools, it will begin to collapse.
Nutritional data:
Calories:       105
Fat:               5.1g
Sat fat:          2.9g
Chol:             48mg
Sodium:        44mg
Carbs:          9.1g
Fiber:           0.7g
Protein:        6.7g
Note: the flavor is HUGE lemon, but the color is very pale. If you want it to look more “lemony” you will need to add artificial food coloring. But the aroma and flavor is so pronounced that everyone will know it is lemon cake just from the incredible smells coming from the kitchen.