April 29, 2014

Sausage & Penne Skillet Dinner with Spinach & Peppers

This was adapted from an America's Test Kitchen/Cook's Illustrated recipe, and has become one of our favourite go-to skillet dinners. It gets the "healthy" tag, coming in around 450 - 500 calories per serving (depending on your choice of sausage), even though it is not a super-low-fat dish. What it is: delicious, satisfying, and easy to make, and has about 4.5 grams of fibre. It also reheats nicely the next day.

Sausage & Penne Skillet Dinner with Spinach & Peppers

April 24, 2014

Dutch Baby, aka Popover Pancake

Wow, there's a lot of names for this one. In addition to Dutch Baby and Popover Pancakes, they are also called Dutch Puffs, Puff(ed) Pancakes, Oven Pancakes, and German Pancakes, although they don't seem much like the pfannkuchen I've seen so far here in Germany. Probably a few other names that I've missed, too. It is essentially the kissing cousin of Yorkshire Pudding (minus the dripping), and is frequently served drenched in butter, and/or preserves or syrups. You know, like pancakes. A fan of the classics will want to top it with lemon juice and confectioner's sugar. Lunatics like me might periodically tend toward toppings such as thick fruit yoghurt (or breakfast fruit Quark), or peanut butter (either you'll find that sounds delightful or abominable, I'm afraid. I go one further, and add syrup on top of the peanut butter). Some versions call for laying apples in caramel on the bottom, before the batter goes in, or simply laying the apple slices on top of the batter before it goes into the oven. Those are pretty good, too.

That being said, you could certainly just fill the otherwise empty crater of the finished pancake with sausages and fried onions, and I wouldn't turn that down, either.

Pancake politics aside, these are breathtakingly easy to make. If you've got a cast iron skillet, all the better, as this is cooked at high heat (notorious enemy of non-stick and plastic handles). A steel skillet should also work pretty well. I've used my 10 3/4 inch cast iron skillet for this one.

Dutch Baby

April 13, 2014

Duck Noodles

Duck Noodles are delicious. But you can already tell that, just from the name: Duck Noodles.

This is partly a recipe and partly a serving suggestion. You probably already know how to stir fry some vegetables and noodles, and your selection of both might vary from mine (although I must put in a vote for both baby corn - fresh, if you can get it - and snow peas, which go so beautifully with the duck). But, at the end of the day, make the noodles how you like best, and top them with this tasty, tasty duck.

Pan Seared Duck Breast for Duck Noodles

April 03, 2014

Turkey & Stuffing Skillet Dinner

A classic turkey dinner is a wonderful thing. Sometimes, however, it's just not in the cards⎯whether it's time or money that you don't have enough of, or maybe it's simply that a full turkey dinner can generate a daunting amount of leftovers. That's where this little "beauty" comes in. Well, actually, as you can see from the picture, this dish isn't really ready for its close-up. Fact is, while I make this several times per year, I just can't seem to photograph it in a way that does it justice. But it is such a tasty little number that I encourage you to try it despite its less than movie-star looks.

Think of it as an innovative pot-pie: silky gravy base with tender chunks of turkey, and a bread stuffing top crust fragrant with sage and thyme. Best of all, it comes together quickly. If you're cooking for just one or two, you'd be hard pressed to find a better stand in for the holiday classic. If you have some chicken gold on hand, by all means use it in place of the same amount of stock for a richer depth of flavour.

Turkey & Stuffing Skillet Dinner