January 12, 2011 in Features

SIMPLY THE BEST

Detroit Free Press selects favorite recipes from 2010 for everyday meals
Susan M. Selasky Detroit Free Press
 

With the holidays behind us, many folks have turned their attention from fancy meals to everyday dishes.

To help, here is a roundup of the Detroit Free Press’ best recipes of 2010 that includes recipes for every day of the week.

Braised Fish with Marsala, Shiitake Mushrooms and Spinach was featured with a story on reducing salt and was a huge hit for flavor and ease.

Caramelized Onion Soup makes great use of inexpensive onions. Pair it with a crisp green salad and crusty bread to round out a weeknight meal. And when chicken breast or chicken leg quarters are on sale, snap them up for Citrusy Firecracker Chicken.

A creamy dish of macaroni and cheese is arguably one of the best comfort foods. The made-to-order Mac & Cheese at Zingerman’s Roadhouse is a perfect example. Their rich, pan-fried version with extra-sharp cheddar was named one of the Top 10 comfort foods on the Food Network’s “America’s Best” show – and we couldn’t agree more.

So clip these recipes and try them. They might just become family favorites. And here’s to another year of food fun.

Braised Fish with Marsala, Shiitake Mushrooms and Spinach

Adapted from “The Pritikin Edge” by Robert A. Vogel, M.D., and Paul Tager Lehr (Simon & Schuster, $15).

16 ounces fish (such as monkfish, halibut or sea bass), cut into 4-ounce portions

1/3 pound shiitake mushrooms, sliced

1/4 cup sliced garlic

1/4 cup sliced shallots

1/4 cup Marsala wine

1 cup no-salt-added tomato sauce

1 teaspoon low- or reduced-sodium soy sauce

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 bunch fresh basil leaves, chopped

1/2 small bunch flat-leaf parsley, chopped

1/2 pound spinach leaves, cut into thin strips

Place the fish and the mushrooms in the skillet over high heat. (The juice from the mushrooms will keep the fish from sticking.) Sear the fish on both sides until it’s lightly browned. Remove the fish to a plate. Add the garlic and shallots to the skillet and sauté until the garlic is slightly golden. Stir in the Marsala and loosen any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Keep the temperature hot and reduce the liquid slightly. Return the fish to the pan and add the tomato sauce, soy sauce and black pepper. Continue cooking about 4 minutes or until the fish is cooked through. Add the basil, parsley and spinach, and cook until the spinach wilts. Serve immediately.

Yield: 4 servings

Approximate nutrition per serving: 177 calories, 2 grams fat (10 percent fat calories), 24 grams protein, 14 grams carbohydrate, 83 milligrams cholesterol, 3 grams dietary fiber, 186 milligrams sodium.

Caramelized Onion Soup

Adapted from www.finecooking.com

2 tablespoons canola oil

4 large onions, peeled, halved, sliced 1/4-inch thick

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1/2 cup dry white wine or dry sherry

8 cups low-sodium, fat-free beef or chicken broth

12 slices of baguette, cut 3/8-inch wide

1 1/4 cups shredded Swiss or Gruyere cheese

In a large soup pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook the onions gently, stirring frequently, until they’re very soft and have begun to turn a dark golden color, about 35 to 45 minutes. (The onions will cook down considerably.)

Stir in the butter and allow it to melt. Stir in the flour and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Pour in the wine or sherry and increase the heat to medium-high, stirring and scraping to loosen any caramelized bits, until the liquid is mostly reduced, about 5 minutes. Add the broth and bring to a simmer. Season to taste with salt and pepper and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes.

Taste and adjust seasonings if needed. You can make the soup up to this point, cool and then refrigerate for 2 days.

To serve: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Put the baguette slices on a rack and bake until lightly toasted; set aside. Increase the oven temperature to 425 degrees.

Bring the soup back to a simmer. Set six ovenproof soup crocks or ramekins on a heavy baking sheet and ladle the soup into the crocks. Float two toasted baguette slices on top and sprinkle with about 2 tablespoons of the cheese (or more if you like).

Bake until the cheese is melted and lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Remove from oven and serve immediately.

Yield: 6 servings

Approximate nutrition per serving: 316 calories, 12 grams fat (5 grams saturated, 34 percent fat calories), 15 grams protein, 35 grams carbohydrate, 22 milligrams cholesterol, 2 grams dietary fiber, 1,051 milligrams sodium.

Roadhouse Macaroni and Cheese

Use a well-seasoned cast iron skillet. From Zingerman’s Roadhouse, Ann Arbor, Mich.

Coarse sea salt

1 pound elbow macaroni

2 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup diced onion

1 bay leaf

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups whole milk

1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 pound grated raw milk cheddar cheese or an extra sharp white cheddar

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons olive oil

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of salt and the pasta and stir well. Cook for about 13 minutes or until the pasta is done. Drain and set it aside.

Meanwhile, melt the butter for the sauce in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat, being careful not to scorch the butter. Add the onion and bay leaf and sauté until the onion is soft, about 5 minutes.

Remove the bay leaf. Add the flour, and cook for a minute or so, stirring constantly.

Slowly add the milk, a little at a time, stirring constantly to avoid lumping. Once the flour and milk are completely combined, stir in the heavy whipping cream. Keep the mixture at a gentle simmer until it thickens, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Reduce the heat to medium. Stir in the mustard, cheddar cheese and salt. Simmer for 5 minutes and set aside.

Set a large, heavy-bottom skillet over medium-high heat and get the pan very hot. Add the olive oil. When it begins just to smoke, add the cheese sauce and the drained cooked noodles. Toss thoroughly and continue to cook, stirring occasionally until you have approximately 15 percent of the mixture golden brown.

Taste and adjust the seasonings if necessary. Remove from heat and serve.

Yield: 8 servings

Approximate nutrition per serving: 395 calories, 26 grams fat (21 grams saturated, 59 percent fat calories), 19 grams protein, 21 grams carbohydrate, 79 milligrams cholesterol, 1 gram dietary fiber, 672 milligrams sodium.

Citrusy Firecracker Chicken

The marinade and glaze get a spicy kick from the red pepper and garlic. Use any mix of chicken pieces. For quick grilling, use boneless, skin-on, chicken breasts and thighs.

For the marinade and glaze:

5 cloves garlic, peeled

1/4 cup coarsely chopped onion

1/4 cup canola oil

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

2 tablespoons citrus blend seasoning such as Mrs. Dash Caribbean Citrus

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/2 cup pineapple juice

1/3 cup premade margarita with tequila, optional

For the chicken:

4 chicken breasts, bone-in and skin-on

4 chicken leg quarters, split (or you can use all thighs or all legs)

Oil for the grill grates

In a food processor or blender, place the garlic and onion and pulse to pulverize. Add the remaining marinade ingredients and pulse to combine. Pour about half the marinade into a separate bowl and refrigerate to use later to glaze the chicken.

Place the chicken pieces in a large sealable bag and pour in the remaining marinade. Massage the outside of the bag to work the marinade into all the chicken pieces, making sure they are all covered.

Seal the bag, refrigerate and marinate at least 4 hours or overnight.

Remove the chicken from the refrigerator 30 minutes before grilling.

Preheat the grill to medium-high. When the grill is hot, oil the grates and heat for 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium. Remove the chicken from the marinade and discard the marinade. Place the chicken pieces on the grill, bone or non-skin side down. Grill about 12 to 15 minutes. Turn and grill on the skin side until nicely browned with grill marks, about 8 minutes. Turn again and grill until thoroughly cooked and juices run clear when pierced. Brush the chicken lightly with some of the reserved glaze and grill a few minutes more. Remove from the grill and serve with additional glaze on the side.

Yield: 8 servings

Approximate nutrition per 1 piece of chicken with skin: 388 calories, 22 grams fat (5 grams saturated, 51 percent fat calories), 42 grams protein, 4 grams carbohydrate, 127 milligrams cholesterol, no dietary fiber, 258 milligrams sodium.

Feta Turkey Burgers with Spinach

You can make these into mini burgers if desired.

For the burgers:

1 1/4 to 1 1/3 pounds extra-lean ground turkey breast

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon minced onion

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons applesauce

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1/4 cup panko bread crumbs

1 1/2 cups chopped fresh spinach

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (regular or low-fat)

To serve:

4 grilled zucchini slices

4 honey wheat or favorite hamburger buns, toasted or grilled

Romaine lettuce leaves

4 slices tomato

Tzatziki sauce, optional (see note)

Preheat the grill to medium.

In a large bowl, combine the ground turkey breast, oregano, minced onion, black pepper and salt. Fold in the applesauce, Dijon, panko, spinach and feta. Shape into patties about 5 to 6 ounces each – or smaller for mini-burgers.

Grill the patties about 6 minutes on each side or until cooked through. The internal temperature should register 165 degrees. Grill the zucchini slices alongside the burgers, brushing them with a bit of oil and seasoning with salt and pepper before grilling. Grill the zucchini about 2 minutes per side.

On the bottom bun, place some romaine leaves, add a tomato slice, grilled zucchini slices and turkey burger. Place a dollop of tzatziki sauce on top if desired.

Cook’s note: To make the tzatziki sauce, mix 1/2 cup chopped cucumber with 1/3 cup plain Greek-style yogurt and 1/3 cup sour cream (or use 2/3 cup of either one), salt and pepper, garlic and fresh or dried oregano to taste.

Yield: 4 servings

Approximate nutrition per serving: 364 calories, 7 grams fat (4 grams saturated, 17 percent fat calories), 50 grams protein, 25 grams carbohydrate, 137 milligrams cholesterol, 4 grams dietary fiber, 768 milligrams sodium.

Almond Boneless Chicken

2 whole chicken breasts, skinned, boned and cut in half

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon dry sherry

For the sauce:

4 tablespoons cornstarch

3 tablespoons water

3 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth

1 1/2 cups chopped mushrooms, optional

3 tablespoons chicken fat or unsalted butter

2 teaspoons reduced-sodium soy sauce

3 tablespoons chicken bouillon granules

For the batter:

3 tablespoons cornstarch

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 egg, beaten

1 tablespoon water

Oil for deep-frying

To serve:

1 cup shredded lettuce

1/3 cup toasted, slivered almonds

1 green onion, finely chopped (green and white parts)

Sprinkle chicken with salt and sherry and marinate for 15 minutes.

While chicken is marinating, prepare the sauce. In a medium saucepan, mix together the cornstarch and water until smooth. Gradually mix in the chicken broth, mushrooms (if using), chicken fat or butter, soy sauce and bouillon granules. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Let boil for 1 minute; keep warm.

To prepare batter: Beat together the cornstarch, flour, baking powder, egg and water until smooth. Coat each piece of chicken with the batter.

Heat wok or a large skillet and add oil to a depth of 1/2 inch; heat the oil to 375 degrees. When hot, fry the coated chicken pieces in oil until they are golden, turning once, 5-7 minutes depending on thickness. Remove and drain the chicken on a rack or on paper towels.

Cut the chicken diagonally into strips. Place on a bed of shredded lettuce. Sprinkle with almonds and green onion. Spoon the sauce over the chicken and serve.

Yield: 6 servings

Approximate nutrition per 1/2 chicken breast: 349 calories, 13 grams fat (7 grams saturated, 34 percent fat calories), 34 grams protein, 19 grams carbohydrate, 144 milligrams cholesterol, trace dietary fiber, 1,512 milligrams sodium.

Roasted Vegetable Lasagna

Created by Darlene Zimmerman, MS, RD, for Heart Smart. Don’t be discouraged by the long recipe. Once you prep all the ingredients and roast the vegetables, the lasagna goes together fairly quickly.

3 cups sliced zucchini

3 cups sliced mushrooms

3 cups eggplant, peeled and quartered

2 red peppers, seeded and sliced

5 tablespoons olive oil, divided

3 teaspoons dried oregano, divided

3/4 teaspoon salt, divided

3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, divided

8 cups plum or Roma tomatoes, quartered

3 cloves garlic, peeled, sliced

1/2 teaspoon fennel seed

1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 teaspoons sugar

1 container (15 ounces) low-fat ricotta cheese

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided

2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

Nonstick cooking spray

9 no-boil lasagna noodles

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Have ready 2 large sided baking sheets, such as a jelly roll pan.

On one baking sheet place the zucchini, mushrooms, eggplant and red peppers. Drizzle with 3 tablespoons olive oil, 2 teaspoons oregano, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and toss to coat.

On the other baking sheet, toss the tomato wedges with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, garlic, remaining 1 teaspoon oregano, fennel seed, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and red pepper flakes.

Place both in the oven and roast uncovered for 15 minutes. Turn the vegetables over and bake an additional 15 to 20 minutes. Remove roasted vegetables and roasted tomatoes from oven.

Carefully place the tomatoes and all pan juices in a bowl and add the sugar and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Mash the tomatoes to create a sauce.

In a medium-size bowl combine the ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, parsley and remaining 1/4 teaspoon black pepper; set aside.

Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. To begin layering the lasagna, place about 1/3 cup of tomato sauce in the baking dish, spreading to cover the bottom of the dish. Top with 3 noodles, half the ricotta cheese mixture, half the roasted vegetable mixture and one-quarter of the tomato sauce. Begin again with 3 noodles, remaining cheese mixture, remaining roasted vegetables and remaining 3 noodles. Top noodles with remaining tomato sauce and a 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Bake lasagna uncovered for 30 to 35 minutes or until edges are bubbly and the cheese topping is golden brown.

Yield: 10 servings

Approximate nutrition per serving: 277 calories, 13 grams fat (5 grams saturated, 42 percent fat calories), 14 grams protein, 26 grams carbohydrate, 25 milligrams cholesterol, 4 grams dietary fiber, 369 milligrams sodium.


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