Sunday, September 11, 2011

A Confession and a Promise

OK peeps - I have a Cuisineart. And I have maybe used it once in 11 years. I lost the direction manual sometime over our multiple moves, so I don't know how to use it. Therefore, I typically avoid recipes that call for pureeing or blending or anything that I can't do by hand. Which, kind of blows, to be honest, because I love soups and all sorts of things that call for pureeing, etc.

So, a few weeks ago, my fab blog designer K-Skull invited me lunch at the glorious Washington Place Bistro & Inn, where they were filming a segment for "Unique Eats" on the Cooking Channel. We both know the owner - me b/c of my hubs and fantasy baseball, she through work, etc. (My definition of "know" in this case, btw, is having met him once before and listening to fantasy football chat from the hubs.) 

Anyway, I digress. So, K-Skull also invited her lovely friend R, and over the course of the multi-hour taping, I was telling her about (ahem, self-promoting) the blog, and we both discovered neither of us knew how to work our Cuisinearts, and promised to try and figure it out.

For me, tonight was that night.

I found instructions online, put it all together, was ready to give it a test whirl and - epic fail. It no longer works. At all. And is discontinued. Oh well. And, seeing that tonight's recipe called for pureeing, well, I just winged it. (Side note: I also tried to puree with my hand-mixer. That doesn't work, for the record.)

So, at least I tried. And NOW, I have decided to invest in a real blender - send me your recommendations!

Chicken Tetrazzini Casserole
Source: Clean Eating, January 2011

  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • 1/2 lb whole wheat penne
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 oz cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 c. diced sweet onion
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled, halved length-wise and thinly sliced (about 1/2 c.)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt (skip)
  • 2 c. low-fat, low-sodium chicken broth (use unsalted)
  • 1/3 c. low-fat sour cream
  • 3 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley (used bottled)
  • 1 oz. parm-reggiano cheese, grated (used Kraft)
  • 2 tsp finely chopped fresh tarragon (used bottled)
  • 1/4 tsp grated lemon zest (skip)
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice (used bottled)
  • 5 oz roasted chicken breast, torn into bite-size pieces
  • 3/4 c. frozen peas, thawed
  • 1/2 c. chopped raw almonds (optional - used them)
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly mist large casserole dish with cooking spray; set aside.
  • Cook pasta to al dente according to directions, drain, rinse under cold water and drain again. Set aside.
  • Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add mushrooms, onion and carrot and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Add salt and continue to cook, stirring, until mushrooms are golden brown and carrot has softened, about 4 minutes. Add broth, bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer gently until carrot is tender, about 5 minutes.
  • Transfer 3/4 of broth and 1/2 of veggies to a blender and puree until smooth (um, skipped). Add sour cream, parsley, half of parm, tarragon, lemon zest and juice and pulse blender until mixed.
  • Return pureed mixture to skillet and toss with pasta, chicken and peas. Transfer mixture to prepared casserole dish and sprinkle remaining half of parm cheese and almonds over top. Bake until sauce is bubbling and top is golden brown, about 20-25 minutes.
Yield: 6 servings (about 1.5 c.)
Per serving: Calories: 269; total fat: 7g (sat fat: 2g); carbs: 36g; fiber: 5g; sugars: 4g; protein: 16g; sodium: 226mg; choles: 27my

Since I couldn't really do the recipe as in the directions, I just winged it. I also added a bit more chicken and a bit more sour cream, to make it a little creamier. This recipe made a ton - way more than six servings. Even without the pureeing, it seemed super saucy, esp at the bottom. I thought it was OK - a lot of work for nothing particularly special.

Two Forks

Looking good!

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