Thursday, December 29, 2011

Cider-Glazed Chicken Sausages with Butternut Mash

I love cooking magazines, but I hate to have clutter all over my house, so I have started ripping out all of the recipes that interest me in Cook's Illustrated, Cooking Light, America's Test Kitchen, and Everyday Food, scanning them, and saving the PDFs. I now have a gigantic recipes folder on my laptop that gives me an absurd amount of pleasure. I'm on holiday break this week and I finally cracked open this ever-expanding file to make something.

I have been wanting to try this recipe since the beginning of autumn...I'm only a few months late.  It was a perfect cold weather dinner, my friends. I couldn't seem to get an appetizing looking picture of my final product, but I will try again the next time I make it.  Here is the picture from Everyday Food's blog -->

My plate looked a bit soupier than this, but every bit as tasty as this one looks. This is a really easy 'meat and potatoes' meal to add to the table. I think that people with more traditional palates than mine would also love it, so it would be a great comfort food to serve when parents or other relatives are stopping by.

Original Inspiration:  Everyday Food
Serving Size: 4
WW: 10 pointsplus per serving


2 teaspoons olive oil
1 large onion, cut into 1" wedges
1 pound raw chicken sausage (Ideally 4 links - not the pre-cooked kind. I bought mild Italian chicken sausage at the butcher's counter. Any mild flavor would work well.)
7 fresh sage leaves
3 cups apple cider
1 pound butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1" cubes
1 large russet potato, peeled and cut into 1" cubes
1 large granny smith apple, peeled and cut into 1" cubes
1/3 cup greek yogurt (I used 0% Fage)
1 tablespoon brown sugar (if needed)


In a large, heavy-bottomed skillet or a small dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sausages to the pan and cook until the sausages are golden brown (about 6 minutes). Turn the sausages and stir the onions every 2-3 minutes.  Add sage and cider to the pot, and season with salt and pepper.  Bring to a rapid simmer and let it cook until the cider is syrupy, which should take about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the squash, apple, and potato in a medium saucepan and cover by at least 2 inches of water. Bring the vegetables to a controlled boil at medium-high heat and let them cook until tender (around 15 minutes).

Drain the vegetables and add them to your food processor with greek yogurt, salt, and pepper.  Pulse until blended and then taste. Adjust the seasoning, if needed. My granny smith apple was really tart, so I had to add a bit of brown sugar at this point. You don't want to make the mash sweet, because the cider you add on top will bring a lot of sweetness, but just make sure that it isn't too tart.

Divide the butternut mash onto four plates (or 2 plates and 2 storage containers, like in my house) and top with a chicken sausage, onions, and a healthy amount of cider 'gravy'.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Rosemary Olive Oil Cake

This is the best cake I have ever eaten in my life. It is unique with a complex, interesting flavor that isn't too sweet. Right up my alley. It tastes like a cross between cornbread and pound cake. I brought a piece to work today and I ate it one bite at a time over the two hours before lunch. I couldn't wait. This cake is worth every single calorie.

I would recommend using a good quality olive oil and dark chocolate bar. You will really be able to taste the difference.

Original inspiration: Good to the Grain via 101 Cookbooks
Serving Size: 12 thick slices
WW: 11 pointsplus per serving (totally worth it)



3/4 cup (3 ounces) spelt flour
1 1/2 cups (7.5 ounces) all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (4 ounces) white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt (I used sea salt and it turned out fine)


3 eggs
1 cup good quality olive oil
3/4 cup whole milk

1 1/2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into 1/4-1/2 inch pieces (I used a 45% cacao Icelandic chocolate bar and I felt like it needed a bit more bitterness. Look for a 60-70% cacao bar.)
1 tablespoon cane sugar


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Either line a long loaf pan (4 1/2" by 13") with parchment paper or spray a fluted tart pan or bundt cake pan with olive oil.

Sift the dry ingredients together into a large bowl and set aside.

In another large bowl, whisk the eggs thoroughly and then add the olive oil, milk, and rosemary and whisk again.

Using a spatula, fold the wet ingredients into the dry and mix gently until just combined. Stir in 2/3 of the chopped chocolate.

Transfer the batter into your pan, making sure to smooth the top of the batter with a spatula. Then top with the remaining chocolate and pat it into the batter a bit. Sprinkle the top of the cake with a tablespoon of raw cane sugar (or something else with larger crystals - for crunch).

Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until the top of the cake is golden brown and a skewer or knife comes out of the center of the cake cleanly.

You can enjoy a slice warm or wrap tightly in plastic wrap and eat cold over 2-3 days. Yum!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Nameless Cookie Wonders

You are probably realizing by now that I have a thing for cookies.  Cake, pie, can have them. They aren't really my thing (although I will be making this in the next couple of days), but cookies are fantastic. I like cookies because they aren't usually too sweet and the best ones have a nice sweet/salty/savory balance.  I have had this recipe saved in my ever-growing recipe folder for a while now and I am thrilled to finally have tried it.  They are not like any cookies I have ever had before. They are actually healthy and surprisingly filling for such small treats.  I would feel great about feeding them to my 4 year old niece, since they do not contain any added sugar or artificial ingredients. AND they are delicious.  I can't quite come up with a name, since it would be something like "Banana-Chocolate-Coconut-Almond-Oatmeal Cookies". Hmmm...maybe trail mix cookies? The name is still in progress!

Original Inspiration:  101 Cookbooks
Serving Size: 2 cookies (I got 45 cookies out of this batch)
WW:  3 pointsplus for 2 cookies (loads of health benefits included!)


  • 3 large, ripe bananas, mashed (around 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil (warmed slightly so it becomes liquid) or olive oil
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 2/3 cup almond meal  (*You can just pulse 2/3 cup raw almonds in the food processor to make this. You want the texture to resemble sand when you are done)
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened coconut, finely shredded (I had coconut flakes, so I just blitzed them in the food processor)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 6 ounces chocolate chips or dark chocolate bar, chopped up (I used some leftover mini chocolate chips I had and that ended up being the perfect size chocolate pieces for these cookies. I used chocolate chips, since I have a ridiculous amount of them, but I can't wait to try them with a quality dark chocolate bar)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees with your racks in the top third of the oven. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper or silpats. 

In a large bowl, combine the mashed bananas, vanilla extract, and liquid coconut oil.  Set aside. 

In another bowl, combine the oats, almond meal, shredded coconut, cinnamon, salt, and baking powder.  When all of the dry ingredients are incorporated together, add them to the wet ingredients and stir well.  Fold in the chocolate chips or pieces.

Expect the dough to be dry and fairly loose. You will think you did something wrong, but no worries! Drop less than a tablespoon-sized dollops of dough onto the cookie sheets about an inch apart (the cookies really won't grow on the pan).  Bake for 13-15 minutes. The cookies should be beginning to brown around the edges. My oven is on the hotter side and I left them in for 14+ minutes. 

Let the cookies cool on the stove top for 5 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack.  

Make sure you eat at least one or two of the cookies warm - to die for!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Sweet Tooth Fix: Coconut Cornflake Clouds

I have had the world's worst sweet tooth all week. I've been picking at candy and baked goods wherever I can find them. I sometimes get into these moods where sweets are all I crave and the holidays really bring that out.  I tried this recipe out to help satisfy my sugar jones without breaking the WW points bank. Super easy to make if you have a stand mixer and incredibly delicious! They taste like a cross between a macaroon and a meringue. I think that I might even try dipping the bottoms in chocolate next time.  

Original Inspiration:  SkinnyTaste
Serving size: 2 cookies (makes between 24-28)
WW: 3 pointsplus for 2 cookies!


  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup sweetened coconut flakes (I might try unsweetened next time)
  • 3/4 cup cornflake crumbs (I smashed 2+ cups of cornflakes in a large ziploc bag - you can buy cornflake crumbs at the store though)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper or silpats.

Using a stand mixer or hand beaters (a stand mixer would be significantly easier), whip the egg whites, cream of tartar, and sugar for 8-10 minutes until the meringue is formed. If you put a spoon into the mixture, it should leave a soft, thick peak when you take it out.

Fold in the cornflake crumbs and coconut and combine until just mixed.  Then, using two tablespoons, drop good sized spoonfuls of the mixture onto your prepared cookie sheets. I got 24 large cookies, but Gina on SkinnyTaste got 28. Expect somewhere in that range.

 Bake for about 17-19 minutes or until the cookies are golden. Let cool on the stovetop for 5 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack.  Enjoy!