Monday, March 23, 2009

Lemony Shrimp With White Beans and Couscous

This one is definitely a keeper! So quick to put together and so good!

1 10-ounce box couscous (1 1/2 cups)
kosher salt and black pepper
3 tbsp. unsalted butter - I used olive oil instead
2 cloves garlic, chopped
4 scallions, chopped
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 15.5-ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed
1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

In a saucepan, bring 2 cups water to a boil. Stir in the couscous and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cover and let sit off heat for 5 minutes; fluff with a fork before serving. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of the butter (olive oil) in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and scallions and cook for 30 seconds. Add the shrimp and cook, stirring, until they begin to turn pink, about 3 minutes. Stir in the beans, parsley, lemon juice, the remaining butter, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook until heated through, 2 to 3 minutes. Serve with the couscous.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Cuban-Style Pork and Rice

We had some boneless pork chops in the freezer but pork is so boring sometimes. I knew I wanted to add a lot of flavor and this dish did the trick! I pretty much followed the recipe, but there were a few slight changes I made. I left out the rum, used chicken stock rather than broth, didn't use shrimp, used a can of artichokes and left out the roasted red peppers. I also changed up the cooking time a little since I didn't use the shrimp. Below is what I did.

1/4 cup paprika
1/4 cup
lime juice
3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 tsp. minced garlic plus 2 tbsp. chopped garlic, divided
2 tsp.
fresh oregano, chopped
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. freshly
ground pepper
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 1/2 pounds boneless
pork chops (3/4-1 inch thick), trimmed, cut into cubes
2 cups onion, chopped
2 cups arborio rice or short-grain brown rice
28 ounces chicken stock
1 cup
canned diced tomatoes diced
2 tbsp. capers, rinsed
1/4 tsp. saffron threads
1 can artichoke hearts, quartered

Combine paprika, lime juice, 2 tablespoons oil, 2 teaspoons minced garlic, oregano, salt, pepper and cumin in a medium bowl, stirring to make a homogeneous paste. Add pork and stir to coat. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the pork, leaving any excess spice mixture in the bowl to add later. Cook the pork, stirring, until just cooked on the outside and the spices are very fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the pork to a plate.

Add onion and the remaining 2 tablespoons garlic to the pan and cook, stirring often, until the onion is softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring, until well coated with the onion mixture. Stir in broth, tomatoes, capers, saffron and any remaining spice mixture. (If using brown rice, also add 3/4 cup water now.) Bring to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer; cook, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes for arborio, 30 minutes for brown rice.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Add the pork back in and stir artichokes into the rice. Cover and bake for 20 minutes or until the rice is tender and the liquid has been absorbed

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Sausages with Garlic Quinoa

I was hoping to make garlic lentils since I thought we had them, but of course we were out. So I decided to use quinoa instead. The sausages were just some chipotle chicken sausages I had picked up at Trader Joe's...they were okay. And of course we served it with our favorite...roasted asparagus.

1 cup uncooked quinoa
2 cups water
1 fresh bay leaf
4 large cloves garlic, grated or minced
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, a generous handful, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

sausages of your choice

In a pot, bring the water and quinoa to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 15 minutes. In a shallow pasta bowl combine the garlic and about 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil and let stand 15 minutes.

Place sausages in a small pan and add 1/4-inch water and 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, a little drizzle. Bring water to a boil then reduce heat to medium-high. Let the water simmer away 8 minutes or so, then crisp the casings 3 to 4 minutes more.

When the quinoa is done, and all water has absorbed, remove from heat, and remove bay leaf. Toss the hot quinoa with garlic oil, parsley and salt and pepper and serve.

Sweet and Sour Shrimp Stirfry

This turned out way better than I expected, so that's always a good thing. I pretty much followed the recipe for the sauce part of it but I added in way more veggies than it called for and left out the cherries and green onions. I also doubled the sauce since I did add in a lot more veggies. Below is what I used.

12 tbsp. chicken stock
6 tbsp. ketchup
6 tbsp. sugar

6 tbsp. pineapple juice
4 tbsp. vinegar
4 tsp. soy sauce
1.5 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
4 tsp. cornstarch
1 pound
1/2 tsp. powdered ginger (I didn't have fresh)
2-3 cloves minced garlic
2-3 tbsp. peanut or
vegetable oil
1 cup thinly sliced onions
1 red bell pepper cut into strips

1 cup broccoli florets
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup pineapple chunks

To make the sauce, in a bowl, combine 1/2 cup of stock, the ketchup, sugar, juice, vinegar, soy, and 1 teaspoon of the pepper flakes. Set aside. In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch with the remaining stock and stir to dissolve. Set aside. In a bowl, toss the shrimp with the ginger, garlic, and remaining pepper flakes. Set aside for 10 to 20 minutes.

Heat a large wok over high heat. Add the oil, swirling to coat the sides and bottom of the pan. Add the shrimp, garlic, and ginger and stir-fry until pink, about 2 minutes. Remove from the pan. Add the onions, peppers, broccoli and carrots and stir-fry until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Add the sauce and cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Add the cornstarch mixture and bring to a boil. Return the shrimp to the pan and add the pineapples. Cook until the sauce is thick, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and serve over rice.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Roasted Chicken and Veggies

This was a pretty easy dinner. I just threw together some baby carrots, potatoes, onions, garlic and chicken in a dish and baked it. Simple and good!

3 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts
2 handfuls baby carrots
3 potatoes, cut in large pieces
2 onions, cut in large pieces
3 cloves garlic, crushed
about 1 cup chicken stock

I wanted to put something more than salt and pepper on the chicken so I found this:

4 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

I also added olive oil to the rub to make it more of a paste

I rubbed the spice paste underneath the skin as well as on top, put everything in the dish and popped it in a 350 degree oven for about and hour and a half. I had it covered with foil for the first 40 minutes and then removed the foil, but I think if I would have just left the foil on, it wouldn't have taken so long. Either was pretty good.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Quick Barbecue Chicken

I came across this recipe in my Cooking Light magazine and it looked pretty easy so we gave it a try. It was really good!

1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 (8-ounce) bone-in chicken breast halves
Cooking spray

Prepare grill. Combine first 9 ingredients in a bowl, stirring well. Loosen skin from chicken by inserting fingers, gently pushing between skin and meat; rub spice mixture evenly under skin over meat. Lightly coat skin with cooking spray. Place chicken, breast-side down, on a grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 30 minutes or until a thermometer inserted in the thickest part registers 165°, turning twice. Let chicken stand 10 minutes. Remove skin; discard.

Au Gratin Potatoes

Potatoes + cheese = delicious! These were surprisingly easy to make, but they do take awhile to cook, so you definitely have to plan in advance to make them. We didn't have any cheddar cheese though, so I used 3 slices of Muenster and 3 slices of Colby.

4 russet potatoes, sliced thin
1 onion, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter a 1 quart casserole dish. Mix together the potatoes and onions and place in the prepared casserole dish. Season with salt and pepper to taste. In a medium-size saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Mix in the flour and salt, and stir constantly with a whisk for one minute. Stir in milk. Cook until mixture has thickened. Stir in cheese all at once, and continue stirring until melted, about 30 to 60 seconds. Pour cheese over the potatoes, and cover the dish with aluminum foil. Bake 1 - 1-1/2 hours in the preheated oven.

Beet Salad

We love beets! Almost as much as we love asparagus, so we eat them pretty often. Well we get sick of just eating them the same way all the time so I tried to spruce them up a little. Here's what I came up with.

One can sliced beets
1 stalk celery, chopped
4-5 radishes, sliced
handful chopped parsley

juice of one lemon
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all the veggies and dressing together and you have a quick and easy salad.