Thursday, December 30, 2010

Lemon-Garlic Shrimp and Grits

Grits, butter, garlic, and shrimp all in one dish - be still my heart. This is an easy 20 minute meal from the December Food Network Magazine.

I liked it a lot - Jason thought it was too peppery, but that would be my fault, not the recipe. It has a hint of lemon though you could taste and add more if you liked (or just squeeze the lemon over top).

Lemon-Garlic Shrimp and Grits
3/4 cup instant grits
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/4 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails intact (I just used a pound)
2 large cloves garlic, minced
Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
Juice of 1/2 lemon, plus wedges for serving
2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh parsley

Bring 3 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat, covered. Uncover and slowly whisk in the grits, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the parmesan and 1 tablespoon butter. Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper. Cover to keep warm.

Meanwhile, season the shrimp with salt and pepper. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp, garlic and cayenne, if using, and cook, tossing, until the shrimp are pink, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and add 2 tablespoons water, the lemon juice and parsley; stir to coat the shrimp with the sauce and season with salt and pepper.

Divide the grits among shallow bowls and top with the shrimp and sauce. Serve with lemon wedges.

Orecchiette with Kale, Bacon, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Tonight's dinner came from the December Cooking Light - it's a 20 minute meal and really, honestly, took about 20 minutes. It's also budget friendly since it's pasta based, has very little meat, and uses stuff you typically already have on hand.

I forgot to drizzle the lemon juice over the top at the end but we both thought it was tasty without it. It was simple but flavorful. The cayenne gives a hint of spice that sneaks up on you - it would be fine to skip that if you don't like spice.

If you can find black kale, CL says this would be a good dish to use it in. I had to use green. Also, you can try another shape of pasta - like penne - if you want.

Orecchiette with Kale, Bacon, and Sun-Dried Tomatoes
8 ounces uncooked orecchiette pasta
5 cups bagged prewashed kale (couldn't find - just bought a bunch and chopped it myself)
2 slices center-cut bacon (I used 4. Who can use just 2 slices?)
1/4 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
3 large garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/8 teaspoon salt
1 ounce Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, shaved (I just sprinkled grated)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Cook pasta in boiling water 8 minutes or until almost tender. Add kale, and cook 2 minutes. Drain in a colander over a bowl, reserving 1/2 cup cooking liquid.

 While pasta cooks, cook bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat 4 minutes or until crisp. Remove bacon from pan with a slotted spoon; crumble and set aside. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add sun-dried tomatoes, crushed red pepper, and garlic to drippings in pan; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add pasta mixture, reserved 1/2 cup cooking liquid, black pepper, and salt to pan; toss to combine. Top pasta mixture evenly with bacon and cheese; drizzle evenly with lemon juice.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Dionna's Chili

Last February, when I had surgery, our friend Dionna brought over food for us - including this chili. I've made chili before but evidently don't make "real" chili because I throw in weird things... according to Jason. This, however, was real chili and he loved it. I got a bite or two of it before he claimed it as his own. I emailed Dionna for the recipe and was surprised at how easy it was!

Dionna's Chili
1 lb. ground beef (I used ground buffalo)
2 cans stewed tomatoes
1 pkg mild chili seasoning
2-3 heaping teaspoons of brown sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 can dark red kidney beans (drained and rinsed)
1 can pinto beans (drained and rinsed)

Brown and drain the meat.

While browning the meat, combine all other ingredients in pot and stir together well. Simmer over low-medium heat. Add browned meat, turn up heat to medium heat for about 10 minutes. Then, put on low and let simmer for 45 minutes, stirring ocassionally.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Butternut Squash Gratin with Blue Cheese and Sage & Asiago-Olive Rolls

Both of these recipes were REALLY good and will definitely have to be on a holiday menu again. I made them to go with the turkey and stuffing in the previous post.

The butternut squash recipe is from Cooking Light and was delicious. However, cutting up and peeling butternut squash is no easy task and I would pay whatever it costs to buy pre-chopped squash at the store if they were to ever offer it.

The rolls are from Southern Living and may be my favorite roll - even above the rosemary rolls from Pioneer Woman (shocking, I know!). I couldn't find olive tapenade so I just made my own - I'll list that recipe, too.

Butternut Squash Gratin with Blue Cheese and Sage
5 cups (3/4-inch) cubed peeled butternut squash (about 2 pounds)
1 (1 1/2-ounce) slice white bread (I used panko but would use breadcrumbs next time for less crunch)
4 teaspoons olive oil, divided
2 cups thinly sliced onion
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Cooking spray
1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled blue cheese

Preheat oven to 400°.

Steam butternut squash, covered, 10 minutes or until tender.

Place bread in a food processor, and pulse 12 times or until coarse crumbs measure 1/2 cup. Transfer to a small bowl; add 2 teaspoons oil, and toss with a fork to combine.

Heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add sliced onion to pan; saute 5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Transfer the onion mixture to a large bowl. Add butternut squash, chopped sage, salt, and black pepper to bowl, and toss gently to combine. Spoon squash mixture into an 11 x 7–inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400° for 20 minutes. Sprinkle crumbled blue cheese evenly over squash mixture, and sprinkle evenly with breadcrumb mixture. Bake an additional 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and crumbs are golden brown.

Asiago-Olive Rolls
1 can refrigerated classic pizza dough crust
1/4 cup refrigerated olive tapenade (or recipe below)
1/2 cup grated Asiago cheese (I used shredded)
1 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
1 tbsp butter, melted

Preheat oven to 450. Unroll crust. Spread tapenade over dough, leaving a 1/4 inch border. Sprinkle with cheese and rosemary. Gently roll the dough, starting at one of the long sides. Cut into 10 (1 and 1/4 inch thick) slices. Place slices in a lightly greased 9 inch cake pan (I used my cast iron skillet). Brush top with melted butter. Bake 15-20 minutes or until golden.

Olive tapenade
20 pitted olives
1 Tbsp rinsed, drained capers
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp olive oil
2 anchovy fillets
Fresh cracked black pepper

Throw it all in a mini chopped and pulse until well combined.

Turkey with Maple-Cranberry Glaze

Though we weren't home for Thanksgiving this year, I couldn't pass up the super cheap turkeys. I decided to roast the turkey over the weekend and invited my mom to come eat with us.

Last year, I used Alton Brown's brining method and it was very good. This year, my schedule was too hectic to mess with brining so I used a Paula Deen recipe I found online and hoped for the best. It was VERY flavorful and moist - we couldn't tell much difference between this year's turkey and last year's brined turkey honestly.

I stuffed my turkey with sliced oranges and sage, thyme, and rosemary.

Roasted Turkey with Maple Cranberry Glaze
8 tablespoons butter, softened
1 tablespoon House Seasoning, recipe follows
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
2 tablespoons minced shallots
2 tablespoons minced garlic cloves
1 (15-pound) turkey

3 tablespoons butter
1 (12-ounce bag) cranberries
1/2 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup cranberry juice
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup apple cider
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a small mixing bowl combine the butter, House Seasoning, parsley, shallots, and garlic. Thoroughly rinse and dry the turkey. Tuck the wings underneath the body and place the turkey in a roasting pan. Rub the butter mixture all over the turkey.

Roast for 18 minutes per pound. The turkey is done when an instant-read thermometer is inserted into the thickest part of the thigh and registers 165 degrees F. and the juices run clear. Remove from the oven and loosely tent with foil. Let rest for 20 minutes before carving.

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium-low. Let simmer until the cranberries burst, about 8 to 10 minutes. Strain the mixture through a sieve and let cool. Reserve for turkey.

House Seasoning:
1 cup salt
1/4 cup black pepper
1/4 cup garlic powder

Mix all ingredients together and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Salisbury Steak with Mushrooms

Both Food Network Magazine and Cooking Light had recipes for salisbury steak this month so I took that as a sign. Plus, it's good ol' comfort food that is perfect for chilly temps! I went with the Food Network version because it used mushrooms. And I love mushrooms.

I've made several different versions of salisbury steak and really, they are all just about the same but I love the addition of mushrooms in this one and the absence of any kind of beef broth. It was very easy, fast, and used things you typically already have on hand. We both thought it tasted great.

I served it over buttered egg noodles.

Salisbury Steak with Mushrooms 
1 pound ground beef
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 onion, finely chopped (about 1/3 cup)
7 saltine crackers, finely crunched (about 1/4 cup)
1 teaspoon minced sage (I used some rubbed sage I had)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
8 ounces sliced mushrooms
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce (I forgot we were out so I used soy sauce in a pinch - worked great)
1 tablespoon all purpose flour

Gently mix the beef, egg, onion, cracker crumbs, sage, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and a few grinds of pepper in a large bowl using your hands. Divide it into 4 equal portions and shape into oval patties, about 1/2 inch thick.

Heat 1 tablespoon butter in skillet over medium high heat. Brown the patties, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to plate.

Add 1 tablespoon butter to the skillet and cook the mushrooms until slightly browned, about 2 minutes. Stir in the Worcestershire sauce, and salt and pepper to taste, scraping up any browned bits. Sprinkle in the flour and stir, then stir in 2.5 cups of hot water and simmer until the sauce begins to thicken, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon butter, swirling to combine.

Return the patties and any juices from the plate to the skillet. Simmer until the sauce thickens and the patties are cooked through, about 2 minutes.

See Aimee Cook

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