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Archive for the ‘Main dish’ Category

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While on vacation last summer in Carolina Beach, I ordered the shrimp and grits the last evening of our vacation. Being a northerner I really didn’t know what to expect. I hadn’t tried grits before, only because I don’t like the name. It really is an ugly word. Much to my delight it was super yummy! It was the best meal of our trip and I wished I’d had it every day. This version is healthy and easy. My kids however thought it too lemony, so you may want to tone down the lemon if you’re not a lemon lover. I thought it was perfect.

Lemon and Garlic Shrimp and Grits

3/4 cup instant grits
Course salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/4 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined, (with or without tails, you decide)
1 can diced tomatoes with liquid
2 large cloves garlic, minced
Juice of 1/2 a lemon, plus wedges for serving
2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh parsley

Bring 3 cups 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 heat to medium low and cook, stirring occasionally until thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the parmesan and 1 tablespoon butter. Remove from heat and keep covered.

While the grits are cooking start your shrimp. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the shrimp and garlic, toss and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until shrimp are pink. Add the tomatoes and liquid and heat through for about 1 minute. Remove from heat and add the lemon juice and parsley, stirring to coat the shrimp with the sauce.

Divide the grits in 4 shallow bowls and top with the shrimp and sauce. Serve with extra lemon wedges.

Serves 4

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When I read this recipe I was totally weirded out by the use of tapioca. I have never purchased tapioca in any form, but it does a great job of thickening this slow-cooker stew. After I made a few modifications to the seasoning, I really liked this stew. Its easy to put together, no pre-browning of the beef required, and pre-sliced mushrooms are a big time saver. If you aren’t a fan of onions, decrease the amount or use sweet onions, because they stay rather powerful even after 6 or 8 hours in the crock-pot. Doesn’t crock-pot sound terribly old hat? The other great thing is that this stew is low calorie, only 345 calories and 11 grams of fat per 1 3/4 cup serving according to Cooking Light.

Slow-Cooker Beef Vegetable Stew
2 tablespoons uncooked granulated tapioca
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons salt
15 ounces tomato juice (approx.)
4 cups chopped onion
3 cups chopped celery
2 1/2 cups (1/4 inch thick) sliced carrots
2 (8 ounce) packages pre-sliced mushrooms
2 pounds beef stew meat

Place first 5 ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.
Combine onion, celery, carrots, mushrooms and beef in an electric slow cooker, add juice mixture. Cover and cook on high 5 hours or low 8 to 10 hours until beef is tender.

Slow Cooker Beef Vegetable Stew

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This stir fry is flavorful, colorful and simple.  Hoisin sauce can be found near the soy sauce at the grocery store, and is a great addition to many Asian inspired dishes.  If you are serving kids omit the the chili garlic sauce and add it at the table.
 
Chicken, Shiitake, and Broccoli Stir Fry
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
  • 12 oz fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced (or 3 – 4 large dried mushrooms)
  • 1 pound chicken breast cut into 1 inch pieces
  • Florets from 1 crown of broccoli (about 3 cups)
  • 5 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon chinese five spice powder

 If using dried mushrooms, place the mushrooms in a microwave safe bowl and cover with water. Microwave on high for 3 minutes and let mushrooms soak until ready to use. Season chicken with salt and pepper.  Heat sesame oil in a wok or large saute pan.  Add ginger, mushrooms, broccoli and onion.  Stir fry 5 minutes.  Move the vegetables to the outside of the pan and add the chicken to the center. Cook stirring frequently for about 10 minutes or until chicken is just cooked through.  If you like a lot of sauce add some of the mushroom soaking liquid now.  Add hoisin, chili sauce and five spice.  Cook about 2 minutes more and remove from heat.  Serve with hot steamed white or brown rice.

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Homemade macaroni and cheese is one of my favorite comfort foods.  Its is rich and cheesy and delicious.  It does take some time to prepare, but the preparation is relatively simple and well worth the time.  Served with a green salad or other vegetable it makes a complete meal.

Macaroni and Cheese

  • 1 (16 ounce) package elbow macaroni
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded colby-jack or mozzarella cheese
  • Paprika (optional)

Cook macaroni according to package directions (be sure to add salt to water).  Drain and set aside.

Melt butter in a large heavy saucepan or dutch oven over low heat: add flour, stirring until smooth.  Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Gradually add milk; cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until thickened and bubbly.  This can take about 10 minutes.  Stir in salt and cheeses, stirring until cheese melts.

Stir cooked macaroni into sauce and pour into a lightly greased 9 x 13-inch baking dish.  Sprinkle with paprika, if desired.  Bake uncovered at 350° for 25 to 35 minutes or until bubbly.  Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Recipe can be halved and baked in a 2-quart or 11 x 7-inch baking dish.

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I found this chicken recipe on epicurious a few months ago and just got around to trying it last week.  It’s fairly simple, the chicken has to marinate for at least 4 hours or preferably longer, and the mashed potatoes are very easy.  If someone in your house is lactose intolerant, like my husband, try using chicken broth in place of the milk in the potatoes.   

 Fragrant Orange Chicken

1 chicken cut up  (I can always find this at the grocery, sometimes it’s called “pick of the chick”)
Zest and juice of 3 oranges
1/4 cup honey

3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons finely minced garlic
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt and black pepper
2 tablespoons cilantro

Place the chicken in a large bowl.  Combine remaining ingredients and coat chicken. Refrigerate, covered, for at least 4 hours.  Remove chicken 30 minutes before cooking.  Preheat oven to 375°F.  Arrange chicken in a shallow roasting pan.  Pour 2/3 cup of the marinade into the pan.  Bake chicken for 1 hour.
Transfer to a platter. Serve with Scallion Mashed Potatoes.

Serves 4 – 6

 Scallion Mashed Potatoes

2 pounds russet potatoes
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup milk
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 bunch scallions, cut into 1/2-inch pieces on the diagonal (reserve 1/4 cup for garnish)

Peel the potatoes and cut into chunks.  Place in a large saucepan with water to cover.  Bring to a boil, reduce the heat slightly, and simmer until very tender, about 20 minutes.  Drain well, then mash with the butter and milk.
Season with salt and pepper. Stir in scallions. Serve immediately.  Serves 4.

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Filet Mignon with Horseradish Sauce

Instead of overpaying at a restaurant, try cooking filet mignon yourself.  It is very easy to make well at home.  I like the beef itself to be unadulterated, just salt and pepper for seasoning.  The beef is enhanced by a simple 3 ingrediant horseradish sauce.  I thought the applesauce in the sauce sounded strange too, but its really good, you just have to trust me.  Serve with a baked potato and Oven Roasted Broccoli and you’ll have a fantastic restaurant quality meal for a fraction of the price.

Seared Filet Mignon with Horseradish Sauce

  • 4 to 6 –  1 ½ inch thick filet mignon
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil

Heat oven to 425°F. 

Heat a large sauté pan over medium high heat until really really hot (but not smoking).  Season filet on both sides with salt and pepper.   Add oil to pan.  Sear filet on both sides for about 2.5 minutes per side until nicely browned.  Do not crowd the pan.  Do this in 2 batches if necessary.  Remove filets to baking sheet lined with foil.  Bake in preheated oven for about 10 minutes for medium rare to medium.  Serve with horseradish sauce.

Horseradish Sauce

  • ½ cup well drained prepared horseradish
  • 1 ¼ cup sour cream
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • Salt and pepper

Whisk together horseradish, sour cream and applesauce.  Season with salt and pepper.  Refrigerate until ready to use.  Makes about 2 cups.

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I’ve been making this salmon dish for years.   It’s quick, fresh and delicious.  Serve with rice, (spoon the juices from the baking pan on top), and a vegetable and dinner is ready in 30 minutes.

Orange Brown Sugar Salmon

  • 1 24-oz (approx.) salmon, steelhead, or arctic char filet with or without skin
  • 1 tablespoon softened butter
  • Salt and pepper
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar

Pre-heat oven to 375°.  Place fish in a baking dish coated with cooking spray skin side down.  Brush fish with butter and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Pour orange juice over fish and sprinkle all over with brown sugar.  Bake about 25 minutes, or until just done.

If your fish has skin, it will come right off when you cut and serve.

Makes about 6 servings.

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