Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Meat and Potatoes!

Growing up, meat and potatoes was a staple in my house. My dad grew up eating it so that is what he always wanted to eat as an adult. We would literally eat some form of meat and potatoes 4 to 5 nights a week. I never found this odd because that is what I thought dinner was suppose to be.

Now that I'm older, I see that I missed out on a variety of different foods, which is why I enjoy trying new recipes. But tonight, I channeled back to the early 90's and made steak and potatoes!

Steak with Carriage House Sauce

2 8 oz rib eye steaks
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 tbsp spicy brown mustard
2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 tsp ground black pepper

1) Score steaks on both sides and set aside.
2) In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, sugar, mustard, soy sauce, olive oil, garlic and black pepper. Brush mixture all over both sides of steak.
3) Heat grill pan on high and add steaks. Grill, turning once and basting several times with mustard mixture. Flip steak periodically until cooked to your liking (10 - 12 minutes for medium-rare.)

When finished, heat up any left-over mustard mixture and pour over steak. This sauce is very tasty, you'll want a lot of extra for dipping!

Obviously, you can't have meat without potatoes. I am very comfortable baking, mashing or frying potatoes so tonight, I tried something new. I found a great recipe for baked potato wedges in my Better Home & Garden New Cookbook: Prizewinning Recipes cookbook. This recipe called for Parmesan cheese and Italian seasoning, but I skipped these ingredients and instead, sprinkled blue cheese over the potatoes half way through cooking. It was a nice touch!

Potato Wedge Recipe:
6 medium baking potatoes
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 glove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper

1) Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line 15x10 baking pan with foil; set aside.
2) Cut each potato lengthwise into 8 wedges. In a large bowl stir together butter, salt, pepper and garlic. Dip wedges into butter mixture and place on baking pan.
3) Bake, uncovered for about 30 minutes, or until tender.

I hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Crispy Lemon-Garlic Fish Fillets

It was time to crack open and use one of my new cookbooks. One of the books I got was Jeff Green's Mealtime Magic. The whole cookbook is filled with over 250 recipes of offbeat recipes using brand-name products. It is so cute! Rather than separating chapters by type of food, each brand has it's own chapter, like Bumble Bee Tuna, Dr. Pepper or Heinz Ketchup for example. You'd be surprised at what kind of dishes can be made out of products you typically have in your fridge or pantry.

One chapter that caught my eye was French's Original French Fried Onions. I think everyone is familiar with these being used in a green bean casserole, but did you know they can be used to make a delicious baked chicken, in a salad, on a pizza or on fish? I sure didn't! Tonight I went with the fish entree.

Crispy Lemon-Garlic Fish Fillets

4 Tilapia or red snapper fish fillets, 1/2 inch thick
1 1/3 cups French's Original French Fried Onions
1 tsp grated lemon zest
1 tsp (appx 2 cloves) garlic, minced
1 egg beaten

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2) Place onions, lemon zest and garlic in a large, Ziploc bag. Seal bag. Lightly crush bag with hands or rolling pin to crush onions. Shake at combine.
3) Place egg in small bowl. Dip fish into egg; then firmly coat with seasoned onion crumbs. Place fish on baking sheet and sprinkle with any additional crumbs.
4) Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until fish flakes easily with fork.

You wouldn't think 1 teaspoon of lemon zest would add much flavor but it adds a great subtle pop to the fish. This was VERY delicious!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Special Project

Rather than cooking, today I did a special project with Grandma Rosie! When she got in town on Christmas, she saw my homemade fleece blanket and just had to have her own. So this morning, we set out on a fleece fabric hunt.

We came back with a very pretty piece of pink fleece and a black piece with rainbow peace signs! How cool is that?

After about an hour of cutting and tieing we were all finished. Check out the final product! She looks cute as a button!!!!! ;)

To make this blanket, follow these simple steps:
1) Purchase 2 yards of fleece in two colors or prints.
2) Lay one layer of fleece flat on the ground (preferably on a carpeted surface) and flaten. Lay second layer directly on top and flatten as well.
3) Cut 2 inch squares out of each of the four corners.
4) Cut 3 inch slits, 1 inch in width, along all four sides of the fleece.
5) Once all fabric is cut, tie double knots connecting the top and bottom layers.

These blankets are extremely warm, but not too thick! It's no snuggie, but still very comfy!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas to All!

Merry Christmas! I hope everyone is enjoying their time spent with friends and family on this joyous holiday! It's great to just relax and bask in the season with the ones around you. Plus, who doesn't love all the delicious food!?

I was blessed this Christmas with wonderful gifts to help advance my skills in the kitchen. My amazing boyfriend bought me the fabulous apron that you see below as well as a cooking class at the Institute of Culinary Education in NYC! How amazing is that!? I.C.E has over 100 classes to choose from, I have no idea how I am going to pick just one, but when I do... you'll definitely hear about it.

And it didn't stop there... My mom sent me a very useful set of measuring bowls (also shown below,) my boyfriends sister got me a cookbook and his mother got me another, along with a mini slap-chop! How great is that? I have so many tools now. It's fabulous!

To give everyone something to nosh on while waiting for dinner, I whipped up two quick dip recipes.

Blue Cheese Dip: (It's the BOMB.COM!)
2 cups sour cream
1 1/4 cup mayo
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
4 oz blue cheese

1) mix sour cream, mayo, salt and pepper together until smooth.
2) Carefully fold blue cheese in.
3) ENJOY!!! It was great with veggies, but also very yummy with potato chips or pita chips!

Mozzarella Dip
1 cup sour cream
1 3/4 cup mayo
1 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
2 tbsps parmesan cheese, grated
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp onion powder
dash of garlic salt
dash of seasoning salt

Mix all ingredients well and serve with your favorite chips or veggies

Both dips were pretty tasty, but I loved the kick of flavor in the blue cheese dip.

Dinner is in the making. My boyfriends grandmother is the top chef in the house, so I helped a little with chopping and that's it. It's kind of nice to watch and learn! ;)

I hope everyone has an amazing night! Merry Christmas!


Monday, December 21, 2009

Cook, Prep and Unwrap!

Omaha Steaks! What could be a better holiday gift!? A Wusthof 6" Cook's Knife!!! That's what! This morning I left my house knowing that I was going home to cook the gift of Omaha steaks. It was a great thought... until I received the best Christmas present EVER from my co-work Gina, and her Chef-in-Training husband, Jonas. (They also got me a clip-on spoon rest, which I can't wait to use.)

Some may think a knife is just a knife, but these people are wrong. They clearly have never tried one of these babies!

This knife can chop through anything with ease. I've literally never sliced and diced like this before. I'm looking forward to using this knife often! (Thanks Gina, Jonas & Madison!)

Back to the meal at hand: Omaha Beef Rib Eye! I couldn't wait to rip these babies open. Since I cooked skirt steak in a spice rub last week, I decided to keep this recipe simple, but add a little optional kit. I chose a great Red Wine-Shallot Sauce recipe from Food Network.

Rib Eye with Red Wine-Shallot Sauce with Twice Baked Potatoes and Green Beans with Almonds

Steak Recipe:
2 8 oz Rib Eye Steaks
Ground black pepper
1 large shallot, minced (with my brand new Wusthof Knife!) ;)
3/4 cup red wine
2 to 3 tbsps butter, cold

1) Remove the steak from the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking. Heat a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Pat the steak dry and season generously with salt and pepper on all sides. Place the steak flat in the pan and sear until deep brown on one side, 4 to 5 minutes. Turn and cook on the other side until a thermometer inserted sideways into the thickest part registers 120 degrees for medium-rare, 3 to 4 more minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest 10 minutes. Reserve the drippings in the skillet.

2) Add the shallot to the drippings and cook over medium heat until golden, about 2 minutes. Add the wine and scrape up any browned bits with a wooden spoon. Bring to a boil and cook until reduced by half and slightly syrupy, about 7 minutes; remove from the heat. Whisk in the butter, one piece at a time, to make a glossy sauce. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper or season to taste.

This sauce reminded me of A1 Steak Sauce. It had a really nice tangy bite to it!

On to the next ...

Twice Baked Potato Recipe:
4 Russet potatoes
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup fat free milk
2 tbsp butter, softened
1 tbsp cream (I used 2% milk)
1 cup mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup chopped shallot

1) Scrub potatoes, then generously poke wholes with tongs of a fork to prevent from exploding while baking. Bake on 400 degrees for about an 1 hour and 15 minutes (or until fully cooked.) To save time, you could microwave for approximately 15 minutes.
2) Allow potatoes to cool to touch. Slice top third lengthwise off the top of the potato. Use a spoon to scoop out the insides, forming a canoe, leaving about 1/4 inch of potato on the skin.
3) Place the scooped out potato, sour cream, milk, cream and butter in a large bowl. Mash with potato masher. (Be careful not to over beat potato.) Next, mix in cheese and shallot.
4) Spoon filling back into shells and bake on 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes.
(recipe adapted from

To view green bean recipe, check out one of my older posts.

I'm sure you won't be surprised to hear that this meal was DE-licious! The tang in the red wine shallot sauce was a great compliment to the wholesome creamy flavor of the potatoes. It was a little combination of homemade comfort food meets specialty steak house flavor. (Or something like that! haha!)

Give it a me, you'll enjoy the entire meal!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Repeat Attempt: Blue Cheese Burgers

If you haven't read my previous post yet, please start there. ;) I attempted to make Barbecue Blue Cheese Burgers last week, and it just didn't pan out. I don't give up that easy, so tonight I gave it another whirl (this time with a recipe in hand.) I also decided to drop the BBQ portion of the burger, a simple twist should be enough.

1 pound ground sirloin
1.5 oz of blue cheese, crumbled
2 tbsps sauteed red onion
1/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp dry mustard
4 hamburger buns

1) In a medium size bowl, mix ground beef, blue cheese, sauteed onion, Worcestershire sauce, black pepper, salt and dry mustard by hand. Create 4 to 5 patties.
2) On medium heat, fry patties in a large skillet for 10 to 15 minutes, depending on preference of color.
3) Toast buns, and serve. For an extra kick, sprinkle on a little bit more blue cheese. I was great! ;)

Recipe adapted from: All Recipes

Saturday, December 19, 2009

My First Official FAIL

Well friends, I just had my first completely failed dinner! I'm pretty disappointed about this one. I didn't have time to look online for a good recipe to make, so on my walk home I thought up my own. I was hoping to make Blue Cheese - Barbecue Burgers.

I started by picking up a little over a pound of ground sirloin (which makes this fail even worse since sirloin is such a great cut of meat.) I headed home and added 1/8th teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper and 1/2 a teaspoon of onion powder.

Now here is where I took a turn for the worse: next, I added 1/4 cup of BBQ sauce. I mixed all the ingredients together by hand and noticed that the BBQ sauced didn't mix through all the meat, so I added another 1/4 cup. For some reason, I didn't stop there (although my gut feeling said NO!) After another 1/4 cup (making that a grand total of 3/4 cups of BBQ sauce,) I finally stopped.

I formed 4 patties, and put 2 of the larger in a frying pan on high. While these began to cook, I stuffed blue cheese in the smaller patties - just incase I didn't taste good, I'd still have 2 burgers without cheese.

As these cooked, they began to fall apart rather rapidly. I tried my hardest to keep these together but the longer they cooked, the more they fell apart. I tasted some of the fallen meat and it was insanely sweet!!! (Probably because I decided to use Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ Sauce.)

I finally gave up and turned off the burner. In no way did these taste good. I think I could have saved the meat and made a really spicy pasta sauce then thrown it in to sweeten the sauce up, but honestly, I never wanted to see the meat again!

So there you have it: My first official FAIL! :( I plan on retrying these burgers soon, with someone else's recipe of course! ;)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Flat Iron Steak in a Red Wine Mushroom Sauce

I'm keeping this whole "cook something new" thing going as long as I possibly can. I know that if I fall back to my old ways, I'll probably end up cooking a different variation of chicken night after night. Don't get me wrong, I love chicken. There's nothing wrong with grilling a quick piece on a busy night, but I wouldn't necessarily post about it, unless of course there was an amazing secret ingredient.

With that said, It's time to make myself a new goal. Here it is: at least 3 times a week I will cook new, out-of-my-comfort-zone, blog-worthy meals! (And since prior to October, I was constantly cooking pasta, the sky is my limit!)

It's been a while since I've had a good piece of steak so I thought it would be the perfect meal to make tonight!

Flat Iron Steak in a Red Wine Mushroom Sauce
2 (6 ounce) flat iron steaks
(My grocery store did not have flat iron (or skirt steak) so I picked up thinly sliced sirloin. I wouldn't advise doing this - the meat was too thin and cooked too way too fast to follow this recipe - but still delicious!)2 tablespoons olive oil
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon ground paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard powder
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 1/4 cup sliced portobello mushrooms

1) Allow the steaks to come to room temperature.
2) Stir together 2 tablespoons of olive oil, cayenne pepper, black pepper, ground paprika, salt, mustard powder, and garlic powder in a small bowl to make a paste.
3) Prick steaks all over with a fork and rub them well with the spice rub paste, working the rub into the meat. (This rub is insanely delicious!!!!)
4) Heat a large, heavy skillet over high heat and add the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Heat oil until it just begins to smoke and quickly sear the steaks until the outside has browned but the center is still blood red and just warmed, 2-3 minutes per side.
5) Remove steaks from skillet with tongs. Pour the dry red wine into the skillet, and bring to a boil while scraping the browned bits of food off of the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.
6) Stir in sliced portobello mushrooms, and cook on high while stirring until mushrooms are fully cooked and have released their liquid, about 5 minutes.
7) Return steaks to the skillet on top of the mushroom-wine sauce. Reduce heat to LOW and cook until sauce reduces and thickens, about 5 minutes.
8) Remove steaks to serving platter and pour mushroom sauce over steaks to serve.

It's hard to make out the mushrooms in this picture, but that is because they are packed full of flavor! The rub for the steak is orange in color (because of the cayenne mixed with the black pepper and mustard.) Once combined with the red wine and the steaks, the mushrooms absorbed this color and the flavors of the entire pan.
I don't usually like spice rubs, but this rub was fragrant, spicy and savory. It would be delicious on almost any kind of meat - and probably taste even better if it was cooked on a grill!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Chilly Weather = Hot Soup!

The temperature was beyond frigid in NYC today! To avoid any chance of getting frost bite, I walked as fast as I could just to get out of the cold. AND so I could get home and make soup - from scratch! Exciting, right? It was for me! ;)

For the third night in a row, I am doing something I have never done in the kitchen before. 1st, I cooked with wine, next I made lamb chops and today, I made homemade Baked Potato Soup!

This wasn't the quickest recipe I've ever made, but it was delicious. It also gave me a bigger appreciation for soup, knowing how much effort went into the final product.

Baked Potato Soup

Courtesy of Annie's Eats

4-5 Baking potatoes
4 tbsps butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour, divided
6 cups of 2% milk
2 tsps salt
Ground black pepper, to taste
3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup scallions, chopped
1/3 to 1/2 cup light sour cream

For Topping:
Sour Cream
Shredded cheddar cheese
Chopped scallions
Bacon pieces

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Poke potato with end of fork then bake for 45 minutes to and hour. Remove from the oven and let sit until cool enough to handle. Peel off skin and place potatoes into food processor. Pulse until the pieces are broken into small chunks. (If potatoes are soft enough, you can skip the food processor and break potatoes into chunks with a fork. It worked well for me.)
2) In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, melt the butter, on medium-high heat. Add ¼ cup of flour to the pot and whisk into the butter. Cook, whisking constantly, until golden brown, about 2 minutes.
3) Whisk in the milk and the rest of the flour. Cook (still on medium-high heat) until thick and bubbling, about 6-8 minutes.
4) Mix in the potato chunks. Whisk in the salt, pepper, and cheddar cheese and stir until the cheese is melted.
5) Remove from the heat, stir in the green onions and sour cream.
6) Serve immediately. Garnish with sour cream, cheddar cheese, green onions and bacon as desired.

The soup turned out amazing! It was so filling, I was able to make it my entire meal. If you have a hungry appetite (like my boyfriend,) bake up a few breaded chicken breasts or make a side salad to complete the meal.

This soup definitely helped keep the chill away!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Succulent Lamb Chops

After a week of not cooking, I feel like a complete bum (and my taste buds and stomach are craving any and everything that is packed full of flavor.) While I was sick, I realized how much I love to cook. Every night I had zero energy, but really wished I could have been whipping something tasty up to eat.

I tend to talk about my blog a lot with friends and co-workers (surprise, surprise.) Something I noticed from this: a lot of people love to cook. It's just one of those things people don't usually talk about it, since eating is a necessity in life. But I'm not going to lie to you, I really like talking about it! ;) One of my co-workers is always telling me about these amazing dishes she comes up with, just by looking at ingredients she has in her fridge and knowing what flavors go well together. It's amazes me to hear about what she does, but it's so discouraging because after almost 3 months of regularly cooking, I'm not able to do that. There aren't many dishes that I can whip up by looking at random things I have on hand. Everything I cook requires a recipe.

I know everything takes practice and I can't wait until I'm mixing recipes and creating my very own dishes. I'm ready to keep at it and grow in my cooking abilities. With that said, I decided to cook outside of my comfort zone tonight.

Lamb Chops with Couscous and Broccoli

I have never given a single thought to cooking lamb, but why not? I need to take risks in my kitchen and tonight was the night to start. I combined a recipe I found on with a strong suggestion made by my local butcher. These turned out AMAZING! They were full of flavor and very tender and juicy.

6 to 8 lamb chops, 1/2 to 1 inch thick
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed and chopped
3 tbsps extra virgin olive oil (evoo)
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp rosemary, crumbled
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1) Combine all ingredients except chops and combine well, by hand. Rub mixture into chops on both sides. (The recipe then called for 2 hours of stand time to allow the rub to set it. I did not have time to do this so I went straight on to cooking.)

2) Place chops in a dry large skillet and cook on low heat for 20 to 25 minutes. Be sure not to add any oil to the pan, the chops will already be coated from the rub. My butcher was very adamant about this. When I told him my original plan was to broil the chops (which you can do - 5 minutes on each side,) he yelled at me, saying that the chops should be cooked slowly. I figured I should listen to the pro and did as I was told.

Take a look at how great these turned out!

Next onto the side dishs: I love couscous. I don't know what it is about it, but the texture and taste make for a great add on to any meal. There is really nothing special about this recipe. I advise that everyone follow directions straight from the package that you buy. The only extra thing I add is a tablespoon of butter and a dash of Lawry's Seasoning Salt. For the broccoli, again, follow the directions from your package of choice. You can't go wrong. ;)

If you haven't tried something new in a while, I suggest you give this a whirl. It's not the cheapest dinner, but it tastes great. And if you're anything like me, you'll feel pretty accomplished when you're finished! ;)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Penne with Chicken and Broccoli in White Wine Cheddar Sauce

Tonight was the night to get back in the kitchen! After 1 full week of not cooking, I was totally ready to get back to it. Although I was excited for a new challenge, I had to stick with something that seemed easy. (Work has been busy, with long hours lately.)

I found this amazing recipe for Penne with Chicken and Broccoli in White Wine Cheddar Sauce.
I've never cooked with wine before, but after the last two weeks, I figured it would be a great addition to my meal! ;) When you read the recipe below, you'll see that there isn't a lot of wine or cheddar in this dish, but once combined these two ingredients create the most amazing flavor. It's a little tangy, gooey party in your mouth!


8 oz. penne or ziti (I used whole wheat)
1 ½ tbsp butter
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 ½ tbsp flour
¼ cup dry white wine (I used chardonnay)
1 cup chicken broth
1 box fresh broccoli florets, blanched or steamed until tender
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, grilled and cut into bite-sized pieces
¾ cup shredded white cheddar cheese
salt and pepper

1) Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook pasta until al dente.

2) Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Just as butter starts to foam, add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Next, add the flour to the skillet and cook until it begins to turn golden, about 2 minutes. Add the wine and cook until evaporated, about 1 minute.

3) Stir the broth into the pan and simmer the sauce until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Add the cheddar and stir constantly while returning to a boil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. (If you really love cheese, sprinkle a little more than the 3/4 cup already required.)

4) Fold in the pasta, chicken and broccoli and stir until the sauce covers uniformly. Plate and top with shaved Parmesan, if desired.

EVERYONE has to try this! It is so delicious. I don't usually experiment with white sauces, but this was very very tasty (and beyond easy.)

Recipe adapted from Annies-Eats.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Not (feeling) Well

I haven't cooked a single thing this week! I've been incredibly sick with either a reallllllly bad cold or a sinus infection... I'm not sure which. I'm so sick, that I've ordered take-out all weekend because the only things left in my refrigerator are condiments and spolied milk.

On the bright side, since I didn't leave my apartment all weekend, I had plenty of time to surf the Internet. I came across a pretty ironic, yet SO helpful little tool for everyone at home. Check out this great Table of Condiments! Ever wonder how long you should keep condiments in your fridge? This link will give you all the answers you need!

I hope to get back in the kitchen by Tuesday at the latest. I can't wait to eat home made food!

Have a great week.


Monday, November 30, 2009

"Catching" Up!

In preparation for Turkey Day, I swore off meat for the first half of last week and paid tribute to our little friends under the sea. I was inspired by a recent trip to The Chelsea Market. Aside from scrumptious bakeries, an imported Italian food market, a dairy and a butcher, the Chelsea Market is home to The Lobster Place: a seafood haven.

The second I stepped foot in the door, I immediately feel as if I was standing on Fisherman's Wharf, in San Francisco. Everything smelled so fresh, I couldn't help but get a craving salmon, shrimp and lobster. Trust me, you would have been on the same boat as me (pun intended.) Check out how amazing their selection of fresh salmon looks! YUM!

Who couldn't help but be inspired after seeing that? I definitely was so I combined two family recipes to make one tasty salmon recipe!

Salmon Recipe:
1 piece of salmon (size varies based on number of people being served)
Italian dressing (Good Season's tastes great!)
1 clove of garlic

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prep baking pan by laying down a piece of foil, long enough to cover inside of pan, then be folded over later to cover entire dish.
2) Lightly cover salmon in dressing. (Use your best judgement, if you over do it, your salmon will be rather oily.)
3) Place on foil in baking dish.
4) Dice garlic, onions and tomatoes then spread over salmon.
5) Take the ends of the foil and fold together to create a pouch for the samlon to lay in. Bake for 20 to 40 minutes, depending on the size of the salmon.
(the salmon should be flaky when finished.)
The combination of Italian dressing, onion and tomoato add a robust flavor to the fish. It really changes up the dish, almost making you forget you're enjoying a fallen friend of the sea.
On to the next:

I was so inspired by Chelsea Market (and had already promised myself I'd stay away from meat,) so the next night I whipped up a quick shrimp stir-fry.

Shrimp Stir-Fry Recipe:
1 Small bowl of pre-cooked Shrimp
Frozen stir-fry veggies (Costco has a great (and large) bag of stir-fry veggies for only about $8)
4 tbsps Extra Virgin Olive Oil (evoo)
1 tbsp Sesame Oil
3 tbsp soy salt (low sodium is great)
Onion Powder

1) In a medium sauce pan, heat 2 tbsps of evoo then add shrimp. Cook on medium heat until golden brown, adding a dash of salt, pepper and onion powder just before the shrimp have finished cooking. Set shrimp aside.
2) In the same sauce pan, heat 2 tbsps of evvo then add stir-fry veggies. (These can be added in frozen, or to make things quicker, defrost veggies in microwave first.) Cook veggies on medium heat until crisp. Next, add in sesame oil, soy salt then shrimp. Mix together and cook for an additional minute.
3) Plate then serve!

Both of these dishes were a great change from chicken and pasta. Although they are both seafood, the flavors were very different from one another.

Give one a try! ;)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Spicy Sausage Stuffed Shells

I was feeling rather adventurous today and thought it'd be fun to cook something from scratch. After eating turkey for the last 3 days, I figured pasta was the way to go! I've always wanted to try making stuffed shells, but after seeing various recipes, I always changed my mind (due to not really wanting to put in that much effort into a dish.) Little did I know, these are actually pretty easy to make.

Spicy Italian Sausage Stuffed Shells

1 box jumbo shells

1 lb Spicy Italian Sausage

1 clove garlic (3/4 piece for meat, 1/4 piece for spinach)

Pinch of red pepper flakes

2 28 oz cans whole tomatoes (pulsed in food processor or blender until smooth)

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (evoo)

3 cups fresh baby spinach, chopped

Pinch of salt

32oz container of Ricotta Cheese

1 cup grated parmesan cheese

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1 egg

Pinch of salt and fresh ground pepper

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cook pasta shells according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

2. Place sausage into a large skillet over medium heat. Cook until browned and crumbled. Drain and return back to skillet. Stir in garlic over medium heat for 1 minute then add in red pepper flakes, tomatoes, salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low and simmer.

3. Place olive oil into a medium skillet over medium heat. Add in spinach and garlic. Cook until wilted down. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Stir in Ricotta, Parmesan, Mozzarella, egg, salt and pepper; mix well.

4. Spoon about 1/2 cup pasta sauce into bottom of 2 9×13 inch baking dishes.

5. Drop 1 piece of spicy sausage from sauce mix into cooked shell then spoon ricotta filling (about 2 tbsps,) then place shells seam side down into baking dishes.

6. Top shells evenly with sauce then shredded cheese. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until bubbly and hot.

I have to admit that this recipe made enough food to feed 8 to 10 people. I froze quite a bit to eat at a later date

Recipe adapted from Picky-Palate