Shrimp Scampi with Linguine

Helllllloooooooo…..

What’s up guys? It’s been forever, I know. This holiday season was a crazy one! I believe I mentioned it, but my boyfriend and I moved over the holiday… so much hard work, packing, moving boxes and furniture, and then cleaning. I am so thankful all that is over! The last time I moved, it was out of my parent’s house and so this is the first real move I’ve ever done. I just can’t believe how much stuff one can accumulate in 6.5 years.  Anyway, that is over now so hopefully, fingers crossed, I can now commence regular blogging. I miss it so much!

I thought I’d come back with one of my favorite recipes to share. I first made this shrimp scampi years ago, and have made it probably a dozen or so times since, which is a lot for me since I am forever wanting to try new recipes, rather than repeat them. I have yet to try an Ina Garten recipe that I haven’t liked, and this is one of my favorites of hers. I really must try some more of her recipes- but first I need to locate my cookbooks!

Shrimp Scampi

Shrimp Scampi with Linguine

Serves 4

Ingredients:

3/4 lb linguine

3 Tbsp unsalted butter

2 1/2 Tbsp olive oil

3-4 cloves garlic, minced

1.5 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt, plus more for salting pasta water

1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped

1/2 lemon, zest grated

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (1-2 lemons)

1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Directions:

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and cook pasta according to directions.

2. While pasta is cooking, place a large skillet over medium-low to medium heat and add the butter and olive oil. When the butter is melted, add the garlic and saute about 1 minute. Add the shrimp, salt and pepper. Cook about 5 minutes, until the shrimp are cooked through.

3. Remove from the heat, and add the lemon zest, lemon juice, parsley and red pepper flakes. Stir to combine. When the pasta is done, drain and add to the shrimp mixture. Toss to coat.

Source: barely adapted from Ina Garten via foodnetwork.com

Southwest Skillet Ragu

Hello friends! One of these days my goal is to get back to regular posting. I swear just when I think things will get back to normal, something else comes up that keeps me incredibly busy. This time it’s a move!! My boyfriend and I have lived in the same apartment for over 6 years now, and while we love a lot of things about it, when we got word of another place opening up, we jumped on the chance to take it. This time we will be renting the 2nd floor of a two-family house which has a lot more character than the generic apartment we live in now, and I think has a lot more potential for customization… also, I’ll be getting my own office/study/craftroom space which I am super excited about, and there’s space for a decent sized garden!!!! Anywho, our move out/move in date is January 1st, and that is rapidly approaching. With work keeping me busy much of the week, I’m using most of my spare time packing and getting ready for the move. It’s amazing how much we’ve accumulated in the 6+ years we’ve lived together.

With all the craziness around here, I’m searching for quick and easy meals that require few pans, and minimal cleanup. Okay, that’s what I’m always searching for, but even more so these days. This meal fits the bill perfectly. Two dishes, few ingredients, and all around comfort, this dish is a winner. Goulash is such a comforting food to me (it’s one of the first I started making on my own when Ron and I moved into our apartment), and this take on it with the southwest flavors of chili powder and cumin is really yummy. Definitely recommended.

Southwest Skillet Ragu

Southwest Skillet Ragu

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

1 cup elbow macaroni

1-1.5 lbs ground beef or turkey

1 large onion, diced

1 red (orange, yellow or green) bell pepper, chopped

8-12 oz white button or baby bella mushrooms, quartered

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tbsp chili powder

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp smoked paprika

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes (optional)

1 28-oz can diced tomatoes, with juices

1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded, plus more for serving

Salt and pepper

Directions:

1. Place a pot of water to boil, salt the water, and cook pasta according to directions. Reserve a cup of the pasta cooking water when done. Drain pasta and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, place a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, add 1 tsp of olive oil, and add the ground meat. Cook until browned and cooked through, about 8 minutes, remove the meat from the pan and set aside, and drain off most of the grease. Leave a small amount just to coat the bottom of the pan.

3. Add the onions, and 1/2 tsp of salt, and cook about 5-6 minutes until softened and beginning to brown. Add the mushrooms and cook 5-6 minutes until golden brown. Add peppers, and cook another 2-3 minutes. Add garlic, spices, and 1/2 tsp of salt and cook 30-60 seconds until fragrant.

4. Add the tomatoes and their juices and bring to a boil. Add back browned meat, and simmer for about 5 minutes more until the sauce has thickened.

5. Add the pasta and cheese, and stir until well combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If the sauce is too thick, add a bit of the pasta cooking water until the sauce is to your desired consistency. Serve, topping each serving with more cheese if desired.

Source: The Kitchn

 

 

Roast Chicken Diavolo

It’s pretty unbelievable to me, but I have less then 2 weeks until I go on vacation! It seems to me that the summer just started, and it’s already the end of July… incredible! Part of me says SLOW DOWN!!!!!  but of course I’m also looking forward to vacation. Just being able to relax for 2 weeks, away from work and all the daily stresses will be awesome. In these two weeks of crunch time one of my major goals is to use the food that I have in the pantry/fridge/freezer before I leave. Ron won’t be going with me, and since he doesn’t know how to cook (other than grilled cheese sandwiches, bacon, eggs, chicken, and microwavable meals), I really want to make him some meals for the 2 weeks I’m away. I did this last year too- made and froze a bunch of meals, and just wrote the instructions on the outside of the containers so that he would have some good home-cooked meals, and not eat fast food for 2 weeks straight. It really worked out so well, and made me feel a little better about leaving. Also, since he didn’t eat every meal, it was wonderful to come back from vacation and have a few pre-made meals I could pop in the oven, and not have to worry about going grocery shopping immediately!

This is the first meal in Operation Clean Out the Fridge. I bought a whole chicken about a month ago when there was a great sale going on at the supermarket and kind of forgot about it. When I was perusing my Everyday Food Special Summer Issue this roast chicken recipe caught my eye. I love roast chicken- it’s economical and can be used for multiple meals. I especially love using the flat-roasted (or spatch-cooked) method as it doesn’t take quite as long for the chicken to cook, and it cooks more evenly. The first time I butterflied a whole chicken I was really intimidated, but it’s super-easy!! Nothing to be scared of at all! This roast chicken was great! I loved the herby, lemony, slightly spicy flavor to it, and I was really excited to use herbs from my garden. Wonderful!

Roast Chicken Diavolo

Roast Chicken Diavolo

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped

1 Tbsp fresh oregano leaves, finely chopped

2 whole dried chiles de arbol, crumbled, or 3/4 tsp red pepper flakes

2 tsp finely grated lemon zest

1 Tbsp lemon juice

Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 Tbsp plus 1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for baking dish

1 whole chicken (3.5-4 lbs), rinsed, patted dry, and butterflied (cut out backbone, turn chicken over and open, and press down firmly!)

2 red bell peppers, cut into 1/2-inch strips

1 large yellow onion, root end intact, cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch wedges

1/2 cup dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place one rack in middle of oven, and the other in the upper third. Mix together the rosemary, oregano, chiles de arbol or red pepper flakes, lemon zest, lemon juice, and 1-2 tsp freshly ground black pepper (use more if you’re brave- the recipe actually called for 1 Tbsp).  Coat a 9×13 baking dish with olive oil, and place the chicken in the pan, skin side up. Spread the herb mixture under the skin of the chicken. Sprinkle chicken with salt, and drizzle with olive oil.

2. Place chicken in the oven, on the upper rack and roast for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, mix the bell peppers, onion, and 2 Tbsp of olive oil together on a rimmed baking sheet. Spread in a single layer, and season with salt and pepper. After the chicken has roasted for 10 minutes, add the wine to the baking pan with the chicken. Also, put the baking sheet with the peppers and onions in the oven on the center rack. Roast for 20 minutes.

3. Remove both of the pans from the oven, and using tongs, transfer the peppers and onions to the baking dish with the chicken, arranging them around the edges of the chicken. Place back in oven (on middle rack), and roast for 20 minutes more, or until chicken is done (the thickest part of the thigh should be 165 degrees). Let rest for 10 minutes, and then carve. You can serve this warm, or at room temperature.

Source: Everyday Food (Special Summer Issue, 2011)

Pan-Seared Cod with Mushrooms

Happy happy Friday everyone! I am so glad it’s the weekend, and this weekend is super-special because it if my boyfriend Ron’s birthday! He is turning the big 3-1.  Now he can officially say he’s in his 30’s. He doesn’t care at all- it seems to me that guys just don’t care as much about their age as women do. We are going to have a low-key birthday, as he’s not a big party person. I told him that I would cook him whatever he wanted, and so far the menu that he has chosen includes wings, quesadillas and pizza! I fully expect to gain about 50 pounds this weekend 🙂 This dinner was the opposite of pizza and wings! Although it is somewhat rich due to the butter and olive oil, the fish and mushrooms are so good for you that I think it evens out. I loved the combination of the buttery-lemony sauce with the mild flaky cod and earthy mushrooms! Mushrooms are one of my favorite foods, so that combined with the seafood made this dish a winner in my book… and even though I didn’t have the proper spatula to flip my fish and it ended up breaking up a but, I still think this dish was really pretty and impressive looking… and it only used one skillet, and you all know how I feel about that!

Pan-Seared Cod with Mushrooms

Pan-Seared Cod with Mushrooms

Serves 2

Ingredients:

3 Tbsp olive oil

1 lb mushrooms (I used a combination of shiitake, oyster and cremini)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Pinch of dried red chile flakes

2 skinless fillets of cod, about 1 lb (You can substitute other firm white fish such as snapper or hake)

1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth

2 Tbsp cold butter

2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 1 lemon)

Fresh cilantro, parsley or chives (for garnish)

Lemon wedges, for serving (optional)

Directions:

1. Place a large (12-inch) skillet over medium-high heat, and add 2 Tbsp olive oil. Add the mushrooms, salt, peppers, and a pinch of red chili flakes, and cook until the liquid is evaporated and the mushrooms are browned, about 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the mushrooms to a warmed serving dish.

2. Season fish with salt and pepper. Wipe down the skillet, and add remaining oil. Place again over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering add the fish. Cook about 3 minutes on first side without moving. Flip carefully, and cook until fish is done, about 2 more minutes. Remove to the serving dish with the mushrooms.

3. Place the skillet back on the heat, increasing the heat to high. Add the vegetable broth and cook about 2 minutes, until it is reduced by half. Remove from the heat, and stir in the butter and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour the sauce over the fish and mushrooms. Garnish with cilantro, parsley or chives if desired, and serve with lemon wedges if you’d like.

Source: Serious Eats

Shrimp and Broccoli Stir-Fry

I think a recurring theme on my blog seems to be a love for quick and easy meals. Most of the meals I cook are weeknight meals. Meals that have to be pretty simple to put together since I am usually exhausted when I get home from work. I love meals that have simple ingredients, easy prep, but are still full of delicious and exciting flavors. I love to cook the more elaborate meal from time to time (usually this can only happen on the weekend), but I’d estimate that probably more than 75% of the things I cook are of the quick and easy variety, and this is something I have no problem with. Stir-fries are one of my go-to weeknight meals. I’m always on the lookout for a good one. I love that stir-fries encompass both protein and veggies, eliminating the need for multiple side dishes, and other than the prep work of slicing and dicing your ingredients, the actual cooking part is very quick. I also love the flavors that go into a stir-fry- soy sauce, garlic, ginger, honey in this one for example, chile sauce, hoisin sauce, oyster sauce in others… This shrimp and broccoli stir-fry makes for a wonderful weeknight (or weekend) meal. It comes together quickly, is healthy, and most importantly, is very tasty! I loved the slight sweetness from the honey, spiciness from the red pepper flakes, the saltiness from the soy sauce, and the tang from the rice vinegar. A great balance of flavors!

Shrimp and Broccoli Stir-Fry

Shrimp and Broccoli Stir-Fry

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 lb medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 tbsp cornstarch

2 1/2 tbsp canola oil, divided

1/4 cup scallions, cut on the diagonal into 1-inch pieces

2 tsp fresh ginger, peeled and minced

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 cups broccoli florets

1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce

2 tbsp rice vinegar

1 tsp honey

1/8-1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Directions:

1. Place the shrimp in a medium bowl, add the cornstarch and toss together. Heat a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add 1 tbsp oil to the pan, and swirl to coat. Add the shrimp, and cook about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the shrimp from the pan (place in a bowl or plate).

2. Add 1 1/2 tsp of oil to the pan and swirl to coat. Add the scallions, ginger and garlic, and cook for about 45 seconds, stirring constantly. Remove the scallion mixture to the same dish that the shrimp is on.

3. Add the remaining 1 tbsp of oil to the pan, and add the broccoli. Cook for about 1 1/2-2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the shrimp/scallion mixture, soy sauce, rice vinegar, honey and crushed red pepper. Bring to a boil. Cook for about 1 minute more until the shrimp are cooked through and the broccoli is tender. Serve over rice if desired.

Source: Cooking Light, June 2013

Simple Beef Chili with Kidney Beans

Simple Beef Chili

I made this chili a couple of weeks ago on one of those days where winter was still trying to keep its grip on us. Chili is the perfect comfort food- it is on the same plane as soups and stews. My dad makes a mean chili. Growing up chili was usually a meal for a Sunday. I remember coming downstairs in the morning before church, seeing the crock-pot sitting on the counter, already simmering away as my dad always wakes up super-early, and getting very excited about the deliciousness that would await us later. I loved coming home from church to the delicious chili-scented air. I’m pretty sure he never follows a recipe, adding a little of this, and a little of that, and having it be the same but also unique each time (if that makes any sense).

Me… I’m sure I could throw together some chili without following a recipe as well, although I’m not sure it’d live up to my dad’s, but I really love trying out the numerous chili recipes out there as well. The Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook alone has 6 different recipes for chili, and I fully intend to try them all! I decided to make this one first, as I was lured in by the ingredient list which includes pretty much all pantry staples in my home. Ron says this is the best chili I’ve made yet (and I’ve tried a bunch of recipes), so it was definitely a success! It’s very simple (as the title states), but it still takes its time to cook, so it’s definitely best for a weekend or day off. I made it on a weeknight, and so we didn’t end up eating until 9:30 this particular night… the wait was so worth it though!

Simple Beef Chili

Simple Beef Chili with Kidney Beans

Serves 4-5

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp vegetable oil

1 onion, chopped fine

1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 Tbsp chili powder

1 1/2 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

1/2 tsp dried oregano

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1 lb 85% lean ground beef

1 (15-oz) can red kidney beans, rinsed

1 (14.5-oz) can diced tomatoes

1 (14.5-oz) can tomato puree

Salt

Optional:

Lime wedges

Cheddar cheese

Tortilla chips

Diced avocado

Cilantro

Scallions

Sour Cream

Directions:

1. Place a Dutch oven over medium-heat, and add oil. Heat until shimmering. Add onions, bell peppers, garlic, chili powder, cumin, coriander, red pepper flakes, oregano and cayenne pepper. Cook about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened and slightly browned.

2. Increase the heat to medium-high and add the ground beef. Cook until no longer pink, about 3-4 minutes, stirring and breaking up with a spoon.

3. Add the beans, diced tomatoes (with juices), tomato puree and 1/4 tsp salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cover. Cook for an hour, stirring occasionally. Then remove the cover, and cook for another hour, stirring occasionally. (If the mixture begins to stick, you can add up to 1/2 cup water.)

4. Season with salt to taste. Serve with any optional condiments desired!

Source: The Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook

Pasta with Mushroom-Sausage Ragu

It’s hard to know what to say on a day like today when such a terrible event has occurred. I’ll just say that my thoughts and prayers are with the people of Boston, and their loved ones.  It’s hard to think of much other than Boston at a time like this, but I still wanted to share a recipe with you tonight, as I feel like there needs to be a sense of normalcy to provide comfort and peace, at least for me.

This recipe is a very comforting, and fairly healthy one. The mushrooms and onions, combined with the turkey sausage make a wonderfully hearty, but light topping for the pasta. Ron and I both loved this one.

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Pasta with Mushroom-Sausage Ragu

Serves 4

Ingredients:

8 oz pasta (a short shape such as penne, ziti, or shells)

1 cup plus 1 Tbsp 2% milk, divided

1 tsp cornstarch or arrowroot powder

2 Tbsp olive oil, divided

8 oz. button mushrooms, sliced

6 oz. portobello mushrooms, chopped

1 medium red onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1/4 tsp sea salt, plus more to taste

1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste

8 oz. Italian turkey sausage, hot or mild, removed from casings

1 Tbsp tomato paste

1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves, divided

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

red pepper flakes, to taste (optional)

Directions:

1. Over high heat, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta, and cook until al dente.

2. Combine the cornstarch (or arrowroot powder) with 1 Tbsp of the milk in a small bowl. Set aside.

3. While the pasta is cooking, place a large skillet over medium-high heat, and add 1 Tbsp of olive oil. Add the mushrooms and onions and cook about 9-11 minutes, until the liquid has evaporated, and the mushroom-onion mixture is lightly browned. Add the garlic, salt and pepper, and cook a minute more. Remove the mixture from the pan, and place in a bowl. Set aside.

4. Place skillet back on the stove, and add the remaining Tbsp of olive oil. Add the turkey sausage, and cook, breaking up the sausage, until cooked through, about 3-5 minutes.

5. To the sausage, add a cup of milk and the tomato paste, and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium low, add the cornstarch slurry, and cook about a minute until slightly thickened, stirring constantly. Add back the mushroom mixture, and 2 tsp of fresh thyme. Taste, and add salt and pepper to taste, and red pepper flakes if desired.

6. Serve over the pasta, or do as I did, and mix together with the pasta. Sprinkle the remaining thyme over the top.

Source: Apple a Day (who adapted it from Clean Eating, March 2013)