Archive for the 'quick and easy' Category

Grilled Shrimp over Orzo Salad

We got a new grill this year.  My fater-in-law borders on legendary when it comes to grilling, so he insisted that we get a charcoal grill.  I did not argue as I love his grilled food and the flavor that charcoal gives.  Gas grills are easy and convenient, but nothing beats the smell and taste of good ole fashion charcoal.  We gave it our first test run with something quick and super easy – shrimp.  This meal was so quick and delicious, I’ll definitely make it again.

Grilled Shrimp over Orzo Salad
I would really love to tell you how I made this, but I was lazy and didn’t update my blog in a timely manner and forgot.  The next time I make it I’ll be a good little food blogger and write everything down.  Here’s the jist:

Shrimp marinated in olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, basil, salt and pepper then grilled to perfection.

Orzo tossed with a dressing mimicing the above marinade with sliced grape tomatoes and topped with fresh grated parmesan cheese.

 

Shrimp Scampi

Now that I’m into shrimp, I’ve been looking for some tasty ways to make it.  I came across this recipe on a few blogs from Gourmet and decided to adapt it.  I can’t use a lot of butter in my cooking (due to lactose issues) so I have to substitute.  Plus, I was super excited when I saw that Barilla Plus made angel hair!

Shrimp Scampi
adapted from Gourmet

Ingredients:
1/4 cup olive oil
1 lb peeled and deveined large (20-25) shrimp
4 large garlic cloves minced
1 pinch dried hot red-pepper flakes
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 Tbsp SmartBalance butter
3/4 lb angel-hair pasta (Barilla Plus)
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Directions:
-Bring a 6- to 8-quart pot of salted water to a boil.
-Meanwhile, heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté shrimp, turning over once, until just cooked through, about 2 minutes, and transfer with a slotted spoon to a large bowl.
-Add garlic to oil remaining in skillet along with red pepper flakes, wine, salt, and pepper and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, 1 minute.
-Add butter to skillet, one tablespoon at a time, alternating natural with smartbalance, stirring until melted, and stir in shrimp.
-Remove skillet from heat.
-Cook pasta in boiling water until just tender, about 3 minutes.
-Reserve 1 cup pasta-cooking water, then drain pasta in a colander.
-Toss pasta well with shrimp mixture and parsley in large bowl, adding some of reserved cooking water if necessary to keep moist.

Parmesan Crusted Chicken

This was a quick throw-together meal.  It turned out pretty tasty.  I served the cutlets with steamed broccoli. 

Parmesan Crusted Chicken

Ingredients
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 egg whites, lightly beaten with a fork
1/2 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 tablespoon olive oil

Directions
-Set up breading station using wax paper and a shallow dish for egg whites.
-Combine the parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs.
-Butterfly each chicken breast to make 4 cutlets.
-Pat cutlets dry with a paper towel.
-Dredge each cutlet in the flour, tapping off excess.
-Dip each cutlet in the egg whites, coat thoroughly.
-Pat cutlets into the breadcrumb/cheese mixture.  Be sure to coat thoroughly.
-Heat oil in a nonstick skillet over medium high heat.
-Cook chicken about 3 minutes per side until golden and crispy.
-Serve immediately.

Lemon Pepper Crusted Salmon

I am always looking for new ways to prepare fish, especially salmon.  The lemon pepper seasoning makes a crispy crust on the fish.  I served it with some asparagus sauteed with shallots, lemon and a little butter and some basmati rice.

Lemon Pepper Crusted Salmon

Ingredients
2 6 oz. salmon filets
1/2 Tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons Lemon Pepper seasoning (I used Lawry’s)

Directions
-Heat a nonstick skillet over medium high heat and preheat broiler.
-Add olive oil and salmon, skin side down and cook for about 3 minutes until browned.
-Season top of filets with 1 tsp. each of lemon pepper seasoning.
-Flip and cook for another 3 minutes – do not move the filets in the pan.
-While the salmon cooks, remove the skin.
-Add the lemon juice to the pan and swirl to coat and pick up brown bits.
-Put the pan under the broiler until salmon is cooked through and flakes easily with a fork.

Pasta with Tomato, Spinach and Mozzarella

This meal has my favorite combination of flavors – fresh mozzarella, sweet grape tomatoes, basil and balsamic vinegar.  I make some variation of this meal at least once a week in the summer.  It’s light, fresh and delicious. 

Pasta with Tomato, Spinach, and Mozzarella

Ingredients
1 box pasta (any kind will do, I used Rotini this time)
1 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 lb. bocconcini, halved (or as I usually call them, little mozzarella balls)
1 cup baby spinach leaves, rinsed
2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
5 large basil leaves, cut into chiffonade
Parmesan cheese for serving
Freshly ground black pepper

Directions
-Cook the pasta according to package directions to al dente, making sure to salt the water.
-Pour the vinegar into a small saucepan and bring to a simmer.  Allow it to reduce by half (about 10 – 15 minutes) – the vinegar should become thick and syrup like.
-Add the spinach leaves to the bottom of a large bowl.
-When the pasta is cooked, spoon it over the spinach into the bowl, allowing the spinach to wilt (about 2 minutes).
-Add the mozzarella and stir to combine.
-Add the grape tomatoes and some freshly ground black pepper.
-Top with balsamic reduction.
-Add basil and stir to combine.
-Serve with grated parmesan cheese.

Skillet Chicken with Broccoli, Penne and Asiago

I love America’s Test Kitchen.  I literally take their recipes, equipment ratings, and taste tests as gospel.  The other night a caught an episode for quick skillet dinners.  I was thrilled because cleaning a million pots and pans is not my (or hubster’s) idea of fun.  This is one of the recipes featured on that show.

Skillet Chicken with Broccoli, Penne and Asiago
America’s Test KitchenIngredients
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and Pepper
1 medium onion, minced
3 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
8 ounces ziti (I used penne) – 2 1/2 cups
2 3/4 cups water
1 2/3 cups low sodium chicken broth
12 ounces broccoli florets (4 cups)
1/4 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, rinsed and chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 ounce grated Asiago cheese (1/2 cup, plus extra for serving)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Directions
1. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add the chicken in a single layer and cook for 1 minute without stirring. Stir the chicken and continue to cook until most, but not all, of the pink color has disappeared and the chicken is lightly browned around the edges, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Transfer the chicken to a clean bowl and set aside.
2. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil, onion, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to the skillet. Return the skillet to medium-high heat and cook, stirring often, until the onion is softened, 2 to 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, oregano, and pepper flakes, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
3. Add the ziti, 2 cups of the water, and the broth. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook until the liquid is very thick and syrupy and almost completely absorbed, 12 to 15 minutes.
4. Add the broccoli, sun-dried tomatoes, and the remaining 3/4 cup water. Cover, reduce the heat to medium, and cook until the broccoli turns bright green and is almost tender, 3 to 5 minutes.
5. Uncover and return the heat to high. Stir in the cream, Asiago, and reserved chicken with any accumulated juices and continue to simmer, uncovered, until the sauce is thickened and the chicken is cooked and heated through, 1 to 2 minutes. Off the heat, stir in the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve, passing more grated Asiago at the table, if desired.
 

Turkey Burgers

I love a good burger.  Burgers feel like summer to me.  I needed some summer in my life.  Good Things Catered had a turkey burger recipe and I had some turkey left over from my baked ziti, so I gave it a whirl.  Let me just say that these burgers were really yummy.  Hubs could not stop raving!  Next time I might just add some diced onion and minced garlic to the meat for a little more flavor.

Continue reading ‘Turkey Burgers’

Quesadillas

This is a quick and easy recipe to throw together on a busy night. The recipe can be found on Amber’s Delectable Delights, which is where I found it. I adjusted the recipe a little bit.

Chicken Quesadillas
(recipe adapted from Amber’s Delectable Delights)

4 large whole wheat tortillas (burrito size)
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, marinated, cooked and cubed
1 3/4 cups Mexican cheese blend

-Preheat grill pan to medium heat
-Lay one tortilla out flat and place an thin even layer cheese on one half of the tortilla. Arrange 1 sliced chicken breast on top of the cheese and then place desired amount of cheese on top of the chicken and fold in half. Repeat with remaining tortillas.
– Spray grill pan with oil and place 2 quesadillas at a time on there. Pressing down to ensure even cooking. Cook for about 2-3 minutes then spray top with oil and flip over to cook for another 2-3 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Chipotle’s Chicken Marinade
(Source: PoliticsChick)

2 ounces green chiles
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons cumin powder
6 cloves garlic
1/2 red onion, quartered
1/4 cup vegetable oil
4 chicken breasts cubed

  • Add all ingredients except meat in food processor. Puree until smooth.
  • Add mixture and cubed chicken to ziplock bag. Massage marinade into chicken. Marinade for up to 24 hours, but at least 1 hour.
  • Heat a nonstick skillet over high heat. Add chicken and marinade to the skillet and saute for 6 -8 minutes until browned.
  • Set aside to add to quesadillas.

Mexican Rice II
(adapted from allrecipes.com)

Ingredients:
1 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup uncooked long-grain rice
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 cup tomato sauce
2 cups chicken broth

Directions:

  • Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and add rice.
  • Cook, stirring constantly, until puffed and golden. While rice is cooking, sprinkle with salt, onion powder and cumin.
  • Stir in tomato sauce and chicken broth; bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

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