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Roasted Shrimp Recipe…Great for Salads or Appies

4 Nov

Tonight, I’m making a shrimp Caesar salad for dinner so to get a head start, I decided to make the shrimp this morning. I first got the idea of roasting shrimp while watching a Barefoot Contessa episode. My recipe below is for 2 so adjust as necessary. Here’s what I did…

Ingredients

  • 10 large shrimp (peeled & deveined) – I get mine from the local butcher and they are from the US
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced (bigger chunks) – this is a LOT of garlic for such a small number of shrimp; however, since I’m making Caesar salad, I wanted to be heavy on the garlic…adjust the amount according to your taste buds
  • EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
  • Toss the shrimp with a nice big dose of EVOO, healthy pinch of salt and pepper and the garlic
  • Dump the shrimp on a cookie sheet that is lined with foil and sprayed with cooking spray – I only use the foil for easy clean up so that part is optional
  • Bake for about 8 minutes and then flip the shrimp and bake for another 3 minutes or until the shrimp is fully cooked
  • For salads, I like to cut these up into smaller pieces so that it’s easier to eat and the shrimp to bite ratio is higher

NOTE – baking times may vary depending on the size of your shrimp so keep an eye on them the first time you do this and use your best judgement.

Like I said, I’m using these shrimp for a Caesar salad; however, I have also used this recipe and added parsley for a nice shrimp appetizer and I’ve also used it to put in pasta dishes so be creative with it.

Enjoy and, as always, leave your comments and suggestions!

Roasted Potatoes

29 Oct

I make roasted potatoes frequently as a starch/carb side dish. Depending on what I’m cooking, I use a variety of spices. Last night, my potatoes accompanied a grilled salmon, marinated in EVOO, crushed garlic cloves, liquid aminos (soy sauce alternative) and ground pepper. My other side for dinner was roasted brussels (those are just tossed in EVOO, salt and pepper). Here is how I prepared my taters last night.

Ingredients

  • Yukon gold potatoes (cut into 2 inch cubes – usually, I can just cut the potato into 4’s, but if they’re larger, you will have to make adjustments)
  • EVOO – probably close to 1/4 of a cup? Just drizzle to make sure the potatoes are covered, but don’t overdo it.
  • healthy does of kosher salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • pinch of garlic powder
  • pinch onion powder
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • pinch of paprika
  • about 1.5 tablespoons or so of parsley (when it’s garden season or if I have it on hand, I like to use fresh, but I had to use dried last night, which is still just as good)

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees
  • Combine all of the ingredients and make sure the potatoes are evenly coated – I like to combine in a tupperware so that I can cover/seal the container, shake it around to combine evenly and then dump onto the cookie sheet
  • Transfer the combined product onto a cookie sheet – I like to line mine with foil and spray it with cooking spray so that when I’m done, I can simply throw away the foil instead of having to wash another dish
  • Bake in the oven for about 20-25 minutes or until the potatoes are browned and fork tender. You may want to pull them out about half way through to toss them around again and make sure they aren’t sticking to the bottom of the cookie sheet.
  • NOTE – I like to start cooking them with the flesh down…I may be weird, but it seems to brown the flesh better when I cook them that side down…once the flesh starts to brown a bit, I toss them around/flip them over

Enjoy! Please leave a comment to let me know your suggested variations.

Quick & Easy Salmon Marinade

29 Oct

Last night I grilled salmon and I used this quick and easy marinade…try it out

Ingredients

  • Liquid Aminos* (this is a healthy alternative to Soy Sauce – all natural and no preservatives)
  • 4 large garlic cloves – peeled and smushed
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
  • Freshly ground pepper

Instructions

  • Combine the salmon, liquid aminos, garlic, EVOO, and pepper in a ziplock bag or tupperware if you want to be eco-friendly and let the salmon marinate for at least 15 minutes before grilling – I typically use about a 2 to 1 ratio between the aminos and EVOO and the amount of pepper is up to you – I only like a little
  • Make sure to leave the salmon out while its marinating to bring the fish to room temperature before grilling – this will help the fish to cook more evenly

I grilled my salmon over medium heat – skin side down for the first 7 minutes or so and then on the other side for another 2-3 minutes

I served mine with roasted potatoes and roasted brussels sprouts

*I have included an image of the Liquid Aminos below in case you’re interested. Of course you can always use soy sauce in the marinade if you prefer – either way is delish…

Mushroom & Artichoke Pasta Recipe

28 Oct

Last night I made a really good pasta dish on a whim that I wanted to share with you. It didn’t take much time (probably about 30 minutes from start to finish) and it was a perfect accompaniment to the cold weather outside (SNOW up here) and the burning wood stove inside.

Ingredients

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
  • 1 onion
  • 6 large cloves of garlic (or more depending on your taste buds)
  • 1 package of sliced baby bella mushrooms
  • 2 cans of quartered artichokes (make sure they are in water, not oil) – drain these
  • 1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • Fresh spinach – about 8 oz
  • [OPTIONAL, but highly recommended] About 1/4 cup of good red wine (I used a delicious Valpolicella) – I would recommend something robust and hearty
  • About 1.5 tbsp of tomato paste
  • 1 package of spaghetti
  • Pinch of sugar
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • [OPTIONAL] Mozzarella cheese and/or Parmesan cheese

Directions

  1. Pour yourself a glass of the wine (I can’t cook a pasta dish without this very important first step)
  2. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and place the rack at the very top
  3. At this point I typically start to bring my big pot of water (with a lot of salt – think sea water here) to a boil – once it reaches a boil, if you are not ready to add your pasta, just lower the heat until you’re ready to bring it back up to a boil and add the pasta. I do this so that when I’m about 10 minutes from being done with my sauce, I can quickly turn the heat to high to get my water boiling again and add the pasta so that it’s done cooking by the time I’m ready to serve – a little trick my Mom always uses. I know this isn’t great for energy-saving, but I’m usually really conscious so every once in a while isn’t so bad 🙂
  4. Strain the tomatoes, but make sure to keep the juice and set aside
  5. Spread the tomatoes out on a cookie sheet lined with foil and sprayed with cooking spray and then drizzle a healthy dose of EVOO over top and then sprinkle with salt and pepper – make sure you have enough EVOO to completely cover the tomatoes
  6. Place the tomatoes in the oven and roast for about 15 minutes or until the top has charred a little
  7. In the meantime, heat the EVOO over medium heat and once it is heated, add the onion and a sprinkle of salt and saute until the onions start to sweat – probably about 5 minutes
  8. Add the garlic and saute for one more minute
  9. Add the mushrooms and one more pinch of salt and saute until the mushrooms start to release their juices (this should only take a few minutes)
  10. Add the artichokes and toss around for a minute or two – by this time the tomatoes should be ready…
  11. Add the tomatoes, reserved tomato juice, wine, pinch of sugar and tomato paste
  12. Bring this to a boil and then lower heat to a simmer so that the juices may reduce
  13. At this point, your water should be boiling for the pasta and you should add your spaghetti to the water, as well as a little EVOO – while the spaghetti cooks, your sauce should be thickening up nicely and you may add the spinach and mix around until the spinach is wilted (I would wait until your pasta has about 5 minutes left)
  14. Once your pasta is ready, strain and then put it back into the pot and back on the burner. Add the butter and mix around so that the pasta is coated – this will allow the sauce to stick to your pasta

To Serve

  • So, a lot of times, I’ll add the pasta to the sauce, but since I cooked the entire package of pasta last night, I decided not to because I didn’t think there would be enough sauce. Therefore, I put the pasta in the bottom of the bowl, I then sprinkled with a little Parmesan cheese, then topped that with a couple of ladles of sauce and then topped that with a few little chunks of mozzarella cheese (I just rip it right off the hunk of mozz)
  • Pour yourself another glass of wine – you should need a refill by now – and ENJOY your meal because life is good!

Lentil Soup Recipe

27 Oct

Last night, I made lentil soup for dinner. It was fast, easy, delicious and filling. Of course, it was also healthy and provided a great source of both protein and fiber. Here’s what I did – no exact ingredients…just play around with it and taste as you go…

Ingredients

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
  • 1 large carrot
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 2 medium yellow onions
  • 4 large cloves of garlic
  • 1 lb of lentils (rinsed)
  • 1 28 oz can of chopped tomatoes – I bet roasting these ahead of time would be good too
  • 8 cups of reduced sodium vegetable or chicken stock (I used chicken last night) – you may also substitute 1/2 with water if you prefer
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Cumin (I probably used about 3/4 teaspoon)
  • About 5 splashes of hot sauce
Directions
  • Heat a healthy dose of EVOO over medium heat in a large dutch oven or pot – I typically use enough to cover the bottom of the pot
  • As that’s heating up, rinse/drain the lentils and pick out the bad ones
  • Once EVOO is heated, add the onion, celery and carrots and sprinkle with a healthy pinch of salt – saute until they start to sweat and the onions become translucent (probably between 7-10 minutes)
  • Add the garlic and continue to saute for about 1 minute
  • Add the lentils and mix it around with the veggies
  • Add the can of tomatoes and mix it around
  • Add the stock, pepper (probably around 1/2 tsp), cumin and hot sauce and give a stir
  • Bring soup to a boil and then cover and reduce heat to low
  • Simmer for about 40 minutes or until lentils are tender
  • [OPTIONAL] Take about 6 ladles full and blend in a blender (or use a stick blender) and then stir it back into the soup
To Serve
  • Last night, instead of bread, I used my last pita and made pita chips. I also served the soup over a little bit of rice and really enjoyed that
  • To make the pita chips, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the pita into 8 pieces. Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray and arrange the pieces of pita on the cookie sheet. Drizzle the pita with olive oil and then sprinkle with a little garlic salt, freshly ground pepper and a teeny tiny bit of kosher salt. Rub that mixture into the pieces of pita so that they’re evenly coated. Place the cookie sheet in the oven in the top rack and bake for about 5 minutes or so (keep an eye on them so that they don’t burn). They are ready when they are browned and crispy.
  • Place a little rice on the bottom of your bowl [OPTIONAL], ladle the soup over the rice, sprinkle with a little parsley to garnish and add a few pita chips to the side of the bowl
Enjoy! Please leave your comments if you have recommended modifications!

AWESOME Black Bean Soup Recipe

25 Mar

Tonight, I made a black bean soup. I used a recipe that I found on FoodNetwork.com and my husband said it was “possibly the best soup he had ever had!” The best part…it only took about 15 minutes of hands-on time and about 30 minutes total before serving.

This recipe calls for bacon and, while we all know that bacon tastes AMAZING, I decided to nix it in order to keep it healthy. In order to add a bit of a smoky taste and some heat, I chopped up 2 chipotle peppers and added a tiny bit of adobo sauce – I added these in with the tomatoes, ketchup, etc. (Step 5 in “Directions” below).

As far as garnishes, I used an aged cheddar that I bought at my local butcher shop, as well as chopped green onion and a few organic blue corn tortilla chips. I 86’ed the sour cream, but if you like sour cream, I recommend  substituting with organic plain greek style yogurt instead.

The following recipe is by David Lieberman and can be found on the Food Network Website

Ingredients

  • 10 slices bacon, finely chopped – I didn’t use this…instead, I added 2 chopped chipotle peppers and a little adobo sauce
  • 2 medium onions, chopped (about 2 1/2 cups)
  • 6 garlic cloves, pressed – I minced mine
  • 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups canned chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 4 (15 1/2-ounce) cans black beans, drained but not rinsed
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • Thinly sliced scallions, for garnish
  • Sour cream, for garnish – I recommend substituting with organic plain Greek-style yogurt
  • Grated cheddar, for garnish

Directions

  1. Put the bacon into a large heavy pot and place it over medium heat. Cook until it starts to give up its fat, about 4 minutes.
  2. Since I didn’t use bacon, I started out by heating 1 tbsp of Extra Virgin Olive Oil over medium heat
  3. Stir in the onions and cook, stirring, until they start to turn translucent, about 4 minutes.
  4. Stir in the garlic and cook until you can smell it, about 1 minute.
  5. Add the broth, tomatoes, ketchup, Worcestershire, and chili powder. – This is where I added the chopped chipotle peppers and adobo sauce
  6. Stir in the beans, turn the heat to high and bring to a boil.
  7. Adjust the heat so the soup is bubbling gently and cook 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  8. Meanwhile, pick off all the thick stems from the cilantro. Wash it and shake dry. Chop the cilantro coarsely and stir it into the soup when it has been simmering 10 minutes.
  9. Cook until the soup is thickened, about 5 minutes.
  10. Stir in the lime juice.
  11. Serve with the garnishes.

Veggie Panini w/ Roasted Potatoes

14 Mar

Tonight, I didn’t have much time to make dinner so I made veggie paninis with a roasted red potatoes. It was very easy, inexpensive and healthy. The best part though, is that it tasted great. My husband and I received the Cuisinart Griddler as a gift and it is GREAT for making paninis so I used it to make tonight’s dinner.

For the paninis, I sauteed 1 red pepper that I sliced lengthwise into pieces about 1 inch in width in about a tbsp of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) over medium heat – make sure to sprinkle it with a little kosher salt as you saute. When those were starting to get soft (after 3-5 minutes), I added 2 portobello mushrooms that I sliced lengthwise into pieces about 1 inch in width and sauteed those until they were soft and starting to sweat. I had 2 ciabatta rolls that I sliced and I put a TINY bit of butter on the outside of each of the slices. I then assemble the paninis by placing the first half of the ciabatta roll on the griddler, butter side down, add a few slices of mozzarella for the first layer, add slices of the sauteed portobello for the second layer, add the slices of sauteed red pepper for the third layer and then top with the other half of the roll, butter side up (sometimes, before topping the panini, I add a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and/or a sprinkle of dried oregano). Close the panini press and let it work its magic for about 5 minutes or until the mozz has melted.

Make sure to start the potatoes first because they take a little longer. First preheat the over to 425 degrees. After you wash and dry the potatoes (you could use red or yukon gold), slice them into about 2 inch chunks and toss with 1-2 tbsp of EVOO, pinch of kosher salt, pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, dried parsley, garlic salt, and juice from half a lemon. Then transfer onto a cookie sheet and bake for about 25 minutes. I like to take mine out a couple of times and toss them around to make sure that they’re cooking evenly. You’ll know that they’re done when they are starting to brown and fork-tender.

Enjoy!