Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Orzo Salad

A couple of weeks ago I went to buy orzo at the grocery store for some dish I wanted to make.  I didn't realize it, but I already had orzo, so I have been looking-up recipes to use orzo.  I probably have a life-time supply, so if you ever need any, give me a call.  I made this recipe up out of my head. I will try to guess how much of everything I used.  I ate this for lunch. I gave it to Jud with left-over stuffed bell peppers and rissoto.

1 cup uncooked orzo
6 cup boiling water
1/2 cup diced English cucumber
1 roma tomato, seeded and chopped
1 avocado, chopped
5 sprigs of asparagus, blanched
2 tablespoons basil
1 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon purple onion chopped fine
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted for about 5-7 minutes in 350 degree oven
Cook to orzo in boiling salted water for about 8-10 minutes until it is aldente'. Drain and set aside.  Chop all vegetables and put in the orzo.  This is just a method. You can use any vegetables you happen to have in the refrigerator.  I loved this dish and will certainly be making it again.
Whisk all ingredients and pour over orzo salad
 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon grainy mustard
1/2  fresh lemon,  juiced
enough olive oil to combine (about 1/4 cup)

Tex-Mex Salad

This is a salad that Stacy made years ago while we were on a skii trip. I don't know why I haven't made it since.  This recipe calls for ground beef which would make it a nice meal for lunch.  I used it as a side-dish for my fish tacos and didn't use the meat. Stacy didn't use it either when she made it.  I forgot to buy catalina salad dressing, so I looked it up online and found an easy recip that I made. I will include it after the salad.

1 pound lean ground beef
1- 15oz can kidney beans, drained
1 teaspoon salt
1 head lettuce, chopped (I used salad in a bag, so it wasn't a whole head of lettuce)
1 medium onion, chopped (I used 1/2 of a purple onion)
4 medium tomatoes, chopped (I would cut them in half and seed them before cutting them)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1-8oz package tortilla chips, crushed
1 large avocado, peeled, seeded, and sliced
commercial salad dression (Stacy used catalina and I did too)
Cook ground meat until brown, stirring into small pieces. Drain off excess fat. Add beans and salt, stirring well, and simmer for 10 minutes. Combine lettuce, onion, tomatoes, cheese, and tortilla chips in a large bowl. Add beef mixture and toss lightly. Garnish with avocado. Serve with salad dressing.

Catalina Salad Dressing
3/4 cup salad oil
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup catsup
1/4 cup vinegar
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
Put all ingredients in a glass jar and shake.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Risotto with Italian Sausage Sauce

This recipe comes from Elizabeth Turner from the Fine Fighter Fare Cookbook.
3/4 pound Italian Sausage
1 onion, sliced
2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/2 teaspoon dry basil
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 cup dry white wine
Remove casings from Italian sausages. Crumble meat into a frying pan. Add sliced onion. Cook over medium high heat until sausage is browned. Drain grease. Add tomatoes, basil, salt, tomato paste and white wine. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring often until sauce is thickened.
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
1 cup Aborio rice
2 3/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
Melt butter with olive oil in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add chopped onion and mushrooms, cook, stirring often, until mushrooms are soft and liquid has evaporated. Stir in garlic, white pepper, and rice.  Cook, stirring until rice looks opaque, about 2 minutes. Stir in broth and wine. Bring mixture to a boil. Adjust heat so that rice boils gently. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally for about 15 minutes. Add cream to rice mixture. Cook until most of the liquid is absorbed. Stir in Parmesan cheese. Plate the Risotto and top with Italian sausage sauce

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Sea Scallops Dinner

It's Thursday night and Jud made this incredible dinner.  When he retired, I told him that I would love it if he cooked 1 meal a week.  He has either cooked or taken me out to eat every Thursday.  He is a great cook and I love his meals if only that I don't have to cook. And he does the dishes. What a lucky girl I am.  Jud made 4 scallops per person and it was perfect for us.  The only secret to this great salad was the dressing. It is Garlic Expressions. They have it at H.E.B.
From Fine Fighter Fare Cookbook - Shannon Sweet

1 pound scallops
8-oz. package angel hair pasta
2 tablespoons butter
1 pound heavy cream (16oz) or half and half
2 tablespoons dijon style mustard
1 tablespoon fresh dill or 1 teaspoon dried dill
Cook pasta according to package directions. Melt butter in a large pan over medium heat. Add scallops and cook until just opaque. (about 2-3 minutes on each side) Remove scallops from pan and keep warm. Add cream, mustard and dill to the pan. Heat through. Remove pan from stove and add scallops. Combine scallops and sauce with angel hair pasta. Toss well.

Imperial Chicken

From Fine Fighter Fare Cookbook - Lisa Nicholson

Printable Recipe:

2 chicken breasts w/o the bone
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
2 tablespoons parsley, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 clove garlic, minced
juice of 1 lemon
dash of paprika
Blend bread crumbs, cheese, parsley, salt and pepper. Set aside. Combine melted butter and garlic. Pound each chicken breast to make it thin enough to roll.  Roll each chicken breast into a firm roll, skewer with a toothpick. Dip chicken into butter mixture, then roll in bread crumb mixture. Arrange in a baking pan or glass casserole dish. Pour lemon juice over chicken and drizzle with any remaining butter. Sprinkle with paprika. Place in a 350 degree preheated oven and bake for 1 hour.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Shrimp Creole

When you have cooked for 40 something years, you are bound to make a mistake every once in a while. I thought I had bought the right amount of everything, but when I got to the part about 3 pounds of shrimp, I had only bought 1 pound. No problem, right!  Wrong.  I didn't 1/2 everything until I got to the part about 3 - 14 oz. cans of tomatoes.  I thought I had more than enough liquid so I just added 1 can of tomatoes.  Don't do what I did.  This was about inedible because it was about a 5-alarm fire. Jud got out his regular peppers to have with the dish, and quickly put them back.  I froze 1/2 of the liquid, so when I make it again, I will add a can of tomatoes and it will be about right, I HOPE!!  Recipe Comes from Fine Fighter Fare Cookbook.
Printable Recipe:
Ingredients: I would guess that this recipe would serve 6-8.

1/3 cup oil, or 4 T. unsalted butter (I used 1/2 butter, 1/2 canola oil)
2 cups onions, chopped
1 1/2 cups celery, chopped
1 3/4 cup green bell pepper, chopped
2-3 tablespoons garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 Tablespoons salt
1 teaspoon thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons basil
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons Tabasco sauce
1 jar Heinz Chili sauce
2 cups stock (seafood is best, chicken or beef will do)
1- 28oz can tomatoes and 1- 14.5oz tomatoes
4 Tablespoons sugar
3 - 3 1/2 pounds shrimp (fresh uncooked) peeled and deveined
1 teaspoon Gumbo File' - optional
5-6 cups rice
In a large stockpot, heat oil, Add 1 cup of the onions and cook over high heat about 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Lower the heat to medium and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until onions are a rich brown color but not burned. Add the rest of the onions, bell pepper, celery, garlic and butter. (I didn't need to add additional butter)
Cook, stirring often, until the rest of the vegetables start to get tender- be sure to scrape the bottom of the pan when stirring. Then add curry powder, chili powder, white pepper, cayenne, black pepper, salt, thyme, basil, and oregano; stir well and let mixture heat about 5 minutes or so. While pot is heating, open cans of tomatoes. Pour into pot, add tabasco sauce, chili sauce and stock. Stir to mix well. Let simmer about 10 minutes or so, then stir in sugar. Turn heat to medium-low and let simmer for 1 hour. Pour in shrimp and cook for 5-10 minutes depending on the size of the shrimp. Cook until shrimp are plump and pink. Stir in file- if using. Serve over cooked rice.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Omelet in a Mug

This is similar to the omlet
in a ziplock bag that I have
on my blog, but this is better when you are only making it for 1-2 people.  Amanda
Hansen sent me this recipe
from their mission field in Africa. Thanks Amanda. She got it from Susan Adair from allrecipes.

You can play with the ingredients, but the necessary ingredients are
2 eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons shredded Cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons diced fully cooked ham
salt and pepper to taste.
Extra ingredients you might like:
2 tablespoons spinach leaves
1 tablespoon chives
1 tablespoon diced green pepper
This is really just a method. Play with it and make it how your family likes it.  When I do the omlet in a zip lock bag, I put all the ingredients out on the table and let people choose what they want. This way your family can make it their own.

Chinese Pepper Steak

Jud and I decided to go walk the River Extention yesterday so I thought a crock-pot meal would be perfect.  I browned my meat, put it in the crock pot and off we went.  It was suppose to cook on low for 6-8 hours. When we got back after 3 1/2 hours it looked like it was already done, so I put the tomatoes, peppers, and onions in and turned off the crock-pot. About 2 hour before I was serving it, I turned the crock-pot back on low. It was o.k., but not a 10.

Printable Recipe:

1- 1 1/2 pound round steak
2 tablespoons veg. oil
1 clove garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 green onions, sliced
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1 cup fresh or canned bean sprouts drained
1 can diced tomatoes
2 green peppers, cut in strips
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons cold water
Slice steak into narrow strips. Brown steak. Combine with garlic, salt, pepper, soy sauce, and sugar in crock pot. Cook 6-8 hours (I don't think it needs that much)  Turn to high. Add bean sprouts, tomatoes, and green peppers. Dissolve cornstarch in water. Stir into pot. Cook on high 15-20 minutes until thickened. Sprinkle with green onions.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Grilled Tilapia with Lemon Butter, Capers and Orzo

This is a recipe that I have had for a while, but just decided to make it this week.  Jud and I both liked it better than the stuffed flounder.  I think we just like tilapia. And anything with lemon butter, caper sauce is better. This was a winner. This recipe is for 4 people so I cut everything in 1/2 since I only cooked 2 tilapia. This recipe comes from Bobby Flay, 2007 Food Network

Printable Recipe:

1 lemon, finely zested
2 lemons, juiced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 shallot, thinly sliced
Splash heavy cream ( I used 1/2 and 1/2 because I had it)
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into cubes, at room temperature
salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tilapia fillets
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 pound orzo, cooked al dente (about 1 cup)
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/4 cup drained capers
Combine the lemon zest, juice, wine and shallot in a small saucepan over high heat and cook until reduced by half. Remove from the heat and let cool. Whisk together the cream, butter, and wine mixture in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. The lemon butter can be made 1 day in advance and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature before serving.
Heat the grill to high. I used a large non-stick fry pan.

Brush the fish on both sides with the oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill the fish for 3-4 minutes per side or until lightly golden brown and slightly charred. Toss the orzo with a few tablespoons of the lemon butter and 2 tablespoons of the parsley and season with salt and pepper. Transfer the orzo to a platter. Remove tilapia from the grill and immediately place the fillets on the orzo and top each fillet with some of the lemon butter and capers. Garnish with the remaining parsley.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Stuffed Flounder

This was in my mom's recipe box and I have just gotten around to trying it.  I so wish she were alive so I could ask her if she actually stuffed the flounder.  The flounder I got was so thin that I decided to just put the stuffing on top of the flounder and cook it that way.  I guess I'll never know if this is how she did it, because I can't ever remember her cooking this dish. I know it was one of her favorite things to order in a restaurant.  So this is for you mom.

Printable Recipe:
1/2 cup each of finely chopped onion, celery, green bell pepper. Add 1 can crab meat.
Saute in 1 Tablespoon butter until slightly wilted. Mix with 1 1/2 cups of crumbled cornbread. 
Add 1 can crab meat. I actually bought the imitation crab meat that you find in the grocery store with the crab. It is really cheap. Moisten with chicken stock. (about 1/2 cup) Mom didn't say how much. She says to just add until it looks like stuffing you make for Thanksgiving. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.  Place this stuffing mixture in an oven-proof dish and bake at 350 degrees for 30 min.  Remove from oven and put the stuffing in the uncooked flounder and bake 400 degrees for 25 minutes.  As I told you, my flounder was too thin to make a pocket to put the stuffing in so I just mounded it on top of the flounder.  I served it with some red sauce.

Crustless Smoked Turkey and Spinach Quiche

This quiche is great because you can make it as healthy or unhealthy as you desire.  Sometimes, I use black forest deli ham. Sometimes, I use turkey meat or turkey sausage. Sometimes, I use both. Because it doesn't have a pie crust, I feel that it is a little healthier. And as I said, you can change this for any cheese or meat that you have.  You could even add other vegetables.  It is a great recipe to have in your file.

Printable Recipe:
Cooking spray
3/4 (4 oz) cubed smoked turkey ham
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup (3 oz.) shredded Swiss cheese, divided
1 cup baby spinach leaves
1 cup cottage cheese
1/2 cup evaporated fat-free miklk
1/4 cup (1 oz.) shredded cheddar cheese
2 large eggs
2 large egg whites
(I usually just use 3 eggs)
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray.Since my pan is non-stick, I don't use cooking spray. I just add 1 T. extra virgin olive oil. Add ham, onion, and pepper to pan; saute' 4 minutes. Sprinkle 1/3 cup shredded Swiss cheese in a 9" pie pan coated with cooking spray. Top with ham mixture. Combine remaining 1/2 cup swiss cheese, spinach, and next 5 ingredients through egg whites in a large bowl; stir with a whisk. Spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour and baking powder in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add flour mixture to egg mixture, stirring with a whisk until blended. Pour egg mixture over ham mixture. Bake 350 degrees for 45 minutes until knife inserted in the center of quiche comes out clean.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Oysters, Shrimp, and Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes

I made this amazing meal last night.  I love the oysters at Silo in San Antonio and one day they had the recipe in the Express News. I clipped it out and this is the second time I have made them.  The first time my Hollandaise Sauce broke, but this time it was perfect. I made the red sauce for the shrimp.  I have already posted the broccoli and cauliflower recipe, but the twice-baked sweet potato recipe will follow the shrimp recipe.  The Hollandaise is very labor intensive, but oh so worth it.

Printable Recipe:
Ingredients for the Hollandaise Sauce:
1/2 pound unsalted butter
1 medium shallot, minced
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
3 egg yolks
water, as needed
1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
few drops tabasco Sauce
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon heavy cream, or an extra egg yolk (if needed to repair a broken sauce) That tells you that it is pretty hard if they are giving you the recipe for broken sauce)  The key for me was to keep the butter on very low temp. to keep warm and the rest of the sauce also on low as you cook it.
kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

1. Clarify the butter by slowly melting it in a small saute' pan, then skimming off foam that forms on top.
2. Pour clear butter off into another container and discard the milk solids that have sunk to the bottom. Whipe out the pan and return the butter to a pan: keep warm over very low heat. When I poured the clarified butter back in the pan to keep warm, I used a strainer to catch any milk solids I had missed
3. In a medium saute' pan, add 1-2 teaspoons of the clarified butter and saute' shallot until soft and aromatic. Add vinegar and reduce liquid until pan is almost dry. Remove pan from heat.
4. When cooled slightly, add mustard and egg yolks with a little water. Place pan on low heat and whisk constantly until yolks start to thicken. Add a little more water if it gets too thick. You want the consistency to be like mayonnaise. I kept a little water close in case I needed it, and I did.
5. Remove from heat and slowly whisk in the melted warm butter. Add Worcestershire, Tabasco, and lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper.
6. If sauce suddenly thins and takes on a grainy appearance, it has "broken." Whisk in a tablespoon of cream or an extra egg yolk. Use immediately or keep in a warm area by stove or place in a covered thermos. Hollandaise is an emulsified sauce and should be held in a warm environment to prevent it from coagulating or "breaking." You should not store leftover hollandaise.
Ingredients for oysters:
I only made one container of oysters for Jud and me. Stacy came for dinner so I opted to buy some shrimp, thus the oysters and shrimp.  I loved having both of them and we didn't have any trouble eating all of both the shrimp and oysters.
30-36 oysters (2-8oz containers) 
2 cups buttermilk
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
6 cups vegetable or peanut oil, for frying
Method for Oysters:
1. Drain oysters if in liquid and place in buttermilk. Since I only made one container, I drained them and then put them in a small bowl and poured enough buttermilk over them to cover.
Refrigerate for 1-2 hours
2. Combine flour, Old Bay, salt, and pepper. Heat oil to 375 degrees. When ready to fry oysters, remove from buttermilk. (I poured them through the colander) and dredge in seasoned flour, shaking off excess flour. Fry in batches in hot oil. Be careful not to crowd oysters because oil temperature will drop and they will not be crisp. Place oysters on paper towels to blot excess oil. Keep warm in 200 degree oven while frying remaining oysters.

Shrimp Coctail W/ Red Sauce:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place shrimp on baking sheet in a single layer. Coat with 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast 8-10 minutes
1/2 cup each of heinz chili sauce and ketchup
2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon worcestershire
1/4 teaspoon tabasco

Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes:
2 large orange-fleshed sweet potatoes 
1/4 cup light sour cream
1 tablespoon soft butter or margarine
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
very small pinch ground chipotle chile pepper She says you can substitute chopped chipotle chile from a can ) This is what I did. I couldn't find the ground chipotle chile pepper.
thinly sliced green onions for garnish if desired.
Method:  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F or 200 C. Spray baking sheet with nonstick spray or olive oil. Slice sweet potatoes crosswise into thick pieces about 2 1/2 inches thick (You will get 3-4 thick pieces from each sweet potato. Rub sweet potato pieces with olive oil, including end pieces. Arrange sweet potatoes standing up on the baking sheet and roast until they can be easily pierced with a fork, about 45 minutes, turning them once during the cooking time.
I cut my sweet potatoes in 1/2 and roasted them like this. Made it easy to fill the skins.
When sweet potatoes are soft, remove from the oven and let cool until they can be handled. Then use a melon baller or small spoon to scoop out most of the sweet potato flesh and put it in a bowl, leaving enough flesh attached to the skin and on the bottom to make a "cup." Stand the empty cups back on the baking sheet.
Mix sour cream, soft butter or margarine, lime juice, and pinch of ground Chipotle pepper (or small amount of finely chopped chipotle pepper) Stir the sour cream mixture and 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions into the mashed sweet potato in the bowl. Season to taste with salt and fresh ground black pepper. Taste the mixture to see if you want more lime or Chipotle flavor and add as needed.
Transfer the sweet potato mixture to a small ziploc bag (or pastry bag if you have one.) Cut off the corner of the bag and squeeze out the mixture to fill the cups, filling them so it rises slightly above the edge. (If making ahead, sweet potatoes can be refrigerated at this point and reheated later.)
Put filled sweet potato cups back into the oven and bake20-25 minutes, until filling is hot and very lightly browned. Serve hot, garnish with thinly sliced green onions if desired.