Sunday, December 6, 2015

Balsamic Chicken

A quick and healthy meal, ready in about 20 minutes.  Best thing - it can be made in ONE PAN!

1/4 cup Italian salad dressing
3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp honey
1 1/4 lbs chicken breast tenderloins
2 Tbsp olive oil
½ tsp Kosher salt and pinch freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 lb fresh green beans, trimmed of tough ends, chopped into 2-inch pieces
8 oz sliced mushrooms
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved

Cook's Note: The original recipe I used did NOT cook tomatoes.  I'm just not a fan of "raw" tomatoes, so I put mine in the oven to kind to roast them a bit before adding to the final steps.  If you want to do this, cut tomatoes in half.  Rub some olive oil on them, sprinkle lightly with salt, and place in a foil-lined cookie sheet.  Cook at 400 degrees until they start to "blister."  Remove from oven and set aside. Again, you can use the tomatoes in their raw state.  Pre-cooking was not in the original recipe.

Mix together dressing, balsamic vinegar and honey in a measuring cup or bowl.

Heat 1 Tbsp of the oil and sauté the mushrooms for 4 minutes until they have started to brown.

Add the green beans and cook for another 4 minutes or until the green beans are crisp-tender.

Remove the vegetables from the pan.

Add the remaining oil and the chicken tenders. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and sauté until brown on each side.  Total cooking time on medium-high was about 9-10 minutes, but best practice is to make sure the tenders are cooked through to an internal (safe) temperate of 165 degrees by using a quick read thermometer.

Remove from the pan. Add in the sauce and stir for a couple minutes until thickened into a glaze consistency.

Cook until the sauce is thick enough to adhere to a spoon for a few seconds before it drops off.

Add the chicken, green beans, and mushrooms back into the pan and add the tomatoes. 
Stir to coat everything evenly with the sauce.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Stuffed Acorn Squash

My 1st time making this great fall vegetable!  

4 acorn squash, halved and seeded
½ lb ground beef or turkey
1-2 T. olive oil
salt and pepper
1 small onion, diced
8 oz mushrooms, chopped
1 cup cooked white or brown rice
10 oz frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1 T. fresh thyme
¼ cup vegetable or chicken broth
Parmesan cheese, grated
Prep:  Half and seed the acorn squash.  It's up to you how you cut it - Lengthwise you get a kind of pear-shaped "bowl."  Cutting it across the middle, yields a cute flower shape.  I tried it both ways.  :-)

Take a spoon and scoop out the seeds and stringy flesh. 

Cut the pointy end off, so that shells stand up straight.

Preheat oven to 400°.
Brush each acorn squash half with 1 tsp olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place cut side down on cookie sheet. Bake squash at 400° for 30 minutes.

While squash is baking, brown ground turkey in a skillet. 

Drain fat and then add onion and mushrooms. Sauté until onion is translucent. 

Add rice, spinach, thyme, and broth.  Add back in your cooked ground meat. Mix well.

Remove squash from oven. Divide stuffing between squash halves. 

Sprinkle each squash half with grated parmesan.

Roast at 400°F for 15-20 minutes until golden.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Lemon Garlic Shrimp With Vegetable Mash

Mashed cauliflower (or mashed vegetable blend) is a low-carb alternative to potato! Enjoy! 

Shrimp Marinade:
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 Tbsps extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano or Italian seasoning
  • 1 lb raw shrimp, shelled and deveined
Cauliflower Mash:
  • 1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 8 cloves garlic, peeled
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Butter
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • Half and half or cream / or broth - may be needed to correct consistency
Lemon Garlic Shrimp:
  • Marinated shrimp (from above)
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 slices bacon
  • 2 Tbsps butter 
  • 1/2 cup white wine, or bottled clam juice
  • 1/2 sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • Pinch of dried oregano
  • 1-2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tbsps fresh oregano, chopped

First, mix up the marinade ingredients for the shrimp.  Put the shrimp and the marinade in a resealable bag, mix it up well so all the shrimp have some marinade on them, and refrigerate for 1-4 hours.
Use a fine grater to zest the lemon (grate lemon rind).

Preheat an oven to 400F.  Place the cauliflower and garlic in a shallow roasting pan. (Note: I used a mixed winter vegetable blend with cauliflower, carrots and broccoli, as that's what I had on hand!)   Toss with enough olive oil to coat the pan and the vegetables.  Season lightly with salt and pepper.  Cover loosely with foil, and roast for 15 minutes.  

Remove foil, and shake foil (or use a spoon) to mix up the vegetables for more even browning.  Roast uncovered for 15-20 minutes, or until cauliflower and garlic are soft and lightly browned.  Remove from oven.

Roast until veggies are lightly browned.
Using a food processor, puree the cauliflower with a couple tablespoons of butter (or more).  Add the Parmesan cheese and mix well.  You want to end up with the cauliflower having the consistency of mashed potatoes or grits (fairly thick, not runny). 

If needed, add a drizzle of cream or broth if the cauliflower is too dense.  Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.  Place in a heat-proof bowl and keep warm.
You might have to add a little cream to get a thicker consistency to the mash.
You don't want it to be runny,  It should adhere to your spoon when dipped in. 

In a large saute pan or Dutch oven, cook the bacon until crisp.  Set aside on paper towels until cool, then chop into small pieces.  Set aside.
Add two tablespoons of butter to the bacon drippings in the pan, and heat until melted over medium high heat.  Add the onion and cook until softened.  Add the minced garlic, red pepper flakes, and oregano, and saute for about a minute, stirring frequently.  Stir in wine.  
Add wine and cook until about half of the liquid has evaporated out.
Cook until liquid is reduced by half (will only take a few minutes), then add the shrimp.  Cook, stirring frequently to turn the shrimp, until shrimp are pink and opaque on both sides.  This should only take 3 or 4 minutes; do not overcook the shrimp or they will be rubbery.  
Stir in the lemon juice and remove from heat.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve the shrimp and sauce over the mashed cauliflower.  Garnish with chopped bacon and fresh oregano.