Showing posts with label easy meals. Show all posts
Showing posts with label easy meals. Show all posts

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Delicious Creamy Seafood Pasta

Last night we were fortuned to have two of our friends over for dinner. It was a very pleasant surprise! When I learned we would have guests for dinner I had to figure out what to cook. I was craving some sort of pasta with creamy and cheesy sauce, so I just had to think of what else to add to this pasta dish. I remembered I had cooked shrimp and blue crab meat in the fridge and “voila”! I just needed to add some of my other favorite ingredients and a new dish was born!  I hope our friends enjoyed it as much as I did.

Mascarpone Cheese & Seafood Pasta:

1 cup of mascarpone cheese
4 cups of uncooked pasta
1lb of cooked large shrimp
6oz of blue crab meat
3 cloves of garlic, minced
½ cup of sliced green onions or scallions
½ of roasted sweet bell pepper, diced
1 cup of tomatoes, diced
1 tablespoon of olive oil
½ cup of milk
½ cup of parmesan cheese
1/3 cup of half & half
8oz of fresh baby spinach
1 tablespoon of dried Italian herbs seasoning
Salt and pepper, to taste

Cook pasta according to package instructions. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water with the starch from the pasta.

In a large sauce pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Sauté garlic for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and roasted bell pepper and cook for 5 minutes. Add mascarpone cheese, milk, half &half and stir until mascarpone cheese is fully melted. Stir in green onions, Italian seasoning and spinach. Season with salt and pepper.

Fold in cooked pasta, crab meat, shrimp and parmesan cheese. Stir in the reserved cooking water as needed to obtain the desired sauce consistency (1 tablespoon at the time). Check the seasoning. Add salt and pepper if necessary. Serve immediately topped with additional parmesan cheese if desired.

Note: You can add left-over grilled or baked salmon and cooked clams.

Life is too short, and I'm Italian. I'd much rather eat pasta and drink wine than be a size 0.” Sophia Bush

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Chicken potpie the Latin way!

Cold winter days call for tasty comfort food, but they need to be easy to prepare. On top of my list is “chicken potpie” because they please the entire family and they are simple to prepare. I like to give a Latin American twist to my flaky and buttery individual potpies. I have a recipe that is nothing like your grandmother’s chicken potpie:

Puffy Chicken Potpies

1 sheet frozen puff pastry
1 teaspoon of chicken flavor bouillon
1 pound of chicken breast, boneless and skinless
1 ½ tablespoons of olive oil
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
½ cup of red onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup of chicken stock
½ cup of fresh carrots, chopped
1/3 of green peas, thawed and drained
1 small can (8oz) of pure tomato sauce
½ can of hearts of palm, drained
1 ¼ cup of kennel corn, thawed and drained
¾ cup fresh parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste

Thaw puff pastry according to package instructions.

Preheat the oven to 4250F. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and add the chicken. Cook chicken in medium heat for about 5 minutes, add the garlic and red onion and stir. Season chicken with salt, pepper and chicken bouillon. Stir and let it cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the lemon juice and scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Add the chicken stock, tomato sauce, corn, green peas and carrots. Lower the heat and simmer for 7 to 10 minutes. Meanwhile, slice the hearts of palm (about 1 inch thick). Add parsley and hearts of palm and gently toss to combine. Remove from heat and keep it warm.

In a lightly floured surface, unfold and roll puff pastry sheet into a 12-inch square. Cut into 4 equal pieces. Divide the chicken filling among four 8-ounce individual casseroles. Place a square of puff pastry on top of each casserole.

Bake uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes or until crust and puffed and golden.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Pan Grilled Shrimp

A good cocktail tastes even better when balanced with appetizing food. If you are wondering what could go well with the Strawberry and Kiwi Caipirinha, the answer is a quick and succulent Pan Grilled Shrimp:

1 pound of raw large shrimp, divined and thaw
¼ cup of lemon juice
1 clove of garlic, minced
½ teaspoon of paprika
1 teaspoon of onion powder
½ tablespoon of vegetable oil
Sea salt and pepper to taste

In a small bowl, combine lemon juice, garlic, paprika, onion powder, salt and pepper. Whisk until combined and pour over shrimp. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour.
Heat the oil in large sauté pan. Drain and shrimp and cook it over medium heat for about 5 minutes (or until it turns pink) turning it only once. Serve with lemon wedges.

“Food is the most primitive form of comfort.” Sheila Graham

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes!

Tomatoes are often added to salads, used in sauces and stews but their potential doesn’t end there. Tomatoes are native from South America but North America’s love affair with the tomato is undeniable. This plump red-delicious fruit, often mistaken for a vegetable, can be cooked in virtually anyway. I have a suggestion of how you turn tomatoes into an appetizing, simple and easy side dish:

Baked tomatoes:

2 tablespoons of olive oil
3 medium size tomatoes, cored
¼ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon of ground thyme
¼ teaspoon of garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon of grated parmesan cheese (optional)

Preheat to 375F. Place olive oil, oregano, basil, thyme, garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper in a small bowl and whisk until combined. Heat a large skillet. Cut tomatoes in half through the middle of the tomatoes. Brush each half with the seasoned olive oil and place it face down in the heated pan. Cook over high heat for about 6 to 8 minutes without turning.

Transfer tomatoes to a baking sheet using a spatula. Place them face up. Season it with salt with necessary. Drizzle remaining olive oil over tomatoes. Sprinkle parmesan cheese. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Serve warm with grilled or roasted meat.

Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper.” Adelle Davis

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Cheesiest the Better!

I am a cheese lover so it doesn’t surprise me it has been consumed since Ancient times. Nobody knows for sure when and where cheese was invented but it could have been more 7000 years ago. It is even mentioned in the early pages of the Bible. Presently, there are thousands different types of cheese and I wish I could try them all!

What could be more satisfying and fortifying than cheese? Could it be the best food in the world? I think it is delicious and I may not be the only one. The “Reblochon” cheese was invented secretly by tenant framers that didn’t want to share all of their great cheese with their lords. It used to be made with a second milking not declared to the land owners. Who can blame them? The most recent statistics show that many Americans share the same passion for cheese. The consumption of cheese in the U.S. has almost double since 1982.  If you are one of these cheese lovers, I have a recipe for you that I hope you will like:

Baked Salmon with Cream Cheese Sauce:

12 ounce salmon fillet, cut into 4 pieces
1 Tbsp. of olive oil
¼ cup of lemon juice
½ cup of milk
1 cup of reduced fat cream cheese
2 tea spoons of dill
1 tea spoon of onion powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 425F.

Place salmon, skin side down, on a non-stick baking sheet and season fillets with salt, pepper, lemon juice and olive oil. Cover it with foil. Bake salmon covered for 15 to 20 minutes. Uncover it and bake it until it is cooked through, about 5 minutes.

While salmon bakes, add milk and cream to cheese to a heavy sauce pan. Cook and stir over medium heat until smooth. Stir in dill and onion powder. Season it with salt and pepper if you like.

Serve salmon topped with cream cheese sauce.

Enjoy it!