February 24, 2011

Spicy Lemon Garlic Shrimp.

For the last three weeks, we have been operating under the assumption that my husband had celiac disease (we now know that he doesn't), which meant that I spent a ton of time doing research and hunting down gluten-free recipes. It's not like we had bread at every meal, but we do eat pasta probably once a week and paninis, pizza, & pulled pork sandwiches are regulars in my meal rotation.

All of that was no longer fair game, which made me feel like there was this huge hole in my dinner repertoire. We tried a few gluten-free versions of our favorite products, but it just wasn't the same. I began my search for everyday recipes that just happened to not contain any gluten products. I looked to my normal sources for recipe inspiration & stumbled across this shrimp dish from The Pioneer Woman. I figured I could serve it with a side of rice and it would be a perfect weeknight meal, regardless of my husband's tolerance (or lack there of) to gluten products.

When I eat shrimp, I want to eat it, not be bothered with taking off shells or pulling off tails, so I always get rid of the shells/tails them before I cook my shrimp. For this dish, I bought frozen shrimp that were deveined, shelled, & tail free.

Now, I am not exaggerating when I say that this was the easiest & fastest dinner I have made in months. I just threw everything in the food processor, pulsed a few times, and sprinkled the butter mixture on the shrimp. At the same time I popped the shrimp in the oven, I started some jasmine rice. It took less than 5 minutes of preparation and really only dirtied three dishes (food processor, pot, baking sheet).

I served the shrimp over the rice, with the extra juices poured on top. It was a really, really good dinner. And spicy, too! Which we love.

Spicy Lemon Garlic Shrimp
The Pioneer Woman

2 pounds raw shrimp, deveined
2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 tsp kosher salt
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1/4 C fresh flat leaf parsley
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1 whole lemon, juiced

Preheat oven to 375°.

Rinse frozen shrimp to separate, then arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet.

In the bowl of a food processor, add cold butter, garlic, lemon juice, salt, parsley, and red pepper. Pulse until combined. Sprinkle cold butter crumbles over the shrimp.

Bake until shrimp is opaque and butter is hot and bubbly, about 20-25 minutes.

- - - - - - - - - -
I halved the recipe, of course, but still added 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper, because we like the heat.

When I was making this, I thought that it would be so good (& a fun twist) to use lime juice instead of lemon juice and cilantro instead of parsley. And then add black beans over the rice as well. Same dish, but with a Tex-Mex flavor. Next time!

February 23, 2011

Baked Potato Soup.

It was a perfectly crisp day yesterday & I had a craving for soup. 

When I found this recipe, I knew I would like it. Potatoes, bacon, cheese? Yes, please. Plus, the recipe reminded me of a potato cheese soup my mom makes, but much easier (sorry, mom!), so in addition to sounding good, it had a nostalgic quality, too. I bookmarked it for future reference.

It really was super easy and came together in a snap. And the results? It tasted great, totally filled us up, and warmed us from the inside out. All requirements for a great bowl of soup, I think. Plus, I love any recipe that I don't have to go to the grocery store for!

Baked Potato Soup
slightly adapted from goodLife{eats}

2 baking potatoes
1 Tbsp butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups milk, plus more, if desired
2 ounces shredded cheddar cheese, plus extra for garnish
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/2 cup sour cream
5 slices center cut bacon, cooked and crumbled

Preheat oven to 400°.

Pierce potatoes with a fork and bake for 1 hour or until tender. Let cool. Peel potatoes, discard skins, and coarsely mash.

Melt butter in a large dutch oven or stock pot. Add flour, whisking to combine with the butter. Gradually add milk, stirring with a whisk until blended. Cook over medium heat until thick and bubbly (about 8 minutes). Add potatoes, cheese, salt, pepper, and paprika, stirring until cheese melts. Remove from heat.

Stir in sour cream and any additional milk to reach desired consistency (I used about 1/3 C). Cook over low heat until thoroughly heated (do not boil). Add additional salt and pepper if desired. 

Sprinkle each serving with cheese & bacon.

- - - - - - - - - - 
The original recipe calls for 2% milk & reduced fat sour cream; I used skim milk & fat free sour cream, since that is what I had in my refrigerator. I also halved the recipe, since I cook for two.

February 8, 2011

White Chili.

I love soup. And chili. It is so comforting. But this winter, we haven't really had soup weather many days & I think I am living in one of the few places in the US that isn't under attack by snow/ice/frigid temperatures. 

But yesterday, despite our warm & sunny day, I wanted something warm and comforting, that could simmer on the stove while I did other errands and chores. I pulled out this old recipe for White Chili from Pioneer Woman. Don't you love her recipes? I haven't made something of hers that I didn't like. 

And this chili was no exception. Although, for me, it wasn't so much of a chili as it was a soup. My finished product looked nothing like hers, but it still tasted really good. The recipe calls for 7-8 cups of chicken stock; I added 8. If you are wanting more of a chili, then I would suggest adding only 7. 

White Chili

3 Cups Cooked Chicken, shredded
1 whole Medium Onion, Diced
4 cloves Garlic, Minced
2 whole Cans Green Chilies, Chopped
1 pound Dried Great Northern Beans, Rinsed
8 cups Chicken Broth
1 whole Jalapeno, Sliced
1 1/2 Tbsp Ground Cumin
½ tsp Paprika
½ tsp Cayenne Pepper
Salt To Taste
White Pepper, To Taste
1 cup Whole Milk
2 Tbsp Masa (corn Flour) OR Cornmeal
Grated Monterey Jack, To Taste

In a dutch oven over medium-high heat, saute onions and garlic for 2 minutes. Add chopped green chilies, then rinsed beans. Pour chicken broth into the pan. Add sliced jalapenos. Season with salt, pepper, and cumin. Place lid on pot and reduce heat to low.

Cook for 2 hours or until beans are done. Halfway through the cooking process, add 3 cups of cooked chicken.

When beans are tender, mix milk with masa (or cornmeal) and pour into the chili. Cook for an additional ten minutes to thicken. Check seasoning and adjust, adding cayenne pepper and paprika if desired.

Add some Monterey Jack cheese to the pot and stir to melt.

Serve chili in a bowl. Garnish with cilantro, sour cream, extra cheese, &
diced avocado.

February 3, 2011

Cinnamon-Buttermilk Muffins.

The date-stamp on the bottom of this printed recipe? 12/11/2005. This one wins for oldest recipe in my stash (cookbooks excluded).

A friend of mine, back in college, made these for a game night. I think I consumed three on the spot. I went home & printed out the recipe. And it sat. And sat. I have looked at it over the years numerous times and thought about making them, but it just never happens. Thank you Whip Up Something New for kicking me into gear on these little wonders.

And they are SO easy and SO yummy. They remind me of a little cake doughnut. But not overly sweet, so you don't get that sugar slump feeling, like after eating doughnuts, and the cinnamon on top is just perfect. We actually had them as a treat after dinner & they did just the trick. They are definitely going to be a new staple around here. And who knows...maybe for a game night with friends?

The recipe for the topping makes more than you need for the nine muffins. I halved the cinnamon/sugar mixture (although, if you make it all, the extra would be divine on toast!), but melted all the butter & had extra. I would say that I used more than half the butter, so maybe cut it back to 4 - 5 Tbsp?

Cinnamon-Buttermilk Muffins

For the muffins:
7 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

For the topping:
2/3 cup sugar
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted

Preheat an oven to 350°F. Grease 9 standard muffin cups with butter or butter-flavored nonstick cooking spray; fill the unused cups one-third full with water to prevent warping.

To make the muffins, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, combine the butter and sugar and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat well until pale and smooth.

In another bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg. Add to the butter mixture in 2 additions, alternating with the buttermilk and vanilla. Stir just until evenly moistened. The batter will be slightly lumpy.

Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling each three-fourths full. Bake until the muffins are golden, dry and springy to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes. Unmold the muffins and let stand until cool enough to handle.

To make the topping, in a small, shallow bowl, stir together the sugar and cinnamon. Put the melted butter in another small bowl. Holding the bottom of a muffin, dip the top into the melted butter, turning to coat it evenly. Immediately dip the top in the cinnamon-sugar mixture, coating it evenly, then tap it to remove excess sugar. Transfer the muffin, right side up, to the rack. Repeat with the remaining muffins. Let cool completely before serving. Makes 9 muffins.