Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Roasted Shrimp & Orzo

It's about time. This is my first post. I feel bad that I haven't posted any recipes thus far. All I can say is I have 2 excuses, I'm too busy and I don't have any good enough recipes to share. But I was shown this recipe by a friend and thought I'd share it with you. It's very flavorful and light. It gets me excited for summer. It's a good recipe to bring to a luncheon. So here it goes...
Roasted Shrimp & Orzo (from Barefoot Contessa)

Olive Oil (I used EVOO)
3/4 pound orzo pasta (rice-shaped pasta. I used one box of it.)
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (I used 3 lemons)
Black Pepper
2 lbs shrimp, peeled & deveined
1/2 cup minced scallions (green onions)
1/2 cup chopped fresh dill (they were out of fresh dill at the store so I used dried dill but make sure to use a lot less if you're using dry dill)
1 cup chopped fresh parsley (I again used dried parsley)
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and diced
1/2 cup finely diced red onion
3/4 lb feta cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the orzo and boil for 9-11 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain and pour into a large bowl. Whisk together the lemon juice, 1/2 cup olive oil, 2 tsp salt, and 1 tsp pepper. Pour over hot pasta and stir well.
Meanwhile, place the shrimp on a sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle salt and pepper. Roast for 5-6 minutes, until shrimp are cooked through. Don't overcook.
Add the shrimp to the orzo and then the scallions, dill, parsley, cucumber, and onion. Toss well. Add the feta cheese and stir carefully (my husband doesn't like feta cheese too much so I left it out and sprinkle it on my portion when I eat it). Set aside at room temperature for 1 hour to allow the flavors to blend, or refrigerate overnight. If refrigerated, taste again for seasonings and bring back to room temperature before serving.

This recipe is super easy and very yummy and refreshing!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Soup's On!

Three-Onion Soup with Cheese-Smothered Toast

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 large yellow or Spanish onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 large red onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 leeks (white part only), rinsed well an chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4-6 cups reduced-sodium beef broth
  • 1 (2-inch) piece Parmesan rind
  • Reserved bread from bread bowls or 4 slices sourdough baguette, French or Italian bread, about 1-inch thick and lightly toasted
  • sliced Gruyere or Swiss cheese
Heat the oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions, leeks, sugar, and garlic and cook, stirring, until soft, about 10 minutes.

Add the broth, bay leaves, thyme, parmesan rind, salt, and pepper, increase the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium, partially cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.

Remove the bay leaves and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Preheat the broiler. Top each bread slice with a slice of cheese. Ladle the soup into individual ovenproof bowls and place a cheese-topped bread slice in the center of each bowl. Place the bowls on a baking sheet and broil until the cheese melts, 1-2 minutes. Serve immediately.

MY NOTES: So, I saw this on Robin Miller's Quick Fix on the Food Network, but it called for wine. Then I checked her book out of the library and found one without, but it only called for 4 cups broth and the other one had 6 cups. I thought it could have used more broth honestly, so 6 cups for me next time. (Make a double batch and freeze up to 3 months)

Also, I don't have "ovenproof bowls" so I just toasted my bread, same effect. The parmesan rind is optional - I didn't have one and it tasted fab. We LOVED this and we used swiss cheese, but I really want to try it with the Gruyer. And the cheese is the most expensive thing to buy - everything else is under $5! Same with this next recipe-

Italian Pork & Beans

  • 3 Tbs. EVOO
  • 1/3 lb chunk of Pancetta, cut into 1/4 inch dice
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and grated
  • 2 celery ribs with leafy tops finely chopped
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cans white beans drained
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • crusty bread for mopping
Heat EVOO in skillet over medium heat. Cook pancetta (or ANY meat, I've used chicken, sausage, ground beef, bacon, turkey bacon, anything you like) for five minutes, until crisp. Add veggies, garlic, and bay leaf and cook for five more minutes. Add white bean, season with S&P, then stir in stock and tomato sauce and heat through. Remove bay leaf and serve. So easy, love it from Rachel Ray.

Flamin' Chicken Chili

No picture, but a favorite among EVERYONE who tries it. I love it because you can buy all the ingredients and put it in your pantry and it's fantastic to just throw together without having to go to the store.

  • 1 lb. chicken breast, cooked and cubed.
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1-26 oz. cream of chicken soup
  • 1-4 1/2 oz. can mild diced green chilies, drained
  • 1-10 oz. can Rotel diced tomatoes with green chilies, drained
  • 1-16 oz. can ranch style beans, drained.
  • Cilantro and lime juice to taste. (fresh lime is worth it, 1-2 limes)

Combine and heat through.

Homemade Girl Scout Cookies - Thin Mints

My husband and I made these Thin Mints Saturday night and they are soooo good! They don't take long and there are only 4 ingredients. The recipe says it makes about 2 dozen, but I guess it depends on what size bag of chocolate chips you get because we went through a sleeve and a quarter of Ritz crackers. It also says 1-2 tsp of peppermint extract - we used 1.5 tsp.

Support the Girl Scouts, but if you're short on cash, this is a great substitute.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Texas Sheet Cake

Sorry Tricia this is late - I just remembered :( Not the best picture, but this was Texas Sheet Cake. I know Cara has a recipe so if she wants to post hers too I'd love to try her recipe sometime and have a cake-off!

Combine dry ingredients:
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
Melt 1 cup water, 2 sticks margarine, and 5 Tbs cocoa.

Combine all ingredients, plus:
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (I usually just use my cream or milk and put 1-2 tsp of lemon juice and let it stand for five minutes and it will curdle)
Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or so - just watch and when toothpick or knife comes out clean, your cake is done.

Frosting: the key is to make the frosting while your cake is in the oven and put the frosting on the hot cake as soon as you take the cake out of the oven.
Melt 1 stick margarine and 4 Tbs. cocoa together.
Add to 1 tsp vanilla and 3 1/2 cups of powdered sugar. Add cream until it reaches the desired consistency.

Spread frosting on hot cake and let stand until ready to serve. If the cake stands until cooled, just heat each piece you serve for a few seconds in the microwave and the frosting soaks into the cake. Besides that, any cake that requires 3 sticks of margarine or butter is a good cake recipe, right? You can bake this in a 9x13 pan or on a cookie sheet for brownies. My mom used to do cut it on a cookie sheet and put it in saran wrap and freeze them. It was a fantastic after school snack.