Monday, May 24, 2010

Stir-Fried Beef with Snap Peas and Red Pepper

Source: Cooking for Two

Holy crap. This cookbook can do NO WRONG. I originally saw this on Life as a Wife in the City, a blog written by my cousin Christine, who is the very person who sent me this cookbook last year :) I had some leftover flank steak in my freezer, so this was perfect for the weekend.

Like most stir-fries, this comes together quickly. While marinating the beef in the soy/sugar mixture, I prepared the rest of the ingredients. I served this over brown rice, and due to how quickly this cooks on the stovetop, I put the rice in the boiling water at the same time I started cooking the beef, and both finished up at the same time.

This was SOOOOOOOOOOO good! I don't even eat beef much, and I cleaned my plate! Note that this makes a true 2 servings - if you're feeding more people, make sure to double it! I ended up using slightly more beef, around 9 ounces.

Stir-Fried Beef with Snap Peas and Red Pepper

6 ounces flank steak, cut into 2-inch-wide strips with the grain, then cut across the grain into 1/8-inch-thick slices
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoons oyster sauce (found in the Asian section of the grocery store)
1 tablespoon dry sherry
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
1 garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons grated or minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
6 ounces sugar snap peas (about 2 cups), ends trimmed and strings removed
1/2 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and sliced in 1/4-inch-wide strips
1 tablespoon water

1. Toss the beef with soy sauce and 1/2 teaspoon of the sugar in a medium bowl and let marinate for at least 10 minutes, or up to 1 hour. In a separate bowl, whisk the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar, broth, oyster sauce, sherry, and cornstarch together. In another bowl, combine the ginger, garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon of the oil.

2. Drain the beef, discarding the marinade. Heat 1 teaspoon more oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat until just smoking. Add the beef in a single layer, breaking up any clumps. Cook without stirring for 1 minute, then stir and continue to cook until the meat is browned, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the beef to a clean bowl.

3. Add the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil to the skillet and heat over high heat until just smoking. Add the snap peas and bell pepper and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables begin to brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the water, cover the skillet, and cook until the vegetables are crisp-tender, about 1 minute longer.

4. Uncover and clear the center of the skillet. Add the garlic mixture to the clearing and cook, mashing the mixture into the pan, until fragrant, 15 to 30 seconds. Stir the garlic mixture into the vegetables.

5. Return the beef, along with any accumulated juice, to the skillet and stir to combine. Whisk the broth mixture to recombine, and add it to the skillet. Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 30 seconds, and serve.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Baked Shrimp with Tomatoes and Feta

Source: The Food You Crave

Shrimp has to be one of my all-time favorite meats to cook. First of all, because it's delicious, and secondly, because I'm terrible at putting things in the fridge to properly defrost. With shrimp, all you have to do is throw the shrimp in a strainer and run some water on it for 5 minutes. Yay!

I love feta, but the dill in this recipe intrigued me. I've only used dill for fish recipes. I thought it added such a great flavor of freshness to the dish. If you love shrimp, you'll love this recipe!

Baked Shrimp with Tomatoes and Feta

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced (1 1/2 cups)
2 cloves garlic, minced
Two 14.5-ounce cans no-salt-added diced tomatoes, with their juices
1/4 cup finely minced fresh flat leaf parsley
1 tablespoon finely minced dill
1 1/4 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
2/3 cup crumbled feta cheese (about 3 ounces)

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2. Heat the oil in an ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer for about 5 minutes, until the tomato juices thicken.

3. Remove from heat. Stir in the parsley, dill, and shrimp and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle feta over the top. Bake in the oven until the shrimp are cooked through and the cheese melts, about 12 minutes.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Garlic Fries

Source: The Food You Crave

Please ignore the crappy photo above. I was starving as I was taking the picture. Those fries don't look all that great, but trust me in that they ARE!!! I served these with the chicken fingers and couldn't get enough. I see myself making these frequently as a snack. If you love fries, these are a delicious and easy alternative!

The only word of caution is to keep an eye on them when they're cooking. I attempted a batch of these last week, and maybe I sliced them too thin, but most of them burned after 20 minutes in the oven. The recipe recommends 35, so just check every so often until they're done.

Garlic Fries

3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons canola oil
3 large baking potatoes
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
Cooking spray
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

2. Heat the garlic and oil together in a small saucepan over medium heat for 2 minutes. Strain the garlic from the oil with a small mesh strainer. Set both garlic and oil aside.

3. Cut the potatoes in 1/4-inch-thick matchsticks. In a large bowl, combine the oil, potatoes, and salt. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray and spread the potatoes on it in a single layer. Bake until golden and crisp, about 35 minutes.

3. Remove the potatoes from the baking sheet with a metal spatula. In a serving bowl, toss them with the parsley, reserved garlic, and salt to taste. Serve immediately.

Crispy Chicken Fingers

Source: The Food You Crave

I hate overly-fried chicken fingers. Like when there's a visible layer of grease in between the chicken and the breading, or the breading is thicker than the chicken. I've all but given up ordering chicken fingers because it's a little overly picky to say, "Can you describe the breading? Maybe you have a plate of chicken fingers you're about to deliver you can show me?"

This is a very healthy way to make chicken fingers, and it's also very easy! I don't typically have buttermilk around, so here's a little trick: measure a tablespoon of white vinegar into a measuring glass, and then add enough milk to bring it up to one cup. Let sit and you have buttermilk! It won't be quite as thick, especially if you drink skim like we do, but it'll do in a pinch.

This is a great weeknight recipe! You probably already have everything on-hand.

Crispy Chicken Fingers

1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breats halves, cut across into 1/2 inch thick slices
1/2 cup lowfat buttermilk
Cooking spray
4 cups whole-grain corn cereal such as Corn Chex or corn flakes
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pinch of freshly ground pepper

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Combine the chicken and buttermilk in a shallow dish, turning the chicken to coat it with the buttermilk. Cover and chill for 15 minutes. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.

3. Put the cereal in a sealable plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin. Transfer the crumbs to a shallow dish and season with salt and pepper. Dip each piece of chicken in the cereal to fully coat and arrange on the prepared baking sheets. Bake until cooked through, about 8 minutes. Leave the chicken on the baking sheets to cool slightly. The pieces will become crispier.

If you'd like homemade honey mustard sauce, simply mix 1/3 cup Dijon mustard, 2 teaspoons of mayonnaise and 2 tablespoons of honey together. Enjoy!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Spinach and Cheese Strata

Source: Gourmet / Epicurious

A couple of weeks ago, we had guests in town. This picture pretty much sums up our Friday night:

There may or may not have been...12 or so hours of libations involved. What can I say, when you pick up some of your favorite out-of-towners in the afternoon, the celebrations begin early!

I knew going into that weekend we'd be having some fun, and I wanted a nice brunch the next morning, but I didn't want to slave in the kitchen in the wee hours in a...compromised state. This make-ahead strata is PERFECT for such an occasion. I was able to make this a day in advance, and then pull it out of the refrigerator in the morning and pop it in the oven. Then my husband made pancakes, I made toast and bacon, and voila! you have a meal that puts out the impression you've been up with the birds, preparing a gourmet brunch!

Besides the convenience, this strata was DELICIOUS. You had me at Gruyere, strata. You had me at Gruyere.

Spinach and Cheese Strata

1 (10-oz) package frozen spinach, thawed
1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion (1 large)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
8 cups cubed (1 inch) French or Italian bread (1/2 lb)
6 oz coarsely grated Gruyère (2 cups)
2 oz finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (1 cup)
2 3/4 cups milk
9 large eggs
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1. Squeeze handfuls of spinach to remove as much liquid as possible, then finely chop.

2. Cook onion in butter in a large heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring, until soft, 4 to 5 minutes. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and nutmeg and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in spinach, then remove from heat.

3. Spread one third of bread cubes in a buttered 3-quart gratin dish or other shallow ceramic baking dish and top evenly with one third of spinach mixture. Sprinkle with one third of each cheese. Repeat layering twice (ending with cheeses).

4. Whisk together milk, eggs, mustard, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl and pour evenly over strata. Chill strata, covered with plastic wrap, at least 8 hours (for bread to absorb custard), or up to 1 day.

5. Preheat oven to 350°F. Let strata stand at room temperature 30 minutes.
Bake strata, uncovered, in middle of oven until puffed, golden brown, and cooked through, 45 to 55 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Pasta with Sauteed Mushrooms

Source: Cooking for Two

There was a time I haaaaaated mushrooms. I'm still not a fan of them raw (like on pizza - yuck), but I've become quite fond of them in a sauce. I saw this recipe in my beloved "Cooking for Two" and was intrigued, since mushrooms are pretty much the main event here. As I found out when I went shopping, there's a reason shiitake mushrooms are $14 a pound. They're packed with flavor and a far cry from button mushrooms! This was a very tasty dish, and one I'll make again!

Pasta with Sauteed Mushrooms

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3 shallots, minced (about 1/2 cup)
4 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced 1/4 inch thick
6 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2/3 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 pound campanelle
1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1/2 cup)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1. Heat the oil and butter over medium heat in a 10-inch skillet until the butter is melted. Add the shallots and cook until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Increase the heat to medium-high, stir in the shiitake mushrooms, and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the cremini mushrooms and 1/4 teaspoon salt, and cook until golden brown, about 6 minutes. Stir in the garlic and thyme, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Transfer the mushrooms to a bowl and cover to keep warm.

2. Stir the broth into the skillet and bring to a boil. scraping up any browned bits. Stir in the cream, bring to a simmer, and cook until the sauce has thickened slightly and reduced to about 3/4 cup, about 4 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot. Add the pasta and 1 tablespoons salt, and cook, stirring often, until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water, then drain the pasta and return it to the pot.

4. Add the cooked mushrooms, sauce, Parmesan, parsley, and lemon juice to the pasta and toss to combine, adjust the sauce consistency with the reserved cooking water as desired. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.