Monday, December 31, 2012

Spicy Baked Shrimp

1/2 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp. Cajun or Creole seasoning
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1 Tbsp. honey
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1 lb. uncooked large shrimp, shelled, deveined

Combine first 7 ingredients in 9x13-inch baking dish. Add shrimp and toss to coat. Refrigerate 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 450°F. Bake until shrimp are cooked through, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Garnish with lemon wedges and serve shrimp with French bread.

2 to 4 servings

Bon Appétit

Eight-Layer Mediterranean Dip

This healthy dip will be a hit at your next party. Layer it in a glass bowl or small trifle dish, if you like. To avoid the dip becoming watery, be sure to drain the wet ingredients well.

Chef Notes: We omitted the artichoke hearts from the original recipe and substituted Greek yogurt with tzatziki dip from Costco.

Eight-Layer Mediterranean Dip

8 oz. container hummus
1 cup firmly packed baby spinach, roughly chopped
1 cup thinly sliced roasted red peppers, drained
1 cup tzatziki dip
1/2 cup sliced pitted black olives, such as Kalamata
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
Pita chips

Spread hummus evenly in the bottom of an 8-inch square dish. Scatter spinach over the top and press down lightly. Arrange peppers, then artichokes hearts over the top. Drop yogurt in dollops over the artichokes, then spread out to make an even layer. Sprinkle with olives, green onions and feta and serve with pita chips on the side.

8 servings

Adapted from Whole Foods

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Cavatappi with Sausage and Tomato

The wide grooves of cavatappi, a corkscrew-shaped pasta, trap the bits of sausage in this creamy sauce. If you can't find a sausage flavored with fennel, add 1/2 tsp. fennel seeds, preferably lightly crushed in a spice grinder or mortar, at the same time that you add the sausage to the pan.

Chef Notes: Original recipe called for 1 lb. ripe plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced, but we opted for San Marzanos instead. The heat of the hot sausage is tamed by the sauce. Yet another simple recipe with few ingredients with full flavor!

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 lb. hot Italian sausage with fennel seed, loose or casings removed
28 oz. can San Marzano tomatoes, mashed
2 Tbsp. minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 lb. dried cavatappi or fusilli
Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

In a large sauté pan over medium-low heat, warm the olive oil. Add the sausage and cook slowly, breaking it up into bits with a fork, until it loses its raw color, about 5 minutes; do not allow it to brown or harden. Stir in the tomatoes and parsley. Increase the heat to medium and cook, uncovered, until the tomatoes have softened, 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in the cream and simmer briefly until the cream thickens slightly, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, then remove from the heat.

Bring a large pot three-fourths full of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta, stir well and cook until al dente (tender but firm to the bite), about 12 minutes or according to the package directions. While the pasta is cooking, reheat the sauce gently over low heat.

Drain the pasta and return to the warm pot. Add the sauce and toss. Divide among warmed dishes and serve immediately. Pass the cheese at the table.

4-6 servings

Williams-Sonoma Classic Pasta at Home

Monday, December 10, 2012

Vanishing Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Vanishing Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

1/2 cup (1 stick) plus 6 tablespoons butter, softened
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt (optional)
3 cups Quaker® Oats (quick or old fashioned, uncooked)
1 cup raisins

Heat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, beat butter and sugars on medium speed of electric mixer until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Add combined flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; mix well. Add oats and raisins; mix well.

Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets; remove to wire rack. Cool completely. Store tightly covered.

4 dozen

Quaker Oats

Panko Chicken Nuggets

Few foods are more kid-friendly than nuggets, but do you ever wonder what's in them? Rest assured with these easy homemade ones. They can be breaded in advance and fried up the day of, or just bread and fry them the night before for maximum convenience. Buttermilk and panko makes them both tender and crispy, and your kids will love them.

1 large egg
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
1-1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil

Whisk the egg and buttermilk in a medium bowl. Soak chicken pieces in egg mixture while you gather remaining ingredients. Meanwhile, in another shallow bowl combine panko with paprika, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and salt and pepper, to taste. Set a rack on a cookie sheet lined with paper towels.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Lift chicken from buttermilk, letting excess liquid drain back into the bowl, then dip into panko and turn to coat on all sides.

Carefully place chicken in oil and cook until they are golden and crispy and cooked through, about for 5 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to the rack to cool. Place in sealed container. Pack in a lunch box with their favorite veggies and ranch, honey mustard or barbecue sauce for dipping.

4 servings

Food Network

Mexican Black Bean Chili

Not exactly traditional, but this has become our fav go-to chili recipe. And, it freezes nicely too for leftovers down the road.

Nonstick cooking spray, as needed
1 cup red onion, diced
1 cup green bell pepper, diced
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked
14-oz can chicken broth
30-oz can black beans, undrained
10-oz can diced tomatoes & jalapeños
14.5-oz can diced tomatoes
8-oz can tomato sauce
1/2 cup picante sauce, medium
4 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cajun seasoning
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper, coarsely ground
8 oz whole kernel corn, frozen
Sour cream
Cheddar cheese
Green onions

Spray stock pot with oil. Add red onion and green pepper to oil and saute over medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Add next 13 ingredients (through black pepper) to vegetable mixture and mix thoroughly. Bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 12 to 15 minutes or until flavors are concentrated, stirring frequently.

Add corn to chicken mixture and mix thoroughly. Return to simmer, then remove from heat.

Serve with sour cream, cheddar cheese and green onions.

8 servings

Spicy Southern Gumbo Stew

A New Orleans specialty, this thick Creole stew typically includes okra, tomatoes, meats and seafood. Not your traditional gumbo with a deep roux, but definitely a flavorful stew.

Spicy Southern Gumbo Stew

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts
1 tsp. vegetable oil
2, 14.5-oz cans chicken broth
28-oz can stewed tomatoes, undrained
1 cup water
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 tsp. Louisiana hot sauce
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 bay leaf
16-oz pkg frozen gumbo vegetable mixture*
13-oz pkg andouille sausage links, cooked
1 cup instant brown or white rice, uncooked

Using Chef's Knife, trim chicken and cut into 1-inch pieces. Heat oil in Generation II (6 qt) Dutch Oven over medium-high heat until hot. Brown chicken in two batches, 2-3 minutes each or until outside surfaces are no longer pink.

Return chicken to pan. Add broth, tomatoes, water, garlic pressed with Garlic Press, hot sauce, oregano, thyme and bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Add vegetable mixture; return to a boil. Cover; reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, cut sausage links into 1/2-inch slices; cut slices in half. Add sausage and rice to gumbo. Cover; simmer 10 minutes. Remove from heat; remove and discard bay leaf before serving. Serve with Mini Corn Muffins (see "Souper" Sides recipe card), if desired.

8 servings

Pampered Chef, Soups, Stews and Chilis Recipe Card Collection

*Frozen gumbo vegetable mixture is a combination of okra and celery slices, chopped onion, red bell pepper and corn. If you can't find gumbo vegetable mix, I have also used a 14 oz. bag of seasoned corn and black beans (with tomatoes, peppers and onions) along with about 2 oz. of frozen ocra to make up for the gumbo mix.