Fish & Seafood, Gluten-free, Italian, Lent, Quick Dinner

Basil-Scallion Shrimp with Spaghetti Squash


I recently discovered spaghetti squash and I have fallen in love with it.  While it definitely does NOT taste like pasta, it certainly feels like you are indulging in it.  You can twirl long strands of golden squash in sauce and eat it out of a bowl and feel full–not a bad deal ! Then, shrimp was on sale and I had to finish up the basil and scallions in the fridge, and so this dish came to being.  May I just say, that sometimes, throwing things in together really work ! I hope you will try this dish.

Ingredients:

1, medium sized spaghetti squash

1lb of medium, peeled, de-veined  raw shrimp

7-8 scallions

1 bunch of basil

1/2 tbsp of minced garlic

1 can of diced tomatoes (mine had garlic, basil and oregano added)

1/2 cup stock (chicken or vegetable)

2 tsp of red pepper flakes

2 tbsp olive oil

salt and pepper to taste


Method:

Heat oven to 400F

Cut squash in half, length-wise.  Remove seeds and drizzle 1 Tbsp of olive oil.  Add salt and roast the squash cut side down on a baking sheet for 40-50 mins till the squash is fork tender and you can run your fork through the flesh to produce “spaghetti”.

  
 Chop the scallions and set aside the green parts.


Heat 1Tbsp of oil in a skillet, add the garlic and white part of the scallions and saute till pale.

Next add the tomato, broth and the red pepper flakes.

  
 Simmer for 5mins and then add the shrimp.

Shrimp cooks very quickly, so keep an eye on it and the minute they are pink, remove them from the pan. Keep cooking the sauce till desired consistency.  

   Add the shrimp back into the pan, once the sauce is thick and take off heat.
Chop the basil and mix with the green part of the scallions.


Add the herb mixture once the dish in off the heat and stir to combine.  The idea is to keep the greens, looking green and rather raw–tastes really fresh and wonderful !

Spoon shrimp and sauce over spaghetti squash and enjoy !

  

Dinner, Gluten-free, Poultry, Quick Dinner

Prosciutto-Basil Chicken in a Tomato Sauce

  
A super speedy dinner I pulled together for a quick dinner party.  It used whatever I had in the kitchen and pantry and pulled together a tasty chicken dinner.  Try it !

Ingredients:

5 thinly sliced chicken breasts

5 slices of prosciutto

10 basil leaves

1/2Tbsp of minced garlic

3 stalks of green onions, chopped

2 shallots sliced

Bruschetta spread ( I bought this from Trader Joe’s)

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 Tbsp of cornmeal

1 tsp of crushed red pepper

1 cup of chicken stock

salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Season the chicken breasts with salt.

Spread the bruschetta mix on the chicken breast and lay two basil leaves on top of the spread.

  
Fold the chicken breast in half and secure with toothpicks.

Wrap each breast with prosciutto.

  
Heat 1 tsp of olive oil in a skillet and fry the chicken breasts till golden on each side.  Set aside.

   
 In the same pan add the chopped garlice,green onions and shallots and saute till pale.

Add 2 Tbsp of the bruschetta mix and cornmeal and saute for 2-3 mins

   
    Remove the toothpicks and return the  chicken to the pan and add the chicken stock

Simmer till the sauce thickens.

Serve with your choice of sides.  I did saffron rice and roasted asparagus.

 

Fish & Seafood, Lent, Salad, Sides

Pesto Shrimp Salad with Roasted Artichokes, Fennel and White Beans

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A warm salad for a cool summer evening.  if you are not a fan of shrimp or allergic to shellfish, chicken would be a great substitute. It would be perfectly fine without any animal protein at all ! Eat it like a salad for lunch, side dish for something off the grill or toss is with pasta, this is a light and lovely meal !

Ingredients:

1lb cooked shrimp

1 package frozen artichokes, thawed and drained

2 bulbs of fennel, sliced

1 can of white beans

juice of one lemon

10 basil leaves, chopped

1/4 cup olive oil

1 Tbsp of minced garlic

2 tsp of red pepper flakes

1/4 store bought basil pesto

salt and pepper to taste

Methods:

Preheat oven to 375F

Toss oil, fennel, artichokes, basil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, garlic in a bowl and spread in a single layer on a baking sheet

Roast for 45mins till fennel and artichokes and brown.

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In a pot, heat pesto and toss in beans and shrimp.

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Add the roasted vegetables and toss to coat all the ingredients together.

Serve hot or warm !

 

 

Poultry

Hummus baked Chicken

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Hummus is no longer just a dip–it is now a decadent filling to turn your next boring chicken dinner into an exotic meal !  Think about what hummus has–spices, chickpeas, seasoning and olive oil.  All healthy ingredients that are spreadable.  I had roasted red pepper hummus and I added a few more ingredients and I came up with this amazing dish !

Ingredients:

3 medium sized chicken breasts, butterflied and pounded thin.

1/4 cup of roasted red pepper hummus

A few dashes of Sriracha (adjust to you heat preference)

A few fresh basil leaves

Salt, pepper, garlic powder and cumin-1/4 tsp of each.

Method:

Butterfly the chicken breasts and pound them out thin.  Cover the breasts with plastic wrap while doing so to prevent a mess.

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Spread the hummus and Sriracha on one side of the chicken breast.  Sprinkle a few leaves of basil.

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Roll op the chicken and place it is a glass baking dish.  Sprinkle on the salt, pepper, garlic powder and cumin.

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Put the chicken in the fridge for atleast 1hr.

Fill the baking dish with a little bit of chicken stock and drizzle on 1-2tbsp of olive oil.

Bake for 45 mins in a 375F till the chicken is cooked through.

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Let the chicken rest for 15 mins, slice and serve with the sauce that forms in the bottom of the baking dish.  Add some couscous or quinoa on the side for a complete meal !

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Dinner, Poultry

Chicken with Tomatoes, Artichokes and Basil

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Over the past few days I had been reading several Italian recipes and pinning recipes on pinterest.  This recipe was inspired by all the chicken dished I had come across—I am sure somebody somewhere has already made this, but it was the first time I made it and it was delicious.  Suprisingly light– and even though the tomatoes were out of season and there was a foot of snow on the ground, it still tasted good.  I cannot wait to make this recipe with fresh seasonal recipes in the summer.  Enjoy !

Ingredients:

1lb of thinly sliced chicken breasts

¼ cup of flour for dredging

2 Tbsp of Olive oil

2 roma tomatoes, diced

1, 8 oz can of artichokes, sliced in half

2 tsp of minced garlic

10-12 basil leaves, sliced

Salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to season

½ cup dry white wine (something you can drink with dinner)

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Method:

Season the flour with salt and pepper and dredge chicken breasts.

Heat oil in a pan and and fry the chicken till golden brown on medium heat—then set aside.

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In the same pan add garlic, tomatoes and artichokes and sauté till tomatoes soften and fall apart.

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Add the chicken back into the pan, season with salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and basil.

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Fill the pan with wine and transfer the pan into a 350F oven and finish cooking for another 15min.

Serve straight form the oven with bread or pasta !

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Dinner, Poultry

Chicken Bake-Mexican style.

This is a quick an easy one pan dinner.  It could be a casserole had I used cheese but please feel free to modify the recipe to suit your taste.  This is a good recipe when all you have are canned and frozen vegetables–the baking with the spices, wakes them up.  This is what you will need.

Ingredients:

1 lb chicken thighs

16 oz bag of frozen, cut Zucchini

14 oz can of corn

14 oz can of tomato with basil and oregano

1 Tbsp of cumin, paprika, garlic powder, dried basil and oregano.

1 Tbsp of olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste.

Method:

Preheat oven to 400F.

Spread the corn and zucchini on a baking sheet.  They will be wet from the can and defrosting so to get them nice and dry I toast them up in the oven with a dash of pepper and salt–just till they are dry and slightly crunchy.

In the mean time, season chicken with salt, pepper, paprika and cumin and pan sear them in olive oil till crisp and brown on the outside.  Don’t worry of cooking it through, it will finish in the oven.

Now to assemble the bake:  In a baking dish (big enough to fit the chicken thighs in a layer) spread the tomatoes in a single layer.  Place the chicken on top of the tomatoes and then top it with the toasted veggies.  Sprinkle with a little more salt and pepper and the dried herbs.  At this point you could top the bake with pepperjack, cheddar or any other mix of mexican style cheese.

Bake in the oven till the chicken is cooked through about 20-25 mins.  the great thing about this layering technique it that, the chicken stays moist and the vegetables stay crisp.

Enjoy !

Salad

Spinach Salad with a Strawberry, Basil, Red Wine reduction

I bought 2 lbs of strawberries and living by myself you only eat so many berries before they start taking a turn for the worse.  My solution to salvage fruit/veggies that could get spoiled, is to cook them.  They retain their flavor, its healthy and you won’t have to throw out food.  This is a warm reduction that you add to fresh baby spinach.  It’s a warm salad.  Feel free to add almonds, bacon bits, and even more fresh fruit like apples and pears.  Here goes.

Ingredients:

1/2 Tbsp olive oil

2 tsp of fennel seeds

I medium onion sliced

1/2 cup red wine (any red wine–I normally use up half opened bottles)

sliced strawberries ( I had about 1.5 cups, use as much as you like, but keep in mind the more you use, the sweeter the reduction)

5-7 leaves of  fresh basil, sliced

Fresh cracked black pepper ( no salt).

Baby Spinach, enough to build a salad of your serving choice.

Method:

1.Heat extra virgin olive oil in a pan and when warm, add the fennel.  Stir for a few secs till fragrant and then add onions

2. Saute onions till pale and then add red wine and allow to reduce, stirring in between to prevent sticking to the bottom

3.  Add sliced strawberries and basil and allow to reduce.  The strawberry will cook down and the sugars will allow the onions to carmelize.

4. Taste the reduction, if it is too sweet, you can counter-act the sweetness with a few dashes of balsamic vinegar.

5. Toss warm (not hot) reduction with baby spinach leaves and add freshly cracked black pepper.  I garnished with honeyed oats (granola would work too !!!)

 

Comfort food

Roasted Tomato Basil Soup

So much for warm weather.  It’s all about April showers nowadays.  Cold and raw.  So its time for some serious comfort food.  What better than Tomato Basil Soup.  The roasted idea, well that was Ina Garten’s.

Ingredients:

1  28 oz can of crushed tomatoes

2 medium sized onions diced

1/2 Tbsp of crushed garlic

1/2 Tbsp Olive oil

2 tsp of crushed dried rosemary

2 cups chicken stock ( or vegetable stock, your call)

5-7 Fresh Basil leaves, torn

Method:

Preheat oven to 400 F

Add all the ingredients except stock and basil in a roasting pan.

Roast for 40 min, stirring once, half way through.

The tomatoes and onions will carmelize and become very thick.  This is how you can concentrate all the yummy flavors.

Add into a blender with the stock and puree untill smooth.

Transfer to a pot and add the basil.  Let the soup simmer for 5-10 mins.

Serve hot with crusty bread, grilled cheese or goldfish crackers–however you like your Tomato Basil Soup !!!

Salad

Tomato Basil Salad

When fruits and vegetables are fresh and in season, keep it simple.  Let the natural taste shine through.  I got two pints of grape tomatoes and this is ont thing I love to do with them, a fresh salad.  It is so good that I had a WHOLE pint for lunch and did not want anything else.  I do have another pint in the fridge, let’s see if I want to do something else with it–I might just make the salad again simply because it was THAT GOOD !

Ingredients:

1 pint of grape tomatoes, sliced

6-7 leaves of fresh basil

1/2 tsp of extra virgin olive oil

1/2 tsp of balsamic vinegar

salt and pepper to taste.

Method

I mix the oil and vinegar and the sliced basil and set it aside for a while.  This gives the flavors a chance to mix and marry into one another.

in the meantime I slice the tomatoes

Add the tomatoes into the oil mixture and toss to coat

Season with salt and pepper.  I like to freshly cracked black pepper and I go heavy on it, just because I love the kick–please adjust to personal taste.

Enjoy !