Thursday, March 10, 2011

Penne with Imitation Crab and Sherry Cream Sauce

I don't know that many people love imitation crabmeat, but in this house, we prefer it!  This recipe is an original.

2 TBSP unsalted butter
1/2 C minced onion
2 TBSP tomato paste
1/4 TSP red pepper flakes
1/2 C dry sherry
1 C skim milk
1 TBSP cornstarch (or flour)
2 TSP grated lemon zest
1 TBSP lemon juice from one lemon
1 box Ronzoni SmartTaste penne (14.5 oz)
1 LB imitation crabmeat, flaked
1/4 C finely chopped chives

Bring 4 quarts water to boil in a large pot.  Meanwhile, melt butter in a large skillet over med-high heat.  Add onions and cook until softened, about 2 minutes.  Add tomato paste and pepper flakes and cook until slighly darkened, about 2 minutes.  Stir in sherry and simmer until thickened, about 3 minutes.  In bowl, whisk together milk and cornstarch until smooth, then add to skillet with sherry.  Cook until thickened, about 3 minutes.  Off heat, add lemon juice and season with salt & pepper.

Add 1 TBSP salt and penne to boiling water and cook until al dente.  Reserve 1/2 C cooking water, drain pasta, and return to pot.  Add sauce, crabmeat, lemon zest, and chives and toss to combine, adding reserved pasta water as needed.  Season with salt and pepper.  Serve!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Cajun Stuffed Peppers

Tonight's recipe is Cajun Stuffed Peppers.  It's the second time I'm making them, and I can assure you that they're fantastic.  I hated stuffed peppers growing up, but these have so much flavor that it's impossible not to fall in love with them.  This is another recipe adapted from America's Test Kitchen, Best Simple Recipes.  From their original recipe, I have modified it to lessen the fat content..

4 red bell peppers, halved (stem left intact), cored, and seeded
4 tsp olive oil
8 ounces extra lean ground beef
4 ounes Andouille sausage, chopped fine
1 onion, chopped fine
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 8.8 ounce package Uncle Ben's Original Long Grain Ready Rice
1 tbsp hot sauce
4 ounces shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Salt & pepper

Adjust oven race to upper-middle position, place rimmed baking sheet on rack, and heat broiler. Microwave peppers until just tender, 3 to 6 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tsp oil in large skillet on medium-high heat until just smoking. Add beef, sausage, and onion and cook until beef is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in rice and hot sauce and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes. Off heat, stir in half the cheese and season with salt & pepper.

Pat peppers dry with paper towes and season with salt and pepper. Carefully brush preheated baking sheet with remaining oil. Place peppers, cut side down, on baking sheet and broil until spotty brown, about 3 minutes. Flip peppers and fill with beef mixture. Top with remaining cheese. Broil until cheese is spotty brown, about 5 minutes. Serve.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Super-Easy Curry

My friend Lisa LOVES curry, and talking about curries with her the other day made my tastebuds demand a curry for dinner-soon!  So tonight, I took the base of a WholeFoodsMarket recipe, and I'm making it my own.  I'm using pork because it's what I have on hand, but the pork can easily be substituted for chicken breasts, chicken thighs, or even thinly sliced sirloin steak. 

Key Ingredients:

1 pork tenderloin, approximately 1 lb
1-2 TBSP curry powder
2 TBSP canola oil
2/3 C light coconut milk
1 C chicken broth
3 C assorted fresh veggies (I used the asian mix from Trader Joe's)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Rub tenderloin with 1/2 TBSP of curry powder mixed with 1 TBSP of oil.  Heat remaining TBSP of oil in an ovenproof skillet over high heat.  Add pork and brown on all sides, about 4 minutes.  Transfer skillet to oven and bake under thermometer inserted into pork registers 155 degrees, about 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and let pork rest 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan coated with cooking spray, sautee veggies until crisp-tender.  Add desired amount of curry powder to vegetables with a small amount of coconut milk until smooth.  Add remaining coconut milk and broth.  Simmer about 5 minutes until slightly thickened.  Pour warm sauce with veggies over thin slices of pork on each plate and serve.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Eggs in Purgatory

This is one of my all-time favorite breakfast recipes-I could eat it for lunch & dinner too!  We generally have ours over toasted english muffins or Ezekiel bread instead of tortillas, and omit the avocado.  I also scale back the cilantrao a little bit.  This comes from WholeFoodsMarket.

1 tablespoon canola oil
3 to 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon chopped jalapeño pepper
1 Anaheim or small green pepper, seeded and chopped
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
1 (28-ounce) can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
1 teaspoon salt
Red chile powder to taste
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 cup chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish
Juice of 1 lime
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 to 1 cup chicken broth
4 to 6 cage-free eggs
1 avocado, peeled, pitted and sliced
1/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 lime, cut into wedges
Hot sauce to taste
4 corn tortillas, warmed

Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add oil, garlic, peppers and onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, salt, chile powder, garlic powder and cilantro; simmer for 10 minutes.
Stir in lime juice and vinegar.

Carefully purée sauce in blender, in batches if necessary, then return to pan. Add enough broth to thin out the sauce, then bring to a simmer. Crack eggs into sauce, leaving space between each egg. Cover and poach eggs until egg whites are opaque and yolks are light yellow, about 10 minutes.

Transfer to plates and serve topped with avocado and cheese. Garnish with cilantro and lime wedges and serve with hot sauce and tortillas on the side.

Friday, March 4, 2011


This recipe is straight out of the new Weight Watchers Points Plus cookbook-but you'd NEVER know it.  My favorite way to serve this is alongside a plate of cut-up fruit, so that the man & I can pick and choose how to eat them.  He likes bananas, I like strawberries.  These are so easy, and be prepared so many different ways.  Sorry I have no original picture; we ate these too fast!


1/2 C all-purpose flour
1/2 TSP ground nutmeg
1/4 TSP salt
1 C fat-free milk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1.  Whisk together flour, nutmeg, and salt in medium bowl.  Beat together milk and eggs in small bowl.  Whisk milk mixture into flour mixture until smooth.  Let stand 15 minutes.

2.  Spray 8-inch nonstick skillet with nonstick spray and set over medium heat until drop of water sizzles in pan.  Re-stir batter; pour scant 1/4 cupful of batter into skillet, tilting pan to coat bottom completely.  Cook until top is set and underside is golden brown, about 1& 1/2 minutes.

3.  With spatula, loosen edge of crepe and turn over.  Cook until second side is lightly browned, about 25 seconds.  Slide crepe onto plate.  Repeat with remaining batter, lightly spraying skillet before adding more batter, making a total of 8 crepes.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Crab & Broccoli Chowder

I have no idea where this recipe is from-I saved it onto my computer such a long time ago.

Here's how the recipe is written (you'll see my alterations at the end):

1 1/2 cups small broccoli florets (about 1 small head)
Cooking spray
1 cup chopped onion
2 cups cubed peeled red potato (about 3/4 pound)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Dash of hot sauce
3 (10 1/2-ounce) cans low-salt chicken broth
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
3/4 pound lump crabmeat, drained and shell pieces removed
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon sherry

Steam broccoli, covered, 2 minutes or until tender.

Place a Dutch oven coated with cooking spray over medium heat until hot. Add onion; sauté 4 minutes. Add potato and next 8 ingredients (potato through broth); bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 30 minutes or until tender.

Place 3 cups potato mixture in a blender; process until smooth. Add puree back to potato mixture in pan; stir well.

Place flour in a bowl. Gradually add milk; stir with a whisk until blended. Add to potato mixture. Cook over medium heat until thick (about 10 minutes), stirring constantly. Stir in cheese. Add broccoli, crabmeat, lemon juice, and sherry; cook until thoroughly heated.

My notes: I had no broccoli, potatoes, or cheddar cheese on hand.  I did have lots of cauliflower, and monterey and pepper jack.  I steamed two large heads of cauliflower.  I didn't use a substitute for the potatoes, but at the end of the 30 minute simmer, I added the cauliflower into the dutch oven and pureed the entire mixture in my food processor.  I didn't have 2% milk, but I had heavy cream and skim milk, so I used 1/2 cup of the cream and 2 cups of the milk.  Lastly, I used monterey jack instead of the cheddar, and threw in a few teaspoons of a cajun seasoning.  My version is probably better, because it's absolutely delicious.

[show with Penzey's 4Special Seasoned Salt]

Cheesy Baked Grits

I made these for our family dinner on Sunday night (which was awesome!)  There isn't much leftover, so I think they were a success.  They are super unhealthy, but delicious.  If you don't think you even like grits-try cooking them this way.  My friend Zoe passed the recipe along to me, which is from 'The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook.'

Cheesy Baked Grits
-2 TBSP unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing the dish
-1 onion, minced
-1 TSP salt
-4 1/2 C water
-1 1/2 C heavy cream
-3/4 TSP Tabasco
-1 1/2 C old-fashioned grits
-8 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
-4 large eggs, lighly beaten
-1/4 TSP pepper

1.  Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease the bottom and sides of a 9 by 13-inch baking dish with butter; set aside.  Melt 2 TBSP butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add the onion and salt and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the water, cream, and Tabasco.  Bring to a boil.

2.  Pour the grits into the boiling liquid in a very slow stream while whisking constantly in a circular motion to prevent clumping.  Cover and reduce the heat to low.  Cook, stirring often and vigorously (make sure to scrape the corners of the pot), until the grits are thick and creamy, 10 to 15 minutes.

3.  Off the heat, whisk in 1 cup of the cheddar, the eggs, and pepper.  Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish and smooth the top with a rubber spatula.  Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup cheddar over the top.  Bake until the top is browned and frits are hot, 35 to 40 minutes.  Cool for 10 minutes before serving.