Monday, August 30, 2010

Hoisin-Glazed Chicken Thighs

*Adapted from Parenting magazine, June 2010.

PREP: 30 minutes hands-on + 1 hour marinating

1/2 cup hoisin sauce
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp seasoned rice-wine vinegar
1 Tbsp honey
2 tsp minced fresh ginger (or 1/8 tsp dried ground ginger)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
black pepper, to taste
12 small boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 2 lbs), trimmed
1/4 cup minced scallions (green onions)
2 tsp toasted sesame seeds (optional)

1. Combine the hoisin sauce, soy sauce, vinegar, honey, ginger, garlic, sesame oil, and pepper in a large plastic bowl (with lid). Pour 1/4 cup of the mixture into a small plastic container with a lid and reserve in the refrigerator for coating the chicken later. Add the chicken to the larger container and coat with the rest of the sauce. Cover and refrigerate the marinated chicken for 1 hour.
2. Heat a grill or grill pan to medium-high (or, alternatively, heat the broiler). Grill the chicken 3 minutes per side, or until just cooked through. Brush with some of the reserved glaze, turn, and cook 30 seconds more. Move to a platter, shower with the scallions and sesame seeds, if desired.

Serve with steamed rice and steamed vegetables such as snow peas, carrots, broccoli, corn, or edamame.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Homemade Creamed Corn

PREP: 30 minutes (prepping the fresh corn kernels takes longer than the actual cooking)

2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup diced onion
4 cups fresh corn kernels (from 8 ears)
1 cup half-and-half
3/4 cup low-fat sour cream
1 tsp. sugar
Kosher salt and black pepper

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to soften, 4-5 minutes. Add the corn, half-and-half, sour cream, sugar, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper and simmer until the corn is tender, 5 to 8 minutes.

Fresh corn is the best, but thawed frozen kernels also work in this recipe. To achieve a similar creamy consistency, add 1 Tbsp of flour to the softened onions and cook for 1 minute before adding the frozen corn and half-and-half.

When cutting corn kernels from ears, keep the kernels from going everywhere by laying down a dishtowel around/under a small cutting board. This will keep the kernels from bouncing as far.

Serve with Cajun skirt steak and a simple salad of mixed greens with tomatoes and balsamic vinaigrette.

Cajun Skirt Steak

PREP: 20 minutes
1 1/2 lbs. skirt steak, cut into two pieces
2 tsp. blackening or Cajun seasoning
Kosher salt and black pepper

Heat broiler. Trim steak of most of the fat. Season the steak (both sides) with the blackening seasoning and 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper. Place on a broilerproof rimmed baking sheet and broil for 3-4 minutes per side for medium-rare. Let rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing. Slice against the grain and serve.

Serve with homemade creamed corn like this and a simple salad of mixed greens with tomatoes and balsamic vinaigrette.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Dani's Special Spaghetti

PREP: 30 minutes

2 lb. lean ground turkey
2 zucchini squash, quartered and sliced
2 yellow squash, quartered and sliced
1 jar original spaghetti sauce
1 jar vodka sauce (found with other pasta sauces)
1 16-oz. pkg. bowtie pasta

Prepare pasta according to directions on the package. Meanwhile brown turkey in a large skillet. When meat is browned, add squash and sauces. Simmer for 10 minutes or until squash is crisp-tender. Serve sauce over pasta.

*I stand corrected on the originator of this friend, Danielle, created it; not her husband, Tim. Here's the way she makes it:

2-3 lbs ground lean ground beef (sometimes turkey)
1-2 jars regular spaghetti sauce
1 jar of 4 cheese alfredo sauce
1 zucchini
1 squash
2 bags of bowtie pasta
(Also…I put a smidge of water in each of the jars, shake them up and then add to the sauce to thin it out just a bit. This serves 12 if 3 lbs. meat is used.)

Easy Shrimp Pasta for Two

*Adapted from Kraft "Food & Family" magazine, winter 2008.

PREP: 30 minutes
SERVES: 2 (although could easily be multiplied to feed more)

2 Tbsp. balsamic vinaigrette dressing
1/2 lb. uncooked large shrimp, peeled, deveined
1 large tomato, diced
2 oz. (1/4 of 8-oz. pkg.) cream cheese, cubed
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil leaves, divided
4 oz. (1/4 of 1-lb. pkg.) fettuccine, uncooked
2 Tbsp. shredded Parmesan cheese

1. Pour dressing over shrimp in small bowl; cover. Refrigerate 20 minutes to marinate. Cook pasta directed on package. Meanwhile, heat large skillet on medium heat; add shrimp mixture. Cook 3 minutes or until shrimp turn pink, stirring frequently. Remove shrimp from skillet, using slotted spoon; cover to keep warm. Set aside.
2. Add tomatoes, cream cheese, and 1 Tbsp. of the basil to same skillet; cook and stir 3 minutes or until well blended*. Add shrimp; cook until heated through, stirring occasionally.
3. Drain pasta. Place on serving platter and top with shrimp mixture. Sprinkle with remaining 1 Tbsp. basil and the shredded cheese.

*If you prefer it saucier, stir a small amount of milk into the shrimp mixture while heating. (I recommend adding about 1/8 - 1/4 cup of milk.)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Chicken and Peach Quesadillas

*Adapted from Cooking Light magazine, August 2010.

PREP: 20 minutes

1 tsp. honey
1/2 tsp. fresh lime juice
1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
4 (8-inch) flour or wheat tortillas
3/4 cup shredded Pepper Jack cheese (Monterey Jack cheese with jalepeno peppers)
1 cup chopped skinless, boneless rotisserie chicken breast
1 peeled firm ripe peach, diced
4 teaspoons chopped fresh cilantro
cooking spray

1. Combine honey and lime juice in a small bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Stir sour cream into honey mixture; cover and chill until ready to serve.
2. Place tortillas flat on a work surface. Sprinkle 3 Tbsp. of cheese over 2 tortillas; top each with 1/2 cup chicken, 1/2 cup peaches, and 2 tsp. cilantro. Finish off by topping them with another 3 Tbsp. of cheese and another tortilla.
3. Place quesadillas on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Spray tops of quesadillas with cooking spray and bake at 425 degrees for 5 minutes or until top tortilla is golden brown and starting to bubble up.
4. Serve with honey, lime, and sour cream sauce.

SUGGESTION: Serve with Spinach Salad with Cumin Vinaigrette. To prepare salad, combine 1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice, 1 Tbsp. olive oil, 1/8 tsp. salt, 1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, and 1/8 tsp. ground cumin an a large bowl. Top with 1 (5-oz.) package fresh baby spinach and 1/2 cup red onion; toss gently to coat.