Sunday, May 31, 2009

No Steak Today, just Feta and Herb Stuffed Shrimp

Are there any foods in this world that you wished you loved? For me, it has to be steak. I've seen enough people enjoy steak to know it should be a good thing. For someone who's an ardent lover of food, it seems almost a shame not to be able to enjoy a nice, juicy filet. Honestly, if you gave me the choice between a Ruth's Chris steak and a greasy cheeseburger from McDonald's, I think I'd pick the burger. There's just something about the texture....

Hmm, well I hope you haven't left in disgust.

I tell you this sad steak tale because I have yet another seafood centric treat today. I know, shrimp...again?! :)

Well, these are special shrimp because not only do they include my favorite cheeses (does cream cheese count as a real cheese?), but they're also a trial run for hubby's upcoming graduation party.

Jumbo shrimp are stuffed with a yummy mixture of garlic, green onions, cream cheese and feta cheese. Pop them in the oven and they're ready to go in a few short minutes. Fancy, but fast & easy? I like it.

Thanks to those of you who've forwarded me your favorite party foods. There are so many yummy ideas! If you haven't sent them in, forward me your recipes and photos to newlywedcook at gmail dot com. There's something exciting in store for you if I make your dish!

Feta and Herb Stuffed Shrimp
Adapted from Small Plates: Appetizers As Meals

4 oz crumbled feta cheese (I used reduced fat)
4oz cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon finely chopped flat parsley
1 tablespoon chopped green onions
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
dash of Worcestershire sauce
dash of paprika
20 -24 jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined

In a small bowl, combine the feta cheese, cream cheese, parsley, green onion, garlic, spices. Add a dash or two of Worcestershire sauce. Combine thoroughly.

Cut shrimp along the back to butterfly the shrimp. Spread shrimp open and place a dollop of the cream cheese mixture in the shrimp. Place shrimp on baking sheet , cheese side up. This gets tricky so try and flatten the shrimp down as much as possible to prevent the cheese from falling out.

Preheat the oven broiler and broil the shrimp 6 inches from the heat, until cheese is bubbly and shrimp is pink, about 4-5 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle lightly with paprika.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Lobster Mac and Cheese with a shot of protein

There are few things in this world that I might crave more than Lobster Mac 'n Cheese. The simple creamy, cheesy decadence of macaroni and cheese is one thing, but then toss in chunks of lobster? Oh.Dear.Mama.

Lobster Mac and CheeseIf I told you that this recipe is actually GOOD for you - and I mean really good for you - would you believe me? Thanks to the magic of quinoa pasta, I'm happy to bring you a reduced fat, super high in protein and fiber, yet still delicious meal. Yes, I know it sounds too good to be true, but I would never lead you astray. Already a cheerleader for quinoa, I couldn't believe my good fortune when I stumbled upon quinoa pasta at Henry's.

quinoa pastaMade of corn flour and quinoa flour, you can rest assured that eventhough you're eating something absurdly delicious, you're also filling your body with a complete protein and all the essential amino acids you need. Amazing, huh?!

Quinoa Lobster Mac and CheeseOh, and the lobster and cheddar cheesiness is a nice touch as well.

Quinoa Lobster Mac and CheeseAlthough the folks at Ancient Harvest boldly remind you not to overcook with an exclamation point, we have found that the pasta take a little longer than the box claims. In our household, we tend to stick to the "pick a noodle out of the pot to see if it's done" pasta cooking method.

We've also found quite the treasure in Trader Joe's Langostino Tails. A bag runs about 8-9 dollars, making lobster chunks an affordable and easy to make luxury while allowing our mac 'n cheese obsession to continue on a weekly basis.

Quinoa Lobster Mac 'n Cheese
2 8 oz. boxes quinoa pasta (available at health food stores like Henry's, Whole Foods), cooked according to package directions (plus a few minutes boiling time)
2 tbsp butter
1/3 cup flour
1 1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 cup low fat sour cream
1/2 lb Velveeta, cut into cubes
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp ground mustard
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp coarse garlic salt
2 cups reduced fat shredded cheddar
1/2 -1 cup frozen peas (we use the full cup as pea lovers!)
12 oz of frozen langostino tails (bought at Trader Joe's)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1. Melt butter over medium heat until almost bubbling. Add flour and stir until smooth. Gradually add milk & broth. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for about 2 minutes or until smooth & thickened. Reduce heat.

2. Add sour cream, Velveeta chunks, Parmesan, ground mustard, pepper & garlic salt. Continue stirring until smooth and cheese melts (this may take awhile). Once cheese is melted, add shredded cheddar and stir until melted. Stir in peas & lobster. Add drained pasta to pot and stir until combined with cheese sauce.

3. Spray a 13 x 9 baking dish with cooking spray. Transfer pasta to the dish and bake for 25 minutes.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Cumin Spiced Chicken with Green Tomatillo Sauce

I apologize for my MIA status from both my blog and your blog, but life has been overwhelming lately! I know there are many of you with kids, a job, a mortgage, a hobby, a dog, a cat, and a life. Seriously, I do not know how you do it!

This June, hubby is finishing his Masters degree and I'm throwing him a bash! I've been looking forward to planning and cooking for his party until I realized how quickly June is approaching. What am I making? I have no freakin' clue!

I'm hoping you could all help me. Send me you favorite party recipes & ideas to newlywedcook at gmail dot com! If I end up using of one of your recipes, I just might have a prize for you! I wish I were organized enough to tell you in advance, but I promise not to let you down.

Green Tomatillo Chicken

Meanwhile, here's a fancy looking dinner I threw together when I could actually remember what day of the week it was. Chicken breasts are spiced with cumin and marinated in olive oil and garlic and then grilled & topped with a fresh tomatillo sauce. Though I love salsa verde, I've never made anything with tomatillos.

Green Tomatillo ChickenI guess I had never really seen a tomatillo before either, because I was pleasantly surprised at how cute they were. Leave it to me to think a fruit is cute.

Cumin Chicken with Tomatillo Sauce
We served the birds with one of our favorite side dishes - Summer Black Bean Quinoa Salad - which made for a nice and hearty protein filled dinner, perfect for Cinco de Mayo. Oh, too bad it's Cinco de Seis. Told you I didn't know what day it was.

I promise I will be back to my old self soon & sorry for this rambling post. I think we all get a freebie every now and again, right?!

Cumin Spiced Chicken with Green Tomatillo Sauce
Adapted from Cooking Light 5/09

2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 (6-ounce) skinless,boneless chicken breast halves
1/2 pound fresh tomatillos
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup cilantro leaves
1/4 cup chopped green onions
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped (I admit, we skipped this - we're wimps)

Cooking spray

1. Prepare grill or grill pan to medium-high heat.

2. In a small bowl, combine the first 5 ingredients. Mix well and place chicken and marinade in a large zip-top plastic bag. Seal and let stand for 15 minutes.

3. Discard husks and stems from tomatillos. Combine tomatillos and broth in a small saucepan over medium-high heat; cover and cook 8 minutes. Drain and cool slightly. Combine tomatillos, cilantro, green onions, lime juice, sugar, salt and jalapeño (if using) in a food processor; process until smooth.

4. Remove chicken from bag; discard marinade. Sprinkle chicken evenly with a dash of salt. Place on a grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 6 minutes on each side or until chicken is done. Serve with tomatillo sauce.