Thursday, April 29, 2010

CEiMB: Southwestern Hash

It's Thursday! That means it is time for another Craving Ellie in My Belly recipe. This week's recipe was chosen by Melissa from It's Melissa's Kitchen. She chose for us to make the Southwestern Hash from So Easy: Luscious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Week by Ellie Krieger.

I really changed this one up a bit. First off, I wanted to make this a dinner rather than a breakfast meal, so I eliminated the eggs, and instead, added some Habenero and Green Chile Chicken Sausage to the hash. I also substituted a poblano pepper for the green pepper in the recipe because I think poblano peppers have such better flavor than plain ol' green bell peppers. I upped the amount of cumin from 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon. Cumin is one of my favorite spices, and I can't get enough of it. I also threw in some frozen corn at the same time I added the black beans. Black beans and corn are a staple for me whenever I am making a southwestern dish.

I thought this was a filling, flavorful meal. I am glad that I added the sausage and made it for dinner. It was a complete, one skillet meal, with tons of spice and flavor. Yet another great recipe from Ellie. Thanks to Melissa for picking a delicious recipe and be sure to check out the blogroll to see what other participants made!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Rotini with Tuna and Roasted Red Pepper and Artichoke Tapenade

My pantry is getting pretty full. I tend to do that. I will buy sauces or marinades or jars of delicious concoctions, and they will sit in my cabinets while I keep buying more and more things. That has to stop, my cabinet is way too full, and my grocery bill is still way too high. That is how this dish came about. I was looking for something to throw together based on what I had on hand. You will probably be seeing a lot more of these dishes, because I have a lot of great ingredients just sitting in my cabinet waiting to be used. I made this delicious pasta dish from a few ingredients I had in my pantry, and few ingredients I had in my fridge.

Now, I have stated before how much I love Trader Joe's grocery store, and I had a jar of their Roasted Red Pepper and Artichoke Tapenade (see picture below), so I decided to base a meal around that. I also had some Tomato Pesto tuna (see picture below) and some fresh tomatoes and basil. I made a sauce from those ingredients and served it over whole wheat pasta. It's a very healthy dish that comes together quickly if you have all the ingredients on hand. Now, I know this recipe calls for some specialized ingredients, and if you don't live near a Trader Joe's, you could probably use some roasted red peppers and some marinated artichokes in place of the tapenade. But hopefully you do live near a Trader Joe's because it is a wonderful grocery store.

Rotini with Tuna and Roasted Red Pepper and Artichoke Tapenade
serves 4

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 1-10 oz jar Trader Joe's Roasted Red Pepper and Artichoke Tapenade
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1-4 oz pouch of Starkist Tomato Pesto flavored tuna
  • 10 oz. whole wheat rotini
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped

  • In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta according to directions on the box, however, make sure the pasta is al dente because we will finish cooking the pasta in the sauce.
  • While the pasta is boiling make the sauce. Add the olive oil to a pan that has been heated to medium-high, toss in the onions and cook until the onions are soft, but not browned, about 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute a few more minutes until the garlic is fragrant. Be sure not to burn the garlic, as it will turn bitter.
  • Once the onions and garlic are cooked, add the tapenade, tomatoes, chicken broth, and tuna. Cook until the sauce is simmering and everything is heated through.
  • Drain the pasta and add to the sauce, toss everything together and simmer for a few minutes until the pasta has absorbed some of the sauce.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper. I only needed to add pepper because the tuna, tapenade, and chicken broth all contained salt.
  • Divide amongst four bowls and top with fresh basil. Serve immediately.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

CEiMB: Garlic Basil Shrimp

This week's pick for Craving Ellie in My Belly is from Margaret of Tea and Scones. She chose for us to make the Garlic and Basil Shrimp from So Easy: Luscious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Week by Ellie Krieger.

I loved this dish. It was extremely easy and delicious. I mean, the whole dish takes about 10 minutes start to finish. The dish has a wonderful balance of flavors, the heat of the crushed red pepper is a good contrast to the sweetness of the shrimp, tomatoes, and wine. I used some vine ripened tomatoes I found at the grocery store instead of the grape tomatoes. I also made some toasted bread with olive oil to soak up the wine sauce. I will definitely make this again, it is so easy. A great weeknight meal. Be sure to check out the Craving Ellie in My Belly website to see what other bloggers did.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Chicken Stir-fry in a Thai Red Curry Sauce

When I lived in Chicago, I lived in an area surrounded by Thai and Vietnamese restaurants. I must have eaten Thai once a week. Now, back in my hometown, a suburb of Cincinnati, it isn't as easy to find that cuisine. Fortunately, I live by a wonderful grocery store, Jungle Jim's, that is full of many ingredients from all over the world. There is a whole aisle devoted to ingredients from Thailand. Therefore, I decided to make this Chicken Stir-fry that is cooked in a Thai Red Curry sauce. It is similar to the Chicken Teriyaki Stir-fry I made previously, with just a different combination of flavors.

I make a sauce of red curry paste, coconut milk, soy sauce and lime juice. I pour this sauce over a mixture of chicken and vegetables. It's a spicy sauce that is mellowed by the coconut milk. It is funny, I can't stand coconut, but I love Thai cuisine that includes coconut milk in almost every dish. It is important to serve this stir-fry over rice because the recipe makes a lot of sauce, and the sauce is quite thin, so you need to rice to soak it up.

Chicken Stir-fry in a Thai Red Curry Sauce

Red Curry Sauce:
  • 1 14-oz can light coconut milk
  • 2 to 4 Tablespoons Thai Red Curry Paste
  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • Juice from 1/2 lime
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 6 cups assorted vegetables (I used a combination of carrots, snow peas, sliced mushrooms, and water chestnuts, broccoli and bamboo shoots would also work well)
  • 1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
  • salt
For serving:
  • green onions, thinly sliced
  • fresh cilantro, chopped
  • additional soy sauce
  • hot cooked rice


To make the sauce:
  • Pour the coconut milk in a medium size bowl, whisk the milk if it has separated in the can. Add the Thai Red curry paste and whisk to combine (it depends on how spicy you want your sauce, I used 4 tablespoons, but that may be too spicy for some, start with a few tablespoons and add until desired spice level is achieved, be sure to taste as you go along). Add the soy sauce and lime juice. Set aside and begin the stir-fry.
  • Note on the sauce: It really is all about personal preference. If you want it saltier, add more soy sauce, if you want more of a tart taste, add more lime juice, and if you want it spicier, add more curry paste.

To make the stir-fry:
  • Add the 1 1/2 tablespoons of the olive oil to a skillet over medium heat. First add the vegetables that take longer to cook, like the carrots, and stir-fry until tender, then add the vegetable that cook quicker, like the sugar snap peas, mushrooms, and water chestnuts. Season lightly with salt, and stir-fry until all the vegetables are tender. Remove vegetables from skillet and keep warm. Remember that the sauce contains soy sauce, so you don't want to salt the vegetables too heavily.
  • Next, heat the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons in the skillet and add the chicken and stir-fry until the chicken is cooked all the way through.
  • Once the chicken is cooked return the vegetables to the skillet, and pour the sauce over the chicken and vegetables. Cook the stir-fry until it has come to a simmer, and everything is nice and hot.
  • Serve the stir-fry over hot cooked rice and top with green onions and cilantro for some fresh flavor. Also, serve with soy sauce if additional saltiness is desired.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Green Beans and Corn with Salsa

If you are looking for an easy, healthy side dish, then this is a good choice. You simple saute green beans in a skillet, stir in corn, then add fresh salsa. I can't wait for summer to come, so I can make this again with ingredients from my garden. I used a store bought fresh salsa this time, but next time I am going to use my recipe for Pico de Gallo. This dish makes a lot, so it is great for parties and gatherings.

Green Beans and Corn with Salsa

2 lbs. fresh green beans, washed and trimmed, cut into large pieces
1 lb fresh or frozen corn
2 cups fresh salsa
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper

Heat the olive oil to medium-high in a large skillet, add the green beans and saute until they become crisp-tender. Add the corn and heat through. Finally mix in the salsa, and simmer the dish until everything is hot and the flavors had blended. Season well with salt and pepper. Serve warm at room temperature.