Thursday, January 27, 2011

CEiMB: Fettuccine with Creamy Red Pepper Sauce and Shrimp

This week's pick for Craving Ellie in My Belly is from Jessica from Learning to love vegetables.  She chose for us to make the Fettuccine with Creamy Red Pepper Sauce from The Food You Crave: Luscious Recipes for a Healthy Life by Ellie Krieger.   I knew as soon as I saw this recipe that I wanted to make it.  I love roasted red peppers in pasta sauces, and the addition of feta cheese sounded delicious. 

I made a few additions to the dish that I thought would work well the red pepper sauce.  I added some chopped spinach and crushed pepper to the sauce.  Once it was pureed, I tasted it, and it tasted too much like just a jarred red pepper, so I added a few tablespoons of tomato paste to the sauce to add some sweetness and remove some of that "jarred" flavor.  It worked perfectly. While the pasta was cooking I sauteed some shrimp seasoned with salt and pepper in some olive oil.  Once they were cooked, I added them to the pasta and sauce. 

This was another great recipe for me.  I think the additions I made really enhanced the sauce, especially the crushed red pepper and the tomato paste.  I would definitely make this again, the shrimp were wonderful with the pasta, but I think shredded chicken or Italian sausage would also work well.  Thanks Jessica for a great pick, and be sure to check out the blogroll to see what others did with their recipe!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

CEiMB: Vanilla Spice Oatmeal

This week's Craving Ellie in My Belly recipe was picked by Mary of Popsicles and Sandy Feet.  She chose for us to make the Vanilla Spice Oatmeal from So Easy: Luscious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Week by Ellie Krieger.  This is a simple recipe, but a hearty and healthy one.  It makes a wonderful breakfast that will keep for days in the fridge, so you can make it on Sunday and enjoy a great breakfast throughout the week.

I made quite a few changes to the original recipe to accommodate what I already had on hand in my kitchen.  First, I used steel-cut oats instead of old-fashioned oats.  I really love the nutty, chewy flavor of them, and if you stir them often while they are cooking, they become really creamy, similar to risotto.  Granted, they take quite a bit longer to cook than the old-fashioned oats (about 25 minutes), but I think it is worth it.

I added dried cranberries instead of raisins.  This recipe has a unique technique in which you add the dried fruit at the same time you add the oats, so the dried fruit plumps up and releases some of its flavor into the oatmeal.  I used some honey cinnamon almonds instead of pecans, and used cinnamon to complement the almonds.  

This isn't a dish that you typically find in a cookbook, and it is one that you might easily pass over because it is so simple, but I am glad I participated this week.  I learned a new trick for oatmeal that I will use again and again.  Thanks to Mary for this week's pick, and be sure to check out the blogroll to see what other bloggers did with their recipe!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Roasted Salmon with Honey Mustard and Dill

I can't start this post without thanking my Uncle Gary.  He went to Alaska last year and sent back some beautiful salmon that was frozen just after it was caught.  It is some of the best salmon I have ever tasted, so fresh and flavorful.  I literally made this dish in anticipation of making salads and pastas with it later in the week, but I just stood in the kitchen eating it after it came out of the oven, so I may only get one more dish out of it. 

This is a very simple, but delicious way to serve salmon.  You roast the salmon in the oven, and the salmon is covered in a honey mustard and dill sauce that keeps the salmon from drying out. I roasted a whole fillet of salmon, but you can easily use the sauce for individual portions, you may just have to cut back on the cook time.  I know it's not the most beautiful picture, but this recipe is so good and easy, I couldn't help but post it on this blog. 

Roasted Salmon with Honey Mustard and Dill

  • 1 1/4 lb salmon fillet (skin on, pin bones removed)
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard (I used Grey Poupon)
  • 2 T. honey
  • 1 T. mayonnaise
  • 1 t. dried dill (or 1 T. fresh dill, finely chopped)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or pressed through a garlic press

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Cover a baking sheet with foil and coat liberally with non-stick cooking spray.  This will help with clean up and will keep the salmon from sticking to the foil.  Place the salmon fillet, skin side down, on the prepared baking sheet and season well with salt and pepper.

In a small bowl, whisk together the mustard, honey, mayonnaise, dill, and garlic.  Spoon the sauce over the whole fillet and let sit at room temperature for at least 10 minutes to let the flavors permeate into the salmon.

Roast in the oven until the mustard sauce has formed a nice crust and the fish flakes easily with a fork, about 25 minutes.  If you are using individual portions of salmon, the time may be less.  Transfer to a platter and serve (if it makes it that far, like I said, I stood in my kitchen and ate some of it right off the baking pan :) ).

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Penne with Braised Short Ribs

I love short ribs.  They are delicious when cooked low and slow until the meat just falls off the bone, so when I saw this recipe from Giada De Laurentiis, I knew I wanted to try it.  The ribs and onions and garlic are sauteed on the stove top, then they are braised in a unique tomato sauce for a few hours in the oven.  This braising results in a rich sauce that goes great with the hearty meat.  Once you pull the short ribs out of the oven, the sauce is pureed, so even picky eaters (like my boyfriend), who don't like big chunks of tomatoes, like this sauce.  It's a great weekend meal, and perfect for those cold winter nights.

4 pounds beef short ribs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
5 Roma tomatoes, cut into eighths
1 cup red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 cups low-sodium beef broth
1 pound penne pasta
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley 

Place an oven rack in the lower 1/3 of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Season the ribs with salt and pepper. In a large heavy-bottomed Dutch oven or ovenproof stock pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. In batches, add the ribs and brown on all sides, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the ribs and set aside. 

Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, wine and mustard. Bring the mixture to a boil and scrape up the brown bits that cling to the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Return the ribs to the pan. Add the beef broth, cover the pan and place in the oven for 2 1/2 hours until the meat is fork-tender and falls easily from the bone. 

Remove the ribs from the cooking liquid. Using a large spoon, remove any excess fat from the surface of the cooking liquid.  Using a ladle, transfer the cooking liquid in the bowl of a food processor. Process until the mixture is smooth. Pour the sauce into a saucepan and keep warm over low heat. Remove the meat from the bones. Discard the bones. Using 2 forks, shred the meat into small pieces. Stir the shredded meat into the sauce. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. 

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain the pasta and place in a large serving bowl. Using a slotted spoon, remove the meat from the sauce and add to the pasta. Pour 1 cup of the sauce over the pasta. Toss well and thin out the pasta with more sauce, if needed. Sprinkle the pasta with Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley before serving.