Dumplings and Peas Alfredo

I was looking through one of our Food Network magazines and I came across this recipe. I thought it sounded quite good so I flagged it. Since it was quite easy to make, I decided that it would be a perfect one to make when I volunteered at school and Paula had to work. When Paula and I enjoyed it this afternoon, it turned out to be quite tasty. If you are looking for a meal that  you can cook at home in a short amount of time, this would be one to try. Here’s all that  you will need:

  • 1 package of frozen shrimp, vegetable or seafood dumplings (10-16 ounces)
  • 3/4 cup of heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup of frozen peas
  • 2 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 thinly sliced scallions

Steam or microwave the dumplings as the label directs.

Bring the heavy cream to a boil in a medium skillet over high heat. Add the dumplings and cook until the cream is slightly thickened, 3-4 minutes. Add the peas and continue to cook until they are warmed through, another 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the Parmesan and season with salt and pepper. (Note: The sauce may seem thin but it will thicken as it stands.)

Divide the dumplings and sauce among plates. Top with the scallions and more Parmesan as desired. Simple and easy…and delicious!

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Zucchini stuffed with Lamb and Lentils

I found this recipe in one of the summer issues of Cooking Light. Since zucchini is still in season, I decided to try it as a way to use the squash in a different way. Our friend Susan was supposed to come over for dinner last night but something came up. Paula and I still had the dish and it was quite tasty, especially with the yogurt-cucumber sauce. The creamy lentils also provided a nice compliment to the lamb filling that is flavored with cinnamon and allspice. Here is what you will need to try these stuffed zucchini at your house…

  • 3-4 large zucchini
  • 2 tablespoons of water
  • 8 ounces of lean ground sirloin
  • 7-8 ounces of ground lamb
  • 3 minced garlic cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1/2 cup of chopped red onion (plus 1 tablespoon for topping)
  • 3/4 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 1 cup of cooked lentils
  • 1 cup of plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup of minced cucumber, drained on paper towels
  • 1 teaspoon paprika

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Cook the lentils according to directions.

Halve the zucchini lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds, leaving 1/4-inch-thick sides and bottoms. Place the zucchini and 2 tablespoons water in a microwavable bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave at high until zucchini are crisp-tender, about 4-5 minutes.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the beef, lamb, garlic, cinnamon, allspice, pepper, chopped onion, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt to the skillet. Cook, stirring, until the meat is browned and crumbly, about 6-7 minutes. Remove the skillet from heat and stir in the lentils.

Divide mixture evenly among zucchini halves. Place the stuffed halves on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350°F until tender, about 10-15 minutes.

Stir together the yogurt, cucumber, 1/2 teaspoon paprika, 1 tablespoon minced onion, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a bowl. Top each zucchini half with about some of the yogurt sauce before serving. Sprinkle evenly 1/2 teaspoon of the paprika and then serve and enjoy!

Stir Fry for dinner tonight

I was going to make tagliatelle with artichokes or cook up some mushroom ravioli for dinner tonight. When I asked Paula to pick one of them, she asked me to cook something else since both of them sounded so good  and she wouldn’t be able to enjoy a glass of wine with them since she was working tonight. I honored her request and made a simple stir-fry instead.

I cut up a piece of sirloin steak into thin slices. Then I cut up a red bell pepper, half of an onion and part of a broccoli crown. I cooked some rice in the rice cooker about 30 minutes before it was time to cook everything else. When the rice was finished, I heated up some canola oil in the wok over high heat. I cooked the sirloin pieces for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently. Then I removed the meat, drained out any juice and added another tablespoon of canola oil to the wok.

I added the vegetables to the wok. After stirring them for about two minutes, I added a few tablespoons of soy sauce. When the vegetables were about done after 3-4 minutes, I put the meat back in the wok, stirred everything one or two more times and removed the wok from the heat. I put the rice in a bowl and the meat and vegetables in another bowl.

Paula and I enjoyed the dinner. She had slept late and so we were a little bit rushed. As a result, I forgot to take a picture. But it wasn’t anything extraordinary. That is the joy of stir-frying. You can take whatever vegetables you have in the refrigerator as well as what meat you have around and just cook everything in a few minutes. Home cooking made easy!

Easy Skillet Recipe – Chicken plus rice plus some broccoli

Tonight I made a simple dish for Paula and myself. It was a recipe that I found in the September issue of Food Network magazine. It was cooked in one skillet and only took about 30 minutes to prepare. I tried to cut back on the volume since there are just two of us. Here is the ingredients list (that I used to make a smaller portion for two!):

  • 1/2 cup of salsa verde
  • 1/4 cup of sour cream
  • 1/2 of a large, diced red bell pepper
  • 2-3 cups of broccoli florets
  • 2 sliced scallions (Note: Separate the white and green parts)
  • 2 cloves of minced garlic
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 cups of shredded rotisserie chicken
  • 1 1/2 cups of cooked brown rice
  • 3/4 cup of shredded Mexican cheese blend

Preheat the broiler. Whisk the salsa, sour cream and 1/3 cup water in a bowl.

Heat the olive oil in a large ovenproof nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the broccoli, bell pepper, scallion whites and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until softened, about 5-6 minutes. Add the cumin and stir until blended into the vegetables, another 30 seconds.

Stir in the chicken, rice, salsa mixture and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until heated through and saucy, about 2-3 minutes. Fold in half of the cheese. Top with the rest of the cheese. Broil until the cheese melts, about 1-2 minutes. Top with the scallion greens and enjoy!

Beijing-style Meat Sauce with Noodles

I had some extra ground pork in the freezer and so I decided to try this dish, one that I read about in the summer issue from Cooks Illustrated. It sounded relatively easy and with all of the ingredients, I also thought that it would be very flavorful. I cut the amount of ingredients in half since I was just making enough for Paula and I so if you want to try this for your family, you will likely need to double the amounts listed below.

  • 4 ounces of ground pork
  • 1/8 tablespoon of baking soda
  • 3 tablespoons of red miso paste
  • 3 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of hoisin sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon of molasses
  • 4 scallions (Note: Use both white and green parts cut into 1/2-inch pieces. Cut the remaining green parts on the bias and set aside as a topping)
  • 2 peeled garlic cloves
  • 1/2-inch piece of fresh peeled and sliced ginger
  • 2 ounces of shiitake mushrooms (Note: Slice the mushrooms into 1/2-inch pieces)
  • 1tablespoon of vegetable oil
  • 1/2  pound of lo mein noodles (Note: You can substitute linguine for the lo mein noodles)
  • 1/4 of an English cucumber that has been cut into matchstick pieces

Toss the pork with 2 tablespoons of water and baking soda in a bowl until thoroughly combined. Let stand for 5 minutes.

Whisk 1/4 cup of water,  miso paste, soy sauce, hoisin sauce and molasses in a small bowl and set aside.

Pulse the white and green scallions, garlic and ginger in a food processor until coarsely chopped. Add the mushrooms  and pulse until the mixture is finely chopped.

Heat the oil and pork mixture in a large saucepan over medium heat. Break up the meat with a wooden spoon. Add the mushroom mixture, combine with pork and cook. Stir frequently until the mixture is dry and just begins to stick to the saucepan. Add the miso mixture and bring to a simmer. Continue to cook for another 8-10 minutes as the mixture thickens. Cover and keep warm while the noodles cook.

Cook the noodles , stirring often, until they are almost al dente. Drain the noodles and transfer to a wide serving bowl. Ladle the sauce into the bowl. Serve with the cucumber, green onion pieces and shredded carrots or bean sprouts.

Interesting Vegetarian Dish

I saw this recipe for Coconut Black Rice Bowl in the September issue of Rachael Ray’s magazine and thought it might be interesting to try. It used coconut water and black rice, both of them ingredients that I had not used before. The original recipe called for acorn or kabocha squash. I could not find the kabocha squash so I used acorn squash. It also called for using cauliflower or Romanesco cauliflower. Since we had a little bit of broccoli in the refrigerator, I used that. It turned out to be quite tasty. I am not generally a big fan of vegetarian dishes but this one turned out all right. Here is the ingredients list:

  • 1/4 cup of tahini
  • 1 tablespoon of red or white miso
  • 1 tablespoon of toasted sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon of rice vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 small chopped clove garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon of finely chopped (and peeled) fresh ginger
  • 1/2 of a medium kabocha or acorn squash, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 small zucchini, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1/2 of a small Romanesco cauliflower, regular cauliflower, or broccoli, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 cups of coconut water
  • 1 cup of black rice, rinsed and drained

In a food processor, puree 1/4 cup water with tahini, miso, sesame oil, rice vinegar, garlic, 1 teaspoon of olive oil, and ginger. Thin with 1-2 tablespoons of water if the sauce is too thick. Season the sauce with salt and pepper.

Preheat the oven to 400°. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the squash, zucchini, cauliflower (or broccoli) with 1 tablespoon of olive oil; season. Roast until the vegetables are tender and charred in spots, about 20-25 minutes.

While the vegetables are roasting, bring the coconut water to a boil over high heat. Add the rice. Reduce heat to low. Cover and cook until tender, about 35-40 minutes. (Note: You can also cook the rice in a rice cooker using the brown rice setting.)

Divide the rice among bowls. Top with the vegetables and drizzle with the sauce.

Theodore had dinner with us. All three of us enjoyed the recipe. The tahini-miso sauce was an excellent idea.

Simple Summer Meal…Pesto Calabrese

I had several red bell peppers in the refrigerator as well as leftover ricotta from another recipe that I made the previous week so I decided to use them up and make this simple pesto to combine with some penne. It was quite tasty! Paula and I both enjoyed it for dinner tonight. Here is what I used to make enough for the two of us…

  • 2 red bell peppers (Note: Remove the stem and seeds. Cut into 1/4-inch pieces.)
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 small onion (coarsely chopped)
  • 1 plum tomato (Note: Remove the core and seeds. Then coarsely chop.)
  • 1/4 cup of chopped fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic (Note: Chop and then mince into a paste.)
  • 1/3 cup of ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon of white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 pound of penne

Toss 2/3 of the peppers with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Cook in a non-stick skillet over medium-low heat for about 15 minutes until the peppers are softened and just beginning to brown.

Add the onion, tomato, basil, and garlic. Continue to cook uncovered until the onion is softened, about 6-7 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for about 5 minutes.

Place the ricotta, Parmesan cheese, remaining 1/3 of the bell peppers, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper in a food processor. Add the cooked bell pepper mixture and process for 20 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and then add the vinegar and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Process for 20 more seconds.

Cook the penne until al dente. Save 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Place the penne in a large bowl and stir in the pesto. Toss to combine, adding some of the cooking water as deisred to achieve the desired consistency. Serve with additional Parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes. Enjoy!

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