Thursday, February 10, 2011

CEiMB - Shrimp Fried Rice

This week's CEiMB recipe, courtesy of Sarah at Sarah's Kitchen Adventures, is Shrimp Fried Rice. Now, I love shrimp and I love fried rice, so I was very excited to try this recipe out. Fried rice isn't difficult, but it does take some planning. It is crucial that the rice you use is not fresh. If you use fresh rice, it comes out wonky and doesn't taste like fried rice at all. Trust me, I've made that mistake before, so this time I cooked my rice the night before I planned on making this dish.

First, I cooked up the ginger, green onions, and shrimp in canola oil.

To that, I added the cabbage. I apparently missed the note to cut the cabbage into three inch pieces, so mine were a tad big. Oops. After the shrimp pinked up, I set all that to the side and heated up some toasted sesame oil in the pan. I then added the cold brown rice and fried it up. I added the shrimp/cabbage mixture to the rice along with some soy sauce.

Terrible picture, but the dish itself turned out very well! My husband asked where the peas and carrots were, so I will add those in next time.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

CEiMB -- Four Cheese Baked Penne

This week's CEiMB recipe, hosted by Lindsey of 71 Cookbooks, is Four Cheese Baked Penne. I was torn about making this recipe. I love pasta and cheese, and especially love the two together in a baked pasta. However, I HATE cottage cheese. The consistency makes me shudder and feel ill. Okay, I'm exaggerating a bit, but I avoid cottage cheese at all costs. But I decided to put on my big girl pants and try it in this recipe. It was a good decision.

While I boiled the pasta, I chopped up my onion and garlic and combined the cheeses. I may or may not have said "Blech, you are so gross looking!" out loud when putting in the cottage cheese, but I got over it. Then it was time to take the pasta out of the pot and put the onions, then garlic, then tomatoes and herbs in. I didn't have rosemary, so I used some Italian seasoning blend. This may have been a bit too much oregano. After the sauce simmered for 10 minutes, back in went the pasta along with the cheese mixture. It was topped off with the remaining mozzarella and some parmesan. I noticed that Kraft shredded cheese is now smaller than 2 cups--they are only 1 3/4 cups now! In protest, I added in an extra 1/2 cup of mozzarella, which made the dish less healthy but eased the pain of paying the same amount for 1/4 cup less cheese.

I didn't snap a lot of pictures since I was focused on getting everything together, but here's a before picture.

And an after pic (but before serving).

I made this recipe on a weeknight, but next time I will save it for a weekend since it is a little time consuming. However, most of that time is waiting time and it's incredibly easy to make. Next time, I will also use fresh parsley or omit it entirely.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

CEiMB -- Fettuccine with Creamy Red Pepper-Feta Sauce

I am a former feta hater. I hated the texture of it, the smell, and definitely the taste. That is, until I went to Greece in June for a few days and realized that feta can be good! Rich, creamy, and very much NOT like chalk. Since then, I've made more of an effort to try out different fetas to find some here that I like. So for this week's Craving Ellie in My Belly, I decided to try out her Fettuccine with Creamy Red Pepper-Feta Sauce.

The recipe was easier than I expected. While I chopped up the onion and garlic, I managed to convince my husband to drain and cut up the roasted red pepper and portion out the feta.

I quickly realized that my mini food processor was not going to cut it, so I decided to be "adventurous" and use handhold blender I usurped (okay, asked for and was given) from my parents. It was very easy to use and I didn't make a huge mess of my kitchen. Of course, I have no pictures of my blended success since at that point, the pasta was done and it was ready to serve!

I should mention that while the sauce was blending, I heated up some sundried tomato chicken sausage on the stove to throw into the pasta. Despite the unappetizing color of the sauce, it was a definite success. We had enough leftover to have for lunch at work the next day which is always a good thing.

I hope you all enjoyed this recipe as much as I did. I would definitely make this again, possibly exchanging the sausage for shrimp--not that it needed either.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 to 3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 (16-ounce) jar roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken stock or vegetable stock
1 cup crumbled feta cheese or a 6-ounce block
1 pound whole-wheat fettuccine
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

Heat the oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Saute onion and garlic until soft, about 10 minutes. Add roasted peppers and saute until heated through. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Place mixture in the bowl of a food processor with stock and all but 2 tablespoons of the feta. Process until combined and smooth, about 30 seconds. Cook pasta according to package directions.Drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water. Toss pasta with sauce, adding pasta water by the tablespoon, if needed. Sauce should cling nicely to pasta. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Divide amongpasta bowls. Sprinkle with parsley and remaining feta cheese.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

CEiMB -- Walnut and Dried Cherry Bars

Hello again! After quite a long absence, I am back. Not that I really went anywhere. Things were hectic at work and with the holidays, and I let the blog fall to the way side. But I am back and ready to cook, though I am considering a move to Word Press from Blogger. Stay tuned for more info.

This week's recipe for CEiMB, Walnut and Dried Cherry Bars is from Heide of Chez Zero. Like all of Ellie's recipes, this one fits in great with the whole "Eat better" resolution so many of us have. The ingredient list appeared intimidating at first, but the recipe was incredibly simple. I used my mini food processor to chop up my walnuts, which was fantastic. My grocery store only had untoasted wheat germ and I didn't feel like toasting it so I used it as is. I also didn't have dried cherries, but I did have cherry flavored Craisins so I used those.

The ingredient mixture is baked in a square baking dish, as seen below. The oats make it look like I just took a giant bowl of oatmeal and dumped it in a dish.

While the bars baked, I did dishes--by far, the most difficult part of the whole thing. When the baking time wound down, I cooked up the apricot preserves. I didn't realize that my "all fruit" jelly had actual fruit pieces. No matter, I still brushed the melted preserves on top of the hot baked energy bars.

I didn't snap a pic of the cut bars, but I am eating one as part of lunch right now--delicious! I will definitely be eating more of these, and will make them again with different dried fruit and preserves.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

CEiMB -- Baked Shrimp with Tomatoes and Feta

Well, today is Thanksgiving in the U.S. For Craving Ellie in My Belly this week, we can choose any Ellie recipe we want. Since I'm sure there will be lots of delicious, heavy food at Thanksgiving, I decided to pick a light seafood dish--Baked Shrimp with Tomatoes and Feta from The Food You Crave (page 234). This dish is amazingly simple yet delicious and will definitely be a regular in my house.

Basically, you cook up some onion and garlic in olive oil, then add two cans of diced tomatoes until the mixture thickens. Throw in some shrimp, parsley, dill, salt, pepper, and feta, and put the whole thing in a 425 degree oven for 12 minutes. That's it!

I decided to serve the shrimp with brown rice, but it would also be great with pasta.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

CEiMB -- Whole-Wheat Pasta Salad with Walnuts and Feta

This week's CEiMB recipe is whole-wheat pasta salad with walnuts and feta hosted Kayte of Grandma's Kitchen Table. I may not have taken many photos, but I loved it! While the pasta boiled, I chopped up spinach, onion, feta, as well as the sun dried tomatoes I added in. I set the mixture to the side while I toasted and chopped the walnuts before adding them to the party.

The dressing was incredibly easy to make, though I used olive oil rather than walnut oil. I doubled the amount of dressing and combined everything.

It was very tasty that evening, as well as for lunch the next day. The only thing I would change is using less onion. I used half of a small/medium red onion and it was overpowering--and I LOVE onions. I also added some dried cranberries to the lunch leftovers and it was delicious. I will definitely be making this dish again.

Friday, October 29, 2010

CEiMB -- Spaghetti Frittata

Growing up, one of my aunts would always make a spaghetti pie for holiday dinners. It always scared me, so I never tried it. When I saw this week's recipe for Spaghetti Frittata, hosted by Marthe at Culinary Delights, it reminded me of that spaghetti pie. I knew I had to make it and finally try it out!

Since the past few weeks at work have been hectic, this was a good recipe to make because it was so straightforward and uncomplicated. While I cooked the pasta, I chopped up my onion and set it to cook, then chopped up the spinach, sundried tomatoes, and garlic to add to the pan. After combining the pasta and sauce, I added that mixture to the veggies and cooked up. Finally, I added the eggs. The recipe calls for broiling the mixture after adding cheese, but I wasn't 100% sure that my pans could handle it so I put the oven temp up as high as I knew I could. It took a bit longer, but it seemed to work.



I was scared it was going to be some weird eggy pasta "thing" but it was good! I wish I had added more salt and maybe some herbs for additional flavor, but my husband liked it as it was.