Friday, April 29, 2011

Mediterranean Shrimp and Pasta

This is a super fast meal to prepare - I couldn't believe how fast! Coming in second only to tilapia amandine for speediness, this is a delicious light pasta dish that you can have on the table in about 15 minutes! (Maybe even less since you're not stopping to take pictures of every step!) And did I mention it's delicious? Tender shrimp in a light lemon sauce with fresh spinach and spunky feta sit atop steaming pasta. What a great way to end a long day.

Start by cooking the pasta in a large pot of boiling water. While the pasta cooks, heat oil in a large skillet, then add the garlic and shrimp

and cook for 1-2 minutes. (I almost always used cooked shrimp for convenience. If you're using uncooked, cook for an additional 1-2 minutes until the shrimp turn pink.) Remove the shrimp from the skillet and set aside. Now to the same skillet, add 1 cup of the chicken broth,

lemon juice and dried basil.

Add the cornstarch to the remaining broth and whisk well to dissolve it. Then add this to the skillet,

and cook and stir for 2 minutes or until slightly thickened. Add in the spinach

and stir until slightly wilted, then add the shrimp.

Look how beautiful this is!

Drain the pasta and divide it among the serving plates. Top with the shrimp and spinach mixture

then sprinkle with fresh basil and feta.

Faster than ordering a pizza, or even baking a frozen one! And even better cause you made it yourself.

One year ago: Pear Cake with Pine Nuts
Two years ago: Beef Stroganoff

Find more super fast meal ideas at This Week's Cravings.

Get more recipes at Foodie Friday, Friday Food, Food on Fridays, Fun with Food Friday, Ingredient Spotlight.

Mediterranean Shrimp and Pasta

8 oz. uncooked angel hair pasta
1 pound cooked medium shrimp
1 tsp. olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups chicken broth, divided
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. dried basil
4 cups chopped fresh spinach (or baby spinach)
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup minced fresh basil

Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling water til al dente. Near the end of cooking time, saute shrimp in a large skillet in the olive oil along with the garlic for 1 minute. (if you're using uncooked shrimp, cook for 3 minutes or until they turn pink.) Remove and set aside.

In the same skillet, heat 1 cup broth, lemon juice and dried basil. Add the cornstarch to the remaining broth and whisk until smooth; stir into the pan. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Stir in spinach and shrimp; cook until spinach is wilted, 1-2 minutes.

Drain pasta; top with shrimp mixture. Sprinkle with feta and fresh basil. Serves 4.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Swedish Apple Pie

Do you need a quick dessert that also delicious and quite healthy? (175 calories and 7 grams of fat per slice!) Then Swedish Apple Pie to the rescue. Swedish Apple Pie does not have a crust. The apples are suspended in a spicy dough, and thus resembles more of a cake than a pie. But you do bake it in a pie plate, and cut it into wedges, so close enough. And did I mention it's quick? Probably 40 minutes, including baking time, and you're done!

In a large bowl, combine the sugar, flour, whole wheat flour,

baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Then in a small bowl, whisk together the egg and the vanilla.

Pour the egg into the flour mixture

and stir well with a wooden spoon until the dry ingredients are all moistened. The dough will be really stiff, and you'll wonder how this will ever work out. It will!

Now fold in the chopped apples.

The apples will start to give off some of their juices and help thin out the batter a bit. Stir it up til all the apples are coated.

Pour the batter into a greased 9-inch pie plate. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Dust with powdered sugar,

and serve warm (it's even nicer with vanilla bean ice cream!).

One year ago: Pear Cake with Pine Nuts
Two years ago: Granola, Garlicky Green Beans with Mushrooms

Find more great ideas at What's Cooking Wednesday, Whatcha Makin' Wednesdays, What's on Your Plate?, Let's Do Brunch, What's on the Menu Wednesday, Recipes I Can't Wait to Try, Made it on Monday, Cooking Thursday, It's a Keeper, Full Plate Thursday, Recipe Swap Thursday, Sweet Tooth Friday.

Swedish Apple Pie

1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 egg
1/4 tsp. vanilla
2 medium tart apples, chopped
3/4 cup toasted walnuts or pecans, toasted
powdered sugar for dusting

In a large bowl, combine the sugar, whole wheat flour, flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. In a small bowl, whisk eggs and vanilla. Stir eggs into dry ingredients just until combined. Fold in apples and nuts.

Transfer to a greased 9-inch pie plate. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Dust with powdered sugar. Serve warm.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Blender Bread

Last week, I got home from the store and had forgotten to buy hamburger buns for sloppy joes. Rats! Then I remembered that I had this recipe! This is fast homemade bread - less than 2 hours from start to finish. It made a good base for sloppy joes, and it's great to have such a fast recipe when you're in a pinch, or when you just don't want to go back to the store.

This bread is called blender bread, because the first main step is to combine the sugar, eggs, oil and yeast in a blender.

Then add in some milk that you've warmed in the microwave.

Blend it all together, then pour it over the flour and salt that you've combined in a large mixing bowl.

Stir well to combine the wet and dry ingredients.

Then let this just sit and rise for about half an hour. When that time is up, break off the chunks of dough to make rolls into your desired shape. I was making buns, so I pulled off pieces of dough and made them into balls, then slightly flattened them when I placed them on the cookie sheet. (I had to keep flouring my hands as I did this - the dough was really sticky! Lightly oiling or flouring your hands will help keep the dough from sticking all over your fingers.)

(You can make cloverleaf rolls by pinching off smaller pieces, and putting three pieces in a muffin cup.) Note that my rolls are WAY TOO BIG!!! I don't know what I was thinking!

Once the rolls are on the baking sheet or in the muffin tin, cover with a damp towel and place in a warm spot to let rise for another half an hour.

Then bake for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown and the rolls sound hollow when lightly tapped.

One year ago: Balsamic Chicken with Spring Vegetables
Two years ago: Frozen Strawberry Pie, Mediterranean Casserole

Find more inspiration at Mouthwatering Mondays, Mangia Mondays, Make a Food "e" Friend Monday, Melt in Your Mouth Monday, Tempt my Tummy Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday, Tuesdays at the Table, Tasty Tuesday (#2), Delectable Tuesday, A Themed Baker's Sunday.

Blender Bread

1 cup milk
1 package active dry yeast
1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp. salt

Heat milk in microwave until warm. Pour warm milk, yeast, sugar, eggs, and oil into a blender. Blend well until smooth and combined. In a large bowl combine flour and salt, then add the blender mix. Stir well until the dry ingredients are well incorporated, then let rise (right in the bowl) for 30 minutes.

Shape into your desired shape - make buns by rolling golf-ball sized balls and slightly flatten, or place three small "pinches" of dough into muffin cups to create cloverleaf rolls. Put rolls on a lightly greased cookie sheet and let rise 30 minutes.

Bake at 350 for 18 - 20 minutes.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Lemon Poppyseed Muffins

Lemon poppyseed muffins make me think of spring. And even though it's April 22, it still feels like winter in my neck of the woods. So anything that makes me think of spring is welcome! These are super lemony and delicious, with lemon juice and zest in the batter and a lovely tart and sweet glaze. These muffins would be a beautiful addition to any breakfast or brunch buffet, and they are super fast and easy to whip up. Need some spring in your life? Make these muffins!

Start by combining the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and poppyseeds in a small bowl.

In a large bowl, combine the eggs, yogurt, oil, lemon zest and lemon juice.

Blend until smooth and creamy, then gradually add the flour mixture, mixing just until combined. Lightly grease a muffin pan, and then divide the batter between the muffin cups.

(This is not the recipe for using paper muffin cups! The glaze will run over the paper and not on the muffins! Learn from my mistake, and DO NOT use paper cups!)

Bake for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. While the muffins bake, prepare the glaze by combining the lemon juice with the sugar,

and whisk well to dissolve the sugar. When the muffins are done, lightly poke holes in the top with a meat fork or a toothpick.

(I like using a meat fork since you get more holes with each punch!) Now slowly and carefully, pour about a tablespoon of the glaze over each muffin.

Leave them in the pans for a few minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Find more ideas at Foodie Friday, Food on Fridays, Friday Food, Friday Potluck, What's Cookin' in the Kitchen, Foodie Friday (#2!), Muffin Monday, Baker's Sunday.

One year ago: carrot souffle
Two years ago: carrot cake

Lemon Poppyseed Muffins

2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. poppy seeds
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 6-oz. carton plain yogurt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. grated lemon zest

1/4 cup lemon juice
3 Tbsp. sugar

Combine the flour, 3/4 cup sugar, poppy seeds, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the eggs, yogurt, vegetable oil, lemon juice and lemon zest. Blend well. Gradually add the flour mixture. Mix until just combined.

Spoon batter into paper-lined or greased muffin cups. Bake at 400 15-18 minutes.

Combine the 1/4 cup lemon juice with the remaining 3 tablespoons sugar. Stir until sugar dissolves. Once the muffins are baked, pierce the tops several times with a meat fork. Slowly pour about 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice and sugar mixture over the tops of each muffin. Let muffins cool in pans for 10 minutes before removing them to a wire rack to cool completely. Makes 12 muffins.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Caramel Banana Crepes

I've been thinking about making crepes for a long time. And I've had this specific recipe in my collection for over 2 years, mostly because I'm automatically drawn to anything with banana and caramel! And now, thanks to Bellicious and Suzy, who both have challenges to encourage us to make things that have been on our "list," I finally made these.

And now, I only wonder why I haven't made them earlier. Crepes are not difficult, they just take a little gentleness. And this filling is SO scrumptious. Now that I have the basic crepe down, I can think of many ways to fill/top them, like with strawberries and hot fudge sauce or chocolate and raspberries. And then there are all the savory options! I see a lot of crepes in my future!

To make the crepe batter, combine the milk and eggs and whisk well. (I used a large liquid measuring cup so it would be easy to pour the batter into the pan.) Next add the powdered sugar

and the flour, and mix well. (If your flour or powdered sugar are lumpy, which powdered sugar is prone to be!, sift them together first so you get a smooth batter.)

Now add the melted butter,

vanilla and salt. Give it a good whisking to ensure it stays smooth. Now coat a small nonstick skillet with cooking spray and heat it over medium heat. When it's hot, pour about 3 Tbps. batter into the pan

then swirl it around so the batter covers the bottom of the pan.

Let it cook for about 1 minute. Crepes "act" sort of like pancakes - they'll get little bubbles on the top and start to dry out a little so you'll know when it's time to flip them. To flip it, gently bring one side up with a spatula (I used my fingers to help a little)

and then gently turn over onto the "raw" side.

Let the crepe cook on this side for 30 seconds or so,

then slide out onto a large dinner plate. Repeat with the remaining batter, and just layer the finished crepes on a large dinner plate. I never needed to re-grease my skillet, but if you do, just spray it again.

To make the filling and sauce, melt the butter in a large skillet, then add the brown sugar,


and cinnamon.

Whisk well to get out any lumps and let this mixture boil for a second, then add the half and half.

Cook and stir for a minute until slightly thickened, then add the banana slices. Let them swim the sauce til they are heated through, about two minutes, then place a spoonful on the center of each crepe.

(Note: only cut up as many bananas as you'll use that day. You can always warm up the sauce later and add more bananas - they're not nearly as good after they've spent 24 hours in the sauce...)

Now fold the ends over

and gently flip so the crepe is seam side down. Spoon a bit more sauce over the crepe,

then top with a dollop of whipped cream

and a pinch of cinnamon.

One year ago: carrot souffle
Two years ago: sweet potato muffins, tuna melts

Find more great ideas at Sweet Treats Thursday, What's on Your Plate?, Let's Do Brunch, Recipes I can't wait to try, What's on the Menu Wednesday, Real Food Wednesday, Whatcha Makin' Wednesday, What's Cooking Wednesday, What We're Eating Wednesday, It's a Keeper, Full Plate Thursday, Recipe Swap Thursday, Made it on Monday, Cooking Thursday, Sweet Tooth Friday, Sweets for a Saturday, Friday Food: French.

Caramel Banana Crepes

1 cup flour
1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 eggs
1 cup milk
3 Tbsp. butter, melted
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt

Filling and sauce:
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup half-and-half
3-4 bananas, sliced crosswise
2 cups whipped heavy cream

Combine flour and powdered sugar in a mixing bowl. Either sift it, or whisk well to get out any lumps. Add eggs, milk, butter, vanilla, and salt; beat until smooth.

Heat a lightly greased 6 inch skillet. Add 3-4 tablespoons batter. Tilt skillet so that batter spreads to almost cover the bottom of skillet. Cook until lightly browned (about 1 minute); turn and brown the other side. Repeat process with remaining batter, greasing skillet as needed.

For the filling and sauce, melt 1/4 cup butter in a large skillet. Stir in brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir in half and half and cook until slightly thickened. Add bananas; cook for 2 to 3 minutes, spooning sauce over them. Remove from heat.

Spoon banana mixture into middle of crepes, roll up and turn over. Spoon sauce over crepes. Top with whipped cream and a pinch of cinnamon. Makes 12 crepes.
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