Posts tagged ‘Time Savers’
The past few nights I’ve been working a bit later than I’d like to be. This fact usually means we do very quick things for dinner, like pre-made soups, leftovers worked into something new and different or meals that I can pick up on my way in from the office. Even though I knew I was in for a longer day, I’d have none of that tonight. Since I had leftover fresh spinach from Souper Sunday’s Creamy Chicken Florentine, I opted for a twist on a traditional Basil and Pine Nut Pesto.
We did our spinach pesto over a grilled chicken and paired it with balsamic marinated asparagus spears and fresh Roma tomatoes seasoned with salt and pepper. Here’s how you do it.
- 2 boneless chicken breasts
- 2 cups fresh spinach leaves
- 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
- 1/2 fresh lemon squeezed
- 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons garlic salt
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled
- 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1. Heat a grill pan on medium high heat. Lightly oil the grill pan. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper and some garlic salt. Grill the chicken until cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. Grill asparagus that has marinated in balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper on separate portion of the pan. Turn asparagus at the same time you turn the chicken. Remove after about 6 to 8 minutes. It should cook a little faster than the chicken. Just set it aside to cool.
2. While you’re grilling, combine the spinach, pine nuts, lemon juice, and lemon peel in a food processor. Lightly pulse. Pause occasionally to gradually add the 1/3 cup of the oil, blending until the mixture is creamy.
3. Transfer the spinach mixture to a bowl. Stir in the Parmesan. Season the pesto with salt and pepper, to taste.
4. Spread the pesto over each piece of chicken and serve.
It’s awesome and super fast (like 15 minutes fast). I don’t think I’ve made something recently that Vita has enjoyed so much. She was raving about the spinach pesto and found herself looking for things to put it on after the chicken and tomatoes were gone. Enjoy!
For the past two weeks Vita has been pining over a soup they serve in the Detroit Medical Center’s Sinai Grace cafeteria. So, when I launched Souper Sunday last week, I knew it wouldn’t be long before I’d be forced to come up with a version of Chicken Florentine Soup. The most important thing for Vita was that it be creamy, but the most important thing in my eyes was that it wasn’t overpoweringly flavored by just chicken stock. I think we came up with something pretty tasty, even if it wasn’t as creamy as Vita was hoping for.
- 2 Cups Chicken Stock
- 1/2 Onion Diced
- 1 Cup Chopped Fresh Spinach
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
- 1/4 Tablespoon Pepper
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 3 Heaping Tablespoons Cornstarch
- 1/2 Cup Finely Chopped Red Bell Pepper
- 3 Cups chicken meat, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
- 1/2 Tablespoon Curry Powder
- 1 Cup of Half and Half
1. In a large stock pot, bring stock to a slow boil; simmer until reduced by 1/3.
2. Dilute cornstarch in 1/4 cup water, add to stock and stir until it thickens.
3. Reduce stock to a simmer. Add spinach, bell pepper and chicken meat.
4. Add curry powder to taste. Check for flavor and add additional salt and pepper if needed. Add heavy cream, heat for a few more minutes and serve.
Makes 8 cups
Really simple and really tasty. It’s nice and light but still has some nice creaminess.
Tuesday night was one of those nights that I honestly didn’t have anything planned for dinner. So when Vita sent me a text asking for a meal that she’d originally had at my mother’s house, I took it as a welcome out of having to come up with something original. I made two different meals. For myself, I made a Grilled Greek Chicken Salad. For Vita, simply grilled Greek chicken, grilled veggies and Tzatziki sauce.
The real secret is good chicken breasts and the right blend of Greek spices. The best in my opinion is the blend my mother uses, which we buy at Rafal Spice Company in Detroit’s Eastern Market area. You can order it online here.
- 1/2 Red onion – chopped
- 1 Red Bell Pepper – Diced
- 1 Yellow Bell Pepper – Diced
- Black Olives – Diced
- Cherry Tomatoes – Halved
- 2 medium sized chicken breasts
- 3 tablespoons of Greek Seasoning Mix
- 4 cups pre-packaged salad mix
- 2 tablespoons low-fat Greek Dressing
- 4 tablespoons Feta cheese
1. Preheat grill pan over medium high heat. As your pan is heating, coat both sides of chicken breasts with the Greek seasoning mix.
2. Dice vegetables and spray grill pan with non-stick spray. Grill chicken four minutes per side and grill veggies until tender. Turn chicken and remove from grill. Allow chicken to rest.
3. Slice chicken and add to salad. Distribute toppings and dress to your liking.
This is so simple and so good. Vita’s dinner is pictured below.
Not really a complex recipe, but it’s really, really tasty. It’s so much more fun to make your own grilled salads anyway.
Last day of dinner with Vita for the week was a quick meal. We wanted to go with something quick and fast. So, I made a slight twist on an old standby and made Tilapia with sauteed vegetables in a tequila lime reduction. We punch up our fish a lot with lots of Mexican and southwestern spices, but the recipe is pretty straightforward. Here we go.
- 2 large fillets Tilapia
- 1 large lime juiced
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup of gold tequila
- 4 teaspoons southwest seasoning or Cholula dry seasoning
- 1/2 yellow pepper diced
- 1/4 red onion diced
- 1/4 cup of diced cherry tomatoes
- 1/2 bunch of cilantro finely chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
1. Lightly season both sides of the Tilapia Fillets with seasoning.
2. Melt butter in a medium sized skillet over medium high heat and add Tilapia fillets. Cook for two to three minutes and turn fish.
3. Briefly remove the fish from the pan, scrape up flakes and seasoning. Add vegetables and tequila. Simmer for two minutes and return fish to pan. Allow fish to rewarm before removing from heat and serving. Be sure fish is cooked through. It should be fork tender and flaky.
Another incredibly simple recipe that’s really big on flavor. The onions, the lime and the veggies really add something special to the fish. It’s also one of the fastest and most difficult things you can screw up. Goes really well with a rice pilaf or a Spanish rice. Veggies like asparagus or even potatoes are awesome with the lime, tequila sauce drizzled over the top as well.
If you try it, let me know how it goes.
I’ve been a very big fan of seafood lately, and since I’ve become dedicated to gluten free I’ve been making lots of it. Tonight, we went with a pre-made Lobster Bisque Soup that we tried (Sam’s Club) and I picked up some fresh shrimp that I briefly sauteed with rosemary and crushed red pepper flakes. It turned out a little bit more lemony than I would have liked, but all in all, I was happy with it.
Personally, I thought the Lobster Bisque (the brand name escapes me) was fantastic. Big chunks of lobster, good color and lots of Italian herbs.
- 1 pound large shrimp (de-veined, peeled, tail on)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 tablespoon rosemary (dried is fine)
- 2 teaspoons hot red pepper flakes
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
1. To a medium sized skillet, add olive oil and garlic. Saute over medium heat until golden.
2. Add rosemary, pepper flakes, and shrimp, and cook, stirring. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and transfer to serving dish. If you like, add two tablespoons of butter at the very end and allow it to melt in. This creates more of a “sauce” that you can drizzle over your plate. And if I were eating bread still, I’d douse a good crusty piece in it too :).
3. Squeeze half lemon over shrimp.
That’s it, couldn’t be easier. Still, very tasty and super fast for when you’re pinched on time.
I love that we have a pasta maker in our house, it’s probably what sealed the deal on my marriage (ok, maybe there are a few other wonderful things my wife brings to the table). I hate that we never take the time to use it. But, when you have access to really good, ready to go pastas (as we always seem to), it’s hard not to opt for speed. And since last night, I didn’t get home until about 7, speed it was!
This was great pre-made ravioli. They’re really big pieces (you can almost quarter them!) and they’re perfect for just tossing in oil. When I get ravioli of this quality with a really complex inside, I love keeping the dressing for the pasta VERY simple. No tomato sauce here folks. Vita and I opted instead for some great seasoned olive oil.
- 15 pieces of large Four Cheese Spinach Ravioli
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
- 2 tablespoons dried basil
- 2 teaspoons garlic salt
- Black pepper to taste
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta according to the directions on the package. Mine said five minutes, but I almost wished I would have subtracted a minute. Most fresh pasta (note: not previously frozen) cooks very quickly.
2. While your pasta cooks, add your spices to the olive oil in a small bowl and allow some of the flavors to fuse together.
3. Drain and place the pasta in a large serving bowl and toss with the olive oil mixture.
We served ours with our Tomato, Bean and Mozzarella Salad. Very light, incredibly quick and absolutely delicious after a long day of work. Also, I highly recommend dusting your ravioli with a little bit of grated Romano cheese, it adds a really nice tang. Good stuff.
Tonight, baked Orange Roughy!
This morning, I was really hungry as I was rushing out the door. And since I had leftover Kaiser Rolls from Greek Buffalo Burgers, I opted to make something that would satisfy my hunger pang that was portable and required no cooking – An Antipasto Sandwich.
I already know what you’re thinking … Antipasto? For Breakfast? I’ve said before that I’m secretly Canadian, but I think my love for cured meats and non-traditional breakfast foods makes me so much more Europian, Mexican or Jamaican. When Vita and I were honeymooning, I made this breakfast sandwhich nearly every morning.
- 1 Whole Wheat Kaiser Roll
- 5-6 slices hard Genoa Salami
- 5 Cherry Tomatoes Cut into thirds (Romas are great as well, just use 1)
- 2 Slices Fresh Buffalo Mozzarella
- Two spoonfulls of Marinated Vegetables (you can find these at most gourmet or specialty markets, just get the Italian blend with the Cauliflower, Carrots, Peppers, and olives – spicy!)
- 1 Teaspoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper to Taste
1. Cut your Kaiser Roll in half and lay down your Genoa as a base, then add the tomatoes, mozzarella and the vegetables.
2. Salt and pepper the Mozzarella lightly and drizzle olive oil across the top of your sandwich filling
3. Wrap it up in a paper towel and run, because if you’re as late as I was this morning, you were eating on the road!
In all seriousness, this is great anytime. I personally enjoy the saltiness of the Genoa (which isn’t all that far off from the smoky flavors of bacon or other smoky meats) as it mingles with the fresh mozzarella. Olive oil is good anytime, and the marinated vegetables really scream Antipasto and give the whole sandwich a nice back heat. You definitely won’t need mustard for this baby.
This would also be great with a nice Chianti or a strong Merlot for an afternoon snack or brunch because it really packs a punch.