Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Shrimp Scampi, Y'all

Hello!  Can you believe Christmas is in less than a week?  It's madness I tell ya.  I am mostly finished with all my shopping, and I even managed to buy a few things for other people.
This shrimp scampi recipe was really, really good.  I will admit that I had a few bites, even though pasta is the devil in my world these days.  After all, a girl doesn't lose 30 pounds (yes, I hit the 30 mark this morning, woot!!!) by eating pasta soaked in butter and garlic.  It's a damn shame, though, because pasta soaked in butter in garlic is SO GOOD.  My husband snarfed it down like he hadn't eaten in weeks and I'm pretty sure my jeans would still be loose on him.  Oh well.  Anyway, this is a rich, once in awhile kind of dish that you should make for someone if you did something wrong or if you want them to marry you.

Shrimp Scampi over Pappardelle
Source: Adapted from Tyler Florence

1 pound Pappardelle
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 shallots, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
Pinch or two of red pepper flakes
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine
Juice of 2 lemons
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley leaves
For the pasta, put a large pot of water on the stove to boil. When it has come to the boil, add a couple of tablespoons of salt and the pasta. Stir to make sure the pasta separates; cover. When the water returns to a boil, cook for about 6 to 8 minutes or until the pasta is not quite done. Drain the pasta.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Saute the shallots, garlic, and red pepper flakes until the shallots and garlic are soft and translucent, about 3 to 4 minutes. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper; add them to the pan and cook until they have turned pink, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the shrimp from the pan; set aside and keep warm.

Add wine and lemon juice and bring to a boil. Add 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons oil. When the butter has melted, return the shrimp to the pan along with the parsley and cooked pasta. Stir well and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle over a bit more olive oil and serve immediately.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Cups

Just the world "buffalo" makes me giddy with excitement.  I LOVE me some buffalo wings.  And buffalo shrimp.  And buffalo dip.  And buffalo....buffalo.  Anyway, my love for all things covered with buttery hot sauce and blue cheese dressing has had to be adjusted a bit as my quest for a flatter belly continues, but it's all in good fun.  Turns out you can still enjoy these delightful flavors without looking like a linebacker who swallowed a field goal kicker.  Who woulda thunk it?  Granted, I had to eat my lettuce wraps in a separate room from my husband, who was enjoying his buffalo chicken in flour tortillas (so I didn't knock him unconscious with chloroform and scarf down his carbalicious tortillas), but that just meant I got to hold the remote.  So, all was not lost.

But guess what HAS BEEN lost?  Yep, 27 pounds of fat from this girl's frame.  WOOT!

Anyway, the star of this dish is definitely the homemade blue cheese dressing.  They key is not even using full-fat ingredients (I used reduced fat sour cream and reduced fat mayo), but rather the cheese itself.  Spring for a nice block of blue cheese from the specialty cheese section, not that crappy crumbled stuff in the Tupperware-like container.  You'll thank me, I promise.

This was super easy to throw together, and is great for a quick lunch or weeknight dinner when you forget to go to the grocery store don't have time to cook.  Enjoy!

Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Source: My own, Blue Cheese Dressing by Pip and Ebby

1 package boneless, skinless chicken breast tenders
salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste
bit of olive oil for grill
1/2 bottle of Frank's Buffalo Sauce (make sure it's the buffalo sauce, not just the hot sauce)
1 tsp. honey
1 head iceberg lettuce, separated into "cups"
4-5 ribs celery, chopped

1 cup reduced fat sour cream
1 1/2 cups reduced fat mayonnaise
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1-2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1/2 - 3/4 cup good blue cheese, crumbled
salt and pepper to taste

First, make the blue cheese dressing.  Combine all the ingredients (sour cream through vinegar) in a small bowl.  Gently mix in the crumbled blue cheese and add salt and pepper to taste.  Put in refrigerator until ready to use.

Next, prepare the chicken.  Heat grill pan to medium-high.  Season the chicken with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  Grill chicken until cooked through, about 3-4 minutes each side.  Remove and cut into bit size pieces when cool enough.

Combine the buffalo sauce and honey in a small bowl.  Add chicken pieces and toss to combine.  

Serve chicken in lettuce cups, topped with blue cheese dressing and chopped celery.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Pork Tenderloin with Parmesan Sage Cream Sauce

Today I went to spin class at the gym and afterwards ran by the market to grab something quick for us to have for dinner.  While I was waiting for the lady to put my husband's panini in the panini press, I caught a glimpse of myself in the full length mirror and literally gasped.  No, not because I am so skinny (but I AM looking awfully svelte lately, if I do say so myself), but because I was dressed like an 80's aerobics instructor on crack.  By themselves, there is nothing wrong with hot pink sneakers, electric blue biking capris, a neon green tank top, an orange headband, or a bright yellow warmup jacket.  But together?  Not so much.  I looked absolutely ridiculous.  I was really busy this afternoon and put together my spin class outfit in phases when I had time.  Like, I put on the capris in the afternoon to walk the dog, but at that time I had on a black T-shirt, so it wasn't all that offensive.  But by the time I had to leave for the gym, I was late and had to grab the first tank top and jacket I could find.  Little did I know they could be seen from outer space.  All I needed was some legwarmers and a thighmaster, and I could have been Suzanne Summers herself.  Shameful.

Anyway, that has nothing to do with pork tenderloin with sage cream sauce.  I just thought I'd let you know that these things can happen to the best of us and one must be careful when dressing for the gym. 

So!  Pork.  I found this recipe on Pinterest and it actually calls for pork chops, but I didn't have any pork chops but DID have four (FOUR!) pork tenderloins in the freezer, so I improvised.  It turned out fine, though, since the sauce is really the star of the show.  We had a lot left over and I was worried that it wouldn't reheat well, but I was wrong (first time for everything).  It made a delightful lunch the next day.  Enjoy!

Pork Tenderloin with Parmesan Sage Cream Sauce
Source: Adapted from The Little Kitchen

1 to 1.5 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup half & half
salt and pepper
4 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated
1/8 teaspoon McCormick ground sage (plus 2 pinches)
1 large pork tenderloin

1 tsp. blackening seasoning
1 tsp. garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
Heat oven to 425.

In a small saucepan, melt butter on medium-low heat. Add half & half and allow to simmer to cook and reduce for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon constantly. Add cheese and allow to melt. Continuing to stir the sauce, add the ground sage. Remove pan from heat and set aside.

Season the pork with the blackening seasoning, garlic powder, salt and pepper.  Heat a cast iron skillet at medium high heat for about 3 to 5 minutes. Add pork and brown on all sides, about 2 minutes per side.

Put the pork on a foil-lined baking sheet and finish cooking in the oven, about 10 minutes, or until a thermometer inserted in the center registers 145.  Remove from oven and let sit for 5-10 minutes (pork will continue to cook after you remove it from the oven).  Slice into 3/4 inch pieces.

Serve pork chops with sauce on top.