Monday, August 31, 2009

The Young French Chef part two

I asked my friends on Facebook and Livejournal to send me their favorite quick and easy recipes. This is what I got. By the way, the REALLY good stuff is at the end.

From Meredith:
Initially she sent this: "Granola and yogurt, topped with fresh blueberries or raspberries." But later sent a more detailed meal.
"Salmon salad: Sprinkle a half pound of salmon with Creole spices and olive oil and grill on the trusty George Foreman grill - 7 minutes. While fish is cooking, put salad fixings on individual plates - romaine, baby lettuces, fresh herbs, onions, olives, tomatoes, etc. When salmon is done, divide salmon among plates, add croutons and drizzle with dressing of choice - we like a balsamic vinagrette. Since I make it spicy, we have a modest Pinoir Noir, like Berringer or Mirrasou, with this.
When my mother in law gave us a George Foreman grill, I was a snob and didn't even open it for a couple months, but it is the best thing - fast, dependable, easy to clean. You can do the same thing with - crab cakes, a nice little beef rib steak on sale, chicken breasts, a tuna steak, pork loin, big shrimps or scallops - variety dinner in 10 minutes, with very little clean up. In the summer we eat this all the time - change a few veggies and the dressing and it is a completely different thing."

From Sharon:
"Big sandwich. French or Italian bread, any lunch meat, any cheese, we like lettuce, tomatoes and cheese. Have Anna help, she will love it."

From Iris:
"grilled fish tacos with cabbage and cliantro slaw." Note to Iris, we need the recipe for the slaw!

From Bryn:
"Nachos. Brown sirloin burger, turkey, etc and add a can of drained chili beans or black beans and mexicorn. warm it up, put ontop of nacho chips on foil covered cookie sheet, top with shredded cheese, bake at 325 for 10 min or so until cheese melts. serve with salsa and sour cream. Kids love it :)"

From Erick:
Not sure if healthy but taco ring is fun.
Crescent rolls dough layed out in a circle on baking stone. Add taco meat and chopped onions ontop and fold dough over. Bake till golden brown add tomatoes, lettuce, and shredded cheese to center of ring. Top with sour cream.

From Amy and John:
We got this from a Weight Watchers Cookbook (Cooking for Two) years ago. We love it. We make it often and have made it for others that love it too.

Easy Asian Beef and Noodles
Yield2 servings Serving size: 2 cups (although if you use the remaining coleslaw mix, as listed below, it could easily make two to four depending on the serving size.)

• 1 (8-ounce) rib-eye steak
• 1 teaspoon dark sesame oil, divided
• 1 cup (1-inch) sliced green onions
• 2 cups prepackaged coleslaw - (we usually just use the whole package of coleslaw mix it makes it bigger and enough for huge portions of guilt-free goodness or leftovers.)
• 2 (2.8-ounce) packages beef-flavor ramen noodle soup
• 1 1/2 cups water
• 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce

Trim fat from steak; cut diagonally across grain into thin slices. Heat 1/2 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add steak and onions; stir-fry 1 minute. Remove steak mixture from pan; keep warm. Heat 1/2 teaspoon oil until hot. Add slaw; stir-fry 30 seconds. Remove slaw from pan; keep warm.

Remove noodles from packages; reserve 1 seasoning packet for another use (we typically use both). Add the water and remaining seasoning packet to pan; bring to a boil. Break noodles in half; add noodles to water mixture. Cook noodles 2 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed, stirring frequently. Stir in steak mixture, slaw, and soy sauce; cook until thoroughly heated.

From Scottie:
I stole the bulk of this one form Giada De Laurentiis. It's meant to be a healthy creamy style sauce for linguini to be served with salmon. I didn't have salmon, or linguini... so I made a few modifications, de-healthied it and tossed it with penne :)Stuff you'll need:

1 box penne pasta (1 lb.)
3-4 oz. of goat cheese
2-3 oz. of cream cheese
1 bag baby spinach
2 cloves fresh garlic
3-4 strips of bacon (pancetta would be better)
1-2 tablespoons of lemon juice
Some fresh basil

Chop up your bacon (or pancetta) and put into a small pan on the stove on medium head to render out the fat. Go ahead and start the pasta now too, this isn't going to take long.

While that's doing it's thing, toss the garlic into your food processor and give it a whirl until it's chopped up fairly fine. Next, open it back up and put in the goat cheese and cream cheese, along with about 3/4 of the bag of baby spinach, and the lemon juice. Now would also be a great time to add in things like salt and pepper. Give the whole mess a whirl for about 10-20 seconds or until it looks like a chunky dip. It might even stick to the blade in a big ball, it's ok. Don't over mix, since it's gonna go for another whirl here in a moment.
Back at the stove scoop out your meat and take about 2 tablespoons of the fat over to the mixer. Turn it on and drizzle in the fat. Take your remaining baby spinach and give it a rough chop, do the same with the basil.

Now all you need to do it bring it all together! Into your biggest bowl put the green sauce base from the mixer. On top of that put your penne pasta. Grab a spatula and start incorporating them. Next grab your chopped baby spinach and basil, throw it on and do the same. Sprinkle on some fresh grated parmesan, and you're done!
For the healthy version remove the bacon and use light cream cheese instead of the normal stuff.

A few notes:
When I did this I used 4 cloves of garlic, and it kind of overpowered the entire dish. Also, reserve about a 1/3 c. of the cooked pasta water. If the sauce is way too thick after mixing it all together use the pasta water to loosen it up. It should be creamy, but not a paste.

You can put the bacon, or pancetta, you used into the dish at the end. However, I found that it didn't really add much. All its flavor had rendered out, and it wound up being squishy bits of nothing after they absorbed liquid from the sauce.

And lastly, my two favorites, because sometimes you just have to punt.
From Glen: popcorn - 2 minutes on high. From Rob: Gin, tonic, lemon