Tag Archives: quick

Lemon Pepper Shrimp Scampi

This dish originally appeared in the March 2009 issue of Cooking Light but was resurrected for the Best Recipes issue in November 2012, and after making it for dinner recently, I can see why! The flavors are so simple and delicious, and it was ready in under 20 minutes, which made it perfect {and kid-friendly!} for a hectic Wednesday night.

Lemon Pepper Shrimp Scampi
From Cooking Light

1 cup uncooked orzo
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
½ tsp salt, divided
7 tsp unsalted butter, divided
1 ½ lbs peeled and deveined jumbo shrimp
2 tsp minced fresh garlic
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper

1. Cook orzo according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain. Place orzo in a medium bowl. Stir in parsley and 1/4 teaspoon salt; cover and keep warm.

2. While orzo cooks, melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle shrimp with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Add half of shrimp to pan; sauté 2 minutes or until almost done. Transfer shrimp to a plate. Melt 1 teaspoon butter in pan. Add remaining shrimp to pan; sauté 2 minutes or until almost done. Transfer to plate.

3. Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter in pan. Add garlic to pan; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Stir in shrimp, juice, and pepper; cook 1 minute or until shrimp are done.


Soy Citrus Scallops with Soba Noodles

There was a recent episode of Chopped where the chefs had to make a dessert using soba noodles. I had never had soba noodles before, but knowing that they were a type of Japanese buckwheat noodle, I couldn’t imagine having them for dessert. But I was intrigued, so I decided to try them out. I found this (more traditional) recipe for scallops and soba noodles with a soy citrus marinade/sauce from Cooking Light that seemed easy enough; plus the total cooking time was only 20 minutes, which made it doable for a busy weeknight.

While some of the “fast” recipes from Cooking Light seem to take me much longer than the listed time, this one actually was as easy as it seemed. I changed the original recipe just slightly by adding more veggies, and the dish was a hit with my two year old. If I had a con for this recipe, it would be that it’s a bit pricey compared to our usual meals—one pound of scallops will run you around $15—and I had a difficult time finding soba noodles (several grocery stores were all sold out??). Overall, I would make this again, though I may grill the scallops next time, sans marinade, and just toss everything together at the end.

Soy Citrus Scallops with Soba Noodles
From Cooking Light

3 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp fresh orange juice
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp honey
1/2 tsp minced peeled fresh ginger
1/4 tsp chili garlic sauce
1 tbsp dark sesame oil, divided
1 lb large sea scallops
4 cups hot cooked soba (about 6 oz uncooked buckwheat noodles)
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
1 bag of frozen steam-in-the-bag vegetables (I used carrots, sugar snap peas, and baby corn) 

Combine first six ingredients and 1 teaspoon oil in a shallow baking dish; add scallops to dish in a single layer. Marinate 4 minutes on each side.

Heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Remove scallops from dish, reserving marinade. Add scallops to pan; sauté 1 minute on each side or until almost done. Remove scallops from pan; keep warm. Place remaining marinade in pan; bring to a boil. Return scallops to pan; cook 1 minute.

Steam vegetables according to the directions on the bag. Toss noodles with salt and green onions.

Place 1 cup noodle mixture on each of four plates. Top each serving with vegetables and about three scallops, and drizzle with a tablespoon sauce.


Our Favorite {Quick!} Toddler Bedtime Books

I love reading to my child. We do it every night as part of her bedtime routine, and it’s a big deal for her to pick out the book each night. But I’m not going to lie—I definitely have those nights when I positively dread storytime for fear that she’s going to choose some ridiculously long book when all I really want is to get her in bed so I can open a bottle of wine.

After reading The Cat in the Hat one such night (which takes freaking forever to read—thanks for that Dr. Seuss!), my husband and I got smart and started offering her a selection of books to choose from rather than giving her full reign over her entire library of books. She still gets to feel like she’s picking the book and we don’t want to take a long walk off a short pier by the time we’re done reading; it’s a win win! Here are our favorite bedtime books when we’re trying to make a quick getaway.

 *Honestly, there’s not a single Boynton book we haven’t loved. They’re funny and short and perfect for a quick bedtime story!


Banana Cream Pie, Mmm Mmm Mmm

This has got to be the easiest, most delicious summer dessert ever. My husband isn’t a huge dessert person (especially ones that don’t involve chocolate), but he requests this at least a few times every summer. Plus, it’s a huge hit with my daughter, who asked for “mo nana pie peese” after dinner tonight. (See, it’s so good, it’s inspires full sentences from 21-month-olds!)

Banana Cream Pie

1 package Banana Cream Jell-O Pudding

2 cups milk

2 ripe bananas

1 Nilla Wafer crust

1 tub of Cool Whip

*To make this healthier, I buy the sugar free, fat free pudding mix, use skim milk and buy fat free Cool Whip. I also occasionally make my own Nilla Wafer crust using the reduced fat cookies and light butter.

Add milk to pudding mix and whisk for two minutes. Allow to set in the refrigerator for a few minutes. When the pudding has set, add about two cups of the Cool Whip to the pudding and mix well. Place a layer of sliced bananas on the bottom of the crust, and then top with a layer of the pudding. Alternate bananas and pudding until you reach the top of the crust. Top the entire pie with more Cool Whip, and you’re done!

 


My Favorite Summer Side

This bean salad is a huge hit with my family, and it’s just not summertime without it. This dish is packed with fiber, iron, and protein, so you can feel good about your kids asking for seconds—because they will!

Summer Bean Salad

1 can fat free reduced sodium black beans

1 can chickpeas

1 can fat free reduced sodium kidney beans

2 cups shelled edamame (I use the frozen variety)

1 small tomato (you can also use roasted red peppers if you have any), chopped

1 avocado, diced

2 tsp minced garlic

1 tbsp olive oil

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 lime

Salt and pepper

Drain and rinse the three canned beans and place them, along with the edamame, in a large bowl. Add the tomato, garlic, olive oil, cilantro, and avocado. Squeeze the juice of the lime over the avocado to help keep it from browning. Mix everything thoroughly, and salt and pepper to taste.


Sausage, Veggie, and Egg “Muffins”

I saw this recipe on Pinterest and decided to give it a try this past weekend, with a few tweaks to the original recipe. They were really good! We froze the rest on a cookie sheet and then stored them in a freezer bag. Each morning, we just pop one in the microwave for 45 seconds and then slap it on an English muffin. Breakfast is served! These are especially great if anyone in your family is trying to eat low carb. They are delicious on their own and equally yummy on a biscuit or English muffin. I used onion, broccoli and mushrooms in mine, but I think these would be good with any veggies you have on hand.

Sausage, Veggie, and Egg “Muffins”
Adapted from Six in the Suburbs
Yields 12 muffins

1 lb maple breakfast sausage

1 cup frozen chopped broccoli, cooked

1 small can of sliced mushrooms (use fresh if you have them, I just didn’t)

1/2 cup diced onion

8 eggs

1/4 cup milk

1/2 tbsp vegetable oil

1/2 tsp baking powder

Salt & Pepper, to taste

 

Preheat oven to 375°. Brown the sausage in a saucepan over medium heat. When it is almost done, add the onion and cook another three minutes. Remove the sausage from heat and add the broccoli and mushrooms.

Whisk together the eggs, milk, oil, baking powder, salt, and pepper. Spray each muffin cup with cooking spray, and then fill each cup evenly with the sausage and veggie mixture. Ladle the egg mixture over the sausage and bake for 15-20 minutes.

 


Chocolate Cake in a Mug

I go through phases where I absolutely crave chocolate. I cannot get enough, and it doesn’t matter in what form it comes as long as it ends up in my tummy. These phases generally last three to five days every month, so I’m sure you ladies can relate. :) I was smack dab in the middle of one of these “phases” the other day and, having polished off the rest of the rocky road ice cream two days prior, I was experiencing chocolate withdrawal.

As I was puttering around on Pinterest, I came across a pin about coffee cake in a mug. Someone commented on the pin, “First chocolate cake in a mug and now this- what are you doing to me?!” I immediately started Googling chocolate cake in a mug to see if I had the necessary ingredients, and within five minutes, I was at my kitchen counter preparing two mugs of cake (no, they weren’t both for me—the hubby wanted to try it too!).

This cake isn’t going to win any culinary awards or rock your socks off, but in a pinch (or a PMS-induced craving), it works just fine! Next time, I think I’ll add chocolate chips to the batter or top the cake with ice cream or Cool Whip, since it was a bit dry. Also, the cake is pretty dense, so one mug of cake would have been plenty for Ryan and I to split.

 

Instant Chocolate Cake
Recipe ©2011 Food Network Magazine, LLC  

Whisk 1/4 cup flour, 5 tablespoons sugar, 2 tablespoons cocoa powder, 1 egg, 3 tablespoons milk, 3 tablespoons vegetable oiland a dash of vanilla extract and salt in a large mug until smooth. Microwave until puffed, about 2 minutes.


Freshen Up Your Living Room With Pillow Covers

I love swapping out throw pillows as an easy way to freshen up a room and give your couch a mini-makeover. But who has room to store multiple sets of throw pillows? To solve this  issue, I use pillow covers. For the past couple of years, I’ve been going back and forth between three sets, all from Pottery Barn: white with a cobalt blue shell print, brown with a light blue stripe, and silver (not crazy silver, but cute for the holidays).

I recently decided that my living room is in desperate need of a happy pop of color. Unfortunately, nothing at PB fit the look I had in mind, so I turned to Etsy. Why have I not thought to look here for pillow covers before?! Not only did I find a mind-blowing selection, but the prices are, on average, HALF of what I was paying at Pottery Barn.

My living room is painted a very pale blue with white trim, the couch is taupe and our furniture is dark wood, so I thought something in the red/orange family would be a great contrast. I’ve narrowed my choices down to the following. Let me know what you think! And if anyone has ordered pillow covers from Etsy before and can recommend a particularly good shop, please let me know that too!

Thread Pairs, 2 for $22

Posh Street Pillows, 2 for $36

Fabric Junkie, 2 for $30

Elemenopillows, $18

Larksong Creations, $19

Sew Gracious, 2 for $30


Santa Fe Chicken Pizza

I love the Santa Fe Chicken pizza at CPK, and I was heartbroken to see that it had been taken off the menu. So I decided to try recreating it at home and, I have to say, I think I gave CPK a run for their money! Plus, the whole meal was ready in less than 30 minutes, which makes it totally doable for crazy weeknights! To really speed things up, use leftover chicken or a rotisserie chicken from the store.

1 can Pillsbury pizza crust (or other premade dough or crust)
1/2 cup thinly sliced onion
1 tomato, thinly sliced
1.5 cups mozzarella cheese
1 cup cooked, diced chicken
store-bought or homemade guacamole (recipe follows)
sour cream
store-bought or homemade salsa

For Guacamole:

1 avocado
2 tbsp fresh, chopped cilantro
1 tsp minced garlic
2 tsp lime juice
1 tsp olive oil
salt
pepper

Preheat oven to 400°. Spray your pizza pan or cookie sheet with nonstick cooking spray, and press the pizza dough out onto it. Top with sliced onions and tomatoes and then sprinkle with cheese. Add the diced chicken and bake for 10 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

While the pizza is cooking, scoop out the avocado and put it and the other guacamole ingredients into a bowl. Mash the avocado with the back of a fork and mix everything together.

Top each slice of pizza with sour cream, guacamole and salsa.


Supermarket Shortcuts and Speedy Desserts from Cooking Light

I’ve been getting Cooking Light magazine for years, and I always find great recipes, healthy eating tips and inspiration in its pages. The April 2012 issue, however, seemed almost as if it were written just for me. The focus this month was on fast and easy meals, shortcuts and quick desserts. I always fold down the corner of the page when I find a recipe I want to try, but this time nearly all of the corners were tabbed!

The article “Supermarket Shortcut Solutions” recommended using fresh or canned pizza dough, fresh pasta, hummus, precooked brown rice, and rotisserie chicken to get dinner on the table in a flash, and there are 20 different recipes using these ingredients. With the exception of the fresh pasta (I usually just use the wheat pasta in the box), I am an old pro at using these shortcuts. I also love using jarred roasted red peppers, frozen veggies, Tyson® Grilled & Ready Chicken Strips, fish sticks for fish tacos (don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it), frozen shrimp, and whole grain couscous (throw in some rotisserie chicken and steam-in-the-bag veggies and you have a full meal in less than 10 minutes)!

Photo: Nigel Cox; Styling: Tiziana Agnello

But what caught my eye more than any other recipe was the one for the Limoncello Freeze. My husband and I were introduced to limoncello during a trip to Italy several years ago, and I’ve loved it ever since. My mom has even perfected a limoncello cheesecake (which, come to think of it, I’ll have to share here later). This Limoncello Freeze sounds so quick and easy, I will definitely be giving it a try as soon as I am over this stinking sinus infection and can taste food properly again!

Limoncello Freeze
From Cooking Light, April 2012
Makes four

1/4 cup lemon curd

2 1/2 tbsp limoncello

2 cups vanilla low-fat ice cream

12 mini vanilla meringue cookies

Combine the curd and limoncello in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk to blend. Add ice cream to curd mixture; stir gently to swirl. Spoon 1/2 cup ice cream mixture into each of 4 bowls; top each with 3 meringue cookies.

Now tell me that doesn’t look like it would hit the spot on a hot summer day?!