Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Garlic shrimp in coconut milk, tomatoes and cilantro

Another successful recipe from Gina's WW's Recipes! For me, the biggest success of this recipe is that I actually peeled and deveined the shrimp all on my own! The peeling bit was easy (even though pulling the heads off was disgusting), but it was the deveining that I was most uncertain about. I believe they even make specific tools to do this and all I had was my $1 Pampered Chef Quikut Paring Knife. Fortunately I have watched enough cooking shows and eaten enough shrimp that I could handle it without the special tool! It took me a little while, but the whole process was actually quite cathartic.

Preparing the shrimp was the most difficult thing about this recipe, so if you find already prepared shrimp this is a quick and easy meal. The recipe says to saute the red peppers over low heat until they're soft (about 4 minutes). If you can manage to get something to saute on low heat, then well done to you! I couldn't. So after about 10 minutes of looking at raw peppers in the pan, I jacked up the heat to get some action. I turned it back down before adding the tomatoes and coconut milk. Wes doesn't like things too spicy, so I only used about 1/4 tsp red pepper flake. It wasn't spicy at all, so next time I'll use the full amount. Also, don't be put off by the amount of garlic in this dish. It wasn't overly garlic tasting at all.

Sorry about the quality of my picture. I had forgotten to take one and Wes reminded me when I had already put the leftovers in the container for him to take to work!

Here is the direct link to the recipe and I've also typed it out for you below:

Garlic shrimp in coconut milk, tomatoes, and cilantro (coriander if you're not in the US!)

1 1/4 lb jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 red bell pepper, sliced thin
4 scallions, thinly sliced, white and green parts separated
1/2 c cilantro
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flake (to taste)
14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes
14 oz can of light coconut milk
Juice from 1/2 of lime
Steamed or boiled rice

In a medium pot, heat oil on low (again, you might want to jack this up). Add the red peppers and saute until soft (about 4 minutes). If you have turned up the heat on the skillet, turn it back down to low, let it cool off a minute, then add the whites of the scallions, 1/4 c of the cilantro, and the garlic. Cook for about 1 minute.

Add the tomatoes, coconut milk and salt to taste, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes. The sauce should start to thicken up a bit.

Add the shrimp and cook for 5 minutes. Add the lime juice.

Serve over rice, sprinkled with cilantro and the green onions.

Serves 4 and the WW points is 5.5 (not including the rice)


Monday, 22 February 2010

Baked chicken with dijon and lime

I'm not sure how I found this food blog, but it's my new favorite! There are sooo many recipes on it that look delicious! I made my first recipe from the site tonight and it didn't disappoint. We both thought it was delicious. The only change I made was that I used wholegrain mustard instead of dijon because that's what I had on hand. I imagine any mustard would work except that disgusting yellow kind. Also, I didn't want leftovers which is why I cooked 5 thighs instead of the 8 the recipe calls for. I served this with sauteed courgettes (zucchini) and boiled rice.

Here is the direct link to the chicken recipe and I've typed out the recipe below:

Baked chicken with dijon and lime

8 small chicken thighs, skins removed
3 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp light mayonnaise
1 garlic clove, crushed
3/4 tsp black pepper
Juice and zest from one lime
Dried Parsley

Preheat oven to 400 F (204 C). Rinse the chicken, remove the skin and fat, then pat dry. Place in a large bowl and season generously with salt. In a small bowl combine the mustard, mayo, garlic, black pepper, lime juice and zest. Mix well, then pour over chicken, tossing it to coat.

Spray a large baking pan with cooking spray. Place chicken to fit in a single layer. Sprinkle the chicken with dried parsley. Bake until cooked through, about 30-35 minutes. If you want the chicken to look more brown, place under the broiler for a few minutes (I didn't do this). Serve chicken with pan juices drizzled over the top.

Serves 4
If you're counting WW points, it's 4.25 per serving.


Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Sausage and lentils casserole

This recipe came from Weight Watcher's Cook. I tried to find the book online, but can't find it anywhere. My housemate in England was attending WW meetings and brought this home. After we made a few things I asked her to pick one up for me too. Perhaps it's only available to people who attend meetings. The recipes in this book can be a bit hit or miss, but this one was definitely a hit! I love lentils, so I've been eyeing this recipe up for awhile. We both loved it and I will definitely be making it again. The cookbook describes it as a comfort food and I would definitely agree as it's very hearty and filling. The recipe makes 4 generous servings. If you're following WW, this recipe is 6 points. You can also make it vegetarian by using veggie sausages and stock. Then it would only be 5 points. 

I used the Marks and Spencer reduced fat sausages, but any mild sausage would work well in this recipe. I couldn't find dry Puy lentils, so I used brown which took about 45 minutes to soften. I didn't have mixed herbs, so I used herbs de provence and sprinkled in a bit of parsley.

Sausage and Lentil Casserole

Low fat cooking spray
8 low fat sausages (400g/14oz total weight)
4 shallots, sliced (or one small onion)
2 garlic cloves, sliced
150ml (5 fl oz) red wine
110g (4oz) Puy lentils
400ml (14 fl oz) beef stock
2 teaspoons dried mixed herbs
450g (1 lb) potatoes, peeled and chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Lightly coat a large lidded pan with low fat cooking spray and heat until sizzling. Add the sausages and cook for 4-5 minutes until browned all over. Add the shallots and stir fry for 3-4 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for a further minute.
2. Add the wine and let it bubble for a minute before adding the lentils, stock and herbs. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 30 minutes until the lentils are soft and the sausages cooked through.
3. Meanwhile boil the potatoes for about 20 minutes or until soft. Drain the potatoes and mash them.
4. Serve the mash potatoes with the casserole.


Friday, 12 February 2010

Dried apricot couscous salad

I participate in an online forum and one of the topics that you can post in is 'What's for dinner tonight?' I like this topic because sometimes when you have NO idea what to make, you can get some ideas. One day someone commented that they were making couscous. I find my couscous to be really boring, so I asked if anyone had suggestions on how to prepare it. One woman posted this recipe for a couscous salad and I decided to give it a go. DELICIOUS!!! I like that it's really easy to tweak to your tastes. I have posted here the exact recipe she gave, but I made some changes. I'm not a huge fan of mint and one cup was way too much. I only used 5 large leaves and it was perfect. I also only used one clove of garlic since it was going to be raw in the salad. We love garlic and this was plenty! You can leave it out if you don't like garlic.

I think this salad would also be delicious with dried cranberries instead of the apricots. I'm going to try that next time!

1 1/2 c water
1 1/2 c couscous
10 dried apricots, chopped
3/4 c sliced almonds, toasted
3 tbsp lemon juice
3 green onions, green parts only, chopped
1 c fresh mint, chopped
2 handfuls cilantro, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp lemon zest
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt to taste

1. Prepare the couscous by boiling the water and pouring it over the couscous, covering it with plastic wrap. All it to sit for 10-15 minutes. Uncover and fluff with a fork.

2. In a large bowl, mix together all the ingredients, then gently fold in the couscous, oil, and salt.


Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Summer-In-Winter Chicken

A couple of weeks ago KD posted the BBC GoodFood recipe for this chicken dish on her blog. Looked tasty to me! So I decided to try it for dinner. I'm not including a picture because KD's looked MUCH better than mine. I didn't have cherry tomatoes, so I just chopped up 3 small tomatoes. I think I cooked them too long, causing them to break down too much, so the sauce got really dark. We had it with mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli. The sauce was really nice with the mash! It had good flavor and Wes really liked it, so I would definitely make it again I'll just be more careful with the tomatoes!

Here is the direct link to Summer-In-Winter Chicken.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Teriyaki Pork Stir-Fry

This is another tasty low fat recipe from Pampered Chef's It's Good For You cookbook. Once the meat is marinated this recipe is super quick to make, so it's a great workday meal. You could make the marinade in the morning, then just throw the pork into it as soon as you get home. The meat only needs to marinade for 15 minutes.

I used to follow the recipe to the letter, but one day I went to the store and they didn't have fresh snow peas, but instead had mange tout (is that the same as a snow pea?) and baby corn, so I got that instead. You know, that kind of thing. I never thought I liked those little baby corn, but well, I do. Why? Because I love all things corn. Tesco has these great stir-fry packs and I love the variety of vegetables that now go onto this stir-fry.

The original recipe calls for red pepper flake, but since the fresh pepper is included in the pack I use that now. I love this recipe with brown rice. It really does give it a nice nutty flavor, but white rice is a fine substitute. The cookbook suggests substituting chicken if you don't like pork. I have made it both ways and both are great!

Teriyaki Pork Stir-Fry

2/3 c reduced-sodium soy sauce
1/4 c packed brown sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch
2 tsp peeled, finely chopped fresh gingerroot (I use the Very Lazy stuff that comes in a jar)
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, or 2 tsp chopped fresh pepper, veined and deseeded
1 lb boneless pork loin chops, cut into 1/8-in strips
2 c uncooked rice, preferably brown
1 medium red bell pepper, cut into 1/4-in strips
6 oz fresh snow peas, trimmed (or any stir-fry combo you like)
1 bunch green onions with tops, cut into 1-in pieces (about 6-8)
1 tsp sesame oil, divided
1 can (8 oz) bamboo shoots, drained

1. In a medium-sized dish, combine soy sauce, brown sugar, and cornstarch; whisk until blended. Add the chopped gingerroot, garlic, and red pepper.

2. Slice the pork into 1/8-in thick strips. Add pork to soy sauce mixture; toss to coat. Cover; refrigerate at least 15 minutes to marinate.

3. Cut the bell pepper into 1/4-in strips and cut green onions into 1-in pieces. Start cooking the rice according to package directions.

4. Heat 1/2 tsp of the oil in a large skillet or wok until hot. Remove pork from marinade using a slotted spoon; add to skillet, reserving marinade. Stir fry a few minutes or until pork is no longer pink. Remove from skillet and keep warm.

5. Heat remaining 1/2 tsp oil in same skillet. Add bell pepper, the stir fry vegetables, and green onions. Stir fry 2-3 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender. Return pork to skillet. Stir in reserved marinade and bamboo shoots. Bring to a boil. Cook and stir 1 minute or until sauce is thickened. Serve over rice.

Pampered Chef says this makes 6 servings, but I'd say it makes 4-5 depending on who is eating it.