Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Greek Couscous Salad

This was my favorite dish served at Pearce's first birthday party! I LOVE anything with a vinaigrette, and I'm a pretty big fan of Greek food in general.

Since the party was at lunch time (12-2p), I wanted to serve a chicken salad sandwich and two different kinds of salads. Naturally I thought one of the salads should be a pasta salad...but then I wanted to do something different for the second "salad". I recently purchased the new "Our Best Bites Cookbook" for inspiration for the luncheon...and I was glad I did! I got several ideas from this cookbook. And as soon as I saw the picture for the Greek Couscous on the "Salad" intro page, I was pretty sure this would be the one.

This recipe is awesome as is!! i didn't change anything!! (Except I like to use fresh ingredients whenever possible - so I subbed fresh rosemary for dry- but I realize at such a small amount it doesn't make a big difference, so I would just use dry next time.) AND, I didn't pour in all of the vinaigrette, most of it though.

SO.. here is the awesome recipe that is found only in their new cookbook and NOT on their website.


1 (14.5-ounce) can chicken broth plus enough water to make 2 cups
1/2 teaspoon dry oregano leaves
1 teaspoon dry basil leaves
1/4 teaspoon crushed dry rosemary
1 (10 ounce) box dry couscous (about 1 1/2 cups) - I used the "Middle Eastern" brand from the box
2 cups diced tomatoes, or 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved- I used the latter
1 medium cucumber, diced- I also peeled it, because I don't like the peelings
1/2 cup diced red onion
1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted and halved
1/2 cup crumbled feta- I LOVE feta so I used a bit more
1/2 cup chopped parsley- Jeremy's not a big parsley fan, so I maybe used a heaping 1/4 cup

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves, pressed or finely minnced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. Place the chicken broth and water, oregano, basil, and rosemary in a small pot on the stove top. Bring to a boil  Add the couscous, cover the pot with a lid, and remove from heat. Let sit for at least 5 minutes and then fluff with a fork. Cool to room temperature.
2. Combine cooled couscous, tomatoes, cucumbers, onion, olives, feta, and parsley. Set aside.
3. In a small jar, combine vinaigrette ingredients and shake until combined. Pour over salad, stir, and then refrigerate 2 hours before serving.  Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.
4. If desired, garnish with fresh parsley, extra feta cheese, and lemon slices for squeezing on top.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Citrus Garlic Shrimp Linguini

This is one of my mother-in-law's recipes. It's so delish! I got the recipe after the first time we had it. It is  a Curfew family favorite, and especially in our home, too! I now keep frozen (raw) shrimp from Costco in the freezer, and use them for this fancy and easy meal. It only takes about 30-40 minutes to make from start to table. Here is the recipe...

Citrus Garlic Shrimp Linguini
1 pkg linguini
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup (fresh squeezed) orange juice
1/3 cup lemon juice
3 to 4 garlic cloves, peeled
3 tsp grated lemon peel
2 tsp grated orange peel
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 pound uncooked medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
shredded parm cheese - lots and lots!!!
minced fresh parsley

1. cook linguini according to pkg directions. meanwhile in a blender or food processor, combine the next eight ingredients; cover and process until blended.
2. pour into a large skillet. heat through. add shrimp. cook for 5 minutes or until shrimp turn pink. drain linguini. toss with shrimp mixture. sprinkle with cheese and parsley.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

{Spicy} Orange Beef Stir Fry with Fried Rice

I got this recipe combo from my allrecipes.com cookbook. It was paired together and labeled "better than chinese take-out dinner". We both really liked this, and I've made it twice already. I added red bell peppers (in additional to original recipe). It has a nice orangey flavor and can be spicy with red pepper flakes. If you don't like spicy, you can just leave that out.

(Adapted from allrecipes.com)
Servings: 4

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 pound round steak, cut into thin strips on the diagonal
1 red bell pepper, sliced in strips
1/8- 1/4 cup orange zest
1-2 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (I like to substitute 1 tsp fresh ginger grated if I have it)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup beef broth
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup orange marmalade (don't leave this out!)
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (use less if you don't like spicy!!)

1. In a wok or skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add beef strips 1/3 at a time. Stir-fry for 3 minutes or until browned, removing the done pieces to a plate lined with paper towels.
2. Return all the beef to the wok. Stir in red bell pepper strips, orange zest, garlic, and ginger; stir-fry 1 minute.
3. In a medium bowl, combine cornstarch, broth, soy sauce, marmalade, and red pepper. Pour this mixture into the beef, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook for 1 minute. Serve hot.

(Adapted from allrecipes.com)
Servings: 4

In the cookbook it was paired with "Fried Rice". I love it when side dishes are suggested...leaves me from using my brain too much. I think this was an easy and yummy recipe. I followed direction almost completely.

2 2/3 cups water
1 1/3 cups uncooked white rice
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoons vegetable oil, divided
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 (10 ounce) package frozen green peas, thawed
2 green onions, chopped

1. In a saucepan bring water to a boil. Add rice and stir. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, season eggs with salt and pepper.
2. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in small frying pan, pour in eggs. Coat the bottom of the pan with the eggs, in order to cook them evenly; cook for about 3 minutes. Flip the eggs, cook one minute more and remove them to a cool surface. Let them cool, then cut them into thin slices. Set aside.
3. Place rice in skillet; break up any clumps and toss to coat with oil. Stir in soy sauce, peas, eggs and green onions. Stir and cook until heated through, approximately 3 minutes.

Friday, March 11, 2011

PW's Meatloaf

We are super lucky and have an awesome Meat Market in town (Owen's Meat). They have THE BEST ground beef ever!!! It's made completely from ground Roast, and has the best flavor and is so juicy delicious. We've made hamburgers with it several times and they are a perfect ten. So... I figured if meatloaf was ever going to taste good it was with this awesome Owen's ground beef. Plus, I think the Pioneer Woman's recipe is great to begin with it. I made it exactly like her recipe found here, BUT did NOT use BACON. I figured it wasn't necessary-b/c I wanted to taste the beef flavor more than bacon. Jeremy loved this, too, and we made sandwiches the next day with leftovers. seriously, good stuff. Will definitely make this again!

1 cup Milk
6 slices White Bread
2 pounds Ground Beef ( I recommend getting the BEST ground beef possible)
1 cup (heaping) Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
¼ teaspoons Seasoned Salt
¾ teaspoons Salt
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
⅓ cups Minced Flat-leaf Parsley
4 whole Eggs Beaten

Ketchup Sauce:
1½ cup Ketchup
⅓ cups Brown Sugar
1 teaspoon Dry Mustard
Crystal Hot Sauce To Taste

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour milk over the bread slices. Allow it to soak in for several minutes.
2. Place the ground beef, milk-soaked bread, Parmesan, seasoned salt, salt, black pepper, and parsley in a large mixing bowl. Pour in beaten eggs.
3. With clean hands, mix the ingredients until well combined. Form the mixture into a loaf shape on a broiler pan, which will allow the fat to drain. (Line the bottom of the pan with foil to avoid a big mess!)
4. Make the sauce: add ketchup, brown sugar, mustard, and hot sauce in a mixing bowl. Stir together.
5. Pour 1/3 of the mixture over the top of the bacon. Spread with a spoon.
6. Bake for 45 minutes, then pour another 1/3 of the sauce over the top. Bake for another 15 -30 minutes.
7. Slice and serve with remaining sauce.

Serve with mashed potatoes. Yummy!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Chocolate Crackle Cookies (Lion House)

Whenever we have houseguest staying the night, it gives me a great excuse to bake! Jenny, Jeremy's sister, is a big chocolate fan, so I wanted to make these Chocolate Crinkle cookies I had flagged in my Lion House dessert cookbook a while ago. Come to find out, these are her favorite cookies! Score! I loved these. However, in the recipe it said to line cookie sheets with wax paper--this was a BIG no-no! The oven started to smoke with the first batch, and the cookies kinda became "glued" to the paper, if you will, and we had to scrape off. So the first batch was not the best, but we used parchment paper for the remaining two batches, and they turned out wonderful!! These are a great cookie to make, giving the classic (and loved) chocolate chip cookie a break.

(from the Lion House Desserts cookbook)

1/4 cup shortening (melted)
1/4 cup cocoa
1/2 cup oil
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 to 1 cup powdered sugar
(I thought I'd also mention that in the Lion House recipe it mentions 1/2 cup chopped walnuts and/or 1/2 cup chocolate chips as optional- but I left it out.)

In a large mixing bowl, cream together shortening, cocoa, oil, sugar, eggs, and vanilla until well mixed. Add flour, salt, and baking powder. Mix well. Dough will be very sticky and almost runny. Refrigerate dough for at least 3 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Drop and gently roll dough by tablespoonfuls in powdered sugar, being careful not to overhandle dough. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 9-10 minutes. Do not overbake.  : -)

Makes about 3 dozen cookies.