Tag Archives: onions

Scrumptious Shrimp & Asparagus Stir-Fry

 After many requests here is the recipe! I modified this recipe from a Rocco DiSpirito recipe. The man knows good food! Before making this recipe the only way I had ever cooked asparagus, and only thin asparagus, was to roast it, whole. This recipe I ventured into unknown territory. I used much thicker asparagus and cut into bite size pieces! I also used a vegetable peeler to get off some of the thicker layers on the stalks. And you know that wonderful thing that happens to our body when you eat asparagus? I won’t say what it is but if you’ve ever eaten asparagus you know what I mean. Well apparently when you cut it up and not cook it whole that little phenomenon doesn’t occur!  It’s a win win! Plus this recipe is figure friendly. I would also recommend reading the entire recipe all the way through before cooking. Make the stir-fry sauce first also. You can even make it a few days before if you want.

INGREDIENTS:

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

1 medium Vidalia onion, sliced thin

1 large bunch of asparagus, trimmed and cut on an angle into 1″ pieces

12-16 ounces medium or large shrimp, peeled and deveined. NO TAILS!!!

¾-1 cup cooked brown rice (remember brown is better for you!)

½ cup chopped fresh basil 

sesame seeds for garnish

salt and pepper

2/3 cup of Rocco’s “Rockin’ Asian Stir-Fry Sauce” (see recipe below) or you can use a store-bought sugar-free teriyaki sauce. (Make this BEFORE you start cooking the stir-fry)

DIRECTIONS:

1. Heat a large nonstick sauté pan or skillet over high heat. When the pan is hot, add the sesame oil. Add the onion and asparagus and stir fry until the veggies are almost tender, about 6 minutes or so.

2. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper to taste and add to the pan. Add the rice to the pan. Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring often to get everything heated through.

3. Add the stir fry sauce. When the shrimp are cooked through and the sauce is hot, about 2-4 minutes, stir in the basil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add sesame seeds for garnish.

Serves 4

Stir-Fry Sauce

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon sesame oil

¼ cup chopped fresh ginger (this is key!)

6 cloves of garlic, minced

½ bunch of scallions (white and green part) chopped fine

1 tablespoon cornstarch

6 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce

¾ cup low-fat, low-sodium chicken broth

3 tablespoons rice vinegar, plain

½ cup reduced-sugar ketchup (Heinz is the best)

salt and pepper to taste.

DIRECTIONS:

1. Heat a large nonstick sauté pan/skillet over high heat. When the pan is hot, add the sesame oil. Add the ginger, garlic and scallions. Saute, stirring frequently, until very fragrant. About 2-3 minutes.

2. In the meantime, place the cornstarch in a medium bowl and add the soy sauce, chicken broth, vinegar and ketchup. Whisk to blend.

3. Whisk the cornstarch mixture into the sauté pan and bring the sauce to a simmer.

4. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, whisking constantly for about 2 minutes until the sauce thickens. Season with salt and pepper if you want.

5. Store in a covered container in refrigerator for up to a week.

This sauce is incredible. I used it on ribs also. Tasted just like chinese spare ribs! 

This makes about 1¾ cups.

Advertisements

Baked Shrimp Quiche (Formerly Known as Baked Shrimp Balls!)

Yes, the shrimp balls did not come out so good. I followed the directions and though they looked and smelled good they tasted pretty bad. So the next night I took all 25 or so of them, crumbled them up in a large bowl. This didn’t take much as they were falling apart to begin with! They already had onions, garlic, and the rest of the ingredients so I was halfway there! I just added 1 cup of egg beaters, 1 cup fat-free half-and-half, about 10 ounces frozen chopped spinach (thawed and squeezed out) and some shredded low-fat cheese. (About 2 cups). Threw it all in a large round casserole dish and baked it for about 45 minutes at 350º. And presto! A delicious dinner saved! So much better all around. And since I don’t use a crust you save more calories!

The Italian Kitchen (Part 3)

Today’s post is all about what should be in an Italian Pantry.  By stocking your kitchen with a few basic ingredients you’ll be ready to prepare most Italian and Tuscan recipes. Our supermarkets are much better at carrying the ingredients than they used to be. But if there’s still something you can’t find, there’s always the “pork store.” You know the place, it always smells so good when you walk by. Basically any Italian specialty store will have anything you need. Remember, using high-quality ingredients at the best price you can get them at is crucial. The better the olive oil, tomatoes and cheese, the better the simple dishes will taste!

This list is just a basic list of what is found in most good Italian kitchens.

Olive Oil: An essential in Italian cooking. Stick with extra-virgin olive oil for most recipes.

Dried Pasta: Use pasta imported from Italy such as Barilla and DeCecco. For the most part any imported pasta products made from semolina flour are good choices. For egg pasta, stay away from the so-called “fresh” pasta sold in refrigerated cases. They aren’t so “fresh” as they would have you believe. Either use homemade or buy the dried noodles packaged in nests.

Tomatoes: When fresh, ripe tomatoes are not available, use good canned tomatoes (unless recipe specifically calls for fresh). Choose whole, peeled tomatoes rather than chopped or crushed. Imported Italian San Marzano tomatoes are the best if you can find them.

Onions and Garlic: Generally, white or yellow onions for cooking and red onions for salads and dishes that do not need cooking because they are milder. Garlic should not be an overwhelming presence.

Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese: Expensive but worth it. Excellent grating cheese as well as a table cheese. Drizzle a little balsamic vinegar and olive oil over it and have it with some crusty Italian bread.

Cheeses: Cheeses are very important for Italian dishes. The basics like Parmigiano-Reggiano, Pecorino Romano, mozzarella, ricotta, and provolone are a good choice to have around.

Legumes (beans): Dried cannelini beans, lentils and ceci (Garbanzo/chick peas) are always good to have on hand. Canned beans work just as well especially if you’re in a rush.

Cornmeal: Use a medium textured cornmeal for polenta. Keep it in a tightly closed container and it will last for months. It’s also good for dusting the pan when making pizza.

Rice: Arborio is the most common in making risotto but others are used as well.

Balsamic Vinegar: There are many different balsamic vinegars. Depending on its age, it can be very expensive. You can use the inexpensive  one for salads as long as the quality is good.

Anchovies: (I love these salty little buggers!)It’s good to keep a jar of these in the fridge to add a special zip to certain dishes. You can also find anchovy paste in a tube, which is milder in taste and very convenient to have. (I use the tube)

Dried Porcini Mushrooms: Look for packages that have slices of whole mushrooms. They can be a little expensive but a little goes a long way. Keep it in an airtight container and they’ll keep for a long time. If you rehydrate them, keep the water, strain it and use it to add some flavor and depth to soups, sauces and stews.

Capers: (My husband’s favorite) You can find two kinds of capers. The smaller ones that are pickled in vinegar, and the larger ones that come packed in salt. The larger ones are very flavorful and need rinsing of the salt before using. They are also harder to find. A few chopped capers can add a nice flavor addition to dishes that seem to need just a little something.

Olives: Both black and green varieties are good. If they are packed in brine and imported from Italy, even better. We like the stuffed ones. Stuffed with bleu cheese, anchovies, garlic, peppers…

Herbs and Seasonings: For the most part fresh herbs are preferred in everyday cooking, but this is hard to do and they are generally more expensive and can go bad quickly if not used. So always keep on hand dried herbs and seasonings. Keep dried oregano, rosemary, thyme, and sage. I also always keep garlic powder on hand. Whole black pepper to be ground at the moment of use, sea salt and red pepper flakes are also important to have in your pantry.

Flour: All-purpose flour is good to use for making pasta and pizza dough. Bread flour for cakes and semolina flour for pasta is also very useful.


Italian Sausage & Peppers

This is a dish that I actually don’t really eat. I love the sausage part but if you remember I don’t like peppers. I know, what kind of Italian am I if I don’t like peppers. I’m trying to like them but it’s not working. Anyway, this is a very popular dish at our family gatherings. My brother-in-law Carl makes an incredible version of this. Nice and spicy, just how my Dad likes as well as my husband. Carl and my husband say it can never be too hot! They both have asbestos mouths so we can’t let them judge how hot things are! The hotness in this recipe will be decided on the type of sausage used. Hot sausage or sweet sausage, that is the question. I prefer sweet but those of you who love to sweat when you eat go for the hot!

Italian Sausage & Peppers

INGREDIENTS:

1½ pounds Italian sausage (sweet or hot, or both!)

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 garlic cloves, minced

3 large onions, slivered

3 sweet red peppers, seeded and cut into strips

3 sweet green peppers, seeded and cut into strips

½ teaspoon oregano

DIRECTIONS:

1. Pierce each sausage in several places with a fork and place in a heavy frying pan with 1 tablespoon olive oil, over medium-low heat. Turn sausage occasionally and cook until well browned on all sides.

2. While the sausages are cooking, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and sauté the garlic and onion. Mix in the peppers and oregano. Don’t cover the pan or the peppers and onions will get steamed.

3. Cook until the onions are lightly brown and the peppers are tender. Cut the cooked sausage into bite size pieces and add to the onion and pepper mixture. Mix well. Place on a warm platter to serve.

Serves 4-6

This dish is great with a nice loaf  of crusty Italian bread and a glass of Chianti!

Cucuzzille

I know some of you are saying, huh? I am not sure if I even have it spelled right or not. The name is pronounced “cook it seal”. Or as I used to call it “Crooked Seals”. My dad makes this recipe alot though it is not one of my favorites. The rest of the family likes it though. The base of the recipe is Italian Squash, or cucuzza or cucuzzi. It’s sort of a stew type dish. My dad doesn’t add any seasonings to it either. But I think if you added parsley or basil or garlic it wouldn’t hurt. It is a pretty easy recipe to make but it does take time. It is a dish that cooks slow so don’t rush it. And it is better to let it sit for a little before serving. You can make it the day before and then just reheat when you are ready to eat it. It’s a great vegetarian dish as well.

INGREDIENTS:

4-6 medium green or yellow Italian squash, trimmed and sliced round. (about ¼” thick)

3-4 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1″ chunks

2-3 carrots, peeled and sliced round (about ¼” thick)

1 large yellow onion, sliced

1-2 red bell peppers, sliced in 1″ wide slices and cut in half

2- 8oz. cans tomato sauce

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Cucuzzi Squash

DIRECTIONS:

1. Fill a large saucepan with 1-2 inches of water. Place all ingredients into pot and steam on medium heat until vegetables are tender. This should be about 45 minutes to an hour-long. Add a little more water if needed to keep it from drying out.

2. When vegetables are just about ready stir in the tomato sauce gently. Try not to break up the vegetables but it’s ok if they do. Let sit about 15-30 minutes or serve next day. The more it sits the better the flavors will be.

Black & Red Chili

I love chili. Even on a hot Florida evening I love chili. It is so simple to make and tastes even better the next day! I call mine red and black because I use red kidney beans and black beans. Lots of fiber and protein! Sometimes I like to add some brown rice to mine or even ditalini pasta.This recipe usually makes a big batch and will serve 4-6. It also freezes well so when you are searching the freezer or fridge for something to cook when you don’t have time, just defrost and heat! I think this recipe is pretty spicy too but of course my husband thinks otherwise!  Enjoy it with a cold beer or even a nice glass of wine! I make this at least once a month because it’s so good.

Black & Red Chili

INGREDIENTS:

1 pound ground beef, crumbled (your choice)

1 medium onion, chopped (I use Vidalia)

3-4 cloves garlic, chopped

1 can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 can Rotel tomatoes (your choice)

1 can (15 oz.) diced tomatoes (fire-roasted are my choice)

¼ cup Basic Chili Seasoning (See past posting)

sour cream

shredded cheddar cheese

olive oil

DIRECTIONS:

1. In a large saucepan heat about 3 tablespoons of olive oil and sauté the onions until soft. Add the garlic and sauté a few minutes more.

2. Add the ground beef and cook till there’s no pink left, stirring well.

3. Add the drained beans and mix well. Heat through a few minutes.

4. Add the tomatoes and heat through. Add the chili seasoning and stir well.

5. Bring mixture to a boil, stir and lower heat to simmer. Cover. Simmer for about 30 minutes or more and stir occasionally.

6. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and shredded cheddar cheese.

Buying Fresh Fruits & Vegetables at Their Peak (Part 2)

As promised here is the list of when it is the best time to buy fresh vegetables, when they are in season.  What are the best vegetable to buy now? Or in 3 months from now?  Right now in Florida where I live the corn is just starting to come out where in the north it won’t be at its best until August or September. I remember when we spent the summers in Maine as kids and we couldn’t wait for August because we’d go to the farm stands and get all of that delicious sweet yellow and white corn, fresh from the farms. It was so crunchy and sweet and you could eat 2 or 3 ears at a sitting without any problem.  Some vegetables are great all year-long which is a good thing! I hope this information helps out when you’re shopping. Another thing when you are buying items at their peak they are usually the best price as well. So keep that in mind as well! Happy shopping and eat your veggies!

  • Artichokes: March-May: Look for heavy, compact, plump globes. Large tightly closed, fleshy leaf scales. Good green color. Heavy for size.
  • Asparagus: March-June: Look for tightly closed buds. Straight, tender, rich green stalks. Open tips and angular or ridged spears are signs of over maturity.
  • Green/Wax Beans: April-October: Look for crisp, long, straight, blemish-free pods.
  • Lima Beans: April-August: Look for bright color for the variety. Crisp, dark-green, well-filled pods.
  • Beets: June-October: Look for firm, round, smooth, deep red-colored roots. Fresh-looking tops. Avoid those with long roots and rough, scaly areas on surface, because they are tough, fibrous and strong flavored.
  • Belgian Endive: October-May: Look for firm without bruises. Color should be white with greenish cast.
  • Broccoli: October-May: Look for firm, closed, dark-green florets. Firm, tender stalks. Yellowing green-colored heads of broccoli are over mature.
  • Brussel Sprouts: October-November: Look for miniature, compact, bright-green heads.
  • Cabbage: All Year: Look for well-trimmed, solid heads. Heavy for size.
  • Carrots: All Year: Look for firm, bright-colored, smooth, clean, well-shaped. Avoid rough, cracked or green-tinged roots.
  • Cauliflower: September-November: Look for bright-green leaves enclosing firm, closely packed creamy-white curd or florets. Avoid bruised or open florets.
  • Celery: All Year: Look for fresh, crisp branches. Light green to green color. Should not have wilted, rough look or puffy feel to the stalk.
  • Corn: May-September: Look for fresh-leaved, green husks. Plump, milky kernels. Avoid cobs with small or large, dented or shrunken kernels.
  • Cucumbers: May-August: Look for bright, shiny green; firm; well-shaped.
  • Eggplant: August-September: Look for firm, heavy, smooth, even dark purple. Free of bruises or cuts.
  • Lettuce: All Year: Look for fresh green leaves with no wilted or bruised areas. Heading varieties of lettuce should be medium weight for size.
  • Mushrooms: November-April: Look for dry, firm caps and stems. Small brown spots or open caps are still good in flavor.
  • Okra: May-September: Should have tender, bright-green, bruise-free pods, less than 4½ inches long. Pale, faded, hard pods are tough and fibrous.
  • Onions: All Year: Look for well-shaped; hard; small necks. Dry paper skins. Free of green spots or green-depressed leathery areas. Crisp green tops. Two to three-inch bleached-white roots.
  • Parsnips: October-April: Should be small to medium size; smooth-skinned; firm. Decay and bruise free.
  • Peas: April-July: Look for well-filled, bright green. Swollen, light-colored or gray-flecked pods contain tough, starchy peas.
  • Peppers: All Year: Look for good shape; firm exterior; thick flesh and bright, glossy skin.
  • Potatoes (White): All Year: Should be fairly smooth; well-shaped; firm. Free of most blemishes. Avoid bruised, sprouting, shriveled or green-tinged.
  • Potatoes (Sweet): September-December: Look for thick, chunky, medium-sized with no bruises or decay. Should taper at the end.
  • Radishes: May-July: Look for medium-sized (¾-1 inch diameter); good red color; plump; round; firm; crisp. Bright-green tops.
  • Spinach: March-May: Look for large, bright, blemish-free leaves with good green color. Yellowing indicates the start of decay. Avoid leaves with coarse stems.
  • Squash (Summer): June-August: Look for bright color; smooth; glassy skin. Heavy for the size; firm; well-shaped.
  • Squash (Winter): September-November: Should be heavy for the size. Hard, good-colored, unblemished rind.
  • Tomatoes: May-August: Should be well-formed; blemish-free; plump. Over all rich red color and slight softness.
  • Turnips/Rutabagas: September-March: Should be small to medium size; smooth; firm; heavy. Few leaf scars at top and few fibrous roots at base. Purple-tinged white ones are turnips. Yellow-skinned, larger roots are rutabagas.

Dining with Donald

Donald on Dining in and Out.

Cruise Ship Recipes at Home

How do I Make That?

Rachael Ray

It's Not Just Popcorn!

Joanne Eats Well With Others

It's Not Just Popcorn!

Garlic Girl

It's Not Just Popcorn!

BuzzFeed - Tasty

It's Not Just Popcorn!

An Edible Mosaic™

It's Not Just Popcorn!

StephenKing.com - Latest News

It's Not Just Popcorn!

Food52

It's Not Just Popcorn!

Big Bear's Wife

It's Not Just Popcorn!

Cinnamon-Spice & Everything Nice

It's Not Just Popcorn!

The Weekend Gourmet

It's Not Just Popcorn!

Skinnytaste

It's Not Just Popcorn!

What's Cooking at the Genua's?

It's Not Just Popcorn!

Chef in Training

A great place to find easy, delicious and family friendly recipes.

The Pioneer Woman

Plowing through Life in the Country...One Calf Nut at a Time

that's what she eats.

if you want to know what she said, you have to know what she eats.

Simply Recipes

It's Not Just Popcorn!

It's Not Just Popcorn!

overdeepblueseas

OVER DEEP BLUE SEAS BLOG @ WordPress.com

Sluggo's Escapades

What's Sluggo up to today?

RavieNomNoms

A Girl, Her Blog, and Lots of Food Pictures!

%d bloggers like this: