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As a Foodnetwork addict I am constantly experimenting with great recipes from from my favorite shows. On Easy Entertaining with Michael Chiarello on an episode entitled “Pot luck challenge”, Jan Birnbaum, chef and restaurateur, caught my eye with an upscale, hearty mac n’ cheese.
The original recipe called for shrimp, which I was all about, but after visiting the seafood counter at Whole Foods, husband and I couldn’t resist the lobster meat (shrimp vs. lobster? no contest). So we splurged justifying that this would be our Superbowl Sunday feast.
Here is my adaptation of Jan’s recipe:
- 1 box medium shell pasta
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 cup tasso ham or bacon (I used bacon)
- 5 large shallots, minced
- 1 clove garlic, mined
- 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup white wine (see review below)
- 2 cups cream
- 1 cup grated fontina
- 1/2 cup grated Cheddar (I prefer mild but sharp would be great too)
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
- 6-8 oz lobster meat cut up in good bite size chunks (we bought the precooked tub at the seafood counter)
- 2 cups gently packed spinach
- Kosher salt and ground white pepper
- Hot pepper sauce, to taste (recommended: Tabasco)
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs ( I used panko, my new favorite thing)
- 1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley leave
It’s summer, and the food lobe of my brain turns to one thing when the weather starts warming up - avocados. Being on the East Coast, avocados are definitely my favorite summertime-only indulgence, and they are well worth the wait in all of their forms. Another recipe from Clean Eating magazine, these Avocado Salad Wraps are fantastic as a light lunch or, when paired with some bread or tortillas, a stove-free dinner on a hot day.
- 2 T Dijon mustard
- 1 medium ripe avocado, diced
- 1 medium ripe tomato, chopped into pieces the same size as the avocado
- 1/4 cup cilantro
- lime juice (optional)
- 4 big lettuce leaves (romaine works great)
Combine the first four ingredients in a bowl. If the wraps aren’t going to be eaten right away, toss some lime juice into the bowl with the salad.
Divide the salad between the 4 lettuce leaves, wrap and enjoy! Or, if you’re like me, eschew the lettuce altogether and eat the salad straight out of the bowl.
Read More | Clean Eating Magazine
This pasta salad is one of my favorite potluck contributions. Because of the fact that the pasta has to be completely cool - at most room temperature - before assembling the salad, it’s a great dish to start at night and finish the next day. Here’s a recipe for a great Summer Pasta Salad:
- 1 Lb smallish, shaped pasta (rotini, farfalle, macaroni, anything small and easily fork-able)
- 1/2 bottle of Italian dressing (not creamy)
- 4 T Salad Supreme
- 1 12 to 14 inch cucumber or two smaller ones, peeled and seeded
- 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, washed and halved
- 4 ounces Provolone cheese (this is usually 4 slices of prepackaged sliced cheese)
- 4 ounces salami (again, usually 4 slices of prepackaged sliced meat, but this can also be 4 ounces from a whole salami)
I love Chinese food. If I had my way, I’d have it at least once a day, every day. I’m lucky enough to have four Chinese delivery options in my neighborhood, and you can bet I know exactly which one to call depending on what I have a taste for that day. But when I came across this recipe on the Internet one day, I had to try it. I think that I am safe in saying that my calls to delivery joints might become a little less frequent.
I prefer to have vegetables prepared with every dinner that I serve my family, so it is nice to come across a recipe that is easy to prepare while the entree is cooking away. True, the kids may pick and choose which veggie is their favorite, as my 4-year-old would, but I enjoy all three as I hope your family will. This recipe calls for frozen vegetables to save time, but I always love to use fresh when given the choice…up to your preference.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pkg. 10 oz. frozen corn kernels
- 1 pkg. 10 oz. frozen cut green beans
- 5 oz. fresh baby spinach
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
- 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
- coarse salt and ground pepper
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high, add corn and green beans, and cook about 4-6 minutes, until green beans are warmed through. Next add the thyme and spinach, seasoning with salt and pepper. Toss until spinach is wilted, about 1-2 minutes, then stir in the vinegar. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve in a bright dish for added pizazz.
I absolutely love salads, so when I come across a new recipe, I have to share it with everyone - we all could use more veggies in our diets. This recipe is quite simple and tasty, as well as pleasing to the eye—because I am a huge believer in that we first eat with our eyes, before our mouths.
- 3 ounces baby arugula
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- 1 15 oz. can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
- 1/4 cup walnuts, toasted if desired(my preference)
- 2 TB red wine vinegar
- 2 TB olive oil
- coarse salt and ground pepper to taste
In medium bowl, layer the first 5 ingredients and set aside. In separate tightly lidded container, combine vinegar, oil, salt, and pepper; shake until blended. Pour directly onto salad and toss.
Enjoy a fresh, quick salad.
When our family is enjoying any kind of meat dish, I love to break out the horseradish and announce to whoever is within earshot, “Horseradish makes EVERYTHING taste better”. So when I came across this recipe in Everyday Food for beef skewers with rosemary (one of my favorite herbs to cook with), my mouth started watering at the thought of dipping the yummy skewers into a horseradish dipping sauce, bringing the whole dish to a new level.
- 3 flat iron (shoulder top blade) steaks (1 1/2 pounds total, with gristle removed)
- 1/2 cup reduced fat sour cream
- 1 tablespoon prepared white horseradish, drained
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- coarse salt and ground pepper
- Eight 6 inch wooden skewers
Seafood is not that big a thing around Gear Live’s virtual offices. And while I can’t speak for the other editors, I’ve been known to hit up the neighborhood Red Lobster solely for the biscuits. Unfortunately, the staff at the ol’ RL didn’t take kindly on a person who goes in alone and has nothing but biscuits, a side salad and water. That left me trying to recreate the little starchy wonders at home.
- 1/4 cup margarine or butter
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 cups of baking mix (I use Bisquick)
- 2/3 cup milk
- 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
I can’t even come up with words to properly convey my feelings for tzaziki. Cool, creamy, and fantastic with everything from vegetables to steak. It’s incredibly easy to make, and incredibly easy to customize to your own taste.
- 2 cups plain yogurt (this can be regular yogurt or Greek yogurt, fat free or as fatty as you’d like, as long as it’s plain)
- 1 cucumber, peeled and seeded
- 1 or 2 pinches of salt
- 1/4 cup fresh mint
- 3 cloves of fresh garlic or 1 tablespoon of pre-minced garlic from a jar
Risotto has a reputation for being tedious, laborious, and finicky. To some extent, I agree. It takes a while to prepare, you have to have your mise en place* on point, and if you’re really hungry you could end up eating your fill WHILE you’re cooking dinner. However, if you have some time and don’t mind putting up with a tired arm from all of the stirring, risotto can be one of the most satisfying meals or elegant sides you’ll ever make.
- 2 T olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced (or 2 teaspoons minced garlic from a jar)
- Black pepper to taste
- 1 cup Arborio rice
- 2 to 3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley (also called Italian - this is NOT curly parsley)
- 1/2 cup frozen peas (I use petite sweet peas but any kind work)
- 1/4 to 1/2 grated Parmesan cheese (as always, fresh is best but the pre-grated stuff from the store works just as well)
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