Saturday, March 21, 2009

Parmesan-Crusted Broiled Scallops with Roasted Tomatoes

Since I finally had an evening at home I decided to indulge myself and cook a really fun meal. This ended up being so much easier than I had expected. And it was delicious...but I'm probably partial because I love scallops :)

You will need
For the Scallops:

  • 1/3 cup Italian bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds sea scallops
  • 1 tablespoon margarine, melted
  • Cooking spray
For the Tomatoes:
  • 3 cups grape tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
1) Preheat broiler.
2) Combine first 5 ingredients in a bowl; set aside. Brush scallops with margarine. Add scallops to bowl and toss to coat.
3) Place scallops on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray.

4) Place tomatoes in a bowl and add olive oil, salt and pepper; toss well to coat.

5) Place tomatoes on other half of broiler pan also coated with cooking spray.

6) Broil together for 10 minutes. For the scallops, broil until done (slightly firm). For the tomatoes, broil until they begin to brown, stirring occasionally.

Mexican Chocolate Souffles

When cooking with some of my friends from work we decided to attempt to tackle making our own souffle. Believe it our not (I still have a hard time) it turned out REALLY well. This was the first time I'd ever tried a souffle so I don't know how it was in comparison to others but I thought it was wonderful; light, fluffy, yet still satisfying my ever present chocolate craving ;)

Yields 8 ramekins. (We obviously did not have the correct number of ramekins but we made due ;)

You will need:
  • Cooking spray
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper (optional)
  • 3/4 cup fat-free milk
  • 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon coffee-flavored liqueur (such as Kahlúa)
  • 1 large egg yolk 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 6 large egg whites
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • Powdered sugar (optional)

1) Preheat oven to 375°.
2) Coat 8 (6-ounce) ramekins with cooking spray; sprinkle with 3 tablespoons granulated sugar.
3) Combine 1/2 cup granulated sugar, cocoa, flour, cinnamon, salt, and pepper, if desired, in a medium saucepan. Gradually add milk, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; add chocolate, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Place chocolate mixture in a large bowl; stir in vanilla, liqueur, and egg yolk.
4) Place the cream of tartar and egg whites in another large bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until foamy. Add 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks form. Gently stir one-third of egg white mixture into chocolate mixture; gently fold in remaining egg white mixture. Spoon evenly into ramekins; sharply tap ramekins 2 or 3 times on counter to level. Place ramekins on a baking sheet.
5) Bake at 375° for 30 minutes or until puffy and set. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired. Serve immediately.

Avocado Salsa

This is a really simple recipe that is absolutely fabulous (Sorry that the picture isn't the best)! Especially when served with Lime flavored chips :) I forgot how much I missed avocado until a recent trip to Mexico. When I got home I HAD to make this :) Bonus, it's from Cooking Light...ENJOY!

You will need:
  • 2 cups finely chopped onion
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped red bell pepper (1 small)
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped seeded jalapeño pepper
  • 3 tablespoons extravirgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped peeled avocado (about 2)
  • 1/2 cups chopped seeded plum tomato (about 1 pound)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
(I recommend adding a little more vinegar ~1 Tablespoon or so and possibly a little more hot pepper sauce.)

1) Combine first 9 ingredients in a large bowl; toss mixture gently. Cover and refrigerate 3 hours.

2) Stir in avocado and remaining ingredients just before serving.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Stuffed Bell Peppers

Mmm, stuffed green bell peppers. They are a perfect food regardless of season. They are a meal all by themselves. So why in the world have I not made them before? The answer is simple, my husband. He is very specific requirements when it comes to stuffed peppers. The beef can not be the majority of ingredient. The pepper still needs to be a bit crispy. There needs to be mushrooms in them...and so on and so on. So I took a recipe from my friend A and modified it. I liked that her peppers were not boiled first and that she used tomato sauce instead of spaghetti sauce. So here goes...

Stuffed Green Bell Peppers
Makes 4 peppers
You will need:
  • 4 medium to large green bell peppers, tops and seeds removed
  • 1/2 lb of ground beef
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 to 2 T minced garlic
  • 1 cup plus 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 2 cups cooked rice (I use one "boil in the bag" bag of rice)
  • 1 8oz can of tomato sauce
  • 6 large cremini mushrooms, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare rice as directed on package. Meanwhile, in a large skillet add onion and ground beef. Cook over medium until the beef is browned and the onions are translucent. Add in the mushrooms. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until the mushrooms release their moisture. Remove from heat. Drain the rice and add to the filling mixture. Stir in 2oz of the tomato sauce and 1/4 cup of mozzarella cheese.

Place the bell peppers in an 8X8 baking dish, it is the perfect size for four peppers. Make sure that tops, seeds and white flesh are removed. fill each pepper with the meat mixture. Pour remaining tomato sauce over the filled peppers. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove baking dish and top peppers with remaining mozzarella. Bake for 15 more minutes or until cheese begins to brown.

Next time I am going to try A's suggestion of adding some Italian sausage to the mixture. I think it will taste fabulous.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Taco Cups

While I was visiting my family for Christmas we had Rachel Ray's tasty BBQ beef cups. I decided to try and do something similar, but with a taco twist. They are so easy to make and a nice break from regular ol' tacos.

Taco Cups
Makes 5 cups
You will Need:
  • 1/4 lb. ground beef
  • 4T taco seasoning
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 short tube of refrigerated biscuits (5 in a tube)
  • 1/2 to 1 cup cheddar cheese or Mexican cheese blend
  • Sour cream
  • Taco sauce

Preheat the oven as directed on the tube of biscuits. In a medium skillet season your beef as normal and cook until no longer pink. I season my meat with some pepper, onion flakes, garlic powder and crushed red pepper flakes. After the meat is completely cooked, add in taco seasoning and water (you can add more taco seasoning to taste). Stir well and let simmer until the liquid is cooked off. Remove from heat.

For the next step grease 5 muffin cups of your muffin pan (no need to grease if you are using silicone). Place a biscuit into each greased muffin cup. Make sure the biscuit touches the bottom and stretch the dough up the sides. Then fill each cup with the beef mixture and top with the desired amount of cheese. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until biscuits are golden. Let cool for 2 minutes. Slide biscuits out of muffin cups. Top with taco sauce and a dollop of sour cream. Enjoy!