Thursday, August 17, 2017

Curry Rice with Shrimp and Peas

I'm a big believer in meal planning. I started back in 2005 when we were saving for our first house. We had a weekly food budget of $50 (!!) and actually brought a calculator to the supermarket, wrote down prices as we shopped, added up the total before we went to the register and put items back if we went over our budget. We also stopped eating out altogether.

I quickly realized that the only way to make this method work was to decide ahead of time what we'd be eating for the week and use those recipes to make our shopping list. I can honestly say I have no clue what we did for dinner from 2002 (when we started living together) to 2005 (when I started meal planning). How did we decide what to eat? How did we grocery shop? It's a total mystery.

Even though some weeks I have zero inspiration and every recipe in my massive collection sounds meh, I will never give up meal planning. Not only does it save money, we waste less. At the end of the week our fridge is mostly empty. That's such a source of pride for me, being able to use everything we buy. And I also love knowing ahead of time what we'll be eating on any given day. It takes all the guesswork and stress out of dinnertime. Sure, there are times when a recipe flops and we order pizza, or life gets in the way and we have to switch days around, but I'd say 95% of the time it works.

So what does that have to do with this recipe. Since my friend Nicole posted this recipe for Spiced Chicken and Rice I've looked at it countless times as I'm sifting through my recipes for inspiration for the coming week. I actually had it as a tentative plan a number of times but it always got pushed back for some reason. This week we had a bunch of meals involving chicken in our plans, so Steve suggested I swap the chicken for shrimp. What can I say, the man is brilliant.

Curry shrimp and rice

I had to modify the recipe a smidge to keep the shrimp from overcooking, but the flavor profile is the same. Steve and I had chopped cashews on top but I obviously left those off Katie's serving. We absolutely loved the subtle spiciness from the curry powder, the crunch of the cashews, the vibrant notes of lemon and cilantro and the perfectly-cooked shrimp. Next time I'll up the amount of rice since this didn't yield much in the way of leftovers.

Curry Rice with Shrimp and Peas
Modified from PreventionRD

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 lbs shrimp, peeled, deveined, cut into bite-sized pieces
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
1 quart low-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 cups uncooked long-grain rice
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 1/2 cups frozen peas
1/2 cup cilantro, minced
1/2 cup cashews, coarsely chopped

In a large, deep skillet with a lid, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the diced shrimp and season with salt and pepper. Cook until just pink. Transfer to a plate using a slotted spoon.

Add the ginger and curry powder to the skillet and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the broth and scrape all the ginger and curry from the bottom, incorporating well. Bring to a boil.

Add the rice, lemon juice and zest to the skillet. Return to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to low. Cook until the rice is tender, about 20 minutes.

Remove from the heat and mix in the peas and reserved shrimp. Cover and allow to sit for 10 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if needed. Sprinkle with the cilantro and cashews and serve hot.
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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Zucchini Corn Pizza

I'm mourning summer as we enter the second half of August and begin the slow slide into fall and winter. This was a pretty lackluster summer weather-wise. More cool, rainy days than warm, sunny ones. Less pool time than I'd like. This seems to happen every few years, unfortunately.

One good thing to come out of the cooler weather was this Zucchini Corn Pizza. Holy guacamole. A local pizza joint serves a similar pie - roasted zucchini, roasted sweet corn, poblano sour cream, hot pepper flakes, salt, pepper, olive oil, mozzarella - that we love so I wanted to try making it at home.

Zucchini corn pizza

Even Katie, who's not the biggest zucchini fan, loved this. If you've got a bumper crop of zucchini in your garden this is a great way to use up at least one.

Zucchini Corn Pizza
As seen on Damn Delicious

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch thick rounds
1/2 cup corn kernels (fresh, frozen, or canned)
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 ball pizza dough
8-oz shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup ricotta cheese
fresh chives, snipped
crushed red pepper flakes, to taste

Place a pizza stone in the oven and preheat to 500 degrees.

Melt oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the zucchini, corn and Italian seasoning. Cook, stirring occasionally, until zucchini are tender, about 3-4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Lay a piece of parchment paper the size of the pizza stone on a work surface. Dust lightly with flour and roll out the pizza dough into a 12- to 14-inch circle. Top with the mozzarella and zucchini mixture. Add dollops of ricotta and spread them out a bit.

Transfer the pizza on the parchment paper to the pizza stone. Bake for 10-15 minutes, checking often to make sure the cheese is melting and browning. Remove the pizza from the oven and allow it to rest for 5 minutes before slicing. Serve garnished with chives and red pepper flakes, if desired.
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Monday, August 07, 2017

Cheesy Tomato Biscuit Casserole

I don't know about you but I get in such a rut with side dishes. Most of the time it's because I'm feeling uninspired or lazy and the same old same old is easy to throw together. I'm happy to report that I branched out this weekend and now I have a new, amazing side dish to add to my repertoire. And, bonus, it reheats well (if you have any leftovers that is).

Cheesy tomato biscuit casserole

My friend Amy posted this Cheesy Tomato Biscuit Casserole months ago, but I've been waiting until the height of tomato season to make it. While you can get tomatoes year-round, the ones we're enjoying right now are insane. I don't know if it's just a good year for tomatoes or what, but damn. I feel like I need to eat. all. the. tomatoes. every. day. So, so good.

As I was typing up this post I realized I forgot the onion in the original recipe. Oops! Since we thought it was amazing without it - and, bonus, if you skip that step you have one less pan to clean - I'm leaving it out. I also opted to add fresh chopped basil once this came out of the oven, mainly because my basil plant is out of control right now and because tomatoes and basil are so good together. Totally your call. Also, use way more tomato than you think you need. Tomatoes have a lot of water in them so they'll shrink as they cook.

Hurry up and make this simple and delicious side dish now. You won't be sorry!

Cheesy Tomato Biscuit Casserole
Slightly modified from BellyFull

1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 container (16 ounce) Pillsbury Grands Buttermilk Biscuits
4 tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch slices
fresh basil, chopped (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Coat a 9x13 casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.

Combine the sour cream, mayonnaise, cheese, salt, pepper, oregano and garlic powder in a small bowl. Set aside.

Press the biscuits into the casserole dish, pinching the seams together so they cover the bottom of the pan and pushing the dough slightly up the sides. The dough will be thin.

Arrange the tomato slices on top of the biscuits, overlapping to fit as many slices as you can. Spread the cheese mixture over the top then sprinkle with a little paprika.

Bake for 25-27 minutes until the dough is cooked through and the cheese mixture is browning and bubbly. Let stand for 10 minutes, then top with chopped basil and cut into slices.

To reheat leftovers: Preheat a toaster oven to 350 degrees. Spray some foil with non-stick cooking spray and place a slice of the casserole on top. Heat in the toaster oven, being careful not to burn the edges of the crust, for about 5-10 minutes depending on your toaster.
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