Monday, September 21, 2009

Another yummy chicken orzo dish

With two clinical days in a row, I was looking for a recipe that I could make and eat on several occasions (mainly for lunch at the hospital). I had this recipe for Cajun chicken with capers and lemon in my recipe box, and while reading over the reviews, I read one in which the cook had served it over orzo....perfect!!!! I knew that it was going to need a little bit more than just the sauce if I were going to stretch it over a couple of meals. I chopped half of a sweet onion and sauteed that with probably about 1/3 of a package of mushrooms that I had in the refrigerator and 2 cloves of garlic. Since Rick wasn't here, it was the perfect opportunity to get rid of the mushrooms! I also added a little bit of white cooking wine to the sauce. Once again, a winner!!! Here's the recipe that I came up with...

Cajun Chicken Orzo with a Lemon-Caper Sauce

1 package of skinless, boneless chicken breasts
2 gloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons of capers
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 package of mushrooms
1/2 cup flour
2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning
1 teaspoon paprika
Juice of 1/2 lemon
3/4 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons white wine
1/2 box orzo
Olive oil

Mix flour, Cajun seasoning, and paprika together in a shallow bowl.

Cook orzo according to directions on box. Drain and return to the pot.

While orzo is cooking, cut chicken breasts in half and dip in flour mixture. Be sure to cover the chicken completely. Heat olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until cooked (turning with tongs). When the chicken is cooked and no longer pink in the center, cut the chicken into bite sized pieces and mix with the orzo.

Add a little bit more olive oil, mushrooms, garlic, and onion to the same skillet. Once the onions become soft, add broth, capers, lemon juice, and white wine to skillet. Bring to boil and let the sauce thicken a little bit. Add to the pot with the orzo and chicken and stir. Serve immediately.


Sunday, September 20, 2009

Grilled Chicken Breasts with Corn Salsa

As my final semester of nursing school moves forward, I'm wishing that I had more evenings to cook for Rick and I, but with clinicals that start at 6:45 am, I am cooking more for myself than us. At least I have Ty and Weezy to keep me company now. Too bad, they don't have thumbs, or I'd have them chopping, too!

I've also decided to start eating more healthy dishes. This one is one of the first lower fat meals that I've tried in a long time. I'm of the belief that just because it's healthy, it doesn't have to taste like crap. I turned to my favorite place on the internet for recipes, in search of the perfect meal. I've been craving grilled chicken lately, and when I stumbled across this recipe, I knew that it would be the perfect way to use up some of the chicken that I bought on sale at Publix this weekend.

I did the marinade for the chicken first, and I opted to stray from the recipe and use Corona Light instead of dark beer. I also added two gloves of garlic and doubled the amount of low sodium soy sauce. I let two chicken breasts marinate for two hours and thirty minutes.

The corn salsa...all I can say is wow! Once I got it together, I sampled it with some tortilla chips, and it was as awesome as the recipe reviews say! It was a struggle not to continue eating it all. I immediately called Rick and told him how delicious it was! I foresee myself making it again in the very near future!!! I did use the juice of half a lime (had to do something with the other half of lime that I had) and added one clove of minced garlic.

Grilled Chicken Breasts with Corn Salsa

  • 1 1/4 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • juice of half of a lime
  • 2 teaspoons chopped seeded jalapeño chili
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced

  • 1/2 cup Corona Light
  • 2 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 teaspoons chopped seeded jalapeño chili
  • juice of half of a lime
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4 skinless boneless chicken breast halves
For Salsa:
Combine all ingredients in bowl. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 4 hours ahead. Cover and chill.)
For Chicken:
Combine first 5 ingredients in medium bowl. Add chicken and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 4 hours.
Preheat barbecue (medium-high heat) or preheat broiler. Drain chicken. Season with salt and pepper. Grill or broil chicken until just cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Cut chicken into thin diagonal slices. Arrange chicken on plates. Top with salsa and serve.

Parmesan Crusted Tilapia with a Lemon-Caper Sauce

When Rick and I were discussing what we wanted to do for dinner on Saturday, he mentioned thawing out some chicken breasts, but I had other things in mind. I had been checking out the weekly specials on Publix's website, and they had tilapia fillets on sale this week. As soon as I mentioned the Parmesan-Crusted Tilapia, Rick was excited. He said that it was one of his favorite meals, and I have to agree, too. I found this recipe on a website that apparently no longer exists so I'm extremely happy to have printed it out. I'm also glad that I get to share it here! I've made it quite a few times, and it is rather easy. The recipe suggests serving it with orzo and asparagus (both of which I have done), but this time around, I decided to pair it with the green beans with almonds that I made a couple of weeks ago.

Cooking has become more adventurous over the past few weeks with the two new editions to our family, Ty and Weezy. These two kittens spent their first week or so intermittently hiding under the couch, but now, they are all over the place...especially under our feet when we are in the kitchen!

Parmesan-Crusted Tilapia with a Lemon Caper Sauce
Serves 2

2 Tilapia fillets
1 egg
1/4 cup Italian breadcrumbs
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons capers, drained
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tablespoons white wine
1/4 cup crab stock (clam juice or chicken stock can be substituted)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Olive oil


Combine cheese, flour, and breadcrumbs in a shallow pan and set aside. Slightly beat egg in a bowl. Dip fish in the egg wash, and then coat each fillet with the cheese mixture.

Heat oil over medium-high heat in a nonstick pan. Brown fish on both sides. Remove from pan and place on a plate. Cover the plate with aluminum foil to keep warm.

In the same pan, add a little more oil and saute the garlic. Add capers, lemon juice, wine, and crab stick to the pan. Also add salt and pepper to taster. Reduce this mixture by half and add the butter once the pan has been removed from the heat.

Plate fish on separate plates and spoon the sauce evenly over the two fillets.


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Tailgatin' at home

College football season is upon us, but unfortunately, neither Rick nor I live close to where our teams playing this weekend. The Heels played at noon, but since the game was on ESPNU, I didn't get to watch it. Rick's game, however, was on Saturday night so we watched it here. I decided to do appetizer/hor d'oeuvre type dishes for dinner to give us a kinda tailgating feeling.

For our finger food feast, I made Bratwurst Bites with Beer and Mustard Sauce and Mini Provolone Popovers. Once again, I didn't make homemade bratwurst but instead picked some up at Publix. I did have an amusing conversation with the checkout guy about the difference between hot dogs and bratwurst. The poor kid thought that they were just expensive hot dogs while his friend who was working in the checkout lane beside of him and I just shook our heads at him. Ahh, to be young and clueless again! I also cheated on the beer and horseradish mustard sauce and used the test kitchen's tip at the bottom of the recipe to save some time and energy. I didn't have the whole grain Dijon mustard so I used 1/2 cup of stone ground mustard and 1 cup of regular Dijon mustard. The mini-provolone popovers were featured as the recipe of the day on, and being the cheese lover that I am, they definitely caught my eye. Rick suggested that I make some in the Tar Heel muffin pan that he got me so some of them were done in the mini-muffin pan and six in the larger Tar Heel pan. The ones in the mini-muffin pan got a little overdone, but they were all yummy. How can you go wrong with all that cheese?

Here are the recipes that I used:

Bratwurst with Beer and Mustard Horseradish sauce

1/2 cup beer

Cut Bratwurst into 1to 1 1/2 inch thick pieces.
Heat large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add Bratwurst to skillet and cook until browned on bottom, about 5 minutes. Add remaining 1/2 cup beer to skillet; cover with lid slightly ajar and cook until beer evaporates, 6 to 7 minutes. Turn patties over and cook until brown on bottom and cooked through, about 5 minutes longer.

Serve with:

Beer and Horseradish Mustard Sauce

1/2 cup stone ground mustard
1 cup Dijon Mustard
1/4 cup beer
1/4 cup prepared horseradish

Mix all four ingredients in a small bowl and chill for one hour before serving.

Mini Provolone Popovers

  • 1 cup 2% milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped provolone
  • 2 tablespoons grated parmesan
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped chives

Whisk together milk, eggs, flour, 1 tablespoon butter, salt, and pepper until smooth, then stir in cheeses and chives. Chill 1 hour to allow batter to rest.

Preheat oven to 425°F with rack in upper third.

Butter muffin pan with remaining tablespoon butter, then heat in oven until butter sizzles, about 2 minutes.

Gently stir batter, then divide among muffin cups (they will be about two-thirds full). Bake until puffed and golden-brown, 18 to 20 minutes. Serve immediately.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

A Katie Classic: Brazilian Shrimp Stew!

Yes, it was back in my single days that I first made this recipe, and I was all alone. It was a shame that I didn't have Rick with me to be one of the first to try it. I probably ate it for a week, but I loved it! When Rick and I first started dating, I'm sure it was among the first that I made for him. I wanted to impress him, and I promise it is smooth and silky when it hits your mouth. He says that it's not his favorite meal that I make, but it's definitely in my top 5 ever. I love it when Rick and I do all the cutting together, but sometimes, I'll do the prep work myself before he comes over so that we can get started sooner.

I've shared it with many people and made it for several friends and my family so it's only appropriate to post it here. I rearrange the order of the original recipe because it sometimes takes longer to do all the prep work and you don't want the shrimp to "cook" in the lemon juice.

Here's a link to the original recipe from, and here's my version.

1 1/2 lb large shrimp in shell (21 to 25 per lb), peeled and deveined
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 (14- to 15-oz) can petite diced tomatoes including juice
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
5 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
1 can well-stirred canned lite coconut milk

Accompaniment: cooked white rice

Cook onion and bell pepper in olive oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately low heat, stirring, until softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Add cayenne, 1 tablespoon cilantro, and remaining teaspoon salt and cook, stirring, 1 minute.

Toss shrimp with black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon salt, garlic, and lemon juice and marinate, covered and chilled, 15 minutes. (you want to do this here so that the shrimp doesn't "cook" in the lemon juice)

Add tomatoes and simmer briskly, stirring, until mixture is very thick, about 15 minutes.

Stir in coconut milk and bring to a boil, then add shrimp mixture and cook, stirring, until shrimp are just cooked through, about 3 to 5 minutes.

Serve over rice.

When I plate this, I usually take a 1/4 or a 1/2 measuring cup, scoop rice into, place it in the center of the plate, and then put it the stew around it. Garnish with cilantro on top of the rice.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Tomato-Basil Crab Bisque and Grilled Cheese

Looking for something that wouldn't aggravate the dental work that Rick had this week, I chose to make us soup this evening. Rick readily admitted that he isn't much of a soup person, but I was hopeful that this delicious Tomato-Basil Crab Bisque from I was excited because I was going to get to use some of the crab stock that I made a while back. In this recipe, I substitute it for the bottled clam juice and also mix a little bit in with tomato juice in place of the Clamato juice required by the recipe. Instead of using crackers, I decided to make cheese crisps to go with the soup. The meal wouldn't be complete with out a yummy multi-cheese grilled cheese sandwiches!!! Because he had dental work done today, he did want to take any chances with the cheese crisps after he had half of one. He confesssed, though, that if circumstances were different, there wouldn't have been any left. He did enjoy a grilled cheese and a little soup, though.

Here are the recipes:

3-Cheese Cheese Crisps

1/2 container of 3-cheese blend
Fresh ground pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400F. Spray a baking sheet with Pam Cooking Spray, or grease the pan, or cover with parchment paper. Mix cheese and pepper in a small bowl. Place one tablespoon of the mixture on the baking sheet and space about 1/2 inch apart. Bake until golden and crisp (around 3-5 minutes).

Multi-Cheese Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Bread, two slices per sandwich
American cheese slices
Six-cheese blend
Cheddar cheese

Butter one side of two slices of bread, and repeat for desired number of sandwiches. In a small bowl, mix a handful of cheddar and a handful of six cheese blend together. Place one piece of bread buttered side down in a pan that is heated over medium heat. Cover the top bread with the cheese mixture and let the cheese begin to melt. Add a slice of America cheese and the other piece of bread. As the cheese continues to melt, flip the sandwich. Continue to flip until the sandwich is lightly browned on both sides. Repeat steps for each sandwich.

Tomato-Basil Crab Bisque

The following recipe is my adaptation of the recipe.

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cans (6 oz) crabmeat
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup plus 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups tomato juice
  • 1 cup crab stock
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Heat olive oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add crabmeat, tomato, 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil, and garlic. Sauté 2 minutes. Whisk in flour; stir 2 minutes. Whisk in tomato juice, 1/2 cup crab stock and next 5 ingredients. Reduce heat to low and simmer until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.
Stir in lemon juice; bring to simmer. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Chill uncovered until cold, then cover and keep refrigerated. Bring to simmer before continuing.) Divide soup among 6 bowls. Sprinkle with remaining 3 tablespoons basil and serve. Serves 6 as a first course.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Easy Gameday Enchiladas

An unfortunate "run-in" with another car yesterday was the final road block against my going to Chapel Hill this weekend to see the Heels take on my grad school alma mater, The Citadel. Even though I was fine (as was the other driver), I decided that I really didn't want to drive for five hours alone. The best part of my not going is that I get to see Rick this weekend. School has started for me, and work has gotten stressful for him so I'm very happy to be spending time with him.

Last night, I decided that I wanted to make enchiladas. I've never made them before, and I love the challenge and adventure of making a new dish. As is my custom, I went searching the internet for ideas. I came across this recipe on and decided to tweak it a bit to make it my own. Doing them today for the first day of college football seemed like a good idea. Rick was over and doing work on his laptop while the enchiladas baked in the oven and ESPN Gameday played in the background. It was really hard to keep from snacking on the rotisserie chicken last night because it smelled so good. I was nice enough to let Rick eat one of the legs this morning when I started shredding it. My preference for salsa is always the ones that are near the produce instead of the ones with Mexican food at the grocery stores. They have a lot less sodium. I'm hoping that someday, I will master making salsa, too. When the enchiladas came out, I barely had time to take picture of the first on one of my UNC plates before Rick grabbed it and ran.

Easy Gameday Enchiladas
1 rotisserie chicken
1 cup light sour cream
1 16 oz container of salsa (I used Chachie's medium)
1 can of Old El Paso Enchilada Sauce
1 1/2 cup grated Cheddar Cheese (I used 2% milk cheddar)
1/2 cup grated Mozzarella Cheese
1/2 sweet onion finely chopped
Salt and pepper
6 8-inch tortillas
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking spray.

For sauce:
Mix the salsa and enchilada sauce together in the blender.

For enchiladas:
Shred rotisserie chicken and place in a large bowl. Discard skin and bones/carcass. In a smaller bowl, mix cheddar and mozzarella cheeses together. Add sour cream, onion, 1/4 cup of enchilada sauce, and 1 cup of cheese mixture to the shredded chicken. Salt and pepper to taste. Mix thoroughly.

Place around 1 cup of chicken mixture on a tortilla and roll the tortilla. Place tortilla seam side down in the baking dish. Repeat with remaining mixture and 5 tortillas. Cover the enchiladas with sauce, reserving a little bit. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and place in the oven. Cook for 40 minutes. After 40 minutes, remove dish from oven and discard aluminum foil. Add rest of cheese mixture to the top of the enchiladas and cook for another 6-8 minutes.

When serving, I put a little bit of the reserved salsa on the plate and then placed an enchilada on top of it. Enjoy!!

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