Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Recipe #110: Shrimp Cobb Salad

This is so easy to make, and full on flavor but not heavy!  And anything with shrimp and bacon and avocado has GOT to be awesome...  This is from my May issue of Cooking Light.  I varied the amounts quite a bit- more shrimp, more bacon, and I doubled the dressing for better coverage.  I'll post the recipe here as-is though- it's easy to vary the amounts according to your tastes.

  • 4 slices center-cut bacon
  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole-grain Dijon mustard
  • 1 (10-ounce) package romaine salad
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 cup shredded carrots (about 2 carrots)
  • 1 cup frozen whole-kernel corn, thawed
  • 1 ripe peeled avocado, cut into 8 wedges
  • 1. Cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan; cut in half crosswise. Wipe pan clean with paper towels. Increase heat to medium-high. Sprinkle shrimp with paprika and pepper. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add shrimp to pan; cook 2 minutes on each side or until done. Sprinkle with 1/8 teaspoon salt; toss to coat.
  • 2. While the shrimp cooks, combine remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt, juice, oil, and mustard in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add lettuce; toss to coat.
  • 3. Arrange about 1 1/2 cups lettuce mixture on each of 4 plates. Top each serving with about 6 shrimp, 1/2 cup tomatoes, 1/4 cup carrot, 1/4 cup corn, 2 avocado wedges, and 2 bacon pieces.

Recipe #109: Portobello Burgers with Roasted Red Pepper Spread

This is from Rachael Ray's 30 Minute Meals: Veggie Meals.  The flavor was fantastic, but we made the mistake of using thin buns that soaked up too much of the spread- next time I'll use a heartier bun.  But these are fantastic and quick to make!  We halved the recipe for the two of us.


  • 2 tablespoons (2 turns of the bottle in a slow stream) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/8 cup (3 splashes) balsamic vinegar
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves stripped and chopped, about 2 tablespoons
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 4 large portobello mushroom caps
  • 2 teaspoons grill seasoning blend (preferred brand: McCormick Montreal Steak Seasoning) or 1 teaspoon combined coarse salt and pepper
  • 1/2 pound fresh smoked mozzarella, sliced, or slices of provolone

Roasted Pepper Paste:

  • 1 (14-ounce) jar roasted peppers, drained
  • A drizzle extra-virgin olive oil
  • A handful flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1 large clove garlic, cracked away from skin
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 large crusty rolls, split

Suggested toppings:

  • Whole baby spinach leaves or romaine lettuce
  • Thinly sliced red onions


Combine first 4 ingredients in the bottom of a large food storage bag. Add mushroom caps, seal bag and shake bag to coat caps, then let the mushrooms marinate for 15 minutes.
Grill mushrooms on indoor electric grill, starting with caps down, turning to caps up, about 6 minutes on each side. Pan-fry in large nonstick skillet for same amount of time. Season caps while they cook on each side with grill seasoning or a little salt and pepper. Melt the cheese over mushroom caps in the last minute of grill time.
To make the red pepper paste, combine the roasted red peppers, oil, parsley, garlic, salt, and pepper in food processor and pulse grind into thick sauce.
To serve, place the grilled mushroom caps topped with melted cheese on the bun bottoms. Top with spinach and onion. Spread bun tops with roasted pepper paste.

 The red pepper spread- mmmmm!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Recipe #108: Rosemary and Lemon Leg of Lamb

A recent issue of Cooking Light featured various cuts of lamb and how to cook them, which is what inspired my previous post about lamb chops (see Lamb Chops with a Balsamic Reduction)  I knew I had to try a leg of lamb roast at some point, but considering the cost (about $40 for one), I knew I had to save it for a special occasion.  I knew it was the right choice when I invited Nick's parents over for a Mother's Day dinner, and with a couple modifications, this recipe was PERFECT.  Two hours after eating dinner, I'm STILL so excited about this and can't wait to make it again!

I found this recipe on (do you see a pattern?) and tweaked it a little based on other recipes (in red).  My times here were dead on for a perfectly tender, slightly pink-at-the-bone roast.  If you like prime rib, you will LOVE this, I promise!


  • 1 (6 pound) leg of lamb, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 6 cloves garlic, halved
  • 4 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (6 ounce) can frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed  (I used 12 ounces!!)
  • 1 (1 ounce) package dry onion and mushroom soup mix


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
  2. Spread butter generously over the lamb, and distribute garlic clove halves over the meat. Sprinkle with rosemary and pepper. Place the lamb on a rack inside a roasting pan. (Instead, I sprinkled garlic powder over the lamb, along with the pepper and fresh rosemary, sprayed it with olive oil, and put pats of butter on top.)
  3. Roast the lamb in the preheated oven for 1 hour.  Flip the roast over and cook another 45 minutes.
  4. Mix the lemonade concentrate and dry soup mix together in a bowl, pour over the lamb, and roast an additional 30 minutes. A meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the lamb should read 120 degrees F/58 degrees C for medium-rare or 145 degrees F/68 degrees C for medium-well. Allow the roast to stand for about 20 minutes before slicing. 

Prepped for roasting

All done!

Nick cutting the bone out


With two of my favorite sides:  Sweet potatoes and asparagus

Recipe #107: Lasagna

I've posted various lasagna recipes previously (specifically, enchilada lasagna and healthy lasagna- which is turkey-based), but never a traditional recipe.. until now. This recipe is rated five stars by more than 5,000 people on, so I knew I had to try it, and it was definitely fantastic!


  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage
  • 3/4 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
  • 2 (6.5 ounce) cans canned tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 12 lasagna noodles
  • 16 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 pound mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese


  1. In a Dutch oven, cook sausage, ground beef, onion, and garlic over medium heat until well browned. Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and water. Season with sugar, basil, fennel seeds, Italian seasoning, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons parsley. Simmer, covered, for about 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook lasagna noodles in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes. Drain noodles, and rinse with cold water. In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese with egg, remaining parsley, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  4. To assemble, spread 1 1/2 cups of meat sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish. Arrange 6 noodles lengthwise over meat sauce. Spread with one half of the ricotta cheese mixture. Top with a third of mozzarella cheese slices. Spoon 1 1/2 cups meat sauce over mozzarella, and sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Repeat layers, and top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Cover with foil: to prevent sticking, either spray foil with cooking spray, or make sure the foil does not touch the cheese.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil, and bake an additional 25 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

It's been awhile

Between setting up the new house, emptying out and cleaning the apartment, and work (including travel!), I've been way too busy to work on new recipes.... hopefully that will change soon, and I'll be trying new techniques as well- my mom gave me a pressure cooker for my birthday that I can't wait to try!  I want to try more seafood, roasting a leg of lamb, and using my bamboo steamer more.  Stay tuned...