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Make it Simple, Make it Fast – Stir-Fried Shrimp with Sugar Snap Peas and Mushrooms

The mantra for me right now has been busy, busy, busy. It seems like every time I might have an easy day coming up something pops along to disrupt it. I guess it’s a good thing when it’s work because it at least means I am staying busy instead of trying to scrounge around for more work. Anyway, all of the busy days means trying to find fast and simple dinners more and more, especially when Michelle is away and it is just Sean and I for dinner. I try not to do takeout dinners if I can avoid it, which makes dinners like this one great because they are easy to do with just a few ingredients and cost less than getting fast food, pizza, Chinese or going to some other casual restaurant. This recipe is from Williams-Sonoma and is for stir-fried shrimp with snow peas and mushrooms and makes use of really basic ingredients and is done in under twenty minutes, including time to make some rice to go with it.

Stir-Fried Shrimp with Sugar Snap Peas and Mushrooms

2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

1 tablespoon light soy sauce or tamari

Salt

2 tablespoons peanut oil or canola oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon peeled and grated fresh ginger

1/2 pound mixed fresh mushrooms, such oyster or cremini

1/2 pound sugar snap peas, halved crosswise

2 green onions, white and tender green parts, cut into 1-inch pieces

2 tablespoons rice wine or sherry

Fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish

Cooked white rice for serving

In a non-reactive bowl, combine the shrimp, sesame oil, soy sauce or tamari and 1 teaspoon of salt. toss the ingredients gently to coat the shrimp.

In a wok or large frying pan, heat the peanut or canola oil over medium-high heat until it is just smoking. Add the garlic, ginger and shrimp and stir-fry the ingredients until the shrimp are evenly pink on both sides, about 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, remove the shrimp and transfer it to a separate bowl.

Add the mushrooms to the pan and stir-fry them over medium-high heat until they are softened, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the sugar snap peas and stir-fry until the peas are a bright green, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add the green onions and the rice wine or sherry. Cover the pan and cook until the snap peas are crisp-tender, about 2 to 3 minutes. Return the shrimp to the pan and stir-fry the shrimp just until they are heated through, about 1 minute. Garnish the stir-fry with the cilantro leaves and serve with the white rice.

It is a great, fresh dish that comes together very quickly. Shrimp cooks very quickly when you stir-fry it so you want to watch it carefully so you do not overcook it and make it rubbery. The sauce gives some great flavor to the shrimp and the simple mix of the snap peas and mushrooms are all you really need to round out the dish. Sean and I both really enjoyed it and I was able to have the leftovers for lunch the next day and they seemed even better after the shrimp had a chance to really absorb the sauce. I think it would be great with chicken or pork as well or even just with some extra vegetables and use the mushrooms as your main source of protein.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

shrimpsnowpeasmushroomstirfry

 

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Posted by on May 6, 2015 in Cooking, Dinner, Seafood, Stir Fry, Vegetables

 

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To Slow Cook or Not to Slow Cook…

Well, it’s not really the questions here, I guess. Slow cooking is a great option for dinners when you know you won’t have time to cook for dinner or you’re just to tired at night to start cooking after you get home. You can set it up in the morning before you leave, let it run on low all day, and dinner is ready for you when you get home. I have lots of slow cooker recipes and we do use the slow cooker, though not as much since I am home more to cook meals, but it is still a great option. When I saw the recipe for Chicken Marsala in the slow cooker, I thought it would be great to try it out. You still need to do some of the prep work on the stove top, but then you can put it all in the slow cooker and let it go.

Chicken Marsala

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, each about 6 ounces

3 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons olive oil

4 shallots, minced

1/4 pound pancetta, diced (if you don’t have pancetta, you can use bacon)

2 1/4 cups Marsala

1 cup chicken broth

2 teaspoons dried oregano

1/2 pound cremini or button mushrooms, brushed clean, stems removed and caps sliced thin

4 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

On a plate, stir together the flour, salt and pepper. One at a time, turn the chicken breasts in the flour mixture, gently shaking off the excess.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt 1 1/2 tablespoons of the butter and 1 1/2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Working in batches if necessary, add the chicken breasts and cook, turning once, until golden on both sides, about 5 minutes total. Transfer to a plate. Add the shallots and pancetta to the pan and saute over medium-high heat until lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Add 2 cups of the Marsala, increase the heat to high and cook, stirring, until the wine is reduced and thickened, 7 to 10 minutes. Add the broth and oregano and return to a boil.

Transfer the chicken to a slow cooker and add the Marsala mixture. Cover and cook until the chicken is opaque throughout and very tender, about 2 1/2 hours on high or 5 hours on low. About 30 minutes before the chicken is done, in a large skillet over high heat, melt 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter with the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the mushrooms and saute until the edges begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the mushroom mixture and the remaining 1/4 cup of Marsala to the slow cooker. Cover and continue cooking until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce has thickened, about 20 minutes more.

Remove from the heat and add the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter to the sauce, 1 tablespoon at a time, slowly whisking each into the sauce to blend. Spoon the mushrooms and the sauce over the chicken, garnish with the chives and serve.

It’s a very good recipe for the slow cooker, but if you prefer not to use a slow cooker for Chicken Marsala, here is a recipe that I use for the stove top that is a winner:

Chicken Marsala (Stove Top only)

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed

Salt and pepper

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

3 ounces pancetta, chopped fine (or bacon)

8 ounces button mushrooms, brushed, stems removed, sliced thin

1 garlic clove, minced

1 teaspoon tomato paste

1 1/2 cups Marsala

1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

3 tablespoons butter, cut into 3 pieces and chilled

2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 200 degrees. Spread the flour in a shallow dish. pat dry the chicken with paper towels, then season with salt and pepper. Dredge through the flour to coat and shake off any excess.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add the chicken and cook until light golden brown on both sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate and keep warm in the oven.

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the skillet and return to medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the pancetta and mushrooms. Cook until the pancetta is crisp and the mushrooms are brown, about 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic and tomato paste. Cook until the tomato paste begins to brown, about 1 minute. Stir in the Marsala, scraping up any browned bits, and simmer until reduced and slightly syrupy, about 8 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice and any accumulated chicken juice. Turn the heat to low and whisk in the butter, one piece at a time. Off the heat, stir in the parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon the sauce over the chicken before serving.

Chicken Marsala is one of our favorite recipes, whether it is in the slow cooker or on the stove top, and it goes really well with rice, noodles, pasta, or even risotto. We had rice with ours tonight and we all loved it.

Tomorrow will be our meat-free meal of the week and I am making Black Bean Stew. There’s not a lot in the recipe, although it does use some lager beer and butternut squash, so it promises to be pretty tasty. if you have any questions or comments about the Chicken Marsala or any other recipe, feel free to leave a message and I’ll be happy to comment. Until tomorrow, enjoy your evening and your meal!

 

 
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Posted by on February 21, 2012 in Cooking, Dinner, Equipment, Poultry, Slow Cooker Meals

 

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A Nice Sunday Dinner

It’s another nice day here in New York. So far I am loving this mild winter with warmer temperatures and no snow. I don’t get around too well in the snow and cold anymore, so this makes things a lot better for me as far as doing things outside and getting to go places. Since today is Sunday, we are relaxing at home, reading and listening to music, and it’s a great day to cook a nice family meal. While this meal is probably better in the summertime when you can grill outside, it’s still a good one and one of my favorites. Today we are making Pan Seared Steaks with a Red Wine Pan Sauce, Sautéed Mushrooms, Mashed Potatoes, Shrimp Scampi and Asparagus. It seems like a lot, but it really isn’t. You’ll probably spend more time peeling potatoes and shrimp than you will actually cooking, so if you can do some prep work ahead of time, your evening will go smoothly.

Pan-Seared Steaks with Red Wine Pan Sauce

Steaks

4 boneless beef steaks, 1 to 1 1/4 inches thick, trimmed (I am using boneless ribeyes, but you could easily use any type of boneless steak for this one, Check and see what’s on sale)

Salt and pepper

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Red Wine Sauce

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 shallot, minced

3/4 cup chicken broth (use your own or store-bought)

1/2 cup dry red wine

2 teaspoons brown sugar

3 tablespoons butter, cut into 3 pieces and chilled (it does make a difference if it’s chilled)

1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme, or 1/4 teaspoon dried

Salt and pepper

For the steaks: pat the steaks dry with paper towels, then season with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Brown the steaks on the first side, about 4 minutes. Flip the steaks over and continue to cook until the desired doneness (I prefer medium), another 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer the steaks to a clean plate, tent with foil, and let them rest for 5 minutes.

For the sauce, add oil to the skillet and return to medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the shallot and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in the broth, wine and brown sugar,  scraping up any browned bits, and simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in any accumulated meat juice. Turn the heat to low and whisk in the butter, one piece at a time. Off the heat, stir in the thyme and season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon the sauce over the steaks before serving.

It’s a very easy recipe to use. A couple of notes about cooking the steak. If you’re using larger steak and have more than one, cook only one at a time. Crowding them into the pan won’t sear them, it will only boil them and you won’t get a nice crust on them. Make sure you get your pan REALLY hot before putting the steaks in. If the oil smokes when it’s in the pan, it’s hot enough. Also, make sure you pat the steaks dry before you put them in the pan. If the steaks have been sitting in their own liquid before they are cooked, their exterior won’t brown nicely; they are just going to steam. Finally, use a conventional surface skillet for this one to make sure you get the nice browned bits for the sauce.

Now that the steaks are done, let’s move on to the shrimp. I love shrimp, made just about any way, and scampi is one of my favorites. This is great as a meal on its own served over white rice, but today we are using it as an accompaniment to the steaks.

Shrimp Scampi

1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined

Salt and pepper

1/8 teaspoon sugar

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons butter

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon fresh minced parsley

1/2 tablespoon dry white wine or vermouth

Pinch of cayenne pepper

Pat the shrimp dry with paper towels, then season with 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper and the sugar. Heat the olive oil in a nonstick skillet over high heat until smoking. Add half the shrimp to the pan in a single layer. Cook until the shrimp are curled and pink on both sides, about 2 minutes. Transfer the shrimp to a bowl and cover with foil. Repeat with the remaining shrimp.

Add 1 tablespoon of the butter to the skillet and melt over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 15 seconds (garlic burns fast, you need to watch it!) Off the heat, stir in the lemon juice parsley, wine and cayenne. Whisk in the remaining butter. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Return the shrimp with any accumulated juice to the skillet. Toss the shrimp until they are well coated with the sauce.

The shrimp takes next to no time to cook, so you could do this while your steaks are resting. Don’t cook the shrimp too long, they will be rubbery and you’ll regret it. Also, I often buy shrimp in the shell and save the shells when you are peeling; they can be used to make some fish stock for future recipes.

Okay we have our steak and our shrimp. We have made mashed potatoes before, but if you missed them, here’s my technique for making them from a past blog. Now we can move on to our other sides for the day. The first is sautéed mushrooms. They aren’t hard to cook, but take a little longer than the steak or the shrimp, so you may want to start them earlier.

Sautéed Mushrooms with Shallot and Thyme

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 shallot, minced

1 pound white or cremini mushrooms, halved if small, quartered if large

1/2 teaspoon minced fresh thyme, or 1/8 teaspoon dried

Salt and pepper

Melt the butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil and the shallot and cook until the shallot is soft, about 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and thyme and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms have released their liquid and are lightly browned, about 12 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Leave the mushrooms in chunks instead of slicing them thin, They give you a more meaty, substantial texture this way and don’t dry out like the thinner slices can.

They are lots of ways to cook asparagus (steamed, sautéed, boiled) but I am going to broil them today. I like the way they taste, and frankly I don’t have room on the stove top today with all the other dishes going on, so it works out well. You can serve the asparagus fresh from the oven, room temperature, or even chilled if you prefer.

Broiled Asparagus

1 pound asparagus, tough ends trimmed off

1 tablespoon olive oil

Salt and pepper

Fresh lemon juice (optional)

Adjust an oven rack 6 inches from the broiler element and heat the broiler. Toss the asparagus with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Lay the spears in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Broil the asparagus, shaking the pan occasionally, until they are tender and lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle with lemon juice (if using) before serving.

You could dress these up if you want with some Balsamic Vinaigrette like we made in an earlier recipe or sprinkle on a little Parmesan cheese or fresh herbs instead of the lemon juice. Even just tossing with some sesame seeds and a little soy sauce would be good.

Wow, we made a lot of food today and none of the recipes were difficult. I don’t normally make dessert, and it is Sunday, when we usually have dessert, but Julie is bringing dessert over today and she is a much better baker than I am, so whatever she brings would be better than what I could put together. At some point I’ll post dessert recipes on here if anyone asks for one, but I know a lot of family members who are much better at baking, so maybe they would like to provide us with some good dessert recipes (subtle hint). Enjoy your Sunday dinner and relax before the rest of the week begins. Have a glass of wine or a martini and kick back, listen to some music and start thinking about all the snacks we’ll make for Super Bowl next week (I have some good recipes I will post on Thursday!) Have a great day!

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on January 29, 2012 in Beef, Cooking, Dinner, Potatoes, Produce, Sauce, Seafood, Vegetables

 

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Jennifer Probst

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Laissez Faire

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