White Roasted Stir Fry

Have you ever wanted to make dinner but you didn’t actually want to “make dinner”? That was my night tonight.  I had an idea to make a stir fry, using a bag of frozen shrimp that I had thawed during the day, but I had no desire to stand by the stovetop.  Enter the idea of a “roasted stir fry”.  While it was a bit of a gamble, I do think it paid off in the end when we sat down to dinner.  It was yummy!  The best part is that it can qualify as a Starter Recipe because it’s just so darn simple.  Check out the recipe for yourself!WhiteRoastedStirFry.jpg

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag frozen shrimp
  • 1 bag broccoli bites
  • grape tomatoes (sliced in half)
  • half onion, cut in half and sliced
  • a thumb of garlic (I used a tube, so it was about the size of my thumb… probably 1 clove, crushed)
  • teriyaki sauce (just a small pour)
  • white wine (a large splash)
  • Splash of cream (totally unnecessary but looked good)
  • 1 pkg 90-second brown rice

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven at 400 degrees and cover baking sheet with foil.
  2. Remove shells from shrimp and put raw shrimp in a bowl.  Toss in broccoli, grape tomatoes, onion, and garlic.
  3. Pour sauce over shrimp mixture and toss to combine.
  4. Pour shrimp mixture onto baking sheet and pop into oven.  Cook 20-25 minutes, until shrimp are cooked.
  5. If you decide you want to add the splash of cream, you can add it by removing baking sheet from oven, pour cream, and toss to blend before serving.
  6. Cook brown rice packet as directed.
  7. Serve with shrimp mixture over brown rice.

To finish off our dinner, I like to add bread when I make dinner… I typically have sliced bread in the freezer, so I grab a few pieces, spray it with Pam and season with garlic salt. Feel free to play with the ingredients and create something that fits into your family’s favorites… add veggies, serve on noodles, change out some of the sauce flavors… the sky’s the limit when it comes to making dinners that everyone will like!  Enjoy…

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Chicken and Snow Pea Stir-fry

As promised via Instagram, I am posting my recipe for a delicious and amazingly simple dinner of chicken tenders, snow peas, and brown rice.  I have gotten this dinner down to a quick and easy “go-to” for our family and have altered it too many times to count.  I am sharing this basic version so you, dear reader, have a place from which to “jump off” and create something that will appeal to the individual tastes of your own families… so let’s get to it!ChickenSnowPeas&Chard

I started with one package of chicken tenders and most of a bag of snow peas.  I cut each of the tenders into bite-size pieces and then added salt, pepper, and parsley before setting the chicken aside for a few minutes.

In a large skillet, I melted a bit of coconut oil on medium-high heat and browned half a diced onion,  Once the onion was browned, I added the chicken tender pieces and gave them time to cook thoroughly before adding the sauce.  I created the sauce by pouring about a cup of Chardonnay (I used Bread and Butter Chardonnay, because that was what I had in my fridge… feel free to use whatever white wine you have or prefer) into a bowl, adding a large glug of a pre-made sweet and savory sauce from Sam’s Club that we had in the fridge, along with a “thumb-size” amount of cream cheese, and pouring that into the skillet.  I added the snow peas and stirred everything together until the cream cheese had melted into the sauce and the peas had a chance to cook a bit.  I then served the stir-fry over a bed of brown rice.  I should also note that I added a bit of the same “sweet and savory sauce” into the rice when it was cooking, so there was some syncing of the flavors between the stir-fry and the rice.

Honestly, this is all I did to make dinner last night.  I have made variations in which I substitute the sweet and savory sauce with some pre-made housin sauce but I’ve also done the same thing using wine, the juice of a lemon, and some light-colored jam (I like apricot, peach, or fig preserves).  Play around with this recipe on your own and find your favorite version to serve.  It’s amazing how fresh and wonderful things taste when you play with ingredients!

Recipe: Red Steak Stir Fry

The house smelled soooo good when I was making dinner last night…. a definite plus after a weekend of pizza and dinners out, no matter how yummy.  Since M asked me to make a stir fry, I stopped by the grocery store on the way home from work and was able to throw this delicious meal together without too much difficulty.  Picking up two sale packages of “stir-fry beef”, a package of sliced mushrooms, a small package of Haricot Verts (long thin green beans), a bag of onions, and a bottle of Korean Teriyaki sauce, I started cooking in “layers”.  Let me explain what I mean by that…

RedSteakStirFry

Start with the onions and mushrooms.  Slice half an onion and half of the package of sliced mushrooms, and saute them in a pat of butter and a little bit of olive oil until they start to brown.  To this mixture, add some Napa Valley Pinot Noir red wine (this is what I had in the fridge… any tasty red wine will work well in this recipe) and allow the veggies to soak up the wine (here’s your first layer of flavor).  Remove the veggies and add another pat of butter and a little bit of olive oil, allowing the pan to get hot.  Add salt and pepper to the beef and add to the melted butter/oil in the saute pan.  Brown the beef thoroughly and then add more red wine (this is your second layer of flavor) so the beef can soak up more of this flavor.  Once the beef is cooked, return the onion/mushroom mixture and bring everything to temperature.

While sauteing the vegetables and beef, take a moment to pull the stir-fry sauce together.  This sauce was a blend of 2/3 cup red wine, 1/3 cup of Teriyaki sauce, some garlic, some ginger, and a spoonful of flour.  Whisk the sauce thoroughly to incorporate the flour into the sauce and wait to add the sauce until the beef is thoroughly cooked and toasty and the veggies are returned to the pan.  This will be your third layer of flavor.

Since the Haricot Verts are so incredibly delicate and quick cooking, I would suggest adding the beans and the sauce close to the same time in the cooking process.  Toss everything together for a few minutes to allow the flour to cook and the beans to warm.  I did add 1/4 cup water to thin the sauce a bit, but the stir-fry sauce I had made was absolutely delicious.  Served over a bit of brown rice (I microwaved a package of brown basmati rice), it was a thoroughly satisfying meal… warm, tasty, and totally yummy.

Try your own version of this stir-fry at your house… chances are that it will become your family’s favorite as well!

Recipe: Updated Chicken Prosciutto Roll

I know this is a re-do of a recipe that I posted in August, but honestly this  set of photos is much more informative than the first, so I decided to go ahead and add it… never hurts to show you more about a recipe than less, right?  I also adjusted this recipe a bit from the original, so please forgive my repetition… I want you to have as much info about recipes as I can provide, especially when I make something so tasty that doesn’t actually use a recipe.

I wanted to make a simple, yet elegant, dinner with James River Cellars’ Gewurztraminer wine.  Since we have found that the tastiest pairing of cheese-to-wine uses Bourcin cheese with this particular wine, my primary pairing was already set.  Sadly, though, my local grocery store was out of Bourcin Cheese, so I had to make due with a local goat cheese infused with garlic and herbs which turned out to be very tasty and worked just as well (in my humble opinion).

I started with three large chicken breasts from a sale package of chicken breasts.  Note: I don’t know what sort of giant chickens produced these breasts, but they were thick, meaty, and looked amazing.  I’m sure that they are genetically altered and I should have reached instead for the organic meat, but I was looking for value this time – I was able to get 5 breasts for the price of 2 organic breasts, so that made my decision for me yesterday.  I ran my knife through the meatiest part of the breast but didn’t cut all the way through, so I could open the breast like an envelope and make it as thin and wide as possible.  I used a mallet to pound the thicker spots down a bit so everything was even and got on with the recipe.

Making sure not to tear the meat, I separated a thin slice of prosciutto and laid it on top of the open chicken breast, then topped the breast with a thin line of garlic/herb goat cheese (here’s where I would have used the Bourcin Cheese, had I been able to find it at the store).  Once the layers were in place, I carefully rolled the chicken, beginning at the  side rather than from one of the ends, and then used a long skewer to secure the breast meat and keep all the toppings inside.  My goal was to make a long/thin roll as opposed to a short/fat roll so the meat would be able to cook thoroughly without being too overdone on the outside.  NewChickenPriscuittoRoll

When you are ready to cook dinner,  add a pat of butter and a bit of olive oil to the pan and then sear the rolls on all sides until they are browned and crispy.  I actually made the rolls earlier in the day and let them sit in the fridge until I was ready to cook, but you’re welcome to make them whenever it works for you.  I definitely would have done this earlier in the day if I were making it for company.  Once the meat is seared along all edges, I added the remaining cheese (maybe the last inch of the roll of goat cheese) and Gewurztraminer wine to create a bit of sauce in which the rolls could cook.  Note:  Since I knew the inside of the rolls weren’t anywhere near ready, my plan was to bake them in the oven until my husband came home for dinner.  I’m not sure exactly how long I baked them (remember… I USE THE FORCE TO COOK) but I had set the oven at 350 degrees and popped the saute pan in the oven until things “smelled done” and we were ready to eat.

To finish this dish, I used a bag of green beans and a bag of brown rice.  I microwaved the beans first and tossed them with a little butter and salt before serving.  I microwaved the brown rice afterward and divided that out among the dinner plates.  Removing the skewer at this point wasn’t easy, but I used a fork to keep things steady as I gently pulled the skewer out of each chicken roll.  The final touch was to spoon the cooking sauce over the chicken and rice.  It looked as pretty as it tasted!

Extra idea… if you are serving a small group of people, you could make four of these rolls and then slice them to serve onto individual plates instead of offering each person their own chicken roll.

This is one of my favorite recipes to share with people when I do a wine tasting at James River Cellars.  I do hope that you’ll consider trying this recipe and make it your own.  That’s the essence of cooking… creating something delicious to feed the ones that you love.

Enjoy!

Recipe: Teriyaki Shrimp Stir Fry

I have to give my husband credit for the inspiration for this recipe.  I asked what he wanted me to make (using a pound of shrimp) for dinner and he rattled off a list of options that included the name of this dish.  I wasn’t thinking “teriyaki” until he threw that idea out… but it sounded yummy to me, so I set about rifling through the fridge to come up with ingredients that might work as a teriyaki sauce.

What I found, already in my fridge, were the following items:  half a jar of orange marmalade, Bragg Liquid Aminos (something like soy sauce, that *isn’t* soy, that my niece mentioned once on her blog so I bought it), homemade BBQ sauce, and a bottle of James River Cellars Montpelier wine (this new vintage is 100% Cabernet Franc, made as a semi-sweet blanc/rose’ wine… soooo yummy).  Since I hadn’t cooked with Montpelier yet, I was eager to try and find a way to use this fun wine.  NOTE: If you don’t have access to this specific wine, you’re welcome to substitute your favorite semi-dry/semi-sweet white wine or a lightly dry rose of your choice.  You could also just substitute chicken stock, if you prefer, but I really like the back note of wine in this dish.

TeriyakiShrimpStirFry

I defrosted a pound of frozen shrimp (I always like to have this on hand for quick and easy dinners that I know my husband will love) and sliced them in half, length-wise.  I love doing this with shrimp because they end up looking like little cork-screws of shrimp and they cook so quickly.  Feel free to cut them up or leave them whole… it’s entirely up to you!

I sauteed the shrimp in good olive oil until they were slightly toasty and browned.  Again, cook your shrimp according to your family’s preference… this is simply the way we like to have shrimp.  I wanted to add some sort of vegetable into dinner, so I used about a cup of broccoli slaw and tossed that with the cooked shrimp until it started to look a little glossy from the olive oil.  NOTE: If you’ve never used broccoli slaw before, you can find it in most grocery stores in the bagged vegetable area.  I love this stuff and try to keep it on hand to add to dinners whenever possible.  It cooks amazingly fast and is a nice addition to stir fry dinners.  I also like to use it in egg rolls, but that’s for another post on another day…

Once the veggies were well incorporated, I added the sauce that I’d made, using the ingredients i found in my fridge.  To be more specific, I used the half jar of orange marmalade, a few tablespoons of liquid aminos (this stuff is really salty, so go slow when adding and taste as you go), 2-3 Tablespoons of BBQ sauce, and 1/4-1/3 cup of Montpelier wine.  I tasted the sauce to make sure all the flavors combined well and adjusted as needed.  I let the sauce simmer with the shrimp/veggies until it had reduced a bit and didn’t look quite so wet in the pan.

Once the stir fry was done, I plated dinner in two different ways.  My husband really likes rice, so I like to keep microwaveable brown rice in the cupboard for meals.  I heated his rice and chose to put my dinner over a bag of Shiritake (tofu) noodles.  Let me say that I really like substituting regular pasta with these spaghetti-shaped noodles.  They’re low cal, low carb, gluten-free, vegan, and only about 30 calories for the entire bag (which is the amount I always eat).  They need to be rinsed REALLY well, as they are kept in a brine of some sort, but I find them to be a fun substitute that works well for me and how I want to eat.  I’m very visual, so I want to see a big plate of food or I feel like I haven’t eaten enough (no matter what my stomach actually says) and will snack more later.  NOTE:  The link I’ve included is the the Google search page for Shiritaki noodles… I didn’t want to limit you by suggesting a specific brand, since I’ve tried a few and don’t really have a favorite.

This dinner was super-simple and used things that I already had in my fridge or pantry.  I love being able to create something for dinner that doesn’t need tons of unique/single-use ingredients.  Orange marmalade is a terrific example of something that I keep on hand for tons of different uses.  Find your favorites and you’ll be able to pull dinner together in a snap – this was even faster (and cheaper) than take-out!

Enjoy!

Crock Pot Recipe: Beef and Broccoli

This basic recipe popped up on my Facebook feed one day and I knew that I just had to play with it… it seemed a crime (to me) not to see any red wine listed for this dish!  Thankfully, this was a fairly simple dish to use for my family… they love any sort of meat and vegetable dinner.

Crockpot Beef and Broccoli

I gathered my ingredients and went to work assembling everything before I left for work in the morning.  I used a large package of thin cut beef strips that I’d picked up on sale at the local grocery store a few weeks prior and popped the frozen meat into the bottom of my crockpot.  I then mixed 1 cup James River Rad Red Wine (you can use any red wine that you like to drink in this recipe – if you’d drink it in your glass, it’s perfectly fine to use for cooking), 1 packet of G.Washington Rich Brown Seasoning, 1/4 cup soy sauce, 1/4 cup honey, 2 Tablespoons of sesame oil, minced garlic to taste (I use the pre-minced packages, but feel free to add or subtract as you like) and turned on my crockpot to cook on low for 6-8 hours.

When I got home from work that afternoon, the house smelled fabulous.  All the sweet, salty, garlic-y smells combined to make my mouth water as soon as I walked in the house.  I could hardly wait for the guys to get home!  I set about making up some rolls to go with dinner and waited for them to be ready to eat.

There wasn’t much I had to do to complete this meal.  I had purchased a bag of broccoli at the store, so I pierced the bag and popped it into the microwave for 4-5 minutes to steam the broccoli.  As soon as the broccoli was done, I swapped the bag of veggies for a bag of microwaveable brown rice that would cook in 90 seconds and turned the microwave back on.  Now for the sauce…

To complete this meal, I needed to turn the cooking liquid for the beef into a delicious sauce… so I removed it from the crockpot, saving 2 cups of the broth in a small bowl, and added 2 tablespoons of cornstarch to thicken the broth.  I whisked the cornstarch into the broth until there were NO lumps and then stirred it back into the crockpot of beef.  I then added the broccoli and stirred everything together before serving it over the brown rice.

This was simple… it was easy… and it was so VERY tasty.

Enjoy making this recipe your own – it’s worth it!

Recipe: Shrimp with Lemon/Chardonel Sauce

Wow…. Even *I* was blown away by how yummy tonight’s dinner turned out.  Shrimp with Lemon_Chardonel SauceThis dinner was an incredibly simple and amazingly flavorful meal… worthy of a blog post and definitely worth writing down so that others can make something like this for dinner sometime soon!

I started with a thawed pound of jumbo shrimp that I had already peeled.  Our local grocery store advertises deals on bags of frozen shrimp every week, a “buy one and get one free” sort of deal that I try and take advantage of every chance I get.  Shrimp is a big favorite of 3/4 of my family (and the older one, who isn’t a fan, is now in grad school and not being fed here) so I really like to have shrimp on hand for quick go-to meals.

I popped 2T of butter and two turns of the pan of olive oil into a large skillet and let it heat until the butter was browned and smelled slightly nutty.  I dropped the shrimp into the pan and gave the pan time to sear each side of the shrimp until both sides were toasty.  Since I knew this was going to be a simple dinner, I grabbed a bag of green beans and put them into the microwave for 5 minutes to cook.

Once both sides of the shrimp were browned and nicely seared, I added the juice and zest of 1 lemon to the sauce and did two turns of the pan with James River Cellars’ Chardonel white wine.  Honestly, I could have used a Chardonnay or another white wine that I liked, but I had a bottle of Chardonel open in the fridge and it was just calling to me for this dinner.  For this recipe, feel free to use/try your own favorite white wine for the sauce.  Something that is light with some tropical fruit notes should fit the bill nicely.  Just always make sure to cook with a wine that you’d want to drink.

I allowed the shrimp to simmer in the lemon/wine sauce while I pulled the green beans out of the microwave and popped in a bag of Uncle Ben’s Brown Basmati Rice for the 90 seconds, as directed.  Once the sauce had thickened and the rice was done, I plated the meal and it was done… the meal was finished and dinner was complete.  This one was totally yummy and worthy of sharing with you all.

Note:  The next time I make this dinner, I’ll probably make pasta, instead of rice, to go along with the shrimp… that will allow me to use a bit of pasta water to stretch the sauce a bit.  That’s the only real change I’d make to this dinner… otherwise, it’s just fabulous!

I hope you’ll consider trying this recipe.  It’s easy… it’s incredibly flavorful… and it made everyone smile.  That, in my book, makes this recipe a huge winner!