Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Cooking for Two

Dani was the cutest little auburn haired little girl. She lived in the brick house across the street and my sister babysat her and her younger brother. Dani was 5 years younger than kid year's that's significant. When I was 9 she was only 4.

Much of our summertime was spent outside. We'd lay in the grass to look at cloud shapes, play swinging statues, and had fun tumbling and doing cartwheels. We'd ride bikes down the street and climb trees. Pretty much a typical summer for any kid in Arkansas. After Dani's family moved, I wasn't able to keep in touch with them, but thanks to modern technology and the power of Facebook, we reconnected. It’s exciting to see the wonderful, beautiful, successful young woman she has become. I'm so proud of her achievements.

~Beautiful friend~

Dani and her husband Justin, married just this past October. What a precious couple. Dani and Justin, I wish you both a lifetime of happiness and wonderful memories. May you enjoy new traditions as you begin your life together and may your journey take you to places far beyond anything you’ve ever imagined.

~The Happy Couple~ As a newly married couple, cooking can sometimes be a challenge. So many leftovers, too much of this, not enough of that. So, here are some great dinner recipes when cooking for two.

Beef Chimichangas

1/2 pound boneless beef chuck roast, cubed
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons canned chopped green chilies
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
Dash pepper
1-1/2 to 2 cups water

2 tomatillos, husks removed, chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
1 teaspoon canola oil
2 teaspoons canned chopped green chilies
2 teaspoons minced fresh cilantro
4 garlic cloves, minced
Dash salt and pepper
2 flour tortillas (8 inches), warmed
Oil for deep-fat frying

In a small saucepan, combine the first seven ingredients; add enough water just to cover. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 55 minutes or until meat is tender.
Meanwhile, in a small nonstick skillet, saute tomatillos and onion in oil until tender. Remove from the heat; stir in the chilies, cilantro, garlic, salt and pepper. Cool slightly.
Process in a food processor or blender until pureed. Transfer to a small bowl; cover and refrigerate until serving.
Remove meat from saucepan. Strain liquid, reserving onion mixture. When meat is cool enough to handle, shred with two forks. Combine onion mixture and meat; divide between tortillas. Fold sides and ends over filling and roll up; secure with toothpicks.
In an electric skillet or deep-fat
fryer, heat oil to 375°. Cook chimichangas until golden brown, turning to cook all sides. Drain on paper towels. Serve with salsa verde.

Cacciatore Chicken

1/2 medium onion, sliced and separated into rings

1/2 medium green pepper, sliced

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 boneless skinless chicken breast halves

3/4 cup canned stewed tomatoes

2 tablespoons white wine or Chicken Broth

1/4 teaspoon garlic salt

1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed

1/8 teaspoon pepper

In a large skillet, saute onion and green pepper in oil until crisp-tender. Remove and keep warm. Cook chicken over medium-high heat for 4-5 minutes on each side or until juices run clear. Remove and keep warm.

Add the tomatoes, wine, garlic salt, rosemary and pepper to the skillet; cook and stir until heated through. Add onion mixture. Serve with chicken.

Cajun Chicken Pasta

2 ounces uncooked fettuccine

2 boneless skinless chicken breast halves, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 to 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning

4 teaspoons olive oil

1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms

1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions

1/2 medium green pepper, chopped

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 Tbl cornstarch

1 cup half and half cream

Salt and pepper to taste

2 Tbl grated Parmesan cheese

Cook fettuccine according to package directions. Meanwhile, sprinkle chicken with Cajun seasoning. In a large skillet, cook chicken in 2 teaspoons oil over medium heat until no longer pink. Remove with a slotted spoon and keep warm. Add remaining oil to the drippings; saute the mushrooms, onions, green pepper and garlic until crisp-tender.

Combine cornstarch and cream until smooth; stir into vegetable mixture. Bring to a boil over medium heat; cook and stir for 1 minute or until thickened. Add salt if desired and pepper. Return chicken to the pan. Drain fettuccine and add to pan; toss gently. Cook for 1-2 minutes or until heated through. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Sesame Tuna Steaks

2 tuna steaks (1 inch thick and 6 ounces each)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup sesame seeds

2 teaspoons sesame oil

Sprinkle both sides of tuna steaks with salt; rub with sesame seeds. In a large skillet, cook tuna in oil over medium heat for 2-4 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

Garlic Almond Shrimp

1 can (11 ounces) mandarin oranges

1 teaspoon cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce

1 package (6 ounces) frozen snow peas, thawed

1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms

1 small onion, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon canola oil

1/2 pound uncooked medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 small garlic clove, minced

3 tablespoons slivered almonds, toasted

Hot cooked rice, optional

Drain oranges, reserving juice; set oranges aside. In a small bowl, combine cornstarch, salt, ginger and reserved juice until smooth. Stir in soy sauce; set aside.

In a large nonstick skillet or wok, stir-fry the peas, mushrooms and onion in oil for 2-3 minutes or until crisp-tender. Add shrimp and garlic; stir-fry 3 minutes longer.

Stir cornstarch mixture and add to the pan. Add oranges. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Sprinkle with almonds. Serve with rice if desired.

Honey Pecan Pork Chops

2 boneless pork loin chops (about 1/2 inch thick and 4 ounces each)

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons honey

1 to 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped pecans

Flatten pork chops slightly. In a shallow bowl, combine the flour, salt and pepper. Coat chops with flour mixture. In a large skillet, cook pork chops in butter over medium heat for 3-5 minutes on each side or until juices run clear. Remove and keep warm. Add honey and pecans to the skillet, scraping to loosen browned bits; heat through. Pour over pork chops.

Pizza Ravioli

16 frozen cheese ravioli, cooked and drained

2 teaspoons butter

1/4 cup finely chopped sweet yellow pepper

1/4 cup finely chopped green pepper

1/4 cup finely chopped sweet onion

1/2 cup pizza sauce

12 slices pepperoni, cut into quarters

1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

Divide ravioli between two microwave-safe bowls; dot with butter. Top with peppers, onion, pizza sauce, pepperoni and cheese.

Microwave, uncovered, on high for 2-3 minutes or until heated through.

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