Bored Cook In The Kitchen

Tried and true recipes, new twists on old favorites, and new dishes to expand my family's palate.

Tag Archives: Main Dishes

Shrimp & Feta Over Pasta (Mediterranean Shrimp Skillet)

I saw this dish in a recent issue of Taste of Home magazine and knew I had to make it.  Feta, shrimp, lemon and pasta?  Yup, I can fall in love with that combination.

Being Catholic, and it being Lent, I look for new and different meatless recipes to serve for the next few weeks.  This one was on the top of my list.  Of course, after I made it and was cleaning up I realized this recipe calls for chicken broth, and, yes, chicken broth would be considered a meat when cooking that should not be used on a meatless day during Lent.  I’m sure God forgave me for that minor mistake.  I hope. 

I only made one change to this recipe, and that change came about because I couldn’t get one major ingredient.  Fresh basil.  I see it all the time in any of our grocery stores, even during the winter, but for whatever reason, fresh basil decided to evacuate itself from all produce sections in my area last week.  I did, however, have  two bunches of fresh cilantro in my fridge.  In fact, I always have fresh cilantro in a mason jar in my fridge because I can’t live without the stuff. 

I was hesitant at first to make the switch from the basil to the cilantro, but after reviewing the ingredients again I realized cilantro would work just as well, if not better.  I do plan on making this again using basil, but if you find yourself in a pinch like me, I highly recommend the substitution of cilantro if need be.  That was the only thing I changed about this recipe. 

Mediterranean Shrimp Skillet

From Taste of Home Magazine February/March 2011 issue

  • 8 oz. uncooked angel hair pasta (I used spaghetti)
  • 1 1/2 lbs. uncooked medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 1/2 tsp. olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth, divided
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. dried basil (I used dried cilantro)
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch
  • 4 cups chopped fresh spinach
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh basil

Cook pasta according to package directions.  Meanwhile, in a large skillet, sauté shrimp in oil until shrimp turn pink.  Add the garlic, salt and pepper; cook 1 minute longer.  Remove and set aside.

In the same skillet, heat 1 cup broth, lemon juice and dried basil.  In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and remaining broth until smooth; stir into the pan.  Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.  Stir in spinach and shrimp; cook until spinach is wilted.

Drain pasta; serve with shrimp mixture.  Sprinkle with feta cheese and fresh basil.

Enjoy!

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Broccoli, Chicken & Cheese Braid

If you have ever been to a Pampered Chef party you have probably eaten this simple but delicious dish.  The first time I ever had it was at my sister in law’s house one Christmas a few year’s back.  Not long after that I attended a Pampered Chef party my friend had and enjoyed it once again. 

If you have never tried it than you must.  It’s great as an appetizer or as a meal in itself.  Not to mention, it’s an easy way to get broccoli into your children without them complaining.   Even my husband who hates broccoli will eat this and not complain.

And don’t let the presentation intimidate you.  I’m far from artistic and even I can throw this together in a matter of minutes and have it look pretty.

Begin by mixing up all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

Set this to the side.  On a large cookie sheet, or better yet, a baking stone, unroll the first package of crescent rolls.  Placing them with the widest part across the top of the cookie sheet. 

Open the second roll of crescent rolls and roll them out the same way, placing them directly under the first roll and pinching the seams together.  Roll out with a rolling-pin until all seams are sealed together and you have a large rectangle.  You can use your hands to shape this out better once you have rolled it together.

Using a sharp paring knife, begin slicing 1 1/2″ – 2″ wide by 3″ long strips down each side of the dough giving you 8 slits on each side.  This should leave you approximately 6″ of solid space down the center of the dough.  Place your filling in this center spot and shape into a rectangle.

Now begin your braiding from the top down.  At the very top you should have a small piece of dough in the center.  Take this and fold it up to the top of the filling.  Then take a strip from the left and cross it over to the right.  Take the strip on the right, and cross it over to the left, overlapping the first strip.

Continue this pattern until you have reached the bottom and have crossed all your side strips of dough over one another.

Once you reach the bottom, fold the bottom flap of dough up to the top and press together to form a seam.

When done, your loaf should look like this.  Or something like it anyway.

Beat 1 egg and brush along entire surface and sides of the dough.  Place in the oven and bake until golden brown.

BROCCOLI, CHICKEN & CHEESE BRAID:

Recipe from Pampered Chef

  • 2 Cups Cooked Chicken, Chopped
  • 1 Cup Fresh Broccoli, Chopped
  • 1/2 Cup Chopped Bell Pepper (I just used 1 small red pepper)
  • 1 Garlic Clove Pressed (I used 1/4 tsp. garlic powder)
  • 1 Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • 1/2 Cup Mayonnaise
  • 2 tsp. Dried Dill (they call for 2 tsp. of their own dill mix but it tastes just as good using just dried dill)
  • 1/4 tsp. Salt
  • 1/4 tsp. Black Pepper
  • (2) 8 oz. Packages of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
  • 1 Whole Egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 Tbsp. Slivered Almonds (*optional I did not use them)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.. Chop chicken, broccoli and bell pepper and add to a large mixing bowl.  Add all remaining ingredients, except for the egg and the almonds.  Mix together well.

Unroll 1 package of crescent dough; do not separate. Arrange longest sides of dough across width of 12″ x 15″ rectangle baking stone or cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining package of dough. Using roller, roll dough to seal perforations. On longest sides of baking stone, cut dough into strips 1 1/2 inches apart, 3 inches deep using a paring knife.. Spread filling evenly over middle of dough. To braid, lift strips of dough across mixture to meet in center, twisting each strip on turn.  Continue alternating strips to form a braid. Tuck ends under to seal at end of braid. Brush egg over dough using pastry brush. Sprinkle with almonds.  Bake 25-28 minutes or until deep golden brown.

Remove from oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes.  Using a thin spatula, gently run it along the bottom of the loaf on the pan to loosen.  Place on a cutting board.  Allow to rest for another 5 minutes.  Slice into pieces using a serrated knife. 

Enjoy!

 

Potted Pork Chops

 

This is another dish I grew up with, and yet another dish that as a child I could not appreciate.  Which of course means that now as an adult, I love this dish!

It’s simple, filling, and very full of flavor.  It’s also something different to do with pork chops.  Does anyone else find it hard to find new ways of cooking them?  I have a few recipes for them that I like to use, but I just never seem to find too many new and exciting ways to make them. 

But here is one way.

POTTED PORK CHOPS:

Serves 6

  • 6 Thin Cut Bone-In Pork Chops
  • 1 Large Red Bell Pepper seeded and sliced
  • 1 Medium Yellow Onion sliced thick
  • 1 Clove of Garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. Olive Oil (I use light tasting)
  • 1 14.5 oz. Can Low-Sodium Beef Broth
  • 1 tsp. Seasoned Salt
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste

Begin by seasoning your pork chops with the seasoned salt and black pepper on both sides.

In a large dutch oven set on medium, heat up the olive oil.  Place three pork chops in and allow them to brown, very well on one side.  Then flip them over and do the same on the other side.  You want to get these nice and browned with a deep crust on the outside of them.  These are perfect:

Remove the first set of browned chops to a plate and keep warm.  Brown the remaining three chops and remove those to a warm plate.

Take your sliced onion and pepper and throw them into the pot and sauté them for a bit just to give them some color. 

Once they have some color, remove them to a separate bowl.  In the bottom of that pot you are going to have some delicious flavor.  To this you will add the beef broth.  Set it to a low simmer and using a whisk, scrape up all that goodness off the bottom of the pot. 

Add the pork chops back to the pot, place the onions and peppers on the top, and cover your pot.  Keeping it on a low simmer, allow these to cook for about 20 to 30 minutes. 

Remove the chops and the peppers and onions to a serving platter.  Set the burner to medium and reduce the sauce by half.  Pour this over the chops and serve.  I like this with rice or egg noodles, but since we are on a potato fest I’ll be serving these with roasted potatoes.  (Recipe to follow)

Pot Roast

I was undecided what to cook this past weekend.  I’ve been trying to be more organized about planning meals, at the least, a few days ahead of time.  I could be like those organized people who plan a week ahead, but trust me, I’m so far from organized it’s not funny. 

Looking through the sale circulars on Sunday for our local food stores decided it for me.  Pot Roast.  My favorite store had Chuck Roast on sale for $1.49 lb. so there you have it.  Sunday dinner.  Much like meat loaf, there a million and one recipes out there for pot roast.  And I have never followed a recipe for it.  I usually make it somewhat different every few times I make it.  The one thing I don’t change is the cut of meat.  I prefer a Chuck Roast.  To me, it is the ultimate cut of meat for a Pot Roast.  Sometimes I make it in the slow cooker, other times in the oven in my “look-alike-Le Creuset-oval-because I’m not paying $150 for one pot-dutch oven”.  That’s what I chose to use this time around.

First thing I do is salt and pepper the roast generously on both sides.  Then I get my “look-alike-Le Creuset-oval-because I’m not paying $150 for one pot-dutch oven” on the stove and pour in some canola oil.  I let it heat up a bit and then I brown all sides of the roast nicely.  You want it nice and brown so it leaves those delicious crusty brown specs on the bottom of the pot.

Once this is achieved I remove the roast to a plate and pour in beef broth and then use my wire whisk to scrape up all the bits off the bottom of the pan.  I then add in the roast, some carrots and onion, a bay leaf and that’s it. Cover up that puppy and put it in a 275 degree oven for the next several hours.  When it’s done it looks like this:

And this:

At this point, the meat will be so tender you can barely lift it out of the pot without it falling apart.  You won’t need to slice it.  Just get it on a cutting board and begin pulling it apart with two forks. 

At this point you will probably be tempted to start shoving tender morsels of this meat into your mouth as you are breaking it apart.  I was the same way.  Notice the past tense I used.  Past tense because I once worked with someone who told me her mother was stealing pieces of pot roast from the cutting board one day as she was breaking it up to serve for dinner.  All of a sudden this girl saw her mother begin choking and immediately performed the hymelic maneuver on her.  Luckily her mother survived and the tender piece of meat came sailing across the kitchen when it was dislodged from her throat.  Now I have this sick phobia of me choking to death on a piece of tender meat I was quietly trying to shove down my throat, in my kitchen, all alone, and being found dead by one of my children or my husband.  Who would then proceed to step over my immobile body to begin scarfing down their own tender piece of meat before acknowledging the fact that I was lying blue and lifeless on the floor below them. 

Oh. Sorry for the blurriness.  I was being mauled by this while I was taking these photos.

Well, not really “mauled”.  More like being affectionately rubbed against in the hopes that I would notice he was there and waiting for a little morsel of meat to suddenly fall on the floor.  I guess me missed that splotch of gravy on the floor to the left of him.  I never said he was the smartest cat, just the most affectionate.  And, he thinks he is more canine than feline and actually begs for food like a dog.

Just a side note.  See that little bend at the end of his tail.  Know how he got that?  I accidentally rolled over his tail in my wheelchair a few years back when I was healing from a broken leg and the surgery endured to correct it.  I felt terrible, and his tail never returned to normal.  Almost five years later and he still has that little bend to it.  Sorry, Max.  I never meant to maim you with my wheelchair.  I feel terrible about it and you remind me of it every time I look at you.  So of course, I had to drop him a morsel of tender meat to feast on.  He earned it.

Sorry.  I’m easily side tracked.  Back to the pot roast.  I don’t have any specific measurements, but I will do my best to make it look like I do and post the recipe for you. 

POT ROAST

  • 3-4 lb. Chuck Roast
  • 32 oz. Low Sodium Beef Broth
  • 1 Medium onion
  • 4-5 Carrots peeled
  • 1-2 Bay leaves
  • 1 Packet brown gravy mix
  • 2-3 Tbsp. Canola Oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Salt and pepper the roast on both sides.  Pour a few Tbsp. of Canola Oil into a dutch oven on the stove and get it nice and hot.  Place the roast in the pot and brown it nicely on all sides. 

While it’s browning, rough chop the onion and peel and cut up your carrots and place them to the side.

When the roast is nicely browned on all sides, remove it from the pot and place it to the side.  Pour in your beef broth and use a wire whisk to scrape up all those brown bits from the bottom of the pot.  Add the roast, carrots and onions to the beef broth in the pot and make sure it is submerged in the liquid.  Place the cover on it and put it in a 275 degree oven and let cook and become tender and delicious.

This was between 3 and 4 lbs. so I let it cook for a good four hours.  After the first three hours, I shut off the oven and left it in there, still covered, for the last hour. 

Once done, remove the roast carefully to a cutting board and break all the meat apart.  With a slotted spoon remove the carrots and the onion to a bowl.  Now stir in the one packet of brown gravy mix until well combined.  The sauce/gravy will be thin, but this is the way we prefer it.  You can always thicken it with some flour if you like a thicker gravy.

I like to serve this with mashed potatoes or egg noodles.  There you have it. An entire meal cooked in one pot and  you barely had to do anything.  Enjoy!

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