If you know me or keep up with my blog, you know that I am a meal-planning Nazi. I do it in such a way that it is freeing, not restricting. It's become quite a hobby as well as a necessity. It's what gets me going.
I love trying new recipes. I'm not one of those people that are always making the same things. My family may prefer that I did, but I need a little more excitement than that.
However, this week is different. I'm a bit busier than usual, which means that I DO have to stick to a couple of go-to meals. This week's menu includes two of my most favoritest recipes.
Here they are:
Thai Shrimp Curry with Chopped Lettuce and Basil Lime Couscous (courtesy of Rachael Ray)
*this recipe may be slightly time consuming the first time you make it (especially if you're not used to cooking Thai food), but after once or twice, you'll be able to whip it up quickly. I can have it on the table in 20 minutes.
*if you use cooked shrimp (I do), add it when you add the peas.
2 tablespoons vegetable or other light oil, eyeball it
1 1/2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined with tails removed
6 ounces, about 1/3 pound, shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped
1-inch ginger root, peeled and grated or finely chopped
4 scallions, chopped into 1-inch pieces, whites and greens
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons mild or hot red curry paste
2 roasted red peppers, sliced
1 cup "light" or unsweetened coconut milk
1 cup frozen peas
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon butter
1 lime, zested and juiced
1 1/2 cups couscous
1 cup shredded fresh basil leaves
2 cups chopped iceberg lettuce, 1/2 small head
1/2 cup chopped peanuts, for garnish
Heat a couple of tablespoons of vegetable oil over high heat. Add shrimp and toss 2 minutes then add the mushrooms, garlic, ginger, scallions, salt and pepper and cook 3 to 4 minutes more tossing constantly. Stir in curry paste, roasted red pepper and coconut milk and reduce heat to low. Simmer a few minutes then stir in peas to heat through.
In a sauce pot bring chicken stock, butter and the lime zest to a boil. Add couscous and stir. Turn off heat, cover pot and let stand. Add basil and the lime juice to the pot and fluff with a fork.
Serve couscous topped with a layer of chopped lettuce then a few ladles of red curry shrimp. Garnish with chopped peanuts.
Butternut Squash-White Bean Soup (courtesy of Cooking Light)
3 bacon slices
1 cup chopped onion
2/3 cup chopped celery
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups (3/4-inch) cubed peeled butternut squash (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1/4 cup dry white wine
4 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 (15-ounce) cans Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
3 tablespoons unsalted pumpkinseed kernels, toasted
Cook bacon in a Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp. Remove the bacon from pan, reserving 2 teaspoons of drippings in pan; crumble the bacon, and set aside.
Add onion, celery, and garlic to pan; cook 3 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add squash; cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add wine; cook until liquid almost evaporates. Stir in broth, cumin, red pepper, cinnamon, and cloves; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 5 minutes or until squash is tender. Stir in cream, oregano, salt, black pepper, and beans; bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Sprinkle each serving with bacon and pumpkinseeds.
And just for fun, I've included this recipe that I like to make with the above soup. My family doesn't think it's the same without it. And it's perfect...while the soup is simmering and cooling, you have time to whip up a batch.
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup yellow cornmeal
3 tablespoons sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup 1% low-fat milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Preheat oven to 375°.
Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl; cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add milk and egg to cornmeal mixture; stir just until moist.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead lightly 4 times with floured hands. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper; coat with cooking spray. Pat dough into a 7-inch circle on prepared baking sheet. Cut dough into 8 wedges, cutting into but not through dough.
Bake at 375° for 22 minutes or until golden brown and a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Serve warm.