Brown Rice & Quinoa Risotto with Arrabiata & Shrimp

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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This is kinda outrageously good.  I began by trying to just use the brown rice but I got impatient waiting for it to get creamy so I added some cooked quinoa which magically did the trick.  This can be used like any risotto & you could add anything your imagination comes up with.  I had leftover, frozen arrabiata, so I used that.   The shrimp can easily be omitted.  Vegan cheese could be used to make the dish vegan.

As an aside – NEVER buy this stuff:

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At the risk of sounding like a commercial, I thought I’d save a dollar or two & buy the cheap stuff but that was a mistake.  First of all, it foams up like a bubble bath creating a Lucy moment of a bubble lava torrent spilling out of the dishwasher.  And – not only were most of the dishes not clean at the end of the cycle – but all clear glass came out looking frosted.  Just the worst.

2-1-13 UPDATE – I just noticed thus says “gentle on hands.”  Haha!  It sucks as a dishwasher detergent because it ISN’T a dishwasher detergent.  It if for hand washing.  So- nevermind what I just said above.

Anyway – this dish is really yummy & endlessly customizable – so – get creative!

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Brown Rice & Quinoa Risotto with Arrabiata & Shrimp

INGREDIENTS

1 lb shrimp – peeled & cleaned

olive oil

4 garlic cloves – minced

1 tsp crushed red pepper

S&P to taste

4 shallots – diced (or a small onion)

6+ cups stock (I used frozen, homemade shrimp stock)

2 cups uncooked brown rice

2+ cups pasta sauce (I used arrabiata)

2 cups cooked quinoa

1+ cups grated parmesan

1 tsp oregano

1 tsp dry basil

1 tsp parsley

fresh parsley

2 tomatoes – diced

DIRECTIONS

Cook your quinoa (in vegetable stock).  Set aside.

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Heat 2 TBS olive oil in a frying pan.  Add the minced garlic & the crushed red pepper and after about a minute.  Add the shrimp & cook until just pink.  Undercooking is OK as they will cook further on their own & even more in the warm risotto.  Set aside.

Heat your 6+ cups of stock in a pan & let it simmer.

Heat 2 TBS olive oil in a large stock pot.  Add the shallots (or onion) and the brown rice. Fry the rice for 2-3 minutes.  The rice should become a little aromatic.  Lower heat to medium and add the dry oregano, basil & parsley.  Add one cup of the simmering stock & cook it off, stirring the whole time.  Add another cup of stock & repeat.  At this point – I got restless & added all the remaining stock, brought it to a boil, reduced the heat to low & let it simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.   Check to see if your rice is tender – erring on a tad overcooked rather than under.  If it is still al dente – add more water & steam it until it is cooked.

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Add the cooked quinoa & the tomato sauce (arrabiata), the grated Parmesan & the shrimp.  Blend.  Heat it through & serve with fresh diced tomatoes, fresh chopped parsley & more grated Parmesan on top.

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Quick & Easy Quinoa Pizza Dough (Gluten Free)

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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Hey!  It’s my book!  Why not read it?  It is HILARIOUS – I promise!

Fair warning – this recipe is definitely a work in progress but, I feel, it was successful enough to post the early results.

As is often the case with me, recipes are born of what I had handy.  In this case – I had a ton of cooked quinoa.  I eat way too much pizza and finding a less guilty version of it is always my goal.  Why not make a pizza crust from this quinoa, I thought.  Why not, indeed.  I Googled recipes for it and they were all so complex, requiring 8 hour soaking of dry quinoa (that ship had sailed – as mine was cooked) or sorghum flour, tapioca flour or nutritional yeast.  I was frustrated by the ingredients or the process (or both) in each case so I decided just to wing it.

But first – what is quinoa, you ask?  Here is an explanation:

What is quinoa?
While quinoa is usually considered to be a whole grain, it is actually a seed, but can be prepared like whole grains such as rice or barley. Try a quinoa pilaf salad recipe, or serve a vegetable stir-fryover cooked quinoa instead of rice. Quinoa is my favorite whole grain for three reasons: First, it takes less time to cook than other whole grains – just 10 to 15 minutes. Second, quinoa tastes great on its own, unlike other grains such as millet. Add a bit of olive oil, sea salt and lemon juice and – yum! Finally, of all the whole grains, quinoa has the highest protein content, so it’s perfect for vegetarians and vegans. Quinoa provides all 9 essential amino acids, making it a complete protein. Quinoa is a gluten-free and cholesterol-free whole grain, is kosher for Passover, and is almost always organic.

Secondly – how the frig do you pronounce it?  Keen-wah.

OK – so, my finished dough had a set Jello consistency when raw – and it jiggled if you shook it.  It was also VERY sticky.  Most recipes described their dough as pourable – like pancake batter.  That seemed odd to me so I chose to thicken my dough with potato flour.  Having cooked one from this jello dough – I found the edges crisped but the center stayed sorta soft.  Perhaps the pourable dough lets go of its moisture better while cooking.  I will experiment & report back.   Either way – this was a fairly decent success & I would not dissuade you from attempting it.  One note – this definitely works as a pizza base but it is NOT bready.   This pizza dough is to traditional pizza dough what a Gardenburger is to a hamburger – a decent substitute.  Do not expect an old school New York slice from this dough.  That said – I found it quite delicious!

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Quick & Easy Quinoa Pizza Dough (Gluten Free)

INGREDIENTS

2 cups quinoa – already cooked in vegetable stock

1/4 tsp each (optional) of: oregano, parsley, thyme, basil, rosemary, garlic powder

1 tsp each of salt & pepper

2 TBS olive oil

3/4 cup water

1/2 cup (or less) potato flour

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DIRECTIONS

Blend all ingredients (except potato flour) in a food processor until very smooth – maybe 1-2 minutes.  Add the flour slowly using as much as you care to.  I used the whole 1/2 cup of potato flour.  I then rested the sticky dough on a sheet of wax paper greased with cooking spray & covered it with plastic wrap also greased with cooking spray.  I let it rest all day – but only because I made this midday & I was using it for dinner.  You could just proceed immediately.

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Be sure your oven is pre-heated to 450 degrees and that the oven has reached that temperature.  I greased a small pizza pan with cooking spray (greased parchment paper might help here, too) & spread 1/2 my dough on it with my palm – wetting my hand under running water after each pass.  Wet hands keep the dough from sticking to you.  I pressed it as thin as I could manage & baked it about 15 minutes.

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I then took a larger pizza pan, topped the smaller one and, wearing oven mitts, flipped the dough from the smaller pizza pan to the larger.  You could try just flipping the dough with spatulas, too.  I baked the second side 10-15 minutes – until it looked sorta golden.  I flipped it again & topped the pizza (in this case with: red pepper-tomato sauce and a grated cheese blend) and baked it until the cheese began to brown – maybe another 10-15 minutes.

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I removed it from the oven & topped this with chopped, fresh grape tomatoes & sliced fresh basil.  I ate it.  I enjoyed.

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Grilled Artichoke with Lime, Cilantro & Jalapeno Aioli

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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Nothing complicated about these.  And they are crazy good.  I quartered one & halved the other.  I recommend cutting the artichokes in half as the quartered one fell apart a bit.

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Grilled Artichoke with Lime, Cilantro & Jalapeno Aioli

INGREDIENTS

Artichokes

lemon (or lime)

garlic

olive oil

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DIRECTIONS

Trim the small, lower leaves from the artichokes & cut in half.  Scoop out the hairy choke & the sharp-tipped inner-most leaves & discard.  Squeeze lemon (or lime) on the cut side to stop the artichokes from browning.

Boil about an inch of water in a deep soup pan & place the artichokes in upright, stems down and cover.  Steam (making sure you do not, as I did, boil all the water away & burn the outer part of your artichokes) for about 20 minutes or until tender.  Remove & let cool.  Gently squeeze any excess water out.

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My artichokes look already grilled here because I burned them a bit by mistake – by letting the water they were steaming in boil away.  If this happens to you – be more concerned about your PAN than the vegetables.  These guys were still VERY tasty!

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Pour some olive oil in a dish & mix in some minced garlic and S&P.  Coat the artichokes with olive oil & garlic & simply grill them on a grill or on a grill pan until you achieve the desired level of charring.  Serve with Lime, Cilantro & Jalapeno Aioli.

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Lime, Cilantro & Jalapeno Aioli

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup mayonnaise (I used half regular & half low fat)

2 garlic cloves

1 TBS Dijon

pinch of salt

2 tsp lime juice

1/4 cup cilantro

1 TBS diced jalapeno (optional)

DIRECTIONS

Blend until smooth.   Garnish with lime zest, cracked pepper and/or more jalapeno.

Proceed to slather this all over anything in the house – not excluding the dog – and lick, devour or otherwise ingest it – casting all dignity aside.

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Lime, Cilantro & Jalapeno Aioli

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

 

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Easy.  Easy.  Easy.  Got a blender or food processor?  Then you are good to go.

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Lime, Cilantro & Jalapeno Aioli

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup mayonnaise (I used half regular & half low fat)

2 garlic cloves

1 TBS Dijon

pinch of salt

2 tsp lime juice

1/4 cup cilantro

1 TBS dice jalapeno (optional)

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DIRECTIONS

Blend until smooth.   Garnish with lime zest, cracked pepper and/or more jalapeno.

Proceed to slather this all over anything in the house – not excluding the dog – and lick, devour or otherwise ingest it – casting all dignity aside.

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Slow Cooker Chipotle Chicken Tacos

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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I don’t eat chicken so this is a rare post for me.  My boyfriend was in town for his birthday & I decided to bend the rules & make these especially for him.  If you have a slow cooker, this could not be easier.  If you do not have a slow cooker – I really recommend getting one.  Look HERE.  They can be had for as low as $10.  I paid $10 for mine at Menard’s in Michigan & it came in the thermal traveling case & everything.  It only has three settings (warm, low & high) but it is a really fun kitchen toy.  If you do not have a slow cooker, though, this could be done stove top very easily – you just cannot walk away & take a two hour Hollywood sign hike while it cooks – like I did.

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At any rate – I couldn’t actually eat one of these tacos but they were a big hit.  I also served my Spicy Three Cheese Pinto Bean Dip with home fried corn chips, grilled avocado guacamole, Mixed Cabbage & Grilled Corn Slaw, Spicy Black Beans and Mexican Rice.  I made the beans the day before in my slow cooker & then left them on warm overnight.  They were incredible.  I made the slaw & rice on the day.  The chicken – 6 pounds of it – cooked in about 2-3 hours on high in the slow cooker.  That was faster than I expected.  I also made Grilled Tilapia Tacos – with tilapia marinaded in:

3 lbs tilapia

1/4 cup olive oil

1 tsp salt

zest of one lime

juice of 2 limes

1 TBS Sambal Oelek (chili paste)

1 tsp pepper

This tilapia was WAY more than I needed – as was the 6 pounds of chicken.  The next day, I added arrabiata (spicy tomato) sauce to both the leftover tilapia & some to some of the chipotle chicken & served this over pasta.  It was amazing.  Then, the next day, I used extra chipotle chicken on pizzas.  Again – delicious.  So – feel free to make too much & get creative with the leftovers.  You could make lasagna cupcakes or pizza cupcakes or even more tacos.

Also – the roasted (or grilled) jalapeno or Anaheim chilies are easy & a really nice touch.

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Roast the jalapenos on a grill or in a grill pan or under a broiler (watching & rotating them very carefully) until they are blackened.  Place in an airtight container until they cool & then roll the skins off under running water.  Seed them & dice.

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Slow Cooker Chipotle Chicken Tacos

INGREDIENTS

6 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts

24 oz hot (or otherwise) salsa

2 tsp chili powder

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp smoked paprika

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp crushed red pepper

1/2 tsp oregano

S&P

4 chipotle peppers in adobo – minced

1/4 cup water (if needed)

ACCOMPANIMENTS & GARNISHES – corn tortillas, chopped fresh cilantro, grilled corn, tomatillo salsa, sliced scallions, diced tomato, diced red pepper, roasted jalapenos or Anaheim chilies (recipe HERE), pico de gallo, Mexican crema, shredded cheese, salsa, avocado or guacamole,

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DIRECTIONS

Place all ingredients in slow cooker on high for three hours.  When the chicken is cooked, shred it all up by using two forks.

Grill the tortillas over your stove top burners until they just begin to get grill marks & keep warm.

Serve with a combination of the accompaniments & garnishes listed above.

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Spicy Three Cheese Pinto Bean Dip with Grilled Jalapeno

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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I made this with dry pinto beans mostly because I am somehow more proud of myself when I do – but that is a completely unnecessary hassle.  In fact – I am going to pretend I did not – and post this recipe suggesting canned beans.  It is a surprisingly yummy dip – especially when served with the totally unnecessarily home-fried corn chips.  Store bought chips are perfectly fine.

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Spicy Three Cheese Pinto Bean Dip with Grilled Jalapeno

INGREDIENTS

5 cups canned pinto beans – drained & rinsed

2 jalapenos – roasted, seeded & peeled

1 small onion – diced

1 cup cilantro

1 heaping tsp ground cumin

4 oz goat cheese

12 oz grated mozzarella

2 cups grated cheddar

S&P to taste

GARNISH OPTIONS – roasted tomatillo & jalapeno salsa, more chopped cilantro, diced pickled jalapenos or green chiles, pico de gallo, sour cream, hot sauces, grilled corn.

CHIPS!

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DIRECTIONS

Roast the jalapenos on a grill or in a grill pan or under a broiler (watching & rotating them very carefully) until they are blackened.  Place in an airtight container until they cool & then roll the skins off under running water.  Seed them & dice.

Puree about 3/4 of the beans in a blender or food processor with enough water that they blend completely smoothly.  Add the onion, cilantro, grilled jalapeno & the cumin & puree completely.  Transfer the blended beans to a soup pot & add the remaining beans & all the other ingredients.  Heat until all the cheeses melt & everything is heated through.  This might require a bit more water to get the dip to a good consistency.  Taste it and add S&P to taste and maybe add a hot sauce if it isn’t spicy enough.

This is best served in a heated container – like a small, serving crock pot or chafing dish because it tends to set very thickly when it cools.  Or – serve a small quantity of it in a bowl while the remainder sits on very low heat on the stove.  Simply replenish the serving bowl as needed with warmed dip from the stove.  Garnish with something of your choice to make it look pretty.

The grilling of the jalapeno is nice – but not 100% necessary.  You could also do this with dried beans either soaked over night or quick soaked (allowed to sit off heat in boiled water, covered for an hour).  They will still require a few hours of cooking beyond this though before they are soft enough to blend.

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Mixed Cabbage & Grilled Corn Slaw

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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I made this slaw to go inside fish tacos but it is a great stand-alone slaw.  I grilled corn on the cob & used that in this – but not grilled is fine.

Easy, easy, easy.

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Mixed Cabbage & Grilled Corn Slaw

INGREDIENTS

3 cups red cabbage – sliced thin

2 cups green cabbage – sliced thin

2 cups corn (2 ears grilled in their husks & cut from the cob or raw – or canned/frozen, in a pinch)

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup Mexican Crema (or more mayonnaise)

1/2 red onion – sliced thin

1 tsp Old Bay seasoning

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp chili powder

2 limes – zest & juice

1 cup cilantro – chopped

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DIRECTIONS

Grill your corn still in their husks – rotating frequently.  After about 20 minutes – check to see if they are beginning to char (you want that).  When they are – give it 5 more minutes or so then let them cool.  Peel & cut the corn from the cobs.  Or – go raw or canned or frozen.

Mix the mayonnaise & crema (if using) with the spices & lime zest.  Blend all the ingredients (except cilantro) in a large bowl and chill for an hour or more.  Sprinkle with cilantro and lots of cracked pepper when serving.

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