Posts Tagged ‘Boxcar Children’

Such A Pretty Salad

I made this for my family a few weeks ago. Three of the four of us thought it was super yum, and it’s very pretty too. So, three in my family (Little Miss even liked the red onion) had a delicious, well-balanced meal of Herbed Shrimp and White Bean Salad served with a side of French bread that you could eat with butter or dipped in olive oil with spices. The fourth person (Buddy, I’m going to call you out on your pickiness!) had a Boxcar Children dinner (in the book the 4 children have a delicious meal of bread and milk). This recipe is from the August 2011 Cooking Light magazine.

Herbed Shrimp and White Bean Salad

  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 4 cups arugula, loosely packed
  • 1/2 cup thinly vertically sliced red onion
  • 2 TBS chopped fresh chives
  • 2 TBS chopped fresh basil
  • 1 TBS chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 (15 oz.) can cannellini beans or other white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 tsp grated lemon rind
  • 2 TBS fresh lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 TBS olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp. salt, divided
  • cooking spray
  • 1 pound peeled and deveined large shrimp
  • 2 TBS pine nuts, toasted
  1. Preheat broiler to high
  2. Halve bell pepper lengthwise; discard seeds and membranes. Place halves, skins sides up, on a baking sheet. Broil 12 minutes or until blackened. Seal in a paper bag. Let stand 5 minutes. Peel; chop. Combine bell pepper and the next 6 ingredients (through beans). Combine rind, juice, garlic, oil 1/8 tsp. salt, and 1/8 tsp. pepper.
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Sprinkle shrimp with remaining salt and pepper. Cook 2 minutes on each side or until done. Add shrimp, lemon mixture, and nuts to arugula mixture; toss.

And here’s the cool thing – it’s supposed to serve 4. A serving size is 2 cups and there is only 326 calories in that! Woo hoo!

Here’s how I changed it: I did not freshly roast my red peppers. I had a jar of roasted red pepper and I used that (which cut down the making dinner time by half). I also used curly parsley instead of flat-leaf because it is about half the price at the grocery store. I also used a little olive oil in my pan before cooking my shrimp instead of cooking spray. The manufacturer of my non-stick pans (Calphalon) says not to use that stuff – something with the aerosols or what-not.

So, serve this to your family, make it for yourself, impress your friends at your next party… this is one pretty, yummy salad!


A Little Bit of Yum for Everyone

I’m OK with the fact that in any meal I make I can’t please all the members of my family. It’s a rare day that each and every person is making lick smacking yummy noises… and so I don’t even try. What I do try is new recipes all the time. I am definitely not the housewife who cooks spaghetti every Monday and tuna casserole every Tuesday. I do have repeat recipes that I throw into my repertoire, but every week I try one or two new things.

The kids and I have been heading to our local library every couple of weeks. They get a bunch of picture books, the latest Boxcar Children chapter book (they are hooked on this series… I’ve been reading it to them and they LOVE it), and a few DVDs. I get a book to read and lately I’ve been getting cookbooks. It’s a super way to try new recipes without investing the money in a book you may or may not like. Last week I checked out Nigella Kitchen by Nigella Lawson. I’ve heard her on NPR and always thought she had a delightful way of speaking of food but I’ve never made any of her recipes…. until now.

Last night I tried Spanish Chicken with Chorizo and Potatoes and man was it good. It’s a very easy oven bake recipe that uses just a few ingredients. Here’s what she says to do… and I’ll tell you how I changed it (because of course I can’t follow a recipe exactly!)

  • 2 TBS Olive Oil
  • 12 Chicken Thighs (bone in, with skin)
  • 1 3/4 pounds chorizo sausages, whole if baby ones, or cut into 1 1/2 inch chunks if regular-sized
  • 2 1/4 pounds baby white-skinned potatoes, halved
  • 2 red onions, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • grated zest of 1 orange
  1. Preheat oven to 425 F. Put the oil in the bottom of 2 shallow pans, 1 TBS in each. Rub the skin of the chicken in the oil, then turn skin-side up, 6 pieces in each pan.
  2. Divide the sausages and potatoes between the 2 pans. Sprinkle the onion and oregano over, then grate the orange zest over the pans.
  3. Cook for 1 hour, but after 30 minutes, swap the top pan with the bottom pan in the oven and baste the contents with the orange-colored juices.

And that’s it.

But…. I didn’t use 12 chicken thighs… that’s seriously a lot of chicken for a family of 4… I just used one package which had 5. I also used red potatoes as my grocery store didn’t have white, and instead of chorizo sausages I used a pound of smoked sausage. While My Man and I would like the spicy-ness of chorizo, the kiddos may not. I also used just one onion because I’m not a super oniony person.

I’m sure Nigella’s version is superb, but mine was a hit as well. Buddy liked the sausage, Little Miss liked the chicken and potatoes, and My Man and I liked every little bit. In her cookbook she also gives a suggestion for what to do with your leftovers…debone the chicken and chop the entire mess of chicken, potatoes, and sausages up to use  as a filling for quesadillas. And, since quesadillas are my go-to for many a leftover I was all over that. I used a mexican blend shredded cheese to quesadilla it all up and we had it for dinner tonight with salsa. Delish.

Many of my tries are one hit wonders, or one hit disasters, but this particular dish will fall into my rotation and will be made again.