Bayou Shrimp Soup

I came across this little recipe last year at Christmas time.  Keeping with tradition my family normally comes up with a non-traditional Christmas Lunch / Dinner.  Last year we decided that we would each bring a pot of soup.  So my fiance and I pulled out our Better Homes and Gardens “Biggest Book of Soups & Stews” cookbook.  It has the favor of  gumbo / jambalaya, but is much easier to make.  The cookbook suggests 35 minutes total time from start to finish.

As made per directions the Nutritional facts per serving:  394 cal, 19g total fat (7g sat. fat), 149 mg chol, 1,278 mg sodium, 26g carbs, 2g fiber, 28g protein.  I change some of the ingredients which reduces the sodium and the cholesterol.

Ingredients:

8 oz andouille sausage or cooked smoked sausage, thinly sliced

3/4 cup chopped green sweet pepper

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 – 14oz can reduced-sodium chicken broth or 1 3/4 cups homemade

1 tablespoon of steak sauce

2 tablespoons of fresh thyme or 1 1/2 teaspoons of dry, crushed

1/4 teaspoon of crushed red pepper (optional)

8 oz frozen, peeled, cooked shrimp

2 cups chopped tomatoes

1 1/2 cups cooked rice

Directions:

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1.  In a large saucepan cook and stir sausage, sweet pepper, and onion over medium-high heat for 6 to 7 minutes or until vegetables are tender

2.  Add broth, steak sauce, and if using, dried thyme (If not using andouille sausage, add the crushed pepper).  Bring to  a boil, reduce heat.  Simmer, covered for about 10 minutes

3.  Add shrimp, fresh thyme (if using), tomatoes, and cooked rice heat through.

4.  Enjoy!

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**Just a tip I learned last year at Christmas… add the rice to the bowl at serving time otherwise you will be eating jambalaya instead of soup.

Though the soup is wonderful when made as directed I have made some adjustments.  I normally use Butterball Polish Kielbasa turkey sausage instead of andouille sausage, at times I have also used no salt added broth and I typically add more than the recommended red pepper (I have come to love hot soups).  The last time I made this recipe I replaced the shrimp with chicken and it didn’t have much effect on the taste.

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Korean Beef Bulgogi

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As you have probably gathered I do a fair share of my grocery shopping at the local Asian Market.   We recently discovered Asian Home Gourmet marinades and other seasoning packets.  If you like Asian foods I would highly suggest trying the Asian Home Gourmet brand marinades.  I have not had one that I didn’t like.  Though some I thought should have a different spicy rating.  Thia Sweet Basil for example seemed like it should have been much hotter than a 1 pepper hot rating.

The Korean Bulgogi Marinade (Newly packaged as Marinade for Korean Barbecue Meat Bulgogi) is one of my favorites.  It tasted just like our favorite local Korean restaurant at a fraction of the cost.  So not only could you make it healthier by using chicken instead of beef you can save a bunch of money too!

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On my counter (right) I have collected all of my ingredients.  I have the marinade sauce in the large mixing bowl, red pepper paste (optional), garlic, green onions, and 350g (3/4 lbs) meat (I have tip sirloin).  I sliced the green onion to about finger width in size, I added approximately a teaspoon of the red pepper paste to the marinade and sliced the meat.

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I sliced the sirloin very thinly.  A tip I learned from the package is to put the meat in the freezer until semi-frozen and then slice with a sharp knife. It worked like a charm.  I mixed the meat and marinade together making sure all the slices of beef were covered.  I then covered with plastic wrap (a container with a lid would work better) and placed in the refrigerator for at least an hour.

 

 
Once the ingredients were done marinading, I heated a tablespoon of oil in my wok and stir-fried the meat for approximately 5 minutes and served with a side of rice.  It’s not very pretty to look at, but it tasted magnificent.

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Delicious Stir-Fry with Tofu

I already know what you are thinking.  “Another vegetarian meal?!  Doesn’t this girl ever eat meat?”  Or “delicious and tofu are two words that have no right to be in the same sentence.

True I used to think the same thing about both those thoughts.  I was raised with the mindset if it doesn’t contain meat it was not a meal.  Growing up there was a lot of meals that contained steak (or some beef) and potatoes.  Now I rarely eat either.  And tofu that disgusting white block of soy with a strange texture and little flavor, why on earth would anyone want to eat that?  Well I will tell you why… tofu when properly made tastes great.  It absorbs the flavor of what you cook it with.  I normally cook it with soy sauce and garlic.

My stir-fry is simple yet it is always satisfying.

Delicious stir-fry with tofu

Ingredients
Oil (canola)
Garlic
Soy sauce
Red pepper paste
Sugar (optional)
1/2 block Tofu cut into thin rectangles
Frozen vegetables
Rice (any variety you like, personally I like Thai rice)

Directions

Cook rice according packaging labels or rice cooker instructions.

Heat a small skillet over a medium heat.  Add enough oil to barely cover the bottom of the pan.  Add approximately a half teaspoon to a whole teaspoon of minced garlic, soy sauce, and a half to whole teaspoon of red pepper paste.  Mix together while the oil is heating.  Add tofu flip when the bottom side starts to brown.  Once tofu is cooked on both sides sprinkle sugar on top and set aside.

While tofu is cooking heat your wok to a medium to medium high temperature with approximately 1 tablespoon oil.  Once oil has been heated add teaspoon of garlic, and vegetables.  Let vegetables cook halfway through and add a splash of soy sauce and red pepper paste to taste.  Finish cooking vegetables and serve over rice.

Blackbean and Quinoa patties

A new habit in our house is to eat meat less than half of our meals. We generally have meat at supper only three or four times a week. Saturday lunch we decided to try a recipe from Whole Living Magazine. I have posted the link below.

 I made a few changes. I cooked two cups of dried quinoa which yielded about two and a half cups when cooked. I substituted black beans for red kidney beans and mashed them into a paste as directed. I used chives and dried parsley flakes and added about a tablespoon of chopped garlic. Since I am not a huge fan of feta cheese, unless it is on a Greek salad, I replaced it with shredded provolone. Added the egg whites.

 I heated my griddle up to a medium heat and sprayed it with Smart Balance cooking spray and made the patties. The texture was almost worse than ground chicken, but it looked great. I am a bit impatient and didn’t refrigerate for 30 mins, after all I was on a deadline, places to be people to see! So my patties fell apart a bit. I think that could have been remedied with one more egg white or two whole eggs or perhaps I did not add enough cheese. But the finished patty topped with a small slice of provolone was delicious. We smeared stone ground mustard over the top of it. It will definitely become one of our go to choices.

 My suggestions for improvement is adding one whole egg and maybe a bit of curry seasoning or one of your favorites.

 http://www.wholeliving.com/178486/quinoa-feta-burgers

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