Tag Archives: Entertaining

Thai-Style Shrimp and Rice

A quick meal that is so amazingly light and delicious. Perfect for a simple weeknight yet elegant enough for guests!

The coconut milk makes it creamy but very light.  I prefer this with jasmine rice and some crusty bread to soak up any remaining broth.  So good!

You’re going to want to plan on making two batches of this… one to try out the recipe and the other to show it off!

shrimp-in-coconut-milk

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs raw jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 5 green onions, diced
    • separated between white & green
    • reserve half of the green for garnish
  • 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, diced (1/2 cup)
    • Reserve a couple of tbsp for garnish
  • 5 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1/8-1/2 tsp crushed red pepper (to taste)
  • kosher or sea salt to taste
  • 14-1/2 oz can petite diced tomatoes
  • 14 oz can coconut milk
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced into thin strips (Julienne)
  • 1/2 lime, fresh squeezed or 2 tbsp of lime juice
  • 3 cups steamed rice

Directions:

  • Put on rice to cook
  • In a medium-sized saucepan, heat oil and add garlic, all of the red pepper and the white onions and only half of the green onion and cilantro.  Saute for about 1 minute.
  • Add tomatoes, coconut milk, and salt.  Simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add shrimp and red peppers; continue to cook 5 minutes.
  • Add lime juice and remove from heat.
  • Put rice in bowls, ladle shrimp and broth over half of the rice and off to the side; garnish with remaining green onions and cilantro.

Makes 6-8 servings

Enjoy!
Maggie

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Make Ahead French Toast Casserole

 

I absolutely love French toast, but it’s not practical when cooking for one or for a crowd. Here’s the tasty solution you’ve been looking for!

 

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The “technical” term for this dish is a strata, so if you decide to surf for more recipes that’s the term you want to look for.  There are as many variations as your imagination can come up with.

There are a few things I really love about this dish.  One is that it’s easy to put together.  The other is that it can be made ahead.  Perfect for gatherings with sleep over guests or holiday breakfasts because you can make it the day before and stick it in the fridge, then just put it in the oven when you wake up.  

This is also great for “breakfast for dinner” item since you can just make it ahead and pop it in the oven when you get home from work.  By the time you’re settled in and caught up, dinner is ready!

The other bonus is cooking for one.  Remember that you don’t have to live alone to want to cook in single portions.  This makes for a great traveling breakfast to eat at the office, for the kids to fix themselves when you want to sleep in, etc.

For the strata that you’re seeing here, I used:

  • 1 lb breakfast sausage, cooked & crumbled (mild, spicy, maple – your choice)
  • 1 medium apple, diced
  • 1 handful of dried cranberries
  • 6 seedless, crusty rolls, cubed (these were the size of kaiser rolls)
  • 1 dozen eggs
  • 1-1/2 c milk
  • 1-1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 1/2 c brown sugar
  • 1-1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
  • Cinnamon sugar to sprinkle on top

 

 

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What you’re seeing is a one pound roll of breakfast sausage that I cooked up, then tossed in diced apples and craisins.  Blueberries are a wonderful addition as well.  Again, the sky’s the limit!

 

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I got a beautiful bag of crusty rolls that were marked down (frugal!)  French toast is always better with sturdier breads or stale bread. When I made this for Thanksgiving breakfast I found a couple of beautiful sourdough loaves that were just wonderful.  

I love this dish for holidays.  You do so much cooking on the holiday that it’s not a good day to skip breakfast but you don’t want to cook anymore than you have to.  I made this the night before, covered it with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge.  When we got up that morning, I put it in the oven and started my prep.  By the time breakfast was ready, it was time for a break anyway!

 

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If you’ve never had fresh ground nutmeg, you’re truly missing a treat.  What you’re seeing is a whole nutmeg.  They last pretty much forever and only don’t lose potency when they’re kept whole.  What you buy pre-ground at the store, isn’t nearly as flavorful or aromatic as fresh.  If you’re interested in getting one, Amazon has got a great selection to choose from.

 

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After I cubed the bread, I tossed it in with the sausage/fruit mixture.  In the blender I put the eggs, milk and everything else.  You’ll want to have soapy water in the sink to wash your hands when you’re done, truly the best way to mix this is with two hands so you can toss it well without mashing the bread.

You’ll want to mix/toss this a couple of times while letting it rest a few minutes in between so that the egg mixture can be completely absorbed by the bread.

 

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I used a 13×9″ glass baking pan and sprayed it with non-stick cooking spray before putting the mixture into the pan.  Then I gave it a quick spritz over the top and gave it a light sprinkle of cinnamon sugar before baking it at 350°F for an hour.

 

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Once it was completely cooled, I cut it into 12 pieces and put them in the freezer on a cookie sheet so that they weren’t touching.  Once they were firm and I knew they wouldn’t stick together, I put them all in a Ziploc bag and back in the freezer.   When I want a piece for breakfast, I take one out and put it in the microwave for a few minutes.

Everyone’s microwave is different, so play around with the times to see what works best in yours.  When you figure it out, write it on the bag.  If you find you’re getting hard spots when you reheat it, you can prevent that by putting a cup of water in the microwave along with the slice of casserole that you’re reheating.

As I said, your only limit is your imagination.  The only “rule” for a strata is the egg/milk mixture, the bread and how it’s baked.  You can make it sweet or savory.  Consider things like ham, swiss and spinach or bacon, turkey, broccoli and cheddar cheese.

Remember that you can make this as frugal as you want also!  This is a great use for leftover veggies or fruits, leftover meats, etc. along with bread store and mark down rack finds!

And don’t forget, it takes virtually the same time to make two as it does one.  So make two and have one for dinner and portion the other one for easy meals on the go!

I’d love to hear what you think of this recipe when you try it and let me know what variations you come up with so please post a comment!
{{{hugs}}}

Maggie

Shrimp Alfredo Pasta

Restaurant quality dinner made in less time than it takes to go out and get a table.

Shrimp Pasta

I think we’re all guilty at one time or another of saying I don’t want to take the time to cook, but frankly if we’re being honest it’s never faster to go to a restaurant.  You have to wait to be seated (0-45 minutes), wait for your server(5 minutes), then have drinks delivered and your order taken (5 minutes) then wait for your food to be cooked (another 20?)  And that’s not even counting the drive there and back!

This entire dish took 30 minutes, only because I was waiting for the water to boil for the pasta.  The recipe is my version of dish served at a local Italian restaurant.  You’ll notice that I have this marked as frugal.  While shrimp is not generally considered frugal, this dish cost me less than $10 to make and feeds 4 -6 people.  That in and of itself makes for a frugal meal, then add that I would have paid more than $10 just for one serving in a restaurant easily and that makes it very frugal!

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 Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb of dry pasta (bow ties, rotini or penne)
  • 1 lb of raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 lb bacon, diced
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 4-5 mushrooms, sliced
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
  • 1 jar prepared Alfredo sauce
  • 1/2 cup white wine, chicken stock, milk or water
  • 2 tsp crumbled bleu cheese or 2 tbsp quality bleu cheese dressing (optional)
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1 Roma tomato, de-seeded & diced
  • Grated Parmesan cheese
  • Fresh parsley

Bacon Collage

Directions:

Put salted water on to boil for pasta (cook according to package directions and drain when finished).

In a large skillet over med-high heat start cooking the bacon, stirring frequently to separate.

When the bacon only has a few minutes more to go, add the garlic, onion, mushrooms and shrimp.  Stir frequently.

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When the shrimp have completely changed color, add the jar of alfredo sauce.  Put the wine/stock in the empty jar, put the lid back on and give a good shake to get the leftover sauce off the sides and pour into the pan with sauce and shrimp/bacon mixture.  Add the bleu cheese if desired.  Stir well and simmer for 7-10 minutes.

Add the frozen peas and cook one minute more.  You just want them to heat through and not cook so they’ll retain flavor and texture.

Add the cooked pasta and mix together with shrimp/bacon/sauce mixture.

Before serving, top with fresh grated parmesan cheese, diced tomatoes and minced parsley.

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These are the tomato plants that are growing from the seeds I collected from only 2 tomatoes while cooking. I can’t wait!

Serve with a crusty bread or garlic bread and a tossed salad if desired.  Enjoy!

{{{hugs}}}
Maggie

Thai-Style Shrimp and Rice

A quick meal that is so amazingly light and delicious. Perfect for a simple weeknight yet elegant enough for guests!

The coconut milk makes it creamy but very light.  I prefer this with jasmine rice and some crusty bread to soak up any remaining broth.  So good!

You’re going to want to plan on making two batches of this… one to try out the recipe and the other to show it off!

shrimp-in-coconut-milk

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs raw jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 5 green onions, diced
    • separated between white & green
    • reserve half of the green for garnish
  • 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, diced (1/2 cup)
    • Reserve a couple of tbsps for garnish
  • 5 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1/8-1/2 tsp crushed red pepper (to taste)
  • kosher or sea salt to taste
  • 14-1/2 oz can petite diced tomatoes
  • 14 oz can coconut milk
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced into thin strips (julienne)
  • 1/2 lime, fresh squeezed or 2 tbs of lime juice
  • 3 cups steamed rice

Directions:

  • Put on rice to cook
  • In a medium-sized sauce pan, heat oil and add garlic, cilantro, all of the white onions and half of the green, and red pepper.  Saute for about 1 minute.
  • Add tomatoes, coconut milk and salt.  Simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add shrimp and red peppers; continue to cook 5 minutes.
  • Add lime juice and remove from heat.
  • Put rice in bowls, ladle shrimp and broth over half of rice and off to side ; garnish with remaining green onions and cilantro.

Makes 6-8 servings

Enjoy!
Maggie

Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle

Nothing says simple living like a simple, delicious dessert.  This one comes just in time for the holidays!  Easy to prepare, elegant to serve!  Perfect for family gatherings or office potluck parties!

Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle

 

Ingredients

  • 2 packages (14-1/2 ounces each) gingerbread cake mix
  • 1 package (4.6 ounces) cook-and-serve vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 can (29 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
  • 1 carton (12 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed, divided
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
 

Directions

  1. Prepare and bake gingerbread according to package directions, using two greased 9-in. round baking pans. Cool completely on wire racks.
  2. Meanwhile, for pudding, in a large saucepan, combine pudding mix and milk; stir until smooth. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil. Cook and stir 1-2 minutes longer or until thickened. Remove from the heat; cool to room temperature. Combine pumpkin and brown sugar; stir into pudding.
  3. In a 4-qt. glass serving bowl, crumble one gingerbread cake; gently press down. Top with half of pudding mixture and whipped topping. Repeat layers. Finish with gingerbread crumbs as garnish over the whipped topping
  4. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  5. Enjoy!

 

Be sure to check out my other pumpkin recipes here!

{{hugs}}

Maggie