Weekly Main Course Recipes:  January 11, 2013

One:  Shrimp (Prawns) with Pesto Pasta        Preparation and cooking time:  25 minutes
   Served warm to bring out the flavors, the pesto works amazingly well with the shrimp.  If you have to clean the shrimp add 10 - 15 minutes.  You can use raw or cooked shrimp for this as the flavor is in the sauce rather than a marinade.

For the Shrimp:
12oz (350gr) large shrimp (prawns), cleaned
2 tbs pesto
1 tbs lemon juice
2 tbs olive oil
Olive oil for coating pan
For the Pasta:

spaghetti, 3.5oz (100gr)  a circle about 1" (2.5cm) in diameter
1/3 cup pesto
1 tbs good olive oil or truffle oil

Shrimp: Clean shrimp if needed, if not just rinse and let drain.  Mix pesto, lemon and oil.  Add shrimp and toss to coat.  Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add shrimp and sauté for 3-5 minutes, until raw shrimp curl and turn opaque or cooked shrimp are heated through. 
Pasta: Cook pasta according to package directions.  When done, drain. 
To finish:  Mix pesto and oil.  Add to pasta and toss well to coat.  Arrange nicely on a platter or large plate.  Lay the shrimp on top of the pasta and spoon any remaining sauce from the pan over the top.  Serve. 

Two:   Chicken Divan                                                  Preparation and cooking time: 45 minutes
     An old classic, updated for a healthier lifestyle, but still with the proper amount of decadence.  I use yogurt instead of sour cream, less cheese, stock instead of 'condensed creamed' soup, and no mayonnaise.  I think it's better than the original....

2 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
1 small head broccoli (enough for 2)
2 shallots
1 clove garlic
1 tbs olive oil
3/4 cup (6oz, 180ml) chicken stock
1/2 cup (4oz, 120ml) white wine
2 tbs cornstarch (maizena) dissolved in 2 tbs water
1/2 cup (4oz, 120gr) Greek yogurt
1/2 cup (2oz, 60gr) Gruyère, shredded
1/4 cup (1oz, 30gr) Parmesan
1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
1 tsp paprika

Put chicken stock in a medium skillet, just large enough to hold chicken breasts.  Cut breasts in half (the short way) and add to stock.  Cover pan and poach over medium heat until done, about 15 minutes. 
Cut broccoli into small florets (with some stem), put into a steamer basket and steam over medium heat until barely tender, 6 - 7 minutes.
Finely chop shallots and garlic (techniques).  Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add shallots and garlic and sauté.  Add white wine and simmer.  When chicken is done, remove from stock and add stock to white wine/shallot mix.  When simmering nicely thicken with dissolved cornstarch.  Add yogurt and shredded cheese, stir well.  Remove from heat. 
In a baking dish just large enough to hold everything, spoon 1/3 of the sauce.  Arrange drained broccoli over cheese sauce.  Put 1/3 sauce over broccoli.  Arrange chicken on top, and pour over remaining sauce.  Mix the Parmesan, bread crumbs and paprika and sprinkle over all.  Bake in a 400F (200C) oven 15 - 20 minutes, until hot and bubbly,  Serve directly from the dish.

Three:   Mini Meat Loaves                                               Preparation and cooking time:  45 minutes
      Great meat loaf taste in a small package.  You can cut this recipe in half (except for the egg) or make it in one large loaf (bake for 60 minutes).  You can also make them ahead and freeze. To bake from freezer,  unwrap and bake for 45 - 55 minutes.  You could use ground turkey or any combination of beef, pork, turkey or chicken.  

16oz (450gr) ground beef (mince)
1 egg
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 tbs Dijon-style mustard
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp garlic powder
8oz (250ml) tomato sauce

In large bowl lightly beat egg.  Add all of the rest of the ingredients except beef and tomato sauce and mix well.  Add beef and mix well - best to use your hand, kneading it like bread dough.  Shape into 4 loaves and put into a large 9 X 13 baking pan, spacing evenly.  Bake at 400F (200C) for 20 minutes.  Remove and pour tomato sauce evenly over all 4 loaves.  Bake 15 minutes longer or until done.  Remove.  Slice and serve 2; save 2.  

Four:  Meat Loaf Parmesan                                          Preparation and cooking time: 25 minutes
    Leftovers are wonderful, particularly when you can serve them in a totally different way.  The chunky tomato sauce and freshly grated Parmesan take the humble meat loaf to a new gastronomic level. Be a bit careful serving so the slices stay together.

leftover meat loaf
15oz (450gr) whole tomatoes
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
1 tbs olive oil
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
1 tbs Balsamic vinegar
1 tbs tomato paste
1/4 cup (1oz, 30gr) shredded cheese
1/4 cup (1oz, 30gr) Parmesan cheese

Chop onion and mince garlic.   Heat oil in medium nonstick skillet.  Add chili powder and sauté 1 minute.  Add onions, garlic and sauté 5 minutes.  Drain tomatoes, reserving juices.  Roughly chop tomatoes.  Add tomatoes, their reserved juices, herbs, vinegar and tomato paste to pan.  Stir well, reduce heat, cover and simmer.  Cut meat loaf into thick slices.  After sauce has simmered for 10 minutes lay slices of meat loaf in the sauce.  Cover and simmer another 10 minutes, until meat has heated through.  Sprinkle cheeses on each slice and cover until cheese has melted.  Serve, sauce on the side.    

Five:  Pork Chops with Lemon/Soy Glaze             Preparation and cooking time: 30 minutes
    This has a piquant sauce: dark, spicy, salty, sour, wonderful.  The pork chops I use are thin, about 3/8" (3/4cm).  If yours are thicker increase cooking time to 15 minutes.

2 - 4 pork chops 12 - 16oz, 350 - 500gr (depending on bones)
1 small onion chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup lemon juice    from 1 lemon
1/4 cup beef or chicken stock
2 tbs tomato paste 
1 tbs fresh, minced ginger or 1/2 tsp dried, ground ginger
1 tbs olive oil
2 tsp cornstarch (or thickener of choice) dissolved in 1 1/2 tbs water

Squeeze lemon.  Combine soy sauce, lemon juice, stock and tomato paste in a dish.  Add pork chops turning to coat and allow to marinate.
Sauté onion, garlic and ginger in oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add pork chops (reserving marinade) and brown - pushing onion mixture to sides of pan to prevent burning.  Add reserved marinade and cook, covered 8 - 10 minutes longer or until done.  Remove chops from pan.  Thicken pan juices by adding cornstarch mixture and stirring well.  Pour over chops and serve.

Six:   Chicken and Ricotta Enchiladas                       Preparation and cooking time: 35 minutes
   Using ricotta (app. 135 calories per 100 grams v 400 for cheddar) makes a lighter enchilada with a luscious, creamy center. With a bit of sharply-flavored Parmesan on top you won't notice that it's 'lighter'.

2 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
1 onion
2 ribs celery
4oz, 125gr, green chiles  or something hotter if your prefer
1 tbs olive oil
1 cup ricotta (8oz, 250gr)
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan, (2oz, 60gr)
1 - 2 jars hot or mild taco or enchilada sauce  8 - 10 oz each  (300 ml)
4 corn or wheat tortillas

Cut the chicken into large bite-size pieces.  Chop the onion and celery.  Drain chiles.  Chop chiles if whole.  Heat 2 tsp oil in medium nonstick skillet.  Add onion and celery.  Sauté until onion is tender and translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add chicken and sauté until chicken is cooked through.  Remove from heat.  Add green chilis and ricotta and mix well.  Brush the remaining 1 tsp oil in a baking dish large enough to hold the 4 enchiladas.  Heat a large nonstick skillet, over medium heat.  Warm one tortilla in the skillet for 15 - 20 seconds.  Spoon one fourth  of the chicken / ricotta mixture onto the tortilla and roll up.  Place seam side down in the oiled baking dish.  Repeat with remaining three tortillas.  Pour taco sauce over the top - how much depends on your taste.  I use 1 jar now and the rest as additional sauce at the table.  Sprinkle with Parmesan.  Cover with foil and bake at 400F  (200C) for 20 minutes, until heated through and cheese is bubbly.  Remove foil for the last 5 minutes to brown the cheese if you like.

Suggested menus:

One:  Cauliflower and Gruyère Soup
Shrimp with Pesto Pasta
Sweet Sour Carrot Coins
  Ricotta Frittata
Chicken Divan
Roasted Potatoes with White Balsamic Vinegar
Three:  Mini Meat Loaves
Broccoli Rice Gratin
Four:    Meat Loaf Parmesan
Barley with Shallots
Cauliflower with Parmesan Sauce
Five:  Pork Chops with Lemon Soy Glaze
Sautéed Paprika Potato Rounds
Cauliflower with Paprika Crumbs
Six:   Chicken Ricotta Enchiladas
Fresh Fruit

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