Weekly Main Course Recipes:  June 7, 2013

One:  Shrimp and Asparagus Salad                      Preparation and cooking time:  30 minutes
   This calls for large couscous, which is prepared like pasta.  If you can't get it, use 1/2 cup regular couscous, prepared by pouring 3/4 cup boiling stock over and letting sit, covered, for 10 minutes.

12oz (360gr) shrimp, cleaned
8oz (240gr) asparagus
1/2 cup large couscous
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup water
6oz (180gr) salad greens - lettuce, spinach...
2 tbs fresh, snipped basil
2 tbs fresh, snipped parsley
1 tbs fresh snipped tarragon
1/3 cup chopped green olives,  about 12
2oz (60gr) bacon
1/2 medium onion
1 tbs Balsamic vinegar
4 tsp olive oil divided
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tbs Dijon-style mustard
1 tbs tarragon white wine vinegar
3 tbs salad olive oil

Prepare greens, rinse, spin dry if needed. Clean shrimp if needed. 
Cook large couscous in stock and water until done - either according to package instructions, or do a taste test.  Mine took 10 minutes. Drain.
Make vinaigrette: Whisk mustard and vinegar together in a small bowl.  Gradually whisk in olive oil until thick and creamy.
Snip herbs. Chop olives. Slice bacon into matchsticks.  Chop onion.
Trim asparagus but leave whole. Heat 2 tsp olive oil in a large skillet. Add asparagus and sauté until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Remove and set aside.
Add remaining 2 tsp olive oil and paprika. Sauté 1/2 minute. Add shrimp and quickly sauté until cooked through. They will curl and turn opaque when done. Remove and set aside.
Add bacon, onion to skillet and sauté until bacon is crisp.  Remove skillet from heat and add Balsamic vinegar, cooked couscous, olives and shrimp.  Stir well to combine.
To finish:  Toss greens, herbs with vinaigrette and arrange in large salad bowl or on two plates. Spoon shrimp and couscous into the center, arrange asparagus on top and serve.

Two:   Grilled Balsamic-Glazed Veal Chops       Preparation and cooking time: 30 minutes
Simplicity is often best.  A light glaze of Balsamic Vinegar gives these chops a bit of color and a hint of flavor.

2 veal chops, preferably center- cut and about 1" (2.5cm) thick
2 tbs Balsamic vinegar
2 tbs olive oil

Mix olive oil and vinegar well with whisk.  Spoon on both sides of chops and set aside for 10 - 20 minutes.
Grill chops on barbecue for 10 - 12 minutes depending on how thick and how done you want them or broil 12 - 15 minutes.  Take a peak to see how done they are.  Remove from grill and serve.  

Three:   Grilled Chicken Breasts with Mustard Sauce                        Time:  35 minutes
Grilled chicken breasts finished with a warm mustard sauce; a little bit of heat for summer cooking.

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup (8oz, 240ml) chicken stock
1/4 cup (2oz, 60ml) sherry or white wine
2 tbs Dijon-style mustard, divided
1 tsp mustard seed
4 tbs (2oz, 60gr) Greek or plain yogurt
1 tbs olive oil

Combine stock, sherry in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Continue to boil until reduced to about 1/3 cup.  Whisk in 1 tbs Dijon-style mustard, and mustard seeds, reduce heat and simmer 2 minutes.  Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.  Stir in Greek yogurt.  
Mix 1 tbs Dijon mustard with 1 tbs olive oil and spread on chicken breasts.  Cook on barbecue grill for 10 - 15 minutes or until done.  Remove from heat, slice and serve with sauce. 
Or can be baked for 20 - 25 minutes 400F or sauté  for 15 - 20 minutes  - in all cases until done.  See techniques if you have questions.

Four:  Pasta Salad with Sausage and Chickpeas                                Time:  25 minutes
    Chickpeas and Feta add a Mediterranean touch to this salad.  You could as easily use grilled chicken breasts, or leave the meat out altogether for a vegetarian version.

1 1/4 cup bite-size pasta, rigatoni, penne, etc.
8oz (240gr) sausages, any flavor - Italian, Bratwurst, Duck with Olives,
15oz (450gr) chickpeas, garbanzo beans
3oz (90gr) feta cheese
1/2 cup (3oz, 90gr) cherry tomatoes
1/2 red or green bell pepper
2 tbs fresh snipped chives or garlic chives   substitute 1 tbs dried
2 tbs fresh snipped marjoram    substitute 2 tsp dried
2 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp red wine vinegar
1 tbs olive oil
2 tbs red wine vinegar
2 tsp Soy sauce
3 tbs salad olive oil
1 tsp ketchup

Cook pasta according to package instructions.  Drain.
Cut pepper into strips.  Cut cherry tomatoes in half.  Drain and rinse chickpeas.  Heat oil, vinegar and soy sauce in skillet.  Add pepper, sauté 5 minutes. Add chickpeas, tomatoes, and heat through.  Set aside.
Crumble feta.  Snip herbs. 
Make vinaigrette:  Put all ingredients in small bowl and whisk well to combine.
Cook sausages on barbecue grill or sauté in nonstick skillet, before doing peppers, etc., on stove until done.  Remove sausages and slice into 1 1/2" (4cm) lengths. 
To assemble:  Put drained pasta in large salad bowl.  Add vegetables and vinaigrette, and toss well to combine.   Add sausage to pasta along with feta and herbs. Toss gently and serve.

Five:  Deviled Pork Chops, Grilled                     Preparation and cooking time:   30 minutes
  Pork chops with a kick, marinated and cooked on the barbecue grill.  If you want them hotter, more 'devilish' you could add a drop or 2 of Tabasco or other hot sauce. 

2 - 4 pork chops, boneless, - depending on size 12oz total weight (350gr)
2 tbs whole grain mustard
2 tbs orange juice   Substitute 1 tbs orange marmalade or 1 tbs lemon juice with 1 tbs sugar or 2 tbs white wine.
2 tbs Worcestershire Sauce
1 tbs paprika
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp dried tarragon
1 tbs olive oil

Mix all ingredients for marinade and spoon on chops.  Let marinate for 10 - 15 minutes.  Cook on barbecue for 4 - 7 minutes a side or until done.  Should be slightly pink in center when done - take a peak (techniques).  Or fry in nonstick skillet over medium-high heat the same amount of time.  Serve.

Six:   Healthier Taco Salad                                     Preparation and cooking time: 30 minutes
I like to add rice or quinoa to salads to round out the meal.  You can leave it out and have some crusty country bread, if you prefer.  Add more chili powder, more chiles or jalapeños, Tabasco, whatever, to make it as hot as you like. 

8oz (240gr) ground beef (mince) or turkey  
1/3 cup quick-cooking brown rice  
2/3 cup beef stock
1/2 onion
1/2 red pepper   
2 cloves garlic
4oz (125gr) chopped green chiles 
1 tbs olive oil
1 tsp chili powder
3oz (90gr) cherry tomatoes   about 1/2 cup before slicing
1 avocado    if it's ready earlier in the week, refrigerate it until needed
2 jars taco sauce     hot or mild, or 1 of each
1/2 cup (2oz, 60gr) shredded cheese - your choice
Lettuce - enough for 2 main meal salads

Cook brown rice according to package directions.
Chop onions and pepper.  Mince garlic.   Heat oil in nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add chili powder and sauté briefly (30 seconds).  Add onion, pepper and sauté for 5 minutes.  Add garlic, beef and continue cooking until meat is done. 
Drain chiles and stir into beef.  Add taco sauce - you want the meat mixture to be thick so don't add all of the sauce if it's not needed - serve the rest on the side.  Take meat mixture off heat. 
Slice tomatoes and avocado (see techniques).  Tear the lettuce and arrange on plates.  Divide rice and put on lettuce, divide meat mixture and put on rice.  Top with shredded cheese.  Artfully arrange tomato and avocado slices around salad and serve with any remaining salsa. 

Suggested menus:

One:  Egg 'Linguini' with Warm Avocado Sauce
Shrimp and Asparagus Salad
  Spinach 'Caprese' Salad
Grilled Balsamic-Glazed Veal Chops
Basmati Rice and Asparagus Gratin
Three:  Grilled Chicken Breasts with Mustard Sauce
German Summer Salad
Lettuce Salad with Creamy Dressing
Four:     Pasta Salad with Sausage and Chickpeas
Five:  Deviled Pork Chops
German Summer Salad
Warm Spinach with Bacon and Onion
Six:  Healthier Taco Salad

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