Weekly Main Course Recipes:  Sept. 13, 2013

One:  Scallops with Maple Mustard Sauce        Preparation and cooking time:  15 minutes
    Use the larger sea scallops for this if you can..... Scallops are best when cooked quickly as overcooking tends to make them tough. Use fairly high heat; they can give off a lot of liquid, and you want them to fry, not steam. 

10oz (300gr) large scallops
2 slices Prosciutto
1 tbs Dijon-style mustard
2 tsp maple syrup
1/3 cup Greek or plain yogurt
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
1 tbs fresh tarragon   substitute 1 tsp dried
1 tbs olive oil

Roughly chop Prosciutto.  Heat oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add Prosciutto and sauté until crisp.  Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Add scallops and fry until lightly golden, then turn and fry the other side, 4 - 5 minutes total.  Scallops are done when they turn opaque. Remove and keep warm.
Reduce heat to medium and add mustard, maple syrup, yogurt.  Stir well to scrape up any browned bits.  Heat through but do not boil.  Add Parmesan, tarragon, Prosciutto and stir well.  Spoon over scallops and serve.

Two:  Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Mozzarella, Basil                         Time: 30 minutes
     Grilled chicken stuffed with whole basil leaves and fresh mozzarella and based with a light barbecue sauce.

2 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
1/2 fresh mozzarella ball
8 large fresh basil leaves, or more small
kitchen string
Barbecue Sauce
4 tbs ketchup
2 tbs sherry
1 tbs Balsamic vinegar
1 tbs maple syrup
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp dry mustard

Chicken: With a sharp knife make a long slit in the edge of the chicken breast - cutting horizontally and being careful not to cut through the other side.  Make the cut on the 'straight' edge of the breast.  You should have a pocket the shape of the breast with 1/2 inch of 'uncut' chicken around 3 sides. 
Slice the mozzarella as thinly as possible, divide and fit into each pocket. Place the basil on top of the cheese, folding it in to fit. Wrap entire breast with kitchen string to hold it together.
Grill on barbecue for 5 - 8 minutes per side or until done or bake in oven for 25 minutes at 400F or until done, basting frequently with barbecue sauce. 
Barbecue sauce:  Put all ingredients for sauce in a bowl and whisk well to combine.

Three:   Zucchini (Courgette) Quiche            Preparation, cooking time: 15 prep, 30 baking
    The rice makes a lovely crust, much healthier than the traditional pastry... and easier too, especially if you cook the rice earlier.  I used little pear-shaped tomatoes.

1/2 cup brown rice, quick-cooking
1 cup chicken stock    to yield 1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice
1/2 cup (2oz, 60gr) shredded cheese, total
1/2 fresh mozzarella ball
4 eggs, total
1 tsp olive oil
1 medium zucchini
1/2 onion
2oz (60gr) mushrooms
5oz (150gr) ham
3oz (90gr) cherry tomatoes   substitute 1 regular, thinly sliced
1/4 (2oz, 60gr) cup Greek yogurt
3/4 (6oz, 180ml) cup milk  
olive oil

The rice:  Cook the rice in stock. If doing in advance, refrigerate until needed.  If doing now, spread the rice on a plate to cool for 5 minutes before making crust.
The crust: Lightly whisk 1 egg.  Mix cooked rice, 1/4 cup cheese and egg.  Pat into a lightly oiled quiche or 10" (25cm) pie plate, working it up the sides a bit for the edges.  Bake in 400F (200C) oven for 10 minutes.
The filling: Slice zucchini into 1/4" (.5cm) rounds.  Trim and slice mushrooms.  Chop onion. Cut ham into small pieces.  Cut cherry tomatoes in half. Cut or tear mozzarella into small pieces.
Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat.  Add zucchini slices and sauté until transparent and tender.  Remove to a plate.  Add onions and mushrooms and sauté until onions are tender.  Remove from heat.
Whisk 3 eggs, yogurt and milk together.  
To assemble:  When crust is done, remove from oven. Spread the onions and mushrooms evenly over the crust. Arrange the zucchini slices on top in a single layer.  Lay ham on top of zucchini and spread cheeses on ham. Pour egg mixture over all.  Arrange the tomatoes, cut side down on top and bake, 30 minutes, 400F (200C).  Remove from oven and let rest 5 minutes before cutting. Quiche is done when center no longer 'jiggles' - it doesn't need to be solid but should be fairly firm.
Note:  I usually put the quiche dish on a baking sheet to make it easier to handle – it gets kind of full.

Four:  Chicken Breasts with Sage, Rosemary, Lemon                          Time: 30 minutes
   Sage and rosemary work well together and, along with the lemon, make these simple chicken breasts a tender, succulent, flavorful dinner.    

2 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
3 tbs lemon juice
2 tbs olive oil
1 tbs ketchup
1 tbs fresh sage, chopped   substitute 1 tsp dried
1 tbs fresh rosemary, chopped   substitute 1 tsp dried

Chop herbs.  In a small bowl mix lemon juice, oil, ketchup and herbs.  Place chicken breasts in a dish with sides and pour marinade over.  Let marinate 10 - 20 minutes or up to 4 hours in the refrigerator.  Remove from marinade and cook on barbecue grill for 7 - 10 minutes per side, or until done,  basting with marinade.  Could also be sautéed in a nonstick skillet for same amount of time. Serve.

 Five:  Acorn Squash Stuffed with Beef, Rice   Time: 60 minutes, 40 if you use microwave
     The squash bakes while the stuffing is prepared and just needs 10 - 15 minutes to finish.  I usually can't get all of the stuffing in, so I keep it warm and serve it on the side.  This stuffing has a bit of an Asian influence with toasted sesame seeds stirred in at the end.

1 medium acorn squash
1/3 cup Basmati rice
2/3 cup (5oz, 150ml) beef stock
6oz (180gr) ground beef
1/2 onion
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp minced fresh ginger  or 1/4 tsp powdered
1 rib celery
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 cup (4oz, 120ml) beef stock
3 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp Balsamic vinegar 
1 1/2 tbs cornstarch (corn flour, maizena) dissolved in 2 tbs water
2 tbs toasted sesame seeds

Cut squash in half and scoop out seeds.  Either place face down on tray and microwave for 10 - 12 minutes or put into a baking dish, cover with foil and bake in 400F (200C) oven for 40 minutes. 
While squash cooks:  Cook the rice in the beef stock 15 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed and it's done. 
the onion and celery; mince the garlic, ginger if using fresh.  Heat the oils in a nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Sauté the onion and celery 5 minutes then add the garlic and ginger if using fresh.  Sauté 5 more minutes or until onion and celery are tender and starting to brown.  Add beef and sauté, breaking it up as it browns.  Add soy sauce, vinegar, powdered ginger and beef stock and stir well to combine.  Dissolve cornstarch in water.  When beef mixture is simmering stir cornstarch in, a little at a time.  (You may not need it all).  You want it quite thick but not paste.  When rice is done add it, along with the sesame seeds and stir to combine. 
To assemble:   When squash are ready (they should be almost done) remove from wherever they cooked and fill with the rice/beef mixture.  Bake uncovered for 10 - 15 minutes, until stuffing starts to brown and squash is done.

Note: If the stuffing doesn't all fit (depending on size of squash - mine fit) keep it warm and serve on the side. 

To toast sesame seeds:  Put them into a dry, nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Toss or stir them about in the pan until lightly golden, about 5 minutes.

Six:   Pork Chops Diablo, Grilledsummer version    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 - depending on size 12oz total weight (360gr)
2 tbs Dijon mustard
2 tbs Worcestershire Sauce
2 tbs olive oil
2 tbs red wine vinegar
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder

Mix all ingredients for marinade and brush on chops.  Let marinate for 15 - 20 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.

Suggested menus:

One:  Lentil Salad with Mozzarella
Scallops with Maple Mustard Sauce
Zucchini and Rice Gratin
  Baked Tomatoes with Pesto
Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Mozzarella and Basil
Potatoes Braised in Olive Oil with Bay Leaves
Green Beans with Prosciutto and Garlic Chips
Three:  Zucchini (Courgette) Quiche
Four:   Grilled Chicken Breasts with Sage and Lemon
Pasta with Zucchini and Mushrooms
Five:  Acorn Squash Stuffed with Beef and Rice
Six:  Grilled Pork Chops Diablo
Roast Spicy Parmesan Potatoes
Green Beans with Mushrooms

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