Friday, July 17, 2009

Recipes from "Desperation Dinners"

I had a request for some of the recipes I posted we were going to try this week, so I'm posting them. These are straight from the book, "Desperation Dinners" by Beverly Mills and Alicia Ross.

Moussaka in Minutes

2 c. (12 oz) orzo pasta
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 lbs extra lean ground beef
2 t. olive oil
1 large onion for 1 c. chopped
1 large eggplant for 4 c. cubed
1 small can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
1/4 c. ketchup
1/4 t. nutmeg
1/8 t. cinnamon
1 container (10 oz) reduced-fat Alfredo sauce
1/4 c. grated parmesan cheese

1) Turn on broiler
2) Bring 2 1/2 qts of unsalted water to a boil in a covered 4 1/2 qt. or larger pot. When it reaches a rapid boil, add the orzo and cook 7 minutes.
3) If the beef is frozen, run hot water over it so you can remove any packaging. Place beef on a microwave-safe plate and microwave 3 minutes, uncovered, on high, to begin defrosting
4) Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a 12-inch heatproof skillet. Peel and coarsely chop the onion, adding to the skillet as you chop. Begin cutting the eggplant into 1" squares, leaving the peel on. Set aside.
5) Add the beef to the skillet. Cook until crumbled and browned, about 3 minutes. Finish cutting up the eggplant while the beef cooks.
6) Add the eggplant, tomato sauce, and ketchup to the skillet and stir to mix. Cover, and boil until the meat is no longer pink and the eggplantis soft, about 6 minutes. Stir frequently to prevent sticking, taking care not to make the eggplant mushy.
7) Meanwhile, add the nutmeg and cinnamon directly to the container of alfredo sauce. Stir well. Drizzle the sauce evenly over the skillet. Sprinkle the parmesan evenly over the top and place skillet under the broiler until the top is bubbly and just begins to brown, 2-3 minutes. Drain the orzo and serve the meat over a bed of orzo.

Cheddar Corn Cakes

1 lg. egg
1/2 c. frozen corn kernels
1/4 c. + 2 T. buttermilk cornbread mix
1/4 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 c. cottage cheese
2 T. skim or low-fat milk
Cooking oil spray
Bottled salsa (optional)

1) Break the egg into a 2-qt. or larger bowl and beat it lightly with a fork to break it up. Add the corn kernels, cornbread mix, cheddar and cottage cheeses, and milk and stir well to mix.
2) Spray a 12-inch nonstick skillet with cooking oil spray and heat over medium heat. Drop the batter, 1/4 at a time, into the skillet, to make 4 fritters. Flatten the mounds lightly with the back of a spoon.
3) Fry the fritters until lightly browned, 2 1/2 minutes per side. Serve at once, with salsa (if using) on the side.

Tuxedo Chicken

6 c. bow tie pasta
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (about 1 1/3 lbs.), fresh or frozen
1 T. butter
1 small onion for 1/2 c. chopped
2 c. frozen chopped broccoli
1 container (8 oz.) reduced-fat sour cream
1 c. half-and-half
1 T. grainy Dijon mustard
2 t. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 t. garlic powder

1) Bring 2 1/2 qts. unsalted water to a boil in a covered 4 1/2 qt. or larger Dutch oven or soup pot. When the water reaches a rapid boil, add the bow ties and cook till tender, 9 minutes.
2) Meanwhile, if the chicken is frozen, run them under hot water to remove any packaging (MY NOTE: For food safety reasons, use cool water). Place the chicken on a microwave-safe plate and microwave 3 minutes, uncovered, on high, to begin defrosting. While the chicken defrosts, melt the butter on medium-low in a 12-inch nonstick skillet. Peel and chop the onion, adding to the skillet as you chop. Cook until the onion is soft, about 3 minutes.
3) Slice the chicken into 1/2-inch strips. Raise heat to medium-high and add chicken. Cook until chicken is no longer pink in the center, 3 1/2 to 4 minutes, stirring often. Meanwhile, place the broccoli in a microwave-safe dish and microwave 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 minutes, covered, on high, until it is just warm.
4) Remove the chicken from the skillet with a slotted spoon and set aside. Reduce heat to medium-low. Stir the sour cream and half-and-half into the chicken juices to blend well, then add the mustard, Worcestershire, and garlic powder. Stir well and continue to cook until the sauce is slightly thick, about 2 minutes. Do not boil.
5) Return the chicken to the skillet and add broccoli, then raise the heat to medium-high and bring the sauce almost to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer to blend the flavors. Do not boil.
6) Meanwhile, drain the bow ties and place some on each serving plate. Top with chicken mixture and serve.

Tempting Thai Chicken

2 1/2 c. instant rice
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (about 1 1/3 lbs), fresh or frozen
Spicy Peanut Sauce (recipe follows)
2 t. vegetable oil
1 T. bottled minced garlic
1 T. bottled chopped dinner
1-2 bunches scallions for 3/4 c. chopped
1 can (8 oz.) sliced bamboo shoots
1/2 c. unsalted peanuts
1 T. reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 T. dry sherry
1 t. sugar

1) Bring 2 1/2 c. water to a boil in a 2-quart saucepan. Meanwhile, begin step 2. When the water boils, add the rice, cover the pan, and remove from the heat until ready to serve.
2) If the chicken is frozen, run them under hot water to remove any packaging (MY NOTE: For food safety reasons, use cool water). Place the chicken on a microwave-safe plate and microwave 2 minutes, uncovered, on high, to begin defrosting. Meanwhile, make the Peanut Sauce and set aside.
3) Heat the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat. Cut the chicken into short strips about 1/2 inch wide, adding them to the skillet as you cut. Add the garlic and ginger and cook until the chicken is no longer pink, 5-7 min., stirring frequently.
4) While the chicken cooks, cut the scallions into 1/4 inch slices, using the white and enough of the tender green tops to make 3/4 cup; drain the bamboo shoots, and chop the peanuts. Set each aside.
5) When the chicken is no longer pin, add the scallions, bamboo shoots, peanuts, soy sauce, sherry, and sugar. Stir well, then add the Peanut Sauce and stir well again. Cook until heated through, 2 minutes. Serve over a bed of the rice.

Peanut Sauce

1 1/2 T. creamy peanut butter
2 T. vegetable oil
2 T. reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 T. sugar
2 t. rice wine vinegar or distilled white vinegar
1/2 t. dark sesame oil
1/2 t. ground cayenne pepper

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until well combined.

Fragrant Rice Pilaf

1 T. butter
1 med. onion for 3/4 c. chopped
1/2 c. frozen green peas
1 can (14 1/2 oz.) fat-free chicken broth
3/4 c. water
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. cumin
1 cinnamon stick or 1/4 t. ground cinnamon
2 whole cloves or 1/4 t. ground cloves (optional)
1/2 t. ground turmeric
2 1/2 c. instant rice

1) Melt the butter over medium heat in a 2-quart saucepan with a lid. Meanwhile, peel and coarsely chop onion, adding to the pan as you chop. Cook for 1 min. to soften the onion slightly, then add the frozen peas and cook for 2 minutes to partially defrost them.
2) Add the broth, water, and seasonings. Cover the pan, raise the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Uncover, stir in the rice, and remove from the heat. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes.
3) Fluff the rice with a fork, remove and discard cinnamon stick and cloves (if using) and serve.

I apologize for any mis-spellings/typos. There was a lot to type and I didn't proof-read! :)


Michelle said...

oooh yum...the tuxedo chicken recipe looks awesome.

Tamara said...

thank you!!!