Sunday, September 16, 2012

Antipasto Pasta Salad Salad

This dish is a pasta salad and a salad; hence the title of this recipe. This is a great dish to make and have for a healthy lunch during the week. I explain the best way to prepare and pack it below. I used some of my favorite antipasto staples, but you could use whatever are your favorite items. A little tuna or shrimp (instead of the salami) would be good additions to this, too.

Half a pound of penne pasta
4 ounces Italian dry salami, diced
8 ounces (1 ball) fresh mozzarella cheese, diced
1 red pepper, seeded and chopped
1/3 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
½ cup grape tomatoes, halved or quartered depending on size
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
Romaine lettuce chopped
(Additional items could include artichoke hearts, cooked asparagus, red onion, cucumber, garbanzo or cannellini beans, etc.)

Herbed Red Wine Vinaigrette:
¼ cup good red wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves, pressed through a garlic press or 2 tsps garlic paste from the tube
½ tsp good Dijon mustard
½ tsp dried Italian seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste
Pinch of sugar
½ cup good olive oil

Bring a pot of water to boil; salt liberally. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, approx. 10-11 minutes. Drain and transfer to a bowl of ice water to cool. Drain again and let sit so it dries some. Prepare the rest of the salad while this is happening.

Add the salami through the parsley to a bowl. Set aside.

Make the dressing by adding all of the ingredients to a small bowl, except the oil. Whisk together and then slowly add the oil while whisking.

Add the pasta to the bowl with the rest of the salad ingredients. Toss with some of the dressing.
To plate, add some chopped lettuce to a bowl, dress it a little bit with the vinaigrette. Add some pasta salad and serve.

This is a great recipe to make ahead for lunches during the week. Just pack the lettuce and pasta salad separately so the lettuce doesn’t wilt. Pack a little extra vinaigrette on the side, just in case you need it.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Pumpkin Spiced Muffins

More pumpkin spiced items for your Fall season.

These muffins are slightly adapted from Ellie Krieger's Pumpkin Pie Muffins. I changed up the spices and used maple syrup instead of molasses.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
¾ cup tightly packed light brown sugar
3 Tbsp maple syrup
¼ cup canola oil
2 large eggs
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 tsp pure vanilla
¾ cup low-fat buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Coat a 12-cup muffin pan with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, whisk together both flours, the baking soda, salt and spices. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, maple syrup, oil and one of the eggs until combined. Add the other egg and whisk well. Whisk in the pumpkin and vanilla. Stir in the flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the buttermilk, just until combined. Pour the batter into the prepared muffin pan, filling each cup about two-thirds full. (From here you could sprinkle the tops with a little cinnamon and sugar, or pumpkin seeds, as Ellie Krieger does in her recipe. You could also wait until you take the muffins out of the oven and sprinkle with a little powdered sugar.) Tap the pan on the counter a few times to remove any air bubbles. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of one of the muffins comes out clean, about 20 minutes.

Let the muffins cool in the pan for five minutes and then take them out of the pan to cool on a wire rack. You could enjoy the warm or let cool completely and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Pumpkin Granola

'Tis the season... pumpkin season that is. It's official; Starbucks' pumpkin spiced latte has returned to much anticipation while my personal favorite, Dunkin Donuts' pumpkin donuts, are also back. So I am jumping on the bandwagon and have come up with a pumpkin granola recipe to share with all of you.

3 cups old fashioned oats
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp salt
½ cup chopped or sliced almonds
½ cup chopped walnuts
¼ cup maple syrup
¼ cup pumpkin puree
1 tsp vanilla
½ cup dried cranberries (or raisins, your preference)
¼ cup roasted sunflower kernels

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with foil or parchment paper. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine oats, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, salt, almonds and walnuts.

In a small bowl, combine maple syrup, pumpkin puree and vanilla. (Here’s a tip when measuring sticky ingredients like maple syrup, honey, molasses, etc. Spray the measuring cup with nonstick spray first. The syrup will pour out easier.)

Pour the pumpkin mixture into the oat mixture and stir until coated well. Add the cranberries to the mixture and toss again.

Spread the granola onto the baking sheet and bake until golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes total. (I stir every 10 minutes.) After 20 minutes, add the sunflower seeds and stir again.
Finish baking for the remaining 10 minutes.

Remove from the oven and transfer the sheet to a cooling rack and let cool completely. Store the granola in the refrigerator in an airtight container for about 2 weeks.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Buffalo Shrimp Po' Boys

I got the idea for this sandwich after making buffalo chicken tacos a couple of weeks ago. I love anything buffalo-style, as does my husband, and this sandwich now ranks pretty high up there among the different buffalo variations.

3/4 of a pound Florida or U.S. shrimp, peeled and deveined (I only use shrimp from the gulf or U.S. The shrimp from Asian countries might be cheaper, but it is well documented that the farm raised shrimp from there are fed antibiotics and other chemicals. So sorry, I just don't buy it. To each its own though.)
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
Cayenne pepper, to taste
garlic powder, to taste
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup of wing sauce (or make your own with 2 Tablespoons of butter and 1/4 cup hot sauce)
4 hoagie rolls
Garnish: blue cheese crumbles, blue cheese dressing, lettuce, tomato

Combine the flour, cornstarch, cayenne pepper, garlic powder and salt in a medium bowl or plastic bag. Add the shrimp to coat with the flour mixture.

Heat a skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Add a tablespoon of butter with a tablespoon or two of oil, until the skillet is coated. Add the shrimp to the pan. Don't crowd the skillet, work in batches if you have to. If the pan is crowded the shrimp will just steam, not brown. Cook the shrimp on both sides until lightly brown. About 3 minutes. Shrimp will curl up when they are done. Remove to a plate.

Wipe out the pan with a paper towel, return to the heat, but reduce to low. Add the wing sauce or butter/hot sauce combo until heated. Add the shrimp back to the pan to coat in the sauce and warm through.

Build the sandwiches by slicing the rolls, spread on some blue cheese dressing, add some shrimp and top with blue cheese crumbles, lettuce and tomato.

Makes 4 sandwiches. (However, since there are only two of us, I am using the leftover shrimp and making Buffalo shrimp salads for lunch tomorrow.)