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Friday, January 31, 2014

The Hard Hearted Chef: Roasted Shrimp & Broccoli

Consider this a drive by...
I'm out shopping for the boys!
But a promise is a promise, and I did emphatically indicate 
that I'd leave you with a delicious dish for your weekend dining pleasure.

Special thanks to my BFF, Michael Reilly, 
for cooking up this masterpiece!

Roasted Shrimp & Broccoli

·        1 lb large cleaned shrimp
·        2 lbs fresh broccoli (main stems get tossed)
·        4 tbsp Olive oil
·        1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds (or 1/2 tsp. ground),
·        1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds (or 1/2 tsp. ground)
·        1 tsp salt
·        1 tsp black pepper
·        1/8 tsp chili powder
·        zest from one lemon or lemon juice
1. Heat the oven to 425.

2. On a large cookie sheet, toss together 2 lbs of broccoli cut up into florets (but not teensy tiny florets, I like a little stem attached), 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp whole coriander seeds (or 1/2 tsp ground), 1 tsp whole cumin seeds (or 1/2 tsp ground), 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper and 1/8th tsp hot chili powder. Spread into a single layer and pop into the oven for 10 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, toss together 1 lb large raw shrimp, shelled and deveined, with 2 tbsp olive oil, lemon zest from one lemon (or juice to taste), 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper in a bowl. When the broccoli’s been in the oven 10 minutes, add the shrimp to the broccoli and toss carefully.
3. Roast another 10 minutes, tossing once halfway through, until the shrimp is cooked the broccoli is tender and golden around the edges.
Serve with a yogurt/lemon based cucumber salad to balance the heat.

 G'head...tell me you aren't drooling!

Join us tomorrow for the boys' apartments,
which is our next decorating-on-the-cheap challenge!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Hard Hearted Chef: Chickening Out!

So as you may recall, I'm back on a diet.
 I'd gained 15 pounds back, and the size 8 wardrobe was 
unattractively tight.
Like sausage-in-a-casing tight.
I needed to lose weight.
 Evidently, I need a dentist too.
But this is a cooking segment.
We'll talk about the smile at another time.

So how about something healthy and quick and delicious and one skillet?
I just happen to have a weeknight delicacy that fits the bill.

Sunny's Chicken Skillet

2 skinless boneless chicken breasts, about 2 pounds, pounded flat and cut into 6 pieces
1/2 pound of mushrooms, sliced
1 large onion, diced
1 bag of fresh spinach, washed
4 strips of turkey bacon, sliced into squares
1/4 cup of chardonnay
2 tablespoons Canola oil
1 tablespoon steak seasoning
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons fresh parmesan cheese

In a large skillet, saute the bacon until just crisp; transfer to a bowl.
Add the onions to the pan and a drizzle of oil if necessary. Sprinkle in the garlic. When they begin to brown, add the mushrooms and saute for 5 more minutes, then put that hot mess in a bowl.
Put the remaining oil in the pan and add the chicken, coating both sides of each piece with steak seasoning, and cook until golden brown and no longer pink in the center,
Add the mushrooms, onions, bacon and wine to the pan and stir.
Pile on the fresh spinach and cover the pan, lowering the heat to simmer.
Once the spinach is wilted, sprinkle with cheese.
I put the pan right on the table.
My two male dining companions ate double helpings.
It's definitely guy friendly, don't worry.
Add a side of stuffing if you have to have the carbs.
Other than that, welcome to MY kind of diet food!

My BFF, Michael, is also eating helthy, and tomorrow I'll
share one of his delicious dishes that's heart, waist, and diabetes friendly
AND company yummy!
See you then!

Monday, January 20, 2014

The Hard Hearted Chef: Plagierized Pasta

I gained 15 pounds back.
There, I said it.
I'm a size 10, and I'm not liking it.
That sounds thin enough until you have to wriggle into your
jeans and you look like a sausage in a casing.
A very messy sausage...
So we need to cut a few things out, like chicken wings and other obvious culprits
that tack on fat.
One of my biggest downfalls?
I adore the stuff.Ready for a blatant imposter that will satisfy your cravings 
plus amp up your fiber and nutrition?
My BFF, Michael Reilly, came up with this one,
and I freaking love him for it.
 Take four large zucchinis and dig out your peeler.
Wash the veggies and starting at one end, peel off a long, continuous 
ribbon with the dark skin and some of the inner flesh.
Not your flesh, the zucchini's.
Avoid bleeding.
Add a little olive oil to a hot saute pan, then add the ribbons,
sprinkle with salt, and gently cook until tender,
turning them often.
This will take you around 5 minutes.
Dice up the remaining inner flesh of the zucchini and either
add it to your sauce or toss it in a salad.
Smother in your favorite sauce and munch.
Healthy? Check.
Tasty? Check.
Low fat and calories? BIG CHECK!
I'm too much of a raging foodie to suffer needlessly,
so trust me, this stuff is satisfying.
And if your New Year's resolution is to eat healthier and pare down,
this recipe is a perfect start on your road to reaching your goal.
Bon appetit, Besties.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Ready for a Challenge?

Of course, I owe you an explanation.
My life took a few crazy turns.
Let's talk.

First of all, I've always prided myself in being a real, imperfect blog.
Life is not always rainbows and sunshine,
but it's your job to enjoy whatever you get dished, right?
My mother is in her home, fully renovated.
I have a new corporate job that eats a lot of my time.
I'm home, and dealing with the neglect that comes with three years
of the Momma being out of commission.
And Sam and I split up.
Relax, we get along fine.
I don't believe in not continuing on as a family.
The biggest change?
The boys joined their sister at FIU!
empty nest.
My autism spectrum sons have their own studio apartments
so they can have solitude and privacy to keep their academic scholarships
in a good state.
So here's the challenge:
Unlike my newlywed real life bloggy buds Jane and Ryan
which shows you decorating tips for a rental space,
Thom and Samwow have limited options, issues,
and REALLY different styles for two guys who have bunked together
for 20 odd years (seriously odd years).
Samwow is doing his space in black, white, and khaki.
Thom asked for a tropical pallet  of orange, blues, and green.
And here's what we're working with...
 We have a less than stylish shower...
 ...a living room with luxurious furnishings...
 ...a relaxing bathroom...
 ...copious formal dining space...
 ...a newly updated kitchen...
 ...a study with a tranquil atmosphere...
,,,and a bedroom that provides tranquility after a long day.

Is this a bigger challenge than our whole house remodel?
Sweet mother of God no.
But we do have to make this space home.
On a budget.
A TIGHT budget.