Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Hail to the Chefs

Well, you were all very gracious to me after my last post. I really appreciate your encouraging remarks and even ideas of what hospitality really looks like. I think with even a more generous definition of hospitality, I am still falling way short. But I really do have to say there are times and seasons for everything. I have been told a lot more than once that I had the gift of hospitality in a different time in my life; I never would have really banked on that either because it has never been an easy thing, I am such a stress case about having people into my home because they will see up close and personal what a mess I am! But anyway, all that to say, I am encouraged by all of you and I think it is best to take both criticism and even maybe some praise with a grain of salt (or whatever the expression is- when I go to write these things out, I suddenly find myself unsure of what we're actually saying!). But many thanks to all of you who sent me a little email or posted a comment; it meant a lot. I tried to post a comment in response but it wouldn't work- on my own blog! If anyone else has had this problem, let me know. I am thinking of removing the word identification. Then if spam becomes a problem, I will just put it back.

Well, who knows how something that was meant to be an opening sentence turned into an opening paragraph! I'm wordy like that. I wanted to also compliment all my readers- and just to let you know, I know about some of you people who read and don't comment, I know exactly who you are... and you are welcome; but do feel free to comment if you like whether I know you read or not and whether I know you personally or not. Every now and then I like to just send out that little invite. I guess more people would read and/or have something to say if it wasn't me me me all the time. And that's what I was saying, I want to compliment everyone on their patience with me to get those recipes up. I know I promised them days ago, just another in my string of failures, but not such a big-y and not something that can't be righted even today. I am having a little trouble "formatting" all these so this will not look pretty; most of them are being cut and pasted because there are too many to type!

Southern Shrimp and Grits

Cooking Light – made by my friend Rebekah

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce (such as Tabasco)
1 1/2 pounds peeled and deveined large shrimp
2 bacon slices, chopped
1 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup chopped green onions, divided
5 cups water
1 1/2 cups uncooked quick-cooking grits
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Combine first 3 ingredients; set aside.

Cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp. Add onion, bell pepper, and garlic to drippings in pan; cook 5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in shrimp mixture, broth, and 1/4 cup green onions; cook 5 minutes or until shrimp are done, stirring frequently.

Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan; gradually add grits, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low; simmer, covered, for 5 minutes or until thick, stirring occasionally. Stir in butter and salt. Serve shrimp mixture over grits; sprinkle with cheese and remaining green onions.

Rebekah's lasagna, according to her, is sort of loosely based on the recipe on the back of the Ronco noodles box! She has a knack, so she does a lot of using what she has on hand and changing things up. I don't know how to relay that to you in recipe form, so I guess just go find yourself a box of Ronco noodles and get creative. Here is the recipe from said box, just in case:

Classic Lasagna from the Ronco Noodles box

¾ tsp salt
¾ tsp dried basil
½ tsp dried oregano
1/8 tsp pepper
¼ tsp fresh parsley, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
5-6 cloves garlic, minced
2 (14.5 oz) cans stewed tomatoes
2 T tomato paste
¾ c chicken broth

8 oz Ronco Lasagna, cooked and drained (Rebekah used No Boil and thought that they worked well)
½ lb Italian sausage
½ lb lean ground beef
2 (15 oz) containers Ricotta cheese
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded and divided
1 cup parmesan cheese, grated and divided

Preaheat oven to 350F. Add meats to large skillet and combine with sauce ingredients OR 4 cups pasta sauce. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer 30-45 minutes, stirring occasionally (reduce simmer to 5 minutes if using jar pasta sauce option). Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine ricotta cheese, ¾ cup parmesan cheese, eggs, and 1 ½ cup mozzarella cheese; mix well. In 13x9 inch baking dish, spread 1 cup meat sauce. Place 1/3 of lasagna noodles over sauce. Spread ½ of cheese mixture over noodles and top with 1/3 of meat sauce. Repeat. Top with remaining noodles and meat sauce. Cover with foil. Bake 1 hour. Uncover; sprinkle with reserved ½ cup mozzarella and ¼ cup parmesan cheese. Bake an additional 30 minutes or so or until cheese is bubbly. Remove from oven. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.

Chicken Parmesan(Elizabeth says she has no idea where she got this recipe from, but she thinks Southern Living)

4 skinned, boned, chicken breast halves
1/2 c. seasoned breadcrumbs
1/4 c. grated parmesan cheese
1/2 ts. dried Italian seasoning
1/8 ts. black pepper
1/3 c. all purpose flour
2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
2 ts. olive oil
4 c. hot cooked spaghetti(8 oz. package)
3 c. ultimate quick and easy pasta sauce
1 c. mozzarella cheese, shredded

Ultimate quick and easy pasta sauce--heat oil in a sauce pan over medium high heat, then stir in all ingredients, bring to a boil, reduce heat to med and cook 15 min.
1 ts. olive oil, garlic powder, 1/2 c. dry red wine or cooking wine or balsamic vinegar, 1 T. sugar, 2 ts. basil, 2 T. tomato paste, 1/2 ts. dried Italian seasoning, 1/4 ts. black pepper, 2 (15 oz) cans diced tomatoes, undrained, 1 can Hunts original spaghetti sauce.

1. Place each chicken breast half between 2 sheets of heavy duty plastic wrap; flatten to 1/4 in. thickness using a meat mallet or rolling pin.
2. Combine breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, italian seasoning, and pepper in a shallow dish. Dredge each chicken breast half in flour, dip in egg whites, dredge in breadcrumb mixture.
3. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook 5 minutes on each side.
4. Preheat broiler
5. Place 1 c. spaghetti in each of 4 gratin dishes(or large casserole). Spoon 1/2 c. pasta sauce over each serving. Top w/ chicken breast, and spoon 1/4 c. sauce over each serving. Sprinkle w/1/4 c. mozzarella cheese. Broil 3 min. or until cheese melts. Garnish w/basil.

Elizabeth also made this delicious pie for after the meal! It is one from our old church cookbook in Birmingham.

French Chocolate Pie
1/4 tsp. cream of tarttar
3 egg whites
1 c. sugar divided
1/4 c. cocoa
1 c. whipping cream, whipped
3 T sugar
1 T cocoa

- Beat egg whites and cream of tartar until stiff. Gradually add 1/2 cup of sugar.
- Combine 1/2 cup sugar and cocoa in a separate bowl and stir into egg mixture.
- Turn egg mixture into a well greased pie pan and bake for 30 minutes at 350.
- Cool thoroughly.
- Combine whipping cream, 3 T of sugar, and 1 T of cocoa and pour into crust.
- Chill until ready to serve.

I have also wanted to post recipes from when people brought me meals after Elspeth was born. Everyone seems to be dragging their feet about getting them to me though!!! But I can totally relate to that, and I am just glad they made them for us in the first place. My friend Annie brought us her Red Beans and Rice and I pulled the recipe up from her blog and have added it to my regular rotation. If you don't already read her blog, you should check in on it every now and then; she is always cooking up something delicious! You can link to the Red Beans and Rice recipe by clicking on it. I also highly recommend her Pan pizza recipe. I have much to say about that, but will just link you to it for now. Can you believe I have been up since 6:30?! It's like I'm turning over a new leaf! Eight o'clock approaches and my brain begs for coffee. Y'all have a great day and consider adding one of these yummy meals to your next meal plan!


Elizabeth said...

Thanks, Abby! I love shrimp and grits! Makes me think of all our vacations in Charleston/Kiawah. Can't wait to try this. And I can vouch for Annie's red beans and rice recipe. I tried it last year when she posted it--yumm!

Elizabeth said...

What do you have to say about the Pan pizza? I just clicked the link and read the comments, and I'm totally pumped to make this this Friday night. Not sure if it will take the place of my Mellow Mushroom cravings, but it will definitely be an improvement over frozen or take-out!

abby said...

it's SO good! it is not going to be mellow mushroom-ish. but it is still really yummy. i ran out of white flour after three cups and used 1 cup whole wheat flour and it still did fine. i also took 1 T oil out of each pan- just a couple of tiny things, but if you're worried about making it less "bad" for you, those are some things that have worked for me. however, i will probably not continue the whole wheat flour thing.

s.j.simon said...

:) did you know how cheese was invented? It wasnt necessity, it was an accident, read this

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