Posts Tagged 'Quick Take'

Quick take: Serve a southwestern breakfast for dinner

The elements of a traditional southwestern breakfast, such as over-easy eggs, salsa, black beans and ripe avocado, make an excellent mid-week meal. It’s ready in about 35 to 40 minutes.

Nuevos huevos rancheros

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 cup chunky salsa or pico de gallo, divided
1 (16-ounce) box Mrs. T’s® potato and cheddar pierogies
1 tablespoon butter
4 large eggs
1 ripe avocado, seeded, peeled and sliced
Lime wedges, cilantro sprigs

Heat oil in small skillet over medium heat. Add onion; cook until just tender; about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in cumin and salt; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in black beans, lime juice and ½ cup salsa.

Sauté pierogies as box directs; keep warm. Melt butter in 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Break eggs into the skillet; cook until the whites have set, but the yolks are still loose and runny.
To assemble the dish, spoon ¼ cup black bean mixture on serving plate; top with 3 sautéed pierogies. Top eggs with remaining salsa. Garnish with avocado slices, lime wedges and cilantro sprigs.  Makes 4 servings.

Quick take: Spicy pasta salad with olives and feta

This salad can be served hot, but it’s better if cooled to room temperature. It stores well in the fridge for a week, but let it warm to room temperature before serving.

Flat leaf parsley has a more intense parsley flavor than the curly sort. If you think an entire serrano may make the salad too hot, use a quarter of the pepper and taste the result. Add more minced serrano if needed.

Spicy pasta salad with olives and feta

1 serrano pepper, minced
1/2 cup chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh oregano
1 tablespoon capers
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
12 black oil-cured olives, pitted and chopped
1/2 cup diced ripe red bell pepper
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Pinch of salt
2 bay leaves
10 ounces pasta (penne rigate, fusilli, or conchiglie)
1 small red onion, thinly sliced into rings

In a serving bowl, place the serrano pepepr, parsley, garlic, oregano, capers, oil, feta, olives, bell pepper, and black pepper.

Place a large stock pot over medium-high heat and add a pinch of salt. Add the bay leaves. Add the pasta and cook utnil al dente. Add the onion rings during the last minute of cooking. Drain the pasta and onion in a colander, removing the bay leaves. Pour the pasta-onion mix into the serving bowl and toss to mix. Makes 4 servings.


The Big Summer Cookbook by Jeff Cox

Quick take: Herbed pork chops

 Purchase and freeze pork chops and when they are a weekly special in your supermarket. They will always be available for a quick and easy weeknight dinner. Preparation time is 5 minutes; cook time, 8 minutes.

Herbed pork chops

1 tablespoon McCormick® Perfect Pinch® Salt Free Savory All Purpose Seasoning
1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt from McCormick® Sea Salt Grinder
4 bone-in pork chops, 1/2-inch thick (about 1 1/2 pounds), trimmed
2 tablespoons oil


 Mix Seasoning and sea salt in small bowl. Sprinkle evenly over both sides of pork chops.
Heat oil in large skillet on medium heat. Add pork chops; cook 4 minutes per side or until desired doneness.
Makes 4 servings. Each serving contains: 253 calories, 17 g. fat, 1 g. carbohydrate; 78 mg. cholesterol, 252 mg. sodium, 0 g. fiber, 24 g. protein.
Source: McCormick Seasonings

Quick take: Roasted tomato pasta

This is a totally fresh, not heavily sauced pasta.
“In the interest of cooking quickly, you can precook a bunch of pasta and freeze it in smaller portions, like in zipper-top plastic bags. Then, it’s really as simple as opening a bag, running warm water over it in a colander in the sink, tossing it with whatever you want in a pan to finish,” said Sam Zien, author of Sam the Cooking Guy: Awesome Recipes & Kitchen Shortcuts (Wiley, $19.95).

Roasted tomato pasta

2 pounds small tomatoes (cherry tomatoes)
3 cloves garlic, chopped fine
3 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound pasta
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Chopped parsley or basil, for ganish

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and put a large pot of water on the stove to boil. Cut the tomatoes in half and place in a medium bowl with the garlic, half the oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well.

Put the tomatoes on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake about 20 minutes, or until they get all soft, squishy, and beautiful. During the tomatoes’ last 10 minutes in the oven, cook the pasta according to the package directions, drain well.
Combine the pasta, tomatoes, remaining oil, and Parmesan cheese in a bowl and toss. Garnish and serve.  Makes 6 servings.

How to freeze and use frozen pasta.

Pretty much any kind of pasta works, but it’s easier to deal with short pasta, like penne, rigatoni, or a macaroni.

Add pasta to a pot of boiling water, but cook for about a minute less than what the package says. Rinse the pasta with cool water to stop the cooking and drain really well. Really well.

Use within 3 to 4 weeks.

Quick lunchbox idea: Put pasta in sandwich-size zipper-top plastic bags, and freeze. Remove the bag from the freezer, open it, and fill it with hot water for about a minute. Drain and do whatever you want to sauce it.

Quick take: Soft fish tacos with South American slaw

Instead of burgers on the grill, try this recipe for fish tacos.

Soft fish tacos with guacamole and South American slaw


8 ounces jicama, peeled and coarsely shredded

1 medium carrot, coarsely shredded

1 small red bell pepper, stem and seeds removed, thinly sliced

1 small red onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper


2 large Hass avocados, mashed

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves

2 teaspoons fresh lime juice

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper


4 halibut fillets, each about 8 ounces and 3/4 inch thick

Extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon ancho chile powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

8 flour tortillas (8 inches)

In a medium bowl combine the slaw ingredients. In a medium bowl combine the guacamole ingredients and stir with a fork until thoroughly blended. Cover the surface with plastic wrap until ready to use.

Prepare the grill for direct cooking over high heat (450° to 550°F). Lightly brush the halibut all over with oil and season with the chile powder, salt, and pepper. Brush the cooking grates clean. Grill the fillets over direct high heat, with the lid closed as much as possible, until the flesh just begins to flake when you
poke it with the tip of a knife, 6 to 8 minutes, turning once. Remove from the grill and break into 1-inch pieces.
Heat the tortillas over direct high heat for about 20 seconds per side. For each taco, layer a warm tortilla with fish, slaw, and guacamole. Roll up loosely. Serve warm.

Recipe from Weber’s Real Grilling by Jamie Purviance.

Quick take: Salt and pepper oven fries

This is a great way to make fries without frying. Tossing the baked fries with a final coating of canola oil makes them taste like they’ve actually been fried.
This recipe takes about 40 minutes to prepare. Serve with 3 ounces baked cod and 1 cup steamed broccoli for a meal total of 395 calories.

Salt and pepper oven fries

1 pound russet (baking) potatoes, cut into 3 1/2- by 1/2-inch sticks
1/4 cup canola oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray.
Combine the potatoes and 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large bowl, tossing to coat well. Arrange the potatoes in a single layer on the baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes, turnign the potatoes halfway through the cooking time, until godlen brown and crisp. Remvoe from the oven and transfer to a large bowl.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until browned about 4 minutes. Pour the oil and garlic over the potatoes. Add the salt, pepper, and parsley and toss well. Serve hot.  Makes 4 servings. Each serving: 262 calories, 4 g. protein, 32 g. carbohydrates, 14 g. fat, 0 mg. cholesterol, 150 mg. sodium, 2 g. fiber.
Recipe is from Flat Belly Diet! Family Cookbook from the editors of Prevention Magazine. The book includes tips for getting kids (and spouses) to adopt healthy eating habits, including strategies to encourage picky eaters to try new foods and flavors. Go to

Quick take: Caramelized apple butter-topped pork chops

Hands-on time for this dish is 9 minutes. Broiler intensity varies significantly from oven to oven, so it’s tough to give a precise broiling time.

Caramelized apple butter-topped pork chops

Olive oil spray
2 (3- to 4-ounce) trimmed, boneless pork chops, about 3/4 inch thick
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 tablespoons apple butter, divided

Preheat the boiler. Line a small baking sheet with nonstick aluminum foil and lightly mist the foil with spray. Lightly mist the chops all over with spray, and then season them with the garlic, salt, and pepper. Place them side by side on the prepared baking sheet, not touching. Transfer the sheet to the top oven rack and broil the chops about 3 minutes. Flip them and brush 1 tablespoon of the apple butter evenly over the top of each chop. Continue broiling until the apple butter caramelizes (turns brown in spots) and the pork just barely has a hint of pink inside, 2 to 4 minutes. Serve immediately. Makes 2 servings.

Each serving contains: 164 calories, 22 g. protein, 8 g. carbohydrates, 4 g. fat, 65 mg. cholesterol, trace fiber, 51 mg. sodium.

Recipe is from I Can’t Believe It’s Not Fattening by Devin Alexander

Quick take: Saucy tilapia with tomatoes and capers

Tilapia has a mild, sweet flavor that goes well with bold sauces like this one made with salty capers and tangy tomatoes. This dish is ready is less than half an hour. While the fish cooks, cook rice or orzo to go along with it.

Saucy tilapia with tomatoes and capers

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes
3 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Four 6-ounce tilapia fillets
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, optional

Warm the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 5 minutes, or until softened. Add the garlic, cook for 1 minute, then add the tomatoes, capers, salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 5 minutes.
Season the tilapia with salt and pepper. Raise the heat under the sauce to medium and simmer. Nestle the fillets in the sauce, cover, and cook for 3 minutes. Using cooking tongs or a fork, turn the fish over and continue  cooking, uncovered, for 3 to 5 minutes, or until fork goes through the thickest part of the fish with no resistance. Garnish with the basil, if desired.
Makes 4 servings.
Recipe is from: The Deen Bros. Take it Easy: Quick and Affordable Meals the Whole Family Will Love by Jamie and Bobby Deen and Melissa Clark

Quick take: Crustless Spanish quiche

It takes 10 minutes to prep this dish and 45 minutes to bake. While it bakes, make a salad with baby lettuces, fresh strawberry slices, sliced almonds, and a raspberry vinaigrette.

Crustless Spanish quiche

1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach
4 eggs
1/2 cup plain nonfat yogurt
1 cup shredded mozzarella or Swiss cheese
1/4 cup flour
1 jar (5 ounces) Spanish olives with pimientos, chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a pie dish with nonstick cooking spray. Defrost the spinach and press out any extra liquid (if the spinach is too hot, put the spinach in a colander and use th bottom of a bowl to press the water out).
In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, yogurt, cheese, and flour. Stir in the spinach and olives. Pour the mixture into the pie plate and smooth the top. Bake for 45 minutes until it is lightly browned and firm. Cut into wedges and serve hot or cold.
Scramble flavor booster: Add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon dried herbs or 1 to 2 tablespoons fresh herbs, such as basil, oregano, or dill, with the spinach and olives.

Source: SOS! The Six O’Clock Scramble to the Rescue, Earth-Friendly, Kid-Pleasing Dinners for Busy Families, by Aviva Goldfarb

Quick take: Spaghetti with garlic meat sauce

This simple dish calls for ingredients you probably have in your pantry. If not put these items on your shopping list for next week. Prep time is 10 minutes and cooking time is 25 minutes. Serve with a tossed salad and bread.

Spaghetti with garlic meat sauce

4     tablespoons olive oil
4     tablespoons butter
2     tablespoons minced fresh garlic
1     package (8-ounce) sliced fresh mushrooms
1     jar (6.5-ounce) peeled garlic cloves
1 1/2      pounds lean ground beef
1     jar (26-ounce) mushroom marinara sauce
2/3 cup red wine (merlot or cabernet)
2     tablespoons Italian seasoning
1     box (16-ounce) spaghetti
In a large skillet over medium heat, heat olive oil and butter. When butter melts, add minced garlic and saute for 20 seconds. Add mushrooms and peeled garlic cloves; saute for 3 minutes. Add beef and cook until browned. Add marinara sauce, wine, and Italian seasoning. Stir to combine. Cover skillet. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes to combine flavors. Meanwhile, cook spaghetti in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain. Toss hot pasta with the sauce. Makes 4 to 6 servings.
Source: Sandra Lee SemiHomemade

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