By the Book: Quick Shrimp & Pea Omelette from The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook

Quick Omelette with Shrimp & Peas

Quick Omelette with Shrimp & Peas

Welcome to the first official installment of By the Book on Foodie Reflections! This is where I will prepare a recipe from a cookbook and write about it. Pretty simple, eh? There’s no official schedule to these posts but at least it’s a step in the right direction as I slowly work my way through the ever-growing piles of cookbooks taking over my apartment.

A few things to note: 1) Some of the cookbooks were given to me, others I purchased because I was interested in them; and 2) I’m a little commitment phobic so there’s no schedule or day of the week for these posts — yet. The point is to have fun and celebrate the work that so many amazing cooks put years of blood, sweat and tears into.

First up is The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook by one of the most bubbly food bloggers I’ve come across: Jaden Hair of the blog Steamy Kitchen. I was fortunate to receive a certificate for a copy of her book a few months ago, and was thrilled when it arrived in the mail last week.

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I tore apart the package and immediately dove into the book looking for a recipe to try. The only problem was that I needed to pick just one to start with and there were SO many that jumped out at me. In the end I went with the Quick Omelette with Shrimp and Peas for two reasons: 1) it was quick to make – I mean the word is even in the title; and 2) I was freaking hungry!

Oh, this omelette did not disappoint. It was filling and satisfying, not mention a little salty but in a good way, and a little sweet from the peas. Plus I felt energized from all the protein but not weighed down at all, a good thing as this was lunch afterall.

Now, I just have to choose what to make next.

Here’s the recipe:

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Roasted Broccoli Couscous

Roasted Broccoli Couscous

Roasted Broccoli Couscous

Roasted broccoli is without a doubt my favorite vegetable dish. I like broccoli prepared almost any way, but roasting it in the oven with olive oil, salt and garlic brings on a new depth of flavor that is at times both a little nutty and very slightly sweet.

But to turn my favorite vegetable side dish into something I can eat as an entree or as a souped-up side for guests is really something special.

And it’s still quick and easy, taking less than 25 minutes from first wash of the broccoli to serving warm. All you have to do is roast the broccoli, and while that’s in the oven prepare your favorite small grain couscous (I like using whole wheat) and toast a handful of sliced almonds. Then toss it all together and serve.

Please, I beg of you, use those broccoli stems! They’re the best part of the broccoli in both taste and nutrition. All you have to do is peel off the thick outer layer and then slice the stalk into thin coins. So delicious!

Here’s the recipe:

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Brussels Sprouts & Squash Barley with Rosemary Turkey Meatballs

Brussels Sprouts and Squash Barley with Rosemary Turkey Meatballs

Brussels Sprouts and Squash Barley with Rosemary Turkey Meatballs

Food cravings can be unpredictable, but for me they’re a way of life. Often the cravings are for something understandable like chocolate, a salty snack, or even fruit. But for some odd reason this evening I craved barley. There was something about the nutty chewiness of this nutritious grain that I needed.

So, I decided to do a bit of experimenting to see if I could make a full meal based on barley. And… I did. And… it rocked!

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The result was sort of a pilaf of barley with oven-roasted Brussels sprouts and winter squash. And then, from the suggestion of @LDGourmet on Twitter, I topped the whole thing with rosemary turkey meatballs to make for a complete and filling meal.

Brussels Sprouts and Squash Barley with Rosemary Turkey Meatballs

Brussels Sprouts and Squash Barley with Rosemary Turkey Meatballs

Here’s the recipe:

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Lunch in a Crunch: 16-Minute Kale & Mushroom Spaghetti

Kale & Mushroom Spaghetti

Kale & Mushroom Spaghetti

Today was one of those crazy busy Mondays where I had so many things I wanted to accomplish that I wasted half the morning trying to decide where to begin. And then, just as I’d finally hatched a plan it was thrown to pieces by a phone call asking me to sub for a kids’ cooking class this afternoon.

The next thing I knew I was working on a lesson plan with five – yes, five – loads of laundry in the washers downstairs all while trying to hurry myself out the door to buy ingredients for the class.

And did I mention I was famished? Sure, I could have noshed on some dry cereal or quickly defrosted something from the freezer, but I really felt like I needed a hot, fresh and filling lunch to carry me through the rest of the day. The problem was I had exactly 16 minutes to prepare lunch before I needed to take my clothes out of the dryer.

So I quickly rummaged through the refrigerator and grabbed the first things I found: half an onion, kale, mushrooms and lemon juice. Perfect, I’d make whole wheat spaghetti with kale and mushrooms.

To speed the process along, I immediately set a pot of water on the stove so it could come to a boil and also heated a bit of oil in a saute pan, the idea being to let the stove do most of the work. I chopped the onion and dropped it into the pan while moving on to cut the kale and mushrooms. In the end the vegetables and spaghetti finished cooking at the same time, which happened to be just moments before my 16 minutes were up. I ran downstairs, grabbed the laundry, and multi-tasked by folding and eating at the same time.

I couldn’t have planned it better if I’d actually tried.

Here’s the recipe:

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