Scallop Gratins with Lemon-Garlic Bread Crumb

Since I’m the only one that really eats seafood in our house, my daughter eats some but not a lot, I tend to make very quick dishes when I cook with it. I usually make a dinner for my husband and daughter and then throw something together for myself. This is fine since I believe simplicity is best with seafood, but I can get in a rut of broiled or sauteed fish. Enter this little gem of a dish! It is so quick to whip up and tastes amazing. Scallops are naturally sweet and with this lovely parsley, garlic, shallot, and lemon zest butter it just really makes them sing. You don’t need to add any additional lemon to your dish after the fact either. The little amount of lemon zest you use in the butter goes a long way!

The best part of these scallops? They’ve turned my little girl into a scallop lover. She couldn’t get enough. I had to cut her off because they tend to be rich, but she asked for more the next night and I didn’t disappoint. So, now I have a rich and delicious meal that both my daughter and I love that can be whipped up in minutes!

On a side note, I had some extra butter leftover and put some on bread and toasted it and it was delicious. Think garlic bread turned up a notch!

Scallop Gratins with Lemon-Garlic Bread Crumb

Ingredients

  • 4 Tbsp minced flat leaf parsley
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature, divided
  • 1 Tbsp finely chopped shallots
  • 4 tsp minced garlic (about 2 medium cloves)
  • 1 1/2 tsp grated lemon zest
  • kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cup fresh, coarse bread crumbs
  • 1 1/2 lb sea scallops
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Combine parsley, 3 tablespoons of butter, shallots, garlic, lemon zest, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a small, nonreactive mixing bowl. Mix well with a fork or spoon to blend. The butter mixture can be made 1 day ahead. Cover tightly and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before using.

Heat oil in a medium, heavy frying pan over medium heat. When hot, add breadcrumbs and cook, stirring constantly, until they are crisp and a rich golden brown, for 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer bread crumbs to a dinner plate. The bread crumbs can be prepared 3 hours ahead. Cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature.

Arrange a rack at center position and preheat the oven to 400 F. Using some of the seasoned butter, grease the bottoms and sides of four individual gratin dishes or 1 cup ramekins. Divide scallops evenly among the dishes, placing them so they fit tightly in a single layer in each dish. Pat one-fourth of seasoned butter on top of each portion, pushing some of the butter down into the crevices between the scallops. Salt and pepper scallops well. Divide bread crumbs evenly and spread on top of scallops in each dish. Cut remaining tablespoon of unseasoned butter into cubes and dot each portion with them.

Place dishes on a baking sheet and roast until scallops are cooked through, about 12 minutes. To check for doneness, gently pierce the bread-crumb layer with a small knife to see if scallops beneath are opaque. Serve immediately.

Source: Sunday Roasts, 2011

Chicken Piccata

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This is one of my favorite meals to prepare. It’s quick and easy, but the flavors are so fresh and bright. The lemons and capers give the typically bland chicken wonderful flavor. Each cutlet is nice and thin, but one is enough with this rich sauce. It’s so easy to make that it’s definitely a weeknight meal, but it can easily be served when entertaining and it wont disappoint! You wont order this classic out once you realize just how easy it is to make at home.

Chicken Piccata

Ingredients

  • 4 chicken cutlets, pounded thinly
  • 1/2 cup of flour
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup dry, white wine
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp capers, drained
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • Fresh lemon slices
  • chopped fresh parsley, optional garnish

Season cutlets with salt and pepper, then dust them with flour. Coat a saute pan with nonstick spray, add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil, and heat over medium-high. Saute cutlets 2 to 3 minutes on one side. Flip cutlets over and saute the other side for 1 to 2 minutes with the pan covered. (Use a plate to cover and this will warm your plate.) Transfer cutlets to a warm plate; pour off fat from the pan.

Deglaze pan with wine and add minced garlic. Cook until garlic is slightly brown and liquid is nearly evaporated, about 2 minutes. Add broth, lemon juice, and capers. Return cutlets to pan and cook on each side for 1 minute. Transfer cutlets to a warm plate.

Finish sauce with butter and lemon slices. Once the butter melts, pour sauce over cutlets. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley and serve.

Source: Cuisine at home

No-Bake Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

Back in the day, my husband and I used to eat these like they were going out of style. We had boxes of them in our pantry and would grab a couple bars for breakfast, a sweet treat, or anything in between. We stopped eating them once we were married and started being responsible with what we were eating. For some reason, I had forgotten about them until I happened upon this recipe. My first reaction was that they would make a great snack for my daughter occasionally. Then, I thought these would be great to make more often. My husband and I loved these things and they are no-bake. Can it get any better than that?!

One batch doesn’t last long, so I recommend just going for it and making a double batch from the get go. Seriously, I couldn’t get great pictures of these because if my husband or daughter weren’t eating them, I was! I made three batches last week alone. I used a 9×9 pan and filled the entire thing with one batch. Next time, I’m going to add more chocolate chips and mix them in with the rest of the ingredients. I knew these as I was making them and my husband took a bite later and mentioned that I should do this. Great minds think alike! This recipe can be easily adapted, substituting agave or maple syrup for the honey, peanut butter or butterscotch chips for the chocolate chips, adding nuts, raisins, flax seeds, citrus zest, marshmallows, etc.

No-Bake Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 cups quick cooking oats (not rolled oats)
  • 1 cup crispy rice cereal
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 Tbsp mini chocolate chips

In a large bowl, stir oats and rice cereal together. Set aside. In a small pot, melt butter, honey, and brown sugar together over medium high heat until it comes to a bubble. Reduce the heat and cook 2 minutes. Pour in vanilla and stir. Pour over dry ingredients and mix well to moisten all ingredients. Pour into lightly greased small jelly roll pan, about 12x8x1, and press out to be about 3/4 inch in thickness. If your pan isn’t small enough, pack the mixture into one side. You really want to press them down so they stick together. Sprinkle with mini chocolate chips and press down lightly. Cool on a counter-top to room temperature for two hours or until the chocolate chips are set before cutting into bars. Wrap in parchment or plastic wrap and store at room temperature.

Recipe Notes: If your granola bars don’t seem to be staying together when you cut them, you may have made them too thin or you didn’t pack them in tight enough. Stick them in the fridge for 20 minutes and that should help keep them together. Be sure not to keep them in there too long or else they’ll become super hard! The next time you make them, try reducing the butter to 3 tablespoons and really packing them down.

Source: lauren’s latest

Sweet and Sour Steak

I’m always looking for different ideas at dinner time. Questions that go through my head when I’m dreaded with, “What’s for dinner?” are What can I make that is quick? What can I make that doesn’t taste like everything else we’re having this week? How can I make it tasty for all of us and something exciting that my daughter will want to eat? This is one of those new, but safe recipes for us. We all love sweet and sour pork and we eat our fair share of steak. So, combining the two isn’t the riskiest thing in life, but it’s a fresh concept for our palates.

Being that it is stir-fry, rather than deep frying the pork or chicken, makes it quicker and healthier. Two things I love! You can make a lot of this ahead of time. Slice the steak and cover and refrigerate until you need it. Prepare your veggies and put them back in the refrigerator. You can even make sauce ahead of time, although if you go this route, don’t add the cornstarch until you are ready to use it. It will thicken in the refrigerator. Once you’ve got your wok or skillet ready you simply add as you go and you have dinner ready in no time!

Sweet and Sour Steak

Ingredients

  • 8 oz top round steak
  • 1 small orange
  • 1 15.25 oz can pineapple chunks
  • 2 Tbsp vinegar (any will do, but I prefer cider)
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/8 tsp ground red pepper
  • 1 Tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces (1 cup)
  • 1 small onion, cut into thin wedges
  • orange slices, optional garnish

Partially freeze beef. Thinly slice across the grain into bite-size strips. Set aside.

Peel and section an orange. Cut sections in half, lengthwise. Set aside.

For sauce, drain pineapple reserving juice. Pour 1/2 cup of the reserved juice into a small bowl. Reserve remaining juice for another use. Stir in vinegar, soy sauce, cornstarch, brown sugar, and ground red pepper. Set aside.

our cooking oil into a wok or large skillet. Add more oil as necessary during cooking. Preheat over medium-high heat. Stir-fry green pepper and onion in hot oil for 3 to 4 minutes or until crisp-tender. Remove vegetables from the wok.

Add beef to hot wok. Stir-fry for 2 to 3 minutes or until cooked through. Push beef from the center of the wok.

Stir sauce. Add sauce to the center of the wok. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Return cooked vegetables to the wok. Add pineapple chunks. Stir all ingredients together to coat with sauce. Cook and stir for 2 minutes more or until headed through. Stir in orange slices. Serve immediately over cooked rice. Garnish with additional orange sections, if desired.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Better Homes and Gardens, November 2009