Well, we had another unexpectedly busy weekend. We had to do some unplanned furniture shopping, but the Lord blessed us and we were able to find what we needed for a good price. Still, I’ve only just now gotten caught up with my e-mails, and you’ve probably noticed that I wasn’t able to get out a weekend post like I’d planned. Luckily, I’ve got patient readers who understand when I get a little bogged down in the day-to-day. Right? I know that sometimes all of us find ourselves dealing with some sort of unexpected event that might take time away from our usual routine. In cases like that, you need some fast dinner (and dessert) options, and that’s what I plan to bring you today.
Let’s start with something that could be dinner, lunch, or even a great party appetizer. I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned that my husband is a big fan of Philly cheesesteaks. When I saw these Philly cheesesteak bites on a mini muffin pan episode of Rachael Ray, I knew that he would love them. These took very little time to whip up and my husband happily devoured them. I cut the recipe in half, but it was still enough for dinner plus leftovers for his lunch the next day. Since the original recipe creates 48 of them, they’d make a great party food. As is typical in many recipes that I like, this one can easily be customized to your family’s preferences. You could put in mushrooms with or instead of the beef, change the peppers for more heat, switch up the cheeses, and add any spices that you desire. I found them just a tad on the bland side, so next time I would double the amount of Worcestershire, putting 1/2 in the meat and 1/2 in the batter.
Philly Cheesesteak Bites (from the Rachael Ray Show)
1 lb. ground sirloin
1 finely chopped yellow onion
1 finely chopped red bell pepper
1 finely chopped green bell pepper
1/4 c. Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 c. Bisquick
1/2 c. milk
2 c. shredded provolone
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Put 2 mini muffin tins into the oven to preheat with it. In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, brown the meat. Once it’s brown, add the onions, peppers, and Worcestershire and cook 1-2 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.
2. In a medium bowl, mix together the Bisquick, milk, cooled meat mix, and 1 1/2 c. cheese. Season with salt and pepper. (I added the meat mix while it was still warm, and I don’t see that it really made a difference.)
3. Remove the hot pans from the oven and spray them with Pam. Use a small cookie scoop to portion the mix into the pan. Top each scoop with a sprinkle of the remaining cheese. Bake for 15 minutes or til they’re golden on top.
Another recent quick dish that we just loved was a shrimp dish. Really this dish is about the sauce, and it’s a really good sauce. I’m a big fan of Asian foods, and I particularly love dishes with pineapple and/or coconut. What’s quick about this dish is that shrimp is already a quick-cooking protein, so if you cook the shrimp in one pan (or use pre-cooked shrimp) and simultaneously cook the sauce in another pan, then the dish could be done in about 20 minutes. (Hmm, you could also cook a pot of rice at the same time.) For my shrimp, I just sauteed it a couple of minutes per side in a pan. I decided to serve the shrimp over some jasmine rice to which I added in pineapple pieces and slivered almonds. (I also served sweet chili zucchini on the side, but the hubby wasn’t a big fan of how soft it got.)
Shrimp in Spicy Coconut Sauce (from Food Network)
1 tbsp. canola oil
1 tsp. chopped garlic
1 c. light coconut milk
1/4 c. low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
2 tsp. low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 c. heavy cream
1 lb. cooked shrimp
1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat and cook the garlic in it til fragrant. Stir in the coconut milk, chicken broth, red pepper, and soy sauce. Bring the sauce to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the cream and return to a simmer (without boiling). Add the cooked shrimp (mine was in little pieces) and heat through.
(On a side note, why does all-white food taste SOO good, and why is it so bad for you?)
The last thing I wanted to share was what is possibly my husband’s favorite cookie: madeleines. There are so many recipes out there, and I’m unfortunately not sure where this recipe came from. (Please let me know if you recognize it!) The reason I’ve included these in my fast and fabulous meal post is that it take basic ingredients, doesn’t require any special equipment (No, not even a madeleine pan.), and cooks in just 15 minutes or less. Though madeleines are considered a basic and plain cookie, you could really tweak these with any flavor that strikes your fancy. My husband was super happy that I made these, and I found them fun and easy as well as tasty. I particularly liked the light lemon flavor, but the hubby would’ve preferred just a little less of it. Since I don’t own a madeleine pan, I just baked mine in a mini muffin tin. I got exactly 24, and they didn’t last long at all. Though they’re best the same day they’re baked, we certainly didn’t turn them down a day or two after.
Madeleines (unknown source)
10 tbsp. melted butter
1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. cake flour (Since I didn’t have any cake flour, I used just under a cup of all-purpose.)
1 pinch salt
2/3 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
Zest of 1 lemon
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees; butter and flour a madeleine pan. In a medium bowl, whisk the flours and salt together. In another bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar together. Add the vanilla and lemon zest, then the flour mix; beat them til just combined. Beating on low, pour in the melted butter in a steady stream and mix til incorporated.
2. Spoon a rounded tbsp. of batter into each form. Bake for 5 minutes, reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees, then bake 8-10 minutes more, or til golden. Let the cookies cool slightly then remove them from the pan.
By the way, I’m not even going to attempt a post this weekend. I’m already expecting to enjoy a busy weekend, so I hope you can wait another week for my next post. Thanks for reading and come back soon!