Monday, December 31, 2012

You Say You Want a Resolution

Here we are, at the end of another year.  I've been enjoying the past month or so getting ready for holiday festivities, making a few gifts for people, watching the snow build up,
and hanging out with my crazy family.  Get a load of these guys!  Tonight we'll ring in the New Year with Nels and the kids and my dear friend Jill and her friend that came into town for the weekend. We'll have a nice dinner of steaks on the grill (once we shovel a path to it!) and a fabulous shrimp and pasta dish that I must share. 

But first lets discuss this whole resolution thing.  I wonder how many people actually follow through with their resolutions.  I personally don't think I know anyone who has.  Unless you count the fact that about 20 years ago a friend and I resolved to never make another resolution and that one I have continued to keep.  It seems like a good idea and all, but they never seem all that realistic.  I read a stat that said by January 7 a third of people will have broken their resolution, by Valentine's Day half will have lapsed and by 4th of July,  60% will have been forgotten (Norcross, Ratzin & Payne 1989).  So, why do we bother?  Obviously we have things about ourselves that we want to change, so how about doing so in a way that won't set us up to fail.  Let's not vow to exercise everyday when we haven't done it at all in three years.  Let's not start a crazy restrictive diet that we can't survive on for more than a week.  Let's not run out and join a gym and only go once or twice ever.  Instead let's plan to always take the stairs, to go for a walk a few times a week, to cook real food at home and involve our families in gradual change towards a healthy lifestyle.  I think we can all handle that. 

OK, now let's get to that shrimp recipe I think you need to have in your arsenal.  I was supposed to make this on Christmas day but we had too much food already.  Grilled Shrimp with Oregano and Lemon is from the Food & Wine website (which I LOVE).  I made this the other day but roasted the shrimp instead (again, there's alot of snow on the grill). 
Toss the shrimp with a little olive oil and salt and pepper.  Either grill on metal skewers or pop it in a 375 oven for 4 min on each side or until cooked through.
Toss with the easy to make sauce or as we will try tonight, cook a pound of linguine or spaghetti and place shrimp over the pasta and drizzle the sauce over it and gently toss.  My mouth is totally watering right now.

Grilled Shrimp with Oregano and Lemon

1/2 cup (1 jar) salted capers, drained, rinsed and soaked for 1 hour, then drained
1/2 cup fresh oregano leaves
1 (or 2!) garlic clove, minced
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
3 TBS fresh squeezed lemon zest
Fresh ground pepper
2 1/2 lbs large shrimp, shelled and deveined

Finely chop the drained capers with the oregano leaves and garlic.  Transfer to a bowl and stir in 1/2 cup plus 2 TBS olive oil along with lemon zest and juice.  Season with salt and pepper.  (This can be made a day ahead and refrigerated, let come to room temp before serving).

Toss the shrimp in remaining 2 TBS olive oil and season lightly with salt and pepper.  Thread on to skewers and grill over high heat turning once (about 3 min per side or until cooked through). Or, place in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast on 375 about 4 min per side until cooked through. Remove shrimp to a platter, spoon sauce over the top and serve.

When I made this the other day I only used about half of the sauce (my shrimp were on the small side).  I used the remaining sauce as a dressing on mixed baby greens for my dinner guests the next night, delicious!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Easiest Chicken You'll Ever Cook

I've got a few recipes on deck to share but between getting really busy with Thanksgiving and all that goes with it, and perhaps the nastiest sinus infection I've ever had, I haven't spent much time on the computer over the past couple of weeks.  Being that this is a busier than usual time of year for many people, I just had to pass on the the world's easiest chicken recipe (that tastes really good!).  I think Food Inc. posted the link on Facebook, sounded simple enough, so I gave it a whirl.  The recipe is from a blog called "100 Days of Real Food ".  You season a chicken and throw it in the crock pot.  The end.  Seriously. 
 OK, so I exaggerated.  You also have to cut up an onion and put it in the crock pot.
Make a little blend of seven spices.
Rub it on the bird and throw it in.  No liquid no nothing.  This was one big chicken, barely fit in there actually (6lbs).  I cooked it on high for 5-6 hours.  It smelled great, was totally juicy and really versatile.  The kids had theirs in a burrito with rice and veggies, avocado and tomato.  I had mine with sauteed veggies and a little rice.  I'm not sure what is going on with those funky grocery store rotisserie chickens, but man, lately even they seem somehow processed.  We used to love grabbing one for a quick dinner but they seem funny to us now.  And I don't mean funny ha ha.  Maybe it's the flavor injector, overly marinated, I don't know but I don't dig it.  This takes a small amount of planning but could not be easier.
After all of us had dinner, we still a bunch of leftovers for chicken sandwiches and what not.  Again, it was a big chicken. Here's the link again: Easy Crock Pot Chicken

Enjoy your dinner and all the time you saved not dealing with it!