Category Archives: Main Dishes

Celebrating Hot and Spicy Food Day

Written by Cynthia - 

Grilled Shrimp Skewers with Roasted Peppers

Today is Hot & Spicy Food Day, for me… one of the best days of the year! Since I come from Mediterranean descent, we don’t eat anything without a little bit of olive oil and a little bit of spice in it. So naturally, in celebration, I made these Grilled Shrimp Skewers with Roasted Peppers. I’m no expert chef, so what I love about this recipe is that it’s so quick and easy to make. I invited a girlfriend over to help me enjoy the fruits of my labor and boy was she fooled! She was pleasantly surprised at how I came up with such a “tasty and elegant-looking dish in such a short amount of time,” were her words to me exactly.

I started off with preparing the marinade, using BUITONI® Pesto with Basil. I love the taste of pesto – it adds such a rich flavor to pastas, salad dressings and marinades. While the recipe calls for some garlic, shallots and olive oil mixed into the pesto, I also added a small teaspoon of red pepper flakes to give it an extra spicy kick. Of course, you can play around with the measurements depending on how spicy or mild you prefer. I personally prefer extra spicy. Chili peppers can also be part of a healthy diet and are a source of Vitamin C to help maintain a healthy immune system.

I opted to use a broiler instead of a griller this time. Right after preparing the marinade, I started working on cutting and then broiling the bell peppers for about 10-15 minutes and then removing the charred skin after they were cooled. My advice would be to definitely prepare the marinade and shrimp first and stick it right in the refrigerator to give it ample time to marinate, while cooking the peppers. In the meantime, I also prepared a side salad using again BUITONI Pesto with Basil. Can’t you tell I just love this pesto! Check out the entire meal plan for these recipes including a starter and dessert here.

I used wooden skewers to alternately thread the shrimp and peppers. Here’s an important tip: Soak the wooden skewers in warm water for 30 minutes to help prevent them from igniting either on the grill or broiler. The hardest part about this recipe? Waiting for the shrimp to be done while smelling the rich aroma of garlic, pesto and peppers take over your kitchen. Well, I must say it was well worth the wait!

Grilled Shrimp Skewers and Roasted Peppers Basted with Basil Pesto

Ingredients for 2 servings:

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons BUITONI Refrigerated All Natural Pesto with Basil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh garlic
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh shallots
  • 8 (about 8 ounces total) large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 3 bell peppers (yellow, red and green)
  • Skewers (NOTE: If using wooden skewers soak in water for 30 minutes before threading.)
  • 1 loaf ciabatta bread (about 6 inches)
  • Fresh basil sprigs for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Sea salt to taste

Directions:

PREHEAT grill or broiler.

MIX oil, 2 tablespoons pesto, garlic and shallots in medium bowl. Add shrimp; toss to coat. Marinate in refrigerator.

CUT bell peppers in quarters; grill or broil until skins blister. Place peppers in bowl; cover tightly with foil. Cool until peppers can be handled; remove charred skins.

CUT cooled bell peppers into 1 1/2-inch squares.

THREAD bell peppers and marinated shrimp alternately on skewers; discard any remaining marinade.

TRIM ends off of bread and discard; cut bread in four 1-inch-thick slices. Grill or broil until golden and crispy. Spread remaining 1 tablespoon pesto evenly on bread slices.

GRILL or broil shrimp skewers until shrimp are cooked and turn pink.

PLACE 2 slices of grilled bread on each plate. Remove shrimp and peppers from skewers and arrange on top of bread. Garnish with fresh basil sprigs or with an herb bouquet. Drizzle with lemon juice; season with sea salt.

Related Recipes:

Spicy Corn Soup & Citrus Tuna Skewers Crostini Aperitivo Recipe
Spicy Corn Soup & Citrus
Tuna Skewers
Crostini Aperitivo

Bachelor in the Kitchen: Simple Pasta for Two

Written by Nick

Spicy Beef & Sausage Ravioli with Zucchini and Peppers Recipe

I enjoy cooking, but cooking on the weekday for two people (I live with my brother) can be a challenge. There are always leftovers and you’re stuck eating taco meat 20 different ways (this example is not usually a problem with me – I love all things taco).

Lately we’ve resorted to a simple pasta dish. Just pick your favorite Buitoni pasta, add sauce, easy. I wanted to try something new and was looking for inspiration on meals.com. I found a few recipes and this Spicy Beef & Sausage Ravioli with Zucchini and Peppers caught my eye for a few reasons; I was in the mood for sausage ravioli (that helps), I love zucchini but don’t often cook with it, and we always have red peppers on hand.

So, like the genius that I am, I went to the store and picked up half the things I needed, some extra things I didn’t, and a lot of things I don’t know what I’m going to do with. When I got home, I looked at the recipe and realized… I needed to improvise. Luckily there are a few simple pasta dishes on meals.com and I just made a collection of them all.

Firstly, the zucchini I got, well I forgot it was supposed to be zucchini… oh well, eggplant it is. Then the basil I got, I didn’t get, so I used a bit of pesto instead of the olive oil and fresh basil. Finally the sausage ravioli I got, I thought that would go well with some lighter cheese tortellini too. Looks like we’ll be having some leftovers after all.

Below is the recipe as it was intended. But I’ll tell you what, my improvised recipe turned out great. So, try to experiment a little, pasta dishes can be so much more than just pasta with sauce. Adding some tasty vegetables is a nice way to mix it up and fresh crunchy red peppers gave the meal a real summery feel.

A side note, this meal looks really elegant. This “dinner for two” was me and my brother, but this would be a great “dinner for two” for you and a date. Buitoni offers some wine pairings on their website that can complete the “stay home date.”

Spicy Beef & Sausage Ravioli with Zucchini and Peppers

Ingredients for 2 servings:

Directions:

PREPARE pasta according to package directions, adding zucchini during last 2 minutes of cook time. Drain; place in large serving bowl. Add bell pepper and oil; toss gently to coat. Sprinkle with basil before serving.

More Pasta Dishes:

Chicken & Four Cheese Ravioli with Peas and Basil Recipe Tortellini with Pesto and Sun-Dried Tomatoes Recipe
Chicken & Four Cheese Ravioli
with Peas and Basil
Tortellini with Pesto
and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

10 Summer Grilling Tips + Zesty BBQ Ribs Recipe

Written by Liz -

Zesty BBQ Ribs recipe

Summer is grilling time! If you aren’t as familiar with grills and how to use them to their full, delicious advantage, you can be out in the cold this time of year. Well, we’ve got 10 grilling tips to get you heated up and in the swing of summer.

  1. Gas grills burn cleaner than charcoal grills, but give food a less smoky taste.
  2. Grilling is a great way to eat healthy (because grilled vegetables taste so good!) as long as you pick lean meats to grill.
  3. Make sure to preheat your grill 10-15 minutes before cooking, to get it to the right temperature and clean the grill.
  4. Cooking on high heat caramelizes the food on the outside, boosting flavors on the inside.
  5. Wet & dry rubs are a quick way to season meat and vegetables; marinades can be done the night before.
  6. Apply BBQ sauce after grilling or near the end of the grilling time. The sugar in the sauce can burn more quickly, charring the meat on the outside too soon.
  7. Try to turn the food as little as possible; keep the food on one side to get seared, turning it only once. If the outside is seared well and the inside isn’t done, consider lowering the heat or moving the food to the top shelf.
  8. Follow the FDA’s guidelines to safe cooking temperatures for meats.
  9. Pull food off the grill just before it’s done and let it rest for 5-10 minutes under foil; it will continue cooking and marinate in its own juices.
  10. If you want to cut fat off the meat, do it after cooking. Fat helps the meat retain juices during cooking and it will taste better.

Zesty BBQ Ribs (shown at top)

Ingredients for 8 servings:

RIBS

BBQ SAUCE

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped onion
  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons MAGGI Granulated Chicken Flavor Bouillon
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons chipotle adobo sauce

Directions:

FOR RIBS:  FIT rack inside large roasting pan or rimmed baking sheet. Using knife, remove membranes from bone side of ribs (this step is very important for tender ribs). Pat ribs dry with paper towel; place on rack with meat side up.

COMBINE sugar, coffee granules, salt, garlic powder, coriander, pepper and cocoa in coffee or spice grinder; cover. Process until smooth. Lightly rub ribs with oil. Sprinkle with rub mixture, pressing gently to help it adhere to the ribs. Let stand at room temperature for no more than 1 hour.

PREHEAT oven to 250° F. Pour beer into bottom of roasting pan. Cover pan with foil; bake for 4 to 5 hours (this will be long enough for the meat to be very tender, but not falling off the bones). Prepare sauce during the last 30 minutes of baking.

PREHEAT grill. Grill ribs over medium flame, turning once, for 5 minutes. Brush with sauce during grilling. Let ribs rest for 10 minutes before serving.

FOR BBQ SAUCE:  HEAT oil in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion; cook for about 3 minutes or until tender. Add ketchup, vinegar, brown sugar and bouillon. Stir until sugar and bouillon are dissolved. Stir in mustard, chili powder and adobo sauce. Cover; cook for 30 minutes. The sauce will thicken as it simmers.

Cook’s Tip: Double or triple the spice rub and store in a tightly sealed container in a cool, dry place. It will remain fresh for up to 1 month. Use 2 to 3 teaspoons rub per pound of meat. Rub is also great on pork chops, pork tenderloin, skinless chicken breasts and salmon fillets!

More rib recipes:

Coffee-Spice Rubbed Ribs Recipe Grilled Sticky Ribs recipe
Coffee-Spice Rubbed Ribs Grilled Sticky Ribs

Get Thee to a Grill

Written by Natalie

Grilled Shrimp Recipe

Spring is in full swing and that means I want to be outdoors as much as possible. I want to do everything I can to enjoy the longer days and fresh air and I can’t think of a better way than to get the family together and get to grilling. Of course, I also want to enjoy myself and not be manning the grill the whole time so my grilling choices have to be quick-cooking and, of course, delicious.

That’s why this Grilled Shrimp recipe is perfect for a family grill night. From prep to finish these are done in under 25 minutes! That means grilling doesn’t have to be a weekend endeavor. These shrimp are great weeknight fare. They have a fantastic sweet-sour-savory flavor combination thanks to the marinade that includes lime juice, seasoning sauce, honey and soy sauce. The shrimp’s firm flesh grills up so nicely and what you have is a succulent dish that leaves plenty of time to enjoy an evening outdoors.

Grilled Shrimp

Ingredients for 4 servings:

  • 1/3 cup lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon MAGGI Seasoning Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 pound raw large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 4 (10-inch) skewers
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • Hot cooked rice (optional)

Directions:

COMBINE lime juice, seasoning sauce, olive oil, honey and soy sauce in large bowl. Add shrimp; stir to coat. Cover; refrigerate for 30 minutes.

PREHEAT grill to medium; lightly oil grate.

THREAD shrimp onto skewers. Cook on top rack of grill for about 5 minutes or until shrimp turn pink on one side. Turn shrimp; cook for an additional 3 minutes or until shrimp are completely pink.

SPRINKLE with parsley before serving. Serve with rice.

NOTE: If using wooden skewers, soak in water for 30 minutes before threading.

Related recipes:

Pesto Chicken & Vegetable Kebabs Recipe Party Shrimp Skewers Recipe
Pesto Chicken &
Vegetable Kebabs
Party Shrimp
Skewers

Grill Season: Marinated Flank Steak

Written by Nick

Marinated Flank Steak Recipe

This past weekend was the perfect weather to have some friends over and fire up the grill. As opposed to the usual burgers and dogs, I thought some steak would fit the bill. Flank steak is the perfect choice for entertaining. It’s a flavorful cut of beef and budget friendly, but it’s not known for being tender. So, finding the perfect marinade makes all the difference.

I thought I would grill up some steak and serve it fajita style. It’s a great way to feed a group and everyone can customize to their liking. This Marinated Flank Steak recipe seemed like just the right amount of seasonings to stand on its own or work as tacos/fajitas. The recipe calls for marinating for 4 hours or overnight. I went a bit further and marinated it for two days. This was purely a timing consideration. I was cooking dinner Friday night and figured I’d prepare the marinade for a Sunday barbecue.

The flank steak turned out great. Although I served it as fajitas, everyone was eating it straight off the serving dish. I think this flank steak could easily work with a variety of meals, not just tacos/fajitas. It was very tender and flavorful. And because it’s already marinated, there is little prep-work for when your guests arrive.

So, if you’re grilling for friends and want to do something special, this flank steak is the perfect way to treat them to steak and stay on a reasonable budget.

Marinated Flank Steak

Ingredients for 4 servings:

Directions:

COMBINE water and bouillon in medium bowl; stir until dissolved. Stir in Juicy Juice, cilantro, lime juice, oil, oregano, chili powder, cumin and garlic. Pour into 1-gallon heavy-duty plastic bag. Add flank steak, squeeze out as much air from bag as possible. Marinate in refrigerator, turning steak occasionally, for at least 4 hours or overnight.

PREHEAT grill or broiler. Remove steak from bag; discard marinade.

Marinated Flank Steak Recipe

GRILL or broil using medium heat for 7 to 8 minutes per side or until desired doneness. Let steak rest for 10 minutes before cutting. Cut steak against the grain on the diagonal in thin slices to serve. Serve hot with warm tortillas, sliced avocados and fresh pico de gallo, if desired.

Marinated Flank Steak Recipe

Related Recipes:

Seared Steak Salad with Balsamic-Shallot Reduction Recipe Asian Flank Steak Recipe
Seared Steak Salad with
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Asian
Flank Steak

Quick & Easy Dinners: Cheese & Chicken Enchiladas

Written by Liz -

Cheese & Chicken Enchiladas

Enchiladas mean different things to different people. To some, they mean spicy chicken or pork, topped with red chile sauce. To others, they’re tangy green chile sauce with cheese. Still others add sour cream or cream cheese, potatoes, peanuts or almonds. And to purists, enchiladas mean simple tortillas heated on a stove-top one-by-one, dipped in chile sauce, then folded once and topped with cheese and onion.

This Cheese & Chicken Enchiladas recipe means quick, easy and scrumptious. I made them with my new boyfriend and my dad — they’ve cumulatively eaten a lot of enchiladas — and it was agreed these enchiladas were delicious (better the next day and even more so with a fried egg on top for breakfast).  And don’t forget flexible! This recipe features chicken, cheddar cheese, tomato salsa and cream cheese, but make a few changes and you can please even your pickiest friends and family members. Just use any variety of salsa or enchilada sauce you like (I used tomato-raspberry-chipotle salsa; the sweet/spicy combination was addictive!) and substitute different cheeses like smoked Gouda, sharp white cheddar or queso fresco. You can also use Greek yogurt or sour cream in place of cream cheese.

Find out what enchiladas mean to you.

Cheese & Chicken Enchiladas

Ingredients for 4 servings:

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked, shredded chicken breast meat
  • 3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups (12-ounce bottle) chunky salsa, divided
  • 1/2 of an 8-ounce package reduced-fat cream cheese
  • 8 (7- or 8-inch) soft taco-size fat free or regular flour tortillas

Directions:

Cheese & Chicken Enchiladas recipe

PREHEAT oven to 350° F. Spray large, nonstick skillet with nonstick cooking spray. Add onion; cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, for 4 to 5 minutes or until tender.

Cheese & Chicken Enchiladas recipe

Add chicken, 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, 3/4 cup salsa and cream cheese. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 to 3 minutes or until cheeses are melted as shown above.

Cheese & Chicken Enchiladas recipe

SPOON a scant 1/3 cup chicken mixture down center of each tortilla; roll up. Place in 13 x 9-inch (3-quart rectangular) baking dish as shown above.

Cheese & Chicken Enchiladas recipe

Drizzle with remaining salsa. Sprinkle with remaining cheddar cheese (as shown with queso fresco above); cover. Bake for 15 minutes or until heated through and cheese on top is melted.

Cheese & Chicken Enchiladas recipe

I served mine with fresh cilantro (shown above), a dry rosé wine, and a green salad. Salud!

Cheese & Chicken Enchiladas recipe

More enchilada recipes:

Chicken Enchiladas in Red Sauce  recipe Slow Cooker Enchiladas recipe
Chicken Enchiladas in Red Sauce Slow Cooker Enchiladas
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