Tuesday, April 8, 2008

My First Week with a Meal Plan

Let me begin by saying I have great things planned for this week...food-wise anyway. I might even be a little overly ambitious. I have four meals planned for this week, plus a casserole I have to make for a luncheon at work. I am not going to post my meal plan because I don't want you to be too disappointed if it doesn't all come together. Taylor was very impressed when he saw it on the fridge though. Not because the dishes themselves are impressive, but because I am cooking 4 days this week, or plan to anyway. For some of you this might be routine, but I usually only cook 2, 3 at the most, times per week. The other nights we have leftovers or whatever you can find in the pantry.

My first dish of the week is Spicy Thai Shrimp. I saw this recipe on Kate's blog, Paved with Good Intentions, recently and knew I would be making it soon. I have some frozen shrimp I've been trying to finish off and I am always looking for new ways to cook them. Of course it would be best with fresh shrimp, but frozen is what I had on hand. The shrimp were very good and I loved the flavor broiling them added. They weren't too spicy for me, but I LOVE spicy food. Taylor said they were plenty spicy to him. So begins the week of cooking with a meal plan. :)

Spicy Thai Shrimp

Source: Paved with Good Intentions

1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup minced shallot
3 Tbsp sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp minced ginger
2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp crushed red-pepper flakes
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined

1) In medium bowl, combine juice, shallot, oil, garlic, ginger, garam masala, salt, coriander, red pepper flakes and pepper.
2) Add shrimp and marinade for 30 minutes.
3) Heat broiler and spray broiler pan with cooking spray. Remove shrimp from marinade. Broil shrimp 2 minutes, turning once.

Now, if you are like me and kind of new to cooking, you may be asking yourself: "what in the world is garam masala?" Yeah, I had to go to wikipedia to find out. So here you go:

Garam masala is a blend of ground spices common in the Indian, Bangali and Pakistani cuisine, whose literal meaning is 'hot (or warm) spice'. There are many variants: most traditional mixes use just cinnamon, roasted cumin, caraway seeds, cloves, nutmeg (and/or mace) and green cardamom seed or black cardamom pods. Many commercial mixtures may include more of other less expensive spices and may contain dried red chili peppers, dried garlic, ginger powder, sesame, mustard seeds, turmeric, coriander, bay leaves, star anise and fennel. While commercial garam masala preparations can be bought ready ground, it does not keep well, and soon loses its aroma. Whole spices, which keep fresh much longer, can be ground when needed using a mortar and pestle or electric coffee grinder.

I found mine on the spice aisle at Publix!

We also had twice-baked potatoes to go with our shrimp. I realize those things don't necessarily go together, but it was a really good dinner!

Twice-Baked Potatoes
Source: Me

Potatoes - any kind of your choosing. I used large new potatoes because that's what I had. Idaho potatoes work really well and are larger.
Sour Cream
Bacon - cooked and crumbled
Cheese - shredded. Again, use the kind you like!

The amounts of the above ingredients depend on how many potatoes you are making. I used 3 potatoes so we would have some leftovers. :) Wash the potatoes and use a fork to poke a few holes in them. Pop them in the microwave for about 2-3 minutes per potato, depending on the size. Let them cool a bit on the counter because they will be piping hot! Once cool enough to handle, cut
them in half lengthwise. Use a spoon to scoop out the flesh and place that in a large mixing bowl. You want to leave a little flesh on the sides so the potato will keep it's shape. Each half should resemble a boat.

Once they have all been scooped out, add milk, sour cream and bacon to the bowl of potato flesh and mix to combine. I didn't have that many potatoes so I did this by hand, but if you have a lot I would suggest using a hand mixer to combine the potatoes, milk and sour cream. Then add in the bacon. It should be the consistency of mashed potatoes. Fill up the potato skin boats with the mixture and top with cheese. Put under the broiler, on high, for about 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.


deLa said...

kerry and i recently had a discussion about masala and marsala. he had a recipe that called for it and we also had to google it. i kept saying "its a wine!!!" and i was one letter off!!

and potatoes go with ANYTHING!!! :)

Kate said...

I'm having these shrimp for lunch AS I TYPE!

And I do a very similar trick with new ingredients - I google image them, so I know what they look like!

Now that you have the garam masala you MUST make some chicken tikka masala, which is the only reason I have that stuff on hand to begin with!