Category Archives: Italian

Shrimp Stuffed Shells

My oh my – Cooking Light is two for two in my books so far.  I warned you guys that I was really impressed by the magazine, and it only took me a few days to whip-up another recipe that went straight to the front of the “must-blog” list – it was truly that delicious.

I have had these jumbo pasta shells in my cupboard since last year…I always wanted to make stuffed shells, but we aren’t the biggest pasta fans (read: I am not and I’ve gotten CH on board with spaghetti squash as a replacement!) so something always trumped one of the recipes I came across for stuffed shells…until this one.

This recipe was truly one of the most delicious pasta dishes I’ve made and I love that it has shrimp.  The creamy texture of the filling is also very welcomed in my books.  But the best part of this recipe is that it is”light” especially when it comes to baked pasta dishes.  Another slam-dunk for CL. CH and my friend who was my recipe tester (thanks CA!) both couldn’t believe how delicious this dish was, especially given it’s very friendly calorie count (see below!).

It is definitely a make-again, and leftovers were well received too (it reheated beautifully for a pasta dish).

If you like shrimp, creamy filled, baked pasta with a beautiful tomato sauce, definitely give this one a try.

Enjoy!

Shrimp-Stuffed Shells

Yield:  5 servings (4 shells each)
Prep Time:  20 minutes
Cook Time:  30-35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 24 uncooked jumbo pasta shells (about 8 ounces)
  • 1.5 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 medium white onion, or 4 shallots, chopped
  • 5 cloves of garlic, grated or minced finely
  • 0.5 cup (4 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
  • 0.25 cup 2% reduced-fat milk
  • 0.5 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1 pound medium raw shrimp, peeled, de-veined, and coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • Cooking spray
  • 3 cups lower-sodium marinara sauce (I used homemade), divided
  • 1/3 cup (1 1/2 ounces) grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Preparation

Preheat oven to 400°.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat.  Cook the pasta shells for 7 minutes or until almost al dente.  Do not add any salt or oil to the water. Drain well and set-aside.

Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add oil to pan and swirl to coat. Add the onion or shallots to the pan and saute for 4 – 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic to the pan and saute for an additional minute.

Add the cream cheese, milk, and red pepper flakes to the pan and cook until cream cheese melts, whisking until smooth. Remove from heat and stir in basil. Set-aside for a few minutes.

Once shrimp have been de-veined, peeled and coarsely chopped, be sure to dry them off with paper towel. Place shrimp in a bowl and sprinkle with the corn starch – toss well to coat evenly. Add the shrimp to the cream cheese mixture and stir to combine.

Coat a 13 x 9-inch glass or ceramic baking dish with cooking spray.  Spread 1 cup marinara over bottom of dish and arrange empty shells in the pan (makes clean-up a little easier to do it this way!).

Divide shrimp mixture evenly among pasta shells – about a tablespoon in each shell. Once all of the shells are filled, top them evenly with the remaining 2 cups of marinara sauce. Sprinkle shells evenly with the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and cover with tinfoil.

Bake at 400° for 15 minutes, remove tinfoil and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until shrimp are done (they will be opaque).

Enjoy.

Recipe slightly adapted from Cooking Light Magazine

Nutritional Information:

Amount per serving (4 stuffed shells)

  • Calories: 496
  • Fat: 16g
  • Saturated fat: 6.2g
  • Monounsaturated fat: 5.3g
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 1.4g
  • Protein: 31.1g
  • Carbohydrate: 85.6g
  • Fiber: 1.6g
  • Cholesterol: 163mg
  • Iron: 4.1mg
  • Sodium: 575mg
  • Calcium: 208mg

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Filed under Appetizers, Healthy, Italian, Mains

Seafood Cioppino

I don’t know about you, but I over indulged a little during the holidays.  It’s too hard to pass up home baked goodies, drinks with friends, Mom’s cooking and going out to our favourite restaurants while we were back in Vancouver (can you say White Spot?!).  Anyways, after having a few salads to get back on track, I picked-up Cooking Light magazine at the airport as my in-flight read. I was extremely impressed by the quality of the magazine and had quickly bookmarked many of their recipes as “must-make” – this being one of them.

CH and I decided to celebrate NYD by having dinner just the two of us.  It was a great way to kick-off the year, chat about what we want to achieve in 2012 and just start the year with some ‘us’ time, which doesn’t happen all that often these days.  In order to celebrate the New Year, I knew I wanted to cook something special, yet light and satisfying.  Enter seafood. Being from the West Coast, we are picky when it comes to selecting seafood, but with the St. Lawrence Market across the street, we have plenty of amazing fish mongers available, although given the prices of seafood in Toronto, having these items is definitely a treat.

This recipe was flavourful, balanced, soothing, and just downright delicious.  CH raved about how good all of the seafood was, and many “yumms” came from me as well – it was the perfect dish to welcome 2012.  Feel free to switch-up the seafood below for your favourites, or for what’s available near you.  I always try to buy “wild” or “line-caught” items in order to support the fisheries, and I definitely try to buy according to what’s sustainable – check out this website for more information:  Ocean Wise

This was definitely a great recipe and one that will (hopefully!) appear on our table again in the future.

Enjoy!

Seafood Cioppino

Yield: Serves 4 (serving size: about 1 3/4 cups)
Prep Time: 
15 minutes
Cook Time:
40 minutes

Ingredients

Broth:

  • 1 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, sliced
  • 5 garlic cloves, grated/minced
  • 1 cup dry white wine (Sauvignon Blanc or other)
  • 1 cup chicken broth (or vegetable broth), divided into 1/2 cups, per below
  • 2 TBSP chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 (35-ounce) can whole tomatoes with basil, rinsed, drained, and coarsely chopped

Seafood:

  • 1 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 (10-ounce) Pacific Halibut filet, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 4 sea scallops (about 6 ounces)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 medium peeled and deveined shrimp (about 5 ounces)
  • 12 clams (Manila, littleneck or longneck), cleaned and scrubbed

Garnish:

  • 2 TBSP chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 TBSP  fresh lemon juice
  • S&P
  • Baguette or other bread of choice

Directions

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat and swirl to coat.

Add onion to the pan and sauté for 1 minute. Stir-in the garlic and reduce the heat to medium. Cover and cook for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.

De-glaze the pan with the wine and stir. Add 1/2 cup of the chicken broth, all of the basil, oregano, red pepper flakes and diced tomatoes to the pot and stir well.  Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, sprinkle the halibut and scallops generously with black pepper. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over high heat. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil and swirl to coat.

Place the halibut and scallops in the pan and cook for 1-2 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Remove from pan and set-aside.  De-glaze the pan with the remaining 1/2 cup of chicken stock, scrape up any brown pieces and add the mixture to the pot of simmering broth mixture.

Place the halibut, scallops, shrimp, and clams into the broth mixture, ensuring the clams are entirely covered with broth. Cover and cook for 8 or so minutes or until clams open.  Be sure to discard any unopened clams.

Stir in parsley and lemon juice, taste the broth and add S&P according to your desire.

Serve with a toasted baguette or bread of your choice.

Enjoy!

Recipe Adapted From Cooking Light Magazine, January 2012

And because Cooking Light is amazing, here are the nutritional details:

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving (recipe contains approximately 4 servings)

  • Calories: 319
  • Fat: 8.8g
  • Saturated fat: 1.3g
  • Monounsaturated fat: 5.2g
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 1.4g
  • Protein: 33.4g
  • Carbohydrate: 13.9g
  • Fiber: 1.8g
  • Cholesterol: 103mg
  • Iron: 6.5mg
  • Sodium: 596mg
  • Calcium: 109mg

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Filed under Appetizers, French, Healthy, Italian, Mains, Side Dishes, Soups & Stews

Mediterranean Chicken Calzones (Recipe Swap!)

2 weeks since my last post..whoops, sorry guys. Time flies when you are having fun, you know, starting work, settling into a routine, seeing your best friend get married (Congrats Bart!) etc.  In any event, I have been cooking up a storm this week, and I even did my meal plan last weekend, so the JBean Cuisine kitchen is back in full-steam.

This month’s recipe swap theme was “Tailgating Recipes”. It is clear that us Canadians do not have the love or tradition of tailgating that the US football fans do.  But, after reading all the posts’ about rituals, get-togethers, the food and just the general fun, I am looking for a US college team to adopt me, just so I can participate in the tailgating fun.  I actually asked CH if we could go down to a US college game this season, just to experience it and tailgate (feel free to leave a comment with what school/team/game we should check-out, anything within driving distance of Toronto is fair game – so that means NY, MI – any Ann Arbor fans?!).

However, with all this tailgating excitement, I have to be 100% completely honest; the recipe I received in the swap is one that would never appear on our table. I am not trying to be harsh or snooty, it just isn’t a recipe I’d ever make at home, and when I showed it to CH, he said he’d never eat it.  Although the point of the recipe swap is to try new things, this recipe definitely needed tweaking in order for us to try it, and I don’t mean any offense to whoever submitted it, or to those that enjoy this recipe.  It just isn’t to our taste and I didn’t want to waste all of those ingredients on a recipe I knew we wouldn’t like.

So, what I did do, was take inspiration from the original recipe and turned it into something we REALLY enjoyed.  I had a batch of Annie’s pizza dough in my freezer and lots of fresh vegetables in the fridge, so this is how my Mediterranean inspired calzones were created.  I had never made calzones before, and CH even questioned me attempting them…along the lines of “do you even know how?”  Well, I proved him wrong…they came out perfect: golden crispy crust, gooey, cheesy filling, freshness from the veggies and a slightly spicy undertone from the siracha, banana peppers and red chili flakes.  All in all, it was a great combination.

We loved the fun spin on the normal pizza dough recipe.  I will definitely be experimenting with calzones in the future, and perfecting my folding skills (which left a little to be desired).

A special thanks goes out to Sarah of A Taste of Home, who is the amazing organizer of all these swaps.  Be sure to check-out her blog and see the round-up post to get inspired.

Enjoy!

Mediterranean Chicken Calzones

Yield: 4 servings (1 calzone each)
Prep Time: 20 minutes (not including cooking the chicken, or making the pizza dough)
Cook Time: 25 minutes, ~15 minutes stove-top, 10 minutes in the oven

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 batch Annie’s Pizza Dough (or your favourite pizza dough)
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 1/2 red pepper, diced
  • 1/2 green pepper, diced
  • 1/2 yellow pepper, diced
  • 1 handful of cherry tomato, halved
  • 2 cups cooked chicken, diced into bite sized pieces
  • 1/4 cup pickled banana peppers, diced with juices
  • 2 TBSP tomato paste
  • 1 TBSP sriracha hot sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • S&P
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 500° F.  Place your pizza stone in the oven and heat for at least 30 minutes.

In a large skillet over medium-high, heat the olive oil for a minute or two.  Add the chopped onion to the pan and sauté for 3-4 minutes, until translucent.  Add the peppers to the pan and continue sautéing for another 5 minutes.  Mix in the cooked chicken, tomatoes, tomato paste, sriracha, banana peppers, oregano, basil, red pepper flaxes and a dash of S&P.

Cook the mixture over low-heat for another 5-10 minutes, until warmed through and the mixture is thick (and all of the excess moisture has evaporated).

Meanwhile, divide pizza dough into quarters (4 pieces) on a lightly floured work surface and roll out each piece of dough into rounds approximately 4-5 inches in diameter.  Transfer each piece of dough to a piece of parchment paper, or place all dough rounds on one large piece of parchment paper, the size of the pizza stone (I cooked mine in batches, just to accommodate different schedules!).

Sprinkle one half of each piece of dough round with a small amount of shredded mozzarella, leaving a thin border around the edge.

Divide the chicken and vegetable mixture between the dough rounds.  Then, top the mixture with more mozzarella cheese and finally top with a generous sprinkle of the feta cheese.

Fold the dough over on top of the filling, pinching the edges of the dough together to seal (I pinched the sides and then used a fork to ensure it was sealed).

Transfer the calzones to the heated pizza stone and bake until crispy and brown, about 8 – 10 minutes.

Remove from oven, let cool for a few minutes, and then dive-in.

Enjoy (and GO [insert your team’s name] GO!!)

Recipe inspiration taken from FoodNetwork.  Calzone inspiration/basic directions taken from Annie’s Eats.

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Filed under Bread, Italian, Mains