Freezer Friendly

White Seafood Lasagna

by Shawnda on March 8, 2009

in Freezer Friendly,Lighter & Healthier,Seafood,Valentine's Day

White Seafood Lasagna

If we had to be stranded on an island with only one cut of meat, I think we’d probably both take a medium-rare filet. But if you could promise me that they’re super fresh, we could make a really strong case to take King Crab instead.

We love, love, love king crab legs. Gently steamed for a few minutes in a foil pouch in the oven, the meat needs little else than just to be removed from the shell, if you ask me. That stuff is so good, clarified butter is most definitely optional.

White Seafood Lasagna

The most memorable meals can pop up in the most random of places, as long as the company is good. The night that the hurricane hit, my husband and I enjoyed a fantastic meal of grill-it-or-lose-it steaks with roasted red peppers and herbed goat cheese with our friends. No lights. No A/C. Plenty of wine. We were so roughin’ it.

Hands-down, our top vacation meal was a fantastic white lasagna at a loud, crowded, tourist-filled Italian place while on vacation in Breckenridge a few weeks ago. Not the place I’d peg for the freshest seafood on the planet but still… 3 layers of creamy, cheesy white sauce loaded with shrimp and scallops (and while the menu advertised crab, I never found it).

As we dissected each bite, my husband suggested how we’d make it at home (with king crab!). And make it better (with king crab!). We couldn’t find the crab in our dish that night but even if we did, I’m certain that it wouldn’t have lived up to my husband’s expectations (because it wasn’t king crab).

I served this White Lasagna with a big fat side of nothing. The lasagna was a meal all itself. Between the seafood, the pasta, and the cheeses, I’ll be completely honest – a salad would have just taken up valuable real estate in our stomachs. It was a balanced meal, though. There was spinach in it.

White Seafood Lasagna

A rich, decadent white lasagna loaded with scallops, shrimp, and crab.

Ingredients

  • 3 Alaskan King Crab legs (or 1 8-12 oz package of crab, picked over for shells)
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 3/4 lb large scallops
  • 3/4 lb shrimp, peeled, tails removed, and deveined
  • 6 Tbsp butter
  • 2 tsp chopped garlic
  • 6 Tbsp flour
  • 4 cups milk
  • 8 oz Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated and divided
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground white pepper
  • 10 oz frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed of excess water
  • 15 oz part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 8 oz grated Mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 lb lasagna noodles, cooked for 5 minutes and drained

Instructions

  1. Cook the seafood: Preheat the oven to 350. Form a large foil pouch around the king crab legs. Before sealing tightly, add 1/4 cup water. Heat 8-10 minutes in the oven. Remove from the oven, carefully open the pouch to vent the steam, and let cool a bit. Crack the shells and place the meat in a medium bowl. Lightly shred any extremely large pieces but don’t over shred.
  2. Heat the butter in a saute pan over medium-high heat. Pat scallops dry with a paper towel. Place in the pan and cook 5-6 minutes, stirring a couple of times (because I had ginormous scallops, I first cut them into approx 1 inch cubes before cooking). Drain the scallops and place in the bowl with the crab meat.
  3. Rinse the shrimp. Poach in a pot of simmering water until cooked through. Strain and place in the bowl with the crab meat and scallops. Add a pinch of salt, some white pepper, and toss to mix.
  4. Make the white sauce: Melt butter in sauce pan over medium high heat and add garlic. Cook until very fragrant but don’t let the garlic brown (about 3 minutes). Whisk in the flour and cook 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the milk 1 cup at a time, whisking until smooth and lump-free after each addition. Cook an additional 4-6 minutes, stirring occasionally and taking care that the bottom does not scorch. Remove from heat and whisk in salt and pepper to taste and 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese.
  5. Make the ricotta filling: Mix spinach, 1/2 cup parmesan, ricotta, egg, all of the mozzarella, salt, white pepper, and 1 cup white sauce in a bowl until thoroughly combined.
  6. Assemble and cook: Spread 1 cup of white sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 pan. Arrange 3 lasagna noodles in the pan and spread half of the ricotta-spinach mixture over the noodles, covering completely. Top with 1/2 cup white sauce.
  7. Arrange 3 lasagna noodles in the pan and add all of the crab-shrimp-scallops, spreading to distribute evenly. Sprinkle half of the remaining parmesan cheese over the seafood layer and top with 1/2 cup white sauce.
  8. Arrange 3 lasagna noodles in the pan and spread the remaining ricotta-spinach mixture over the noodles. Top with 1/2 cup white sauce.
  9. Add the remaining 3 lasagna noodles, remaining white sauce, and sprinkle the remaining Parmesan cheese over the top.
  10. Place in the oven and bake until bubbly and golden, about 55 minutes. Remove from the oven and let sit for 15 minutes before serving.

Notes

Yields: 12-15 servings

Adapted from The Food Network

Estimated time: 2 hours

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…Somewhere real far south when I suggested to my husband that we get barbecue for dinner. I might be a born-and-raised Texan but barbecue is never anywhere near the top of my list. It’s usually not even on the list.

My crockpot is by far the most unused gadget in my kitchen. Most of the time, it just occupies extremely valuable under-oven cabinet space. The only time we seem to pull it out is to keep a giganti-batch of queso warm or to have pulled pork sandwiches.

Our favorite place to eat barbecue is The County Line. I always order the Pulled Pork Sandwich with Wild Pork Sauce (an orange-infused barbecue sauce) and coleslaw. Their pulled pork is to die for and the sauce… man, that stuff is killer good. My husband gets the smoked brisket sandwich, which is my favorite thing for someone else to order!

I spotted a tasty dry rub for pulled pork on The Way The Cookie Crumbles. Absolutely delicious! We’ve made it twice in the last two weeks… we had to do something with all these hamburger buns lying around :)

Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Homemade Wild Pork Sauce

Juicy pulled pork tossed with an orange-infused barbecue sauce.

Ingredients

  • For the Orange Barbecue Sauce
  • Juice of 1 large orange
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped (about 3/4 - 1 cup)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • For the pulled pork:
  • 1 Tbsp ground black pepper
  • 1-2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 2 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 Tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp dried oregano
  • 4 Tbsp paprika
  • 2 Tbsp table salt
  • 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp ground white pepper
  • 1 4-5 lb pork roast

Instructions

  1. To make the sauce: Stir orange juice and sugar in a small sauce pan over medium heat until dissolved.
  2. Reduce the orange juice to 2-3 Tbsp, taking care not to scorch.
  3. Heat olive oil in a 2-qt sauce pan.
  4. Saute onions for 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant.
  5. Stir in the orange reduction and remaining ingredients. Simmer for 5 minutes. Transfer to a food processor or blender and puree until smooth.
  6. To make the pulled pork: Mix all spice rub ingredients in small bowl. I made half the original spice rub recipe since I was using a smaller roast than the original recipe calls for (6-8lb bone-in pork shoulder). Massage spice rub into meat. Wrap tightly in double layer of plastic wrap; refrigerate for at least 3 hours. (For stronger flavor, the roast can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.)
  7. Unwrap roast and place it in slow cooker with 1/2 cup water. Turn slow cooker to low and cook for 6-8 hours, until meat is fork-tender. Transfer roast to cutting board; discard the liquid from the crock. Shred the meat by hand or using forks. Discard fat.
  8. Return the shredded meat to the crock. Toss with 1/2 cup barbecue sauce, and heat on low for 30-60 minutes, until hot. Serve with additional barbecue sauce.

Notes

Yields: 10-12 sandwiches

Pulled pork rub adapted from Cook's Illustrated via The Way The Cookie Crumbles

Estimated time: 9 hours

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Homemade Tomato Soup

by Shawnda on January 28, 2009

in Freezer Friendly,Soup, Stew, and Chili

Classic Tomato Soup

Honey, I’m siiiiiiick.

It’s the only warning shot that my husband gets before it all breaks loose.

It seems the stereotype is that grown men make the worst patients. I’m a terrible patient. I sniffle, I whine, I cough, I whine, and I build a miniature version of Mt. Rushmore out of balled-up Kleenexes. And then I whine some more. I think the only thing that could make me a worse patient is if I had one of those little bells to ring when I needed something. Or, you know, just wanted to whine to an audience.

Lucky for him, there is one thing that can shut me up: A steamy mug of tomato soup with a Cherry NyQuil chaser. It might be canned, condensed soup but I’ve always found Campbell’s Tomato Soup to have a certain healing effect. It’s completely smooth so you can drink it from a mug – who needs to be bothered with utensils when they’re running a fever of 101?

Classic Tomato Soup

I was unfortunate enough to experience the double-whammy that was the flu followed by an equally nasty cold. And equally unfortunate to not be able to find a single drop of soup in the house when my appetite returned. How sick was I? I was too sick to cook dinner the night before and I guarantee that I’ll be too sick to make dinner tonight but I wasn’t so sick that I couldn’t let the NyQuil fog clear to make myself homemade soup for lunch :)

I chose Martha Stewart’s recipe for its simplicity and cooking time – lengthy and complicated is fine, but not when you have a fever. It really hit the spot! Now if I could only get rid of this icky cough…

Classic Tomato Soup

Trade in the condensed can for a homemade classic tomato soup.

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 2 Tbsp cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 14 1/2 oz reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 28 oz crushed San Marzano tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped

Instructions

  1. In a 5-quart saucepan or Dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat; add oil and onion, and season with salt and pepper. Cook until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in flour and tomato paste; cook 1 minute.
  2. To saucepan, add thyme, broth, and tomatoes, breaking up tomatoes with your fingers. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, 30 minutes. Remove thyme sprig.
  3. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup in the pot or transfer the soup to a conventional blender and puree until mostly smooth; return to pot. Season with salt and pepper and stir in fresh basil. Serve immediately. Crushed Club Crackers and grilled cheese sandwich optional.

Notes

Yields: 3 servings

Adapted from Martha Stewart Living

Estimated time: 45 minutes

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Baked Shrimp Scampi

The best. In the whole wide world. And I mean it.

My husband used to be far less adventurous with the range of foods that he was willing to try. When we met, he lived on a tried-and-true diet of Red Baron’s Sausage & Pepperoni, Stouffer’s Lasagna, and Buitoni cheese tortellini with Prego and ground beef.

I’ll eat anything you want to cook, he now promises. And he does. I don’t usually stay inside the box but I do generally stick quasi-close to the edges so he doesn’t go hungry. I know he likes shrimp, garlic, and butter so I didn’t think I could go any kinds of wrong with Ina Garten’s Baked Shrimp Scampi – next to homemade pizza, it’s one of the safest choices on this week’s menu.

Baked Shrimp Scampi

This Baked Shrimp Scampi isfantastic - buttery, garlicky, and lemony. I think it’s what shrimp were created for. And butter. And garlic and lemon! And maybe now I’ve drawn your attention away from that little dangling preposition back there.

But speaking of buttery… let’s chat. The recipe as written calls for a stick and a half of butter. That’s 12 whopping tablespoons of an ingredient that’s mostly left behind when you scoop out the shrimp with a slotted spoon. It seems like such a waste so I’ve reduced the butter by 1/3 with plenty good results in the final dish.

Baked Shrimp Scampi

Butter, lemon, garlic, and a crunchy topping are an excellent twist on the classic shrimp scampi.

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs shrimp, peeled, deveined, and butterflied
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp dry white wine
  • 2 1/2 tsp salt, divided
  • 1 1/4 tsp cracked black pepper, divided
  • 8 Tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temp
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup minced shallots or onion
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • Zest and juice from one lemon
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2/3 cup bread crumbs or Panko (I used 2 slices of 7-grain bread, processed into course crumbs)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425.
  2. Place the shrimp in a mixing bowl and toss with the olive oil, wine 2 tsp of salt, and 1 tsp of black pepper. Let sit and prepare the topping.
  3. In a small bowl, mash the softened butter with the garlic, parsley, red pepper flakes, lemon zest, lemon juice, egg yolk, bread crumbs (reserving some for the topping), 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper until well mixed.
  4. Arrange the shrimp in a single layer in a medium baking dish. Pour the remaining marinade over the shrimp.
  5. Spread the butter mixture evenly over the shrimp. Bake for 12-15 minutes until hot and bubbly.
  6. Sprinkle the remaining bread crumbs over the top and turn the broiler on for 1 minute or until golden brown.
  7. Serve with lemon wedges and dish with a slotted spoon to leave all the extra butter behind.
  8. To freeze: Assemble entire dish minus the garnish crumbs, wrap tightly, and freeze. Thaw in the fridge overnight before baking (plan to add an extra 10 minutes to the baking time).

Notes

Yields: 6-8 servings

Adapted from Barefoot Contessa, Back to Basics

Estimated time: 25 minutes

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