The first recipe I made was sausage and Brussels sprouts with honey mustard. You’ll need one pound of fresh sausage (suggested was sweet or hot Italian, or bratwurst), Brussels sprouts, Yukon gold or red potatoes, extra virgin olive oil, honey, Dijon mustard, mustard seeds (optional) and almonds or walnuts (also optional). Fortunately, I had all the ingredients, however, I did use chicken sausage instead of pork. The recipe takes roughly 30 minutes from start to finish and serves 4. I found the recipe served 2 with a bit of leftovers enough for one person lunch the next day. The meal was delicious and my husband enjoyed it. Make sure you roast the Brussels sprouts cut side down so they brown nicely. The addition of the nuts and mustard seeds gave the dish a nice crunch. I especially enjoyed the flavor of the honey mustard combination.
Next on my list was the shrimp scampi. For this recipe you’ll need 1 pound of large shrimp, extra virgin olive oil, a lemon, red pepper flakes, garlic, 1 cup of orzo, white wine, either boiling water, seafood stock or chicken stock and fresh parsley. I used chicken stock for the liquid. If I had been more ambitious, I could have taken the shrimp shells and made a stock from them. This recipe takes about 25 minutes to prepare and serves 4. Again, I found it was enough for my husband and me. A friend of mine told me she made this dish for her and her husband. She had enough leftover for one lunch portion. I’ll admit I didn’t use one pound of shrimp, but to get 4 portions you would have to serve it as an appetizer or double it for 4. Another thing, I found the dish had too much liquid at the end. My friend concurred. I would reduce the stock by 1/4 cup and see if that helps. It was a 2:1 of liquid to pasta in this recipe.
What makes this dish work in one skillet is that you cook the orzo similar to making risotto. You melt butter and oil in the skillet and add the garlic. When the butter bubbles, you toast the orzo. Add the wine to the skillet and wait for the orzo to absorb it. Add the balance of your liquids and cook approximately 12 minutes or until the pasta is al denté. The shrimp is then placed on top of the pasta and cooked until pink. The dish is garnished with parsley and lemon juice. It was very good and we enjoyed it, just too much juice left in the pan.
For my third and final recipe, I made chicken with sweet potatoes and fennel with accompanying cheese vinaigrette. I prefer Bell & Evans brand chicken as it cooks up moist and tender. You’ll also need olive oil, sweet potatoes, fennel bulb, white wine vinegar, lemon, Dijon mustard, garlic, one cup of crumbled or grated pecorino Romano cheese, parsley and leafy greens (optional). I used baby spinach and placed the chicken and vegetables on top. This recipe takes approximately 45 minutes to an hour to prepare as you have to prep your vegetables for the dish. Please note that you’ll need white wine vinegar and not white vinegar. I had run out, but did have champagne vinegar on hand which I used.
The dish came out delicious! I’ve never roasted fennel before, but it had a natural sweetness brought out by the roasting. The combination with the sweet potatoes was delightful. What brought this meal over the top was the cheese vinaigrette you pour over the chicken and vegetables. It was a bit tart from the vinegar/lemon juice combination, but then you got that hit of pecorino Romano cheese that just brightened the whole dish. My husband and I found another tasty meal that we both enjoyed.
By the way, another friend of mine said that her husband recently prepared the cheese baked pasta with sausage and ricotta recipe. Melissa Clark, a columnist at the Times, came up with this recipe. My friend and her husband did a test run to see if it was worthy enough of family Sunday dinner. It made the cut. She said it was delicious!
There are a few more recipes in this supplement that I want to try, the pasta dish being one of them. However, my poor husband has a yearning for a basic meatloaf and chicken and dumplings. So this week we’re having encores, meals that I have prepared in the past and are coming back. Lent begins this week; I’ll also be making spaghetti with fried eggs and roasted peppers.
Check out my website for other meatless dishes for the Lenten season. I also have a nice selection of seafood recipes and there’s nothing wrong with breakfast for supper. A frittata paired with crusty Italian bread and a salad makes for a great Friday night supper.
A former teacher, shop-a-holic, empty-nester redefining quick, family approved dinners.