Red Wine Braised Calamari with Pearl Couscous

Red Wine Braised Calamari with Pearl Couscous

Soooo…. I wrote this post almost a year ago and then fell off the blogging wagon. As I updated my theme and all that jazz, I noticed that it was still floating around. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 1 pound squid, cleaned
    • I get the frozen tubes and tentacles from Harvest of the Sea, in the HEB seafood department. Then cut the tubes into 1-inch rings.
  • ½-1 cup red wine (I used pinot noir)
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme (or a couple sprigs of fresh thyme)
  • 1-2 teaspoons of Italian blend spices (I used Sandwich Sprinkle from Penzey’s, which is garlic, coarse salt, basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, marjoram, black pepper)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Pearl couscous, prepared using package instructions, including “optional” butter and salt

 

Procedures

  1. Put 1 Tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet (with a lid), and heat on medium-high. Add garlic to skillet, and brown.
  2. When garlic is browned, add the squid, sauté for 30 seconds or so (they’ll puff up a little), then reduce heat to medium-low.
  3. Add ½ cup wine, thyme and 1 teaspoon of spices to the skillet, stir to combine all, and cover.
  4. Cook at a slow simmer (just little bubbles) for 30-45 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so.
  5. When the wine is reduced to basically nothing, and squid is of a pleasing texture, remove the cover and add remaining wine and the remaining spices, as well as salt and pepper, to taste.
  6. Reduce the wine over medium heat until you have a nice little amount of luscious sauce.
  7. Top the prepared couscous with squid and sauce. Enjoy with the rest of your bottle of red wine!
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Tangy, Saucy Honey-Molasses Chicken

Tangy, Saucy Honey-Molasses Chicken

There are certain flavors and ingredients I gravitate towards in the kitchen and recipes. I have squeeze bottles of olive oil and balsamic vinegar right next to the stove, ready for a quick addition to dinner. There’s always a pot of herbes de Provence ready to go in the cabinet, along with thyme and roasted garlic slices. Our refrigerator always holds Dijon mustard, with fresh ginger lurking in the freezer and a pot full of garlic and shallots lying in wait within their comfortable darkness. Honey patiently sits next to the Keurig machine and there are always backup supplies of flour and 3 types of sugar in the pantry for baking emergencies.

Saucy, Tangy Honey Molasses Chicken from Mancktastic!

When I see any combo of these favored ingredients pop up while perusing the internet, I’m immediately drawn to hungrily peruse the recipe, hoping it’s right for our family and ready for some Manckwhite tweaking. When I found this recipe for Honey-Molasses Chicken, it was immediately added to the meal plan for the week. Bill asked every day if this was the day for delicious chicken and it finally was a few days back! I was so looking forward to the simple, but powerful combination of ingredients that were to come.

Saucy, Tangy Honey Molasses Chicken from Mancktastic!

I was fully prepared for a thick, tangy sauce coating simply spiced chicken tenders, but I was blown away by the depth of flavor that came out of that pan. It’s reminiscent of a vinaigrette, but with a thick, smooth texture like the sauce for Sesame Chicken. It’s a very summery dish with the bright, spiced sauce.

Saucy, Tangy Honey Molasses Chicken from Mancktastic!

You get the subtle and separate sweetnesses of honey, brown sugar and molasses, but it’s cut through with the tang of balsamic vinegar and spices of the Dijon mustard with the follow-through of the garlic powder. This sauce begs to be shared with more than just chicken, so I also sauced some apple pieces to top a simple spinach and goat cheese salad. I loved the combination of zesty sauce and tender chicken with the crunch of the apple, freshness of the spinach and creamy goat cheese. It’s a perfectly balanced plate altogether.

Saucy, Tangy Honey Molasses Chicken from Mancktastic!

We start with my basic, plain ol’ chicken tenders, liberally spiced with salt and pepper. They’re browned to hold in all their tender juiciness, then cooked through with the delicious sauce. We cover to cook, so the steam opens up the chicken for more flavor as the sauce thickens and develops all around it. A final minute to condense the sauce’s flavors make sure the chicken has a nice, healthy coating so the flavor is carried through in every bite.

Saucy, Tangy Honey Molasses Chicken from Mancktastic!

Honey-Molasses Chicken

  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons water
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon molasses
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 pound chicken tenders
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 apple, cut into small pieces
  1. Combine brown sugar, water, honey, balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, molasses and garlic powder in a small bowl; whisk together and set aside.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper on both sides. Add chicken to pan, cook for 3 minutes, then flip and repeat.
  3. When the chicken has browned on each side, but is not cooked through, add the  honey mixture to pan, turning chicken to coat. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and cook 10 minutes or until chicken is done, turning chicken every 5 minutes.
  4. Uncover, turn heat to medium-high and cook for an additional minute, so the sauce thickens and the chicken is well coated. Remove from heat; serve immediately, reserving 2 Tablespoons of sauce.
  5. Toss the apple pieces with reserved sauce and serve on the side.

Saucy, Tangy Honey Molasses Chicken from Mancktastic!

Based on a recipe from Recipe Girl

Greek Mac & Cheese (αφρογαλακτώδης & νοστιμότατος! )

Greek Mac & Cheese (αφρογαλακτώδης & νοστιμότατος! )

Greek food holds a special place in my heart. The taste of dill, oregano and garlic send me back to one of my first dates with Bill where we discussed everything under the sun. You can still regularly find us at the site of that date, Niko Niko’s, now often accompanied by family and friends. A few days before our wedding, we took Bill’s parents and brother to Niko’s; we celebrated Mom’s most recent birthday there. At the end of each school year, Bill meets with his Latin classes there for an end-of-year celebration with gyros and baklava. Once we take you to Niko’s, you’re officially part of our little clan. It’s at Niko’s that I discovered my cumin allergy, at Niko’s that we celebrate any occasion, and at Niko’s that we began falling in love. Is it any wonder that Greek food is special to us?

Greek Mac and Cheese from Mancktastic! at mancktastic.wordpress.com

One of our other favorites in all the world is, of course, Macaroni and Cheese! Simple box macaroni and cheese was the first dish I made after Bill and I got engaged, and I’ve made several versions of mac n’ cheese here on Mancktastic. From the fancy Brie-based Manckwhite Mac & Cheese to the decadent Gnocchi Mac and Cheese, it’s pretty clear that our family loves pasta and cheese sauce together. Macaroni and cheese is a wonderful base for delicious customizations to enjoy. It can be part of any flavor family by simply changing up the cheeses and mixing up the spices used.  Last week I thought, why not combine one of our favorite foods with our favorite flavors? And thus, we enjoyed Greek Mac and Cheese!

Greek Mac and Cheese from Mancktastic! at mancktastic.wordpress.com

This tasty dish combines fragrant dill with creamy graviera cheese and aromatic shallots, creating a rich, filling dish that you won’t be able to stop eating. Baby spinach wrapped in velvety cheese sauce finds every nook and cranny of your pasta, so you get a delicious bite every time. The feta and breadcrumb topping is the perfect mix of savory, salty, crunchy and chewy to cap this dish. I recommend you enjoy Greek Mac & Cheese as a side with yogurt-marinated chicken kabobs or a thick, juicy steak.

And I know you’ve been wondering about the squiggles in the title above; my Greek scholar husband assures me it means creamy and delicious in Greek! 🙂

Greek Mac and Cheese from Mancktastic! at mancktastic.wordpress.com

Greek Mac & Cheese

  • ¾ cup seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 8 ounces hollow pasta
  • 6 Tablespoons butter
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • 4 cups grated graviera or kefalotyri cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 16 ounces baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • ⅓ cup fresh dill, roughly chopped
  • 1¾ cups crumbled feta
  1. Heat oven to 350° F.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. When the water has reached a rolling boil, add pasta and cook until cooked halfway through, about 3 minutes. Drain pasta and rinse pasta, then set aside.
  3. Heat butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. When butter is melted, add flour and cook for 1 minute, whisking constantly. Continue whisking while you slowly drizzle in the milk. Continue to cook until the sauce has thickened and coats the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes. Remove pan from heat.
  4. Stir cheese into the butter and milk mixture, then season with salt and pepper; set aside.
  5. Heat olive oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add shallots and spinach to the oil, stirring for 1 minute, then cover and let cook for 3 minutes. Add the sauce, dill, and pasta to the pot and stir to combine.
  6. Transfer mixture to a 9″ x 13″ baking dish and top with breadcrumbs and feta. Bake until golden brown and aromatic, about 30 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

based on a recipe from More Than Just Dinner

Greek Mac and Cheese from Mancktastic! at mancktastic.wordpress.com

Melty, Mixy Mexican Goodness: Cheesy Chicken and Rice Bake

Melty, Mixy Mexican Goodness: Cheesy Chicken and Rice Bake

So often, every recipe for Mexican food you run across is chockful of tortillas, refried beans and other delicious goods that we should probably try to enjoy in moderation. Enchiladas, tacos, burritos: all delicious and all tortilla-dependent!

That’s why I was so happy to come across this simple rice-based recipe for a tasty Mexican casserole-type entree on Tasty Kitchen. I made a few substitutions based on what I had handy in the kitchen and wound up with a tasty, easy weeknight dinner that we all loved.

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Chicken and rice are cooked beforehand, then combined with lean and healthy ingredients to make a wonderfully flavorful dish. The yogurt helps meld all the flavors together while keeping the whole dish moist and delicious. With a triple wallop of protein from the black beans, chicken and Greek yogurt, this meal will fill you up without weighing you down. It’s perfect for a night when your busy family needs fuel!

Cheesy Chicken and Rice Bake

  • 2 cups chicken pieces, cut into 1″ pieces
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 cups cooked long-grain rice
  • ¾ cups frozen corn
  • 15 ounces black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup salsa
  • ¼ cup taco sauce
  • 1½ cups Mexican blend cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 350◦ F.
  2. Heat a sauté pan over medium heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper to taste and sauté until cooked through.
  3. In a large oven-safe dish, combine chicken, rice, corn, black beans, sour cream, salsa, taco sauce and 1 cup Mexican cheese and mix thoroughly to combine. Make sure the yogurt and cheese are stirred in throughout the entire bowl. Top with the reserved ½ cup of cheese.
  4. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until heated through.

CheesyChickenandRiceBake

adapted from from Tasty Kitchen

Healthy and Flavorful: Mediterranean Chicken Sausage Skillet

Healthy and Flavorful: Mediterranean Chicken Sausage Skillet

It’s time for another recipe from slightly questionable literary providence… I found this recipe in an ad within Real Simple magazine and gravitated towards it because a) it looked delicious and b) I had a package of garlic and rosemary chicken sausage languishing in the freezer that needed used. We had all of the other ingredients on hand, so this week we delved into the Mediterranean for dinner!

I just love the flavors in this easy skillet: fresh pops from the grapes, savory herbal tones from the basmati rice and spices, hearty rich flavors from the chicken sausage plus the creamy, almost-cheesey taste from the simple addition of Greek yogurt. This is one delicious, lean and healthy dinner!

Mediterranean Chicken Sausage Skillet

  • 12 ounces chicken sausage, cut into 1/2″ slices
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups cooked basmati rice
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • ¼ teaspoon sage, ground
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ cup almonds, slivered
  • 1 cup red grapes, quartered
  1. In a large saute pan, sauté oil and garlic for 3-5 minutes. Add the sausage slices to the pan and sauté for 5 minutes, or until sausage is cooked and warmed through.
  2. Add rice, broth and sage to the pan and simmer 3-4 minutes. Add yogurt to the pan and stir well to coat, cook for 1-2 minutes.
  3. Season dish with salt and pepper. Fold in grapes and almonds.

MediterraneanChickenSausageSkillet

Click here to download a PDF of this recipe!

Based on a recipe from Al Fresco sausage

Lean and Savory: Potsticker Burgers with Asian Slaw

Lean and Savory: Potsticker Burgers with Asian Slaw

First of all, did you notice that I did a little redesigning around the ol’ bloggy? As you may or may not know, I’m a graphic designer in real life so I really enjoy futzing around with the look of Mancktastic! It’s certainly not a finalized design, but I hope you’re enjoying the fresh fonts and more reading area : )

Now, on to dinner! Who doesn’t love the delicious filling of a potsticker? Delicious pork, savory sauces, and the delightful crunch of vegetables, all in a nice little packet for you to enjoy. This dish takes all of the great taste of potstickers and makes them leaner (and meaner) by forming them into a patty atop a tasty, fresh Asian slaw! This way, you get the delicious flavors of potstickers and their yummy sauces without the added hassle and carbohydrates of the wrappers.

 

Potsticker Burgers are a cinch to throw together and customize for your family. While Bill and I use cabbage slaw in this yummy dinner, you could use coleslaw mix for a wider range of veggies and color. You could also use turkey or chicken in place of, or in addition to, the ground pork of the burgers.

IMG_1641

Potsticker Burgers with Asian Slaw

  • 3 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 Tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon water
  • ½ teaspoon sesame oil
  • ½ teaspoon garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon ginger, minced
  • 4 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, minced
  • 1 ½ cups shredded cabbage
  1. In a large bowl, mix together 3 Tablespoons soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, water, sesame oil, ½ teaspoon minced garlic, ½ teaspoon minced ginger and 4 cups shredded cabbage. Set this mixture aside.
  2. Heat a grill or grill pan over medium heat.
  3. Combine ground pork, egg, 2 Tablespoons soy sauce, 2 teaspoons minced garlic, 1 teaspoon minced ginger and 1½ cups shredded cabbage in a large bowl. Shape this mixture into 4 equal patties.
  4. Grill each patty for 4-5 minutes per side, or until pork is no longer pink in the middle.
  5. Divide the slaw among bowls, then top each with a burger.

IMG_1642 copy

 

Click here to download a PDF of this recipe!

Based on a recipe from Iowa Girl Eats

Savory Citrus Sweetness: Marmalade Chicken

Savory Citrus Sweetness: Marmalade Chicken

Did you ever have to do a terrible school fundraiser? The cookie dough and chocolates were ok, but wrapping paper and magazines always seemed like the worst sell when you were knocking on neighbors’ doors. “Who really cares about People or Cosmo?” I used to think as I trudged from member to member at church dinners. Sure, I enjoyed the occasional Time when killing time at the library, but I was never a huge magazine person. Give me a nice book, loaded with words and stories that make my imagination soar and take longer than 15 minutes to read cover to cover.

Maybe something changed in my brain as I got older or maybe it was just the siren call of organization and recipes, but now I eagerly await the arrival of each month’s Real Simple magazine in my mailbox. Over the past few years I’ve harvested meal ideas, outfit inspiration and even gift revelations from the pages of this publication. When I saw today’s recipe in Real Simple last year, I immediately ripped it out and added it to my recipe folder for future use. It wasn’t until I already had marmalade on hand for last week’s Light Orange Beef and Broccoli that I remembered to dig this recipe out of the archive, but boy am I glad I did!

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A delicious sauce is quickly whipped up to coat chicken breasts; it’s already ready after just a few minutes on the grill! While this sauce is composed of 5 simple ingredients, the resulting flavor is anything but boring. The tart citrus of the orange marmalade marries with the distinctive savory notes of the balsamic vinegar to create a rich and refreshing flavor that’ll have you licking the plate for more. Since the thin cutlets cook up so quickly, you’ll have this summery dinner done in a flash to share with family and friends.

I recommend you serve this dish with a side of salad, rice or cous cous. We used Near East’s Pearled Cous Cous last night, and it was absolutely delicious! The larger grain makes for a hearty, healthy and filling side.

Marmalade Chicken

  • 4 thin chicken cutlets (1 pound)
  • ½ cup orange marmalade
  • 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Heat a grill or grill pan to medium-high heat.
  2. Combine marmalade, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper in a bowl. Add chicken to the marmalade mixture and toss to coat well.
  3. Grill chicken until cooked through, about 2-4 minutes on each side.

Marmalade Chicken from Mancktastic!

Based on a recipe from Real Simple

Click here to download a PDF of this recipe!