Sunday, July 8, 2012

Lemon Roasted Shrimp and Red Pepper Pasta

1/2 medium raw pound shrimp ($3.00)
2 lemons ($.40)
2 T. olive oil ($.15)
4 T. butter ($.25)
salt and pepper ($.05)
2 cloves garlic, crushed ($.10)
1 1/2 tsp. basil ($.05)
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped finely ($.15)
1/2 lb. angel hair or linguine pasta (free after coupons)

Heat oven to 400.
Set a large of pot of water to boil for the pasta.  Cook pasta according to package directions to al dente.

Peel and devein shrimp, rinse throroughly and pat dry.  Lay shrimp in a single layer on a baking sheet drizzled with 1 T. olive oil.  Sprinkle shrimp with 1/2 tsp. basil and juice of one lemon.
Bake shrimp for 8 to 10 minutes, until shrimp are no longer transparent and they start to curl up.

In a nonstick pan, add 3 T. butter and melt over medium low heat.  Add chopped peppers and sautee over low heat.  Once peppers are tender crisp, add the zest one lemon and crushed garlic to the pan of butter.  Season with salt and pepper, add in remaining basil.

Once pasta is done, add pasta and 1/4 C. of starchy cooking liquid to the pan with the peppers, cook on low for 2-3 minutes, add in additional tablespoon of butter and a drizzle of olive oil.  Toss in shrimp and serve with an additional squeeze of lemon over the top.

Yields: 3 servings
Cost: $4.15
Cost per serving: $1.39

Another style of presentation?
Omit pasta and chop shrimp finely after roasting for a bold dip that serves well on salty crackers, flat breads, and sliced Italian bread for an appetizer course.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Blueberry Lemon Coffee Cake

Though this recipe doesn't embrace the red, white, and blue - I needed a quick gift for my father-in-law's birthday (yes, he was born on the 4th of July) and he loves coffee cake.  Though I have a yummy recipe for a traditional sour cream coffeecake, blueberries are in season (and I have a partial container in the fridge to use up) and I just picked up 10 lemons for only $2 yesterday, so a variation was definitely in order.  I love the flavors of blueberry and lemon together, something about the sweet berries and the tart, refreshing lemon that makes my mouth sing.

Since I am all about using what is in season and most affordable, this was the perfect time to try this variation - a recipe concept I've been meaning to try for some months now.  To make this recipe lower in fat and calories, I swap out part of the butter for unsweetened applesauce, yogurt for the sour cream, and add in tons of flavor with lemon zest and vanilla.  A few key ingredients can go a very long way.

There are a multitude of variations you can try with in season fruit when it comes to a classic coffee cake recipe.  In the fall, I'll try a white chocolate raspberry coffeecake or a cinnamon apple coffeecake and in the winter, a mocha cocoa coffee cake would be just the right compliment to a cold glass of milk or eggnog.  Hmm...speaking of eggnog, I think I'm going to draft a variation on this recipe that uses eggnog and a splash of rum.  For spring brunches, peach cobbler inspired coffeecake will be refreshing and yummy.  The traditional coffeecake is always in season and works great as a gift - especially for those that love their coffee in the morning.

Infinite possibilities, a Bundt pan, some pantry basics, and you'll never buy a store bought coffee cake again.  Trust me.  This recipe is ridiculously easy and it's perfect for someone like me that is not great at frosting any kind of cake.  Take all the credit for this tasty treat and don't forget to lick the bowl...that's the best part!

1 1/4 sticks of butter or margarine ($.20)
1/2 C. unsweetened applesauce ($.10)
2/3 C. white sugar ($.10)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar ($.10)
1 cup nonfat yogurt ($.35)
1  egg ($.10)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla ($.05)
2 T. liquid coffee creamer ($.05)
zest and juice of one lemon ($.20)
2 cups all-purpose flour ($.20)
1 teaspoon baking powder ($.05)
1 teaspoon baking soda ($.05)
1/8 tsp. nutmeg ($.05)
1/2 C. fresh or frozen (thawed) blueberries ($.25)

In a large mixing bowl, blend together butter or margarine, applesauce, white sugar, brown sugar, yogurt, egg, lemon juice, zest, coffee creamer, and extract. Add to these ingredients the flour, baking powder, nutmeg, and soda. Blend until smooth.

*I drop in the blueberries as I'm pouring the batter into the pan so I don't break the berries and have purple streaks in my coffee cake.  It's mostly for aesthetics, if it's easier for you to fold in the berries and pour the batter, that is fine too.

Grease and flour a large Bundt pan.

Pour 1/3 of the batter into the prepared pan. Drop blueberries on top of the batter in the pan, and repeat with the next 1/3 of the batter, sprinkle more blueberries, and finally cover with the remaining batter, smoothing the top so it's even and blueberries are covered.

Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 45 to 50 minutes. Cool.

Dust with powdered sugar if desired.

Yields: 16 servings
Cost: $1.85
Cost per serving: $.12