Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Cashew Chicken, Shrimp Alfredo, and Shopping!!!

I think I've blogged about this before, but I did several things differently this time so I'm doing it again.  I was out of Chipotle in Adobo as well as grill seasoning so I had to improvise, and it still turned out yummy!  I love it when that happens :)  Also, I buy these chicken cutlets at the grocery store....they're thinly sliced for you behind the counter, and so they're much more expensive than regular boneless skinless chicken breasts.  I insist that they taste better, are more convenient, and cook faster and more evenly, so my husband humors me and lets me buy them.  This recipe calls for diced chicken breasts, but when I suggested chopping up the expensive cutlets......well, you can imagine.  So I agreed to cook the cutlets whole.

Instead of seasoning the chicken with grill seasoning, I used salt, pepper, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper.  I browned the chicken in corn oil (it's just what I had around) and set it aside, covered with foil.  I added a julienned pepper and onion to the same, hot pan and sauteed them until soft, then seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and a tad more cayenne.  Use as much cayenne as you want, or leave it out altogether.  If you have some chipotle seasoning, it will taste better, but like I said, I was out of it.  Leave out the salt if you are using salted cashews.  When the veggies are done, take the pan off the heat and add one or two tablespoons of honey and two or three tablespoons of real maple syrup.  If your chicken is not cooked through, add it back to the pan, but it back on the burner, reduce to low heat, and put a lid on it.  Let it steam until cooked through, then remove the chicken again and add the cashews to the vegetables.  You want to add them at the last minute so they don't get soft. 

Place a chicken breast or cutlet on top of scoop of white rice, then top with plenty of veggies and sauce.  This was yummy even though I was missing the grill seasoning and the chipotle seasoning.  I keep wanting to try this recipe with broccoli; I think it would be a great addition, visually and health-wise.  I'm not a huge broccoli fan, so I don't keep it in the house and keep forgetting to get it for this recipe.

I got to go shopping yesterday :)  We have an awesome gym membership, and I was really into for the entire year after Ayla was born, but since I got pregnant for the third time I just haven't had that kind of energy.  Even just doing yoga, I would lightheaded, dizzy, and nauseous so I've sort of given up.  My husband still goes on a daily basis he wants to be huge like Arnold, so he takes the kids and goes for two hours at a time.  I usually take the time to nap, shower, or do housework, but I needed to do some shopping for Audrey.

She just had her third birthday and received some clothes as gifts from her friends, prompting me to go through her dresser for the first time in over a year.  She's on the small side and was in this size for a long time.  At 3 years I was a little surprised to find 18 month clothing in her dresser!  After completely thinning it out and keeping only the 2Ts which I knew were still big on her,  I needed to add some essentials to her wardrobe.

I already have some 3T jeans that I bought at a thrift store awhile back, and she has no shortage of sweaters and tights, so I figured a few Tshirts and one or two dresses would get us through the spring; no problem.  Then, if her shorts are too small we can deal with that.  Old Navy is my favorite cheap kids' clothes store.  Carter's is my favorite, but I tend to spend several hundred dollars when I go in there, and it's hundreds of miles away, so we'll save that for later.  At Old Navy I got her two 5-dollar shirts, two 6-dollar shirts (all short-sleeved, can be layered), one short-sleeved dress than can be layered with a sweater and tights or worn alone in the summer, and one hoodie dress, which admittedly will be useless in a few months but was on clearance.  It's also the exact same dress she got for her birthday, in a different color, and I was stoked to stumble upon it.  So for $46, I am set for several months :)

I'm getting ahead of myself.  Before all this, I dropped off Justin and the kids in the pouring down rain at the gym and headed to Old Navy.  I then browsed Rack Room Shoes but decided it was too cold and nasty outside to shop in a strip mall, and I went to the indoor shopping mall.  I got myself a cup of decaf with my Starbucks gift card I got for my birthday a few weeks ago.  I was ecstatic to discover you can get peppermint mochas year-round.  I browsed the maternity store, two children's stores, three or four skinny-people stores (which I love, but have no business shopping it in my present condition) and Macy's, whose prices I could not believe.  I then walked the perimeter of the mall three times, and bought myself some frozen yogurt, having finished my coffee.  It was so nice!!  No agenda, no kids, just killing time for two whole hours.  I wandered into the department store I was parked outside, the one I had to walk through to get to my car, and came across some $5 long-sleeve Tshirts for myself that I couldn't pass up.  I pulled up to the gym as my husband was walking out, I fat and happy and he high from his workout.  We got home at 5 and had the dinner dilemma:

Audrey had to be at gymnastics at 6 and I had not taken anything out for dinner, which is exactly why I plan one of these meals every week:

Shrimp Alfredo with Peas

Shrimp defrosts quickly, cooks quickly, and lasts for a long time in your freezer.  Buy it frozen, but make sure it's deveined and "easy-to-peel".  Dump it straight from the bag into a colander, run some cold water over it, and it will be defrosted by the time you're done peeling it; about five minutes. 

Put a pot of salted water on to boil for the pasta, and put your (jarred alfredo) sauce in a small pot over low heat to gradually warm.  I like to pepper my jarred alfredo sauces.  I like Classico sauces, but we usually get whatever is on sale.  Heat some olive oil in a skillet, season your shrimp with salt and pepper, and saute it in a single layer.  When the bottom is pink, flip it over and cook until the other side is pink.  When the entire outside of the shrimp is pink, IT'S DONE.  Overcooked shrimp is not yummy; please don't overcook it.  You may have to do this in two batches; just move the cooked shrimp onto a clean plate and cook the other half of your shrimp.

Add half a pound of frozen peas to your boiling water about a minute before the pasta is done.  Then drain all of it together, return to the hot pot, and add the sauce and the cooked shrimp.  We're talking ten minute dinner, here.  We made it to gymnastics right on time, and it's far away.

Ask your pediatrician about feeding shellfish to your toddler.  We got the go-ahead because we have no family history of any food allergies, and Audrey herself has no food allergies, so they figured it would be okay at about age 2, when I asked.  I haven't tried it with my 14-month old, though.  Audrey doesn't care for shrimp.  Her father doesn't like it either (even though the last time I made alfredo sauce he said it would be good with shrimp in it.  Go figure).  I personally love this dinner, and had three helpings.

Hope you enjoy at least one of these :)

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