What's for Dinner?: Delicious Recipes for a Busy Life

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9780449015872: What's for Dinner?: Delicious Recipes for a Busy Life

Curtis Stone, host of Bravo's hugely popular Top Chef Masters and Around the World in 80 Plates, provides a culinary road map of time-saving kitchensolutions and delicious dishes for every day of the week.
     We're all busy. We can all appreciate using a recipe that we know will cut down on time, expense and even dishes. Curtis Stone maintains that the first step to ensuring a successful meal is to achieve confidence in the kitchen, and so this classically trained, world-renowned chef has provided home cooks of all levels with 150 effortless, but inspired, fail-proof entree recipes that showcase ingredients and prove ease of use. He also provides dozens of notes on techniques, tricks and shortcuts that will assist with making cooking more enjoyable and the results more consistent and impressive. Curtis' straightforward philosophy is cook, create, celebrate-and these dishes do just that.

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About the Author:

CURTIS STONE is the host of Bravo's Top Chef Masters and Around the World in 80 Plates, he is also the owner of Kitchen Solutions, the first chef-owned product line to debut at Williams-Sonoma. Born in Melbourne, Australia, Stone honed his skills in London, UK, under legendary chef Marco Pierre White. Curtis now lives in Los Angeles with his family. For more information visit www.curtisstone.com

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Motivating Mondays

Grilled Chicken with Arugula and Zucchini Salad with Lemon-Caper Vinaigrette 6

Chicken Masala with Cucumber Raita 9

Fennel-Roasted Chicken and Winter Squash with Endive-Apple Salad 13

Turkey Meatballs with Marinara Sauce 14

Grilled Pork Satay and Peaches with Carrot-Cilantro Salad 18

Grilled Fish Tacos with Pico de Gallo 21

Poached Salmon with Green and Yellow Bean Salad 22

Grilled Salmon with Orzo, Feta, and Red Wine Vinaigrette 25

Grilled Shrimp and Rice Noodle Salad 26

Angel Hair Pasta with Clams, Radishes, and Spinach 29

Cauliflower and Spinach Dal 30

Salt-Baked Russets with Ratatouille 33

Quinoa Salad with Chickpeas and Tomatoes 34

Mango-Pineapple Smoothie 37

The weekend is all about enjoyment. That means second helpings, extra glasses of wine, and the gooiest chocolate desserts. Well, the weekend has ended, and it’s time to turn over a new leaf. I’m a huge believer in the idea that when you start the week off right, you’re more likely to end it better as well. My work with contestants on The Biggest Loser taught me many things, but none more important than the power of positive temptation. We crave what we see, whether it’s a pan of brownies or a bowl of fresh raspberries. So start by washing some fruit and putting it out on the counter, your desk, or anywhere in your line of sight. Then cut up your favorite veggies and keep them in a container nearby. When you’re itching for a snack, the fruit and vegetables will be as easy to grab as a bag of chips.

One of the rewards of cooking dinner is putting together a beautiful plate of food. And while I love family-style dining, where everyone serves themselves from platters and bowls, plating each person’s meal is a great way to ensure portion control. If I see a bowl of mashed potatoes on the table, I guarantee you I’m going back for seconds.

Just remember that healthy eating is about balance, not deprivation. You don’t need to skimp on flavor to eat food that’s good for you. Let this chapter be your positive temptation. Cook with seasonal ingredients, which pack extra zest, and use fresh herbs. That vibrant touch of green brings food to life. In addition to containing herbs, the recipes in this chapter rely on lean proteins, whole grains, and tons of vegetables—even some you may have never tried—to make satisfying Monday meals that’ll help you put your best foot forward.

A main-course salad brimming with lots of vegetables and lean meat is one of my favorite ways to put a healthy meal on the dinner table. This one is on the spicy side, with arugula leaves and peperoncini (pickeled Italian peppers) in the citrusy vinaigrette. The zucchini ribbons, which look like wide pappardelle pasta, have an appetizing, fresh texture and look beautiful on the plate. When weather permits, cook the chicken breasts on an outdoor grill.

Grilled Chicken with Arugula and Zucchini Salad with Lemon-Caper Vinaigrette

serves 4

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 10 minutes

Lemon-Caper Vinaigrette

2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots

Finely grated zest of 1 lemon

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon coarsely chopped drained nonpareil capers

1 tablespoon finely chopped peperoncini

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

2 teaspoons champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar

W cup extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Chicken

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (about 6 ounces each)

1 tablespoon olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Salad

5 ounces baby arugula (about 8 cups not packed)

1 cup halved cherry tomatoes

2 small, thin zucchini

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 To make the vinaigrette: In a medium bowl, whisk the shallots, lemon zest, lemon juice, capers, peperoncini, parsley, and vinegar together. Gradually whisk in the olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

2 To cook the chicken: Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Coat the chicken with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill the chicken for about 4 minutes per side, or until it is seared with grill marks and shows no sign of pink when pierced in the thickest part with the tip of a small sharp knife. Transfer to a cutting board.

3 To assemble the salad: In a large bowl, combine the arugula and tomatoes. Trim the ends of the zucchini. One at a time, lay the zucchini flat on a work surface and, using a vegetable peeler and working from the stem end to the blossom end, shave off long, thin ribbons until you reach the seedy center. Turn the zucchini around and repeat on the second side, then repeat on the third and fourth sides. Add the ribbons to the bowl and discard the seedy centers of the zucchini.

4 Using your hands to avoid breaking the ribbons, gently toss the salad with enough vinaigrette to coat. Season with salt and pepper.

5 Cut each chicken breast crosswise into thirds. Transfer a cut chicken breast to each dinner plate and heap some of the salad alongside. Drizzle the chicken and salad with the remaining vinaigrette and serve immediately.

This dish is a far cry from the common diet dinner of broiled chicken breasts and steamed broccoli. It starts with chicken and continues with lots of spinach, cucumber, and onion, along with aromatics such as ginger, garlic, and curry powder. It adds up to a highly flavorful meal with a generous amount of sauce, to leave you feeling totally fulfilled.

Chicken Masala with Cucumber Raita

serves4

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 45 minutes

Chicken

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (about 6 ounces each)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/4 curry powder, such as Madras

3 tablespoons olive oil, or as needed

1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced

3 tablespoons finely chopped, peeled fresh ginger

5 garlic cloves, finely chopped

One 28-ounce can whole tomatoes with juices, squeezed to coarsely crush

1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth

One 6-ounce package fresh baby spinach leaves

1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro

Raita

3/4 cup plain low-fat Greek yogurt

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro

Finely grated zest of 1 lemon

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, and seeded

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Perfect Basmati Rice (page 10), for serving

1 To cook the chicken: Season the chicken with salt and pepper, then rub 2 tablespoons of the curry powder all over it. Heat a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the 3 tablespoons oil, then add the chicken and cook for 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until browned on both sides. Transfer to a plate and set aside. Reduce the heat to medium.

2 Add the onions to the pan and sauté for about 3 minutes, or until they begin to soften. Stir in the ginger, garlic, and the remaining 2 tablespoons curry powder and cook, stirring often, for about 2 minutes, being careful not to burn the mixture. If the pan is dry, add another teaspoon of oil. Add the tomatoes and their juices and season with salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, or until the onions are tender.

3 Stir in the broth and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes to thicken the sauce slightly and blend the flavors. Nestle the chicken into the sauce and simmer gently, turning it once, for about 5 minutes per side, or until the chicken is opaque when pierced in the thickest part with the tip of a small sharp knife. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

4 Meanwhile, make the raita: In a medium bowl, whisk the yogurt, cilantro, lemon zest, lemon juice, and cumin to blend. Using the fine holes of a box grater, grate the cucumber into the yogurt mixture. Stir to blend and season to taste with salt and pepper.

5 Transfer each chicken breast half to a dinner plate. Stir the spinach into the sauce and cook for about 2 minutes, or until it wilts. Stir in the cilantro.

6 Spoon the sauce over the chicken and serve with the rice and raita.

Perfect Rice

Rice is the perfect canvas for many dishes, ready to soak up a delicious sauce. There are many different kinds of rice sold in the market today. Aromatic rice, such as basmati or jasmine, has a more interesting flavor and texture than standard long-grain white rice, although the latter makes a reliable side dish for simply cooked chops and fish fillets. If your rice has boiled over in the past, it was probably because the pan was too small. Choose a saucepan that easily holds the rice and water with enough room for the rice to triple in size. Use a heavy-bottomed pan to keep the rice from sticking, and be sure the lid fits tightly. Serves 4

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cooking Time: 15 to 20 minutes, plus 5 minutes standing time

1 cup long-grain white rice

11/2 cups water

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 In a small heavy saucepan, bring the rice, 1V cups water, and salt to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover the saucepan, and simmer gently for about 15 minutes, or until the water has been absorbed and the rice is tender. Don’t stir the rice during cooking, as this can release starches that will lead to sticking.

2 Fluff the rice with a fork and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes before serving.

VARIATION: PERFECT JASMINE OR BASMATI RICE Substitute jasmine or basmati rice for the white rice. Imported rice, such as basmati and jasmine, is often coated with a fine powder to protect it through long periods of storage during transport. The powder should be rinsed off before cooking the rice. Put the rice in a sieve and rinse under cold running water, stirring the rice with your hand, until the water runs relatively clear. Drain well and proceed. There’s no need to rinse domestic long-grain white rice.

The aromas from this dish—roasting chicken, with sweetness from the squash—evoke autumn. It just smells like a comforting and indulgent family dinner from my childhood. With those memories in mind, I created this main-course salad with its pleasing mix of bitter, crunchy, and sweet by pairing roasted kabocha with endives and apples. Part of eating well is experimenting with new choices to expand your horizons.

Fennel-Roasted Chicken and Winter Squash with Endive-Apple Salad

serves 4

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 35 minutes

Chicken and Squash

8 chicken thighs (with skin and bones)

2 tablespoons fennel seeds, coarsely crushed (use a mortar and pestle or crush under a heavy skillet)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 small or 1/2 large kabocha or acorn squash (about 21/4 pounds), halved if whole, seeded, and cut into 1-inch-wide wedges

2 tablespoons olive oil

Tarragon-Dijon Vinaigrette

3 tablespoons cider vinegar

3 tablespoons minced shallots

2 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh tarragon

W cup extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Salad

6 ounces Belgian endive (about 2 heads),

5 ounces baby arugula (about 8 cups not packed)

1 Fuji or Gala apple, cored and very thinly sliced

3/4 cup walnuts, toasted (see Chef’s Note, page 123), and very coarsely chopped

3/4 cup coarsely crumbled blue cheese

1 To roast the chicken and squash: Preheat the oven to 450°F.

2 On a large heavy baking sheet, toss the chicken with 1 tablespoon of the fennel seeds to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Arrange the chicken pieces well apart on the baking sheet. Roast the chicken on the bottom shelf of the oven for 10 minutes.

3 Meanwhile, on another large heavy baking sheet, toss the squash with the oil and the remaining 1 tablespoon fennel seeds to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Arrange the squash cut side down in a single layer on the baking sheet.

4 Move the chicken to the top shelf of the oven and place the squash on the bottom shelf. Roast for 25 minutes, or until the squash is tender and the undersides are deep golden brown and the chicken shows no sign of pink when pierced at the bone with the tip of a small sharp knife.

5 Meanwhile, make the vinaigrette: In a medium bowl, whisk the vinegar, shallots, honey, mustard, and tarragon until blended. Whisk in the oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

6 To assemble the salad and serve: Remove hard cores from the endive. Cut the small leaves in half lengthwise, and quarter the large leaves lengthwise. In a large bowl, toss the endive, arugula, and apple slices with about half of the vinaigrette. Divide the salad among four dinner plates. Top each with 2 chicken thighs and some squash, and sprinkle with the walnuts and blue cheese. Drizzle the remaining vinaigrette over and around the salads and serve immediately.

Who doesn’t love meatballs in basil-scented tomato sauce? But who would have thought that they could still be on the family table when you are trying to eat healthfully? These are so juicy and satisfying that you won’t need the pasta. The recipe makes fairly large meatballs with a generous amount of sauce, allowing for a single ball per serving. Trust me, one will be plenty.

Turkey Meatballs with Marinara Sauce

serves 8

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 40 minutes

Marinara Sauce

3 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup finely chopped shallots

6 large garlic cloves, finely chopped

4 large sprigs of fresh thyme

1 bay leaf

1/2 cup dry white wine

Two 28-ounce cans whole tomatoes, undrained

1/2 cup loosely packed torn fresh basil leaves

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Meatballs

11/2 cups diced (3/4-inch) crustless Italian or French bread (about 2 ounces)

2/3 cup reduced-fat (2%) milk

1/2 cup finely chopped shallots

5 large garlic cloves, finely chopped

1/3 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons kosher salt

11/2 teaspoons sweet paprika

1 large egg

2 pounds ground turkey

1/4 cup olive oil

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

1 To make the marinara sauce: Heat a wide heavy pot over medium heat. Add the oil, then add the shallots and garlic and cook, stirring often, for about 2 minutes, or until tender but not browned. Add the thyme, bay leaf, and wine, then add the tomatoes. Crush them with a potato masher to break them up.

2 Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for about 25 minutes, or until the liquid has reduced slightly and the flavors are well blended. Discard the thyme stems and bay leaf. Stir in the basil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

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