Sunday, January 9, 2011

An A-List Dinner!

One of my New Year's Resolutions was to cook a little bit more for myself.  If you've never had the pleasure of doing so, cooking for one is hard, and a little depressing.  I'd cook my favorite meals for myself, and then feast on the leftovers for the rest of the week.  While this was good for my wallet and for my waistline, it was not as good for my morale.  After about the third night of the same thing.  Again.  I'd get sick of whatever it was.  It would then sit in my fridge until I decided that I had gone bad and would toss whatever left overs into the garbage.

But not anymore.  I've decided, no resolved, to cook a little bit more for myself.  Like multiple meals in a week.  Freezing leftovers for later when I was no longer sick of whatever it was I had been eating for the past week.  This idea has kind of evolved into a two-meal/week concept.  I'll cook two meals a week, more than likely one on Sunday and one on Monday.  It'll be a refreshing change from the same thing every.single.night but not so much that I can't manage cooking twice.  Plus hopefully I'll have a few things stored away in the freezer when school does get to be too much to cook twice a week.

Tonight was my first night!  I made this couscous/shrimp/sausage thing and it was good!  Here's how its done:

First things first, I bought a package of turkey sausage but of course didn't get a picture until it was too late.  Anyways, I froze half of the package but browned the other half in the new frying pan I got for Christmas:

I got kind of worried about getting trichinosis from consuming under cooked pork, so I cut up the sausage to make sure it was cooked all the way through (next time I think I might just buy the roll of turkey sausage, it would have been way easier):

Once I was pretty convinced the sausage was done, I took it out of the frying pan and started prepping some of the other stuff.

First I made the couscous.  If you've never had couscous its kind of like rice, but smaller and more granular.  This is the brand I used:

I prepared it according to the directions on the back of the box.  When it was done I let it sit in the covered pot until I was ready for it.  This is what it should look like when its fully cooked:

While this was cooking, I did all of the prep work I would need for the rest of the meal.  First of all I got the shrimp ready.  I bought jumbo shrimp that had already been peeled:

All I did was removed the tails and washed the shrimp really well.  Just a tip: when cooking with shrimp, always, always, always, always use cold water.  Shrimp cooks very quickly so anything warmer than cold water will start the cooking process.  

Once the shrimp were de-tailed and fully cleaned, I turned my attention to this cast of characters:

Now I have been taught at least 6,000 times how to properly cut both a bell pepper and an onion so that all of the pieces are even and nice looking, but its one of those things that my brain just does not want to remember.  So chopping veggies is always a bit of an adventure for me.  

Anyways, I chopped up one green  bell pepper:

And half of an onion:

And then crushed garlic until I was tired of using the garlic press (the phrase "too garlicky" like "too chocolatey" is a foreign concept to me).  I'd say I probably crushed about 5 or 6 cloves of garlic:

When it was all done it looked like this:

Now I sauteed these bad boys in the same pan I had used for the sausage.  Sausage grease and all.  Once they veggies looked like this I stopped (the onions should be a little translucent):

Once I reached this stage I added one can of crushed tomatoes:

I brought all of this to a simmer and let it simmer some more.  Then I added the shrimpies, which made my pan look something like this:

I covered the pan and let it cook for a few minutes until the shrimp were almost all the way cooked through.  Remember what I said earlier?  Shrimp cooks quickly, they went from raw to almost fully done in about 3 minutes.  At this point I added the sausage:

And then I let this cook down a little bit too (notice a pattern?).  The sausage was already cooked by the time I added it back to the mixture, but I let everything simmer together for a little bit.  Then I added the couscous:

The couscous was great.  It really absorbed all of the liquid, much better than a pasta would have.   I mixed it all together and got this:

Which was at least as good as it looks, if not better.  I used shrimp and sausage because that's what the recipe called for, but this would have been equally good with chicken.  I definitely recommend this easy, one pot meal!

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