Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve and The Feast of the Seven Fishes

I haven't really talked about our Christmas plans on my blog because we don't have a ton of plans. We decided to stay here this year and spend Christmas just our little family. We are going to wake up in our own beds tomorrow morning and relax, eat, open presents and just chill. I can't wait. I will share my Christmas day menu with you all soon (after Christmas, obviously). With that being said, we're having some people over for dinner on tonight.

I wasn't too sure about making some big crazy prime rib or something (because I like cooking, but don't want to eff myself over and be the fool who ends up having to order out on Christmas Eve because something went terribly wrong).

I decided that something much easier, like the traditional Italian Christmas Eve dinner of The Feast of the Seven Fishes. In my apparently warped mind, this was more sane than the alternative. Ha! Now I'm making six seafood dishes (amongst various frozen appetizers) to serve our guests this evening. One of the guests is bringing a seafood dish, so I only have to make six recipes instead of seven (should lighten the load a little bit, at least).

Here's what I'm making.

Shrimp Cocktail (because I'm being lazy on this one)

Baked Scallops

Lemon Garlic Flounder I'm using Flounder instead of Tilapia

Chez Lorraine's Baked Salmon

Fried Calamari

Crab Cakes (I bought these pre-made from our local grocery store, so no recipe, sorry!)

As you can see, most of these recipes are very simple, but the ones I've made before are delicious and the new ones sound fantastic, so I'm excited to get to work in the kitchen!

I'll post an update after Christmas to let you all know that I survived what will undoubtedly be known as "Seafood Extravaganza 2011" or "The Christmas Beth Went Crazy" for generations years to come! Wish me luck!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Spicy Sweet Nuts

I made these nuts last Winter when I was craving some toasty nuts. They are very good, but the flavor is very strong. I could only eat a few at a time, which made them perfect for snacking. They would be great to serve at a holiday party!

4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 cups pecan halves
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup maple syrup
  1. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

  2. Stir the salt, white pepper, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, and cayenne pepper together in a bowl. Add the pecans and toss to coat. Drizzle the melted butter over the pecans; pour onto a baking sheet pan and spread into a single layer.

  3. Stirring occasionally, bake in the preheated oven until slightly toasted, about 10 minutes. Drizzle the maple syrup over the nuts and stir to coat, bake until the nuts are glossy and slightly dark, about 10 minutes more. Allow to cool for 30 minutes before scraping into a bowl to serve.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Chicken Pot Pie

Today I spent naptime cooking dinner for a friend who just had a baby.  I remember when AJ was born, we didn't know anyone (other than the people D worked with).  I had spent several weekend days cooking and freezing meals so that we'd have easy and nutritious dinners to eat once D went back to work and I was left alone with an infant all day long.  This recipe is one of the ones that freezes well, but is also very comforting.

I also like this recipe for new moms because it isn't a tomato based recipe.  It seems like most freezer-friendly meals tend to be tomato heavy, which can give you (and your little one) heartburn or acid reflux. 

I'm very excited to meet her precious baby boy and also to drop off this meal for her!  BTW, I doubled the recipe so I have one to take to her as well as one in my freezer for dinner at a later date!
  • 1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast meat 
  • 1 cup chicken broth 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper 
  • 1 1/2 cups milk 
  • 3 tablespoons butter 
  • 1 onion, chopped 
  • 1 cup chopped celery 
  • 1 cup sliced carrots 
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour 
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can corn, drained 
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can diced potatoes, drained 
  • 1 tablespoon chopped dried parsley 
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme 1 (9 inch) pastry for a 9 inch single crust pie 
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

In a large saucepan over medium high heat, combine the chicken meat, chicken broth, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. Cover and let simmer for 30 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink in the center and the juices run clear. Remove the chicken and let cool.

Pour the remaining chicken broth mixture into a measuring cup. Let stand; spoon off fat. Add enough milk to the broth mixture to equal 2 1/2 cups.

Cut chicken into 1/2 inch pieces.

In the same pan, melt butter or margarine over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, and carrots. Saute, stirring, for 3 minutes. Stir in flour until well blended. Gradually stir in broth mixture. Simmer, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens and boils.

Add the chicken, corn, potatoes, parsley, and thyme. Pour mixture into a 1 1/2 quart deep casserole dish.

Roll out pastry 1 inch larger than the diameter of the casserole dish on a lightly floured surface. Cut slits in the pastry for venting air. Place pastry on top of casserole. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbling. Let cool for 10 minutes and serve.

**If frozen, you can cook from frozen, but I recommend baking for 20-30 minutes before topping with the pie crust so it doesn't burn.


Friday, July 29, 2011

Spicy Eggplant Spread

1/2 c plus 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
2 eggplant, each about 12 oz., peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1/4 tsp red chili flakes
1/4 tsp ground cumin
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
juice of 1 lemon
  1. In a 4-quart deep sauté pan over medium heat, warm 1/4 cup of the olive oil until nearly smoking. Add half of the eggplant and sauté, stirring occasionally, until lightly golden and tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a platter and repeat with 1/4 cup of the olive oil and the remaining eggplant. Transfer to the platter.

  2. Warm 1 Tbs. of the olive oil in the pan. Add the garlic and sauté, stirring often, until just golden, about 1 minute. Add the onion and sauté, stirring occasionally, until tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the chili flakes and cumin until blended and return the eggplant to the pan. Cook, stirring often, until the eggplant is very tender and almost mushy, 6 to 8 minutes more. Remove from the heat and let cool for 5 minutes.

  3. Transfer the eggplant mixture to a food processor or blender and puree until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper, and stir in the parsley, lemon juice and the remaining 2 Tbs. olive oil. Transfer to a sealable container and refrigerate for 1 to 2 days.
I made this as a dip for a party over Memorial Day weekend and I'm very glad that I made a lot extra. It was very good the night I made it, but it was even better a few days later, cold spread over crackers. I recently made it and spread it over crusty bread along with Parmesan cheese to make into a panini. It is very, very good.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Fried Pickles

As I mentioned on my other blog, my father-in-law was in town this weekend and he bought us a deep-fryer while he was here. We decided on Sunday night to fry up a bunch of stuff and it did not disappoint! The shrimp was just your basic egg and panko breading combination (and turned out awesome), but the pickles were made from scratch!

The shrimps.

Fried Pickles

1 (16 ounce) jar dill pickle slices
1/2 c buttermilk
1/2 c all-purpose flour
1 1/2 c fine cornmeal
1 tsp seafood seasoning, such as Old Bay™
1/4 tsp Cajun seasoning, such as Tony Chachere's
1 quart canola oil for frying

1/2 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
1 (12 ounce) jar buttermilk ranch dressing
salt and black pepper to taste

We fried some sandwich stackers along with the regular pickle slices.
  1. Heat fryer to 400 degrees F. In a shallow dish, combine buttermilk, salt, and pepper. Drain pickles, place in buttermilk mixture and set aside.

  2. Pour the flour, cornmeal, seafood seasoning, and Cajun seasoning into a large, resealable plastic bag; shake to mix well.

  3. Remove pickles from bag and drop in hot fryer. Be careful not to overcrowd fryer so pickles cook evenly. Fry until breading is golden brown on all sides. Mix together ranch dressing and Cajun seasoning and set aside.

  4. Place pickles on plate lined with paper towels and serve hot with Cajun ranch dipping sauce.
We also made hush puppies that were from a mix. They were very, very good!

We don't fry a whole lot in our house, but after all is said and done, a deep fryer is definitely the way to go. It was so much easier than it is to try and fry in a pan on the stove. You just have such an even temperature when using a fryer as opposed to a pan.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Shrimp Pad Thai

I made this recipe the other night and while it didn't necessarily satisfy my craving for authentic Shrimp Pad Thai, it was still yummy. I think I'm still going to keep looking for a Pad Thai recipe, but this was an easy weeknight dinner and I will definitely make it again.

16 oz. uncooked spaghetti
1/4 c teriyaki sauce
5 tbsp peanut sauce (I used Bangkok Padang Peanut Sauce)
1/4 tsp Sriracha sauce
2 tsp dark sesame oil
1 tsp minced garlic
4 c snow peas
1/3 c chopped fresh cilantro
1/3 c chopped dry-roasted peanuts
5 lime wedges
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain and set aside.

  2. Combine teriyaki sauce, peanut sauce, and Sriracha, stirring with a whisk.

  3. Heat the sesame oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add minced garlic, and saute 1 minute. Add shrimp; saute for 2 minutes or until shrimp are almost done. Add teriyaki sauce mixture, and cook for 2 minutes or until sauce thickens. Add pasta and snow peas; cook for 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring well. Sprinkle with cilantro and peanuts. Serve with lime wedges.
I served this with frozen egg rolls and sweet and sour sauce for dipping.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Strawberry & Buttermilk Ice Cream

If you read my other blog, This American Wife, you have heard all about my trip to my Hometown and the stops AJ and I made along the way. One of the stops was at the urging of my bloggy BFF, Moe. She told me that we would no longer be BFFs if I didn't make a trip to Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams when we passed through Ohio. I'm so glad we stopped there. I had some of the best (and most exotic) ice cream I've ever eaten.

When I told my Aunt that we were planning to go to Jeni's she was excited. They live near a few of Jeni's locations and had been a few times. When AJ and I got back from our outing, my Aunt handed me an article she had found in a magazine. It was about Jeni's! When I saw the recipe for ice cream base, I could not pass it up. I carried the article with me for 2 weeks until I got home and was able to make it.

If you have an ice cream maker, you MUST, I repeat, you MUST make this recipe.

Strawberry & Buttermilk Ice Cream

1-1/2 c whole milk
2 tbsp cornstarch
2 oz. (4 tbsp) cream cheese, softened
1/8 tsp fine sea salt
1-1/4 c heavy cream
2/3 c sugar
2 tbsp light corn syrup
1/4 c buttermilk

1 jar canned strawberries
  1. Mix 2 tablespoons of milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl to make a smooth slurry. Whisk the cream cheese and salt in a medium bowl until smooth. Fill a large bowl with ice and water.

  2. Combine the remaining milk, cream, sugar, and corn syrup in a 4-quart saucepan, bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and boil for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Bring the mixture back to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring with a heat-proof spatula, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.

  3. Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth. Add all the strawberries and syrup from the jar and the buttermilk and blend well. Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon Ziploc freezer bag and submerge the sealed bag in the ice bath. Let stand, adding more ice as necessary, until cold, about 30 minutes.

  4. Pour the ice cream base into the frozen canister and spin until thick and creamy. Pack the ice cream into a storage container, press a sheet of parchment directly against the surface, and seal with an airtight lid. Freeze in the coldest part of your freezer until firm, at least 4 hours. Makes about 1 quart.
This ice cream is so creamy and delicious, I wish we had more leftover! Its obviously not health food, but what dessert is healthy?

I hope you all enjoy this as much as we did, and if you're ever in Central Ohio, definitely make sure you check out Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Pan Fried Shrimp with Creole Mayo

I made this tonight and served it with cucumber, tomato, and leek salad and homemade garlic potato salad. It was the perfect summer meal (other than the frying). Seriously though, the taste far outweighed the inconvenience of frying.

1/2 c all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp Creole seasoning (such as Tony Chachere's)
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 c fat-free buttermilk
3/4 c dry breadcrumbs
1 lb peeled and deveined large shrimp
1/4 c vegetable oil
2 tbsp mayonnaise
  1. Combine flour, 1 tsp Creole seasoning, and salt in a shallow dish. Pour buttermilk into a shallow dish. Place breadcrumbs in a shallow dish. Dredge shrimp in flour mixture; dip in milk. Dredge shrimp in breadcrumbs; shake of excess breading.

  2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add half of the oil to pan and bring up to temperature. Add half of shrimp; cook 2 minutes on each side or until done. Repeat procedure with remaining oil and shrimp.

  3. Combine mayonnaise and remaining Creole seasoning in a small bowl. Serve Creole mayonnaise with shrimp.
Mmmmmmmmm. Yummy!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

No Recipe Today...

I've been traveling for a while, so I haven't been cooking much lately, but I have been scouring the Interwebs for new stuff to make once I get back home. You should definitely check back here in a week or two for some new stuff that I'm planning to make.

I don't want to post the recipes here without testing them first in my own kitchen, but just know that lots of them are sounding really yummy to me.

For the time being though, since I haven't shared anything in a while, I'll give you an idea of some things I've been eating in the past week.

AJ at Skyline...

Mmmmmmm. So yummy!

When we were in Ohio, AJ and I went to Skyline Chili (which for me, is a big treat, because we don't have any of them in Hometown, USA).

If you're ever in Ohio, go here.

Mmm. Salty Caramel for me and Wildberry Lavender for AJ.

We also went to Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream while we were in Ohio and got some of the most delicious ice cream I've ever eaten. When I told my Aunt we were going, her eyes got all big! Then when we got back, she had found an article about Jeni's in a magazine and tore it out for me. The article included a base recipe that Jeni's ice cream is made from. You can bet that as soon as I get home I'm going to test it out and then blog about it here, so you definitely want to stick around a few days!

Yummy pizza.

We've also had some Hometown, USA pizza, and several homemade meals as well. Tonight I'm making my Martha Stewart's Chicken with Tomatoes and Mushrooms for dinner.

And that folks, is where I'm at right now. I promise there are fun things coming up, just nothing in the next week or so. I should be home a week from today, so mid-week next week should bring new and exciting recipes to this blog. See you then!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Zucchini Gratin

During the summer we always tend to have an excess of zucchini and yellow summer squash. These things grow like crazy and there are only so many loaves of zucchini bread you can eat before you want to leave the zucchini out in the garden for the animals! Here's another great way to use up some of that excess!

This is a super yummy side dish and it feeds a lot of people! You can thank Pat and Gina Neely for this one.

Neely's Zucchini Gratin

2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
6 zucchini (or yellow squash), sliced into half moons 1/4-inch thick
2 plum tomatoes, chopped and seeded
1 tablespoon freshly chopped thyme leaves
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup half-and-half
1/4 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.

  2. Butter an 8 by 8-inch casserole dish.

  3. In a large heavy bottomed saute pan over medium heat, melt butter. Saute onion and garlic until translucent. Add zucchini and tomatoes, about 7 minutes Add thyme, and flour. Season with salt and pepper. Add mixture to the buttered casserole dish

  4. In a medium size bowl, add brown sugar, eggs, and half-and-half. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the milk mixture over the zucchini and sprinkle with both of the cheeses. Bake for 30 minutes.
Mmmm, mmm, mmmmm! Enjoy!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Corn and Black Bean Salad

This is a yummy summer-time recipe! I whipped it up the other day and have been eating it for lunch and on chips for the past few meals. The best part about it is, you can add or omit ingredients based upon what you have in your pantry at any given time!

Corn and Black Bean Salad

1 c frozen (or fresh) corn kernals
1 (14.5 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 small red onion, minced
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp chili powder
salt and pepper, to taste

1/2 c diced tomatoes (optional)
1/2 c diced avocado (optional)
  1. In a bowl combine all ingredients and mix well.
I like to use the frozen corn and as it thaws it gives off a little water. You can add tomatoes and avocado for extra flavor, but I didn't have any. Trust me though, this is just as good without the extra ingredients if all you have is the corn and black beans.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

My Mama's Peach Cobbler

There are few recipes that remind me of childhood and summer more than My Mama's Peach Cobbler. Okay, so there are no recipes that remind me more of childhood and summer. I have vivid memories of working at the neighborhood swimming pool and having my mom bring this down for all us overworked lifeguards.

After a long day in the sun, we would sit around in the guard shack and eat this with spoons, directly from the bowl the way it is meant to be eaten. I know lots of people like to pair cobblers with ice cream, but do me a favor, just make this and eat it plain, right out of the bowl, and you'll understand.

My Mama's Peach Cobbler

1/4 c + 2 tbsp butter
2 c white sugar, divided
3/4 c flour
2 tsp baking powder
dash salt
3/4 c milk
2 c fresh sliced peaches

  1. Melt butter in glass Pyrex bowl (or any oven-safe mixing bowl).
  2. Mix together 1 c of the sugar, the flour, baking powder, salt, and milk. Pour over butter, DO NOT STIR.

  3. Combine peaches with remaining sugar (you may want to use less sugar, depending on how sweet your peaches are). Place on top of batter mixture (again, DO NOT STIR) and bake at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes. When I made this last week it needed a FULL 60 minutes. Don't fear if the sugar is browning around the edges, its just more delish that way!

I had to call my mom for this recipe last summer and I never realized how easy it is to actually make it, but I think that is what makes it all the more magical.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Chinese Style Green Beans

A yummy side dish to go along with Chinese food. I usually make these when I am serving my Ten-Minute Szechuan Chicken and rice. The entire meal is a big hit! Its definitely a healthy alternative to your regular Chinese take-out, which tends to be filled with sodium and other nasties.

1 tablespoon oil, peanut or sesame
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed
1 tablespoon white sugar
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 teaspoons soy sauce
  1. Heat peanut oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in the garlic, and cook until the edges begin to brown, about 20 seconds. Add the green beans; cook and stir until the green beans begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in the sugar, oyster sauce, and soy sauce. Continue cooking and stirring for several minutes until the beans have attained the desired degree of tenderness.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Ten-Minute Szechuan Chicken

I made this recipe one night when I was craving Chinese food. I try to limit the amount we order out because it gets expensive and its not very good for you. This was a great substitute for the little white take-out boxes filled with breaded meat and sodium!

I highly recommend making this next time you get a craving for Chinese. I usually serve it with white rice that I make with chicken broth instead of water (just gives it a little extra flavor) and Chinese green beans.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into cubes
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
5 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon white sugar
3 green onions, sliced diagonally into 1/2 inch pieces
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
  1. Place the chicken and cornstarch into a bag or bowl, and toss to coat. Heat oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Fry the chicken pieces and garlic, stirring constantly until lightly browned.

  2. Stir in the soy sauce, vinegar, sugar and water. Cover, and cook until the chicken pieces are no longer pink inside, 3 to 5 minutes.

  3. Stir in the green onion, and cayenne pepper, cook uncovered for about 2 more minutes. Serve over white rice.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Cucumber Salad Recipes

In case you were on the look-out for more summer time recipes (who isn't) or perhaps you are just going through a cucumber phase like I am, here are a few different easy cucumber side-dish salads you can whip up and throw on the table during the summer!

Tangy Cukes and Onions

3 cucumbers, peeled and sliced
1 sweet onion, thinly sliced
1 c water
1/2 c white sugar
1 tsp salt
2 c white vinegar
  1. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.
  2. When you start running low on veggies, slice more up and add them to the bowl.

  3. NOTE: You'll want to taste this before serving and adjust the ingredients based on your taste, I like it tangy, so you might want to add more sugar and water to yours.

Persian Cucumber Yogurt Salad

1 1/2 c plain yogurt
3 cucumbers, peeled and sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 shallot, finely chopped
5 tablespoons dried dill weed
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
  1. In a medium bowl, stir together the yogurt, cucumbers, garlic, and shallot. Season with dill, salt and pepper. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour to blend flavors.
Both of these are no-cook sides that go with just about any summer dinner you put on the table. Most recently I served the Tangy Cukes with Quiche and the Persian Cukes with Cheeseburgers, hot off the grill. You could even have "salad night" and just make a bunch of summer sides as your meal!

Enjoy, and stay cool, my friends!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Cheese and Sausage Quiche

We have this for dinner a few times a month. D loves breakfast for dinner, and this is a great way for me to feel like we're eating a real meal and not just eggs. It is adapted from a recipe I originally found on, but I pretty much changed everything. Lots of times we just have the quiche, but I also like to serve it alongside a green salad.

1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust
1 lb ground breakfast sausage (we use the spicy kind)
1 large onion, chopped
2 c shredded cheese
5 eggs
1/2 c half-and-half
1/4 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper
  1. Spray pie dish with non-stick cooking spray. Spread pie crust in dish and set aside.

  2. In a skillet, cook sausage until no longer pink, about 10 minutes. Add onion and saute until tender.

  3. Spread 1 c of shredded cheese in pie crust. Top with sausage and onion mixture. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top of sausage. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

  4. In a bowl, whisk together eggs and half-and-half. Pour over the top of the pie. Place pie dish on cookie sheet to catch any spillage.

  5. Bake, uncovered, at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 325 degrees F; bake 30-35 minutes longer or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting.
Now, let's note that you could add veggies of some sort to the quiche, but why mess with the delicious harmony that is sausage, egg, and cheese? I mean, the combination is so classic that McDonald's named a sandwich after it. Don't mess with it.

If you really must get your veggies, serve them as a side to this fantastic dish!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Waldorf Salad with Grilled Chicken

This recipe is a family favorite, and we're having it tonight for dinner! We're big salad eaters, especially during the Summer months when the weather gets too hot to think about really cooking or baking. Don't tell anyone, but I've been known to make this one in the Winter too, I just cook the chicken on the stove or bake it in the oven.

You can switch out the apples for pears, if you like, but we like the crunch of the apple. You can obviously tweak the amount of each ingredient you add to match your own taste.

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper, to taste
2 hearts of romaine lettuce
2 green onions, finely chopped
2 apples, chopped
1/2 c craisins
1/2 c pecans
1/4 c fresh goat cheese
raspberry vinaigrette (or other oil & vinegar based dressing)
  1. Season chicken with garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Cook chicken on medium-hot grill or grill pan until juices run clear. Remove from heat and set aside.

  2. When chicken is cool enough to handle, slice into thin strips.

  3. Wash lettuce thoroughly and chop into bite size pieces. Top with green onions, apples, craisins, pecans, goat cheese, chicken and dressing. Toss to coat and serve immediately!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Cheesy Chicken and Rice Casserole

I don't know about you, but every time we order Chinese food in our house we end up with an excess of white rice that just goes to waste. We have a few meals that we like to make to use up the rice, and this is one of the newest that I threw together a few weeks ago. The pictures are from the first time I made it, and I've made a few changes since then!

Cheese Chicken and Rice Casserole

2-3 chicken breasts
1 tsp olive oil
1 (14.5 oz) can cheddar cheese soup
1 (14.5 oz) can broccoli cheese soup
1/2-1 c milk (depending on how sticky your rice is)
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp parsley
1/2 tsp salt
1 head fresh broccoli (the second time I used frozen)
2 small takeout containers of cooked white rice
I forgot to take a picture before I cut the broccoli florets off the "tree."
  1. Slice raw chicken into bite sized pieces, sprinkle with salt and pepper. In a large saute pan coated with olive oil, cook until no longer pink. Set aside.

  2. Whisk together soup, spices, and some of the milk until smooth. Steam broccoli in the microwave (or on the stove), add to soup mixture and then stir in rice.

  3. In a medium sized casserole dish, place chicken and top with rice mixture. Bake in oven at 350 degrees for 15-30 minutes.
This is a good all-in-one dish that you can add pretty much anything to! The second time I made it, I had some zucchini and I threw that in with the chicken and a chopped onion and it was really good! Its a good way to get some extra veggies into your diet without feeling like you're eating like a rabbit.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Grilled Chicken Pizza

We've had great weather here where we live, so we've been grilling out a lot lately. I've been looking for new grilling recipes to try!

I found this one in Family Circle Magazine and it looked good to me, but I was a little nervous to try it out. The reason being that we're not exactly maverick in our food preparation. We tend to make pizza in the oven, the way our ancestors did. We grill burgers and steaks, not pizza.

After our pizza success last week, I decided to jump in with both feet!

Grilled Chicken Pizza


6 bone-in chicken thighs or bone-in chicken breasts
1 tsp paprika
olive oil

Crust and Toppings

1 canister refrigerated pizza dough
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 c jarred pizza sauce
2 c shredded mozzarella cheese
2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
3 tbsp shredded fresh basil leaves
  1. Prepare chicken. Rub chicken with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and paprika. Place on baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes. Allow chicken to cool slightly and shred.

  2. Roll crust on a lightly floured surface and let rest.

  3. Heat gas grill to medium. Brush pizza dough with some olive oil. Transfer dough to grill, oiled side down. Brush dough top with olive oil. Cover and grill, 3 minutes. Using tongs and a spatula, flip over dough.

  4. Working quickly, spread pizza sauce on dough and top with mozzarella cheese and chicken. Grill 2-3 minutes or until cheese is melted.

  5. Remove pizza to cutting board and top with grated Parmesan and fresh basil and serve.
Now, this was very good, but D wanted me to warn you about something! As the resident griller in our house, he did quite a bit of the work for this meal. Here's what he had to say about it:

"Make sure they know that they have to own a rolling pin to roll out the dough and they need to have all the toppings out at the grill before they start!"

I guess I never mentioned that we don't own a rolling pin. Its not really one of those things that I ever needed. So, instead of rolling my pizza dough out into circles, our dough was in the shape of a square (the way it was when it came out of the canister) and then I cut it in half diagonally so it would fit on the grill.

So folks, the moral of the story is, the pizza was yummy (and it had a nice char-grilled flavor), but the difficulty was a little higher than just popping a pizza in the oven.

Monday, May 30, 2011

A Party Menu

We hosted an engagement party for friends of ours who got engaged over the weekend. We I was in cahoots with the future groom to get the party planned out before he even proposed. Her family was in from out of town, so we wanted to have a celebration with family and friends while they were all in town!

Since I always have trouble coming up with interesting hors d'oeuvres for parties, and figuring out when to make each item so I'm not a hot mess crazy woman the day of the party, I thought I'd share with you the menu I served and how I pulled it off!

To start, we knew that the future Mr. and Mrs. would be going out to eat with their immediate families before the party, so we decided to invite the guests to come around 8:00 pm. This meant that I would only be preparing appetizers and desserts for guests to nibble on. We invited about 30 people, but being Memorial Day Weekend, many were unable to make it. In total we had about 20 people in attendance.

Here's the menu I put together:

Homemade Bread and Butter Pickles
Sweet Onion Relish
Pickled Radishes
Blazin' Buffalo Style Chicken Piadinis
Caprese Skewers
Green Goddess Dip with Crudites
Santa Fe Wraps
Spicy Eggplant Dip with Parmesan Toasts

Knock You Naked Brownies
Orange Chiffon Layer Cake

I chose this menu because it offers a wide-range of snacks for all tastes, and it is also a mixture of prep-ahead and same day recipes. The following is my cooking schedule for a Saturday evening party (if you remember correctly, I already made the Radish Pickles, so that is one less thing to do!):

Make Sweet Onion Relish
Make Bread and Butter Pickles

Grocery shop

Make Eggplant Dip
Make Brownies
Make Cake

Saturday Morning
Make Green Goddess Dip

Saturday Afternoon
Assemble Caprese Skewers
Prep Buffalo Chicken Piadinis

Saturday Evening
Put Piadinis in oven
Pour cocktails and enjoy the party!

As you can see, there is a lot of work to be done, but in the end, it is very feasible to host guests for cocktails and hors d'oeuvre and still enjoy the party!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

After canning the strawberries the other day, I really wanted to make homemade ice cream. I remember my parents making it when I was a kid and I just remember how much more delicious the homemade ice cream is than store bought. When we were out this weekend, we saw that they had an ice cream maker on sale, so we bought it and Sunday we decided to try it out.

The ice cream maker that we bought came with an instruction manual that contained a recipe, but I decided to look online to see what I could find. The recipe I ended up using was very similar to the one in the manual. Here it is!

Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

2 c sugar
1/3 c all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
6 c milk
6 eggs
3 c heavy or whipping cream
3 tbsp vanilla extract
About 10-20 lbs. cracked ice
About 3 c rock salt or 2 c table salt

  1. In heavy 3 quart saucepan with wire whisk, combine sugar, flour and salt. Beat in milk and eggs until well blended. Cook over medium low heat, stirring frequently, until mixture thickens and coats spoon, about 30 to 45 minutes. (Do not boil or mixture will curdle.) Cover surface with plastic wrap; cool completely, about 3 hours.

  2. Pour cooled egg mixture, cream and vanilla into 5 or 6 quart ice cream freezer can. Place dasher in can; cover; place can in freezer bucket; attach motor or hand crank. Add 2 cups water to bucket.

  3. Fill bucket half full with ice; sprinkle with 1/4 cup rock salt or 3 tablespoons table salt. Add about an inch of ice and 1/4 cup rock salt or 3 tablespoons table salt. Repeat layers of ice and salt until 1" below can lid. Freeze as manufacturer directs, adding more ice and salt as needed. Freezing takes about 35 minutes.

  4. After freezing, ice cream will be soft. Remove motor or crank; wipe lid clean. Remove dasher; with spoon, pack down ice cream. Cover surface of ice cream with waxed paper. Replace lid and put cork in hole in center; add more ice and salt to cover lid. Let stand to harden, about 2 to 3 hours, adding ice as needed. Or, place container in home freezer for 2 to 3 hours. Makes about 3 1/2 quarts or 28 servings.

  5. For Strawberry Ice Cream: Prepare egg mixture as in Step 1 for Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream. While egg mixture is cooling, in medium bowl with potato masher or slotted spoon, crush 1 1/2 pints strawberries, hulled with 1 cup sugar and 2 tablespoons lemon juice; let stand about 1 hour. In freezer can, as above, stir cooled mixture, heavy or whipping cream, vanilla, strawberries and 1/4 teaspoon red food color. Freeze and harden as above. Makes about 4 quarts or 32 servings.

  6. Chocolate-Rich Ice Cream: Prepare egg mixture as in Step 1 for Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream except use 3 cups sugar. Remove egg mixture from heat; stir in 1 (8 oz.) package unsweetened chocolate squares until chocolate is melted. In freezer can, as above, stir cooled egg mixture, heavy or whipping cream, and 1 tablespoon vanilla extract. Freeze and harden as above. Makes about 4 quarts or 32 servings.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Fish Tacos with Cilantro-Lime Crema and Tomato Apple Salsa

Part of this recipe came from Cooking Light and the other part was created by me. Enjoy!

1/4 c thinly sliced green onions
1/4 c chopped fresh cilantro
3 tbsp fat-free mayonnaise
3 tbsp reduced-fat sour cream
1 tsp grated lime rind
1 1/2 tsp fresh lime juice
1/4 tsp salt
1 garlic clove, minced


1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp ground red pepper
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 pounds tilapia fillets
cooking spray
4 taco shells
Tomato Apple Salsa
  1. Preheat oven to 425°.

  2. To prepare crema, combine the first 8 ingredients in a small bowl; set aside.

  3. To prepare tacos, combine cumin and next 5 ingredients (through garlic powder) in a small bowl; sprinkle spice mixture evenly over both sides of fish. Place fish on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 425° for 9 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork or until desired degree of doneness.

  4. Place fish in a bowl; break into pieces with a fork. Heat tortillas according to package directions. Divide fish evenly among taco shells; top each with salsa and crema.

Tomato Apple Salsa

1 sweet apple (we like Braeburn), chopped
1/2 package grape tomatoes, chopped
1 jalapeno, minced
1/4 red onion, minced
lime juice
olive oil
white vinegar
  1. Mix all ingredients together in a medium bowl. Spoon onto fish tacos for sweetness and added crunch.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Canning Strawberries

I might be crazy.

If you asked my husband he would tell you that I am without a doubt. He wouldn't even hesitate before answering.

We've gotten at least a pint of strawberries per week (but usually about 4 dry pints/week) in our farm box. Now, I don't know about you, but we can only eat so many strawberries in one week. Add to that the fact that they are so fresh that they practically rot on the way home from picking up the box and I decided to try something new!

I knew we were getting 2 pints in our box this week and since we live in "strawberry country" I stopped on the way to pick our box up and bought a few more pints. I came home and got started on my mission:

Canning Strawberries. (!)

The website that I used for guidance claims that the finished product can be used for a myriad of things, like flavoring homemade ice cream, topping for pancakes, sundaes, strawberry shortcake, etc.

Sounds good to me!

Let's get started.

Canning Strawberries

4 (or more) pints fresh strawberries
white sugar
canning supplies

  1. Start by preparing your strawberries. You'll need to clean them, hull them (or if you're lazy like me, just cut the tops off) and halve or quarter them if they're big.
  2. Place in a large stock pot and add 1 cup of white sugar for every 2 quarts (8 cups) of strawberries. Let the mixture sit for at least 2 hours, or as long as overnight. Syrup will form naturally at the bottom of the pot.

  3. Place pot on stove top and heat (but make sure the berries don't cook). Prepare cans and hot water bath for cans.
  4. Fill jars with berries and top with syrup. Leave about 1/2 inch at the top of the jar. Place lids and rings on jars and tighten.
  5. Gently place jars in hot water bath and process for 15-20 minutes.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Soothing Lettuce Wraps

I'm not sure why we labeled P.F. Chang's Lettuce Wraps "soothing," but my sister started it and since that fateful day 100 years ago, we've called them that, even in the restaurant where the server inevitably looks at us like we've each grown an extra head.

I digress.

I caught a wild hair a few months ago and bought a bottle of Peanut sauce and had every intention of using it immediately. Well, fast forward a few months and I think you know where I stand (pizza crust in my freezer for 5 months, anyone?).
I decided that it was time to use it. Didn't matter how, we were gonna drink it if we had to. To be honest, I was sick of pushing it from one side of the pantry to the other whenever I needed something located behind it.

I found a recipe for {Soothing} Chicken Lettuce Wraps and it called for Peanut Sauce, so I decided to make them. OMG. D told me that usually during dinner I pick at my food and claim that I ate a late snack (or half a bag of Tostitos and a jar of salsa). He said it was almost funny because I was literally inhaling these bad boys, sauce running down my arm. {It wasn't pretty, folks.}

Here's the recipe:

Soothing Lettuce Wraps

1 rotisserie chicken, skinned and boned, meat pulled into large chunks
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 head fresh cabbage
1 small onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons white sugar
black pepper to taste
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 head green leaf lettuce, leaves separated, rinsed, and patted dry
1 cup Thai-style peanut sauce

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken, garlic, ginger, cabbage, onion, sugar, and pepper. Pour in hoisin sauce, soy sauce, and vinegar. Bring to a simmer, and cook and stir until the chicken is hot, and the liquid has been absorbed, about 10 minutes.

  2. To serve, line a platter with lettuce leaves, and pour the chicken mixture into the center of the platter. Each diner assembles their own wraps by placing some of the chicken mixture onto a lettuce leaf, adding a little peanut sauce, then rolling into a cylinder.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Chicken with Tomatoes and Mushrooms

via Martha Stewart

4-6 bone-in chicken thighs
1 tbsp olive oil
1 pound mushrooms, trimmed and quartered
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 can (14.5 ounces) stewed tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  1. Season chicken with salt and pepper. In a large (5-quart) saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, heat oil over medium-high heat; swirl to coat bottom of pan. Cook chicken, turning when it easily releases from the pan, until golden, 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

  2. Add mushrooms; cover, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, tomatoes, and oregano. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, covered, until tomatoes have broken down, 10 to 15 minutes.

  3. Return chicken and any accumulated juices to pan; cover, and cook until chicken is opaque throughout, 4 to 6 minutes. Turn chicken to coat with sauce, and serve.
This is a great meal to serve guests as it is fairly easy to make and feeds a crowd, just add more chicken and another can of tomatoes! Serve alongside warm, crusty bread and a green salad and you've got yourself a hearty Sunday (or weeknight) dinner.

This recipe is definitely a favorite in our house!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Buffalo Chicken Dip

1 original flavored rotisserie chicken
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 8oz blocks plain cream cheese (room temperature)
1 bottle of hot sauce
1 cup of ranch dressing or to taste
Tortilla chips, for dipping
  1. Shred rotisserie chicken in large bowl. Add cream cheese. Mix well. Slowly add shredded cheese, hot sauce, and ranch to taste. Stir until mixed well.

  2. Spread into cooking pan, sprinkle shredded cheese on top. Heat in oven for 20 minutes at 325-degrees or until hot and bubbly. Serve hot with tortilla chips.
It should be known that you can dip just about anything in this! D has been known to just eat spoonfuls of it right out of the pan (shhh, don't tell!).

*I also suppose you could roast your own chicken to use in this recipe, and if you have the time for that, then more power to you! I'm usually struggling to get a shower in most days, so rotisserie chicken it is!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

PW's Soul Sweet 'Taters

These are so good.

There is really nothing else to say about them except "make them."

We made these for Thanksgiving dinner this year and last week I bought sweet potatoes at the grocery store, forgetting that we had some coming in our farm box. This excess of sweet potatoes got me thinking about what to make to use some of them up. I honestly couldn't resist making this scrumptious dessert side-dish.

*Warning: Do not make unless you're prepared to eat the entire pan. Also let it be known that PW is not famous (infamous) for her healthy recipes.

PW's Soul Sweet 'Taters

2 whole medium sweet potatoes
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c milk
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 c pecans, chopped
1/4 c flour
3/8 sticks butter
  1. Wash sweet potatoes and bake them in a 375-degree oven for about 30-35 minutes, or until fork tender. When they are finished cooking, slice them open and scrape out the flesh into a large bowl.

  2. Add sugar, milk, egg, vanilla extract and salt. With a potato masher, mash them until lumpy. Do not over mash.

  3. In a separate bowl, add brown sugar, pecans, flour, and butter. With a pastry cutter or fork, mash together until thoroughly combined.

  4. Spread the sweet potato mixture into a regular baking dish and sprinkle the crumb mixture all over the top.

  5. Bake in a 400-degree oven for 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

That is it. Its really a pretty easy recipe, and if you're like me, you already have most of the ingredients in your pantry. Please also note that this recipe can very easily be doubled for a larger crowd (as I am posting half the original recipe). I made it this way because there are only 3 of us eating at our house (no, AbbyDog doesn't get to eat dinner with us) and we have leftovers in the fridge!

Make this next time you have company over or just want a special side dish at dinner. Just don't say I didn't warn you!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Carmelized Onion and Arugula Pizza

I've had a pizza crust in my freezer since the week we moved into our house for a while and I decided that I needed to use it. We're not huge pizza people, and we live a ways from the nearest "town" so good pizza is not something we can just order. We're also from a city that is famous for its pizza, so we're a little picky and a tad judgmental.

Needless to say, when we want pizza, we usually fly home and have the good stuff, haha, I wish! Okay, so we just buy a store bought crust (yes, I know you can make your own, but I'm lazy) and load whatever toppings we can find on top. Pop it in the oven and (depending on which brand of crust you bought) 8-22 minutes later, its ready to eat!

So anyway, last night we had "pizza" on the menu and I just was not feeling the usual red sauce, onion, green pepper, sausage, cheese combo we normally do (plus we don't have any sausage). I ventured over to my trusty friend, Google, and did a little searching. After that came a little mixing and matching, followed by some praying.

Here's the result:

Caramelized Onion and Arugula Pizza
snippets taken from Pete Bakes! and Everyday with Rachael Ray

1 whole wheat thin pizza crust
1 c shredded mozzarella cheese
caramelized onions (recipe below)
white sauce (recipe below)
1-2 c arugula
  1. Preheat oven according to directions on pizza crust.

  2. Spread white sauce over crust.

  3. Place caramelized onions on crust and sprinkle mozzarella cheese over the top.

  4. On a pizza stone, bake for time specified on crust packaging.

  5. Remove pizza from oven and pile arugula on top of hot pizza. Slice and enjoy!

White sauce

2 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
1 c milk
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tbsp fresh basil, minced
1/2 c parmigiano-reggiano cheese, shredded
  1. Heat the butter in a small saucepan. Add the flour and stir until thoroughly mixed.

  2. Slowly whisk in milk, adding gradually. Stir in remaining ingredients.

  3. Sauce will thicken upon standing.

Caramelized Onions

3 tbsp butter
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2-1/2 pounds onions, thinly sliced
salt and pepper
2 tsp sugar
  1. In a large skillet, melt the butter in the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper, and cook, stirring constantly, until the onions begin to soften, about 5 minutes.

  2. Stir in the sugar and cook, scraping the browned bits off the bottom of the pan frequently, until the onions are golden brown, about 20 minutes.

We had arugula in our farm box this week, so we used that, but I'm sure that it would be just as good with fresh spinach or even omitting the greens all together! You could also add Italian sausage to the pizza if you wanted some extra protein.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Homemade Bread

This weekend our neighborhood had its "garage sale weekend" and we headed out in the car to drive around the streets of our 'hood and look at other people's crap. I told D that there was a specific list of things that I was looking for and they included:

  • A Kelty Kids Carrier
  • A Bread Machine
  • A B.O.B. Double Stroller (for future purposes, no announcements being made)
  • A decent dresser to refinish for our bedroom
  • Good quality baby clothes and toys
I honestly was not expecting to find any of those things (aside from the baby clothes and toys). And as we were driving around we passed what looked to be an inviting sale. We parked the car, hopped out and the first thing we saw was a bread machine! When the woman said that we could have it for $5, I jumped at the chance! I figured that even if it didn't work I'd only be out $5.

Well folks, it works!

Yesterday I made my first ever batch of homemade bread in my brand new gently used bread machine. Here's the recipe I used:

Light Oat Bread


1 1/4 cups water
2 tablespoons margarine
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast

  1. Add ingredients to bread machine pan in order recommended by your manufacturer. Use regular light setting.

Oh, I should also mention that it is {according to D} the most amazing bread he's ever eaten. Definitely try this recipe out if you're looking for a good bread machine recipe!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Grilled Eggplant

via The Happy Housewife

The hubs loves eggplant. I'm more of a fair-weather fan, myself. If someone puts a plate of eggplant parmesan in front of me, then I love it, otherwise, meh. We had the Spicy Vegetable Curry a few nights ago and last time I made it, I made the mistake of putting an entire eggplant in the curry. Do not do this. Only put some in and save the rest of your eggplant for another day.

This leftover eggplant brings me to this recipe that I found online. You can click on the link above to see the original, but I didn't change anything, so you can just stay here. ;) We were already planning to grill tonight, so throwing this together was pretty easy, not to mention we already have all the ingredients in the pantry (you probably do, too!).

1 large eggplant
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp basil
1/4 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp thyme
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Mix all the ingredients together except the eggplant.

Cut the eggplant lengthwise into 1/2-inch thick slices. Brush the sliced eggplant on both sides with the marinade mixture. Let sit for 5 minutes.

Brush again with the mixture and place on a hot grill.

Grill for 7 minutes and flip. Grill for another 7 minutes and serve.

That's it! Super easy, and healthy to boot!

Green Chile Turkey Burgers with Spicy Mayo

I made this recipe up last summer when a friend of ours gave us a home-canned jar of banana peppers that she grew in her garden. We were looking for excuses to eat them and they pair perfectly with these burgers!


1 lb ground turkey
1 can diced green chiles, drained
1 egg
1/2 c breadcrumbs
1 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
lettuce, for serving
red onion, thinly sliced for serving
mild banana peppers for serving
4 whole wheat hamburger buns

Spicy Mayo:

1/4 c mayonnaise
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

  1. In a large bowl, combine turkey, green chiles, egg, breadcrumbs, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Mix until all ingredients are incorporated. (You may need to add more breadcrumbs if the mixture seems especially wet.) Form into four equal patties and set aside.

  2. Heat grill to medium and place burger patties directly on grates. When patties release easily from grate, about 6 minutes, flip and cook another 5-6 minutes, until juices run clear.

  3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together mayo, lemon juice, and cayenne pepper. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

  4. Place burgers on buns and top with lettuce, onion, banana peppers, and spicy mayo. Enjoy!
This is one of our absolute favorite go-to meals! I make it at least every other week and they just never get old! Serve with a side of asparagus or baked sweet potato fries for an easy weeknight meal.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Skirt Steak Pitas

via Family Circle

Makes 4 Servings
Prep 15 minutes
Grill 6 minutes

3 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp Greek seasoning
1 tsp brown sugar
1 lb skirt steak
1-7 oz container Greek yogurt
2 oz reduced-fat feta cheese, crumbled
4 Roma tomatoes, cut in half from top to bottom
1 large red onion, peeled and cut into ½-inch slices
4 whole wheat pitas
1 c shredded lettuce

  1. In a small bowl, blend olive oil, vinegar, mustard, 1 teaspoon of the Greek seasoning and brown sugar. Reserve 3 tablespoons of the mixture. Place the remainder in a large re-sealable plastic bag. Add the steak and marinate in the refrigerator for 1-4 hours.

  2. In a second small bowl, mix together the yogurt and feta; cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

  3. Heat gas grill to medium-high or coals in charcoal grill to medium hot. Lightly coat grill rack with olive oil or cooking spray.

  4. Brush tomatoes and onion with some of the reserved oil and vinegar mixture. Place tomatoes on grill, cut-side down along with onion slices. Grill for 3 minutes; turn, brush with remaining oil mixture and grill tomatoes for additional 2 minutes and onions for 3 minutes, until tender. Remove to a plate to keep warm.

  5. Remove steak from bag and grill about 2 minutes per side or until internal temperature reaches 130 degrees on an instant-read thermometer for medium-rare. Remove from grill and allow to stand 2 minutes before thinly slicing.

  6. Serve pita slightly warmed and layer with lettuce, yogurt mixture, and sliced steak. Accompany with grilled tomatoes and onion.

Per serving:
555 calories; 25 g fat (8 g sat); 37 g protein; 48 g carbohydrate; 7 g fiber; 876 mg sodium; 62 mg cholesterol

I was trying to come up with new Summer time recipes now that the weather is warming up and when I got the new Family Circle in the mail this week, this recipe caught my eye immediately! Its an all-in-one recipe, meaning that the side and the main dish are all included in this recipe.


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Radish Pickles

via Tasty Kitchen

We got radishes in our Farm box this week and I was trying to think of a creative way to use them. We're not big radish eaters in our house, but we do like pickles! Add in the fact that I don't want to waste any of the fresh, local produce we get in our box each week, I have been wanting to try canning something. This recipe seemed like the perfect excuse to try!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Difficulty Easy
Servings 4


2 bunches Radishes
1 large Yellow Onion
1 cup Rice Vinegar
1 cup Water
1 pinch Salt
½ cups Sugar

  1. Wash radishes really, really well. Slice radishes and onion as thinly as possible. You can use a mandolin, but a good sharp knife works well (plus I don't have a mandolin). Pack sliced radishes and onion in jars as tightly as possible.

  2. Place water, rice vinegar, and sugar in a sauce pan and let rest until sugar and salt dissolve. Once everything is dissolved, bring to a simmer. (I have to admit, the sugar in mine didn't dissolve until I simmered.) Simmer for about 15 minutes. Turn off heat and allow to cool. Pour cooled mixture over the radishes, leaving about 1/2 inch of head space. Use a knife or skewer to remove air bubbles.

  3. Process in a hot water bath for 20 minutes, remove from water and as the jars cool you should hear the tops "pop." If they pop, pickles are good (unopened) for one year. If they don't pop, eat within one month.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Spicy Vegetable Curry

via Skinny Bitch Ultimate Everyday Cookbook

Once or twice a week we like to have a vegetarian meal (not only because it helps our pocketbook, but its healthy and yummy as well). This is a favorite in our house! Sometimes I add tofu to the veggies, but its a hearty meal even without it!

Makes 4 servings

3 tbsp grapeseed oil
1 tsp chopped fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 (14-ounce) can light coconut milk
1 1/2 cups water
2 tsp red curry paste
2 tbsp white miso paste
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 c mushroom halves
1/2 c 1-inch zucchini slices, halved
1/2 c cubed eggplant
1/3 c sliced okra
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tsp lime juice for garnish
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes for garnish
freshly cooked jasmine rice, for serving

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the ginger and garlic and saute for 30 seconds. Add the coconut milk, water, red curry paste, miso and curry powder, and stir until well combined. Reduce heat to low and simmer 20 minutes.

  2. In a medium frying pan, heat the remaining oil over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, zucchini, eggplant and okra and saute about 3 minutes. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Add the vegetable mixture to the curry sauce and cook an additional 10 minutes. Garnish with the lime juice and red pepper flakes. Serve with jasmine rice.

Per serving:
130 calories; 11 g fat (1 g sat.); 0 mg cholesterol; 7 g carbohydrate; 7 g fiber; 12 g protein