Thursday, September 6, 2012

Easy Shrimp Pasta for Two

I originally intended to make something else for dinner but didn't have time to swing by the grocery store for dinner tonight.  Looking through my recipe stash I found this one which had pretty simple ingredients that I usually have on hand.  It was a winner!!!

Easy Shrimp Pasta for Two
(I doubled it for my family of 4)

2 T balsamic vinaigrette dressing
1/2 lb shrimp, cleaned
3/4 cup chopped tomatoes (about 1 medium)
2 oz (1/4 pkg) cream cheese, cubed
2 T freshly chopped basil
1/4 lb (4 oz) fettuccine, cooked and drained
2 T shredded Parmesan
*I added a bunch of asparagus, chopped into 1 inch pieces

Pour dressing over shrimp in small bowl; cover.  Refrigerate 20 minutes to marinate.  Heat large skillet on medium heat; add shrimp.  Cook 3 minutes or until they turn pink, stirring frequently.  Remove from skillet, using slotted spoon and set aside.

Add tomatoes, (and asparagus if you like) reserved marinade, cream cheese, and 1 T basil to skillet; cook and stir 3 minutes until well blended; set aside.  I added a couple of tablespoons of plain Greek yogurt to lighten up the sauce just a little.  Add shrimp; cook until heated through, stirring occasionally.

Serve fettuccine covered in shrimp mixture.  Sprinkle with basil, cheese, and a few more chopped tomatoes.

(Serves 2)

Monday, August 27, 2012

Orange Beef Pasta

This was a great weeknight, quick delicious dinner.  A stir fry with a noodle twist!  We all liked it....and I added extra carrots and used an entire bag of frozen broccoli instead of snow peas.  I think edamame would be super to add as well. This was a hit with everyone at my house, especially the 6 year old!

Orange Beef Pasta

8 oz package vermicelli
1 T vegetable oil
2 carrots, cut into 1/4 inch slices (I used 4)
1 1/2 cups snow peas, trimmed (I used a bag of frozen broccoli...the whole thing!)
1 14 oz can beef broth
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup orange marmalade (I probably added 2 more tablespoons after tasting and the orange wasn't highlighted as much as I'd like.  Also added a couple of tablespoons of orange juice)
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 lb. cooked beef for stir fry (I cooked it in a little sesame oil, pepper, and a few shakes of soy sauce)
Toasted sesame seeds (optional)

Saute beef as directed above.  Then prepare pasta according to package directions.

Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add carrots and snow peas, and stir fry 4-5 minutes or until crisp tender.  Stir in beef broth, soy sauce, marmalade, and red pepper.

Bring to a boil.  Remove from heat; add beef and hot cooked pasta; toss well to combine.  Serve immediately.  Top with toasted sesame seeds if desired.

(Southern Living September 2008)
(Serves 4-6)

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Margarita Pork Tenderloin

We've grilled pork tenderloin many different ways.  This one was a standout.  Was it the marinade or the fact that I sliced it before grilling?  Or both?  Either way, I thought it was fantastic and the tenderloin was only in the marinade for about an hour.

You should definitely have a margarita while you put this meal together.  Or a Mexican Martini.  I did......

For 2 littles and 2 bigs, we used only one tenderloin, so halve marinade if that works best for you.

Margarita Pork Tenderloin

3 garlic cloves, minced
NOT 1 green onion
1/2 jalapeno pepper, minced
3T chopped fresh cilantro
2T fresh lime juice
1 1/2 T tequila
1 T fresh orange juice
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
2 pork tenderloins
*I added a little cumin to the marinade*

 Combine everything except tenderloin into gallon Ziploc bag.  Cut pork diagonally into 1-inch think slices, and add to marinade.  Seal and chill about an hour, turning/mixing occasionally.
(this is the beautiful view inside the bag!)

Remove pork from marinade, discarding marinade.

Grill, covered, over high heat (400-500 degrees) 3-4 minutes on each side or until done.

Easy and delicious!

(Serves 6)
(Southern Living, April 2005)

Texas Tuna

This recipe is totally inspired by my favorite sandwich shop, Thundercloud Subs.  Not only is it MY favorite, but my very intelligent so thinks it's pretty great too!  We've been there for several lunch dates this summer...when it's his turn to pick, I know where we're going!

While he usually gets a small grown up sub now, I usually mix it up a little.  I'd never tried their tuna sandwich until my husband said he loved it.  Well, I of course did too, and one Sunday afternoon decided to make a copycat version.  It's not the same, but it's delish, of course!!

Texas Tuna

1 pouch tunafish (or 2 if you're sharing)
avocado (sliced on top or mashed in to give tuna a binder)
pickled jalapeno slices, chopped
dill relish
mayo (I use very little, maybe a teaspoon)
garlic powder
lime juice

Everything is to taste.  If you like it, put a lot; if you don't, skip it or just put a little.  This really is yummy.  Great on any bread, cracker, or just eat it with a fork!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Easy Baked Fish Fillets

This is a pretty basic fish recipe, but I liked the zing of the lime juice.  I also ran out of bread crumbs AND Panko from the previous recipe and panicked!  BUT I just happen to have some Ritz crackers in the pantry and crushed those up and used them instead of breadcrumbs for this one tonight and it was great!

Easy Baked Fish Fillets

1 1/2 pounds grouper or other white fish (Wild caught cod was on sale and I used it for this recipe) fillets
1 T fresh lime juice (just use a whole lime.....)
1 T light mayo
1/8 tsp onion (ahem....garlic) powder
1/8 tsp black pepper (you really won't measure this, right?  Just grind it in there until it looks right)
1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs (and in a pinch Ritz work too, ha!)
1 1/2 T butter, melted
2 T chopped fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Place fish in 11x7 inch baking dish (hahaha, I read it as 11x17 when I baked these and thought it was SO silly to need a pan that big--it's very clear now) coated with cooking spray.

Combine lime juice, mayo, GARLIC powder, and pepper in small bowl and spread over fish.  Sprinkle with breadcrumbs; drizzle with butter.  Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes or until fish flakes easily.  Sprinkle with parsley.

Loved this, loved the cod!  Husband and boys loved it too!

(Serves 4)

Two Cheese Squash Casserole

I knew this would be a hit at my house.....squash, breadcrumbs, cheese, of course!  I added a zucchini in there because we had it and for a color variety.  I'm fond of multi-colored food.  One color doesn't look appealing to me at all.  

Two Cheese Squash Casserole

4 pounds yellow squash (or zucchini, or a mixture)
4 T butter, divided
NOT 1 large sweet onion.  (Seriously, isn't sweet onion an oxymoron?  Blech.)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 1/2 cups soft breadcrumbs, divided (I actually didn't have enough so I finished with Panko.  I'd do it again!)
1 1/4 cups shredded Parmesan, divided
1 cup shredded cheddar
NOT 1/2 cup chopped fresh chives (yup, I don't like those either....onion cousins.)
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
1 container sour cream (sub plain Greek yogurt for a less fat, more protein version)
1 tsp salt
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
1/4 tsp garlic salt

Cook squash in boiling water to cover in large skillet 8-10 minutes or just until tender.  Drain well, genly press between paper towels.

Melt 2T butter in skillet over medium-high heat; add onion and garlic, and saute 5-6 minutes or until tender.  Remove skillet from heat; stir in squash, 1 cup breadcrumbs, 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, and next 7 ingredients.  

Spoon into greased 13x9 baking dish.
Melt remaining 2T butter.  Stir together melted butter, remaining 1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, and garlic salt.  Sprinkle mixture evenly over top of casserole.  Bake at 350 degrees 35-40 minutes.

It was yummy and my oldest even requested it again the next night....luckily I made a 9x13 of it and had plenty of leftovers!

(8-10 servings)
(Southern Living May 2004)

No Cook Chocolate Ice Cream

Wasn't planning on making ice cream tonight, but when I realized it was National Ice Cream Day (thank you, President Reagan), we had to play along!!  I've made this recipe several times, but it's been a while.  Still as yummy as I remember AND we added some toasted almonds which made it even  yummier!  Yes, I would've added marshmallows if we had any and made Rocky Road!

No Cook Chocolate Ice Cream

1 can Eagle Brand
1 an evaporated milk
2 cups whole chocolate milk (I mixed 1 cup of our standard 1% milk with 1 cup whipping cream and added chocolate syrup)
2/3 cup chocolate syrup

Mix together and freeze according to your ice cream maker's instructions (20 minutes plus freezer time for me...that gave us milkshake.  Frozen solid next day.)

Young Chef's helping hand!

I could just drink it.....but the almonds wouldn't fit through my straw!

Yes, I put it on top of the washing machine in the laundry room for 20 we don't have to hear it!

This is the next day shot...the milkshake photos would NOT bring the boys to my yard. :-)
Happy National Ice Cream Day....and a fabulous, much needed, glorious 2.5 inches of rain AND two rainbows!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

3 Bean Edamame Salad

As usual, I had to deviate from the original recipe and make it work for my meal and the ingredients I had on hand.  This recipe is one shared by my friend Rachael long ago.  Originally, it's made with black-eyed peas and it's fabulous.  But for dinner tonight, I felt like corn went much better with the Chicken Nacho Bake, so I just used corn instead!

3 Bean Edamame Salad
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 cups frozen shelled edamame
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can blackeyed peas, drained and rinsed
NOT 1/2 cup chopped red onion
2 cups thinly sliced celery (I skipped this one too)
zest & juice from 1 lime
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 cloves finely chopped garlic
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Heat oil in skillet until hot but not smoking; add cumin and cook, stirring, for about 30 seconds. Pour into large heatproof bowl. Add all remaining ingredients and stir well. Refrigerate until ready to serve. (In my opinion, it tastes better the longer you wait before serving, even overnight.)

Chicken Nacho Bake

You usually can't go wrong with something with Mexican flavor in our house.  This recipe from Kraft Food and Family Magazine was perfect for a quick meal with basics we always have on hand.

Chicken Nacho Bake

4 small boneless skinless chicken breast halves (I found 4 breasts in a package that were just over a pound and they were small, but perfect)
1/2 cup your favorite salsa
1/4 sour cream (I substituted plain Greek yogurt)
1/2 cup crushed tortilla chips
1/2 cup Mexican shredded cheese blend (I used a pepper jack blend)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Place chicken on foil-covered  baking sheet .  Slice 3 cuts on top of each chicken breast with a sharp knife.

Top each chicken breast evenly with salsa, sour cream, and tortilla chips.

 Bake 20 minutes.  Remove from oven, sprinkle with cheese.  Bake an adidtional 10 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

(Serves 4)

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Nilla Banana Bites

These were fun....I'm sure a picture from Pinterest inspired these for me, but they were so easy and yummy too!

You need:

1 banana
Nila wafer minis

Sandwich a banana slice between two Nila Wafers and roll in sprinkles.  Fun, cute, and delicious!  Next time I'll let the boys do it.....and clean up the mess too!!

Monday, July 9, 2012

"From Scratch" Pancakes

We had pancakes for dinner tonight!  I wasn't in the mood to cook and clean, didn't want to go anywhere,  and Russ said, "Pancakes for dinner!"  Perfection.  It's been such a lazy Sunday around here since we got home from church, even had the blessing of some much needed rain today!

I didn't plan to make these, I was going to use the Aunt Jemima mix in the pantry....but there wasn't enough.  I knew I had a recipe for some from scratch pancakes in my cookbook.  I loved this recipe long ago, but haven't made it in years.

Tonight it was such a hit that Russ said they were the best pancakes ever, Riley said "I could eat a dozen!" and thankfully had 5, and Russ even said, "What's the point of ever buying pancake mix again?"  I couldn't agree more.

"From Scratch" Pancakes

1 cup flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup sour cream (or plain greek yogurt)
1 cup milk
1 large egg
Fruit and syrup

Start with dry ingredients, stir in wet, mix until well blended.  Heat large nonstick skillet or griddle to medium heat, spray with cooking spray.  For each pancake, I use 1/4 cup of batter.  When pancake surface is filled with bubbles and they start to pop, flip the pancakes.

 Serve with fruit and syrup.  Fabulous.

Beef & Asparagus Stir Fry

My darling husband claims to not like Asian food.  There's a certain flavor or spice that he doesn't like and I haven't figured it out yet.  The Asian dishes I've made at home he's liked.  This was another one!

Beef & Asparagus Stir Fry

1 1/2 lb silrloin steak, cut into thin strips
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
2 T dry sherry (didn't have, so I used some rice vinegar)
1 tsp. chili oil
1/4 cup peanut oil
NOT 1 yellow onion (I substituted extra garlic and an orange bell pepper)
3/4 lb slender asparagus, trimmed and cut on the diagonal into 1 inch pieces
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
Steamed rice for serving

Lightly season beef with salt and pepper.  In small bowl, stir together hoisin sauce, sherry, chili oil, and 1/2 cup water.  Set aside.

In wok or large fry pan over high heat, warm the peanut oil.  Working in batches if needed to avoid crowding, add beef and cook, turning once or twice, until lightly seared, 2-3 minutes.  Transfer to plate.

Add NO onion and asparagus to pan and cook until tender-crips, 2-3 minutes.  Add garlic and red pepper flakes and stir fry 15 seconds.

To finish dish, return meat and any juices from plate to pan, add hoisin mixture and stir well.  Simmer briefly until heated through.

Serve over steamed brown rice.

(Serves 4)
(Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast)

We enjoyed this meal on our new outdoor dining table.  We finally bought a set after being here 6 years.  We've been talking about it 6 years and finally did it!

 Was it 108 degrees?  Why, yes!  Did flies multiply while we ate?  Why, yes!  Did we all get bitten at least once by a mosquito?  Why, yes!  But damnit, we were eating outside on our new table and we were going to enjoy it!!  Now hurry up and run inside!!

 Yes, the boys loved it and Riley served himself another plate!
 But don't run inside until we finish up that Cherry Vanilla Ice Cream......wowza!!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Homemade Cherry Vanilla Ice Cream

The 4th of July was the perfect time to try this one!  (In reality, EVERY day would be a great day to make this ice cream!  Next year I might add blueberries, but I was just too excited to try this one as it was!  I actually found it on Pinterest, from the day before I made it.  Of course we had hamburgers and hot dogs to accompany our ice cream, but it wasn't near as beautiful!!

 Before I started, these cherries begged for a photo shoot!
 Homemade Cherry Vanilla Ice Cream

2 cups heavy cream
1 cup milk
3/4 cup sugar
1 t. vanilla
1 t. almond extract
2 cups fresh cherries, pitted and halved

Mix cream, milk, and sugar.  Stir in sugar until dissolved.  Add vanilla, almond extract, then stir in cherries.  Pour into ice cream maker and churn until ready (I set my timer for 20 minutes).  Serve immediately or put into container and freeze longer to harden.

 Oh my gosh, so delicious!  My 2 year old said, "Some mo-ah Mommy!"  I felt exactly the same way.

Granny Smith & Blue Cheese Salad with Spinach and Pomegranate Vinaigrette

First of all, let me say that since I made this recipe for the first time last week, I've eaten it 5 times.  Actually had to make two yesterday because my 6 year old thought it looked yummy.  Believe me, I wanted to say no....I was SO ready to eat this salad, but I gave him my bowl and made another one while he gobbled it up!  It's so good!!  I found it in Food Network Magazine, thank you Bobby Flay (October 2011) a while back and it's a huge hit--so many fabulous textures and flavor combinations!

From the original recipe, I cut it back to make a large, personal sized salad.

1 granny smith apple, sliced and diced into bite sized pieces
a handful of spinach leaves, cut with scissors
a handful of walnuts, toasted
a generous sprinkle of blue cheese crumbles

Layer as you go, in that order.  I love the way the blue cheese gets a little melty on the walnuts (could also used sliced almonds, I've done that too because I ATE all of the walnuts!) and the way the pomegranate dressing sizzles when you pour it on.

Pomegranate Vinaigrette

3 T pomegranate molasses (I used a pomegranate infused red wine vinegar instead)
2 T red wine vinegar (and none of this!)
1 T dijon mustard
1 T honey
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (I use less)

I eyeball this and don't measure a thing....mostly vinegar, a squeeze of mustard, a squeeze of honey, and some olive oil.  Shake it up in a little mason jar and pour it on your salad (and enjoy the sizzle with me).

Oh my goodness.  You'll want another bowl.  I did!!

Banana Ice Cream with Peanut Butter and Cocoa Powder

Another Pinterest find, this one.  Who would've thought you could make ice cream from bananas, cocoa powder, and peanut butter?  Not me, but I'm sure glad The Kitchn did!!

I'm no ice cream fanatic, but my husband sure is....Rocky Road is a food group.  We've gotten better (read:  older and heavier) at not eating it every night like we did 10 years ago too, thankfully!

Warning:  You have to freeze the bananas for about 2 hours prior to making.

Banana "Ice Cream"
The Kitchn

5 bananas (probably served 6 single serving amounts, with a little extra)
1-2 T peanut butter (if you like)
1-2 T cocoa powder (if you like)

Peel and slice those bananas and put them on a plate in the freezer (yes, I had to rearrange to make room for that).  Leave them in about 2 hours (max!) otherwise you'll have to let them thaw for a while in your blender ( me, I speak from experience).

Toss them in the blender and let it get pebbly, then creamy.  You'll be doing alot of pushing down on the sides, too. (Or maybe that was because mine stayed in the freezer too long.)

Add your peanut butter and cocoa powder to taste.  Alot of peanut butter and a little chocolate?  Alot of chocolate and no peanut butter?  Alot of BOTH?  Go for it, make it yours!

Add strawberries instead!  Blueberries, peaches, whatever. I'll try it!

I mixed it up, took some out to the boys playing baseball in the street.  Everyone loved it and gobbled it up.  Even a neighbor who doesn't like sweets (WHAT is wrong with him?) liked it and said I should bottle it up and sell it!  My husband (the Rocky Road guy) says we should add some marshmallows and almonds to it.  Fantastic idea!!

This is the only prep photo I took.

And I have a few "after" shots.  Proof that it was delicious indeed!  Try it at your house, make it your way!