Saturday, November 12, 2011

Little Fluffs of Heaven: Homemade marshmallows

These little babies are worth the effort... and the smokey kitchen after I burned the first batch of sugar!  Let them set for 12 hours and eat alone or on top of a cup of hot cocoa. Yummmmmm.

1 cup (240 ml) cold water, divided
3 - 1/4 ounce envelopes (21 grams) unflavored gelatin
2 cups (400 grams) granulated white sugar
1 cup (240 ml) light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4-5 cups (460 - 575 grams) confectioners' (powdered or icing) sugar, sifted

Homemade Marshmallows: Lightly butter, or spray with a non stick vegetable spray, the bottom of a 13x9x2-inch (33x23x5-cm) baking pan. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper. Then sift about 3 tablespoons of confectioners' (powdered or icing) sugar onto the bottom of the pan (this will help release the set marshmallow from the paper). Place 1/2 cup (120 ml) cold water into the bowl of your electric mixer that is fitted with a whisk attachment. Sprinkle the gelatin over the water and let stand until gelatin softens, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a heavy two quart saucepan, place the sugar, corn syrup, salt, and remaining 1/2 cup (120 ml) cold water. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves and the mixture comes to a boil. Cover the saucepan with a lid and let boil for about three minutes to allow any sugar crystals to dissolve from the sides of the saucepan. Remove the lid and attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan. Increase heat to high and boil, without stirring, until the syrup reaches 240 degrees F (115 degrees C), about 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
With mixer running at low speed, slowly pour the hot syrup into the gelatin mixture in a thin stream down the side of the bowl. Gradually increase the speed to high and beat until mixture has tripled in volume and is very thick and stiff, about 10 minutes (looks like thick marshmallow cream). Add vanilla extract and beat to combine, about 30 seconds longer.
Scrape marshmallow mixture into the prepared pan and spread with a damp offset spatula or rubber spatula. The mixture is very sticky so just smooth it out as best as you can. Dust the top of the marshmallow with another 3 tablespoons of confectioners' sugar and let stand, uncovered, at room temperature until set, about 12 hours.
Remove the marshmallow from the pan by first running a small sharp knife around the edge of the marshmallow to loosen it from the pan. Invert the pan onto a large cutting board that has been dusted with confectioners' sugar. You might have to use your fingers to help loosen the marshmallow from the pan. Peel off the parchment paper (the marshmallow will be sticky) and dust the top of the marshmallow with confectioners' sugar. Cut the marshmallow into squares using clean kitchen scissors, a pizza roller or a sharp knife. Dip the cut sides of the marshmallows in additional confectioners' sugar. Shake off excess sugar and store the marshmallows in an airtight container, at room temperature, for up to two weeks.
Makes about 24 - 2 1/2 inch marshmallows.

Oven Roasted Pulled Pork

This is truly a down home pulled pork recipe. It's by Tyler Florence on the food network and he did his research on this one!  It tastes just like grandma used to make!


Dry Rub:

  • 3 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 3 tablespoons coarse salt
  • 1 (5 to 7 pound) pork roast, preferably shoulder or Boston butt

Cider Vinegar Barbecue Sauce:

  • 1 1/2 cups cider vinegar
  • 1 cup yellow or brown mustard
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 hamburger buns
  • 1 recipe Spicy Slaw, recipe follows
  • Pickle spears


Mix the paprika, garlic power, brown sugar, dry mustard, and salt together in a small bowl. Rub the spice blend all over the pork and marinate for as long as you have time for, as little as 1 hour or up to overnight, covered, in the refrigerator.
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
Put the pork in a roasting pan and bake for about 6 hours. Basically, roast the pork until it's falling apart and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 170 degrees F.
To make the barbecue sauce: combine the vinegar, mustard, ketchup, brown sugar, garlic, salt, cayenne, and black pepper in a saucepan over medium heat. Simmer gently, stirring, for 10 minutes until the sugar dissolves.
Remove the pork roast from the oven and transfer to a large platter. Allow the meat to rest for about 10 minutes. While still warm, take 2 forks and "pull" the meat to form shreds. Using 2 forks, shred the pork by steadying the meat with 1 fork and pulling it away with the other. Put the shredded pork in a bowl. Pour 1/2 of the sauce on the shredded pork and mix well to coat.
To serve, spoon the pulled pork mixture onto the bottom 1/2 of the hamburger bun, and top with the spicy slaw. Serve with pickle spears and the remaining sauce on the side.a

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Chicken Scallopini with Broccoli Rabe

From Cooking Light Magazine.  This dish is quick and easy and tastes great!


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/3 cup Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast cutlets
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 1 pound broccoli rabe (rapini), cut into 3-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained
  • 4 lemon slices (optional)


  • Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Combine breadcrumbs and pepper in a shallow dish; dredge chicken in breadcrumb mixture. Add chicken to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until done. Remove from pan; keep warm.
  • Add wine, broth, juice, and butter to pan, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Stir in broccoli rabe; cover and cook 3 minutes or until broccoli rabe is tender. Stir in parsley and capers. Serve chicken over broccoli rabe mixture. Garnish with lemon slices, if desired.

Roasted Pepper and Black Bean Burgers

I got this recipe online for the black bean burgers, and only changed a few things to up the flavor. They taste really fresh and John and I really like them. 

1 16oz can Black Beans
3 pieces roasted read pepper from the jar (1 if they are full size red peppers)
3 garlic cloves
1/2 sweet onion 
1 small bunch cilantro
1 tsp crushed red pepper or 1Tbsp hot sauce
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp salt
1 egg
1/2 cup bread crumbs

Mash black beans in a large bowl. In a food processor,  blend red pepper, onion, garlic and cilantro until fine. Mix in with the mashed beans. Next, mix the egg, cumin, chili powder, onion powder, salt and egg until combined. Pour over bean mixture. Then drain any liquid from mixture by either setting over a colander, or squeezing with cheese cloth. Once liquid is removed, add 1/2 cup bread crumbs and stir.

Form patties (makes about 5). Roll patties in the leftover bread crumbs, and place in a skillet with olive oil. Cook until heated through, browned and firmed up. Serve with desired toppings. 


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Low Calorie Pumpkin Pie Muffins

I came up with this recipe today because I had some pumpkin pie mix left from the parfaits I made yesterday. I wanted a nice low fat and calorie muffin I can eat for breakfast. A lot of the recipes online were just too high in fat for me. These have a moist-spongy texture and are very mild in pumpkin flavor and sweetness. It actually reminded me a little of a corn muffin. Not the best, but good enough!

Hope you enjoy!


1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 t baking soda
1 cup pumpkin pie mix (either left over from scratch or canned like lazy me!)
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 large organic eggs
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup splenda
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
(1 t cinnamon and 1T sugar mixed together for sprinkling)

I honestly just dumped everything with the exception of the sprinkling sugar into my Kitchen Aid and whipped it. Once it was all combined and smooth I put it into 12 GREASED muffin tins (this is important) and sprinkled it with the sugar/cinnamon mixture. 

Whaala! Yum!

Calories: 110 
Carbs: 22 
Fat: 1g 
Sugar: 3g 
Protien: 3g

Pumpkin Pie Parfaits

This was inspired by a food network recipe. It is by no means, a low fat recipe. I am going to try to alter it next time and use Free Cool Whip instead of the heavy whipping cream. I'll let you know if it turns out!

Regardless of how awful these are for you (especially for those of you with lactose intolerance like myself!) , they are a crowd pleaser.




  • 13 gingersnaps
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 cup canned pure pumpkin pie mix
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 2 cups cold heavy cream
  • 1/8 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon


1. Put 7 cookies in a resealable plastic bag and crush into crumbs with a heavy pan. Brush the bottoms and about 1 inch up the sides of 6 parfait glasses with the butter. Add a spoonful of crumbs to each and roll them around the insides of the glasses reserve some for topping. Refrigerate the prepared glasses. 

2. Put the pumpkin mix and melted chocolate chips into a food prosessor and pulse until smooth. (To melt chips: in a microwave-safe bowl  microwave at 50% power until melted, about 1 minute, stirring halfway. Add to the pumpkin mixture and process until combined. Transfer to a large bowl.)

3. Beat 1 1/2 cups cream with a tablespoon of sugar in a bowl with a mixer until soft peaks form; fold into the pumpkin mixture until smooth. Divide among the prepared glasses and refrigerate until ready to serve.

4. Beat the remaining 1/2 cup cream with a mixer until foamy. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar, 1/8 tsp vanilla extract and 1/2 a tsp cinnamon and beat until soft peaks form. Top the parfaits with the whipped cream, reserved cookie crumbs and the remaining 6 cookies.

Invasion of the Freezer Friendly Soups!

With fall in full swing, it's time to to stock my freezer with some winter soups and comfort foods. John and I like to spend our free time cross country skiing once the snow hits, so I like to have meals ready to go. 

Below are a few soups I've made in the past two weeks which are really freezer friendly, and honestly, get better with age!  Hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup
I got this recipe from my friend Marie two falls ago. It is by a guy named Michael Chiarello. It has since become a staple in our freezer. This soup is great for fall and into the winter. It's flavors intensify with time, even while freezing. The toasted walnuts are a must in this recipe!


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced leeks, white parts only
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 6 cups peeled and roughly diced butternut squash
  • 3 cups peeled and roughly diced apples
  • 2 teaspoons Toasted Spice Rub, recipe follows
  • 6 1/2 cups chicken stock or 2 (14 1/2-ounce) cans low-sodium chicken broth mixed with 3 cups water
  • Sea salt, preferably gray salt
  • 1 cup chopped Spiced Candied Walnuts, recipe follows, optional


Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat, and cook until it turns nut brown. Add the leeks and cook until slightly softened, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and saute briefly to release its fragrance.

Add the squash and apples, raise the heat to high, and cook, stirring, until the vegetables begin to caramelize, about 5 minutes. Stir in the Toasted Spice Rub and cook briefly to toast it, about 1 minute.

Add the stock or broth-water mixture, bring to a simmer, and partially cover. Adjust the heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook until the squash and apples are tender, about 40 minutes.

Transfer in batches to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Return to the pot, reheat to serving temperature, and season with salt.

Divide the soup among warmed bowls and garnish each portion with some of the walnuts, if using. Serve immediately.

Toasted Spice Rub:

  • 1/4 cup fennel seeds
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup pure California chili powder (about 1-ounce)
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
In a small heavy pan over medium heat, combine the fennel seeds, coriander seeds, and peppercorns. When the fennel turns light brown, work quickly. Turn on the exhaust fan, add the red pepper flakes, and toss, toss, toss, always under the fan. Immediately turn the spice mixture out onto a plate to cool. Put in a blender with the chili powder, salt, and cinnamon and blend until the spices are evenly ground. If you have a small spice mill or a coffee grinder dedicated to grinding spices, grind only the fennel, coriander, pepper, and chili flakes. Pour into a bowl and toss with the remaining ingredients.

Yield: about 1 cup

Spiced Candied Walnuts:

  • Peanut or canola oil
  • 4 cups walnut halves
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch salt, or more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
In a large, heavy-bottomed skillet, heat about 1-inch of oil to 350 degrees F.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add walnuts and blanch for 30 seconds. Drain and transfer nuts to a medium bowl. While nuts are still hot and slightly wet, add confectioners' sugar and toss to coat nuts. Stir and toss until all the sugar has melted into the nuts; if bits of unmelted sugar remain on the nuts, they will not fry properly.

Stir the nuts again before frying. Using a large slotted spoon, transfer a few nuts to the hot oil, allowing the foam to subside before adding another spoonful. (Otherwise, the oil could foam over and burn you.) Fry in small batches until the nuts are medium brown, about 45 seconds per batch; be careful not to overcook. Scatter on an unlined baking sheet to cool slightly.

In a small bowl, stir together cayenne, cinnamon, a pinch of salt, and the pepper.

While the nuts are still warm, transfer them to a bowl and sprinkle evenly with about half of the spice mix. Toss well to distribute the spices and then taste a nut. Add more spice mix, to taste, and toss well after each addition. When cool, pack in an airtight jar. They will keep at room temperature for at least 2 weeks.

Yield: 4 cups

Johnny's Tortilla Soup
If you are looking for a garden-fresh tasting soup in the middle of winter, this one if for you! Originally given to me by a neighbor, this soup is a winner! 


3-4 chicken breasts, cubed
64 oz. chicken broth
2 14.5 oz. cans diced tomatoes
1 large white onion, quartered
1 large bunch cilantro, washed and stems removed
3-4 large cloves of garlic
4 Serrano peppers, cut in half, seeds removed (less pepper if you don't like spice!)
Hot Sauce
1 16 oz. bag frozen sweet corn (or canned or fresh)
1 14.5 oz. can black beans, drained
Corn tortillas (or tortilla chips)
olive oil
sea salt
sliced avocado
sharp cheddar, shredded
scallions, sliced

1. Put chicken into the bottom of a large soup pot, add a bit of oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and saute on high heat until lightly browned, with bits stuck to the bottom. 
2. Add chicken broth and stir making sure to remove any brown bits from the bottom of the pot. Bring to a boil.
3. While broth begin to boil, in a blender or food processor, place cilantro, tomatoes, onion, garlic, and peppers. Add about a cup of broth and blend. You may need to do this in 2 batches.
4. Once blended, pour into soup pot with the broth and chicken.  Add corn and black beans, and hot sauce to taste.  Once hot, you can turn off heat. 

I usually just use whatever tortilla chips we have in the house but when I'm feeling frisky I make them from actual tortillas. 

1. Cut tortillas into 1/2in strips and place on a cookie sheet. 
2. Sprinkle with olive oil ad sea salt.
3. Bake at 375 for 10-15 minutes. 

Boom. Done. :)
Serving Instructions:
I like to top this soup with avocado, cheddar, and scallions. I also like to crumble the tortilla on top. Yum. 

Creamy Peanut-Pumpkin Soup
From Women's Health Magazine

2 tsp vegetable oil
1 small onion, chopped (1 1/4 cups)
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp chili pepper flakes
1 can solid-pack pumpkin puree (15 oz)
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1 jar roasted red peppers (7 oz), drained, 1 tablespoon chopped and reserved for garnish
1/3 cup smooth reduced-fat natural peanut butter
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
2 Tbsp chopped roasted peanuts
2 Tbsp chopped scallion greens

1. Heat oil in a 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, until golden, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook an additional 2 minutes.

2. Add turmeric, paprika, and chili flakes; stir. Add pumpkin puree, broth, peppers, and peanut butter; whisk to incorporate and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer for 5 minutes, then stir in sugar, salt, pepper, and lemon juice.

3. Transfer to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Divide among 4 bowls and garnish with sour cream, peanuts, reserved chopped peppers, and scallion greens.

Makes 4 Servings.
Per serving: 270 cal, 18 g fat (4 g sat), 22 g carbs,
450 mg sodium, 4 g fiber, 10 g protein  

Back again

Well, not so good at posting to this blog!  I taught summer school this summer and am now teaching a brand new grade at my school for the 3rd year in a row. I have not been cooking as ofter as I'd like, but I'll throw some recipes on here I have cooked in the past two weeks.  Hope everyone is enjoying the first month of fall!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Great Gelato

This is the information on the Gelato I bought at meijer in the ice cream section. It came in a lot of different flavors. We had the Limoncello one but we will certainly be back for more of this!  It was so fluffy, and creamy. It tasted just like the gelato I get at Gelaterias. 

I found it in the ice cream section and it came in a 30 fl. oz small rectangular, plastic container. I'm serious people... try this stuff!

IL Vero Gelato Italiano
Gelateria Italiana
Product of Italy

Beef Enchiladas

My husband loves these enchiladas. I don't care for red meat so I rarely cook with it, but these enchiladas have always been a crowd pleaser. Also, I love to freeze these little guys for future dinners.

Beef Enchiladas

1/2 lb ground beef, chicken, or turkey
1/2 chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 packet taco seasoning
1 (16oz) can refried beans
2 (10oz) cans red enchilada sauce
1/2 tsp salt and pepper
1 package flour tortillas
2 cups shressed Mexican Style cheese

  1. Saute meat, onion, and garlic until lightly browned. Add taco seasoning and finish browning meat.
  2. Add refried beans, and a little enchilada sauce to moisten. 
  3. Put a little more sauce in the bottom of the baking dish you will be using. Grab a tortilla and fill the middle with the meat mixture and then roll. Place seam side down in the dish. Continue until you've used all the filling. 
  4. Cover enchiladas with the rest of the sauce and sprinkle cheese to the top of the dish.
  5. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes, until cheese is bubbly and sides are turning brown. 
Serve with shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, sour cream or even tortilla chips. 

Mexican Rice

I got this recipe from a trusted cookbook of mine called: Mexican Cooking Made Easy by Diane Soliz Martese. It's in both English and Spanish and from what I can tell (and what the author claims), has extremely authentic Mexican dishes. This rice adds a colorful addition to any meal. Did I mention, it's supper healthy too?

Mexican Rice
  • 1 cup long grain rice
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped
  • 1 cup each, chicken broth, water
  • 1 tsp. salt 1/8 tsp. pepper
  • 1 cup peas
  1. Heat 2 Tbsp oil over medium heat. Add rice and saute until lightly browned. Add onion and garlic and continue to saute until brown. 
  2. Add tomatoe, carrots, broth, water, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Once boiling, simmer with lid for 20 minutes. 
  3. After 20 minutes, mix in peas and continue to simmer for another 10.

Vietnamese Chicken Lettuce Wraps

I believe these will continue to be a New Years Eve tradition. We made them last year as well and they are so tasty and pretty easy to make, minus the lettuce cups!  Marie and I both elected to use less cayenne pepper because these bad boys can get pretty spicy! For those of you who like spice, use the amount suggested.  
Vietnamese Chicken Lettuce Wraps

1 lb fresh ground chicken or turkey (we actually both used turkey)
1 1/2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon ginger, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 carrot, chopped or grated
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1 cup water chestnuts, finely chopped
5 mushrooms, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 cup cooked vermicielli or bean thread noodles
1/4 cup dry-roasted peanuts, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
16 iceberg lettuce leaves

Spicy Sauce:
5 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons Thai or Vietnamese hot sauce, or any hot sauce
5 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 teaspoon sugar

  1. In large skillet over medium-high heat, warm peanut oil.  Add onion, ginger and garlic; sauté until onion begins to brown, about 3 minutes.  Add ground chicken and sauté until cooked throughout, about 5 minutes, breaking up chicken meat as it cooks.
  2. Add carrot, scallions, water chestnuts and mushrooms; cook for additional 3 minutes.  Add fish sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil and cayenne pepper.  Mix well and remove from heat.  Stir in noodles, peanuts and chopped cilantro.  Toss well to combine.  Transfer to large serving bowl and keep warm.
  3. Combine all spicy sauce ingredients in small serving bowl; whisk well.  Place lettuce leaves on serving platter.  To serve, spoon 2 tablespoons chicken mixture over or on top of each lettuce leaf; drizzle with 1 teaspoon sauce.

New Years Party

Happy New Year!

Well, summer vacation has come and gone and now I'm winding down my last two days of Christmas vacation!  This post is long overdue to say the least but the dinner party I had last night inspired me to put the evenings menu on here!  We entertained some very special friends of ours, Marie (my very loyal workout partner, recipe swapper, and friend), her husband (my husbands twin separated at birth), and the coolest kid you'll ever meet, Mason. We rang in the new year together with an international cuisine:) You'll see what I mean!  

The menu was this:  
Vietnamese Chicken Lettuce Wraps (made by Marie)
Beef Enchiladas with red sauce
Chicken Enchiladas with green sauce
Mexican Rice
and for dessert...
Fresh Cannolis from a wonderful Italian market near my house as well as Limoncello Gelato that I bought at, get this, Meijer! And it was fabulous! If you haven't tried it, you must pick some up!

I will post each of these recipes separately. 

BTW, what did everyone else make to ring in the New Year?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Ahhhh work

Hi all... if any of you are even left,

I have not died. I have simply been working all year with my second graders at my new job and have not found the time to post.  I also got married two weeks ago! Alright!

I will begin posting again soon. One of the MANY ;) great joys of teaching is summer vacation. Which starts for me in 37 days. Bring it on.

See you then!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Shish Kabobs Baby!

Hi all,
I haven't written in a while.  I got a teaching job two weeks about and have been frantically setting up my classroom.  I hate to admit it but John and I have been eating junkfood every night for dinner.
Last night we had some of out lovely friends over (Nate, Taylor and Travis).  Taylor and Nate brought some fabulous couscous and a tasty apple crisp.
John and I took care of the main dish.  I wanted to make kabobs because I NEVER make them, so I googled some recipes online and found some tasty ideas.  I added and took away some ingredients and everything turned out so good! We also had an abundance of cucumber and tomato from the garden so I made a scrumptious salad with that too.
Happy Labor Day!
Dinner with Taylor and Nate:

Hawaiian Chicken Kabobs 
Servings: 8
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground ginger
2 garlic cloves, crushed
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves -
cut into 2 inch pieces
1 (20 ounce) can pineapple chunks, drained
bacon for wrapping around chicken ( I did not do this but I saw many people with similar recipes who did and it sounds really good!)

1.     In a shallow glass dish, mix the soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil, ginger, and garlic. Stir the chicken pieces and pineapple into the marinade until well coated. Cover, and marinate in the refrigerator at least 2 hours.
2.     Preheat grill to medium-high heat.
3.     Lightly oil the grill grate. Thread chicken and pineapple alternately onto skewers. Grill 15 to 20 minutes, turning occasionally, or until chicken juices run clear.

Steak Kabobs
Servings: 4


 1 ½ - 2 pounds of lean beef, preferably filet mignon, although any steak cut will do.
 1 green pepper
 1 Spanish onion
 1 pint cherry tomatoes
Small potatoes, various colors.
 2 cups olive oil
 1 clove, minced garlic
 2 tbsp chopped basil
1 Tbsp chopped oregano
1 Tbsp chopped rosemary
 1 tbsp grill seasoning
1/4 cup olive oil
1/8 cup balsamic vinegar

1. Begin by cutting the beef into 1 - 1 ½ inch cubes. Or enough to place 4 on each kabob.      
2.  Now it's time to chop the vegetables. Cut the zucchini into thick slices to make round circles.
3.   Clean the peppers. Cut into square slices, about an inch or so wide, do the same with the onion. You want it to look uniform so all the pieces should be about the same size.
4. Place the beef cubes and vegetables (with the tomatoes) into a large bowl.
5.  Add olive oil, vinegar, basil, oregano, rosemary, garlic, and your salt and pepper. Mix this up until the vegetables and beef cubes are covered evenly.
 6, refrigerate this mixture for at least 6 hours, 24 recommended.
7.  When you are ready to grill, light your grill and let it get hot.
8. Put everything on skewers.
9.  When you're ready to grill, just place them across the bars to get some good grill marks, close to the heat. Turn each one every 3-4 minutes, allowing each side to brown evenly.
10.  The beef should come out about medium, though you'll probably get a variety of temperatures.

Tomato and Cucumber Salad

4 medium tomatoes diced or sliced the way you want them2 medium cucumbers, peeled & sliced
2 onions, sliced and separated into rings
2 Tbsp. Vinegar
1/4 c. Olive Oil
2 Tbsp. Sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. minced fresh parsley.  
Set aside your cut up tomatoes, cucumbers & onions.  In your bowl or mason jar, pour in the remaining ingredients and mix or shake. Throw in your maters, cumbers, and onions into the jar with the mixture and toss around until mixed good.  Marinate 2hrs before serving.

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Greatest Gift I will Ever Bestow Upon You: Shrimp Tacos.

Tequila Lime Shrimp Tacos with Cilantro-L
ime Sauce (Imaginative, I know.)

Serves 2-4 depending on how much shrimp you put in each taco)

18 medium shrimp, raw
2 Tbsp. tequila
1 lime, zested. (Save the lime. Cut in half.)
2 garlic cloves
1 avocado
1/4 c. onion
3 Tbsp. minced cilantro, divided
1/4 chopped tomato, seeded
1 tsp. lemon juice (or lime if you have extra)
olive oil
shredded cabbage (about 1/2 cup)
Wheat tortillas
1/3 cup light sour cream
1/4 tsp. cumin

1) Shell and de-vein shrimp if necessary. Cut off tails. Place prepared shrimp in a small glass bowl. Sprinkle half the lime zest on shrimp. Add a few sprinkles salt. Cut lime in half and squeeze juice over shrimp. Add tequila and stir. Place in fridge to marinate. (note: don't do this too long or the shrimp will start to cook itself in the juice).

2) Slice avocado in half, remove flesh from the halves with a spoon and place in a small bowl. Add onion, 1 tablespoon cilantro, other half of lime juice, tomatoes, 1 minced garlic clove, salt, and pepper. Stir. Place in fridge.

3) In a third bowl, mix sour cream, lime zest, lemon juice, 2 tablespoons cilantro, and cumin. Salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

4) Over medium heat, warm a small amount of olive oil. Add one minced garlic clove. Let cook a minute or two and then add shrimp, tequila and all. Turn dial to medium-high heat and cook shrimp. About 2 minutes per side. Most of liquid should evaporate.

5) Warm tortillas in the microwave. Spoon guacamole onto them and spread all around.

6) Sprinkle with cabbage. Layer shrimp. Drizzle sour cream mixture over the top and then fold in half.

(Note: I ran out of shrimp for my last two tacos so I sliced up some cucumber and used it in place of the shrimp. It was really tasty and I liked the crunch of the cucumber. I even added some thin slices to the shrimp tacos as an afterthought and they were really good.)

Shrimp Tacos! Wooo Hoo!

Hi all,
So I got a hankerin' for some shrimp tacos tonight. I grabbed my keys and went to the store. On the way I called my good friend Christina to see if she had any suggestions. She had never made shrimp tacos but told me that fish tacos had shredded cabbage and tartar sauce. The cabbage sounded good but the tartar sauce, not so much for shrimp. I was feeling like something with a lot of kick. Something that was going to make my taste buds do the meringue.
I ran through the store (which is completely torn apart and under construction), searching for the flavors I wanted to include. Wheat tortillas.... yes! Guacamole? Yeah baby! Lime juice? Oh yes I did! Cilantro? Of course! I grabbed some sour cream for the fun of it and all the fixins' to make my guac and before I knew it, I was back at home. Stopping briefly outside to grab myself a large cucumber and a few ripe tomatoes from the vine. What would I do with them? Who knew! I was in the mood for a fiesta!
First, I took the shrimp out of the fridge. Then, I sprinkled it with some lime zest and juice. I was staring at the shrimp, pondering what else to add to it's citrusy lime marinade when suddenly, Jose Cuervo was staring right back at me, daring me to tango! A splash of tequila... well, maybe more than a splash... and on to the guacamole.
Guacamole is my favorite dip of all dips. Fresh and tasty. I mashed the avocado, diced some onion, chopped some cilantro, squeezed some lemon juice, chopped my baby cherry tomatoes and ohhhh freshness! I love it!
Now... sour cream.... what a bore! I stared at my ingredients once more. I added some cilantro, a bit of cumin, lime zest, juice, salt, pepper! Taste.... oh yeah! Now we're talking.
I looked over at my marinating shrimp.. Oh no! The shrimp is cooking with the citrus! Get those babies in that pan! I sauteed some garlic, tossed the shrimp on and watched Mr. Cuervo do his magic... should I light it? No.. I'm afraid... maybe next time. Ok.
I warmed my tortillas, spooned the guac onto them and spread it all around. Then I saw that shredded cabbage and sprinkle it on top of the green goodness. Hmmm... looks like cheese. No cheese here! Oh well! I removed the curled up shrimp from the frying pan and layered them on the cabbage. Last. I took my cilantro, sour cream, cumin... thing! and I drizzled it over the top.
I folded it over and before my eyes lay the most beautiful of all tacos... Oh shoot. I forgot about the cucumber. Hmmm... I sliced it up, trying to make him feel he wasn't an afterthought, and made him into his very own shrimpless taco with all the fixins of the shrimp taco.
John comes upstairs. He has his camera. Quick! I say! Take the picture! It's PERFECT!
John says, "Yum."
About twenty snapshots later John is saddened that the cucumber from our garden is not showing. He lays some on the side of the plate and announces that now everyone will know it's our cucumber... so pretty.
FINALLY we are ready to eat. We take a bite... YES!!!!!!!!!! Day two! I do a little dance in my chair. John is still eating... and then... "This is my favorite meal... ever." OMG. Did you hear that? He then describes to me all the flavors he tastes... "This is my favorite meal... ever". Yes. Y'all. I've done it. I have made the world's greatest shrimp taco. Someone give me a medal. I am the master.
I am about to bestow upon you, the greatest gift you will ever get. All seven of you.

Chicken Bruschetta

Yum Yum Yum.

This chicken was amazing. Please make it. I wish I had some right now, I'd be eating it.
It tasted so good! I think I'm going to make it again tomorrow. Note the fresh basil and tomatoes from my garden. Ahhhh... freshness!

I decided to put a light Parmesan crust on because I thought the crunchy would contrast nicely with the juicy tomatoes. I decided just to spread the crust just on the top though instead of trying to coat the entire breast because it always falls off when I dish it up.

Chicken Bruschetta
Serves 4 (unless you eat two because it's so darn good!)

1/2 cup flour

1 egg + 2 egg whites, beaten
4 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon light butter
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cub chopped FRESH basil leaves
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

1) Put flour and beaten eggs in shallow bowls or deep plates. Season flour with salt and pepper. Season chicken with a little salt and pepper as well.
2) Dip chicken in flour then in egg and place on a 9x13 pan.
3) Combine cheese, breadcrumbs and butter with a fork and then spoon over chicken. Press with the back of a spoon to make sure the crumbs are stuck to chicken.
4) Cover pan with foil and bake chicken at 375 for 20-25 minutes.
5) Mix the remaining ingredients together in a medium bowl and salt and pepper to taste.
6) Uncover the chicken and bake 7 minutes longer until top is browned and slightly hard to the touch.
7) Spoon tomato mixture over chicken, return to oven for 5 minutes.

I plated these up and served them with a light cucumber salad. They were very filling! Next time I'll make extra bruschetta and save it for some crunchy bread.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Dinner Tonight

For dinner tonight, I think I'm going to make chicken breast with a bruschetta topping. It sounds yummy. I have been craving bruschetta for a long time so we'll see how it turns out on the chicken. I think TGI Fridays use to have a pasta dish with angel hair pasta, chicken and bruschetta. I might use that as inspiration, minus the pasta.

Any suggestions? Let me know.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Five Spice Burger with Warm Mu Shu Slaw

My brother is in town from California and has come to visit John and I! I am happy to have him here. He is a body builder (I actually spotted him yesterday as be bench pressed 365 lbs! Like I could have saved him if it fell!) so he is constantly eating... and the majority of the food he eats is meat. Myself not being much of a meat eater, decided to make him a high protein meal that consisted of two grilled chicken breast, two cups of brown rice, and just for fun, a Five Spice Turkey Burger with Warm Mu Shu Slaw. Yummmm! Not a vegetable in sight! Oh my! Ok, well, the Mu Shu is all vegetables but it's covered with hoison sauce. Anyway, he is a pretty plain eater so I knew I was taking a chance with the burger but he ate it anyway and at 7:45 am this morning, I awoke to find him in the kitchen in his boxers, burger patty in his hand, no bun, fulfilling his protein craving. Ahhhh "little" brothers. Whatever will we do with them.

John and I love this recipe despite it's non-traditional burger flavor. It tastes great and the spices really make this burger unique. You will need no ketchup here, this little guy is great on his own!

Ps: My good friend Marie so kindly gave us this recipe. It is a family favorite at her house and we are so glad she shared it with us! I believe it comes from/is inspired by Rachel Ray.

Five Spice Burger with Warm Mu Shu Slaw
Serves 4-6

1 1/2 pounds ground turkey

2 tsp Chinese five-spice powder

1 tbsp Grill seasoning

2 Garlic cloves, minced

1 Inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated

5 Scallions, 2 finely chopped, 3 cut into thirds lengthwise

3 tbsp Tamari (or soy sauce)

1 tbsp Vegetable oi

12 Shitake mushrooms, thinly sliced

1/2 pound Shredded cabbage (I use purple but any kind will do)

3 tbsp Hoisin sauce

4 rolls of your choosing. We usually use some sort of wheat.

In a medium bowl, combine the meat with the five-spice powder, grill seasoning, garlic, ginger, finely chopped scallions, tamari, and a drizzle of vegetable oil. Form your burgers (I make small burgers so I usually get about 6 4oz patties). Grill the burgers. (note: they are pretty fragile. I notice that they actually turn out better in a grill pan on the stove than outside. But either way, just be careful with them and they should be ok).

Heat a nonstick skillet over high heat. Add the 1 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Cook the shiitakes for 2 minutes, add the cabbage, and stir-fry for 3 minutes more. Add the sliced scallions and hoisin sauce, toss to combine, and remove from the heat.

Serve the burgers on the buns piled high with mu shu slaw on top. Serve with chunks of fresh pineapple an exotic chips alongside the burgers.

1 patty: 270, 11.5g, 11g, 25g