Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Shepherd's Pie

With the weather getting cooler, it was the perfect time to make Shepherd's Pie. I used the recipe below from Cooks Country. It turned out great, but I must admit that I used pre-made mashed potatoes (shhhh, don't tell).

Cook's Country Shepherd's Pie

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large onion, chopped fine
2 medium carrots , peeled and chopped fine
2 pounds 85 percent lean ground beef
Table salt and ground black pepper
5 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3/4 cup beer
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves
1 cup frozen peas

2 1/2 pounds russet potatoes. peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup heavy cream, warmed
Ground black pepper
1 large egg, beaten

1. For the filling: Heat butter in large skillet over medium-high heat until foaming. Add onion and carrots and cook until soft, about 8 minutes. Add meat, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and cook, breaking up meat into small pieces with wooden spoon, until browned, about 12 minutes. Add flour and tomato paste and cook until paste begins to darken, about 1 minute.

2. Add cream and cook until it spatters, about 1 minute. Add broth, beer, soy sauce, and thyme and simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently, until mixture is thick but still saucy, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in peas, adjust seasonings, and transfer to broilersafe 2-quart casserole dish.

3. For the topping: Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Bring potatoes, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and water to cover to boil in large saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain potatoes, return to saucepan, and mash potatoes with butter and cream until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Spread potatoes over filling, using spatula to smooth top (see photo at left). Brush with egg and drag fork across top to make ridges. Bake until filling is bubbling, about 15 minutes. Turn on broiler and cook until top is golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from oven and cool 10 minutes. Serve.

Just Like Chinese Takeout

The other night we had takeout Thai food and it did not turn out to be a good experience. The soup we got tasted weird and they put chicken in my Pad See Iew instead of beef. That goes to show that you should always check your bags when getting takeout. I found this recipe on for Spicy Sichuan-Style Shrimp. Enjoy!

Spicy Sichuan-Style Shrimp
Preparation time: 25 minutes Cooking time: 5 minutes
Servings: Makes 4 servings.

1 1/2 tablespoons peanut oil
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh ginger
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped garlic
2 tablespoon finely chopped scallions
1 lb raw shrimp, shelled and deveined

For the sauce:
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 teaspoons chili bean sauce
2 teaspoons Chinese black vinegar or cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons sesame oil
Cilantro sprigs, to garnish (optional)

1. Heat a wok over high heat. Add the oil, and when it is very hot and slightly smoking, add the ginger, garlic, and scallions.

2. Stir-fry for 20 seconds, then add the shrimp. Stir-fry the shrimp for about 1 minutes.

3. Add the sauce ingredients and continue to stir-fry for another 3 minutes over a high heat. Serve at once.

Banana Chocolate Chip Cake

I have been wanting to make dessert for awhile, but decided to make something that wasn't too sweet and was semi-healthy. They even had ripe bananas in a special bag labeled for baking at the grocery store. So I decided to make Banana Coffee Cake with Chocolate Chip Streusel from Bon Apetit magazine. I have used this recipe in the past and it was very tasty.

Banana Coffee Cake with Chocolate Chip Streusel

1 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips (about 8 ounces)
2/3 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large egg
1 1/3 cups mashed very ripe bananas (about 3 large)
3 tablespoons buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour 8x8x2-inch metal baking pan. Stir chocolate chips, brown sugar, walnuts, and cinnamon in small bowl until well blended; set streusel aside. Sift all purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat sugar, room temperature butter, and egg in large bowl until fluffy. Beat in mashed bananas and buttermilk. Add dry ingredients and blend well.

Spread half of batter (about 2 cups) in prepared baking pan. Sprinkle with half of streusel. Repeat with remaining batter and streusel. Bake coffee cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool coffee cake in pan on rack.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I can never spell Cincinnati (Chili)

For some reason, I can never seem to spell Cincinnati. I always put 1 "n" and 2 "t"s, instead of the other way around. I tried the Cincinnati Chili recipe from And a Cookie For Dessert because it sounded really good. It had a unique combination of spices and flavors. It did not disappoint! I served it with a mound of cheese and over spaghetti. Surprisingly, the spaghetti works - it melds with the chili to create a pasta-like dish.

Cincinnati Chili
from Brooke's Blog
2.5 lbs ground beef
1 tsp olive oil
4 cups water
12 oz tomato paste
1 ¾ tsp onion powder
1 ½ tsp salt
1 tsp mild paprika
½ tsp hot or Hungarian paprika
1 tsp chili powder
1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cumin
1tsp all spice
¾ tsp celery seed
½ tsp black pepper
½ tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp oregano
½ tsp crushed red pepper
½ tsp ground clove
1 oz unsweetened chocolate

Brown ground beef in olive oil, then add water, spices and tomato paste. Simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally and replacing water as needed. Add chocolate and continue simmering for 1 hour, stirring occasionally and replacing water as needed. Serve over pasta or rice.

Friday, October 26, 2007


It's October and that means it's time for our annual Oktoberfest party to celebrate my husband's birthday. The party is heavy on German beer and meats. I also tried out some new ones this year and was happy they were good. The menu consisted of: Spinach & Cheese Puff Pastry Pockets, Buffalo Chicken Dip (aka Crack Dip), Hot Pretzels and Warm Mustard Cheese Dip, Grilled Brats and Sauerkraut, Potato Salad, Shrimp Salad (for the vegetarians), Macaroni & Cheese (for the kids), Birthday Cake, and Cookies. Unfortunately I didn't get shots of all of the food. But here are some pictures & recipes.
Cheese and Spinach Puff Pastry Pockets
12 frozen puff pastry shells, unthawed
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 (16-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 1/4 cups grated Fontina cheese
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
3 to 5 green onions, finely chopped

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Line a heavy large baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange the frozen pastry shells on the baking sheet and bake until they puff and become golden brown, about 20 minutes. Using a small knife, cut out the center of the pastry shells.

Meanwhile, stir the cream, milk, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl. Stir in the spinach, Fontina cheese, Parmesan, and green onions. Spoon the spinach mixture into the baked pastry shells. Bake until the pastries are golden brown and the filling is hot, about 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer the pastries to a platter and serve.

Brats & SauerkrautPacker Brats
4 pounds bratwurst
12 (12-ounce) cans light beer
1 onion, sliced
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
8 round hard rolls or 16 bratwurst or hoagie buns, split
Butter Kraut, recipe follows
Ketchup, for serving
Brown mustard, for serving
Chopped onion, for serving
Pierce the brat casing multiple times with a fork prior to boiling.

In a large pasta pot, add beer. Add onion and garlic. Bring to a boil. Add brats. Allow beer to come back to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat an outdoor grill to medium heat.

Remove brats from beer, pat dry and grill, turning frequently, until brats are browned all over, about 8 to 10 minutes.

To serve brats "Classic Style", serve 2 brats each on round, hard rolls with Buttered Kraut and brown mustard.

To serve brats "Stadium Style", serve 1 brat on a brat or hoagie pun with ketchup, mustard, onion and Buttered Kraut.

Buttered Kraut
1 (16-ounce) package sauerkraut, drained
1/2 (12-ounce) bottle beer
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter

Place sauerkraut in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat (this can also be done in a saucepan on the grill while grilling the brats). Add beer and cook until liquid is almost completely reduced. Add butter, cook, stirring frequently, until butter is melted and absorbs into the kraut, about 5 to 10 minutes.

Potato Salad & Shrimp Salad Platter Creamy Potato Salad
recipe from Katie of Good Things Catered
3 lb. red potatoes, unpeeled
1/3 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream

1 Tbs. Dijon mustard

3 Tbs. fresh lemon juice

8 green onions, white and light green portions,
thinly sliced
2 celery stalks, finely chopped

3 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus
parsley sprigs for garnish
3 Tbs. chopped fresh mint, plus mint sprigs
for garnish
3 Tbs. chopped fresh basil, plus basil sprigs
for garnish
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Bring a large pot three-fourths full of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the potatoes and boil until tender when pierced with a fork, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain and let cool completely in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

Cut the potatoes into 3/4-inch dice.
In a large bowl, stir together the yogurt, mayonnaise, sour cream, mustard, lemon juice, green onions, celery, and the chopped parsley, mint and basil. Add the potatoes. Season with salt and pepper and toss gently to mix. To serve, transfer the salad to a large serving bowl and garnish with parsley, mint and basil sprigs. Serves 6.

Shrimp Salad

1 lb small Shrimp, cooked, shelled, deveined

2 Tbsp minced Shallots or Yellow Onion

1/2 cup finely diced Celery

1/2 cup Mayonnaise

2 Tbsp Sour Cream

2 Tbsp Lemon juice

1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard

1/8 tsp freshly ground Black Pepper

Old Bay, to taste

Place the shrimp, celery, cucumber, dill and shallots in a large mixing bowl. Whisk together the rest of the ingredients except the salt, and pour the dressing over the shrimp. Toss well. Taste the salad and add salt, if needed. Toss well again. If the salad seems dry, add an extra tablespoon or 2 of sour cream. Cover the bowl and chill it for several hours. Mound the salad on crisp lettuce leaves or spoon it into hollowed-out tomatoes. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Buffalo Chicken Dip - aka Crack Dip
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
1/2 cup blue cheese salad dressing
1/2 cup Cayenne Pepper Sauce or Buffalo Wing Sauce
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
1/2 cup diced celery

Heat oven to 350°F. Place cream cheese into 9-inch pie plate. Microwave 1 minute to soften.
Whisk in salad dressing, Cayenne Pepper Sauce/Buffalo Wing Sauce, and cheese until smooth.
Stir in chicken and celery.

Bake 20 minutes or until mixture is heated through. If desired, garnish with celery leaves.

Cheese & Mustard Dipping Sauce for the Hot Pretzels
1/4 cup dark beer, such as stout or porter

1/4 cup Dijon mustard 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/8 teaspoons cayenne pepper
3 1/2 ounce Cheddar cheese, grated (1 1/2 cups)

Combine the beer, mustard, butter, and cayenne in a small saucepan over medium heat. Gradually whisk in the cheese. Continue cooking until smooth and all the cheese is melted -- about 5 minutes. Serve warm.

If You Love Garlic, You'll Love this Chicken

This recipe comes from Guy Fieri on the Food Network. He's the guy from Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. What I did not realize, until recently, is that he has his own cooking show and he won the contest last year to be a food network chef. This was a hearty meal with tons of garlic! I served it with mashed potatoes. Yum!

Oak Town Garlic Vinegar Chicken
6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 medium yellow onions, julienned
2 Anaheim chiles, cleaned and julienned
6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
3/4 cup minced garlic, divided
8 ounces beer
8 ounces chicken stock
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons green onions, sliced

In large saute pan over medium heat add 2 tablespoons oil, onions, chiles and saute for 3 minutes until translucent. Add chicken thighs and lightly brown. Add 1/4 cup garlic and saute. Deglaze with beer and chicken stock. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until chicken is 3/4 of the way cooked. Remove chicken from saute pan, and let cool, reserve pan and braising broth.

In medium saute pan heat another 2 tablespoons olive oil and lightly caramelize remaining 1/2 cup garlic. When done, remove from heat, and let cool.

In medium mixing bowl, combine, flour, salt and pepper, oregano, paprika, and chili powder. Combine thoroughly, add cooked garlic and mix into a paste.

Take cooled, cooked chicken and press paste on to the chicken. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in garlic pan, and gently place chicken in the pan. Lightly brown chicken on both sides.

Simmer reserved braising broth and add red wine vinegar. When chicken is cooked on both sides, pour vinegar broth over chicken and let simmer for 3 to 5 minutes.

Garnish with green onions.

Chili & Cornbread - take 2

It was a cold and rainy night, so what better food to make than turkey chili and cornbread. I decided to try a recipe from the Shady Brook Farms website for "Farm Hands" Fat Free Chili. I cut back on the spices a bit because it sounded like it would be too hot. I also used Spaten beer.

For the cornbread, I found a recipe from that is to die for. It's a sweet cornbread and was very moist. I also thought the name was cute - Grandmother's Buttermilk Cornbread.
"Farm Hands" Fat-Free Chili
2 packages ground turkey

¼ cup sesame oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger root, grated
1 tablespoon red peppers, crushed
2 medium green bell peppers, sliced

1 can (14-½ ounce) kidney beans

1 can (12 ounce) tomato paste

1 can (14-½ ounce) tomatoes, crushed

1 large yellow onion, chopped

1 tablespoon dried basil

3 tablespoons cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons coarse ground black pepper

¼ cup Worscestershire sauce

¼ cup hot sauce

2 tablespoons paprika
2 cups water

1 can beer (for the cook, or the chili) (optional)

2 cups grated sharp Cheddar cheese (optional)
2 cups oyster crackers (optional)

In a skillet heat oil and sauté garlic, red pepper and ginger for 2 minutes at high heat. Add turkey and brown until turkey is no longer pink (3 to 5 minutes). Do not cover.

In a 6-quart stockpot, add browned turkey, tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, all remaining spices, sliced green pepper, chopped onion and beans. Add 2 cups of water; bring to boil, stirring frequently.

Simmer covered for 1 hour over low heat (add beer now or drink it). Serve with grated sharp Cheddar cheese and oyster crackers.

Grandmother's Buttermilk Cornbread
1/4 pound butter
2/3 cup white sugar

2 eggs

1 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup cornmeal

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease an 8 inch square pan.

Melt butter in large skillet. Remove from heat and stir in sugar. Quickly add eggs and beat until well blended. Combine buttermilk with baking soda and stir into mixture in pan. Stir in cornmeal, flour, and salt until well blended and few lumps remain. Pour batter into the prepared pan.

Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Another fall treat--Apple Cake

I had a bunch of apples to use up and wanted to make something that was not too sweet. I came upon a recipe for Apple Coffee Cake with Crumble Topping and Brown Sugar Glaze. Suprisingly, it was from Emeril on the Food Network. When I think of apple cake, Emeril is not the first chef to come mind. However, this was an exceptional cake and not super-sweet. It stayed moist over the course of several days, which is also a good thing.

Apple Coffee Cake with Crumble Topping and Brown Sugar Glaze

1 stick plus 2 teaspoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups peeled, cored and chopped apples

Crumble Topping:
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

Brown Sugar Glaze:
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons water

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 13 by 9-inch glass baking dish with 2 teaspoons of the butter.

In a large bowl, cream together the remaining stick of butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs 1 at a time, beating after the addition of each. In a separate bowl or on a piece of parchment, sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Add to the wet ingredients, alternating with the sour cream and vanilla. Fold in the apples. Pour into the prepared baking dish, spreading out to the edges.

To make the topping, in a bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cinnamon, and butter, and mix until it resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle the topping over the cake and bake until golden brown and set, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes.

To make the glaze, in a bowl, combine the sugar, vanilla, and water and mix until smooth. Drizzle the cake with the glaze and let harden slightly. Serve warm.

When it's chilly, it's time for chili

It was cooler a few weeks ago so I made a batch of cornbread and turkey chili. I like the recipe for Rachel Ray's Indian Summer Chili. I like to add kidney beans though. This time I tried a new cornbread recipe. Enjoy!
Rachel Ray's Indian Summer Chili
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan
2 1/2 pounds ground turkey (85 percent lean) or ground turkey breast (99 percent lean), 2 packages
4 tablespoons dark chili powder, 2 palm fulls
2 tablespoons grill seasoning blend, any brand, 1 palm full
1 tablespoon cumin, 1/2 palm full
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 to 3 tablespoons hot sauce, medium to extra-spicy
1 large onion, quartered
2 large peppers, any color combination, red, green, purple, yellow or orange, chopped
1/2 bottle beer (the alcohol cooks out), about 1 cup
1 (14-ounce) can tomato sauce
1/2 cup smoky barbecue sauce
2 cups corn kernels, optional

Heat a pot over medium to medium high heat. Add extra-virgin olive oil, 3 turns of the pan, and the turkey meat. Season the meat with: chili powder, grill seasoning, cumin, Worcestershire and hot sauce. Break up the meat with the back of a wooden spoon into small crumbles.

Chop the onion, reserving 1/4 of it for topping the chili. Brown meat 5 minutes, then add onions and chopped bell peppers and cook 10 minutes more. Add beer and deglaze the pan, scraping up the drippings and cooking off the alcohol. Add tomato sauce and barbecue sauce and bring to a bubble. It using corn kernels add them now. Let chili simmer 10 minutes. Adjust seasonings and heat level to your taste. Remove from heat and serve.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Spicy Shrimp Scampi

I love shrimp scampi - especially when it's spicy! I took this recipe from the Fisherman's Express website, and doubled some of the ingredients to make a larger amount. The recipe below is my changes. Click here to see the original recipe. I served it with Texas toast and sauteed fresh spinach.

Spicy Shrimp Scampi
24 jumbo Shrimp, peeled and deveined
6 Tbsp Olive Oil
4 Tbsp Lemon Juice
4 Tbsp White Wine
3 Tbsp minced Garlic
6 Tbsp unsalted Butter
1/2 Tbsp Red Pepper Flakes
Heat oil in a medium-sized skillet. Over medium heat, add the shrimp. Cook about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic, pepper flakes, lemon juice, wine and salt. Cover and cook 3 minutes. Uncover and stir in the butter. Remove from heat. Serve over pasta.

Friday, August 31, 2007

I Don't Even Like Beans

For some reason, I keep making things with black beans. I don't really like beans all that much. But they are healthy for you and vegetarian. I love this recipe from Cooking Light for their Cuban Black Bean Patties with Pineapple Rice. It is really good and hearty.

If you decide to make this, I would add about 1-2 TBS corn meal to the bean mixture before shaping into patties. If you don't, they tend to ooze all over the frying pan. The extra corn meal keeps them firm.

I served it with the rice and roasted up some broccoli with Italian seasonings.

Cuban Black Bean Patties with Pineapple Rice

recipe from Cooking Light - March 2007


1 (3 1/2-ounce) bag boil-in-bag long-grain rice
2 teaspoons butter
1 cup diced fresh pineapple
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 teaspoon salt


2 cups rinsed, drained canned black beans (1 [15-ounce] can), divided
1/2 teaspoon bottled minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 large egg white
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese with jalapeño peppers
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1/4 cup cornmeal
Cooking spray
1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream

To prepare rice, cook rice according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain; place rice in a large bowl. Melt butter in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add pineapple; sauté 4 minutes or just until pineapple begins to brown. Add pineapple mixture, cilantro, and 1/4 teaspoon salt to rice in bowl; cover and keep warm. Wipe pan clean with paper towels.

To prepare patties, place 1 1/2 cups beans, garlic, cumin, and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a bowl; partially mash with a fork. Place 1/2 cup remaining beans and egg white in a food processor; process 30 seconds or until well combined. Add bean puree to mashed beans in bowl, and stir until combined. Add cheese and onion to bean mixture; stir until combined. Divide bean mixture into 4 equal portions, shaping each into a 1/2-inch-thick patty. Place cornmeal in a shallow dish. Dredge both sides of each patty in cornmeal.

Heat pan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add patties; cook 3 minutes on each side or until browned. Spoon about 1/2 cup rice onto each of 4 plates; top each serving with 1 patty and 1 tablespoon sour cream.

Yield: 4 servings

Nutritional Information: CALORIES 294(27% from fat); FAT 8.7g (sat 5.4g,mono 1.7g,poly 0.2g); PROTEIN 10.2g; CHOLESTEROL 28mg; CALCIUM 155mg; SODIUM 532mg; FIBER 3.5g; IRON 2mg; CARBOHYDRATE 45g

Buffalo Shrimp

This is the BEST recipe for buffalo shrimp. I've never made buffalo wings, but make this shrimp dish all the time.
Buffalo Alaskan Shrimp
recipe from the Fisherman's Express website

1 lb Alaskan Shrimp
1/2 cup Flour
1 Tbsp Paprika
1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1/2 cup White Vinegar
1/2 cup Margarine
2 Tbsp Hot sauce
1/8 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 to 1 Tbsp Paprika
1/8 tsp Celery seed
1/8 tsp each Garlic, Salt & Black Pepper
Peanut or Vegetable Oil

Buffalo Sauce Ingredients:
1 cup Mayonnaise
1/2 cup Sour Cream
1/4-1/3 cup crumbled Blue, Feta or Mexican Cheese
1 Tbsp each Lemon Juice & White Vinegar
1/4 cup fresh Parsley, minced
2 Tbsp Green Onion, minced
1 small clove Garlic, minced
1/4 tsp each Salt & Pepper
Dash Cayenne Pepper
Celery sticks

Peel and devein shrimp, leaving tails on. Dry thoroughly on paper towels. Mix flour, paprika and cayenne pepper together in a bowl. Hold shrimp by tail and dip into vinegar and then into flour mixture. Set aside. Melt margarine with hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, paprika, celery seed, garlic salt and black pepper. Keep warm.

To Cook Shrimp
Heat 1 inch of oil in a skillet. Fry shrimp, one serving at a time, turning to cook both sides. Drain on paper towels. Quickly dip fried shrimp into hot sauce.

Buffalo Sauce
Combine mayonnaise, sour cream, cheese, lemon juice, vinegar, minced parsley, onion and garlic and seasonings. Refrigerate. (Makes 1 1/2 cups). Serve with Buffalo Sauce and celery sticks.

Serves 4 - 6

I've Been Tagged

It's so nice to feel loved. I was tagged by Meg, of Meg's Adventures in the Kitchen. So now I have to come up with 8 factoids about myself. Here goes...

1) I snore. LOUDLY. I attribute this to allergies. But I feel for anyone who has to share a room with me. They are not going to get any sleep at all.

2) I can name all 50 states in alphabetical order. In fact I can sing them too. We learned this song in 3rd grade that taught us this.

3) I am afraid of clowns, bugs, going into dark basements by myself, aliens and ghosts.

4) I don't have any brothers or sisters.

5) I am the only person on earth who is not impressed with her Kitchen Aid mixer. I honestly could take it or leave it. It makes me sad because I had wanted one my entire life and now that I have one, it's just not that fantabulous.

6) I love tiramisu. I could eat it every day. I would even take a bath in it, if I could. Luckily the Italian take out place near our house has a cheap and yummy version.

7) I never had a pet until I was 31. Except for a few goldfish. So now that I have 2 adorable kitties, I have gone all crazy kitty mom like.

8) I have eaten cow tongue. Enough said.

So to keep up the trend, I am tagging the following people:

Mrs. Schoon
Tidbits by Jen
Carla's Kitchen
Good Things Catered
And a Cookie for Dessert
Crystal's Creations
Jennyfer's Culinary Creations
Honeybear's Adventures in Food

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

I'll have a Mojito, Chicken that is

I had an old jar of Trader Joe's Mojito Simmer sauce sitting in the pantry. I've made used it before with chicken but I wanted to try something that was more of a "recipe." So I was delighted to find a recipe on Jessy's blog Envious Edibles! It was very yummy served over rice. I did change a few things, which I noted in orange in the recipe.

Mojito Chicken

1/2 onion diced (used 1 small onion)
2 cloves of garlic diced (didn't add garlic)
2 chicken breasts ( diced into bite sized pieces) (used 1 lb thin sliced chicken breasts)
1 jar of mojito simmer sauce
1 can of corn (drained) (used canned mexican corn mixture)
1 can of black beans ( drained)
1 tablespoon of Caribbean seasoning (used 1 TBS Emeril Southwest seasoning)
1/3 cup of Bacardi 151 Rum ( or any rum of your choice)
1 pinch of crushred red pepper (sprinkled cayene before serving)

Salt and pepper chicken,sprinkle with Caribbean seasoning, crushed red pepper and cook until brown in small amount of olive oil . (I dipped my chicken into egg and then flour combined with the Emeril seasoning & lightly fried in oil. Then I removed the chicken from the pan) Add Rum and cook until alcohol burns off, remove from pan. Saute onions and garlic, add corn and black beans. Simmer for just a few minutes, then add simmer sauce and add chicken back into the sauce. Serve over rice.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Black Bean Tortilla Casserole

I found a yummy recipe on my cooking board, posted by MLR513. I had to try it out. It was very good and felt healthy too since it has no meat.

Black Bean Tortilla Casserole
1 large chopped onion
2 10oz cans Rotel tomatoes
½ cup picante sauce
1 tsp ground cumin

2 15oz cans black beans, drained and rinsed
½ cup reduced fat cream cheese
10 7-inch corn tortillas
2 cups shredded cheese

In large skillet sauté onion, and then add tomatoes, picante sauce and cumin. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Then, stir in beans and heat through. Add cream cheese at the end, and stir until melted. Remove from heat.

Spray bottom of a 9x13 pan. Spread 1/3 of bean mixture on bottom of pan, topping with a layer of tortillas and half of cheese. Then another layer of bean mixture, tortillas and bean mixture. Cover and bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle on remaining cheese, and bake until melted. Let stand for 5-10 minutes before serving. Serve with sour cream, lettuce and guacamole as desired.


On Thursday we had taco night. We haven't had tacos since Cinco de Mayo, so this was a big treat. I made homemade quacamole and put out all the fixings, including sour cream, cheese, lettuce shreds, and taco sauce. I served them with refried beans. Very economical to make and yummy too.

BBQ Salmon

My husband loves salmon. This week I tried a BBQ Salmon dish that I found on the Food Network TV website. I served it with fresh corn on the cob and creamed spinach.

Here's the recipe. I used spicy salt instead of regular salt and used a few splashes of Tabasco instead of the cayene. One thing to note, this is not a thick bbq sauce, it's on the thin side due to all the juice and lack of ketchup.

Barbecue-Roasted Salmon
from Quick Fix Meals with Robin Miller

Cooking spray
1/4 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
4 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pinch cayenne pepper
4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets, about 1-inch thick

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Coat a shallow baking dish with cooking spray.
In a small bowl, whisk together orange juice, lemon juice, brown sugar, chili powder, lemon zest, cumin, salt, and cayenne. Using tongs, add salmon fillets to the prepared pan. Pour the orange juice mixture over the salmon and turn to coat both sides. Roast for 15 minutes, until a fork can be easily inserted into the salmon.

Calories 302, Total fat 16g, Saturated fat 3g, Cholesterol 84mg, Sodium 402mg, Carbohydrates 10g, Protein 29g, Fiber 1g

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Spicy Ground Turkey and Cellophane Noodles

This is one of my favorite dishes to make! I got it from a diabetic website, of all places. One thing that I do is omit the sugar substitute. It's also a good recipe to play around with. I use whatever vegetables I have on hand and throw in water chesnuts, baby corns, etc.

Spicy Ground Turkey and Cellophane Noodles

1/2 pound ground turkey
1 1/2 teaspoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon low sodium soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
3 3/4 ounces bag cellophane noodles
1 teaspoon canola oil
4 scallions sliced, white part and 2 inches green
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch fresh ginger, minced
2 teaspoons chili puree with garlic
1 cup 98% fat-free, no-salt-added canned chicken broth
1 tablespoon vodka
2 teaspoons light soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1/8 teaspoon sugar substitute
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 pound snow peas, strings removed, sliced thin
1/2 pound bean sprouts
slices of fresh lime for garnish

1. To marinate the turkey: In a bowl combine the turkey with the vinegar, soy sauce and sesame oil. Refrigerate and marinate for 20 minutes up to 2 hours.
2. In a bowl, soak the noodles in warm water for 20 minutes. Drain and cut into 2-inch lengths; set aside.
3. In a wok or heavy nonstick skillet, heat oil until hot. Stir-fry the scallions, garlic, and ginger for 1 minute.
4. Add the turkey and chili puree. Stir-fry, breaking up the ground turkey until it is cooked through.
5. Add the broth, vodka, soy sauce, vinegar and sugar substitute along with the noodles.
6. Cook over high heat until the noodles absorb the liquid. Mix in the snow peas, bean sprouts and cilantro.
7. Heat through, and serve immediately with lime slices.

Nutritional Information:Per Serving--
Calories: 247
Carbohydrates: 32g
Protein: 14g
Fat: 6g
Saturated Fat: 1.5g
Cholesterol: 45mg
Fiber: 3g
Sodium: 373mg

With a little help from my friends

Tonight I didn't feel like cooking. I made this meal with a little help from my "friends"--Bertolli Vodka Sauce and store-bought fresh tortollinis stuffed with chicken and prosciutto. Add some grilled asparagus and texas toast. Presto - instant dinner!

Saturday, August 4, 2007

IHO Bobby Flay--Chicken Cacciatore

I love me some Bobby Flay! So when he did Chicken Cacciatore on Throwdown, I had to try it out. One thing that is not included in the recipe is the honey. On the show, he drizzled a bit of honey on top right before serving. I added this when I made the recipe. It was simply delish!

Chicken Cacciatore from Food Network TV
1 (3-pound) chicken cut into eighths
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound cremini mushrooms, quartered
1 large red onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 large yellow bell pepper, thinly julienned
1 serrano or jalapeno chile, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 cup low-sodium canned chicken broth
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes and their juices
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar or capers
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
1 pound spaghetti (size 8 or 9) cooked al dente
Basil sprigs
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large Dutch oven over high heat. Season the chicken pieces on both sides with salt and pepper and place in the pan, skin side down and cook until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn the breasts over and cook until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the chicken to a large plate. Add the remaining oil to the pan and heat until almost smoking. Add the mushrooms and cook until golden brown, season with salt and pepper and remove to a plate.

Add the onion and bell pepper to the pan and cook until soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the serrano, garlic and chili flakes to the pan and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the wine and cook until almost completely reduced. Add the chicken stock, tomatoes, and rosemary and bring to a simmer. Return the chicken and mushrooms to the pan, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pan and cook until the chicken is tender, about 30 minutes. Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon to a large shallow bowl and tent loosely with foil.

Increase the heat to high and cook the sauce, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, 8 to 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, stir in the vinegar and basil and pour the sauce over the chicken. Garnish with fresh basil sprigs. Serve over spaghetti and sprinkle with grated cheese.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Crabs, Crabs and More Crabs!

Living on the East Coast, crabs have always been a fun summer treat. Last week, we had our annual crab feast, complete with steamed crabs, coleslaw, tater tots, corn salad, deviled eggs and strawberry cake for dessert. Here are some pictures.

A closeup of the crabs:

Here's another closeup of the crabs:

The deviled eggs that we had with the crabs. Yes, not a traditional side dish for crabs, but good nonetheless.

And last, but not least, the strawberry cake we had for dessert. Yes, that is pure whipped cream as a frosting!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Well that was easy...

So I am going to take the big plunge and try out this blog-thing. I am not even sure I'll have time to update this but let's see how it goes :)