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Friday, May 27, 2011

Tropical Chicken and Shrimp Kabobs

Today was a gorgeous Southern California day. It was perfect 80 degrees and as I read a book under the swaying palm trees in my yard, I closed my eyes and imagined sitting on a tropical beach. The breeze was blowing across my face and the sun was beating down on me. I could hear the rustling of the palm trees as the breeze blew through them. The dream of the tropics was perfect......until the sirens blared and the dogs barked next door reminding me that I was in the middle of a busy city. So, I guess if you can't get to the tropics, you bring them to you! Right? So that's what I did with my dinner tonight. I love the pineapple and lime flavors mixed with the chicken and shrimp. Add the crunch of the vegetables and it's a perfect meal!

1/3 cup pineapple juice
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 limes, juiced
2 tablespoons vinegar

1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 red bell pepper, cut into kabob size piece
2 red onion cut into kabob size pieces
1 (16-ounce) can pineapple rings drained and cut into kabob size pieces
3 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 pound large fresh shrimp, deveined and peeled


In a bowl, , stir together pineapple juice, oil, lime juice, vinegar, sugar and crushed red pepper. 

Combine all the cut up onion, red bell pepper, pineapple, chicken and shrimp. Pour the lime marinade over the vegetables and meat. Stir well. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours.
Make your kabobs by draining off all marinade. Make the chicken skewers seperate from the shrimp skewers as they have different cooking times. Alternate chicken and vegetables and pineapple in any order you wish. Do the same for your shrimp skewers.
Heat your grill or your oven broiler. I cooked mine in the broiler because we were all out of propane. Grill the chicken skewers on high for about 15 min. After they have been in for 9 minutes, add the shrimp skewers into the broiler so they can finish cooking together. (the shrimp only needs about 6 min)
If you are grilling these, my guess would be to grill them for approx 10-15 minutes with the shrimp kabobs being put on the grill for the last 6 minutes.
*** I forgot to turn my skewers that's why one side is a little burned. Be sure to continually turn them whether they are on your grill or in your oven broiler. 

Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream Frosting

Today was the last day of school for the students, so I decided to make them something special to take to work today. I was out of a lot of my normal baking ingredients, so I settled for lemon cupcakes with lemon butter cream frosting. I love this frosting because the lemon cut the extreme sweet taste and it was actually a pretty refreshing frosting. Hopefully I can remember the recipe as I just threw it together before work this morning. At 5:30 AM, my brain was not working up to full capacity, so here goes.....

1 box lemon cake mix
1 lb powdered sugar, sifted
3 cubes butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
Juice of half of a small lemon
Zest of 1 large lemon, or two small lemons

Bake the cupcakes according to the directions on the box. Let cool completely.
To make frosting:
Mix butter in standing mixer until fluffy. Mix in sifted powdered sugar a little bit at a time until completely incorporated. Mix in vanilla, lemon juice and lemon zest. (You can add more or less lemon juice and/or zest according to your taste). Mix until thoroughly combined. If frosting is too thick for piping, you can add a small amount of milk...maybe 1/8 - 1/4 tsp.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Shrimp Pasta

This was one of those dinners that started out as one thing and turned into completely a different thing. I had every intention of cooking shrimp for dinner, but had no idea I was going to include pasta. My daughter was over today and she was hungry for pasta, so I decided to combine her pasta craving with my shrimp craving and it turned out to be a wonderful dinner. I am not really sure how to post this as a recipe, since I just kind of threw it together last minute, but I'll try!
Whole wheat spaghetti
Tomatoes, chopped
Fresh Basil, chopped
Green onions, chopped
Shrimp
1/4 cup White wine
1 tsp Butter
1 tsp chopped garlic
Salt/Pepper to taste
Fresh Broccoli
Fresh shaved Parmesan Cheese
Olive oil
*amounts are approximate, just add whatever you like and however much of it you like*

Mix the chopped tomatoes, green onion, and basil together with salt and pepper in a bowl. In a skillet with a little olive oil, cook broccoli until still crisp tender. Meanwhile, cook shrimp in a pan with the butter, garlic, white wine and salt and pepper for just a few minutes until it turns pink and is cooked through. Place a serving of pasta noodles onto your plate and top with the shrimp, tomato mixture, broccoli, salt and pepper and drizzle olive oil all  over it lightly. Serve with grated parmesan on the top.

Bake Sale Cupcakes

I made this style cupcake a while ago with my good friend Tammy and posted them on this blog. I tried them again today, to take to a ministry pot luck at church tomorrow. I still haven't mastered the piping of the crust around the edges of the "pie." They turned out alright, but I am definitely my own worst critic. I think everyone will like them. If nothing else, they taste great! You can't go wrong with home made red velvet cake and yummy home made cream cheese frosting.
Make your favorite kind of cupcake. Frost the top slightly and place candies to look like fruit all over the top. Make the lattice with white frosting that has been tinted with 3 drops of yellow food coloring and one teaspoon of cocoa. Pipe the edges of the pies with more frosting.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Pork Chops Ole

Tonight called for a very easy dinner since I had a mind boggling head ache all day. This dinner is super easy to make and it takes very little preparation work. I found this recipe in a magazine years ago and have been making it ever since.
Pork Chops Ole Recipe
15 90 105


6 pork loin chops (1/2 inch thick)
2 tablespoons canola oil
Seasoned salt and pepper to taste
3/4 cup uncooked long grain rice
1-1/2 cups water
1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
1/2 envelope taco seasoning (2 tablespoons)
1 medium green pepper, chopped
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

In a large skillet, brown pork chops in oil. Sprinkle with seasoned salt and pepper. Meanwhile, in a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish, combine rice, water, tomato sauce and taco seasoning; mix well. Arrange chops over rice; top with green pepper. Cover and bake at 350° for 1-1/2 hours. Uncover and sprinkle with cheese; return to the oven until cheese is melted. .

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Strawberry Spring Salad with Candied Pecans

I have posted this recipe on my blog before, but I never had a picture to go with it. So tonight when I served it, I made sure to take a picture to post on here. This is one of my all time favorite salads. The sweet, salty, cinnamon crunch to the pecans blends so wonderful with the light refreshing spring salad and strawberry drizzle over the greens. As much as I don't like the  heat of summer that's coming, I do look forward to salads like this to refresh us after a long hot day!!


1 Pkg Spring Salad Mix (from grocery store produce section)
1 Pkg frozen strawberries, thawed
16 oz pecans
2 egg whites
2 tsp cold water
2 cups sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp salt

To candy your pecans: Heat oven to 250 degrees. Beat egg whites with water until fluffy. Fold pecans into egg whites. Stire until well coated. In a bowl, mix sugar, cinnamon and salt. Fold coated pecans into sugar mixture. Place pecans on cookie sheet (try to only have one layer of them, don't stack them on top of one another). Cook for one hour. Remove from oven and place pecans on waxed paper. Break them apart to make sure they don't stick together.
To assemble salad: Place greens on your plate. Use the thawed strawberries and the juice as the salad dressing. Place a few pecans on top of the salad and enjoy!!

Monkey Bread Mini's

Ooey, gooey, sweet, buttery deliciousness. That's the best way I can describe this bread. This is really easy to make and when you eat it warm it almost melts in your mouth. Now if I could just get it to not melt into my hips ;)
I'm sure when the smell of this cinnamony bread cooking, wafted through the air to my neighbors house, that they were wondering what I was baking, so I decided to take them some and let them try it. I guess I'll have to wait for the reviews!
Here is a link to the recipe on the food network site

http://www.rachaelraymag.com/recipes/rachael-ray-magazine-recipe-search/side-dish-recipes/Monkey-Bread-Minis

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Grilled Vegetable Panini

What makes a great sandwich? Pesto, vegetables, bread and cheese!! This sandwich was so light and so filling at the same time. John and I both thought it was delicious. Definitely not a dinner for a man that will only eat steak and potato type meals, but fortunately my hubby will eat anything I serve him.

*Sorry the photo has the sandwich in the back. The picture I took with the sandwich in the front, turned out super blurry and by the time I realized it, that sandwich was already making it's way through my intestinal track! ;)
Four Cheese Sourdough Bread (or any kind you prefer. This is also good on Ciabatta bread)
Pesto Sauce ( I used home made but you can use store bought)
Eggplant
Zucchini
Yellow Squash
Red Bell Peppers (You can use green, orange or yellow or all 3 for a colorful sandwich)
Fresh Mozarella Cheese
Basil Leaves

Grill your vegetables until cooked, but not soft. Spread pesto onto the bread slices. Top one half of the bread with grilled vegetables and cheese. Place fresh basil on top. Place the other slice of bread on the top and carefully place on the panini press. Cook until cheese is melted and vegetables are hot.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Watermelon Carving

In honor of Mother's Day tomorrow, I carved this turtle out of a watermelon to hold my fruit salad. I have never carved watermelon before and it was tedious work ,but fun!!  Now if it will just hold up and stay together in the car for the drive to my mom's house (which takes over an hour)!! If you want to learn how to do watermelon carvings, then go to www.watermelon.org and click on the word "carvings" on the right. They have a lot of super ideas for carvings for holidays and parties.


Friday, May 6, 2011

Caprese Salad

This post is definitely dedicated to my wonderful friend Natasha. Of all the foods I have been exposed to and tasted, this salad was definitely not one of them. She made me a Caprese salad at work the other day and I have been craving it again ever since then. It is so light and refreshing and requires so few ingredients. This is a "no cooking skills" required kind of recipe. So thank you Natasha for my new obsession ;)
Sliced tomatoes
Fresh Mozzarella cheese (the soft kind, not the hard ball kind of mozzarella)
Fresh Basil
Olive Oil
Salt/Pepper

Slice the tomatoes and place on a plate. Scoop or slice the fresh mozzarella and place on each tomato slice. Top with fresh basil. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Strawberry Fruit Dip

Just walking through the produce department in the grocery store this time of year is completely amazing. The array of colors and variety of fruits and vegetables to choose from just astonishes me. I wish I could grow all of it in my own backyard, but living in the city does not allow that to happen. So I am content with picking out all the beautiful fruits at the store. Normally I love to eat my fruit plain, but every once in awhile you just have to splurge and break out a good old fruit dip. I mean, how can you go wrong dipping fruit into something sweet and yummy? I had never made this kind of fruit dip before and the original one I had tasted awhile back only called for two ingredients, but I decided to try adding to it and I liked the outcome.

1 tub strawberry cream cheese, softened
1 jar marshmallow creme
1/2 container light cool whip, thawed
5-8 fresh strawberries, blended till completely liquid

Mix all ingredients together. Stir well. Enjoy with a variety of cut up fruit.

Tabbouleh Salad

I love Middle Eastern food. I truly think it's one of my favorite international foods to eat. Ok, so maybe sushi truly is my favorite, but I don't think I'll be trying to prepare that at home anytime soon...... not unless Chef Morimoto shows up to teach me how ;)
So I decided to make a middle eastern salad that I have always loved the taste of. It's super easy to make and it's healthy too!I know many people are afraid to cook outside of their comfort zone, but it's good to learn how to prepare other types of foods and who knows, you just might enjoy it a the same time!!

1 cup bulgur
1 peeled and diced cucumber
1 cup Italian leaf parsley, chopped
1/2 cup mint, chopped
1/2 cup green onion, chopped
1 fresh jalapeno, seeded and chopped 3/4 cup olive oil
3 Tbsp lemon juice
salt/pepper to taste
1/2 tsp allspice

Cook bulgur according to package directions. Mix the bulgur with all the remaining ingredients and stir together well.