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Monday, June 24, 2013

Lime Cilantro Quinoa

I love Quinoa. I haven't had any in quite awhile and tonight, I decided to make a new recipe. I have tried quinoa many ways, but this by far is the best way I've ever fixed it. Of course, I think you can add lime and cilantro to just about anything and they would somehow make it taste better. Lime and Cilantro make great partners. Kind of like my hubby and I! :) They just go together perfectly. (So glad I can still say that after 30 years of being married)
All the flavors in this dish balance out so well and compliment each other. I wanted to just take the spoon and not stop eating but I forced myself  to walk away after a small amount, knowing that if I didn't stop, I never would. So guess what I will be having for lunch tomorrow? You guessed right....Cilantro Lime Quinoa!

Recipe Adapted From:

1 cup quinoa
2 tsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 (4 oz) can diced green chiles
2 cloves garlic, chopped
14 oz chicken broth
1/4 cup pepitas
 3/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup green onions, chopped
2 Tbsp lime juice
1/4 tsp salt

 Place the dry quinoa in a small skillet. Toast over medium fire for about 5 minutes or until it crackles. Then take the toasted quinoa and place it in a sieve and rinse it thoroughly and set aside.
Place the pepitas in the same skillet and toast them dry for about 2-4 minutes or until they begin to brown. Set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for about 2-3 minutes, or until softened. Add the green chilies and the garlic and stir it together with the onions. Add the quinoa and the chicken broth. Bring to a simmer. Lower the heat and place a cover on the pan. Simmer on low heat until the broth has all been absorbed and the quinoa is tender. This should take about 20-25 minutes. 

Add the pepitas, cilantro, green onions, lime juice and salt. Fluff the quinoa with a fork and serve warm.


Spicy Moroccan Shrimp

This might just be my new favorite shrimp recipe. I love the spice, the way the flavors blend together so well and the ease of making this dish. I stumbled onto this recipe on Pinterest and have been considering making it for quite some time. My hubby is not a huge shrimp fan, so I kept putting it off. Well tonight I couldn't put it off any longer. I just knew from reading the ingredients that I would love this. Turns out the hubby liked it also! :)

Recipe Source:

1 lb large shrimp, shelled and tails removed
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1/8 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp paprika
3/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp ground ginger
pinch of cayenne pepper
Salt/Pepper to taste
1/8 cup Italian Parsley, chopped
1/8 cup cilantro, chopped

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat.
After it is hot, add the garlic and cook for about 2 minutes or until it begins to brown lightly. Add the paprika, cumin, ginger, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper. Mix well.
Add the shrimp to the pan and mix the shrimp around to coat evenly with the seasoning.  Cook, stirring constantly  until shrimp is just about cooked through. (5-8 minutes depending on the size of the shrimp)
Add in the Italian Parsley and the cilantro, cook for about 1 minute more or until the shrimp is fully cooked. 

Friday, June 21, 2013

Chocolate Cupcake with Chocolate Ganache and Peanut Butter Cookie Frosting

Sometimes you just stumble onto recipes that you just know are going to be good. Well...this wasn't one of was GREAT!!! I had a lot of fun making them and I took them when I went to visit a friend. I also put some away in the freezer for when my girls come by the house. Oh if only I had a way of blocking them from my vision every time I open the freezer door. I open the door to take out something for dinner each day, look at them, drool a bit, and then force myself to close the freezer door. Yes, I have actually NOT gotten into them. See...miracles still happen today!
These are easy to make and look so cute when they are finished. It really looks like there is a cookie on the top of the cupcake. It's just frosting, but it's incredibly soft, yummy, peanut butter frosting, shaped to resemble a peanut butter cookie.

 Recipe Source:

For the cupcakes:
1½ cups hot brewed coffee
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
1½ tsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
12 tbsp. (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1½ cup packed brown sugar
¾ cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
 oven to 350 degrees.  Line cupcake pans with paper liners.  In a bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk together the hot brewed coffee and cocoa powder until dissolved.  Set aside.  In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and sugars.  Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Blend in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl as needed.  Blend in the vanilla.

For the ganache:
6 oz. semi sweet chocolate chips
½ cup heavy cream

For the peanut butter cookie frosting:
9 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1½ cups creamy peanut butter
3 cups confectioners’ sugar

Heat oven to 350°.  Line cupcake pans with paper liners.  In a bowl , whisk together the hot brewed coffee and cocoa powder until dissolved.  Set aside.  In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and sugars.  Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Blend in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl as needed.  Blend in the vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients in three additions alternating with the coffee-cocoa mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.  Mix each addition just until incorporated, being careful not to overmix.  Divide the batter between the prepared liners, filling each about two-thirds of the way full.  Bake about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let cool in the pans briefly, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

When the cupcakes are cool, make the ganache by placing the semi sweet chocolate chips in a small bowl.  Bring the cream to a simmer, pour over the chocolate, and let stand about 2 minutes.  Whisk together until a smooth ganache forms.  If needed, let cool briefly at room temperature to thicken slightly before using.

To make the peanut butter cookie frosting, combine the peanut butter and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium-high for 1 minute.  Turn off the mixer, add in the confectioners’ sugar and mix on low speed until fully incorporated.  Increase the speed to medium and mix until smooth, about 2 minutes.  Scoop about 1 tablespoon of the peanut butter mixture and use clean, dry hands to form it into a patty.  Use the tines of a fork to make the classic crisscross pattern on top of the “cookie”.  Repeat with the remaining peanut butter mixture.

Use an offset spatula to spread a layer of ganache over the top of each cupcake.  Place a peanut butter “cookie” on top of each cupcake.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Maragarita and Citrus Shrimp Salad with Mango and Pineapple Chunks and Citrus Honey Viniagrette Dressing

Yum! Nothing says "great summer dinner" like a refreshing and light salad. After working in my garden today, walking 3 miles and generally just getting a lot done, I decided that a nice, light dinner was in order. I opened my freezer, took out some shrimp that I had purchased last week and after unwrapping it, I was shocked to find that  the employee behind the seafood counter had inadvertently given me already cooked shrimp, instead of raw shrimp!  I don't think I have ever bought the pre-cooked kind. So what was I supposed to do with this?  I pondered for a few minutes and then it hit me....make a yummy salad! Since the shrimp was already cooked, I just had to find a way to dress it up a bit. I could have taken the easy route and just served basic shrimp on greens, but that would not have been any fun! So this was the end result and boy oh boy, I'm sure glad it was!
For the Margarita and Citrus Shrimp Marinade:
1/2 lb. pre-cooked, peeled shrimp
1/2 jalapeno pepper, chopped
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp coriander
1/2 clove garlic, chopped
Zest and juice from 1 large lime

Salt/Pepper to taste

Cut the tails off the shrimp and set aside. In a medium bowl, combine the jalapeno, olive oil, coriander, garlic, lime zest, lime juice, salt and pepper. Put the shrimp in this mixture. Toss the shrimp to evenly coat it with the marinade. Marinade the shrimp in the refrigerator for 15-30 min.

For the Margarita and Citrus Shrimp Sauce:
1/8 cup Margarita mix (the sweet and sour mix, not the one with the alcohol already in it)
1/8 cup Tequilla
Juice and Zest of 1 large orange
Juice of 2 large limes
1 green onion, chopped

While your shrimp are marinading, get out a small saucepan to make the sauce. In the saucepan combine the margarita mix, tequilla, zest and juice of the orange, lime juice and the green onion. Bring to a boil and let cook on medium for about 6 minutes. Cool slightly. Drain the marinade off the shrimp that is in the refrigerator then pour the cooled  sauce over your shrimp. Place the shrimp back into the refrigerator to cool down while you prepare the dressing and the salad.

For the Citrus Honey Vinaigrette Dressing: 
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 Tbsp onion, chopped finely
1 large orange, juiced
2 limes, juiced
2  Tbsp honey
3/4 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
dash of Sriracha sauce
1/2 cup olive oil

Place all the dressing ingredients in a container with a tight fitting lid that seals well. Shake it all up and store in the refrigerator until ready to use. Shake again before using!

For the Salad:
Red Onion, sliced
Mango, cut into slices or chunks
Fresh Pineapple, cut into slices or chunks
Avocado, cut into slices

You can use as much or as little of each of these ingredients, for the salad, as you would like. Be creative and put whatever salad fixin's you think would taste good with this, into your salad. Assemble the salad in any way you would like. Top with the shrimp and the cold dressing! Enjoy!

*The recipe for the dressing was adapted from:

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Broiled Salmon with Thai Sweet Chili Glaze and Sriracha Cream Sauce

I am such a sucker for seafood recipes. I'm also a sucker for Asian sauces. So when I saw this recipe, I just knew I had to try it. So many times, I am creative and make up my own, or I find a recipe and by the time I'm done "tweaking" it to suit my taste, it doesn't even resemble the original recipe. Well, tonight neither of those things happened. I was way too tired to think creatively and I knew when I saw both of these recipes, that I would not have to change anything about them. I'm so glad I didn't, as they were great "as is."

Recipe Source for the Salmon:

Recipe Source for  the Sriracha Cream Sauce:

For the Salmon:

3/4 lb Salmon fillet
3 Tbsp Thai Sweet Chili Sauce (Mae Ploy brand is the best!)
1 1/2 Tbsp soy sauce
 1/2 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 green onion, sliced

1. Preheat the broiler to high and set the rack in your oven to the highest possible rack setting. 

2. Make the marinade by combining sweet chili sauce, soy sauce and ginger in a shallow baking dish. Save  1/4 cup marinade and set aside to use later. Add salmon fillet to the marinade in the shallow baking dish and marinate for 1 hour in refrigerator.

3. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and spray with Pam. Place the marinaded salmon fillet on the foil lined cookie sheet and drizzle a very small amount of the marinade over top. Broil the salmon for 6-10 minutes, or until cooked through. Transfer salmon to serving dish and pour reserved 1/4 cup marinade over the top. Garnish with green onions and Sriracha cream sauce.

For the Sriracha cream sauce:
1/4 cup mayonnaise 
2 Tbsp Sriracha 
3/4 Tbsp sweetened condensed milk

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl and keep in refrigerator until ready to use. 

Buffalo Cauliflower

This morning at the grocery store, I  picked up a head of cauliflower. This isn't a vegetable I cook very often and I'm not exactly sure why. I have always liked it, I just tend to go for the green vegetables more I guess. So when I was planning dinner, I got to thinking, how can I fix this, to jazz it up? I didn't feel like being super creative tonight, as I had a really busy day, so I turned to Pinterest to help me find a good recipe. I'm so glad I did, because honestly I think this will be my new favorite way to serve cauliflower!

 Recipe Source:

1 head cauliflower

For the batter:
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup water
Good dash of Frank's Wing Sauce or Frank's Original Hot Sauce
1/4 tsp garlic salt
1/4 tsp onion powder

 For the Sauce:
1/4 cup Frank's hot sauce
4 Tbsp butter, melted

Heat the oven to 450° Line a baking sheet with tin foil and spray the foil with Pam. Set aside.

Wash the cauliflower and cut into pieces.
In a medium bowl, mix together the batter ingredients. Dip each piece of cauliflower into the batter until evenly coated. Place onto the foil lined baking sheet.Bake for 15 minutes.

In a small bowl, mix together the sauce ingredients. Once the cauliflower have baked for 15 min, remove it from the oven and brush it evenly with the buffalo sauce.Put it back into the oven and bake for 5 more min. 

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Spaghetti and Meatballs (Homemade Sauce and Meatballs)

For years, I used to buy jarred spaghetti sauce. I'm not really sure why except that convenience won out over taste. A long while back, I stumbled onto a new spaghetti sauce recipe on Pinterest. After tweaking it quite a bit to suit our families taste, I am so  happy with the results. This is super easy, super quick and trust me, it puts any jarred sauce to shame! I'm ashamed that I ever bought jarred sauce, after realizing how quick and easy it is to whip up your own. I also don't know why I have never posted the recipe before this. I guess I just figured  everyone makes  their own sauce. Well....after having a conversation with a friend about how truly easy it is to make your own sauce, she asked me to please post the recipe! So here it is....enjoy!
Recipe adapted from:

For the spaghetti sauce:
1/4 cup olive oil
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
1 Tbsp dried basil
2 (28 oz) cans crushed tomatoes
Salt/Pepper to taste
1/4 cup sugar (you can use less if you like your spaghetti sauce less sweet)

For the meatballs:
10 oz hot Italian sausage
10 oz ground beef
1/3 plus 1/8 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup ricotta cheese
3/8 cup (1/4 cup plus 1/8 cup) grated fresh parmesan cheese
3/4 cup Italian breadcrumbs
3 eggs, slightly beaten
Salt/Pepper to taste

To make the sauce:
Heat 2 Tbsp of the olive oil and 3 cloves of the garlic in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Add Italian seasoning, basil, tomatoes,  salt and pepper. Cook for 30 min. Add the sugar and cook another 30 minutes.

To make the meatballs:
While the sauce is cooking, mix the remaining 2 cloves of chopped garlic, Italian sausage, ground beef, mozzarella cheese, ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs, eggs, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Form into 8 (2 1/2 inch) meatballs.
Heat remaining oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 4 meatballs to the oil. Cook until they are browned on all sides. This takes about 10 minutes and you must turn the meatball to a new side about every 2 minutes. Transfer the browned meatballs to a plate. Repeat these steps with the last 4 meatballs.
When all 8 meatballs have been browned and are on the plate, transfer all the browned meatballs to the spaghetti sauce. Cover each meatball with sauce and cook for 30 minutes, until all the meatballs are cooked through. Serve meatballs and sauce over spaghetti.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Garden Project

I know....I know...this is supposed to be a food blog. I have only diverted away from my recipes one time before this. Last year when my hubby and I finished a garden project, with my grand daughters rain boots, I posted the pictures on this blog. Well, today we finished a new garden project. I love it and I am thinking that if it wasn't so  hot in Southern California, I would just go sleep in my garden somewhere. Especially now that this sign is done. I can't wait till my grand daughter comes over to see it!
*If you click on the smaller picture, it will open up larger!