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Saturday, August 31, 2013

Killer Garlic Shrimp

Recently a friend from work loaned me a cookbook she thought I might like. Well, I more than like it, I LOVE it! It's called Two Dudes One Pan. It is definitely worth buying. This is the 3rd recipe I have made from there so far and I have liked all of them. I know, I know...I  haven't blogged them all. Don't gets busy. The thing I loved about this recipe is that  it requires absolutely no thinking to put it together or to cook it. So for those days that you don't feel like cooking or that you don't have a lot of time to fuss over something special, this is a winner!

2 lbs. medium or extra large  shrimp, peeled and deveined
10 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tsp salt
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
4 limes, cut into wedges

Place shrimp in a large bowl and toss with garlic and oil.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour.  
Heat a skillet over medium high heat until very hot. 
 Add the salt to the shrimp and toss to combine.  
Add the shrimp and the marinade to the hot skillet.

Cook the shrimp approximately 2-3 minutes or until they are slightly firm to the touch, stirring often.
Transfer the shrimp to a serving bowl and sprinkle with the red pepper flakes and chopped cilantro.  Serve immediately, with limes on the side.
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Monday, August 26, 2013

Fennel and Apple Salad with Maple Cinnamon Vinaigrette

A friend at work loaned me the book "Two Dudes One Pan". I found this amazing recipe in there and I just knew it would be the first one I would try from the cookbook. Boy oh boy am I glad I did. My daughter came by for dinner the night I served this and it was so nice to hear everyone eating saying "mmmm" while they ate it. I love those kind of meals. It was so light, refreshing and had so many things about it that I loved. Slightly (and I mean oh so slightly) sweet, crunchy, a little anise taste from the fennel and a little punch from the Pecorino cheese. Now I can't wait to go through the book and find my next recipe to try. If you get a chance to look at or buy this book, I would suggest doing so. It really is a great cookbook!
Original Recipe From:

For  the Salad:
2 fennel bulbs
2 apples
1/2 lemon (used only if you make the salad in advance of the meal, to stop browning)
1/2 cup very small grapes or grapes cut in half
3 Tbsp toasted pine nuts
2 tsp chives, finely chopped
1 tsp salt
2 oz Pecorino cheese, shave with a vegetable peeler (This is a kind of Romano cheese)

For the Vinaigrette:
2 Tbsp champagne vinegar (This can be found at the grocery store next to all the red wine vinegars etc)
1 tsp pure maple syrup
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 shallot (or 1/4 of a very small white onion)
3 Tbsp canola oil
2 Tbsp olive oil

Halve and core the fennel bulbs and trim the stalks. Chop up one Tbsp of the green "fronds" (the green feather stuff at the end of the stalks) to garnish the salad and set aside.
Slice the fennel and apples very thin into matchstick cuts. (If you slice the apples and fennel more than 10 minutes before you serve this salad, then here is where you would squeeze the 1/2 of a lemon over the slices to prevent browning.)

Toast the pine nuts by placing them in a dry skillet and turning the heat on medium. Continuously stir the nuts or "swirl" the pan to keep them from burning. The pine nuts are toasted when they begin to turn a darker shade of brown. Remove immediately and set aside. 

In  a bowl, whisk the champagne vinegar,, maple syrup, cinnamon  and salt. Add the shallot and drizzle in both oils while whisking to incorporate it.  Add the fennel, apples, grapes, toasted pine nuts, chives and salt. Transfer the salad to a serving bowl or platter and top with the Pecorino cheese. Garnish with the reserved, chopped fennel fronds. Serve

Serves: 4-6

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Shark Fruit Salad

So this is what happens when my hubby is at work on a Saturday and I am bored. I missed shark week by a couple of weeks, but thought I would make an honorary "shark" fruit salad. This was super easy. It only took about an hour and I think it turned out quite cute! Definitely not as good as the one I saw on Pinterest, but not bad for an amateur.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Toffee Bars

Sweet and salty really has to be one of my favorite combinations. These sure hit the spot when it comes to just a tiny bit salty and good and sweet. They are not so sweet that they make you sick or that you feel as though you can only eat one, but they do satisfy a sweet craving. The students at school today loved these and kept coming back for more. Good thing I cut them into very tiny squares. It's also a good thing that they all got eaten, because I'm sure I wouldn't be able to stay out of these!
Recipe Found at:

1 (11.3 oz) box Ritz crackers
1 (8 oz) bag toffee bits
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup milk chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350°
Spray an 8x8 pan with Pam.
Place the Ritz crackers in a food processor and process until they are fine crumbs. Add 1 cup of the toffee bits and  all of the sweetened condensed milk to the food processor. Process for just a few seconds until it's all combined well. Press the mixture into the Pam sprayed baking dish. Bake for 10 minutes and remove from oven.
Immediately pour the chocolate chips evenly over the top of the bars. Allow them to sit for a few minutes to melt, then spread evenly over the top. (If they aren't melting, stick the pan back into the oven for a minute or two.) Sprinkle on the remaining toffee bits. Allow to cool completely before cutting into squares.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Sweet and Spicy Chicken Wings

I have been on a chicken wing kick lately! I made these tonight, along with the wings from the last post. We loved both of them. I made wings a couple of times in the last few weeks, but sadly never got around to posting the recipes. That's what happens when you go back to work after summer and jump back on the proverbial hamster wheel. Anyway, these wings are slightly sweet and a just a little spicy. Perfect combination in my opinion.
Recipe Adapted From:

1 1/2 lbs chicken wings
1/4 cup Franks Red Hot Sauce
1/2 cup Thai sweet chili  sauce
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp fresh ginger, diced
2 small garlic cloves, chopped
3 Tbsp fresh cilantro
3 Tbsp green onion, chopped

Heat oven to 400°
 Season the chicken wings with salt, pepper and a sprinkling of paprika. Place into the oven and bake for 25 minutes.

While chicken is baking, make your sauce by stirring together in a small bowl: Red hot, sweet chili sauce, soy sauce, ginger and garlic.

After the chicken has baked for about 25 minutes, remove the wings from the oven and place them in a bowl. Spoon about 1/2 of your sauce over the wings. Set the remaining sauce aside. Mix to coat the wings thoroughly. Place the wings back in the oven for about 10-20 minutes, depending on how crispy you like your wings. Remove them from the oven. Toss the wings with the extra sauce and sprinkle cilantro and green onion over the top of the hot wings.

Sweet and Sticky Sesame Wings

Finger lickin good! That's the correct definition for these wings. In fact, I should hang my head in shame while telling you this, but I was trying to suck up the extra sauce out of the space between my fingers and my fingernails during this meal. I thought maybe I could find some extra sauce stored in those spaces later, but sadly the shower removed all of the extra sauce :( Ok my head is definitely hung in shame now. But seriously, this is the kind of meal that you need a few napkins for. But that's ok. I will sacrifice a few extra napkins to have something that tastes this great! If you like the combination of sweet and you like a sticky kind of terryaki-ish taste, then you will like these wings. will LOVE these wings.
Original Recipe From:

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp soy sauce
3 cloves garlic, diced
1 Tbsp fresh ginger, diced
1/2 tsp pepper
1 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds
Few sprigs Italian flat leaf parsley

Heat oven to 400°
In a small bowl, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, honey, brown sugar, soy sauce, garlic, ginger and pepper. Place the wings in a gallon size baggie and pour the sauce over them. Make sure you seal and shake the marinade around to get on all sides of the wings. Let this marinade for a couple of hours.

Remove the chicken wings from the bag, but reserve the marinade. Set aside the reserved marinade and place the chicken wings on a broiler pan or large baking pan to go in the oven. Place them in the oven for 25 minutes.

While chicken is cooking, place the reserved marinade in a small saucepan. Heat until it comes to a boil. After it begins to boil, turn the fire to medium/low and cook it for 15 minutes or until it is slightly thicker.

After the wings have been cooking for 25 minutes, remove them from the oven and use a pastry brush to brush more marinade over all sides of the wings. Place them back in the oven for about 10 minutes. Remove them again and if you have enough marinade and want to repeat the process again for 5 minutes you can.
Remove the wings from the oven and sprinkle them with toasted sesame seeds and chopped Italian parsley.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa Verde

Salsa makes everything taste bettter. Seriously, I mean salsa on chips, on meat, on eggs, the list keeps going and going. I would like to personally thank the first person who decided to invent this amazing food. Since I am growing tomatillos in my little backyard garden, I figured this would be a good way to use some of them up. I have always loved salsa, but I also truly enjoy salsa verde. If you have never tried growing tomatillos, they are super easy to grow and there is nothing better than going outside to your backyard and picking a few to make this wonderful salsa.
1 1/2 lbs tomatillos
1 med onion, quartered
1 pasilla pepper, halved lengthwise and stem removed
2 jalapeno peppers, halved
 1 cup cilantro
juice of 1 1/2 limes
pinch of sugar
salt to taste

Heat oven to 400°
Peel and wash your tomatillos. Cut them in half and place them cut side down on a Pam sprayed broiler pan. On the same broiler pan, place your onion quarters, pasilla pepper halves and your two jalapenos that have been halved. Place the broiler pan in the oven and roast the vegetables until the tomatillos are soft. This might take anywhere from 10-20 minutes depending on your oven. Just keep checking to see if they are soft. They don't need to be mushy, just soft enough to blend up. Remove from the oven and place the roasted vegetables into a food processor along with the cilantro, lime juice sugar and salt. Process until it is the consistency of a salsa. Place in refrigerator to cool.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Lime, Blueberry and Coconut Loaf

This is what happens when summertime boredom sets in. Being home from work for 10 weeks is so relaxing and at times fun. But then there are those times, when you find yourself with no money and nothing to do. Today was one of those times. So what is a girl to do when she is bored and has no money?? BAKE! Since I am staying away from sugars, this was a tough one for me to not eat. I did take a very small bite of my hubbies piece and oh my goodness....I wanted to go outside and sit in my garden (which just happens to be my happy place) with a fork and this entire loaf and eat the whole thing with nobody watching. But...I figured even my garden gnome would be watching me. I guess it's a good thing he's out there or I really might have considered eating the whole thing. So if you are bored, hungry, in the mood to bake or any other reason, you have GOT to make this loaf. It's so delicious, so moist and could just be one of my favorite new things! :)

 Recipe Adapted From:

For the loaf:
1 1/2 cups flour                            
 2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup plain yogurt
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
2 tsp lime zest
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup coconut
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
1 Tbsp flour

For the Lime Syrup:
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/3 cup sugar

For the Lime Glaze:
1 cups sifted powdered sugar
2 to 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Heat the oven to 350°.
Grease bottom and sides of one 9 x 5-inch loaf pan and dust with flour.
In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, salt and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the yogurt, sugar, eggs, lime zest, vanilla and oil. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Stir in the coconut.

In a separate bowl, mix the blueberries with 1 Tbsp of flour, and fold them very gently into the batter (the flour prevents the berries from sinking to the bottom of the loaf while it's baking).

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake 50 to 55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. Let cool in the pans for 10 minutes before removing the loaf to a wire rack.

While the loaf is cooling, make the lime syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir together the lime juice and sugar until the sugar is completely dissolved. Once dissolved, continue to cook for 3 more minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Use a toothpick to poke holes in the tops and sides of the warm loaf. Brush the top and sides of the loaf with the lime syrup. Let the syrup soak into the cake and brush it again. Let the cake cool completely.

To make the lime glaze, use a small bowl and whisk together the powdered sugar and 2 Tbsp of lime juice. The mixture should be thick but pourable. Add up to another tablespoon of lime juice if the mixture is too stiff. Pour the lime glaze over the top of each loaf and let it drip down the sides. Let the lime glaze harden, about 15 minutes, before serving.