Monthly Archives: May 2012

Grilled Veggies with Garlic Balsamic Reduction

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I was going to post this tomorrow but I just couldn’t wait. Yes, I am the one that shakes and pokes all of the presents under the Christmas tree. Want to make me crazy? Tell me you have a surprise for me and then make me wait a few days to tell me what it is! NUTS!!
Anyway, this is the side dish we had with the Salmon with Avocado Salsa. Since I seemed to keep my weekend menu theme grilling, I had to do the side dish on the grill as well right? When I went to the store I noticed they had just gotten in some gorgeous zucchini and summer squash, as well as Japanese eggplant. They NEVER have Japanese eggplant. Color me happy!! 

I was excited to grill veggies. I mean we have grilled corn but that is about it. I had thought about doing the Spicy Grilled Corn  but just thought it wouldn’t go with the salmon. I knew the veggies would be beautiful with it and the garlic balsamic reduction? OhhhEmmmGeeeee soooo good!! I love the flavor of balsamic anyway but when you reduce a good balsamic? Heaven! I am really starting to get adventurous with other flavored vinegar, just dabbling a bit here and there. Hopefully I will come up with a knock out soon!

This is super easy, healthy, cheep, and ohhh soooo tasty! What is your favorite vegetable to grill?

Grilled Veggies with Garlic Balsamic Reduction
2 medium zucchini
2 medium summer squash
2 Japanese eggplant
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper
1/2 balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
Slice the vegetables into even slices about 1/2 inch thick. Toss with olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Heat grill to medium heat and place the vegetables on the grill. Cook until nice grill marks appear and they begin to soften. Flip them over and finish them up.
In a small sauce pan add the vinegar, brown sugar, and garlic. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook until reduced by about 1/2. The reduction will coat the back of a spoon. Drizzle the reduction over hot vegetables.

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Salmon with Avocado Salsa

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I was cruising around Pintrest one day, oh well let’s be serious I cruise Pintrest EVERYDAY, and found some recipes for salmon. Since we have some wonderfully fresh salmon around here right now I knew I wanted to find a new salmon recipe. It was Memorial Day weekend and we already had plans to make ribs with baked beans and potato salad (recipes will be posted for those soon) so I wanted to make something light and summery. When I found this recipe it all but leaped off the screen and smacked me in the face screaming “Make me, make me!!”. It was from a blogger I had never read before. Her blog is called Laylita’s Recipes and she has some seriously good stuff there! 

I am a huge avocado fan as well. I mean I have been known to slice up an avocado with a bit of salt and lime juice and make a lunch out of it! I have so many avocado recipes pinned, I could make an avocado dish every night for 2 weeks I think. So yes, I was a happy camper to find this. When I first told everyone what I was making I got some strange looks. Everyone here tends to be a bit of a “purist” when it comes to salmon. Grill it, or bake it with minimal seasoning so the flavor of the salmon is number one. I agreed with this idea to a certain extent but like I said, this recipe begged me to be made so I ignored that idea and set off to the store to pick up everything I needed. I bought my salmon and it looked so gorgeous and was so fresh I almost sliced off a bit and had a little salmon sashimi snack, but I fought off the urge and got down to the business of prepping everything.
I had wanted to grill the salmon on a cedar plank but couldn’t find any so we opted for a bit of tin foil to keep it from sticking to the grill because I wanted to cook the filet whole instead of cutting it into individual portions. I prefer it whole and feel that it makes it easier to cook the fish without drying it out. Could just be my weird thing, which wouldn’t be new, but it is how I like to do it.
The verdict? Let’s see, there were a lot of OhhEmmmGeee’s flying around. I was afraid fingers would get bitten as everyone went back for more before it was all gone. My son’s friend Avin was here, as well as my “adopted son” Ryan who was visiting from San Diego. So of the 5 people eating it, EVERYONE loved it. A couple “this is the best salmon I have ever had”‘s were heard as well. With Grilled Veggies with Garlic Balsamic Reduction along side, I will guarantee you that this is a meal I will be making again soon! 

Salmon with Avocado Salsa
based on a recipe by Laylita’s Recipes
2 1/2 to 3 pound salmon fillet
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons roasted ground cumin (used McCormick’s new gourmet collection but regular cumin is fine)
2 teaspoons roasted ground coriander (again McCormick)
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons black pepper 
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 red onion thinly sliced
1 avocado, pitted and cut into cubes
3 jalapenos, ribs and seeds removed and finely chopped (can use less if you don’t want it spicy or use Fresno peppers)
Zest from 1 lime, and juice from 2 limes
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves (a good handful), chopped
Salt to taste
Mix salt, cumin, coriander, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, and black pepper in a small bowl. Drizzle the salmon with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and then rub it with the seasoning blend. You don’t have to use it all if you don’t want it just depends on the size of your filet. 
In a medium bowl combine the onion, lime zest, avocado, jalapeno, cilantro, lime juice, and 3 tablespoons olive oil. Stir to combine, season with salt to taste. Place in the refrigerator until ready to be used.
Place tin foil over a baking sheet and lay your salmon on top. Curl the edges to make a little “tray” out of the foil. Cook the salmon on the grill over medium heat (about 200 degrees F) We cook it until the white fat comes to the surface.
Remove from the heat and top with the avocado salsa. 

Tipsy Tuesday – Sweet Georgia Peaches

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Happy Tipsy Tuesday everyone!! I hope you all had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend with lots of good food and family fun. It was pretty quiet here. Ever since Miss Picky Pants moved to CA the rowdiness factor has reduced a bit in my house. She was my “partner in crime” a lot so I am kind of like Batman without Robin right now. She is doing really well, so my discomfort it easily put in the backseat to her future life. Besides the fact that my plan is that we wont be away from each other long. I may be moving back to California soon!! Anyway, enough about my life, let’s get on to the fun, and the booze. I mean this IS Tipsy Tuesday right?

As I mentioned last week, my son, the super bartender, was out of town so I was left to my own devices to come up with a tasty drink for you all. This week I had several ideas, one included blood oranges, but there were no blood oranges to be found. He told me about a drink he makes quite a bit and it sounded awesome. I adore peaches. I almost grilled some on the BBQ this weekend but was told very quickly that I had waaaaay too much food already planned any more was unnecessary *insert huge foodie pout here* Needless to say, a peach drink sounded fantastic to me.

This drink is so simple, only a few ingredients, that way you can enjoy your drinks without stressing out over how much of what thing goes where.

Tipsy Tuesday – Sweet Georgia Peaches
For one highball glass:

1-ounce peach schnapps
1-ounce Crown Royal
Orange juice
Peach slices for garnish (optional)

Fill glass with ices, add equal parts o schnapps and Crown Royal. Top with orange juice and stir. Garnish with peach slice and serve.

ENJOY!!!!

Food Star Friday – Chicken Nachos with Green Chili Cheese

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This week for Food Star Friday I was able to combine a recipe for something I have wanted to make for quite some time, with one of my favorite things to do on the weekend. Today’s post is Tyler’s Ultimate Chicken Nachos! I mean what could possibly go better together than a big plate of spicy nachos and a night time NASCAR race? On top of that we had my Watermelon Blackberry Jargaritas to wash it all down!

Tyler Florence is one of my favorite Food Network stars. Yes, the fact that he is pretty dang cute doesn’t hurt but I really do like his food. I have made several of his recipes for Food Star Friday. They never disappoint.

This weekend was a strange one. Lately I have been just flying by the seat of my pants when it comes down to what we are eating. Not knowing how many I am cooking for, or what time they will be here, and honestly being a bit burnt out from the week, has just caused me to slack off a bit. For some reason I decided to jump on the ball and get a menu plan going!

I knew I had to come up with a drink for Tipsy Tuesday, and with my son (the bartender of all bartenders) being out of town, I knew I had to really plan something good to drink. I guess that got my creative juices flowing and away I went! I still have a few things left on the plan, including a couple of desserts! I know, I am so excited!! I never make dessert, so this will be a true treat.

Now on to the nachos. These were very very good. It takes a little bit of work but not a whole lot. I had preshredded my chicken when I brought it home from the store. I bought two rotisserie chickens because the recipe called for a 3 pound chicken, and the ones at my store were just a little over 1 1/2 pounds. By shredding it as soon as I got home it saved sooooo much time when I got down to the nitty gritty of making this recipe. I plan on doing that will all of my chicken that needs to be shredded. Just do it when you are already in the shopping/organizing/putting away mood.

These didn’t last very long. I would love to have some more right now with one of those jargaritas!!

Chicken Nachos with Green Chili Cheese
  • 4 medium tomatillos, husked and rinsed
  • 2 jalapenos, stemmed
  • 1/2 medium onion, peeled and quartered
  • 2 garlic clove, peeled
  • 1 handful fresh cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon toasted cumin seeds
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups chicken stock, at room temperature
  • 4 cups shredded Jack cheese
  • 1 (1-pound) bag salted corn tortilla chips
  • 1 (3-pound) whole roasted chicken, meat finely shredded, skin and bones discarded

Quick Salsa:

  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 green onions, white and green parts, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, chopped
  • 2 handfuls fresh cilantro leaves, hand shredded
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Sour cream and guacamole, for serving

Bring a pot of water to a boil; add the tomatillos, jalapenos, onion, and garlic. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, until the tomatillos are soft. Drain and cool slightly, then put them in a blender. Add the cilantro, lime juice, and cumin. Puree for a few seconds to blend, and then pour in about a 1/4 cup of water and process to a coarse puree; taste and season with a generous pinch of salt. You should have about 2 cups of this salsa verde.
Make a roux by melting the butter over medium-low heat in a thick-bottomed saucepan. Just as the foam subsides, sprinkle in the flour, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or whisk to prevent lumps. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes to remove the starchy taste from the flour; don’t allow it to brown. Gradually whisk in the chicken stock and simmer for 8 minutes to thicken. Once you have a good base, fold in 2 cups of the shredded Jack cheese; mix until completely melted into a sauce. Stir in the prepared salsa verde until incorporated; remove the green chili cheese sauce from the heat.
Make a quick salsa by combining the cherry tomatoes, onions, jalapeno, cilantro, and lime juice in a bowl; season with salt and pepper, tossing to combine.
To build these awesome nachos: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Get a very large oven-proof platter and cover it with a few handfuls of tortilla chips, follow with a portion of the shredded chicken, a coating of the cheese sauce, and a nice sprinkle of the remaining shredded jack. Make 3 or 4 layers of the nachos, depending on the size of the platter. Bake the nachos until they are all hot and gooey, about 5 to 10 minutes.
Spoon the tomato salsa over the top of the nachos and serve with the sour cream on the side.

Lemony Pasta Salad with Peas and Bacon

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Last night I did not have an idea what I was going to make for dinner. It was again another day that I had no idea how many people were going to be here and what I had planned only fed 4. With a possibility of there being 5 people eating I had to quickly switch gears and come up with something on the fly. I found a chicken recipe for the slow cooker that only took 4 hours to cook frozen (yes FROZEN) chicken thighs and I will post that next week. But now I am stumped. I have my main dish but what do I serve it with. I can’t just throw the chicken on the platter and say TADAAA dinner is served.

So into my pantry I go, thanking the Lord I chose last weekend to clean it out and organize it. Do you  have any idea how messy 4 20 year olds can get a pantry? But I digress. Yes, pantry, side dish, on the fly. Oh I am back now.

I knew I had some frozen peas and I was thinking about a pea side dish my mother used to make with them but that would take a while because you  had to  let the peas slowly defrost in the salad. Hhmmm, OK peas, pasta, bacon, green onions, yessss I am on to something. The result was a great pasta salad that everyone loved. This is on my must make again list!

Would be great for a Memorial Day Weekend side dish!!

Lemony Pasta Salad with Peas and Bacon
1 (16-ounce) package of mini pasta
6 slices smokey bacon
3/4 cup light mayonnaise 
3/4 cup light sour cream
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
4 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped (divided)
Cayenne pepper, to taste ( I used 1/2 teaspoon)
Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper
1 bunch green onions, chopped whites and greens
2 cups frozen peas, thawed
8 to 16-ounces sharp cheddar cheese, cubed (depends on how much cheese you want, we love cheese)
Bring a large pot of water to boil. Salt the water and add the pasta, cooking as per package instructions. Drain and reserve.
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook the bacon to crisp. Drain and let cool slightly. Chop or crumble.
In a large bowl add the mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon zest, lemon juice, 2 tablespoons fresh dill, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper, and combine. Add cooked pasta, peas, bacon, and cheese. Mix thoroughly, taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Cover and refrigerate for an hour.  
You can see this recipe plus many more on The Newlyweds Blog

Thursday’s Treasures

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I can’t tell you how happy I am that Debi from Recipes for my Boys asked me to co-host Thursday’s Treasures! I have known Debi through our Facebook pages for quite some time. She has helped me through a lot of the learning process when it comes to the food blogging/Facebook world. She always has a kind word and a smile. Thursday’s Treasures is well named since I feel she is a treasure. OK enough gushing right? Seriously though, please check out her blog and her Facebook page, you will be very happy you did.

I am also excited to be co-hosting with Joan from Chocolate, Chocolate, and More Chocolate. Joan is a new foodie friend to me. She drew me in with her blog name, I mean who wouldn’t fall in love with chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate right? But once I came out of my chocolate daze I got to know her and she is such a wonderful person (as well as blogger). This foodie family we have here is a fantastic one that I am so glad I am a part of!!

Now, on to the food! Here are a couple of my favorite posts from last weeks party.

The Hot Crab Melt from Southern with a Twist made my mouth water. I love anything crab! I think these would even be good with a poached egg on top. 
Momma’s Baked Macaroni and Cheese from The Two Bite Club

So let’s get this party started! Link up some of your favorite posts. With Memorial weekend coming up some BBQ recipes would be great if you have them. Make sure to provide a link back in your post or on your page. Check out a few of the other posts and leave them some kind words.

Don’t forget to stop by Debi’s and Joan’s send them some foodie love from me, also check out their Facebook pages (Recipes for my Boys & Chocolate, Chocolate, and More Chocolate) and give them a like!!

We will all be visiting your links and sharing them on our Facebook pages, Tweeting, and pinning them on Pintrest.

LET’S HAVE SOME FUN!!! document.write(”);

Bobbi on a Budget – Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup with Ham

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I know I haven’t posted a budget meal in a while but it has been a bit difficult for me to make meals for 4 when I never know how many I am going to have here. At any given time it could be 2 or 6 with no warning *sigh* the joys of kids right? This was a meal that I knew could be made and if it wasn’t all eaten I could freeze the rest. Yes, I love soup!!

I actually chose to make this because I was thinking about my Dad. I miss his little comments “What experiment are we having tonight” “I love being a guinea pig” “Can we please have something besides chicken I am going to sprout feathers and cluck” My Dad was a crack up! One of the things I knew I could make any time and he would be happy about it was split pea soup. He LOVED it. I haven’t made it since he passed away last year so this one was for my Daddy.

Slow Cooker Split Pea Soup with Ham
  • 8 to 10 parsley stems
  • 8 sprigs thyme
  • 1 pound green split peas, picked over and rinsed
  • 1 large leek, white and light green part only, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 pounds ham, cubed
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • Crusty bread, for serving (optional)

Tie the parsley stems and thyme together with kitchen string and place in a 6-quart slow cooker. Add the split peas, leek, celery, carrots, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper; stir to combine. Add 4 cups chicken stock and 3 cups water. Cover and cook on low until the split peas are tender 6 hours. Add the cubed ham and cook on low an additional 2 hours.
Discard the herb bundle. Vigorously stir the soup to break up the peas and make the soup smoother. Thin with water, if desired. Season with salt and pepper.
Ladle the soup into bowls. Top with the thawed peas. Serve with bread, if desired.

Tipsy Tuesday – Watermelon Blackberry Jargaritas

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Happy Tipsy Tuesday everyone! This is the second Tipsy Tuesday that I have done and I was surprised by how much everyone really loved the last one. There were so many pins and tweets, it was great! I hope that you all enjoy this post as much as you did the last one.

I know I have mentioned that my son is a bartender, and he comes up with some terrific drinks, which I will be posting soon. But he was out of town this weekend PLUS I was cruising around Pintrest and found a blog called Endless Simmer. The have a section they call Endless Poptails where they make “adult” popsicles. I love the idea but know that I would be the only one here eating the popsicles so that could be dangerous. A drink however? Ya, everyone here was down with that idea! So I decided to take their Watermelon Blackberry Margarita Poptail  idea and run with that. That is how Watermelon Blackberry Jargaritas came to be!

So refreshing, I hope you give them a try!

Watermelon Blackberry Jargaritas
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 small seedless watermelon
1 small package fresh blackberries (I used 2 but I made several drinks)
Limeade
Tequila
Grand Marnier 
Cocktail Shaker (if you have one)
Jig
Small jars (or glasses)

Bring the sugar and water to boil in a small sauce pan. Boil until sugar is dissolved, allow to cool.

In a food processor, puree the watermelon flesh. Add a little of the sugar syrup to sweeten, to taste. Put the pureed watermelon into empty ice cube trays and freeze at least 4 hours.

Place a few of the watermelon ice cubes into the cocktail shaker. If you don’t have a cocktail shaker you can use two glasses together. Add a few of the blackberries (I used about 5), about 4 ounces of the limeaid and tequilla, and 2 ounces of the Grand Marnier. Shake to blend. Add a few regular ice cubes to the jars (or glasses) and pour the cocktail over the ice allowing a few of the watermelon ice cubes to fall into the glass. Garnish with a fresh blackberry.

ENJOY!!

You can see this post plus many more on the Newlywed Blog’s linky party.

Manic Monday Linky Party #1

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Happy Manic Monday everyone. I have decided to start a new Linky Party on my blog. I was thinking about different ideas for a party when it hit me, most of us are scrambling (at least those of us that fail to plan ahead over the weekend *waving hand*) on Monday morning to figure out what to make for Monday dinner. I tend to plan up to Saturday or Sunday and then figure I will start a new menu plan on Sunday and head to the store. Well my friends, that doesn’t always work out. In fact more often than not I am sitting in front of the computer and/or pouring over recipe books and magazines on Monday morning to give me some ideas for what to make for dinner. So this is for those of us that postpone and procrastinate our menu planning, as well as those that are right on the ball with organization and planning. I figure this way we can all work together and help each other out.

I am looking for easy to fix meals, but feel free to post anything you would like to post. If you have a great dessert or breakfast recipe, by all means post away. I mean I have been known to have dessert for dinner!!

Next week I will post the top viewed recipes. I will be posting this on Facebook, tweeting, and pinning about your posts, so hop on board and share your recipes!!!

Please make sure to take a few minutes to follow my blog, Like my Facebook page, follow me on Twitter, and check out my Pintrest boards so you don’t miss any of the great things shared!!

Here is one of my favorite recipes from last week.

Grilled Pesto, Mozzarella, and Tomato Sammies

Asparagus Wrapped in Prosciutto with Beurre Blanc

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Hello my fine foodie friends! Today’s Food Star Friday post is courtesy of Kelsey Nixon from Kelsey’s Essentials. I know she isn’t a “big” food star, but I have been watching a lot of the new shows lately trying to get a feel for the up and comers. This episode of her show was all about sauces and, as you know, a sauce can make or break a recipe. So I thought I would share the link for the episode as well as one of her recipes. The episode was entitled “Sauces” and the recipe, well as you can see I made some very yummy roasted asparagus with a Beurre Blanc sauce.

I am an asparagus fanatic! Hands down it is my favorite veggie with the artichoke coming in a close second. I have made asparagus just about every way possible I think, but am always open to new ways. A certain pizza I just found on Pintrest comes to mind so stay tuned for that one too!

In the past I have tried many variations of this dish. Asparagus wrapped in bacon, asparagus wrapped in prosciutto, asparagus wrapped in prosciutto with a little bit of Swiss cheese tucked under the prosciutto wrap, etc. But when I saw one of my favorite side dishes made with a sauce I had never tried I knew it was meant to happen.

The sauce takes a little bit of time but is oh so worth it! Actually it is not as much time as attention. If you let it get to hot you will break the sauce. But like I said this sauce is just, well perfect! We even drizzled it over our baked potatoes and steaks!!

Asparagus Wrapped in Prosciutto with Beurre Blanc

1 large bundle of asparagus (18 spears)
Proscuitto (6 slices)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Ground black pepper
Beurre Blanc sauce (recipe follows)


2 shallots, finely chopped
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup white wine
1/3 cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Remove the woody ends of the asparagus spears trimming the spears to the same length.

Bundle 3 asparagus stalks together and wrap each grouping with one slice of prosciutto, leaving the tips exposed. Drizzle the bundles with olive oil.

Roast the bundles for 10 minutes, or until the asparagus ends and the prosciutto slices are crisp.

Drizzle each prosciutto-wrapped asparagus bundle with the prepared beurre blanc and serve.
To make beurre blanc:
Bring the shallots, vinegar, and wine to a boil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan until the liquid is reduced to 2 tablespoons, about 5 minutes.

Add the cream, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil for 1 minute. Reduce the heat to low and whisk in a few tablespoons butter. Continue to whisk and add a few pieces at a time of the remaining butter. Wait until each addition is incorporated before adding more butter. The sauce should remain warm, but never hot or the sauce will break.

Remove the sauce from the heat and season with salt, and pepper, to taste. If desired, strain the sauce through a sieve to remove the shallot. Discard the shallot. Serve the sauce immediately.