Monday, March 29, 2010

Crispy Breaded Shrimp with Cannellini Beans

  • I got this recipe from a Real Simple email that featured quick meals.  Not only was this meal quick but really healthy about 450 calories per serving- something that my trainer will appreciate!  I didn't have some of the key ingredients, you would think I would learn to make a list BEFORE going to the market!  Even though I was missing some key ingredients it was still delicious.  I will make this again - I would like to add in some spinach to the beans as the recipe requests as well as maybe do a lemon vinaigrette for the top.   Try it the next time you need to get a wonderful dinner on the table within 20 minutes!

Crispy Breaded Shrimp with Cannellini Beans
Adapted from Real Simple

  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1 Tablespoon Parmesan cheese
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 pound peeled and deveined medium shrimp
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 19-ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed

Preheat over to 400 degrees.  Mix together bread crumbs, dried oregano, old bay, parmesan and 3 Tablespoons of Olive Oil.  Add shrimp and toss to combine.  Place shrimp on baking sheet and add the excess bread crumbs to the top of the shrimp.  Bake 10 - 12 minutes.

Meanwhile heat the remaining two Tablespoons of oil and garlic.  Saute about 1 minute careful not to burn.  Add in beans, 1/4 cup water and salt and pepper.  Cook 3 minutes until the beans are cooked thru.

Serve the beans on the plate with the shrimp and extra bread crumbs.   Enjoy!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Spring is HERE!

I had a wonderful weekend - first a concert, then my mom and grandma were visiting, which is always wonderful.  We attended a family party for my cousins husband who will start a new tour in Afghanistan on Saturday.   Sunday we decided to go to the Farmer's Market by my sisters house - it was a perfect day to be in the sunshine, 72 and breezy!  There are so many delicious things that are starting to come into season and I can't wait until I get to enjoy all of it with the fresh fruits and veggies that I got!  More to come this week!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Chicken Piccata

Sometime recipes just don't work out the way that you had intended, that's what happened the other night when I decided to try the Chicken Piccata recipe featured on Pioneer Woman Cooks.  I have tried several of her recipes with success - you must try her onion blue cheese sauce, I could eat it on ANYTHING!

The resulting dish from the Chicken Piccata recipe was really good, but for some reason my sauce didn't thicken.  I still poured it over my deliciously crispy chicken and loved it.  I would try it again - hopefully it will thicken up next time!

Chicken Piccata
Adapted from Pioneer Woman Cooks

2 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 cup white wine
3/4 cup chicken broth
2 whole lemons
3/4 cup cream
Handful of grape tomatoes, halved

Sprinkle chicken breasts with salt and pepper and dredge in flour.  Heat butter and oil in a large saucepan.  Fry each breast - careful not to burn the butter.  Remove to a plate.

Add in wine, chicken broth and juice of lemons.  Scrape bottom of pan.  Allow sauce to cook and reduce by half.  Add tomatoes.

Reduce heat and add cream.  Whisk until sauce has thickened.  (I cooked mine for a while but it didn't thicken at all, must try again!)

I used baby bow tie pastas and added them to the sauce right at the end.  Spoon pasta onto plate, top with chicken and pour sauce over the entire plate.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Blueberry Cheese Danish

We got a wonderfully large container of blueberries at Costco and I knew that we needed to do something with them other than just add into our breakfast yogurt.  This weekend gave me the perfect opportunity to do something different and delicious for breakfast.  It came together in about 5 minutes and we had a super indulgent breakfast that was ready in a flash!   The blueberries were wonderful little bursts of flavor in this danish and the lemon was a subtle flavor in the background.

Blueberry Cheese Danish
Adapted from Taste of Home

1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon lemon zest
juice of half a lemon
1 cup blueberries
Sugar for dusting

1/4 cup powdered sugar
Juice of half lemon

Beat together cream cheese, sugar, egg yolk, vanilla, lemon zest and lemon juice until creamy.  Unroll puff pastry onto a baking sheet, spray the pan with cooking spray.  Place cream cheese mixture in the center of the pastry, sprinkle with blueberries.  Fold ends of the pastry in and pinch edges to seal.  Brush with an egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.  Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.  Remove and let cool 5 minutes.

To make glaze whisk together powdered sugar and lemon juice.  Drizzle over danish.

Slice and serve while warm.  Refrigerate leftovers.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Caramel Corn

I love popcorn!  I always have to get it at the movies - I won't eat before the movies just so I can have enough room for a tub of popcorn!  We have an air popper that I use a couple of times a week - we just add some melted butter and salt and enjoy!  While checking out some different blogs a couple of weeks ago I came across this caramel corn recipe and decided that I would have to try this ASAP!  The best thing is that I had everything is that I needed!

The result was really yummy!  I only made a half recipe in case I didn't like it and because my husband and I do need a ton of this stuff around!  I do caution that you check the popcorn often towards the end - I ended up cooking mine about 10 minutes less than the recipe suggested.

Caramel Corn
Adapted from Annie's Eats

1/2 cup popcorn kernals, unpopped
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Pop popcorn and place in two large bowls - you need a lot of room to toss the popcorn with the syrup.

Melt butter over medium heat, once melted add in the corn syrup, brown sugar and salt.  Increase heat and bring to a boil, stirring frequently.  Boil for 5 minutes without stirring.  Remove from heat and stir in baking soda and vanilla.  Caution - mixture will boil and froth at this point.   Pour the caramel over the popcorn and stir to coat.  You need to work quickly because the caramel does begin to harden.

Spread the mixture evenly onto a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Bake at 250 degrees for 40 minutes tossing every ten minutes.  Test after 30 - 40 minutes.   Allow to cool completely before breaking up to serve.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Impress your Date - Sake Glazed Salmon

Earlier this week the hubby handed me the phone, on the other line was a good friend who needed some cooking advise.  He wanted to cook his girlfriend a meal that was delicious, easy and impressive, preferably seafood.  I was both honored that he considered me a reliable source, it must be the hubby talking me up to his friends he does like to brag about what he gets to eat, and nervous.  What if it doesn't turn out right, what if she hates it and doesn't want to take more than a bite!?!

I took a moment and it then it came to me - the easiest salmon recipe that I have, Sake Glazed Salmon.  I got this recipe from one of my favorite chefs - Nigella Lawson.  I love the way she LOVES food!  She has the best way of describing food, using adjectives that I could only hope to, relishing in the wonderfulness that is food.  I own all of her cookbooks, but Nigella Express is the one that I turn to the most because they are all quick to prepare but full in flavor.  This recipe is based on the Mirin Glazed Salmon recipe in this book.  I really wanted to try it but didn't have any Mirin and substituted with Sake.  I have made the salmon with Mirin and we actually prefer the sake version, try them both and you can decide!

Fingers are crossed that he will be able to impress his girlfriend with this - I know that my hubby is always impressed when I serve this up!

Sake Glazed Salmon
Adapted from Nigella Express

1/4 cup sake
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 - 4 oz. pieces of skinless salmon
2 Tablespoons rice vinegar

Mix the sake, brown sugar and soy sauce in a shallow dish that will hold the salmon.  Marinate the salmon for 3 minutes on each side.  Heat a large skillet on the stove.

Cook the salmon in the dry pan for 3 minutes on the first side and flip over.  Add the the marinade and cook for 3 minutes more.  The salmon will be medium at this point - cook a little longer if you want it to be fully cooked.

Remove salmon to your serving plate - I usually make some rice and serve the salmon over to catch all the yummy sauce.  Add rice vinegar to the pan and stir to combine. Pour the sauce over the salmon and serve immediately.

I usually add some steamed vegetables to this dish, my favorites are green beans or asparagus.  Right before pouring the sauce I add the vegetables to the sauce to give them a little flavor.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patty's Day!

I love any excuse to bake something!  I have tons of cupcake liners for just about every holiday imaginable!  I saw this recipe for Lucky Green Velvet Baby Cupcakes on Tasty Kitchen and knew that they would be perfect for St. Patty's Day!  This recipe didn't disappoint - be sure you have somewhere to take them because it makes a lot of cupcakes! 

Lucky Green Velvet Baby Cupcakes
Found at Picky Palate

1 Box Yellow Cake Mix
4 Whole Eggs
1/2 cup Water
1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
1 small box Instant Vanilla Pudding Mix
1/2 cup sourcream
Green Food Coloring

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a stand or electric mixer, add cake mix, eggs, water, oil, pudding, and sour cream. Beat on medium speed for 1 1/2 minutes. Slowly beat in 5-8 drops of green decorating paste until you get the desired color of green. Scoop batter into paper-lined mini cupcake tins. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until cooked through. Let cool completely.

Frost cupcakes with your favorite frosting and enjoy!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Buttercrunch Toffee

I have always wanted to make Toffee, but was always nervous that it would be too hard.   I finally got the courage to try it after seeing this recipe on The Noshery.  I am really glad that I tried it because it was really easy and the end result was tasty.  I will definitely make a couple of batches this holiday season - it would be a wonderful hostess gift!  I think that I will leave out the almonds on the bottom of the pan next time because they didn't really incorporate into the toffee.

Buttercrunch Toffee
Recipe from The Noshery

2 cups sliced almonds, toasted
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
2 Tablespoons water
1/2 cup butter
1 Tablespoon corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
6 oz. chopped semi sweet chocolate

Place almonds in the food processor and pulse until finely chopped.  Sprinkle half on the bottom of a buttered 9x13 pan.  Set aside.

In a saucepan combine brown sugar, water, butter and corn syrup.  Bring to a boil and cook until it reaches 285 degrees on a candy thermometer.  Remove from heat and temperature will rise to 290 degrees.  Add baking soda and vanilla, stir to combine.  Immediately pour over almonds.  Sprinkle with chocolate and let sit until chocolate is soft.  Spread evenly over toffee.  Sprinkle almonds over chocolate and let cool.

Once cool break apart into desired shapes.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Dulce de Leche - Slow Cooker Method

Our good friend just went to Argentina a couple of months ago, along with some strange herbal alcohol he brought back Dulce de Leche.  The best Dulce de Leche ever made!  Since having a spoonful - I have been obsessed with making some.  After looking around the internet, I decided that I would try the Slow Cooker method.  It seemed to be the method that was least likely to explode all over my kitchen or take hours in the oven.  You just plop it in and wait, although I won't lie - every time my husband and I heard any noise from the kitchen we both wondered if the can was on the verge of explosion!

Simply take a can of sweetened condensed milk, remove the wrapper.  Place the can in your slow cooker and cover with water.  Cook on low for 6 - 7 hours.  I left mine to cool in the slow cooker overnight and once I opened it was met by this wonderful thick caramel.  Delish!

I will admit that I have had a couple of spoonfuls straight from the can/jar!  I am debating what I want to make with this - I think a Dulce de Leche ice cream would be delightful, maybe a cheesecake!  Stay tuned!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Wonderful Weekend

We are truly blessed that we get to live in Southern California.  This shot was actually taken on Wednesday while I was at work!  I am lucky that I get to enjoy views like this!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Favorite Things Friday!

As I've mentioned before my hubby rocks!  About a month ago he saw me earmarking my Sur la Table catalog on the Kuhn Rikon Frosting Decorating Pen and to my surprise he went out and got it!   This cool little gadget is like training wheels for cake decorating - perfect!   It has five decorating tips, a tip for filling cupcakes (can't wait to try this on my Boston Creme Cupcakes!), three frosting cartridges so that you can have three different colors going at the same time, and this cool little mixer that allows you to mix the color in the frosting cartridge.  I'm sure professional cake decorators would probably turn up their nose at this sort of gadget but I think it's perfect for someone who is just trying to get better at decorating.  Can't wait to start using this!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

CEiMB - Lemon Chicken Soup with Orzo

When I saw that this recipe was the Craving Ellie in My Belly recipe I was really excited!  I have made this recipe before and we LOVED it!  It has a wonderful lemony tang that is delicious!  I made a couple of mistakes in preparing the soup this time - but it still ended up tasty!  I strongly recommend this recipe - it will be a favorite in your house.  I included the recipe below with my changes - the original recipe is in Ellie's book - The Food you Crave.

Lemon Chicken Soup with Orzo
Adapted from Ellie Krieger's The Food you Crave

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast diced
1 medium onion, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 cup white wine
5 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 cup orzo
2 eggs
3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Heat oil in large saucepan.  Season chicken with salt and pepper and add to saucepan.  Once cooked through remove to a plate.  Add onion, celery, carrot and dried parsley.  Cook about 5 minutes until vegetables are tender.  Deglaze with the white wine, making sure to scrape up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan.  Add 4 1/2 cups of chicken broth and bring to a boil.  Check seasoning and add salt or pepper if needed.  Add orzo and simmer about 8 minutes until orzo is tender.  Reduce heat - do not let soup boil from this point.

Warm remaining 1 cup of broth until hot but not boiling.  In separate bowl beat eggs.  Whisk lemon juice into eggs.  Slowly add warmed broth into eggs, whisking while incorporating.  Gradually add egg mixture into the soup stirring until thickened.  (You need to be careful at this point because the eggs can cook - trust me I had to skim out some cooked eggs this time!  Be careful not to let the soup boil)

Serve immediately and enjoy!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

March Shipment - Operation Baking GALS

The beginning of the month has flown by - I can't believe that I'm barely making the shipping cut-off for this round of Baking GALS!  I forgot to take a picture of the contents of the box but did get one of the outside before my husband took it to the post office.

I included a batch of Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies and Chocolate chip cookies - both favorites in our house!  We also bought a couple of different candies, fruit leather and animal cookies because I knew I didn't have time to bake a ton this month.    I hope they enjoyand realize that they are apppreciated for all that they do for our country!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Greek Style Shrimp Saute

I love throwing together an easy pasta on a busy work week.  This meal came together in 15 - 20 minutes and was very tasty!  I got the recipe from the Fresh Food Fast cookbook by Cooking Light, and just added a couple of items to the pasta to up the flavor.  This will become a regular dish in our house on those busy weekdays!

Greek Style Shrimp Saute
Adapted from Fresh Food Fast

4 Tablespoons Balsamic Salad Dressing
1 1/2 punds of peeled and devined shrimp
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
12 chopped pitted kalamata olives
1/2 jar marinated artichoke hearts
1 1/2 ounces crumbled feta cheese
Freshly squeezed lemon juice (I used a half of lemon)
1 cup cooked orzo

Heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Coat pan with cooking spray.  Add 1 Tablespoon dressing and shrimp.  Cook until done, stirring frequently, about 3 minutes.  Remove shrimp and keep warm.

Add tomatoes, olives, artichoke hearts, and remaining dressing.  Cook 1-2 minutes until all are fully heated.  Add shrimp, orzo and lemon juice, toss to combine.  Sprinkle with cheese and serve immediately.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Homemade Potato Chips

What happens when you leave your husband home alone watching the Food Network????

If you live at my house, that means that you are going to walk thru the door and your hubby is going to announce that we are making homemade potato chips!

I was really excited about this new project as it was a perfect chance for me to pull out the mandolin that we got for our wedding and fry away!   The entire process did take a little time but we may never purchase another bag of potato chips again!  They were that good!  We almost didn't get a picture because we kept eating them as soon as they got cool enough - although a little burnt fingers would have been worth it to get these little suckers in my mouth!

The process was really easy - we just heated up about 3 inches of vegetable oil in my dutch oven to 350 degrees.  Then we sliced up the potatoes on the 1/8" setting on the mandolin and fried them for about a minute.  We did about 5 potatoes and had to fry them in quite a few batches.  Once they are cooked we placed them on a paper towel lined cookie sheet to drain and sprinkled them with kosher salt.

They are fantastic on their own but I added a dollop of sour cream to my plate to dip away ~ DELISH!

I do have to warn you - do not make these if you are on a diet!  You will NOT be able to stop!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream

This recipe is DELICIOUS!!! Run to your ice cream maker right now and make this immediately! It is hard to believe that with only about 10 minutes of prep and a good amount of patience (waiting for the mixture to get cold enough for the ice cream maker!) you can have what tastes like a peanut butter cup with the volume turned way up!

This recipe came from Annie's Eats, which is a wonderful blog that I drooled over! I feel like I marked about a million recipes from this site to try - if you haven't checked it out yet, set aside a couple of hours and take a look thru the beautiful pictures and yummy recipes! She got this recipe from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream

2 cups half and half
1/4 cup Dutch Process Cocoa Powder
1/2 cup sugar
Pinch of Salt
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

Whisk together half & half, cocoa, sugar and salt in a small saucepan. Heat mixture, whisking frequently. (Take my advise and DO NOT leave for a moment to get some water, and watch the ice dancers on tv! My mixture bubbled over and left me with a big mess to clean up!). Mixture will come to a rolling boil. Remove from heat and whisk in peanut butter until completely combined. Chill mixture. (This is what takes A LOT of patience!)

Process as directed per your ice cream maker and enjoy!