i wish I was more inventive. Seriously! Like today, for instance: I remembered I had shrimp in the freezer, which the seven year old LOVES (score! no battles tonight!), didn’t want to fire up the grill, but wanted that sweet grilled shrimp flavor. Looking online, I found that Ina Garten (oh how I wish I lived next to her in The Hamptons so we could become good neighbor friends and she could ask me to test her recipes!) suggests OVEN ROASTING your shrimp. DUH! Why didn’t I ever think of that? It makes so much sense.
Delicious. Easy. Healthy. Do it! (unless you hate shrimp, in which case, ignore this post-and maybe don’t read it if you’re a certain friend of mine that is scared of shrimp because she thinks it’s going to jump up from the plate and crawl away…weirdo)
Marinate, if you wish. Or toss with olive oil and S&P. Spread on baking sheet and roast at 400 for about 6 minutes. Maybe 7…BUT DON’T OVERCOOK! You don’t want rubbery shrimp! You’ll know it’s done when it turns pink.
Tomato Eggs. Adam ate this in Taiwan all. the. time. I scored some garden tomatoes from someone at church, so, before they all went bad, I made it, but I’ve never had it before, so I was going in blind. I researched and found a recipe online. It’s easy peasy. And, according to the expert, I hit the nail on the head.
It was tasty. And cheap. And delicious. Make it with some brown rice and you won’t be sorry!
Here’s the link!
Do you love peanut butter? I do! Especially paired with chocolate. Or honey. Or honey and bananas.
Do you love popcorn? I do! I love that it’s so versatile. One of my favorites?—Truffle oil and parmesan. So delicious. I am also known to enjoy a sweet variety of the popped corn on occasion. SO, when I saw this combo, I had to try it. I made it—oh? I don’t know—10 minutes ago?—and I’m having a really hard time saving it for what I made it for. The seven year old loves it, I love it, and I’m sure the hubs will love it if he ever gets to try it. Here’s the recipe:
So last time we were in the mood for a movie snack, we made peanut butter popcorn but added delicious local honey in place of the corn syrup, and it turned out fabulously! All the nostalgic goodness of a peanut butter butter and honey sandwich, but much more snackable and with the great crunch of popcorn. I’d highly recommend it if you’re looking for a tasty snack! On the other hand, if you are interested in using any of the more chocolaty add-ins I mentioned above I’d recommend going the corn syrup route because the honey flavor is pronounced enough that it might be a bit of flavor overload to have the peanut butter, popcorn, honey, and chocolate competing for your taste buds’ attention.
Peanut Butter and Honey Popcorn
Adapted from my Auntie Carol
Makes one large bowl
1/2 cup popcorn (I prefer to use an air popper, but you can make it on the stove or in a pinch you can use a bag of microwave popcorn provided it is not adulterated with butter/salt/godknowswhatelse)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup honey (or light corn syrup)
1/2 cup peanut butter (smooth or crunchy will both work)
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup roasted peanuts (or more if you like)
optional add-ins: chocolate chips, peanut M&Ms…any other ideas, let us know!
Start by getting your popcorn popping. No need for butter or salt, just pop it up nice and plain and put it in a large bowl. Take out any old maids you find (aka unpopped kernels) because there is nothing worse than biting into a gooey chunk of peanut butter popcorn and breaking your tooth on a hard kernel.
In a small sauce pan over medium low heat, combine your sugar and honey (or corn syrup). Stir together and allow to heat up (using honey, it will seem really really thick at first and you’ll worry you put too much in, but all will resolve itself as it warms) until little bubbles start to form around the edges. Let it lightly bubble for about two minutes, then add your peanut butter and vanilla and stir to form a smooth, peanut buttery syrup. Remove from heat.
Add your peanuts to the bowl of popcorn (if using), then pour the peanut butter mixture over the bowl of popcorn and use a wooden spoon to toss it around so all the popcorn gets a nice coating. Don’t try to use your hands on this part or you’ll get a sugary burn! If you’re planning on using one of the chocolatey optional add-ins, don’t forget to let the coated popcorn cool a bit before you put in the chocolate or you will get a sticky brown melty (but still delicious) mess. The popcorn will be at its warm, sticky best right away, but if you like a little crunchier texture (more like traditional caramel corn) you will probably enjoy it more and more over the first 24 hours (if it lasts that long). Store in an airtight container if you expect it to last. Happy snacking!
I just got back from Utah. It was a good time. I saw all, save one, of my siblings. We all stayed in my sister’s GINORMOUS house. We celebrated a birth, a marriage, and the 4th of July. We cooked and ate and cleaned on rinse and repeat. Boy am I zapped! Good thing my sister in law brought along a new and delicious health food recipe for some “energy” bars! They are delicious and nutritious and you should make them right away!
No-Bake Chewy Fruit and Nut Bars
1 1/2 cups puffed brown rice cereal (try and find the one that is more like rice crispy cereal)
1 cup dried tart cherries
1 cup whole roasted unsalted or raw almonds
2/3 cup chopped dried apricots
1/4 cup finely chopped bittersweet chocolate
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup brown rice syrup*
1/4 cup creamy almond butter
1/4 tsp salt
- Line an 8-inch square pan with foil. Butter the foil. In a large bowl, stir together cereal, cherries, almonds, apricots, and chocolate.
- Combine butter, sugar, syrup, almond butter, and salt in a small saucepan and cook, stirring, over medium heat until the butter melts and the mixture is smooth. Bring to a simmer and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly to prevent scorching. Immediately pour bubbling mixture over cereal mixture and stir until well combined.
- Press mixture firmly into prepared pan. Chill until firm, about 1 hour. Tip out of pan onto a work surface and peel off foil. Using a sharp knife, quarter mixture and then cut each quarter into 5 bars.
*Find at natural-foods stores and Whole Foods Market. Usually around 4 dollars a jar.
Nutritional info per bar: 162 calories, 2.9 grams protein, 8 grams fat (1.8 g saturated), 21 g carbs, 1.9 g fiber
I’ve never heard this kitchen trick, but thought I’d pass along the AWESOME info from The Kitchn:
There’s nothing wrong with a good hunk of onion in a salad: it’s crunchy, and filled with pungent flavor. However, when that strong flavor takes over the dish, not to mention the next few hours of the victim’s mouth, that’s when one starts to push those crisp onion slices off to the side of the plate. But there’s a great way to have your onion and eat it too!
Soaking onions in ice water for 10 or 15 minutes mellows out the flavor to take that sharp edge, and accompanying aftertaste, out of the picture. It’s a trick restaurants use, and you can achieve the same results, too.
Awesome. I love onions, but hate when they overpower everything.
For Father’s Day, we hosted my husband’s family. 20-something people. In my little house. What’s nice about these get-togethers is that everyone contributes some part of the meal. Since I hosted, I put myself in charge of the main dish, so I made carnitas. This time, however, after reading up on good alternatives to booze in cooking (not that I’m opposed, but some are uncomfortable with it), I found that Coke is supposed to be a good alternative to brandy when making dishes like this. Can I be honest? I was skeptical because the original version is so flippin’ good, but I actually liked the Coke version better. So did everyone else. I made 72 tacos and they were GONZO in a very short amount of time.
To accompany the carnitas, I also made guacamole and green salsa (because it was father’s day and it is my husbands favorite).
The green salsa is SUPER spicy but incredibly flavorful and delicious…we like it on everything, especially eggs in the morning.
Here’s the recipe:
5 serrano chilies
12 oz tomatillos, husked removed
1-2 cloves garlic
1-2 pickled serrano peppers, seeds removed
1 tbsp vinegar from the pickled serranos
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup cilantro
1/3 cup finely chopped onion
- Place fresh serranos in a large saucepan of boiling water. After 5 minutes, add the tomatillos. After 3 minutes, drain.
- Puree the serranos, tomatillos, garlic, vinegar, and pickled serrano in a blender. Add the salt and cilantro and blend for 2 short cycles.
- In a bowl, combine the puree and onion. Correct the seasonings if needed.
Happy eating. If you’re weak sauce, be sure to have a glass of milk close by…or maybe take some of the seeds out of the fresh chilies before pureeing. Whatevs.
Brought to you by the Naptime Chef. I don’t remember where I stumbled upon this blog…
Roasted Peach Lemonade
|4||medium peaches, pitted and sliced in half|
|1||tablespoon granulated sugar|
|4||cups fresh lemonade|
1. Preheat the oven to 400F.
2. Place the peaches skin side down in a baking dish and sprinkle the tops with the sugar. Roasted the peaches for about 25 minutes or until the tops of the peaches are juicy at the skins able to be easily pinched off.
3. Remove the outside of the peach skins and drop the roasted peaches into a blender. Pour in enough lemonade to cover the peaches in the blender. Puree the peaches completely, until the liquid is a little foamy and frothy.
4. Pour the mixture into a pitcher and stir in the rest of the lemonade. Chill. Be sure to stir up the lemonade with a wooden spoon again before serving!
Oh, so delicious. I bought Chick-Fil-A lemonade because it’s really good, and then added the homemade peach puree. Served it at a dinner with a friend—she dubbed it Nectar of the Gods. Try it. You won’t be sorry. Ever.
It’s obvious I love Risotto. Like, a lot. I also like cooking barley like risotto because it makes me feel better about all the other things I add to it. Deb, from Smitten Kitchen, who is a genius with food and I’m totes buying her cookbook, came up with THE ULTIMATE combination. I only changed it up a bit by using barley instead of arborio rice…ok, and maybe a
TAD bit more twice the bacon…oops!…
So, without further ado—-
Bacon, Egg and Leek Risotto
I mentioned that the recipe was inspired by an article but I’d prefer not link to it because, while I’m sure the restaurant that serves it does so splendidly, the recipe as written was a mess of bad cooking times and impossible ingredient levels. Essentially, I’d rather talk about it only behind it’s back. I rewrote it and tweaked the ingredients a little too. The idea was wonderful; this execution should work for everyone.
Yield: Six small or four large servings
6 cups low-sodium chicken stock or vegetable broth, but best to have an extra splash or two around if needed
1 cup (4 ounces) finely chopped bacon (from about 4 slices) or pancetta
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 large or 3 smaller leeks, quartered lengthwise, cleaned of grit, and chopped small
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more to fry eggs
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
2 cups arborio, carnaroli, or another short-grained Italian rice
1/3 cup dry white wine or vermouth (read why here)
1 cup finely grated fresh Parmesan cheese, plus extra for garnish if desired
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 to 6 large eggs, you’ll want one per serving
Place stock or broth in a small-medium saucepan over very low heat on a back burner. You want to have it heated until steamy when you add it in a bit, but not so much that it simmers and loses volume. Heat a second medium saucepan (3 quarts) or skillet over medium heat. Add bacon or pancetta and cook until it renders its fat, and is tender and just barely crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon to a bowl and set aside, leaving whatever dripping you can in the pan. Add a tablespoon of oil to the bacon fat if needed, then add the leeks. Cook leeks on medium-low for 10 to 12 minutes, until softened and mostly tender. Transfer to bowl with bacon and set aside, leaving stove on. Add butter to pan and, once melted, cook onion in butter until translucent and tender, about 5 minutes. Add rice and cook sauté until faintly toasted, about 4 minutes. Add wine or vermouth and cook until it almost disappears, about 2 minutes. Ladle 1 cup of hot broth into the rice mixture and simmer until it absorbs, stirring frequently. Add remaining broth 1/2 cup at a time, allowing broth to be absorbed before adding more and stirring frequently until rice is al dente, about 25 to 30 minutes. What you’re looking for in well-cooked risotto is a creamy but loose dish. When ladled onto a plate, it should spill into a creamy puddle, not heap in a mound. You might need an extra splash of broth to loosen it. When you achieve your desired texture and tenderness, stir in the cheese, bacon and leeks. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into serving bowls. Then, quickly, in a small skillet, heat a pat of butter over medium-high and swirl it to coat the pan. Crack one egg into the skillet, season with salt and pepper and reduce heat to medium. I like to cover the skillet with a small lid at this point, as it seems to help the egg cook faster and more evenly. In one minute, you should have a perfect sunny-side-up egg. Transfer to your first bowl of risotto and repeat with remaining eggs. Garnish each with an extra bit of grated parmesan and eat immediately.
After an almost year hiatus, I decided to come back. Did you miss me?
An update on my little familia: We now have Lorenzo—who is the absolute cutest baby boy on the face of the planet. For reals, y’all. We are all happy and healthy and have no idea what our lives were like before he came along.
Ready for a recipe? You’ll like this one. It’ll really make you happy. You know the restaurant that serves the famous chicken lettuce wraps? It starts with a P and ends with a Changs. There’s an F in there too. Well, Guy Fieri from Food Network has a recipe that’s BETTER. No joke. Here it is:
- 2 1/4 cups canola oil
- 5 wonton wrappers
- 1 iceberg lettuce head
- 1 teaspoon minced ginger
- 1/3 cup 1/4-inch-diced red onion (about 1/2 small onion)
- 1/3 cup 1/4-inch-diced red bell pepper (about 1/4 pepper)
- 1/3 cup 1/4-inch-diced carrot (about 1/2 medium carrot)
- 1/3 cup 1/4-inch-diced celery (about 1/2 celery stalk)
- 1/3 cup 1/4-inch-diced sugar snap peas (about 10 peas)
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 cup sliced stemmed shiitake mushrooms1-2 small cans water chestnuts*
- 1/3 cup mung bean sprouts, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 pound
boneless, skinless chicken thighs, 1/2-inch dicedground chicken*
- Plum Sesame Sambal Sauce (recipe follows)
- 2 tablespoons sliced green onion
- 1 tablespoon minced unsalted peanuts
- 1/2 teaspoon black sesame seeds
- Plum Sesame Sambal Sauce
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds (To toast sesame seeds, shake them in a skillet over medium- high heat until golden brown)
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger
- 1 tablespoon chili-garlic sauce
- 1 tablespoon plum sauce
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
- 1 teaspoon minced cilantro
- 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon mirin (sweetened rice wine)
For the Plum Sesame Sambal Sauce: Combine all the ingredients in a jar with a lid. Shake well before serving.
For the Chicken Lettuce Cups: In a heavy saucepan, heat 2 cups canola oil to 350°F over medium heat, or until a bit of wonton wrapper sizzles when added. Add the wonton wrappers and fry for about 35 seconds, until lightly browned. Drain on a paper-towellined plate. Crush the wrappers and set aside.
Cut the lettuce in half from top to bottom, remove the core, and carefully remove the 10 nicest leaves. Wash the lettuce in cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Stack the lettuce cups on a plate and refrigerate.
In a medium wok or large skillet over high heat, add 2 tablespoons canola oil. When the oil is hot, add the ginger, onion, and bell pepper. Cook 3 minutes, then add the carrot and celery and cook 2 minutes. Add the snap peas, garlic, shiitake mushrooms, and mung bean sprouts and cook 2 minutes more. Remove the vegetables from the wok and set aside. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to the wok. When the oil is hot, add the chicken and cook, constantly stirring, until cooked through, about 6 to 8 minutes. Return the vegetables to the wok with the chicken, then immediately add ¼ cup of the Plum Sesame Sambal Sauce and stir, scraping up any browned bits. Cook for 30 seconds, or until the sauce thickens.
Transfer the chicken and vegetable mixture to a serving bowl and top with the green onion, crushed wontons, peanuts, and sesame seeds.
- Serve by spooning chicken mixture into lettuce cups. Serve the remaining Plum Sesame Sambal Sauce alongside. Unused portion will last refrigerated for 14 days.
You may have noticed that there have been no posts from me for a very long time…well, that is because I honestly haven’t cooked. I can’t. The thought of any kind of food makes me want to hurl. A lot.
Why? Well, after 5 long years of waiting, I am finally pregnant. It’s a testament to me that a) prayers are answered b)but not on our time. I will take the sickness and nausea anytime, but I am REEEEEEEEEEEALLLY hoping it ends when the first trimester does. Please?!
I will leave you with a recipe, though—the weather is cooling and I actually DID make this a couple of weeks ago and was so happy I did. You will love it. You will want to eat it every. single. day. Maybe even a couple of meals a day.
Southwest Chicken Soup
2-3 chicken breasts
4 qts. water/chicken broth
2 T. Red wine vinegar
3 c. diced onion
1-2 T. Garlic, minced
1 large red pepper
1 large yam, cubed
3 medium red potatoes, cubed
2 small cans El Pato Mexican Tomato Sauce
Johnny’s Seasoning Salt
1 t. black or white pepper
2 T. Oregano leaves
1 1/2 T. Cumin
1 T. Chili powder
1/2 c. Cilantro
1 large can of Hominy
Juice of lime
Colby jack cheese, shredded
Heat olive oil, cook and sear chicken. Add 1/2 c. lemon juice, garlic and Johnny’s seasoning salt. Cut vegetables into bite-sezed pieces while chicken is cooking. Add broth to large pot and simmer. Saute onion, add red pepper and cook until tinged with flecks of black. Add garlic and saute for 30 seconds. Add ingredients yam through chili powder to broth. Simmer one hour. Add chicken cilantro and hominy. Simmer 10 minutes. Grate Cheese. Put a small amount of cheese in the soup bowl. Add soup. Top with tortilla strips, a dollop of sour cream and drizzle with lime juice. Guacamole is also a great addition.
Happy Fall, everyone!!!