Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Those Little Scamps!

Shrimp Scampi with Spinach Salad

     For Shrimp Scampi                                      For Salad
       kosher salt to taste                                        6 cups baby spinach, washed and dried
       Grapeseed oil for pasta water                         1/4 cup dressing (see here for my favorite)
       12 oz whole wheat linguine                             1 cup cherry tomatoes sliced in half
       2 Tbs oliveoil
       3 cloves garlic, minced
       1 pound peel-and-eat shrimp
       2 Tbs unsalted organic butter
       2 cups chicken broth
       1/2 tsp black pepper
       1/4 grated Parmesan cheese
       1 Tbs fresh parsley, chopped

1. Boil salty water for pasta in large stockpot. Add a little oil.
2. Cook pasta according to package instructions.
3. While pasta is cooking, heat olive oil in a large saute pan over
     medium heat.
4. Add minced garlic, saute for 1 minute.
5. Add srhimp and butter.  Saute for 2 minutes.
6. Add chicken broth and let simmer for 2 minutes.  Remove from
7. Drain pasta but do not rinse.
8. Add inguine to pan, a small batch at a time.
9. Add black pepper. Gently fold in Parmesan.  Sprinkle with fresh
    parsley.  Divide into 4-5 bowls and serve.

For salad: Toss spinach with dressing and top with cherry tomatoes.

If it weren't for the "TEXTURE" of the shrimp *insert eye roll here* it would have been 4 forks ;)

Followed by *drum roll please* wait  *stop the drum roll a moment* AHEM. Now I better not hear ANYTHING about this not being healthy!!!  We all deserve a treat once in awhile! *restart drum roll please*


Ingredients: (Feel free to double. I do!)
   6 oz frozen orange juice (we use the concentrate cans)
   1 cup milk
   1 cup water
   1/2 cup sugar
   1 tsp vanilla
   6-9 ice cubes

Add all ingredients to blender and blend until ice is chopped.  Serve in your choice of glass!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Oh Yay! It's Cassoulet!

Cassoulet (kass-oo-lay) is a hearty stew originating from southwestern France.  It's name is derived from the pot it was actually cooked in, the cassole, a deep, round, earthenware pot with slanting sides. The cassoulet is typically meat heavy and contains white beans.  Traditionally a Cassoulet is made with pork as, that was the meat readily available to the French peasants. I made it with turkey sausage as that's what was readily available to this peasant!

Chicken Sausage Cassoulet

     1/2 cup olive oil
     1/2 medium onion, chopped
     4-5 Italian chicken sausages (I used turkey)
     4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed, divided into two portions
     8 oz cherry tomatoes, diced
     2 15oz cans cannellini beans
     1/2 tsp kosher salt
     1/2 tsp black pepper
     2 cups chicken broth
     3 fresh sage leaves, minced
     1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
     3 Tbs fresh parsley, finely chopped


1.  In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat, Add onions       and stir to coat with oil.
2. Add sausage. Cook 10 minutes until sausage is cooked through,     stirring onions and turning sausage frequently to avoid burning.
3. Remove sausage only and set aside.  Add one portion of garlic,       followed by tomatoes, beans, salt, and pepper to onions. Mix    

4. Add broth. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes.
5. Once sausages have cooled slightly, slice into 1/4 inch pieces.         Return sausage to pan.
6. In a small bowl, combine sage, remainder of garlic, and
    Parmesan. Combine half of Parm mix with stew.
7. Divide into 4-5 bowls.  Top with remaining Parmesan mix and
    garnish with fresh parsley. Serve hot.

FACEOMETER: 4 SPOONS UP! (8 if you are counting)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

It's a Girl Thing, You Wouldn't Understand

It's sad, no, it's down right pathetic when Mom gets sick everything goes to BLEEP.  WHY am I the only capable person in this house???

After suffering through some female related issues all last week (including a trip to the E.R.) I came to the very distinct revelation that I am the only thing keeping this family from being bums.  If I don't dress them, they wander around aimlessly wondering where those shapes of cloth are kept.  Likewise, if I don't feed them, they starve...or eat crap from a cardboard box in a greasy bag.  SIGH.

I suppose it's my fault.  I should have rolled off the couch, clawed my way to the kitchen, hoisted my doubled-over self in front of the oven and fried my tears so those poor souls would get a decent meal.  I even suggested my hubby follow a recipe, but he clucked and flapped his flightless wings in protest.

It has been a slow process getting back to MY normal, and once again, I'm behind on recipes and postings.  Monday I made a wonderful turkey chili (we had the leftovers yesterday).  I will post that tomorrow. Today, feeling much better, I made whole wheat french bread and whole wheat banana muffins.  We used one loaf for some yummy BLTs tonight!  I'm still working out the kinks to these recipes as I'm adapting them from my favorites to fit the "Real Food" mantra.  Once I perfect them, I will share so you may enjoy as well! 

On a side note, I did have fun making yummy valentines for all our "heroes" (teachers, bus drivers, co-workers, friends)!  I am a baker after all

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Don't Be a Loaf, Eat Meat!

I don't "do" meatloaf.  It's not my thing.  There is just something incredibly UNappetizing about ketchup slathered on a  bread-shaped piece of meat.  Until tonight.  The Fresh 20's Turkey Meatloaf and steamed potatoes REALLY hit the spot.  The spices were savory, the herbs (which I got creative with and used cilantro instead of parsley....oh come on, you know I have a love affair with cilantro) were perfect and the loaf of meat was basted with a tasty sweet tomato paste instead of that vile condiment called ketchup.  This meal was a win win for everyone!  AND, it didn't take my kids two hours to eat it!!!

Turkey Meatloaf with Steamed Potatoes

     For Meatloaf                                            For potatoes
          1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs             1 lb medium gold potatoes cut in quarters
          1 pound ground turkey or beef                    1/4 cup chicken or veggie broth (or water)
          1/4 cup fresh parsley (CILANTRO!!!!)        1/4 tsp salt
          1/2 cup medium red onion, minced               1/4 tsp black pepper
          1/2 Tbs ground cumin
          2 large eggs
          1 Tbs dijon mustard
          1 tsp balsamic vinegar
          1 tsp salt
          1 tsp black pepper
          2 Tbs tomato paste
          1 Tbs raw honey
          1 Tbs water

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. In a large bowl, combine meat, crumbs, pars..cilantro, onion, cumin, eggs, Dijon, vinegar, salt and pepper until well mixed. Don't be afraid to use your hands!
3. Form mixture into a loaf pan.
4. In small bowl, blend tomato paste, honey and water until thick and smooth.
5. Baste the top of meatloaf with the tomato mix.
6. Bake about 60 minutes

1. Arrange potato quarters in a  1 quart microwave safe dish.  Add stock or water, and cover with heavy duty plastic wrap.
2. Microwave at HIGH 8 minutes or until tender.  Drain
3. Sprinkle with Salt and Pepper


Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Key To A Successfull Marriage Is Keeping The Spice...

...but not THIS marriage!  Ok, I have to concede.  My family does NOT "do" spice.  Any manner of it. Period.  The key to THIS marriage is BLAND; for the love of God, keep it BLAND! 

I was excited about this recipe because I knew it was something the whole family would like.  I didn't take into account the miniscule amount of cayenne pepper.  Two teaspoons of that vile spice meant the difference between "it's ok" and "MOM! You are the most awesomest ever! Thank you for working so hard to make us happy! YUM!  More please, suh!" 


One day, I will win.

Chicken Enchiladas (hold the zucchini please)

  For enchilada sauce (make ahead)          For enchiladas                      For zucchini
    2 Tbs olive oil                                          enchilada sauce                   2 medium zucchini
    1 medium onion                                        3 cups cooked chicken       1 Tbs olive oil
    2 small cloves garlic, minced                        from previous dinner        1/4 tsp black pepper
    2 tsp cayenne pepper (unless you are us)   12 corn tortillas                   a dash of kosher salt
    1/2 tsp cumin                                             8 oz cheddar cheese shredded
    1/2 tsp kosher salt                                  
    1/4 tsp black pepper
    5 roma tomatoes, cut in half
    3 cups chicken or veggie broth

Make Ahead Enchilada Sauce
1. Heat olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat.
2. Saute onions and garlic for 2-3 minutes.
3. Season with Cayenne, cumin, salt and pepper. Stir
4. In a blender or food processor, puree tomatoes with broth until smooth. Add to pan and simmer 8-10 minutes on low.
5.Refrigerate sauce in airtight container or continue with recipe.

1. Mix 1/2 cup sauce with cooked shredded chicken. Set aside.
2. Dip each tortilla in the sauce to soften. Place 1/3 cup chicken in the middle of each tortilla.  Roll it up and arrange in baking dish with seam side down.  Repeat until all enchiladas are side by side in dish.
3. Evenly cover enchiladas with remaining sauce. Sprinkle with cheese.
4. Bake in oven for 10 minutes or just until cheese is melted.

Sauteed Zucchini
1. Toss zucchini with olive oil, black pepper and salt
2. Heat pan on medium, then pourin dressed zucchini
3. Saute for 3-4 minutes until warm but not limp. Serve.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

GASP! You Said The "V" Word!

Veggie Tacos.  I, for one, think it sounds "mah-veloos"!  I love me some homemade guacamole with fresh avocados, vine-ripened tomatoes, fresh cilantro.....grglgrrrrlll.  Sorry, had a Homer Simpson moment! 

I was actually excited about this meal and I hoped my enthusiasm was contagious.  It paid off.  According to my husband, "Well, nothing will ever replace a REAL taco but these were good".  That translates to a normal person's "wow, these are great!". 

I did take some liberties with the recipe though.  Am I possibly getting creative in the kitchen?  Don't celebrate just yet.  I make tacos and guacamole a lot so I felt comfortable varying the theme. Instead of canned pinto beans, I used dry black beans (I prefer the flavor).  I also left out the bell pepper (and cayenne) because, by this time, I have found my family really aren't fans of the colorful veggies. In addition, I added WAY more cilantro than called for.  Let's face it, there's little better than fresh cilantro! You, of course, may do with it what you desire!

Veggie Tacos with Fresh Guacamole
     For guacamole                                                    For beans             
       3 ripe avocados, peeled and pitted                      1 15oz can pinto beans drained and rinsed
       1/4 medium onion finely chopped                         1/2 tsp cumin 
       1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
       1 lime juiced
       1/2 tsp kosher salt
       1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
       1/2 tsp black pepper
       1 roma tomato chopped
       2 Tbs (or more) chopped fresh cilantro

     For Veggie Filling                                                  For tortillas and assembly
       1 Tbs olive oil                                                        1 Tbs olive oil
       1/4 medium yellow onion chopped                          8 corn tortillas (6")
       1 red bell pepper, roughly chopped                         1 cup raw cheddar cheese, shredded
       1/2 tsp kosher salt
       1/4 tsp black pepper
       1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
       2 medium zucchini squash, thinly sliced (or chopped)
       2 cups baby spinach, chopped

For Guacamole
1. Mash avocados in a medium bowl until chunky.
2. With a fork, mix in onion, garlic, lime juice, salt, cayenne pepper, and black pepper.
3. Fold in tomatoes. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
4. Top with fresh cilantro (or just blend those babies in!!!)

For Beans
1. Mash beans with a fork
2. Toss with cumin.
3. Heat on stove until warm.

 For Veggie Filling:
1. Heat olive oil over medium heat.
2. Saute onion for 3-4 minutes
3. Add bell pepper and cook for 2 minutes more
4. Mix in seasonings
5. Add zucchini and spinach, stir and remove from heat

For tortillas and assembly:
1. lightly brush tortillas with olive oil on both sides.
2. Heat dry pan over medium heat and warm tortillas once at a time for a few seconds on each side to soften.
3. Build tacos according to taste.  A suggestion is a layer of beans, followed by a sprinkle of cheese, a large scoop of vegetable mix and a dollop of guacamole.


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

How Do You Spell That Squiggly Line over a Frustrated Cartoon Character's Head?

I will never understand my family. "Oh it's good Mom......but I'm going to sit here and piddle around for two hours nibbling on three pieces of shrimp".  In the wise words of a Malaysian toothpaste commercial "SRRRIOUSRY???"

I just don't get the logic.  If you are hungry, eat.  If it is savory, eat.  If you say it tastes good, EAT!!!!  I was excited about this recipe.  I knew (ok, THOUGHT I knew) my oldest would love it as he asks for shrimp quite a bit.  I was wrong.  I have BEEN wrong for three weeks now.  Is it wrong of me to want health for my family? Am I unjust for wanting them to try new things?  SIGH. 

Well, I know I can count on my classy, cultured readers to love this recipe like I do. Oh, and for those of you ingoramooses like me, that funny little word down there isn't "kin-o-ah" *ahem*, it's "keen-wah". Yeah, I know.


     For Quinoa                                  For Shrimp                                  For Salad
       4 cups water (or broth)                1 lime, juiced                              1 Tbs olive oil
       2 cups quinoa, uncooked*           3 Tbs raw honey                         1/4 tsp black pepper
                                                         3 Tbs grapeseed oil                     dash cayenne pepper
                                                         1/4 tsp kosher salt                       dash kosher salt
                                                         1/4 tsp black pepper                   1 cucumber, peeled, chopped
                                                         1 pound shrimp (peeled, tails     12 grape tomatoes cut in half
                                                            removed, rinsed, pat dry)

*I was unable to find pure quinoa so I had to purchase the "Near East" brand quinoa and brown rice blend

In a medium-large saucepan, bring water or stock to boil and stir in the quinoa.  Cook for 15-20 minutes, until tender, stirring occasionally.  Allow to cool.  Divide into 2 equal portions and refrigerate in airtight containers.  Used for 2 recipes.

For Shrimp
1. combine lime juice, honey, grapeseed oil, salt and pepper in a sealed  glass container.  Shake well until thoroughly combined.  It should look cloudy and smooth.
2. Toss shrimp with marinade in a medium bowl.
3. Heat medium pan over high heat.  Pour in shrimp with marinade.  Stir shrimp around in pan to prevent burning. Lower heat and cook for 3-4 minutes, until shrimp are opaque.
4. Transfer shrimp to serving bowl and cover to retain heat.
5. Add quinoa to marinade in pan and stir to combine.  Quinoa will soak up flavor of liquid.  Heat until just warm.

For Salad
1. Combine olive oil with black pepper, cayenne, and salt. Toss with cucumber and tomatoes. Chill until ready to serve.

That would be the Shrimp she held in her mouth for an hour

P.S. I HATE peeling shrimp...touching those little slimy legs leaves me with goosbumps and a knot in my throat HAHAHA!