Friday, June 29, 2012

Recipe Swap: Grilled Shrimp Po' Boys

It is time for another recipe swap! The theme for this month is sandwiches/burgers. I submitted my Cuban Burger and received Shrimp and Oyster Po'Boys from Katie at So Tasty, So Yummy. I have followed Katie's blog for a little while now because I love all the different recipes! She has great variety and a lot of her recipes are dishes that I really would love to try. I love shrimp and oysters, and I was excited to get this recipe! However, I hit a stumble when my store did not have fresh oysters. I have never used canned oysters, and was unsure if I wanted to use them (anyone use canned? How is the taste?). Initialy, I was going to fry the shrimp as the original recipe calls for, but I ultimately decided to grill because 1) it was beautiful outside and 2) my stomach was feeling a bit heavy when I was in the dinner making process for fried food. Ron and I were both very pleased with the finished product. I loved the remoulade (I omitted the mustard because Ron is allergic) because it had a nice kick and saltiness to complement the shrimp. Thank you for a great recipe! However, next time I find oysters I will have to try it again because I am sure they are wonderful in this sandwich! Thank you to Sarah for putting together the swaps! If you are interested in participating (it's really fun and easy!) check out her blog A Taste of Home Cooking.


Ingredients

For remoulade:1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon chopped dill pickles or relish
2 teaspoons capers, chopped
Hot sauce

For shrimp:
1  1/2 lb medium shrimp (peeled and cleaned)
salt & pepper
olive oil

French Bread for 4 (we use gluten free)
Tomato, sliced
Lettuce, chopped


Instructions

In a small bowl, stir together mayonnaise, ketchup, pickles, capers and hot sauce to taste. Set the remoulade aside.

Prepare shrimp for grill. I use a slotted grill pan, but you can use skewers if that it what you have available. Heat grill to medium low. Brush shrimp with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place shrimp on grill pan and grill 2-3 minutes per side or until pink and firm. Remove from grill and transfer to a plate.


Slice the bread lengthwise and then cut into four equal pieces. Brush the inside of the bread with the melted butter and broil for a minute to toast. Assemble the shrimp, oysters, tomatoes, lettuce and remoulade on the bread. Serve.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Watermelon, Feta, and Basil Salad

I feel like a have not nearly been blogging enough! I think it is because my appetite is still really small and I have been making a lot of repeates! I keep working at doing better! Anyways, this is a quick salad I put together for our dinner last night. I have seen afew different variations of herb/cheese/fruit salads, and wanted to give it a try. I added a little lime at the end for a little kick! I really enjoyed the flavors of this salad. My only note is that I think I will chop the basil next time so I do not get such intense mouthfuls of the herb. Ron was not a fan, but sonetimes he does not like to off the beaten path with things like watermelon (he likes the original!). However, I enjoyed the different flavors of salt and sweet. A nice recipe for an outdoor BBQ.

On another note, today is the big day! An annoucement will follow later this week. Hope everyone is having a lovely week!


Ingredients

3 1/2 cups cubed watermelon
3 basil leaves, chiffonade
3 Tbl crumbles feta cheese
Juice from 1/2 a fresh lime


Instructions

Add watermelon, basil, and feta to a medium bowl. Gently toss so ingredients are evenly mixed. Squeeze lime juice over the top of the salad, and serve cold.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Weekly Meal Plan 6/25 - 7/1

Good Morning! I had a lovely weekend in Door County with my family (Ron was fishing with his cousin) with my parents. I did a bit of shopping, but mostly sat and read. I have been reading Rena's Promise (a Holocaust memoir), and really enjoying her haunting story. This week, I am meeting a friend for dinner tonight at one of my favorite Italian restaurants, we have a volleyball game, and we may be going to my high school reunion on Saturday night.  However, the most exciting thing this week is finding out the sex of our little one on Wednesday! I am so excited! I give those who wait the whole pregnancy props for waiting, but there is no way that I am a person who can wait. I am a planner.....I can't help it.  I can't wait to find out if we "got the blues" or will be "pretty in pink" (not that girls and boys can't wear both colors!). Have a great week!

Here is what is on tap:

Monday:  Dinner with my friend Emily! So Excited!
Tuesday: Oyster and Shrimp Po-Boys, Potato Salad, and Watermelon & Feta Salad
Wednesday: Out for Volleyball. We are going to El Serape with my parents and nephew!
Thursday: Curry Tuna Pasta Salad and Fruit
Friday: Working at the Bar
Saturday: Spaghetti with Meat Sauce
Sunday: Cheddar Beer Burgers, Potato Salad, Corn, and Fresh Fruit

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Improv Cooking Challenge: Cherry Almond Scones

The Improv Cooking Challenge is one of my favorite blog activities. I love the challenge of the different ingredients and looking at all the different thing my fellow bloggers submit. If you would like to learn more and be apart of the challenge visit Kirsten at Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker. The theme for this month is cherry and almond. I thought a dessert or baked good of some sort was appropriate. I saw this recipe for cherry almond scones from Tutti Dolci, and I knew it was perfect. This recipe is really easy and I love the warm plump cherries with the nutty almond flavors in the finished product.  The only thing I would adjust next time is the cooking temp and cooking time. My scone (I made 1 large 8 inch scone), was not done in the amount of time the recipe called for and I had to cook it a bit longer resulting in the bottom being a touch over done. Next time, I think I would decrease the temp and cook it a bit longer. Hope everyone is having a lovely week! Check out the next month: corn and butter! Yum!


Ingredients

2 cups plus 1 Tbsp flour, divided
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup chilled unsalted butter
1 cup cherries, pitted and quartered
2/3 cup low-fat buttermilk
1 large egg
1/4 tsp almond extract

Topping
2 Tbsp sliced almonds
1 Tbsp turbinado sugar (or raw sugar)


Instructions

Preheat oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper. Whisk together 2 cups flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Dice butter into 1/2-inch pieces; sprinkle over flour mixture and use a pastry cutter to cut in evenly until mixture resembles coarse meal (I did not have this so I used a whisk).

Place cherries between layers of paper towels and press gently to remove moisture. Combine with 1 tablespoon flour in a small bowl; toss with a fork to coat. Add cherry mixture to flour mixture, folding in gently. Whisk together buttermilk, egg, and almond extract in a small bowl; add to flour mixture and fold in just until moist.

Use a floured bench scraper (I used a wooden spoon) to scrape dough out onto prepared baking sheet; lightly flour hands and pat dough into an 8-inch circle. Score into 12 wedges with bench scraper; sprinkle dough with sliced almonds and turbinado sugar. Bake 20 minutes or until golden. Cool 2 minutes on baking sheet, then carefully transfer to wire rack to cool before slicing into wedges. Store leftovers in an airtight container up to 1 day and warm before serving.

Yield – 12 scones (serving size: 1 scone)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Pot Roast

I can't believe that I am at the  half way mark of my pregnancy. It is strange because it seems like time flew by, but at the same time was so slow! If that makes no sense I am sorry, it is just how my brain now functions. Ron has been working hard on the house, and has made a few dinners. I looked around for a simple pot roast recipe he could throw in the oven before we went to the gym. I settled on Pioneer Woman's Perfect Pot Roast, and Ron went to work on dinner (I made the mashed potatoes and some asparagus!). The pot roast turned out perfect. I think we should have used a little red wine, but we did not have any in the house (next time!). We also used dried herbs because I forgot to pick up fresh ones at the store (can you say baby brain?). This tasted great with mashed potatoes, and reheats very nice for lunch leftovers.

Wisconsin is hot!! The past two days have been over 90 degrees...Yikes! I am sure for some this is child's play, but not in Green Bay. Hopefully it cools down before our outdoor volleyball game tonight!

 I am in the process of looking at strollers/car seats/travel systems. Any  Mom/Dads out there use a certain brand? If so, how do you like it and why did you pick it over another brand. I feel very lost on this topic and would appreciate any advice!


Ingredients

1 whole (4 To 5 Pounds) Chuck Roast
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 whole Onions
6 whole Carrots (or extra if you like more)
Salt To Taste
Pepper To Taste
1 cup Red Wine (We used extra beef stock because we did not have red wine)
2 1/2 cups Beef Stock
1 1/2 tsp Thyme
1 1/2 tsp Fresh Rosemary


Instructions

 Generously salt and pepper your roast.

Heat a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Then add 2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil.

Cut two onions in half and cut carrots into 2-inch slices. When the oil in the pot is very hot (but not smoking), add in the halved onions, browning them on one side and then the other. Remove the onions to a plate.

Throw the carrots into the same very hot pan and toss them around a bit until slightly browned, about a minute or so.

 Place the meat in the pan and sear it for about a minute on all sides until it is nice and brown all over. Remove the roast to a plate.

With the burner still on high, use either red wine or beef stock to deglaze the pan, scraping the bottom with a whisk to get all of brown bits.

 Place the roast back into the pan and add enough beef stock to cover the meat halfway. Add in the onion and the carrots, as well as herbs.

Put the lid on, then roast in a 275F oven for 3 hours (for a 3-pound roast). For a 4 to 5-pound roast, plan on 4 hours.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Weekly Meal Plan 6/18 - 6/24

Happy Monday! I hope everyone has a lovely Father's Day celebration. We celebrated with my husband's family and are celebrating with my family tonight with sushi! No raw tuna for me, Wah!! However, the place we are going has cooked options as well. This week my I will make my pot roast! Things always get mixed up during the week, and it was pushed aside...again.... I am counting down the seconds till next Wednesday because we are going to find out if our little one is a he or a she!! I give those who can wait till the baby is born tons of credit because I am way too impatient not to find out! Hope everyone has a lovely week!


Monday: Out to Dinner for Sushi
Tuesday: Pot Roast....carried over again!
Wednesday: Out for Volleyball
Thursday: Crockpot BBQ Chicken Sandwiches, Cheesy Potatoes, Green Beans
Friday: Working at the Bar
Saturday: Door County! I think we will  be eating my Dad's BBQ ribs!
Sunday:  Grilled Brats, Baked Beans, Grilled Corn, and Potato Salad

Friday, June 15, 2012

Recipe Swap: Creamy Au Gratin Potatoes

It is time for our bi-weekly recipe swap! The theme for this month was blogger's choice. We have this theme pretty often, and it is my favorite (especially now since my taste buds are so different).  I received the blog Cooking for Fun. There were lots of great recipes to choose from, but I was looking for a meat free side and something with no soy sauce or ginger. I came across a recipe for Creamy Potatoes Au Gratin and knew it was perfect.  The recipe is really easy to put together, and super yummy! I cut back on the amount of onion, and used a sharp cheddar cheese when I prepared the dish. My husband and I both loved the potatoes! The dish is very rich, but it is delicious. It also takes about an hour and a half to cook so make sure to you allow enough cooking time before dinner! Thank you for a great recipe, and the recipe for Glazed Apple Cream Pie looks wonderful! As always, a big thank you to Sarah for putting this together!


Ingredients
4 russet potatoes, sliced into 1/4 inch slices
1/2 onion, sliced into rings
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Layer 1/2 of the potatoes into bottom of a greased 8x8 casserole dish. Top with the onion slices, and add the remaining potatoes. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Mix in the flour, and stir constantly with a whisk for one minute. Slowly stir in milk. Cook until mixture has thickened. Stir in cheddar cheese, and continue stirring until melted. Season cheese sauce with salt and black pepper.  Pour cheese over the potatoes, and cover the dish with aluminum foil, and bake  for1 1/2 hours.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Weekly Meal Plan 6/11 - 6/17

Happy Monday! We had a great weekend in Door County at my friend's wedding (and a yummy pumpkin cupcake!). This week is pretty slow paced, but we have another wedding this coming weekend. Actually, it is more of a reception because they were married in Mexico in April. There are a few carry over recipes from last week because we got a bit busy on a couple of the nights. I hope everyone has a wonderful week! Any good Father's Day gift ideas for an expectant father?

Here is what is on tap:

Monday: Grilled Pork Tenderloin, Creamy Au Gratin Potatoes (for recipe swap), and Green Beans
Tuesday: Florentine Casserole and Salad (Carry Over)
Wednesday: Out for Dinner
Thursday: Pot Roast with Onions, Potatoes, and Carrots (Carry Over)
Friday: Working At The Bar
Saturday: Angie and Sean's Wedding Reception (They were married in Mexico in April)
Sunday:  Happy Father's Day! Menu TBD....

Treats: Cherry Almond Scones (for Improv) and Eggs Benedict

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Crazy Cooking Challenge: Blackberry Spinach Smoothie

June's Crazy Cooking Challenge has arrived!

Photobucket

The theme for this month is fruit smoothies/shakes. I have to admit I am not a big smoothie or shake person. For breakfast I always prefer an egg over a smoothie. However, I was happy to take the challenge and fins something yummy and different. My husband worries about me getting enough iron since we found out we were pregnant because I have had so may food aversions. I thought this was a great opportunity to add a little spinach to my smoothie for extra nutrients. I searched to web for different smoothie recipes and decided on a blackberry smoothie from Hot N' Sweet Bowl. I followed the recipe, but added the spinach and a little extra ice to create the finished product. I loved the flavors of the frozen treat! The blackberries have a nice tartness next to the sweetness of the vanilla yogurt. Check of Tina's blog for more information (or to join the fun!) on the Crazy Cooking Challenge.




Ingredients
1/2 cup frozen blackberries
3/4 cup low fat vanilla yogurt
1/4 cup skim milk
1 small handful of baby spinach
4-5 ice cubes

Instructions
Add all ingredients to blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a glass and enjoy.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Breakfast Burgers

It is election day in Wisconsin! As a lot of you know I use to work for the United States Congress. I really like this job, but it did have it's draw backs (2 year terms: good for the big picture, but not so good for planning a life....). Today, Wisconsin is holding a recall election to in attempts to recall Scott Walker. I know a lot of bloggers shy away from talking about politics.  As you know from my other posts- I do not. I think that mainly has to do with the fact that it was my profession and something I have a degree in. It makes me sad when people create rules of no political talk. What if our founding fathers did that with their friends? I bet a lot of things would not exist.  If at anytime you want to ask me why I feel a certain way about something please feel free below.  Ron and I proudly cast our votes for Mayor Tom Barrett this morning. We were voters 94 & 95 at twenty after seven thing morning! They are expecting a 65% turnout at the polls which is unprecedented.

Now on to the food! Ron and I put together these burger the other night. I have really been liking eggs lately and Ron wanted a burger.  This is really simple to put together and very yummy. It is not a very healthy burger so we like to keep the burgers on the small side. We enjoyed this meal with a new cheesy potato recipe (coming soon!) and salad. I hope everyone is having a lovely week. It is suppose to get hot this week in Wisconsin!


Ingredients
1 lb lean ground beef (yo can use more if you like a bigger burger)
4 slices sharp cheddar cheese
8 slices center cut bacon
4 eggs
4 hamburger buns
cooking spray
salt & pepper

Instructions
Preheat a grill to medium high. Form the beef into four burgers.  Season the patties on both sides with salt and pepper. Grill burgers for about 3-4 minutes on the first side.  Flip, add cheddar cheese,  and cook for an additional 3 minutes. Remove burgers from grill and cover to keep warm.

Once cook bacon until crispy (we do it in the microwave). Spray a medium skillet with cooking spray. Heat over medium-high and crack eggs into the pan. Seasoning with salt and/or pepper if desired. Flip when the eggs begin to set (you can also break the yolk or scramble depending on how you like your eggs).

Place burgers on buns, top with and egg, and 2 strips of bacon.  Enjoy!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Weekly Meal Plan 6/4 - 6/10

Happy Monday to all! We had a great weekend (a little sunburned today!). I worked on Friday night at the bar (I have to say I am growing more than a bit tired of it....), we saw What to Expect When You're Expecting (hysterical for a preggo and a dad-to-be), and we play in the sun on Sunday with friends, and finally we capped the weekend off with dinner with my parents to celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary. I hope everyone has a lovely week!

Here is what is on tap:

Monday: Florentine Casserole (my mom's recipe) and Garlic Bread
Tuesday: Turkey Hot Dogs, Macaroni & Cheese, and Salad
Wednesday: Leftovers
Thursday: Pot Roast with Potatoes, Carrots, and Onions
Friday: Working at the Bar
Saturday: Off to Door County! Courtney and Mike are getting hitched!
Sunday: We may eat in Door County, but possibly home and have pizza.

Treats: Blackberry Smoothie

Friday, June 1, 2012

Recipe Swap: Stuffed Mushroom Pasta

The theme for this month's recipe swap is pasta! I submitted my recipe for a chicken pesto pasta and recieved Stuffed Mushroom Pasta from Hezzi-D's Books and Cooks. I love stuffed mushrooms, but Ron is allergic to mushrooms. However, I knew we could make the recipe work by cooking the mushrooms on the side for myself and Ron could still enjoy the sausage and cheese portion for the pasta. Hezzi-D has a great blog and tons of great looking recipes! Since I was feeling exhausted after work, my sweet Ron was the master behind the magic for this dinner!  Ron and I both enjoyed this recipe, and it is very versitle so you could add your favorite stuffed mushroom ingredients. Thank you Hezzi-D for a fantastic recipe, and a big thank you to Sarah for putting together the swap!
 
 
Ingredients
 
For the roasted garlic alfredo:
3 Tbl chopped garlic
1 1/2 cup half and half
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp nutmeg

For the stuffed mushroom filling: 
2 Tbl olive oil
1/2 lb sweet Italian sausage, removed from the casings
3 scallions, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced 
1/2 cup red pepper, chopped
1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
4 oz cream cheese, softened  
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tbl fresh parsley, minced
1/2 t. black pepper
8 oz sliced mushrooms (we sauted these and served them on the side)
12 oz. bowte pasta, cooked (we used shells)


Instructions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. 

 In a large saucepan heat the half and half over medium high heat.  Whisk in the Parmesan cheese and 3 tablespoons of chopped garlic.  Continue whisking until the sauce is thick and smooth.  Reduce heat and add in the salt, pepper, and nutmeg.  Set aside. 
 
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium skillet over medium high heat. Add the sausage, crumbling it with a spoon.  Cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until it is completely browned.
 

Add in the scallions, garlic, and red pepper.  Cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the breadcrumbs and stir to combine.  

Put the sausage mixture in a heat safe bowl.  Add the cream cheese and Parmesan cheese and mix until everything is well combined.  Stir in the parsley, salt, and pepper.  6.  In the same skillet as used for the sausage, add 1 tablespoons of olive oil and saute the mushrooms for 5-10 minutes, or until the are browned.  Add the mushrooms to the sausage mixture.

Add the bowtie pasta to the sausage mixture and stir well to combine.  Toss with the alfredo sauce.  
 
Pour the pasta mixture into a 9 x 13 baking dish.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.  Bake for 20 minutes or until heated through.  Remove from oven and top with parsley if desired.