Thursday, August 28, 2014

Grilled Corn, Tomato and Bacon Salad

One of my favorite salads is grilled corn, tomato and avocado with a lime dressing.  I am always trying to find different ways to use grilled corn because it so delicious right now.  I put together this simple salad to serve alongside grilled chicken for a weeknight dinner. I love how quick and easy this recipe is and how perfect it fits with all kinds of meals.  Ron and I both loved this salad, but Kellen went nuts over it. He really likes corn, bacon and tomatoes and I knew it would be right up his ally.  I also like to serve this right away because it is really yummy when the corn is a bit warm.  I also like it when the bacon is nice and crisp so I usually try to make this in smaller batches. 

Tonight I am trying to get everything together for our weekend in Door County- so excited! My sister is planning on making dinner on of the nights, and I am hoping heading up the peninsula is on the agenda as well! We are also going to take a trip to The Farm for the kids (and adults too).  I can't believe summer is coming to a close. See you all in September and have a fun Labor Day weekend! 


Ingredients

4 ear of fresh sweet corn, shucked
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, quartered
5 strips of bacon, cooked and chopped
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp sugar


Instructions

Grill the corn until starting to char. Allow to cool slightly then remove the kernels from the cob with a knife. 

Whisk together vinegar, oil, salt, pepper and sugar. Set aside. 

In a medium bowl, combine corn, tomatoes and bacon. Gently toss in the dressing and serve. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Refrigerator Dill Pickles

My name is Ashley and I am a pickle-holic. 

I love pickles and have since I was a little girl. One of my mom's favorite stories about me as a child was that I would always as for pickles in the morning. The story always involves me requesting "one puckle" and then after getting my treat saying "two puckle, mommy two".  I would probably still do this, but now as an adult can eat the entire jar if I wanted to...heheh.... 

Our farmer's market has been bursting with cucumber and I found the perfect bag a few weeks ago to make my refrigerator dill pickles.  I like to use smaller cucumbers (sometimes called kirby cucumbers) and halve them when I make pickles. I find that larger pickles tend to take longer and sometimes do not full get the garlic dill flavor.  I like pickles that are salty and have a strong dill flavor. The ingredient list below can be modified to fit whatever you prefer in you pickle profile. I also like to use a big glass bowl over individual jars to create a "pickle pot" of such.  

In our house, Kellen and I are the pickle lovers. Ron likes pickles, but it's as in love as Kellen and I. One of my favorite things to do with him after I get home from work is to sit on the couch and share a pickle together. The first time he asked for "more pickle mama" I was so happy. Another favorite we have found this summer is pickles on a stick from the different fairs. I think sharing might die next year because we will both was our own! 

I love this recipe because the pickles


Ingredients

3 1/2 - 4 lb pickling or kirby cucumbers, halved
5 cups water
2 1/2 cups white vinegar
1 Tbl sugar
2 1/2-3 Tbl salt
5 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
5-6 head of fresh dill
1 1/2 Tbl peppercorns

4 quart container with lid (I use Pyrex, but you could use individual jars as well)


Instructions

Add water, vinegar, sugar, and sea salt to a saucepan and boil over high heat. Remove saucepan from heat and cool completely.

Combine cucumbers, garlic cloves, peppercorns and fresh dill in a 4 quart container. Pour cooled vinegar mixture over cucumber mixture. Seal container with lid and refrigerate 3-5 days before serving. Pickles should last 6-8 weeks. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Grilled Hawaiian Chicken with Coconut Rice

I love finding different grilled chicken recipe for us to try. To me, summer is all about firing up the grill and making all kinds of different marinades.  I am a sucker for anything with grilled pineapple and when this recipe from Laura of Tide & Thyme popped into my reader I put it on my meal plan right away. The recipe called for pineapple juice and I knew that I would have a few chunks of pineapple perfect for grilling. The other thing that immediately drew me to this recipe was making rice with coconut milk. I had never tried this before and thought it sounded like a delicious side to a tropical grilled chicken. I kept close to the original recipe but added a bit of grilled pineapple to our plates.

The recipe was delicious! The flavors of the marinade were not too sweet, but gave the chicken a sweet and salty flavor. The rice was perfect with the chicken. Ron was a little nervous the coconut flavor would be really strong, but it is not at all and gives just the right amount while making the rice rich in texture with a subtle  flavor.  Topped with grilled pineapple- this meal was fantastic!  Kellen was all about mixing the rice with the chicken and pineapple. The little guy is certainly willing try anything these days and his mom loves it (and is crossing her fingers that he keeps it up).  If you are looking for a wonderful summer meal on the grill- give this one a try because you will not be disappointed.

Tonight we are thinking of making a trip to Bay Beach for a little fun on the rides. I can't believe it is almost Labor Day- where did summer go!?


Ingredients

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts 
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup pineapple juice
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup brown sugar
4 scallions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp fresh ginger, minced
1 tsp of olive oil
6 fresh pineapple rings

For the coconut rice:
2 Tbsp butter
1 1/2 cup long grain white rice
1 1/2 cup coconut milk
1 1/2 cup water


Ingredients

Combine soy sauce, pineapple juice, water, brown sugar, scallions, garlic, and oil in a resealable plastic bag. Add the chicken to the bag, squeezing out as much air as possible, and seal. Gently toss to coat the chicken in the marinade. Place in the refrigerator and marinade for at least 8 hours.
Preheat grill to medium heat. Grill for about 5-6 minutes per side.  Remove chicken from grill and while it rests quickly grill the pineapple to give it a slight char.

To prepare the rice: melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the rice, and cook for about 3 minutes stirring occasionally. Carefully pour in the coconut milk and water, stir to combine. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, stir once more and re-cover. Reduce heat to low and cook for 18 minutes. Remove lid and fluff rice with fork.

Serve the chicken on a bed of the coconut rice with grilled pineapple.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Weekly Meal Plan 8/25 - 8/31

Happy Monday!

We are having a rainy and muggy day in Green Bay, but had beautiful and hot weather this past weekend!

We were originally going to camp, but that fell through and we had a few different adventures at home!  On Friday, I met my girlfriends out for sushi and it was fantastic! I am really loving super white tuna nigiri right now, and totally wish I had a few pieces for lunch. When I got home Ron headed out for a bit with a few friends and didn't get home till 2 am (he was surprisingly not hurting bad the next morning!). 

On Saturday, we made our weekly trip to the farmer's market and found Ron's unicorn food, ground cherries (unicorn food = a favorite food that is very hard to find or you haven't had in a very long time).  Ron munched on these as kid and hadn't had one in years until our trip to Normandy in May. You can imagine his surprise to find them at our market (only one vendor had them). 

Later that evening, my friend Kayla and her kids came for playtime and dinner. The kids are so fun to watch and had a blast chasing around and having cupcakes- sugar rush!

On Sunday my friend Emily's daughter came over while her mom was with a client for the chili cook off and swimming! It was really hot and muggy, but the chili was amazing! The kids shared a burger and apple, and were got a wagon ride all around the park from Ron. After the cook off, we headed over to our friend's for a pool party. The kids swam for almost 2 hours and were full of giggles. After Emily was done and picked up her daughter we headed home and Kellen took a much needed nap. We finished off the evening by ordering subs and watching the Simpson's marathon on FX. 

This week is Ron's last week before classes start! Ron has been back at school adding to his degree and is almost done! I am very excited for him. This week is pretty easy, but we are headed to Door County for Labor Day weekend! I am really excited for a weekend of relaxation and sun! 

Here is what is on tap: 

Monday: Mexican Meatballs, Rice, Grilled Corn and Black Beans
Tuesday: Fresh Pesto Pasta with Grilled Chicken Sausage and Salad
Wednesday: Mufaletta Casserole, French Bread and Green Beans
Thursday: Balsamic Brown Sugar Grilled Chicken, Sweet Corn Risotto and Zucchini
Friday:  Out/Leftovers
Saturday: Door County for the night
Sunday:  Door County for the night

Friday, August 22, 2014

Salsa Verde Chicken Tostadas with Cilantro Lime Crema

Some nights a slow cooker can be my best friend. I especially love it when I want to make a dish with a few extra steps and my protein is already made. Last time we were at the farmer's market it was brimming with ingredients for a fresh salsa verde.  I am not one to use salsa verde often, but love the flavors slow cooked with a protein.  Recently, I have seen a few Pinterst recipes using salsa verde and beer in the slow cooker. I decided to create my own recipe and make tostadas for my family. 

I believe that all tostadas need protien, fresh crunchy veggies and a creamy sauce. Since I had already created one part of my protein I went to work to make a simple refried bean. I am not sure of the technical way to make them, but I put together something simple based on the different seasoning we like at our house.  Next, I made my crema and used fresh citrus and herbs.  I love using fresh citrus juice over a bottled because the flavors are much brighter and have a more natural taste. Finally, I chopped a variety of fresh veggies and got down to the business of assembling.  At first glance, the idea of frying tortillas might sound scary, but it is soooo easy and totally worth it! However, it is important to keep a close eye as you fry because the tortillas can burn quickly. 

Ron, Kellen and I absolutely loved these tostadas! To me, the crema pulls it all together and the chicken is juice and beans were smokey and flavorful.  Kellen is all about different "nacho" combos these days and loves breaking up his tortilla to dip into the beans and chicken. 

Tonight I am headed to KoKo's with two of my girlfriends for sushi. I already planned out what I am getting: super white tuna sushi, bomb maki roll, godzilla maki and a cup of thai shrimp soup.... I am so excited!


Ingredients

For Chicken:
1 - 1 1/2 lb chicken breasts
1 1/2 cups Salsa Verde (you can also use jarred)
8 oz beer (I use Corona)
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbl Cumin

For Crema:
1 cup crema or sour cream
1 handful of fresh cilantro
Juice of 1/2 a large lime (or whole medium or small)
Sprinkle of salt (optional)

For Beans (you can buy them already made if you like): 
1 Tbl olive oil
1/4 cup diced onion
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp chili powder
1 15 oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
2/3 cup chicken stock

For Tortillas (you can buy them already made if you like):
8-10 6 inch corn tortillas
1/2 cup canola oil

Garnish:
Diced tomatoes
Sliced Avocado
Shredded Lettuce
Chopped Cilantro
Queso Fresco
Limes


Instructions

For Chicken: 
Place chicken into crockpot. In a medium bowl, mix salsa verde, beer, salt and cumin. Pour mixture over chicken. Cook on low 7-8 hours. When chicken finished cooking, remove it from the crockpot, shred and return it to the crockpot so it can soak in the juice and flavors. 

Following can be prepared after chicken is shredded:

For Crema:
Place crema or sour cream into food processor. Add cilantro and lime juice. Process till smooth. Remove from processor and place in a airtight container in the fridge. 

For Beans:
Heat olive oil in a medium skillet. Add onions and cook till tender. Stir in the garlic powder and chili powder. Add the beans and stock. Gently mash with a fork. Stir until smooth and warmed through. 

For Tortillas: 
Complete tortillas right before you are ready to serve. Heat 1/2 cup oil in a heavy rimmed skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Fry tortillas, 1 at a time, turning once or twice until golden brown. It will take about 45 to 60 seconds per tortilla. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate. 

To assemble:
Place fried tortillas onto plate and spread refried beans evenly over the tortilla.  Place shredded chicken on top of the beans. Top with sliced avocado, tomatoes and shredded lettuce, chopped cilantro and queso fresco. Finish with a generous drizzle of cilantro lime crema. Serve with fresh lime wedges if you desire an additional pop of fresh citrus. 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

White Bean and Bacon Dip

Time for August's Improv Cooking Challenge!

The theme for this month was beans and bacon. This is one of my very favorite savory food combos. Ron and I adore bacon (seriously who does have a bacon fetish these days) and I love any type of bean. One of my favorite meals growing up was Campbell's beans and bacon soup.  These days I stay away from condensed soups, but still love the flavors because it brings a bit of childhood nostalgia.  We also traditionally prepare bean and ham soup after the holidays. 

I debated making a homemade version of bean and bacon soup for the challenge, but I decided to go in a different direction and make a dip.  I wanted to focus on creamy white beans, fresh herbs and bacon- perfect for a pita or a crisp veggie. I added a bit of chicken stock and greek yogurt to add a bit more flavor and creaminess to the dip. I also opted to add a bit of black pepper and finish it with a bit of crumbled bacon.  The dip reminds me of all the tastes I love in bean and bacon soup wrapped up in a velvety spreadable dip. 

I served this with pita and veggies, but it is very versatile and would be great on crackers and toast as well. Kellen loved with dip and enjoyed it as a dinner appetizer.  I am always happy when I find a new way for him to enjoy food. Kellen has taken a liking to beans and loves fresh veggies. He is also (like most kids) into dipping. Normally, I keep hummus around for him, but this was a fun variation for him to try. 

If you want to join the fun of the Improv Cooking Challenge visit Kristen of Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker for details! 

Stay tuned for next month's recipe using Milk and Honey!


Ingredients

1 15 oz can great northern beans, rinsed and drained
1 tsp olive oil
2 Tbl chicken stock
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp celery salt
1 Tbl greek yogurt
1 Tbl chopped fresh thyme
1 Tbl chopped fresh parsley
5 strips of bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled


Instructions

Place beans, stock, pepper, celery salt, yogurt, herbs and equivalent of 4 bacon strips (reserve 1 strip for garnish) into a food processor.  

Pulse till smooth and well mixed. Remove from processor and transfer to a serving dish. Top with remaining bacon.  Serve with pitas and fresh veggies. 


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Grandma Grootenhuis Dutch Apple Pie

Welcome to my first post for What's Baking? The group was formed by fellow members of a cooking board I belong to, and many have participated for a few years. 


I was excited to join after a post was made looking for new members. I am not the best baker, but I enjoy doing different challenges, and was looking for something new after our recipe swaps ended. The challenge is bi-monthly and each have a different theme. I was especially excited because the of the flexibility of the challenge. There are no assigned recipes or posting dates, and that makes for endless possibilities. 

The theme for this month is Heritage Recipes. There was only one recipe that I had my eye on after seeing the theme- my Great Grandmother's dutch apple pie. My father is Dutch and I have been eating Grandma Grootenhuis apple pie since I was a little girl. It is one of my favorite comfort foods (I am actually eating a slice as I write this). No holiday is complete it out warm smells of cinnamon and tart apples spilling from the ovens in my parents kitchen. Now that I am an adult (somedays...ha), I make this apple pie for my family and my husband's family. This pie is such a family favorite my sister requested it before she went into labor with my nephew and, of course, I was happy to bring two over to her.  I actually got the recipe from my Mom when I was married, and she gave me a card index with lots of family recipes. Ron and I are lucky enough to have two Macintosh apple trees in our backyard and that equals TONS of pies in the falls. This recipe is a little early for apple season, but fantastic to have for a quick and easy dessert. I buy my crust from our local bakery, but you could easily make your own if you prefer. 

I am so happy to share this old family recipe with you and I hope you love it as much as we do. 


Ingredients

1 pie crust, (I used a pre-made from our bakery, but you could make our own)
4 large tart apples (example: Macintosh)
2/3 cup granulated sugar, divided
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/3 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup all purpose flour


Instructions

Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees.

Peel and slice apples and arrange in the pie crust in a circular shape. 

In a medium bowl, combine 1/3 cup sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle sugar mixture evenly over the apples. In a separate bowl, cream butter and 1/3 cup sugar.  Add the flour and mix with a fork to create a crumble topping. Spread topping evenly over the apples. 

Place pie on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 30-40 minutes. The top of the pie should be golden brown and sides bubbly.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Tart Cherry Galette

Ahhhhh tart cherry season..... one of my personal favorites. 

Living 45 minutes from Door County has many advantages and one of them is tons of fresh tart cherries in August.  I love a sweet cherries as much as the next person, but they do not hold a candle next to tart cherries. There is something about the flavors of a dessert made with tart cherries that are perfect for late summer- sweetness with a bit of tang. 

I recently made peach and plum galette and knew I wanted to give it a try with tart cherries. I kept the recipe very simple and added a small amount of sugar and cornstarch to the cherries so they would thicken and bubble while baking. 

This dessert was a big hit at our house. Kellen's preferred method is to eat all the cherries and they move to the crust. I think he wants to make sure he gets all the good stuff in first...smart boy. I like to serve this with a scoop of vanilla ice cream while it is still warm. 

I have a few more bags of pitted cherries that I am saving in the freezer after the season is over and I can't get my mine of a tart cherry pie or galette. 

Tonight we are relaxing at home and starting up the grill for a new chicken recipe coming your way soon!


Ingredients

1 pie crust (I used a pre-made from our bakery, but you could make our own)
2 1/2 cups pitted tart cherries
2 Tbl granulated sugar
1 Tbl cornstarch
1 egg, beaten with 1 tsp water
2 tsp raw sugar, for sprinkling


Instructions

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. 

In a medium bowl, combine cherries, sugar and cornstarch. Set aside. 

Stretch (or roll if you made your own) your pie crust on lightly floured parchment paper.

Place cherries in the center of the crust. Make sure to leave about 2 inches boarder around the outside to fold over. 

Fold the crust edges up and over the cherries (I tucked as I circles the fruit). 

Transfer the parchment to a baking sheet.
Brush dough with egg wash and sprinkle evenly with sugar.

Bake for 45-55 minutes, until the fruit center is bubbly and the crust is golden brown.

Top with ice cream and serve. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Weekly Meal Plan 8/18 - 8/24

Happy Monday! 

This weekend was really fun and much needed after a week of craziness. 

On Friday, we grilled some chicken and were going to head to the Brown County Fair, but decided to hold off till Sunday and  go to the neighborhood park.  Kellen has really found a love of climbing lately and loved the steps and slides. He intently watched to big boys run up and down the equipment and, when they left, copy their methods. 
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On Saturday, we made our weekly trip to the farmer's market and loaded up on veggies for the week.  The market is full of delicious fruits and veggies in August and we took full advantage. I planned on making refrigerator pickles so I picked up a bunch of fresh dill and pickling cucumbers. I also grabbed a few quarts of fresh tart cherries from Door County for us and our friends.  After the market, Kellen and I headed to our friend's house for lunch and a little outdoor play for the kids. My good friend has a son the same age as Kellen and it is so fun to watch them play.  On Saturday evening we met our friend Amanda and her family for Mexican at our local favorite- El Serape. Kellen found a love for nachos and practically inhaled him plate (along with chips and salsa- little guy has a taste for spice!). 

On Sunday, we slept in and made a big breakfast before heading to the Brown County Fair. Kellen loved looking at the animals and watching the plug race.

Hello Mrs. Goat!


He also adored the freshly battered fried cheese curds. 

Finally, he got to sit on a real tractor (a current favorite) and he was thrilled, not that his face shows it, but we heard about it for the remainder of the evening. 


After we got home Ron and Kellen crashed and I watched Divergent. I read to book and enjoyed it as an easy read after finishing Game of Thrones. However, I was not very impressed with the movie. I liked the primary character casting, but some of the secondary was not great. Also, so many details were left out! This is usually the case of book to movie films, but I was a bit disappointed.  After naps we played outside and ended the evening with BLTs and a tart cherry galette. 

This week is a bit busy, but nothing like last week. We have volleyball on Wednesday and Ron's parents are coming to work on the deck and dinner on Thursday. On Friday I am heading out for sushi with a few girlfriends and am super excited. I love sushi and Ron is not a fan so it is a special treat for me. On Friday night, Kellen is heading up to Door County with my parents because we are going camping with our volleyball team. Sunday will be a recovery day since our little retreat tends to go into the late night. 

Have a great week!

Here is what is on tap:

Monday: Grilled Burgundy Pepper Spoon Steaks, Creamy Roasted Garlic Pasta and Fresh Peas
Tuesday: Crockpot Saucy Chops, Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans
Wednesday:   BBQ Ranch Grilled Chicken, Zucchini Rice and Watermelon
Thursday:  Sundried Tomato Pesto Grilled Chicken, Grilled Corn and Green Beans
Friday: Out for Sushi!
Saturday: Camping with Friends!
Sunday: Pizza

Friday, August 15, 2014

Roasted Garlic, Sea Salt and Black Pepper Butter

I was at our local farmer's market last week and picked up a few heads of fresh garlic. I love when I can get it fresh because the smell is intoxicating and it is so tender compared to the more dry variety at the store.  I knew that I wanted a roast a bit to use in marinades and for a butter to use on our grilled corn. 

Roasting garlic is one of the easiest things you can do in the kitchen while having your friends still finding you mildly impressive with you mad skillz. To be honest, I was a bit intimidated by it until I actually tried it and realized what a giant wuss I was for not trying it earlier.

I decided to add coarse ground pepper and sea salt to my butter for a little additional spice.  I like to use unsalted butter when making my own flavors because I can determine the salt level and what type of salt I want to use. 

After the butter was finished and had set we spread it over fresh corn fresh off the grill. So how did roasted garlic match with fresh grilled corn (like I need to say it)? Delicious perfection!  The garlic flavor was not too strong and was perfectly salted and peppered. Ron liked to use the butter to cook his eggs for breakfast and tells me that it is a fantastic combo.

I am so happy to be home after three days of training for work! I love the knowledge gained, but it gets exhausting. I was lucky enough to be in Madison for two days and went to one of my favorite restaurants, Bluephies.  I had am amazing 5 spice pork tenderloin with a sweet potato and chorizo hash....it was incredible. Bluephies is also a vodkatorium and has a wonderful brunch. 

This weekend I put nothing on our agenda (besides a casual dinner with friends to our favorite Mexican restaurant) and it is glorious. I am thinking we might stop  at the fair to see the animals and get together with one of our friends to let the kids run. I love easy weekends....they always are extra sweet after a week of crazy work schedules! 


Ingredients

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 medium garlic head (it should have about 8-10 good sized cloves)
 1/2 tsp Seat Salt
1 tsp Course Ground Pepper

Wax Paper


Instructions

roasted garlic:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. slice the garlic at the stem, and wrap it in aluminum foil with a drizzle of olive oil on  top of it. Wrap it up and roast for 30 minutes. Cool and squeeze out garlic cloves. 

Place butter and garlic into a food possessor (you could do this by hand as well).  Pulse till smooth.  Add sea salt and black pepper. Pulse and taste adding more sea salt and pepper if desired. 

Dollop the butter onto wax paper towards one end. Roll it up to create a log and secure the end by twisting or with small rubber bands. Place in fridge for a few hours and until set. When ready to serve  unwrap and slice.  

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Grilled Spicy Chorizo Turkey Burgers

My husband loves chorizo with a passion. However, I do not cook with it very often and often wonder why when something delicious comes out of our kitchen. I originally saw a recipe for a chicken chorizo patty melt on Sarah's blog A Taste of Home Cooking.  I thought they sounded right up our ally, but wanted to make a few adjustments to suit our tastes. 

I opted to use ground turkey over chicken because I like how it does on a grill because chicken can be a bit sticky. The original recipe also used a grill pan, but we like to use an open flame in out house so we moved the party outside to the Weber.  I also used a pepper jack cheese over swiss, and doctored up the mayo to create a jalapeno cilantro mayo versus plan mayo for the buns. We also used buns for our sandwiches because that was what we had on hand over the flat bread. 

Ron and I both loved this sandwich! I really like that it incorporates some fresh garden herbs to go along with the spice. The chorizo with the pepper jack and jalapeno mayo provide a fantastic kick of flavor and spice. The smokiness from the grill worked perfectly. I think this burger is perfect next to  a freshly cracked ice cold beer on the patio on a Friday night. 

Today I am out of town in Madison for training for work. my boys are home alone and left to make their own rules..... I wonder what I will come home to??? Just kidding, they always have everything looking nice when I get home.  I imagine that it is an hour scramble right before I get home...hehe....gotta love 'em both!


Ingredients

Patties:
1 lb ground turkey
8 oz fresh chorizo
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 Tbl chopped fresh oregano 
1 tsp salt

Onions:
1 Tbl butter
1 Tbl olive oil
1 large sweet onion, sliced
salt and pepper, to taste

Jalapeno Mayo:
1/4 cup mayo
2-3 sliced pickled jalapenos
1 Tbl chopped fresh cilantro

4-5 slices of pepper jack cheese
4-5 burger buns


Ingredients

Place mayo, jalapenos and cilantro in the food processor and pulse till smooth. Cover and place in fridge till ready to use. If you do not have a food processor you can finely chop the jalapenos and cilantro. 

In a large bowl, gently but thoroughly combine the turkey, chorizo, garlic powder, oregano and salt. Form into equal-sized patties. Depending on how large you like your burger you will get 4-5 patties, but remember you will need to adjust your cooking time on a larger burger. Cover the patties with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

In a medium saute pan on medium-low heat melt the butter with the oil. Add the onion and lightly season salt and pepper. Saute until the onions are golden and caramelized and set aside.

Heat the grill to medium high heat. Cook the patties about 5 minutes per side or until cooked through.  Add cheese to the burgers during the last minute of cooking and allow cheese to melt. To assemble sandwiches, spread jalapeno mayo on both buns. Place burgers on the bun and top with caramelized onions. 

Serve with an ice cold beer. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Weekly Meal Plan 8/11 - 8/17

Happy Monday! 

We had an amazing weekend that ended kinda crappy. 

We went of Thai with my sister-in-law and brother-in-law. I love Thai curry.... I positively crave it from time to time, and was so happy to go! Of course time spent with our family is always awesome and full of tons of laughs and jokes. 

On Saturday, Kellen and I started our morning at the park with our friends. Later, we headed to Neshkoro, Wisconsin for a wedding on a farm. It was my childhood friend Loni's wedding to her husband Kjartan.  The farm was a a place e use to go when we were children and it was so fun to go back (and a bit emotional too). It was a place I never thought I would see again that held such sweet memories.  The decor was beautiful and perfect even down to the hand cut and hemmed napkins by the bride.  We sat on hay bales draped with different fabrics for the commitment ceremony (in English and Danish!). We feasted on traditional Wisconsin BBQ, homemade pie and cookies, freshly tapped beer and old fashions. We dances to  a fiddle under rows of small lights and twinkling of mason jars hung from trees. Perfect. 




On Sunday, my cousins were in Door County for my Mom's birthday. My cousin made porchetta and I made zucchini and mashed potatoes. I have had porchetta once before as a sandwich and it was wonderful so I was excited to try my cousins offerings. This porchetta was even more delicious than I remembered. I immediately requested it for Christmas dinner....amazing.  Unfortunately Ron and Kellen could not join because Kellen has Hand, Foot and Mouth disease! He had a touch of a fever starting on Friday, but it was a typical teething symptom and on Sunday he woke up with a few red dots.  Poor little dude!! 

This week I am out of town for work, but will be returning later on Wednesday  only to go off to another training on Thursday. A silver lining is that my friend Melissa is staying at my house before the training and I am super excited to see her!  I have nothing on my calendar this weekend and can't wait for a relaxing do nothing weekend!

Have a great week! 

Here is what is on tap:

Monday: Out with my girlfriends for dinner. Ron and Kellen will have Grilled Kielbasa, Mac and Cheese and Green Beans
Tuesday: Out of Town for Work (Kellen and Ron will have pizza)
Wednesday: Out for volleyball
Thursday: Salsa Verde Chicken, Cilantro Lime Cous Cous and Black Beans
Friday: Hawaiian Chicken with Coconut Rice and Grilled Green Beans
Saturday: BLTs and Watermelon
Sunday: Grilled Steaks w/ Cabernet Blue Cheese Butter, Grilled Veggies and Corn on the Cob

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Peach Liqueur

Time for August Secret Recipe Club

Secret Recipe Club

This month I was assigned Jane's Adventures in Dinner. Jane is a trained chef and teacher who takes beautiful photos of her delectable creations.  When I first received her blog I was hoping to find a recipe using peaches because Georgia peaches were ripe and coming to Wisconsin farmer's markets by the truck load. They were the perfect eat-it-over-the-sink-touch-it-and-it-bruises types of peaches.  Jane does something pretty awesome and celebrates a food each month. Much to my delight there was a month celebrating peaches! I was sooo torn between a few of her peach recipes because they sounded delicious.  I ultimately decided on peach liqueur. This recipe is perfect because it is simple and makes a nice amount of booze. I picked this because my friends that  Ron and I play volleyball with are going camping in mid-July and this will be a perfect companion for us to sip on while we sit by the lake in the sun or under a warm starry sky after dark.  Last year our starry sky went to almost daylight pretty quick if that tell you what type of party it is and why this liqueur will be perfect for the occasion.  This is a little strange to post because I have not sampled the finished product yet because it is getting ready for the party in my basement. However,I took an early taste before putting it downstairs and that was so tasty I can hardly wait to try it. I am thinking it will be perfect with fresh lemonade or with a bit of sparkling water.  I am also going to reserve a bit for a few cocktails at home around our fire pit in the backyard! 

Jane, I owe you an early thanks for making my party by the lake fun in a few weeks!! 


Ingredients

1 quart peaches (sliced and loosely packed into 3 mason jars)
Simple syrup:
2 cups water
2 cups sugar
1¼ cup brandy
1½ cup vodka


Instructions

Combine sugar and water in a pan and bring to a boil. Turn off heat and let cool. Stir in the brandy and vodka. Pour over fruit to cover and screw on the lids. Let sit in a cool, dark place for 4 weeks before draining and drinking. 

Makes 3x750 ml jars

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Bang Bang Chicken Skewers

Ron and I share a mutual love for all things Sriracha. I saw this recipe on Sarah and Caroline's respective blogs and it received rave reviews from both ladies. It has been on my list for awhile and I was waiting (odd as it sounds) for a nice fresh zucchini to throw on the grill along side my skewers. 

This recipe could not be easier to prepare and it was soooo yummy. I loved the flavors of the sweet and spicy paired with the smokey flavors from the grill. The addition of the fresh grilled veggies and warm cous cous are perfect alongside the chicken.  Ron, Kellen and I all enjoyed this recipe. The sauce it spicy, but we love a little kick (even little Kellen).  Kellen has been enjoying spice little by little. We never make him try anything, but his current favorites are a bit of spicy chili and spicy salsa. 

I can't wait to make this dish again while the zucchini and tomatoes are delicious and fresh from the garden. If you are looking for a delicious summer meal to enjoy on your deck give this meal a try because you will not be disappointed. 

Last night Ron and I went to celebrate our 3rd anniversary with dinner at Bleu and a volleyball game at the bar.  However, Bleu was closed for a private event- boo! We went to one of our favorite places, Plae Bistro.  We started with a few cocktails and bread with olive tapenade. I had a lavender lemonade and a glass of Chianti, and Ron had 2 glasses of Chianti. For an appetizer, we shared a delicious heirloom tomato and bacon flatbread,  I had red snapper with a blue crab beurre blanc with roasted potatoes and broccoli. Ron had a southwestern spice hanger steak with chimmichurri sauce and roasted potatoes.  Did didn't spring for dessert and opted for a beer at our volleyball game (which we won- wooo!). 


Ingredients

1- 1 1/4 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite size chunks
1 (or 2 small/medium) large zucchini, cut into chunks
1 pint grape tomatoes
Olive oil, a few tablespoons for drizzling 
Salt and pepper, to taste 
1/2 cup mayo 
1/2 cup Thai sweet chili sauce 
2 teaspoons Sriracha sauce

Bamboo Skewers

Cous Cous to serve on the side


Instructions

Soak wooden skewers for 30 minutes before using. 

Thread the chicken, zucchini and tomatoes onto separate skewers. Drizzle the chicken and veggies with oil, then season with salt and pepper. 

Whisk together the mayonnaise, Thai sweet chili sauce, and sriracha sauce, pour a small amount into a bowl to brush on the chicken and set aside the remainder.

Pre-heat your grill or grill pan to medium-high heat. Add the skewers. Cook the veggies for 6-8 minutes, or until tender, and the chicken 10-12 minutes.  In the last 2 minutes of cooking, brush the chicken skewers with the sauce.  

Remove the skewers from the grill and let rest 1-2. Serve chicken and vegetables with cous cous and a side on the sauce. 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Rosemary Ranch Grilled Chicken

When I first saw this recipe from Plain Chicken  I was skeptical of how it would turn out. I had not used ranch dressing as a marinate before, but thought "what the heck".  The chicken received awesome reviews and I decided not to pass this recipe up.  I am pretty picky about chicken, but am always looking for new ways to enjoy it. 

When the chicken was done Ron, Kellen and I at sat down at the table and table to dig in. At the first bite both Ron and I were repeating how delicious the chicken was. The chicken was not only flavorful, but really juicy.  Sometimes chicken can get very dry on the grill, but this chicken was fantastic.  I was surprised how many of the flavors I could pick out and how well it worked with a gentle char from the grill.  I can't wait to make this chicken again! It is the perfect summer dish with a side of freshly grilled veggies, corn on the cob and fruit. 

Tonight, Ron's cousin and aunt are coming for dinner. We are grilling brats, corn on the cob and veggies....I am also making a batch of 3 cheddar mac and cheese and finishing with a fresh cherry crisp.  Tomorrow is our anniversary and we have having a nice dinner before our volleyball game to celebrate. 

Have a fantastic day everyone! 


Ingredients

1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup ranch dressing
3 Tbl Worcestershire sauce
 3 Tbl fresh rosemary
2 tsp salt
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp ground black pepper, or to taste
1 tsp white sugar
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts


Instructions

In a medium bowl, whisk together the olive oil, ranch dressing, Worcestershire sauce, rosemary, salt, lemon juice, white vinegar, pepper, and sugar. Place chicken in the gallon size ziplock bag, add marinade, seal and gently toss to coat. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours.

 Preheat the grill for medium-high heat. Grill chicken for 5-6 minutes per side, or until the chicken is no longer pink in the center. Remove from grill, rest for 2-3 minutes and serve. 

Monday, August 4, 2014

Weekly Meal Plan 8/4- 8/10

Happy Monday!

Last week I was at our cottage in Door County with my family and friends relaxing and enjoying time together.  We had a busy week that started on Tuesday evening when Kellen and I drove up together to meet my mom. Ron stayed behind until Thursday to finish school and work.  We started our evening with a wine and pasta at an Italian restaurant in downtown Sturgeon Bay called Del Santo. I love their spaghetti and was pleased to find that Kellen did as well. He has been on a big pasta kick lately. 

Photo: I asked Kellen what he wanted for dinner and he said pasta... I couldn't believe how much he loved it!

On Wednesday, I met my friend Melissa for lunch at Sonny's Pizza and we brought Kellen raspberry picking for the first time. I think he ate more than we picked, but it was a blast.
 We also took a trip to an old favorite, The Farm. If you have children this is a must. It is a beautiful living museum and fantastic experience for kids.  

Later in the evening we went to dinner at one of my favorite places, Parador in Egg Harbor.  Parador has tapas and fantastic sangria. The service is wonderful and the servers are always very knowledgeable on the menu and the drinks.  Kellen tried the tomato and goat cheese appetizer and Spanish mac and cheese is Serrano ham and peas. I am happy to report that he loved them both- especially the goat cheese!

Ron and my nephew joined us on Thursday and we took a trip to the Door County Fair. My nephew was 5 and loved the games and rides. Kellen was a bit small for most of the rides, but loved looking at the animals and eating a giant dill pickle. My mom and nephew left in the evening after a steak dinner at the Nightingale. The Nightingale has updated their menu over the past few years and has the most delicious smoked white fishcakes with a roasted red pepper sauce.  I also tried the crab and asparagus soup (Kellen shared with me as well) and it was very good. 

On Friday, we lazed around and played games with Kellen before Ron's parents came for a visit. We had lunch at one of my favorite places, Peninsula Pub.  I love their food and they have a fun laid back night life. I had a bacon bloody mary and a Missy Burger. My burger had pepper jack cheese, tequila infused sweet peppers and onions, sauteed shrimp,  homemade Cajun ranch and a shot of house tequila on the side.  
Ah-maaaz-ing.

We ended the day picking up some fresh local tart Door County cherries. I can't wait to make my cherry crisp this week!

On Saturday, our good friends came up for the day and we visited The Farm and PC Junction.  PC Junction is a fun place for kids with a train that brings your food, ice cream and a nice outdoor play area. We went back to our cottage and the kids were not in the mood to nap so we headed to the beach till dinner. Dinner was grilled brats and hit the spot. Our friends headed out a little while after dinner and Kellen crashed. 

The next morning it was time to pack up and go home *sniff*.  Vacations always go to fast, but we will be there next Sunday to play with our cousins. 

This week there are lots of fun things happening.  Tonight we are going to Feast with the Beasts at our local zoo.  The event is really fun and there are tons of food and drink vendors. On Tuesday, Ron's cousin and aunt are coming for dinner and a visit. Wednesday is our anniversary, Friday we are going out for Thai, Saturday is my childhood best friend's wedding and Sunday we are going to Door County....whew! 

I am excited.

Here is what is on tap:

Monday: Feast with the Beast at NEW Zoo
Tuesday: Grilled Brats, Baked Beans, Cottage Cheese, Baked 3 Cheddar Mac and Cheese and Grilled Zucchini (and cherry crispy for dessert)
Wednesday: Happy Anniversary! We are going out to Bleu
Thursday:  Balsamic Brown Sugar Grilled Chicken, Grilled Sweet Potatoes and Corn on the Cob
Friday: Out for Thai with my Sister and Brother- in-law
Saturday: Nashkoro, WI for Loni and Kj's Wedding
Sunday: Door County for dinner with my cousins

Treats: Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Friday, August 1, 2014

Basil Pesto

I love pesto and every summer I get really excited why I start to see basil pop up in our garden and at the farmer's markets. 

I love to make pesto in big batches and freeze it in ice cube trays for easy use when fresh basil is expensive and making a batch is not economical (or very good for that matter).  The frozen pesto is perfect to share outside the growing season and gives a happy reminder of the warm weather of summer. 

This recipe is really easy and had been my go-to method for about 5 years.  Each time I am produced with excellent results and delicious pesto.  Pesto is fantastic over pasta, as a marinade for the grill, on bread.....the list goes on and on....

We are currently in Door County and enjoying our time together. Tomorrow our good friends are coming for the day and a trip the The Farm, the beach and for dinner!

See you all next week!


Ingredients

2 cups packed basil leaves
1/8 cup pine nuts
2 fresh garlic cloves
1 tsp fresh lemon zest
1 Tbl fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper


Instructions

Toast the pine nuts in a  pan for 4-5 minutes over medium heat until lightly golden. Remove and cool before preparing in the pesto.

In the food processor,  add the basil, Parmesan, toasted pine nuts, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and pepper. 

Secure the lid and add the oil as you process the pesto until it is smooth. 

Remove from food processor and store in an airtight container or freeze.  Yields about a cup of pesto.