Sunday, January 31, 2010

Lazy Saturday meal

Yesterday was the perfect day for a lazy day.  I was taking a "rest day" from my NCLEX studying.  For breakfast, we started out with waffles made with the waffle iron that I got for Christmas.  With a little help from Aunt Jemima, we had delicious waffles!  We learned, though, that next time, we'll share one instead of making one for each of us because they were huge!!  

Rick and I spent most of the cold, rainy day on the couch watching the Travel Channel.  Their programming was an afternoon of Food Paradise.  With each episode, we talked about making whatever the subject was for dinner. First, it was hot dogs and then steaks and then hamburgers, and finally, we watched an episode on bar food.  We contemplated making nachos (or heading up to Blues to get some of theirs), and then the show (Bar Food Paradise) did wings.  We were sold!  We haven't made wings in quite some time and minus the breading, that is Rick's area of expertise as I've never been a good fryer.  We decided to do hot wings with Moore's Sauce and another batch with Parmesan and garlic. In addition to the wings, we came up with the idea to do some buffalo shrimp with a half pound of frozen shrimp that I had in the freezer. Much to our delight, everything turned out wonderfully!!!  Here's what we did...

Rick's Wings

chicken wings
Moore's Buffalo Wing Sauce
Vegetable Oil

For Parmesan wings
Additional Ingredients
Grated Parmesan Cheese (from the container)
Garlic powder
Place the chicken wings in a large bowl and cover them with milk.  Let them soak for 20 minutes.  Place half the wings in a large Ziplock bag and add flour.  Shake the wings to coat them.

In a small bowel, mix 1/2 cup of flour and 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese.  Add garlic powder to the mixture and stir.  Add the other half of the wings and the flour mix to another large Ziplock bag and shake to coat them.

Heat oil in a cast iron skillet over medium high heat.  Once the oil has heated, add the regular wings first.  Cook them for 10-12 minutes.  The wings can either be covered with the oil, or they can be turned half way through to make sure that each side is a golden brown.  Remove the wings from the oil and place them on a large plate that is covered with 3 paper towels.

Next, add the Parmesan wings to the oil and cook them for 10-12 minutes also.  Remove them from the oil and place them on a separate large plate that is covered with 3 paper towels.

After they have cooled, take the regular wings and place them in another large Ziplock bag.  Add Moore's Wing Sauce to the bag (the more you add, the hotter they will be).  Toss the wings to coat.

Buffalo Shrimp

1/2 pound shirmp (peeled and deveined)
Moore's Buffalo Wing Sauce

Place the shrimp in a small bowl and cover them with milk.  Let them soak for 20 minutes (we had the wings and shrimp soaking at the same time).

Remove the shrimp from the milk and place them in a medium sized tupperware container.  Add flour.  Cover the tupperware and shake to coat the shrimp.  Add the shrimp to heated vegetable oil and cook for 5 minutes.  (We did them after the wings to prevent the chicken from tasting like shrimp, but in the future, we may cook them in a separate cast iron skillet)  Remove the shrimp from the oil and place them on a large plate that is covered with 3 paper towels.

After the shrimp have cooled, place them into a medium sized Ziplock bag.  Add Moore's Wing Sauce to the bag (the more you add, the hotter they will be).  Toss the shrimp to coat.  


Sunday, January 24, 2010

Fun with Puff Pastry

I know, I know, I know...I haven't been blogging a lot, but as between studying for NCLEX and cooking our favorites (ribs one night, Italian Beef for a potluck at church) and no new recipes, I haven't had anything to write about.  Luckily, I had an inservice at work coming up so I decided to try a new puff pastry snack for the occasion!  I had a jar of roasted red pepper and artichoke tapenade in my pantry, and I thought that it might be interesting to mix it with some 3 cheese blend and make pinwheels similar to the prosciutto, cheese, and basil ones we love.  They were a hit at the inservice, and they so very easy to make!

So here's what I did...

1 jar Harris Teeter Trader Roasted Red Pepper and Artichoke Tapenade
1 cup 3 cheese blend
1 sheet of thawed puff pastry

To thaw the puff pastry sheet, let it sit out for 40 minutes.

In a bowl, mix the Tapenade and cheese.

Dust a cutting board with flour and unfold the pastry sheet.  Cut the pastry sheet vertically to make two sheets.  Spoon half of the mixture onto one of the pastry sheets.  Starting with the side closest to you, roll the pastry jelly-roll fashion into a log, pressing gently to seal long edges. Wrap the log in plastic, and repeat with the other half of the puff pastry. Chill the pastry logs, seam side down for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400F and spray two baking sheets with cooking spray.

Cut logs crosswise into 1/2 inch thick pinwheels and arrange with the cut sides down, 1 inch apart on baking sheets. Bake pinwheels in batches in the middle of the oven for 14 to 16 minutes, until golden brown. Use a metal spatula to transfer pinwheels to a rack and cool. Serve warm.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

NCLEX Dinner ala Carte

So tonight I went over to my friend Kelly's house after a long day of work and NCLEX studying.  She was making dinner, and unfortunately, I had Chinese food before I came over.  She was preparing a dish from Cooking Light with some Brussels sprouts on the side.  I had a sample of it because the main course involved mushrooms (and you know how I miss mushrooms since Rick doesn't like them!).  It was so good that I had to share it here!

Here's the recipe!

  • 2  cups  uncooked egg noodles
  • Cooking spray
  • 1  pound  top sirloin steak, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 1  tablespoon  butter
  • 2  tablespoons  finely chopped shallots
  • 1  (8-ounce) package presliced baby bella mushrooms
  • 1  teaspoon  minced garlic
  • 1  tablespoon  low-sodium soy sauce
  • 3  tablespoons  all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2  cups  fat-free, less-sodium beef broth
  • 1/2  teaspoon  black pepper
  • 1/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 3  fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1  teaspoon  fresh thyme leaves (optional


Cook noodles according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain.

While noodles cook, heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add steak; sauté 5 minutes, browning on all sides. Remove from pan; cover.

Melt butter in pan over medium-high heat. Add shallots and mushrooms; sauté 4 minutes. Add garlic; sauté 30 seconds. Stir in soy sauce. Sprinkle flour over mushroom mixture; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Gradually add broth, stirring constantly. Add pepper, salt, and thyme sprigs. Bring to a boil; cook 2 minutes or until thickened. Return beef to pan; cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated. Discard thyme sprigs. Garnish with thyme leaves, if desired.

Kelly's Brussels Sprouts
2 1/2 lbs Brussels sprouts
olive oil
sea salt
Spice Island Garlic and Herb Blend

Preheat oven to 400F. Soak whole brussels sprouts for 20 minutes in cold water.

Drain and rinse Brussels sprouts.  Half Brussels sprouts.  Tossed until well coated in olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and garlic and herbs to taste. Roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes.  If desired, you can add Parmesean cheese.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

POM Wonderful Slow Cooker Beef!

Technically, we made it on Saturday, but how could I resist when it's so cold outside!!!  Rick and I were looking for something to do that was, as he put it "a day long process." Publix has their chuck roast on sale this week so I hit the internet in search of something different to make.

Around the holidays, the people at POM Wonderful were awesome enough to send me a case of their yummy pomegranate juice, and while I have been using it to cocktails, I've been wondering what it would be like to cook with it! Is it bad that I feel a little guilty for using it for drinks?  The juice is really good for you as it is loaded with antioxidants which we all need during this time of the year when a yucky cold is lurking around the corner.  I personally am a fan of POM juice + vodka + a little bit of Sprite Zero, but hey, that's me.  Anyway, in order to do something a wee bit more productive with the juice (though I do like it with just the Sprite Zero, too), I went searching and came across the blog, A Year of Slow Cooking.  The original recipe had raisins in it, but I'm not a huge raisin fan so I left them out.  The end result was awesome!  Rick called it a "gem." 

For a side, I decided to use some of the leftover fontina cheese for a polenta that's a combo of several recipes.  Unfortunately, it didn't turn out as well as I had hoped so I've opted not to post what I did.  We baked it, but it never got the consistency that I was hoping for.  If I do it again, I'd follow one of the recipes direction of refrigerating it before baking.

Beef in Pomegranate Sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 yellow onion, sliced
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon herbes de Provence
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 pounds beef roast 
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 (14-ounce) can fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
1 cup unsweetened pomegranate juice
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons maple syrup

Coat the bottom of the crockpot with olive oil.  Add onion and stir to coat them with the olive oil.  

Mix the spices together in a small bowl, and then rub the meat on all side with it. Add garlic, tomatoes, pomegranate juice, vinegar, and syrup.  Stir to mix together.  

Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4-5. 

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Happy New Year!!!!

Yes, I'm a little late....okay, like over a week late, and I haven't been posting what we've been cooking since we haven't done anything new since Taco Night last year!'s so funny to say that. Anyway, I apologize for not posting in a while, and I decided to share a recipe from that Rick and I made during our first summer together.  I know that it makes no sense to post a grilling recipe when it's as cold as it is right now, but I guess thoughts of those nights make me smile and feel all warm inside which does help a little bit.  I think that we made this one for my dad and stepmom when they came to visit in 2008.  The recipe serves 6, but it's easily altered to make less as we have.

Cheddar Burgers with Balsamic Onions and Chipotle Ketchup
  • 1 pound red onions, cut crosswise into 1/3- to 1/2-inch-thick rounds
  • Olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Chipotle ketchup:
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped chipotle chiles from canned chipotles in adobo* plus 2 tablespoons adobo sauce from can
  • 2 teaspoons (or more) balsamic vinegar

  • 2 1/4 pounds ground beef (15% to 20% fat)
  • Coarse kosher salt
  • 6 thick slices sharp cheddar cheese
  • 6 large English muffins or hamburger buns, split, cut sides grilled
  • 6 tomato slices (optional)
  • Romaine Lettuce
For onions:
Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat): Arrange onion rounds on baking sheet. Brush with oil; sprinkle with 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt and pepper. Transfer onion rounds (still intact) to grill rack; close cover. Cook until grill marks appear, about 4 minutes per side. Reduce heat or move onions to cooler part of grill. Close cover; cook until onions are tender, about 10 minutes. Transfer to medium bowl. Toss with vinegar. DO AHEAD: Can be made 3 days ahead. Cover; chill.
For chipotle ketchup:
Mix ketchup, chiles, adobo sauce, and 2 teaspoons vinegar in small bowl. Season with salt and more vinegar, if desired. do a h e a d Can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and chill.
For burgers:
Shape beef into six 1/2-inch thick patties. Sprinkle patties on both sides with coarse salt and pepper. Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Place burgers on grill. Close cover; cook burgers until bottoms start to darken and juices rise to surface, about 3 minutes. Turn burgers; cook to desired doneness, about 3 minutes longer for medium-rare. Top with onions and cheese. Close cover; cook until cheese melts. Place muffin bottoms on plates; spread with ketchup. Top with burgers, tomatoes, if desired, spinach, and muffin tops. Serve, passing remaining ketchup separately.

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