Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Impromptu Cookout

Can you even believe its August already?! We've done very little summer fun things it seems and its almost over. Sunday was the first pool day this year. Lounging poolside with a food magazine makes me want to cook! In Food & Wine magazine I found a delicious sounding recipe for Whipped Corn Dip & knew I had to try it ASAP. I always have frozen organic sweet corn in the freezer, so I just picked up some ricotta, I had everything else & I was ready. Of course you know I didn't follow the recipe-I just don't have it in me.

In the pan:
Oil, some butter & 1/2 med. chopped onion. Saute for about 5 minutes, add in corn & SHS. Saute for about 10 minutes. Add to a food processor & pulse. Add in about 1/2 cup of ricotta cheese & turn speed to ON. While running stream in some lemon juice. Be sure to taste for additional ricotta or salt. Run till smooth. 
That's it. Its simple & amazing. This picture cannot possibly convey how delicious it is! 
I would serve this with pita chips, veggie, or just along side a protein. We had grilled salmon & it was delicious. It also keeps well. I stuffed zucchini with it the next night topped with grated romano cheese-possibly more amazing.  

D & I made a large batch of red quinoa to have for the week as well. I added onions, green pepper, corn, cilantro, SHS, lime juice & EVOO. Another simple side dish

Deconstructed chicken shish kabobs. We bought these premade at the deli at the grocery store. 

There's a huge seafood sale going on right now at my grocery store. These are called grilling shrimp-they are butterflied, then frozen. They are delicious simply grilled & served with melted butter with garlic & lemon juice.

 We also grilled salmon and of course, Brian had to have meat & potatoes.

To wrap up the evening, we watched a little Criminal Minds outside in the dark. Creepy!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Caprese Breakfast Toasts

'Why sometimes I have believed as many as 6 impossible things before breakfast'
~Alice in Wonderland

SO, let's catch up a bit. I've been MIA for nearly a year! Not much has changed, the kids are older, one is a full blown vegetarian, one is trying (& seemingly failing) to be a pescatarian & one is all meat, all the time. Me? I'm eating meat-just trying to be healthy & taking things in moderation. Although the 10 extra pounds on me seem to prove otherwise. Work is very busy lately, so I'm trying to keep up with that & not lose my mind. School is out for summer, so any structure we did have is out the window. But I'm hoping to get back to blogging & creating delicious food! 
So in that vein, this was today's breakfast. 

Tennessee tomatoes are in! I look forward to them every year-they are so juicy & sweet. I put them with everything, so breakfast of course can't be left out. This reminds me of eggs benedict in a fresh, summery way. 

Starting with a base of crunchy, warm toast (mine's a hamburger bun bottom), I added a thick slice of fresh mozzarella to start to melt just slightly. Then a thick slice of that delicious tomato, A generous spoonful of pesto (I use Costco or you can make your own) and a gently fried egg on top. 
A sprinkle of sea salt & breakfast is served!

The contrast of textures & temperatures is amazing. The hot crispy toast with cold cheese & pesto & the warm, runny yolk-this is a winner! I personally think this dish is as pretty as it is tasty. The wow factor is huge, but it couldn't be easier to whip up.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Easy Summer Cookout Sides, Part 2

This one is easy & amazingly good! I give you- Corn Zucchini Sauté

5 C. corn _frozen or fresh
3. c. zucchini shredded, well drained
1 medium onion, diced
4 tomatoes, seeded & diced
½ stick butter
Fresh basil

In a skillet, saute the onions & corn in a little oil. Add the zucchini & tomatoes. Mix together & cook for about 5 minutes. Add in the SHS & butter. Saute another few minutes. Garnish with fresh basil leaves. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Easy Summer Cookout Sides, Part 1

This first recipe I have for you is a classic cookout side. Everyone loves it & I'm not sure you're even allowed to have a cookout without it. I give you:  Potato Salad. Not just any potato salad, but 
Dilled Potato Salad.

I may never buy pre-made potato salad again! Ok, I probably will, but I made my own yesterday & it was so easy, delicious & dare I say, (almost) healthy! It was definitely healthier than its store bought counterpart. Here's how I did it.

I cut 5 pounds of red potatoes into 1 inch pieces, then boiled them in salted water till soft. I drained & rinsed them well. While they were cooking, in a very large bowl, I combined my diced onion & peppers, greek yogurt, mayonnaise, mustard, pickle juice, SHS & dried dill. Phew. I mixed that all together very well, then added in the potatoes. Gently fold to coat potatoes. Very carefully fold in the hard boiled egg wedges & fresh dill. Chill for a bit before serving-it only gets better! See-easy peasy!

You will need:

5 lbs. large red potatoes, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 medium onion, diced
2 peppers, diced (red/yellow)
SHS (Sherrill House Seasoning)
1 T. dried dill
Fresh Dill, for garnish
1 ½ C. non fat greek yogurt
½ c. Mayonnaise
¼ c. mustard
¼ c. Pickle juice
6 eggs, hard boiled, cut into wedges

(adapted from David Venable QVC)

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Safer Sunscreens list 2014

Summer is here! And that means lots of fun in the sun. I personally don't wear sunscreen & hope for the best honestly. Being Italian & American Indian I tan nicely. My father was very, very tan. So tan that people at my wedding were saying "I didn't know Tina's dad was black". We still laugh about it!

In 2011, I talked about natural sunscreens in this post. Sunscreens are loaded with chemicals I consider to be posionous. I don't put sunscreen on my kids, except as I stated in that post, for a stick for their noses & cheeks & sometimes shoulders. Now more than ever there are more options for natural sunscreens. 149 of them list on the EWG's Guide alone! And if you're looking for an everyday moisturizer with SPF, they have a list of those too-62 of them!

MSN created a list of the most toxic & safest sunscreens One of the brands on their list is Ava Anderson. They've published their own safety guide as well. Ava Anderson's Sun Safety Guide. I also happen to have a good friend who is a rep for Ava Anderson. They have lots of great all natural products. I just ordered their deodorant & can't wait to try it. Check out her site!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Tuscan Lemonade Chicken

This is the PERFECT summer meal! Its light, flavorful, satisfying & versatile. I could eat this every day honestly. In the summer months, its so hot & sticky, food is the last thing I want, but obviously its necessary.

BabyGirl & I left early for the lake yesterday. So after getting settled we went to the grocery store & I knew exactly what I wanted-grilled chicken. I was lucky to find organic skinless, boneless, chicken breasts on sale, so I bought 2 packages. I sliced the breast in half to thin them out. I looked through my cabinets & found some Webers Just add Juice marinade packets. These are great, only juice, no oil. I didn't want to use all of my lemons for juice, so I looked in the fridge & found: 

Alcohol is a perfect marinade & there's certainly no shortage of it here at the lake! This particular bottle also has sugar, which is great for carmelizing. It also makes a delicious Arnold Palmer!

So I gathered all my ingredients & whisked together the marinade packet & Tuscan Lemonade. 

I let it hang out in the fridge for awhile.

I considered building a fire to grill them all off, but then I just grabbed a few & threw them in the cast iron skillet with a little oil. Deglazing the pan with the lemonade gave it great color & flavor. 

You'll have to wait for another time for the side salad I made!

These chicken breasts would be perfect to keep in the fridge for quick meals all week. They're great for lettuce wraps, atop a salad, diced up for a nice cold chicken salad or just on a paper plate!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Lowcountry Boil

According to Coastal Living Magazine, a  Lowcountry boil is the perfect one pot meal for a crowd.

'Once called Frogmore Stew, this one-pot wonder was created by a National Guardsman when he needed to cook a meal for 100 soldiers. Richard Gay, who learned the recipe from his family, had everyone remembering his stew. The dish was later named Frogmore, where Richard was from, by the guards who teased him about home. The postal service eliminated the name Frogmore, which changed this popular dish to Lowcountry boil.
This seafood dish is a combination of shrimp, sausage, corn, and potatoes. Great for relaxing trips to the beach, it is also easy to create for a crowd. Lowcountry boil can be served on newspaper for easy clean up. Crab, onion, and butter are frequent additions to the pot, and having a removable drain basket only makes cooking easier. The rule of thumb here is the bigger the crowd, the bigger the pot.'

I was inspired, of course, by contents pulled from the depths of the my freezer-keilbasa & salad shrimp (where did these come from??). Overstock Challenge #2! Their recipe sounds good, but I tweaked it a bit to my liking- here's my version.

I got this pot for Christmas-It has the built in colander & a streamer for the top. So its really perfect for this recipe. if you don't have one-no worries-you can boil the corn & shrimp like the original recipe or you can put a colander in your large pot to use as a steamer.

In the bottom of my pot-inside the colandar insert-I add the juice of 2 lemons (then throw them in) SHS (Sherrill House Seasoning), Old bay seasoning, chicken stock cup, dried dill, seasoned rice wine vinegar. Add your quartered potatoes, add water to almost the top-leave room for steamer insert. Boil until just about done, then add in your halved corn on the cob.

If you have room, place your steamer insert on top. Add your sliced kielbasa & shrimp & steam until warmed through.  If you feel your potatoes & corn will be overcooked, remove them & replace the steamer on top until done. I did that & poured it out into a 9x13, added a stick of sliced butter, then covered it.

I added the kielbasa & shrimp to the pan & tossed together & added lemon juice. I served it with garlic & herb bread sticks I picked up at the grocery store bakery. I sprinkled my bowl with a little paprika. 

All in all it was a really good meal & everyone liked it, which is half the battle right there.