Friday, February 16, 2018

Warm Crispy Carrot Salad

1 1/2 pounds baby carrots
1/2 cup dry roasted almonds
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup EVOO
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp honey
4 oz feta cheese crumbles
1/2 cup dried cranberries
2 cups arugula

Preheat oven to 400.  Mix together carrots, almonds, and garlic in a shallow baking pan.  Drizzle with oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Spread evenly in the pan.  Cook for 10 minutes or just until carrots are warm but still slightly crisp.  Remove from oven and cool to room temperature.  Transfer carrots to a large mixing bowl.  Drizzle with vinegar and honey; toss to coat.  Add cheese and cranberries; toss again to combine.  Stir in arugula.

Serves 4

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Stir Fried Sesame Chicken and Vegetables with Rice

1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
3/4 cup brown rice
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp sesame seeds
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 pound frozen snow peas, thawed and halved
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 large red bell pepper, cut into 1 inch strips
1 large yellow onion, sliced
2 tsp minced fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 oz cooked cubed chicken
3 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp sesame oil

Preheat oven to 350.  Stir together broth, rice and butter in a saucepan.  Cover and bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, until all liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes.  Bake sesame seeds on a baking sheet until golden brown, about 5 minutes.  Meanwhile, heat oil in wok until very hot.  Add peas, mushrooms, bell pepper, onion, ginger, and garlic; stir fry until crisp tender, about 8 minutes.  Stir in chicken and heat through.  Stir in soy sauce; cook 30 seconds.  Remove from heat.  Stir in sesame oil and toasted sesame seeds.  Serve over rice.

Serves 4

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Cracker Toffee

50 Saltine crackers (approximately)
1 cup butter, cubed
1 cup soft light brown sugar
2 cups chocolate chips
1/2 to 1 cup M&Ms

Preheat oven to 325.  Line a cookie sheet with foil.  Spray foil with non stick cooking spray and then line the pan with crackers  Place the butter and sugar in a small pot over medium low heat.  Stir until the butter is melted.  Once melted, bring to a boil for 3 minutes, stirring constantly.  Once it is bubbly and a caramel color, remove pan from heat and pour evenly over crackers.  Place pan in oven and bake for 7-9 minutes.  The mixture will spread evenly over the crackers as it bakes.  Remove pan from oven and allow to cool slightly.  Melt the chocolate and then pour over the top with a spatula.  Sprinkle M&Ms on top and then place in the freezer for 15 minutes.  Once chocolate has hardened break pieces off the foil and place in container.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Shrimp Scampi

24 oz large or jumbo shrimp, shelled and deveined
Kosher salt and black pepper
2 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
Lemon zest of one lemon plus 2 Tbsp juice
1 Tbsp dried parsley

If shrimp is frozen, thaw.  Lay shrimp out on cookie sheet and pat dry with paper towel.  Heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Season the shrimp with salt and pepper.  Add butter to skillet and melt.  Once melted, increase heat and add shrimp to skillet.  Cook shrimp for 1 minute.  Add garlic and cook until shrimp is cooked through (pink and not translucent).  Transfer shrimp to a bowl.  In skillet over med high heat, put in red wine vinegar and lemon juice.  Boil until the liquid is slightly thickened, about 30 seconds to one minute.  Stir in the lemon zest and parsley.  Pour sauce over shrimp, season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 3

Monday, January 1, 2018

Pesto Shrimp Fettuccine in Mushroom Garlic Sauce

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
16 oz white mushrooms, sliced
1/3 cup basil pesto
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup chicken broth
14 oz dry fettuccine pasta, cooked and drained
1/4 tsp salt

Seasoning Mixture:
1 tsp Italian seasoning (thyme, oregano, basil)
1/4 tsp red pepper flake
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt

Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in skillet.  Put shrimp in mixing bowl and rub in seasoning mixture.  Mix well to make sure shrimp is coated well.  Add to the hot pan and cook for about 3 minutes, turning once midway, until shrimp is pink and cooked through.  Remove shrimp from skillet.  Add second Tbsp olive oil to skillet.  once the pan is hot, add sliced mushrooms and 1/4 tsp salt and cook, stirring, until mushrooms release liquid and reduce in volume and get soft, for about two minutes.  Add minced garlic for the last minute, when mushrooms are almost ready.  Add the cooked shrimp, basil pesto, and chicken broth. On medium heat, mix everything to combine.  Remove from heat.  Add cooked pasta to the skillet with mushrooms and shrimp, and stir until pasta is fully coated in sauce.  Season to taste with salt.

Serves 6

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Chopped Steak with Bacon and Mushroom Gravy

1/2 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 1/2 pound ground beef, formed into 6 patties
1 package dry onion soup
1 cup heavy cream
8 oz fresh mushrooms, sliced
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup beef broth
2 Tbsp BBQ sauce
1/4 tsp ground thyme
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the cream to a simmer and then add the dry onion soup mix.  Turn heat off, stir to combine and let sit for 30 minutes.  Cook bacon until crisp and place on paper towels.  Give the bacon a rough chop, reserving 6 pieces for topping the patties.  Drain all but 2 Tbsp of grease from the pan and reheat on medium high heat.  Brown the burgers well on both sides.  Do not cook burgers all the way through, just get a good color on both sides.  Remove to a plate and keep warm.  Add a pat of butter and Tbsp of oil to the pan and saute the fresh mushrooms, onions, and garlic for several minutes until the onions have softened and the mushrooms start to brown.  Add the broth and scrape up any browned bits from the pan.  Add the bbq sauce, thyme, bacon, and the cream sauce.  Season to taste with salt and pepper and bring up to simmer.  Nestle the burgers back into the sauce, turn down the heat, and cook until the burgers are done through.  Garnish each burger with a piece of bacon and a couple of mushroom slices.

Serves 6

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Tamale Chili

1 pound ground beef, turkey, or venison
1 pound hot Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
2 cans stewed tomatoes, cut up
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 onion, cut into thin wedges
2 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp molasses
1 handful tortilla chips, crumbled
4 oz shredded cheddar cheese

Brown ground meat and sausage, stirring to break up meat.  Transfer to slow cooker.  Stir in undrained tomatoes, peppers, onion, chili powder, cumin, molasses, and 1 1/2 cups water.  Cover and cook on low for 7 hours.  Stir in chips.  Let stand, uncovered, 15 minutes.  Stir in cheese until melted.  Serve with sour cream, if desired.

Serves 6

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Chicken, Sausage and Shrimp Gumbo

1 1/2 pounds andouille sausage, sliced 1/4 inch thick
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup all purpose flour
2 large onions, chopped
5 stalks celery, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
28 oz can whole tomatoes, crushed by hand when added to soup pot
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 tsp dried thyme leaves
1 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 - 1 tsp cayenne pepper, season to taste
2 bay leaves
16 ox package frozen chopped okra, not breaded
12 cups chicken broth
3 pounds chicken, cooked and shredded
1 1/2 pounds raw, peeled and deveined shrimp
salt and pepper to taste
Hot cooked rice

Prep all vegetables and set aside.  Heat one Tbsp vegetable oil in skillet.  Saute the sliced andouille sausage until lightly browned then remove to a plate lined with paper towels to drain.  Cover the plate and set aside to a warm location until needed.

Heat 3/4 cup vegetable oil in soup pot over medium high heat.  Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, until the roux is the color of a new copper penny.  Add onions, celery and bell pepper and saute for 10 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent burning.  Add the minced garlic and saute for a minute or two until fragrant.  Add tomatoes (crushing as they are added), parsley, thyme, red pepper flakes, bay leaves and cayenne pepper.  Cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently, while slowly adding a small amount of chicken broth if needed to prevent burning.

Add all the remaining chicken broth to the post with the vegetables, and bring to a boil.  Cover the pot and reduce heat to low.  Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the shredded chicken, frozen okra, and half the sausage to the soup pot.  Cover and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.  Turn off the heat and add the remaining sausage and shrimp.  Stir well, cover and rest for 30 minutes.

To serve, reheat if needed. Season with salt and pepper and remove bay leaves.  Serve over hot cooked rice, adding cayenne pepper if you want a little more spice.

Serves 12

**FYI - combining meat with fish is a cardinal sin when preparing gumbo....but it's how my husband likes it.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Country Sausage Gravy

12 oz ground pork sausage
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
2 Tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp crushed red pepper
1/4 cup butter, cut into slices
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp minced fresh sage
1 tsp minced fresh thyme
2 cups milk
1/4 cup minced parsley

Cook sausage, onion, bell pepper, garlic and crushed red pepper in large skillet until vegetables soften and pork is lightly browned, 10-15 minutes.  Pour off grease.  Add butter to skillet; cook, stirring over medium heat until melted.  Sprinkle with flour.  Cook, stirring gently, 1 minute.  Stir in sage and thyme.  Add milk, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring until slightly thickened before each addition.  Simmer gently, stirring constantly, until thickened and bubbly.  Add parsley just before serving.

Serves 6

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Garlic Shrimp

4 Tbsp EVOO
4 garlic cloves minced
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp sweet paprika
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1-2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp water
salt and black pepper, to taste
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

In saute pan, heat EVOO.  Add the garlic, red pepper flakes and paprika.  Saute for 1 minute, until fragrant.  Increase the heat to high, add the shrimp, lemon juice and water.  Stir well and saute until the shrimp turns pink and are opaque throughout, about 3-5 minutes.  Season with salt and black pepper.  Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Serves 3