Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Las Paletas Con Mi Amiga

{ Las Paletas is a Mexican ice pop made with whole fruit & the freshest ingredients in flavors you won't normally find in the frozen food aisle. Click on the link above to see how they'll be featured on Food Network this month. }


In late May I was blessed to be able to visit Kacey of Chronicles of a Mommy. We had been corresponding, exchanging surprises in the mail & talking for about 1 1/2 years & it all started through blogging. 


This was special. 


We have Angie & Wordful Wednesdays to thank, for that is where we started seeing one another's blog. I am so happy I met this lady for she has enriched my life far more than I ever expected. It just goes to show that a woman doesn't need a certain number of friends, she just needs the right kind. 


Visiting with Kacey was:


waking up with family



















like a picnic in the park





















easy like Sunday morning { before church }





















And meeting Kacey was especially like....



















making a friend for the rest of my life!


Kacey took me to a little hot spot for something cool to snack on after lunch. It was Las Paletas, a popular place in the art deco section of Nashville where you can get ice pops made with the freshest ingredients with the coolest combinations of flavors.


Right away I knew I wanted the cucumber chili ice pop. It was amazing!!!!!! Talk about refreshing but with a bit of heat, something you wouldn't normally expect in an ice pop & exactly why I dig it.


So as soon as I got home I started researching on how to make my own at home. While there are many recipes out there I came up with my own variation & loved it. Oh how it brought back so many sweet & cool memories. 



CUCUMBER CHILI LAS PALETAS
2 cucumbers plus an additional half cucumber, divided
1/8 cup lime juice
1/4 cup agave syrup
1/4 - 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
Dash or 2 of crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp salt



Place empty ice pop molds in the freezer to chill. Dice 2 cucumbers with skin on into 1 inch pieces. Puree in food processor or blender until smooth. Strain into a medium bowl through a fine mesh strainer, pushing out the juice. You will have about 1 cup of juice. Set aside.

Peel the remaining half cucumber & cut into little pieces. Set aside.

Add the lime juice & remaining ingredients to the cucumber juice. Pour some of the mixture into each mold, leaving about a 1/2 inch space at top. Stir several pieces of fresh cucumber into each mold. Place lid on the molds & freeze for 2-4 hours. 


Run warm water over molds to loosen pops. Enjoy.








{ Food for Thought }

I used the larger amount for both the cayenne & crushed red pepper and while I loved it so, I think I will use the lesser amount for a more subtle heat.


Lovingly Linking to Wordful Wednesdays at Seven Clown Circus

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Jambalaya Pizza from Yes, It's Me!

What can I say about my absence other than I can't even believe how long it's been. Time flies. To be brief, my plate at work has been more than full lately with a huge acquisition that took place. So in turn, the plates here have been pretty empty. I have been so burnt out that getting on the computer from home was the last thing I wanted to do, even though I have missed coming around to see everyone.

So, please, drop me a quick line letting me know if anything big has gone on with you & I will be by! For now, enjoy some Jambalaya Pizza. I made this way back on Mother's Day when we enjoyed a buffet of appetizers. Any ingredient can be easily substituted. I just LOVED the idea of the cheesy rice crust for this.

JAMBALAYA PIZZA
 

3 cups cooked long grain rice, cooled
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup finely shredded Pepper Jack cheese
1/4 cup each chopped celery, onion & green sweet pepper
1 tblsp butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup each thinly sliced smoked cooked sausage, diced cooked ham, & coarsely chopped cooked shrimp
1 16-oz. jar chunky salsa, drained
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (3 oz.)


Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. In large combine rice, eggs & pepper jack cheese. Lightly coat a 12-inch pizza pan with nonstick cooking spray. Spread rice mixture evenly in pan. Bake 20 minutes. Remove from oven; reduce oven temperature to 425 degrees.

For topping, in large skillet cook celery, onion & green pepper in hot butter over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in garlic, cayenne, sausage, ham & shrimp. Heat through.


Spread drained salsa over rice crust, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Spread vegetable-meat mixture over salsa. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until heated through & cheese is melted. Cut into square pieces to serve.

{ Food for Thought }

As always, I suggest increasing the garlic to 2 cloves & use olive oil instead of butter when cooking the veggies. I also recommend decreasing your cooking time on the rice crust the 1st time around. Maybe 12-15 minutes when it’s cooking by itself and 10 minutes when it’s covered with all the goodies. If you try to cut this into pizza slices it will be messy & fall apart. Cut into squares for best results.


Monday, May 24, 2010

Bang Bang Shrimp

This is one of my new favorite appetizers. But aren't they all?! Because if I am posting it then it's nothing short of delicious aka post worthy.


This appie accompanied the Triple Cheese Mushrooms on Mother's Day when I did nothing but appetizers. They just make me happy. A happy sampling of a little bit of this & a little bit of that. For me, life is a like a buffet of appies, ya never know whatcha gonna get!


These have gained quite the popularity in many restaurants & since shrimp is one of my favorites I knew I had to make them right away. The pan only calls for enough oil to lightly fry the shrimp so don't go thinking of a scary deep fry. This was quite easy & did I mention delicious???!!!!!!!!!!!!!



BANG BANG SHRIMP

{ Printable Recipe Here }

1/2 cup light mayonnaise
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Asian chili sauce *
2 teaspoons honey
Kosher salt
Vegetable oil, for frying
2 large eggs
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
Kosher salt & freshly ground pepper
1 1/4 pounds large shrimp, peeled & deveined (I like tail on)

ake the sauce: Mix the mayonnaise, chili sauce, honey, 1/4 teaspoon salt & 1 tablespoon water in a large bowl; set aside.

repare the shrimp: Heat about 2 inches of vegetable oil in a pan. Meanwhile, whisk the eggs in a shallow bowl. Whisk the flour, cornstarch & 1 teaspoon each salt & pepper in another shallow bowl.

orking in batches, dredge the shrimp in the flour mixture, shaking off any excess, dip in the beaten eggs, then return to the flour mixture, turning to form a thick crust. Fry the shrimp in the hot oil until lightly golden, 1 to 2 minutes, adjusting the heat as needed to maintain the oil temperature. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate with a slotted spoon.

oss the shrimp with the prepared sauce.


{ Food for Thought }

I added quite a bit more chili sauce than what's stated above because I felt there was too much mayo. Just start out with what the recipe calls for & then add more chili sauce & honey according to your own taste. Also, use a good Asian style sauce. 

I also worked in batches so I had a master bowl for all the sauce & then used a separate bowl in which I placed a little sauce to coat each batch of freshly fried shrimp. 

You don't want the shrimp drenched in sauce, just lightly but thoroughly coated.




{ Linking Deliciously to Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays }

~  ~  ~  ~


And for Wordful Wednesday, here is something beautiful my boy made for his mama at school.

While other moms were 90 years old & cooked canned beans, he was spot on about everything.

{ Linking to Wordful Wednesdays at Seven Clown Circus }





















Monday, May 17, 2010

Triple Cheese Mushrooms

Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend!!!!! Mine was a very balanced one ~  entertaining with friends who unfortunately are leaving town soon, lots of kitchen & cooking time & some exercising outdoors to keep the energy level up in order to enjoy all those things I just mentioned!

This appetizer is from Paula Deen & one I knew I had to make soon after seeing it. It was one of the appies I made on Mother's Day. We all loved them!!

I absolutely loved making them the day before, only to have to pop them in the oven right before guests arrive.


Triple Cheese Mushrooms

{ Click for Printable Recipe }

2 16 oz pkgs fresh mushrooms
1 10 oz package frozen chopped spinach, thawed
4 oz feta cheese, crumbled
2 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup finely chopped green onions
Salt
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

reheat oven to 350° F. Using damp paper towels, wipe mushroom caps clean; remove & discard stems, or save for another use. In colander, squeeze liquid out of spinach until dry.

n large bowl, mix spinach, feta, cream cheese, green onions & 1/4 teaspoon salt until well combined. Fill each mushroom with heaping teaspoon spinach mixture; top with Parmesan. Transfer to 15 1/2-inch by 10 1/2-inch jelly-roll pan; bake 15 minutes or until mushrooms are tender & filling is golden brown.


{ Food for Thought }

Make it easy on yourself & assemble the day before. Let sit at room temp for 1/2 hour before baking in the oven.

I kept the filling amount the same & bought (2) 16oz pkgs of mushrooms. I picked the best ones of the group for my stuffed mushrooms knowing I would have some left over yet using all of my filling. 



I also like to take a little 1/4 tsp & use it to carve out more space in the mushroom for the filling, otherwise I feel like there just isn't enough.

I was able to make about 30 mushrooms.

~ ~ ~   ~ ~ ~   ~ ~ ~   ~ ~ ~

And now for one of the few things I love more deeply than appetizers:

My handsome boy. It's been too long since I've posted a pic of him.

Tristan ~ 6 yo


Enjoy. Him. The Mushrooms. All of it. Oh, enjoy your week too! 
Can't wait to come by & see you!


{ Linking Deliciously to Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays & Wordful Wednesdays}

Monday, May 10, 2010

Lemon-Raspberry Mousse Squares

I hope everyone had a wonderful Mothers Day weekend!  I didn't chose to sleep in, have breakfast brought to me in bed or get a pedi or facial. All I wanted was to make a few appetizers from my ever increasing list of things to make, while spending the day with family. So that's just what I did. 

I made a dip, 4 appetizers & 1 dessert. I prepped whatever I could in advance & since I was bringing out an appie every hour or so I had time in between. I could just live on appies, can't you?! 

This dessert was definitely a hit & perfect for the hot summer to come. Easy to make, in under a 1/2 hour, pretty to look at & delicious to boot. Light & lemony but not too much, it was perfect!



LEMON-RASPBERRY MOUSSE SQUARES from Food Network

{ Printable Recipe Here }

48 reduced fat Nilla Wafers

3/4 cup boiling water
1 3oz pkg lemon flavor gelatin
1 cup ice cubes
8oz pkg reduced fat cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp lemon zest
8oz Cool Whip Free
1/3 cup raspberry preserves
1 1/2 cups fresh fruit such as strawberries, kiwi, raspberries


tand 16 wafers around edge of plastic wrap-lined 8 inch square pan. 


(You can see they hardly stand up but just see my notes on that)


dd boiling water to gelatin mix; stir 2 min until completely dissolved. Stir in ice until melted.

eat next 3 ingredients in large bowl with mixer until blended. Gradually beat in gelatin. Whisk in 2 cups Cool Whip.

our half the gelatin mixture into prepared pan; cover with 16 wafers. Microwave preserves on high for 15 sec or until melted. Brush onto wafers. 




Top with remaining gelatin mixture and wafers.



efrigerate 4 hours or until firm. Invert dessert onto plate. Top with remaining Cool Whip and fruit.


I didn't take a picture of it once cut so here's an idea of how pretty it is.

{ Food for Thought }


The wafers won't want to stand at first so just keep the upright as much as possible. When pouring the 1st half of the gelatin mixture stop halfway & let the mixture act as the glue to keep the wafers up. You may have to adjust them more & stand them up as the pan gets filled.


{ Linking Deliciously to Tempt My Tummy Tuesday }

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Braised Paprika Chicken

Healthier dinners like the one below have helped me keep a good attitude along with doing the treadmill in the early morning. With sour cream being the only naughty ingredient, I get a satisfying meal but without the guilt. And I love how the sour cream helps to make the sauce a light but creamy one!


I have also become such a huge fan of the sweet Hungarian paprika in this dish, thanks to my amazing blogger turned real life friend Kacey. I am even visiting her & her family for the first time in just a few weeks. She once sent me a recipe where I needed to have this kind & only this kind of paprika. So don't skimp on it. It's worth it!!!!!


I re-wrote the recipe here since I made quite a few changes to this dish, making it lighter & faster by skipping the butter & using boneless chicken tenders instead of bone in chicken pieces, thereby cutting the cooking time in half.



BRAISED PAPRIKA CHICKEN  Adapted from Eating Well         


1 1/2-2 lbs boneless chicken tenders
3/4 tsp coarse salt, divided
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
2 tblsp olive oil
1 chopped red bell pepper
1 chopped green bell pepper
Pinch of sugar
16 oz pkg mushrooms
2 tblsp tomato paste
2 tblsp sweet paprika
1 tsp crushed red pepper
1 tsp dried marjoram
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1 tblsp all-purpose flour
Dried parsley for garnish

S eason chicken with 1/2 teaspoon salt & pepper. Heat oil in a large heavy pan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add bell peppers, mushrooms & sprinkle with sugar. Cook, stirring frequently, until the veggies are soft & light brown. Stir in tomato paste, paprika & crushed red pepper.

A dd the chicken & stir it gently into the veggie mixture. Sprinkle with marjoram & add broth. Cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid or foil & simmer over medium-low heat until the chicken is very tender, about 20 minutes.

A t the 15 min mark, just before the chicken is done, whisk sour cream, flour & the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt in a small bowl until smooth. Stir the sour cream mixture into the sauce; return to a simmer & cook, stirring, until the sauce coats the spoon. This will make the 20 minutes cooking time for the chicken. Serve garnished with parsley, dill and/or chives, if desired.


Food for Thought }

The original recipe called for 3 1/2 lbs of bone in chicken pieces, Canola oil instead of olive oil, the addition of butter & 4 cups of onions. I love onions but they bother some people in the family so I took them out altogether & have been since. I also upped the bell peppers & added mushrooms.

A little thought: recipes call for diced veggies often but in dishes like this I love to actually see the veggies so I just do a rough chop. It looks pretty & it saves on time!!!!!!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Banana-Nutella Galette

Play dates aren't just for my little guy anymore. I am blessed to have gotten closer with a couple of women who have a child/children my son's age. So, when we get together for a play date, sure, it's for the kids. But not just for the kids. 

We had one recently so out came the apple juice, Goldfish, the wine & a little dessert I actually created on the fly. I didn't get a chance to go to the store that day but I wanted to make something sweet for my friend & used what I had in the house.

I wouldn't have minded if it was a flop because I am close enough to her not to be embarrassed but it turned out to be one heckuva hit. The underlying amaretto flavor from the extract paired so perfectly with the hazelnut spread & bananas.

I also love that, aside from the pie crust, this was a healthier alternative than most desserts & I didn't feel a tad guilty.






Banana-Nutella Galette by Live.Love.Eat

{ Click for Printable Recipe }

1 pie crust
About* 1/4 cup plus 2 tblsp of Nutella Hazelnut spread
1/2 to 1 banana sliced
Skim milk
Almond extract
Powdered sugar (for serving)
Fat free Cool Whip (for serving)

Pre-heat oven to 375. Unroll pie crust. Spread Nutella thinly on crust leaving a 2 inch border. Scatter bananas on top.





Whisk extra Nutella in a bowl with skim milk until you reach a drizzle type consistency. Add a drop or two of almond extract & whisk well.




Drizzle over bananas. Roll the border of the pie crust covering part of the filling slightly. Bake for 20 minutes, adding a few extra minutes if crust needs to golden more. Let stand for 10 minutes. 

Sprinkle with powdered sugar, cut into wedges & serve with whip cream.


{ Food for Thought }

Measurement on Nutella is not exact, just use your judgement & spread thinly on crust.


Linking Deliciously to Lisa at Blessed with Grace for Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays

Friday, April 23, 2010

Chicken Piccata - Healthy Makeover

Hello everyone & Happy Friday!!!!!!!!!!! And I am definitely happy today, especially after a few days of going on the treadmill in the early morning before work. It's a perfect way to start the day on a good note.

It's been a while since I have done a Not So Fat Friday. If you look at my side categories on the right you'll see there are plenty more healthy recipes under this name. However, I do need to re-label as Recipes - Not So Fat Fridays but for now just go to the N's for Not So Fat Friday.

This dish was so light, fresh & just a little lemony & perfectly filling & I love having my whole grain pasta without the guilt.


CHICKEN PICCATA - HEALTHY MAKEOVER from Eating Well

{ Click for Printable Recipe }

6 oz whole grain angel hair pasta
1/3 cup all-purpose flour, divided
2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/2 tsp salt, divided
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
4 chicken cutlets, (3/4-1 pound total), trimmed
3 tsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 10-oz pkg mushrooms, sliced
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup white wine
2 tblsp lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 tblsp capers, rinsed
2 tsp butter (optional)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta & cook until just tender, 4 to 6 minutes or according to package directions. Drain & rinse.

Meanwhile, whisk 5 teaspoons flour & broth in a small bowl until smooth. Place the remaining flour in a shallow dish. Season chicken with 1/4 teaspoon salt & pepper & dredge both sides in the flour. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken & cook until browned & no longer pink in the middle, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate; cover & keep warm.

Heat the remaining 1 teaspoon oil in the pan over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms & cook, stirring, until they release their juices & begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Add garlic & wine to the pan & cook until reduced by half, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the reserved broth-flour mixture, lemon juice & the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Bring to a simmer & cook, stirring, until the sauce is thickened, about 5 minutes.

Stir in parsley, capers, butter & the reserved mushrooms. Measure out 1/2 cup of the mushroom sauce. Toss the pasta in the pan with the remaining sauce. Serve the pasta topped with the chicken and the reserved sauce.


{ Food for Thought }

Although I've never been a caper fan I loved them in this dish. I had them in the pantry so I wanted to use them up. If you don't want to go that route then this dish would be just as good without. I also didn't bother measuring out the sauce at the end. I just put the chicken back in with the sauce to warm through & served it all over the pasta on a large serving platter.

~ ~ ~      ~ ~ ~      ~ ~ ~

I will definitely be getting around today & the next few days to catch up. I hope everyone has a fantastic weekend!!!!!


Coming soon: a Banana Nutella Open Galette I recently created.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Coca Cola Chocolate Pan Cake

This past weekend was exactly what I was craving. It was the perfect balance of relaxation, productivity, family time, a little girlfriend time, a glass of wine, a mug o' beer, a lot of home organizing & plenty of outdoor time in our quaint, sweet town.

On a previous busier weekend, I made this cake for a small gathering. While I never drink soda, I was really intrigued. I would definitely make this again since it was really moist & delicious. It was also pretty easy to make for a cake from scratch. I LOVED that I only needed my whisk!!

 A chocolate lover would fall for this cake.



Coca Cola Chocolate Pan Cake

{ Printable Recipe Here }

Cake

• 2 cup(s) all-purpose flour
• 2 cup(s) granulated sugar
• 1 teaspoon(s) baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon(s) salt
• 1 1/2 cup(s) miniature marshmallows
• 1 cup(s) (2 sticks) butter or margarine, cup up
• 1 cup(s) Coca-Cola
• 1/4 cup(s) unsweetened cocoa
• 1/2 cup(s) buttermilk
• 2 large eggs, well-beaten
• 1 teaspoon(s) vanilla extract

Frosting

• 1/2 cup(s) (1 stick) butter or margarine, cut up
• 1/3 cup(s) Coca-Cola
• 1/4 cup(s) unsweetened cocoa
• 1 teaspoon(s) vanilla extract
• 1 package(s) (16 ounces) confectioners' sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 13 by 9 glass baking dish. In large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking soda & salt. In 2-quart saucepan, heat marshmallows, butter, cola & cocoa over medium-high heat until bubbles form around edge of pan. Remove from heat; continue stirring until marshmallows melt.

Pour marshmallow mixture over flour mixture; with wire whisk, stir until well combined. Whisk in buttermilk, eggs & vanilla until blended. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Transfer to wire rack.

Meanwhile, prepare frosting: In 1-quart saucepan, heat butter, cola & cocoa to boiling over medium-high heat. Remove saucepan from heat. Add vanilla & stir until butter melts. Place confectioners' sugar in medium bowl. Pour hot butter mixture over sugar. With wire whisk, stir until well combined. Set aside until ready to use.

Stir frosting well; spread over top of hot cake immediately after removing from oven. Cool in pan on wire rack.


{ Food for Thought }

Check your cake at 40 min but you may need to cook it a bit longer like I did, anywhere up to an hour. The sides were perfectly done but the middle was still very moist & loose at 40, so you may want to cover it if you need to go longer.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Miniature Pancake Muffins

Whew...this past weekend marked the end of a wonderful month full of entertaining, get togethers & visiting family. It's been awesome & tiring at the same time!!!!

A sweet reader had emailed me this recipe thinking I might like it. Since my sister & her kids were visiting last week I figured it would be perfect as a breakfast appetizer. We really enjoyed them & they were super easy to make. I loved having all the ingredients on hand, except the buttermilk which I subbed.

Next time I will definitely be making these with blueberries!! These would even make a nice gift to your neighbor or friend, fresh out of the oven & wrapped up in a basket.

MINIATURE PANCAKE MUFFINS

{ Printable Recipe Here }

1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 tblsp sugar
2/3 cup buttermilk or substitute *
1 egg
2 tblsp pure maple syrup
2 tblsp melted butter
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips or blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 24 mini muffin pan with liners. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt & sugar in a medium bowl. Sift together with a wire whisk. In another bowl, stir buttermilk, egg, maple syrup & melted butter until just combined.

Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients & stir with a spoon until combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour 2/3 full into each cup. Bake for 9-11 minutes. Serve with syrup.

{ Food for Thought }

If you don’t have buttermilk, just put 1 tblsp white vinegar in a 1 cup measuring cup. Fill with milk to get to 1 cup. Let rest for 5 minutes.

I'd suggest using a bit less than 1/2 cup chocolate chips as it was a little overpowering. 


{ For more deliciousness, visit Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays! }

Friday, March 26, 2010

Hey Hey Old Bay!

I wanted to share a few things I am enjoying lately.

While I absolutely love to entertain & happily obsess over my menu for days & days prior, I don't go crazy with unnecessary gadgets or houseware items. Once in a while, though, I see something that just rocks my apron off & I must have. This, my friends, is one such thing. I am in love with my cooler! 


I already christened Tommy last weekend when I had friends over. The cooler even lifts off so that it can be transported. And you just gotta love the bottle opener! Not only is it pretty but it works well too ~ the ice hardly had melted when we checked it the next morning. 

Onto more things I am diggin'...


Old Bay & Garlic Crab Legs by Live.Love. Eat

{ Printable Recipe Here }

My previous post was for crab legs with an Asian twist that were to die for. I loved them so much I had to prepare them again the same way, stovetop, but with my own special sauce this time. The result was a solo lovefest with just me, 1.4 lbs crab legs, a side of mashed potatoes & a glass of white wine. They were out of this world, better than any crab legs I've had. I even thought of starting my own little crab truck where I serve nothing but crab legs in different sauces.

Can you picture that? BYOB!

Bring Your Own Bib


1.5 lbs Snow Crab Clusters
1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 stick of Butter
Garlic Powder
Old Bay Seasoning
White wine

Prepare the crab as in in this recipe by breaking the crab legs into pieces & removing joints & unnecessary parts. Since this was just for myself I didn't even bother cutting the shell on one side as I did in the last recipe. I did, however, try out the clusters this time. While a part or two were fishy I enjoyed them.

Heat olive oil & butter in a skillet on medium high. When butter is browned & hot, add crab leg pieces. This will make a beautiful sizzling sound. Toss the pieces around to coat in the oil butter mixture. Add a few sprinkles of garlic powder & Old Bay. Use your judgement here. Add white wine, about 1 cup. Toss lightly. Crab legs should warm through over medium heat for no more than 7 minutes. Take off heat & keep covered until ready to indulge.


{ Food for Thought }

1.4 lbs = 2 clusters was perfect for me. If you're preparing for quite a few people, I say plan on 2 clusters per person. And you definitely want to have a seafood/nut cracker & little fork standing by to help you with this.


And one last thing to enjoy....


I had forgotten how much I loved Old Bay Seasoning. So, tonight after  cleaning out my freezer to make room for about 40 lbs of meat I got from my boss who bought 3 cows in an auction, I decided I needed to make french fries that were taking up way too much space. That's what I told myself.

Have you ever just added a few seasonings on hand to spice up your fries? Oh my.....



Cook your fries the way you want. As soon as they are off the heat, sprinkle with sea salt, a little garlic powder & just a bit of Old Bay seasoning. Wow....


Go spice things up a bit & have a great weekend!!!!!!


Linking Deliciously to Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Sweet & Peppered Crab Legs

The original name of this dish from the Food Network magazine was called Spicy Peppered Crab Legs. Since these weren't really spicy & my 6yo boy even loved it, I wanted to give it a more fitting name. Now, let me get on to telling you how much I am in love with this dish.

For years I have been enjoying crab legs, whether out or at home, simply broiled then dipped into butter! So when I came across this recipe that prepared them in such a unique way I had to give it a try. My mom came over for dinner while Dad was away golfing with the boys & since she loves crab legs but doesn't have the patience to crack them, I knew these would be perfect.

My mom & I loved these!!! To top off my excitement of the success, Tristan ended up enjoying quite a few pieces of crab meat that I had picked off & handed to him without the sauce.

This is simply a MUST try. With a little Asian influence, the sauce is just perfect without overpowering & taking away from the sweet subtlety of the crab meat.



SWEET & PEPPERED CRAB LEGS

{ Printable Recipe Here }

3 pounds Alaskan king or snow crab legs, thawed if frozen
Freshly ground pepper
2 tblsp vegetable oil
1 stick unsalted butter, cubed
6 cloves garlic, chopped
10 thin slices peeled ginger
8 scallions, cut into 2-inch pieces
4 red or green jalapeno peppers, seeded & finely chopped
2 tsp sugar
2 tblsp oyster sauce
2 tblsp soy sauce
White rice, for serving

Pull a leg off the cluster (1). You will see it has 2 joints (2 & 3), one on each side. I like to remove these knobby little ends because the meat sticks to them when you crack open the leg. Also, break the claw (4) off then pull the pointy thing (5) out of the claw & discard.


You are now left with a thick leg, a claw & a skinnier leg. Depending on the size of the thick leg you can break it in half or just leave whole. You want 3-4 inch pieces. The skinny little leg doesn’t have much meat in it but just save them & add to the pot. Now, cut along the shell on each piece so the meat can easily be removed after cooking.


Place the remaining ingredients by the stove. Toast 2 tablespoons pepper in a small skillet over medium-high heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes; remove from the heat. Heat the vegetable oil & butter in a large Dutch oven or skillet over medium-high heat until sizzling. Add the garlic, ginger, scallions & jalapenos; sprinkle with the sugar & cook, stirring, until the mixture is fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add the crab pieces, oyster sauce & soy sauce.



Cook, tossing, until heated through, about 5 minutes. Scatter the toasted pepper on top & continue to cook, tossing, about 1 more minute. Transfer the crab & sauce to a bowl. Serve with rice.


{ Food for Thought }

First things first, this was not spicy. My 6yo even ate the meat with no problem.

I usually use the thinner snow crab legs since I find them easier to handle without all the sharp points that king crab has. Also, 4lbs = 9 clusters = 3 hungry people was a perfect equation. While I always pick from parts of the cluster when just serving crab legs with butter I didn’t use the clusters for this recipe nor did it call for it. It's up to you. Some people tend to say the clusters are fishy.

I was running late for this weeknight meal so I just used ground ginger & it was more than OK!

{ Linking Deliciously to Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays }

Monday, February 22, 2010

Chocolate Mousse Torte

Hope everyone had a su-weeeeeeeet weekend!!!! Mine was just lovely. I had family over for dinner Saturday night & I made this for dessert. I found it in one of my magazines & knew I had to make it. It was too pretty not to! 

I made a few changes to it, making it even easier & also a bit healthier too. Everyone really loved it. As always, the original recipe is right here, just see my notes for changes I made. This is definitely a must make again!!!!! 

Since I didn't use the semi sweet chocolate at all, I am thinking I need to change the name to chocolate pudding torte.....nah!


CHOCOLATE MOUSSE TORTE Adapted from Kraft

Click for Printable Recipe

37 (approx) Nilla wafers
4 squares semi-sweet chocolate, divided
2 pkg. (3.9 oz. each) Chocolate Instant Pudding
2 cups plus 2 Tbsp. cold milk, divided
1 tub (8 oz.) Cool Whip, thawed, divided (I used Free)
1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup fresh raspberries

Stand 16 wafers (approx) around inside edge of 9-inch round pan lined with plastic wrap. Melt 3 chocolate squares as directed on package. Beat pudding mixes & 2 cups milk in medium bowl with whisk 2 min. Add melted chocolate; mix well. Stir in 1 cup cool whip; pour into prepared pan. Beat cream cheese, sugar & remaining milk with mixer until well blended. Stir in 1 cup of the remaining cool whip; spread over pudding. Top with remaining wafers. Refrigerate 3 hours.


{ don't do what I did & try to squeeze pieces of wafers in between. there's no reason to }

Invert torte onto plate. Remove pan & plastic wrap.


 Top torte with remaining cool whip, berries & chocolate curls.


 { not the most perfect slice in pictures but it was perfectly heavenly }


{ Food for Thought }

I recommend spraying your pan with just a little cooking spray. Maybe this will help the plastic wrap to stay in place.

I used sugar free pudding since some family members are diabetic & it was wonderful. Just remember that sugar free pkgs will have less volume than the regular. I only used 2 pkgs regardless. I suggest just following the directions on the package if you’re using sugar free. Buy 3 pkgs but start with 2. Then pour in what you need, leaving room for the cream cheese mixture as well as the final cool whip.

I also didn’t bother adding the melted 3 squares of chocolate & probably won’t next time either. One final note is I just grated some chocolate rather than making curls.

{ Linking Deliciously to Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays }

Friday, February 12, 2010

Marinated Shrimp with Olives

Many posts today will be filled with lots of eye candy & sugary delights for Valentine's Day. I guess I'll be the rebel. That's exciting. Or I can tell the truth which is my sweet offerings were a big flop last night. I tried making these mascarpone mini cupcakes with strawberry glaze from Giada's cookbook.


While the taste was right on, the tops separated from the bottom of the cupcake, even after I cooled them a bit. Apparently, from all the reviews, it happened to quite a few people. Maybe they were too top heavy??? As for the glaze, it had potential. I'll have to modify & try again sometime.

Anyway, I bring you some eye candy in the way of a gorgeous appetizer that is so easy to prepare,  delicious & looks beautiful on the table! I made it for my Dad's birthday dinner along with the Spinach Ricotta Rounds & he was pleased!


MARINATED SHRIMP WITH OLIVES from Taste of Home

{ Printable Recipe Here }

2 lbs cooked medium shrimp, peeled & deveined
1 medium red onion, sliced & separated into rings
2 medium lemons, cut into slices
1 cup pitted ripe olives, drained
1/2 cup Olive Oil or Canola Oil
1/3 cup minced fresh parsley
3 tblsp lemon juice
3 tblsp red wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
1 bay leaf
1 tblsp minced fresh basil or 1 teaspoon dried basil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground mustard
1/4 tsp pepper


In a 3-qt. glass serving bowl, combine the shrimp, onion, lemons & olives. In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine the remaining ingredients; shake well. Pour over shrimp mixture & stir gently to coat. Cover & refrigerate for up to 6 hours, stirring occasionally. Discard bay leaf before serving. Yield: 14 servings.

{ Food for Thought }

The original recipe stated to marinate up to 24 hours. I was very surprised by this since seafood marinated in any kind of acidity from citrus or vinegar will destroy its texture. I have done it before & ruined food because the texture is awful. Be on the safe side & only marinate for 4-6 hours. Also, I usually leave the tail on for  shrimp appetizers but since this is mixed with onions & olives I should have taken the tail off for easier eating. 


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Since Valentine's Day is around the corner I had to share some sweetness with you. Meet my little guy Tristan's friend Emily. They have been friends since they were crawling together. If you think this is cute....

{ birthday party at Disney Fort Wilderness }

Check out their front side...

{ Christmas parade in town }


Happy Valentine's Day everyone!