Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Recipe Collage

Due to lovely Irene, we are out of power.  You can read more about that here.  In the mean time, I put together a collage of my favorite recipes.  Enjoy!  Please keep your fingers crossed that I will be able to cook again soon!

My thoughts and prayers go out to all of you who have been impacted by this terrible storm.
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Saturday, August 27, 2011


This is dedicated to my VB friends! Cheers!

A-     Arugula- my favorite “lettuce”

B-      Bananas and Bread- always stocked at our house

C-      Cereal- my morning ritual

D-     Dark chocolate- need I say more?

E-      Easy, my favorite kind of recipe

F-      Fish tacos, favorite thing to order at a restaurant

G-     Grilled food is the best fast food

H-     Hummus- my favorite sandwich spread and dip

I-        I crave Italian and Indian food often.

J-       Jerk chicken is pretty delish.

K-      Ketchup is my favorite condiment

L-       Lamb melts in my mouth.

M-   Mexico is the name of our most frequented restaurant.

N-     Never be rude to the chef.

O-     Onions make everything taste better.

P-      Peanuts come from Virginia.

Q-     Quinoa is a super food!

R-      Rediscover old recipes.

S-      Seafood should never be overlooked and sausage isn’t always bad for you.

T-      Turkey doesn’t have to be eaten at Thanksgiving.

U-     Ugly doesn’t mean it tastes gross.

V-     Vegan isn’t so bad.

W-   Watermelon is my favorite fruit at the moment.

X-      Xia is Chinese for shrimp

Y-      Yams are my favorite side dish.

Z-      Zest really enhances a dish.
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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Gourmet Pinwheels

I try not to purchase pesto sauce because it always goes to waste.  I bought it to use in these Chicken Pesto Burgers but had tons leftover.  Luckily I needed to make a quick and easy appetizer for a cookout and came across this recipe.

I simplified this recipe even more so that kids could help.  What child doesn’t love a pinwheel?  These appetizers are so easy and take under 15 minutes to make.  Your kids will have a chance to impress your guests and they can be proud of themselves too!

If you have any more pesto sauce left, cook up some pasta and toss it with a few tablespoons of pesto! 

What You Will Need:

8 slices Italian whole wheat bread

3 oz cream cheese

2 T prepared pesto

What You Already Have:

Dash of salt

Small bowl

Rolling pin

Cutting board

Bread knife


1)      Cut crust off of bread slices.  Roll bread so that it is thin.

2)      Mix cheese, pesto and salt in small bowl.

3)      Spread pesto mixture over bread.  Tightly roll up the bread.

4)      Slice rolls into 1 inch pinwheels.

5)      Transfer to platter.

6)      Chill for at least 30 minutes.

7)      Serve.
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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Green Mac N' Cheese


I’ve mentioned Mac n’Cheese a couple of times in recent posts. It’s an awesome side dish, especially when you’re grilling. We’ve had it with burgers, kabobs, barbecue, etc. This particular recipe includes spinach, which makes me feel better. AND the kids like it! The crust adds extra crunch. Don’t skimp on the cheese or the milk.
This is adapted from a Cooking Light recipe, but I just don’t agree with it. Mac N’Cheese cannot be light. I tried the original version and it was too bland and runny. Adding more cheese with the onions and garlic makes this much better. You be the judge!
What You Will Need:
1 C dried macaroni
10 oz frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
2 C shredded cheddar cheese
1 C grated parmesan cheese
1 C whole milk
½ C Vidalia onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
What You Already Have:
1 T olive oil
2 pieces bread
3 T flour
½ tsp nutmeg
1 T butter
Dash of salt and pepper
Large pot
Casserole dish
Food processor

1) Cook pasta according to package directions.

2) Drain and set aside.

3) Mix milk and flour and set aside.

4) Add bread, ½ C parmesan and butter to food processor and chop until breadcrumb mixture forms. Set aside.

5) Heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until transparent. Season with salt and pepper.

6) Stir in spinach and nutmeg, heat through. Add flour mixture and heat until thickened.

7) Add cheddar cheese and remaining parmesan cheese. Stir in pasta.

8) Coat casserole dish with cooking spray.

9) Transfer pasta mixture into casserole dish. Top with breadcrumb mixture.

10) Bake uncovered for 10 minutes.

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Monday, August 22, 2011

Asian BBQ

I wanted to make a crockpot dish this week because it’s so effortless.  We have tons of stuff going on around the house.  I bought a 2 lb pork shoulder at the store knowing it would be perfect for some yummy barbecue.  I was in the mood for Asian-infused something, so I put together my standard marinade and threw it all in the slow-cooker.  The house smelled like a Chinese restaurant! 

I fixed an easy mixed green salad, some minute rice and voila! Dinner was ready in no time.

What You Will Need:

2 lb pork shoulder, fat trimmed

1 C hoisin sauce

½ large red onion, chopped

What You Already Have:
1/2 low sodium soy sauce

1 tsp ground ginger

2 garlic cloves, sliced

2 T rice wine vinegar

1 T Dijon mustard

2 T olive oil

Slow cooker

Large bowl

Plastic wrap

1)      Mix together hoisin, soy sauce, ginger, cloves, vinegar, mustard and olive oil in large bowl.

2)      Add pork to marinade and cover with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for 2 hours.

3)      Place onion on bottom of slow cooker.  Place pork over top and pour marinade over pork.

4)      Cook for 8 hours on LOW.

5)      Remove from slow cooker and shred pork.  Add back into sauce and cook for another 30 minutes.

6)      Serve.
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Friday, August 19, 2011

Foodie Friday #2

Chicken and Peach “Cob”abs

Peaches are taking over my kitchen.  Ever since I saw this post by Real Food,Allergy Free, I can’t get enough peaches.  Did you see her photo of those grilled peaches?  They’re gorgeous.  Even if you absolutely hate peaches, I bet these pictures would make you try them.  Wow.  Thank you so much for linking these to Foodie Friday RFAF!

So, I already made Peach Cobbler last week.  This week I paired peaches with chicken and grilled them together.  I served the kabobs over some rice noodles and broccoli.  There’s so much going on with these kabobs, that you need little to accompany them.  As long as you don’t burn the suckers, you’re going to love these.

What You’ll Need:

1 C apricot preserves

¼ C low sodium soy sauce

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 T ginger, peeled and minced

1 T rice wine vinegar

1 ½ T olive oil

6-8 wooden skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes

1 lb thinly sliced chicken, cut into 1-inch pieces

2 peaches, cut into 1-inch pieces

1)      Prepare marinade.  Mix preserves, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, vinegar and olive oil in medium bowl.

2)      Stir in chicken and cover with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

3)      Prepare grill.

4)      Prepare skewers, alternating chicken and peach.

5)      Cook on grill until no longer pink.

6)      Serve.

Now let’s get on with the party!!!!

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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Venicia's Veal Marsala


Butter is seeping from my pores. This was so fantastic. It really brought me back to my childhood and the memories of my mom cooking her flawless dinners, yum! Why haven’t I been preparing veal more often?
I knew I wanted to make this dish, but I wanted to find the perfect recipe. Who better to follow than Giada De Laurentiis? This girl knows her Italian. Every time I watch her shows, I get chills. She has this air about her that is amazing and to top it off, she creates authentic Italian masterpieces. Could you imagine what dinner would be like at her house? Perfect, everyday! (Get it?)
What You Will Need:

¾ lb veal cutlets
2 T butter
1 ½ T olive oil
Salt and pepper
8 oz jarred mushrooms
½ C Marsala
¾ C low sodium chicken broth
3 garlic cloves, minced
½ yellow onion, finely shredded
Large skillet

1) Melt 1T butter and olive oil over medium-high heat. Add veal to hot skillet. Cook on both sides until browned.

2) Transfer veal to platter.
3) Turn heat down to low. Add onion and garlic and cook.
4) Add mushrooms and Marsala. Reduce for 5 minutes.

5) Add broth to skillet. Reduce for 5 minutes.

6) Add veal back to skillet and heat through.

7) Serve over pasta.
8) Add 1 T to sauce and mix. Pour spoonful over veal.
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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

MJ's Famous Crab Cakes

Brace yourselves for the best-tasting crab cakes you’ll ever eat again. My mom’s crab cakes are better than the ones you’ll find at any fancy restaurant. They’re simple, rich and heavenly. Our family has been bragging about these wonders since I can remember. Once you have one, you’ll agree.

We’re lucky to have grown up near the Chesapeake Bay, which means we are blessed by the Legendary Blue Crab. A few years ago, they were threatened by overharvesting. They’ve made a comeback and we can enjoy their sweet taste in the summer. Crab cakes aren’t crab cakes unless they contain this variety. Come visit anyone who lives near the Chesapeake Bay and they will tell you the same. Anything else doesn’t compare.

What You Will Need:

1 lb Jumbo Lump Blue crabmeat

What You Already Have:

½ C mayonnaise (you can make your own if you have lots of time)

1 egg

1 T yellow mustard (or more if you prefer)

¼ tsp Old Bay Seasoning

1 ½ T Unsalted butter

Medium bowl



1) Heat griddle to 375˚ or skillet over medium-high heat.

2) Mix crabmeat with mayo, egg, mustard and seasoning.

3) Melt butter and spread evenly.

4) Spoon crabmeat mixture onto skillet and brown on both sides. (About 4-5 minutes per side)

5) Serve.

Chesapeake Steamed Crabs

Another way to enjoy these luscious Blue Crabs is by steaming them. Spread them over some newspaper on your kitchen table for some Sunday Night crab pickin’.

What You Will Need:

1 dozen male Blue Crabs

2 T Old Bay Seasoning

X-Large Pot



1) Fill pot with equal parts water and vinegar about 2 inches from bottom of pot.

2) Bring to boil.

3) Add crabs to pot and season with Old Bay.

4) Cover for about 30 minutes until crabs turn red.

5) Let cool.

6) Serve.

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Monday, August 15, 2011

Just Peachy Cobbler

This cobbler was so simple and came out perfect.  I’ll make it again, again, and again.  Thanks to Paula Dean, I was able to take a major shortcut when it came to peeling the peaches.  The rest of the recipe came from Southern Living… an absolute favorite magazine of mine.  I made some little changes, but I credit this superb magazine for the rest.

What You Will Need:

6-8 LOCALLY grown peaches

1 T apple juice

What You Already Have:

2 C sugar

1 C 2% milk

1 stick of unsalted butter

1 C flour

Pinch of salt

1 T Baking Powder

Pumpkin Pie Spice

Large pot

Large bowl

Large casserole

Medium bowl


Slotted spoon

1)      Preheat oven to 375˚.

2)      Fill pot half way with water.  Fill large bowl with ice water.  Bring to boil.  Add peaches and boil for 30 seconds.  Remove with slotted spoon and transfer to ice bath.

3)      Pull away skin from peaches.  Slice peaches and toss pits.

4)      Melt butter in casserole over medium-high heat on stove.  Set aside.

5)      In medium bowl, mix flour, ½ sugar, baking powder and salt.  Stir in milk with fork.

6)      Pour over butter.

7)      Add apple juice, remaining sugar and peaches to large pot and bring to boil.

8)      Pour over batter.

9)      Sprinkle with pumpkin pie spice.

10)   Bake for 50 minutes.

11)   Serve.
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