Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Good-Bye

I can't believe it's been almost two months since my last recipe. The truth is, I've been thinking about writing this post for weeks, but for one reason or another have decided against it. Intentionally, I have never gotten too personal on my blog, but at the end of the day I think you all know that I am a human being. Marriage is the best thing that has ever happened to me and I am so fortunate to have Josh by my side during life's ups and downs. And the last few months have been exactly that - a complete roller coaster ride full of surprise, change, travel, love, new friendships, and disappointment. Because of this ride we call life, the blog has taken a back seat. I've thought a lot about the blog. I've felt guilt for not updating it much, sadness and anger over some unnecessary drama it introduced in my life and excitement over future possibilities for it. I started this blog for myself and when it became more than that with the drama that came into my life, it completely changed my attitude towards this blog. With that said, I believe it's time to give it a proper "good-bye". I know this good-bye is not forever because like I said before, through this blog, I've discovered a real passion of mine, writing. I have some great ideas of what this blog will look like someday, and until then, there is a full library of recipes for you to enjoy. I can't promise that I won't update it every so often, when I've created something magical in the kitchen that I need to share with you. As always, thanks for your continued support through reading and I hope to "see" you all soon. 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Curry Corn Crab Cakes

I don't know about you, but I cannot get enough of the Olympics. Not only am I completely obsessed with this amazing country I live in, but there is something miraculous about what these athletes accomplish. Their passion and commitment is unlike anything I know...it's beyond inspirational. So, because I've been a little more house-bound due to the events monopolizing most of my free time, I decided to whip up one of my favorite meals...crab cakes! I wanted to put a different spin on them, something a little less east-coast and a bit more flavorful. I knew the random, but super tasty combination of curry and corn would do the trick. Give these a go and if you aren't watching the Olympics, turn on that television...you're missing out!


Ingredients
2 ears of corn, kernels removed
1/4 cup finely chopped onion 
1/4 cup diced red bell pepper 
1/2 TBSP curry powder
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound lump crabmeat (make sure you sift through to remove any shells)
1/3 cup low-fat mayonnaise
2 TBSPs fresh basil, chopped
2 TBSPs fresh mint, chopped
Juice from two small limes
1 TBSP GF low-sodium soy sauce 
egg whites from 2 eggs
7 TBSPs GF breadcrumbs (and some extra to dredge patties through)
vegetable oil

Preparation Instructions
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat with a TBSP of olive oil. Add corn, onion, red pepper, curry powder and garlic; saute 4 minutes or until vegetables are soft. Allow mixture to cool completely.

Combine mayonnaise, basil, mint, lime juice, soy sauce and egg whites.

Gently fold mayonnaise mixture, corn mixture and breadcrumbs into the crab. Divide mixture into 8 (3/4-inch-thick) patties. Dredge patties in breadcrumbs. 

Heat oil in pan over medium-high heat. Place patties in pan; cook 4 minutes. Turn patties, and cover pan; cook 4 minutes or until done and browned.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Strawberry Balsamic Pizza

My brother-in-law and I have back-to-back birthdays (7/15 and 7/16) so this past weekend was packed with incredible friends, entirely too much fun and so much love. This dinner was supposed to be Sunday night's dinner, but Josh and I were both too exhausted from the weekend's festivities and decided it was the perfect meal for Monday night instead - an obvious choice to start the week off right, in my opinion. I have been dreaming of making a strawberry pizza since the beginning of summer and this was the incredibly delicious result of all that dreaming. A little bit of heat, not too much sweet and the perfect amount of salt. Enjoy!



Ingredients
GF pizza crust of your choice
3 ounces pancetta, cooked
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
4 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese (I actually used the pearl-sized balls)
1 handful fresh basil, rough chopped
1/2 cup hulled strawberries, diced
2 TBSPs balsamic glaze (I use Trader Joe's - or you can make your own by reducing balsamic vinegar)
1/4 cup good quality strawberry jam or preserves
1 tsp sriracha chili sauce
1 TBSP olive oil
1 TBSP brown sugar

Preparation Instructions
Preheat your oven according to package instructions of dough.

In a small bowl, combine the balsamic glaze, strawberry jam and sriracha chili sauce.  Set aside.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add onions and brown sugar and cook slowly until onions are brown and soft. Set aside.

Spread the balsamic-strawberry mixture in a thin layer over the crust.  Layer with the basil, pancetta, cheese, onion, and strawberries. 

Transfer the pizza to the oven (I use a preheated pizza stone) and bake until the cheese is melted and bubbling and the crust is lightly browned, following package instructions for pizza dough. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before slicing and serving.


ps: this is being shared over at Tasty Tuesday!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Olive Tapenade-Stuffed Avocado Salad

This summer has been all about stuffing yummy veggies with delicious goodies. This one in particular holds a special place in my heart because as most people close to me know, I am obsessed with olives, in particular Trader Joe's Olive Tapenade. If you don't like olives, then this recipe is not for you. But, I might be judging you a little bit. Regardless, this salad is super easy, surprisingly delicious and perfect for entertaining your foodie friends. I can’t take all of the credit for this recipe, my mom made it recently for my home-cooked early birthday celebratory meal…my mom’s meals > than any restaurants. True story.


Ingredients (for two servings)
1 avocado, halved and pit and skin removed 
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, chopped
1/3 cup olive tapenade (homemade or store-bought, Trader Joe's is the best!)
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese 
6 romaine lettuce leaves
Italian-style salad dressing of choice (I used Garlic Expressions, which is amazing!)

Preparation Instructions
Combine the chopped cherry tomatoes, olive tapenade and cheese in a small bowl. Arrange some lettuce leaves on a small plate. Place an avocado on top and fill the center of the avocado with the tomato mixture (and perhaps some on the lettuce too). Pour a little dressing over the lettuce leaves. Serve immediately.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Pesto Shrimp Pasta

I actually was not intending on blogging this meal because it is similar to the Summer Risotto I did last August. However, this turned out so delicious, so summery and so pretty, I couldn't resist. It was the perfect kick off to an ideal summer weekend - celebrating a birthday with some incredible friends, getting to our favorite dog park with our puppies, conquering challenging workouts, eating delicious food and laughing lots. Life is good! Enjoy. 





Ingredients
1 pound shrimp, peeled, deveined, shells removed
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
2-3 ears of corn, corn removed off cob
1/2 onion, chopped
1/4 cup dry white wine
4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cubed
1 handful of fresh mint and fresh basil, chopped
1/3 - 1/2 cup mint basil pesto (my recipe, but this time I didn't use parmesan cheese)
gluten free spaghetti pasta, cooked per package instructions

Preparation Instructions
Season the shrimp on both sides with some coarse salt and fresh ground black pepper. Heat a little olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the shrimp to the pan and sauté until cooked, about two minutes per side. Remove the shrimp from the pan and set aside. 

Turn up the heat to high. In the same pan, add the onion, corn and tomatoes. Sauté for a bit until the onions are soft. Then press down the mixture into the pan to get a good char on the veggies. After letting it set for a few minutes, mix it around and add the wine to release the char/bits from the bottom of the pan. (At this point I added a few dashes of crushed red pepper because I'm weird like that, but you don't have to!)

In a bowl, combine the cooked pasta, corn mixture, mozzarella cheese cubes, chopped mint and basil and pesto (we used about 1/3 cup, but use whatever your taste buds prefer!). Serve immediately. 


ps: this is being shared over at Tasty Tuesday!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Baked Tomatoes with Bacon, Corn, and Green Chiles

Here I go again ruining what could've been a perfect vegetarian meal with the addition of bacon. I can't help myself - bacon really does make everything better. I found this in May's Cooking Light and both Josh and I thought it looked delicious and unique. And that's exactly how it turned out. Of course, I had to make a few tweaks, to make it perfect for us (like the addition of bacon) because I never leave anything "as is". This is an ideal dish for summer and can be served either as an appetizer or a meal.



Inspired by this recipe from Cooking Light, May 2012
Ingredients
2 poblano chiles 
2 cups corn kernels
1 cup chopped onion 
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 TBSP chopped fresh oregano
1 TBSP olive oil 
1 lime, juiced
1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
4 large ripe tomatoes
1 cup cooked quinoa
4 slices of cooked bacon, chopped
4 ounces Colby-Jack cheese, shredded (about 1 cup packed, plus a little extra for sprinkling on top of tomatoes) 

Preparation Instructions
Preheat broiler to high.

Cut the chiles in half lengthwise; discard seeds and membranes. Place chile halves, skin side up, on a foil-lined baking sheet; flatten with hand. Broil 8 minutes or until blackened. Place in a paper bag; close tightly. Let stand 10 minutes. Peel chiles. Coarsely chop chiles; place in a bowl. Add corn and onion to baking sheet; broil 10 minutes, half way through, stir mixture and then sprinkle with minced garlic. Add corn mixture to chopped chiles; stir in oregano, oil, lime juice, salt, cumin, and black pepper.

Cut tops off tomatoes; set aside. Carefully scoop out tomato pulp, leaving shells intact. Invert tomatoes on a wire rack; let stand 30 minutes. Dry insides of tomatoes with a paper towel.

Cook the quinoa according to the package instructions. Remove from heat; fluff with a fork. Add quinoa and bacon to corn mixture; toss well. Lastly, add the cheese to the mixture and carefully combine all ingredients.

Preheat oven to 350.


Spoon corn mixture evenly among each tomato. Place tomatoes and tops, if desired, on a foil-lined pan. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes. Remove from oven. Preheat broiler. Remove tops and sprinkle a little cheese on each tomato. Broil the tomatoes 1 1/2 minutes or until cheese melts/browns. Serve immediately.


ps: go check out other recipes at Cast Party Wednesday!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

Yes, I'm still alive. And MARRIED! Sorry I've been a little MIA. The funny thing is, we actually cook almost every night, but recently, I just haven't been up for blogging. We had a Groupon for a fabulous restaurant in the Chicago suburbs called O'Neil's and decided to make a date night out of it. We started with a delicious portobello mushroom appetizer that the two of us practically fought over the last bite. So I decided that a recreate at home was a must. These turned out delicious and very similar to those we had as an appetizer. To make them a filling vegetarian meal, just omit the bacon and you could serve with a side of rice. Enjoy!



Ingredients
2 large portobello mushrooms
1/4 cup sundried tomatoes, chopped
4 large handfuls baby spinach
handful of fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
handful of fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
4 ounces crumbled goat cheese
4 slices of bacon, cooked, chopped (optional)
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 medium-sized onion, grated
1/3 cup of white wine (I used Sauvignon Blanc)
juice of 1/2 lemon

Preparation Instructions
Turn on your broiler. Gently wipe the outside of the mushrooms caps with a damp paper towel to remove any surface dirt. Next, pop out the stem by pushing it from side to side. Next, gently scrape out the dark brown gills from inside the cap. Set mushrooms aside. 

Brush mushroom caps inside and out with a little olive oil and then set on a baking sheet.
With the oven rack on the second to the top level, broil the mushrooms for 3-5 minutes until they are hot and the edges are starting to brown. Remove from the oven and set it to bake at 375.

Meanwhile, using the same pan you cooked the bacon in (and a little of the leftover grease), saute the garlic until it is fragrant, but not brown. Add the onion and allow to cook for a little. Next add the wine to release all of the yummy brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Next add the spinach and sundried tomatoes. Saute until the spinach has wilted. Squeeze the lemon over everything. Remove from heat. In a bowl, combine everything in the pan with the chopped bacon, fresh herbs, and goat cheese.

Fill the caps with the mixture. Top with a little goat cheese. Bake for 12 minutes or until hot and the cheese has softened. Serve immediately.


ps: this is being shared over at Cast Party Wednesday!