Category Archives: Quick & Easy

Remoulade that will ROCK your world!

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I am soooooo excited!  We are T-1 day until my baby girls 5th birthday and I am 98% excited and 2 % sad or maybe that is 98% sad and 2% excited…seriously I am excited for her!

This is too cute not to share even though she would not find it amusing in the least….LOOK at those legs

Now I have to get ready for her to start Kindergarten in the Fall….sniff sniff

OK- I can’t talk about this anymore….I’m all teary

Let’s talk about this amazing ROCK YOUR WORLD Remoulade!

I made it to accompany the grilled artichokes for dinner ~ it is so good that I can’t even believe we didn’t scarf it all down before the artichokes were done….it took some willpower….actually won’t power!

Here is the cast of characters:

  • 1/2 cup Hellmans (any other mayo won’t do and anything with “whip” in the name will get you arrested)
  • 1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard
  • 2 dashes of Worcestershire
  • 1 dash of hot pepper sauce (more if you want it a little spicy)
  • 1 squirt of lemon juice (real lemon juice is best unless you didn’t have one- don’t be like me)
  • 1 anchovy (this is a super secret ingredient that MAKES this….please – I promise on all that is holy- you will love it~ don’t leave it out!
  • 1/4 cup shallot, finely minced
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced
  • 2 green onions sliced in half and minced…reserve some of green tops for decoration
  • 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • small pinch of salt (mayo is salty and anchovy is salty so be careful- you can add but you can’t take it out)
  • 2 grinds of pepper

Throw all in a bowl and whisk together ~ cover and let come together for 2 hours at least so all the flavors can fall in love and get married AND THEY WILL

I know they may look daunting but this is what the anchovies look like when you open the can..all curled up and pretty- remove one from the can and you can use the caper in the middle or not- whatever floats your boat!

Place in on the cutting board and chop up and then with the back of your knife- run over it to make it into a paste…it is really soft and this will be really easy-

Once you have refrigerated it for a couple of hours- it is going to leave a permanent smile on your face!

Have a fantastic Thursday!

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Avocado Spring Rolls with Sweet Chile Garlic & Ponzu Sauce

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Happy Wednesday!

I made the most amazing spring rolls – it was my first time to make them and I totally impressed myself!

Soft, crunchy, creamy, herb-y & just that je ne sais quoi that I TOTALLY LOVE!

Here are the rock star ingredients:

  • rice paper wrappers
  • seedless cucumber
  • avocado
  • pickled ginger
  • butter lettuce
  • cilantro
  • shredded carrot
  • chives

Pickled ginger has become my new favorite ingredient!  It is spicy and sweet and vinegar-y.  It’s close to the top of the list of perfect foods for you to eat so it’s a win-win!  I have found myself asking for extra anytime I go eat sushi- who am I??

The funny thing is that I have never liked the taste of ginger- when I was little we would go eat at Uncle Tai’s in the Galleria and I would pick out the ginger piece by piece- if I accidentally got a bite, the face I made was horrid. I guess my palate is changing but don’ t think that means you will find blue cheese or olives on my plate any time soon- I have limits my friends!

The prep time on this is going to take some time but the pay off is so awesome!

Cut the cucumber in half and then cut the bottom off so you can stand it straight up and cut vertical slices

Once that is done you can cut the pretty matchstick pieces

Then you want to cut that GORGEOUS avocado in thin strips…..it’s like my favorite food EVER

I just need some salt and fork – YUM!

OK seriously- we need to wet the rice paper wrapper in a shallow dish of water.

Speaking of rice paper- you should be able to get it at your local market but mine was out so I went to the sushi bar and asked if they had any and he gave me several sheets for $$FREE$$ – which again makes the great point of talking to the people at your store and ask questions- they are there to help!!

The rice paper looks crazy when you get it- thin and crackly with a weird texture but when you submerge it in the water it magically transforms like shrinky-dinks in a hot oven

Just submerge it for a few minutes and then lay it on a big dry plate and get ready to fill that baby up

First- lay the avocado slices across so they are the superstar of the roll!

*disclaimer- please make sure to put lemon/lime juice on your avocado after slicing it so it doesn’t get brown spots like mine

Add the rest of the ingredients too

And then you start rollin’ rollin’ rollin’

The tighter- the better – it won’t rip- it’s super strong and you don’t want all your glorious veg pouring out when you bite into it!

Time to make the dipping sauce while that hangs out for a minute

  • Taste of Asia Sweet Chili Garlic sauce (best depth of flavor of all I have tried)
  • Kikkoman Ponzu sauce

If you haven’t tried Ponzu it rocks- it is a citrus soy sauce – soy sauce alone doesn’t work for me anymore

I am dedicated to new flavors like that

TAAADDDDAAAAA

Now go out and make these- they are awesome and you could even throw some shredded chicken or tofu in there if you need more protein!

Have a great day!

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

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Yesterday, I was on a mission!  A meatball making mission!

I had been wanting/needing to make them all weekend but with my infant niece visting…procrastination wasn’t even an issue because I was knee-high in bottles and diapers.  I almost forgot how much work goes into an infant.  My 5 yo was overjoyed she was spending the night, until she realized how much work it was too.  More so, how much “Mommy” time it took away from her – I guess she may rethink that whole “I want a sister or brother” thing LOL!

But yesterday, while my girl was at school and my niece was snoozing, I made these gorgeous beauties!

and these

I wanted to make two different sizes so that I could have some on hand for spaghetti and meatballs and some smaller ones in the freezer ready at any moment for Happy Hour!

So when I decided to make these- I was faced with a dilemma….no breadcrumbs and while I could have easily run over to the store- my Mom gave me the BEST idea!  For Christmas, we had gotten some amazing cheese and crackers from my Nana- while the cheese was gobbled up- I still had crackers left over and they were perfect to be made into breadcrumbs!

Here is what I threw together:

  • A couple of handfuls unseasoned Common Crackers
  • 1/2 tablespoon mixture of garlic powder, white pepper & kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning

put everything in the blender

and voila!  you will have the most amazing seasoned breadcrumbs!  I just pulsed to get the consistency I wanted and that’s the great thing about doing them yourself ~ control!

Now onto the meatballs!

Here is what you need:

  • 1 lb ground chuck 80/20
  • 1/2 lb ground pork
  • seasoned breadcrumbs
  • sautéed baby bella mushrooms (saute with a little white wine & butter)
  • a couple of cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon or so homemade ranch dressing (1/2 packet hidden valley ranch buttermilk dry mix & 1/2 cup heavy cream)
  • 1/2 sweet onion minced

Put your meats into the bowl ~

This recipe is so versatile because you can clean out your fridge by making these!  I had some sautéed shrooms that were left over in the fridge and I thought they were a perfect addition of flavor and texture!  Show I chopped them up and threw them on in

Along with everything else ~

The amount of breadcrumbs & dressing (milk alone will work perfectly too) is based on the texture – you want a moist but not falling apart texture but try to not over mix as you don’t want to make them tough

Then you need to get your tools together to form these balls of awesomeness!

  • 2 different sizes of scoopers
  • cookie sheet lined with foil
  • big pan
  • oil

Start rolling….

Beautiful

After they are all rolled out then quickly mince an onion to throw in a pan with the garlic oil so you can begin to pan fry these babies!  Also, pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees as we are going to finish these off in the oven

Pop them in the oven for about 15 minutes or so ~ they will sizzle and brown and shine in all their glory

Once they are all done you will have two wonderful sizes of meatballs to enjoy now or pop them in the freezer for another day!

Enjoy!!

Seared Scallop Salad

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I was at the market yesterday and I saw some beautiful Sea Scallops and knew that a salad was in order for dinner but I wasn’t sure how it was all going to come together…..I think it came out pretty well

It was so super simple!  The hardest part is chopping up all the veggies for the salad and making the buttermilk dressing!

I don’t have any step-by-step pictures of this process because it all happened so fast and I wasn’t planning :/  But there is always next time and that is when I add more veggies like charred corn and avocado;)

Seared Scallop Salad with Buttermilk Dressing

Serves 2

10 Sea Scallops, patted dry

1 tsp olive oil

1 tsp butter

1/2 tablespoon Penzey’s Trinidad lemon seasoning

1 tsp cracked black pepper

1 – 1 1/2 cups baby romaine

2 scallions, finely chopped

1 stalk of celery, finely diced

1 vine tomato, diced

4 white mushrooms, wiped with a dry cloth and sliced

5 sprigs of cilantro, chopped (stems & all)

1 1/2 tablespoons Garlic Pepper Crispy Onions (Fresh Gourmet)

1 tablespoon low-fat buttermilk

1 tablespoon Hellman’s mayonnaise

2 tsp Old Bay

1/2 tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar

Chop up all your veggies for your salad first and make your dressing as this will take much longer than the scallops.

In a small bowl add baby romaine, scallions, tomato, celery, shrooms, cilantro & crispy onions, set aside

In a smaller bowl mix the buttermilk, mayo, cider vinegar & old bay and whisk, set aside

In a non-stick skillet, over medium high heat, add olive oil & butter.  Let it get hot without burning the butter  (the olive oil should help but keep your eye on it) and season the PATTED DRY scallops (this is crucial to get the color you want) with the Trinidad seasoning and cracked pepper.  Put the scallops in and set timer for 2 minutes and turn down the burner to medium.  Turn over the scallops- you should have a beautiful caramel color sear on them and you will cook them another 2 minutes

Toss the dressing with the salad and place the scallops on top with a squirt of lemon

Your plate will look like this after you inhale this salad.  BTW a nice Pinot Grigio is the perfect wine choice for this!

Enjoy!

Celebrating Spring Fever with Mexican Shrimp Cocktail

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Here in Texas our winter has been non-existent

We have had a couple of cold days and even had some flurries one night but based on last years winter – it was disappointing to say the least….at least to my 4 1/2 year old!

The last couple of days have been in the upper 70’s and low 80’s – we are supposed to have another cold snap next week so this week I have Spring Fever BIG TIME!!

Yesterday, I wanted to make something that was completely sit on the patio drinking margaritas worthy

I think this definitely fits that description:  Mexican Shrimp Cocktail

This is zesty and creamy and saucy and citrus-y and cilantro-y…..it’s the best twist on shrimp cocktail!

I wasn’t on top of my game yesterday and I didn’t take my normal step-by-step photos so I hope you’ll forgive me.

There are 3 steps to creating this beauty…..let’s get to it

First you want to create the Pico de Gallo

Pico de Gallo

4-5 small tomatoes , seeded and chopped (I used some heirlooms and the colors are beautiful)

1 small yellow pepper, seeded, chopped (orange or red peppers will also work)

1 small sweet or red onion, chopped

1/2 jalapeno, ribbed, seeded & chopped (if you want the heat- leave the ribs & seeds in)

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

zest of lime

juice of 1 lime

1/2 tsp cumin

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

Mix everything together in a big bowl and let it marinate while you make the rest

The next component is the sauce…a zesty cocktail sauce

Zesty Cocktail Sauce

3 tablespoons Heinz Chili Sauce

2 tablespoons ketchup

1 tablespoon prepared horseradish

couple shakes of Worcestershire

couple shakes of Tabasco

1 lemon, juiced

1/4 tsp pepper

Mix everything in a small bowl and let the flavors come together while you assemble the rest

The last step is assembling the cocktail itself

The last 2 ingredients that you will need to grab are Shrimp & Avocados:

Mexican Shrimp Cocktail

serves 2

16 large 31/40 cooked, frozen shrimp – thawed & halved (I thaw by running under water in my sink and then chill in the fridge while making other components)

1/2 – Avocado, cubed

zesty cocktail sauce (recipe above)

pico de gallo (recipe above)

Mix the shrimp, pico de gallo & cocktail sauce together so they are fully incorporated.  Then gently fold in the avocado.  Best presented in a sundae or martini glass with some pico de gallo on top and a wedge of lime to garnish.  Let sit in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to let all the glorious flavors do their magic!

Please enjoy this on a patio with your sunglasses on while drinking a fabulous margarita….you will feel like you are in Cabo!  Unless its snowing where you are…..then you will have to close your eyes and click your heels

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Lemon-y Blueberry-y Bread Love

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Woohoo I got my MOJO back!

I got food poisoning a couple of weeks ago and let me just tell you- it changed the landscape of my life.  It was the worst experience I have ever had and to add insult to injury my little miss got a 24 hour stomach bug (unrelated).  Fortunately, I have her trained at the tender age of 4 1/2 that toilets and buckets/trash cans are the ONLY acceptable place to purge.  My mother still has nightmares and plenty of stories to tell about my trouble with mastering the above.  Poor Oriental rugs is all I’m gonna say!

Needless to say- the mere thought of food or anything related was out the door.  I think that is the longest break that Food Network & Cooking Channel have had on my tv in I don’t know how long.  It was actually depressing!  When you have grabbed such a hold of your passion and then you can’t bear to think of it- it can definitely bring you down!

Thankfully~ I am back to 100% and my passion resumes cause I was able to make this yesterday and was excited about it!

Lemon-y Blueberry-y Bread- YUM!

I had a pint of blueberries that needed to be used because the little person in my household declared she no longer likes blueberries~ news to me since she has been known to down a pint in 1 day!

I made this light as air and not overly sweet bread in which she had no problem scarfing it down- blueberries and all!

Let’s do the step by step below:

Here is the cast of characters:

adapted from allrecipes

350 degrees for 25 minutes

  • 1 cup fresh/frozen blueberries
  • lemon zest, 1 whole lemon
  • lemon juice, 1 whole lemon
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup Greek vanilla yogurt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder (not pictured)
  • 1 1/2 cups flour (not pictured)
  • 1 cup sugar (not pictured)

First things first- Preheat your oven

Then zest your lemon

use a super fresh lemon- it yields more lemon-y goodness!  Also, for any of those virgin zesters-  the white stuff is pith and it is bitter and yuck so only run it across your microplane or grater one time.

Put the eggs, sugar, melted butter & lemon juice in the bowl.  Don’t put in your lemon zest like I did- it should be folded in later with the blueberries so it doesn’t lose it’s integrity!

Next up the dry ingredients~

Add flour, baking powder, salt to a separate bowl and slowly combine the sugar/egg mixture and blend.  After you have mixed the two~ add the greek yogurt

Then fold in the luscious & gorge blueberries and the lemon zest (since you won’t be like me)

Note that folding is not stirring~ stirring is going around in a circle~ while this is an oblong under and over technique~ trying to touch the blueberries as little as possible, as not to disturb the little beauties

Next you need to butter & flour your pans.  I used 4 small loaf pans and they were the perfect size for what I was trying to accomplish.

Then you will need to equally divide the batter in the pans and spread it out with a spatula- I just eyeballed it

Then check with a toothpick and when it comes out clean- they are ready.  I could tell these were ready because they were brown and pulled away from the edges

PRETTY!

Once you have cooled for 10 minutes in the pan then invert them onto a cooling rack

It was love at first bite!

I think we have a loaf and a half left….because they are that good!

Have a fantastic Monday!

What is your favorite fruit to bake with?

Bloody Mary Dip

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Do you remember playing the game Bloody Mary when you were growing up?

I do, and for me, it was along the same lines as the Ouija board.  It scared the living daylights outta me and I knew it was something I shouldn’t be playing around with.  To this day, I can’t watch anything scarier than Unsolved Mysteries, unless it is light outside.  I am not a wuss- I just don’t want to be up all night.

I am definitely one that believes in good ghosts/spirits- when Bella was little and just barely talking- she would point to the chandelier in her room and say that is where her people lived.

But with every ying there is a yang so I don’t like to intentionally invite anyone/anything to visit me!

All that being said- WHO LOVES BLOODY MARYS?  I DO I DO I DO!

And I love them SPPPIIICCYYYY with extra Mary (aka Vodka!) + lime

So I came across this dip recipe and knew it was for me and my whole family could enjoy it because it is sans alcohol but FULL of flavor!

If there is anything I can impart on you today it is the importance of the Bloody Mary Mix.  I have had zillions of different mixes in my day but the one that goes above and beyond is….drumroll

ZING ZANG

The tag line is so true NOT Just Another Bloody Mary Mix!

Thanks to my brother John for the introduction to this wonderful concoction…it’s my Sunday brunch staple.

Check out this awesome and easy dip to make!

I wish you could taste this awesomeness through the screen!  And it is sooooooooooooo beyond easy to make

Here we go

Bloody Mary Dip (adapted from Yummly)

  • 2 packages of softened cream cheese (I used 1 pkg of Neufachatel & 1 pkg of low fat cream cheese)
  • 1/3 cup REAL Mayo (like Hellmanns)
  • juice 1/2 a lemon
  • 3/4-1 cup Zing Zang
  • 2 tsp Celery Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Horseradish (not pictured)
  • 1 shallot, finally minced
  • 1/3 cup of tomato puree
  • 1/2 tablespoon of garlic powder
  • several healthy chugs of Cholula

Put is all in a blender and mix together and you have a wonderful dip my friends!

Blend and it turns to this beautiful dip

Please chill this for a MINIMUM of 2 hours but the more the better!

Serve with pretzels or celery or tortilla chips or even with a spoon 😉

I have discovered some new dippers called Snack Factory – Pretzel Crisps and I am eating them with the dip right now!  I usually find these in the deli section of my local grocery store

This will make a great Halloween Party Dip for kids + adults!

Have a great Wednesday!

What were your favorite childhood games?