Saturday, February 27, 2010

Spinach Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

Salads weren't always on the menu in my house. Then came the New Years resolution to eat better and exercise. So you know what that meant, back came the salad and with that a lot of the same old thing, usually a Caesar with yogurt dressing and either chicken or shrimp, which is good don't get me wrong but can get very boring. I wanted a new go to salad, so I looked around to see what I had on hand, and spotted a lone apple just sitting in the fruit bowl. And that's when it happened that little light bulb in my head went off, Spinach Salad with apples and Goat cheese. And finally a new salad was going into the salad rotation. I decided to make my own dressing, a Balsamic Vinaigrette that gave a nice tang to the sweetness of the salad.  You will notice there are no real measurements for this, you can use as much or little of each ingredient based on your likes and dislikes.

Spinach Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

Items Needed:
Melon baller, you'll see....

  • Spinach
  • dried cranberries
  • goat cheese
  • bread crumbs 
  • 1 Fuji apple, cored and sliced
  • pecans
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 c balsamic vinegar
  • 1-1 1/2  tsp honey
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard 
  • salt 
  • pepper

  • Wash and dry spinach and divide on plates
  • Combine olive oil, vinegar, honey, mustard and salt and pepper to taste in a mason jar** or bowl  and mix, adding more or less of any of the ingredients depending on taste
  •  Using the melon baller scoop out 4 scoops of the goat cheese and flatten, roll in bread crumbs and bake in oven for 5 minutes or so until just warmed thru. 
  • Add dried cranberries, pecans, and apples to salad and place 2 goat cheese patties on top of salad. 
  • Drizzle with Balsamic Vinaigrette**

** I always keep some mason jars on hand for dressings and marinades, it makes it very easy to add all of your ingredients and shake away!!! 

**This made enough dressing to have for later in the week.  

Eat and Enjoy!!

Any other salad ideas out there???

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Pan Seared Scallops

Once again I opened the fridge only to find that I didn't really have anything in there that I wanted to make. Lucky for me scallops where on sale again this week at the local market. I had made them a few weeks ago and thought couscous would be the perfect side dish this time around. This is a nice quick meal that is easy to make and delicious too. I served it with couscous but its great with rice, or even atop a nice salad. 

Pan Seared Scallops
Items Needed:
8 inch skillet, NOT non-stick

  • 14 sea scallops***
  • salt 
  • pepper
  • garlic powder
  • butter
  • olive oil
  • lemon juice, optional
  • lemon zest, optional 

  • Season scallops with salt, pepper and garlic powder generously. In skillet, heat a mixture of 1 tbsp olive oil and 2 tbsp butter until a nice foam forms, add scallops in batches if needed so as not to over crowd pan
  • Sear on each side until a nice crust forms then flip and sear on other side until crust forms, quickly remove from pan so as not to over cook scallops. 
  • Finish off with  a squirt of lemon juice and a dash of zest

***** Removing the muscle from the scallop. This small piece of flesh can be found near the edge of the scallop; carefully remove it from the main section before preparing this dish.*****

Eat and Enjoy!!

Did you know that  scallops have 18 pairs of eyes??

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Salsa Chicken with Corn and Black Bean Salad

While watching an episode of The Best Thing I Ever Ate....  Snack Attack on Food Network and seeing all the yummy snacks I got a craving for Mexican. They were showing Nachos that oozed with a creamy cheese sauce and chili and Taquitos with a Spicy Red Sauce. So I went to the kitchen to see what I had on hand, Chicken, salsa, corn and black beans was all I had so that's what it would be. I have made this salsa chicken many times it is a really simple meal that came together great with with the corn and black bean salad. 

Salsa Chicken

Items Needed:
Baking Dish 

Preheat oven
425 degrees

  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 jar salsa, I use Newman's Own Pineapple Salsa
  • 3 chicken breasts,skinless boneless
  • Cheddar Jack cheese, shredded 
  • Sour Cream, optional
  • Blue Corn Chips,optional
  • Lime juice 

  • Mix first four ingredients together more or less to taste
  • Pat dry chicken and season generously with the above mixture, place chicken in baking dish and spoon salsa over chicken enough to cover each piece
  •  Cook uncovered for 25-35 minutes then cover each piece with cheese turn oven to broil and cook an additional 2-4 minutes to melt cheese.
  • Serve with sour cream and crumbled chips and a squeeze of lime. 

    Corn and Black Bean Salad
    • 1 can black beans,drained and rinsed
    • 1 can corn, drained
    • 1/4 red onion, finely chopped **
    • 1/4 c apple cider vinegar, its what I had you can use red wine vinegar also 
    • 1 tbsp sugar, more to taste
    • 1/2 tsp garlic salt
    • 1 tsp chili powder, more to taste
    • 1/2 tsp pepper
    • 1 tbsp hot sauce, more to taste 
    • lime juice

    • Mix all ingredients together, adding more sugar, salt, chili powder and hot sauce to taste. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour up to overnight. Finish off with a squeeze of lime juice.

    *** I soaked the red onion in cold water for about 30 minutes or so it takes away the bite and bitterness that raw red onion has. It really mellows the flavor out.

    Saturday, February 20, 2010

    Shrimp Stir Fry my way.....

    I won!! I won!! I won my first blog giveaway from Gina over at Simply Life
    A wonderful blog full of fantastic recipes, make sure and check it out. 
    I won a case of Chobani Yogurt!! I can't wait to receive it, so stay tuned for recipes using the yummy yogurt!!! 

    My husband and I are big fans of Chinese food, but every time we have it I think I could do this at home for less money and calories. I found a few recipes that I liked but nothing that stood out to me so I decided to do a mish mash of a few recipes with of course my own spin. We decided on Stir-Fry  and went with Shrimp for the protein. Throw in some veggies and we are on our way to some homemade take out.

    Shrimp Stir Fry


    Items Needed:
    • 18 large shrimp, frozen or fresh
    • 1  egg white
    • 1 tbsp cornstarch
    • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
    • 1 tsp hot sauce, I used Franks Red Hot
    • 1 med zucchini, sliced matchstick*
    • 1/2 med onion, sliced thin*
    • 1/2 med pepper, chopped*
    • 20 pea pods*
    • 1/2 can water chestnuts *
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • peanut oil, for sauteing
    • Sweet and Sour Sauce, recipe follows

    • Whisk together egg white, cornstarch, vinegar, and hot sauce and marinate shrimp in mixture for 1 hour, remove from refrigerator and discard marinade. 
    • Add oil to skillet and saute shrimp until slightly browned on each side 2-3 minutes, remove from skillet and set aside. 
    • Add more oil if needed and add zucchini , onion and  pepper saute 4-6 minutes until crisp-tender add garlic and pea pods saute another 2 minutes 
    •  Add shrimp, water chestnuts and sweet and sour sauce cook until sauce thickens and veggies are cooked through about 3minutes.
     * You can use any veggies you have on hand this is what we had. 

    Sweet and Sour Sauce
    • 1/2 c chicken broth 
    • 1/4 c ketchup
    • 2 tbsp cornstarch
    • 2 tsp soy sauce
    • 3 tbsp rice vinegar
    • 1/4 c sugar
    • 1/2 tsp salt 
    • Mix together , set aside 

    Eat and Enjoy!!!!

      Thursday, February 11, 2010

      Super Bowl Sunday

      We are huge fans of football in our house, my husband and I each have a team in a Fantasy Football League, and devout most Sundays to watching the games. Unfortunately none of our teams made it to the Superbowl. So now the big question was to have a Superbowl party or not to have a  party. Since we usually don't even need a  reason to have people over we decided to have a small get together to cheer on the Saints in there 1st appearance in the Superbowl. So now what to make, I was thinking I wanted make a bunch of things people could nosh on and pick at thru out the evening. While flipping thru my latest issue of Food Network Magazine's  they had Football Skins with a list of all the NFL teams and what kind of potato skin each team would have. It was like heaven for a potato lover like me. So read on and see which teams we decided on .

      Ranch Dip with Carrots and Celery
      Assorted Potato Skins( read on to see what kind ) 
      Chorizo and Peppers
      Other assorted items that some guests made..... 

      Houston Texan Skins 
      Tex Mex   

      •  Classic Baked Potatoes

        • Pierce 4 large russet potatoes with a fork. 
        • Bake directly on the oven rack at 350 degrees until tender, about 1 hour.
        • Let cool, then quarter lengthwise and scoop out the flesh, leaving a 1/4-inch shell.
        • Brush both sides with melted butter and season with salt and pepper. 
        • Bake, skin-side up, at 450 degrees until crisp, about 20 minutes. 

        Texan Style 
        • 1 package Chorizo, crumbled version 
        • 1 medium Green Pepper, diced
        • 1 medium Onion, diced
        • 1/2 can Hunt's Tomato Sauce
        • 1/4 c refried  beans 
        • Mexican Cheese Blend, shredded

        • Bake potatoes as per instructions, 
        • Heat skillet to medium high and saute Chorizo 5-10 minutes then remove from pan and set aside, add peppers and onions and saute until just opaque add chorizo to pan and add tomato sauce, cook 5 minutes more.
        • When done take each skin and spread a layer of refried beans, chorizo and then cheese bake 5 more minutes

      Toasted Ravioli

      • 1 c Ricotta Cheese 
      • 2 tbsp Parmesan Cheese
      • 2-3 basil leaves chopped
      • Marinara Sauce ( I used Rao's) 
      • Shredded Mozzarella 
      • 1 recipe classic baked potato

      • Mix ricotta and Parmesan together with the basil, spread onto skins and bake 3 minutes
      • Remove from oven and spread Marinara sauce onto skins sprinkle with Mozzarella and bake 2-3  more minutes

      Pittsburgh Steelers 

      • Kielbasa, recipe below 
      • Shredded Swiss Cheese 
      • 1 classic recipe baked potato

      Slow Cooker needed
      • 1 small jar Grape Jelly
      • 1 bottle Chili Sauce
      • 2 Packages lite Kielbasa
      • Slice Kielbasa down middle and into half moons 
      • Place jelly and chili sauce and kielbasa into slow cooker and cook on high for 3-4 hours 
      • Remove lid and cook with lid off for 1 hour to let some of the steam escape, set aside for skins recipe
      • Layer kielbasa and shredded Swiss onto skins and bake 5 more minutes 

      Saturday, February 6, 2010

      Pan Seared Scallops with Creamy Risotto

      I was flipping through a cooking magazine when I came across a recipe for Risotto and it got me thinking..... But what to make with the risotto was the question?? So I immediately thought of scallops all right they were on sale this week and who doesn't love a sale and yes that made my decision that much easier.... So I asked my husband if he had any ideas and he mentioned scallops wrapped in bacon one of his favorites, and I thought how about a twist on that idea. So here it is my twist on Scallops wrapped in bacon with Creamy Risotto.

      Pan Seared Scallops with Creamy Risotto 
      Items needed:
      small saucepan~broth
      saute pan~risotto
      8 in skillet, make sure it is NOT nonstick~scallops

      • 1 c risotto
      • 3 c chicken stock
      • 1 stick  butter, divided
      • 1 shallot, diced
      • 1/4 c dry white wine
      • 1 lb scallops, * see note below
      • salt and pepper
      • garlic powder
      • 8 slices bacon, cut into 1/2 in pieces

      • Over low to medium heat saute bacon pieces in saute pan until nice and crispy, set aside,  reserving 2 tbsp bacon grease in pan.
      • Meanwhile heat small sauce pan with chicken broth to a boil then turn down heat to low and keep warm to add to risotto later
      • Add shallots to bacon grease and saute until translucent about 3 minutes, add risotto and 1 tbsp butter and saute 2 minutes
      • Slowly start adding chicken broth to risotto one ladle at a time until absorbed, stirring frequently. About 25 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste . If needed add more than the 3 cups of broth if you feel it is still to dry
      • Season scallops with salt, pepper and garlic powder generously. In skillet, heat a mixture of 1 tbsp olive oil and 2 tbsp butter until a nice foam forms, add scallops in batches if needed so as not to over crowd pan
      • Sear on each side until a nice crust forms flip and sear the other side until crust forms, quickly remove from heat taking care not to over cook 
      Serve scallops with risotto and ENJOY!!!!

      ***** Removing the muscle from the scallop. This small piece of flesh can be found near the edge of the scallop; carefully remove it from the main section before preparing this dish.*****


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