Holiday Eats

What do you do when you leave the card with your recipe at home that you would like to blog about today?  You pull it out of your memory. I stumbled upon this recipe a few years ago I can’t remember from where.  I wrote down all the ingredients, but that’s it.  I didn’t write down the directions, so I had to kind of wing it, so it’s fitting I left that little notecard with the recipe at home on the kitchen counter to carry on with the tradition.

Spinach and Artichoke Casserole

Spinach (4 boxes of frozen or two bags of fresh)
1 can of artichoke hearts (drained and chopped)
2 Boxes of cream cheese
1 small can of water chestnuts (drained and chopped)
Mushrooms (optional, but a good way to sneak in extra veggies)
Red Bell Pepper (optional, but a good way to sneak in extra veggies)
1/2 onion
1 Stick Butter
Garlic (I use 3-4 cloves)
Salt
Pepper
Nutmeg
1/2-1 cup of Parmesan Cheese

Thaw butter and cream cheese (and spinach if you use frozen).

Finely Chop onion, artichoke hearts, water chestnuts, spinach, mushrooms, red bell pepper and garlic.

Mix all ingredients well in a large mixing bowl, you want the cream cheese and butter to be well distributed throughout the mixture..  Add salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste.

Pour all ingredients into a casserole dish and sprinkle parmesan on top.

Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.

That folks is my secret recipe. . . too yummy not to share.

Happy Eating!

 

Holiday Eats

The holidays are rapidly approaching and since Thanksgiving is a food-centric holiday I thought I’d share some of my favorite recipes this week to add to your Thanksgiving table.

Slow Cooker Cranberry Sauce

Last year I was looking for a cranberry sauce recipe that was real cranberries and I stumbled upon This post from the Lemon Bowl, an easy cranberry sauce recipe.

INGREDIENTS
12 oz bag fresh cranberries
½ cup orange juice
½ cup water
2 tablespoons sugar or honey
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 teaspoon ginger

INSTRUCTIONS
Place all ingredients into a slow cooker and cook on Low heat for 3 hours.
Using a wooden spoon, gently mash the cranberries until desired consistency is reached.

This recipe was a big hit last year and I plan on keeping it around for years to come.

Food Glorious Food- Cheddar Baked Chicken

It’s been too long since I’ve shared a recipe (Because you know I’ve been having a love-hate relationship with my kitchen and all). One of the first Pinterest delights that I tried was a recipe my friend Cathy had pinned called Cheddar Baked Chicken. It is an absolutely amazing dish and always a hit at our house.  It might not be the most healthy because of the Ritz crackers and the sauce, but it sure does taste delicious and there are plenty of substitutes out there: check out this list for some great substitutions. While writing this, I decided I might just try a healthy alternative version of this next time I make this dish just for kicks and giggles.

Ingredients:
4 Large Chicken Breasts
1/2-1 whole block Cheddar Cheese
1 Sleeve Ritz Cracker (or substitute)
1/2 cup milk
1 Egg
Salt
Pepper
Parsley
Any Spices you might like

For the Sauce:
1 Can cream of chicken or cream of mushroom soup
1 TBS SC
1 TBS butter
Parsley

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 400°
Squish up your Ritz Crackers in the cracker sleeve and then dump the crackers crumbs into a bowl. (If you prefer to use a food processor have at it, I just view it as one more thing to clean up so I skip it.) Add salt, pepper and whatever spices you like to the crackers.
Shred your Block of cheese into another bowl.
Mix your milk and egg into a third bowl.
Grease a large glass baking pan.
Cut up your chicken breasts into about 3-4 pieces per breast.
Dip your pieces of chicken in the milk mixture, then the bowl of cheddar cheese. Press the cheese into the chicken, then dip into the crackers.  Lay the breaded chicken in the pan.  Repeat for all the chicken pieces.  Sprinkle any leftover cheese and crumbs on top of the chicken in the pan.
Cover the pan with tin foil and bake for 35 minutes.  Remove the foil and bake an additional 10 minutes until chicken is golden brown.

For the sauce:
Mix all the ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat until thoroughly heated. Pour over chicken (or in the case of little persons put on the side so they can dip.)

Pair with some veggies or a salad and you have a delicious meal you will be taking requests for in the future.

Sometimes Water Just Doesn’t Cut It. . .

simple rehydration

Sometimes when you are trying to rehydrate, water just doesn’t cut it so, on the home front, we have been looking into some homemade alternatives to store bought sports drinks (which contain all sorts of things you don’t want to put in your body) to help with rehydration.  I found the following recipe from Mother Nature Network.  It is called The Super Simple Electrolyte Drink , and since I’m all about simple I thought I’d give it a go.

The Super Simple Electrolyte Drink
(see the original post Here )

1/2 Cup Orange Juice (I used store bought 100% juice)
1/4 Cup Lemon Juice (I squeezed my own and let me tell you when you squeeze a few lemons you find all sorts of little cuts and scrapes on your hands you didn’t even know you had. Ouch.  And be careful you don’t get seeds in your drink)
2 Cups of filtered Water
2 TBSP of RAW Honey
1/8 TSP Unrefined Salt (I used sea salt)

I made a double batch on Friday and it was gone by late Sunday afternoon.  The babe loved it and went looking for it Sunday evening only to open the fridge and find the bottle missing.  He looked up at me with a very disappointed little face and said “Juice All Gone? Go store?” I will be making another batch this evening and we will stick with this recipe until the orange juice runs out, then we will try and share a new recipe.  Happy Hydrating! (And feel free to share your hydrating recipes)

Clean Eating Taco Salad

Instead if normal tacos we have been eating a taco salad version of tacos as of late. It’s delicious and simple, right up my alley and you can modify to include whatever veggies are a hit in your house.

In a skillet brown your meat (we use ground turkey but you could use ground beef, venison or whatever meat you like).  When the meat is browned add in Taco Seasoning and about 1/8-1/4 cup of water and let simmer for 10-20 minutes so the meat sucks up the flavor.  Add this point I also like to throw in onions, bell peppers and a can of black beans to the meat mixture.  I also boil some corn kernels while the meat is simmering.  While the food is stewing on the stove I grate some cheese and cut avocados and lettuce.  If I have any taco shells I’ll heat them up.  (If I don’t I just use tortilla chips.)

To put together make a bed of lettuce, add your meat mixture, the corn, then garnish with tomatoes, avocado and cheese.  We also throw Salsa (and maybe a little sour cream) in the mix to.  Crumble up some taco shells or tortilla chips for some crunch factor and Bam . . . Clean Taco Salad.

Easy, peasy.  Cheers and Happy Eating!

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Garlic Parmesan Shrimp

This recipe is dedicated to my girlfriends who are not big into the culinary arts.  My friends seem to either fall into one of two categories. . . The Cooks. . .These are the ladies who seem to know everything there is to know about the kitchen and make cooking and all the strange terms and sometimes gadgets involved seem like a breeze,  and The Non-Cooks. . . these are the ladies who struggle in the kitchen, who don’t want to be in the kitchen and who have perfected the art of take out.  I used to be a Non-Cook.  I didn’t turn myself into a Cook until I was almost in my 30’s, (and even then I didn’t get decent until I learned the law of the budget which meant cooking meals at home and not ordering out or going out more than once a week if I’m lucky).

These shrimp are delicious, easy and can be used as an hor d’oeuvre at a party or be used as the base for a main dish.

Ingredients:
Shrimp
Butter/Olive Oil/ (or other vegetable oil depending on your preference)
Garlic
Parmesan
Lemon
Salt
Pepper
Basil/Oregano/Parsley

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Rise your shrimp and pat the water off the shrimp, or leave the shrimp sitting out in a strainer for a little bit until they dry off some.  When the shrimp are dry throw them in a bowl with about two TBS of olive oil/butter, 2-4 cloves of diced garlic (I squish two cloves through the garlic press), about a 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese, juice of half a lemon, salt and pepper to taste and a few shakes of basil/oregano/parsley (you can choose one, two or all three I prefer all 3 and a few shakes plus some more).  Mix the shrimp around so all the flavors get equally distributed then transfer the shrimp in a single layer onto a baking sheet (covered in tin foil for easy clean up).  Bake for 8-10 minutes or until shrimp or pink and firm.  Squeeze the other half of lemon on the shrimp when you pull them from the oven.

For a more detailed recipe go to:
http://damndelicious.net/2014/12/05/garlic-parmesan-roasted-shrimp/
(And then stop and browse her other yummy recipes!)

If eating as an appetizer mix up some cocktail sauce (that would be ketchup and a dab of horseradish sauce) and go to town.

There are several ways to use this as part of a main course for dinner, these are two of my favorites.

Option One: Lay the shrimp on top of a bed of pasta with alfredo sauce (and add a vegetable like broccoli or peas to round it out).

Option Two:  Stir fry some vegetables (Use what’s in your fridge spinach, broccoli, bell peppers, mushrooms, carrots,  onions, whatever you have!  Throw the veggies in a skillet with some butter or olive oil and maybe some spices to taste). Boil some rice, mix it all together and turn it into yummy parmesan shrimp stir fry!

Simple.  Yum.  Happy Eating!

Salmon with Asparagus and Couscous

I am far from what anyone would call a cooking genius.  I honestly didn’t even really learn how to cook until I was almost 30.  I asked my husband on numerous occasions if he was certain he wanted to marry me because of all the women he had dated I was probably the one with the least culinary ability. This knowledge of the past women in his life made me feel inferior, so I buckled down and taught myself how to cook.  I started with a few recipes here and there and soon I found I could borrow this and that from a recipe and then jazz it up to my standards.  I found that chopping vegetables can really be rather peaceful.  I found that I didn’t mind cooking after all, (really it’s the cleaning part I am not so fond of).  While I still find myself googling terms my more advanced culinary friends like to throw around to impress (or confuse) me,  I have learned that some of the most flavorful meals I have cooked for my family have also been some of the simplest.  Here is one of my favorites.

Salmon with Asparagus and Couscous

Prep Time 15 minutes  Cook time 35 minutes (these are approximate as when you have a little person tugging on your pant legs at any given moment sometimes the prep takes a little longer)

For the Salmon

Place a piece of tinfoil in a baking dish long enough to wrap around the salmon.  Place the salmon in the tinfoil.  Drizzle a little Olive Oil over the Salmon (for those of you more technical about 2 TBS),  squeeze in half a lime, a few crushed garlic cloves, some salt and pepper, some basil and whatever other spices you may prefer, close the tin foil and pop in the oven.  Cook at 425° for 35 minutes

For the Asparagus

Wash and cut off ends of Asparagus.  Place the asparagus on a baking sheet. (For easier cleaning you could cover the baking sheet with tin foil.  Sometimes I do this and sometimes I think, no the environment girl, don’t be lazy, 2 minutes to clean the pan) Drizzle with olive oil, crush a few garlic cloves, squeeze the other half of the lime and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.  I put this in the oven when the Salmon has cooked for about 15 minutes so the Asparagus cook time is about 20 minutes (we like ours a little on the crunchy side)

For the Couscous

Follow the directions on the package.

Voila, a healthy, simple and relatively easy meal that even my non cooking sister can make, and is toddler approved.

Cheers and Happy Eating!