Shrimp on the barbie

Shrimp on the GrillSo did I set out to write a blog tonight? Nope, it just happened, hence why the prep pictures didn’t make it, since I only thought to blog this once it was on the grill.

Where have I been? Well, life has been very busy. The fam and I finally moved, I started a new job and I’ve been traveling. Sadly, I haven’t been cooking much. Which is a shame given I finally have my dream kitchen.

Shrimp, I do love shrimp. So imagine the joy I felt when I went to the market and discovered fresh jumbo, shelled  and diveined was on SALE!!! Perfect for a quick meal.  If you have time to let these marinade for 2-8 hours I imagine these would be little bits of happiness in your mouth.

Serving Size( 2-3) I’ll be honest and say I ate it all myself, please do not judge me

THE GOODS

3/4 pd Jumbo Shrimp, Shelled & deveined – I prefer fresh, unfrozen

1 lemon juiced ( 1/4 c)

3 TBSP white wine ( I used Chardonnay)

Pinch of kosher salt

2 TBSP Olive Oil

4-6 springs of fresh thyme

crack pepper

How it’s  done

Heat your grill to high. Combine in a bowl all the ingredients. Before adding the shrimp taste to see if it needs more of less salt/pepper. Add the shrimp, mix the shrimp in the marinade.  Let it marinade at least a 1/2 hour, more if you have the time ( 2+ hours would be good).  IMG_4124

I used non stick foil on the grill. If you don’t have non stick foil, coat the foil lightly with olive olive.  I turned the grill down to low. In the time it took me to make two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches the shrimp were done. I would estimate that was about 7-10 Min. When the shrimp is a pretty pink color  on both sides they are done. Or when they are firm to the touch, if they are hard they are over cooked. I drizzled a little fresh lemon and clarify unsalted butter on these, but it’s not really needed.

I served these with a baby kale salad.( Toasted quinoa, lemon, olive oil, honey, white balsamic vinegar), Rice would work, or sauteed spinach would be wonderful.Enjoy!

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Quick, Easy ,Loaded baked potato soup

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I love easy recipes. I also love soup, especially during the cold winter months nothing is better than a hearty soup.
This recipe is a spiff up of one recipe I found in my blender cook book. I’m certain this recipe can be made in a blender or food processor( double check the liquid capacity of the processor first). The key to this recipe is seasoning it to your tastes.
Bake or boil the potatoes the day before for a super fast meal.

Variations can include replacing the cheddar for blue cheese, or plain yogurt instead of sour cream. If you’re fancy, consider serving this in a bread bowl.

The Goods
Serving size 3-4 generous bowls

2 large baking potatoes ( boiled or baked skin on)
1 1/4 c milk, warmed
2 green onions , cleaned and halved
2-4 cooked slices of bacon, more for garnishing
1/4 c shredded cheddar cheese more for garnish 1 c total
1/4 c sour cream
1/4 c chopped chives for garnish
Handful of good croutons
Salt and pepper to taste

How it’s done

Add,in this order , milk, sour cream, cheese, green onions and 1 potato to the blender. Blend on the highest setting until smooth. If you don’t have a high power blender, chop the potato and onions before adding to the blender.
Add the remaining potato, and bacon, salt and pepper (1 tsp of salt). Pulse 2-4 times

Pour the soup into a medium sauce pan ,medium heat. Cook , 5-10 min until warm. Taste and season as needed with extra, salt, cheese and bacon bits.
Ladle into bowls and garnish with, more cheese, sour cream, bacon bits, chopped chives and croutons.

Enjoy!

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Drunken cranberry sauce

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This is a must, and with Thanksgiving being this week I thought I’d repost from last year.

This is essentially my favorite 20’s something drink turned into a thanksgiving side dish.

The Goods

12 oz bag of fresh cranberries
1 c sugar
1 c cold water
1/2 c of fresh orange juice (2 oranges or good juice)
2 whole cinnamon sticks
1 shot of vodka

How it’s Done

Rise the cranberries. I’m a sauce pan add water, sugar, and cranberries. Bring to a boil, add cinnamon, vodka and orange juice. Boil for about 10-15 min. Stirring often. Remove the cinnamon sticks before serving.

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Roasted butternut squash with a kicky kick

Butternut squash with a kick

Thanksgiving is about a week away! I’ve always loved Thanksgiving and all the wonderful food it includes. This recipe butternut fail you ( see what I did there?)…. It’s very flavorful and easy to prepare. The sweetness of the squash paired with the red pepper and the zing of mint and balsamic should have you saying things like ” how have I lived my whole life with out eating this?”

Serving size – depends on size of squash

The Goods

1 butternut squash ( I used a smaller one)
Extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Red pepper flakes
Pepper
2 tbsp minced fresh mint
2-3 tbsp finely minced red onion
Balsamic vinegar or reduction ( I used the store bought reduction)

How it’s Done

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

There aren’t very many ingredients to this recipe. I didn’t include measurements for two reasons, one, I just came up with this recipe this weekend and forgot to keep track of my measurements ,I was flying parenting solo this weekend it’s a miracle I even cooked at all. I hope my readers will forgive me this time. Two, depending on the size of the squash you’ll use more or less ingredients.

Peel the squash. I used a potato peeler.

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Once peeled, cut the squash into cubes. Smaller for faster cooking. Toss the squash into a bowl, add oil. Enough to coat the squash, if there is a pool of oil, you used too much. Add enough salt, pepper and sparely red pepper(or a lot of red pepper if you like heat)

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Pour the seasoned squash onto a rimmed baking dish or cookie pan. Take care not to have pieces that over lap, one layer is best. Depending on the size of the pieces it should take about 20-35min to cook. You’ll know if you can easily put a fork through. Taste test to make sure. Do not over cook or the squash will be mushy.

Add the cooked squash to a serving dish, add a little more oil, again pools of oil are not good. Add a splash of vinegar, top with onions and mint ( take a picture ) toss and serve.

The squash can be made the night before, and reheated the day of.

Serve and enjoy !

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Loaded mashed potatoes

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So for years I’ve been trying to perfect my mashed potato recipe. I have added things like roasted garlic, cream cheese, blue cheese, parmesan cheese , rosemary,more love , less love and always the same outcome , I thought the potatoes tasted so so.

Until last night, when genius prevailed and I finally exclaimed, this was an internal dialogue with myself of course, “FINALLY , I’ve done it , the mashed potatoes that top all others” . There is a strong chance I did do a happy dance in the kitchen as well.
The secret ingredient that’s been in my pantry all this time…… An onion.

This is such a simple recipe , that anyone can make.

Serving size : 4-6 large portions
Prep to eat time 20-40 min
The Goods
4 medium russet potatoes, peeled, and cut into 1″ cubes
1 onion, peeled cut into 4 pcs
24 oz of low sodium chicken broth( I use Swanson)
1/4 c whipping cream, warmed
1/2 stick unsalted butter
3 tbsp sour cream
1/4 c shredded cheddar cheese
Salt pepper

Garish
Chopped chives
Bacon crumbles ( you can buy these at the store)
Sour cream ( creme fraiche would work too)
Shredded cheddar

How it’s Done

Add the cubed potatoes, onion to a medium pot, pour in the chicken broth to cover the potatoes ( if you don’t have enough add water) . Bring the pot to a boil, and cook until the potatoes can easily be pierced with a fork.

Drain, almost all the broth, maybe leaving behind 1-2 tbsp. With either a potato masher, ricer or hand held blender , cream the potatoes. Add, 1/2 the cream, butter, sour cream and blend. Add more cream to get to a creamy consistency , salt and pepper to taste. Garish with, cheese, bacon, sour cream and chives.

Please enjoy!

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Easy Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Mojito Sauce

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Back to school, and back to blogging. My son started kindergarten and I think frankly I was more concerned about the whole thing than he was. The first day of school, I dropped him off to his class room expecting my son to cling to me.  After 10 minutes of looking around the class room my son looks up at me and asks ” When are you and Dad leaving?”. I knew then my son would be just fine.

So back to food…..This recipe is very quick, and is still good left over. I picked this recipe up from a local grocery store. years ago.  I’ve tweaked it a bit, feel free to adjust the garlic and seasoning to your liking.

 

The Goods

2 pork tenderloins

2 tablespoons dry oregano, crumbled( rub between your fingers to make tiny flakes) , divided

1/4c fresh squeezed orange juice

1 tbsp fresh lime juice

1 large garlic clove  minced

6 Tbsp olive oil, divided

Kosher salt

 

How it’s Done

Pre heat your grill

Mojito Sauce

In a bowl, combine orange juice, lime juice, garlic , 2 Tbsp of olive oil and 1 Tbsp of oregano, whisk together and set aside.

 

Pork Prep

In another bowl, add remaining oregano and olive oil, stir.  Pat the tenderloins dry with paper towel. Sprinkle each with salt , then rub the mix all over the tenderloin.  If need be make more of the oregano mixture

 

 

going to the grill

going to the grill

 

Transfer the prepared tenderloins to the pre heated grill. I used non stick foil. Lower the heat to medium. turn the tenderloin every 5-8 minutes to sear all sides.  Smaller tenderloins will take about 12-18  minutes to cook. Using a meat thermometer check that meat reaches a temperature of 155 degrees.  Set the the tenderloins aside for 5 minutes to rest before slicing. Slice the tenderloin and pour the sauce on top and ENJOY!

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Tenderloin resting


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Summer roasted corn, tomato salad with avocado cilantro dressing

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Not to get a room with myself (this saying is where the blog name came from. I’m constantly saying it), but I’ve become known for my salads. More than my salads, my homemade dressings. My sister in law is one of my salad fans, and this blog goes out to her.

Since I was a kid I’ve always loved salads and dressings. I’ve never been a big fan of store bought dressings. Homemade dressings are easy,and they just taste better than store bought.

This recipe is more for the dressing than the actual salad. Variations to the salad can include adding grilled chicken, black beans, and/or red onions, chives.

The dressing is very creamy, a little goes a long way.

The Goods
Dressing
1 ripe avocado
1c washed fresh cilantro
2TSBP fresh lime juice
1/4 c vegetable oil
1 tbsp sugar
1-4 tsp kosher salt to taste
Black pepper

Salad
2 romaine bunches
1 bag sweet corn, thawed( fresh husks shucked would also work)
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1 bag fried onions(or tortilla strips)

How it’s Done

Dressing
In a food processor or blender, add avocado ( pit and skin removed), oil, lime juice, and cilantro. Pulse, until the mixture is smooth. If the mixture is too thick, add more oil, 1 tbsp at a time and pulse again. Add salt, black pepper and sugar to taste.

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Salad
Preheat oven to 375 degrees, in a single layer , spread out the corn. It will brown in a about 10-15 minutes. If you are using fresh corn, grilled shucked corn would be wonderful in this salad.

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Tear your lettuce, add cooled corn, tomatoes, fried onions strips, add a dash of salt to the salad and toss I’m the dressing

Enjoy!

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Black Pepper Pan Seared Salmon

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So what many of you don’t know ,ages ago I auditioned for Master Chef. It was an amazing experience which prompted me to step up my food game. This salmon dish was what I auditioned with, the side was different. I made it past the chef taste testing , but I lacked an interesting back story. I’m serious , “Midwest mom , and legal consultant” v ” inner city gardener, former stripper, who works with trouble kids” , I wish I was joking, I didn’t stand a chance.

This is a quick under 25 minute meal.

If you don’t like spice, this dish might not be for you, but if your mouth is in need of a one,two punch of spicy and sweet then you’ll enjoy this. I served this with a side of Caramelized fennel and cured black olives.

servings: 2

The goods

(2 )-1/3 pd salmon fresh filets (skin removed)whatever portion size you would like
1-2 TSBP freshly cracked black pepper
1 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp brown sugar
3 tsp olive oil
Balsamic vinegar ( reduction if you can find it or make it your self)

How it’s Done

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a small bowl combine salt, black pepper, and brown sugar

Heat an oven safe pan on high (if you don’t have a oven safe pan you can use a baking dish or cookie tray)

Take each filet, coat both sides with oil. Liberally sprinkle on the pepper mix on one side only.

Turn down the pan temperature to med/low. Add the fish, pepper mix side down. Depending on the thickness of the fish it will take 1-3 min to sear. My way to tell if the fish is ready to flipped is the salmon has changed to a light pink color.
Flip the salmon, cook for another 1-2 min. Then place pan on oven for another 2-4 min. Watch closely to insure the fish doesn’t over cook.

Remove from oven, and drizzle the vinegar over the fish.
Enjoy!

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Grilled Basil Corn on the Cob

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It’s nearly summer and most of us are looking for quick easy recipes. This side dish goes well with just about any grilled meat. The basil adds a twist on normal corn on the cob.

servings: as many as you want
prep time : 5-10 min
cook time :20-25min

The Goods

2+ fresh corn cobs, silks and husked removed
1 stick of unsalted butter
2 large basil leaves per cob
Foil

How it’s done

Preheat grill

For each cob, tear a foil square. Make the square large enough so you can roll the cob with no openings.

Place a cob on the foil, use about 1 tbsp of butter, rub it all over the cob. Place 2 basil leaves on top of cob and the remaining butter. Roll the foil closed sealing any seams with a fold. Repeat for each cob

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Place the corn on the grill , reduce the heat to medium low. Half way through cooking flip the corn or it will burn on one side.

Remove from the grill, careful open the foil, it will be hot. Throw out the cooked basil. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes.

Serve and enjoy!

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Mini cheese cakes with Oreo cookie crust

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These little gems for years have been in my cooking arsenal. They are incredibly easy to make and they look pretty fancy when decorated.

Feel free to tell everyone you slaved in a hot kitchen all day long to make these. It’s our secret, I won’t tell anyone you didn’t.

Servings: 12 mini cheese cakes
The Goods

2 8oz packages of cream cheese
1.5 tbsp of sour cream
1/2 tsp of vanilla extract
1/2 c of sugar
2 eggs
12 Oreo cookies
Cup cake liners (paper)

How it’s done

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

In a muffin tin, place 12 paper liners, in each liner place one Oreo cookie.

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In a bowl, combine cream cheese, vanilla, sugar and sour cream. With an electric mixer, mix ingredients until combined. Then add one egg at a time, mix on low until combined.

Spoon the cheese mixture over the Oreo.

Cook for 15-20 min until the centers are set.

Remove from oven, refrigerate for 3-24 hours.

Carefully pull off the liners and decorate. I used raspberries, blueberries and kiwi then sprinkled with lemon zest.

Enjoy!!

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