Thursday, November 25, 2010

Grilled Shrimp Tacos

This was my Thanksgiving lunch. A little unorthodox I know, but who cares! It was definitely easy (the hardest part was skewering the shrimp), and as long as you like shrimp and you like tacos I would definitely recommend it!  The one tip in the recipe was to skewer the shrimp twice-once through the tail and fold them over and skewer the head-then you can lay them flat on the grill and they won't spin when you turn the skewer.  I really liked the green salsa I got that was recommended with this recipe. I normally don't put any kind of sauce on my tacos, but this was really good! I would suggest at least trying it!

Grilled Shrimp Tacos from Real Simple's Meals Made Easy

Grilled Shrimp Tacos
Serves 4
Total Time: 30 minutes
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and devined
  • 4 limes, quartered
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 8-inch corn tortillas
  • 3 cups shredded green cabbage
  • 1 14-16-ounce jar green (tomatillo) salsa
  • Wooden skewers, soaked in water for at least 30 minutes
In a small bowl, whisk the sour cream, mayonnaise, milk and cumin; set aside. In a separate bowl, combine the butter and garlic. Heat a grill or broiler. Rinse the shrimp and pat them dry with paper towels. Place the shrimp and lim wedges on the skewers. Brush the shrimp with garlic butter. Grill or broil until the shrimp are cooked through and the limes are browned, about 3 minutes per side. Season the shrimp with the salt. Transfer to a plate. Grill or broil the tortillas until warmed, about 30 seconds per side. Place them between clean towels to keep warm. To serve, remove the shrimp from the skewers, divide them evenly among the tortillas, and top each with the cabbage, sour cream mixture, and salsa. Serve the lime wedges on the side.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Pastry for Double Crust Pie

This is the homemade crust for the apple pie I made tonight. I don't think it was too hard, and when I have the time, I plan on making my own crust for pies!  I didn't have a pastry blender, so I just used my hands. They are apparently pretty inexpensive, so I will probably go buy one in the near future! This is also from Better Homes & Gardens.

Pastry for Double Crust Pies
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 2 9-inch pie crusts

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup shortening
  • 8 to 10 tablespoons cold water
In a medium bowl stir together four and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in shortening until pieces are pea size.

Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the water over part of the flour mixture; toss with a fork. Push moistened pastry to side of bowl. Repeat moistening flour mixture, using 1 tablespoon of the water at a time, until flour mixture is moistened. Divide pastry in half; form halves into balls.

On lightly floured surface, use your hands to slightly flatten one pastry ball. Roll it from center to edges into a circle 12 inches in diameter. 

Wrap pastry circle around the rolling pin. Unroll pastry into a 9-inch pie plate. Ease pastry into pie plate without stretching it. Trim pastry even with rim of pie plate. Transfer desired filling to pastry-lined pie plate.

Roll remaining ball into a circle 12 inches in diameter. Cut slits in pastry. Place pastry circle on filling; trim to 1/2 inch beyond edge of plate. Fold top pastry under bottom pastry. Crimp edge as desired. Bake as directed in recipes.

Apple Pie

I don't know if I have ever made a pie before by myself. As I was making this pie, I was reminded of the fifth grade. One of the perks of being a 5th grader at Greenwood Elementary was that you spent a whole day making apple pies. You and a few classmates did all of it with the help of some parents. I specifically remember my mom was one of those parents, and part of her duties was to take some of the pies home and bake them for us. In doing this, some of the juice from the apples got onto our oven and caught fire!  I honestly don't remember what our pie tasted like, but I remember that part of the story!

As far as this pie I said I've never really made one completely from scratch before. I even made the pie crust! If you didn't have the time, or didn't want to make a pie crust from scratch, you can buy the pre-made stuff form the grocery store. I think this all turned out phenomenal, and I'm super proud of myself!  Yeah, it takes a little while, but I would definitely make it again! I didn't use the lemon juice or the cranberries in this recipe. Below are also instructions if you would like to freeze the pies (before or after baking!). This is from Better Homes & Gardens New Cookbook.

Apple Pie
Total Time: 1 1/2 hours
Servings: 8 slices

  • 1 recipe pastry for double-crust pie
  • 6 cups thinly sliced, peeled cooking apples (about 2 1/2 pounds)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (optional)
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries (optional)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare and roll out pastry for double crust pie. Line a 9-inch pie plate with a pastry circle.

If desired, sprinkle apples with lemon juice. In a large bowl stir together sugar, flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add apple slices and, if desired, cranberries. Gently toss until coated.

Transfer apple mixture to the pastry-lined pie plate. Trim bottom pastry to edge of pie plate. Cut slits in remaining pastry circle; place on filling and seal. Crimp edge if desired.

If desired, brush top pastry with milk and sprinkle with additional sugar. To prevent over-browning cover edge of pie with foil. Bake for 40 minutes. Remove foil. Bake 20 minutes more or until fruit is tender and filling is bubbly. Cool on wire rack. To sere warm, let pie cool at least 2 hours.

To freeze a baked fruit pie: Let it cool completely. Place it in a freezer bag for up to 4 months. To serve, thaw the pie at room temperature.

To freeze an unbaked fruit pie: Before assembling, treat light-color fruit with ascorbic-acid color keeper. Assemble pie in a metal pie pan. Place in a freezer bag; seal, label, and freeze for up to 4 months. To bake, unwrap frozen pie; cover with foil. Bake in a 450 degree oven for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 375 degrees; bake 15 minutes. Uncover; bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until filling is bubbly and crust is golden.


I made this for my brother's going away part since he is leaving for Iraq next week. Scott helped! We added some lime juice and played with the measurements a little bit. Overall it is very simple, and you can customize it as you wish!  This is from Sandra Lee's Semi Homemade Cooking 2!

  • 2 large Hass avocados
  • 2 tablespoons medium salsa
  • 1 tablespoon sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon jalapeno juice
  • Salt

Peel avocados and remove pit. Place in a bowl and mas. Stir in salsa, sour cream, and jalapeno juice. Add salt to taste.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Creamy Spring Soup

I know it's about Thanksgiving, and this soup has spring in the title, but it was very good! I also like that this recipe is slated for two servings so I didn't have to cut it in half!  This was definitely yummy and next time I would probably add some mushrooms, and minced garlic instead of the garlic powder.  And I don't know what it is, but whenever I make something with elbow macaroni, I want to add cheese to it! Some shredded cheese on the top of this soup definitely wouldn't be bad!  It is also very quick-about 25 minutes, so it is something very easy to make after work, which is even more awesome since it seems like a lot of times soup can take longer to make!

Also, looking at the soup before I added the milk, it came to me that the majority of these incredients would make a great casserole--I will definitely be trying that out some day!

Creamy Spring Soup from Taste of Home's Healthy Cooking Recipe Cards
  • 1 can reduced soduim chicken broth
  • 4 fresh asparagus spears, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 4 baby carrots, julienned
  • 1/2 celery rib, chopped
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • Dash garlic powder
  • Dash pepper
  • 3/4 cup cooked elbow macaroni
  • 1 can (5 1/2 ounces) evaporated milk
  • 3/4 fresh baby spinach
In a saucepan, combine the first seven ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Stir in the macaroni, milk and spinach; heat through.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Creamy Marinated Potato Salad

I absolutely LOVE potato salad of any kind!  This one was really easy to make, and again, mostly stuff you will have in your kitchen anyway! It also has a little different taste than the typical potato salad you buy at the store!

This recipe also has some directions if you want to make it a day ahead: prepare as directed, cover and refrigerate. Moisten  with one to two tablespoons of milk if it is dry!

Creamy Marinated Potato Salad from Pillsbury's Fast & Healthy Cookbook
Creamy Marinated Potato Salad
Serves 12
Total Time: 30 minutes

  • 1 1/2 pounds small red potatoes (8 to 12 potatoes)
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 hard-cooked eggs
  • 8 medium green onions, sliced (1/2 cup)
  • 1 medium stalk celery, sliced (1/2 cup)
  • 1 small red bell pepper, coarsely chopped 
  • 3/4 cup fat-free mayonnaise or salad dressing
  • 1/4 cup fat-free sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
  • 2 teaspoons yellow mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
In 4-quart saucepan or Dutch over, place potatoes and enough water to cover. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat to medium; cook about 20 minutes or just until potatoes are fork-tender. Drain potatoes; cool slightly. Cut into 1-inch cubes. Place in large nonmetal bowl. Sprinkle with vinegar and salt; toss to coat.

Peel and chop eggs. Add to potatoes with remaining salad ingredients; mix gently.

In small bowl, mix dressing ingredients. Pour over salad; mix gently to coat. If desired, garnish with additional sliced green onions.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Caramel Rolls

I was really excited to try this recipe! I love caramel/cinnamon rolls and have never made them from scratch! This recipe was very easy to do. I didn't refrigerate the rolls overnight before baking, but if you remember to do it beforehand I don't think it could hurt.  If I make these again, I would make them along with some cream cheese frosting (I"m more a fan of cinnamon rolls with the frosting than just caramel rolls). These would also probably be good with some toasted pecans.  This was taken from Kare 11's Cooking with Kare Cookbook.

Caramel Rolls
Serves 15
Prep 10 minutes  Bake 40 minutes
  • 2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream of milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 loaves frozen bread dough, thawed
  • Melted butter
In 13x9 inch baking pan, combine brown sugar, butter and cream; mix well. In small bowl mix together sugar and cinnamon; set aside.

On lightly floured board roll out bread dough to 15x6 inch rectangle; brush with melted butter. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar mixture over butter; roll up lengthwise. Pinch seam to seal; place seam on bottom. With sharp knife, cut into 15 slices, about 1 inch thick. Place rolls over brown sugar mixture; cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Bake rolls for 30 to 40 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven; let stand 5 minutes. Turn out hot rolls onto plate. 

Beans and Franks Bake

At first I was very hesisitant to make this recipe. I'm normally not a huge fan of baked beans. This, however, was absolutely delicious! The cornbread topping is what definitely did me in! This was also super easy!!!

I used turkey sausage instead of normal hotdogs. This recipe is for two dishes, where you can freeze one for up to 3 months. This is for sure awesome for when you want to prepare stuff ahead of time. I just made one casserole since I didn't know if I would like it or not, but I would definitely make two in the future!

From Taste of Home's Easy Back to School Meals

Beans and Franks Bake
Makes 2 casseroles-8 servings
Prep 20 minutes  Bake 40 minutes
  • 2 packages (8-1/2 ounces each) corn bread/muffin mix
  • 1 can (28 ounces) baked beans
  • 4 hot dogs, halved lengthwise and sliced
  • 1/2 pound sliced bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
Prepare corn bread batter according to package directions; set aside. In a large bowl, combine the beans, hot dogs, bacon, ketchup, brown sugar and onion. Transfer to two greased 8-in. square baking dishes. Sprinkle with cheese; top with corn bread batter.

Cover and freeze one casserole for up to 3 months. Bake the second casserole, uncovered, at 350° for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

To use frozen casserole: Remove from the freezer 30 minutes before baking. Cover and bake at 350° for 40 minutes. Uncover; bake 15-20 minutes longer or until heated through.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Feta Brunch Bake

 I have had a huge craving for eggs recently, so I was excited to make this recipe! It turned out great! If I made it in the future I would definitely add mushrooms (just 'cause I like them and they go well with everything), and probably some diced ham as long as no one was looking for a vegetarian dish.  I forgot my camera in my car, so no picture this time-sorry! Also, I finally remembered to cut the recipe in half this time (but I put the original recipe below), so I don't have  TON of left overs!

Feta Brunch Bake
  •  1 red bell pepper
  • 2 bags (10 ounces each) fresh spinach, stemmed
  • 6 eggs
  • 6 ounces crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried dill weed
  • Dash black pepper
Preheat broiler. Place bell pepper on foil-lined broiler pan. Broil, 4 inches form heat, 15 to 20 minutes or until blacked on all sides, turning every 5 minutes with tongs. Place in paper bag; close bag and set aside to cool about 15 to 20 minutes. To peel pepper, cut around core, twist, and remove. Cut in half and rub off skin; rinse under cold water. Cut into 1/2-inch pieces.

Place 1 quart water in 2-quart saucepan over high heat; bring to a boil. Add spinach. Return to a boil; boil 2 to 2 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain; immediately plunge spinach into cold water. Drain; let stand until cool enough to handle. Squeeze spinach to remove excess water; finely chop.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease 1 quart baking dish. Beat eggs in large bowl with electric mixer at medium speed until foamy. Stir in spinach, bell pepper, cheese, onion, parsley, dill and black pepper. Pour egg mixture into prepared dish. Bake 20 minutes or until set. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Garnish as desired.

Total Time: 40 minutes
Serves 4

Parmesan-Crusted Chicken Cutlets

My parents always made Parmesan chicken when I was a kid and I always got sick of it. I don't actually know how they made it, but I think it was similar to this.  I really like this recipe because most of the time, you will have all of these ingredients in your cupboard!  I would definitely either buy the cutlets or  flatten chicken breasts for this recipe. I had some problems with the outside getting burnt while the inside was still pink. Other than that, it was great! This was from Real Simple's 'Meals Made Easy' cookbook.

Parmesan-Crusted Chicken Cutlets
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (optional)
  • 2 1/4 cups (9 ounces) grated Parmesan 
  • 1 cup dried bread crumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 to 1 1/2 pounds chicken cutlets
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil
In a shallow bowl, whisk together the eggs and mustard (if using). In a separate bowl, combine 2 cups of the Parmesan, the bread crumbs, salt, and pepper. Rinse the chicken and pat it dry with paper towels. Dip one of the cutlets into the egg mixture, allowing any excess to drip off, then coat it in the bread-crumb mixture. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with the remaining chicken, batter, and bread-crumb mixture. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add half of the cutlets. Cook, turning once, until browned and cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate. Carefully wipe out the skillet, add 2 more tablespoons of the oil, and repeat with remaining cutlets.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: serves 4

Spaghetti with Beef and Mushroom Sauce

This recipe was simple and a little twist on typical beef sauce. It did, however, lack a little flavor. I definitely would add seasoned salt and garlic the next time I make this.  I prefer real mushrooms as opposed to cream of mushroom, and the cream made the sauce kind of pale, which made it look a little less appetizing. It still tasted good though!

Spaghetti with Beef and Mushroom Sauce

  • 1 pound  lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup  chopped onion
  • 1 10-3/4-ounce can  condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 15-ounce can  tomato sauce
  • 1 4 -ounce can  sliced mushrooms, drained (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon  dried Italian seasoning, crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon  black pepper
  • 12 ounces  dried spaghetti
  • Grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
In a large saucepan cook the ground beef and onion until meat is brown and onion is tender. Drain. Stir in the mushroom soup, tomato sauce, mushrooms (if desired), Italian seasoning, and pepper. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, cook spaghetti according to package directions. Drain. Serve sauce over hot spaghetti. If desired, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 20 minutes
Serving Size: 6 servings


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