Archive | August, 2011

Honey Garlic Meatballs

31 Aug

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before but I’m a bit of a perfectionist. I don’t think something is worth doing unless it is done exactly right. This causes a lot of stress in my life at times. I’m working on it. But in the meantime, I found a way to make uniformly sized meatballs with ease…and it makes me happy! Now they are all the perfect and exact same size! Ok, maybe I’m a bit too excited about this.

After you mix the meatballs, flatten the mixture into a 1 inch thick rectangle. Try to make sure it’s an even amount of inches in both directions. Does that make sense? The length of the meat mixture was 9 inches and the width was 6 inches. Cut into 1 inch squares then roll into a ball. Awesome, right?

Anyway, to the recipe. Football season is upon us and I thought it would be nice to share a tasty, easy appetizer for your football gatherings. Joel and I both graduated from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln so we are huge Husker fans. We have a lot of friends that also are alumni so we always get together for each and every game. I first tried this recipe at one of these parties and they were the first thing to disappear. These are a great addition to any appetizer spread.

Honey Garlic Meatballs
recipe from Taste of Home’s The New Appetizer

*Notes: I make these up an hour or two before hand and throw them in the crockpot on the warm setting. Spray measuring cup with non-stick cooking spray before measuring out honey, that way it won’t stick. I think these would be great with ground chicken, turkey or pork too!

2 eggs
3/4 cup milk
1 cup dry bread crumbs
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
2 tsp. salt
2 lbs. ground beef
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp. butter
3/4 cup ketchup
1/2 cup honey
3 Tbsp. soy sauce

1. In a large bowl, combine eggs and milk. Add the bread crumbs, onion and salt. Crumble beef over mixture and mix well. Shape into 1 inch balls. Place in two greased 15-in. x 1-in. baking pans. Bake, uncovered, at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until meat is no longer pink.
2. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, saute garlic in butter until tender. Stir in the ketchup, honey and soy sauce. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Drain meatballs; add to sauce. Carefully stir to evenly coat. Cook for 5-10 minutes.

Recipe linked to This Chick Cooks, Jam Hands, Mouthwatering Monday’s, Naptime Creations and Full Plate Thursday.

Blueberry Sour Cream Ice Cream

29 Aug

 

Ice cream truly is the one food I cannot resist. It doesn’t matter how much food I’ve eaten, if ice cream is mentioned my ears perk up and my belly says yes. It almost always makes me sick to my stomach but I do it every time…and it’s always worth it.

Joel and I were craving ice cream but wanted to try something unique that we hadn’t eaten before. We just happened to have an abundance of blueberries so I searched around some blogs and came across this recipe. It was definitely unique! I had never heard of putting sour cream in ice cream so I just had to try it. The finished product doesn’t have a sour cream taste but it had quite a tanginess. The blueberries give the ice cream a sweetness and a beautiful purple color. I would have prefered a stronger blueberry flavor so next time I may experiment by adding more blueberries and maybe decreasing the amount of sour cream slightly.

It’s totally worth a try if you are looking for something creamy, tangy and unique!

Blueberry Sour Cream Ice Cream
recipe from Laura’s Recipe Collection
makes 1 quart

1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen (if frozen, thaw and drain before using)
1/3 cup sugar
pinch of salt
grated zest and juice of 1/4 lemon
3/4 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup sour cream

1. In a medium sauce pan bring the blueberries, sugar, salt, lemon zest and lemon juice to a boil. When the mixture is boiling and the berries burst, about 3 minutes, remove from heat.

2. Pour the mixture into a blender and puree until relatively smooth (it will never be completely smooth). Pour the heavy cream and sour cream into the blender and mix until combined.

3. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and chill completely in the refrigerator.

4. Pour into the bowl of an ice cream maker and churn according to manufacture instructions. Freeze in an air tight container.

Grilled Pork Souvalki with Tzatziki

27 Aug

Joel was super excited when he saw my computer open to a site called The Meatwave. He is very much of a meat and potatoes kind of guy so this meal was right up his alley.

The oregano, lemon juice, vinegar and onion really stand up in this marinade to create a zingy, delicious pork skewer. I marinated the pork overnight which really enhanced the flavor profiles. The pork was grilled at a high temperature to sear in the juices and get a nice sear on the meat. I served this alongside delicious Lemony Greek Potatoes.

The tzatziki is a wonderful compliment to the pork. We didn’t serve ours with pitas but I love the idea of making this into a sandwich. Noah tore this meal up and absolutely loved the tzatziki.  He’s a boy after his mama’s heart.

This is a great, super easy summer meal that we will definitely be eating again and again even in the winter using my grill pan.

Grilled Pork Souvalki with Tzatziki
recipe from The Meatwave
For the Marinade:
1/2 cup olive oil
1 small red onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Greek oregano
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the Tzatziki:
2 cups of Greek yogurt
1 English cucumber, peeled and grated
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 1/2 lbs pork loin, trimmed of silver skin and excess fat, cut into 1-inch cubes
Wooden skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes before use
Pitas

1. Mix all of the marinade ingredients together in a small bowl. Place pork cubes in a Ziploc bag and pour in the marinade. Seal the bag and toss to coat pork evenly with the marinade, then open the bag and reseal, removing as much air as possible. Place the pork in the refrigerator for at least two hours to overnight.
2. Mix all the tzatziki ingredients together in a bowl until well combined. Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least two hours to overnight.
3. Heat your grill. Meanwhile, thread the pork cubes onto the skewers.
4.  Grill the pork skewers until they browned on all sides and cooked through, about 8 to 12 minutes, turning 4 times during cooking. Remove the skewers to a plate and allow to rest for 5 minutes. While the pork rests, grill the pita until lightly browned on both sides, about 1 minute per side. Remove the pitas from the grill and quarter. To serve, place pita slices on a plate, lay the souvlaki on top, and place a dollop of tzatziki on the side.

Recipe linked to This Chick Cooks, Jam Hands, This Week’s Cravings, Mouthwatering Monday’s and Full Plate Thursday.

Burnt Sugar Almonds

25 Aug

Have you ever had those expensive sugary, cinnamony almonds from the mall or at sporting events? You know the ones I’m talking about, the ones you can smell from a mile away that instantaneously make your mouth start to water. Oh yeah, these are those! They are amazing and super easy to prepare.

I’ve had this recipe bookmarked for quite some time and was just waiting for the opportunity to make them. I knew I couldn’t make them to have around the house because Joel doesn’t like almonds (what is wrong with him?) and I can’t be trusted alone with them. We attended a friend’s birthday bash recently and even though I was told I didn’t need to bring anything I just can’t attend a party without something in hand. And I couldn’t get these off my mind. They were a big hit and luckily I didn’t have to twist anybody’s arm to take them home. I lack willpower, majorly.

These would be a great addition to Christmas cookie platters or any cocktail or appetizer party. I think pecans would be great added to the mix or in place of the almonds. Make sure to read the notes before starting these delicious little almonds.

Burnt Sugar Almonds
recipe from Get Off Your Butt and Bake

⅓ cups Water, Plus 2 Tablespoons
1-⅓ cup Sugar, Divided
1 teaspoon Cinnamon, Ground
2 cups Raw Almonds
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Notes before beginning: Make sure that you DO NOT let the first sugar mixture evaporate until it’s dry.  You don’t want it soupy, but rather a very thick syrup that is adhering to the nuts.  This is when you will add your second addition of sugar (1/3 cup).  If your mixture does become too dry, and all the sugar has dried up – don’t throw everything away.  It’s o.k.!  Just add a couple of tablespoons of warm water, and stir until you have a bit of shine, but also some lumps beginning to form.

1. First add the water, 1 cup of sugar and the cinnamon and stir. Bring it to a boil over medium heat. Add the almonds to the mix, raise the temperature to high heat and stir constantly until the water is boiled away.
2. The sugar will dry out a little but start to stick to the almonds. Keep stirring them around, so that the almonds don’t burn on the bottom of the pan.
3. Turn the heat under the pan to medium-low, to keep the sugar from browning too fast. Keep stirring until the almonds start having an even shiny coat.
4. Now dump in the rest of your sugar. Keep stirring and add your vanilla. At this point, there might be quite some noise ensuing from your pan. Some crackling and popping, but hopefully no snapping. It depends on how fresh your almonds were. Really fresh almonds will make a popping noise and the coat may start to crack. That’s the water in the almonds escaping. If the almonds are older, there won’t be as much of that.
5. Keep stirring until the almonds are fairly shiny, but still a bit lumpy. You don’t want them completely smooth. The best ones are the ones that are shiny in some areas with some delicious lumps of cinnamon sugar on other parts of the almond.
6. As soon as you see that happening, take them off the heat and transfer the almonds to a sheet of parchment paper. Spread them apart as much as you can, but don’t worry about some of them sticking together initially. Be careful, however. These are extremely hot, so only use a spoon.
These babies can really burn you!
7. While they are cooling down, keep on breaking them apart with your spoon until they are all separated. Once they are cooled, hide them in a dry, closed container. Theoretically, they keep for several weeks.

Recipe linked to
Fat Camp Friday
Sweets for a Saturday
This Chick Cooks
Jam Hands
Mouthwatering Monday’s
Full Plate Thursday
Everyday Sisters Sharing Sunday
Sweets This Week
Holiday Sweet Swap

The Souffle Challenge

23 Aug

I don’t know if any of you watch Master Chef but we watched it religiously each week and thoroughly enjoy it. It’s a reality show starring Gordan Ramsey and they are looking for America’s best amateur cooks. Well, on an episode a few weeks back the cooks were challenged to prepare a cheese souffle. Joel and I have never had souffle and our interest was peaked after watching the show. I was promptly challenged by Joel to a souffle cook-off. I gladly (and maybe with a bit of cockiness) accepted the challenge. I am the cook in the family so I was feeling pretty confident in my skills and ability to stomp him.

But…Joel is good at everything he tries and he puts his whole heart and soul into everything he does (one of the reasons I love him so much). So, I was a bit worried but I wouldn’t let him know that!

Souffles are known to be difficult to cook because timing is everything. You don’t want it undercooked causing it to not properly rise and possibly collapse. Since we didn’t really know what we were looking for it was all on chance and a little luck that we would pull them out at the right time.

Joel was up first and it took him about an hour and a half (including baking time) to prepare his souffle. He beat the egg whites by hand which took him forever. When he removed it from the oven, it was nicely golden brown and didn’t collapse. It was cheesy, egg-y and pretty firm throughout. When he was adding the salt, it overflowed a bit causing the souffle to be a bit salty. But overall, it was pretty darn good.

After about a half hour, I had mine in the oven and removed it after it was golden and puffed with a little jiggle in the middle. Mine turned out less browned on the sides and a little wetter in the middle. And less salty. After discussing, we decided that mine was better but only by a smidge. Neither puffed the way a souffle is supposed to (I don’t think we beat the egg whites enough) but I think it was a great first try for both of us! And it marks off one of my Top 100!

Now I’m dying to try a chocolate souffle.

Cheese Souffle
recipe from Epicurious

2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan  cheese
1 cup whole milk
2 1/2 tablespoons  unsalted butter
3 tablespoons unbleached all purpose  flour
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon  salt
Pinch of ground nutmeg
4 large egg  yolks
5 large egg whites
1 cup (packed) coarsely  grated Gruyère cheese (about 4 ounces)

1. Position rack in lower third of oven and preheat to 400F.Butter 6-cup (1  1/2-quart) soufflé dish. Add Parmesan cheese and tilt dish, coating bottom and  sides. Warm milk in heavy small saucepan over medium-low heat until  steaming.
2. Meanwhile, melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add flour  and whisk until mixture begins to foam and loses raw taste, about 3 minutes (do  not allow mixture to brown). Remove saucepan from heat; let stand 1 minute. Pour  in warm milk, whisking until smooth. Return to heat and cook, whisking  constantly until very thick, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat; whisk in paprika,  salt, and nutmeg. Add egg yolks 1 at a time, whisking to blend after each  addition. Scrape soufflé base into large bowl. Cool to lukewarm. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 hours ahead. Cover and let stand at room temperature.
3.
Using electric mixer, beat egg whites in another large bowl until stiff but  not dry. Fold 1/4 of whites into lukewarm or room temperature soufflé base to  lighten. Fold in remaining whites in 2 additions while gradually sprinkling in  Gruyère cheese. Transfer batter to prepared dish.
4. Place dish in oven and immediately reduce oven temperature to 375F. Bake  until soufflé is puffed and golden brown on top and center moves only slightly  when dish is shaken gently, about 25 minutes (do not open oven door during first  20 minutes). Serve immediately.

Recipe linked to Mangoes and Chutney, This Chick Cooks, Jam Hands, Mouthwatering Monday’s, Full Plate Thursday and Sharing Sundays.

Grilled Corn

22 Aug

DSC_0204 (2)
Grilled corn-on-the-cob is a great summer side dish that I love to prepare with burgers, grilled chicken or steak! I always get a little sad once corn and grilling season is over. Maybe this would work with frozen corn-on-the-cob on a grill pan or panini press. I see a winter corn experiment in my future!

Sometimes I have a really hard time thinking of a side dish to go with a meal. But when summertime comes around it gets a lot easier. Grilled veggies are so simple and delicious and just about anything can be thrown on the barbecue. Asparagus, potatoes, broccoli, zucchini and corn-on-the-cob are favorites in our house.

I think the grilling of the corn helps bring out the sweetness and the simple seasonings really helps bring out the flavor. There are tons of different ways you could spice up your corn. You could go with a Mexican flair by adding cilantro and a bit of lime juice or Italian with Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley or just as the recipe states for yummy results.

I love when some of the kernels get browned and caramelized so I only turn them a few times during the grilling process. This is just the perfect side to go with any fresh summer meal. I am definitely eating my fair share before summer runs out here in the north!

Grilled Corn

4 ears of fresh, sweet corn
1 Tbsp. butter, melted
1 tsp. olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine butter and oil. Shuck the corn and remove all the silk then brush with the butter mixture. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to your liking. Wrap each ear of corn individually in foil and place on a grill over medium heat. Cook for 20-30 minutes, turning frequently.

Summer Corn Fettucine

20 Aug

I love fresh, summer corn and when I came across this unique recipe I thought it would be a winner for sure! I’ve seen it all over the blog world and it received glowing reviews. Well, I thought it was great and very different but I wasn’t totally in love with it.

Peppers aren’t my thing and I think this was the problem. They didn’t take over the flavor by any means but I could taste them and it bothered me. It had a great flavor, sweet from the corn and smoky from the bacon. I will definitely be giving this another try just without the red pepper.

I apologize for the quality of pictures. We were starving and I just snapped a few quick pictures!

Summer Corn fettucine
recipe from Rachael Ray

Salt
1 pound fettucine
Extra Virgin Olive Oil, for drizzling
6 slices smoky bacon, chopped
6 ears corn on the cob, shucked
3 shallots, finely chopped
1 small red pepper, seeded and chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup half-and-half or cream
1/2 cup chicken stock or dry white wine
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
A few dashes hot sauce or 1 or 2 pinches cayenne pepper
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano
1/2 cup torn sweet basil leaves or 1/4 cup chopped tarragon leaves

1. Bring a large pot of water to boil over medium heat. Salt the water, add the pasta and cook to al dente.
2. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil over medium to medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook a few minutes until rendered and crisp. Put a small bowl inverted into a large bowl, steady the corn cobs on the smaller bowl and scrape the ears. Add 3/4 of the scraped corn and any corn liquid to the pan with the bacon. Add the shallots and red pepper and liberally season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cook until the vegetables are tender, 5 to 6 minutes.
3. Add the remaining corn and half-and-half to a food processor and puree until smooth.
4. Pour the stock or wine into the corn and vegetables, and simmer over low heat for a minute to reduce. Stir in the thyme and corn-cream mixture and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring frequently, to thicken. Add the hot sauce or cayenne and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
5. Drain the pasta and add it to a large serving bowl. Pour in the sauce, add a couple of handfuls of cheese, about 1/2 cup and toss. Top with torn basil or chopped tarragon and pass the remaining cheese at the table.

Recipe linked to Mangia Monday’s, Nap Time Creations, Full Plate Thursday and Sharing Sundays.

Dill Cucumbers

18 Aug

We have some friends that are growing lots of yummy veggies and they just happened to have an excess of cucumbers and I was one of the lucky recipients of the overflow! I knew immediately that I would be trying this new cucumber recipe. Cucumber salad is one of my favorite foods and dill is pretty much the best herb ever so I knew this would be a win for me. Plus, I didn’t have to share (or so I thought) since Joel doesn’t like cucumbers. Well, I didn’t factor in little man. As I was feeding him his lunch, I was munching on these yummy cukes. Noah quickly started whining and pointing at my bowl. I cut up a cucumber and put it on his tray and he proceeded to shove every piece in his mouth then whine for more.

He let me know when I wasn’t feeding him fast enough.

I think he loved them just as much as I did.

Dill Cucumbers
recipe from Dishing the Divine

1 medium cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
salt
1 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. white vinegar
1/4 tsp. dried dill weed

Place thinly sliced cucumbers in a colander and sprinkle with salt. Let rest for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, combine sugar, vinegar, 1/2 tsp salt, and dill in a bowl. Lightly press the cucumbers with a paper towel to absorb the excess moisture. Mix with dressing. Refrigerate for 1-3 hours to blend flavors. Serve chilled.

Recipe linked to Mangia Monday’s, Nap Time Creations and Mouthwatering Monday’s.

Grilled Shrimp with Dipping Sauce

15 Aug

This is such a simple and appetizing way to prepare shrimp. I have never been a big fan of seafood but in recent years I have been trying to branch out and I started with shrimp since it is the least offensive to me.  This is one of our favorite ways to eat shrimp because of its easy, tasty spice rub and the fact that it is grilled.

The paprika gives the shrimp a nice, smoky flavor while the brown sugar sweetens them a bit.  I usually “marinate” the shrimp all day and they end up delightful. Although these shrimp are amazing on their own, we also like the option of a dipping sauce sometimes.  It tastes similar to the seafood dipping sauce served at Japanese hibachi restaurants.  It’s best if made the night before but it’s still great the same day it’s made.  I also use reduced-fat mayo and find that it tastes just fine.

Grilled Shrimp
recipe from food.com

For the rub:
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon garlic salt
1/2 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon italian seasoning
2 tablespoons brown sugar

For the shrimp:
2 tablespoons olive oil (give or take)
2 lbs medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

1. In a 1 gallon plastic food bag place shrimp and olive oil, toss to coat. Sprinkle enough rub to lightly coat the shrimp.
2. The bag should look dark red.
3. Refrigerate for 1-4 hours, the longer you wait the hotter they will be.
4. Light the grill and while it’s heating place shrimp on skewers.
5. Immediately place shrimp on greased, hot grill for 2-3 minutes, turn and cook an additional 2-3 minutes.
7. Remove from skewers and serve hot.

Shrimp Sauce
recipe from food.com – this makes a huge amount so I usually scale it down

2 1/4 cups mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 cup water
1 3/4 tablespoons Heinz ketchup
1 teaspoon black pepper
6 teaspoons sugar
1 dash salt

1. Mix all ingredients together.
2. Store in a glass jar with lid.
3. Chill for an hour or overnight before serving.
4. Keep in refrigerator up to 2 weeks.

Recipe linked to Nap Time Creations and This Week’s Cravings.

Honey Mustard Pork Burgers

12 Aug

A few months back I was flipping through a cookbook I’ve had for awhile and came across this recipe. Joel and I are huge fans of honey mustard and burgers so I don’t know how this recipe didn’t jump out at me before. Needless to say, these burgers have become a fast favorite in our house and we eat them often.

The flavors in these burgers are simple but come together and pop nicely due to the mildness of the pork. And who doesn’t love a recipe that has 5 super accessible ingredients? They literally take minutes to mix up and grill quickly for an easy weeknight meal. I love to have sweet potato fries alongside these yummy burgers!

Honey Mustard Pork Burgers
recipe from Blue Ribbon Recipes

2 lbs. ground pork
40 saltine crackers, crushed
1/2 cup Dijon mustard
1/4 cup honey
2 Tbsp. lemon juice

1. Combine ground pork, crushed crackers, mustard, honey and lemon juice in a large bowl. Form into 8 patties.
2. Grill on medium heat, turning once, until juices run clear, about 12 minutes.

Recipe linked to Mangia Monday’s, Nap Time Creations and This Week’s Cravings.

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