Thursday, December 29, 2011

Tamale Making Day 2

Tamale making is something I have only done once before. Here is the link to that blog:
The previous time it took about twice as long because I had to use a turkey fryer basket as my steamer basket and cover it with tin foil. My DH and I headed to the local Hispanic grocery store because I needed some more corn husks and a few spices. What we also found was an inexpensive tamale steamer.
The night before I had made the meat. It's a combination of pork roast and a whole chicken. The roast I made in the crock pot. The chicken I boiled for about 2 hours stove top. Once the meat is cooled down the chicken and roast are shredded. Save the broth from both the chicken and pork for tamale making day.

To the meat I add:
1/2 c corn oil
6 TBSP Chili powder
3 TBSP ground Cumin
1 TBSP black pepper
2 TBSP salt

The spices are mixed and the meat is covered with wrap and left to set over night. The next day I soaked the corn husks. It takes about 2 hours. I weighed them down with bowls and turned them a few times. They need to be soft for the Masa mixture.

I added the following spices to about a half bag of the large bag of  Masa and gave a stir.

3TBSP Paprika
3 TBSP Salt
1 TBSP Cumin Seeds
3 TBSP Chili Powder
3 TBSP Garlic Powder

I warmed the reserved chicken broth on the stove and added 2 Quarts gradually to the Masa letting it soak in. To the Masa I also added 2 cups oil . The mixture should look like natural peanut butter.
I laid out the soaked corn husks and patted them dry with a paper towel. I then made an assembly line where I could spread the Masa on a few husks at a time. My hubby didn't come to help me until the end but it's helpful if you have someone to help you. This recipe makes about 7 dozen tamale.

A layer of Masa needs to be added not to thick to the wrapper going all the way from one edge to the middle. I didn't take any pics of this becasue I was busy lol. It takes a few trys to learn how much is enough Masa. The first ones look huge and then you find a size that works for you. I used a butter knife to spread my Masa. The edge with the Masa gets folded in first and then the clean edge and the bottom folded up. I set all the tamales in the steamer laying down with the folded end under so they don't unwrap.
I had to add leave room in my steamer so I could add water. I then covered it and let the pot simmer on medium low for 2 hours. I checked about every half hour to make sure there was enough water in the bottom for steaming. 

I tested the tamale after two hours by letting it cool down for 5 minutes and sliced into it. Making sure there was no raw Masa I removed them with tongs onto tin foil to cool down so I could wrap them up. They freeze wonderfully and are microwavable.

To go with my tamale I found this really great sauce. It can also be used for enchilladas.

1/4 c vegetable oil
2 TBSP flour
1/4 c. Chili powder
8 oz. can of tomato sauce
1 1/2 c water
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil and add the flour. Stir with a whisk for a few minutes until the flour browns. Add the tomato sauce, water, and seasoning. Let simmer on low heat for about 10 minutes. Serve over the tamales.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Groupon Night Out at Horny Goat Brewery

I know I have boasted about Groupon before. It's a coupon that if enough people buy into you get the deal. They offer them for things such as skydiving, hotel stays, and my favorite, food! ttp:// It is my hubbys birthday today. Last night we went to the Horny Goat Brewery here in Milwaukee. They have their own beer that is delicious! Last time we went our Groupon let us buy the fish fry but it wasn't included this time. Fridays and fish frys go hand in hand her in Milwaukee. My only regret is they have taken their fried pickels off the menu.

We had one appetizer, two beers, two entrees, and one dessert for this Groupon. To share we chose the pretzel. The menu price is $17. Here is why...It pretty much took up the whole table. It came out on a large pizza tray. There were three sauces. A nacho beer sauce, a chipotle sour cream and cheese sauce, and mustard. We took half home.
Dinners were the Smoky Robinson Burger for my hubby. It was a pulled pork BBQ sandy with haystack onions on top.

I had the Hot and Horny burger which was a hamburger covered with pepper jack cheese, avocado,and a chipotle mayonaise.
Dessert which I brought home to my family was Deep Fried Oreos. This is something I always wanted to try at our local State Fair but never did. It came with ice cream.

All in all the night was a success! Our bellies were over full, we had a small buzz, and we didn't spend any money except for the tip. Our bill for the two of us would have been over $50.00. With the Groupon we saved $30.00. 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Two Days of Turkey Leftovers:Turkey Gumbo and Turkey Soup with Egg Dumplings

When taking apart the turkey I make sure to freeze the carcass and drum sticks. I was really looking for something different this year. Ok, turkey soup isn't that different but I did try something new with the turkey gumbo. The gumbo didn't turn out as dark as I would like but it tasted just as good. I also didn't have green pepper on hand. But the fun of any recipe is improvising right?

Turkey Gumbo:
2 Andoulle sausage links
1/2 c oil
3/4 c flour
1/2 green pepper diced
2 celery stalks diced
1/2 onion diced
1 pinch Cayenne pepper
5 dashes hot sauce or to taste
48 oz chicken stock
1 tsp Italian seasoning
2 bay leaves
turkey, turkey, turkey add as much as you like
salt and pepper about 1/4 tsp each
salt and pepper to taste
white rice for serving (I make about 3 cups in a rice cooker)

In a large frying pan heat the oil until it ripples. Begin adding the flour and whisk. Continue to stir and add the flour until all the flour is added and the color turns a copper color. Add the celery, pepper, along with the sausage and onion and heat until the veggies are softened. Add the chicken stock and continue to stir the flour with a whisk until it dissolves into the broth. Add the turkey, Cayenne, bay leaves, and hot sauce. Taste for seasoning. Set heat to low and let simmer for a hour. Remove from heat and serve over rice.

 Turkey Soup with Dumplings

4 Qts. water
1 turkey carcass
1 turkey drumstick quarter with the thigh
3-4 carrots cut into coins
2 stalks celery
2 potatoes diced
1 can Campbell's cream of chicken soup
2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 Knorr concentrated soup bullion packets

Egg Dumplings

1 cup flour
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 egg
1/3 c milk

In a large stock pot boil the carcass and drum stick in the water. Add the can of cream of chicken soup and the veggies, salt, pepper, and bullion. Let boil for an hour. Remove the carcass and drum stick and let cool. When cool to the touch cut the turkey into bite sized pieces and return to the pot. Taste for salt. Bring to a boil.

Mix together the ingredients for the dumplings and drop by tablespoons into the broth. Lower heat and cover the soup for 10-12 minutes. Don't peek! After the 10 minutes check the dumplings for doneness and serve.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

I've haven't blogged in a bit but today is the perfect day! Turkey day is one of my favorite holidays. I love to cook but this is one of the holidays I get to relax. I remember the days of getting up at the crack of dawn to put the turkey in the oven. About 8 years ago we discovered the art of frying a turkey. I am so thankful!

I made a few sides yesterday but I didn't have to start cooking until around 2 today. My hubby woke up at 3 to get the fryer and turkeys ready. I said turkeys! We got a 11 pounder and a 12 pounder. Usually we have no left overs hence the second turkey. That will be used for soups and to get us through the next few days.

Yesterday we injected the turkey with the Grand Marnier marinade and the pesto.

I also made the cranberry relish yesterday.
Cranberry Relish
1 orange
1 cup sugar
1 pkg cranberries
1 cup water

Bring sugar and water to a boil. Add the juice of orange and cut in half placing one half of orange into the boiling water. Add the cranberries. Let cook for about 5 minutes on low heat. The cranberries will begin to pop. Remove from heat and cool. Stick in the fridge over night.

Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes

3 sweet potatoes
1/3 c milk
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 TBSP butter
1 cup marsh mellows

Microwave 3 sweet potatoes for 12-15 minutes. Be sure to poke holes in them with a fork so they do not explode. Cut the top 1/3 off the potato and scoop out the center leaving some of the flesh on the walls of the potato skin. In a medium bowl mix the inside of the potato with 1/3 c milk, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 2 TBSP butter, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Top with a handfull of marshmellows. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until the marshmellows become crispy on top.
                                                           Grand Marnier Injected Turkey
1/2 stick butter
1/4 c worchestchire sauce
1/2 c hot sauce
1/2 c Gran Marnier or orange flavored liqour
1 tsp pepper
1TBSP salt
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp oregeno

We also sprinkle Emerils' Essence on top of the turkey both before and after we fry it.

Heat all the ingredients on low heat and drain through a mesh strainer. Cool down for about 10 minutes and inject into turkey. Let rest over night. We put the turkeys in trash bags and then in a metal pan so it doesn't leak all over the fridge.

Pesto injected turkey

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

New Post! Lasagna Cupcakes!

I love the Foodnetwork! I was watching Aarti's Party last week and saw this most ingenious recipe for Lasagna Cupcakes. I adapted it to my needs. I am still doing WW and have about 3 weeks left before my Disney trip so there is still hope lol!

I adapted the recipe to what I had on hand. Here is how I made it:

Lasagna Cup Cakes

36 won ton wrappers
1 lb ground turkey (recipe calls for chicken sausage)
1 28oz can crushed tomatoes (mine had basil in it)
1 onion diced
4 cloves of garlic minced
1 tsp garam masala (found in international food aisle)
1 TBSP orange marmalade (called for mango chutney)
1 tsp Italian seasoning.
1 pinch ground cloves
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup ricotta
1/2 c mozzarella additional 1/4 c for topping
1/4 cup Parm (I used the Kraft crumbly kind)

Set oven to 375. Brown turkey and onion together. I like to salt along the way. Add the garlic when the meat is no longer pink. In the mean time add the cheese to the ricotta and give a stir. Add the garm masala and marmalade along with the crushed tomatoes. Let the flavors meld for a few minutes. Assemble the "cupcakes" in a 12 holed muffin tin. I sprayed mine for good measure with cooking spray.

Lay one of the won tons down. Then some of the sauce and meat. Lay another won ton in a different way. (I did this step to all of them: my daughter had two cheese ones) Add more sauce and a TBSP of cheese. Lay another won ton on top of that. On the 3rd or top layer add some sauce and sprinkle with mozzarella.

Bake at 375 for about 20 minutes. Let them cool for about 5 minutes. You should be able to pull them out with your fingers. Each had about 5 points per serving but are very filling.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Crock Pot Scalloped Potatoes

It was a busy week last week. Not only did my children go back to school I also went back to work. My hours are now from 2:30PM-6PM. I have made a few crock pot meals this week which saves on time. This morning my neighbor brought me some produce. I am so thankful for her! I haven't had to go produce shopping in a few weeks.
Well here is one of my favorite recipes I made this week. It would also be good with chopped ham. Since I have a vegetarian in my house it's just easier to omit it. Also you can use any cream soup you like. I used cream of mushroom but it's really good with cream of chicken.

Crock Pot Scalloped Potatoes

1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 c sour cream
1 c. shredded cheese
8 medium potatoes sliced
1/2 onion diced
salt and pepper

Par boil the potatoes for 3-5 minutes.  Drain the potatoes and add to the crock pot. On top add the mushroom soup, sour cream, cheese, and onion. Give a stir. Heat on high for 3 hours. season with salt and pepper. Serve with ham.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Crock Pot Chicken Burritos and Chicken Flavored Rice

We are trying to pack in as much family time as possible for this next week. It's hubby's work week and me by myself with the girls. Tomorrow is my weigh in for Weight Watchers so it helps to have some activity. Yesterday my youngest daughter and I went to the park and had a play date with my daughters' friend. Two five year olds together is very interesting to say the least. My daughter is very talkative, energetic, and competitive. Her friend wanted to play games where she made up the rules and always won. It turned out OK though. We walked around the park and the pond. The pond however, you couldn't see because they decided to go Au natural and let the plant life grow to towering heights. Great for wildlife, bad if you want to enjoy the water.

Before we left I threw this recipe in the crock pot. Prep time was about 5 minutes. I substituted canned pinto beans for kidney beans.

1 15oz can kidney beans (or whole pinto beans)
1 lb chicken thighs (boneless) I used 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes with chilies
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp pepper
3/4 c. Mexican style cheddar cheese
12 flour tortillas

Add all the ingredients except for tortillas and cheese to the crock pot. Set on low for 5 hours. Remove chicken from crock pot and shred with forks. Drain the liquid from the crock pot and stir in the chicken. If your tortillas aren't soft you can place them between two napkins and microwave for 30 seconds. Take 1/2 c of bean mixture and spread down tortillas. Add a pinch of cheese to each. I like mine crispy so I put in oven for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. 1 burrito per serving at 5 pts. each.

I served this with chicken flavored rice. 2 cups chicken broth to one cup rice. Yields 3 cups. I have a rice cooker but follow your package directions.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Crock Pot Lasagna and the Neverending Walk

Yesterday my youngest daughter, my hubby, and I went for a walk through and around Schlitz Audubon Park. We had a map but got really lost and ended up walking about 5 miles total. It's great for my Weight Watchers. Today I am dog tired still but plan on taking my daughter to the park tomorrow to walk around.

Today was all about simplicity. I spent the day cleaning out my desk. I threw the lasagna in the crock pot by noon and we were eating by 5. This one is a keeper!

1 lb ground beef
1 small onion chopped
1 clove garlic minced
28 oz can of crushed tomatoes *you can also use spaghetti sauce
15oz can of tomato sauce
1  tsp salt
1 tsp oregano
1 cup part skim ricotta
1 egg
11/2 c part-skim mozzarella (I used taco cheese)
6 dry no bake lasagna noodles (I used Bertolli)
1/2 c. shredded Parmesan cheese

Brown beef and onion draining off fat as you go and breaking it up into small pieces. Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, salt, and oregano. Simmer for 5 minutes. In the crock pot put a small amount of the sauce and 3 of the lasagna noodles broken up. Stir the the ricotta, one egg, and one cup of mozzarella cheese. Lay some of the beef mixture over that and some of the ricotta cheese on top. Pour the remaining sauce and meat on top. Repeat the layers and set on low for 4-6 hours. combine the remaining 1/2 c of mozzarella and Parm and sprinkle over top layer. Put the lid back on and let it melt for about 10 minutes. Makes 6 servings 11 pts each.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Back to WW Day One Veggie Soup and Veggie Fried Rice

Yesterday I took the plunge and went back to Weight Watchers after a few year absence. I have a trip scheduled to Disney in 7 short weeks and am scared at heck of flying Southwest. I have always fit into the seats of Airtran and Delta but am scared I won't fit Southwest. So I am biting the bullet and trying to loose some weight and inches in the next few weeks. I have a 6 week boot camp I may start also. But I don't know if I am that crazy!

Today I made a huge batch of veggie soup. It's a very low point soup that keeps the hunger pangs away. They have changed up the program a bit in the last few years. I am on a huge number of points but I have managed to fill the void.

Tonight I made Veggie Stir Fried Rice. This was a meal for just me and the girls. I was supposed to be at a rum tasting tonight but my hubby scheduled his fantasy football meeting for tonight also. This is another example of how hubby's have selective hearing. The rice was delicious! It is a fast easy dish and you can add whatever veggies you have on hand. Here I used a can of green beans or you could add frozen mixed veggies.

Easy Veggie Fried Rice

2 Tbsp olive oil
2 large eggs beaten
1 cup carrots cut into coins
3 scallions chopped
3 cups cooked rice
1/2 cup frozen veggies like peas or mixed veggies
1/4 c soy sauce

Add the oil to a frying pan. Heat on medium high heat.

First fry the carrots and onions for about 3-5 minutes. The carrots should soften slightly. Remove from pan and add the rice and soy sauce. Add back in the veggies or mixed veggies and heat through. (This is where I added the green beans also) Heat through for about 5 minutes. Push rice to the side and add the beaten eggs. Use a spatula to scramble the eggs. When no longer runny stir into the rice. 4points for each 3/4 c. serving.

Monday, August 22, 2011

BBQ Peppered Salmon and a New Cauliflower Side

We love salmon here in our house. Since fish is one of the things my veggie daughter will still eat I try to make fish at least once a week. Here in Milwaukee fish fries are big on Fridays. I like the plank grilling because it adds an extra flavor to the fish. Here is how we have made it in the past. I will post the recipe I used for the BBQ sauce.

BBQ Salmon Marinade

1/4 c. Hosin sauce
2 TBSP lemon juice
2 TBSP honey
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. salt

Brush several times over the salmon for a delicious taste.

Roasted Cauliflower with Feta and Lemon

1 head of cauliflower chopped into florets
2 TBSP of olive oil

1/2 container feta
2 TBSP lemon juice
2 TBSP olive oil

Roast cauliflower in a 425 degree oven for 20-25 minutes flipping every 10 minutes. It should have a little bite to it but you want it to be cooked through. Remove from oven. In a medium glass bowl mix together the feta, lemon juice, and olive oil. Toss the cauliflower in the dressing and serve hot. It may also be served cold.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Chili Mac and Stove Top Mac and Cheese

My neighbor is awesome! She has a garden and gave me some beautiful heirloom tomatoes and these huge Guinness Book zucchini. With the overabundance of zucchini I have been adding it to everything. Most recently being the chili mac. For my vegetarian daughter I made her favorite mac and cheese. Usually I bake it but I made it stove top. You can make the mac and cheese at the same time and bake it off the next day if you wish at 350 for about 20 minutes. I also top it with breadcrumbs before I bake.
Chili Mac with Zucchini

1 box Cremette macaroni noodles (reserve 1/2 cooked for mac and cheese)
1 can with juice Del Monte chili flavored tomatoes
1 lb ground beef
1/2 onion diced
1 cup diced zucchini
1 cup defrosted corn
1 tsp cumin
2 TBSP chili powder
1 can Campbells' tomato soup
1/2 c. cheese for topping
salt and pepper

Cook the pasta per package directions. You want it to be a bit firm but not al dente'.

In a frying pan brown the ground beef and onion together seasoning with cumin, salt, and pepper. Drain off the fat every few minutes. Once browned and drained add the tomatoes with juice and let simmer for about 3 minutes.

Add the corn and zucchini. On top of that add the tomato sauce and chili powder. Let simmer until the zucchini is tender about 5-10 minutes. Drain the pasta and add 1/2 to the chili mac. Stir in the pasta. Serve topped with a pinch of the cheese.

Easy Pleasy Mac and Cheese

1/2 box macaroni noodles cooked per package directions
1/2 block of a large Velveeta cube
1 cup milk
1 cup shredded cheese (I use a taco cheese)
2 TBSP flour
2 TBSP butter
1 squirt yellow mustard
salt and pepper

In a medium sized pot and on medium heat melt the butter and add the flour. Use a whisk to remove the flour from the sides of the pot so it doesn't burn. Brown for about 2-3 minutes. You are looking for a light brown flour. Add the milk and continue to stir with the whisk. Put the heat on low. Start adding the cheese cubes little by little and stirring. Then add the shredded cheese again stirring as you go. Bring the mixture to just below a boil. Add the squirt of mustard, salt, and pepper.

Remove from heat and add the macaroni noodles. You can serve it as is or go the next step. Butter a baking dish and add the mac cheese mixture. Top with bread crumbs. Bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Thai Style Shimp Stir Fry

We love stir frys in our house! My vegetarian daughter will eat shrimp or fish so this was a one stop meal. The coconut milk gives it a fresh,sweet, taste. I didn't pay attention to the shrimp count on the side of the bag and got the really jumbo shirmp. I ended up cutting them up and leaving only a few whole.

Thai Style Stir Fry
1 lb shrimp deveined and easy peel
3 green onions diced (whites only)
1 red pepper diced into pieces
2 tsp sugar
2 TBSP fish sauce
2 tsp sugar
2/3 c. coconut milk
1 cup corn defrosted and drained
1 cup white rice cooked
olive oil

In a medium frying pan heat about 2 TBSP olive oil. Add the red pepper and green onion. Stir fry for about 2-3 minutes or until the peppers begin to soften. Remove from the pan and set aside. Add another TBSP of olive oil to the pan and brown the shrimp. They should be opaque. They cook in about 2-3 minutes per side for the larger shrimp.  Stir together the fish sauce, sugar, and coconut milk. Pour over the shrimp and add the corn. Let the flavors meld together and warm for 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve over white rice.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Curry Butter Corn on the Cob and Steak

We love, love, love, corn here! My hubby roasted corn on the grill and I made this delicious Curry Flavored butter to go along with it. Curry is a spice I love and I use it in things like chicken salad. This is a very simple recipe and once you try it you won't want roasted corn without it. I also spread the remaining on my potatoes. For the corn we soak it for about a hour in cold water and roast it on the grill.
Curry Butter

1 cup softened butter (I used Country Crock)
1 1/2 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp salt

Mix all the ingredients together and refridgerate. Spread on the corn and add chives on top or cilantro.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Beef Pasties With Potatoes and Carrots

This is one dish I remember from my childhood except my Grandma would make the dough from scratch. I did something different today and used frozen puff pastry. The crust is light and flaky. Sometimes I will use the Pillsbury pie crusts in the package to save time.

Beef Pasties

1 lb ground beef browned
1/2 onion diced (brown with the beef)
1 carrot finely chopped into coins
salt and pepper
1 pkg Pepridge Farms Puff Pastry

Defrost pastry on the counter top for 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Brown the beef and onion. Add the carrot and potatoes and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Unwrap dough and cut each dough into 4's. In each pocket add about 2-3 TBSP in the middle. Fold up the edges making a triangle. Use water on your fingertip to seal the triangle. Poke holes on the top of each triangle to let steam escape. Make sure the edges are sealed. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until veggies are done.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tandoori Style Chicken with Cucumber Raita and Rice

I am a big fan of Indian cuisine and tried this recipe at home in the oven. I used bigger bone in chicken breasts but you can use drumsticks and thighs if you like. Marinade it for as little as a few hours or overnight for a tangy flavor. It adds the tang you would get with buttermilk.

Oven Tandoori Chicken

a split chicken or 3 bone in chicken breasts
1 1/2 plain yogurt
2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp salt
2 TBSP lemon juice
a pinch of pepper

In a large bowl or large Zip loc bag combine the ingredients in the marinade. Add chicken and coat to cover. Then if using a bowl cover with plastic wrap and stick in the fridge for 4 hours to overnight. Pre heat oven to 500 degrees. On a cookie sheet place tin foil and then a cookie cooking rack. This will allow the air to circulate around your chicken and it won't sit in the grease. Bake chicken pieces for 30 minutes and flip them over. Bake for an additional 25 minutes or until juices run clear. On the chicken breasts I had to give them an extra 20 minutes. The outside of your chicken will have crispy parts but I think that adds to the flavor. Serve with white long grain rice or basmati rice.

Cucumber Raita

2 seedless cucumbers or English cucumbers cut into planks and then 3's
8-10 leaves fresh mint
1 TBSP lemon juice
salt and pepper
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 cup plain yogurt

Add the plain yogurt to a medium sized bowl. Roll up the mint and cut into fine pieces. Add the mint, lemon juice, mustard seeds, and salt and pepper to the bowl. Mix and cover for a hour. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Monday, August 15, 2011

It's Black Bean Making Day and Shrimp Quesadillas

After 3 months I am at the bottom of my black bean bag. I got a huge 10lb bag for under a dollar on clearance. I use them in things such as salads, black bean burgers,  and burritos. Today I am making the last batch in the crock pot. I soak 2 cups of black beans over nite. I drain out the water and look for any bad beans I then throw them in the crock pot and cover with water to about 1 inch before the lid. I let them cook all day on low for about 8 hours. I drain them again and measure them out into one cup Zip locs. I freeze them and can defrost them in a cup of cold water any time I need them.

I found this yummy recipe last week. It has been one of the hottest summers here and I am always looking for lite fast meals. This one filled that void.

Shrimp and Monterrey Jack Open Faced Quesadillas

1 bag 100/200 count shrimp cooked and deveined
1 1/2 cup Monterrey Jack cheese
3 green onions whites only chopped
1 pkg white tortillas
2 TBSPs olive oil
2 tsp taco seasoning
salt and pepper
sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Defrost shrimp in a bowl of cold water and drain. Add the olive oil and seasonings to the shrimp letting it set. Spray a baking sheet with PAM and lay the tortillas on it spreading about 1/4 cup of the cheese on each tortilla. Bake for 3 minutes or until cheese melts. Add about 1/4 cup shrimp on each tortilla and place back into oven for an additional 3 minutes. Serve with avocado, sour, cream, and lime.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

What to Do at the State Fair? Eat!

The Wisconsin State Fair is known for it's long history and its' cream puffs. For many including myself it's the main reason to go to the fair. This year as usual it was hotter than heck out. I thought it would have cooled down because we had a morning rain. When we got to the Fair the sun was out full blast and temps were in the mid 80's. 

Our first stop was in the products building where they sell all those TV gadgets. Luckily it's air-conditioned in there! Our first fried food item of the day was a fried peanut butter and jelly sandwich on a stick. It was a battered Uncrustable with a stick through it. The price for everything seemed $5.00!
At the Machine Shed we also purchased "deep-fried" butter. Just imagine sticking a pat of butter in your mouth and melting it. It was pretty gross! This is the same place we purchased chocolate covered bacon last year. That was a good combination because of the sweet and salty.

Pretty close to where we found the pb and j was the hot dog wrapped in bacon. This was the biggest waste of money of the day. I wish I would have stuck with the good ole fashioned corn dog. The bacon was greasy as well as the hot dog. Price tag, you guessed it: $5.00.
Next it was one of my favorite finds of the day. It was a bacon and maple syrup ice cream. Again the sweet and salty worked well together.

And finally, the item you go to the Wisconsin State Fair for and dream about all year, the cream puff. By this time it was burning out and we grabbed a 6 pack to go which sent us back $18.00. They have gone up in price but are well worth it.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Great Easy Summertime Meal

My daughter is now a vegetarian and I am constantly looking for new recipes to make for her. This one I found in Martha Stewart's magazine for Roasted eggplant sandwiches on Chibata bread. It was very easy to make and I served it along with some Alexa sweet potato fries. It was funny because I made this and my veggie daughter decided not to come home for dinner. However, this meal was good cold also.
Roasted Egg Plant Sandwiches on Chibata Bread

1 large egg plant
2 Roma tomatoes sliced
1 Vidalia onion sliced into rings (optional)
1 cup milk
1 Chibata loaf cut lengthwise
olive oil
salt and pepper (I use Monterrey steak seasoning)
8-10 fresh basil leaves
Monterrey Jack slices

Firstly cut a small piece off the bottom of the egg plant so it won't roll on you when you are trying to cut it into planks. Cut each plant about 1/4 of an inch apart. You want them thin but not paper thin.

There are two methods you can use to get the bitterness out of egg plant. One is to salt the pieces and let it sit and the second is to soak it in milk . I chose the second. In  a large bowl add one cup of milk and the egg plant pieces. let soak for a half hour. Remove to paper towels and pat dry. Wrap the onions in a foil packet and take the egg plant to a out door grill. brush with olive oil and salt and pepper it.

Roast the egg plant for about 4 minutes a side. Brush the insides of the Cibata with olive oil and toast on the grill for about 2-3 minutes. Bring ever thing inside and assemble. I like Miracle Whip so I put that on top. Place the Jack cheese on the bottom and begin adding the roasted egg plant. Next the tomato slices and onions. Keep making layers until you are finished. Add the chopped basil leaves to the top and place the top of the bread on the sandwich. Slice into 4-8 portions. It is very filling.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Busy Last Few Days

My husband works every other week. On his weeks off we try to pack as many things in as possible. On Thursday I had plans to go with my girlfriend on a scenic boat ride around Milwaukee but she cancelled on me and I was forced to take my hubby instead lol! Did I mention it was using Groupons most of the week?
Groupons are a discounted coupon available in most areas.

Our next Groupon stop was John Hawk's Pub in downtown Milwaukee. I was unimpressed. We sat inside or attempted to. We didn't know where to go and there was no one inside. Finally a hostess told us to go wait out in the waiting room. I am not sure why? We waited a few minutes and were seated only to wait about 10 more minutes for someone to wait on us. The service was incredibly slow. The food was so so. Not somewhere I want to eat again.
Friday I had off work. It was another fully packed day. We had ressies to get my daughter's pics taken at hte Picture People with yes, another Groupon. Beforehand we stopped to use a Groupon at Takera Sushi restaurant. We got there a bit before 4:30PM and didn't realize they weren't open yet.

We had some time to kill and I realized I hadn't cut my daughter's finger nails. There was a salon right there named Polished. I came in an the male receptionist was outside and said he would be right with me. I asked if someone could cut my daughter's fingernails and he said "No. We are all booked." This is literally something that would have taken them 2 minutes to do but since the receptionist was so rude I will never go back again. He literally could have handed me a clippers and I would have done it myself.

Finally our restaruant was open and I didn't take my camera lol! The food was very good. My oldest daughter and her friend had the shrimp tempura. Thankfully it was on the kids menu because the adult price was $18.00. My hubby had the chicken terriyaki. And I had the sushi plate with an eel and avocado roll and some pieces of Naguri.

We got to the mall around 5:30PM and checked in with the Picture People. Luckily they had two cancellations! We were able to get in right away and didn't have to wait for our pictures. This was another awesome Groupon deal.
After dinner we headed to use our last Groupon. It was at Cold Spoons Gelato. We had gone to use this Groupon previously but they were not open. I chose a Snickers flavor and Salted Caramel flavor. Both were delicious. My youngest tried the Smurfberry.

All in all it was a fun last few days. Back to the grind tomorrow!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Chicken and Shrimp Etouffee' Hits the Spot

I have long been a fan of Southern cooking. As a child my Mom waitressed at a restaurant named Vnuks. That was my first taste of Cajun food. I was willing and still am willing to try everything and anything. I have passed on that trait to my kids thankfully.

It's still very hot here but I made this dish with just the right amount of spice. I leave it toned down with spice for my family and have a bottle of hot sauce available at the table. The dish itself comes together in about 15 minutes.

Chicken and Shrimp Etouffee'

1 boneless skinless chicken breast cubed
1/2 bag shrimp devained (I am using precooked devained)
2 Andouille sausage links cut into coins (used Johnsonville)
2 cups chicken stock
2 TBSP tomato paste
2 Bay leaves
hot sauce
1/4 cup Canola oil
1/4 cup flour
1 onion diced
1 clove of garlic minced
1 green pepper diced
2 stalks celery diced
salt and pepper
white rice

Save time by having all your ingredients ready to go. I make my rice in a rice cooker. That's one less thing I have to worry about. In a large frying pan add the oil. Once shimmering add the flour and brown for 2-3 minutes stirring with a whisk to prevent lumping. Next add the veggies. Stir into the flour and brown for another 3 minutes. Add the 2 TBSP tomato paste and sausage and brown for another minute. Now add the chicken stock and Bay leaf. Bring to a simmer. Add the cubed chicken and cook for 5 minutes more on medium heat or until the chicken cubes are no longer pink. Lastly add the shrimp. Since they are precooked you only need to bring them to temperature. Serve over rice.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Crock Pot Meatball Subs, Tabbouleh, and Falafel

It was a week from hell this past week. The weather here in Milwaukee was unbearable. Temps were near one hundred and the dew point was very high. That made for a week of quick meals that didn't require baking or much use of the kitchen. This week is going to be in the 80's temp wise. I have a few things planned like clothes shopping and a cruise of Lake Michigan with my friend made all the much better with alcohol.

On Friday I also took my daughter to an organic food store called the Outpost. My normal grocery store stopped carrying Falafel mix and Tabbouleh which is a Bulgar wheat that you make into a salad. I thought the prices were pretty reasonable actually. I am used to instant Tabbouleh. This one it said to boil for 20 minutes. Now I see other recipes on the Internet that don't require boiling. My salad did come out well though. I made enough to last me all weekend. The tabbouleh was not mushy and came out the way it was suppose to. I used 4 cups of water and two cups of Tabbouleh.
Bulgar Wheat with tomato, mint, seedless cucumber, lemon juice and EVOO

For dinner Friday my daughters and I had Falafel balls in pita pockets with cucumber, tomato, and tahini (a sesame paste) My hubby had left over Jerk chicken stew.

Friday was supposed to be meatball sub night. When I went to use the French bread on Saturday, one was a total loss. Well a total loss for the subs. I used the stale bread to make garlic bread crumbs later that night.

I started out first by making the meat balls. I used a pound and a half of ground chuck and this pre-made Bertoli sauce. I really like the taste of their sauce!
I browned the balls on the stove before placing in crock pot

Crock Pot Meat Ball Subs

1 1/2 lbs ground chuck or meat of your choosing
1 cup Italian bread crumbs
1 egg
1 cup chopped mushrooms
cheese (I used Gorgonzola)
1 loaf French Bread
1 jar Bertoli pasta sauce

Brown meatballs in olive oil on all sides on stove top. Move to crock pot and add your favorite sauce and mushrooms. Cook on high for 4 hours. Cut bread into three pieces. Cut down the middle and scoop out the insides of the bread. Add meatballs and sauce and your favorite cheese. Crisp for 5 minutes in a 350 degree oven to melt the cheese.