Cilantro Lime Shrimp

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Cilantro Lime Shrimp

I made this dish back in January and never got around to posting it (oops).  I made it with some rice and it was perfect! It was fresh and had the perfect amount of bite.  It was also ready in no time, which, as I’ve said, is my favorite kind of dinner! So, overall, it was fresh, quick, and simple and I will be making this again!

Cilantro Lime Shrimp

(original source)

What you’ll need:

  • 1 tblsp. butter
  • 1 tblsp. olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, finely chopped
  • ¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
  • ½ tsp. Mexican oregano (I didn’t have any, so I just used regular)
  • 2 roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 lime, zest and juice
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • 1 pound shrimp, split and deveined
  • 2 tblsp. chopped cilantro

What to do:

  • Melt the butter and oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add the garlic, onion and jalapeño.
  • Cook, stirring until the onion begins to wilt, approximately 3 minutes.
  • Add the red pepper flakes and oregano.
  • Continue cooking until the onion becomes translucent, approximately 3 additional minutes.
  • Add the tomatoes.
  • Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes are soft.
  • Add the shrimp, zest and lime juice, salt and black pepper.
  • Cook until the shrimp are just opaque. Be careful not to overcook.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cilantro.

Enjoy!

Brussels Sprouts with a Garlic Aioli

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garlic aioli

Well, the story here is pretty simple.  We bought some Brussels sprouts and I wanted to try them a different way.  I have done a lemon/garlic/parmesan version here, if you want to check it out.  I’ve had this recipe saved and figured it’s be a good time to try it.  Now, the original recipe has you roast the brussels sprouts but we had the rest of dinner baking and are not blessed with a double-oven.  Therefore, I improvised.  I just sautéed the sprouts with garlic and olive oil and quickly whipped up the yummy garlic aioli.  It was delicious and a hit with the family but would love to try to roast them next time- just to dry them out a tad (to make it more like chips and dip.. eh.. not really but hopefully you see where I’m going with it).  Nonetheless, this was a good addition to our meal and am glad with how quick and simple the aioli was to make.  Let me know what you think!

Sautéed Brussels Sprouts with a Garlic Aioli Dipping Sauce

(original recipe)

What you’ll need:

  • 1 lb. bag Brussels sprouts, ends cut off, outer shell removed, cut in half
  • 2 T. olive oil (ish)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt/Pepper to taste
  • 6 T. mayo
  • 1/4 minced garlic
  • 1 t. lemon juice
  • 1 T. fresh parsley, chopped

What to do:

  • Heat oil in a large pan, sauté garlic until fragrant.
  • Toss in prepared Brussels sprouts, coat in oil, and let cook, stirring occasionally.
  • In the meantime, combine mayo, lemon juice, 1/4 teaspoon garlic, and parsley in a small dish.
  • Once the sprouts are browned (about 10-15 minutes), throw them on a plate and serve with the aioli.

Enjoy!

Toffee Pretzel Bark

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Pretzel BarkIf you’re a salty/sweet kind of guy or gal, this is for you!

I needed something easy to share for a work event and this was a recipe I actually had everything on hand for!  It’s simple being it only requires 4 ingredients (5, if you sprinkle it with sea salt) and takes 15 minutes to make.  Let it cool, cut it up, and it’s ready to go!  I’m making another batch for a little mini-getaway with my man and a couple of our friends.  I know they’ll go fast 🙂

Easy Toffee Pretzel Bark

(original source)

What you’ll need:

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 8 ounces mini pretzels (slightly broken up, or left whole)
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate morsels
  • sprinkle of sea salt (optional)

What to do:

  • Preheat your oven to 375 and line a cookie sheet (one with a little lip so that it doesn’t spill over) with foil.
  • Spread pretzels evenly over the pan, slightly breaking up the pretzels (or not, if you’re not feelin’ it)
  • In a medium-sized saucepan, combine butter and brown sugar, stirring slightly over medium heat.
  • Once it comes to a rolling boil, stop stirring and let it sit for 3 minutes.  It’ll get nice and frothy.
  • Pour mixture immediately over pretzels.  Don’t worry if it’s not perfect, the mixture will spread when it’s baking.
  • Place pan in oven and bake for 5 minutes.
  • Once time’s up, take the pan out and pour the chocolate morsels over the pretzel/candy mixture.  Let it sit for another 5 minutes so that the chocolate softens.
  • Spread the chocolate evenly, let it cool (I popped the pan in my freezer to speed up the process), cut into chunks, and you’re ready to serve! Store any leftovers in an airtight container.

Enjoy!

Penne Rustica (Macaroni Grill Copycat)

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Penne RusticaThis is definitely not a recipe that I should have made with spring break approaching.. the large amounts of cream, the cheese, the pound of penne isn’t the waistline’s best friend.  However, this was delicious!  The sauce was incredibly flavorful and it smelled AMAZING while it was cooking. The crispy and crunchy coated topping also added that little extra “sumthin’ sumthin'”.  My brother and dad also were excited that there were not only one, not two, but three different meats for their carnivorous stomachs.  I hope you enjoy this splurge as much as we did!

Copycat Macaroni Grill’s Penne Rustica

(original source)

What you’ll need:

Gratinata sauce:
    • 1 teaspoon butter
    • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
    • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
    • 1/2 teaspoon dill
    • 1/2 teaspoon chopped rosemary
    • 1/2 cup marsala cooking wine
    • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • 4 cups heavy cream
Penne Rustica:
  • 1/2 ounce pancetta or bacon (I used an ounce which was 1 strip of bacon for me)
  • 9 raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 6 ounces grilled chicken breasts, sliced (1 large breast or 2 small)
  • 8-12 ounces penne pasta, cooked
  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped shallot
  • pinch salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • (optional) 3 sprigs fresh rosemary (for garnish)

 What to do:

  • For Gratinata Sauce: Saute butter, garlic, and rosemary until garlic begins to brown.
  • Add Marsala wine and reduce by one-third.
  • Add remaining ingredients, reduce by half of the original volume. Set aside.
  • For Penne Rustica: Saute pancetta or bacon until it begins to brown.
  • Add butter, shallots, and shrimp.
  • Cook until shrimp are evenly pink but still translucent.
  • Add chicken, salt, pepper, and mix thoroughly.
  • Add gratinata sauce and 1/4 cup parmesan cheese.
  • Simmer until sauce thickens.
  • In a large bowl, combine shrimp and chicken mixture with the cooked pasta.
  • Pour into a large casserole dish or roaster.
  • Sprinkle with 1/4 cup more parmesan cheese and sprinkle with paprika.
  • Bake at 475 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Remove and garnish with fresh rosemary sprig.

Enjoy!

 

Single Serving Chocolate Chip Cookies (only 2 cookies!)

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Chocolate Chip CookiesI am the first to admit that I have an extremely large sweet tooth.  I don’t think there has been a day that I haven’t had something to indulge my white, enamel-covered sugar craver.  On this particular day, I had had a crazy day with my firsties and couldn’t find anything in my pantry that would curb my craving.  I decided to look on my Pinterest board and came across this beauty of a recipe- it only made 2 large cookies! It was perfect.  I didn’t feel guilty because I didn’t make a whole batch of 24 cookies (although I could have totally eaten them within a few days).  So, I got right to work and it was a quick and easy recipe and the cookies came out chewy in the middle and crispy around the edges.. just how I like them!  This recipe made for two very large cookies and could easily be split into 4 to make less monstrous servings.  Nonetheless, I will be recreating this simple dessert when I need my fix in the future.  Enjoy!

Single Serving Chocolate Chip Cookies

(original source)

What you’ll need:

  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 2 firmly packed tablespoons of dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
  • 1 egg yolk – discard or set aside egg white for a different use
  • ¼ teaspoon of baking soda
  • ¼ cup of all-purpose flour
  • 3 heaping tablespoons of semisweet chocolate chips

What to do:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a microwave safe bowl, heat butter just until it starts to melt and is softened. Blend softened butter, sugars, salt, and vanilla together by hand.
  • Add egg yolk and stir again.
  • Add baking soda and flour and stir until combined.
  • Then stir in chocolate chips.
  • Form cookie dough into two balls and place on baking sheet.
  • The cookies will spread during baking, so make sure they are several inches apart.
  • Bake for about 8 minutes, or until edges are golden brown. 

Enjoy!

Honey Balsamic Chicken

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Honey Balsamic Chicken

Surprise! Chicken again. I needed something that would take minimal time and this definitely fit the bill. I marinaded the chicken overnight so all I had to do was cook it up when I got home from work. Dinner was ready in less than a half an hour, just in time for my brother to chow down before baseball practice.  I also whipped up some asparagus and wild rice and it all made for perfect leftovers for lunch! Oh, and the original recipe mentioned to marinate it for at least 30 minutes but I definitely suggest marinating overnight- all the balsamic goodness and garlic soaked in the chicken and added more flavor!  So, this all being said, I will definitely be making this again (and it’s a recipe that requires things that I already have at home at all times- that’s always the best!)

Honey Balsamic Chicken Tenderloins

(original source)

What you’ll need:

  • 2 medium (1.5 lbs) chicken breasts (I already had tenderloins so I used those)
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil (divided)
  • to taste salt & pepper
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp honey

What to do:

  • Slice the chicken breasts on a diagonal into six strips each. Place the strips in a quart sized zip top bag along with ¼ cup of balsamic vinegar, one clove of garlic (minced), 1 Tbsp of olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Mix the ingredients in the bag and let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes (like I mentioned, I did this all the night before).
  • When you’re ready to cook, heat the second tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, cook the strips until browned on both sides (about 2-3 minutes each side). You may have to do two batches. Place the cooked chicken on a clean plate.
  • Turn the heat down on the skillet to medium-low and add the butter and last 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar to the skillet. Use a spoon to stir the mixture and dissolve the sticky bits off of the bottom of the skillet. Once the mixture has dissolved together, add the honey, increase the heat, and allow the sauce to simmer until thickened (about five minutes).
  • Once the sauce has thickened, season to taste with salt and pepper (I just used a pinch of each). Add the chicken back to the skillet and toss to coat in the warm balsamic sauce. Serve immediately.

Enjoy!

Rustic Penne Shrimp Pasta

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Rustic Penne ShrimpIt has been a while since I have been home from work early enough to have time to cook a decent dinner. Fortunately, parent teacher conferences are over and things are winding down while we await the much needed spring break. We had some shrimp in the freezer and as I looked through the endless amount of recipes I have yet to accomplish, I came across this one. It was everything you look for in a pasta dish.. Be it the creamy Parmesan sauce, kick of flavor, and the cozy and comforting feeling pasta brings you. It was family approved and it will be made again in the future. It’s good to be back in the kitchen!

Rustic Penne Shrimp Pasta

(original source)

What you’ll need:

  • 1 pound of penne pasta
  • 2 tablespoons of sea salt
  • 1/4 pound of pancetta, thickly sliced & diced into cubes
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 pound of shrimp, peeled
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon of rosemary
  • 1/4 cup of roasted red peppers, sliced
  • 1/4 cup of white wine
  • 2 cups of cream
  • 1 cup of parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon of cracked pepper
  • parmesan cheese
  • fresh thyme or rosemary

What to do:

  • Add sea salt to a large pot of water and bring to a boil.
  • Meanwhile, in a large saute pan, brown the pancetta.
  • Cook for 4-5 minutes on medium high until brown, then add olive oil and shrimp. Cook for 1 minute, then add garlic. Turn down heat to a low simmer.
  • Deglaze the pan by pouring in the white wine and stirring to bring off the browning on the pan. This will add great flavor to the sauce.
  • Add cream, red peppers and rosemary. Simmer on medium low until the cream thickens slightly, about 5-6 minutes. At this point, add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until just al dente – undercooking just slightly it so when it continues to cook in the sauce and then bakes it will not be too done. After sauce has simmered, remove it from the heat and add parmesan cheese.
  • When pasta is done, strain it from the water and add it to the pan without rinsing. Toss together with the sauce and season with pepper. Cook on a low simmer in the sauce for 2-3 minutes to help the pasta thicken the cream and absorb the flavor.
  • Serve pasta in individual bowls and top with parmesan cheese.

Enjoy!

Zuppa Toscana

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Zuppa ToscanaIt hasn’t reached above freezing here in Chicago for quite some time now.  Therefore, soup is a must.  There’s nothing like hot soup warming you from the inside out on a frigid winter day!  I gave this a shot and it was a hit with my family.  The bulk of the flavor comes from the hot Italian sausage so there was no need to “doctor it up” any more.  This was a hearty soup and it made great leftovers!  Oh, and a shout-out goes to my mom’s work friends who requested this recipe 🙂 Let me know what you think!

Zuppa Toscana

(original source)

What you’ll need:

  • 4 slices bacon, cut into a small dice
  • 1 pound hot Italian sausage, ground or links with casings removed
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups (32 ounces) chicken broth or stock
  • 3 cups Russet potatoes, cubed
  • sea or kosher salt and fresh black pepper
  • 2 loose packed cups kale, in bite size pieces
  • 1 cup heavy cream or 14 ounce can evaporated milk
  • Parmesan cheese, grated, for serving

What to do:

  • In a large soup pot or sauce pan cook bacon over medium until crispy. Add sausage and break it apart as it cooks. Once sausage is browned and crumbled drain off the grease leaving a tablespoon or two to saute the onion.
  • Push the sausage to the edges of the pot and add onion to center – saute until translucent then add garlic and saute until fragrant.
  • Stir in broth and potatoes, season with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, simmer for about 20 minute or until potatoes are tender.
  • Add kale and heavy cream or evaporated milk. Bring to a simmer. Taste and re-season as needed. Serve with Parmesan cheese and crusty bread.

Enjoy!

 

Teriyaki Salmon with Sriracha Cream Sauce

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Salmon

Fish is something that I am slowly growing a liking too.  Growing up, you wouldn’t catch me eating it unless I was told it was chicken (although the smell would give that lie away 99.9% of the time).  Now, looking at the health benefits, I have slowly been incorporating it into my diet.  I decided to give this salmon a try and hoped that the sriracha sauce with the marinade would mask any bit of “fish” taste the salmon had.  Fortunately, it was delicious.  Even my dad, a fish lover yet a bit iffy on salmon, requests to have this dish again! I served it with sautéed asparagus and white rice. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Teriyaki Salmon with Sriracha Cream Sauce

(original source)

What you’ll need:

For the Marinade

    • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
    • 1/4 cup soy sauce
    • 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
    • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 2 tablespoons honey
    • 2 salmon filets
For the Sriracha Cream Sauce
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2-3 tablespoons Sriracha
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk

What to do:

  • To make the Sriracha cream sauce, whisk together mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons Sriracha and condensed milk in a small bowl; set aside.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and 1/4 cup water; set aside.
  • In a small saucepan over medium heat, add soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger, garlic powder, honey and 1 cup water; bring to a simmer. Stir in cornstarch mixture until thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 2 minutes; let cool to room temperature.
  • In a gallon size Ziploc bag or large bowl, combine teriyaki marinade and salmon filets; marinate for at least 30 minutes to overnight, turning the bag occasionally.
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly coat an 8×8 baking dish with nonstick spray.
  • Place salmon filets along with the marinade onto prepared baking dish and bake until the fish flakes easily with a fork, about 20 minutes.
  • Serve salmon immediately with Sriracha cream sauce.

Enjoy!

Asparagus Risotto

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AsparagusRisottoRisotto is a common side dish in my household.  Whether it’s the traditional, plain risotto or tossed with some veggies, like I did tonight, it’s always extra flavorful and creamy.  The biggest flavor comes from roasting the rice with the onion/garlic mixture before mixing in the liquids.  This isn’t the quickest side dish, seeing as it takes about 50 minutes from beginning to end, but it’s totally worth it.  Plus, it’s easy! Just takes a little patience.  Like it’s been said, slow and steady wins the race! What other veggies would you try in this? Let me know!

Risotto 

What you’ll need:

  • 3 1/2 c. low sodium chicken broth
  • 3 c. water
  • 2 T. unslated butter
  • 1 onion, minced
  • salt, to taste
  • 2 c. Arborio rice
  • 1 c. dry white wine
  • 2 oz. Parmesan cheese, grated (1 cup)
  • pepper, to taste

What to do:

  • Bring broth and water to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.  Cover and keep the broth warm over the lowest possible heat.
  • Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add the onion and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook until lightly browned, about 9 minutes.
  • Stir in the rice and cook until the edges begin to try translucent, about 3 minutes.  Add the wine and cook stirring frequently, until it is completely absorbed, about 2 minutes.  Add 3 cups or the warn broth mixture and bring to a simmer.  Cook, stirring occasionally until the liquid is absorbed, about 11 minutes. If adding veggies, like I did, toss them in the last 4 minutes or so of cooking.
  • Continue to cook, stirring in roughly 1/2 cup of broth every few minutes, until the rice is cooked through but is still somewhat firm in the center, about 11 minutes.
  • Stir in the Parmesan.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Enjoy!