Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Grilled Veggies and Turkey Sausage!

Summer is officially here and with it our some good looking veggies at the supermarket, so why not throw them on the grill? Grilling veggies is a great way to get to enjoy your veggies as it brings out some wonderful flavor. I chose to cook some carrots, zucchini, and yellow squash. The zucchini and squash turned out fantastic, but the carrots needed to cook a little longer to soften up. I plan on trying carrots again as the few pieces that were cooked to crisp tender were delicious.
1lb of turkey sausage
2 large zucchini
2 large summer squash
1 bag of carrot chips
Veggie Wok or a Grill sheet to keep veggies from falling through the grate

1. Set up grill for direct grilling over a hot fire.
2. Slice the zucchini and squash into about 1/2" slices. Spray the carrots, squash, and carrots with Pam or lightly coat with olive oil
3. Cook the squash and zucchini approximately 5 minutes per side depending on the heat of you fire, you want nice grill marks. The carrots will take longer and may need a lower heat to prevent burning. (I wish I had better directions for this, but it's the first time I've roasted carrots this way so be on the look out for a revisit on cooking carrots on the grill.)
4. Slice the sausage as you like and cook till warm.

I like to serve this up on a big platter and let every one dig in.


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Sammie, my daughter, and I whipped these up a few weeks back on a rainy day. They were absolutely delicious and we had a blast making them. Sammie really enjoyed eating them, as did my wife, either on of them could keep their hands out of the cookie jar. I guess I'll have to wait a while in making these again for the sake our waistlines.
Recipe from Better Homes and Garden New Cook Book
Makes 48 cookies
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups rolled oats

1. In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add brown sugar, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and, if desired, cinnamon and cloves. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally, Beat in eggs and vanilla until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in in any remaining flour. Stir in rolled oats.
2. Drop dough by rounded tsp 2 inches apart onto an un-greased cookie sheet. Bake in a 375º oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are golden. cool on a cookie sheet for 1 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.

I wound up with 28 cookies and had to cook them 11-12 minutes in my oven till they had nice golden edges.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Memorial Day Boiler!

On Memorial Day we had a family get together and rather then fire up the grill, as I grill all year long, I decided to try do something I hadn't tried personally and do a Low Country Shrimp Boil. It was a blast and super easy to fix, not to mention we all ate way more than our fill.
I also had to take this opportunity to try some homemade corn bread, you need something to help soak up some broth, right?

Shrimp Boil
large stock pot, a turkey fryer setup works best
1lb Andouille sausage
3lb's red potato
1 jalapeno
5 ears of corn, cut each ear into thirds
3lb's shelled shrimp
Shrimp Boil seasoning
Salt 1tbsp
Pepper 1 tbsp

1.Coat the bottom of the pot with oil and brown the sausage, about 5 minutes. Add the water till the pot is about half full; followed by the potatoes, shrimp boil spice, salt, bay leaves, and black pepper. Let the pot come to a good rolling boil and let the potatoes cook for about 15 minutes. Add the corn and cook till tender, approximately another 15 minutes.
2. Add the shrimp and cook until pink and firm, about 5 minutes.
3. Drain off the water, remove the seasoning pouch, and serve.

Traditionally the boil is spread out on news paper or butcher paper and every one pulls up a chair and digs in. As my family seems to have some fears of germs, I dumped into bowls and dished it out on paper plates.

Corn Bread
Recipe from Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book

1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cornmeal
2 to 3 tbsp sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp butter
2 beaten eggs
1 cup milk
1/4 cup cooking oil or melted butter

1. In a medium bowl stir together flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
2. Add the 1 tbsp butter to a 10 inch cast iron skillet or a 9x1-1/2 inch round baking pan. Place in a 400º oven about 3 minutes or until butter melts. Remove pan from oven; swirl butter in pan to coat bottom and sides of pan.
3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine eggs, milk, and oil. Add egg mixture all at once to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened. Pour batter into hot skillet or pan. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Serve warm.

Now this cornbread was delicious, but I like mine a little sweeter and I put in 3 tbsp of sugar, so either up the sugar or add a tbsp or two of honey for a little sweeter corn bread.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Fettuccine Alfredo

I've always enjoyed Fettuccine Alfredo when I've been out at restraunts, but never really liked anything store bought. I came accross this recipe in my Cooking Light cookbook and it was incredibly quick, easy, and tasty making it great recipe for a week night meal. This recipe also let me do one of the things I have never done before, make a white sauce from scratch. I was impressed with how easy it was and I will be doing this one again, oh and did I mention it's Tot Approved?

2 quarts water
8 ounces uncooked fettuccine
1 tablespoon stick margarine or butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cups fat-free milk
1 1/4 cups grated fresh Parmesan cheese, divided
2 tablespoons tub-style light cream cheese
2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
Freshly ground black pepper

1. Bring water to a rolling boil in a dutch oven. Add pasta;cook 10 minutes or until "al dente." Drain.
2. Melt margarine in a pan over medium heat. Add garlic; saute 1 minutes. Stir in flour. Gradually add milk, stirring with a whisk until blended; cook until thickened and bubbly (about 8 minutes), stirring constantly. Add 1 cup Parmesan cheese, stirring constantly until in melts.
3. Rinse pasta well with hot water. Set aside. Add cream cheese to pan; cook over low heat stirring until it melts. gradually add cheese sauce to melted cream cheese, stirring constantly.
4. Add cooked pasta to sauce mixture, tossing well. Spoon into a serving dish; top with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, parsley, and pepper. Yield 4 servings (serving size 1 cup).

I served it up with a boneless skinless chicken breast that I seasoned with some Italian seasoning and cooked in a covered skillet coated with Pam. It made a great addition to this dish.


Thursday, June 9, 2011

Life Altering Peanut Butter Muffins

Very rarely do I have a recipe that forces me to really think about what ingredients go into a dish or how a dish is prepared, but this recipe has done both, for the simple reason my little girl is allergic to peanuts and this is the recipe that help lead to her diagnosis. You see Sammie's Uncle is allergic to nuts, so we held off trying peanut butter with her until she was communicating well enough to tell us something was wrong. Upon trying these she got a rash and a persistent cough, which was quickly followed by a dose of Benadryl and a call to the doctor. We had a doctor visit and a blood draw that day, she did excellent through it all. When the results came back, she tested positive for being allergic to peanuts only, but the doctor suggested avoiding all nuts and any thing else that states it "may contain peanuts" to try and avoid the possibility of cross contamination. We have gone through our cabinets and cleared out all the items that either contain nuts or may contain nuts, it's surprising what things were discarded. We have begun looking for alternatives in preparing some of our favorite foods, like no bake cookies and Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches, so be on the look out for some reviews on alternative foods and recipes.

(In light of my daughters reaction no picture was taken, as the muffins were quickly quarantined and removed from the house.)

Recipe from Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld
Nonstick cooking spray
1 cup firmly packed light or dark brown sugar
1/2 cup natural peanut butter
1/2 cup carrot or cauliflower puree
1/2 cup banana puree
1 large egg white
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

1.Preheat the oven to 350F. Coat a 12 cup muffin tin with cooking spray or line with paper baking cups.
2. In a large bowl, mix 1/2 cup of the brown sugar with the peanut butter, the vegetable and banana purees, and the egg white, using a wooden spoon.
3. Put the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl or zipper-lock bag and stir or shake to mix. Add to the bowl with the peanut butter mixture and stir just to combine (the batter will be a little lumpy-do not over mix). Add the remaining 1/2 cup of brown sugar and stir once or twice.
4. Divide the batter among the muffin cups and bake until the muffins are lightly browned and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center, 15 to 20 minutes. Turn the muffins out onto a rack to cool.
5. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days, or wrap individually and freeze for up to 1 month.


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Grilled Tot's and Corn on the Cob!

I've been wanting to expand just what I'm cooking on the grill this year and I came up with the idea of trying tator tot's on the grill. Now I know this is probably taking things a bit far, but they were absolutely delicious! They were a huge hit at dinner and added a wonderful flavor that baking in the oven just doesn't have. I cooked them on a grill sheet that is stainless steel and has a bunch of the wholes to allow the heat and smoke to come through and into the food. I also sprayed them down with some Pam and used a large flipper to continually turn them to help prevent them from burning. This is one of those dishes that can not be left unattended as they can burn quite quickly and need to be turned a lot to keep them cooking even. I hope you give it a try because it's so worth trying.
I also cooked some corn on the grill that night and it was the first time that our little girl had corn on the cob, she was thrilled to get the chance to try it. When I told her that she was going to get to try corn on the cob for dinner she began dancing and jumping around the room yelling "Yea! Corn on the Cob!!!". It was so much fun to see her so excited to get to try something new and she loved it. I cut the ear of corn into thirds and she cleaned off her one serving with a grin and butter from ear to ear.
This is how I fix my corn on the cob and my wife loves it, mainly because she LOVES garlic.Tear enough foil to cover one ear of corn, coat the corn with a thin layer of butter, season with garlic salt and wrap in foil. It's that easy! Now just place the corn on the grill for about 25-30 minutes at medium-high heat and your done. I found that placing the corn on the warming rack of my gas grill before I put anything else on or even have anything else ready to go is the best way to do it. The corn comes out tasty, not over cooked, but cooked through and perfect every time.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Tri-pepper Pasta Salad

This recipe was delicious, but it's best suited as a side dish as it's not very filling. I served it up with some lunch meat in an attempt to make it a little more filling, but stay on the light side, and it didn't do very well at that. Also it wasn't well received by my little girl, so no Tot approval for this one. But the next time you need a pasta salad for a picnic this is your dish, it would be great for a potluck.
I ussually cook a whole box of pasta when I'm trying to feed our family of 3, so I found that making more of the mayo mixture may be neccessary. It's realy easy as a simple 50:50 mixture of mayo and balsamic vinaigrette is all that's needed to make this mixture.

Recipe from Kraft Food & Family spring magazine

Whisk 1/3 cup each Kraft Mayo with Olive Oil Reduced Fat maynnaise and Kraft light balsamic vinaigrette Dressing in a large bowl.

combine mayo mixture with 2 1/2 cups cooked whole wheat medium shell pasta, 1 each chopped red, green and yellow pepper, 1 chopped small red onion, 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil and 1/2 cup Kraft Shredded parmesan Cheese.

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