Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Queen's Carrot Ginger Soup

Ginger Carrot Soup 
adapted from Aunt Lynn aka THE QUEEN's Christmas Eve Menu
(I love her)

I eat this soup every Christmas Eve at my Aunt Lynn's house. It is my favorite soup of all time and I crave it every year when September rolls around. This year I decided to try to make it on my own. I took what I knew from my Aunt Lynn and made up my own recipe. It is easy and so delicious! Serve with crusty bread or grated cheese. Mmmmm.

1/2 large vidalia onion - chopped
2 cloves garlic - minced
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 lbs carrots - peeled, sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
2 inch piece Ginger - shredded
5 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon pepper
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 cup Half and Half or heavy whipping cream

1. Melt butter over low heat in a dutch oven. Add onions, garlic, and olive oil. Cook until onions are translucent.
2. Add carrots, ginger, chicken broth, pepper, and salt. Stir and turn heat up to medium. Cook for 25 minutes. Use an immersion/hand held blender to blend the carrots and the broth.  
3. Stir in half and half slowly. Turn heat down to med-low and cook for 15 more minutes. Use the immersion blender to make sure you have blended everything. Your soup should be thick, but not chunky!


Monday, June 27, 2011

Tinfoil, Olive Oil, and a Grill

Mr. Bear and I have been trying to get healthy the past few weeks - more healthy than we usually do. I have cut out white flour (breads, pasta, crackers, etc) from my diet and he has added more protein to his diet. We went to the grocery store and walked around trying to figure out what we could make for dinner that would be low-fat, high protein, and EASY. 

Here is what we settled on...
Red Potatoes

2 Tilapia Fillets
1 tablespoon minced flat leaf parsley
1 tablespoon Jan's crazy salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
Olive Oil
Heavy Duty Tinfoil - 1 large sheet

1. Pat the fillets dry using a paper towel. On top of a large piece of heavy duty tinfoil, sprinkle both sides of the fish with crazy salt and pepper. Drizzle both sides with olive oil.
2.  Ignite your grill - allow to heat to 400 degrees. Place the tinfoil on the grill. Cook the fish for 3 minutes on both sides - or until the fish flakes when touched with the fork. 

4 Red Potatoes - scrubbed/washed
Crazy Salt
Black Pepper
Garlic Powder
Olive Oil
Heavy Duty Tinfoil - 2 large sheets

1. Cut the potatoes into bite sized pieces. Place them in a bowl. Drizzle with olive oil until all potatoes are coated. Season with salt, garlic powder, and pepper.
2. Dump potatoes on a double layer of heavy duty tinfoil. Fold up sides of tinfoil to create a pouch for the taters to cook in. Make sure there aren't any openings in the tinfoil folds.
3. Place on a hot grill (400 degrees) and cook for 15 minutes on each side.  

1/2 lb shrimp - de-veined, tails removed
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
Small bunch of fresh parsley, thyme, and rosemary
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon crazy salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
Cooking spray
Heavy duty tinfoil - 2 sheets (layered)

1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.
2. Spray tinfoil with cooking spray. Dump shrimp on tinfoil and spread out so they are all laying flat.
3. Cook shrimp on top of the tinfoil on the hot grill for 2 min on each side (or until the shrimp are pink and have curled). Remove the herbs before serving.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Satan-ed Eggs (aka Deviled Eggs)

Since I made this recipe up... I can't call it Deviled Eggs what with there being a million recipes for "Deviled Eggs" out there in cooking land. My recipe was inspired by... My Mom and Aunt Donna. It's how they told me to make them, and then I added in my own pizzazz.

6 large eggs
1/2 cup Mayo
2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire
1 tablespoon Nutmeg
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon garlic salt

1. In a saucepan, cover the eggs with cool water. Cook eggs on med-high for 15 minutes. Drain eggs and rinse in cool water. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
2. Peel the shell from the eggs. Carefully cut the eggs in half and remove the yolk. Place the yolk in a mixing bowl. Smash with a fork/spoon until smooth. 
3. Add the mayo, mustard, Worcestershire, nutmeg, hot sauce, salt, pepper, garlic salt, and parsley. Mix until creamy smooth. 
4. Use a teaspoon to spoon the mixture into the eggs. Sprinkle the tops with paprika. Enjoy!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Scallops and Shrimp in Prosciutto Tomato Cream Sauce

After the Celebrity Cruise we went on last week, Mr. Bear and I were craving something warm, creamy, and seafood-y. One of Mr. Bear's favorite dishes is Penne al la Vodka - which is usually made with jarred sauce. For our big Saturday night meal, I decided to make my own sauce - a tomato cream sauce - and throw in a little Prosciutto for a meatier taste. I used shrimp, large scallops, onions, and fresh herbs along with the Penne. As Mr. Bear gobbled up his dinner, he told me with his mouth full, "This is better than anything we ate on the cruise - better than anything you've ever made!" I had to agree, neither of us stopped eating until we were about to burst. And the next day... the pasta was STILL good cold!  

¾ pounds Penne Pasta
1 pound Shrimp, de-veined and detailed
6 large Scallops
4 slices Prosciutto
5 Tablespoons Butter 
4 Tablespoons Olive Oil 
1 whole Vidalia Onion (small)
2 cloves Garlic, diced
½ cups White Wine - Chardonnay is my fav
1 can Diced Tomatoes in Oregano, Basil, Garlic (8 Oz)
1 can Tomato Paste
1 cup Heavy Cream
Fresh Basil - 1/2 cup, cut into slivers
Parmesan Cheese
Salt To Taste
Pepper To Taste

1. Cook penne until al dente in salted water. Drain and set aside.
2. Slice and dice onion (size of piece is your preference). Dice garlic (or crush if you prefer).
3. In a cast iron skillet, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1/2 tablespoon diced garlic. Over medium- low heat, cook 1-2 minutes. Add shrimp, turn heat up to medium, and cook until the tails curl and the shrimps turn pink. DO NOT OVERCOOK (I did about 1-2 min for each side). Remove shrimp, place in a large glass bowl, cover with tinfoil.
4. Add 2 tablespoons of butter to the skillet. Melt over med heat. Cut prosciutto into small pieces. Add to the skillet. Lay scallops on a paper towel and pat both sides dry. Season each side with salt and pepper. Add to skillet and cook 3 minutes for each side. Remove scallops, place in a glass bowl, cover with tinfoil. 
*There will be butter/oil residue in the skillet, as well as the pieces of proscuitto. Leave these here for taste.
4. In the same skillet, add two tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add remaining garlic and the onions. Cook until onions are translucent. Add white wine and cook 4 minutes. Add diced tomatoes and can of tomato paste. Stir and cook sauce for 8 minutes over med-low heat..
5. Turn the heat down to low. Slowly add in your heavy cream and stir using a wooden spoon. Season with salt and pepper. 
6. While your sauce simmers on LOW heat, place your shrimp on a cutting board and slice into bite sized pieces. Add to the sauce. Place your scallops on the cutting board and carefully slice your scallops into bite sized pieces. Add to the sauce. Stir and cook on low heat for 4 minutes.
7. Add pasta and stir so that all pieces are coated with sauce. Sprinkle 1/2 chopped Basil into the pasta and stir. Season with salt and pepper if needed. 

**Excuse my poor photos, my camera flash is not working!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

J.Christian's Restaurant: Cavatelli

If I could recreate this dish... I would. It is the Cavatelli from J.Christian's in Wallingford, CT. 

**Homemade ricotta dumplings, lobster meat, pea puree, prosciutto di parma, mascarpone**

I highly recommend this dish for lunch if you are ever in Wallingford, CT!!!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Italian Chicken, Broccoli, Onions with Pesto Pasta

One of Mr. Bear's Favorite Easy Dinners (inspired by the H's chicken, brocc, and pasta dinner)

2 heads broccoli - chopped
1/2 white onion - chopped
spray Pam
olive oil
Jan's crazy salt
4 chicken breast tenderloins
1/2 cup Italian dressing
1 box thin spaghetti
1/4 cup store bought pesto
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper

1. Marinate chicken in Italian dressing for at least 1 hour in the fridge.  
2. Drizzle olive oil on a cold skillet. Turn on medium heat and add onions. Cook for 3 minutes and add broccoli. Spray broccoli and onions with Pam. Season with crazy salt (I use lots - use however much you like). Cook over medium heat until onions and broccoli are softened (15 minutes). 
3. While broccoli and onions are cooking, spray a skillet with Pam and place over medium heat. Add chicken. Cook 6 minutes on each side. I like to cut my chicken while it is cooking into bite sized pieces. Drizzle with Italian dressing and season with salt and pepper. 
4. Boil salted water in saucepan. Add spaghetti. Cook until soft. Drain and place back into saucepan. Add pesto and parmesan cheese, stir until pasta is coated. If pasta is dry, add olive oil.  
5. Assemble veggies, pasta, and chicken on a plate. Top with crazy salt and more grated cheese. ENJOY!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Broccoli Black Olive Bread

Sadly I forgot to take a picture of the stuffed bread I made for the Super Bowl last night - 
so this photo from RachelRay will have to suffice.  

1 storebought pizza dough - allow to rise at room temp
2 cups chopped broccoli
1/4 cup diced white onion
1 clove minced fresh garlic
1 can black medium pitted olives, sliced
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon garlic salt
Cooking Spray
Olive Oil
A small cup of milk (any kind)
large cookie sheet
pastry brush

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Drizzle olive oil in a medium skillet. Cook white onion and garlic over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add broccoli, season with salt, pepper, red pepper, and garlic salt. Cook broccoli until bright green (5-6 min). Allow to cool 2 minutes.
2. Spray a large cookie sheet with cooking spray. Use flour to coat your hands before handling the pizza dough - on a clean flour coated counter, roll the dough to a size that is big enough for your cookie sheet. Transfer the dough to the cookie sheet.
3.  Place broccoli in the center of the dough. Top with olives and shredded cheese. Fold both sides of the dough up over the broccoli and press the edges together - you should have a dough-y log. Seal the ends of the dough together by folding the dough in together (as if you were wrapping a gift). 
4. Carefully flip the bread over so that the seam is on the bottom. Use the pastry brush to paint the dough with the milk. Bake for 30 minutes - wetting the dough with the milk every 8-10 minutes. 
5. Serve with your favorite marinara!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Celeina's Salad

My favorite salad is made by my mother-in-law, Celeina. It is so easy and quick to make and SO delicious. I love it served alongside anything and everything from pizza to pasta to crab legs to a big chunk of Ciabatta bread. The salad is amazing on its own as well. 

3 heads Romaine lettuce - chopped into bite sized pieces
1 jar sundried tomatoes in olive oil - chopped 
1 cup pitted Kalamata olives - chopped
1 container herbed Feta cheese crumbles
3/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons Jan's Crazy Salt

Combine everything in a bowl and DIG IN!

Broccoli Vodka Sauce Pizza

1 bag pre-made pizza dough
1 bag shredded mozzarella
1 cup Vodka Sauce
1 cup diced canned tomatoes 
1 bag cut broccoli florets
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
spray pam
1 tablespoon crazy salt
*Optional: Kalamata Olives, Sundried Tomatoes, Artichoke Hearts

1. Allow the dough to rise in the bag for atleast 1 hour in a warm area. 
2. Preheat the oven to atleast 500 degrees F. Cook the broccoli in a skillet, or a wok, over medium heat. To keep it low in cal/fat, use the spray pam to  keep the broccoli moist and from sticking. Season with Crazy Salt, or your favorite seasoning. Cook for 5 minutes or until the broccoli is bright green and still firm to taste.
3. When the dough is big a puffy, punch it down on a floured surface. Use your hands (or a roller) to flatten to the dough out to whatever shape you are cooking on. 
4. Use flour or cornmeal to coat the cookie sheet or baking stone. Transfer the dough carefully. Top with the diced tomatoes and vodka sauce. Add the broccoli, shredded mozz, and parmesan cheese. Add optional diced kalamata olives, sundried tomatoes, and artichoke hearts.
5. Cook pizza for 30 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and crust is soft, but firm.

Serve alongside a small salad!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

PatSam's Hot Wings

 Here is the recipe for my Dad's FAVORITE Hot Wings. They are SO easy, so tender, and so good!

1 stick Land O'Lakes Non-Salted Butter, plus 1/4 stick butter
1/2 Large Bottle Frank's RedHot Thick Original Sauce
12 Chicken Wings/Wingettes

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a medium saucepan, heat the RedHot Sauce over medium-low heat. Add the stick of butter and turn the heat to low. Cook for 10 minutes.
2. Place the 1/4 stick butter in a microwave safe dish and cover with a paper towel. Melt the butter in the microwave for 30-45 seconds.
3. Pour the melted butter in a large glass baking dish. Add the chicken. Drizzle the heated RedHot/Butter mixture over the chicken. Use a large spoon to make sure that all of the chicken is coated.
4. Bake the wings uncovered for 40 minutes - checking  and stirring the wings around in the sauce every 10 minutes. You must make sure the wings stay moist or they will dry out!
5. Serve alongside blue cheese dressing and celery!  

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Vegetarian Tex Mex Naan

This looks kinda yucky but tastes AMAZING!

Since I can't really eat meat anymore (my tummy won't digest it), I have been exploring the wonderful world of "fake meats." I picked up Lightlife Smart Tex Mex the other day and fell in love. It tastes just like a meaty-beany southwestern filling and would be great in a burrito or used in an enchilada recipe!

I decided to warm this up, place it on some Trader Joe's Naan bread, top with salsa, cheddar cheese, and romaine lettuce. MMMMMMMM was it good!!! I definitely recommend this concoction if you are looking for a very filling, absolutely delicious, meatless meal sometime soon! Try it out...I dare ya!

1/2 bag Lightlift Tex Mex (heated following directions on bag)
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/8 cup shredded Romaine letter
Chunky spicy salsa (however much you like!)
1 piece Trader Joe's Naan Bread (cooked in toaster oven on 400F for 5 min)