Thursday, April 3, 2014

Lemon Garlic Asparagus Shrimp Skillet


It has been a while.
I have been MIA.
For six months in fact.



I got a full time job and on top of another part time job, family and 3 big nonprofit events I have not had time to blog. In fact, I have barely had time to cook (or breathe). I am learning to breathe and cook again. But my meals have to be fast and easy. We are already eating at 8 pm a lot of nights.

Life has been a huge adjustment over the past 6 months. HUGE! But I am ready to blog a little again. And it took spring time and my favorite veggie to get me back to my food blog. I am feeling especially inspired by asparagus.

So here is a little something fast -- 15 minutes of fast delicious and almost from scratch -- featuring my fave veggie right now.

This was so delicious. I wish there were leftovers. I served it over some couscous that was flavored with garlic and olive oil.

One little side note: I will cut the asparagus into smaller pieces next time.

Lemon Garlic Asparagus Shrimp

1 LB precooked frozen shrimp (This makes it even faster and easier
1 TB of coconut oil (or olive oil)
2 minced cloves of garlic
1 TB of lemon juice
1/2 Cup of mushrooms cut into chunks
1 bundle of asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2-3 inch pieces.
Kosher salt to taste. I used at least a 1/2 tsp.
Shredded parmesan cheese (optional)

Heat coconut oil in skillet over medium high heat.
Saute garlic for 30 seconds in skillet.
Add asaparagus, mushrooms, salt and lemon juice.. Stir to coat. Cook covered for 5 minutes.
Add frozen shrimp and cook for another 3-5 minutes or until asparagus is desired tenderness and shrimp is heated through.

Top with parmesan cheese if desired. Serve over couscous.

Simple, elegant, fast. Right up my alley. 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Cranberry Almond Granola

So good, gone in less than a day. 
In an effort to be an awesome mom that makes after school snacks for her kids every once in a while, I decided to make a delish Pecan Peanut Butter Granola found at Chocolate, Chocolate and More. 

Simple ingredients that came straight from my pantry -- it is an amazing recipe. Fast and addicting.  I decided I wanted another version of this tasty recipe and I definitely wanted MORE. I doubled her recipe and changed it up a little. Check out her original Pecan Peanut Butter Granola and then make a batch of this tasty Cranberry Almond Granola version. Half of my family liked the Pecan Peanut Butter better, while the other half liked the Cranberry Almond. Luckily, it is easy to make this recipe and so it was easy to make two versions for the kiddos that literally ate up all of both granola versions by the next day. 

Awesome mom for the day goal achieved. 
Cranberry Almond Granola
Feel free to double (I wish I had made more)
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 Cup slivered or chopped almonds ( I don't suggest the sliced almonds)
  • 1/2 Cup of dried cranberries. 
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Combine peanut butter and honey in a  bowl and microwave about 20 seconds, until peanut butter melts. Stir to combine.
  3. Stir in cinnamon and vanilla. 
  4. Add oats and dried cranberries and almonds and stir until completely coated with peanut butter mixture.
  5. Spread out on prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes until granola starts to brown.
  6. Remove from oven and let cool completely to allow to harden. 

Friday, September 6, 2013

Cranberry Chocolate Pie and the Humble Pie Cookbook

Happy Dance! Happy Dance!

Photo by Ali Eisenach of Lemon Poppy Inc.

My sweet friend Ali Eisenach, who happens to be an amazing photographer and cookbook author just told me today she is going to use my recipe for Chocolate Cranberry Pie in her upcoming cookbook Humble Pie coming out this October. I am beyond giddy at the photo she took (see it above) that is thousands of times better than my original photo. Plus, I already have a copy of the cookbook reserved. I reserved it during her kickstarter campaign that ended up funding. I am just happy that she was able to find cranberries at this time of year so she could taste test and photograph this pie recipe I came up with last year. I love to create a new pie recipe each year. What shall I do this year?

For all of you Utah readers, Ali is a regular contributor on Studio 5. She and her fun pie party idea she had this summer are also featured in the fall issue of Elan magazine available on shelves or available to download online today. http://elanwoman.com/the-magazine There may be a few sneak peaks of pie recipes in this article (I know because I wrote the article). Go love Ali's Lemon Poppy facebook page here https://www.facebook.com/LemonPoppyInc.

I made the original recipe as mini pies but the recipe works just as well for a full pie.

Cranberry Chocolate Mini Pies

Cranberry Chocolate Mini Pies
Makes 12 mini pies or one 9 inch pie 

Ingredients
12 mini graham cracker pie crusts or 1 graham cracker crust (I actually bought the pre-made crusts that come 6 to a pack. But you can make your own as well.)


1 Bag Fresh Cranberries
1 1/2 Cups of Sugar
1/4 Cup flour
zest from 1 orange
1 1/2 TB of cocoa powder

Nutella (about 12 Tsp)

Streusel Topping
1/2 Cup chopped pecans
1/2 Cup brown sugar
1/4 Cup flour
1 tsp shortening

Create streusel by mixing finely chopped pecans with brown sugar and flour. Cut in shortening with a fork.

Pie Directions:
Heat oven to 375 degrees. 

Chop cranberries ( I used a food processor) and add sugar, flour, zest and cocoa. Pulse in food processor to mix together.

Spread a tsp of Nutella into each graham crust or slather it on to a full pie crust. Top with about 1/4 cup of cranberry filling for mini pies or fill just to rim on a full pie. Top each pie with streusel. 

Place pies on foil lined baking sheet and bake 20-30 minutes or until topping is golden brown and filling is cooked. 

Let cool. 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Slow Cooker Fresh Tomato Soup


It is true, I consider myself simpatico with all things tomato. I love fresh tomatoes straight from the garden and I love things made with fresh tomatoes. However, I have never loved tomato soup. Ever! Until this week, that is.

My poor husband loves tomato soup but I never make it since my kids and I have never been fans. I decided I had deprived the poor guy long enough and so I promised to make up some tomato soup and freeze the leftovers for him for late night snacks and sick days. I thought there would be lots of leftovers because I have never liked tomato soup.

Turns out I can change. At least when the recipe calls for fresh tomatoes. I loved this soup and it was so easy to make. Double tomato soup bonus points. I came up with this recipe by combining bits and pieces of several other recipes.

And that is how a new recipe is born. There were fewer leftovers than planned.

Slow Cooker Tomato Soup

 6 -8 servings

7 to 8 fresh garden tomatoes (I used a combination of San Marzano paste tomatoes and other slicing tomatoes.)

1 medium white onion chopped
2 garlic cloves chopped
1 carrot chopped
1 celery rib chopped
1 TB brown sugar
1 Tsp dried basil
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp paprika
2 TB tomato paste
1 1/2 cans or appx. 2 cups of chicken stock.

shredded Parmesan cheese
milk

Chop and quarter tomatoes. I also removed most of the seeds.
Add all ingredients except milk  and Parmesan cheese to slow cooker.
Cook on low for 4 hours.
After done cooking, use an immersion blender or blender to blend tomato mixture until smooth and frothy.
To create a creamier soup add about 2 TB of milk to each bowl of soup and top with shredded Parmesan cheese.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Shrimp Pomodoro Pasta



Pomodoro pasta -- I dream of you all year. Right up until my tomatoes are ripening on the vine. So fresh and delicious, I love this pasta fanatically. I also love some shrimp with my pasta. This is a simple, fast and fresh tasting dinner perfect for a hot summer night.

I used shrimp that was frozen and already precooked. Because, it was simpler that way.


Pomodoro Pasta

1 box of angel hair pasta.
1/4 Cup of left over pasta water
4  chopped fresh tomatoes ( depends on what you have coming out of your garden. I say the more the better)
3 Cloves of garlic minced
1/2 white onion minced
1 pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
2 Tb of fresh basil, sliced thin
2 Tsp of olive oil
1 Tb of balsamic vinegar.
Salt to taste. This really depends on the acidity of your tomatoes.
1 Lb shrimp (thawed, precooked)
1/4 Cup of shredded Parmesan cheese

1. Prepare angel hair pasta.
2. While cooking pasta, combine tomatoes, basil, salt, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Let sit for about 10 minutes for flavors to marry.
3. Saute onion and red pepper flakes in a little olive oil. When onion gets translucent add garlic and saute for 15 to 30 seconds. Remove from pan and toss with tomato mixture.
4. Add shrimp to pan and saute until just warm.
5. Optional. Add tomatoes on top of shrimp and warm for 30 seconds to a minute. Add reserved pasta water to pan.
6. Drain pasta, add about a TB of olive oil, Parmesan cheese and toss pasta.
7. Serve pasta with shrimp, pomodoro tomato mixture and additional Parmesan cheese.


Monday, August 5, 2013

Flash Freeze Fruit For Smoothies

Because frozen fruit at the grocery store is priced OUTRAGEOUSLY, we are busy flash freezing berries and cherries around here. I have a daughter who loves to make herself fruit smoothies. So in preparation for school starting we are buying up seasonal fruit (when it is at its best price) and flash freezing it for smoothies. Flash freezing fruit keeps it from turning into a big giant mushy mess in the freezer. Cherry season is almost over around here so we are buying cherries while they are only $2.50 a pound.

How to flash freeze.

Rinse fruit and pit or chop if necessary. Peaches are good peeled and sliced or chopped into chunks. We use a cherry pitter that removes pits from 4 cherries at a time. I found it in the kitchen section of Ace Hardware.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Place fruit on lined cookie sheet in a single layer. Place in freezer for a 2 or 3 hours. Remove from freezer and place in freezer bags. Keeps for several months.

Smoothies and berry tarts here we come.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Meatball Tatertot Casserole




This is the easiest cheater recipe ever. I totally made it up one night when I was suffering from a migraine. Those things steal my days away sometime and I simply can't put a lot of effort into a meal. I still had to feed the family and this is what I dreamed up.

It was a complete shot in the dark. I am sure someone has thought of this before. It is that simple. 

Funny part -- everybody liked it. My son and his friend even went back for seconds. Which is perfect because this is the kind of meal a college boy can easily make on his own someday. I have mentioned before that my son loves meatballs -- especially the frozen precooked meatballs that just need to be heated. Some day in college I know he is going to live off big bags of meatballs. This recipe is a great alternative from meatball subs and spaghetti.

Meatball Tatertot Casserole. 
1 Bag of frozen tatertots
About 20-25 meatballs
2 Cups of shredded cheddar cheese
1 20 oz can or larger of spaghetti/marinara sauce
1 red pepper sliced (optional)
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Heat oven to 450.
Line a 9x11 casserole dish with foil
Place frozen tater tots on bottom of casserole dish
Top with meatballs
Top with 1 cup cheese
Top with sliced peppers (if using. I only put them on half of the casserole)
Dump spaghetti sauce over the top.
Top with 1 more cup of cheese and  parmesan cheese.

Place in oven and cook 35-45 minutes or until meatballs and tater tots are heated through and cheese is melted.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Coconut Apricot Ice Cream


It is apricot season. I bought a whole box because I NEED apricot jam to last me through the year. But I could not resist making some ice cream with these little beauties. 
We have a lactose intolerant child in our home. And one of the tragedies of summer is how often she has to pass up ice cream. It really is not fair to an 8 year old. So, I decided to make a dairy free version for her. 

Instead of milk or cream I used coconut milk (from the can not the carton) to make this fruity treat for her and the family. I really love it. It has more of a creamy sherbet consistency than homemade ice cream. That just makes me love it all the more. I actually prefer frozen yogurt, gelato and sherbet over ice cream most days. It is just a little lighter and refreshing.

I also love the hint of coconut. I have declared my love of all things coconut in the past on this blog. So we won't go there today. But the coconut flavor is subtle and not overpowering at all in this ice cream.

Eat this plain or add some chocolate syrup. 
Doesn't it just look like summer in a bowl?


Coconut Apricot Ice Cream

3 Cups of apricots chopped
1/2 Cup of water
1/2 Cup Sugar
1 Cup of coconut milk (from a can, not lite)
3 drops of almond extract
1 tsp of lemon juice

Directions:
Cook apricots with the water in a small saucepan over medium heat until tender, about 8 minutes, Stir occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in the sugar until fully dissolved. Let cool until room temperature.Plan on letting it rest about 15 to 20 minutes.

Once cool, puree the mixture in a blender or food processor until smooth.  Stir in the cream, almond extract, and lemon juice.

Chill mixture  in fridge for 6-8 hours or overnight.

Freeze in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions.
It will be really soft serve straight from the ice cream maker. To harden place in a freezer container and freeze for an hour or two. 


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