Holiday Drink- Pumpkin Pie Martini

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Due to the upcoming holiday, I thought I would share my favorite cocktail. This ones gets me through Thanksgiving to Christmas.

Put a handful of ice cubes into a martini glass, and into the freezer to chill while preparing the mixture. Fill a martini shaker with ice, add 1 part vanilla vodka, and 2 parts pumpkin pie liqueur, dump the ice out of the chilled glass, and gently fill with yummy deliciousness. Double or triple the recipe if you feel like sharing ūüôā

*I use Fultons Harvest Pumpkin Pie liqueur, found at Woodmans.

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Monday Meatloaf Cups and Roasted Veg

turkey meatloaf

This recipe I absolutely love. It makes enough to have leftovers for lunch for the next few days. Grab one of these mini meatloaves and throw together a small easy salad and there ya go!

In a large bowl, mix together with hands: 1 lb of ground turkey, 1 cup of each tiny diced zucchini and red bell pepper, 1/2 cup tiny diced onion, 2 diced garlic cloves, 1 egg, 2 TBS worcestershire, 1 TBS dijon mustard, 1/2 uncooked couscous, and a few twists of freshly ground black pepper.  Grease a muffin pan, and fill each spot with the mixture. There should be just enough for 12. Top each with 1 tsp of your favorite BBQ sauce or ketchup. Bake at 400 for about 25 minutes.

Tonight we roasted brussel sprouts (12) and carrots large(2), because that is what we had in the fridge.  Feel free to substitute with whatever you have handy. The roasting method is the same for any veg.   Trim the stump of the sprouts and cut in half. Peel and trim carrots, slice in half the long way, then in half the other way. T0ss all veg in about 2 TBS evolive oil, salt and fgbp on a baking sheet. Put in oven and cook along with the loaves. Toss and turn them about halfway thru. These should finish about the same time as the meatloaf cups.

PS. The leaves that have fallen off the sprouts during roasting get crunchy and soooo yummy. EAT THEM.¬†Roasting also brings out the natural sweetness in the carrots, making them also very yummy.¬† Aaaaaaand, once the cupcake pan is empty, you won’t feel guilty scraping out the leftover bits, because all the ingredients are way healthy!

 

*Loaves lightly inspired by Allrecipes.com/amyappleseed

 

 

 

 

 

Simple Pesto Pasta

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Start boiling water to cook half box of whole wheat linguine¬†¬†until al dente (save a cup of pasta water before you drain). Pasta can be cooking while completing the ‘sauce’. Cut 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts into 1 inch pieces, and season with salt and fgbp (freshly ground black pepper). I have this amazing basil infused sea salt in a grinder and I used that instead of regular salt, to add more to the basil flavor. Heat 2 TBS EVOO in medium saute pan, add 3 cloves minced garlic, and let warm about a minute. Add the chicken to the pan and cook thru. Splash about 2 TBS white wine (or chicken stock, if you don’t have some wine in your glass) to deglaze the pan. Add a handful rinsed cherry tomatoes. Cook on medium ish until the tomatoes are about to burst, stirring and scraping up the bits on the bottom of the pan, about 4 minutes. Add in the cooked pasta, and 2 spoonfuls of prepared store bought pesto. Slowly add in the pasta water as needed to thin out the sauce. Serve topped with shredded parmesan.¬†

Insanely good!

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I picked this strange combination of flavors in chocolate at Walgreens today. The lemon flavor hits the taste buds right away, and then the black pepper hits as the last, lingering note. Absolutely delicious! Tempted to eat the whole thing! Great stocking stuffer idea for the foodie in your life ūüôā

Stuffed Portobella’s and Arugula Salad

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Simple steps: Oven to 450. Cook large portobella caps top down on baking sheet about 20 mins. Add a layer of you fave marinara (sprinkle with a pinch of red pepper flakes for a bit of heat), a layer of 1 big spoonful ricotta mixed with shredded parm, pinch of arugula, salt and pepper, top with more parm. Bake 10 mins or so.  Salad- whisk juice from half a lemon with squirt of dijon, salt and pepper, and half the amount of juice in ev olive oil. Toss arugula with viniagrette and add halved kalamata olives and sliced green onions.

November Zinfandel

I like wine.  Inexpensive wine. Like under $10.  Once a month, I will review an under $10 bottle of wine for the other cheap wine lovers out there!

Today’s selection is a 2009 California Zinfandel.¬† This Zinfandel has a very berry taste. Sweeter than most Zins I have tried. Sweet up front,¬† light spice on the tongue, and ends with a nice warmth at the end.¬† Definately toss this one around your mouth before swallowing to enjoy all this one has to offer. Worth a try for $7.99 (Copps).¬†¬† Til next month, eat, drink and be merry!

The Goods

11/21/12
Herbs De Provence

This is an amazing herb mixture. Use on chicken, potatoes of all kinds, even scrambled eggs! A jar of this in the spice cabinet is an absolute necessity. Most likely found in any grocery spice aisle.

Margaritaville’s Artichoke Jalepeno Garlic Dip

This dip is to die for! Just spicy enough with the pepper and garlic, without being too overpowering. Grab your favorite tortilla chips and give it a go!¬† Promise this won’t last long at your next party.¬† Found at Hy-Vee.

Sunday Family Dinner

Tradition has it that Sunday Family dinner consists of friends, wine and foods. As of late, we have added in our favorite shows, Dexter and The Walking Dead. Tonight, bestie Elicia and her hubs, Brian, came over and we feasted on Chicken Parmesan lasagne with tomato basil cream sauce, and Herb Garlic bread.

Stuffs for lasagne

3 shredded chicken breasts (easy squeezy, just put in saucepan, covered in water or chicken broth, simmer until fully cooked, then shred when cooled)
12 lasagne noodles, cooked as directed on package
1 14.5oz can diced tomatoes
1 28oz can crushed tomatoes with basil
2 cups sliced portobellos
3/4 cup half and half or heavy cream
1 TBS chopped fresh oregano and 1 TBS chopped fresh thyme
3 TBS fresh basil, chiffonade and extra full leaves
1 tub each cottage cheese and ricotta cheese
2 eggs
2 cups shredded mozzerella
1 cup shredded or grated parmesan
4 cloves garlic diced
3/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
2 TBS evoo
salt and fresh ground black pepper

Do this:

Oven to 375. Heat evoo in large saucepan, add mushrooms and cook until mostly soft, add garlic and half the chiffonade basil, saute for 2 minutes, add diced tomatoes. Stir together, then add in the rest of the basil, the oregano, thyme, and all the crushed tomatoes but save about 3/4 cup. Next stir in half and half and the shredded chicken. Heat thru.

In large bowl, mix together both tubs of cottage cheese, ricotta and eggs. Fresh grind about 2 TBS pepper and a pinch of salt into mixture. Set aside.

In 12×18 casserole dish, spread the remaining crushed tomatoes into bottom of pan. layer 3 lasagne noodles, top with a cup or so of the cheese mixture (spread all over), sprinkle of parm and mozzerella over all. Then cover with a third of the meat sauce. Continue to layer until all ingredients are used. Use the remaining basil leaves and lay them on top. Mix the panko and 3/4 cup of shredded mozz. sprinkle over the top of the lasagne. cover with foil, cook about 40 minutes. remove foil so the top can get crunchy and bubbly, about 10 minutes. Let sit 5 minutes before serving.

G Bread needs:

1 loaf Italian bread
1 stick butter, softened
2 cloves garlic diced
2 TBS chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
1 tsp dried rubbed sage
1 cup crumbled goat cheese (or whatever you like/have)
salt and pepper

oven should be heated to desired temp from lasagne. slice loaf the long way so you have the top and bottom open. mash together the butter, garlic, parsley, sage, salt and pepper. spread over the insides of the bread. crumble the cheese over the butter spread. bake on baking sheet for about 15 minutes. slice into large pieces and enjoy!

Thursday Night 11/15/12

Thursday night is probably my most favorite night of the week. I get to cook dinner or eat dinner out with my second Momma, Deanne.  This has been our ritual for almost two years. Tonight was my turn to cook at her home. We made BBQ Chipotle shrimp tacos with Tomatillo Avocado Salsa, and refried black beans with jicama slaw  (thanks Tex Tubbs).  Sipped on rum daiquiris, we ate til we full.  Fresh and Delish!

BBQ Shrimp Tacos with Tomatillo Avocado salsa

Stuffs
1 lb 16-20 shrimp, peeled, deveined and butterflied*
2 TBS EVOO, separated
pinch of kosher salt
1 1/2 TBS Crazy Cassidy Chipotle BBQ rub (or make a mixture of pinches of paprika, sugar, garlic salt, onion powder, chili powder, black pepper, cumin, and mustard powder. or whatever spicy mixture you like)
Corn tortillas
little bit chopped cilantro and lime wedges for garnish

The Salsa
1 jalepeno tiny diced (please take out ribs and seeds unless you love it suuuuuper hot)
1 small onion tiny diced
1 clove garlic tiny diced
4 ish tomatillos, peeled, scrubbed, and tiny diced
pinch of kosher salt
1 ripe avocado, pitted and medium diced
2TBS fresh ch0pped cilantro

Refried lime black beans
1 can black beans
freshly squeezed lime juice from half lime
quick shake of salt
1 TBS veg oil

Do this:

Heat 1 TBS oil in medium saute pan, add drained black beans, let cook for 3 minutes, start mashing with spatula. Add lime juice and salt. Keep mashing and stirring until done to your liking. Keep on very low heat until shrimp is done. stir occasionally.

Toss shrimp in mixture of EVOO and rub, let sit while making salsa.
Mix together all salsa ingredients in bowl.  Heat 1 TBS in medium saute pan, add shrimp, cook til pink and cooked thru, about 3 minutes total. flip halfway thru. Set aside. Carefully place one tortilla at a time over low flame til warm, then flip. They are much more pliable and easier to manuever when warm.

Scoop salsa and a few pieces of shrimp into tortilla. Beans are a nice side dish. Chips and queso also rules as a side dish. Whatever you like. Serve with lime slices and Margaritas!

*I always butterfly shrimp before cooking. It is an additional simple step. once the shrimp is peeled and deveined, take a sharp knife and create a deeper cut along the curved back of the shrimp (but not all the way through). It is basically deepening the cut made for deveining. what this does it plump up the shrimp while cooking, giving it more texture and maximizes flavor.

salsa recipe adapted from Foodnetwork.com

Quick, Kid-Friendly Dinner

As a single mom of one, I find it somewhat challenging to make us a nice meal without having leftovers. (I don’t love leftovers).¬† I am constantly halving¬†recipes,¬†or passing out¬†the extras. Homemade pizza¬†works out well because¬†we can split it in half and top with what we like. Chessa (my daughter) gets cheese, and my side is a bit more gourmet. This was a perfect meal for¬†just the two of us ūüôā¬†

Simple, Easy and Cheap! and you might even have some of these ingredients already!

Stuffs:

Already made pizza dough (I got Boboli Whole Wheat thin crust)
1/4 cup or so of each bbq sauce and tomato sauce (I had peach bourbon bbq in the fridge; leftover marinara would work too)
1/4 cup¬†corn kernels, drained¬† from can(I get ‘no salt’¬†added when I buy canned goods)
1/4 cup black beans, rinsed and drained from can
 1 cup or so each shredded mozzerella and monterey jack cheeses (or use what you have)

Follow instructions on crust package for heating oven.  Spread the bbq sauce over half the crust and the tomato sauce over the other half.  Sprinkle mozzerella over the tomato side and monterey jack over the bbq. Sprinkle the beans and corn over the bbq side. Add a little more cheese on top. Bake as directed or until the pizza is done to your liking.
I also heated up the remaining corn as a side dish and will use the remaining beans with tacos later in the week.¬† As for the tomato sauce, you can always throw it in a¬†ziploc bag and freeze for future use.¬† Also, make this fun for the kids and let them add their own toppings ūüôā