Normally I hate Mondays, but today marks the start of a holiday week. I only work 2 days this week and then I’ll be busy stuffing my face with the most glorious food ever!
So, I’m always in need of really good, quick recipes in the days leading up to a holiday.
I’m planning out desserts and side dishes.
Maybe thinking about a charcuterie board.
Definitely thinking about cocktails!
I don’t have time to slave away in the kitchen like I normally do. But I still want a good meal.
Don’t we all?
Mexican is usually my go to.
Actually, Mexican is my go to for everything.
I whipped up these fake refried beans the other day for lunch and they hit the spot. They’re fake because we’re going to use canned beans. But they were the perfect filling for a quesadilla and I found myself just sitting in my kitchen and mindlessly eating them right out of the bowl before I left for work.
Ugh. So good!
Pretty sure these beans and that quesadilla will be happening again today.
“Refried” Black Beans
- 2 Tbsp. Oil
- 3/4 C White Onion, diced
- 1/2 tsp. Cumin
- 1 tsp. Chili Powder
- 1 tsp. Kosher salt
- Dash chipotle chile powder
- 1 Garlic clove, diced
- 1 Can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/4 C water
- Bacon fat/grease (optional)
- 2 Tbsp. Cilantro
- Heat oil over medium-high heat in a medium sized skillet. Add onion, cumin, chili powder, salt, chile powder and cook until onion is tender. Add garlic and cook 1 minute longer. Reduce heat to medium.
- Add beans and water. Use a potato masher to mash beans to the consistency that you want. This is also the time to add the bacon fat if you want it. I added about 1/2 Tbsp.
- Serve beans with cilantro.
And i’m over here making a tropical summer dish.
I do this every year. All summer long I can’t wait to crank up my oven and make winter comfort food. And during the cold winter months, I send my husband outside to the grill to make steaks and burgers.
I’m doing it wrong!
Although, this recipe does require you to use the oven for about 25-30 minutes, so technically this can be counted as a fall meal. Plus, for all you die hard summer fans, this will bring summer memories flooding back. And for you shrimp lovers? These are just plain delicious. It’s a win-win-win.
My husband is not a shrimp lover. I think he’s nuts, but then I also figure it just means more shrimp for me and I’m more than okay with that. However, he actually ate a fairly large portion of these and said they were really good and that he would eat them again.
Oh, and the sauce? It’s like dipping your shrimp in a big pina colada.
Yeah, enough said.
Coconut Shrimp with Coconut Pineapple Dipping Sauce
- 1/2 C Flour
- 1/2 C Panko
- 1/2 C Sweetened coconut
- 3 Egg whites
- 1 Tbsp. Coco Real Cream of Coconut
- 34 Extra large shrimp, peeled
- Preheat oven to 375º.
- set up 3 shallow dishes, such as pie plates. In one, place flour. In second, egg whites and Coco Real. In third, Panko and coconut.
- Working one by one, dip shrimp in flour, then egg mixture, then panko mix, coating both sides well. Place on greased baking sheet and spray with cooking spray.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, flipping half way through baking time. Serve immediately with dipping sauce.
- 1 C Sour cream
- 1 C Coco Real Cream of Coconut
- 1 Tbsp. Lemon juice
- 1/2 C Crushed pineapple
- Mix well.
Where did the month go?
Seriously, Halloween is just a few days away. My house is all decorated, inside and out, but I’m not ready! I’m not ready for this month to be over yet!
Please tell me, what are you going to be for Halloween? What are your kids going to be? I love seeing people dressed up in their costumes!
On to this pasta, this is the perfect weeknight fall meal. It’s comforting, hearty, and it comes together in less than 30 minutes, perfect in my book!
If you haven’t made my Parsley Walnut Pesto, now is the time. If you like pesto, you’re going to love this one. It has a peppery bite that is perfect for the fall and winter months, it’s a little heavier in flavor than traditional basil pesto.
Orecchiette with Chicken Sausage and Parsley Walnut Pesto
- 1 Package sweet Italian chicken sausage, diced
- 1/4 C Sweet onion, diced
- 2 tsp. Olive oil
- 1/2 C Heavy cream
- Parsley Walnut Pesto
- 1 Package orecchiette
- Cook pasta according to package instructions, drain and set aside.
- Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a large saute pan. Add onions and cook until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add sausage and cook 2 minutes longer. Remove from pan and set aside.
- Reduce heat to medium-low and add parsley walnut pesto. Stir in heavy cream and stir frequently until completely combined.
- Add pasta and sausage/onion mixture to sauce and toss well. Serve immediately with Parmesan.
I know it’s October, but we have been having some gorgeous weather!
So don’t put your grills away just yet!
Grilling season is definitely coming to an end…unless you’re like my husband and I and insist upon grilling steak in the dead of winter. But the nice grilling weather is quickly coming to an end. At this point you need something worthwhile to grill. Not just plain old burgers, you really want to get the most out of your grill and make something killer, am I right?
Well, I’ve got just the thing!
Cilantro marinated shrimp. This recipe is so good, I have made it 4 times in the last couple of weeks. You can marinate your shrimp for 4 hours or you can marinate it for an hour when you’re pressed for time. Either way, it will be fantastic.
Cilantro Marinated Shrimp Skewers
- 2 Tbsp. Light soy sauce
- 3 Tbsp. Rice wine vinegar
- 3 Tbsp. Lime juice
- 1 Tbsp. Lime zest
- 1 Tbsp. Sesame oil
- 3 Tbsp. Vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 Tbsp. Brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp. Ground coriander
- 1/2 C Chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 lb. Shrimp
- Combine soy sauce, lime juice, lime zest, and rice wine vinegar in a nonreactive mixing bowl. Whisk in oils. Add coriander, brown sugar, and cilantro. Whisk well to completely combine.
- Add shrimp to a large zip top bag and pour marinade over shrimp. Allow to marinate for at least 1 hour, but up to 4.
- Thread shrimp on to skewers and cook on a grill over medium heat, brushing with leftover marinade.
Before you look at these pictures and freak out, they’re dog treats. Definitely not for you to eat…although you could if you were really desperate. Or just plain weird.
I’m not judging.
So, have you ever seen or heard of Himalayan chews?
They’re made from yaks milk somewhere in Nepal. The chews are super hard and they last longer than traditional chews. The only downside is the price. I buy them here and there, but buying 4 in the appropriate sizes for my dogs costs about $60. Himalayan chews are basically a firm cheese that is sliced and then smoked until dry. So I figured it couldn’t be that hard to replicate, well, if you forget the whole yak in the mountains of Nepal part.
My dogs loved these chews and I intend to make them again very soon. Because I have 3 large dogs, I think I’ll make a double batch in the future and try to get bigger/thicker slices for them. The chews worked really well for my small dog, but they didn’t last very long with the big guys. So, if you have small dogs that are 25 pounds or less, these will work well. If you have big dogs I suggest doubling the recipe and cutting thick chunks that are long enough for them to chew on.
Remember, these are meant to be chewed and not swallowed whole. If you have a dog that tends to inhale things without chewing, I don’t suggest these or any hard chew.
Here is my cheese after being hung and then weighed down in the fridge overnight.
DIY Himalayan Chews
- 1 Gallon skim milk
- 3 tsp. Liquid smoke
- 9 Tbsp. Lemon juice
- Cheese cloth
- Line a colander with cheesecloth and set aside.
- Bring milk to a rolling boil over medium heat, stirring often. Be careful not to scald the milk.
- Once boiling, add lemon juice and liquid smoke. As you stir you should start to see the milk curdling.
- Pour milk mixture into colander lined with cheesecloth. The liquid will drain away and you will be left with a pile of cheese curds. Drain well. Pull up the sides of the cheesecloth and squeeze the ball of cheese. Tie the cheesecloth tightly and hang the cheese. I was able to hang my cheese from my kitchen faucet, but in the past I have set a long wooden spoon over a deep pot and tied the ball of cheese to the spoon and set it over the middle of the pot. Allow the cheese to hang for 1-2 hours.
- Pull your cheese down, but leave it in it’s cheesecloth cocoon. Place your cheese on a plate and weigh it down with something heavy. I filled a gallon jug with water and set it on top of the cheese. Leave overnight in the refrigerator.
- Pull cheesecloth off of cheese. Slice the cheese into thick slices and place in a dehydrator. Dehydrate until completely dry. Mine took about 24 hours to dry out.
Ain’t no thing but a chicken wing!
Hey, hey, it’s Friday. Not really, it’s Saturday. I forgot to hit publish yesterday when I wrote this post. Ha! Its been one of those weeks. Sorry peeps.
And it’s football season.
That doesn’t normally get me excited, but hey, if you want to go out and have a beer and eat some chicken wings during the game, i’m down!
What kind of wings do you like?
Personally, I’m a hot wings kinda girl. My husband on the other hand prefers mild (wuss) or garlic Parmesan wings. Sometimes I’ll get honey mustard, but if the restaurant refuses to split flavors, well they all have to be hot with a big side of blue cheese. I rarely deviate from the norm.
These wings are a far cry from my normal order of plain old hot wings. They’re so flavorful that they don’t require any kind of dipping sauce and you can make the marinade as hot or as mild as you want. Of course if you wanted to reserve a little marinade and reduce it down until it’s thick so you can coat the wings one last time once they’re done cooking, by all means go for it. You go Glen Coco!
Chinese Chicken Wings
- 2 lbs. Chicken wings
- 2/3 C Duck sauce
- 2 Tbsp. Sherry cooking wine
- 1 Tbsp. Soy sauce
- 2 tsp. Hoisin sauce
- 1 tsp. Sesame oil
- 2 Tbsp. Vegetable oil
- 2 Large garlic cloves, minced
- 1 Tbsp. Fresh ginger, grated
- 1/4 C Cilantro, chopped
- Sriracha to taste. Start with 1/2 tsp. and work up depending on how hot you want it
- In a non-reactive bowl, whisk together the duck sauce, soy sauce, hoisin, and sherry. Whisk in the sesame oil and vegetable oil until it’s completely combined. Add the ginger, garlic, cilantro, and sriracha and mix well.
- Place chicken wings in a large gallon zip top bag and pour marinade over top. Make sure all wings are coated and covered. Place in the refrigerator and marinate for 6-8 hours.
- Preheat oven to 425º. Place tin foil on the bottom of a baking tray to catch any drips, place a small baking rack on the baking tray and lay your chicken wings on it. Bake for 30 minutes, flip wings over, and brush with leftover marinade from the zip top bag. Bake for 15 minutes more.
* Do not skip the step of placing tin foil on your baking tray. The marinade will drip onto the bottom of the pan and it will burn and you will have a big mess to clean up. Save yourself now! Alternatively, you can grill these wings.
There are only 10 days, including today, left in September.
Where did the time go!?
Last night I looked around and realized that it was already dark and it was only 8 p.m. and then I realized that in a few short months it would be pitch black by 5 p.m. and my life will be all turned upside down and what not. And just when I get used to it, it will be time to set the clocks forward and it will be light out until like 9 p.m. and I’ll think it’s way earlier than it really is and that I have all the time in the world when I most definitely do not! Does anyone else do this? Seriously, please tell me it’s not just me!
Since the days are getting shorter and the temperature is starting to drop I have been in the mood for good comfort food and long days baking fresh bread. I’m starting to go into hibernation mode and I’m really looking forward to winter for some reason. More so than usual. I know, most of you are probably mourning the loss of summer. It seems like everyone loves summer…everyone but me! So sorry for your loss, but i’ll try and make it up to you with lots of good food that might make you actually kind of like this colder weather!
Lets start with this spinach and artichoke pasta recipe. It’s like eating a giant bowl of spinach and artichoke dip, where the dip is wrapped around noodles being all cute and cozy! I mean who doesn’t like hot spinach and artichoke dip? It’s super creamy and with all those greens, you can *almost* lie and convince yourself that you’re getting a full serving of veggies. Actually, you probably only get a full serving if you eat the entire bowl of dip…yep, see how easy that was?
Spinach and Artichoke Pasta
- 10 oz. Pkg frozen chopped spinach, thawed
- 14 oz. Can artichoke hearts, chopped
- 4 Cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 C Onion, diced
- 8 oz. Cream cheese
- 1/4 C Dry white wine
- 1 1/2 Tbsp. butter
- 1 tsp. Flour
- 2 C Milk
- 1 C Parmesan, shredded
- 1 Pkg. 16 oz. Farfalle or bow tie pasta
- Boil pasta according to package instructions. Drain. Set aside.
- Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat and melt butter. Saute onions until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and saute for 1 minute longer. Sprinkle with flour. Turn heat down to medium and add wine, stir for 1 minute. Add milk and simmer for 1-2 minutes, until the sauce starts to thicken a bit. Add cream cheese and Parmesan and stir until completely combined. Add artichokes and spinach to sauce and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Add farfalle to sauce and toss well to combine. Serve immediately, with extra Parmesan for topping.
Friday! Friday! Friday!
I am so thankful that it’s Friday. Its been a long week. I’m looking forward to a lazy weekend. I have a ton of tomatoes that are just begging to get canned! I also plan on making more of my Sun Gold Tomato Pesto this weekend and freezing it. I have been using it a lot lately! I also need to get out in my herb garden, everything needs to be trimmed. Anyone else have an over abundance of herbs that are going nuts in their garden? What are you doing with them?
So, how do you feel about quinoa? Love it? Hate it? Never had it?
I used to dislike it. I didn’t hate it, but I certainly didn’t love it. I tried a cheesy broccoli version years ago and it was just meh. I would rather eat rice or pasta.
There’s always a but.
Breakfast quinoa is delicious! It’s sweet, warm, and comforting. It reminds me a little bit of oatmeal, the way it really sticks to your ribs and satisfies you.
This stuff keeps me full for hours on end. I can eat a bowl of it at 7 a.m. and I won’t be hungry until 1 or 2 p.m.
That’s a very long time in my book!
I have been making this for a few weeks now and I keep a big bowl of it in the fridge, so I can just pull it out and warm it up each morning. Feel free to play around with the fruit, you don’t have to be boring like me and eat it with blueberries every single day.
Morning Blueberry Quinoa
- 1 C Blueberries
- 1-2 tsp. Honey
- 1/2 C Dry quinoa, rinsed
- 1/3 C Water
- 3/4 C Coconut milk, lite or full fat
- 1 tsp. Vanilla paste
- Dash of cinnamon
- Toss blueberries with 1 or 2 teaspoons of honey and lay on a baking sheet. Bake at 450º for 10 minutes.
- Combine quinoa, coconut milk, water, vanilla paste, and cinnamon in a pot. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to low. Allow to simmer for 15 minutes.
- Stir blueberries into cooked quinoa. Serve with additional coconut milk, toasted coconut, and slivered almonds.
Tell me, do you have any plans for your long weekend?
I don’t. I’m planning on a nice long lazy weekend, complete with naps!
Lets chat about these cookies. Please tell me that there is someone out there reading this that loves oatmeal cookies as much as I do.
The love I have for oatmeal cookies makes me feel like a 90 year old grandma. It’s ridiculous. Growing up every kid I knew loved chocolate chip cookies best, not me. Hand me an oatmeal raisin cookie and point me in the direction of the nearest senior citizens home. They get me!
Sugar cookies are a close contender, but even when i’m in a bakery and I look at everything in the case, the oatmeal raisin cookies make my heart skip a beat. Insert laughing/crying face emoji here.
The other night I wanted something sweet and I kept thinking about oatmeal raisin cookies, but it was late and I really didn’t feel like rolling it into a log and sticking it in the fridge for an hour. I wanted something fast and I wanted something immediately. I went down to the basement to peruse my makeshift pantry (aka food hoard), and I found a package of blueberry muffin mix stuffed waaaaay in the back. I dumped a bunch of stuff I had on hand into a bowl and crossed my fingers. Sometimes my lack of patience comes in handy. These cookies are like a cross between a blueberry muffin and an oatmeal cookie. Actually, they remind me of muffin tops, everyone loves muffin tops! Except the kind that spill over your way too tight jeans because you ate way too much the night before, nobody likes those.
Blueberry Oatmeal Cookies
- 1 7oz. pkg Martha White blueberry cheesecake muffin mix
- 1/4 C Vegetable oil
- 1 Tbsp. Milk
- 1/2 C Quick cooking oats
- 1 Large egg
- 1/4 C Light brown sugar
- 1/2 C Fresh blueberries
- Preheat oven to 375º.
- Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl, stir until completely combined.
- Drop batter by rounded tablespoons onto a greased sheet pan.
- Bake 15-18 minutes.
Say hello to your new best friend when it comes to condiments!
I’m also giving you a great way to use up those tomatoes in your garden that haven’t ripened yet. That’s going to happen more and more as the weather starts to turn cold. If you don’t have any green tomatoes, go buy some from the store, make sure you get extra so you can make some fried green ‘maters as well. Yum!
Oh, guess what else this is good as? A burger mix in! Just mix a few tablespoons in with your ground beef and mix well with your hands. It lends a sweetness and a little smoky bacon flavor to burgers, it’s my new go to on burger night!
Green Tomato Bacon Jam
- 4 C Green tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 2 1/4 C Sweet onion, roughly chopped
- 1 C Sugar, white or brown, I used white
- 3 Tbsp. Apple cider vinegar
- 1 1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp. Black pepper
- Dash of Sriracha
- 12 Slices of bacon, cooked until crisp and crumbled
- Combine tomatoes and onions in a large food processor. Pulse a few times until everything is nicely chopped and combined. You can keep this as chunky or smooth as you like it, it’s up to you. I prefer it to be a little smoother.
- Pour tomato/onion mixture into a large pot. Add sugar, vinegar, salt, pepper, and hot sauce. Stir to combine and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and add bacon. Cook until thickened, stirring periodically. It will take about 1 to 1.5 hours. Allow to cool and transfer to jars. Store in refrigerator.