Friday, July 31, 2009

Balsamic-Glazed Salmon

I'm still on my search for finding delicious salmon recipes. Without having a grill I often find myself at a dead end. I keep coming across recipes using a cedar plank to cook the salmon on the grill, but I always have to skip over them because I can't put a cedar plank in the oven. This recipe was very good. It has a distinct taste, due to the balsamic vinegar. It was quite and easy to do, which is always a winner.

4 salmon fillets
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 T white wine vinegar
1 T honey
1/3 c balsamic vinegar
4 t mustard
salt and pepper to taste
1 T oregano

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with tin foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Over medium heat cook and stir garlic, white wine, honey, balsamic vinegar, mustard and salt and pepper. Simmer uncovered for about 3 minutes. Arrange salmon fillets on baking sheet and brush with balsamic glaze and sprinkle with oregano. Bake for 12 minutes, or until flesh flakes. Brush fillets with some glaze and serve over rice.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Caramel Apple Pork Chops

It's like apple pie for dinner! I'll admit I do not enjoy pork chops. I don't enjoy pork unless it's slathered in BBQ sauce or some kind of sauce that masks the taste. But my husband does enjoy pork chops and I'm sure he is getting sick of chicken, salmon and meatless. I sucked it up and made this recipe. Now for you other pork chop haters, and I know you are out there, you can substitute the chops for chicken. But the apple part of the dinner was delicious.
4 thick pork chops
1 t olive oil
2 T brown sugar
salt and pepper to taste
1/8 t cinnamon
18 t nutmeg
2 T unsalted butter
2 tart apples (I used Pink Lady Apples), chopped

Preheat oven to 175 degrees and place a medium dish in the oven to warm. Heat a large skillet on medium-high heat. Brush chops with oil and place in hot pan. Cook for 5-6 minutes turning occasionally, until done. Transfer to warm dish and keep in preheated oven. In a small bowl combine all ingredients except butter and apples. Add butter to skillet and stir in mixture and apples. Cover and cook, until apples are just tender. Pour over chops and serve.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Maple Glazed Salmon with Pineapple

This was a delicious salmon recipe. I'm yet to find one that I don't enjoy. We absolutely love salmon in this family. I probably could eat it everyday, okay maybe not every day but at least twice a week. This was super easy to make and while the recipe says it takes 40 minutes it really can be done in under 30 minutes. I always made some adjustments to the recipe, which worked out for the better.

1/2 c maple syrup (I just used Mrs. Butterworth, that's all I have)
2 T mustard
4 6 oz salmon fillets
1 1/2 t kosher salt
1/2 t black pepper
whole fresh pineapple
1 jalapeno, chopped finely
2 c cooked rice

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Meanwhile whisk together maple syrup and mustard over medium heat, bring to boil. Simmer until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and set aside. Place salmon on foil lined baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper. Slice the peel from the pineapple and cut into chunks. Scatter pineapple and jalapeno around salmon. Brush with half syrup mixture. Bake for about 15 minutes or until salmon is done. Serve with rice and drizzle remaining sauce over rice. Serves 4.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


We must really like the South because it seems we are having a lot of food originated from the South. This time we had some delicious jambalaya. It's very similar to the gumbo I make. It's definitely not for the weak. It's has a kick to it, it's so spicy it makes my husband's nose run. If you don't like a lot of spice you can eliminate the Cajun seasoning and do less of the other seasonings. Serve it over some rice.

1/2 lb skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 lb andouille chicken sausage, sliced
1 can diced tomatoes with juice
1 large onion, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
1 c chopped celery
1 c chicken broth
2 t dried oregano
2 t dried parsley
2 t Cajun seasoning
1 t cayenne pepper
1/2 t dried thyme
1 lb shrimp

In a slow cooker mix all ingredients except the shrimp. Cover and cook for 7-8 hours on Low or 2-4 hours on High. Stir in shrimp for last 30 minutes.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Chicken Florentine & Pasta

This was a delicious and easy meal to make. I was able to do most of the work ahead of time and then just pop it into the oven when I was ready for dinner. I served it with some rotini pasta but any type of pasta would work great with it.

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast
1/4 c butter
3 t minced garlic
1 T lemon juice
2 c fresh spinach
1 T Italian seasoning
1/2 c half and half
1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese
1 can cream of mushroom
2/3 c bacon bits
2 c shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350. Place the chicken breast on a baking sheet, bake of 25 minutes or until no longer pink. Remove from heat and set aside. Increase oven to 400 degrees. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in garlic, lemon juice, cream of mushroom, Italian seasoning, half and half and Parmesan cheese. Stir constantly. Arrange spinach over bottom a 9x9 baking dish. Cover the spinach with half of the mixture. Arrange chicken in pan and cover with remaining sauce and mozzarella cheese. Bake 20-25 minutes until bubbly and lightly browned.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Old Bay Shrimp Fest

My husband's grandparents live right on the beach in North Carolina near the boarder of South Carolina, so whenever we go we eat good Southern food. Well we are heading there at the end of Summer and I'm looking forward to the fresh shrimp and crab! To get us ready I made this shrimp fest, just like good ol' Southern cookin. It was delicious. I was originally going to make hush puppies to go with, but I didn't find the corn meal and I didn't have time to shop around so instead I grab a box of Trader Joe's cornbread. Best decision! If you haven't tried it I highly recommend that! And in place of vegetable oil use applesauce, in fact do that with any cornbread recipe. But if you are in the mood for some Southern style cooking, try this, you will be satisfied! You can usually find Old Bay seasoning and the meat and seafood counter in the grocery store and I eliminated the beer.

1/2 C Old Bay Seasoning
2 T salt
4 quarts water
1 can beer
8 red potatoes, quartered
8 ears fresh corn, broken in half
4 pounds large shrimp in shells

In a large pot, bring Old Bay, salt, water and beer to boil. Add potatoes and cook for 8 minutes. Add corn and boil for 7 minutes. Add shrimp for about 4 minutes. Drain cooking liquid and pour contents into a large bowl. Serves 8.

For a real fun way of eating it. Dump contents onto a new paper covered table and just eat off the table.

Special K Cookies

Once a month at my husband's work they have a Friday Birthday treat day. Every other month my husband brings treats. Well at about 9:00 at night the night before he tells me he needs to so he throws some frozen cookie dough in the oven, forgets to set the timer and burns them. It's now 9:30 and we still need to whip something up and all I can think about it taking a shower and going to bed. Then I remembered I had a box of Special K cereal in storage and some peanut butter. My Mom would always make these cookies. They are delicious and incredibly easy to make.

1/2 c sugar
1 c corn syrup
1 c brown sugar
pinch of salt
2 t vanilla
1 1/2 c peanut butter
5 c Special K cereal

In a medium saucepan combine sugar, corn syrup, brown sugar and salt and bring to a boil. Add vanilla and peanut butter and blend together until smooth. In a large mixing bowl mix the peanut butter mixture with the cereal until cereal is covered. Lay out wax paper and drop scoops of peanut butter cereal in tablespoon sizes. Let cool and they will become firm. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Angel's Pasta

It's getting to be a challenge to find vegetarian meals that I know my husband will eat. I try to focus on a lot of vegetables and usually pasta because those are pretty basic and enjoyable. This one turned out really good. I had some left over sliced olives in the fridge so I added that to the mix and it was great. Instead of mozzarella I would try feta cheese. I really enjoy cooking without meat some times because the meals take very little time to make.

8 oz angel hair pasta (I used thin spaghetti)
1 T crushed garlic
1 T olive oil
2 zucchini, sliced
salt and pepper to taste
3 tomatoes, chopped
12 leaves fresh basil
4 oz shredded mozzarella

Bring a larger pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until al dente; drain. Meanwhile, heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Pour in oil and saute garlic until golden. Stir in zucchini, salt and pepper. Saute 2 minutes, then mix in tomatoes and cook a few minutes more. Chop basil and add to vegetables right before mixing with pasta. Combine pasta and vegetables. Serve topped with mozzarella. Serves 6.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Cupcake Bites

A while back I was talking with my sister in law and she was telling me about these cupcake bites her friend gave as wedding favors. She was there to help and told me about how you do it. Well I was intrigued by this concept. Cake rolled into balls and coated with candy? That must be good. And how hard could it be? So I set out for the challenge and I found the exact recipe. Since it's July 4th and we have a BBQ to attend I'll break them out there and impress. Let me tell you it's pretty easy, except when it comes to the dipping the cake in a candy coating and getting it to look seamless. Needless they turned out pretty good. I used vanilla flavored candy melts, but I'm sure chocolate flavored would taste yummy.1 box cake mix (cook as directed on box for 13x9 cake)
1 16 oz can frosting
1-3 pkg candy melts (Micheal's or any craft store carries this, it's by Wilton), it's for the cupcake bottoms and coating
Candy Cup mold

After cake is cooked and cooled completely, crumble into a large bowl. (The texture should be fine/fluffy).
Using a spoon mix thoroughly with frosting. Roll mixture into quarter size balls (make sure they are smaller in diameter than that of your candy molds) and lay on wax paper covered cookie sheet. Chill in freezer for a few minutes, until slightly firm, but NOT frozen. Melt one color of candy melts in microwave, according to package directions.

Using a frosting bag squeeze each mold cavity about half way. Place one of rolled balls into it until the force causes the candy to push up and fill around the sides of the ball. Stop pushing once the chocolate reaches the top edge.

Place the mold tray filled with cupcakes in the freezer for a few minutes to let the candy set. Remove and then gently pull on the cake ball top to release from candy mold. Holding the bottom of the cupcake, dip the top into another color of melted candy. Decorate if you want. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Sweet and Sour Chicken

My Mom made this meal frequently when I was growing up and now it's become a favorite in my household. It's the prefect mixture of sweet and sour. I've had many different type of sweet and sour chicken and this is by far my favorite. Make sure you cover the chicken well with the cornstarch and that it gets crispy when cooking in the wok. Also make sure you using a glass baking dish.

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast
1 egg
vegetable oil

Cut chicken in to 1 inch strips. In a wok or a frying pan pour enough oil that will cover chicken. Dip chicken in beaten egg then cornstarch. Cook in wok, until golden crispy. Remove and place on a paper towels to absorb excess oil. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a glass baking pan pour chicken and sauce* in pan. Cook for 1 hour turning every 15 minutes.


3/4 c sugar
4 T ketchup
1/2 C white vinegar
1 T soy sauce
1/2 t garlic powder
(I often double the sauce)

In a saucepan over heat mix all ingredients together until sugar is dissolved.

Part Time Vegetarians

I discovered this website when searching for reusable swim diapers for my four month old. I love this website and just the other day there was an article on part time vegetarians. Before I had even read this I established it into our weekly menu. It really does cut cost and we are eating way more fresh produce then we ever have. Following this allows us to eat fish, shrimp and red meat more regularly. I also feel better not always eating meat. I've now upped it to two nights a week. And my husband doesn't complain, too much. I'll get him converted eventually. I encourage everyone to become par time vegetarians as well. You'll notice the difference, especially in your grocery bill.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Soy and Ginger Ribeye

Sunday dinners have always been a "special" meal for the week. Growing up it was usually a roast. This Sunday I decided to do a special dinner and made this soy and ginger ribeye recipe. Again this is probably so much better on the grill, but seeing as we don't have a grill I opted for the stove instead. It really didn't take any time, except preparing the marinade ahead of time so that the meat could, well you know, marinade. I paired it with some sweet potato fries, which I declared on Sunday that I enjoy so much more than regular fries. It was a delicious meal. The meat was very tender, but that also depends on where you buy your meat. I'm a huge fan of Trader Joe's, inexpensive and great selection. (If you have one near by seriously shop there you won't go into a chain grocery store again.) And don't forget to add corn since it's that time of the season!

1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup real maple syrup
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1/2 cup Sprite
4 (10 ounce) beef rib eye steaks

In a medium size mixing bowl, combine soy sauce, maple syrup, garlic, ginger root, sesame oil, and hot sauce; mix well to blend. Now add Sprite, and stir lightly to mix.
Place steaks in a casserole dish, and pour marinade over. Using a fork, punch holes in steaks so that the marinade penetrates into the steaks. Turn steaks over, and repeat punching holes. Cover with clear wrap or foil, and let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or longer. You can also refrigerate and marinate overnight. Grilling: Prepare and preheat barbecue to high heat. Place steaks directly on grill and sear one side for about 15 seconds. Turn steaks over and cook for about 5 minutes, then turn over and cook for another 5 minutes for medium-rare, depending on thickness. Stove: Add a little olive oil to pan and let heat up on medium heat. Place meat in pan and good for about 5 minutes on each side. Test for doneness by cutting into the middle of the steak.