Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Grilled Shrimp with Anchovy Butter

Heeeeeeeeeey!!! I am SUPER excited to announce that we're officially in the new house. Squeeeeeeeee! It's been a crazy whirlwind these last few months but we're settling in and, shockingly, we're finding that this house already feels like home. Here are some photos of our new digs, including the listing photo of the kitchen:

Home pics

Home pics

Home pics

I'll admit, I was a bit nervous about cooking in this kitchen. It may look nice, but it was most definitely NOT designed by someone who enjoys cooking. For starters, there's no triangle. And insufficient storage. Heck, there isn't even a silverware drawer. Needless to say, a kitchen remodel is on the horizon...just as soon as we save up the necessary funds to do it right. We'll be knocking down the wall where the stove is and expanding into the space that was previously the dining room. That's why we turned the formal living room into the dining room.

Shrimp with anchovy butter

Sigh. We are just so in love with the space, the neighborhood, everything. I still can't quite believe we pulled it off. But enough about the new house...on to the recipe! I first had grilled shrimp with anchovy butter at least 20 years ago (likely closer to 25...eeek!) at Hamilton's Grillroom. It's been a staple on their ever-changing menu for all this time, and for good reason - it's delicious. And so simple. They serve massive shrimp at the Grillroom, but all I had on hand were these smaller ones. It doesn't make too much of a difference, but I may splurge on larger shrimp next time so they can spend a bit more time on the grill and get that wonderfully smoky char.

Grilled Shrimp with Anchovy Butter
Inspired by Hamilton's Grillroom

1/2-lb shell-on shrimp, any size (go for the larger ones, if you can)
6 tablespoons butter
half a tin of anchovies
crusty bread, for serving

Prepare your grill. If the shrimp are on the smaller side, place them on skewers so they're easier to flip. Grill until just pink.

Meanwhile, melt the butter with the anchovies in a small skillet. You want the anchovy filets to melt into the butter.

When the shrimp are cooked, divide them evenly on plates. Top each with some of the anchovy butter. Serve with slices of crusty bread to sop up all the delicious butter.
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Thursday, March 30, 2017

BBQ Chicken and Pineapple Lettuce Wraps with Cilantro Yogurt Sauce

This recipe for BBQ Chicken and Pineapple Lettuce Wraps with Cilantro Yogurt Sauce was so amazing I actually dusted off the ol' food blog so I could share it with you. That's really saying something since it's been 4 months since I posted. Oops!! Life got seriously crazy and, while it's still a whirlwind, these lettuce wraps are just too good not to share.

BBQ Chicken Lettuce wraps

A quick recap of what's been happening since we last spoke:

1. Katie stopped sleeping. She had a long sleepover at my parent's house Thanksgiving weekend and while we don't think anything happened to cause the sleep issues, that's when it all started. She was scared to be alone, didn't want to sleep, etc. This lasted about two long, painful months. We felt like we had a newborn again. No one was happy.

2. I was laid off. Downsizing sucks and I lost my job due to a reorg. My last day at my old company was December 9 and it was incredibly bittersweet.

3. I enjoyed unemployment. Well, for about a week I did. Ha! Due to the aforementioned sleep issues, this was a trying time for us. Plus we were all sick off and on for weeks on end. Winter was not kind to our family, that's for sure. The week before I started my new job (more on that later) was the one week where I actually sat around and watched Call the Midwife and did a whole lot of nothing. It was glorious and over way too quickly.

4. We were sick. A lot. Despite being in daycare most of her life, Katie had a rough winter at public school. She's had 5 colds and one turned into pneumonia (that was fun). I'm so ready for warmer weather!

5. I got a new job! Due to a crazy fortuitous series of events, I ended up finding a new job before my severance ran out. Yippee. I'm doing basically the same thing I was doing previously, just with a different company. I was sick as a dog with a horrific head cold while going through the interview process, but since this was another full-time work from home position, all my interviews were done over the phone (score!) It's been tough getting settled in my new role, but well worth it because...

6. We sold our house/bought a new house! We've been stuck in our current home for 10 years (thanks, crash of 2008) and thought we'd never be able to get out from under it. But, we scrimped and saved and came up with what we thought was a two-year plan. Then I got the new job and the market in our town exploded and suddenly we were doing this NOW. We actually put the offer in on our new house the weekend before I started my new job and the offer was accepted on my first day of work. A month later we put our house on the market and it sold without ever officially being listed. It's an insane story, really, and we're still pinching ourselves over it. We closed on the new house last Friday and we're having a lot of work done before we move in. The house was vacant for almost 2 years so it needs a lot of cosmetic stuff. It's amazing what fresh paint can do! We close on our current house two weeks from tomorrow! Eeek!

Phew. I think you're all caught up now so on to the recipe!!

Is it me or do lettuce wraps make you feel less guilt about eating whatever you've stuffed inside? I felt like I could eat 10 of these and not gain an ounce. Ha!

A few notes: I had one pound of chicken thighs in the freezer so I used those instead of chicken breasts. It wasn't nearly enough. I'm doubling the recipe below so you have plenty of deliciousness to go around. I also left out the cashews due to Katie's nut allergy. And I didn't bother with the romaine and iceberg, despite having both in my fridge.

Don't let the long ingredient list scare you. A lot of it is seasoning. These were so simple to throw together on a weeknight and I didn't even bother with a side dish since you've got meat and veggies all in one spot. Make these now!!

BBQ Chicken and Pineapple Lettuce Wraps with Cilantro Yogurt Sauce
As seen on How Sweet It Is

1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small red onion, diced
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 large can diced pineapple, cut into cubes the same size as chicken pieces
6 tablespoons BBQ sauce, plus more for drizzling
2/3 cup freshly torn cilantro
1 avocado, sliced
1 bunch scallions, sliced
1 head of iceberg lettuce, leaves torn off
limes, for serving

Greek Yogurt Cilantro Drizzle
1/3 cup Greek yogurt
1/3 cup freshly torn cilantro
3 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Mix the salt, pepper, paprika, garlic and onion powder together in a small bowl. Season the chicken with the seasoning mix. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the chicken and cook until browned, about 6 to 8 minutes. Add the onion and brown sugar, stirring well to remove any brown bits from the pan. Cook for 5 minutes, or until golden brown. Stir in the pineapple and the BBQ sauce. Let cook for another 5 minutes.

To assemble the lettuce wraps, add some sliced avocado to the lettuce leaves, then top with a few spoonfuls of the chicken mixture. Add the green onions, cilantro and a drizzle of BBQ sauce, if desired. Finish off with the drizzle of the yogurt cilantro sauce.

To make the drizzle: add all ingredients to a food processor and blend until smooth.
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Monday, November 21, 2016

No Peek Beef Tips

It's no secret that I hate winter, mainly because I really dislike being cold. If I had unlimited resources, I'd keep my house at a balmy 73 degrees all season long. In fact, I have fond memories of the apartment we had before we bought our house. Our rent included heat and air conditioning and since the buildings were old they required us to keep the heat at 72 or higher in the winter so the pipes didn't freeze. We used to walk around the apartment in shorts and t-shirts. It was glorious.

But I digress.

This recipe for No Peek Beef Tips has been on my radar for a while now, but I kept putting off making it due to the ingredients. Yes, I'm a bit of an ingredient snob and the various powders and cream of soup didn't sound appealing. The weather finally took a nosedive this weekend and the cold and wind had me craving comfort food. I also needed something easy for Sunday dinner with my parents.

No-peek beef tips

I didn't tell them what was in this until after they'd tried it. It was raves all around the table before I came clean about the powders and cream of soup. We all agreed that it didn't taste processed at all, nor did we feel like it was overly salty. In fact, if I hadn't said anything they would have believed it was all from scratch. Score!

The recipe couldn't be simpler. I chose to buy a chuck roast and cut it myself, partially because it was cheaper and partially because the butcher at the supermarket told me the roast would be more tender. I replaced the canned mushrooms in the original recipe with sliced white mushrooms and the rest is just mixing and baking. The house smelled glorious as this cooked and we couldn't wait to eat. I served the beef and gravy over buttered egg noodles with some garlicky broccoli rabe on the side.

Even if you have an aversion to these convenience items, I urge you to give this recipe a try. I was pleasantly surprised and I know you will be, too.

No Peek Beef Tips
As seen on Mommy's Kitchen

2 1/2-3 lb beef chuck roast or chuck eye, trimmed of fat and cubed
12 ounces white button mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1 10.5 oz can cream of mushroom soup
1 0.87 oz packet brown gravy mix
1 1.25 oz packet Lipton dry onion soup mix
1 cup water

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Place cubed meat and mushrooms in a 9 x 13 baking dish.

In a large bowl mix the soup, gravy mix, onion soup mix and water together. Pour over the meat and toss to combine. Cover the dish tightly with foil. Bake for 3 hours. Remember, no peeking!

Serve with buttered egg noodles, rice, or mashed potatoes.
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Thursday, November 03, 2016

Three Cheese Risotto

I've been on a serious risotto kick lately. I've always loved it, but for some reason I'm finding rice so comforting these days. Like pasta, risotto is incredibly versatile. You can add so many different ingredients, serve it with meat or make it meat-free, whatever floats your boat.

I recently printed off this recipe for Four Cheese Spaghetti, but what I really wanted was risotto. So I figured I'd combine the cheeses and fresh herbs from the pasta recipe with my standard risotto recipe. The result was, in a word, outstanding.

Three cheese risotto

This time of year I can't take a good food picture to save my life, so forgive me for the less-than-stellar photo that accompanies this post. Just close your eyes and imagine if creamy, dreamy risotto had a love child with mac and cheese. That's basically what you've got here. We couldn't get enough of this one. Katie took the leftovers to school for lunch and practically licked the Thermos clean.

Three Cheese Risotto
Inspired by Damn Delicious

6-8 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 large shallot, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup shredded Gruyere or Swiss cheese
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

Bring chicken broth to a boil in a saucepan then turn down the heat and keep at a simmer.

In a deep, heavy skillet, melt the oil and butter over medium-high heat. Add the shallot, garlic and Italian seasoning. Saute for about 2 minutes or until the shallot is tender. Add the rice and cook for another 2-3 minutes to toast the rice, stirring frequently.

Add the white wine and bring to a boil. Once the rice has absorbed the wine, add 1 ladle (approx. 1 cup) of the simmering stock. Stir the rice every so often, making sure to push down any rice stuck to the edges of the pans. Once the liquid is nearly absorbed, add another ladle of stock. Continue to do this until the rice is cooked but still slightly chewy. Taste the rice after about 20 minutes to check the consistency. If you notice you're running low on broth, add more to the saucepan so you don't run out.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cheeses. Season with salt and pepper, if needed. Add in the chopped herbs, stir to combine, then serve.
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Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Restaurant Knockoff: Chick-Fil-A Chicken Tortilla Soup

I don't know when or how it happened, but I think it's time to admit that the concept of soup has grown on me. I used to claim that I wasn't a big fan of soup, but at some point I decided it wasn't so bad. The right recipes are not only tasty, they're also easy to make. I love a good one-pot meal as much as the next busy working mom, so there's something wonderful about throwing a bunch of ingredients together in one pot and having it turn into a delicious dinner.

Take this Chick-Fil-A Chicken Tortilla Soup. Katie's blog is a staple for me, so when I saw this recipe I immediately printed it off despite not really reading the directions. I decided to make it for Halloween dinner and figured I would need to chop up the chicken, saute it, etc. NOPE! You literally put everything into the pot, bring to a boil, simmer, shred the chicken and serve. What?! Yup!

Chicken tortilla soup

And the result was positively sensational. There's a mild heat from the Rotel and a silky creaminess from the flour and the half-and-half. I served plain ol' cheese quesadillas on the side and we all enjoyed dipping them into the soup. Such a great, simple weeknight meal that's chock-full of flavor. Thanks for an awesome recipe, Katie!

Restaurant Knockoff: Chick-Fil-A Chicken Tortilla Soup
As seen on So Tasty, So Yummy

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15 ounce) can great northern beans, drained and rinsed
1 (10 ounce) can Rotel tomatoes
1 (15 ounce) can creamed corn
1 cup frozen corn
2 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup water
3/4 cup half and half

In a large Dutch oven, combine the chicken through the oregano. Stir to combine. Whisk together the flour and water to make a slurry, then stir it into the soup. Bring the pot to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook for 30 minutes.

Remove the chicken from the soup. Shred with two forks, then return the chicken to the pot and stir in the half-and-half.

MAKE IT IN A SLOW COOKER: Add all the ingredients (except the half-and-half) as outlined above to a slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. Stir in the half and half 20 minutes before you're ready to serve.

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Thursday, September 15, 2016

Pineapple Pulled Pork Tacos

I've mentioned this many times but my slow cooker and I do not get along. Thankfully, I work from home so I can still make delicious, slow-cooked meals like these Pineapple Pulled Pork Tacos. You prepare the recipe like you would in a slow cooker, but the meal cooks low and slow in the oven. The results are just as delicious, although perhaps not as convenient.

Pork pineapple tacos

The one downside to cooking dinner all day was the smell. Holy moly, did my house smell AMAZING. I was positively ravenous imagining how good these would taste. What drew me to the recipe in the first place was how totally different it was from regular tacos. We all love these flavors and the end result did not disappoint.

Pork pineapple tacos

The only change I'm suggesting below is to use a piece of pork with more fat. Steve was questioning why I'd cook a lean piece of meat like a tenderloin all day. I thought the pork was still tender, but it was a little dry. Otherwise we all loved these tacos. The subtle pineapple and soy flavor in the pork, the delicious BBQ sauce, the tangy, creamy goat cheese and the bright flavor of the cilantro and scallions. It all works.

The good news is, this makes a ton of food so leftovers are a given. I squirreled away the leftover pork and I'm planning to turn it into a pizza sometime soon - dough, pork and mozzarella cheese baked until golden, topped with scallions, cilantro and goat cheese. I. Can't. Wait!

{Slow Cooker} Pineapple Pulled Pork Tacos
As seen on PreventionRD

3 lbs pork loin/shoulder/butt
1 28-oz can pineapple chunks with juice
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons apricot preserves
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Pineapple BBQ Sauce:
1/2 cup ketchup
3/4 cup reserved pineapple chunks
2 tablespoons apricot preserves
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
juice of 1 lime

To serve:
6-inch taco size tortillas
cilantro, chopped
goat cheese, crumbled
scallions, chopped

If using a slow cooker, place the pork in the slow cooker. If using the oven, preheat to 225 degrees and place the pork in a Dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid.

In a medium-sized bowl, combine the juice from the canned pineapple, the soy sauce, apricot preserves, garlic powder, and black pepper. Whisk to combine and pour over the pork. Reserve 3/4 cup of the pineapple chunks to use in the BBQ sauce. You can place the rest in the slow cooker/Dutch oven with the pork or save in the fridge to serve with the tacos. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Remove pork from the oven and shred the meat. Discard all the liquid and return pork to the crock pot/Dutch oven. Cover until ready to serve.

Meanwhile, combine all of the ingredients for the BBQ sauce in a blender or food processor and pulse until smooth. Pour over the pork and gently mix to coat.

Serve the pork with the tortillas. Top with cilantro, goat cheese, and scallions.
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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Warm Mexican Corn Salad {Esquites}

This is probably the fourth or fifth time I've made this Warm Mexican Corn Salad {Esquites} this summer, but I'm only just sharing it now because I never remembered to take a photo. Oops.


This is my new go-to side dish whenever I make tacos and for good reason - it's a very simple recipe to make. The hardest part is getting all that darn silk off the corn cobs (I HATE that stuff - so annoying). I've been using fresh corn, but I imagine frozen would work, too. We're getting to the tail end of corn season here in PA, so I'm sure I'll find out soon enough.

I made quite a few changes and omissions to the original recipe to fit our preferences and to use what I had on hand the first time made this. This is one of those side dishes we can't stop eating and always end up fighting over the leftovers. This is enough for the three of us, which means if I ever decide to share I'll need to double or even triple the recipe.

Warm Mexican Corn Salad {Esquites}
Adapted from The Barbee Housewife

2 tablespoons butter
3 cups corn, cut from the cob {about 4 ears}
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
3 tablespoons minced red onion
handful of cilantro, chopped
Juice of 1 lemon
Chili powder, to taste
1 avocado, removed from the peel and diced
salt and pepper, to taste

Melt the butter in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the corn. Let it sit, without stirring, so the corn starts to brown. Stir every so often until the corn is brown in spots, about 6-10 minutes.

Let the corn cool slightly, then add it to a bowl along with the mayonnaise, red onion, cilantro, lemon juice, and chili powder. Gently stir in the avocado, then season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve warm or keep refrigerated until ready to eat.
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