Monday, March 29, 2010

Menu Planning Monday: March 29th

Can you believe it's almost Easter! I'm very excited, it's one of my favorite holidays and times to be a church with family and friends. We'll be heading to my hometown to spend time with my parents and my brother is going to be there too! I cannot wait :)

Monday: Baked Chicken over rice EDIT: chicken wasn't defrosted so we switched to Tuesday's Pizza night, and made it a Meatless Monday meal, YUM!

Tuesday: Pizza Night, taking a store bought Sam's Club cheese pizza and adding our own veggies plus leftover chicken from Monday EDIT: Monday's Meal will be for today.

Wednesday: Steaks with veggies and potatoes on the grill

Thursday: Kefta (Moroccan meatballs) on French Bagettes with Hummus and Moroccan Salad or Kefta stuffed poblano peppers ... can you tell it's Adam's night to cook

Friday - Sunday: Enjoying some home cooking with my mom, not sure what we will be making as she hasn't shared the menu yet.

I hope you have a delightful Easter with your family as well!

Remember to stop by OrgJunkie to find recipes and menu plans, don't forget to link up your menu there as well!

Saturday, March 27, 2010


Meat on a stick! What is better than meat on a stick! I love kebabs and they are so easy to make. You can make your own beef chunks using beef top sirloin or by the ready to go beef chunks from the meat department at your local grocery store. Then add some veggies and throw those babies on the grill. Here's my recipe for some tasty kebabs!

Marinate your meat the mixture below for at least 2 hours (longer for tougher cuts of meat):
2 tablespoons minced garlic
4 tablespoons olive oil
3 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
2 small yellow onions (diced)
juice of a lemon
1 tablespoon fresh parsley
salt & pepper
Take your marinated meat and place on kebabs, remember to add bell pepper, mushrooms, and onions, too!
Place on grill for 20 minutes, turning every so often so all sides are cooked evenly.
When finished cooking, allow the kebabs to cool and remove meat and veggies from sticks if you wish or eat them right off them.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Corn On The Grill

I love corn on the cob, but I don't eat it off the cob... I take it off with a knife, ha. It's so tasty and there is nothing like a good cookout to welcome springtime! My favorite way to cook corn is on the grill, it's just so tasty! Plus, I have the perfect way to make sure you always have tasty golden buttery corn each time you grill.

It's three main steps, that's it.

Fill a baking pan full of water, add about 1 tablespoon of salt per cob. Submurge the corn into the pan with the husk still on, let sit for about 30-45 minutes.
Remove the corn from the water and shake dry. Remove the first layer of husk on the out side, and peel the others down so your corn looks like this... (make sure to remove all the little 'hairs' too)
Now butter the corn with margrine or soft butter (the kind in a tub). Use your fingers, it's easier and gets the butter into the groves. Now fold the husk back up to protect the corn. Place on the outter sides of the grill so you can cook the rest of your meal in the middle. Turn the corn every 10 minutes or so and by the time you are done grilling the rest of your meal (45-50 minutes) your corn should be ready!

Remove from grill, allow to cool and then remove husk to serve!
Delicious corn everytime!

Moroccan Salad

This is Adam's version of a tasty and refreshing side or appetizer.
4 medium tomatoes (chopped)
1 large yellow onion (chopped)
1 medium cucumber (diced)
1 garlic clove (minced, or finely chopped)
Handful of fresh parsley (minced)
about 3 tablespoons olive oil
about 1 tablespoons white vinegar
salt & pepper to taste

Place tomatoes, onion, cucumber, garlic, and parsley into bowl. Mix well, and place in the fridge for 30 minutes (or longer if you have time). When ready to serve add the oil and vinegar and toss. Season with salt and pepper. And that's it!  Serve as a side, or with pita bread.

For a more fancier presentation serve on a iceburg lettuce leaf or on top a bed of baby spinach :)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Hot Tamale Dinner Ware Giveaway!

Jen's blog 11th Heaven's Homemaking Haven, is one the first blogs that I subscribed to and she has a few more blogs that are all amazing in their own way: life in mexico {and other places} a picture a day, 365 Days of TV-Free Toddler Time, and Mega-Family Blogs. Jen is giving away nearly $100 worth of Hot Tamale Dinner Ware... which is really pretty!

This, to be exact...

...and this...

To enter, go HERE! While you are there congratulate her on her newest baby boy, Daniel. He just graced the world with his presence a little over a week ago! :)

Monday, March 22, 2010

Menu Planning Monday: March 22nd

I am battling a head cold and cough (I'm hoping it's just allergies that are welcoming the spring to my sinus) whatever the case, my brain just isn't thinking food right now. My menu this week is going to be very minimal, with plenty of soup, hot tea & freezer meals week for us over here.
Even though I don't have a menu plan up feel free to head over to OrgJunkie to find some great ideas for this week and some new recipes from everyone who linked up this week!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Cajun Spice Mixture

I love spicy foods and Cajun seasoning, but I've found that the store-bought kind varies and isn't always spicy enough or is way too spicy. I've started making my own, kinda an adaptation from Emeril's recipe and my own taste buds. This will fit in the average pizza spice/Parmesan cheese spice shaker.

2TBSP paprika
2TBSP salt
2TBSP garlic powder
1TBSP black pepper
1TBSP onion powder
1TBSP Cayenne pepper
1TBSP dried oregano
1TBSP dried thyme

Now this is the basic ingredient list, which will give you a little kick to any chicken or seafood you add this too.

Additionally you may add 1TBSP red pepper flakes, if you want to spice it up. It will make a HUGE difference and will be spicy, spicy, spicy. Which is how I like it :)

Easy Shrimp Pasta

Here's any easy pasta dish that is tasty and doesn't require many ingredients. I kinda came up with this out of nowhere, I just went with what ingredients were available in my kitchen and came up with this yummy dish that everyone enjoyed.

1/2 a bag of frozen uncooked shrimp (should be near the seafood section)
Cajun Spice Mixture (I make my own but you can use store bought)
olive oil
1 TBSP minced garlic
1/2 jar store bought vodka pasta sauce
8oz can tomato sauce
a shake of dried basil
a shake of dried thyme
1/2 box penne pasta

Cook pasta as instructed on box.
Place shrimp in strainer and run cold water over them (peel & deveine if needed). Pat dry shrimp and place in small bowl, season heavily with spice mixture.
Heat olive oil in medium skillet, add half the garlic, saute until fragrant over medium-high heat. Add in shrimp, cook until slightly pink (shrimp cooks fast, and you don't want to over cook it). Remove shrimp and set aside. Reduce heat to medium-low, add in pasta sauce, tomato sauce, basil, thyme, and the rest of the garlic. Allow to simmer for about 5 minutes, then add in shrimp.
By now your pasta should be done, drain pasta and add to skillet. Mix sauce and pasta together. Take a sample bite to test your spices, add more Cajun mix if you want. When your ready to serve top with shredded Italian cheese mixture or shredded Parmesan.

(Sorry about the bad picture quality my digital camera has decided it wants to remain stuck open- I have the worst luck with camera's, so this is a from my phone)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St Patty's Day

Happy St. Patrick's Day
The day when everybody is IRISH!

May your blessings outnumber
The shamrocks that grow,
And may trouble avoid you
Wherever you go.
-Irish Blessing

I hope you all enjoy drinking green beer, doing Irish Car Bombs, eating some Guinness cupcakes and celebrating this lovely holiday with your friends and family! Here's a few drink recipes if your having a party at home :)

Irish Car Bombs
1/2 shot Bailey's Irish Cream
1/2 shot Jameson Irish Whiskey
3/4 pint of Guinness
Add the Bailey's and Jameson to a shot glass, layering the Bailey's on the bottom. Pour the Guinness into a pint glass 3/4 of the way full and let settle. Drop the shot glass into the Guinness and chug! *seriously chug it or it will curdle and taste gross! haha

Mini Guinness
Fill a shot glass about 3/4 of the way with Kahlua, and top with Bailey's.
It looks like a baby Guinness beer, but has a chocolate/coffee taste :)

Black and Tan
1/2 Bass (pale ale)
1/2 Guinness
Pour the pale ale into a pint glass, then flip a teaspoon over and slowly pour the Guinness over it to layer it in the glass. *You can use Harp instead of Bass but it's called a Half & Half in America.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Menu Planning Monday: March 15th

A little late getting this posted, I'm gonna blame it on the time change-haha.

This week isn't too busy but since there's more daylight I've picked a few nights of easy recipes I can make ahead that will be ready to pop in the oven when I get home from work! So, here's what's cooking in my kitchen this week...

Monday: Dinner Out

Tuesday: My Take on Pioneer Woman's Penne a la Betsy

Wed=St. Patrick's Day: Corned Beef if I can make it right, this is my first try! or Zesty Italian with Caesar Salad as a back up :)

Thursday: Turkey-Ricotta Pasta Bake

Friday & Saturday: Out of Town, visiting family :)

Sunday: Breakfast for Dinner

For more menu plans and for tips on getting started on your own menu plan check out OrgJunkie! This week she even posted a giveaway!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Not Your Usual Creamed Corn

Simple, yet tasty! My favorite way to make creamed corn!

Here's what you need:

1 can whole kernel corn and 1/2 block of cream cheese, that's it!
Just drain the corn and heat on stove over medium heat for about 4 minutes.
Add cream cheese and stir until it's melted and mixed in well.
Remove from heat and serve.
You can add salt & pepper as needed or even butter if you want, but I prefer it just like that.
See, I told you it was simple!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Menu Planning Monday: March 8th

Another busy week for me this week! 10hr workdays, I'm already counting down until Friday! Be sure to check out Org Junkie's helpful tips on getting started on menu planning here and while your there check out her menu and many other's for inspiration and ideas!

Here's cooking this week over at my house:
Monday: Date Night!

Tuesday: Slow Cooker Beef Stew (moved from last week)

Wednesday: Simply Recipes' Basil Chicken in Coconut Curry Sauce

Thursday: Leftovers :)

Friday: Appetizer night! Adding some new lineups Southwest Chicken Eggrolls (TastyKitchen)

Saturday: my mom is coming into town for a visit and we're having a girls night out! :)

Sunday: Trying Basil Tortellini Soup recommended by the OrgJunkie herself!
What is your menu for this week? Do you have any quick fix meals for busy weeknights, I would love to hear them!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Looking for Something?

Hey yall! My Five Question Friday post have moved to my new blog Bits & Pieces.

Surviving the Kitchen is going to be strictly recipes, cooking, baking, and Menu Planning.

I hope you enjoy the change and visit both blogs often! :)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Green Bean Casserole

Now if you are like me and born in the mid '80s (or earlier) you know that casseroles were all the rage growing up. My mom is a casserole queen and not all are as complicated as you think. Well, here I am last night with a hankering for green bean casserole and I don't have a clue how to make it. Of course I dial my mom, who has so many different casserole concoctions stored in her head that I can't believe she can remember anything else, for the recipe. Green bean casserole is one of the easiest casseroles to make which is suprising for how tasty it is. It's even better the next day :)

2 cans green beans
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 can of milk
about a cup of sliced baby bella mushrooms
1 small can of french fried onions
salt & pepper (to taste)

Preheat oven for 350. In a medium casserole dish mix the cream of mushroom soul and milk until creamy, add green beans, mushrooms, and half of the french fried onions. Season with salt & pepper and bake for 30 minutes. Top with the rest of the french fried onions and bake an additional 5 minutes. Let cool, serve and enjoy!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Menu Plan Monday: March 1st

Days, Weeks, and now even months are flying by over here because now it's March and that means legislative session is starting. I work for a lobbyist and session is our busiest time of year, which means long hours and stressful days, and lucky for me it starts tomorrow! Thankfully menu planning has made my life so much easier, and is going to be very helpful these next two months. I really recommend checking out Org Junkie's helpful tips on getting started on menu planning here.
Here's how the week is looking over at my house:

Monday: Chicken Alfredo Bake (using leftover chicken from the night before)
Tuesday: Roast Chicken with Olive Relish (Real Simple Magazine)
Wednesday: Take Out (Chinese)
Thursday: Leftover with a few tasty appetizers to round out the spread. (jalapenos stuffed with cream cheese and wrapped in bacon and tomato salad with homemade pita bread)
Friday: Slow Cooker Beef Stew (trying a new recipe, will post as I go)
Saturday: I'm having dinner cooked for me... he won't tell me what it is yet but I'm excited
Sunday: Kevin from Closet Cooking has a tasty looking Spinach Salad that I have been dying to try!
What is your menu for this week? Do you have any quick fix meals for busy weeknights, I would love to hear them!

Time To Try: Emeril's Jambalaya Pasta

I love pasta and I love my family's Louisiana cooking, so this combination that Emeril came up with is just divine! Seriously spicy, seafood, and pasta is my kinda heaven. I substituted already peeled and deveined shrimp, and chicken breast strips, which was a major time saver. However other than that I didn't change a thing. It was a big hit in my house and it was gone by lunch the next day! :)

Jambalaya Pasta

Recipe from "New New Orleans Cooking", by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch

1/4 cup plus 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1 pound dry penne rigate
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 pound peeled, deveined large shrimp
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon Essence, divided, recipe follows
3/4 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, 1-inch diced
3/4 pound andouille sausage, diced into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup yellow onion, small diced
1/2 cup green bell pepper, small diced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon freshly chopped thyme leaves
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons freshly chopped basil leaves
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
Fill a large, 1-gallon stock pot with a pasta insert, 3/4 full with water. Bring to a boil over high heat and add 1/4 cup of the salt as it boils. Place the penne in the salted water and return to a boil, stirring occasionally. Cook the pasta until nearly al dente, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain and set aside, reserving 1 cup of the pasta cooking water.
While the pasta cooks, set a 14-inch saute pan over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, swirl the pan to evenly coat with the oil. Season the shrimp with 2 teaspoons of the Essence and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Place the shrimp in the pan and sear for 1 minute per side. Remove the shrimp from the pan and set aside. Add another tablespoon of the olive oil to the saute pan and season the chicken breast with 2 teaspoons of the Essence and 1/8 teaspoon of the salt. Place the chicken breast in the pan and sear for 3 minutes, turning to ensure even browning. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside with the seared shrimp.
Place the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in the saute pan and add the sausage, onions and bell peppers. Saute, stirring occasionally, until the sausage is lightly caramelized and the onions are translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic to the pan and saute for 30 seconds. Add the chicken stock to the pan and scrape with a spoon to remove any browned bits that have formed in the bottom of the pan, about 30 seconds. Add the diced tomatoes, fresh thyme, the remaining tablespoon of Essence and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook for 2 minutes. Add the heavy cream to the pan and cook an additional 2 minutes. Return the shrimp and chicken to the pan, as well as the nearly al dente pasta and the reserved 1 cup of pasta cooking water. Continue to cook the sauce and pasta, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp and chicken are cooked through, the pasta is al dente and most of the pasta cooking water has evaporated, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the basil and Parmesan. Toss to combine and serve while hot.

Emeril's ESSENCE Creole Seasoning:
2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme
Combine all ingredients thoroughly.
Yield: 2/3 cup
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