Recently, I bought some raw shrimp at the local market. Because of our crazy busy summer schedule, I needed to prepare the shrimp in a way that was quick and easy. Basil has been growing like mad in my garden so I thought it best to whip up a fast sauté with tomatoes, basil, shrimp and Parmesan cheese. As many of you know, I try to stay away from white flour and high carbs, so this fit the bill for a light Sunday brunch dish.
1 lb. shrimp, shelled, cleaned, and deveined
2 medium tomatoes, washed and roughly chopped
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat; add olive oil and garlic. Sauté until garlic is lightly browned. Add shrimp and cook quickly until shrimp is pink and cooked through. Remove from pan. In a medium bowl, combine remaining ingredients and toss in the shrimp. Season to taste. Serve as a salad or pour it over lightly toasted crusty bread for a tradition bruschetta appetizer.
For years, we’ve been visiting Disney’s Polynesian Resort and O’Hana’s Restaurant for their well attended dinner show. This family-friendly dinner event includes generous helpings of Polynesian inspired delicacies with a bit of entertainment provided by a ukulele playing woman (or gentleman) dressed in island themed clothing and singing (Disney-style) Polynesian tunes. All the while, the friendly waitstaff scurries around the dining tables offering guests various grilled meats, sweet bread and family-style fixings. Children are invited to come to the center of the dining room floor to play games and celebrate special occasions. It’s a festive evening and we always look forward to our annual visit.
The sweet and savory aroma that fills the dining hall just can’t be beat as Ohana’s food is absolutely fabulous. Pot stickers, Hawaiian sweet bread, a scrumptious salad, chicken wings, bread pudding and a variety of grilled meats are delivered to the table with gusto and are unlimited. One of our favorite dishes is prepared with low mein noodles, pineapple teriyaki sauce and veggies. I’ve tried to duplicate the flavor of this dish at home and in a simplistic way. This recipe is a close second to the original and eating it brings back fond memories of our time spent at Disney over the years. We look forward to celebrating our vacation with the staff at Ohana’s for years to come.
Teriyaki Lo Mein Noodles and Veggies
1/2 package of Low Mein Noodles
1 (9oz.) package frozen teriyaki vegetables
1/2 cup Lawry’s Pineapple Teriyaki Marinade
1/4 cup prepared sweet and sour sauce
In a medium saucepan, prepare noodles according to package directions. Drain and return to saucepan. Microwave vegetables according to package directions. Mix in remaining ingredients and heat thoroughly. Serve piping hot.
While St. Patrick’s Day is long past and Easter is just around the corner, I recently searched the freezer to see what kind of inventory I had available in the way of meat products for the coming holiday. (I often have a supply of ground beef, ham, pork, or prime rib roast left from thrifty bulk purchases when I find a great deal at the supermarket.) To my surprise, I had several corned beef roasts set on the top shelf. I quickly remembered that I had bought a boat load of corned beef around St. Patrick’s Day because the price was too good to pass up. Five roasted were neatly stacked in the freezer so I put one in the fridge to thaw for Monday’s dinner.
Before I headed to work on Monday morning, I lined the bottom of my crockpot with potatoes, carrots, and onions, then laid the roast among the vegetables.
I sprinkled the seasoning packet over the corned beef and poured in some water and a half can of beer before shutting the lid and setting the dial to low.
I arrived home to the delicious aroma of the complete dinner. There is nothing quite so wonderful as having dinner ready when walking in the door after a long day at work. I have quite a few recipes to successfully cook corned beef. I often bake it or boil it, but this is one of my favorites…very little time or effort produce a magnificent meal. If you like Reuben sandwiches, add thousand island dressing and sour kraut to some toasted rye bread and you have quite a sandwich.
Slow Cooker Corned Beef
2 1/2 cups baby carrots
3 potatoes, diced
1 onion, peeled and rough cut
4 cups water
1 (4-5 pound) corned beef brisket with spice packet
6 ounces beer
Place the carrots, potatoes, and onion into the bottom of a slow cooker. Place the brisket on top of the vegetables. Pour the water and beer over the brisket. Sprinkle on the spices packet, cover, and set the cooker on High.
Cook the brisket for about 8 hours. Cool slightly before cutting into thin slices.
A couple of weeks ago, a friend mentioned that she had enjoyed a cup of pizza soup when visiting a local restaurant. It sparked a memory of a hearty soup that I had made years ago. So I headed to my trusty files to see if I could track down the recipe. I was quite pleased when I found what I was looking for.
As I began to assemble the ingredients for the recipe, I remembered that I had an interesting ingredient in the fridge that I hoped would be a flavorful addition to my soup recipe. You see, I have grown quite fond of a new item called basil paste, that I found in the produce section of the grocery store some time ago. It’s flavor is so similar to the wonderfully unique taste of fresh basil that we pick in abundance during the summer months, here in the states. A dollop of this paste stirred into a piping hot bowl of soup just transforms the flavor into something along the lines of a pizza margherita; one of my favorite pizza recipes.
Like much of the country, we in the Midwest, are experiencing some mighty cold temperatures this winter. (I feel like I am cold all the time.). After making this soup this past weekend, I carefully packed it into serving sized containers so that I could carry it to work along with a salad for lunch. There’s something about the fresh hearty flavor and its piping hot state that just warms me to the core. I find myself counting the minutes until lunch time. When paired with a salad, and maybe a slice of crusty bread, this soup makes for a warm and comforting meal.
Hearty Pepperoni Pizza Soup
1/2 lb. Italian sausage, casings removed
1/2 cup green pepper, diced
1/2 cup mushrooms, chopped (optional)
1/2 cup onion, diced
2 cups water
15 ounces pizza sauce
8 ounces sliced pepperoni, finely chopped
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon basil paste
In a large saucepan, sauté Italian sausage, green pepper and onion until onions are translucent and sausage is no longer pink; drain. Add water, pizza sauce, pepperoni, tomatoes, and Italian seasoning. Cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat; and simmer covered for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Before serving, stir in basil paste and top with Parmesan cheese.
There is nothing like walking in the door after a long day of work knowing that dinner has been simmering in the crock pot all day and the aroma of barbecue fills the air.
These past few weeks, I’ve been working long hours and the unbelievable weather has made for some long, white-knuckled travel, here in the Midwest. Coming home, realizing that dinner is nearly ready is a saving grace.
Pork roast can be found at your local grocer, usually at a decent price, when it’s on sale. I try to stock up on the long, lean roast by slicing it in chunks about 6-8″ long; enough to fit comfortably into the crock pot. I wrap the meat well and pop it into freezer bags to be stored in the freezer for satisfying crock pot recipes. Use your favorite barbecue sauce for this recipe. We like Sweet Baby Ray ‘s. It seems to be just the right flavor to suit my family.
Stay warm everyone!
Yummy Crock Pot Pulled Pork
1 (4 pound) pork roast
2 cups barbecue sauce ( reserve 1 cup)
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup chicken or beef broth
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon prepared yellow mustard
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 extra large onion, chopped
2 large cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoons dried thyme
Spray bottom of slow cooker with cooking spray. Put the roast in the cooker and pour in 1 cup barbecue sauce, apple cider vinegar and broth. Stir in remaining ingredients. Cover and cook on High for 5 to 6 hours.
Remove the roast from the slow cooker, and shred the meat using two forks. Return the shredded pork to the slow cooker, and stir the meat into the juices. Add reserved barbecue sauce for extra flavor.
Award Winning Chili and Creamy Cornbread Muffins, a wonderful dinner combination for these sub-zero Midwestern temperatures.
Several years ago, (2005 to be exact) our small town’s Chamber of Commerce hosted a chili cook-off. It was held in a lovely park located in the town square on a crisp fall day. On the west side of the park, the usual hustle and bustle of the Saturday morning farmer’s market was in full swing. Tables and chairs were set up around the beautiful gazebo located in the center of the park. And all of the chili cook-off competitors situated their booths around the gazebo.
I had read about the cook-off in the local paper and thought that entering the competition would be a great way to spend a beautiful fall day with the family and to see how my chili would fare against the others. I had been serving this recipe for years and friends and family seemed to love it.
The morning of the cook-off, we got up early, packed up the car with chili fixings and decorations for our booth. I was intent on winning the trophy for the best chili and the sportsmanship award, given to the most neighborly participant that had gone the extra yard to create a festive looking booth. I have an embroidery machine so I had embroidered custom attire for the day. I had purchased a few yards of cotton fabric to make chef hats and simple pants for the kids. We all wore matching embroidered sweatshirts to show off our family name. The kids were young and eager to help. They were excited about the festivities for the day.
I have fond memories of this day as we did indeed win top prize in both categories. From then on, this has been the recipe that I turn to when making a big pot of chili during the fall and winter months. It’s actually a very simple recipe full of flavor and warmth.
I must say, the weather these past several weeks has been brutal. I have been scouring my recipes to provide hearty meals for the family. It seems we are constantly out shoveling snow, heading off to work or school and returning home only to find that the snow needs to be tended to again. This chili recipe really hits the spot during the cold winter months in the Midwest.
Our Award-Winning Chili
5 slices of bacon
2 onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound ground chuck
3/4 pound beef sirloin, cubed
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (12 fluid ounce) can or bottle beer
1 cup brewed coffee
2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
1 (14 ounce) can beef broth
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
3 (15 ounce) cans kidney beans
In a large pot over medium heat, cook bacon until crisp. Remove to paper towels. Cook onions, garlic, ground chuck and sirloin cubes in bacon drippings until brown; drain. Crumble cooled bacon and return to pot.
Mix in the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.
During the holidays, we’re often looking for simple recipes that will feed a crowd…this is one of those recipes. It’s nothing fancy but it’s a basic recipe with lots of big flavor. Adding favorite toppings like, onions, green peppers or olives can personalize this dish to match your family’s tastes. Crushed red pepper adds a little spice and adding a varied selection of cheeses can add depth to the flavor. Give this one a try and make it your own.
1 (8 ounce) package spaghetti, broken into smaller pieces
1/4 cup milk
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion salt
1 (16 ounce) jar chunky garden style spaghetti sauce
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
4 ounces turkey pepperoni sausage, sliced
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray with cooking spray, a 13X9″ baking pan.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add spaghetti and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain and cool. In a separate bowl, beat the egg, add milk, 1/2 cup of the mozzarella cheese, salt and garlic salt. Stir in cooked spaghetti, mix well.
Spread mixture evenly into baking dish. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and spread sauce over spaghetti. Sprinkle with oregano, basil and the remaining 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese. Top with pepperoni, return to oven and bake for 30 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before slicing.
Note: For an extra hearty twist, add 1 lb. browned ground beef or Italian sausage to the spaghetti sauce before spreading over pasta.
In our house, we traditionally try to have some sort of pasta dish the day before a swim meet. Today, when I asked my swimmers what they would like for dinner, all agreed that rigatoni and meatballs would fit the bill.
I am not a fan of store bought or pre-packaged frozen meatballs. It seems the amount of salt that is dumped into the processed recipe is usually quite overwhelming. I have yet to find a frozen, pre-packaged meatball that appeals to me.
The recipe that follows is tender and flavorful. The sodium level is certainly not over powering and the addition of crushed red pepper and hot sauce make these meatballs a bit spicy. I add a sprinkle of sugar to my tomato sauce to cut the acid in the tomatoes and the combination of slightly sweet against slightly spicy is quite pleasing.
Homemade Spicy Italian Meatballs
2 lbs. lean ground beef
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup milk
2-3 dashes hot sauce
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
2 slices of bread, processed into bread crumbs or 1 cup bread crumbs
In a large bowl, combine all ingredients until just mixed together. With a 1 1/2″ ice cream scoop, gather mixture into a ball and carefully release onto a large jelly roll pan. Bake 400 degrees for 18-25 minutes or until center is no longer pink. Blot each meatball on paper towel. Serve with your favorite sauce over rice or pasta.
There is a small neighborhood grocery store not far from my home. It carries an assortment of staple groceries for local families needing a few things, without having to travel into town for a big shopping haul. After a late Friday work meeting, I stopped in to buy some milk and eggs for the weekend.
As I headed to the back of the store, I was lured in by the selection of fresh cut meat the butcher had displayed in the meat case. For a small market, this grocer always carries a wide variety of cuts that are quite reasonably priced. I purchased some chicken breasts, ground beef, and a few pounds of freshly ground pork.
This butcher incorporates just the right blend of pork cuts to make the perfect homemade sausage recipe. I knead lots of ingredients into a big bowl of ground pork and shape the mass into several round patties very similar to the familiar pre-packaged, national brand, sausage patties found in the refrigerator case in a typical grocery store. These homemade patties far exceed the flavor and tenderness of store bought sausage. Add your own ingredients to suit your family’s taste…
Homemade Savory breakfast Sausage Patties
2 pounds ground pork
2 teaspoons dried sage
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
In a large bowl, combine the sage, salt, ground black pepper, marjoram, brown sugar, crushed red pepper and cloves with ground pork. Mix well with your hands and form into patties, if desired. Sauté the patties in a large skillet over medium high heat for 5-7 minutes per side, or until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees and meat is no longer pink.
Note: You can use the bulk sausage to make this delicious Savory Sausage Crescent Braid recipe too!