Theres something so wonderful about summertime foods. Could it be the seafood that was caught the night before? Or all the produce you can buy by just wandering through an open air farmers market? I just love it, and what better way to celebrate the start of warm weather than a visit to my parents house in South Carolina for some of my Dad’s famous ribs, fried okra and a fresh greek panzanella salad (don’t forget the sweet tea of course).
The ribs I can’t say much about, not because I don’t want to, but because my Dad won’t tell me! Crazy I know, but if everyone knew his rub recipe we would all be making them and that’s just not right. The only thing I know for sure is that he uses ground coffee as part of the rub. Other than that, I don’t care to know because the best part about these is that I’m not making them! Just throw me a bib and I’m good to go.
The greek panzanella salad is actually a recipe from Ina Garten’s cookbook, “How Easy is That.” I won’t take any credit for it but I think everyone needs to know about this dish, and everyone should own this cookbook. It’s full of wonderful ideas and easy to follow recipes.
Google+ Read More
A few years ago, most weekend nights consisted of running home from work, taking a 5 minute shower, spending over an hour trying to pick out something to wear then trying to huddle in a group together at some jam-packed bar or restaurant all while trying to keep my hair perfectly bouncy….yeah not so much anymore. These days I look forward to cooking a nice meal with music playing in the background, pouring a big glass of white wine, and enjoying a relaxing Friday night.
My how things have changed.
Am I considered a grandma now?! Yikes…
This Baked Shrimp & Feta dish is fabulous and even more fabulous paired with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc. It’s out of Ina Garten’s cookbook, “How Easy is That”, which is a wonderful cookbook if I do say so myself! The surprise of lemon zest paired with the feta gives it a fresh flavor and tones down that saltiness from the cheese. It’s great over pasta or just plain with a big hunk of french bread for sopping up all of that good tomato sauce.
Speaking of tomato sauce, this is very good on it’s own, with a different flavor in the red sauce thanks to the white wine.
An easy, quick and flavorful dish that’s gauranteed to wow!
Enjoy!Google+ Read More
I’m such a sucker for okra. Fried or pickled, I can’t get enough of it.
Not many people I know have tried it, let alone even heard of it. I kind of feel bad for okra, I mean it’s not a very nice looking vegetable, and I’m guitly of poo-pooing it the first time I saw it. It has the same shape as a jalepeno pepper, but with tiny hairs all over it (weird). But as they say, don’t judge a book by it’s cover, I tried it and never looked back!
The real way of making these is with cornmeal, so for anyone that’s a true southerner, I know, I know! I just prefer them this way with seasoned breadcrumbs, and trust me, they’re still darn good.
Every time I go to visit my parents in South Carolina, I stock up on jars of pickled okra and eat the entire jar that was currently in their fridge. “Talk of Texas” is the best brand, which I have never seen anywhere up north, so of course I stock up.
Fried okra is such a classic southern and midwest staple, and thanks to my Mom growing up in Oklahoma and Cali, Ive grown up with it too. My favorite is to dip it in BBQ sauce, mainly because we usually have this with my Dad’s famous ribs, but also because why wouldn’t you have it with BBQ sauce?!
It’s fun to get your friends to try it because not one person every jumps at the chance to try a hairy vegetable, (which also by the way is very slimey on the inside!) but anytime I make them try a piece their gone almost immedaietly. And now it’s one of Ryan’s favorite summer side dishes!
I will admit they are very hard to find up here – I have found one farmstand that sells them fresh, and if you’re lucky you can get a bag of frozen okra, cut or whole…if you’re lucky. Any way you buy them, they’re going to turn out great, however I have had the best luck with frozen cut okra. And in case you haven’t realized it…these are by no means healthy, so if you’re on a diet I wouldn’t recommend these, unless you’re really good at portion control (which I’m not).
Is your mouth watering yet?! Go make these immediately! (and grab some BBQ sauce while you’re at it, it’s ridiculously good)Google+ Read More
You know that feeling after spending all winter long bitching it’s cold, dark and dreary outside and then one day, you wake up to birds chirping andsunny warm weather?! Yes my friends, it’s finally flip-flop season, and with that, a few summery dishes of course. So let’s start with cole-slaw. But not just any cole-slaw, Peanut & Wasabi Broccoli-Slaw. Oh, yum!
As I was making it, I realized I needed no sugar, no salt, and no mayo, so for one it’s a “better for you” slaw, and two it makes a great BBQ side dish because it could sit in the sun and not get all gross.
I used broccoli slaw instead of your plain old regular slaw because the flavors of this sauce are a bit strong, so I needed something sturdy like broccoli to stand up to it, and boy did it turn out good! If you’re not into the whole spicy thing, then just omit the wasabi paste and seeds. This peanut sauce is actually my original recipe, just with the addition to these two ingredients, so it will taste great with or without it. I also recommend adding the sauce a little at a time to the slaw in case you like a lot of sauce or just enough to cover each piece. (I personally like a little extra, that way I can add more if it runs out too quickly).
Enjoy!Google+ Read More
Made in the crockpot, simmered for hours, seasoned with spices, citrus and beer. Hello, carnitas! I think I’ve again been successful in convincing Ryan he should stick around a little while longer…
One thing that most don’t know is that my Mom and I are famous for our quesadillas. Since high school, my friends have requested these after late nights, long days at school or just because, and I’ve been requesting them from my Mom since I could speak. She likes to use smoked chicken which is absolutely to die for, and once she snuck duck in there without telling me (devastating).
So enter shredded beef carnitas quesadillas. YUM
Carnitas are traditionally pork, but since I’m not the biggest pork kinda gal, I went with beef. Once the beef was done and shredded, I threw it in with cheese to make a quesadilla and voila! Delicious.
I served these with two sides that have literally nothing to do with each other, however I highly recommend making this whole menu because the tastes went together so well…as if I was at a summer BBQ. Fried Okra and Peanut & Wasabi Broccoli-Slaw paired these Shredded Beef Carnitas Quesadillas. Instead of salsa as a side to the quesadillas, these were amazing with BBQ sauce. Picture this as a super thin burger and you’ll understand. This quesadilla is definitely not mexican traditional tonight! Tex-mex maybe? Regardless, it was delish and I have leftover beef for the week! The possibilities are endless!
Enjoy!Google+ Read More
Are you ready for this?! Picture beef tenderloin marinated in a sweet sauce of ginger and hoisen sauce, then baked in a blanket of crispy panko and crushed almonds, drizzled with a sauce combining fresh lemon juice, rice vinegar, soy and hoisen sauce, honey and red pepper flakes….yep, it’s pretty delicious.
Perfect for those non-grilling months when you just need something new on the menu. Serve it with brown rice and a steamed veggie on the side and voila – the best dinner known to man…trust me!
This recipe actually comes from the “400 Calorie Fix” which features recipes at or under 400 calories, so don’t feel guilty indulging in what I like to call “little golden nuggets of yummy”! (Once you have these you’ll start calling them that too)
Google+ Read More
Here’s a brainteaser for you…a whole pot of soup made when I got home from work at 6pm and ready to serve by 7pm…with as much flavor as one cooked for hours on end! Yummy! I’m in love with this Sausage & Tortellini Soup for so many reasons…for one, I adapted the recipe from Weight Watchers and added my own little flair to it, and according to WW’s this soup clocks in at around 250 calories! Sooooooo I can dip french bread in it then? Why yes, I can!
I also loved that after prepping what needed to cook for a while, Ryan and I left for a nice walk around the neighborhood while it was still sunny and bright outside…such a nice way to spend the rest of the day! After that we spent all night watching Timberlake SNL skits. Really, a perfect night.
When I prepared the sausage, I sliced it up and browned it right in the pot, along with the onion and garlic. It gave the soup tremendous flavor along with hearty vegetables such as carrots and spinach. The tortellini I used was the dried kind from Barilla, Spinach & Ricotta, which also gave the soup wonderful flavor and richness. Topped with parmesan cheese and bread for dipping, it’s the perfect meal for a cool spring night.
Enjoy!Google+ Read More