Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Strawberry Peach Frozen Yogurt

I have a confession.  I'm slightly addicted to the tingly, tart taste of Yagoot frozen yogurt.  It's a locally owned froyo place similar to PinkBerry with a mix-in concept like Cold Stone Creamery.  Yum.  Thinking about all the frozen treats from these places is starting me make me drool...

Anyway, after Linda inspired me to make more frozen treats and I kicked things off with the Five-Minute (Healthy) Chunky Monkey "Ice Cream", I decided I should also try my hand at frozen yogurt.  I found a basic recipe from the ice cream guru David Lebowitz and then went from there.  I love fruit flavors and wanted to capture that same tartness that Yagoot is famous for so in went some strawberries, peaches, and my "secret ingredient" for tartness - lemon juice.

Because I knew that adding fruit could result in icy, rock solid froyo, I also added some vodka to help lower the freezing temperature.  It worked...for maybe the first day.  After that, all bets were off and I still got a frozen rock which I waited (impatiently) to soften so I could enjoy the deliciousness that tasted just like my favorite Strawberry Yagoot at a fraction of the cost.  The way I see it, I made a quart (32 oz) of mock-Yagoot froyo for roughly $7 whereas a 1/2 cup small serving (4 oz) at the store would run me $2.50 or $20 for equivalent total ounces.  Yah for huge cost savings!

This froyo is best eaten freshly churned (so it's like soft serve) or within the same day of churning (so it's still soft and scoopable...for me this was the literal sweet spot).  Of course, if you have a bit of patience, you can wait for the frozen rock to thaw and serve.

Any tips for churning a froyo that stays SOFT over time?  I'd love to hear them!

Strawberry Peach Frozen Yogurt

Yields: About 1 quart (32 oz) of frozen yogurt

  • 2/3 pint fresh strawberries, chopped
  • 2 medium peaches, pitted and chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 2 Tablespoon vodka
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 3 cups Greek-style yogurt (update: Apparently whole milk is best because it has less water which will prevent rock-hard froyo!)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  1. In small mixing bowl, mix together the yogurt, sugar, and vanilla. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Refrigerate 1 hour.
  2. In a separate bowl, combined chopped strawberries, peaches, sugar, vodka and lemon juice.  Mix together well, cover and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Place the yogurt mixture in your ice cream maker and churn per the manufacturer directions.  After about 15 minutes, add the fruit mixture.  Serve immediately to enjoy soft-serve style frozen yogurt.  If desired, pour the mixture into an airtight container and freeze until ready to use.  Fair warning, it gets pretty hard after about 24 hours so you'll need to let it defrost before it's remotely scoopable again!
Source: Christine's Chronicles Original inspired by Poor Girl Eats Well and The Perfect Scoop by David Lebowitz

Monday, August 29, 2011

Grilled Maple-Chili Salmon

This was my play on words for our most recent Dinner Club.  We grilled our salmon up on cedar planks so called it Cedar PLANKed Salmon to go along with the pirate theme.  It was Chris and my first time using cedar planks so we're just glad it didn't catch fire on the the grill :D.  I LOVED the way that this dish turned out.  The flavor was fantastic and I will for sure be making this again.

We bought a gigantic 2.7 pound wild salmon filet from Costco and the maple syrup that I used came from one of our new Dinner Club members, Delia.  She hails from the border of NY and VT so gets some of the best maple syrup.  Scott was skeptical when he saw me drizzling it on as the finishing touch.  I could see it in his eyes lol.  But I think it's safe to say he's converted.  The sweet, smokey, and savory is a wonderful combination.  A total hit!  And if you don't have a cedar plank, no worries, you can do without it and Shawnda from Confections of a Foodie Bride says she and her husband actually prefer it that way.

See the rest of our Pirate themed menu at our Dinner Club blog.  Since we've renewed the club by saying goodbye to two couples due to relocation and welcomed two new ones, we're going to try to make an effort to do a better job of updating the blog :).

Grilled Maple-Chili Salmon

Yields: 3-4 servings

Grilled Maple-Chili Salmon

  • 1 lb salmon, cut into 3-4 fillets
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp creole mustard (or any spicy brown mustard)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3-4 tsp maple syrup

  1. If using, soak the cedar plank per the manufacturer instructions.
  2. Stir together the dry ingredients and then stir in the olive oil and mustard.
  3. Spread the rub over the top and sides of the fillets and let sit while the grill heats.
  4. Preheat grill to medium-high.  Place fish on the soaked plank and cook for ~15 minutes, until the fish flakes and the internal temperature reaches 140.  If not using the plank, place skin side down and cook 8-10 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and immediately drizzle each fillet with ~1 tsp of maple syrup.
Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Recipe Swap: Mushroom Bolognese

I've said it once and I'll say it again.  I LOVE Italian food.  So, this week's Recipe Swap theme was a dream come true.  When I got my recipe from Heather at Hezzi-D's Books and Cooks I was pumped.  I can never get enough great Italian sauce recipes.

My husband to me: "What's for dinner tonight?"
Me: "Pasta."
My husband: "Oh.  Does it have meat in it?" [A fair question since I have been veggie heavy due to trying to use all our CSA veggies]
Me: "Yes."

I wasn't lying.  There IS some ground turkey in this dish.  But you know how they say that mushrooms are meaty?  That's exactly what this recipe is really all about.  It tastes a lot like your traditional bolognese sauce but uses meaty mushroom pieces in place of most of the ground meat yielding a healthier version of this Italian favorite.  Even my mushroom-hating husband thought he was eating meat and loved this dish.  He went so far as to tell me a good two or three times how much he liked this dish.  I didn't have the heart to tell him that it was mostly mushrooms.  Genius I tell you, genius!

Of course, you can make this recipe completely vegetarian by omitting the ground meat altogether or using those vegetarian beef crumbles.  As always, I added a few shakes of cracked red pepper for a good kick.  This will go in my recipe keepers for sure!  By the way, if you're looking for a more traditional meat bolognese, check out this recipe :).

For this swap, I submitted my favorite simple sauce, Marinara Magnifica which was received by Caitlin's Cooking and More.  It's a simple, great sauce to use on pretty much anything and I love how Caitlin adapted it for the crockpot.  See the rest of the Italian swap roundup at A Taste of Home Cooking.
Mushroom Bolognese

  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1 c. chopped onion
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1 t. black pepper
  • 1/2 lb. lean ground beef (optional; I used ground turkey)
  • 5 c. finely chopped mushrooms (I used baby bella but feel free to use a combo of whatever)
  • 1 t. minced garlic
  • 3 T. tomato paste
  • 1/2 c. dry red wine
  • 1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 t. Italian seasoning
  • 1 t. oregano
  • 1 lb. pasta
  • 1/4 c. pasta water
  • Parmesan cheese and fresh chopped parsley or basil chiffonade
  • Few shakes of cracked red pepper (optional)
  1. Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add the onion, salt, pepper, and ground beef.  Cook for 10 minutes or until beef is browned.
  2. Add the mushrooms and garlic and cook for an additional 15 minutes or until most of the liquid has evaporated.  Add in tomato paste, wine, and tomatoes.  Bring to a boil then reduce to simmer for 30 minutes.  Stir occasionally.  
  3. Meanwhile, make the pound of pasta according to package directions.  Reserve 1/4 c. pasta water.
  4. Stir in the oregano and Italian seasoning.  Stir in pasta water.  Spoon over hot pasta and sprinkle with cheese and parsley.
**This sauce can be frozen for up to 6 months.  Great for a make-ahead meal!**

Source: As seen on and adapted by Hezzi-D's Books and Cooks from Cooking Light

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Fusilli a la Crazy Bastard

Yesterday I told you to stay tuned so you could see what I did with my beet greens.  Well, I made Fusilli (penne in my case) a la Crazy Bastard.  I'm sorry but honestly how can you resist making a dish with that type of name?!  The origins of the name...I haven't a clue.  But if you know, please do share!

I had no idea that you could use beet greens in cooking but it works just like any other green like kale or chard or spinach.  In fact, don't let not having beet greens keep you from making this dish.  I threw in some bell peppers and red onions for good measure.  It's good.  Especially if you're a goat cheese lover.

Go ahead and try it, you crazy person, you!

Fusilli a la Crazy Bastard
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  • 1/2 cup walnut halves
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound fusilli pasta (I used penne)
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1/2 pound beet greens, rinsed and coarsely chopped
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 pound soft goat cheese, thickly sliced
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese  
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. On a rimmed baking sheet, toast the walnuts for 7 minutes, until lightly browned; let cool slightly. Coarsely chop and transfer to a bowl.
  2. Raise the oven temperature to 450°. On the rimmed baking sheet, toss the cherry tomatoes with 1 teaspoon of the olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Roast the tomatoes for about 10 minutes, until browned in spots.
  3. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the fusilli. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet. Add the garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until golden, 2 minutes. Add the roasted tomatoes, beet greens and crushed red pepper and cook, crushing the tomatoes slightly, until the greens are just wilted, 3 minutes.
  4. Drain the fusilli, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Add the pasta, the reserved cooking water and the sliced goat cheese to the skillet and cook over moderate heat, tossing to coat the pasta. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the pasta to a bowl, garnish with the chopped toasted walnuts, top with the Parmigiano-Reggiano and serve immediately.
Source: Originally from Food and Wine as seen on Savory Spicy Sweet

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Greek Salsa

Hi!  I'm back from my trip and figured I better post something soon so you know I made it back alive.  I had a blast but have to say that I thought rafting would be more thrilling than it actually was.  I guess I'm a thrill seeker and was expecting more rapids one after another...and with bigger water and what you see in the movies!  Had everyone in my boat not gotten dumped into the river it frankly might have been a bit boring.  Don't worry though, like I said, we're alive and all okay...the worst injury was a tiny scratch and some bruises (which I suspect were from getting back *in* the raft versus being dumped out of it). 

What happened was at Scramble Like a Rat (class III rapid) we somehow ended moving head on towards a HUGE undercut rock.  Our raft guide yelled "back" so that we'd paddle back but it was too late.  We made contact with the rock and our raft started tipping so she then yelled "high side" and that also failed.  I saw the raft was about to keel over so I was the first to bail.  Others were soon to follow.   Thankfully I went towards the side where the water was very still. I just stood up and when I looked around, to my horror I saw some of my friends floating down river and I had no idea where my husband was.  I also saw our guide.  She somehow was able to climb up the rock and held onto the raft by herself (amazing considering how heavy that thing took 9 of us to move it from the road to the river bank!).  She right sided it and then came my way and I jumped back in.  Then we headed downstream and began collecting everyone else.  It's amazing how strong you can be on an adrenaline rush.  I was pulling folks into the boat that I'm sure were heavier than me.  Our raft guide said had I not bailed at the time that I did, we would have capsized the raft over for sure.  I feel like that's more dangerous because you can get stuck under the raft.  I found out later that my husband was the last to bail from the boat and he did get stuck under for a bit before being carried away by a strong current.  He was picked up by our friends in another raft.

We later found out that we did what is called a "dump truck" which is when a raft dumps all of it's passengers but remains upright.  In our raft guides 10 year career she has only had to call a "high side" manuever 15 tmies and this was only the 4th time she has had a dump truck.  Lucky us.  Some of it was her error (she is the one steering after all and she was kind of hard to hear) some of it was us (we kind of sucked at paddling backwards...give us a break though, 6 of the 8 people had NEVER rafted before!).  Either way, this wouldn't keep me from doing it again or venturing into bigger water.  The next day my entire upper body was sore as was my butt from sitting on that hard raft all day.  This was an awesome tricep, pec, and ab workout for me lol.  I didn't feel so bad about not being able to exercise.

Anyway, so that was our wild rafting adventure.  I recommend it!

Since my friends and I took a "refreshing dip" in the Lower New River I leave you know with this refreshing dip (ba dump dum!) recipe which used my CSA beets.  It's the first time I've ever roasted beets and I wish someone would have told me that they stain your hands  *lovely* color of hot pink when you peel them.  While pink is my favorite color, it doesn't mean I want to be semi-permanently colored that way on my skin!  I loved the flavor of this "salsa" a greek salad!

Come back tomorrow to find out what I did with the beet greens :).

Greek Salsa
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  • 1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1.5 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1.5 tsp. oregano
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3 Tbsp. chopped parsley
  • 2 tsp. chopped dill
  • 1 cucumber, seeded and diced small
  • 1 large tomato, seeded and diced small
  • 1/3 lb. feta cheese, diced
  • 10-12 kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped green or red onion
  • 1/4 cup diced beets (roasted or pickled)

  1. Whisk together the red wine vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, and oregano, and then season to taste with salt and pepper.
  2. In a separate bowl, stir together the remaining ingredients (the beets turn everything hot pink, so add them slowly at the end to partially avoid this).  Stir in the dressing, tossing well to combine.

Source: Elly says Opa! 

Friday, August 19, 2011

Fish Tacos with Lime-Cilantro Crema

Tomorrow, I'm going to check something off of my bucket list.  I'm going whitewater rafting!!  I'm incredibly excited for this trip and glad I was finally able to make it on my friend Vanessa's annual trip.  There are 18 of us going to a huge 9BR/9BA cabin and then 16 going rafting.  We'll be spending a full day going down the Lower New River (dubbed the Grand Canyon of the East) which is Class I - V.  I have ZERO experience and was told that even though some of these rapids are almost the most challenging class possible, this run is suitable for beginners.  Pray that I come back intact in one piece and don't end up swimming with the fishies too much!

That brings me to my recipe for today.  Fish!  I previously posted a recipe for fish tacos and they're both quite nice.  What makes this recipe stand out is the Lime-Cilantro Crema.  Don't skip that.  The contrasting cool and fresh flavor is outstanding!  I was also excited to use my cabbage and tomatoes to top these tacos.

PS:  I just realized 3 recipes I've posted this month have cilantro in them.  Clearly I'm on a cilantro kick.  I just LOVE the unique flavor!  For those that aren't fans, you can leave it out.  And, just for you, I promise my next post won't have cilantro in it :).

Fish Tacos with Lime-Cilantro Crema
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Yield: 4 servings (2 tacos each).


For the Crema
  • 1/4 cup (about 3) green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 3 Tbsp low-fat mayonnaise (I used unflavored Greek yogurt)
  • 3 Tbsp reduced-fat sour cream
  • 1 tsp lime rind, grated
  • 1 1/2 tsp fresh lime juice
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
For the Tacos
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp ground red pepper
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 lbs mahi mahi fillets (I used tilapia)
  • Cooking spray
  • 8 (6-inch) corn tortillas
  • 2 cups cabbage, shredded
  1. Preheat oven to 425 F.
  2. To prepare crema, combine the first 8 ingredients in a small bowl; set aside.
  3. To prepare tacos, combine cumin and next 5 ingredients (through garlic powder) in a small bowl; sprinkle spice mixture evenly over both sides of fish. Place fish on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 425 for 13-15 minutes or until fish flakes easily. Break fish into pieces with a fork. Heat tortillas according to package directions. Divide fish evenly among tortillas; top each with 1/4 cup cabbage and 1 tablespoon crema.
Source: Cooking Light, December 2006 as adapted by and seen on Prevention RD

Nutrition Information (per serving): 323 calories; 7 g. fat; 124 mg. cholesterol; 401 mg. sodium; 28.5 g. carbohydrate; 3.3 g. fiber; 35.5 g. protein

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Hello 'Round the World

I had a revelation today.  

I have readers from ALL OVER THE WORLD...on every continent except Antarctica (but let's face it...we all know the penguins would logon if they could!).  116 countries/territories.  Visitors using 81 different languages.  That is AMAZING and extremely humbling to me.


According to my Where I've Been Map, I've only been to a small fraction of those places (blue) and dare to dream of going to several others (green).  That little red spot on my map?  That's where I live today...and the only place I have ever lived.  While I do love traveling, sadly, I know I'll never make it to all the places that my readers live so this is where I'm asking for you to help me say hello from 'round the world.

Please leave me a comment to say hello!  Where are you from?  What's your favorite food from your home country? (and even better, send me a recipe so I can experience it myself!)  Feel free to share pictures, stories, whatever it is that you care to share.  The more you share (and the more readership I get), the more I can share back (I have some giveaways planned but am waiting for a "magic" number that only I know!).

Most of all, thanks for reading.


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Pork Sandwiches with Cilantro-Jalapeno Slaw

Two words can be used to describe this sandwich - YUM and oooh-spicy!  The first time I had this sandwich was at one of my Dinner Clubs when Emily made them as sliders complete with homemade buns.  As an aside, honestly, I wouldn't see her doing it any other way than homemade, though ;).  It definitely had my taste buds singing and I realized I had actually bookmarked the recipe myself so to the top of the "to make" list it went.  I was also delighted because I could use my CSA cabbage for the slaw.  Win-win!

I made mine with beef though because would you believe it?  The day I went to the grocery store to shop I could not find any pork for sale!  It was completely baffling.  I brought it over to my parent's house to celebrate 4th of July and everyone loved it.  Folks were even eating the slaw as a side dish (but the spiciness of the jalapenos caught many off gaurd...tee hee!).  I'd imagine that it'd taste great made with pork or chicken too.  A perfect summer sandwich!

Pork Sandwiches with Cilantro-Jalapeno Slaw

Yields: 12 servings

  • 1 whole Onion, Peeled And Quartered
  • 1 whole Pork Butt (pork Shoulder Roast)
  • Salt And Pepper
  • 1 can (11 Ounce) Chipotle Peppers In Adobo Sauce
  • 2 cans Cola (Dr Pepper, Coke, Etc.)
  • 2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
  • 12 whole Good Quality Kaiser Or Deli Rolls
  • 12 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1/2 head Cabbage, Sliced Thin
  • 1/2 head Purple Cabbage, Sliced Thin
  • 1 whole Jalapeno, Halved Lengthwise And Thinly Sliced
  • 1/2 cup Whole Milk
  • 1/2 cup Mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon White Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
  • 2 cups Cilantro Leaves, Barely Chopped

For the meat*:
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Generously salt and pepper the pork roast, then set it on top of the onions in the pan.
  3. Pour the can of chipotle peppers over the pork (include the sauce.) Pour in both cans of Dr Pepper. Add brown sugar to the juice and stir in.
  4. Place lid tightly on pot, then set pot in the oven. Cook for at least six hours, turning roast two or three times during the cooking process. Check meat after six hours; it should be absolutely falling apart (use two forks to test.) If it’s not falling apart, return to the oven for another hour.
  5. Remove meat from pot and place on a cutting board or other work surface. Use two forks to shred meat, discarding large pieces of fat. Strain as much of the fat off the top of the cooking liquid as you can and discard it. Return the shredded meat to the cooking liquid, and keep warm until ready to serve. (You can also refrigerate the meat and liquid separately, then remove hardened fat once it’s cold. Then heat up the liquid on the stovetop and return the meat to the liquid to warm up.)
*Note: I chose to use a crockpot instead of the oven to avoid heating up the house on a hot summer's day.  Plus, you can leave it unattended all day without touching it.  I put mine on low for 8 hours then shredded with two forks.  Yummo!

For the slaw: Combine shredded cabbage and sliced jalapenos in a bowl. In a separate bowl mix milk, mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, salt, and cayenne. Pour over cabbage. Toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate two hours.  Before serving, toss in cilantro leaves.

To assemble sandwiches: Butter both halves of Kaiser rolls, then brown them on a griddle or skillet until golden and crisp on the surface. Load up each sandwich with shredded pork, then with the slaw.

Source: The Pioneer Woman

Monday, August 15, 2011

Baked Green Bean Fries

You know the old adage: add bacon or fry something to make ANYTHING taste more delicious.  It's totally true.  But did you know that you can trick your taste-buds into thinking something baked is equally delicious to fried?

Enter Panko bread crumbs.  Panko bread crumbs are light and crunchy, the pathway to crispy baked anything.  Thank you, Japanese friends.  I love getting the fried green beans at TGI Fridays but the guilt of turning a healthy vegetable into something fried and not so healthy always made me feel a tinge of regret.  So this healthier at home alternative was awesome!  I used my CSA green beans and halved the recipe.  I served it with a homemade sauce consisting of greek yogurt, ketchup, paprika, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper.  Chris and I happily gobbled them all up.  We wished we had made the full recipe for ourselves lol.

Edited 7/13/12: This recipe was featured on Yummly's list of Guilt-Free Fries of Every Variety so it's now Certified Yummly.  Thank you very much for this honor!

Baked Green Bean Fries

Yield: 6 appetizer or side portions (about 10 green beans). 

  • 1/2 lb green beans
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 2 cups panko bread crumbs
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 425 F.
  2. Fill a large pan with 2-3 inches of water and bring to a boil. While water comes to a boil, trim the green beans. Prepare a large bowl of ice water and set aside.
  3. Blanch the beans for 3 minutes and immediately remove them to the ice bath.
  4. To prepare beans, gather three bowls. In the first bowl, combine the flour and spices. In the second bowl, combine the egg and milk, whisking to combine. In the third and final bowl, place the panko and season with salt and pepper. Remove 2 tablespoons of the flour mixture and whisk into the egg/milk mixture.
  5. Pat the beans dry and dredge in the flour mixture, then into the milk/egg mixture, and finally into the panko to coat. Arrange the beans in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil which has been sprayed with non-stick spray. Prepare all of the beans in that manner. Lightly spray beans with olive oil spray.
  6. Bake beans at 425 F for 15 minutes, or until slightly browned.
Source: Originally from Savory Reviews as adapted by and seen on Prevention RD

Nutrition Information (per serving): 139 calories; 1.5 g. fat; 36 mg. cholesterol; 194 mg. sodium; 27.5 g. carbohydrate; 0.7 g. fiber; 6 g. protein
Certified Yummly Recipes on

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Recipe Swap: Baked Squash

I was excited by this week's recipe swap because the theme was Summer Vegetables.  Surely whatever recipe I got would utilize vegetables that I would get in my CSA share sometime during the two week swap duration.  I waited, and waited and sadly no zucchini came my way.  So, when the rubber hit the road, I decided to modify this recipe and use the beautiful yellow summer squash that nature blessed me with instead.

This recipe was fresh and delicious with all the flavor of summer.  I loved how everything I used in this recipe came from my CSA share with exception of the cheese and breadcrumbs.  Next time I get zucchini, I'll try this recipe in its original form for sure :).

I submitted Summer Corn and Vegetable Soup which was received by Hezzi-D's Books and Cooks.  Check out the rest of the fresh veggie round-up at A Taste of Home Cooking.
Baked Squash
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  • 1 1/2-2 pounds Yellow Squash or Zucchini
  • 1 tablespoon Oil or Butter
  • 1 medium Onion, chopped
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 4-6 Basil Leaves, chopped (or 1 teaspoon dry basil)
  • 1/2 cup Bread Crumbs (or cracker crumbs)
  • 2-3 ounces Feta, crumbled (omitted)
  • Handful of Parmesan Cheese
  • Tomatoes, sliced (omitted - I had already used my share of tomatoes in a different dish)
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste
  • Extra Melted Butter (optional)
  1. Cut the squash in half lengthwise and place cut side up in an 8x10 baking pan.  
  2. Saute onion, garlic, and basil in the butter/oil for a few minutes, adding salt and pepper to taste.  Add bread crumbs and blend.  
  3. Meanwhile, slice tomatoes and place the slices on top of the zucchini.  Sprinkle the top with feta and Parmesan cheese.  Cover with the bread crumb mixture and drizzle with extra melted butter over the top (or a drizzle of olive oil).
  4. Bake at 350 degrees, uncovered, for about 1 hour.   If the zucchini is not tender by then, cover the pan with foil and bake for an additional 8-10 minutes.  Allow the zucchini to cool and slice.
Source: Modified from Fried Ice and Donut Holes

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Ultimate Sriracha Burger

I'm still on my spicy kick...I've said it once before and I'll say it again, Sriracha hot sauce is the shizz!  It's like the Frank's Red Hot of the Asian world...but...a million times more delicious.  Spicy, tangy, and's perfect on pretty much everything.

I can't say I'm surprised that a burger features this delicious sauce.  It made it onto my list of dinner real fast and as suspected, it was...well, the shizz!  Go make it immediately...especially considering I *know * you don't want to turn on the oven in this record breaking mid-summer heat.  But heat in your mouth is a different story...that's an any-time delight!

Fair warning, it's not for the faint of heart....and it's so delicious I neglected to take a picture.

One Year Ago: Homemade Refrigerator Pickles

Ultimate Sriracha Burger
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Yields: 4 burgers plus extra sauce...would be great on fries!

  • 1 1/2 lbs. ground grass-fed chuck
  • 2 TBS. soy sauce
  • 5 TBS. Sriracha, divided
  • 2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 slices thick cut bacon
  • 1 large sweet onion
  • 3/4 cup blue cheese dressing
  • 4 brioche buns
  • 4 thick slices Swiss cheese
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • several handfuls of arugula (omitted...didn't have any on hand)
  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground beef, soy sauce, 2 1/2 TBS. of the Sriracha, and the pepper. Be careful not to overmix. Form the mixture into 4 patties, and set aside, covered, in the refrigerator.
  2. Preheat grill to medium high heat. In a medium frying pan over medium-low heat, cook the bacon. While the bacon is cooking, peel and quarter the onions. Cut each section into 1/4-inch slices. Once the bacon is cooked through and slightly crispy, remove the slices from the pan, cut each in half crosswise, and drain onto paper towels, reserving the remaining bacon fat in the pan. Cook the sliced onions in the bacon fat over medium-low heat until they caramelize, 20 to 25 minutes.
  3. Grill the burgers, turning once, 4 to 4 1/2 minutes on each side or until a meat thermometer registers 130° to 135°F for medium-rare.
  4. While the burgers are cooking, combine the blue cheese dressing with the remaining 2 1/2 TBS. Sriracha in a small bowl. Lightly toast the buns on the grill during the last minute of cooking time.
  5. Assemble the ultimate burger! Spread the blue cheese mixture on both halves of each hamburger bun. Stack a burger patty, slice of swiss cheese, bacon, caramelized onions, slice of tomato, and a small handful of arugula between each hamburger bun. Open jaw W.I.D.E. and devour!
Source: The Sriracha Cookbook as modified by and seen on Oiishi Food

Monday, August 8, 2011

Jerk Chicken with Mango Cilantro Relish

Just because it's hot outside doesn't mean that's any reason to turn off the heat happening inside of your mouth :).  I mean me personally?  I eat spicy food (and drink HOT soup) year round!  But no worries, the cool of the mango cilantro relish helps quench the fire.  I love all the complex, spice flavors that makes jerk chicken.  This recipe takes me back to the Caribbean and grilling is a summer necessity.

If you are in a pinch, you can make this meal in advance so that it's ready to be thrown on the grill or into the oven at moment's notice.  The relish would be great on other meats such as regular grilled chicken or an accompaniment to fish, used as taco toppings or even as tortilla dip!

One Year Ago: Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Sour Cream Coffee Cake - if you make this you're in for a treat because it's one of my favorite coffee cakes ever!
Two Years Ago: Grands! Taco Melts (AKA Homemade Hot Pockets) - change up the fillings for variety!

Jerk Chicken with Mango Cilantro Relish
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For the Chicken
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 scallion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 large jalapeno pepper, stem and seeds removed
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
  • 3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme (used 1 tsp dried thyme)
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • Pinch ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
  • 4 chicken thighs, skin on, bone in
  • 4 drumsticks, skin on
For the Mango Cilantro Relish
  • 2 mangoes, peeled and diced
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  1. To make the Chicken: Puree all the ingredients, except the chicken, in a food processor until almost smooth. Piece the chicken with a fork to make tiny holes. Place the chicken in a large shallow baking dish and rub the marinade into the chicken. Cover and refrigerate for 24 to 48 hours, depending on how intense you want the flavor to be.

    * To make ahead/freezer meal
    - Prepare the chicken as directed above and place in a gallon sized freezer bag to marinate. Seal and freeze chicken. When ready to prepare the chicken, defrost completely and following the cooking directions for either the grill or oven. 
  2. To grill - preheat grill. Grill chicken on each side for 5 to 6 minutes or until cooked through. 
    To bake
    - preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place chicken on baking sheet lined with foil and bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 160 degrees.
  3. To make the Relish: Combine the mangoes, onion, cilantro, lime juice, and orange juice in a bowl and gently mix. Season to taste with salt and pepper. This relish can be made ahead.
Source: Bobby Flay as adapted by and seen on Joelen's Culinary Adventures and Macaroni and Cheesecake

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Five-Minute (Healthy) Chunky Monkey "Ice Cream"

Did you catch some key words in that title?  It's healthy.  And it only takes 5 minutes.  And, if you closed your eyes, you'd think you were eating the richest custard-style ice cream.  But it's NOT really ice cream!

I'd heard of using frozen bananas for a quick ice cream before but had never gotten around to try it.  The moment I saw this recipe show up on Pennies on a Platter's website I knew I had to make it.  And, judging by the number of times it was pinned on Pinterest, everyone else had the same idea!  Seriously.  Go take a peek at that photo and tell me you didn't immediately start drooling all over your keyboard.  Yeah, that's what I thought.

What gave me that last push to decide to make this tonight (and post the recipe in the SAME NIGHT...very rare!!) was my friend Linda's suggestion to do iced treats.  And, I needed something to cool me off after a hard, sweaty session of Jazzercise!  L.O.V.E.D this and will be making it more often!  I had to put down my spoon to avoid eating it all in a single sitting :P.

Go freeze some bananas so you can make this in an hour or two!  If you hurry, you can still make it tonight.  Or, if not then maybe for breakfast?  It is, after all, bananas ;).

Five-Minute (Healthy) Chunky Monkey "Ice Cream"

Five-Minute (Healthy) Chunky Monkey "Ice Cream"
  • 3 peeled and chopped, then frozen, bananas (I think this would work best if they are frozen in a single layer or somehow broken up manually first...I had trouble getting my blender to break up the big chunk!)
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
  • Handful of chocolate chunks
  • 2 Tablespoons peanut butter or Nutella (optional)
  1. Puree the bananas in a food processor or blender until smooth.  Personally I love using my Cuisinart Smart Stick with the Chopper Attachment.  Blend and eat out of the same bowl!  Add the walnuts and chocolate chunks and pulse until mixed in.  Stir in the peanut butter or Nutella, if desired.  Top with extra yummy stuff like walnuts, chocolate chunks, and peanut butter chips if desired.  Serve immediately or freeze for later consumption.  It will be like soft serve initially but left to frozen it will harden up like regular ice cream.
Source: As seen on and adapted by Pennies on a Platter from Kitchen Simplicity