Thursday, November 20, 2014

My Thanksgiving Timeline, Menu and Some Tips for Hosting

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday - the parade on TV in the morning (the local Philly parade), food in the oven and on the stove all day (house smells great), friends and family, comfortable clothes (no fancy holiday dresses here), football in the afternoon, and of course, way too much food (and wine). Since we had our daughter Christmas is becoming my new favorite holiday for different reasons, but Thanksgiving will always be my favorite food holiday.

Last year I was lucky enough to host my parents, aunt, uncle, 2 cousins, my brother-in-law and sister-in-law and their 2 boys. There were 13 of us in total and I had SO much fun setting up, planning, decorating, cooking, and hosting. My house felt so warm and happy and was full of laughter and the sound of children playing and running all day. . I loved every minute of it.

But I can't lie, the thought of hosting did stress me out a bit. So what do I do? Make lists, of course. I LIVE by lists and always have one on my phone and update it daily. For last year's Thanksgiving I had lists for my guest list, menu, food shopping, "stuff" shopping (new tablecloth, décor, etc), prep sorted by the type and day, and a day-of timeline. Having these things all written out in front of me gets them out of my head and on paper so I no longer need to obsess over every little thing but instead can just look at my lists.

Our day and the days leading up to the big day went so smoothly that I thought I'd share my timeline and some other things that worked for me. I know hosting, especially for the first time, can be stressful so I hope I can help!

Being prepared and organized will mean you can enjoy your day with your guests, and isn't that what it's all about?

My Timeline
I'm listing the times I used, but to make your own timeline, start backwards. First put down the time you want to eat and go back from there. And it may seem silly to list every little thing like I did, but when you have a menu of 12 things while a bunch of people are hanging out in your kitchen it's easy to get frazzled and forget the little things.

     3:00 PM 
          Dinner

     2:55 PM 
          Rolls out of oven and into a serving dish or basket
          Gravy into serving dishes

     By 2:45 
          Carve turkey and turkey breast; put on platters
          Put "in-the-bird" stuffing in a serving dish
          Take green bean casserole and "out-of-the-bird" stuffing out of the oven
          Put rolls in the oven
          Pull cranberry sauce, cucumber salad and coleslaw out of fridge (already in serving dishes)
          Light candles in dining room
          Put all hot items in serving dishes (refer to your menu to make sure you don't miss anything)

     2:40 PM
          Open wine
          Put rolls on baking sheet

     2:35 PM
          Make gravy; keep warm on stove.

     2:30 PM
          Make corn and peas
          Put green bean casserole in upper/main oven
  
     2:15
          Turkey out of oven
          Mash the potatoes
  
     1:45 PM  
          Boil potatoes
          Put the "out-of-the-bird" stuffing in the lower/second oven
          Take butter out of the fridge

     1:20 PM
          Heat lower/second oven
          Start to prep green bean casserole

     1:00 PM
          Prep and put out appetizers
          Fill ice bucket
 
     12:00 PM
          Put turkey breast in oven

     10:30 AM - 11:00 AM
          Stuff bird, prep/season bird, tie legs, put turkey in oven

     10:20 AM
           Pre-heat main oven

     9:00 AM
          Make stuffing



Some of My Other Tips
Just a few tips for things to do early, some helpful advice, and some Type-A things I do to make the week less stressful!

  • The amount of shopping you will need to do may seem overwhelming, so when making your shopping list, make one master list with absolutely everything you will need. Then, break it up into things you can buy a few days or a week early (dry goods, frozen things, soda, beer, wine) vs things you will need to buy fresh (veggies, fresh flowers, bread, etc.). I also break my list up by store - supermarket, produce store, wine store, beer store (PA is weird like that) and miscellaneous stores. Even better - make your list in Excel so you can easily sort and move things around.

  • Get all of your serving dishes out the night before and figure out what will go in each one. Doing this early will save you from digging through cabinets at the last minute and will help you make sure you have enough dishes, bowls, and platters.

  • While you are at it, get out all of your serving spoons and forks, too.

  • If you are making a buffet, lay out your dishes the night before (if possible and if it won't be in the way of your prep space). At one party I even put post it notes in the dishes on my buffet so if anyone offered to help they would know what went where, and so I would remember how I laid out my buffet.

  • Ask people to help, especially in that last hour as there is a lot happening. My husband loves to cook and he's in charge of the main things on Thanksgiving - the turkey, stuffing, and gravy. My dad makes the best mashed potatoes so he did the mashing. My nephew did a great job at stirring the mushroom sauce for the green beans and he was thrilled to help. My mom and dad bake the desserts. People will be happy to chip in and do things like lighting the candles, taking dishes to the table, or staying out of the way and in front of the TV if that is what you want them to do!

  • Set a self serve bar in an area away from where all the cooking and prep will take place - ice bucket and tongs, wine glasses, other glasses, corkscrew, mixers, cocktail napkins. If you need limes or other garnishes for your bar, cut them the day before and have them ready in a serving dish. Make sure your soda and beer are cold, either in a second fridge or cooler (and don't forget the ice for the cooler!).

  • Set your table a day or two in advance - move any furniture needed, iron your tablecloth, set the dishes, make the centerpiece, etc. This is one task you won't want hanging over you on the day of your gathering or while your guests are there.

  • Prep as much food as you can ahead of time. Wash your veggies, peel and quarter your potatoes and store them in water in the fridge for a day or two, blanch your beans, put butter on/in a serving dish, set out all of the dry goods you will need (flour, broth, salt, pepper, etc), get all of your pots and pans and cooking utensils out and ready.

  • Put your cold items in serving dishes so you can go from fridge to table (the cranberry sauce, salad, etc.)

  • Take people up on their offer to bring something. If you like having control over the menu, ask them to bring an appetizer, dessert, or drinks.

  • Make sure your salt and pepper shakers are full and on the table.

  • Buy a bunch of extra plastic/to-go containers or Ziploc bags so you are ready to send everyone home with leftovers.

  • If you are having a few or more kids (younger kids, especially), pick up some crafty turkey day things they can do. I picked up these paper cup turkeys from Michael's and the kids, and even a few adults, had so much fun putting them together and then decorating with them.

  • If it is cold where you live, turn down the heat an hour before people get there. It's going to get hot fast especially with the kitchen on overload.


And Finally, My Thanksgiving Day Menu
My menu is pretty simple and traditional -

     Appetizer: Endive with Pears, Gorgonzola and Crushed Pecans; Cheese/meat/fruit/cracker platter





    







     Turkey stuffed with my husband's stuffing (his mom and grandmom's recipe)

     Turkey breast because you can never have too much and leftovers are awesome

     Gravy

     Stuffing for those who like it out-of-the-bird

     Mashed potatoes

     Green bean casserole with fried onions


 












     Peas

     Corn

     Cole slaw

     Dinner rolls

     Spiked cranberry sauce



    











     Cranberry sauce - canned. Some of us like that kind :)

     Dessert: Dad's Apple Pie and Mom's pumpkin pie

I didn't have room for anything else on the menu, but here are some of my other favorites that sometimes make an appearance on a holiday menu -

     Green Beans with Caramelized Shallots and Bacon

     Autumn Salad

     Cauliflower-Broccoli Gratin with Mustard-Sage Cornbread Crumbs

     Creamed Onions

     And for those leftovers, here is something different - Bubble and Squeak or Mini Chicken (Turkey) Biscuit Dinner


I'd love to hear from all of you - what are some of your favorite entertaining or holiday hosting tips? What have you learned along the way?


Happy Thanksgiving!! Wishing all of you a warm day with those you love and most importantly, full bellies :)



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Monday, November 17, 2014

Green Bean Casserole




Confession: I never had the wildly popular cream-of-something-soup based green bean casserole traditionally made at Thanksgiving, and I never thought I was missing anything with all of the other amazing food on the table. But now after having a homemade version, I never want another Thanksgiving dinner without this dish.

Making the creamy sauce is SO easy that there is NO need for the canned soup. And even though I never had the canned version, I can guarantee that there is no comparison - this one will blow you away. Hell, the sauce was so good that I couldn't stop tasting it as I was making it. I considered forgetting the beans once the sauce was done and just eating it as a soup.

I did take one shortcut just because I had so much cooking going on that day. I used the canned fried onions instead of following the recipe to make my own. The next time I make this I will make my own, but if you need a shortcut this would be the one I recommend.

So if you are still trying to finalize your turkey day menu, try this one. I can't wait until next week so I can make it again!!




Green Bean Casserole
Source: Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 12 ounces mushrooms, thinly sliced or coarsely chopped
  • Few gratings fresh nutmeg (optional)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 to 1 1/2 pounds green beans, trimmed and halved
Directions
  • Heat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Prepare the beans: Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and boil greens for 5 minutes. Drain beans, then plunge them into ice water to full stop them from cooking. Drain again, and set aside. You can do this ahead of time, up to one day.
  • Make the mushroom sauce: Over medium-high heat, melt butter in the bottom of a 12-inch cast iron skillet. Add the mushrooms, salt and pepper and saute them until they start releasing their liquid, anywhere from 3 to 5 minutes, depending on how they were chopped. Add the garlic and saute one minute more. Add the flour and stir it until it fully coats the mushrooms. Add the broth, 1/4 cup at a time, stirring the whole time. Simmer mixture for 1 minute, then add cream and bring back to a simmer, cooking until the sauce thickens a bit, about 5 to 6 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Assemble and bake: Add cooked greens beans to sauce and stir until they are coated. Sprinkle crispy onions over the top. Bake for 15 minutes, or until sauce is bubbling and onions are a shade darker. Eat at once.

 
 

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Thursday, November 6, 2014

Potato and Corn Chowder with Bacon




"Soup's not a meal!!"

Anyone remember that debate on a Seinfeld episode? Jerry is given a suit by his "friend" Bania and in  return owes him a meal. However when they go out Bania orders soup saying that he'll save his meal for another time. It goes on and on with Jerry insisting that this is the meal and there won't be another chance while Bania demands that soup is not a meal. Hysterical!!! Aah Seinfeld, the best show about nothing!!

Anyway, I have to agree with Jerry - soup IS a meal, especially when it is a hearty soup like this Potato Corn Chowder. I have made several chowders so I took my favorite things about them and created this chowder. Bacon is a must for me when starting a good chowder, and I love saving it to use as a topping for serving.

Potato and Corn Chowder (yes, it's a meal)
Original Recipe

Ingredients
  • 4 slices of bacon
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 Russet potatoes, diced or cubed (equal sized pieces)
  • 8 oz creamed corn
  • 1/2 c frozen corn
  • 3-4 cups of low sodium chicken broth
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 3/4 c light cream
  • Cheddar cheese for topping (optional)
Directions

  • Heat your stock pot or Dutch oven. Add the bacon and cook until crisp. Remove from the pan (crumble and keep for topping) and leave 1 Tbsp bacon grease in the pan, discarding the rest.
  • Add the butter to the pot over medium high heat. Add the onion and carrot. Saute 2-3 minutes until the onion is soft
  • Add the garlic and potatoes; sauté 3 minutes
  • Add the creamed corn, frozen corn, touch of salt, pepper, thyme, and cayenne. Stir everything and then add the broth slowly - you may not use all of the broth. You want your veggies covered but not lost in the broth. You can always add more if you need it. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for 15-20 minutes until the potatoes have cooked through.
  • Lower the heat and add the cream; let simmer for several minutes.
  • Taste and adjust salt and pepper if needed. Serve topped with crumbled bacon and shredded cheddar cheese.  


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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Chinese Green Beans with Pork


I'm back with a new post - finally! I know it has been a full month since I last posted - and what a busy month it was! But now we are back in our routine and even though I haven't posted, I have been doing a lot of cooking so I will be sharing all of those recipes with you over the next few weeks.
 
The recipe I'm sharing today is another perfect quick and easy weeknight meal - don't we all need those? And with prep and total cooking time being less than 25 minutes, it's on your table faster than take-out. Another plus, and it's a big one - less sodium than take-out and you know exactly what is in it and how it was prepared.
 
The original recipe called for ground turkey, but I changed that to pork - just a personal preference. I also used regular rice vinegar instead of seasoned. .
Chinese Green Beans with Pork
Adapted from: The Weary Chef
 
Ingredients
  • 1 c medium grain rice, uncooked
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 small bunch green onions, sliced thin
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
  • 2 pork chops cut into very small pieces (or 1 lb ground pork)
  • 2 Tbsp chili garlic sauce
  • 2 Tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 1 tsp crushed ginger
  • 1 lb washed and trimmed green beans (or Chinese long beans if available)
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp (seasoned) rice vinegar

  •  
    Directions
    • Cook rice according to directions (I boil the appropriate amount of water according to the directions, add the rice, stir, reduce to a simmer and cover. In 25 minutes it's always perfect
    • When rice is about 10 minutes from done, heat large skillet over high heat. Add the pork and sauté for 3-5 minutes until the meat is mostly cooked (if using ground pork, crumble the meat as you are cooking it).
    • Add sesame oil; add green onions and garlic and sauté 1 minute
    • Stir in chili garlic sauce, hoisin sauce, and ginger.
    • Add green beans and soy sauce, and stir to coat. Continue cooking over high heat for 7-9 minutes longer, stirring frequently, until beans are slightly tender.
    • Stir in rice vinegar, and cook one minute longer. Serve over cooked rice.
     
     
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    Tuesday, September 23, 2014

    Bacon Bourbon BBQ Chicken


     
    When I'm browsing through recipes pinned to Pinterest, I always stop when I see bacon in the title. That's where I found this one, and it led me to the blog Host the Toast.
     
    I didn't fully read the recipe at first... I just drooled over the pictures and couldn't wait to taste this chicken. I finally put them on the menu a few weeks ago and that's when I read the recipe to make my shopping list.
     
    I've used bacon in cooking a lot and sometimes it's used more as a garnish, sometimes I render the fat to give that smoky-bacon flavor, or sometimes it's a big part of the dish. This recipe uses bacon in a way I haven't before. You actually grind the raw bacon into a paste and use it as a rub on your chicken. Interesting, right??
     
    I have to admit that while I was making this raw rub I was really not sure. I mean, it doesn't look that appetizing, but I kept on going. The rubbed chicken looked even less appetizing but trust me - just keep going. The bacon kind of melts in to the chicken on the grill and gives it the best flavor. Top that with the bourbon BBQ sauce and the chicken is perfectly sweet, salty and smoky.
     
     
    Bacon Bourbon BBQ Chicken
     
    Ingredients
  • 16 oz barbecue sauce
  • ¼ cup bourbon
  • 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1" pieces (I used thighs and breasts)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 3 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 6 slices raw bacon, cut into small pieces
  • Added: 1-2 Tbsp olive oil
  •  
    Directions
    (slightly modified)

    • In a food processor, combine the kosher salt, white pepper, onion powder, paprika, garlic powder, dark brown sugar, smoked paprika, and bacon. Pulse until completely smooth. I had to add some oil slowly to get more of a paste consistency.
    • Put the chicken pieces on skewers (pre-soaked skewers if they are wooden) and then rub generously with the bacon mixture. Cover and let sit for 30 minutes to 2 hours in the fridge.
    • In a small bowl, combine the BBQ sauce and bourbon. Mix well.
    • Light the grill and heat to medium-high
    • Place the kebabs on the preheated grill. Cook for about 5 minutes per side, or until nearly cooked through.
    • Brush the kebabs with the bourbon barbecue sauce and cook for an additional minute on each side.
    • Serve with the remaining BBQ sauce.
     
     
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    Friday, September 12, 2014

    Modernized Ramen Noodle Salad


     
     
    When I was younger (let's just say back in the 80s) it seemed like someone always brought a Ramen Noodle Salad to parties. I tried it a few times but was never really wowed by it. I mean, it's raw, cheap, crunchy ramen noodles mixed with some veggies and a sweet dressing. I wonder who first created this recipe and thought it was a good idea to mix these noodles with salad? Hmm, I wonder if it was an accident and the noodles fell in to the bowl. Now I'm really interested in tracing this recipe back to its origins! Does anyone know?
     
    I made the original Ramen Noodle Salad once about 10 years ago and failed miserably...  I can't believe I'm even admitting that. I mixed the dressing the night before I planned on taking it to a party which  made everything wilt horribly. I didn't even discover my mistake until 25 minutes before we were leaving for the party so I ended up having to pick up a dessert at the last minute so I wouldn't show up empty handed. At least I can blame it on the fact that I had no interest in cooking at all 10 years ago and luckily I now know better.  
     
    Fast forward to 10 years later when I'm talking to Jon about what to make for dinner and he said "how about that Ramen noodle salad?" I guess he forgot that we never actually ate it, but for some reason he was craving it.
     
    I didn't feel like running back to the supermarket so decided to wing it using ingredients I already had on hand. I think the traditional recipe calls for Napa cabbage. I already had romaine lettuce so used that. I also added some veggies not in the traditional recipe, and I pulled together a dressing based on some things I have made in the past.
     
    The end result - a light, fresh salad with great texture from the crunchy veggies and noodles. I'll definitely make this modernized version again! I served it with grilled chicken that had been marinated in a soy/sesame/garlic/sriracha mixture.
     
     
     
    Modernized Ramen Noodle Salad
     
    Ingredients
    • 1.5 heads romaine, chopped
    • 2 green onions, chopped
    • 1/2 red pepper
    • 1/2 green pepper
    • 1/4 cucumber
    • 1/2 c soybeans, cooked and chilled
    • 1 package crunchy ramen noodles, crumbled (not cooked)
     For the dressing
    • 2/3 c vegetable oil
    • 2 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
    • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
    • 1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
    • 2 tsp granulated sugar
    Directions
     
    • Mix all ingredients for the dressing and chill. Shake well before serving.
    • Mix all of the veggies for the salad and chill.
    • Before serving mix in the noodles and toss with the dressing.


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    Tuesday, September 9, 2014

    Italian Zucchini and Tomato Gratin



    It's September but we still have great tomatoes and zucchini. My mom found this recipe, brought over the ingredients that my dad picked up from a local roadside stand, and I made the recipe. I love local summer tomatoes and then add cheese to them and bake until hot and bubbly? Heavenly.
     
    Not only was this a great side for dinner, I heated it up the next morning and served it alongside scrambled eggs and loved it.
     
     
    Italian Zucchini and Tomato Gratin
    Adapted from: Gluten Free Mama
     
    Ingredients
    • 1 large zucchini, cut into 1/4 inch thick rounds
    • 2-3 large tomatoes (I love Jersey tomatoes!!), cut into 1/4 inch thick rounds
    • 1 Tbsp Italian Herbs Seasoning blend
    • 1/4 c good olive oil
    • 3/4 c shredded cheese - Italian blend (Parmesan, asiago, mozzarella, etc)
    • Salt and pepper
    Directions
    • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
    • Toss the tomatoes and zucchini (in separate bowls) with the oil, herbs, and a touch of salt and pepper
    • Layer zucchini in a single layer in a large baking dish; I used a 9 inch Corning Ware casserole dish (you want a deep dish). Sprinkle with some cheese.
    • Layer tomatoes over the zucchini in a single layer; sprinkle with some cheese.
    • Repeat with a layer of zucchini, cheese, tomatoes, and the rest of the cheese.
    • Bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes until veggies are cooked through and the cheese is melted
     
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    Thursday, September 4, 2014

    BBQ-Chili Grilled Chicken with a Tex Mex Chopped Salad and Chili-Ranch Dressing




    Wow, that's a mouthful of a recipe title!!

    So our summer has been fabulously cool. I know there are some haters out there, but I have adored this summer. I don't know how many nights we sat out on the patio and I needed a light hoodie or long pants. That is MY kind of weather and I'd gladly take it for 6 months a year.

    But then September approached and all of the heat and humidity came back. I don't even want to be outside (thank goodness the husband does 99% of the grilling!!). This weather is perfect for "it's too hot to cook" meals, like this grilled chicken and salad.

    The night before I made this dinner I trimmed the chicken, put it in a casserole dish and started to hunt for marinade ingredients. I didn't have any idea for sides yet, but decided to give my marinade some tex-mex flavors and spices. And then something made me grab the BBQ sauce and I decided to experiment. Guess what? It worked! Just like using hoisin in an Asian inspired marinade, the BBQ sauce added some sticky sweetness and held it all together.

    The salad and dressing were last minute creations as Jon was heating the grill and cooking the chicken. Sometimes meals like this are the best - spontaneous, creative, simple, easy, and most importantly, delicious.



    BBQ-Chili Grilled Chicken with a Tex Mex Chopped Salad and Chili-Ranch Dressing

    Marinade Ingredients
    • 3 trimmed chicken breasts
    • 1/4 c light olive oil
    • 1/4 c BBQ Sauce (I used Sweet Baby Ray's Original)
    • 1 Tbsp chili powder
    • 2 tsp garlic powder or 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 2 tsp cumin
    • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (or more for more heat)
    • 2 Tbsp lime juice
    Salad Ingredients
    • 2 heads of Romaine lettuce, chopped
    • 1/2 each green and red bell pepper, chopped
    • 2 Tbsp chopped red onion
    • 1/2 c corn - I used frozen (thawed and brought to room temp), but if I had more time grilled corn would have been great!
    • Handful of cherry tomatoes, chopped
    • Crushed tortilla chips or fried tortilla strips
    • Cheese  - shredded Monterey Jack or cheddar or crumbled queso fresco
    • Chopped green onions
    • Other ingredients you could add include black beans, cilantro, sliced jalapenos
    Dressing Ingredients
    • 1/4 c of your favorite Ranch dressing
    • 1/2 tsp chili powder
    • 1/4 tsp cayenne (optional for some heat)


    Directions
    • Mix the marinade ingredients (except the lime juice) and pour over chicken in a shallow dish. Cover and marinate at least 8 hours. Add the lime juice about 30 minutes before you plan on grilling the chicken.
    • Mix all of the salad ingredients (except the chips and cheese) and chill at least 30 minutes.
    • Mix the dressing ingredients and chill.
    • Grill the chicken until done; slice
    • Serve the salad topped with some of the chips, cheese and green onions followed by the dressing and alongside the sliced chicken.
     
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    Friday, August 29, 2014

    Shrimp in a White Wine, Garlic and Lemon Sauce



    I am thrilled that my 4 year-old LOVES shrimp. She tried one a few months ago and since then can't get enough of them. I'm a little jealous, actually. I wish I liked shrimp but I just don't, but at least my daughter gets to eat all of the yummy shrimp recipes my husband makes. All of the shrimp recipes on this blog are his.

    A few weeks ago he made shrimp a little differently than his usual spicy shrimp or Cajun grilled shrimp. He used wine, garlic, and lemon for a simple light and fresh dish. He loved it and our daughter loved it, and I loved watching him create it and then seeing her devour it.

    The shrimp only took about 10 minutes to make so this is a quick and easy meal that looks and tastes fancy.

    Shrimp in a White Wine, Garlic and Lemon Sauce
    Original Recipe by Jon

    Ingredients
    • 1/2 lb 21-25 or 26-30 count shrimp (if frozen, defrosted), peeled
    • 1 tsp olive oil
    • 1/2 Tbsp butter
    • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
    • 1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
    • Black pepper
    • 3 Tbsp dry white wine
    • Parsley for garnish
    Directions
    • Heat olive oil and butter in a sauté pan over medium high heat
    • Add the shrimp and cook about 1 minute per side, (you don't want them cooked through yet)seasoning the shrimp with black pepper as you cook them
    • Add the lemon juice and simmer 2 minutes
    • Add the garlic and simmer 1 minute (reverse this step with the lemon juice step if you don't want the garlic to be too strong)
    • Add wine and simmer 2-3 minutes until shrimp is cooked through
    • Garnish with parsley and serve (over rice or pasta)
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    Tuesday, August 26, 2014

    Jalapeno Popper Dip



    Jalapeno poppers without all of the work - that's exactly what this dip is! Creamy, cheesy, spicy with some crunch. Yum.

    I made real jalapeno poppers once before and they were great, but it took a lot of work to get them just right. Then I made Jalapeno Popper Bites and they were really easy and yummy so I thought they'd be my go-to recipe for a jalapeno popper inspired appetizer. But then I saw this dip and everything changed. Dips are my guilty pleasure and my weakness so this one didn't sit in my favorites tab long before I made it.

    We were having friends over for dinner several weeks ago so I immediately put this dip on the menu. It was easy to make and everyone loved it. I ate a lot of this dip. And just in case you are wondering, it does reheat well later if you happen to have any left over! Confession... I may always make extra when I'm making a hot and bubbly dip JUST so I'll have leftovers to heat up later. Or the next day.

    I made one major change to the recipe. Instead of using canned chilies and jalapenos, I used a mix of fresh jalapenos and freshly roasted jalapenos. I can get a bag of jalapenos at my local produce store for a lot less than 2 cans of chilies, and fresh is always better in my opinion.

    So the next time you are having people over or even if you are just craving poppers, try this dip. I don't see how you could be disappointed ;)

    Jalapeno Popper Dip
    Adapted from: Tablespoon

    Ingredients
    • 2 (8-oz) packages of cream cheese at room temperature
    • 1/2 c mayonnaise
    • 1/2 c sour cream
    • 1 c shredded Mexican cheese
    • 1 c grated Parmesan cheese, separated
    • 4 jalapeno peppers
    • 1 c Panko breadcrumbs
    • 1/4 c butter
    Directions

    • Finely chop 2 of the jalapenos (seeds removed). Put the other 2 jalapenos over an open flame - I use my gas stove but you can also use an outdoor grill. Roast them until the skin is completely charred, and then transfer to a paper bag or bowl covered with plastic wrap. Let sit for 10-15 minutes. Remove from the bag/bowl and peel off all of the charred skin. Finely chop the jalapenos, removing the seeds and being careful as the juices inside will be pretty hot.
    • Mix the cream cheese, mayo, sour cream, Mexican cheese, half of the Parmesan and all of the chopped jalapenos. Spread in a baking dish.
    • Melt the butter in a small pan. Add the panko and toss until coated. Remove from the heat and add the remaining Parmesan cheese. Pour the panko mixture over the dip and spread evenly.
    • Bake in a 375 degree oven for 20 minutes until bubbly, turning on the broiler for the last few minutes to brown the top.
    • Serve with tortilla chips

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