Artichoke Dip Flatbread

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My husband planted us a super awesome garden this year – now our lettuce and spinach runneth over. I was trying to think of ways to use the spinach outside of salads – which we were getting sick of. I mean we aren’t effing rabbits. Then – spinach artichoke dip popped into my head. Great idea…but I always consider that to be an appetizer and didn’t think that ‘dip’ really counted as dinner. So, I took it a smidge further to relieve my ‘we had dip for dinner’ guilt. If you smear it on a flatbread, TA-DA, I now made a pizza. Sounds like much more work than ‘dip’. 🙂  It really was very good and it reheated well the next day. I think this would work as an appetizer or dinner…or leftovers for lunch at the office microwave station.

The other awesome thing here, is if you put all this into a skillet or oven-safe dish, then add a layer of cheese on top, bake for about the same time – and voila! You have spinach artichoke DIP. Then you can toast/cut some naan – or serve with tortilla chips. Two recipes in one. You’re welcome.

Ingredients:

  1. 3/4 cup light mayo (I use olive oil mayo)
  2. 1.5 cups chopped spinach – lightly packed
  3. 1 tbsp minced garlic
  4. 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  5. 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  6. 1 can of quartered artichokes, drained and chopped into smaller bits
  7. 1 tsp black pepper
  8. 1/2 tsp salt
  9. Naan flatbread – can be large or small flatbreads. Room temperature.

Directions:

  • Heat oven to 350 degrees
  • Combine ingredient items 1-8 above in a mixing bowl
  • Mix well until thoroughly combined. Can add more mayo or cheese if its not looking ‘creamy’ or cheesy enough (I just eye-balled it and thought – what does my dip usually look like – and add what I want from there – pretty sure you can’t mess this up)
  • Place the naan(s) on a baking sheet or pizza stone
  • Spread a healthy amount of the mixture on each one, leaving room around the edges for a ‘crust’ – about 3/4 inch
  • Bake in oven for approx 8 or so minutes. A larger flatbread may take about 10 minutes to ensure the middle of the flatbread gets hot.
  • Check at 8 minutes to see that crust is warm and the mixture is hot on top. Leave in oven if it needs more time. Check every 2 minutes.
  • Once almost done, turn the broiler on high and let broil for approx 1 minute- do not leave them in there unattended!
    • Free advice: Never turn your back on the broiler – you stand there or set a timer as a reminder. The Broiler can be your best friend or quite a bitch.
  • Once the tops are a bit golden brown/bubbly from the broiler – remove
  • Let cool for approx 3-4 min, then cut and serve!
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Mixing cheese, garlic, mayo, salt & pepper together

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Adding in spinach – once chopped

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Adding in artichokes once chopped

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Spreading mixture onto the naan/flatbreads

 

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Out of the oven and chopped – ready for dinner!

 

Crispy Honey Chipotle Chicken Tacos

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I saw this recipe online…and for all the recipes I find, I always do a bit of tweaking to make them my own, suit my flavor preferences, and just doing it exactly the same as someone else is cheating! 🙂 Changing them is much more fun anyways. This is a really delicious recipe, and the chicken itself would be great just for a meal or an appetizer. This is also a great way to fry chicken breasts without dropping into frying oil. I know this isn’t qualified as ‘health food’ but its better than a deep fryer, that is fo’ sho’. These tacos will appeal to everyone, no matter their taste bud likes. I think you could easily turn this into a salad if you removed the tortilla. Lots of fun ideas for this super crispy, sweet & spicy chicken. Hope you love these as much as we did.

INGREDIENTS:

  • Two boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup regular breadcrumbs (no seasoning)
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 eggs – whisked
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1/4 cayenne pepper
  • 2 chipotles in adobo sauce – pull two small peppers from can and puree in a food processor
  • 1 tbsp siracha or your preference of hot sauce
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1.5 tbsp corn starch
  • 1/2 cup butter melted (unsalted butter)
  • non-stick spray
  • corn tortillas
  • ranch dressing
  • avocado slices
  • chopped cilantro – about 2 tbsp
  • 1 lime cut into 4 wedges
  • extra salt & pepper on the side

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Heat oven to 450 degrees
  2. Prepare a baking sheet by spraying it with non-stick spray
  3. Cut each breast into three long strips. Then cut those strips in half. You should end up with about 12 total strips give/take.
  4. Sprinkle the chicken strips lightly with salt and pepper.
  5. Find three shallow bowls. In #1: combine both bread crumbs. In #2: pour in eggs. In #3 pour in flour, measured salt & black pepper and cayenne pepper
  6. Starting with your right hand, pick up a chicken tender and drop into the flour. Turn around to coat well. Drop into the egg bowl but do not touch the eggs w/ your right hand.
  7. Now with your left hand, turn the strip around in the egg until coated well. Continuing to use your left hand, remove from the egg and drop into the bread crumb bowl. Using your left hand still, coat the strip in the breadcrumbs pressing down to ensure they stick. Remove from bowl and place on baking sheet.
  8. Continue with right hand/left hand process to keep your hands from getting totally sticky with all the ingredients. Keep lining the baking sheet w/ chicken strips leaving space in between them.
  9. Once all strips are breaded and on the pan, wash hands and you are now done with the bowls.
  10. Take melted butter and pour all around the chicken strips, directly onto the baking sheet.
  11. Put in oven and set timer for 10 minutes.
  12. In a sauce pot on the stove top, add the following ingredients: honey, ketchup, chipotle puree, garlic, hot sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, onion powder and a pinch of salt and pepper. (A ‘pinch’ is how much you can pick up between your thumb and pointer finger – its about 1/8 teaspoon)
  13. Turn heat to medium-high and whisk until ingredients are combined well.
  14. In a small bowl whisk together corn starch and water. Set aside for now.
  15. When timer goes off, using tongs, flip the chicken onto the other side and set timer for 8 minutes.
  16. When sauce is bubbly and thick, add in the starch mixture. Continue whisking as the sauce becomes thick.
  17. Add in chicken broth and turn heat to low.
  18. When chicken is done, remove pan from oven and turn oven off. Allow chicken to cool for about 5 minutes so the crust sets up.
  19. Heat tortillas in cooling oven or in microwave. (I usually wrap in damp cloths in microwave or oven to keep them moist)
  20. Using tongs, drop fried chicken strips one by one into the sauce. Moving around until they are covered – about 10 seconds. Pull from sauce and set on a plate.
  21. Continue until all chicken strips are ‘dipped’ and on the side plate.
  22. Pull tortillas from microwave or oven.
  23. Put 2-3 strips on each tortilla (sometimes I doubled up the tortillas if they were too thin)
  24. Top with avocado, ranch dressing and cilantro. Squeeze a bit of lime juice onto the top and serve on the side too.
  25. Enjoy!

HELPFUL NOTE: You will have sauce leftover, so I put it in a small mason jar to freeze so I can do this again with sauce that is already done! (I’m a smart cookie sometimes).

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This is gross…but fun

 

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Breading the chicken

 

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Chicken breading assembly line

 

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Chicken after its breaded…ready for oven

 

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Sauce ingredients – before cooking

 

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Chicken done cooking

 

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Dipping chicken in sauce

 

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Chicken post-dipping

 

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Final product!

 

Restaurant/Retailer Redo: IKEA Swedish Meatballs

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Sweeeedish Meatballs

 

My mother-in-law’s family hails from Sweden. My husband talks often of her Swedish meatballs and I can attest that they are delish! The only other time I’ve had Swedish meatballs is at IKEA. I know there are mixed reviews, but the ones I had at the Orange County IKEA were quite yummy. So, in an effort to remind my husband of his mother’s home-made meatballs, and to try something new…I give you my version of Swedish meatballs. I have to say, I am quite proud on how they turned out and how good they were as leftovers!

INGREDIENTS FOR MEATBALLS:

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil – divided into two parts
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp fresh minced garlic

INGREDIENTS FOR GRAVY:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 8 cups beef broth
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 3 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp onion powder

DIRECTIONS

  1. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in large frying pan/skillet – medium heat
  2. Add chopped onions to the pan and stir until translucent
  3. Add in minced garlic and stir for about 2 minutes more until onions are beginning to carmelize just a bit
  4. Turn off heat & remove onions from pan. Put cooked onions/garlic in a large mixing bowl
  5. To the large bowl add all other ingredients for meatballs: egg yolks, panko, both proteins, nutmeg, allspice, salt & pepper
  6. Mix well until all combined thoroughly
  7. Place in fridge for about 15 minutes until chilled a bit. This allows for easy rolling later
  8. Pull from fridge and roll the meat into small 1 to 1.5 inch balls. As you complete the balls add back to the pan (which should be cooled by now). I actually needed a 2nd pan for all those meatballs. Since I needed a 2nd pan, I also needed an additional tbsp of olive oil for cooking.
  9. Once your pan(s) are loaded with meatballs, pour olive oil around the meatballs directly onto the pan. Turn to medium heat and start  to cook.
  10. Set up two plates lined with paper towels next to the cook top
  11. Cook the meatballs about 4-5 minutes on one side, then 4-5 minutes on the other. Keep cooking, rolling balls to cook all over for about another 4-5 minutes. The sides should be brown and crispy, but no pink showing.
  12. Once cooked all the way on the outside, remove them from the pan and place on paper towels to cool
  13. In a microwave or stove top, heat the beef broth until hot, but not boiling.
  14. Turn the pan to medium heat, add the butter to begin the gravy
  15. Once butter is melted,whisk in the flour until thick and bubbly.
  16. Cup by cup, slowly pour in the beef broth and whisk until thick. Continue until all broth is integrated smoothly.
  17. To the gravy, add 1/2 cup of sour cream and whisk until combined. Stir in other half and whisk again until all sour cream is melted and integrated.
  18. Add onion powder. Stir again until all is combined. Taste to add salt or pepper as you feel its needed. I always end up adding more pepper. 🙂
  19. Ensure heat is still at medium/bubbly and add in the meatballs one at a time as to not splash the sauce.
  20. Stir sauce to cover meatballs and cover for about 10 minutes.
  21. Pull one meatball to test. Cut in half to ensure its cooked all the way through, no pink. If it’s still pink, add the halved meatball back to the sauce. Cook for another 5 minutes and test another meatball for done-ness.
  22. Once meatballs are cooked, sprinkle them with parsley.  You can serve over rice, egg noodles, or just on their own in gravy. I like them with just a side of fresh bread. My husband likes them over egg noodles. Since these aren’t 100% health food, I also serve with steamed broccoli or roasted cauliflower to get those veggies.

NOTE: I doubled the required recipe for the gravy since my husband likes them over noodles so we need extra sauce!

HELPFUL TIP: When you refrigerate leftovers, the gravy becomes thick and jelly-like. Reheat in a pan over the stove. Whisk in about 1/4 -1/2 cup milk to the gravy as it heats to ensure the consistency isn’t too thick and gelatinous.

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Onions cooking in pan with olive oil and garlic.

 

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Meatballs mixture

 

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Meatball mixture ready for rolling

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Meatballs rolled and ready to cook

 

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Meatballs cooking in olive oil

 

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Parsley chopped and ready for garnish

 

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Meatballs placed into gravy

 

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Final product! Take that IKEA!

 

Butternut Squash Soup

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So I’ve explained how much I love butternut squash right? Well, I LOVE it. Plus I grew a ridiculous load of it in my garden this summer and have like 13 huge squash to use so if I didn’t like it I’d be in a bit of trouble. Butternut squash soup is likely my favorite way to eat squash, but don’t quote me on that. I may change my mind tomorrow.

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Now, to be clear this is NOT a soup that is mealy, fibrous or baby-food like in its texture. I prefer creamy/silky soups and this falls into that category. This is not a complicated process re: skill or technique, BUT it does take a bit of time. I’d say you will likely spend about 1 hour total cooking time meaning ‘on your feet active in the kitchen time’. But its WORTH it and you’l end up with about 3 mason jars full of soup to eat that week, freeze, give to neighbors and be all Norman Rockwell-esque during the holidays – its your soup…go nuts.

The best part about this soup is how it tastes. The second best is how you can top the soup with whatever you want – I used goat cheese crumbles and toasted walnuts this time around. I’ve used things like fried sage, parmesan cheese, toasted pine nuts, toasted pumpkin seeds, pomegranate seeds, the world is your oyster. So lets get to work!

Equipment:

  • High powered food processor, high powered blender (Vitamix-like), or immersion blender
  • If you do NOT have a food processor or immersion blender, you will need some sort of low powered blender and a fine mesh strainer.
  • I used a high powered food processor AND the fine mesh strainer. I like my soup extra smooth. Using the high powered blender alone would’ve been ok, I tasted the soup and it was really good texture, but I did the extra work anyways.

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium size butternut squash (about 4 lbs)
  • 1 cup buttermilk or half/half (you could use cream but I tried to be ‘light’)
  • 2 small granny smith apples
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 4 gloves garlic minced
  • 4 cups chicken broth (canned or fresh). You can use vegetable stock if you prefer.
  • 3 cups water
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 10 whole fresh sage leaves
  • 2 tsp salt measured + more on the side for use
  • 2 tsp fresh ground pepper measured + more on the side for use

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Peel, seed, and cube the squash into 1″ cubes.
  3. Line two baking sheets with foil
  4. Put all squash in a bowl. Sprinkle with some of your ‘on the side’ salt and pepper.
  5. Melt 2 tbsp of butter and pour into bowl. Mix well and spread all squash on the baking sheets
  6. Place in oven for 20 minutes. After cooking for 20 minutes, with a spatula flip the squash/move around a bit. Cook for another 20 minutes or until they are VERY tender, easily pierced with a fork or a knife. The fork or knife should go into the squash like its butter.
  7. While squash is cooking, peel the apple, core it, seed it and chop into a medium dice (about 1/2 inch)
  8. Peel the onion and chop into a medium dice (about 1/2 inch)
  9. Peel and mince the garlic
  10. Pull squash from oven.
  11. In a large dutch oven or stock pot, melt the other 2 tbsp butter and toss in the onions, apples, and garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes over medium heat.
  12. After another 5 minutes when onions are beginning to soften, toss in the sage leaves. Cook for another 5 minutes.
  13. Add in the squash to the onion/apple mix and continue to cook for about 3 minutes, stirring often.
  14. Add in all water and chicken stock.
  15. Bring to a boil.
  16. Lower to a simmer for about 20 minutes.
  17. Pull from heat and stir in the half/half.
  18. Working in batches, put spoonfuls of the soup mixture into the blender until its about half full. Leave the smaller center lid off and cover with a dish towel (to allow steam to release).
  19. Blend for about 15 seconds or until smooth. It may seem very thick in the first batch or two, but you still have a lot of mixture to work with and the majority of the liquid comes at the end. Patience friends.
  20. Pour the blended soup out of the blender bottle and either into a large pot OR you can first run it through a mesh strainer to give it one more ‘get rid of clumps’ round. I usually taste it to test the texture so I can decide what I want to do.
    • If you DO decide to run it through a strainer that is easy! Just hold the strainer in your left hand and pour in the soup with your right. Grab a spatula and stir the soup around the strainer until its all pushed through. Then rinse the strainer so its ready for the next batch.
  21. Continue steps 18-20 until all soup is blended, strained (if you prefer) and into the new pretty pot of soup.
  22. Add the measured salt and pepper…tossing in more as you like.
  23. If you want the soup any thinner, you can add more stock or milk…just add a little at a time so it doesn’t dilute the flavor too much, or make the soup too thin.
  24. Serve immediately so its still hot, or pour into mason jars (once cooled) to eat later or eat another day.
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About to pour melted butter on the squash and mix. it. up.

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Squash about to be roasted!

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Squash roasting in the oven

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Cooking apples, onion, sage, garlic in butter

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Adding roasted squash to the onion/apple/sage mix

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Simmering and almost ready for the blender

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About to blend the soup

 

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Straining soup after its been blended

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Straining the soup

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Final soup in large pot

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Final product served w/ toasted pecans, goat cheese and breadsticks

 

Restaurant Redo: Bonefish Grill’s Bang Bang Shrimp

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If you haven’t noticed, I am a fan of all types of food. I don’t care if its a chain restaurant, a Michelin star restaurant, a ‘dive’, fast food, whatever. If the food is good, I will eat it and likely try to recreate it. Bonefish Grill is a national seafood chain restaurant. Its delicious. I’ve been there 6 times and it never disappoints. Where else can you always find Chilean Sea Bass on a menu? Their cocktails are great, service is VERY good, and they have really good happy hour specials. The bang bang shrimp are one of their most popular items for a good reason. They are highly addictive: crunchy, sweet, spicy and  tangy. Just delicious. This ‘redo recipe’ tastes JUST like the restaurant dish. I was so proud of myself! This is a great recipe for an appetizer or even a main dish if you serve with a vegetable or even a side salad.

INGREDIENTS:

  • Approximately 3 dozen small uncooked, peeled and deveined shrimp.
  • 3/4 cup low fat plain greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup light or olive oil mayo
  • 3 tbsp thai chili sauce
  • 3 tsp Sriracha sauce
  • 2 tsp rice wine vinegar
  • 2 cups panko bread crumbs
  • 1 cup corn starch (keep extra nearby just in case)
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 2 cups cole slaw mix
  • frying oil (I use the Crisco frying blend)
  • sesame seeds for garnish

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a small mixing bowl pour in milk and add shrimp. Set aside
  2. Make the bang bang sauce: mix yogurt, mayo, chili sauce, Sriracha, and rice wine vinegar. Whisk until smooth. Set aside.
  3. In two other small mixing bowls – pour panko crumbs into one bowl and HALF of the cornstarch into the other bowl.
  4. If using a deep fryer, turn on and heat to 300 degrees. If using a pan with hot oil, pour the oil into a pan and turn the stove to medium high heat.
  5. Lay out two sets of double layered paper towels. One is for the shrimp when they are done cooking. One is for the shrimp before they go in the fryer/oil.
  6. To prep the shrimp, take 4-5 shrimp out of the milk bowl and dredge in corn starch. Be sure to put shrimp in the bowl and then flip. This process will get sticky, like paste. Fair warning.
  7. After you’ve dredged the shrimp in the corn starch, dip back into the milk bowl (yes the one with shrimp still in it) and then dredge in the panko bread crumbs (be sure to flip over and over until the shrimp are covered.
  8. Once the shrimp are coated, set on a paper towel to firm up/stick together just a bit.
  9. Continue until all shrimp are done.
  10. By this time the oil should be hot and ready for cooking.
  11. Take 1/3 of the shrimp and put them in the fryer/in the oil. Cook until golden brown, about 4-5 minutes. Pull a shrimp out to test – ensure its cooked before you pull them all out. If they are done, pull them out with a slotted spoon (or the fryer basket) and place on paper towels to dry.
  12. Complete frying process until all shrimp are cooked.
  13. In a large bowl, add 1 tbsp of the bang bang sauce and the cole slaw mix. Stir. Place the cole slaw onto a serving plate or platter.
  14. In the same bowl add the cooked/fried shrimp and half of the bang bang sauce. Mix slowly. Very slowly to keep the shrimp crunchy and covered w/ breading. Add more sauce as you like. I like mine super coated in the sauce so I use all of it. At a minimum you want the shrimp to be bright orange and coated well.
  15. Pour the coated bang bang fried shrimp onto the bed of cole slaw mix.
  16. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
  17. Serve immediately. These taste good hot or cold, but serving warm is best in my opinion.
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Shrimp!

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Shrimp soaking in milk

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The dredging stations: cornstarch, panko, milk

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Me, no makeup, no shower, and coleslaw mix.

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Colelsaw mixed with bang bang sauce

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Dredging station up close – shrimp in milk, corn starch, panko.

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Shrimp coated in corn starch and panko

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Shrimp are a-fryin’

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Shrimp are done frying and cooling

You need to mix the shrimp and the sauce slowly. Here is an amateur video of my mixing the crunch shrimp with the bang bang sauce.

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Shrimp coated in bang bang sauce and on the bed of cole slaw

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Final bang bang shrimp

 

Restaurant Redo: Bread with Tomato spread & Jamon Serrano

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This is another restaurant inspiration from Jaleo – a tapas restaurant my husband and I visited when on a recent trip to DC. This is a pretty simple recipe, but simple is good and simple is awesome. You can make these portions as large or as small as you want. I created a couple of other items we had at Jaleo: apple/fennel salad and cauliflower w/ dates and olives. I made all of these for dinner one night when I had friends over – it took me right back to being in Jose’s restaurant in DC. I am still loving every bite!

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Restaurant dish – my inspiration

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My tapas spread at home – recreating all of the dishes we had a Jaleo

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 slices of bread – I suggest a farm-to-market bread, crusty sourdough is best
  • 1/4 lb of jamon serrano – you can purchase at a nice grocery store or specialty store deli
  • 3 ripe tomatoes on the vine
  • 1 tsp or so EVOO
  • salt
  • pepper

Directions:

  1. Half tomatoes crosswise
  2. Grate face of the tomato into a bowl. Discard skins.
  3. Strain the tomato mix through a mesh strainer. Discard the juice. If you don’t the tomato spread will be too thin and watery.
  4. Into the tomato mixture add in olive oil, salt and pepper (to your liking)
  5. Toast bread – important so that the bread doesn’t immediately absorb the tomato spread
  6. On one face of the bread spread however much tomato mixture as you like.
  7. Layer on 4-6 pieces of ham on each open face of bread
  8. Serve!
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Half tomatoes cross-wise

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Grating the face of the tomato into a bowl

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Discarding the skins

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Tomatoes after grating

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Straining the tomato mixture into bowl

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Adding olive oil and S&P

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Jamon Serrano

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Bread, layered with tomato and jamon serrano

Bruschetta: Whipped Feta & Marinated Tomatoes

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IMG_3601I am part of a group of neighborhood women called ‘Gamin Gals’ – and we get together every other month at one woman’s house to play games, drink wine, snack and enjoy each others’ company. I’ve only been part of the group for about 8 months so it was my turn to host in may. I work during the day so I needed snacks that were each to do the night before and then put together ASAP when I got home.

This bruschetta is a little different as the tomatoes are marinated overnight and have shallots in the mix, then the tomatoes are placed on top of a whipped feta spread which can be used in the future for sandwiches, other types of bruschetta, on crackers w/ fruit, you name it – its just so yummy!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 cups cherry tomatoes – halved
  • 2 tbsp diced shallots
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 4 tbsp fresh chopped basil leaves
  • 6 ounces feta cheese
  • 4 ounces softened cream cheese (I use low fat)
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup EVOO
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 french baguette sliced 1/2 inch thick – on the diagonal
  • salt
  • fresh ground pepper
  • Balsamic drizzle (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a food processor, mix feta, cream cheese, EVOO, honey, lemon juice, 1 tsp fresh ground pepper. Pulse until smooth. Set in fridge until ready to prepare the bruschetta.
  2. The night before (or at least 2 hours before) mix the tomatoes, shallots, garlic, both types of vinegar, 3 tbsp of the basil, 1/2 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper – in a dish with a tight lid.
  3. Shake the dish gently for about 15 seconds to cover all the tomatoes evenly. Refrigerate overnight if possible.
  4. Before assembling the bruschetta, toast the baguette slices in a 350 degree oven for about 5 minutes, turning to broil low for about 2 minutes until the tops are crispy but the bread is still soft. Pull from oven and set aside to cool.
  5. Once bread has cooled, spread a thick layer of feta spread over each of the baguette slices.
  6. On top of the feta covered bread — spread spoonfuls of the marinated tomatoes.
  7. At the end top by sprinkling the remaining 1 tbsp of basil on top.
  8. I also drizzle with a bit of balsamic reduction that I usually have on hand.
  9. SERVE!
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Fun trick to cutting cherry tomatoes: Place tomatoes on a flat lid or on a small plate.

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Fun trick to cutting cherry tomatoes: Put another lid or small plate on top and hold the tomatoes in place gently.

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Fun trick to cutting cherry tomatoes: Using a sharp knife, run the knife between the plates/lids from one end to the other. Voila!

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Mixing tomatoes, basil, shallots, garlic and vinegars

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Blending feta, cream cheese, salt, pepper, honey, EVOO and lemon juice.

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Final product!