Category Archives: Dinner is Served!

Crispy Onion Rings

Crispy Onion Rings

This week my hubby is away hugging orphans in Guatemala. Two nights in a row I’m two for two on going to a friend’s house and cooking them dinner! It’s a win- win for me because I love to cook and I have pretty much escaped clean up now for two nights in a row! I’m on a roll! Who wants me to come cook dinner at their house?! No but seriously these onion rings turned out SO yummy tonight that I just had to share them with all of you. The texture and crisp reminded us of the bloomin’ onion at Chili’s! Really Easy and quick to make but a couple cautions…

*do not leave oil on high heat the entire time. Once oil is heated and bubbles around the handle of a wooden spoon, its good to go,  go ahead and start frying the first batch but kick the heat down to med high

*Fry about 6 onion rings at a time, any more really lowers the heat of the oil and they won’t cook all the way.

*If you do more than 4 batches which is about 1 large sweet onion it’s best to change the oil to avoid bitter or burnt remnants over taking the oil.

* be ready and have a system so you don’t burn them!…it goes like this… Egg, dredge in Breadcrumb/flour mixture , fry, flip, fry more, drain on paper towel on a plate. Boom! Perfect!

Crispy Onion Rings

2 cups vegetable oil
2 eggs, beaten well
1 large sweet white onion sliced and pieces pulled apart
1/2 cup bread flour
1/2 cup italian bread crumbs
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon each salt and pepper

Heat oil in deep skillet. Slice onion and pull apart to create the “o” rings. Mix flour, breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, and garlic salt well and put in a shallow dish. Dip onion rings in beaten egg, then in breadcrumbs…shake off excess, put in hot oil (about 350*) Fry for 90 seconds then flip 60 more seconds then they are done. Place on a paper towel to drain and season with a bit more salt to taste. Enjoy!

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Lime Shrimp & Black Bean Tostadas

Today was not Taco Tuesday folks…it was Tostada Tuesday! That’s right…SO tasty! It took under 30 min to throw this fabulous weeknight dinner together and I can assure you it had way less fat, calories, and sodium than a meal I used to eat at my fav local Mexican joint. This is a win! So make this, enjoy it, and savor all the yumminess!

 

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Lime Shrimp & Black Bean Tostadas

2 ears of corn, boiled

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 lb shrimp, cleaned and tails removed

1 can organic black beans, drained

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon chili powder

salt and pepper

the juice of 1 lime

1 bunch green onions (scallions), chopped

1 bag crunchy tostadas

8 oz Montery Jack Cheese

 

Boil water and drop in 2 ears of corn. Cook for 12 min, drain and cut corn off of the cobs once cooled. Season with a little salt and pepper and set aside in a bowl for tostada assembly.

 

Heat olive oil in a skillet, remove tails off of shrimp, cut each shrimp into 3-4 bite sized pieces. Saute on medium high for 2 min on each side. Add salt and pepper, cayenne and chili powder. Stir, then add juice of one lime to the skillet and coat the cooked shrimp well. Open black beans and drain well. Chop scalloins.

Take 2 cookie sheets and line with foil, if you wish, and place 6 tostada shells on each cookie sheet. Add 1 tablespoon black beans over each. Evenly distribute lime shrimp you made over each. Next, add corn on top, green onions on each tostada and about 1/3 cup Monterey Jack cheese on each. Bake for 10 min in a 350* oven till cheese is melted.

Garnish tostadas with guacamole.

 

Cauliflower Cheddar Mash

We all want to enjoy food but not let it change our waistline, right? My grandma always used to say ” A moment on the lips, forever on the hips.” Being perfectly honest, I love food and I love eating and there has to be some times when we really focus on how to enjoy food that is honest to goodness good for our bodies. After all, the good Lord only gave us one. So, I am implementing even more healthy lifestyle options into our family dinners, and am being more thoughtful about what I put in my body, working to treat it like a temple. The good news is that my take on a mashed potato “fake out” is truly yummy. The texture is super close. It’s so spot on that last night at dinner my almost 2 yr old had no clue and demolished every bite! I’d say that’s a win! So eat your veggies, feel good about it and let this recipe help!

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Cheddar Cauliflower Mash

1/2 cup water

1 whole head Cauliflower

2 Tablespoons butter

1/4 cup low-fat milk

1/2 cup cheddar cheese, plus more for garnish if desired)

salt and pepper to taste

In a medium saucepan bring 1/2 water to a boil. Rinse and clean head of cauliflower, cut bottom leaves off and discard. Next, cut into pieces and transfer to boiling water. Cover and steam on medium high heat for 10-12 minutes until the cauliflower is fork tender. Drain water, add in butter, milk and cheese. With an electric hand mixer or potato masher (by hand) start to mash until you get a smooth creamy texture. If too thick add a dash more milk. Salt and pepper and make sure to taste. Sprinkle cheese on top and serve. Serves 6.

Lemon Parmesan Chicken Cutlet

We are all looking for new ways to cook chicken! I love working with chicken cutlets because they are thinner which means your cooking time will be less and they are also great for dredging in flour and having a finished dish packed with flavor! This dinner is satisfying and NOT deep fried, so you can feel good about that!

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Lemon Parmesan Chicken Cutlet

4 Chicken Cutlets ( They sell these but you can also take a chicken breast and cut horizontally to have 2 thinner pieces.)

4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 cup flour

1 teaspoon garlic salt

1 teaspoon salt and pepper, each

3 teaspoons grated Parmesan

1/2 a lemon, cut into 6 wedges

1/4 cup fresh chopped basil

Pat chicken dry with a paper towel. In a pie dish or deep plate mix together flour, garlic salt, salt, pepper, and grated Parmesan. Take chicken and press into the flour coating both sides well. Keep doing this to each side until flour is completely coated on chicken. This process is called dredging.

Next, heat olive oil nice and hot over high heat in a large sauté pan. Place chicken down in hot oil. Once set down do not move in order to achieve a hard brown crust on each side. Cook for 6 minutes on medium high heat then flip the chicken and cook for another 5-6 minutes on the second side. Squeeze 2 lemon wedges over the chicken and sprinkle some more Parmesan over the top. Transfer to serving plate. Garnish with chopped fresh basil, more Parmesan, and a lemon wedge for each piece.

Serves 4

Bacon & Provolone Grilled Cheese

We are all kids at heart. My love of cooking started as a kid. One Sunday afternoon we came in the door from church, hungrier than usual. I grew up in Michigan and it was a winter day. Maybe 12 degrees outside. My dad said I could make lunch that day. I spun with the excitement of that task. Grilled cheese and soup was something I could pull off at the age of 8 and I was ready to kick it into high gear to pump out some excellent grilled cheeses for my family of six. That morning I wore a flowing dress with flowers all over it and a large bow on the front center. Well, about 3 grilled cheese sandwiches in, I looked down and to my horror my dress, that bow, was on fire. I leaned a little too far over near the gas burner and poof-bow up in flames! I didn’t panic oddly enough but spun around toward my dad. We locked eyes and his widened. He then took the most monstrous breath in and blew out as hard as he could. My dress was still smoking and he then rushed me over to the sink to submerge the remaining embers under water. Wow! I felt so confident in the kitchen and had a bit of a wake up call. We laugh about it now. And now I’m making a more grown up grilled cheese for my family on Sunday afternoons and smile at happy memories of kitchen adventures so many years ago.

12 slices bread ( Texas toast would be superb here)
1/2 stick butter
12 pieces provolone cheese
1 lb bacon cooked, drained and chopped

Butter bread liberally stack with provolone, bacon in the middle then another piece of provolone. Place another piece of buttered bread on top and cook in skillet on medium high about 3 min on each side. What temperature of your stove top. Try turning it down as the first side gets done to allow cheese time to melt well. Serves 6.

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We also had this Homemade Italian Wedding soup this week. Grilled cheese and soup is a comfort combo worth making every time. Warms the soul, I think.

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Fiesta Stuffed Green Peppers

I am the first to admit I need quick weeknight family meals! This one takes 30 min. Serves 4. Is so flavorful and satisfying. Once you’ve made this two or three times you’ll be on autopilot and it’ll be a super easy go-to for you and your family! I switch this up from my “fiesta” filling and sometimes go Italian and stuff with rice, zucchini, Italian sausage or beef, tomatoes, garlic and mozzarella. So this concept can score you a couple quick weeknight options.

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Fiesta Stuffed Green Peppers

2 cups rice (Tip: save time and buy a bag of Spanish or taco rice that cooks stovetop in 8 min, make per package directions)
4 green peppers ( cut tops in a round remove and de-seed)
1 TB extra virgin olive oil
1 red onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 can corn
1/2 can black beans
1/2 cup salsa
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (pepper jack would be good here too for those who like spicy)
Top with sour cream

Fill a stockpot with water and bring to a boil. Par-boil the cleaned green peppers. About 10 min. While that’s boiling, in a saucepan cook rice per package directions and set aside.
In a sauté pan add olive oil and sauté chopped onion. After 4 min on medium high heat add in garlic, black beans, corn and some salt and pepper. You can make it a little spicy at this point if you’d like with adding a few pinches of chili powder and cayenne pepper if desired. Drain peppers and start to layer each pepper. First start with spooning in some rice, then the bean and corn mixture then salsa. Repeat once more and then top with shredded cheese and bake at 375* for 12 min. Sour cream on top is optional.

Turkey Taco Soup

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Have leftover turkey from the big day yesterday? Yea, me too…here’s what I came up with tonight with our leftover turkey. It turned out so flavorful I just had to share it with you all!

Turkey Taco Soup

Serves 4-5

1 TB olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1 cup cooked turkey breast, chopped
Salt and pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 can tomato sauce (8oz)
1 can black beans
2 1/2 cups water
3/4 cup Minute white rice
1 chicken bouillon cube
2 Tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
1 lime, cut into wedges

Cheddar cheese, sour cream, and tortilla chips for garnish.

In large stockpot sauté onion and celery in olive oil on medium high heat. Cook 3 min then add in turkey, season with salt and pepper. Add in minced garlic, stir well. Let sauté 2 more min. Next, add in tomato sauce, black beans (whole can do not drain), water, bouillon cube and rice. Bring to a boil and after 3-4 minutes add in chopped cilantro. Cut lime into wedges and ladle soup into each bowl. Garnish with cheese, sour cream and a lime wedge. Crumble tortilla chips if desired. Enjoy!

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