Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Sesame Orange Sriracha Shrimp

For dinner tonight I re-vamped and spiced up a recipe originally from Martha Stewart and boy was it fantastic! The shrimp is light and crispy and the additions to the orange sesame sauce give the dish a nice kick of heat. We all agreed that this will definitely be made again -- maybe with some yummy chicken lettuce wraps, or skewered and served party style!


3 large egg whites
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup sesame seeds
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 cup vegetable oil, plus more if needed
1 cup fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1-2 tablespoons Sriracha sauce
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon, sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
4 green onions, trimmed and thinly sliced


1.  In a large bowl, whisk together egg whites, cornstarch, sesame seeds, salt, and pepper until frothy. Add shrimp, and toss to coat.

2.  Heat 1/4 cup oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Working in two or three batches, cook shrimp until golden and crisp, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Add more oil to skillet if necessary for remaining batches.

3.  Wipe skillet with a paper towel. Add orange juice, soy sauce, sugar, Sriracha, garlic, sesame oil, and ginger. Boil over high heat until syrupy and reduced to about 1/3 cup, 4 to 5 minutes. Return shrimp to skillet; add scallions, and cook until heated through and coated with sauce, about 1 minute.

We served this dish over long grain cilantro and lime rice with a side of steamed summer squash and zucchini. I can't wait for left-overs at work tomorrow!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Beet, Goat Cheese & Walnut Salad

For Sheila's pizza party this past Saturday night I made a simple, colorful salad that took about 5 minutes to whip into shape. The color contrast between the bright red beets and the stark white goat cheese makes this salad look super fancy... and it's delicious!


Salad greens, I used half arugula and half spring mix
    Spinach works great too!
Chopped Walnuts
3-4oz Goat Cheese, crumbled
Pickled beets, sliced into long strands


Fill bowl with salad greens. Top with alternating layers of cheese, beets, and walnuts. 
I recommend lightly dressing with a Balsamic Vinaigrette. We really like Marzetti's Simply Dressed -- But I might steal Ricky's homemade dressing recipe for next time.   

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Caramelized Onion, Mushroom, Apple & Gruyere Bites

I love cooking and baking for parties and small get-togethers although sometime's I'm a little too ambitious... especially in the time department. Here's a delicious, quick, and easy recipe I made for +Aaron and his fellow youth group leaders for a meeting we hosted at the house. This dish takes me less than an hour (prep time included) and it looks and tastes elegant, time-consuming and complicated.


2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
4 oz. baby bella mushrooms, sliced
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 1/2 granny smith apples, cubed into 1/2″ cubes
1 tsp. granulated sugar
1 1/2 oz. grated gruyere cheese
2 tbsp. chives, minced
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1 package (1 pound) of frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 egg, beaten


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray baking sheets with non-stick spray/oil for good measure.

1.  In a large skillet, heat the vegetable oil and cook the onions (with 1 tsp. of salt) until they’re golden brown. Remove and set aside in a large bowl. In the same skillet, sauté mushrooms until tender. Remove and set aside in the bowl with the onions.
2. In the same skillet, melt the butter and add in the apples with the sugar. Cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Remove from pan and add to the large bowl with onions and mushrooms.
3. Add the cheese, chives, and thyme to the bowl and stir to combine the mixture well. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
4.  With a pizza cutter, cut the puff pastry into 2-inch squares and place them on non-stick baking sheets. 
5. Using a pastry brush, brush beaten egg on the squares. Using a tablespoon, place filling in the middle of each puff pastry.
6.  Bake for 25 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through and switching the baking sheet on the top rack to the bottom and the bottom to the top, until the pastry is golden brown and crisp.

Pro-Tip: Let the tarts cool a bit before serving, you don’t want people to burn the roofs of their mouths!
Pro-Tip Part Deux: Be careful with you Puff Pastry - if it thaws too much it's very difficult to work with. Check on it often during your prep work!

While this bakes it makes the whole house smell phenomenal... that's why I reserve this recipe for when I'm hosting!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Everything is better with Zucchini!

I think zucchini might be my favorite vegetable. My go-to side dish for any meal is plain old steamed zucchini (and usually summer squash). It's delicious, light and makes any plate beautiful and colorful - this is probably the coolest thing I've ever done with zucchini.

Chicken Enchilada Stuffed Zucchini Boats


For the enchilada sauce

Olive oil
3 Garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp Chipotle chile in adobo sauce
     (more if you like it spicy, I just use the whole can)
1-1/2 cups Tomato sauce
1/2 tsp Chipotle chili powder
1/2 tsp Ground cumin
2/3 cup Chicken broth
Salt and pepper to taste

For the zucchini boats

4 medium Zucchini
1 tsp Olive oil
1/2 cup Green onions, chopped
4 cloves Garlic, crushed
1/2 cup diced Green bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped Cilantro
8 oz grilled & shredded Chicken breast
1 tsp Cumin
1/2 tsp dried Oregano
1/2 tsp Chipotle chili powder
3 tbsp Chicken broth
1 tbsp Tomato paste
Salt and pepper to taste

For the Topping

Cabot Seriously Sharp Cheddar, shredded
Chopped scallions and cilantro for garnish


Enchilada Sauce

In a medium saucepan, heat oil and sauté garlic. Add chipotle chiles, chili powder, cumin, chicken broth, tomato sauce, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Set aside until ready to use.

Zucchini Boats

Bring a large pot of water to boil.

Preheat oven to 400°. Cut zucchini in half lengthwise and using a small spoon or melon baller, scoop out flesh, leaving 1/4" thick. Chop the scooped out flesh of the zucchini in small pieces and set aside.

Drop the zucchini halves in boiling water and cook 1 minute; remove from water.

In a large saute pan, heat oil and add onion, garlic and bell pepper. Cook on medium-low heat for about 2-3 minutes, until onions are translucent. Add chopped zucchini and cilantro; season with salt and pepper and cook about 4 minutes. Add the cumin, oregano, chili powder, water, and tomato paste and cook a few more minutes, then add in chicken; mix and cook 3 more minutes.

Place 1/4 cup of the enchilada sauce on the bottom of a large baking dish, and place zucchini halves cut side up. Using a spoon, fill each hollowed zucchini with chicken mixture, pressing firmly.

Top each with 2 tablespoons of enchilada sauce, and shredded cheese.

Cover with foil and bake 35 minutes until cheese is melted and zucchini is cooked through.

Top with scallions and cilantro for garnish and serve!

There's a lot of ingredients in this recipe and the prep can be time consuming. I definitely recommend this as a weekend/day-off dish or else dinner time may be a bit delayed.... BUT IT'S TOTALLY WORTH IT!! The enchilada sauce is really smoky and delicious. I've made this dish a few times and tweaked things here and there so it's definitely versatile. It would be super easy to convert this to a vegetarian dish with some extra veggies or non-meat protein. One time I was crazing carbs and converted this to a regular enchilada dish with flour tortillas and it was just as delicious (although not as healthy).

Make this dish... You won't regret -- just make sure you have someone else willing to do the dishes!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Superbowl Butterfinger Bars

This year I decided to go all-out for +Joel and +Christine's Superbowl party and tried out this new recipe. These bars are absolutely delicious but soooo rich. I can't even eat a whole bar, which is probably why the recipe only makes an 8x8 pan. I doubled the recipe for the party but probably wouldn't if I made them again.

Butterfinger Cookie Dough Cheesecake Bars 

Makes one 8×8 pan


Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough -- I cheated and bought
      a container of Harris Teeter's pre-made dough
     (in the bakery area, near the ice-cream cakes)
1 (12.5 oz) bag of Fun-Sized Butterfingers
8oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Combine cream cheese, sugar, egg, and vanilla in a bowl and beat until blended. Set aside.


Press 3/4 of cookie mixture into pan. Place Butterfinger bars side-by-side on top of cookie dough. Pour cheesecake mixture on top. Crumble remaining cookie dough on top of cheesecake layer.
Transfer pan to oven and bake for about 30-40 minutes at 375. Remove from oven set on wire rack to cool.

In the future I don't think that I would save 1/4 of the cookie dough for the top and instead I would sprinkle chocolate chips on the cheesecake topping - I think this would make them a little easier to eat and just as delicious! 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Housewarming Sangria

For our housewarming party I made a triple batch of this St. Germain based Sangria - it was to die for! Super yummy yet ridiculously potent.

Sangria Flora


One 750-milliliter bottle Sauvignon Blanc
1 1/2 cups St-Germain (elderflower liqueur)
1/4 cup Cointreau (orange liqueur)
6 strawberries, sliced 1/4 inch thick
6 raspberries
2 peaches, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 orange, thinly sliced crosswise
1 pound green and red grapes


Combine all of the ingredients in a pitcher and let stand at room temperature for 3 hours, or cover and refrigerate overnight. Serve in wineglasses over ice.

I bought an inexpensive glass jar from Target for serving. Add some chalkboard paint and you're good to go!

We were pretty well stocked for the party but ran out of the sangria FAST (did I mention that it was a TRIPLE batch). Pro-Tip: When all you have left is booze soaked fruit -- just throw in whatever wine, liquor, etc that you have laying around.... It will still be delicious. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Valentine's Dinner

The past 2 years for Valentine's day I made +Aaron Dixon a Spicy Blackened Tuna with Mango Salsa - and it's absolutely delicious! This year, Harris Teeter did not have any tuna steaks so I went in a completely
different direction.

Homemade Rosemary Olive Oil Bread, Crispy Red Potatoes, Steamed Broccoli and Cauliflower, and an absolutely delicious Rib Roast with Horseradish Breadcrumb and Herb Crust. Needless to say... I received RAVE reviews!

Rosemary Olive Oil Bread


1 cup warm water (100-110 F)
1 Tbsp. organic cane sugar
2 tsp. active dry yeast
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. fresh rosemary, chopped + more for garnish
A pinch of each ground garlic, dried oregano, and dried basil
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup bread flour + extra for kneading
1 egg, whisked + 1 Tbsp. water, for egg wash


1. In a large bowl, combine the warm water, sugar, and yeast. Let sit 10 minutes to proof.
2. Stir in the salt, rosemary, seasonings, olive oil, and whole wheat flour. Add the bread flour and stir until the dough forms a ball. Knead on a lightly floured surface for about 5 minutes, adding more flour as necessary to prevent sticking, until smooth.
3. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl; cover; and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
4. Punch down the dough and form it into a round loaf. Place it on a cornmeal dusted pizza peel or parchment paper; cover; and let rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, preheat oven (and pizza stone) to 400 F. Once the dough has risen, gently brush the top with egg wash and sprinkle with dried rosemary.
6. Bake on preheated stone for 20-25 minutes until the top is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped.

Rib Roast with Horseradish Breadcrumb and Herb Crust


2 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablepoons prepared horseradish
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs (I used the fresh Rosemary Olive Oil Bread)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup of equal amounts chopped fresh thyme, rosemary, and sage
2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 boneless rib-eye roast (2 1/2 pounds), room temperature


Preheat oven to 400.
1.  In a small bowl, combine sour cream and horseradish; season with salt and pepper. 
2.  In another bowl, combine breadcrumbs, olive oil, herbs, and garlic; season with salt and pepper.
3. In a large skillet, heat vegetable oil over medium-high. Season roast with salt and pepper; sear until browned on all sides, 10 minutes. Transfer to a skillet/baking sheet. 
4. Spread sour cream mixture on one side of roast; top with breadcrumb mixture, pressing to adhere. 
5. Place in oven; cook until medium-rare or an instant-read thermometer inserted in center reads 140, 35 to 45 minutes. Let rest 15 minutes before slicing.