{In case you're wondering, that means "Everyone to the table to eat!" in Italian}

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Best Shrimp Cocktail

Best shrimp cocktail ever! I got the recipe from Mel's Kitchen Cafe.

Best Shrimp Cocktail
  • Shrimp:
  • 2 pounds deveined, shell-on jumbo shrimp (16 to 20 per pound)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons salt
  • 10 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 teaspoons peppercorns
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • 8 (2-inch) strips lemon peel plus 1/4 cup juice, from 2 lemons (reserve the lemon halves that have been juiced)
  • 8 cups ice
  • Cocktail sauce:
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup prepared horseradish
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  1. Combine the shrimp, 4 cups cold water, salt, thyme, peppercorns, bay leaves and celery seeds in a large pot. Cook the mixture over medium-high heat, stirring every so often, until the water registers 170 degrees and the shrimp are just beginning to turn pink, 5 to 7 minutes.
  2. Remove the pot from the heat and add the lemon peels, juice and lemon halves that have already been juiced. Cover the pot and let the mixture sit until the shrimp are completely pink and firm, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir the ice into the pot and let the shrimp cool completely, about 5 minutes. Drain the water and peel the shrimp, leaving the tails intact. Refrigerate the shrimp up to 24 hours until ready to serve.
  3. For the cocktail sauce, whisk all the ingredients together until combined. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve with the shrimp.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Cream of Chicken Soup {Gluten-Free}

We have recently decided to go gluten-free as a family, but a few of our favorites have cream-of-something soup as an ingredient, so I came up with this recipe.  It tastes 1000 times better than canned soup and is way better for you, too!  If you aren't gluten-free, you could just use flour in the recipe.

Cream of Chicken Soup {Gluten-Free}
2 Tb butter
2 Tb cornstarch
1/2 c. milk
1/2 c. water
1 tsp chicken bouillon powder or 1 cube
1 tsp dried parsley

Melt butter in saucepan.  Whisk in milk, water, cornstarch and bouillon.  Stir constantly over medium heat until thickened.  Mix in parsley and use in any recipe.  This makes the equivalent of one can of soup.

Suggestions for using this soup: Chicken Divan, Creamy Chicken Enchiladas, Greek Lemon Chicken Soup

Variations: you could use this recipe for any cream soup, just leave out the bouillon powder and...
  • Cream of Mushroom- sauté 4 ounces sliced mushrooms with butter, continue as directed.
  • Cream of Broccoli/Asparagus- trim 1 cup broccoli florets or asparagus spears, chop into 1/2" pieces, cook 'til tender, and add to soup at end of recipe.
  • Cream of Potato- Peel, cube & boil 1 potato 'til tender, add to soup at end of recipe.
  • Cream of Celery- sauté 1-2 chopped celery ribs with butter, continue as directed.
Each of these would need to be seasoned with salt & pepper at the end of cooking.  Enjoy!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

100% Whole-Wheat Waffles & Buttermilk Caramel Syrup

After eating our way through way too many treats during the holiday season, we are again trying to eat healthier. For a long time we have been making our own 100% whole-wheat bread, but recently I've been trying my favorite whole-wheat flour in baked goods- and it is so good! Rolls, pizza crust, banana bread, pancakes, and even chocolate chip cookies are all wonderful with it- we don't even notice a difference and I feel a lot better about giving my kids occasional treats if it's not made with the awful-for-you white stuff.  This is the waffle recipe we used this morning. Of course we slathered them in butter and served them with sliced bananas and OBB Buttermilk Caramel Syrup, but nobody's perfect, right?!  If you think you don't love whole-wheat flour, you've really gotta try this stuff- it is really finely ground and made from soft white spring wheat, not hard red winter wheat- it is so much better than other whole-wheat flours at the store!  Try mixing it with white flour at first and then go from there.  It is from a company called Wheat Montana and the one I use is the Prairie Gold flour (I buy it at Wal-mart). If you have a wheat grinder, they sell the wheat itself in 25 lb bags.

100 % Whole-Wheat Waffles
1 3/4 c whole-wheat flour
1/4 c flax seed
1 Tb baking powder
2 Tb sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 c buttermilk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 c canola oil

Mix dry ingredients in bowl. Mix wet ingredients together and whisk into flour mixture. Heat waffle iron and cook waffles until lightly browned and crispy on the outside. Top with butter & syrup or fruit & whipped cream- and enjoy!

Buttermilk Caramel Syrup (Our Best Bites)
1/2 c butter
1 1/2 c sugar
3/4 c buttermilk
1 tsp baking soda
2 Tb corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla

Mix all except vanilla in large saucepan (this bubbles up A LOT). Heat to boil, stirring frequently, then turn to low simmer and cook 7-9 minutes, until is turns a deep golden color. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Serve warm and refrigerate leftovers (can be re-heated in microwave for about 30 seconds).

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Sweet & Sour Meatballs

Here's another great recipe from Melanie at Mels' Kitchen Cafe.  So quick & easy, and really tasty!

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

*Serves 4-6

1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
3/4 cup quick oats
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Combine all of the ingredients and mix well. Form into about 12 balls, each about 2 inches in diameter. Place in a casserole dish. Cover with sauce (below). Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. Serve over rice.

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon mustard
1/4 cup barbeque sauce
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Combine ingredients and blend thoroughly. Heat in a small saucepan until combined and sugar is dissolved and pour over meatballs. (This dish is not overly abundant on sauce so if you enjoy things a bit saucier, double the sauce ingredients- I did and we loved the extra sauce over our rice.)

Friday, July 13, 2012

Foil Packet Fish over Greek Orzo

You know how sometimes you find a recipe and try it, and it's just so-so?  And then other times you try one and it is WAY more amazing than you expected?  Well, this recipe definetely fits the latter description!  It was really flavorful and delicious, not to mention quick and easy, and healthy!  We loved it!

Foil Packet Fish over Greek Orzo (from Annie’s Eats)

Yield: 6 servings

8 oz. orzo (this is found in the pasta section)
10 oz. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
¼ large red onion, chopped
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
4 oz. sliced kalamata olives (I used black olives)
1 tbsp. butter
Salt and pepper, to taste
2-3 oz. crumbled feta cheese
6 white fish fillets, about 6-8 oz. each (we used tilapia)

For the compound butter:
6 tbsp. butter, softened
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. minced fresh dill (or 1 tsp. dried)
½ tsp. lemon zest
½ tsp. red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper, to taste

Heat a grill to medium-high. Bring a medium pot of water to boil. Add the orzo to the pot and cook until a few minutes shy of al dente. Meanwhile, combine the spinach, onion, tomatoes, olives, and butter in a large bowl. Drain the orzo in a fine strainer. Pour the hot pasta into the bowl with the butter and vegetables and toss gently until well mixed. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Cut out 6 large squares of foil, about 12-inches on each side. Divide the orzo mixture evenly between the pieces of foil, placing it over the lower half of each square of foil. Sprinkle some of the crumbled feta over each pile of orzo. To make the compound butter, combine the butter, garlic, dill, lemon zest, and red pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper. Mix until well combined.

Spread a layer of the compound butter over each of the fish fillets. Lay the portions of fish over the orzo. Fold the foil over and crimp the edges together to seal the packets. Place the packets on the heated grill, cover, and let cook for about 12 minutes or until the internal temperature of the fish registers 160˚ F on an instant read thermometer. Remove the packets from the grill. Open the packets, being careful to avoid the steam. Sprinkle each serving with a bit of fresh dill. Serve immediately.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Tomato-Basil Parmesan Soup

I adapted this recipe from one I found on the Sister's Cafe.  They used a crock-pot, but somehow I often forget to start dinner that early, so I made it on the stove.  It was the best soup we've had in a long time!

Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup

2 (14oz) cans diced tomatoes, with juice
1 cup finely diced celery
1 cup finely diced carrots
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup finely diced onions
1 bay leaf
1 tsp dried oregano or 1 Tbsp fresh oregano
1 Tbsp dried basil or 1/4 cup fresh basil
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
1 cup Parmesan cheese
2 cups half and half, warmed
1/2 tsp black pepper
salt, to taste (I didn't need to add any)

In a large pot or Dutch oven, combine tomatoes, celery, carrots, chicken broth, onions, bay leaf, oregano, and basil . Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to a simmer for about 30 minutes, until flavors are blended and vegetables are soft.

Blend soup with an immersion blender or in batches in your regular blender. Next prepare a roux: Melt butter over low heat in a skillet and add flour; stir constantly with a whisk for 5 to 7 minutes. Slowly stir in 1 cup hot soup until smooth. Add another 3 cups soup and stir until smooth.

Add all back into the pot. Stir and add Parmesan cheese, warmed half and half, salt and pepper. Cover and cook on low for about 10-15 minutes until ready to serve. Garnish with Parmesan cheese and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Shrimpo de Gallo

We first made this dip last year for one of our Superbowl snacks, and really liked it.  We had it again for New Year's Eve this year and I remembered how good it was, and that I needed to post it! I got the recipe from The Pioneer Woman's blog.

Shrimpo de Gallo


1 pound Cooked Shrimp (tails Removed), Chopped
½ whole Red Onion, Diced Finely
½ cups Green Or Black Olives, Chopped
2 whole Tomatoes, Diced
2 whole Fresh Jalapeno Peppers, Minced
2 whole Avocados, Chopped
2 whole Limes, Juiced
Kosher Salt To Taste
2 cups Cilantro, Chopped

Preparation Instructions:

Combine shrimp, red onion, olives, tomatoes, and jalapenos in a large bowl. Add lime juice to taste, then a dash of kosher salt. Add cilantro. Stir gently with a spoon, then taste on a tortilla chip so you’ll have an accurate gauge of the salt content. Add more salt and/or lime juice if needed.

Chill until serving. Note that the avocado will brown if too much time passes, so if you want to make this ahead of time, leave out the avocado until just before serving.

Serve with tortilla chips!