Sunday, July 5, 2015

Independence Day with Friends, Food, Fireworks

I love holidays. I love making themed food, I love spending time with friends and family, and I love celebrating! This comes from a childhood of my mom always decorating the house for every holiday, making us breakfast toast that looked like an American flag or cakes in the shape of a heart, and always getting to eat the leftover dessert for breakfast the next day (or few days).  To me it is tradition and I wouldn't have it any other way. However, this Fourth of July get together was a bit last minute and I have to say it worked out great.  The weather even held off for us to truly cook out! Started the day off with a soggy run, enjoyed food and friends, and ended the day with fireworks, I'd say it was a successful Independence Day! On to the menu...

Menu
Red, White, and Blue Sangria
Watermelon Salsa
Strawberry Pretzel Salad
Blueberry, Strawberry, & Banana Skewers
Watermelon
Hamburgers
Hotdogs
Baked Beans
Olives
Red Velvet Cake
 
 
 
Red, White, and Blue Sangria
This was a pinterest find from Imagine!
 
Ingredients
2 bottles of white wine
1 cup triple sec
1/2 cup berry flavored vodka
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup simple syrup I may have left this out, simply because I didn't have it, I don't recommend skipping it- it makes for a strong sangria if you do!
Strawberries, blueberries and pineapple cut into stars (I didn't get to cut mine into stars but wish I could have)
 
Steps
Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher, chill and serve. 
 
 
Watermelon Salsa
This was a Pinterest find from Love and Olive Oil and I have to say it will definitely be a repeat!! It is an easy recipe and so tasty!
 
Ingredients
4 small Roma tomatoes, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1 jalapeno, I actually did not include the jalapeno this time. Original recipe recommends discarding the seeds for a milder salsa.
1 cup diced watermelon
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, I used cilantro paste this time
3 tablespoons lime juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
 
Steps
1. Add tomatoes, onion, and jalapeno to a food processor and chop finely, do not fully liquefy.
2. Transfer tomato mixture to a medium bowl and mix in watermelon, blueberries, cilantro, lime juice, and salt.
3. Cover and put in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
 
Strawberry Pretzel Salad
This recipe came from my mom's cookbook and we've been making it my entire life! I was floored when a woman at Bed, Bath, and Beyond was describing this new dish (strawberry pretzel salad) she had just eaten at friends, I was shocked she had never had it before, she was shocked I knew what it was!
 
Ingredients
Bottom Layer
2 1/2 cups pretzels, crushed
3/4 cup margarine, melted
1/4 cup brown sugar
 
Middle Layer
1 cup sugar
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
8 ounces frozen whipped topping, thawed
 
Top Layer
6 ounces strawberry gelatin
2 cups boiling water
10 ounces frozen strawberries
 
Steps
Bottom Layer
1. Combine pretzels, margarine and brown sugar.
2. Mix well and pat into a buttered 9 x 13 baking dish.
3. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.
4. Let cool.
 
Middle Layer
1. Cream the sugar and cream cheese.
2. Fold in whipped topping.
3. Spread this mixture over the cooled crust, make sure the crust is sealed well with the mixture.
 
Top Layer
1. Dissolve gelatin in water while still warm.
2. Add frozen strawberries, stirring slightly to break up the strawberries.
3. Cool in refrigerator until mixture begins to set, do not let it completely set or it will be lumpy when transferred.
4. When gelatin mixture begins to set, pour over the dish.  Chill until firm, Serve.
 
Blueberry, Strawberry, and  Banana Skewers
Another Pinterest find
 
There really is no recipe for this dish but it was a fun Fourth of July themed Pinterest find.  I made six skewers with blueberries, strawberries, and bananas and 7 skewers with strawberries and bananas.  You lay them out in a flag design!
 
Red Velvet Cake
For this special themed dessert you need to make two recipes of the Red Velvet.
 
 
 
Ingredients
2 1/2 cups cake flour
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoon (1 oz.) liquid red food coloring / for second recipe you will need blue food coloring
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
 
Steps
1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Combine cake flour, sugar, baking soda, cocoa powder and salt; whisk to blend.
3. With electric mixer, combine eggs, vegetable oil, buttermilk, food coloring, vanilla, and vinegar. Beat on medium speed until well blended. For second recipe, do not add food coloring at this time.
4. Mix in dry ingredients on low and beat until smooth, about 2 minutes.
5. Divide batter evenly among two circular baking pans. Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool in pans for 5-10 minutes then cool completely on a wire rack. Slice each cake in half to make 2 layers from each pan.
For the second recipe, combine dry and wet ingredients and take out 1/3 batter. In 2/3 batter mix in red food coloring, in 1/3 batter mix in blue food coloring.  Bake for 30 minutes.  Once cooled, cute the red cake in 3 layers. In each layer take cut out the center (I use a Margarita glass as my cookie cutter pattern) and lay the outer rim on top of the frosted cake, for the blue layer cut out the center and place inside the red. 
 
 
 
 
Frosting
In the end I made about 3x this recipe for the entire cake.  The ingredients below are for 1 original recipe.
 
Ingredients
8 oz cream cheese
5 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
 
Steps
1. Combine cream cheese and butter with electric mixer. Beat on medium speed until well combined and smooth, about 2-3 minutes. Mix in vanilla extract. Gradually beat in powdered sugar. Increase speed and beat until smooth.
 
 

I hope everyone had a great day celebrating our country and remembering our freedom! Happy Birthday America! Independence Day! Fourth of July!
 
 
Happy Fourth of July!!!
 



Monday, May 11, 2015

Talk Derby to Me - Kentucky Derby Party

I've decided I'm a Derby girl at heart. Sundresses, big hats, beautiful weather, getting friends together to enjoy delicious food and drinks and watch the race - I can't find a thing wrong with it! So until I can check off "Going to the Kentucky Derby" from my bucket list I will be hosting a derby party, starting this year with my housewarming Derby party! I planned this for months - mostly because I was just so excited about it and I changed my mind on the menu a few times before locking it in for the big day, if you can imagine I just couldn't pick which cupcakes to make for the party (I finally settled on three flavors - Mint Julep, Chocolate and Vanilla). In true Derby style, most of the dishes included Bourbon (okay that's not true - only 3 recipes included Bourbon)! A few more notes before we move on to the recipes, I took to Pinterest for a little inspiration but also just pulled out some of my own ideas to complete the party. I've often said my mom was the original Pinterest, she was always so creative with every birthday party, school function, wedding shower she ever threw so I gather a lot of ideas from her when planning anything themed! I wanted to go with a rustic/burlap theme for that little bit of Southern charm and of course placed fresh red roses around my house in honor of the Derby (sidenote - I really like having fresh flowers around my house). Also, we enjoyed our drinks from Mason jars. Enough about the decor and planning I know you are ready for the menu and recipes!

Welcome to the Derby!


Menu
Roast Beef Goodness
Pimiento Cheese Sandwiches
Bourbon Meatballs
Broccoli Salad
 
Desserts
Mint Julep Cupcakes
Chocolate Cupcakes
Vanilla Cupcakes
 
Drinks
Mint Juleps

 

Roast Beef Goodness  Years ago my mom put together a cookbook "Going to Carole's" of all of our favorite recipes growing up. At the time I received the cookbook I was 12 and really had little use for it but now I reference this cookbook all the time. All this to say, my mom has a recipe we call Ham Goodness if you are looking in the actual cookbook it is called Ham and Cheese Sandwiches, I adapted this recipe for Derby day to include Roast Beef instead.

Ingredients
1/2 cup margarine, softened
1 tablespoon mustard
1 1/2 tablespoon poppy seeds
1 tablespoon steak sauce
1 pound sliced roast beef
8 slices Swiss Cheese you can use more than 8 slices
1 package of dinner rolls usually the Hawaiian dinner rolls

Steps
1. Mix together margarine, mustard, poppy seeds, and steak sauce.
2. Leave dinner rolls connected but slice entire package in half.
3. Spread the sauce mixture on both sides of the rolls.
4. Layer with roast beef and cheese.
5. Heat at 400 for 10 minutes.

Pimento Cheese Sandwiches  this was my first time making Pimento Cheese but I would say it was a hit! I found this recipe from food.com after a simple google search!

Makes about 3 1/2 cups
Ingredients
6 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup extra sharp white cheddar cheese, grated
3/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, grated
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
4 ounces pimientos, chopped
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 dash hot sauce I actually didn't have any hot sauce but it didn't affect it too much
fresh ground black pepper to taste

Steps
1. Beat cream cheese until soft.
2. Add the remaining ingredients and beat until combined and creamy.
3. Cover and refrigerate for about an hour.
4. Spread on bread for sandwiches and serve (or serve with crackers).

Bourbon Meatballs  this was a Pinterest find from Key Ingredient

Ingredients I doubled or tripled the recipe but below are the original ingredient amounts for one recipe
1 pound bag frozen meatballs
1/2 cup Ketchup
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup Bourbon
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Steps
1. Combine all ingredients but the meatballs in a mixing bowl.
2. Place meatballs in the crockpot and pour the whiskey sauce mixture on top. Mix it all up so each meatball is coated with the sauce.
3. Turn the heat up to high for about an hour, stirring a couple of times.
4. Once meatballs have thawed, turn the crockpot on low for a few hours until ready to serve.

Broccoli Salad  Another recipe from my mama's cookbook. Can be prepared a day ahead.

Ingredients
2 heads broccoli
1 cup raisins
1 cup sunflower seed kernels
1 small onion, diced finely
12 bacon strips, cooked crisp

Steps
1. Cut broccoli into small pieces.
2. Cook and drain bracon.
3. Mix broccoli, raisins, sunflower seeds, onion and bacon.

Ingredients for Dressing
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon white vinegar

Steps
1. Blend mayonnaise, sugar, and vinegar.
2. Mix dressing in salad.

Desserts

 
Mint Julep Cupcakes a Pinterest find from My Thirty Spot

Ingredients
1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon mint extract
4 eggs
2 3/4 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1/2 cup bourbon
1/2 cup Creme de Menthe

Steps
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Line 24 cupcake cups.
3. Combine salt, baking powder and 1 3/4 cups of flour.
4. In a separate bowl, beat sugar, eggs and vanilla and mint extract until creamy.
5. Gradually beat in the flour mixture. Add the milk and liquors to the batter, then add the remaining flour (1 cup) to the batter. Mix just until the batter is combined, do not overbeat.
6. Spoon batter into each cupcake tin, bake for 25-30 minutes.
7. Cool before frosting.

Ingredients for Icing if using a piping tool, double the following recipe
3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon mint extract
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
Heavy Whipping Cream

Steps for Frosting
1. Combine powdered sugar, salt, vanilla and mint extract and melted butter and beat until creamy.
2. Gradually add heavy whipping cream until desired texture.
3. Pipe icing on cooled cupcakes.
4. Garnish with sprinkles, mint leaves, and a straw (trimmed to size).

Chocolate Cupcakes originally from Glorious Treats

Ingredients
2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cups cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

Steps
1. Line muffin tin and preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a large bowl, stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
3. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla. Beat on medium speed for about 1 minute.
4. Stir in boiling water, your batter will be thin, this is correct
5. Fill liners about 2/3 full.
6. Bake for 22-24 minutes, turning the pan halfway through baking.
7. Cool completely before frosting.

Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting  I finally think I've found the chocolate frosting that will be my new go-to chocolate icing from Live Like you are Rich... on any income

Ingredients
1/4 cup salted butter
8 oz. cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 - 1/3 cup cocoa baking powder (start with 1/4 and add as desired)

Steps
1. Soften butter and cream cheese in microwave.
2. Add all of the ingredients and only 1 cup powdered sugar to a mixing bowl. Mix on low speed adding the rest of the powdered sugar slowly until it is all added.
3. Mix on high for 1-2 minutes until the frosting is smooth.
4. Decorate cupcakes as desired.

Vanilla Cupcakes  I chose to use the recipe that was the base of my Banana Pudding cupcakes from Spicy Southern Kitchen

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream
1 egg, room temperature
2 egg yolks, room temperature
2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Steps
1. Preheat oven to 350, line cupcake tin with paper liners.
2. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in large mixing bowl.
3. Add butter, sour cream, egg, egg yolks, and vanilla and beat on medium speed for 30 seconds, until smooth.
4. Divid batter equally among the cupcake tins and bake 18-22 minutes. Let the cupcakes cool before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting taken from my mom's cookbook

Ingredients
1/2 cup softened butter
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 lb powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Steps
1. Cream butter and cream cheese.
2. Blend in sugar and vanilla and beat until creamy.
3. Frost cupcakes.

I added a little spin to my chocolate and vanilla cupcakes and laid them out in the shape of a horse, I found a template on Pinterest and eyeballed it as I laid them out. Most of the cupcakes will be frosted with chocolate cream cheese frosting but the tail and some of the upper main will be spotted with vanilla cream cheese frosting. I then added a black twizzler as the horse's rein. I was quite happy with how the horse cupcake display turned out!
 


My sister made the Mint Juleps for the party so I don't have an exact recipe but she made a simple syrup with sugar, mint, and boiled water. Added bourbon over crushed ice, simple syrup, and a mint sprig.

A glance at the drink station, mark your mugs, mix your Mint Juleps, enjoy!

 

Harrison and I are Derby ready

My dapper puppy, he loved the party because apparently he is really good at talking people into sharing, however he is not a huge horse fan so that made for an interesting party trick!

She is counting her winnings, because yes the 13-month old picked the winning horse
 

Now I have to wait a whole year for another 90-second horse race and the fun that comes with that! From this Derby girl at heart I hope you've enjoyed reading my recap and found a new recipe or two to try nothing says you have to wait until Derby to make these recipes. Thank you to those that made my first Kentucky Derby party such a success!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Banana Pudding Cupcakes

I bake because I love it and lately I have been in a baking funk.  Ask my friends there are two funks that you don't want me to be in-a baking funk and a running funk (however, they probably hate the baking funk more because they get a grumpy Brittany AND they don't get baked goods). All I needed was to mix it up a little and try a new recipe - enter a banana pudding cupcake recipe for a co-worker's birthday!  I was told her favorite dessert was banana pudding so I took to pinterest to find the perfect new recipe to try out and I have to say pinterest did not let me down. I think it is safe to say the banana pudding cupcakes were a hit! The only thing I would change next time would be to make more than one batch. No worries this will be a REPEAT recipe throughout the summer!

Banana Pudding Cupcakes recipe originally from Spicy Southern Kitchen
Makes 12 cupcakes

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream
1 egg, room temperature
2 eggs yolks, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup vanilla wafer crumbs
Whip Cream the recipe called for 1 container of frozen whipped topping but I chose to make it fresh, recipe below
12 whole vanilla wafers

Pudding Filling Ingredients
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
3/4 cup whole milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 (3.4 ounce) box instant vanilla pudding mix
1 ripe banana, cut into thin slices and then diced

Whipped Cream Frosting Ingredients
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Steps
1. Pre-heat oven to 350, line cupcake tin with paper liners.
2. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl.
3. Add butter, sour cream, egg, egg yolks, and vanilla and beat on medium speed for 30 seconds, until smooth.
4. Divide batter equally among the cupcake tins and bake for 18-22 minutes I turn the pan halfway through baking.  Let the cupcakes cool before proceeding.
5. Create a hollowed out portion in each cupcake, be careful to leave a layer of cupcake across the bottom I used a cupcake corer to make my holes, very helpful!
6. Sprinkle vanilla wafer crumbs in each cupcake hole.
7. Beat together cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk for 2-3 minutes, scrape down the sides of the bowl.
8. Add milk, vanilla extract and pudding mix and beat until mixed together.  Stir in bananas by hand. Immediately spoon into cupcakes I used my icing gun with the piping attachment to fill the cupcakes, a huge help and allowed me to not only fill the cupcakes but also add a layer on top before topping with whipped cream.
9. Beat heavy cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla until whipped cream is thick enough to stand.
10. Using a pastry bag or an icing gun frost the cupcakes with whipped cream and garnish with vanilla wafer crumbs and a full wafer.
Enjoy!
 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Pupcakes get two paws up

Today is National Puppy Day and that calls for a celebration (or a write up of a previous celebration).  Our furry friends are family too and they deserve special treats every now and then too.  December marked one year since I adopted Harrison so we officially celebrated his "Gotcha Day" with pupcakes! Pupcakes were a HIT with Harrison and all of his furry friends! I mean Harry Bear will eat ANYTHING but his friends all gave their stamp of approval too.  Next year, we will have a Gotcha Day party but this year we paw delivered them to everyone!

So don't forget to celebrate your furry family members with this easy recipe!

Pupcakes Recipe from The Wood House
Ingredients
1 large egg
1 banana
1 cup shredded carrots
1/3 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup honey
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup 1-minute oats
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla extract

Steps
1. Mix dry ingredients.
2. Mix wet ingredients.
3. Mix them all together.
4. Fill each cupcake tin 2/3 full I chose to bake without liners so that I would not have to remember to remove them before Harrison devoured the pupcake.
5. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes.
6. Choose your favorite icing tip and use peanut butter to frost your pupcakes.
7. Share with your furry buddy and all their friends!

Homemade Bones recipe from You Bake 'Em Dog Biscuits Cookbook by Janine Adams
You can always use Milkbone treats to top the pupcakes but these are easy to whip out too!

Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup oat bran
1 cup milk
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 egg

Steps
1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Combine the dry ingredients.  In a food processor, combine milk and peanut butter and process to liquefy.  Add the egg and process until mixed in.  Pour the liquid mixture into the dry mixture and stir into dough.
3. Put the dough on a lightly floured surface and roll to 1/4 inch thickness.  Use cookie cutters to cut into your desired shape I used my small bone cookie cutter!
4. Place biscuits on a greased baking sheet.  Bake for 30 minutes.
5. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container that is those that aren't used on the pupcakes!
Excuse the blurriness of any photos below, do you know how hard it is to capture dogs with a picture of your treat WITHOUT them eating it???

 
 
Pupcakes ready to be enjoyed by our furry friends
 
 
Really Mom? You are going to hold that in front of me? What a tease!!
 
 
 Happy Gotcha Day Harrison!
 
 
Fritz and Ruger enjoying their treats
 
video
 
Georgia & Dixie
 
video
 
Sweet Maggie enjoying her pupcake
 
 
video
 
Finally remembered to catch Harrison on video enjoying his pupcake!
 
Not Pictured: Max & Aubie, Sebastian & Penny, and sweet Ana
 
Happy National Puppy Day to all of our sweet fur babies!
 
 


Saturday, February 14, 2015

Red Velvet White Chocolate Chip Cookies

Today I want to share the love - my love for baking, my love for new recipes, and my love for blogging. Also, I really love to list things in threes, if you haven't noticed. Last week a coworker sent me a recipe for red velvet white chocolate chip cookies and looking over the recipe I had ALL the ingredients so why wouldn't I make them for Valentine's Day week?!?! However, I didn't read the entire recipe before starting and therefore did not allow myself enough time to make these cookies earlier in the week and have this recipe posted to the blog before today so everyone could make them for Valentine's Day- the dough needs to sit in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours meaning you do still have time to make them today.  I went ahead and made the dough Wednesday night and finished up baking them Thursday, allowing me to take them into work on Friday to bring a smile to everyone's face. I have to say this recipe got RAVE reviews (even from my CEO - yes, this made my day)! I doubled the recipe because I knew that 18 would not be enough for me and my friends and like I said I did want to share the love and not eat them ALL! Doubling the recipe made more than 36 but we had no problem taking care of the extras.  On to the recipe - hope you enjoy it, I will definitely be repeating it!

Red Velvet White Chocolate Chip Cookies-
Recipe was featured on People.com from baker Sally Quinn of Sally's Baking Addiction
Makes 18 cookies (double if you would like more)

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups + 1 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tbsp. milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 tbsp. liquid red food coloring
1 cup white chocolate chips plus a few extra for after baking

Steps
1. Toss flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, & salt together in a large bowl and set aside.
2. Beat the butter on high until creamy.  Scrap down the sides of the bowl and beat in the brown sugar and granulated sugar on medium speed until combined.  Beat in egg, milk, and vanilla extract.  Once mixed, add the food coloring and beat until combined. Pour in the dry ingredients and mix on low until a soft dough is formed. If you want the dough redder, add in more food coloring.  Beat in the white chocolate chips.
3. Cover the dough tightly with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours up to 4 or 5 days.  If you let it chill for over a day, let it sit for 45 minutes before baking.
4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
5. Scoop 1 1/2 tbsp. of dough and roll into a ball and place on baking sheets.  Bake each batch for 10-11 minutes.  Take a spoon and press down on the warm cookies to flatten. I used a cookie scoop to divide out my dough, this may have made my cookies a bit smaller but that allowed for more cookies to share. 
6. Allow cookies to cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet before you transfer to a wire rack. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 7 days I doubt they will last that long (definitely didn't in my case).

Happy Valentine's Day!!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Zucchini Noodles with Turkey Meatballs

I can officially say I am obsessed with zucchini noodles! I love pasta, not only because it is delicious but it is usually easy to make for one.  But in an effort to eat healthier I am diving into some pasta alternatives and I am pleasantly surprised with my newfound obsession.  Tonight's meal took a little more time than the shrimp scampi but it was still an easy weeknight meal for me to whip up.  I found this recipe on pinterest after searching for some more zucchini noodle recipes, it originally comes from A Cozy Kitchen and it did not disappoint. I prepped the tomato sauce and the meatballs at the same time, they both take about 20-30 minutes and are the longest part of the meal prep so I did them simultaneously. After my last zucchini noodle adventure, I bought a spiralizer (from Bed Bath & Beyond) because I knew that would not be the last time I made zucchini noodles.  I have to say, the spiralizer takes it a step further, the noodles actually looked like beautiful noodles this time.
 
 
Okay, I have gabbed enough about my love for zucchini noodles and this recipe, it is time to share the actual recipe with everyone!!
 
Turkey Meatballs
This was the first time I made homemade meatballs, they were delicious and easy to make! Yes, they have a little bread crumbs and a little cheese added in but it is all about balance right?!
Ingredients
1 pound ground turkey
2 tablespoons dried fine bread crumbs
2 tablespoons grated parmesan
1 large egg
1 teaspoon salt
Olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons finely chopped Italian parsley
2 tablespoons freshly chopped sage
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
 
Steps
1. To a large bowl, add ground turkey, bread crumbs, parmesan, egg and salt.
2. In a medium saute pan over medium heat, add a teaspoon of olive oil. Once oil is hot, add diced onion and cook until translucent and soft, roughly 5-7 minutes.  Turn heat down to medium-low, add the minced garlic, parsley, sage and crushed red pepper. 
3. Add onion mixture to the bowl of meat and combine completely but do not overmix.
4. Scoop out two tablespoons of the turkey mixture and roll into balls.  Repeat until all the meatballs are formed.
5. To sear the meatballs add a few tablespoons of olive oil to the saute pan.  When the oil is hot, gently add the meatballs and sear on all sides 1-2 minutes until golden brown.  Transfer to paper towels to drain.  Repeat until all meatballs are seared.
 
Turkey meatballs ready to be seared
 

Searing turkey meatballs
 

Classic Tomato Sauce
Ingredients
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/4 yellow onion, diced
3 garlic cloves
2-3 sage leaves, chopped
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 28-ounce can of tomatoes I used San Marzano
 
Steps
1. Add olive oil to a medium pot, when hot add the diced onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.
2. Add the garlic, sage leaves and crushed red pepper, cook for an additional minute, until fragrant.
3. Pour in can of tomatoes; mix and cover the pot, allow the tomato sauce to simmer, over low heat, for 20 minutes.
4. Using a blender, puree the tomato sauce until smooth.  Transfer back to the pot and salt to taste.
5. Add seared meatballs to the tomato sauce and cook for an additional 10-15 minutes.
 
Zucchini Noodles
Ingredients
4 medium zucchinis
 
Steps
1. Using spiralizer, cut zucchinis.
2. Add a teaspoon of olive oil to a saute pan, when the oil is hot, add the zucchini noodles and cook for 3-5 minutes.  
3. Toss with a few tablespoons of tomato sauce, top with meatballs and garnish with a little parmesan cheese and parsley. Enjoy!!
 
 The finished product

Friday, February 6, 2015

Skinny Shrimp Scampi

I am trying to cook more and to incorporate some healthier recipes into the mix - don't worry the cupcakes are NOT going away in person or on the blog. This recipe needs to be added to your week's meal plan immediately!! For me cooking more means trying to plan my meals ahead of time. A friend shared this recipe with me and I couldn't wait to try it.  I won't lie, I was a little skeptical simply because I love pasta but I have to say this recipe was delicious and a healthy alternative to a classic pasta dish. What makes it even better is that it is so easy to prepare! Clearly, I'm slightly obsessed with this recipe and turns out I'm not the only one, I've already shared the recipe with several friends and they had already tried it and loved it as well!  On to the recipe so that you can add it to your meals for the upcoming week! Enjoy!!

Skinny Shrimp Scampi (originally from Just a Taste)

Ingredients
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 pound jumbo shrimp, shelled and deveined I went ahead and used frozen shrimp and used just enough for my meal so this can be your call on how much shrimp
1 tbsp. minced garlic
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1/4 cup white wine
2 tbsp. lemon juice
2 medium zucchini cut into noodles- there are several different tools that you can use, but because I did not have the correct tool this week I used a regular vegetable peeler and it gave me wider noodles but they still tasted great
Parsley, for garnish

Steps
1. Add olive oil to a large sauté pan over medium-low heat for 1 minute.  Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook them for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
2. Add the shrimp to the pan and cook them thoroughly until they are pink on all sides. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper then with a slotted spoon transfer the shrimp to a bowl.  Leave all liquid in the pan.
3. Increase the heat to medium and add the white wine and lemon juice. Cook for about 2 minutes. Add the zucchini noodles to the pan and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Return the shrimp to the pan and toss to combine.  Season with salt and pepper, garnish with parsley. Serve immediately.