Monday, July 21, 2014

Your New Favorite Summer Treat - updated

What could make the Watermelon Mint Smoothie even better? Turn it into a popsicle! I recently acquired a Groovy Freezer Popsicle Molds set and it is such a game changer for home made easy desserts! Ice-cream is a great love of mine, but I know moderation is key with such high-fat and processed sugar treats so I'm always looking for a good alternative. With these molds you can make literally anything you want and avoid preservatives or other less-than-healthy ingredients. I will be experimenting over the next few weeks and posting the successful results, but you can start with the watermelon smoothie because yum!

Try this at Home - The Kitchn's Sweet Corn and Goat Cheese Stuffed Peppers

Needless to say, I spend a lot of time reading food blogs. I have varying success with recipes on some, but the Kitchn's are pretty consistently wonderful and this Sweet Corn and Goat Cheese Stuffed Peppers was no exception. I used an oven instead of a grill, so I modified by pre-roasting the peppers for about 7 minutes prior to stuffing and then roasting another 5 minutes. It was so delicious and the presentation is gorgeous! Sprinkle whole kernals of corn on top if you want the sweetness from the corn to come through even more!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Roasted Vegetable Cous Cous with Goat Cheese

Sometimes accident is the mother of invention. I've been making a version of this dish for years with polenta that is a wram and comforting winter dish. I was spacing out as I poured the cous cous into the pot and by the time it started boiling I figured it wouldn't come out that different. To my pleasant surprise, I think I actually like this version better. This cous cous is lighter and makes for a refreshing more summery meal.

Roasted Vegetable Cous Cous with Goat Cheese
2 cups cous cous
2 ears of corn
8 cherry tomatoes
2 crowns of broccoli
3 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
1/2 cup goat cheese (optional)

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Shuck corn, wash broccoli and tomatoes. Place on baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast vegetables until a golden brown color shades them (approximately 15 minutes). Set the vegetables aside to cool while you cook your cous cous. After veggies have cooled, cut the corn kernals off the corn and mix into cooked cous cous. Cut cherry tomatoes in half and mix them in along with the broccoli. Add goat cheese if desired and serve in bowls.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Mama L's Shrimp Avocado Dip

My boyfriend's mother is one of my favorite people in the world. She is my hero of home entertaining and manages to feed huge gatherings of people delicious food with little prep time and rarely, if ever, lets a sign of stress show through. Most importantly, she genuinely enjoys every minute of it. One of her signature
appetizers is this fail-safe crowd pleasing shrimp avocado dip. The ingredients are strikingly simple, but the creamy avocado blends with the cocktail sauce to make a truly interesting flavor that always surprises. I had a few people over to watch the World Cup final and no one could believe it cocktail sauce was such a prominent ingredient. Best of all it's super easy to prepare. I know the brownish shade is not the most of appetizing images, but it is so tasty, trust me!

Mama L's Shrimp Avocado Dip 
(serves about 8 as an appetizer)
4 medium to large size avocados, diced
1/2 pound of medium shrimp, cooked and chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
1 small onion, diced
5 oz (1/2 a bottle) cocktail sauce

Mix all ingredients in a bowl mindful not to over stir and completely crush all of the avocado. Ideally a chip will pick up nice size bites of shrimp and avocado together. Chill for an hour before serving to help the flavors mix together. Serve with tortilla chips.

Clearly I'm really into shrimp and avocado combinations this summer. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Breakfast on the Go - Muffin Tin Frittatas

Is there anything more comforting than a hot breakfast? If I had it my way, we'd all start work at 10-11 am and spend the morning leisurely enjoying a homemade breakfast before starting the day. Given that the odds of that happening are slim to none, the closest I've been able to get is zapping a frittata in the microwave to get a warm egg and vegetable treat, first thing. I tend to make these by the dozen or half dozen and eat them throughout the week each weekday morning. They do not disappoint!

Muffin Tin Frittatas
6 eggs
6 egg whites
4 medium potatoes - diced small
2 medium leeks - diced
(you can use any combination of vegetables, broccoli is also a nice one)
2 tablespoons of coconut oil
1 tablespoon vegetable oil (for greasing muffin tin)
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup low fat milk
1/2 cup cheddar cheese (optional)

Pre-heat oven to 375.
Add coconut oil to a skillet and sautee leeks until soft (about 10 minutes). Add the potatoes and a generous toss of salt to the leeks and stir until potatoes start to soften (15 minutes). While that is sauteing you can start cracking eggs into a mixing bowl. To get all the egg whites possible, I switch the yolk between hands until all of the white has shed the yolk and finds the bowl. After the potatoes are soft, remove the potato leek mixture from pan and let it cool at least 15 minutes so that you don't wind up with scrambled eggs. After they've cooled, add them to the mixed eggs along with milk and a pinch of salt and pepper. Fill each muffin slot with egg mixture and top with cheese, if adding. Place in the oven for 20 minutes (eggs should be puffed up and golden brown on top).

Note - If you are cooking a half dozen, just halve this recipe and only cook for 15 minutes.