Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Easy Summer Cookout Sides, Part 1

This first recipe I have for you is a classic cookout side. Everyone loves it & I'm not sure you're even allowed to have a cookout without it. I give you:  Potato Salad. Not just any potato salad, but 
Dilled Potato Salad.

I may never buy pre-made potato salad again! Ok, I probably will, but I made my own yesterday & it was so easy, delicious & dare I say, (almost) healthy! It was definitely healthier than its store bought counterpart. Here's how I did it.

I cut 5 pounds of red potatoes into 1 inch pieces, then boiled them in salted water till soft. I drained & rinsed them well. While they were cooking, in a very large bowl, I combined my diced onion & peppers, greek yogurt, mayonnaise, mustard, pickle juice, SHS & dried dill. Phew. I mixed that all together very well, then added in the potatoes. Gently fold to coat potatoes. Very carefully fold in the hard boiled egg wedges & fresh dill. Chill for a bit before serving-it only gets better! See-easy peasy!


You will need:

5 lbs. large red potatoes, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 medium onion, diced
2 peppers, diced (red/yellow)
SHS (Sherrill House Seasoning)
1 T. dried dill
Fresh Dill, for garnish
1 ½ C. non fat greek yogurt
½ c. Mayonnaise
¼ c. mustard
¼ c. Pickle juice
6 eggs, hard boiled, cut into wedges

(adapted from David Venable QVC)

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Safer Sunscreens list 2014

Summer is here! And that means lots of fun in the sun. I personally don't wear sunscreen & hope for the best honestly. Being Italian & American Indian I tan nicely. My father was very, very tan. So tan that people at my wedding were saying "I didn't know Tina's dad was black". We still laugh about it!

In 2011, I talked about natural sunscreens in this post. Sunscreens are loaded with chemicals I consider to be posionous. I don't put sunscreen on my kids, except as I stated in that post, for a stick for their noses & cheeks & sometimes shoulders. Now more than ever there are more options for natural sunscreens. 149 of them list on the EWG's Guide alone! And if you're looking for an everyday moisturizer with SPF, they have a list of those too-62 of them!

MSN created a list of the most toxic & safest sunscreens One of the brands on their list is Ava Anderson. They've published their own safety guide as well. Ava Anderson's Sun Safety Guide. I also happen to have a good friend who is a rep for Ava Anderson. They have lots of great all natural products. I just ordered their deodorant & can't wait to try it. Check out her site!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Tuscan Lemonade Chicken

This is the PERFECT summer meal! Its light, flavorful, satisfying & versatile. I could eat this every day honestly. In the summer months, its so hot & sticky, food is the last thing I want, but obviously its necessary.

BabyGirl & I left early for the lake yesterday. So after getting settled we went to the grocery store & I knew exactly what I wanted-grilled chicken. I was lucky to find organic skinless, boneless, chicken breasts on sale, so I bought 2 packages. I sliced the breast in half to thin them out. I looked through my cabinets & found some Webers Just add Juice marinade packets. These are great, only juice, no oil. I didn't want to use all of my lemons for juice, so I looked in the fridge & found: 


Alcohol is a perfect marinade & there's certainly no shortage of it here at the lake! This particular bottle also has sugar, which is great for carmelizing. It also makes a delicious Arnold Palmer!

So I gathered all my ingredients & whisked together the marinade packet & Tuscan Lemonade. 
   

I let it hang out in the fridge for awhile.

I considered building a fire to grill them all off, but then I just grabbed a few & threw them in the cast iron skillet with a little oil. Deglazing the pan with the lemonade gave it great color & flavor. 

You'll have to wait for another time for the side salad I made!

These chicken breasts would be perfect to keep in the fridge for quick meals all week. They're great for lettuce wraps, atop a salad, diced up for a nice cold chicken salad or just on a paper plate!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Lowcountry Boil

According to Coastal Living Magazine, a  Lowcountry boil is the perfect one pot meal for a crowd.

'Once called Frogmore Stew, this one-pot wonder was created by a National Guardsman when he needed to cook a meal for 100 soldiers. Richard Gay, who learned the recipe from his family, had everyone remembering his stew. The dish was later named Frogmore, where Richard was from, by the guards who teased him about home. The postal service eliminated the name Frogmore, which changed this popular dish to Lowcountry boil.
This seafood dish is a combination of shrimp, sausage, corn, and potatoes. Great for relaxing trips to the beach, it is also easy to create for a crowd. Lowcountry boil can be served on newspaper for easy clean up. Crab, onion, and butter are frequent additions to the pot, and having a removable drain basket only makes cooking easier. The rule of thumb here is the bigger the crowd, the bigger the pot.'


I was inspired, of course, by contents pulled from the depths of the my freezer-keilbasa & salad shrimp (where did these come from??). Overstock Challenge #2! Their recipe sounds good, but I tweaked it a bit to my liking- here's my version.


I got this pot for Christmas-It has the built in colander & a streamer for the top. So its really perfect for this recipe. if you don't have one-no worries-you can boil the corn & shrimp like the original recipe or you can put a colander in your large pot to use as a steamer.



In the bottom of my pot-inside the colandar insert-I add the juice of 2 lemons (then throw them in) SHS (Sherrill House Seasoning), Old bay seasoning, chicken stock cup, dried dill, seasoned rice wine vinegar. Add your quartered potatoes, add water to almost the top-leave room for steamer insert. Boil until just about done, then add in your halved corn on the cob.


If you have room, place your steamer insert on top. Add your sliced kielbasa & shrimp & steam until warmed through.  If you feel your potatoes & corn will be overcooked, remove them & replace the steamer on top until done. I did that & poured it out into a 9x13, added a stick of sliced butter, then covered it.


I added the kielbasa & shrimp to the pan & tossed together & added lemon juice. I served it with garlic & herb bread sticks I picked up at the grocery store bakery. I sprinkled my bowl with a little paprika. 


All in all it was a really good meal & everyone liked it, which is half the battle right there.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Taco Mac Casserole

I whipped this up one night & was really pleased with how it turned out. Everyone raved about it. Most of this recipe is inactive so its pretty easy to get on the table. I hope you love it too!



TACO MAC CASSEROLE

1 lb. elbow macaroni, cooked just shy of al dente
1 can beans, drained & rinsed- pinto, black, mixed, etc.
1 onion, diced
2 c. prepared salsa
8 oz. low fat cream cheese softened
2 c.  2% sharp cheddar, grated
Taco seasoning-you can use a packet,
     but I use: 2 T. cumin, 1 T. Chili powder, ½ T. paprika

In a 9x13, add in all the ingredients (reserve ½ c. Cheddar) & mix together. Cover with lid-it (or foil) & bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Remove lid it & sprinkle top with the remaining cheddar. Replace lid-it. I like to spread tortilla chips on the lid-it to crisp up & crush over the top of my bowl. Bake for 10 more minutes. 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Just like Chopped

I'm back!! I know, you missed me, I missed you...let's not get all mushy & get right down to it. Here's the scene: there is one more day of school left, but its spring/summer, so baseball is in full swing. Two games a week & a practice if we're around. Did you get the memo that it was going to be a long, hard winter? I did, so I stocked the freezer chest, both fridge freezers & the pantry. Was it a long, hard winter? Yes, but in my usual fashion, I may have overstocked. So, since we really didn't get through all of that food, its now time to start getting through it. Its actually kind of exciting-what do I have, what can I do with it? Oh & it needs to be quick on baseball nights. Just like Chopped, right? Well kind of. Anyway, let's call it Overstock 2014 Challenge, yes?

OK-Overstock Challenge #1
Half a box of Quorn Chick'n Patties (2) & a whole bag of Chicken Patties (9)

I accept this challenge! I love Quorn patties so much & so do the kids, but there's only 2 so I'll eat one & one lucky kid gets the other, who's my favorite today? The rest of them gets the 'real' chicken. (not organic, so I assume Brian bought them. Ok, what to to with them...I have a giant package of swiss cheese...I have Trader Joe's dijon mustard...I got it!

Chicken (or chik'n) cordon bleu sandwiches! These are a Bubba favorite, so I knew they'd be a hit. I just needed buns & ham. Nitrate/Nitrite free of course. I still can't find great buns, so I settle on Brownberry Select, not the worst.

From the depths of the freezer I also unearth-half a bag of seasoned twirly fries, an almost empty bag of organic mixed veggies & another almost bag of organic green beans. One cookie sheet, everything goes except the veggies. Those go in the microwave with some butter & a little Sherrill House Seasoning (we'll talk about what that is in the near future).

After about 20 minutes, top of the patties with swiss cheese & put them back in to melt. Then top it with the ham.



Add a large dollop of the dijon to your bun & your sandwich is done.



Perfect! Dinner was ready in 25 minutes-not too shabby. I think I did pretty good for my first challenge-can't wait for the next one!


Monday, June 4, 2012

break time!

 I know I've been gone for a quite awhile, sorry about that. My son is graduating high school this week & its been crazy around here! College is a new frontier for me & all the planning & figuring stuff out is overwhelming! In just a couple of months, he'll be living somewhere else-I can't even grasp that!

So, for now, its time for me to take a break from my blog for a bit. The timing seems right, my advertising contract is up & I've been unmotivated in the kitchen to say the least. Not sure how long, but I maybe I'll be back sooner than you think!

So for now, thanks for sticking with me! See you later!