Saturday, August 28, 2010

Pasta Carbonara

I found this recipe when I was checking out the I Heart Publix website to make my shopping list.  She had posted it from the Our Family Eats website.  So there you go!  Two great websites to go check out!  This was a nice simple pasta dish.  We had ours with grilled chicken and salad and everyone loved it.  Sorry I don't have a picture.  I was feeling crummy that night and was thinking about taking pictures.

Pasta Carbonara

1 box thin spaghetti (I used whole wheat)
5 strips of bacon cut crosswise into strips
1T minced garlic
2 eggs
1c grated parmesan cheese
1/4 t black pepper

Cook pasta according to package directions but save pasta water. Saute bacon and add garlic being carefull not to burn the garlic.  Whisk eggs, cheese, and pepper together in a small bowl.  Once bacon and garlic is ready, add pasta and egg mixture.  Stir pasta frequently to coat with sauce and add pasta water 1/2 cup at a time until at desired consistency.  The heat of the pasta and the pasta water will cook the eggs.

Guy Harvey's Island Grill

I took a girl's trip to Panama City Beach and we had supper at Guy Harvey's Island Grill.  It is located right at the entrance of Pier Park.  Well I'm allergic to seafood so I don't get to enjoy "beach food" anymore like I once did.  My friends all got shrimp and said that it was very good.  I got the chicken quesadillas from the appetizer menu.  It was huge and pretty good.  I thought the place was kinda pricey and not very special.  But who would listen to the opinion on a seafood restaurant from a non-seafood eater?  Oh well,  maybe if you go check it out you could let me know what you think.

Flip Burger

Some of my friends and I went to Flip Burger Boutique.  Pretty cool atmosphere.  We actually sat outside because it was a nice comfortable evening for August.  The menu is pretty simple....various burgers, sides, milkshakes, and other drinks.  The burgers themselves, however, are not so simple!  I chose a pretty safe one.  The butcher's cut with carmelized onions, blue cheese, frisee lettuce, pickled shallots, and red wine jam.  Very delicious and the hand cut fries were good too.  You could definitely split the fries with someone.  Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of my burger before I ate it. :(

Friday, August 27, 2010

BBQ Pork

I just love this recipe!!  Aside from just good ol' smoked BBQ, its the very best you can make at home.  The original recipe came from Paula Deen.  You can go here to see it.  The main change I made to it was that I cut back on the black pepper and cayenne pepper.  It was a little to spicy for me.  Also, I can't recommend enough having a good dutch oven.  I just finally got myself one a couple of years ago and I love it.   You could do this recipe in the crockpot but it just doesn't get that crust on the outside like it does in the oven and I don't think it gets as tender either.  My dutch oven is made by Lodge and my Mama got it for me for Christmas from Wal-Mart.  I think for $60 or $80.  Its great for the stove top too, for chilis and soups.  This BBQ meat is so good that it doesn't even really need sauce.... but we sauce anyway.  Favorite bottled BBQ sauce?  Right now I really like the Bull's Eye original and carolina style.  Go get you a pork butt and try this recipe!

BBQ Pork

3-4 lb pork shoulder roast

2T salt
2T brown sugar
2T paprika
1T black pepper
1/4 t cayenne

Cooking Liquid:
2c apple juice
1c cider vinegar
2T Worcestshire
1/2 T liquid smoke
1/2 T garlic powder

Cover pork with very well with rub, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 2 hrs or longer.  Place pork and cooking liquid in dutch oven, cover with lid, and cook at 325 for 4 hrs.  Shred meat and add some of the cooking liquid to the meat.

Chicken Pot Pie

It's really ridiculous how easy Chicken Pot Pie can be.  Good thing too because it is such a great comfort food that is quick to make, cheap, and very satisfying.  I have a tip for you for your chicken.  I buy a large package of chicken tenders from Sam's.  I portion them out into 1 quart ziploc bags and freeze them in 1lb portions.  This way they thaw very quickly and I have exactly what I need for a recipe.  When my recipe calls for cooked chicken, such as the one below, I broil my chicken instead of boiling it.  I cover a cookie sheet with foil (easy cleanup - yea!) and lay my chicken strips out.  I lightly spray the chicken with cooking spray to prevent the chicken from drying out and season with salt and pepper.  I broil them on low for 11 minutes.  They turn out perfectly cooked and I don't have to deal with that white foamy stuff from boiling chicken!

Anyway, here's my super easy chicken pot pie!

Chicken Pot Pie

1lb chopped cooked chicken
1can mixed vegetables, drained
1 can cream of chicken
2 refrigerated pie crusts

Mix chicken, vegetables, and cream of chicken.  If you would like it creamier, you can add some sour cream too.  Place bottom pie crust in a pie pan, fill with mixture, and top with 2nd crust.  Bake at 350 for about 45 min.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Chinese at Home

I thought that it would be nice to let you know about any products that I've tried from the store and really like. 

I was really in the mood for Chinese this week and this is what I prefer rather than take out.  If I was going out for Chinese, I would prefer PF Chang's and that doesn't happen often!  I was sceptical when I first tried the Wachai Ferry kit but it was suprisingly very good.  All you need is 1lb. of cut up chicken or pork and this kit to make a great dish.  We like the swt and sour chicken variety but they also make a spicy garlic chicken and cashew chicken.  It includes jasmine rice too which is a step up from your typical white rice.

Mr. Chung's egg rolls are the best frozen egg rolls I've tried too.  In fact, my husband says that he likes them better than restuarant ones.  I just put them on a stone dish to crisp them up well in the oven.

The Steamfresh sugar snap peas are so sweet and easy!  Just zap in the microwave in the bag and sprinkle with a little salt.  I usually find all of these things on sale or have coupons for them but even if I pay full price, I can make this meal for under $15 and it feeds 4 (or 6 if you are feeding children). 

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Tuscan Pasta with Tomato-Basil Cream

This is a recipe that my aunt Elaine found on  Very simple and delicious.  She served it with a wedge salad, garlic bread, and asparagus that was blanched, plunged in ice water, and topped with Italian dressing.  Enjoy!

Tuscan Pasta with Tomato-Basil Cream

1 20oz package of refrigerated cheese ravioli (we substituted chicken tortellini)
1 16oz jar of sun dried tomato alfredo sauce
2T white wine
1 14.5oz can petite diced tomatoes, drained
1/2 c chopped fresh basil
1/3 c grated parmesan cheese

Prepare pasta according to package directions.  Combine alfredo, wine, tomatoes, and basil in saucepan and simmer over med-low heat until heated through.  Toss drained pasta into sauce and top with cheese.

Pimento Cheese Burger

If you haven't tried a burger with pimento cheese spread on it, you need to!  So delicious.  I don't have a recipe for pimento cheese for you but once I've got one I'll post it.  This pimento cheese spread was made by aunt Elaine and she didn't recall the exact measurements.  But one thing you should know is that you need to make it in a food processor and blend it until it's thick and creamy.  This will make it the consistency it needs to be to stay together on a hot burger.

Hash Brown Breakfast Casserole

This recipe is a nice change from the typical breakfast casserole.  The original recipe calls for sausage but substituted ham.  I think smoked sausage would be a nice substitute too.  You prepare this casserole the night before and bake it in the morning.  It makes ALOT so be prepared to share!  Here is the original recipe that we adapted this one from.

Hash Brown Breakfast Casserole

3 tablespoons butter
1 small yellow onion, chopped
4 cups frozen shredded hash browns, thawed
1lb bulk sausage, browned (we used diced ham)
2 1/4 cups milk
8 large eggs
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
8 cups cubed French or Italian bread
2 cups (1/2 pound) grated Cheddar
2 cups (1/2 pound) grated Parmesan

Spray a deep 9x13 casserole dish with cooking spray.  Melt the butter in a large frying pan. Add the onion and saute over medium-low heat until soft, about 5 minutes.  In a large mixing bowl, combine the milk, eggs, salt, pepper, and mustard.  To assemble, spread bread cubes on the bottom of the dish and them top with the hash browns and onion.  Add sausage as the third layer. Pour the milk and egg mixture over these layers. Add Parmesan as the next layer and then the Cheddar.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.  Next morning, bake at 350 for 45-50 mins.

Another Broken Egg Cafe

This morning Bill and I enjoyed a breakfast date at Another Broken Egg Cafe in Baytowne.  When I get the chance, I love to go out and have Eggs Benedict.  I've never attempted to fix it at home myself.  Maybe one day.  If you've never tried Eggs Benedict, go out right now and get some!  An english muffin topped with ham, a poached egg, and a buttery, lemony hollandaise sauce.  We also decided to indulge in the Cinnamon Roll French Toast!  OMG!  They take a giant cinnamon roll, split it, and batter it like french toast.  Then they top it with a mixed berry sauce and whipped cream.  Devine!  Needless to say, we didn't need lunch until about 3:00 in the afternoon.

I had their Huevos Rancheros when Bill and I had a Valentine's Day breakfast date at the Mountain Brook cafe.  It was just as wonderful too!   Here's their menu so go check them out!

Acme Oyster House

Last night we had supper in the Village of Baytowne Wharf (San Destin) at Acme Oyster House.  I had the New Orleans Medley which was a cup of gumbo (seafood or chicken & sausage, I had the chicken & sausage), jambalaya, and sausage with red beans and rice.  I think the jambalaya was my favorite followed by the gumbo.  The gumbo was a little spicy but not to hot.  I like a little spice but I don't like my mouth burning!  Anyway, I enjoyed supper there and I think everyone else enjoyed their choices as well.  Here's their menu.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Country Grits and Sausage Casserole

My aunt Elaine made this for breakfast for us at the beach.  Its a nice change from a typical breakfast casserole.  Most of the prep is done the night before which makes it a quick fix in the morning.

Country Grits and Sausage Casserole

1/2 t salt
1c quick cooking grits
4c shredded sharp cheddar cheese
4 eggs, beaten
1c milk
1/2 t dried thyme
1/2 t garlic salt
2lbs pork sausage, cooked and drained

Night before - In large saucepan, bring 4 cups water and salt to a boil.  Stir in grits, return to a boil, and then reduce heat to medium to cook about 4 mins while stirring occasionally. Add cheese and stir until it melts.  Combine eggs, milk, thyme, and garlic salt.  Add a small amount of hot grits to egg mixture to temper them.  Then combine all of the egg mixture with the grits.  Pour mixture into a 9x13 pan, cool and refrigerate overnight.

Morning - Remove from refrigerator 15 mins before baking.  Preheat oven to 350.  Uncover and bake 50-55 mins.  Let cool 10 mins before serving.

Sandcastle Cake

I wanted to share with ya'll this really cute cake pan that I borrowed from a friend for my 3 yr old's birthday party.  Isn't it adorable?!  We had a little party at the beach so this was the perfect cake for traveling because I didn't have to worry about icing getting messed up.  We served ours with sliced strawberries and whipped cream.  The pan is by Nordicware and she bought it at Williams and Sonoma.

By the way, here is a picture of my ancient, hand-me-down mixer that I used to make my cake.  I got it when my mom got her KitchenAid mixer.  Bill wasn't sure that it would even work!  One day I'll have my own day.

Pork Tenderloin Skewers and Oven Potatoes

Well for the meat, this is actually more of a technique than a recipe.  You could marinate your meat any way you like before you grill it.  It makes a very quick cooking and tender piece meat.  We've marinated our pork in terriaki and also in a garlic and Worcestershire marinade.  The potatoes are an attempt to recreate some potatoes we had at a The Village Tavern for brunch. 

By the way.......this recipe and several others you may see next are on paper plates because we're at the beach!  No dishes to wash!

Pork Tenderloin Skewers

Take your pork tenderloin and cut it lengthwise into long strips about 1/4 inch thick.  Place meat in Ziploc bag with marinade for a couple of hours.  Skewer the meat by weaving it lengthwise onto the skewer.  Grill over medium heat for about 10-15 min.

Oven Potatoes

2 1/2 lb Yukon gold potatoes, diced 1/2 inch
1c beef broth
1 sm onion, diced
1t garlic powder
1t each salt/pepper

Combine all ingredients in a 9x13 or larger rimmed pan.  Bake at 400 for 30-45 mins.  You can broil the potatoes lightly to brown them a little.