Fried Egg On A Salad

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I had the most unusual craving tonight. I was craving a fried egg on a salad. Strange, I know. I don’t ever remember seeing one before, but it just flew into my head as I was getting ready to prepare dinner. I had already marinated some locally-grown heirloom tomatoes and red onions in oil, red wine vinegar, garlic, dab brown mustard, salt, pepper and a dash of sugar. I decided to toss some lettuce in with it, threw in some bleu cheese crumbles and added some of my candied pecans I had leftover from another recipe earlier in the week. Then, it was simply a matter of frying an egg and placing it on top. It was runny; it had to be. That’s what I was craving. Good grief, someone help me… LOL. The verdict is that it is FABULOUSLY delicious. My teen daughter gives it two-thumbs up. Yay.

Honey-Lime Roasted Shrimp

Jumbo shrimp peeled and deveined and marinated for about an hour in about 1/2 cup olive oil, juice from 2 nice sized limes, 4-5 TBL honey, minced garlic (I put in two cloves), salt and pepper to taste. I roasted them on a foil-lined baking sheet in a 425F convection oven for about 6 minutes. I put some pepper flakes on my daughter’s portion when I took them out since she likes things a bit spicy.

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Bacon-Wrapped BBQ Shrimp

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This is such an easy and delicious dinner. I started off with a 2-lb bag of Jumbo, frozen, raw shrimp that I defrosted under cool water and removed the shells. They were split and deveined already so it went really quickly. Next, I put some Old Bay seasoning on the shrimp and then wrapped each jumbo shrimp in a half slice of raw bacon and fastened with a toothpick. I put them into a container and poured BBQ sauce on them and let them sit in the fridge for a couple hours. When I got ready to cook them I preheated my oven on broil and put in a foil-lined pan with the shrimps for approximately 6 minutes. The oven rack was at the middle of the oven so it would go faster if it were higher to the heating element. The shrimp and the bacon cooked at the same time so they were both perfect. Kids loved them and I just tossed away the foil when I was finished. Ta Da!

Grilled Rosemary Ranch Butterflied Chicken

IMG_8270I love picking up whole chickens when they are on sale. I count myself especially lucky if it is a roaster size. You know, the big 6-8 pounders. I am a huge griller and will grill anything from chicken to romaine lettuce to avocados to cookies. Yes, they all are amazing, surprisingly. First butterfly your chicken by cutting out the backbone with some sharp kitchen shears. If you are unsure how to do this you can find lots of videos on YouTube that will walk you through the step. I press my chicken down to flatten it, but still leave the breast bones in so it doesn’t lay completely flat. This is preference, but you can remove it to make it flatter. Leaving the skin on, but separating the skin from the meat with my fingers on the breasts and thighs, I rubbed a marinade on consisting of Ranch dressing, olive oil, Rosemary, minced garlic, salt, pepper and some fresh lemon. I’ve seen other recipes out there that also use vinegar and various other spices so just put on what you like and make it your own. I don’t really measure, but I usually do close to equal parts dressing and oil. The spices are based on your tastes. I made sure the marinade was everywhere. And, I do mean everywhere… in between skin and meat, on top of skin, you get the picture. I left in fridge overnight to absorb all that yummy goodness. Next, heat your grill up to about 450 and then place your chicken skin-side UP. Immediately, turn off burners under chicken for indirect heat. If you are using charcoal just put it on the side without charcoal. I tweak the burners that are left on so as to maintain a temp of about 300-350 degrees. For a chicken this size I cooked for approximately 1 hr. 50 min – 2 hrs. I’ve done smaller 3-4 lb chickens for 45 minutes. I’ve also used every kind of rub, sauce, etc. Whether you dry-rub or marinate in a liquid I really like leaving it overnight in the fridge. I don’t turn my chicken at all. The skin gets nice and brown just fine on it’s own. I used to start out skin side down for 10 minutes then switch, but it’s not necessary. A lot of other grillers recommend putting skin side down and pressing with a spatula to get all the skin to brown… NO!!!! NEVER squeeze the liquid out of any meat you are grilling. Ever. It is so much juicier leaving all that yummy tasting juice inside the meat and not in the bottom of your grill.

Sautéed Swiss Chard with Onion, Garlic and Parmesan

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Today I picked up a massive amount of Swiss Chard from our local CSA farm. I took a look at a bunch of recipes and sort of chose what to do and add so I can’t really credit any one recipe, sorry. After washing and spinning dry (very important step) I separated the stems from the leaves. Next, I chopped the stems in small 1/4 or so pieces and sautéed in some olive oil, garlic, and some diced onions I picked up at the farm, too. After about 3 minutes I added some white wine… sauvignon wine. I don’t know how much, 1/2 cup or so; I just poured… LOL. Finally, I rough chopped up the leaves and tossed them in to wilt a few minutes. After that was finished I squeezed about 1 or 2 TBL fresh lemon juice and about 1/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese. If I had shredded I would have used that, but I was going on what I had. Yummy, yummy, yummy 🙂

Waterproofing Springform Pans in a Water Bath

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Sometimes springform pans leak, and sometimes they don’t when placed in a water bath. I’m not willing to put the work and money into making a cheesecake to have the crust soak up water. I like the results of using a water bath so I’m not giving that step up. I’ve tried wrapping with foil, but unless it’s perfectly wrapped then it can leak. I should probably mention that I’m a terrible present wrapper anyway so it might all just be in my technique… LOL. There are “Cheesecake Moat Pans” you can buy, but I didn’t feel like adding to my already full cabinets. So, I used an oven baking bag; more specifically a slow-cooker liner because that’s what I had in my pantry. I just wrapped around and clipped near the rim and VOILA’!!!! Leakproof. I just popped these two cheesecakes into the oven. I used coconut extract instead of vanilla, but I’m not sure it’s going to be noticeable, and I added a lot. For the crust I used a combination of NILLA wafers, freshly toasted pecans and about 10 wafer-thin coconut cookies. I was scraping the barrel for crumbs to use for my crust since I didn’t have any graham crackers in the house. You can use pretty much any kind of cookie so let your imagination run away with that thought… Mmm 🙂

Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter

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This stuff is quite possibly one of Trader Joe’s best kept secrets. I had a friend recommend it so I decided to try it. Had I just found it in the store I probably wouldn’t have bought it since it is pretty much gingersnap cookies. I mean, I like gingersnap cookies, don’t get me wrong, but an entire jar of creamy gingersnap cookies? Hmm, probably not. OMG, everyone from my kids to myself LOVE this stuff. Seriously, it is really, really good. Unfortunately, it’s not that nutritional. With peanut butter you are at least getting protein, but not with this stuff. To be fair I haven’t checked out the nutritional chart on the bottle, but based on what is in it I’d be willing to bet that it is pretty much a sweet-addiction that I can add to my list. If you get the chance to try it, don’t pass it up. We’ve had it on bread, crackers, heated up and put on ice-cream, and everything in between, including just scooping out of the jar 🙂

Grilled Vegetable Sandwiches

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It’s summer, and with that comes a huge amount of freshly-grown vegetables from the local farm here in Salem. Each Friday I pick up an obscene amount of gorgeous red, green, and yellow produce. I decided to make sandwiches today for my 16-yr-old daughter and her friend. First, the night before, I made the sauce:

  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 TBL. lemon juice

You don’t have to make it the night before, but I felt it allowed all the flavors to meld together better. This sauce really makes the sandwich. Next, I pre-cut my veggies…

  • Red and yellow peppers
  • Zucchini
  • Purple onion
  • 1 or 2 TBL olive oil
  • Any seasoning you want to add
  • Cheese if desired (I used Swiss)

I put them in a container in the fridge so I could just grab them the next day. Again unnecessary, but I like to cut down on prep-time. Heat grill to medium-high and drizzle olive oil on veggies and mix before placing on grill. I used a lime no-salt seasoning, but pick whatever flavor you like. I think Rosemary would be awesome or maybe even basil… Mmm. Brush your rolls with olive oil and lightly toast on the grill. Remove the buns, and spread your sauce you mixed earlier, then add your veggies, and top with cheese if desired. I used Boar’s Head Baby Swiss. I probably would have put it on the veggies, but thought the picture would come out better if you could still SEE the veggies after the cheese melted. Put back on grill for a minute or just until the cheese melts. You can also use your broiler if you don’t want to grill  🙂

Semi-Homemade Hot Pockets

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What do you do with the leftover meat, potatoes and veggies? You enclose all those yummy leftovers in dough, bake them and then enjoy them for lunch or a snack. You can use any homemade dough, or if you want to go super-easy, you can buy Rhodes White Dinner Rolls in the freezer section of your local grocery store. The bag I bought had 36 in them. You want the little balls of dough, not the ones that are ready to bake. Put them on a pan for 3-5 hours, cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled. I use two of them, one on top and one on the bottom. Just flatten one with your hand and put your food in the middle leaving a clean edge around the dough. Next, put another one on top and seal the edges by folding, crimping, making cute designs, whatever you want. Next bake @350 for about 15 minutes or until golden. You can brush with an egg white first to make it look nice and shiny or afterwards with butter, or nothing at all. Once cool they can be packaged for the freezer and just microwave or throw into the oven. I’ve used leftover Asian BBQ, pot roast, and rotisserie chicken. Heck, throw in cheese if you have kids and they’re picky. They are a great item to pack as they don’t make a mess. The best part is that you get to decide what to put in them. Enjoy  🙂

If you don’t want to make homemade dough you can use a frozen dinner roll dough like these

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Grilled Avocados

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Not only are they delicious, but they are so pretty on a plate. Yes, grilled avocados. I get asked questions like, “Don’t they melt?” Um, no, no they don’t. I cut one in half, brush with a bit of olive oil and lime then put on a medium-high grill for about 3 or 4 minutes then turn 90 degrees for nice grill marks. Watch for flare-ups. I serve them with A1 steak sauce in the middle. I know, I know, you’re thinking, “What?!?!” But, hold on a second. My mom did this, and even though I don’t really like A1 steak sauce it really does compliment an avocado. Don’t want to use the sauce? Just go for grilling, they look awesome and taste wonderful. Enjoy 🙂