Monday, September 27, 2010

An awesome BBQ spread!!

Had the Family over for a BBQ! My Aunt and Cousin where out from Massachusetts, which was awesome! I have not seen them in 3 yrs, so was sooo happy to have them here! I spent the days prior baking away, recipes will be following above soon! but a slight preview of the spread! I baked Orange Zucchini bread, Pineapple Zucchini Bread, and Chocolate Zucchini Bars ( Yes.. we were working through the Gardens Zucchini!! I have 9 bags shredded in the freezer still!), I also made a Zucchini cake with Cinnamon Cream Cheese icing which was amazing, cream cheese should always be made like this! A Peach Streusel pie, A big Pasta Salad, Grilled baby back Ribs, Grilled Chicken that was basted with a mix of my homemade jam and some Sweet Baby Rays sauce, Crispy Zucchini Sticks ( I know I know.. can we say Zucchini over kill!! but it was all eaten!!) and Corn on the cob.. and snacks!! was soooo Good!

It was a bit busy getting it all done, and that week I had spent a day in ER because I had a deep tissue infection haha.. so was a lot of work!! But seeing the spread and knowing I was going to be resting that night and all the next day was so worth it! I like being able to let the family sit back and relax.. and I enjoy cooking for others, so was a great chance to pamper them all! And did I mention I love working the Grill!! oh how I want a big.. HUGE gas grill of my own one day!! and a smoker.. oh yes I must have a smoker!!! My man must be willing to share the outdoor cooking abilities cause I soooo love it!!
and how could I not!! I mean even I have to say.. that is a damn good Pan of Meat!! any Carnivore would tear up that Pan! and Ohhh how I love me some baby back ribs.. the trick everyone, Put them on a foil lined pan, and in a heated oven set to 375, seasoned and covered with foil. Bake about 3 hrs depending on how many slabs you have, you want them tender, and you will be able to tell when they are, not falling off the bone quite, as you will loose that luscious meat on the grill. Pull them out, slather with your favorite sauce and Grill til caramelized, and Perfect baby backs, they were requested often when I was back in Indiana!
And now the deserts, all will be posted, but had to just post the spread haha.. It was so good, and yes we all had little bits of all of it!! we couldn't resist testing them all out, and seriously that Cinnamon Cream Cheese Icing is BOMB!!! and the Peach Pie, heated up with Vanilla Ice Cream.. OMG!! haha SOOO good!!! Over all it was a day of swimming and great catching up! Loved the entire time, and I look forward to the next time I get to cook, grill or whatever for the next family get together or friend hang out!! Eventually it will be at my own place when I finally pull off getting back into one :) Will be my Ultimate Success in getting out and making it back home, and if things go as planned I will also my love sharing it with me :D

Chicken Lime Taco's

We have been all over trying new things, well technically had been but I have had some crazy health things come up and well the Blog was left with much to update haha.. So I am going to try to get it done in the next few days! 1 of the books we have been using is the Taste of home Comfort Food Diet cookbook. My friend Atlantis gave it to me when I was visiting Indiana this past summer. It is a great book! anyone that loves comfort food I definitely suggest it, Mom likes it because it is not fancy, it's down to earth ingredients. We eat a lot of Chicken, and this recipe is super easy!! And very tasty! I served the tacos in heated up corn tortilla's instead of the flour, but both work great!

1 1/2 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
3 Tbsp lime juice
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 c frozen corn
1 c chunky salsa
12 fat free flour tortillas (6-in) warmed
toppings of choice.

Place the chicken in a 3 qt slower cooker. Combine lime juice and chili powder, pour over chicken. Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours.

Remove the chicken; cool slightly. Shred and return to the slow cooker. Stir in corn and salsa. Cover and cook on low for 30min or until heated through. Serve in tortillas with toppings of choice.

You may feel the urge to drain the liquid when you take out the chicken, I did, and I regretted it, you need the juices with the salsa and corn so it is not dry, but we added a little to make up for what I took out. It was great. Very tasty!!

I also went through the book and worked out all the Weight Watcher points for every meal, and this one is 3 pts per taco! not bad at all!! But the points are based on the tortilla's requested in the recipe, not my corn ones, and I so wished I had some Cilantro.. that would have made my little taco's perfect!

Fresh Salmon Burgers with Lemon tartar sauce!

I love Fish!! I do, almost any fish anyway I love it. I was married for several years and he hated fish, so I never got to make it and rarely got to eat it. Now I am free and home with my family, and they love fish too. Mom found this recipe for fresh salmon burgers and I was all over it! After making it, I will let you know that it takes a bit of time, skinning the fish and chopping it all, it definitely takes time. We are also not lemon people when it comes to our fish, so we decided next time we would leave out half the lemon, so that it was at least an accent and not so strong. To us the lemon over powered, but I would suggest if you like lemon with your fish, definitely give it a try!! The burgers were great and we definitely enjoyed them! We served them with the Crispy Zucchini Sticks from below. Another fave now :)
1 ½ pounds skinless salmon filet, finely chopped (I didn’t have skinless at my disposal, so we bought with skin and I got to skin it lol)
¼ c chopped fresh parsley, divided
2 Tbsp chopped fresh dill
7 scallions, thinly sliced, divided
2 ½ tsp finely grated lemon zest, divided
12 saltines, finely crumbled
 1 lg egg, beaten
½ tsp. salt
1 TB olive oil
¾ c light mayo
6 whole wheat sandwich buns
4 tsp lemon juice

Thoroughly mix salmon, 2Tbs. parsley, dill, 6 of the scallions, 2 tsp of the lemon zest, crackers, egg and salt in medium bowl. Divide into 6 equal portions and form into firm patties. Cover and refrigerate until ready to grill.
About 15 min before serving, preheat gas grill- all burners on high for about 10 min. Use a wire brush to clean grill rack, then use tongs to wipe a vegetable oil-soaked rag over it. Close lid and return to temperature.
Brush burgers with olive oil. Place burgers on hot grill rack; cook, covered, until first side develops impressive grill marks, about 3 minutes; Turn and grill, covered, on other side, 2-3 minutes, grill buns until spotty brown, just a minute.  

Meanwhile, mix mayonnaise, remaining parsley, scallion, lemon zest and the juice.
To serve, spread a portion of sauce over each bun half. Set burger on bottom, cap with bun top and serve immediately.

Asian night!

I was itching to test out my abilities with Asian Cuisine. I love Chinese food.. ok, any Asian food really. The family isn’t always game, but I could have it at least once a week, minimum! So in this post, I will put both the Pot Stickers that I made as well as the Pork Noodles! Which means a nice.. LONG post!!!
I have always wanted to test my abilities with Pot Stickers, I have actually only had them for the first time about 2 yrs ago at my fave restaurant in Elkhart, IN Jade Garden.. BOMB FOOD!!! So I found a recipe and went with it. I definitely need to work on my cooking abilities with them, my one problem was the pan I used was not completely non-stick, was a bit old, so they started sticking, and I think I left them in the steam too long, flavor wise they were fantastic. I will make them again, just to master cooking them! The noodles were fantastic too! You can really add any kind of vegetable to them, adjust to your taste buds, I would even say you could do the same with heat.
Pot Stickers:
1 c chopped Napa cabbage
1 c chopped spinach
¼ c minced green onions
1 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
1 tsp minced peeled fresh ginger
½ tsp dark sesame oil
Dash of white pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 lb ground turkey breast
¼ lb peeled and deveined shrimp, chopped
24 round wonton wrappers
1 Tbsp canola oil, divided
2c fat-free, less sodium chicken broth, divided

Combine first 10 ingredients in a bowl. Working with 1 wonton wrapper at a time, (keeping the remaining wrappers covered with a damp towel to keep from drying out) spoon about 1 heaping tsp filling into the center of each wrapper. Moisten edges of wrapper with water and fold in half, pinching the edges together to seal.  Hold the sealed edge of the pot sticker between the thumb and first two fingers of each hand, forming 3 to 4 pleats along the seal. Place dumpling, seam side up, on a platter. Repeat with remaining filling and wrappers to form 24 pot stickers.
Heat 1 ½ tsp canola oil in a large nonstick skillet.
Arrange 12 pot stickers, seam sides up, in pan, and cook for 30 seconds or until browned Add 1 cup of chicken broth to pan, cover and cook 5 minutes. Uncover and cook about 1 minute or until liquid evaporates. Remove the pot stickers from pan, cover and keep warm. Repeat procedure with the remaining 1 ½ tsp canola oil, 12 pot stickers and 1 cup of brother.

Pork Noodles:

½ pound spaghetti noodles (calls for rice, I was lazy: P)
1 ½ lbs pork tenderloin
1/3 c low sodium soy sauce
2 Tbsp hoisin sauce
2 tsp grated peeled fresh ginger
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
1 (8oz) package sliced fresh mushrooms
1 red bell pepper, diced
4 cups coleslaw mix
1 (8oz) can sliced water chestnut, rinsed and drained
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 scallions, sliced

Cook the noodles according to the package directions.
Meanwhile, cut the pork in half lengthwise. Cut crosswise into 1/4inch slices. Mix the soy sauce, hoisin sauce, ginger, and pepper flakes in a small bowl.
Spray a large nonstick skillet with nonstick spray and set over medium-high heat. Add half of the pork and cook, stirring frequently, until no longer pink, 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with the remaining pork.
Spray the skillet with nonstick spray and set over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and bell pepper, cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are crisp-tender, 3 minutes. Add the coleslaw mix, celery, and water chestnuts; cook, stirring frequently, until the coleslaw is wilted, 1 minute. Stir in the soy sauce mixture and bring to a boil.
Add the reserved pork and garlic to the skillet; cook, stirring frequently, until frscallions; cook, tossing with tongs, until the noodles are hot, 1 min.

The whole meal was oh so tasty!!!