Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Project Monte Cristo

Monday I had a photo session with one of my favorite families! It was on the beach on a cold and overcast day. So needless to say the two hours we spent taking photos made us a little chilly. We decided to eat lunch at a great little joint on Pensacola Beach called Sidelines. They have the best Monte Cristo sandwiches! I LOVE them! So I have decided that I am going to try to make these at home.....duh,duh, duh! Any one have any good recipes? Well I will post how "Project Monte Cristo" turns out with my results within the next few days. Until then happy eating!

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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Greekish Pizza

Every once in a while I get creative. This does not always happen on purpose! Sad, I know! After getting home late from work I needed something quick and easy for dinner. My wonderful husband laid out some ground turkey for me. I swear there are days that I would forget my head if it wasn't attached! Thankfully I have him to go behind me and keep me in one piece. But back to my creativity. I decided that I wanted something Greekish. I say Greekish because some of these ingredients are more Italian than Greek, but who is counting? This turned out really tasty! Very, very, very good! A big hit with everyone at my house. That is big. It rarely happens that everyone likes the same thing. So here is my come home from work and throw a bunch of stuff together to make a Greekish Pizza.

Homemade Greekish Pizza:

Flour Tortillas (this is one reason why I said Greekish)
4 Artichoke Hearts, chopped
2 Tablespoons Pesto
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 LB Ground Turkey
1/2 Cup Sun dried tomatoes
1/2 of a red onion, chopped
1/4 cup; 1/4 cup Feta Cheese
Parmigiano Reggiano, grated for the top
3 cloves garlic, minced
5 Tablespoons tomato sauce
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon Mrs. Dash's Onion and Herb Seasoning
1 handful of Arugula

Add chopped onion into a pan with olive oil over medium high heat. Cook until onion is transparent. Add garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add chopped artichoke hearts and the sun dried tomatoes. Let that warm up for about 1 minute. Add ground turkey to the pan and cook for 15 minutes, or until cooked through. Mix in oregano, Mrs. Dash's, basil, salt, and pepper. Cover and let simmer for 5 minutes.
Add in the feta and arugula, recover and let simmer for 5 more minutes or until the arugula is wilted.
 While you are waiting on the arugula, get out a small pan and spray with non stick spray. Place the pan over medium heat and let it warm up. Once the pan is warm place a tortilla there and let it sit for about 2 minutes. Flip the tortilla and warm the other side. You do not want to burn the tortilla, so if 2 minutes is to long cut the time down. You want it to be bubbly and have some brown spots on it.
 When the tortilla is done on both sides, place it on a plate and cover with a paper towel. The turkey mix should be about done. Add your pesto to the mix and give it a good stir. Let the cheese melt into the mix.
Once all of your ingredients are done you get to start the fun process of building your pizza. I take the tortilla, which is nice and crispy by now, and begin my layers like this: pesto, tomato sauce, Parmigiano Reggiano, turkey mixture, feta cheese. You can keep going by adding on red onion rings and olives. I am not a fan of these ingredients, but the sky is the limit here.
These took me a total of 25 minutes to make and I ended up making about 7 of them. The little pizzas are full of flavor and fun to make!

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Thursday's Tip of the Day: Homemade Whipped Cream

Today's lovely tip of the day is inspired by my iced coffee post. I like to make my own whipped cream. By doing this I can make many different flavors of whipped cream for half the price you pay for one can or tub. I like to experiment with the different flavor possibilities. I have even flavored this with cocoa and made a mousse type desert out of it. So the moral of today's story is save the $3 per tub and make your own. I even taste a difference. In my opinion the whipped cream made from whipping cream tastes sooooo much better. Just sayin! It takes a whopping 5 minutes to make and saves you some pennies. Try it, you may not go back!
Plain Whipped Cream:

1 Cup Whipping Cream
1/2 Cup Powdered Sugar
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Place the whipping cream and powdered sugar in a big bowl. Take your mixer, attach the blades, put it in the bowl, turn it on high speed, and go! When the mixture gets fluffy and doubles in size, you are done!

Cinnamon Whipped Cream - add 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Chocolate Whipped Cream - add 1/2 cup cocoa (sometimes I add the 1/4 cinnamon too)
Peppermint Whipped Cream - 1/8 teaspoon peppermint extract

Get creative, make your own flavors!


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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Iced Coffee

Coffee is one of my must have's in life! It gets me through the morning and sometimes through the afternoon. Coffee is a staple in my diet. I am eternally grateful for the person who invented coffee. My problem is that I can not drink hot coffee on a hot day. And living in Florida, that is pretty much every day. I have to have iced coffee so I don't sweat to death. (Gross, I know, but true!) The ice ends up melting in the coffee and watering it down so that the last little bit of coffee is undrinkable. There must be some solution to this! I have frozen coffee in ice trays to use as cubes, but it just isn't the same. So I scoured the internet for hours, or minutes thanks to Google, for the solution. Pioneer Woman is a genius! She had the answer. She has a process where you actually steep the coffee grounds in water and keep it in the fridge. So the coffee itself is cold from start to finish. It is nice and strong, but more importantly cold! Here is the link to said genius article (http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2011/06/perfect-iced-coffee/comment-page-7/). I tried it, super easy, and super delicious! Yay! Thank you Pioneer Woman!

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Monday, February 20, 2012

Goat Cheese Crab Dip

I tried this new recipe for chicken sliders the other night and I couldn't figure out what to do as a side. We were in need of a new side dish bad! Tired and bored of the same ole' vegetable as a side! I know this isn't the healthiest, but it was a nice change in pace. This will not be an all the time dish in our house, but it was super yummy! Soooooooo goooooood! 
Goat Cheese Crab Dip:

2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup red onions
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup half and half
8 ounces cream cheese, cubed
1/2 cup bell pepper, cubed
1 4oz can green chili's, minced
4 ounces crumbled goat cheese
1 pound crab meat, cubed
1/4 cup parsley
1/4 panko bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon paprika
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Melt the butter in a large skillet. Once the butter is completely melted add onions. Saute until clear. Add the bell peppers and garlic and cook for two minutes. Add the half and half and the green chili's mix thoroughly. Add the cream cheese in and mix until smooth. Add half of the goat cheese and mix that until it is smooth. Remove from heat and add in the crab meat and parsley. Place in a casserole dish. In a small bowl, mix the panko breadcrumbs and remaining goat cheese. Mix until you get little balls of cheese covered in breadcrumbs. Spread that mixture over the top of the crab mixture.
 Sprinkle paprika, salt, and pepper over the top. Pop it into the oven for 15-20 minutes. 
When you pull this out of the oven it takes exactly 5.7 seconds for the family to gather around. We had this as a side to chicken sliders one night. It was so good and creamy and yummy! 

The Froggy Mom

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Monday, February 13, 2012

I'm baaaack!

It has been one heck of a week! I have been so sick and just plain weary. I have not cooked or done anything but sit on the couch with hot tea or orange juice. I have had some upper respiratory issues and just can't quite shake it. Needless to say my cooking was put on the back burner and my family has enjoyed some take out or frozen food. (Well, enjoyed may not be the right word here! ;)
I started to feel better and with that energy came a craving. I wanted a shrimp po' boy and I wanted one bad! My wonderful hubs decided to indulge his croaky, coughing wife and drove me to get the ingredients. I love how appropriate life is sometimes. I love frogs, so much so I named my blog after them. I now sound like one! Funny! I don't think I love them enough that I want to sound like one, but one day I will sound like myself again. In the mean time imagine a frog croaking to you, and that is me talking. Back to yummy shrimp. Here is a quick recipe for quick, yummy shrimp po' boys!

The most important ingredient of this batter is the beer. I like a good dark beer for this batter. So I use Guinness, about a cup full in a bowl. I add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to the beer. 

I put the batter in a bowl and add salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper to your liking. 
I make an assembly line at this point. Starting left to right (bowl to stove): beer/lemon in a bowl, batter in a bowl, pot full of hot oil, plate next to stove with paper towels on top. Take a big heaping handful of the shrimp and drown them in the beer mixture and let them sit for about two minutes. Dredge the shrimp in the shrimp fry. Here comes the fun part! To make sure the oil is hot enough, drop a little tiny, teeny drop of water into the oil. It should immediately sizzle and a cloud of steam should arise. Now make sure not to get the oil too hot, it will burn the batter on the shrimp and that does NOT taste good! So now that the oil is good and hot, drop those little balls of goodness into the oil and let it cook for about 2 minutes, or until golden. Take them out of the oil and put them onto the plate. Onto round two! Do this until you have cooked through all of the shrimp.  
These are an example of what your shrimp should look like. Pretty and tasty!  
Now time to make the sauce that goes on the french bread. French bread is the traditional bread used in po' boys. That does not mean that you can not use another type of bread, it just may not taste as good. But taste is in the mouth of the beholder. Do what you like! Make it your own! For my sauce, I just throw a bunch of ingredients together in a bowl and stir. Start with 1/2 cup of mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon of parsley, 1/2 tablespoon of black pepper, 1/2 tablespoon of salt, 1 tablespoon of hot sauce, 1/2 teaspoon of worcestershire sauce, 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard, and 1 tablespoon of pickle relish. Mix other ingredients in if you like, or use smaller quantities, whatever tastes good to you! Toast your french bread and then spread the sauce on the top or bottom. Lay your shrimp down on the bottom of the bread and cover with lettuce, tomato, and sliced pickles. Now enjoy! So good! Yum!  

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Thursday, February 2, 2012

Thursday's Tip: Homemade Taco Seasoning

In our house tacos reign supreme! We have a serious love for tacos. I used to buy the little packet of taco seasoning and think nothing of it. As I started trying to feed our family on a tighter budget I started cutting out small things that are easy to make at home. Taco seasoning is one of them. It is so super easy to make, minutes people! I like to make a large batch and freeze it. It lasts longer and is ready to use whenever I need it. Remember a dollar here and there adds up!

Taco Seasoning:

2 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

Mix it all up in a bowl. Store in an airtight container in the freezer. Done! Easy peasy!

 Happy Mixing!
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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Blueberry Lemon Loaf

In an effort to keep from going to the grocery store at 10pm, I decided to make breakfast for the morning. The good thing about this is that I used up some blueberries that were getting ready to go bad. This recipe came from everything I already had which made it cheap too! Bonus! I love the flavor you get from combining blueberries and lemons. They mesh well! YUM!
Here is the recipe for Blueberry Lemon Loaf! Enjoy!

1 cup fresh blueberries
1 2/3 cup flour 
1 Tbsp flour
1/2 cup butter, at room temp
1 cup sugar 
2 eggs
1 Tbsp lemon extract (or you can use lemon juice) 
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk 

Preheat the oven to 350.
Spray a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan with cooking spray.
Take the blueberries and mix them with 1 Tbsp flour and set aside.

Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy, 2-3 minutes.
Add the eggs and lemon extract and beat until creamy.
In a big bowl mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
Add half of the flour mixture to the egg mixture and mix on low speed just until combined.
Add the milk and mix on low speed just until combined.
Add the remaining flour, mixing just until combined.
Add blueberries and hand mix with a wooden spoon.
Pour the batter into the pan and bake 45 minutes, until a fork comes out clean.
Enjoy the moist blueberry, lemony flavor on your tongue! Glass of milk please.

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