my foodgawker gallery

 

Thursday
Apr182013

Salads salads salads!

I am spending my afternoon in a cozy coffee shop, watching snow/sleet/ice fall from the sky. Spring has to show up eventually, right?! I thought of a good plot for a Stephen King-esque novel this morning. Winter never leaves and by July, yard glaciers that have grown giant teeth are present in every yard north of Missouri. The hungry glaciers are able to swallow humans in a single, swift bite. Humans unite and fight the battle against this new, icy breed.

Uhhh, yeah. As you can see, I have crossed the line into crazy.

I actually sat down to write about something that has nothing to do with winter. Salads! I love salads. Eating salads makes me feel hopeful that the weather will change. And like grilled cheese sandwiches, there is so much room for creativity. So I thought I would share some of my favorites with you on this snowy spring day. Enjoy!  

By the way, our yard glacier (the toothless variety, thank goodness) is still standing. I didn't want to subject my camera to the elements this morning, but I'll take a pic tomorrow so you can gauge whether or not you might be the winner of $200!

 

Chicken Raspberry Salad with Lemony Vinaigrette

Click to read more ...

Monday
Apr152013

Spicy avocado turkey burgers

It is always hard to write when I have a heavy heart. Boston's tragedy is weighing on me, as they all do. Airplanes, movie theaters, kindergarten classrooms and now marathons?! It is sad, sick, tragic and incomprehensible. Normally I would set my computer aside and try again in the morning. Since we will be traveling for most of the day tomorrow, that unfortunately is not an option. And so I write!

We have had such a nice vacation in North and South Carolina. Dan and I had a solid 48 hours of time sans kids, which was cherished beyond words. My dad and stepmom watched our boys while we enjoyed the ocean and warm sun and friends and each other. Tomorrow. Tomorrow. [insert very deep and strained groan] We will get on a plane and fly back to the land of never-ending snow and cold. Yes, the yard glacier still stands. No, I am not excited about leaving. Yes, I will miss my dad and stepmom and our vacation terribly. No, I am not excited about leaving. No, I am not excited about leaving. No, I am not excited about leaving.

Perhaps grilling season will open its welcoming arms soon. Until then, we will continue to grill burgers in the cold upon our arrival back home. This batch was a great one to start "the season" with last week. Have you noticed that I have had a bit of an obsession with hot peppers lately?

 

Light a grill over medium heat.

In a medium bowl, combine:

1 pound ground turkey (or beef, if you aren't worried about slimming the burger down)

1/4 cup red onion, chopped

1 jalapeño pepper, chopped

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

Using your hands, mix the ingredients together thoroughly. Divide the mixture into four equal portions and form patties.

Place the patties on the lighted grill and cook for 5 minutes on each side, or until desired level of done-ness is reached.

Layer each burger as follows:

Bottom bun

Burger

1 slice of cheddar cheese

1 tomato slice

1/4 of an avocado (peeled, pitted and thinly sliced)

A couple spoonfuls of salsa

1 large piece of lettuce

Top bun

 

Happy delicious burger eating! 

Spicy Avocado Turkey Burgers

Add a bit of spice and flavor to your dinner with this delicious burger!

Contributed by Megan Porta from pipandebby.com.

Published Apr 15, 2013

Serves: Four 1/4-lb burgers

Total time: 20 min

Spicy Avocado Turkey Burgers

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground turkey (or beef)
  • 1/4 cup red onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 hamburger buns
  • 4 slices cheddar cheese
  • 4 tomato slices
  • 1 avocado, peeled, pitted and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 4 large pieces lettuce
Instructions:
  1. Light a grill over medium heat. In a medium bowl, combine ground turkey, red onions, jalapeños and Worcestershire sauce. Mix thoroughly. Divide the mixture into four equal portions. Form four patties with hands and place on the lighted grill. Cook for 5 minutes on each side or until desired level of done-ness is reached.
  2. Place a burger onto the bottom half of each bun. Top each with a slice of cheese, a slice of tomato, a quarter of the avocado slices, a quarter of the salsa, a piece of lettuce and the top half of the bun. Serve to hungry burger lovers.

 

 

Tuesday
Apr092013

Mexican stuffed peppers

Are you curious about how the yard glacier is holding up? I hope you are! There is $200 on the line! I will write an update at the end of this post. Aren't I mean? Making you read through my loooong boring post first? Actually, the yard glacier, which is now just a dirty, disgusting pile of snow, is truly ugly and that is why it has been placed at the bottom. 

Today and tomorrow are busy days for my boys and me. We are heading out of town early Thursday morning for a little vacation [insert excited squeal here]. Our boys get to spend a couple nights with my dad and stepmom in North Carolina while Dan and I attend a friend's wedding in South Carolina. I've never been to SC before! Any suggestions about what we should check out in the Charleston area?

As is the case before any vacation, I have a million things to accomplish before bedtime tomorrow night. I'm wishing I had more of these stuffed peppers leftover so we wouldn't need to think of something to make for dinner tonight. We ate every morsel in less than 24 hours. If you are looking for a healthy, spicy (or not--doesn't have to be), delicious dinner, you have found it!

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Pour a half inch of water into the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish and set aside.

Using a sharp knife, cut a circle around the stems of 4 large (or 6 small) red or green bell peppers. Twist and remove the stems. With a knife or side of a spoon, remove the ribs and seeds from the insides of the peppers. Rinse out with water and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil over medium heat.

Add 1 to 2 finely chopped jalapeño peppers to the skillet. (Omit this step completely if you wish to avoid spice.)

Cook for 3 minutes, or until the peppers are soft and fragrant.

Add to the skillet:

1 cup cooked chicken, shredded

15-oz. can corn kernels, drained

14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes (use a flavored variety if you're feeling saucy)

15-oz. can black beans, drained

1 bunch green onions, sliced (white and light green parts only)

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Juice from 1 lime

Salt and pepper, to taste

Cook the mixture over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until heated through, about 5 minutes.

Divide the mixture between the hollowed-out peppers. Place in the prepared baking dish.

Bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes. 

Sprinkle 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (total) over the tops of the peppers and place back in the oven for an additional 3 to 5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted. Quite honestly, if you want to slim the recipe down, avoid the cheese altogether and it will be just as tasty. I added it simply to capture a prettier photo.

We LOVE these! Hoping you do, as well! 

Mexican Stuffed Peppers

Whether you make these spicy or mild, they are so delicious!

Contributed by Megan Porta from pipandebby.com.

Published Apr 9, 2013

Serves: 4-6 peppers

Total time: 1 hr

Mexican Stuffed Peppers

Ingredients: 

  • 4 large (or 6 small) red or green bell peppers
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1-2 jalapeño peppers, stems removed and finely chopped
  • 1 cup cooked chicken, shredded
  • 15-oz. can corn kernels, drained
  • 14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 15-oz. can black beans, drained
  • 1 bunch green onions, sliced (white and light green parts only)
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Instructions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Pour a half inch of water into the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish and set aside. Using a knife, cut a circle around the stems, twist and remove. With a knife or side of a spoon, remove the ribs from the peppers. Rinse out seeds. Set aside.
  2. Heat the olive in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the jalapeño peppers and cook for 3 minutes, or until soft and fragrant. Add the chicken, corn, tomatoes, beans, green onions, cilantro, lime juice, salt and pepper. Cook mixture over medium-low heat, stirring frequently until heated through, about 5 minutes.
  3. Divide the mixture between the hollowed-out peppers. Place in the prepared baking dish. Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes. Sprinkle the cheese over tops of the peppers and bake for an additional 3 to 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Serve warm.

 

 

Wednesday
Apr032013

Update on the yard glacier 

I have shut down the comments for my $200 giveaway. The monstrosity in my front yard has melted a lot more quickly than I thought it would, but it is still big. Here's a shot of it from this morning, getting a little bit of early morning sun (although it is still frigid outside).

I will keep you posted on its progress! Keep checking back to see if you won the big bucks. 

Tuesday
Apr022013

Soft pretzels with jalapeño cheese dip

I have an update on our yard glacier! I will post about it in the morning. Hurry and get your guess in for your chance to win $200 before the polls close!

The sun is shining today, but it is still only in the 30s. I stepped outside to get my cutie off the bus and was shocked by the wave of cold air that smacked me in the face. Goodness, SPRING! Where the heck are you?!

Onto these pretzels and the totally gooey cheese dip that I made last night. They are almost gone because my boys have been munching on them non-stop since the moment they came out of the oven. "Another pretzel, Mom. A big one, please."

And the cheese dip? I am trying to shed my winter pounds, so I had to really pull myself together after I took a few bites of this stuff. I limited myself to three bites. It was tough.

First, get the pretzels started!

(adapted from the Food Network.)

In a small saucepan, warm 1 cup of milk until it reaches 110 degrees F. This took less than 5 minutes, if you do not own a candy thermometer. Do not let the milk boil!

Pour it into a medium bowl.

Sprinkle one 1/4-oz. package of acrive dry yeast over the top.

Let it sit for 2 minutes.

Add:

1 cup all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons light brown sugar (mine drowned in the milk before I could snap the pic!)

Mix until incorporated.

Cube 2 tablespoons of salted butter and soften it in the microwave.

Add it to the mixture and stir.

Add:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon fine salt

Stir until a sticky dough forms. Turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead, adding more flour if needed, until smooth (3 to 5 minutes).

Shape the dough into a ball and place it in a lightly greased bowl.

Cover the bowl and place it in a warm place until it has doubled in size, between 60 and 90 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

When the dough is ready, punch to deflate it and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Cut the dough into 5 equal pieces. Roll and stretch each piece with your hands to form a 20- to 24-inch rope. Cut each rope in half, making ten 10- to 12-inch ropes.

Form each rope into a pretzel shape.

In a shallow dish, dissolve 1/3 cup of baking soda in 3 cups of hot water. Gently dip each pretzel in the soda solution, covering each one completely.

Arrange the dipped pretzels on the prepared baking sheets.

Sprinkle the pretzels generously with coarse salt. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes, or until the pretzels are golden-brown.

In a small bowl, melt 8 tablespoons of butter in the microwave. Using a basting brush, spread the melted butter over the entire surface of each pretzel once they are out of the oven.

What should you serve with these soft, delicious pretzels, you ask? The jalapeño cheese dip I am about to share with you is a perfect match, and you can prepare it in 10 minutes or less (while the pretzels are cookin' in the oven).

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.

Add 1 diced jalapeño pepper and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until it is softened and fragrant.

Add:

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Stir until lumps form (this happens quickly, so have your milk ready).

Add:

1 cup milk

Whisk the mixture until the lumps are gone. Heat to boiling. Lower the heat and simmer for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly.

Remove from the heat and add:

Salt and pepper, to your liking

1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (or whatever shredded cheese is hanging out in your fridge)

Stir until the cheese is melted. 

Ding! The pretzels are done and both are ready to serve! ENJOY!

Soft Pretzels

Chewy, salty, comforting soft pretzels! (source: foodnetwork.com)

Contributed by Megan Porta from pipandebby.com.

Published Apr 2, 2013

Serves: 10

Total time: 1 hr, 45 min

Soft Pretzels

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4-oz. package active dry yeast
  • 3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 10 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1/3 cup baking soda
  • 3 cups hot water
  • 3 tablespoons coarse salt
Instructions:
  1. Warm the milk in a small saucepan until it reaches 110 degrees F. Pour into a medium bowl and sprinkle the yeast over top. Let soften for 2 minutes. Add brown sugar and 1 cup of the flour and stir. Cube 2 tablespoons of the butter and soften in the microwave; stir into the mix. Add the remaining 1 ¼ cups flour and the fine salt to make a sticky dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead, adding more flour if needed, until smooth, 3 to 5 minutes. Shape into a ball and place in a lightly greased bowl. Cover and place in a warm spot until doubled in size, 60 to 90 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Punch the dough to deflate, then turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Cut the dough into 5 equal pieces. Roll and stretch each piece with your hands to form a 20-24-inch rope. Cut each rope in half. Form each rope into a pretzel shape.
  3. In a shallow dish, dissolve the baking soda in the water. Gently dip each pretzel in the soda solution and arrange on the prepared baking sheets. Sprinkle with the coarse salt. Bake until pretzels are golden-brown, 10 minutes. Melt the remaining 8 tablespoons of butter in the microwave and spread over the surface of each pretzel using a basting brush. Serve with Jalapeño Cheese Dip from pipandebby.com.

 

Jalapeño Cheese Dip

You may be tempted to eat this with a spoon. Thought I'd warn you.

Contributed by Megan Porta from pipandebby.com.

Published Apr 2, 2013

Serves: 10

Total time: 10 min

Jalapeño Cheese Dip

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, diced
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Instructions:
  1. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the diced jalapeño and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until softened and fragrant. Add the flour and stir until lumps form. Add the milk and whisk until lumps are gone. Heat until mixture is boiling. Reduce to a summer and cook for 3 to 5 additional minutes, stirring constantly.
  2. Remove from heat and add salt, pepper and cheese. Stir until melted. Serve warm with Soft Pretzels from pipandebby.com.