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Entries in Scallops (2)

Friday
Jun292012

My McCormick Gourmet "Longest Dinner Party Chain" dinner party!

Earlier this week I hosted a dinner party at my house as a part of McCormick Gourmet's Longest Dinner Party Chain. It was so much fun! I was so happy McCormick asked me to be a part of this dinner party chain. I have always loved to entertain, and as I have gotten older it has only become more fun. Creating good food is awesome, but creating it for others and watching others enjoy it is way more awesome.

Here is a photo of the many incredible items McCormick sent to me as a part of my dinner party kit! 

Spices, too! 16, to be exact.

YOU can be entered to win a similar kit. More on that in a bit.

First, please allow me to tell you about my dinner party!

I invited four friends over to make six adults, including my husband and myself. It was the absolute perfect mix of people because they were easy to please and they were great company. Thank you so much for being a part of my evening, Jesse, Jody, Jess, Trev and Dan! (Benji, Esme, Elijah and Sammy, too, of course, even though graham crackers and milk were more your style.)

My first course was a warm, creamy crab and artichoke dip, served with baked pita wedges and crackers. I loved the combination of McCormick thyme leaves and fresh parsley in this one. Also, artichokes and jumbo lump crab meat are two of my absolute favorites!

Printable recipe: Warm crab & artichoke dip

Dan and I love starting parties out with warm, gooey dips. Even on a hot summer day, it seemed fitting to keep with the trend. 

My second course was perhaps my favorite of the night, a fried tomato and and 2 fried scallops served over leafy greens. It was light, super tasty and perfect for summer. I love scallops, and I don't get the chance to eat them often enough. 

Printable recipe: Fried tomato & scallop salad

My third and fourth courses were served together. The main dish, sweet basil & oregano bruschetta chicken, was a recipe I borrowed from McCormick. It was delicious! The McCormick seasoning packet made this dish. I served along with it a side of grilled broccoli with McCormick crushed rosemary & feta cheese. (Please forgive me for forgetting the feta in the photos.) I am a huge broccoli lover and I think it is always such a delicious and pretty side dish.  

Printable recipe: Sweet basil & oregano bruschetta chicken

Printable recipe: Grilled broccoli with rosemary & feta

I had a very happy tummy at the end of the evening. 

And the dessert, oh the dessert. It didn't turn out exactly as I had wished because apparently I am not a skilled maker of caramel. I tried it twice with the same result. 

So here, friends, is a photo of a delicious salted caramel brownie that I wish had been a little more caramel-y and less sugary. I will say that the McCormick Sicilian Sea Salt I sprinkled on the top added just the perfect twist of salty that I was hoping for. 

I'm not going to post this one until I perfect the caramel layer, so check back!

And now for a few party pics! Jesse and Dan were responsible for these creative shots. Thanks for helping, guys. 

Food aside, it was great to bring friends together for an evening. Our children enjoyed running around outside in the heat, eating ice cream sandwiches, splashing in the blow-up pool and enjoying a show together. It was a perfect summer evening!

Would you like to have a chance to win a McCormick dinner kit? Visit the McCormick Gourmet Facebook page and submit an idea for what your dream dinner party would be! You will be entered to win a similar kit, but themed to a holiday of your choice. 

Good luck! And thanks for reading! 

Friday
May202011

Grilled scallops with quinoa and fresh veggies

My second son is almost a year old, which seems absolutely insane. I remember those first seven weeks of his life when it literally felt like time was standing still. He refused to sleep during the day during that span of time, so I found myself walking a million laps a day around our home with him in my arms while also trying to care for a crazy 3-year-old. It was a stressful time, and I vividly recall thinking that time would never march on from that point. I felt like I would be walking laps to the soundtrack of wailing (toddler and newborn) forever.

And now it is almost a year later and it's hard to believe it's almost a year later! Time is so strange in that way, isn't it? You wish something away and then it goes by way too quickly.

One thing that hasn't gone too quickly, though, is the last 5 to 7 pounds of baby weight I've been carrying for the past nine months. I realize that 5 to 7 pounds is not a huge deal, but when you are stubborn and refuse to buy new clothes it kind of matters. So. As we near the one-year mark of the birth of our beautiful second son, I am buckling down. I am making even more of an effort than usual to prepare healthy meals and avoid unhealthy foods.

I came up with this creation on the fly the other night. It was another beautiful evening, so I stationed my husband at the grill with the seafood while I put the rest of the meal together in the kitchen. We both loved it.

Start by soaking 8-10 sea scallops in a few tablespoons of butter for about 20 minutes.

While the scallops are soaking, prepare 1 cup of quinoa according to package directions.

In a medium bowl, combine:

1 large tomato, diced

1 green or red bell pepper, seeded and diced

1 large cucumber, peeled and diced

1 cup corn kernels

2 cloves garlic, very finely minced

Juice from 1 lime

2 tablespoons olive oil

Red pepper flakes, to taste

Salt and pepper, to taste

While the quinoa is finishing up, sprinkle salt and pepper onto the buttery scallops and cook them on a grill over medium heat for 3-4 minutes on each side.

Serve all of the deliciousness together. Throw a pat of butter over the quinoa if you're feeling crazy. Or not. I didn't think it needed it.

After a (fairly) good week and some delicious healthy eating (oh, and sickness, too), I now only have 3-4 pounds to go!

Click here for a printable recipe!