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Another hit from my New Years Eve Party.

Ingredients…

2 lbs (16/20 count) shrimp, peeled and devained

2 cups panko breadcrumbs

1 cup shredded coconut

3 eggs

¼ cup milk

2 cups flour

Canola oil for frying

Salt / Pepper

Honey

Dijon mustard

Directions…

Set up a breading station by mixing together the following ingredients. Bowl 1: Flour, salt and pepper. Bowl 2: Eggs, milk, salt and pepper (beat together). Bowl 3: Coconut, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper. Start by dipping the shrimp in the flour mixture, then egg mixture (drip off excess), then into the breadcrumb mixture. Continue process until they are all breaded. I found if you put them on a cookie sheet in a single layer and refrigerate them for about an hour, it will help the breading stay in tact while frying. This is not an essential step, but is helpful if you have the time.

In a medium saucepan with steep sides, add about ½ inch of canola oil. Heat on medium high heat. Add the shrimp about 5 at a time to the oil. Try not to over crowd the pan. Cook for about 2 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Transfer to a paper towel lined dish to drain the oil. Continue in batches until all the shrimp are fried.

Mix equal parts honey and Dijon mustard together for a dipping sauce. Depending on your taste, you may want to add more honey if you want it sweeter, or more mustard if you want it to have more of a tang.

This was part of my New Year’s Eve menu and it was a HIT. Enjoy!

Ingredients….

Premade pizza dough (you can get it in the dairy aisle of your grocery store or local pizza shop)

1 green pepper, sliced

½ yellow onion, sliced

3 sausage links, out of casing

oregano

crushed red pepper flakes

olive oil

handful pecorino romano cheese (grated)

flour

Directions…

Bring pizza dough to room temperature. Leave it out of the fridge for at least 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 425. In a medium saucepan over medium high heat, heat a teaspoon of olive oil. Add sausage to pan and break up with a wooden spoon. Cook until brown and crumbled. Remove from pan with slotted spoon, reserve on a plate. Pour out most of the oil. Add the sliced peppers, onions, oregano and crushed red pepper flakes. Cook for about 8 minutes until the veggies are tender.

Roll dough with a little bit of flour into a large rectangle. Place on a lightly oiled cookie sheet (with sides). Add filling on half of the dough (long side), leaving a one inch space on the top and bottom. Begin rolling, starting on the side the filling is on. Keep rolling until you have a log shape. Seal off the edges by pinching them and folding them under the roll. Brush the top with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle with the cheese. Cut 3 slits in the top to let the steam escape. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Slice and serve.


Here are some great ways to use up your leftovers….

  • Turn your veggies and turkey into a turkey pot pie or turkey and veggie soup
  • Use leftover biscuits to make egg sandwich sliders for a yummy breakfast
  • Turn mashed potatoes into potato croquets by mixing with chopped parsley and shredded mozzarella, rolling into a ball, dip in breadcrumbs and fry.
  • Scoop the inside out of a pecan pie and warm, top with caramelized bananas (saute with brown sugar until brown)
  • For a side dish, put candied yams in a food processor and blend to make whipped yams to serve along side chicken or fish
  • Use stuffing to stuff a pork tenderloin or chicken breasts to make another dinner

 

It’s that time of year again. The holiday season is rapidly approaching which means busy times and plenty of food to go around!

I have found that Bon Appetit has the best Thanksgiving guide around. Check it out here – They have everything from the best turkey recipes to sides and appetizers. Highly recommend this site.

What are all of you making for Thanksgiving? What are your favorites? Feel free to post some winners here!

My favorite is my grandmothers Sausage Stuffing…but sorry, it’s a family secret!

Friday Breakfast….A Sigma tradition.

At my office, each Friday someone brings in breakfast for the entire office. We rotate, so you only have to supply breakfast about once a year. This year I took it as a challenge to spend as little money as possible (recession special) but still put together a really nice breakfast for everyone to enjoy!

On the menu:

  • Egg casserole with turkey sausage, peppers, onions and potatoes
  • Egg casserole with spinach, feta and tomato
  • Egg casserole with cheddar cheese
  • French Toast (made with Balthazar Bread…of course!)
  • Apple & Cinnamon Compote to go on top of the French Toast
  • Cantaloupe
  • Strawberries / Blueberries
  • Greek Yogurt and Granola
  • Brownies
  • Orange Juice

It’s hard to believe, but by “shopping the sale rack” at the grocery store, I was able to feed 50 hungry employees for only $85! Eggs on sale for 99 cents / dozen…Cantaloupe 2/$3…Apples for 99 cents / lb. – the list goes on! I formulated my menu around what was on sale – and it worked!

Dinner tonight came from the need to eat something healthy, cheap and easy. Here is my answer to that. Dinner cost less then $6 for 2 people! I had most of the ingredients in my pantry / refrigerator….all I bought was a leek, parsley and tilapia. Everything else are staples that I keep on hand.

Here’s how to do it….Layer two pieces of foil in an X on a cookie sheet with sides. Place 2 pieces of tilapia on the overlapped part. Season with salt, black pepper and red pepper. Top with halved cherry tomatoes, kalamata olives, sliced leeks (see trick how to clean them below), chopped parsley, capers, drizzle of olive oil and a 1/2 cup of white wine. Before sealing up, top with a pad of butter cut into small pieces. Fold the foil and overlap until you have a fully sealed pouch. The fish steams inside the pouch…which means super healthy and even more importantly no clean up! Cook in a 375 degree oven for about 15 – 20 minutes or until the fish is white all the way through. (Note: when you open the pouch all of the steam will escape, so be careful not to burn yourself!) Serve over pasta or mashed potatoes. Drizzle with olive oil. Enjoy!

Tip for cleaning leeks: They are usually really dirty, and this is the easiest way I have found to clean them. Slice them first. Place them in a bowl of cold water and separate the rings. Run them through your fingers a few times. Let them sit for about 5 minutes. All of the dirt will settle to the bottom of the bowl, so scoop the cut leeks out and dry.

NewYorkGiantsI went to watch the NY Giants season opener Sunday. And that means — Tailgating! I was asked to make something sweet, and there is no bigger crowd pleaser than brownies. Check out these delicious brownies – made from scratch. Try it just once, and you will be amazed at how much more yummy they are then the boxed variety.

Ingredients:

1 cup of butter

2 cups sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

4 eggs, slightly beaten

1 cup flour

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (like Hersheys)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 generous handful of mini chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350.

In medium saucepan over low heat, melt butter. Add sugar, vanilla and eggs. Whisk until blended well. Sugar should melt / dissolve mostly. Do not let it boil – you will get scrambled eggs – (simmering is okay).

Measure out flour, cocoa and salt in a large bowl. Mix to combine. Stir in butter and sugar mixture to combine. Fold in mini chocolate chips.

Pour into a 13 by 9-inch pan sprayed with PAM. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool. Cut into triangles. Enjoy!

photo(2)I had my girlfriends over last night for a Melting Pot recreation….also known as a recession special! It’s more intimate and inexpensive to host a Melting Pot event at home. I made Chocolate Fondue with assorted dippers (recipe below) and mint chocolate martinis complete with rimmed glasses. YUMMY! Create your own girl’s night this week!

Thanks ladies for coming over xoxo

Chocolate Fondue

Serves 4

1/2 cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon butter

4 ounces semisweet chocolate (or whatever kind you like)

2 tablespoons smooth peanut butter

In a medium saucepan over low heat, bring the cream, sugar, cinnamon and butter to a rolling boil. Remove from the heat, add the chocolate and peanut butter — stir until the chocolate melts. Serve with assorted dippers like strawberries, pretzels, bananas, pineapple, cubes of pound cake and marshmallows. Enjoy!

Thanks everyone for voting! The winner by a landslide is Chicken Enchiladas. This is my adaptation of a Rachael Ray 30 Minute Meal. And I LOVE these! Now you will too!

Ingredients

For the filling:

1 box of chicken stock (the boxed stocks are definitely better quality, plus they have a screw on top so if you don’t use the whole carton you can keep it in the fridge for the week)

4 chicken breasts (boneless / skinless)

2 dried bay leaves

1 tsp dried oregano

1/2 of a white onion (peeled)

3 tablespoons tomato paste

1 tablespoon chili powder

5 dashes of chipolte flavored hot sauce (or you can use 1 chipolte in adobo from the can)

1 teaspoon cumin

Salt to taste

For the sauce:

2 cans of tomato sauce (not the Ragu kind, I use Delmonte)

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 dash of nutmeg

a drizzle of honey

a few red pepper flakes

Additional: Corn or flour tortillas, Shredded cheddar / jack cheese and Cilantro

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Bring chicken stock to a boil in a pot with the onion, bay and oregano. Once boiling add the chicken. Let the chicken cook for about 10-15 minutes or until it is no longer pink. Shred the chicken with 2 forks and put in a bowl. Add a few ladles full of the broth, tomato paste and remaining ingredients. Mix until combined.

Combine all sauce ingredients and heat through, keeping warm until needed.

Place chicken mixture into tortillas and roll. Place the rolls (seam side down) in a casserole or baking dish. Put a little bit of sauce in first to prevent the enchiladas from sticking. Pour hot tomato sauce over the top and sprinkle with cheese. Place in oven and cook until the cheese is melted. Remove from oven and top with fresh chopped cilantro.

Serve with brown rice and black beans – ENJOY!

photoThis is one of my favorites, yummy and satisfying. Enjoy it! And yes, you didn’t read the ingredients wrong…I make my own sauce…from scratch…every time! No jarred sauce in my house. After you make it once, you will be hooked, it’s super easy and delicious. In the time it takes for the sauce to cook, you can be doing the rest of the prep. Some of my sauces take longer, but this simple tomato basil sauce with a touch of cream, is done in a snap!

Ingredients

Serves 2

2 large shallots sliced

1 35 oz can of whole tomatoes (preferably San Marzano)

splash of white wine

2 tbsp tomato paste

dried oregano

handful of fresh basil

3 sweet Italian sausage links removed from casing

1 large jarred roasted pepper

1/2 bunch of broccoli rabe chopped

1 small jar / can of artichoke hearts (packed in water)

1/2 lb of bowtie pasta

splash of cream

olive oil, salt and pepper

Directions

For the sauce: In a medium pot heat a few tablespoons of olive oil on medium heat. Add in shallots and saute until tender but not brown. Add in the tomato paste, oregano, salt and pepper cook for a minute. Add in white wine, cook for 3 more minutes. Add in can of tomatos, more salt and pepper. Cover and let boil. Scrape the bottom of the pot every once in a while to prevent burning. Tomatos should break up on their own, if they don’t, squish them with a wooden spoon.

While the sauce is cooking…Bring a large pot of water to a boil to cook the pasta. In a small skillet add a little bit of olive oil and heat on medium high. Remove the sausage from the casing. Place in hot pan and break up meat until little chunks with a wooden spoon. Cook until browned and no longer pink on the inside. Move to a paper towel to drain. Slice roasted peppers and artichoke hearts into bite size pieces. Wash and dry broccoli rabe, and chop into bite size pieces.

After the sauce has cooked for about 20 minutes, cook the pasta in salted boiling water until it is al dente. Stir in about 1/4 cup of cream into the sauce, or until it reaches a pink color. About 2 – 3 minutes before the pasta is done, stir in the broccoli rabe (this is the quickest way to cook it). Drain the pasta and broccoli rabe and add it back to pot on low heat. Ladle in sauce and mix in sausage, roasted peppers, artichoke hearts and more fresh basil. Serve with grated romano cheese.

YUMMY!

About Me

My name is Ashley and I'm a self taught cook. Getting home from work, popping open a bottle of wine and cooking up dinner with my boyfriend is my favorite part of the day. I want to show you that making dinner can be fun and easy. I have some great tricks for the young professional...like me, that I know you will love! Follow me and I'll make you the talk of all of your friends! You won't believe the things you can whip up in the kitchen that are...Just Delicious!

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