Lazy Sunday Skewers

salmonskewers

You work all week looking forward to the two long lazy days off, but how often do you just get to relax and do absolutely nothing on Saturday and Sunday?  If you’re like most people, there’s errands to run, kids to shuttle to one sporting or social event or another, family gatherings, and maybe even date night on one or both nights so that by Sunday you’re exhausted.

The last thing you want to do on your one day off is spend it in the kitchen.  Skewers are the perfect solution to that cooking dilemma.  Skewers are also great for grilling at picnics, parties, & tailgates.

No matter which recipe you are making there are some simple kebab tips:

  1. Cut the ingredients into similar-size pieces and prepare as the recipe directs.
  2. If marinating, refrigerate 1 hour for fish and up to overnight for meat and poultry.
  3. Preheat a grill to high.
  4. If using wood skewers, soak skewers in water for at least 20 minutes.
  5. Thread the ingredients onto skewers.
  6. Use 2 skewers per kebab, side-by-side, to keep the food from spinning and make flipping on the grill easier.
  7. Grill the kebabs, turning, until the ingredients are charred and cooked to desired doneness, 3 to 15 minutes.

Rosemary Lamb: rosemarylambskewers

  • Marinate 1 pound cubed lamb leg in 1/2 cup olive oil, the juice of 1 lemon, 4-6 stems fresh rosemary (leaves stripped), 3 smashed garlic cloves, and salt & pepper.
  • Skewer with 1 to 1+1/2  inch chunks of zucchini & grill.

Garlic-Dijon Salmon:

  • Marinate 1 to 1+1/2 pounds de-boned, skinned, chunks wild-caught salmon in 1/4 cup olive oil, the juice of 1/2 a lemon, 3 minced garlic cloves, 2 TBLS chopped fresh parsley, freshly ground sea salt and pepper.
  • Skewer with slices of lemon between the salmon. Grill for 3 to 4 minutes per side.
  • Serve on top of grilled asparagus spears.

caesarskewer

Chicken Caesar:

  • Mix 1 pound ground chicken2 tablespoons Caesar dressing1/2 cup Parmesan1/4 cup breadcrumbs and 1 teaspoon lemon zest.
  • Form into mini burgers, skewer and grill.
  • Serve on whole romaine leaves with grilled crusty garlic bread and more dressing.

bucaneerporkskewerBuccaneer Pork:

Boil 1 cup water, 3 TBLS each salt and brown sugar, 2 tsp pickling spices & 4 garlic cloves. Add 1 cup rum, then cool. Add 1 pound cubed pork tenderloin and marinate. Skewer with pineapple chunks. Grill, basting with bottled jerk sauce.  Serve over steamed white rice#ThisGirlLovesToEat

Italian Sausage Burgers with Garlicky Spinach

Italian-Sausage Burgers with Garlicky Spinach

I love a big, juicy cheeseburger but they can get boring after a while.  This recipe is one that will definitely take away the boredom and might even be one that I can whip out at a tailgate this football season to change it up a bit!

Italian Sausage Burgers with Garlicky Spinach

  • 10 ounces baby spinach
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon anchovy paste (optional)
  • Salt
  • 1 pound sweet or hot Italian sausages (or a combination of both), casings removed
  • 4 slices of provolone cheese
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried-tomato pesto
  • 4 round ciabatta rolls, split and toasted

In a large skillet, bring 1/4 inch of water to a boil. Add the spinach and cook, stirring, until just wilted, about 1 minute; drain and press out as much water as possible. Wipe out the skillet.

In the same skillet, heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil until shimmering. Add the garlic and anchovy paste and cook over high heat, stirring, until fragrant, 1 minute. Add the spinach, season with salt and stir just until coated, about 10 seconds.

Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Using slightly moistened hands, form the sausage meat into four 4-inch patties, about 3/4 inch thick. Brush the burgers with oil and grill over moderate heat until browned and crusty on the bottom, about 5 minutes. Carefully flip the burgers. Top with the cheese and grill until the burgers are cooked through and the cheese is melted, about 5 minutes longer. Spread the pesto on the rolls. Top with the burgers and spinach and serve.

These burgers would be great paired with a fruit forward zinfandel like a 2015 Sextant Zinfandel Holystone out of Paso Robles, CA or an Artezin 2016 Old Vine Family Farmed Sustainable Zinfandel out of Mendocino County, CA.   #ThisGirlLovesToEat

Pressure Cooker Baked Beans

I love baked beans but hate all of the preservatives and calories from the sugar that come with the store bought canned varieties.  This 4th of July I decided to try my hand at making my own.

I learned a few things by doing so:

  • Even though you can put the dried beans right into the pressure cooker and shorten the prep time, DON’T SKIP SOAKING THE BEANS.
  • Soaking the beans removes most of the indigestible sugars (which can cause gas) and re-hydrates the beans evenly so they are as plump and beautiful as they were when they were fresh.  Pre-soaking the beans also allows the skins to be receptive to absorbing the flavors of the other ingredients.
  • Use as many unprocessed ingredients as possible

Pressure Cooker Baked Beans

  • 1 pound dried Navy (White Northern) beans
  • 1/2 pound thick cut (from the butcher if you can) uncured smoked bacon (no nitrates or nitrites) – cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic chopped (or 1+1/2 tsp jarred chopped garlic)
  • 1/2 cup (packed) brown sugar
  • 3 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tsp dried mustard
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 2 TBLS Bourbon (I use Maker’s 46)
  • 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • 2 TBLS corn starch
  • 2 TBLS cold water

Rinse dry beans in cold water in a colander, removing any debris.  Soak beans using either 1) the Overnight Soak Method (8-12 hours in a bowl or pot of cold water covered with a lid) or 2) following the Pressure Cooker Quick Soak Method:

  • Put the beans in the pressure cooker. For each cup of rinsed beans, add four cups of Degas-Cook-Soak-Beans-Coverwater
  • Add a teaspoon of olive oil (this keeps the foam down)
  • Bring the contents to a boil with the lid open using the BROWN setting
  • Quickly close and lock the pressure cooker lid and pressure cook for 15 minutes at high pressure
  • Open the pressure cooker using a Slow Normal release – open the valve very slowly
  • Drain and rinse the beans under cold running water

Prepare the sauce base:

  1. Using BROWN setting – cook onions until translucent (about 5 minutes)
  2. Add garlic and bacon and cook until bacon is almost crispy
  3. Stir in brown sugar, and then the bourbon, scraping up all the brown, crispy bits from the bottom
  4. Add the chicken broth, mustard, molasses, maple syrup, ketchup, salt, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce. Stir until well combined
  5. Return beans to the pressure cooker and close lid
  6. Set to High pressure and cook for 90 minutes
  7. Once cooking is complete, allow 10 minutes for the pressure to return to normal naturally, then release the remaining pressure and open the lid
  8. Turn pressure cooker to Brown setting.
  9. In a small dish combine the water and cornstarch.
  10. Stir the mixture into the beans and cook until the sauce thickens to the desired consistency.
  11. Remove from the pressure cooker to a serving dish and enjoy!  #ThisGirlLovesToEat

*** Vegetarian Option:  If you want to make these vegetarian, don’t add the bacon.

Buffalo Cauliflower “Wings”

Another Twitter video find when I was hungry…best part?  It’s from www.health.com!

buffalocauliflower

My sister Wendi and I fell in love with these when we went to San Diego and found a sports bar to watch USC football at before going to a Blake Shelton concert last year. I’ve finally found a recipe that comes close to what we had there!

Buffalo Cauliflower “Wings”

  • Preheat oven to 400° F.
  • Wash a Large head of fresh cauliflower (About 1 lb).
  • Remove the outer leaves and stem and then cut to separate the individual florets.
  • Dry the florets and spread out on a cookie sheet lined with foil.
  • Sprinkle florets lightly with salt and pepper.
  • Put sheet in oven and roast for 20 – 25 minutes stirring once.

In a medium bowl combine:

  • 1 TBLS Butter melted
  • 3 TBLS Frank’s Red Hot Sauce (or any kind you like)
  • 1 tsp Vinegar
  • Put roasted cauliflower florets into the bowl and stir with rubber spatula until all florets are coated with sauce.
  • Return coated florets to the cookie sheet.
  • Roast at 400° F for 5-10 minutes more or until cauliflower starts to brown.

Make the dipping sauce:

  • In a small pan over medium-low heat put 2 tsp Olive Oil and 1 clove garlic, minced.
  • Heat until garlic starts to brown.
  • Transfer garlic and olive oil into the mixing container of a blender or Vitamix.
  • Add 1/2 Cup Plain Greek Yogurt.
  • 1/2 Avocado
  • 1 TBLS Parsley
  • 1 TBLS Chives
  • 1 tsp Dill
  • 1/4 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Honey
  • Pinch of Salt & Pepper

Blend until well combined.  Transfer to a small serving bowl, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.  Serve with the dip and ranch dressing on the side.

If you use Facebook and are interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to: things like health articles, my favorite recipes, fun drinks, food facts, nutritional information, restaurant reviews, photos and other things that make my mouth water, I have a very active page on Facebook you can visit too: https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood

Napalm Spicy Chicken Wings

napalmwings

I usually spend half the day to treat my family to my decadent buffalo chicken macaroni and cheese on Super Bowl Sunday.  This year we aren’t particularly interested in the game, so we won’t be having a crowd over and it’s far to much effort (and way too many high fat/high calorie leftovers) to make for just the two of us.

Don’t get me wrong.  We’ll watch the game, but we don’t have a vested cheering interest in the game and Budweiser has opted for a political ad in place of the usual feel-good puppy and Clydesdale buddy commercial, so we won’t be glued to the TV just mindlessly eating for 5 straight hours (hopefully).

That doesn’t mean we won’t be eating something amazing though. 😉

I came across this recipe for chicken wings that claim to be beyond “inferno” hot in, of all places, the December 2015 issue of  Wine Enthusiast Magazine.  The funniest part of the recipe, as written, is that there is nothing in it to make them “Napalm Hot.”  How hot you make them is based entirely on the heat level of the hot sauce you choose to add to the recipe, so the decision is entirely yours.  In my case, to make them scorchingly hot, I will be searching for a sauce that is based on Ghost Peppers or Habañero Peppers.  They will be far too hot for me to eat, but my husband will be more than happy to burn his face off eating them!

Napalm Spicy Chicken Wings

  • 3 pounds chicken wings, patted dry with paper towels
  • Coarse kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil, plus more to fry
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2–3 tablespoons honey
  • ¼ cup hot sauce
  • 2 limes, zested and juiced, plus lime wedges for serving
DirectionsPlace the chicken wings in a large bowl and season generously with salt and pepper. Refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours.

Preheat an oven to 400˚F. Spread the chicken wings on a rimmed baking sheet in a single layer and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of oil. Place in the oven and roast until the chicken wings are firm but not fully cooked through, about 20 minutes.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Whisk in honey, hot sauce and lime zest, and let simmer for 1 minute. Stir in the lime juice and remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper.

Using a large pot, pour in enough of the vegetable oil to reach 5 inches up the sides. Place over high heat and heat the oil until it registers 375˚F on a deep-fry thermometer.

Working in small batches, fry the wings, turning occasionally, until they are crisp and golden brown, 5–7 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the wings from the oil and drain on a paper towel–lined baking sheet. Put the wings in a large bowl and toss with the hot sauce butter. Transfer to a platter and serve hot with additional lime wedges.

If you use Facebook and are interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to: things like health articles, my favorite recipes, fun drinks, food facts, nutritional information, restaurant reviews, photos and other things that make my mouth water, I have a very active page on Facebook you can visit too: https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood

Creamy Avocado Bomb Sauce

This sauce, found on Pinterest,  could be used on anything from salad, to tacos, quesadillas, taquitos, egg rolls, or just eaten with chips.  The best part is you won’t need to feel guilty, at least about the dip…

  • 1 avocado
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 to 1 jalapeno
  • 3 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 fresh squeezed lime
  • Pinch of salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  1. Wash ingredients well, especially the cilantro because it can hold in a lot of dirt.
  2. Cut lime and avocado in halves. 
  3. Remove the avocado seed
  4. Scoop the avocado from its shell in put into Vitamix or food processor.
  5. Add 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt, 1/2 jalapeno, 3 garlic cloves, pinch of salt and 1/2 bunch of cilantro into Vitamix/food processor. 
  6. If you do not like your dip/dressing super spicy, remove seeds of jalapeno beforehand.
  7. If you want it extra spicy, add an entire jalapeno or substitute a habanero or hotter pepper.
  8. Squeeze 1/2 lime into mix. 
  9. Blend for 3 minutes.
  10. Do a taste test. You may need to add more salt, pepper or lime juice, depending on your personal taste. 
  11. If you would like a thinner sauce, if you are using as salad dressing, add just a touch of water to thin out. Start with a tablespoon and thin a bit at a time.
  12. Blend another 1-2 minutes.
  13. Pour into a sealed container, refrigerate until ready to eat.

If you use Facebook and are interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to: things like health articles, my favorite recipes, fun drinks, food facts, nutritional information, restaurant reviews, photos and other things that make my mouth water, I have a very active page on Facebook you can visit too: https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood

Easy Turkey Day Appetizer

mb1One of the things I am in charge of this Thanksgiving is an appetizer.  I was going to get fancy and knock myself out with something that would be difficult to keep warm and wouldn’t likely taste that great cold, but I’ve decided to take another tack.

Instead of going in a direction that is completely opposite of the main meal, I thought instead that I would create something that would compliment and whet the appetites of the rest of the guests for the main event, plus I’d be able to incorporate one of my favorite Thanksgiving side dishes from last year, Zinful Cran-blueberry Sauce!

Turkey Meatballs with Zinful Cran-Blueberry Sauce

Zinful Cran-Blueberry Sauce

  • 1 & 1/3 Cups Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Cup Zinfandel Wine (Best Quality you can afford – if you wouldn’t drink it, don’t cook with it)
  • 1 – 12 oz Package Ocean Spray Fresh Whole Cranberries
  • 1 Cup Frozen Blueberries
  • 1 Whole Cinnamon Stick
  • 1/4 tsp Nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla
  • Orange or Tangerine Zest

Bring sugar, wine and cinnamon stick to a boil in a medium saucepan.  Add remaining ingredients and return to a boil, stirring constantly.  Reduce heat to low and simmer 15-20 minutes.  You may want to use a splatter shield to avoid splashing when cranberries pop. Remove and discard cinnamon stick. Set aside to pour over cooked meatballs.

Make the Meatballs

  • Canola Oil Spray or PAM
  • 4 Pounds Ground Turkey
  • 2 Cups Bread Crumbs or Panko
  • 4 Eggs
  • 4 Cloves Garlic Chopped
  • 1 Large Granny Smith Apple Grated
  • 1 tsp Crushed Fennel Seeds
  • 8 tsp Chopped Fresh Sage
  • 3 tsp Freshly Ground Salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp Freshly Ground Pepper

Preheat oven to 450°F and spray 2 large baking sheets with non stick spray

  1. Combine turkey, breadcrumbs, eggs, garlic, grated apple, fennel seeds, chopped sage, salt and pepper on a large mixing bowl
  2. Using a 1″ cookie scoop, portion out the meat into balls, roll and put as many as you can on both baking sheets
  3. Bake for 15 minutes until meatballs begin to brown
  4. Remove meatballs from baking sheet and place into serving dish, chafing dish or crock pot (set to low or warm setting) and pour cran-blueberry sauce over until all are well coated.
  5. Garnish with whole sage leaves if desired.

If you are on Facebook and are interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to, recipes, food facts, nutritional information, photos and other things that make my mouth water, I have a page on Facebook you can visit too:  https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood