Monthly Archives: September 2010

Macaroon Martini

Don’t you love it when you can have dessert and cocktail all in one! This martini does just that. Almost makes you want to have a cup of coffee to go with it. But don’t. The macaroon martini is a tasty after dinner drink or have it as a pre-dinner cocktail. Either way it will be a hit. If you want before hand drip chocolate syrup down the insides of a martini glass and chill in the freezer. This way you get an extra treat when you are ready to pour the martini! Try it! You’ll Like it! This recipe is for two drinks.

INGREDIENTS:

6 ounces vodka

1 ounce chocolate liqueur (Godiva is always a good choice!)

1 ounce Amaretto (Use Amaretto di Saronno is the best, don’t use a cheap one, you’ll regret it!)

orange twist for garnish

DIRECTIONS:

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with crushed ice. Shake well and strain into chilled martini glasses.

Garnish with orange twist if desired.

Makes 2 cocktails

Greek Green Beans

Ok as promised here is the recipe for the green beans I made with the orange roughy yesterday. I used frozen green beans. I actually use frozen veggies quite a bit. This way I always have something in the freezer to go to when I’m out of fresh stuff. I usually have those ‘steamer’ bags of veggies but this time I had bought one of the larger bags, 16 ounces. For two of us that is too much to make at once so for this recipe I used half the bag or 2 cups. This is also a quick and easy side dish for any entrée. It is also a low-calorie side dish. While the beans were being nuked I sautéed the onions and garlic and it worked out great. So without any further ado here is the recipe.

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups frozen green beans (any kind you like)

2 tablespoons water

1 small onion, chopped small

1 clove garlic, minced

2 tablespoons olive oil

¼ cup crumbled reduced fat feta cheese

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon dried oregano

½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 tablespoons butter substitute (you can use real butter if you want)

DIRECTIONS:

1. Place green beans in a small microwave container with lid. Add the water. Cook on HIGH for 6 minutes.

2. Meantime in a small pan sauté the onion and garlic in the olive oil. Cook until soft and just starting to brown a little. About 6 minutes. Add the basil, oregano and pepper flakes. Stir well.

3. The beans should be done now. Drain the excess water from container. Add the butter/butter substitute and onion mixture. Mix well.

4. Microwave on HIGH for 2 minutes.

5. Stir in feta cheese and serve.

Makes 2 servings (1 cup each)

Garlic Parmesan Orange Roughy

When I started writing this blog about 6 months ago I really just wanted to put the recipes down that I have accumulated over the years. I had been posting my dinner photos on Facebook and people kept asking for recipes so here I am! I’ve discovered so many cool blogs about food, drink, life etc. recently and love it. I’m making some new “blog friends” from all over the country. It’s great. I just joined The Petite Chef also. And from that site I found last nights main dish for dinner. I had some orange roughy and I didn’t want to make the same old thing so I searched and came up with today’s dish. It was posted by Food Corner and it was a huge hit! Garlic Parmesan Orange Roughy was delicious. I did change a couple of things slightly though. I added some fresh chopped Italian parsley to my topping and used a butter substitute rather than real butter. The only problem I had was I melted the butter too much. It was supposed to be softened, not melted. So it ran a bit. Oh well, it came out great anyway. John loved it which was a good thing. I can make it again! I also only had 2 fillets (14oz total) and I didn’t change the quantities and it still came out great. I served it with a new green bean recipe that I came up with which I will post tomorrow. No leftovers! So thank you to Food Corner for your delicious recipe! It was also very easy and quick. Always a good thing after a long day. Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS:

4 (4 ounce) fillets orange roughy (or other mild white fish)

 

Uncooked Orange Roughy

 

½ lemon

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

¼ cup butter, softened

¼ cup prepared Dijon mustard mayonnaise blend (I made up my own/equal parts mayo/mustard)

1 large clove garlic, minced

¼ teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley

paprika

 

Topping ingredients

 

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat the oven’s broiler and set the oven rack about 6 inches from the heat.

2. Place the orange roughy on the broiler pan and squeeze the lemon over the top of the fish. Broil the fillets in the preheated oven for about 6-8 minutes. (I put the fillets on aluminum foil on top of the broiler tray. I hate cleaning up!)

3. While the fish is cooking, combine the butter, parmesan cheese, dijonnaise, garlic, parsley and salt in a small bowl.

4. Remove fish from oven and spread the cheese mixture over the tops of the fillets. (I had to pour mine as I had melted the butter. Still worked.) Sprinkle the top with paprika.

5. Broil another 3 minutes or so until the topping is lightly browned and the fish flakes easily with a fork. (Mine did not brown too much because I had melted the butter.)

6. Serve! You can serve it with any vegetable or even pasta as a side. Enjoy!

Escargot Bourgignonne

Cruises are a wonderful thing. In the last 19 years I’ve been on 14, so far. Most of them on Carnival Cruise Lines. John and I take cruise vacations over all others for the most part. Sure we go up to my family’s summer place in Maine but that’s different. Cruises are wonderful. You get treated like royalty. No making your beds or cleaning your room! It’s wonderful. Someone cooks for you 24/7 and cleans up! Gotta love that! But one of the best things about cruising is that you get to try all kinds of food that you would normally not have. Escargot for instance. I had them on my very first cruise and I’ve been hooked ever since! I don’t care that they are really fancy slugs. It’s my way of payback for all damage slugs have done to my gardens over the years!

Anyway, I’ve had them in many different styles. This version is pretty popular. On the cruise ships you get them this way or even covered in cheese! Cheese, garlic, wine, oil…All very tasty! Every cruise we take we always look forward to the night we get to eat snails! I would eat them more if they served them more. This recipe is actually from Carnival Cruise Lines. I bought their cookbook on my 2nd cruise, which was actually my first Carnival Cruise. I’ve been on Carnival eight times now. Two more and I become a VIP! Woo hoo! The last cruise was in December 2009 and we went to the Panama Canal. Incredible! But I digress…Escargot! This recipe isn’t very hard and you can get cans of the little buggers in pretty much every supermarket. They are in the tuna aisle.

INGREDIENTS:

¾ cup butter

2 tablespoons minced garlic

1 tablespoon finely chopped onion

2 tablespoons white wine

1 tsp Pernod or anise-flavored liqueur (omit if you don’t like anise)

Pinch grated nutmeg

1 can escargot, well-drained

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

Cheesy Escargot on the Carnival Miracle Dec. 2009

DIRECTIONS:

1. In a large frying pan, melt butter over high heat; stir in garlic and onion. Cook until tender but not brown.

2. Stir in wine, liqueur, nutmeg and escargot; season to taste with salt and pepper.

3. Reduce heat to low; simmer 10-15 minutes or until flavors are blended. Sprinkle with parsley.

Serves 6

Homemade Feasts For Your Pets!

Yes you read that correctly. Homemade food for your pets. I know there are many readers out there that have pets. I myself have two cats. Gus, our 8-year-old male orange tabby. He is named after John’s dad. Quite the ladies’ man, just like the original. He is also my little shadow. Though little is not how we’d describe him these days. He’s a solid 17 pounds. He’s not fat! He’s big-boned! He actually does not eat all that much but he doesn’t run around much either. Hates exercise, just like me! Gus is a Florida native. He found us when we lived in Lake Worth. Best thing he ever did! Our other cat is Toonces (aka The Driving Cat) who is a 10-year-old female calico. She is a Long Island cat, south shore. We brought her with us, as a kitten, from NY. She had a wonderful trip down too. We drove from NY in our Corolla and Toonces had the entire back seat and window ledge. Snuck her into motels on the trip. She loved it. And she actually LOVES car rides. No joke. Gus however, hates the car. Toonces is a svelte 10 pounds and still runs around like a little kitten, she loves exercise. Just like John.

The last few years we discovered that Gus had urinary issues. So we’ve changed his diet several times. But we wanted something both cats could eat. Have you ever tried to get two cats to eat two different foods? Doesn’t really work. Toonces actually always finishes her food first and then pushes Gus out-of-the-way and eats his! So both foods need to be the same. I now feed them all natural foods, no by products etc. But I’ve also been looking into making the food for them. Not all the time, I have a hard enough time feeding us humans! But every so often. This post will have a recipe for dogs as well as cats. So give it a try! Your pets will love you for it!

CAT RECIPE

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup water

1/3 cup dry rice

2 teaspoons corn oil

½ teaspoon iodized salt

2/3 cup ground meat (beef or chicken or turkey is good)

1 tablespoon bone meal

2 tablespoons cooked liver

DIRECTIONS:

1. Bring water to a boil, add rice, corn oil and salt. Simmer 20 minutes.

2. Cover the meat with bone meal and add liver to the rice mixture. Simmer 15 minutes.

3. Let cool and serve. Refrigerate or freeze leftovers.


DOG RECIPE

INGREDIENTS:

½ pound ground beef

1/3 cup grated cheddar cheese

1 carrot, finely chopped/grated

½ cup bread crumbs

1 egg, whisked

1 teaspoon tomato paste

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 350º.

2. Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Scoop out by the spoonful and roll into mini-size meatballs.

3. Place the meatballs on a cookie sheet. Bake 15-20 minutes. Store in the refrigerator.

Lychee Martini

This has to be one of the tastiest martinis I’ve had in a long time. We had it for the first time at a Russian restaurant in Sunny Isles, FL (Miami). The restaurant is called Lotus Restaurant and Lounge. Don’t be fooled by the name. It is a Russian restaurant for sure. With an Asian flair. They have sushi on the menu along with the usual Russian dishes. A wonderful place. When we were there in August we asked the waitress about any specialty martinis that they might have. She suggested the Lychee Martini with Russian Wodka (No joke, that’s how she said it!) It was so good and the lychee fruit in the martini had been soaked in vodka. An extra bonus when you were done! Well we found a recipe that tastes pretty close to the one we had at Lotus. The hard part was finding lychee juice! You can get it from a can of lychees. That was the other problem. Finding lychees! We did find them in Whole Foods. They come in a can and the brand we got was Roland. I am on the search for other places that may be cheaper. Oh how I wish we had a Trader Joe’s here in Florida! One day maybe! Anyway, once you find the lychees make up a batch of these and you’ll be pleasantly surprised! Don’t forget to soak the lychees beforehand so you get that extra treat! The recipe calls for either white or red cranberry juice. We chose the red because the one we had originally had a light pink tinge, which you won’t get from white cranberry juice. Either way it’s a tasty treat!

INGREDIENTS:

3 ounces vodka

2 ounces peach schnapps

2 ounces red or white cranberry juice (I use light cranberry)

2 ounces lychee juice (from a can of lychees)

lychees for garnish

Ice

DIRECTIONS:

1. Place ice into a cocktail shaker. Pour in vodka, peach schnapps, cranberry juice, and lychee juice. Cover and shake well until the outside of the shaker has frosted.

2. Strain into chilled martini glasses; garnish with a lychee fruit.

Makes 2 drinks

Microwave Shrimp Scampi

No matter how many Italian restaurants you go to,  if you order Shrimp Scampi you will rarely get the same thing twice. I think every restaurant has their own version of this simple and delicious meal. Some bread the shrimp, some have a creamy sauce, some grill the shrimp, some have lots of garlic, others don’t. The list can go on and on. Years ago I came across a recipe for the microwave that is so simple and fast that I use it quite a bit. I also adapted it of course to my cooking style. I used to serve it over linguini. Those days are over! Now I use the Tofu Shirataki Noodles for the most part. You can also use any small pasta like orzo or even rice. Linguini or spaghetti shaped pasta, wheat or regular is always a good choice though. It’s up to you. My recipe also calls for a little more garlic than most people like, so if you are one of those who aren’t crazy about lots of garlic, just put less in. This recipe is a great “go to” recipe if you need something fast, and happen to have shrimp in the freezer. I always have shrimp on hand. I stock up. (Yes, for when our friend Andre is visiting!) No really, I actually buy my shrimp at Walmart. No joke. We have a Super Walmart where I do most of my grocery shopping. They sell a 14 ounce bag of frozen cooked and cleaned or raw, large shrimp for $5! Sometimes they have the extra-large, same 14 ounces, for $6. Everytime I go I try and get another bag. This way I always have shrimp on hand. It’s great for any unexpected guests who pop in too. Shrimp cocktail is always a winner! A quick way to defrost that bag of frozen shrimp? Just put the shrimp in a large bowl (yes take it out of the bag first) and cover with cool water. Not hot or warm water. Cool water. Check after about 10-15 minutes, if shrimp is still a little frozen, dump the water and add fresh. It shouldn’t take more than another 5 minutes. Easy! Oh and I don’t know if you are like me when it comes to “shrimp tails” but I think it is such a pain in my butt to have to stop and remove the tail while eating! Every single restaurant leaves them on. Sure they look nice but really. Do we need to make a mess trying to get that tail off and not ending up with it in our lap? I think we can forgo the tail! So in this recipe, remove the tails before cooking along with the rest of the shell! Whew, thanks for letting me vent! And now for the recipe!

Photo is for illustrative purposes only!


INGREDIENTS:

½ cup butter (or butter substitute)

2 tablespoons dried parsley

2 tablespoons lemon juice

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 pound raw large shrimp, cleaned and DE-TAILED (you will thank me!)

½ teaspoon salt

¼ cup white wine (any kind you have is fine)

Paprika (optional)

Parmesan cheese


DIRECTIONS:

1. Melt the butter in a 2 quart microwave safe bowl or casserole dish. Stir in the parsley, lemon juice, garlic, wine and salt.

2. Add shrimp and toss to coat. Cover with plastic wrap or wax paper or other type of cover.

3. Microwave on HIGH until shrimp is pink/opaque and tender, about 3-6 minutes, stirring twice.

4. Serve over linguine, spaghetti, orzo, rice, quinoa, or whatever you want! Sprinkle some paprika on top if desired. Serve with parmesan cheese for the top and maybe some nice crostini or Italian bread to soak up the garlic butter!

Serves 2




Baked Shrimp Quiche (Formerly Known as Baked Shrimp Balls!)

Yes, the shrimp balls did not come out so good. I followed the directions and though they looked and smelled good they tasted pretty bad. So the next night I took all 25 or so of them, crumbled them up in a large bowl. This didn’t take much as they were falling apart to begin with! They already had onions, garlic, and the rest of the ingredients so I was halfway there! I just added 1 cup of egg beaters, 1 cup fat-free half-and-half, about 10 ounces frozen chopped spinach (thawed and squeezed out) and some shredded low-fat cheese. (About 2 cups). Threw it all in a large round casserole dish and baked it for about 45 minutes at 350º. And presto! A delicious dinner saved! So much better all around. And since I don’t use a crust you save more calories!

Tabouli with Quinoa

Usually I am not a big fan of mint. No mojitos for me.  And definitely none of that flourescent green mint jelly when I have lamb! That is wrong to my taste buds on so many levels. Luckily my husband is not a fan either. So many recipes have mint in them and most of the time, to me anyway, it’s too much. So when I tried Tabouli years ago I was surprised to find that there was mint in it! Imagine that! I liked it in spite of that! And now with my new favorite food, quinoa, I can have that delicious tabouli salad with a more healthy twist! It’s a refreshing and filling salad for lunch or a side dish or just for snacking in the afternoon. I will also add crumbled feta cheese to mine for a little extra zip. You can use goat cheese if you want too, anything you like really. Just don’t go crazy and kill all the good with too much cheese. Moderation! This recipe is also one time where you should have the fresh parsley rather than dried.

INGREDIENTS:

½ cup uncooked quinoa

2 cups water

¼ cup fresh parsley, without stems

2/3 cup green onions (scallions), cut into ¼” pieces

1½ cups peeled cucumbers, cut into ¼” pieces

1½ cups chopped tomatoes, cut into ¼” pieces

1 garlic clove, minced (no garlic powder on this)

½ teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

¾ teaspoon dried mint (optional)

½ cup crumbled light or fat-free feta cheese (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

1. Put quinoa in a fine strainer and rinse under running water until water runs clear. Drain well. Bring quinoa and water to a boil in a saucepan. Cover pan, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes until water is absorbed. Quinoa will be fluffy. Chill in the refrigerator or rinse cooked quinoa in a fine-meshed strainer under COLD running water. Drain well.

2. Toss remaining ingredients with quinoa and serve!

Makes 5 cups (1 cup per serving)

Apple & Celery Slaw w/Blue Cheese Dressing

I am always looking for variations on the usual cole slaw recipes. This recipe is a light and refreshing one that is not your “usual” slaw. Using lighter versions of the ingredients lowers the calories and makes a great addition to the summer barbecue! The recipe calls for granny smith apples but feel free to change them to your favorite. Fuji apples are a great apple for this recipe as well. Not as tart as granny smith apples but just as tasty!

INGREDIENTS:

4 ounces regular or light blue cheese, crumbled

½ cup light or regular mayonnaise

½ cup light buttermilk

½ teaspoon sugar or sugar substitute (Splenda or even Agave nectar is good)

4 granny smith or fuji apples

2 stalks celery, thinly sliced

DIRECTIONS:

1. In a small bowl, using a fork, combine the blue cheese, mayonnaise and ¼ cup of the buttermilk until thick and lumpy. Stir in the remaining ¼ cup buttermilk and the sugar/sweetener. Refrigerate.

2. Quarter, core and coarsely grate the apples. In a medium bowl, combine the apples with the dressing. Stir in the celery; cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Serves 6

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