Welcome to One Little Corner of the World. I share with you new recipes, some family recipes, and the antics of my kids. Enjoy reading!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

An Appetizer Dinner for Friends

Last night we had friends over for dinner. This year I decided to cook appetizers for them. They are a fun group to cook for, as they are up for trying anything new. The big ticket item this year was the roasted shrimp I made – recipe from Ina Garten. The shrimp turned out so tender and perfectly cooked. It has become my favorite way to roast shrimp. I served it with cocktail sauce and a creamy caper dipping sauce, a recipe I found on Cooking This and That’s blog. She paired it with Ina’s shrimp, so I thought it would be a good choice. Boy, was I right! That oh, so simple, sauce went over big, big, big. No one ate the cocktail sauce.

Creamy Caper Dipping Sauce and Roasted Shrimp

For the shrimp:
1 pound jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tablespoon olive oil
kosher salt and coarse ground black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Place shrimp on a sheet pan, toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast for 7-9 minutes, until just pink and cooked through.

For the dipping sauce:
1/2 cup mayo
1 tablespoon capers, drained
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Kosher salt and coarse ground black pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients for the dipping sauce in medium bowl; mix thoroughly.

In addition to the roasted shrimp from Ina’s kitchen, I also made Ina’s garlic aioli. While Hubby’s family and I love it, it wasn’t the biggest hit at this party. The potatoes were roasted with salt, pepper, olive oil and dried minced garlic. Roasted potato wedges with a dipping sauce are one of my favorite things to eat.

I also made Gringo Meatballs – so simple, yet so tasty. I like the salsa, but the next time, I think I will use the mild salsa instead of the medium. It had a little kick to it. I love the meatballs. I use turkey meatballs – the recipe called for precooked meatballs. Turkey meatballs have a much lower fat content than regular meatballs – the difference is around 12 grams of fat per serving. Butterball makes an Italian style turkey meatball, so it is nicely seasoned. I don't have a picture of these on this post, but click on the link and I have the reicpe and pictures.

Tomato, Mozzarella and Basil Bruschetta was the next item on the menu. I found a recipe from Giada that looked simple and tasty. I bought bread, cheese, and the rest of the ingredients and started to work. The first slice of the knife into the bread produced something that would be harder than a crouton! The bread I had bought that morning was yes…..very stale! I understand that bread gets harder when it cooks in the oven, but it should be so hard that it breaks apart when you try to slice it. I was so disappointed. Being able to salvage the very middle of each loaf, I was still able to make the bruschetta. Light flavors though, made me long for spring and summer! The only thing I didn't do, was put the basil on top of the bruschetta. I was so upset about the bread being sooo stale. I have some of the sauce left from the bruschetta, and I am going to make it into a light pasta sauce.

Cheesy Broccoli dip made an appearance tonight as well. An easy dip, usually a crowd pleaser, didn’t disappoint. This dip can almost be a meal. Made with ground beef, cheese, broccoli, it has all the food groups – just add bread or crackers, and you are ready to go! I didn't take a picture of the dip - it doesn't photograph well, or I don't photograph it well.

Cheesy Broccoli Dip – adapted from the Taste of Home Cookbook

1 large package Velveeta
1 lb ground beef, cooked and drained
1 10 ¼ oz can Cream of Mushroom Soup
2-3 tbsp salsa
1 10 package frozen chopped broccoli – thawed and drained

Cube Velveeta and combine in a slow cooker with all other ingredients. Cook on medium heat until cheese is melted and all ingredients are combined. Serve with chips or crackers.

For the healthy eaters, I also served a veggie tray in my new appetizer dish, compliments of my brother-in-law and his girlfriend – they gave it to me as a Christmas gift. The veggies were served with a spinach dip that I purchased at the Soulard Spice Shop.

For dessert I made brownies – from a mix. I have yet to find a brownie recipe that recreates that yummy cake brownie from my childhood. These brownies, though, were fantastic. I am a total fan of Ghirardelli brownie mixes. They have several different types – I made double chocolate last night. Mmmmm mmmm good!

Dinner with this group is always fun and I truly enjoy getting together with them. It is a shame that we don’t get to see each other more often.

Well, off to the auto show with the family! Have a great day!!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Taste and Create - Chicken Tandori Kabobs

This month, for Taste and Create, I was paired with Marisa from The Creative Pot. Marisa hails from South Africa – I think it is so cool that the internet allows us to hook up with people from all over the world. If you get a chance, head over to her blog, she has some great recipes!

I think it is funny that we both chose seasoning recipes for Taste and Create. I chose Tandori Chicken Kababs for this month, but unlike Marisa, I have to cook mine in the oven. She of course had the hot weather now – not me. I get cold wet rain. Yuck!!!

Tandoori Chicken Kebabs Spice mix

adapted from Chicken Farmers of Canada Serves 4

600g chicken breast fillets
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cardamom pods
1/4 tsp whole cloves
1 bay leaf
1 tsp salt
1 tsp chilli powder (or use 1 or 2 fresh chillies, finely chopped)
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp minced garlic
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup plain lowfat yoghurt

1. Cut chicken into bite sized chunks and set aside.

2. Finely grind the cumin, coriander, cardamom, cloves & bay leaf in a pestle & mortar (or cheat like I do and use a coffee bean grinder - works like a charm). The bay leaf won't grind to a powder, that's okay. Mix with the rest of the spices, lemon juice and yoghurt.
3. Work the marinade into the chicken using your hands, ensuring all pieces are fully coated. Cover with cling film and allow to marinade for 30 - 40 minutes in the fridge.
4. Thread the chicken pieces onto kebab skewers and grill in the oven at 200C – (392 F) until done. Be careful to not overcook them, they will still be tasty, but a little bit too dry. I found 15 minutes did the trick.

It was a hit! We all really liked the different spiciness to the dish. It had a fresh clean crisp flavor to it; I think yogurt played a large part in the freshness. Yogurt in a marinade also really helps keep chicken moist and tender. The color was fabulous too – the orangey red from the paprika, turmeric, and chili powder really packs a wallop visually.

To go with my chicken, I roasted asparagus with olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, and Penzey’s Foxtpoint seasoning. Totally yummy! The boys, for the first time, actually liked and ate their veggie without complaining!!!! It was a great night.

Enjoy the rest of your evening! Be back soon with more posts!!!

My 200th Post - My boys and Bob's Seafood!

I have been racking my brain about my 200th post, wondering what I should talk about. I decided to talk about my favorite two boys in the whole wide world, and our adventure to Bob’s Seafood Company, a wholesale seafood place. Talking about the boys for this post reminds me that they are the best things in my life and the greatest gift. Every day I am thankful for my family. I am also glad they like to go on these food expeditions with me…….ok, they don’t like going to the Farmer’s Market, but they like going on other food related journeys.

Yesterday, the boys and I went to Bob’s Seafood in University City. My oldest had been wanting to try lobster for the longest time. Since the price was good, I decided to go ahead and buy two. They were of course, alive when we brought them home. They both thought it was kind of cool that we had two live creatures hanging out in our fridge.

After rendering them unconscious - which meant I put them in the freezer for a while, I cooked them in boiling water until they were done, let them cool, and removed the meat from the shell. With much anticipation, I had the butter ready, dipped the lobster in it…………nope, neither of them liked the lobster. There was part of me that was very glad; now I don’t have to say no, every time they beg for it.

In addition to the lobster, we grilled some shrimp. I put olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and Soulard grill seasoning, a grill seasoning that was introduced to me from a friend of mine. It hs quickly become of my go to seasonings in my pantry. We will go back to Bob’s – they are very nice and extremely helpful, and there were many other items for us to try. Just no more lobster……

So, we come to the end of my 200th post. I enjoy blogging and sharing my food and family journeys with all of you. I hope to entertain you with 200 more posts. Happy eating, and happy family time to you all!!!!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Beef Noodle Soup

I love soup in the winter – it is one of my favorite meals. Soup has to be one of the greatest food items ever created. Yum! Anyway, I thought I might try to make beef noodle soup. This time, though I was looking for a creamier soup. After talking to my friend, Dot, I decided dredge my beef in seasoned flour and sauté it in olive oil, much like I did for the stroganoff I made last week.

It worked like a charm! I had soup was thick and creamy without adding a roux or a slurry. Cooking the this way added a different texture and flavor that really complimented the soup.

Beef Noodle Soup

3lbs beef – your choice
½ to 1 cup flour
2 tsp plus 1 tbsp steak seasoning
1 tsp each garlic, salt and pepper
2 tbsp olive oil plus 2 tbsp
1 onion diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, diced
4 stalks celery, diced
1 cup red wine
3 quarts beef stock
¾ lb short noodles
½ cup heavy cream
Shredded cheddar cheese, optional

Cut meat into bite size pieces. Dredge in flour that has been seasoned with steak seasoning, garlic, salt and pepper. Sauté beef in olive oil until browned. Remove from pan – set aside.

Add more oil to the pan, sweat out onions and celery for 5 minutes. Add carrots and garlic, sauté for 5 more minutes or until softened. Add steak seasoning.

Deglaze pan with red wine, being sure to scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Add meat and stock to pan, bring to a low boil and simmer for 3 minutes. Soup should be thickening during this time.

Bring back to a low boil, add noodles and cook until noodles are dome. Stir in heavy cream. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with cheddar cheese.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Presto Pasta - Pasta with Shrimp and Clams in Tomato Sauce

Posting about soup was supposed to be next, but for some reason, I started typing about my newest pasta dish. The soup post will be next – I promise. This entry is for Presto Pasta Nights, hosted by Sara from Cupcake Muffin.

I know I haven’t participated in Presto Pasta in a while, but I thought I might give it a whirl this week. Things have just been so hectic for me this school year. This pasta dish is a combination of a couple of dishes that I have made before. I took the elements from some other pasta dishes and combined them.

I look for light, flavorful sauces that don’t have a ton of ingredients. This shrimp pasta dish really fits the bill for us. The sauce is light and healthy, but very flavorful at the same time.

Pasta with Shrimp and Clams in Fresh Tomato Sauce

1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tbsp seasoning for shrimp – your choice
¼ cup olive oil
7 anchovy filets
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1 tsp Italian seasoning
¾ cup white wine or chicken stock
2 small cans chopped clams
1 28 oz can chopped tomatoes
1 lb linguine, cooked per package directions

Toss peeled shrimp in seasoning – let sit for 30 minutes. Cook pasta per package directions, leaving just a little al dente.

While pasta is cooking prepare sauce. In a large skillet, sauté anchovy filets over medium to medium high heat until anchovies start to melt into oil. Add garlic and shallots and sauté for 2-3 minutes or until softened. Deglaze with wine or stock. Add clams, Italian seasoning and tomatoes – break tomatoes apart if too big for your taste. Allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes.

Add shrimp to sauce, cook 2-3 minutes on each side or until shrimp is cooked though. Toss pasta and parsley into sauce – let sit for 5 minutes. Serve with garlic bread and a nice salad.

Have a great evening! Talk to you soon.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Skating, Ribs, and Turkey

I have multiple pictures in this post to cover my picture a day goal. This weekend has been a busy one for us. On Friday, we went out to dinner with friends to our favorite Mexican restaurant. Saturday was a fun day for the kids, as I took then ice skating – a scouting event. That was fun for me too. I got to relive a part of my childhood.

Growing up in Michigan and Minnesota meant that we did lots of fun outdoor activities. Skating and sledding were the top two for me as a kid. I had the opportunity to skate in rinks and on lakes – that was the coolest. I don’t think I was ever that good, but I sure had fun doing it.

My littlest one really enjoyed skating – he took to it pretty well. I am not saying he didn’t fall – his jeans were pretty wet by the end of the session, but he felt so successful at the end of the day, and he was actually pretty good. My older one had no problems either. Sports and athletic activities come very naturally to him. They both had a great time and can’t wait to go again.

Sunday brought a day of cooking for us. Around the holidays, we won a turkey! Today we decided to cook it. Dinner was a small Thanksgiving style turkey dinner. I made mashed potatoes – no mix, and stuffing – yes a mix, and green beans. I have decided that I really like my dressing better than Stove Top. I put a link to the turkey recipe that I have used for the past couple of years for Thanksgiving. It has to be, without a doubt, the best turkey I have ever made. The cheesecloth, I think, is what helps make the turkey so tender; although, I am sure the wine and butter that are constantly poured over the turkey don't hurt it at all.

We also grilled ribs. Ribs are something that is somewhat of a mystery for us. Hubby feels that he isn’t the best rib cooker out there. After bringing the ribs to room temperature, we put oil, salt, pepper, and seasoning on them. Today we used Soulard Grill Spice on some and Cherie’s Rib Rub on others - both spices came from the Soulard Spice Shop at the Soulard Market.

We then slow cook them on the grill to try and get the most fat out of them as we can. We finish them off in a low oven – 225 degrees. Part of the ribs were covered in BBQ sauce and put my Grandparents old roaster; our favorite cooking pot, and the other part were double wrapped in foil and placed in the oven.

We haven’t tried the BBQ ribs yet, but the plain ones, I thought were very good! I think we cooked them long enough on the grill to remove a lot of the fat. Wrapping them up in the oven allowed what moisture was left to redistribute and keep the ribs moist and tender. I can’t wait to try the others tomorrow. I also liked the seasoning on them.

Beef Noodle Soup recipe coming next! Have a great day.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Picture for the Day and Birthday Cake

Today is my birthday. I am so lucky to have great friends! At school, my birthday buddy made me pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and tonight my friend made me chocolate cake with sprinkles!

I didn't do anything spectacular today, yet it was a perfect day. I think I can say it was the best birthday. Thanks to all the great wishes I received. I enjoyed them all. I am truly blessed.

My picture today is the chocolate cake with sprinkles from one of my best friends. Thank you Patti!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Pictures Say a Thousand Words

Here is my picture for today. I was going to make Cube Steak Parmesan but decided that I didn't want to either go to the store to buy some marina sauce, nor did I want to make some, so I decided to make One Dish Stroganoff. I have posted about this before here. I used different noodles, and dredged the cube steak in seasoned flour - with Quebec Steak Seasoning, before cooking.

This picture is of my little one helping me cook. He loves to cook and is now in charge of peeling any eggs that I cook - not that eggs have anything to do with the picture. I just wanted to tell you that.

Have a great day - talk to you soon!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Lemony Chicken Pasta with Garlic, Rosemary, and Thyme

Last night, I decided to cook some of the chicken in my freezer. All I did with it was drizzle with olive oil, put salt, pepper, garlic, and my new favorite grill seasoning, Soulard Grill Seasoning on it and roast for about 20 minutes at 400 degrees.

After that I decided to take a couple of the breasts that weren’t cooked through and put them in a pasta dish for dinner. I finished the cooking process when I made the pasta dish. Looking in the fridge, I found mushrooms, rosemary, thyme, parsley, and cream. I had garlic and lemons too. The following is my latest pasta creation. I was kind of looking for a fresh springy taste – it has been so cold outside, and I am ready for warmer weather.

I also made a salad for dinner – arugula, eggs, mushrooms, tomatoes, pancetta, and goat cheese. Yummy! I think arugula has to be one of my favorite lettuces. Romaine is a close second, and I really like bib lettuce too.

Lemony Chicken Pasta with Garlic, Rosemary, and Thyme

2 chicken breasts – sliced thinly (Mine were cooked liked I mentioned above. It added a lot of flavor)
1 lb linguine, cooked per package directions
Olive oil – two times around a large skillet
½ lb mushrooms sliced thinly
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 sprigs rosemary, minced
2 large sprigs thyme, minced
1 cup white wine
1 ½ cup chicken stock
Juice of one lemon
About ½ cup heavy cream
1 large bunch parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook pasta per package directions. While pasta is cooking, sauté garlic and mushrooms in olive oil in large skillet for 2 to 3 minutes or until softened. Add chicken and herbs – cook for 2 – 3 minutes or until chicken is almost cooked through. Deglaze with wine and lemon juice. Allow to reduce by about 1/3. Add chicken stock and bring to a slow boil. Add noodles, cream, and parsley. Stir to combine and allow sauce to thicken and pasta to absorb the flavors. Season with salt and pepper.

I really liked the pasta – the cream, while not a lot, added a lovely smooth texture to the dish and the herbs along with the lemon gave the pasta that fresh flavor I was looking for. Next time I think I will add artichokes and maybe sun dried tomatoes. there is a lot that can be done with this, many variations.

Today marks the second day I have posted pictures. I wonder what is on tap for tomorrow? Enjoy the cold weather – if you are from one of the frozen parts of the world. See you next time! Have a great day.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

A Photo a Day - Going to try.

I am trying to post a picture a day for this year. I don't know how well I will do, but I thought I might try this resolution and work more on my blog. I am starting a little late, but that's ok. For my first picture, I thought I would post one from a couple of years ago. This is the scooter Hubby bought to goof around with. My boys like watching him ride, so I thought this would be a great start. Happy New Year!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Holiday Dining - Dinner with Friends

Right before Christmas, my friends and I went to dinner at Kobe Japanese Steak House in Westport Plaza. The food was good and it isn’t overpriced at all. Dinner includes soup, salad, appetizer, rice, and the main course. Their web site has coupons and specials, so that it isn’t out of reach for anyone who might want a different dining experience.

It was one of the best meals we have ever had. Kobe is a restaurant where a chef cooks your food table (grill) side. We had the best chef, Vince – he was funny, charming, and very nice. At one point, he was flipping shrimp into our mouths – I kept missing. Finally, he caught me totally off guard and I caught the shrimp. It was one of the funnier moments of the meal.

At our table was a couple out on their first date. They met on an internet site. They both seemed nice and the guy, I thought, interacted very well with us, considering he was the only man sitting at a table with six women, none of whom he knew very well. Thinking about first dates made me totally appreciate where I am in life.

I had the filet and shrimp combo. I also ordered a side of calamari. My dinner was perfectly cooked. The calamari, I think, was the best. For a starter, we had a clear soup with mushrooms in it. Light and tasty, I had the urge to lick the bowl. He also grilled some shrimp for us, and then it was on to the main course. I ordered fried rice with my meal – yum. I don’t really know what he put into it, but it was really good.

I have to reiterate that this was one of the most fun meals with the girls I have ever had. Having the chef cook for us added much fun to the meal. Eating this way adds a festive entertainment side to the meal. I have had great waiters and waitresses before, but the personal chef – with a sense of humor adds something all together different to the dining experience.

Have a great day! Be back soon with more posts. Still working on that pork idea. I think I am going to put the pork in my mini roaster and see what happens.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Herb Crusted Beef Tenderloin

I just found out that we will be getting a side of beef pretty soon. This means that I need to use up some of the items in my freezer to make room for our meat. One day this past summer, I found a whole tenderloin on sale so I bought it. During the holidays I decided to cook it, but I didn’t have a recipe. After talking to my mother in law and looking on line, I found an herb-crusted bef tenderloin recipe.

Since my tenderloin was about five pounds, I had to double the recipe. Cooking this recipe allowed me to kill two birds with one stone. I got to use my new non stick skillet – my old one bit the dust – and I got to try it out in the oven. Fun, fun.

This recipe turned out really well. The kids loved it, as did Hubby and I. Needless to say, we had leftovers, so last night we made tenderloin sandwiches. I sliced the tenderloin, put some Muenster cheese on top and melted in the oven. It was very tasty.

I served the tenderloin with noodles in a very light butter/olive oil sauce. I seasoned with salt, pepper, and garlic, and added parmesan cheese and arugula to the mix. It was light and tasty, a perfect accent to the pasta.

Today I am cooking some of the pork I have in the freezer – I am trying a new recipe from the crock pot – I will have to let you know how that turns out.

I am trying to get the house back in order after the holidays. I am also trying to get a little more organized. I worked on the pantry last night, and will finish up today. A clean pantry is a lovely sight. Happy New Year to everyone. May 2010 be the best year yet!