all sorts of recipes, from me to you…


Monday, July 25, 2016

Spicy Goodness ~ Grilled Cajun-Style Chicken Breasts



Just imagine

the aromas of Acadian cuisine 

in the Louisiana bayous,

the euphonious sound of their music…

This is the Cajun way of life.


St.Martin Bayou Sunset by DramaQueenB Photography


Acadians are the ancestors of present-day Cajuns.  The world “Cajun” derives from “Acadia" ~  a name used to refer to the Nova Scotia area in Canada where French immigrants settled during the early colonial era.  

They were hunters, fishermen, and farmers, well-versed in the art of living off the land, when they arrived destitute in the New Orleans area, and were given land grants.  The Acadians had a strong bond with each other as they moved into the bayous, swamps and prairies of Louisiana to start their farms.  

Their old traditions and language merged with the distinctive Louisiana landscape to fuse into a new Cajun cultural identity.

A lot of people are unaware that the typical Cajun food was developed by extremely poor people.  Refugees and farmers used what they had to feed large families.  

Bill and I have visited the New Orleans area many times, and love Cajun-style cooking ~ it’s aromatic, spicy, and rich, really good…  

This time, I used a generous portion of minced garlic, onion powder and oregano, all whisked together with spicy Robusto Italian dressing for the chicken marinade. 







Bill grilled the chicken to a spicy, moist, delicious meat for our dinner.  






Fire up your grill now for some seriously good Cajun-style chicken!


Grilled Cajun-Style Chicken Breasts

Ingredients:

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 cup Wish-Bone Robusto Italian Dressing
2 tablespoons minced garlic
3 tablespoons Cajun seasoning
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon oregano
½ teaspoon each, salt and pepper

Method:

Combine marinade ingredients in a large bowl or a resealable plastic bag.
Add chicken breasts and let marinate for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
Remove chicken from marinade, shaking off excess.
When grill is heated, place chicken on grill over medium heat.
Grill chicken until cooked through, about 6-8 minutes per side, depending upon thickness, or when thermometer registers 165°.

Serve

Printable recipe


Enjoy!




Monday, July 18, 2016

Berry Fresh Cherry Salsa for Your Grilled Meat



 Woo hoo!
 
It's cherry picking season 
here in the 
Upper Midwest!
 


 Vintage linen postcard by Curt Teich Co of Chicago



I like to put cherries in any dish, any time I can ~ this great salsa is one example!
 
It’s a fresh and fruity salsa, it’s kicking’ jalapeño, it’s delicious!






I’m a huge fan of cherries ~ there’s even a cherry or two in my header here but, now I’m talking about eating them more ways than fresh off the stem, as in pies and jam, chocolate-covered, trail mix, wine, or mustard.

The juicy ruby-red  gems are perfect for a fresh fruity salsa.  You need to try it if you haven’t experienced it.

Cherry salsa is a spicy sweet condiment that’s perfect along side grilled chicken, pork, salmon, or your favorite white fish.  

Control the heat by removing all of the ribs and seeds from the jalapeño for a milder salsa.  Chop the ingredients as coarse or fine as you like, I like it chunky myself.  Swap cilantro for basil, if that’s your taste.





Mmmm!  Now for some salty tortilla chips for dipping!







Cherry Salsa w/Basil and Balsamic Vinegar

Ingredients:

2 cups sweet cherries, pitted and chopped
1 jalapeño, chopped
¼ cup onion, chopped
¼ cup fresh basil, chopped
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste

Method:

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.
Chill for 1 hour before serving.
Makes about 1½ cups

Printable recipe


Enjoy!





Monday, July 11, 2016

Old-Fashioned Chocolate Birthday Cake for Bill's Birthday!


We celebrated 

Bill’s  71st birthday 

yesterday!




What Bill really likes on his big day is the cast iron crowd-please of cakes ~ Chocolate cake ~ A good old-fashioned chocolate cake with chocolate fudge frosting, and his 5-year-old grandson, Matthew, to help him eat it!






This is a simple rich moist cake recipe, from a Hershey’s Cookbook.








According to a University of Michigan study, chocolate contains chemicals called opioids.  Opioids are also found in opium, and they produce a euphoric feeling and are very pleasurable.  

Apparently, one of the effects of chocolate on the brain is to release natural endorphins so that when we eat chocolate, it dulls pain and gives us a little euphoric feeling. That could explain why chocolate is craved.  

There’s a sweet solution to that craving ~ feed it!





And this chocolate birthday cake with chocolatey fudge frosting, “filled the Bill!”





Old-Fashioned Chocolate Birthday Cake

Ingredients:

4 squares Hershey’s Unsweetened Baking Chocolate
5 tablespoons hot water
½ cup butter
1½ cups granulated sugar
4 eggs, separated
1¾ cups sifted cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla

Method:

Preheat oven to 350°.
Melt the baking chocolate, cut into small pieces, with the hot water in top of double boiler over simmering water.
Cream the butter and sugar together well.
Add the egg yolks, well-beaten, and whip thoroughly.
Then add the melted chocolate mixture, slightly cooled.
Add the flour, sifted with the baking powder and salt, and the milk.
Fold in the stiffly whipped egg whites and vanilla. 
Pour into well-greased and floured, 2 round 8-inch or 9-inch cake pans or a 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan.*
Bake for about 20-25 minutes for round pans, 40-45 for oblong pan or until done when toothpick is inserted in middle and comes out clean.
Let cool in round pans for 5 minutes, then transfer to racks to cool completely.
Frost when completely cool.
*I used two 9-inch round pans, they baked for 22 minutes.

Classic Chocolate Fudge Frosting

Ingredients:

½ cup butter
3 squares unsweetened baking chocolate
1 pound confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
¾ cup milk

Method:

Melt chocolate and butter in the top of a double boiler, or in the microwave.  
In a large bowl, combine confectioner’s sugar, vanilla and ½ cup of the milk.
Blend in the melted chocolate mixture.
Add remaining milk, a little at a time, until desired consistency is reached.
Let stand until spreadable, frosting will thicken as it cools.
Frost cake.

Serve 

Printable recipe


Enjoy!



Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Grilled Pork Medallions


These little medallions were 
quick and delicious!




The recipe is  pretty straightforward:  blend Dijon mustard, oregano, garlic and seasonings with a little olive oil, rub over the pork medallions and grill.






We concurred on this ~ the pork was tasty and tender, perfect for summertime grilling, and a it will be a repeat before long.

Serve it with you favorite side dish and a little green salad, and Voila!  You’ll have a great tasty quick dinner.


Grilled Pork Medallions

Ingredients:

1 (1¼ pounds) pork tenderloin, trimmed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1½ teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon seasoned pepper
½ teaspoon salt

Method:

Prepare grill.
Cut pork crosswise into ½” inch think diagonal slices.
Combine oil and remaining ingredients, rub over pork, coating well..
Grill pork 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until desired doneness.

Serve

Printable recipe


Enjoy!






Thursday, June 30, 2016

Perfect Potato Salad for the 4th of July!





Summer holidays and potato salad, always boiled down to the name “Aunt Frances," not only my Aunt Frances, but Bill’s Aunt Frances also.  




They were the “go to ladies” for potato salad back then, but unfortunately I never got either of their recipes and so am always on the hunt for the perfect potato salad recipe, and this one I’ve got for you today is close.

This recipe, slightly adapted here, was in the Chicago Tribune by Leah Eskin, in her “Home on the Range” food column.  

By the way, she has a great cookbook, Slices of Life, that’s not only filled with recipes, but a generous helping of her life stories that happened on her way cooking and baking when she was young, and later for her own family. 

Back to this recipe, it strays a little from traditional potato salad and makes the most of summer, with its surprising good taste.  

I would’ve never thought of including peas in potato salad ~ it’s a perfect match, accented by mayonnaise combined with sour cream, dill, lemon zest and Dijon mustard, with lots of chopped red onion thrown in and garnished on top with sliced olives for Bill, the potato salad conniseur!




It’s not a sweet dish, just savory and delicious, that’s good warm, but is just as delicious when chilled. 

This is my new go-to potluck dish 
for summer here in the 
Midwest ~
we do love a good potluck!


Potato Salad w/Peas

Ingredients:

3 pounds red-skin potatoes
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup chopped red onion
½ cup mayonnaise
½ cup sour cream
½ teaspoon dried dill or ¼ cup snipped dill fronds
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Sliced green olives, for garnish, optional

Method:

Boil:  Settle potatoes in a large pot.  Cover with cold, salted water by 1 inch.  Bring to a rolling boil, turn down to a low boil and cook until potatoes are easily pierced with a skewer, about 25 minutes.

Cut:  When potatoes are cool enough to handle (but still warm), cut into 1-inch cubes. Pile into a large bowl.  Sprinkle in peas (no need to defrost) and red onion.

Mix:  Whisk together mayo, sour cream, dill, mustard, zest, and salt and pepper to taste.  Pour this dressing over potatoes.  Mix gently with a soft spatula.  Arrange sliced olives over top, if desired. 

Serve:  I like this still warm, but it's good at any temperature; keep cold for picnics. 

 
8 Servings

Printable recipe

Enjoy!





















Celebrate
and have a safe
Happy 4th!






Tuesday, June 28, 2016

New Orleans Barbecued Shrimp


There is a huge 

Wow!
  
factor with this shrimp dish!


This recipe, the source is a mystery to me; for shrimp on the grill is super simple and comes together easily. 




Shrimp marinates in a zesty sauce of garlic, lemon juice, oregano and parsley, plus a little sweet chili sauce, with a sprinkling of crushed peppers and hot sauce for heat.  Then its all quickly grilled to perfection.





I will be making this again soon for Bill to grill ~ we thought it was simply delicious!

With a side of stone-ground garlic grits ~ it doesn't get much better than this!


New Orleans Barbecued Shrimp

Ingredients:

1 pound raw large shrimp (21-25 per pound)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons chili sauce
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon minced fresh parsley
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon hot pepper sauce

Method:

Wash shrimp well, using a pair of kitchen shears or knife, cut through the shell along the back of each shrimp, peel and devein.
Pat dry and place in a resealable bag.
Combine remaining ingredients in a small pan, simmer for 10 minutes; cool.
Pour marinade over shrimp, seal bag and shake to coat shrimp.
Refrigerate 1 hour, turning bag once.
Heat grill on high heat.
Remove shrimp from marinade, wiping off excess.
Grill until opaque throughout, 2-3 minutes per side.
Serves 4
  
Printable recipe


Enjoy!


And a shout out to Kris Bryant!!!   He made MLB history last night with a 3 Home Run and 2-double performance!  



Monday, June 20, 2016

Dragon Fruit Colada Cocktail





CHEERS TO SUMMER!



Woo hoo!!!

 It's the first day of summer!

   It's the summer solstice!

It's the longest day 
and shortest night 
of the year! 


And, by the way:  today, the strawberry moon* will happen to coincide with the summer solstice, the first time that has happened since 1967, almost 50 years ago.  The next one won't occur again until 2062!


 ~ Toast to Summer Solstice 
with this great drink ~


It’s a cactus
It’s the exotic dragon fruit
It looks like a beautiful vivid pink flower! 


Pitahaya-producing cacti fruit, known in English as Dragon Fruit, is indigenous to Central America, but is also grown and exported from Israel and several Southeast Asian countries, such as Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia.  

Its succulent stem provides the uniquely delicious fruit with moisture in the arid climates where it grows.

Dragon fruit comes in 3 colors ~ 2 have pink skin, but with different colored flesh (one white, like the one I show here, the other red), while another is yellow (looks sort of like a pineapple with spikes), with white flesh.  





The flowers are nocturnal, and bloom in full for just one night.  That means they have one wonderful evening for a bat or moth to help pollinate it and turn it into a dragon fruit, otherwise the 6” spiky greenish white bloom wilts by sunrise.  


The Dragon or Pitahaya Fruit grown in Thailand

The leaves are slightly overlaid, similar to an artichoke on the outside, with a plethora of small, black, edible seeds filling the inside flesh. 

The flavor is mildly sweet ~ reminds me of kiwi, with a sort of crunchy texture.

It definitely is a change of pace in the fruit world, but it does have its benefits:  It’s high in nutrition, fights diabetes, reduces the signs of aging, strengthens your immune system, helps your hair grow, and is rich in fiber and more.  Reducing the signs of aging sold me on it❣

Look for dragon fruit at your local farmer’s market or grocery store to make this soothing little drink.  







It’s refreshing, and light, perfect for a summer cocktail ~ dragon fruit, coconut milk, lime juice, which all blends nicely with white rum!  

It’s a delight!

Dragon Fruit Colada Cocktail

Ingredients:

1½ cups ice cubes
¾ cup peeled cubed dragon fruit
2 tablespoons simple syrup**
4 ounces white rum
¼ cup coconut milk
1 teaspoon lime juice
Lime slices for garnish

Method:

Place ice cubes in blender and crush.
Add remaining ingredients, except lime slices, and purée until combined.
Pour into cocktail glasses and garnish with lime slice.
Makes 4 cocktails

**Simple Syrup:

In small saucepan, bring equal amounts of granulated sugar and water to a boil; simmer, stirring occasionally, until clear and syrupy, about 2 minutes.  Let cool completely.

Printable recipe



Enjoy!



* The strawberry moon is the nickname given to the full moon in the month of June.