August 23, 2010

Jambalaya!

Yum.

This is one of Steve's favorite meals that I make.

He just told me that last week when I made it.

He said that he doesn't ask for it very often because he always thought it was really complicated to cook.

Wrong!

It is very easy.

Delicious and simple...gotta love that!

It's also pretty hearty, but doesn't require the use of the oven, so if you are getting tired of the light, cool meals of summer and looking for something a little more substantial, this would be perfect!

You can make substitutions to use what you have on hand (or because you can't find andouille sausage anywhere in town...boo!); sometimes I leave out the ham, sometimes I sub out andouille sausage for kielbasa or hot Italian sausage or chicken (although, that makes it less authentic...but still delicious!). I use red pepper instead of green pepper, because it's what I had in the fridge.

Go ahead and play around with the spices, too. I used all dried herbs (crazy, I know), and like to make it spicy.

Go ahead and show your surprise.

I will leave you with the basic recipe and you can tweak it however your heart desires! Just make this soon!

I serve it with some crusty bread and if I'm feeling ambitious, a salad.

And it is even better the next day.

Jambalaya (serves 4 very hungry people, or 6 moderately hungry people)
  • 1 pound of raw shrimp, peeled and deveined (I take the tails off too)
  • 8 ounces andouille sausage, sliced
  • 1 cup of cubed cooked ham (you could also sub cubed cooked chicken)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/3 cup chopped celery
  • 3/4 cup uncooked rice
  • 2 cups of low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 14.5 ounce diced tomatoes (regular or fire-roasted), undrained
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste
Heat the oil in a large skillet or dutch oven; add onion, bell pepper, celery and garlic; saute until tender. Note: if you are using bulk Italian sausage like I did last time (instead of cooked sausage), brown the meat at the same time...it imparts a great flavor on the veggies too). Stir in the chicken broth, tomatoes, rice, sausage, thyme, basil, bay leaves, and red pepper. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and cover. Simmer, covered, until the rice is tender (about 15 - 20 minutes). Check seasonings and add salt and pepper as needed. Increase heat to boiling again and add raw shrimp. Cook until just opaque. Add ham and heat through, checking seasonings one more time. Discard bay leaves...Enjoy!!!

Printable Recipe

CONGRATULATIONS!

My bff Stephanie and her wonderful boyfriend Chad got engaged last Friday! Congratulations to the happy couple!

They were on an adventure vacation in Wyoming when Chad popped the question. I am such a sucker for romance...I nearly burst into tears when I heard the good news. And guess what?! I am the maid of honor!!! And it is an honor. Steph and Chad - I love you both very much and I am so happy for you! Here's to years and years of happiness together! xoxoxoxo YAY!!!!

August 19, 2010

Garden Update 4: The Tomato Plants That Took Over The World

Holy crap.

My tomato plants went wild this year.

I don't know if it was the "new" soil in my brand new garden...

...or the fact that it has been a beautiful, warm summer...

Or maybe it has something to do with me being a stellar gardener?

Either way - my tomato plants were about 7 feet tall, and wide enough that they were choking out my basil, corn and pepper.

Were.

I chopped their heads off the other day.

And several arms.

I hope that they survive it, and start putting all their energy into the bazillions of fruit that already exist, instead of trying to take over the world.

And I hope that my peppers survive.

The basil and corn already look great, but the growing season is getting short, and I feel like my poor baby vegetables still have a way to go! My green beans are just flowering now...my onions and carrots are still babies, my basil could get bigger...

PLEASE, Mother Nature, let it be summer for another month or so! Is that too much to ask?

Anyway, here are some pics...

My "Early Girl" tomato plant, after I viciously hacked it off. See all of the fruit? All of the very green fruit??? Early Girl my ass.

Beans! In the last week or so, they have climbed all the way to the top of the fence (6 feet), and started flowering. I hope there is enough time for them to produce beans.

A mess of two ginormous cherry tomato plants, choking out my corn...but I showed 'em...this was before I had my way with them.

Remember the Giant Marconi pepper plant that my dad gave me for my garden? After the rabbits got in (and before we reinforced the mesh with chicken wire) and ate most of the limbs, it never fully recovered. This is the only pepper on it. Boo hoo. I hope it lives to turn red.

THIS is why I garden. A perfectly ripe, bursting with flavor, home grown cherry tomato. Don't mind my dirty fingers. You are lucky that I waited to eat it long enough to get a picture...delicious. And the very first one of the season.

Bell pepper...one of only a few. Darn tomato plants.

Jalapeno!

Here is some corn, after I cleared out some of the cherry tomatoes that were trying to kill it. I wonder if it will produce any ears?

Here is some of the bounty...basil (yay!), onions, peas, cherry tomatoes, baby carrot. And for the record, there was no Miracle Grow used here...no sir, my garden is organic! Just poop (manure), humus, and some compost that I got from Steve's mom and dad!

Sweet and Savory Chicken Legs and Grilled Zucchini Chips

My hot water heater shit the bed last night.

Steve and I went out for sushi and then to the movie Eat, Pray, Love (I didn't even have to take him against his will! I think I'll keep him), and when we came back it smelt like something was burning/melting...

It was the hot water heater. I don't know what is wrong with it or if it's fixable or how much it will cost to replace. All I know is that if it would have started my house on fire with Kempton inside of it, there would not be words for how unhappy I would be right now. Just that fact alone makes me want to bring him to work with me every day.

Or put in a doggy door.

Except that it would probably also be a skunk door, a raccoon door, a mouse door, and a spider door. UGH.

Either way, everyone is fine and the hot water heater is no longer hooked up to a power source and Steven is going to help me figure out what I need to do.

Preferably today, because after I go running I will be in need of a warm shower.

In the meantime, at Georgia's request (and because I totally forgot), I am going to turn my attention towards food and post the recipes for the Sweet and Savory Chicken Legs and the Grilled Zucchini Chips that I made a couple weeks back...

The chicken was good - I am not a huge fan of chicken thighs/legs/drumsticks, but I wanted to try this recipe exactly as is for the first time. Next time I might use chicken breasts instead. The flavors were really good, and you could definitely tweak it to turn down the heat if you were cooking for those with sensitive palettes, or turn it up for people like...me!

Turns out I didn't make the recipe exactly as is.

Shocking, I know.

I only used one package of legs instead of two, but I used the full amounts of everything else (I wanted extra sauce because I put it over white rice).

Also, it was hot out and I didn't want to start the oven. So I used the grill instead!

I will post both methods, as well as the zucchini recipe I used for the side dish. These turned out really good.

Unfortunately, Steve doesn't like zucchini so he wasn't super impressed.

The other bad news is that I didn't get any "after" pictures...just "before" ones. We didn't eat until really late that night and it was very dark out by the time we pulled the food off of the grill. Here are the before pics:

The chicken, before it went on the grill. Imagine the perfectly cooked chicken bathed in the sauce, the sugars all caramelized, making it thick and dark.

Imagine this raw zucchini marinated, grilled, sprinkled with Parmesan cheese and delicious, ok?

Enjoy!

Sweet and Savory Chicken Legs (adapted from the recipe Hot & Sweet Drumsticks by Teri L. on Tasty Kitchen*) this version will serve 3, but can be easily doubled
  • 1 package chicken legs/drumsticks (a little over 1 pound...my package had 6 legs in it)
  • 1 cup of apricot preserves
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce (I used Sriracha, but you could use anything)
Combine preserves, ketchup, soy sauce, garlic and hot pepper sauce in a small saucepan and heat (stirring frequently) until the preserves are melted and everything is combined to form a sauce that is about the same consistency as honey.

For the oven: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place drumsticks in a single layer in a baking pan and pour apricot mixture over the top. Bake for 40 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through, spooning the sauce over the chicken periodically.

For the grill: Preheat the grill to 400 degrees. I lined a baking dish with aluminum foil (easier cleanup) and put the drumsticks in a single layer, then I poured the sauce over top. Cook until chicken is done (on the grill it took about 60 minutes, but I cooked it indirectly for the first 40, then realized it wasn't cooking fast enough and put it directly over the coals for 20 minutes and they were done. If you cooked them directly the whole time it would probably only take 30 - 35 minutes), frequently spooning the sauce over top.

Let the chicken sit for about 5 minutes before serving. Serve over white rice to soak up the yummy sauce!

Printable Recipe

Grilled Zucchini Chips
  • One large zucchini, sliced into thin rounds
  • 1/3 cup of olive oil
  • 1/3 cup of balsamic vinegar
  • kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper
  • a couple pinches of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
Toss sliced zucchini with olive oil, balsamic, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper. Marinade for at least 30 minutes. Preheat grill to 400 degrees. Grill each side of the zucchini rounds over direct heat for 2 - 4 minutes per side, or until they are browned (I ended up flipping some of the larger slices a couple of times until they were done). Working quickly, remove them from the grill and lay them in a single layer on a baking sheet. Sprinkle immediately with parm cheese. Serve. 

Printable Recipe

* A note about Tasty Kitchen: for those of you who do not know, this is a recipe sharing site that The Pioneer Woman created. It is not made up of celebrity chefs (though there are some seriously awesome food bloggers on the site), but mostly home cooks like you and me. I would encourage you to check it out the next time you are looking for a recipe. Here is the website: http://thepioneerwoman.com/tasty-kitchen/
And if you decide to create a profile and start sharing recipes, my profile name is: Lindsey @ Sunshine and Jellybeans...look me up and be my friend!

August 17, 2010

Pulled Pork and Creamy Coleslaw Sandwiches

Does anyone ever actually make any of my recipes?

I just wonder because I rarely get any feedback on them...and right now according to Google Analytics (thanks Tara!), I am averaging around 400 visits per month (On my silly little site! Can you believe it?! So proud!). I realize that there are a handful of people that visit several times per month, but people usually only post comments or send emails when it is something about my personal life...

Which I love and appreciate very much, by the way. I was just wondering, you know - if anyone tries the recipes...and if so, do you like them?

You know what they say about opinions...

...feel free to shout out yours! It can even be negative feedback, as long as it is respectful. Or perhaps any suggestions?

But even if no one else on earth makes one of my recipes, I will continue to post them. Mostly because it makes me happy. And hungry. And this is a great way to keep all of my favorite recipes on file! And I not only have the recipe, but I have my thoughts on the recipe, as well as (sometimes) some pictures.

Which brings us to today's recipe...

I know I have posted a Pulled BBQ Pork recipe here before, but I have since tweaked it (surprise!) and made it my own, so I wanted to give it another post. Plus I actually took some pictures. And I found a coleslaw recipe that both Steve and I really like (and we are picky coleslaw eaters!).

Oh yum. Juicy pulled pork with coleslaw and sliced dill pickles. This is a great recipe for a crowd because it makes a lot of pork, and it is easy because you cook it in the crockpot! It is also kid friendly (if you lay off the cayenne pepper).
 

Here is the pulled pork recipe first, then the coleslaw recipe...Enjoy!!!

Pulled BBQ Pork (serves 16 - 20)
  • 5 lb pork butt (pork shoulder)*
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup of brown sugar
  • 5 tablespoons Worcestershire
  • 5 tablespoons yellow mustard
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 - 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper (more or less to taste)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons pepper
 Throw chopped onion in the bottom of a large crock pot, lay pork on top. Whisk together remaining ingredients. Taste. Does it need more vinegar? More cayenne pepper? More salt? Adjust seasonings to taste, then pour 2/3 of the bbq sauce over pork in crock. Cook on low heat for 8 - 10 hours or until pork shreds easily with a fork. Once pork is shredded (keeping it in the crockpot), you can add remaining sauce, if necessary. I like my pork to be saucy...if you don't, you can pass remaining sauce with pork when you serve it. Just make sure that pulled pork stays moist. Serve on a bun with sliced dill pickles and coleslaw (recipe below). PS - this is a great bbq sauce recipe for bbq chicken or ribs too!
* If you use a leaner cut of meat, you may need extra sauce.

Printable Recipe



Creamy Coleslaw (serves 8 - 10 on sandwiches and can easily be doubled)
  • 1 14 oz bag of coleslaw mix (yes, you can certainly shred your cabbage and carrots at home if you want to)
  • 1/2 cup of mayo
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 2 - 4 tablespoons of sugar (3 is just about perfect for me, but start with 2 and add to your liking)
  • 2 tablespoons Cider Vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • fresh cracked pepper
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, cover and chill for at least 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Serve on top of pulled bbq pork (or chicken). Don't forget the pickle slices!

Printable Recipe

Finally!!!

I finally managed to get some pictures off of my camera so that I could put together a post!

Sorry it took so long.

We forgot Steve's camera up in the Falls last weekend, so I won't be able to get the pictures off of his camera for another week...

...remember that camping trip that he and I took, um, LAST MONTH? Yeah...I haven't taken the pics off from that yet. The pics from Spicy Chicken Tortilla Soup? Nope, not those ones either.Who knows what other pictures are even on there...it's been so long, I can't remember...

But luckily, I am so far behind, that I have several other posts I can write in the meantime!

Yippee!!!

I hope everyone is having a fabulous week so far...I'll kick off this blog-fest with some pics from Steve and my romantic little dinner at Bellisio's a couple weeks back:

This isn't my favorite restaurant in Duluth (ya'll know by now how I feel about The Scenic), but any place with a wine bar is like home to me. Seriously...the wine list is an actual book, Droogies. A book! Happiness!!!

After sharing two flights of wine, we finally decided on this bottle of Italian Chardonnay. It was delightful.

See how happy I am? Take notes - this is all because of delicious wine. And the baby clams didn't hurt either. Oh, and my sweet, sweet Sunshine.

Rigatoni Balsamico. Yum. Look at all that delicious grease and balsamic vinegar. This picture makes me want to lick my computer screen. Pure food porn. Here is the description from their menu:
Rigatoni pasta cooked al dente and prepared with crumbled Italian sausage in a rich marinara sauce with Modena balsamic vinegar reduction, chopped sautéed spinach, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, garlic, salt, and pepper.

Steve had the Walleye Milanese which he loved and ate every bite of. The menu description for that one is as follows (I didn't get any pictures of his because I didn't want to have my arm chewed off): A lightly breaded and sautéed Canadian walleye topped with a lemon butter caper sauce. Served with Parmigiano-Reggiano mashed potatoes and honeyed wild broccoli rabe.

We had a lovely time. We were both really impressed with our food (and the wine, of course), and sitting outside on the patio on a cool summer evening made it even better. One of the problems I usually  have with Belisio's is that the indoor seating can get pretty cramped. I also sometimes feel like their food tastes a little...pre-packaged. Does that make sense? Like something you would get at a chain restaurant. But Steve had never been there before so I thought I'd give it another try. Sitting outside felt much more relaxed and enjoyable than being inside, the service was great and the food wonderful. Not to mention that I had fantastic company.We will go back.

Are you hungry yet?

You're welcome!

August 12, 2010

August 11, 2010

Update and Poem

I've been getting a lot of emails and texts, so I just wanted to let everyone know that we haven't heard anything yet regarding Steve's tests...

I am assuming that no news is good news (because if something was really wrong I would think that they would get him in right away)...

...but then again, it is possible that they just love to torture us.

I will let ya'll know as soon as I hear something.

Thank you so much for all of your thoughts and prayers! I mean it - we can use all of the good karma we can get. 

And now, I am going to leave you with a poem that I read yesterday and loved.

Because it's hump day.

Enjoy! 

The Journey
One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice--
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do--
determined to save
the only life you could save. 
© Mary Oliver

August 9, 2010

Monday, Slacking, and Surveillance Checkup #3

I am going to write this post in color today instead of boring black...because it's Monday, and because I ate 2 pieces of quiche for breakfast...and I'm still hungry. 

And because I feel like it. 

I know I have been slacking and neglecting you. 

I have 62 million pictures that I need to upload and then I will be able to post about our camping trip, about making grilled zucchini and sweet and spicy chicken drumsticks, about hanging out with my mom, aunts, grandma and cousins last weekend, and about my sweetheart taking me out for a delicious dinner and mucho vino last night because he loves me and because it was one hell of a week. 

The first thing (is it technically the first thing if we have already talked about a handful of other things?) that I wanted to talk about is Steve's 3rd surveillance checkup...then I will take my own advice and think positive and talk about other things...but since this is first and foremost on my mind...

...Steve had his 3rd surveillance checkup last Monday, and his doctor called on Thursday to tell him that they saw something on the CT scan and that he needs to come back in for chest xrays. Does this sound familiar? Something similar happened last time, except it wasn't in his chest. And thankfully it turned out to be nothing. And like last time, the doctor told us not to worry. Which, like last time, is impossible. He goes back in this afternoon, but we probably won't get results until he goes in to meet with his doctor on Thursday afternoon. 

Please think positive, pray, or cross your fingers that everything comes back clean. Now and in the future.

Sigh. 

Now I can't remember what else I was going to talk to you about. 

Oh yeah - I was going to talk about food. Surprise! 

I was going to tell you that my mom and I made brunch for my family that was in town on Saturday morning...we made 2 different kinds of quiche (hence the leftover quiche in my belly this morning), and delicious monkey bread. Do you want the recipes?

Also, I am making a chef salad tonight (because I have leftover ham, bacon and spinach from making quiche...and because it is suppose to be 90 degrees out today and salad is a wonderful summer food), and then later this week I think I will be making jambalaya and my favorite pulled pork. I just wanted to let you know so that you have an idea what you can look forward to. Then I can fail to upload all of the pictures and put off posting the recipes for several weeks! Ha!

Enjoy your week and I will keep you posted with any updates! 

Thanks Droogies!

August 3, 2010

Angel Hair Pasta with Lemon, Basil and Grilled Chicken

I decided just to post the recipe without the pictures, because you should make this while the weather is warm and you don't feel like starting the oven...when I make it next time, I will try to snap some pics and add them...

...and I WILL make this again...I thought it was delicious. I looooooove lemon + pasta.

Have you tried my Shrimp Scampi Fresca? Yum.

Anyway, I have been seeing recipes around on other food blogger's sites for lemony pasta, because it is a very summery dish...

...however...

...most of them contain heavy cream. Which, in my world, does not equal a happy bikini season. Or a happy tummy for me.

So I set out to make a lighter lemon pasta, but I still wanted to keep some of the elements of the other dishes I saw out there, like the grilled chicken, and basil.

Here is what I came up with!

Angel Hair Pasta with Lemon, Basil and Grilled Chicken (serves 4)

For the chicken:
  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast
  • Juice of one lemon 
  • 1/4 cup of dry white wine
  • 1 - 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • Salt and Pepper
Combine all ingredients in a zip top bag and let marinade for at least one hour. Preheat grill to 400 degrees. Cook chicken indirectly until cooked through. Set aside to cool. Once cool, cut into bite sized pieces.

For the pasta:
  • 1/2 package of angel hair pasta
  • 4 lemons, juiced (remove any seeds that fall into the juice)
  • 1 bunch of asparagus, washed and trimmed, then cut into 1.5 inch pieces
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup of basil, julienned
  • 1/3 cup of dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/3 cup of olive oil
  • 1 cup of Parmesan cheese, grated
Cook pasta according to package directions. Melt butter in the bottom of a large skillet over medium heat, saute garlic and asparagus until asparagus is crisp-tender. Add wine and cook for another minute. Stir in  lemon juice, olive oil and basil. Add cooked pasta (half at a time, to make sure you have enough sauce...I had more than enough), cooked chicken, and Parm cheese. Toss to combine. If you were being really fancy you could top with extra basil leaves and Parm cheese...I was starving to death so I just started eating it out of the pan. In addition to the asparagus, you could also add cooked broccoli, mushrooms, and/or cherry tomatoes...whatever you have on hand! ENJOY!

Printable Recipe

August 2, 2010

Monday Monday

Here is a Monday afternoon list for you! Because lists make me happy (and only Stephanie knows why)...

1. Thanks for all of the super sweet emails, texts and comments that you guys sent after my super heavy post last week. I could feel the love and it was (as always) much appreciated! I am grateful and proud to have such wonderful people in my life.

2. There was some uproar about being called "Groupies"...for whatever reason, some of you don't like to be referred to as some sort of screaming young girl that breaks into tears whenever I come around.........

.......I can't figure out why............

..........but my uncle Joey had a great idea! He said that ya'll should be called "Droogies", like from A Clockwork Orange. Have you even seen A Clockwork Orange? I did, many years ago...I remember it being really weird (um, hello Stanley Kubrick), but really enjoying it. I should probably watch it again. Or better yet - read the book by Anthony Burgess.

Anyway! I looked on Urban Dictionary for some definitions of the work Droogie, and I thought I'd better share a few with you...I thought they were pretty funny...but maybe I should give up on the whole nickname thing and just call you guys "Dudes" and gals "Betties" (and yes Eli - Steve would totally rather have a sweet nickname like Iron Man or Super Stud, but that wouldn't be nearly as funny as Mr. Sunshine...or would it?). Anyway, back to the Droogie definitions (keep in mind, this could be you):

  • playful term to describe your significant other or even a hobby. usually used to describe something you really really really (you can see where i'm goin' with this) like. succinctly stated, your fix. abbreviation: droog
  • In reference to droog. A term first dubbed in the book A Clockwork Orange. It describes an ultraviolent gang member. It's time for a little ultra violence, droogies!
  •  a drunken boogie when on a good night out!
    woman: hmmmmm dancey dancey, i'm drunken
    woman 2: woooo let's droogie!
     
     For the record, I like the last description the best...but what do you think? Droogies better or worse than Groupies???

3. Steve and I went camping up in Voyageurs National Park last weekend...it was beautiful and peaceful and relaxing (except for the violent thunder and lightening storm on Saturday night), I will post pictures later.

4. I tried making that delicious Spicy Shredded Chicken again, but this time in a crock-pot. With a pork roast. To use on tacos. The result? Not nearly as good as the chicken. I had to use way more Bloody Mary mix, way more seasonings, and it still wasn't the same. It was good, mind you, and very easy (I didn't even brown it, I just threw all of the ingredients in and left it overnight)...but not as delicious (or as spicy) as the chicken. I will continue to tweak. Is it sad that I could eat that yummy chicken every week? I am already plotting a Fiesta so I can make copious amounts of it and feed it to someone else (I need guinea pigs!).

5. I made a delicious, light lemon and basil pasta with chicken (similar to a recipe that I saw on The Pioneer Woman website but without the cream and with additions of asparagus and some white wine), it was yummy but I didn't get a chance to take pictures because we were trying to get ready for camping so we didn't eat until 11 o'clock at night. I haven't decided if I should post the recipe without pics, or if I should wait until I make it again and take pictures. Decisions, decisions!

6. Steve's mom is dropping off more fresh basil and a couple of big zucchini from her garden, so expect some recipes with one or both of those things in the near future!

7. I am going out for a drink and dinner with a couple of friends tonight...cucumber press here I come!!!

8. Have a fantastic evening and week......until we meet again, Droogies! (I had to try it out.)

PEACE!