Saturday, June 29, 2013

Sliced, Baked and Loaded Potato Appeteasers


My friend Julianne posted a picture from Eagle Butte's web site on facebook and I fell in love with the idea. I saw the pic, read the simple instructions and these little darlings were made in under 45 minutes. I've been a bit under the weather lately and am just doing the daily necessities, like going to work and coming home, so I really don't have a lot of food in the house. But I had everything I needed to make these little bites of heaven. I'm hoping they're just the thing to get me feeling better and up and about tomorrow.

Loaded, Sliced, Baked Potatoes
With this method, anything goes- I believe you could spice it up Italian, Mexican, American, Greek, Indian- just give your favorite a try

1 medium Russett potato sliced 1/4 inch
coarse kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 slices cooked bacon crumbled
1-2 scallions chopped
shredded cheese- I used low fat Mexican 4 cheese blend
cooking spray
Garnish with salsa and low fat sour cream and cilantro would be nice (didn't have that though)

Pre heat oven to 400 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and spritz with cooking spray. Lay potato slices on foil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Bake 15 minutes and turn over. Bake another 15 and you're almost done.

To the cooked potato slices add chopped bacon, scallions and shredded cheese.

Bake another 5 minutes and remove from the oven.

They look delish now, but I think a garnish or two is in order. Add a dollop of salsa and sour cream and dig in.

I hope you enjoy these as much as I did.

And as I said earlier, don't stop with this recipe. How about a bit of chili and cheese on top and a slice of pickled jalapeno ? Or what about pesto, or pizza sauce and cheese? I think the potato is open to any flavor ideas you have in mind. Have fun, and let me know if you have some great combos to share. Thanks Julianne!

Thursday, June 27, 2013


I love scampi. I love the garlic, the decadent sauce and of course the shrimp. Tonight I added a twist to my regular scampi recipe and I'm so thrilled with it I had to postpone the kitchen clean up and get this quick little recipe down in writing. Over the last year I have been playing with (what I believe is a Portuguese spice blend) Sazon con Azafran. I buy it in the international aisle of my grocery store. Here's what it looks like.

It comes in a box with small envelopes inside. For this recipe, because of all the garlic I only used one envelope. Anyway, this is a quick prep, a quick saute and a meal you'll want to linger over.

Scampi con Azafran
This should serve 3- but I think since it's so good, plan on it for 2 (or double the recipe for 4)

1 pound large shrimp, peeled and de-veined- I like the 16-20 shrimp/pound measure
3 T unsalted butter
3 T extra virgin olive oil
2 T minced garlic
1 packet Sazon Goya con Azafran
1 lemon zested
1 lemon squeezed of juice
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
4 cups cooked brown rice- tonight I used 2 Uncle Ben's Boil n Bags
chopped scallion, cilantro or parsley for garnish

Finely chop your garlic. I used 2 humongous garlic cloves and that gave me the 2 T of what I needed. Zest your lemon and then squeeze it for the juice. Mix your salt, pepper and azafran together in a small bowl and we're ready to start cooking. In large saucepan heat your butter and oil over medium low heat. You'll be adding your garlic next and you want it to gently cook, so medium low is the temp. Trust me- once you've burned garlic, you'll never cook it on anything but medium low again. Add your garlic and cook about 1 minute. Now add your shrimp.

Time to give this dish another flavor boost, so add the salt, pepper an Azafran.

Mix in the spices and cook about 5 minutes, turning the shrimp over halfway through. Just before you're ready to plate, add your lemon zest, lemon juice and red pepper flakes. Toss again.

Serve with brown rice and enjoy! And don't forget a pretty green garnish.

The shrimp is cooked to perfection, the sauce is succulent and the flavors work so well together you will most definately eat more that you planned. My advice: Wear stretch pants tomorrow!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Cauliflower Latkes (Faux Potato Pancakes)

A few days ago I saw a recipe on Facebook for cauliflower pancakes (be still my low carb heart). In all my years, and they're becoming many, I've never met a latke or pancake I didn't like. I've made carrots, lentils, sweet potatos and just about everything left over in my fridge into pancakes and this seemed like it would work too, so I couldn't wait to give this recipe a try. But tonight when I was looking for the recipe it was nowhere to be found. Facebook has a short attention span, really it does. I like a little guidance when I'm making something new, but threw caution to the wind and decided to give it a whirl on my own. And I'm happy I did, because it's worth sharing for sure.

Cauliflower Latkes
makes 12 1/2 dollar sized latkes (does anyone remember 1/2 dollars?)

12 oz cauliflower florettes
1 cup chopped onions
canola oil for frying onions
kosher salt
garlic powder
1 egg
1/3 cup shredded low fat cheddar cheese
2-3 T prepared bread crumbs
an extra pinch of salt and pepper for the wet mixture
oil for frying

I've been pre cooking some of my vegetables in the microwave for quite a while now and have been pleased with the results- it's so much faster that waiting for a stove top boil and cook. So place the florettes in a microwave safe dish with a few tablespoons of water and kosher salt and zap for 3 minutes, set aside and let cool. In medium saute pan add 1 or 2 tablespoons of canola oil (I've been using canola a lot lately because it's less expensive than olive oil, but if you're feeling rich- by all means go with the olive). Add chopped onions, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Saute until softened and you're beginning to smell the sweet aroma of the onions (5-8 minutes). While onions are cooking, finely chop your cooled, cooked cauliflower. I wasn't sure how small I wanted mine, so did some very fine and left some a bit chunky and it worked out great. Combine the onions and cauliflower and get out your other ingredients.

Beat your egg and add to cauliflower onion mixture. Now add the cheese and bread crumbs and add a touch more salt and pepper. It's time to make the latkes, and you've got to be gentle with these little darlings. There's not much starch to hold them together, so they're a bit delicate and they need your love. Carefully form 12 half  dollar sizes disks. They may seem like they don't want to hold together, but they will.

In a large skillet on medium high add a few tablespoons of oil. Carefully add 6 of the pancakes and cook for a few minutes on each side.

Repeat the process with the other 6 and place on a paper towel to remove any excess oil. Plate up and enjoy. I served mine with low fat sour cream, sriracha sauce and a sprinkling of chopped scallions. Yummy good. And I think the spice options with these are limitless. I want to try a Mexican version of this next and I think it will work. I'm thinking of Lynn Socko's pico de gallo as the garnish.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Almost Vegetarian Lasagna for Two

This is kind of a take off from my "Ladies Who Lunch" crepe post. But it's easier and perfect for two people. No left overs and no rolling. But beware, there are egg roll wrappers involved (hey, I've got a few left over from my egg roll mania). Here's what you'll need to put this together:

Almost Vegetarian Lasagna for Two
serves 2 as a dinner and 4 as an appetizer

12 asparagus spears
2 T canola oil
8 oz sliced mushrooms
1 small onion chopped
1 large clove garlic finely diced
salt and pepper to taste
cooking spray
3 low fat mozzarella sticks, each cut into 4 slices
3 egg roll wrappers
1 can low fat cream of chicken soup (I originally planned on using cream of mushroom, but I surprisingly didn't have any on hand)
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 cup water
approximately 1/2 tsp dried tarragon
2 T grated Parmesan cheese
1 T seasoned bread crumbs
1 scallion chopped for garnish

In a microve safe dish, place your asparagus and a few tablespoons of water and a pinch of salt. Cover and microwave for 2 minutes. Set aside and let cool.

Pre heat your oven to 350 degrees. In large skillet on medium heat add oil, onions and mushrooms. Cook a few minutes and then add the garlic, salt and pepper. Cook about 5-7 minutes until mushrooms are brown and cooked through. Set aside.

Before we begin the assembly of the lasagna, let's make the yummy sauce on the stove top. In small skillet combine soup, wine, water and tarragon. Heat it long enough (stirring occasionally) until the mixture becomes smooth. While the sauce is heating, spray an 8 x 8 inch baking dish with cooking spray. Place an egg roll wrapper on top of the spray and top with half the mushroom mixture.

Now add half the cooked asparagus and half of the sliced mozzarella cheese logs. I think you can see where I'm going with this. Cheesey goodness with yummy veggies.

Top with another egg roll wrapper and repeat the process- mushroom mixture, cheese and asparagus. Cover with the last wrapper and pour your wine/soup mixture on top. It may look like you have a lot of sauce- yeah you do, but it's a good thing to have because it soaks into the noodles and you can drizzle it over the crusty topping of your lasagna when serving. Top with the Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs.

Bake uncovered for 30 minutes and serve. Just slice it in half and garnish with sliced scallion.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Pigs in Egg Roll Blankets New York Style-The Final Chapter of the Egg Roll Saga

I had to give the New York Sauerkraut combo a try. It turned out great and came together as quick as a New York minute. First I made some Russian dressing with ketchup, mayo, sour cream, relish and a little lemon juice.

Then I drained some saurerkraut in a coffee filter. The drier the kraut the better.

I cut my oversized hot dog in half, sliced up my Swiss cheese, prepared my egg wash (1 egg with a splash of water) and got ready to roll. The entire egg roll housed 1/2 hot dog, a T of Russian dressing, 1 slice of Alpine Lace Swiss cheese sliced, and as much sauerkraut as I could fit in. Tip- Less sauerkraut is better than more. (I figured that out pretty quickly).

Wrap up egg roll style, spread with egg wash and dust with bread crumbs, you know the drill by now. Saute on medium heat in canola oil about 6 minutes, making sure all sides get browned. And Voilla! Your egg rolls are done. I served mine with an extra dollop of Russian dressing. Very yummy, and fool proof. Let me know if you try them!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Hot Diggity Dog

I thought I was finished with the egg roll posts, but sorry guys, I have just one more to share. Please, no groaning, because this one is a gem! A perfect appetizer that everyone will gobble up just like I did. I bought a package of Nathan's oversized frankfurters and knew I'd be using them in an egg roll wrapper because the size was perfect- one frankfurter that fits 2 egg rolls, how could I pass this up? Really, and this is a must try, and so simple. Invite some friends over and give this a whirl.

Pigs in an Egg Roll Blanket
this was a test recipe for two egg rolls, so adjust ingredients to the amount you're making

1 Nathan's "Bigger Than the Bun" Hot Dog
2 T cole slaw (divided)
2 T baked beans (divided)
1 T yellow mustard (divided)
2 slices cheese (I uses American but I think cheddar would have been a better choice)
2 egg roll wrappers
1 large egg
1/2 tsp sriracha sauce
dash of water
store bought bread crumbs for dusting
oil for frying

Slice your frankfurter in half and get your egg rolls ready to rock and roll up. Slather some mustard on the bottom of your egg roll and place a slice of cheese on top of it.

Add your frankfurter, and beans.

Add the cole slaw. I used a store bought brand that is not very wet. And the next time I do this I will try it with saurerkraut, because that's what we New Yorker's like best, but it seems most of the country prefers cole slaw. I'll let you know how that works.

Roll up egg roll style and seal with an egg wash made of sriracha, egg and water and roll in a tablespoon or two of store bought bread crumbs. Looks good, mmmm?

In a medium size sauce pan on stove top add a bit of canola oil and saute egg rolls on each side about 2 minutes or so, to brown the wrappers and make sure the insides heat up.  Let cool a bit before serving because they stay hot a long time. Then dig in and enjoy! I certainly did.