Category Archives: Appetizers

Pesto Gone Wild – Starring Avocado and Spinach

I am a huge fan of Pesto. I love it with pasta, in sandwiches on pizza, with eggs…the list goes on and on.

What I love most about pesto is not only the various ways you can use it, but also the various ways you can make it.

This particular pesto recipe features avocado and spinach as the star ingredients.

Avocado, spinach, fresh basil, garlic, olive oil, lime juice and Parmesan...mouth is officially watering after listing the ingredients in this pesto recipe.

This pesto literally brightens up your meal. The beautiful color makes any dish you prepare with it more appetizing. We tossed it with spaghetti and grilled chicken and it made for a very springy meal. Don’t be fooled, it’s actually quite heavier than you would think. The creaminess of the avocado makes it feel like a real pasta sauce.

And all you folks with nut allergies, you finally have a pesto you can enjoy!

Aye Carumba, Chimichurri!

Ahhh Chimichurri. The smell of Chimichurri takes me back to the good ole days when me and the hubs were living in Buenos Aires. We didn’t know much about anything when we first moved there, but what we did know is that every restaurant we went to served chimichurri. And it was oh so good.

Italian Parsley, Cilantro, Fresh Oregano, Garlic....have I got your attention?!

The reason Chimichurri is so awesome, is because it tastes fabulous with everything. Grilled Chicken, Bread, Steak, Empanadas, Grilled Veggies, Salads, Pork Chops…the list goes on and on. And it’s fast and easy. Throw all the ingredients into a food processor and you have yourself a flavor packed condiment that rocks any meal.

Thank You Argentina, you are genius.

When Life Hands You A Pepper, Stuff It!

Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh, Oh Oh Oh Oh
You got the right ‘stuff,’ pepper.
You’re the reason why I write this blog.

I realize I might have just dated myself with this NKOTB reference, but the opportunity was just too good to pass up.

Beautiful colors, fantastic flavors and great nutritional value. These Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers really do have the right stuff. They are perfect for spring time meals and simultaneously act as cheerful table decor.

The first step is to remove the seeds and membranes from the peppers. You can cut the peppers horizontally or vertically, whichever way you prefer. I did both to add a little dimension to the presentation.

The key to tender peppers is to blanch them for 4-5 minutes before you fill them. Place the peppers in salted boiling water and remove them carefully with tongs.

Now for the filling: sauteed onions, garlic and jalapenos accompanied by black beans, corn, enchilada sauce, Mexican rice, seasonings, cheddar cheese and any leftover bell peppers you have.

Pack the filling into the pepper, bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes and you have yourself a gorgeous meal!

It's actually quite a filling meal. Puns aside, I was stuffed!

Beer Battered Onion Rings

Two of my favorite foods, beer and onions, have united to make this not so healthy, but very tasty recipe: Beer Battered Onion Rings.

Anyone who has known me for more than one day knows about my obsession with onions. If you look in my kitchen, you will without a doubt always find onions at any given time. So you can only imagine how excited I was to make these onion rings.

Cut the onion into 1/2-inch slices and separate into rings.

You'll need one cup of any dark beer. When you are measuring the beer, do not include the froth. Looks like I need more beer!

The egg white in the batter is what helps the batter stick to the onions.

Beer, flour, salt, pepper and egg white - pretty simple batter!

Drip off any excess batter before frying.

Fry em up! If you want to fry more than one ring at a time, make sure your fryer is big enough so that the rings do not touch each other while frying.

Crispy and delicious Beer Battered Onion Rings!

In summary, if I’m being completely honest, I don’t know if I would make this recipe again. It was quite time consuming and created quite the mess in my kitchen. We enjoyed eating them thoroughly, but they just might end up being a one hit wonder.

Mashed Potato Makeover

Growing up we never really had a large spread for Thanksgiving dinner. But my husband’s family loves all things food, therefore it’s no surprise that they do Thanksgiving big. So for the last three years (wow, can’t believe we’ve been married for almost three years!) we have had these huge pot luck style Thanksgiving dinners. I’ve made the same recipes three years in a row and they’ve been fairly successful but…let’s see, what’s the right word?…BORING! This year, it’s time for a change. I decided to create a spin on my garlic mashed potatoes and came up with Mashed Potato Soup.

I decided to take my recipe for a trial run last night. And unlike the mashed cauliflower disaster, this time I had great success!

Mashed Potato Soup

I love that I get to incorporate staple ingredients of traditional mashed potatoes but still get to present what seems like a whole new dish. This soup was so delicious and very filling. If you want to serve this soup as a side dish, make sure to bring out your smallest soup bowls. As you can see from the bowl size in the photos, we did not. The result was two overstuffed adults lying on the sofa for the remainder of the evening.

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Cauli-Failure

Remember, this blog is about the journey.   That includes successes as well as failures.  And there have been many, many failures.  Including the disaster that was last night.

Attempted recipe: “Mock” Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Actual recipe: ‘Disgusting’ Garlic Mush Cauliflower

I grabbed this recipe (the attempted recipe) from FoodNetwork.com which was described as being a healthy, yet tasty alternative for mashed potatoes.  The recipe received 5 stars and was classified as ‘easy’. 

So where or where did I go wrong?  The answer is really easy.  If you don’t have the appliances that are required for a recipe, there is a high likelihood of disaster.  The recipe called for an immersion blender or a food processor.  I don’t know what an immersion blender is (oh so much to learn still) and I have a very small food processor. Therefore, I thought it would be a-okay to use my regular old blender as a substitute.  No friends, this did NOT work.  My end result was roughly chopped, soggy cauliflower.  I should have taken a picture, but I was so disappointed I chose to have a mini breakdown instead.  Sorry husband. 

Moral of the story: Think long and hard if your substitute appliance is really going to cut it (or in this case, blend it) for your recipe.

Secondary moral: No matter how you slice it, cauliflower does not taste like potatoes.

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