Grilled Shrimp Caesar Salad

Grilled Shrimp Caesar Salad

When we first moved to Nashville, we lived in a hotel for little over a month.  Sounds like fun right? Well it was a fun adventure for a bit, but it sort of got old fast. My biggest defeat was not having a kitchen (that and having an untrained 4 month year old puppy.)

We would constantly go out to eat and dine at the hotel bar. Dillon would order the Grilled Shrimp Caesar Salad and I would make my way around the menu. Whenever he ordered the salad, I would go on about how I could make it better. I guess I was feeling a little cocky.

Once we finally moved into our new place (and once I finally found somewhere to buy good shrimp…) I backed up my cockiness with one of the best Grilled Shrimp Caesar Salads I’ve ever made.

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Ingredients
1 lb. peeled, deveined shrimp
1 Large head of Romaine Lettuce (roughly chopped)
Shaved Parmesan and Asiago Cheese
Croutons (Im a fan of homemade croutons. I used my own recipe, here.)
Caesar Dressing
***I use a store bought Caesar dressing. Whenever I use a store bought Caesar, I mix a little in a bowl with fresh squeezed lemon juice, cayenne pepper and ground black pepper to kick it up a bit.***

Ingredients for Shrimp Marinade
1/3 cup of Olive Oil
1 Large Lemon (1/2 lemon for marinade/other half to use once shrimp are cooked)
Kosher salt, to taste
Ground Black Pepper, to taste
Tablespoon Fresh Garlic
Tablespoon Italian Seasoning
Teaspoon Smoked Paprika
Teaspoon Dried Basil

Instructions 

In a large bowl mix Olive Oil, 1/2 squeezed Lemon, Garlic, Salt, Pepper, Italian Seasoning, Smoked Paprika and Dried Basil in a bag. Add washed off shrimp to mixture. Set aside in fridge. Let marinate for 20 minutes.

While waiting for shrimp…combine lettuce, croutons and cheeses in a large bowl. Set aside in Fridge.

After 20 minutes…Heat pan to a medium high heat. Cook Shrimp on each side for about 2-3 minutes. Once done, squeeze other half of lemon over shrimp.

Add shrimp to bowl with lettuce, cheeses, and croutons.
Mix in Caesar dressing and Serve!

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Pepitas

Pepitas

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Pepitas, the Spanish term for pumpkin seeds.
While browsing a cookbook the other day I came across a recipe for pumpkin seeds otherwise known as “pepitas.” Growing up, I was obsessed with pumpkin seeds. It was so bad at one point that i was banned from eating them in the house because I would spill the shells everywhere. And mom was not a fan of that. After seeing the one recipe in the cookbook, I began searching for more pumpkin seed recipes, pepitas in particular, where I found multiple different variations of pepitas. Experimenting int he kitchen and trying to find my perfect pepita recipe, I think I finally nailed it. A combination of a few recipes I found online along with a little of my own doing, here is my spicy pepitas recipe. enjoy.

Ingredients:

16 oz of Pumpkin Seeds (unsalted)
1 tablespoon of fresh ground pepper
2 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon red chili flakes
3  guajillo chili peppers
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1/2 cup of water
1 tablespoon ancho chili powder
1 lime
Salt to taste

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First. Deseed and finely chop your guajillo chili peppers. In a food processor add chili peppers olive oil and water. Process until peppers and liquor ingredients are completely combined and the sauce becomes a bright orange color.


Second. 
Add your seeds to a medium hot pan and continuously stir to make sure they do not burn. Stir until seeds are warm.

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Third. Mix all dry ingredients to your pumpkin seeds. Continue to constantly stir. Do not leave seeds to sit for too long because they will quickly burn.

Fourth.  After mixing all the dry ingredients, with a teaspoon add your guajillo chili pepper sauce. Add as much or little as you would like, I added three teaspoons. Add a teaspoon, then mix well and taste to see if you should add more.

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Fifth. Once adding all dry and liquid ingredients, constantly stir for another 5 minutes. Then plate pepitas and squeeze lime juice onto pepitas then your ready to serve!

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FRIED GREEN TOMATOES

FRIED GREEN TOMATOES

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While cruising the Farmers Market last weekend, I came across some green tomatoes. Not only a southern favorite, but also a personal favorite, I immediately knew what I was cooking for dinner that night. Fried Green Tomatoes.
Ingredients:
3 Green Tomatoes
1 Egg
1/2 Cup of buttermilk
1/2 cup of cornmeal
1/2 cup of all purpose flour
Vegetable Oil
Salt
Pepper

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Here’s How: 

1. Wash tomatoes then cut tomatoes into one inch slices (like above photo.)

2. Whisk together egg and buttermilk in one bowl. In another bowl combine all-purpose flour, a pinch of salt and pepper and cornmeal together.

3. Take one of your tomatoes slices and dredge the tomato in buttermilk mixture, then in cornmeal mixture. Make sure the entire tomatoes is covered in cornmeal mixture.
(Also, Be sure to use one wet hand/one dry hand method or you’ll end up with a mess!)

4. In a large pan, heat your vegetable oil until it is about 375°.

5. Carefully place tomatoes into oil. Cook tomatoes until golden brown on one side then flip to cook on other side until golden brown.

6. One finished cooking, place on paper towels to drain. Immediately out of the oil sprinkle salt and pepper to taste.

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One of my favorite part of eating a fried green tomatoes is the “extras.” There are tons of sauces and toppings that would taste delicious with your fried green tomatoes, but my favorite topping is crab meat and remoulade sauce. Thankfully, we had some extra crab meat left from a crab boil the night before so I lucked out. But for those of you who are looking for a delicious remoulade sauce, check out this one.

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Most remoulade sauces consists of a ton of mayo and ketchup, but this recipe in particular is a more vinegary sauce.

Ingredients: 

1 cup mustard
1/2 cup ketchup
3/4 olive oil
1/2 red wine vinegar
3 Celery Stalks
1 yellow pepper
1 small red onion

Simply chop vegetables in chunks and blend together in a food processor until finely chopped. In a food processor add the rest of the liquid ingredients. Blend together well and refrigerate until ready to use!

VEGTABLES KABOBS

VEGTABLES KABOBS

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Grilled or roasted, veggie kabobs are always the perfect side to any dish, especially at a barbecue. I’ve always been a huge veggie lover and this is one of my favorite ways to cook them. Eat these veggie kabobs for a light lunch, put them on top of a bead of lettuce for a salad, pull off the kabob and make veggie tacos, or just eat them as a side. The ways to eat these vegetable kabobs are endless.

Kabob Ingredients: Makes 7 Kabobs
2 Zucchinis
1 8oz package of Portobello Mushrooms
1 Medium Yellow Pepper
1 Medium Red Onion

Sauce Ingredients: 
1/4 cup of Olive Oil
Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
Tablespoon Italian Seasoning
Tablespoon Smoked Paprika
3 Tablespoon Lemon juice
2 Tablespoons Honey
3 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard
1 diced clove of Garlic
1 one inch piece of Red Onion (use a piece that you cut up for your kabob)
A pinch of Salt and Pepper to taste

**You will also need skewers for the kabobs, I personally prefer metal.  If you prefer wooden sticks, make sure to soak them in water before using so that they do not burn.

Directions:

1. Preheat oven on top broil.
2. Cut Zucchinis, Mushrooms, Bell Pepper, and Onion in about one inch slices.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together all sauce ingredients. Let sauce rest.
4.  Thread Zucchinis, Mushrooms, Bell Pepper, and Onion onto metal kabob skewers.
5. Rest kabobs on top of a small shallow pan (allowing the metal kabob sticks to be the only thing actually touching the pan.)
6. Brush sauce mixture onto kabobs.
7. Place in oven for 10 minutes or until slightly charred. ( leave oven cracked open since it is on broil setting.)
Serve & enjoy. 

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Sausage, Potato and Spinach Soup

Sausage, Potato and Spinach Soup

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Recently, I’ve been playing around more on Pinterest and finding a little cooking inspo. Even though it is beyond hot outside, I found myself craving a hearty soup.  I stumbled upon this recipe from DamDelcious.net and it was certainly dam delicious. Normally I stray away from following a recipe step-by-step but this one I stayed pretty close to. Only changing adding 6 cups of chicken broth opposed to 5, using turkey Italian sausage for a bit more healthy take, and adding cayenne pepper at the end. If you follow the original recipe step by step or  add a few adjustments like I did, I’m sure you’ll be craving this recipe again once winter approaches.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound spicy Italian sausage, casing removed **(Used Italian Turkey Sausage)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 5 cups chicken broth  **(The recipe calls for 5, but I ended up using 6 cups.)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 pound red potatoes, diced
  • 3 cups baby spinach
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

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Fish Tacos: Slaw, Pico De Gallo & Avocado Cilantro Sauce.

Fish Tacos: Slaw, Pico De Gallo & Avocado Cilantro Sauce.

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What’s for dinner…? Fish Tacos!  If someone told me that I could only eat three things for the rest of my life, without any doubt in my mind I would immediately say pizza, salad and …. of course…tacos. The thought of someone not liking tacos, simply blows my mind, it’s just impossible…right?

Making fish tacos is pretty simple. You either grill, fry or blacken your fish (best with a white flaky type of fish) then grab your tortillas (flour or corn) and you’re pretty much done. BUT what makes the fish tacos are the delicious toppings and salsas.

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1/2 Cup of Sour Cream
2 ripe Avocados
1/2 cup Chopped Cilantro
1 Tsp Garlic Powder
1 finely chopped & de-seeded jalapeños
2 Tsp Lime Juice
3/4 finely chopped Red Onion

In a bowl, mix sour cream, garlic powder, jalapeños, lime juice and red onion. Cut avocado in half, take out the seed, and scoop out avocado into large mixing bowl with the rest of the ingredients. While mixing together ingredients together, mash avocado into sour cream until it becomes a smooth texture. Place in refrigerator until ready to serve. Serve cold.
[Favorite on Fried Fish Tacos.]

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1/2 Cup of chopped Cilantro
2 1/2 Cups of Cabbage
1 1/2 diced & de-seeded jalapeños
4 Tsp Lime Juice
1/2 Cup Greek Yogurt
3/4 Diced Red Onion
Pepper & Salt to Taste

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, chill in refrigerator until ready to serve.
[Spicy Slaw is my favorite on Grilled Fish Tacos.]

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4 Large Chopped Tomatoes
1 Small Red Onion
1 Diced Jalapeño
1 Small Green Pepper
3 Cloves of Garlic
1/2 Cup Cilantro
Fresh Lime Juice to taste
Salt and Pepper to taste

Red Chile Roasted Cauliflower

Red Chile Roasted Cauliflower

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 I found this recipe on Pinterest and it has without a doubt become one of my favorite side dishes. With just enough flavor to satisfy my love for spicy food but still edible for the rest of the family, this is a healthy flavorful dish for everyone. Yes, it may take a while but the slow roasting  process allows the cauliflower to absorb all of the seasonings, so basically it is the most delicious cauliflower you will ever eat.

Ingredients

  • 1 large head Cauliflower
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp Red New Mexico Chile Powder (substitute Ancho Chile Powder if you don’t have Red New Mexico)
  • 1/2 tsp crushed dried Red Chile
  • 1 tsp Cumin seeds toasted and ground
  • 4 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1/4 cup Cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 Lime, juiced
  • Salt to taste

Recipe here

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Kale, Avocado , Red Onion Salad

Kale, Avocado , Red Onion Salad

Whenever I go to Whole Foods, I always gravitate towards their prepared salads and cold pasta salads. They have some healthy options and it is an easy grab-and-go for those days when you simply don’t have time to make lunch. One of the salads I always grab is the Kale and Avocado salad. That and a protein shake is my ideal after workout meal. So I decided to get in the kitchen and try my own Baby Kale and Avocado Salad. Enjoy.

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Ingredients: 5 oz bag of Baby Kale, 1/2 red onion, 1 large lemon, 2 Avocados, Cracked Black Pepper 

1. Wash and dry Baby Kale and place into a large bowl.

2. Roughly chop 1 avocado, 1/2 red onion and place top Baby Kale.

3. With the other avocado, finely chop and mix into Baby Kale, avocado and red onion salad. (Chopping the second avocado finely will create a dressing like texture.)

4.Cut melon in half and squeeze lemon juice over salad. Add cracked black pepper to liking. Enjoy.

Italian Stuffed Artichokes

Italian Stuffed Artichokes

Ah, March means many thing…warmer days, crawfish season, spring cleaning, and artichoke season. If you are an artichoke lover, try this recipe. It is perfect to bring to a party or just to have at home to snack all day on.

What you’ll need: ( 5 Stuffed Artichokes)

5 Artichokes
4 Onions
1 Bell Pepper
2 Celery Stalks
1 1/2 cups Mozzarella cheese
1 cup Parmesan cheese, plus some
1 8 oz can of Artichokes
2 cups of Italian Breadcrumbs, plus some
Italian seasonings (to taste)
3/4 cup of lemon juice
1 /4 cup Olive Oil, plus some
2 Teaspoons Garlic
1 Lemon
Black Pepper

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1.  Roughly chop Onions, Bell Pepper, Celery, and canned Artichokes so that they will fit in a food processor.
2. In a food processor, puree all vegetables and place into a large bowl.

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3. Mix the garlic, black pepper, olive oil, breadcrumbs, Italian seasonings, and cheeses with the rest of the vegetables.
4.  Combine all ingredients and let refrigerate.

5. Time to cut the artichokes. Simply cut the stem of the artichokes off so that they sit flat.
6.Next, lay artichoke on the its side and cut off the first inch of the artichoke top. Then with kitchen scissors, cut the prickly leaf tips off.

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6. Place artichokes in a lage pot filled with water and place on stove with a high tempt.  Wait for water to come to a boil then turn temperature off. This step allows artichokes to loosen up so they will be easier to stuff.

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7. Take artichokes out and place into a cold water ice bath to stop the cooking.
8. Dry off artichokes and carefully open wiggle the artichokes leaves so it will be easier to stuff.
9. Stuff artichokes by starting from the outside. Place about a tablespoon of stuffing on each artichoke leaf, until entire artichoke is stuffed. Add any extra stuffing on top on artichoke and push stuffing down into artichoke so they become more  compact.

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10. Fill a crockpot with an inch of water and carefully place stuffed artichokes in crock pot.
11. Sprinkle parmesan cheese and extra bread crumbs on top of artichokes.
12. Top with a slice of lemon and drizzle olive oil over artichokes.
Let stuffed artichokes cook in crockpot on high overnight and take out when golden brown.
(tip: As water evaporates in crockpot , add an inch of water to allow artichokes to cook properly.)

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Easy Mini Pecan Cinnamon Rolls

Easy Mini Pecan Cinnamon Rolls

“Easy” is an understatement, when it comes to this recipe. If you need a quick and delicious morning snack, this is it. Cinnamon rolls are one of those breakfast foods that I can only indulge in every once and a while.  I decided to make these on a whim after being super indecisive on what I wanted to eat (which is a lot of the time). With some Pillsbury cinnamon rolls in the fridge, I decided to add a bit of a twist.

Easy Mini Pecan Cinnamon Rolls with Caramel sauce. 

What you’ll need:

  • 1 package of Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls
  • 1 cup of crushed Pecans
  • 1cup of Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half
  • 4 Tablespoons Butter
  • A Pinch Of Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract

Here’s How:

  1. Open cinnamon rolls package and unroll each roll. Lay out each roll flat.
  2. Place pieces of crushed pecan sporadicly throughout the roll.
  3. Tie rolls into knots.
  4. Bake at 350°F 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.
  5. Use your favorite caramel recipe, like this one caramel sauce
  6. After sauce is complete, drizzle sauce and a few more pecans on top of each roll.
  7. Then enjoy!