Monday, July 22, 2013

Anything Can Be an Egg Roll - Steak and Cheese

My previous post, anything can and will be an egg roll in our house, was just too good to not share our second egg roll adventure.

We had so many egg roll wrappers left from the shrimp rendition of the rolls - we did not want them to go to waste. We just so happened to have a left over rib-eye in the fridge ... so .... steak and cheese egg rolls anyone?!

We sliced the steak really thin, mixed the steak with some sauteed onions and peppers, then adding a handful of cheese to create the melty goodness - who isn't drooling yet?!

For dipping - you could use the chipotle sauce we made for the shrimp egg rolls, or you can do what I did, and dip it in mayo and ketchup, just like a good ol' steak and cheese.

Thinly sliced peppers and onions being sauteed up
Thinly sliced left over rib-eye steak
Assembling the roll - Step 1 - add the steak
Assembling the roll - Step 2 - add the peppers and onions
Assembling the roll - Step 3 - add the cheese
Assembling the roll - Step 4 - begin the rolling
Assembling the roll - Step 5 - create the perfect egg roll
Assembling the roll - Step 6 - assembled and stacked, ready for frying

Until next time.... Enjoy :o)

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Anything Can Be An Egg Roll - Shrimp Tacos

That's right . . . Anything can be an egg roll! A bold statement, but let me explain!

We are big fans of deep frying things - mostly because it tastes AWESOME, but also because its fun, you can be creative, and almost anything can be deep-fried (I said almost anything . . .)...

Driving home from our favorite beach the other weekend, we had the brilliant idea to turn Mike's famous shrimp tacos into an EGG ROLL. I know, I know, it sounds crazy! Turns out . . . it was an amazing idea!

We went and bought the egg roll wrappers, something that can be found in the produce section of any grocery store, and got to work.

We cooked the shrimp, made the slaw, created the chipotle aoli, (all just like regular shrimp tacos) and formed us some delicious shrimp taco-rolls.

Here is the step by step on how we made them. For the recipes, refer back to my shrimp taco post a few weeks back!

Season and cooked shrimp, diced up for the main filling
Top the shrimp with the light lime and cilantro slaw
Dip it in some chipotle sauce and you have a delicious meal on your hands!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Cheesecake - Sugar Free / Low Carb Deliciousness

I have mentioned in a few blog posts that we are trying to be as low-carb as possible during the week (and sometimes on the weekends, depending on what we have planned). 

So, to curb our sweet tooth - we discovered this AMAZING low-carb cheesecake recipe from the Food Network website. 

I dont just say this about anything - but this cheescake tastes exactly like a real cheesecake and its almost entirely carb free! How is that for healthy eating?!

Here is the full recipe from Food Network's website:

Low Carb New York Ricotta Cheesecake

Prep Time:30 min
Inactive Prep Time:8 hr 0 min
Cook Time:1 hr 45 min
Serves12 servings

24 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup extra-fine whole milk ricotta cheese (to refine, process in a food processor for 1 minute)
1/2 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups sugar substitute (recommended: Splenda)
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon no sugar added vanilla extract
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 eggs
3 egg yolks
Special Equipment: 1 (8-inch) springform cake pan

Directions:Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Spray the springform pan with nonstick vegetable oil cooking spray. Set aside. In a shallow roasting pan big enough to fit the cake pan, pour about 1-inch of water and place it on the center rack of the oven to preheat.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat softened cream cheese, ricotta, sour cream and sugar substitute on low speed for about 1 minute until well blended.

In a separate bowl, using a wire whisk, mix heavy cream, vanilla, lemon juice, eggs, and egg yolks until blended.

Turn the mixer on medium speed, and slowly pour the egg mixture into the cream cheese mixture. Beat just until blended and then turn off; be careful not to over-whip.

Pour batter into the greased springform pan. Place pan into the heated water bath. Bake for 15 minutes, and then lower the oven temperature to 275 degrees F. Continue baking for 1 1/2 hours, or until top is light golden brown and cake is pulling away from the sides of the pan. Turn the oven off when finished cooking and leave the cake in the oven to cool for 3 more hours. (This will keep the cake nice and tall.) Then remove cake and refrigerate before serving. Serve chilled.

**Link for reference -**

When we make this recipe - we always reduce down some berries (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries) and sweeten them a little with splenda. We also usually make a quick homemade whipped cream, again, sweetened with splenda!

What is your favorite low carb or sugar free dessert recipe? Does it taste as good as the "real thing"? 

Until next time ... Enjoy!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Best Bloody Mary You Have Ever Seen

A Saturday morning earlier this year we went to a restaurant in Downtown Bethesda called Mussel Bar.

The food itself deserves an entire blog posts - their Thai curry mussels may be the best thing on the PLANET.

But since I have no pictures of the mussels - I just wanted to show you all their Bloody Mary  It was so good, so delicious, so colorful and you could not fit one more thing on top of the glass if you wanted to.

Spicy, tart, vodka-licious, and colorful is all we are looking for in Bloody Mary's - and this one really fit the bill.

Head down to Mussel Bar if you live in the DC area - I promise you it will NOT be disappointed in the food or the drinks!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Weeknight Cooking - Shrimp Tacos

As promised many months ago - I said I would have Mike eventually do a guest post on his famous shrimp tacos.

Well, I got inpatient and this post is long overdue - so consider this his guest blog post since he is sitting right next to me as I am writing this, telling me what to say, picking the pictrues and critiquing/giving input as I explain the details.

Shrimp tacos is one of those dinners we have been working on/trying to master for the last few years. Mike cooks it at home during the week, on vacation at the beach, for Christmas Eve apps, or really any time that we are craving a light, easy, delicious meal.

Here are the basic components:
- Shrimp baked in an awesome seasoning
- Light, lime cilantro slaw
- Chipotle aioli/mayo/sour cream
- Mexican Cheese
- Tortillas

For the baked shrimp - lay the shrimp out evenly on a baking sheet. drizzle with olive oil or vegetable oil. season on both sides with salt, pepper, and a spicy - cayenne pepper, Cajun seasoning, chipotle chili powder, or any seasoning that you are in the mood for with your tacos! Bake at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes, or until perfectly done.

For the slaw - combine a package of slaw mix (shredded cabbage and carrots) with a few tablespoons of chopped cilantro, a few spoonfuls of mayo or sour cream, the juice of 1-2 limes and salt/pepper. I realize this isn't exact or even really a recipe that you can follow - so if you need a recipe, Mike makes it loosely based off of this - (without the sugar and exchanging the olive oil for mayo or sour cream)

For the chipoltle aioli - this again, has changed every so slightly each time we have made it. Sometimes he just mixes some pureed chipotle peppers with sour cream or mayo and serves it that way - but a lot of the time he makes a real aioli mixed with chipotle puree to top off the tacos with a bit of spicy deliciousness. 

Here is a great recipe for Chipotle Mayo:
1 cup mayo
2 chipotles in adobo sauce
1/2 lime juice
salt and pepper to taste
Directions: Blend all ingredients together with immersion blender or food processor (or puree the chipotles ahead of time and just stir it all together).

Top the taco's with some Mexican cheese or cheddar cheese if that is all you have. Serve in a tortilla and enjoy!

As I am sure you noticed - these do not have a tortilla. Mike and I were doing pretty serious no-carbing over the last few months and we have been trying to enjoy all food just as it normally would be, without the bread. But trust me - it is better with the tortilla!

All these ideas and suggestions are designed to give you some creative juice to fuel your weeknight cooking creativity and variety. Baked shrimp tacos can be changed around, altered and adjusted in so many ways depending on what you are in the mood for and what ingredients you have on hand.

Until next time... Enjoy :o)

Monday, May 20, 2013

Has it really been almost 2 months?!

I can't believe it has been almost two months since I last blogged - as always, I am so sorry!

Life has been really busy. But here is a sneak peak of some of the posts that are coming soon!

Macaroons 101 - sort of - I almost have them figured out!

Many trips and adventures involving food, drinks and great people (AKA Foodcations, duh)!


Cheers to many posts to come!

How are all of my favorite blog readers? I hope you have not given up on me yet!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Food Truck Series - StiX

Why do I keep waiting months between post? I am not sure. I do not really have an excuse except for being busy, but I am pretty sure that is everyone's excuse for everything. So, just know that I am sorry, and will try my best to blog as often as possible.

This post is long overdue because this particular food truck, StiX, has come to my office many times by now and I have not passed up eating their fantastic food yet.

For about $10 you get 1 meat and 2 sides - all of which is on a stick! How fun is that, right?! The meats are juicy and delicious and EXTREMELY well seasoned/flavored. The sides are juicy and amazing as well - they have sides like tomatoe and motzerella, grilled pineapple, grilled potatoes with garlic aioli, YUM! AND for $12 you can get a surf and turf (steakORchicken and shrimp with 1 side) - yes, this is food truck, not a 5 star restaurant, so awesome, I know... This is why I am here, to enlighten you of these types of things... :o)

They serve everything in a cone type fashion, so its easy to eat on the go in DC while walking around trying all your favorite food trucks. Oh, and they have cupcake pops for dessert!! I KNOW!!

This is by far one of my favorite food trucks to date (not to mention is so unique and fun) - I recommend to anyone in the DC are that can get their hands on some Stix!

The pictures that I managed to take are all food I ate of several different peoples orders, and those that took them off the stick should be ashamed! They aren't the best pictures in the world this time around, but I painted a pretty good visual so far, so just assume I had better lightening and a better camera, then it will look as good to you as it tasted to me.

Grilled Pinneapple on a Stick!
Butter Garlic Shrimp on a Stick!

Bread comes with every order - tomato side - potato side - on a stick!
Sweet and spicy NY strip steak on a stick!

Until next time... Enjoy...

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Cheerwine Glazed Wings

Cheerwine Glazed Wings

This months issue of Food Network Magazine came with a fold out featuring 50 different ways you can make wings. We were flipping through it, since we happened to have some wings on hand, and found a breading-free (we are trying to be healthy this month), baked, cola glazed wing recipe! How fun is that, right?! 

We had Diet Cheerwine on hand, a perfect match for the "cola" ingredient.

Note: You could make these wings with any kind/brand/flavor of Cola. We just LOVE Cheerwine (as you all should too) and since we are doing "carb/sugar free" so we only have sugar free stuff around.

Baked Wings Instructions:
Spread 3 pounds of raw defrosted wings (split at the joints and tips removed) on 2 oil rimmed baking sheets. Season with salt and pepper, drizzle with cooking oil. Roast at 425 degrees for 35 minutes. Pull wings out of oven, cool for about 10 minutes, coat/toss in the Cheerwine glaze. Put the wings back on the baking sheets, return to oven for another 10 minutes of cooking, allowing the sauce to bake onto the wings perfectly.

Cheerwine Glaze Instructions and Ingredients:
Boil 1 can of Diet Cheerwine (or other cola), 1 cup of ketchup (reduced sugar ketchup, if you really want it with less sugar), 1/2 cup of cider vinegar, and 2 tablespoons of pureed chipotles in abodo sauce (message me if you need more info on this ingredient). Vigorously simmer until reduced to 1 cup of glaze. It will thicken up quite a bit and be awesome for coating the wings.

Glaze simmering, instructions by my side
Wings being tossed in the glaze
Last 10 minutes of baking with glaze on the wings
Final product - Cheerwine Glazed Wings with Ranch!

How do you prepare your wings? Do you have a favorite way to cook them? A favorite sauce, glaze, or rub? Do you prefer blue-cheese or ranch with your wings?

Until next time... Enjoy!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Turkey Perfection!

For the last 4-5 Thanksgiving, I have cooked a turkey. My own turkey. I have learned a lot, never really failed, but definitely made some mistakes each year. But most importantly, I learned that cooking a turkey is not hard at all!!

This year we went to Mike's family's house for Thanksgiving, which meant I was going to have no opportunity to cook my own turkey. So, per usual, I created my own scenario to make a turkey. I had my team at work do a Thanksgiving potluck and I, of course, brought the turkey! 

Here is what I do with my turkey to make it as good as I possibly can:

1. Put it in the pan like I did below (see pictures of perfect turkey placement). Follow the directions that come with the turkey on this one. No funny business.

2. RUB THE TURKEY - With anything, I don't care what - salt and pepper, Italian seasoning, spicy BBQ rub, Cajun seasoning, ANYTHING. Just rub it. Ok? Just using butter will NOT cut it.

3. Get the rub in, under, and around the skin.

4. Baste the heck out of it with melted butter or oil. (do this several times while its cooking)

5. Fill the gut with aromatics - Onions, parsley, rosemary, celery, carrots, apples, anything that seems good. I always put a little chicken broth cube in there as well to add some flavor and sodium.

6. Follow the cooking directions to a T. Timing is important to not dry out the Turkey, so don't mess with what is suggests based on weight - those Butterball people know what the are talking about.

7. EAT THE TURKEY LEGS. They are the best part. 

Rub and instructions for my Turkey
Turkey all rubbed and filled
See how much I crammed in there? Apples, onions, and herbs this time!
Done! Crispy! Golden! Juicy! Amazing!
Look at the golden-ness! 
Turkey leg!!!!
What about you all? Do you have any turkey secrets that you use? Any special ingredients or hints that takes your turkey to the next level??

Cooking a turkey should not be intimidating  scary, or a huge burden. It is actually fairly easy, just follow the directions, and enjoy it! I cooked my first turkey in my 4 bedroom apartment when I was a Junior in college for 15 people and it was a huge success. If college Emilee can do it... anyone can do it...

Until next time... Enjoy :o)