Movin’ On Over

Call me crazy, but I have at long last decided to move my recipes to my main site, Dom And Lori.  It’s my little way of trying to keep everything simple.  I won’t be updating to this particular blog anymore, so feel free to come on over to DomAndLori.net and check out what all we have going on.  I promise it will be fun.  ;)

The Most Fantabulous Shrimp-n-Grits

(Adapted from AllRecipes.com)

1 cup water

1 pinch salt

6 tablespoons grits

2 tablespoons olive oil (or better, vegetable broth.  I use mushroom broth – yum!)

2 tablespoons diced onion

2 tablespoons diced green bell pepper

20 medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

1/4 cup white wine

1 cup heavy whipping cream

2 fistfuls of fresh spinach

salt and ground black pepper to taste

Bring water and a pinch of salt to a boil in a saucepan and slowly mix in the grits, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low and simmer grits until tender and smooth, about 20 minutes.  Recite lines from My Cousin Vinny, i.e.: “No self-respectin’ Southerner uses instant grits!” (For Pete’s sake, don’t tell anybody if you DO use instant grits!) Stir often. Set aside and keep warm.

Heat broth (of your choosing) in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  (Here’s the Purpose Driven Mom coming out in me:  you don’t want to sauté with olive oil because it cannot withstand high heat and will release harmful free radicals as it cooks.  Okay, rant over…)  As you’re sautéing, add a few more drops of broth as needed if you feel it’s evaporating out too fast.

Stir in onion and green bell pepper and cook until onion is translucent, about 4 minutes. Lightly stir the shrimp with the vegetables and broth until pink; remove shrimp from pan and set aside.

Pour white wine into the skillet and stir, dissolving any browned bits of food in the bottom of the skillet; slowly add the cream and stir gently.  Reduce heat to low and simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper, then add fresh spinach and stir until it’s just a little wilted.

Gently combine the sauce with the grits and ladle onto plates.  Top with shrimp and serve.  Become somebody’s favorite chef ever.

The first time I made this, I didn’t have enough grits on hand and was afraid the meal would be lame.  So I made sweet biscuits and served the shrimp and grits over them.  Oh.  My. Goodness.

(If I can ever figure out why my biscuit recipe is so wonky – and fix it – I’ll share it with you.  Until then, I don’t want you to bake them up and be like, “Um, Lori?…what’s with this freaky biscuit batter??!!”  But they taste incredible, so I promise to share someday…)

I also use the same sauce with pasta (like this delicious organic spinach and cheese ravioli that I found at Target.)  It’s a win!

Geek Tweaks

I’m using a new theme with my site (don’t you just lovvvvve the iced tea backdrop?!!) so don’t be shocked if you are the one person who visits every day and this isn’t what you’re used to seeing.  It’s still me.

I am debating, though, on whether to throw my recipes onto one of my other sites so that I don’t feel such a disconnect with this one.  I could easily incorporate them into my other blogs – just not sure if that’s what I want to do.

So excuse me while I geek out over themes and databases.  In the meantime, I do finally have some new recipes to share.  They will be up tomorrow, I promise.  :)

THE BEST Vanilla Ice Cream

Are y’all ready for this?…

June’s issue of Southern Living magazine had a remarkable page dedicated to guilt-free but seriously delish ice cream.  I couldn’t wait to try it.  I have made the batter three times, and finished the ice cream twice.  Mechanical malfunctions (and my resulting hissy-fit) caused the first batch to go unmade.  But when I did finally borrow an ice-cream maker from Jill in order to make some birthday celebrations at work just a little bit sweeter, I was so incredibly glad that I had this recipe.  It. Is. Tha. Bomb. 

(Confession: I don’t typically go around calling things “tha bomb.”  It’s really not my style.  But the context totally fits here.  I just have to say that typing that phrase makes me think I will somehow end up on the FBI’s watchlist or something.  So, if that ever comes to fruition: Hi, Fellas.  Please enjoy some ice cream. ;) )

Southern Living calls this “Lightened Vanilla Bean Ice Cream.”  I call it frozen heaven.

1/2 c.  granular sweetener for ice cream*
2 T cornstarch
1/8 t salt
2 c reduced-fat 2% milk
1 c half-and-half
1 egg yolk**
1 1/2 t vanilla bean paste or extract***

Whisk together first 3 ingredients in a large heavy saucepan.  Gradually whisk in milk and half-and-half.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly about 8-10 minutes or until slightly thickened.  Remove from heat.

Whisk egg yolk separately until slightly thickened.  Gradually whisk about 1 cup of the hot cream mixture into the yolk.  This will keep the egg from cooking too fast and creating large lumps.  Add the yolk mixture to remaining cream mixture, whisking constantly.  Whisk in vanilla.

Pour mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl, discarding any solids.  Cool one hour, stirring occasionally.  Place plastic wrap directly on cream mixture and chill 8-24 hours.

Pour mixture into freezer container of 1 1/2 quart electric ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions.  Let stand at room temperature 5-10 minutes before serving.****

Calories per 1/2 cup: 92; Fat 5g (Sat 3g); Protein 3g; Carb 18g; Fiber 0g; Cholesterol 42mg; Iron 0mg; Sodium 76mg; Calcium 106mg

*I totaly use my table sugar in this recipe, which happens to be Florida Crystals Organic Cane Sugar.  It works beautifully.

**Two ice-cream batches later I finally realized this said 1 egg yolk.  I had used the whole egg both times.  Sure, “oops!” but it turned out fine.

***Vanilla Bean Paste.  I had no clue what this was, but I found it in the gourmet section of Amazon.com.  I think this adds better flavor than extract would, but I could be wrong.  It does add that nice vanilla bean speckled look.

****I dunno.  I don’t think I would let it sit out for 10 minutes.  Just sayin’.

 

Spinach Watermelon Salad

I found this recipe in a calorie counter app and am dying to try it.  Yes, I am breaking my own rule of ONLY allowing tried-and-true confirmed-AWESOME recipes that I can personally vouch for on this site.  But, I love all the ingredients in this recipe – except the onion - so I think I’m safe.

4 oz feta cheese, crumbled

2 Tbsp mint

1/4 cup balsamic vinaigrette

8 cups watermelon

1  red Onion, medium

1  spinach, baby leaf

Toss all ingredients into a large bowl and serve.

Mediterranean Spinach Sautee

So three nights ago, Dom and I decided we would try our hand at Blackened Salmon (which turned out fine, even if we didn’t know what we were doing.)  I looked around for healthy ingredients to make a quick side dish, and this is what I came up with.

2 T organic chicken broth or vegetable broth
½ cup Organic Kalamata olives, sliced
½ cup Organic sun dried tomatoes in olive oil, chopped
4 cups fresh organic baby spinach

Heat the broth in saucepan and sautee olives with the tomatoes for about 4 minutes.  Add the spinach and sautee just until wilted and serve immediately.  Makes roughly 3 servings.

Chicken, Mushroom, and Wild Rice Soup

This is THE BEST home-cooked chicken and rice soup.  I was amazed at how awesome it is! It makes a lot (14 cups) so plan to share.  ;)  You will use a lot of pans in making this, but it is sooooo worth it. 

2 (6-oz) packages long grain and wild rice mix
10 cups chicken broth, divided
3 Tbsp butter
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms (I use organic baby bella)
1 cup chopped fresh onion
1 cup chopped celery
¼ cup butter
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup half-and-half
2 T dry white wine
2 cups cooked shredded chicken breasts (I used one of the grocery store rotisserie chickens to save time in a pinch)

Bring rice, 4 cups chicken broth, and 1 seasoning packet from rice mix to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat.  Cover, reduce to low and simmer for 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender. 

Meanwhile, melt 3 T butter in large skillet over meium heat; add mushrooms, onion and celery and cook, stirring often, 10-12 minutes or until tender.

Melt ¼ cup butter in dutch oven over medium heat; whisk in flour, stirring constantly, 1 minute or until thickened and bubbly.  Gradually whisk in remaining 6 cups broth and cook, stirring often, 8-10 minutes or until slightly thinckened.  Whisk in wine and half and half.  Stir in mushroom mixture, chicken and rice.  Cook, stirring occasionally, 5-10 minutes or until thoroughly heated.  (Do not boil.)

Overnight French Toast

This recipe originally came from the first Stoneware Sensations cookbook by The Pampered Chef. It’s one of the recipes I fell in love with a decade ago.  Recently, I added the strawberry sauce and made it even more spectacular.  The ease of making it the night before means it’s a great weekday breakfast too! (This recipe can be easily halved to make just four servings.)

1 loaf french bread
6 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
4 T granulated sugar, divided
1 t vanilla
1/8 t salt
¼-½  t ground cinnamon (optional, to taste)
1 cup sliced strawberries
2 T granulated sugar
1/2 cup + 2 T heavy whipping cream, divided
1 banana, sliced 

Arrange the French bread slices (cut side down) in a 9×13 baking dish. Combine the eggs and next five ingredients; blend well and pour over the bread slices.  Cover with foil and refrigerate 1 hour or overnight.

Slice fresh strawberries and sprinkle with granulated sugar.  Cover and chill overnight.

The next morning, preheat oven to 400.  Bake the bread uncovered for 30 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove to cool and sprinkle with powdered sugar. 

Put strawberries (with the juice made by the sugar) in a small saucepan and simmer about 3 minutes.  Remove strawberries from the juice and set them aside.  Add ½ cup whipping cream to strawberry juice and whisk until boiling.  Pour into a glass container, add 2T more whipping cream and beat on high about 2 minutes.  It will thicken only slightly, but this is fine.

Arrange a serving of French toast slices on plate and drizzle with strawberry sauce.  Spoon sliced strawberries and sliced bananas on top and enjoy!!

Completely Incredible Fruit-of-Your-Choice Muffins

These are from the March issue of Southern Living magazine.  I tried some variations and have determined that you can use just about any fruit that suits you, and these muffins will still rock!  We like the original peach best, but I made them with blueberries the second time and was just as happy.

Streusel:
½ c chopped pecans or walnuts
1/3 c firmly packed brown sugar
¼ c all-purpose flour
2 T melted butter
1 t ground cinnamon

 Muffins:
1 ½ c allpurpose flour
½ c granulated sugar
2 t baking powder
1 t ground cinnamon
¼ t salt
½ c butter, melted (1 stick)
¼ milk
1 large egg
1 cup frozen sliced peaches, thawed and diced OR blueberries/strawberries/pear/whatever you want!
12 paper baking cups
Vegetable cooking spray

Prepare Streusel by stirring pecans and next 4 ingredients until crumbly; set aside.

Preheat oven to 400.  Combine flour and next 4 ingredients (all dry) in a large bowl.  Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients.  Stir together the butter, milk and egg; add to dry ingredients, stirring just until moistened.  Gently stir in fruit.

Place paper baking cups in a muffin tin and lightly spray them with the cooking spray.  Spoon batter into the cups, filling about 2/3 full.  Sprinkle the streusel over the tops.

Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick stuck in the middle comes out clean.  Cool (or not) and enjoy!!

Greek Omelets

2 eggs, beaten
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup chopped onion and bell pepper combination
2 T vegetable broth
1 T diced mushrooms (I use organic baby bella)
fresh spinach leaves, torn (I use about a handful for each omelet.)
1 T chopped tomato
1 T feta cheese (or to taste)
Sliced Kalamata olives (Totally optional.  Sounds good, in theory, but I can’t vouch for it yet.  I’ll be trying this next time.)

Whisk eggs together with salt and pepper; set aside.

Sauté onion and bell pepper in vegetable broth over medium heat until almost tender, about 7 minutes.  Add mushrooms and tomatoes and sauté 2 more minutes. Place beaten eggs in an omelet pan and begin to cook while the shrooms are sautéing.  Toss the spinach into the vegetables and sauté just another minute more while your eggs begin to cook.  Place all vegetable mixture onto one half-side of the eggs.  Sprinkle some feta cheese on top of the veggies and fold the omelet over.  (Good luck!) Turn the entire omelet over once to make sure it’s cooked all the way.  J

VARIATION: Greek Egg Wrap
Use all the same ingredients, but
when the veggies are almost through sautéing after the addition of the shrooms, toss in the spinach and the egg all together and scramble the whole pan.  Spoon the cooked mixture onto a tortilla, add feta cheese, and roll up like a burrito.  Yum!!