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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Mexican Roasted Sweet Potoatoes

We recently had a Costco built very very close to our house. So close that it didn't make sense not to have a membership simply for reasons of proximity :) Having shopped there the past year I feel like I have learned a big lesson for my little family of 3. Less is more! So many times I have picked up produce or packages of food and thought "We, two adults and a 1 1/2 year old, wont have any trouble eating all of this food before it goes bad" Wrong! Oh the money I have wasted, but oh the lessons I have learned. 
So when I ventured to Costco last month I thought nothing of buying a large bag of potatoes. After all potatoes last in a dark cool place for like forever...right! Wrong again! At least for me that is. I kept my hefty bag of potatoes in the garage to store and noticed one day that they had started to sprout through the bag! Holy cow, I hadn't even gone through half the bag!!! What was I going to do with all of these potatoes? I was determined not to have them end up in the trash with all of my other failed purchases. That's when Mexican roasted sweet potatoes came to be. They turned out to be so good that we had them all week and even invited family over to enjoy them with us.

Mexican Roasted Sweet Potatoes

8 medium sweet potatoes, diced (I used half sweet and have russet)
1/3 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons fresh oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt plus more for sprinkling on top before roasting
black pepper to taste
3 garlic cloves
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 heaping tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 lime, juiced

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Combine all of the ingredients except the potatoes and lime into a jar or in a deep bowl and mix thoroughly. Toss your potatoes in a bowl with the oil mixture and then transfer to a foil lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Roast the potatoes for 40 minutes, until they are browned on the edges and fork tender. Remove from oven and sprinkle with lime juice. Test for additional salt or pepper and serve warm.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Vietnamese Fried Quinoa with Shrimp

This recipe is a little play on Vietnamese rice. I used quinoa instead of rice and added some yummy shrimp. This dish is so great because you can add or subtract so many elements to make it something that your family will really enjoy. Instead of shrimp you can add chicken or even pork. And if you have some picky eaters in your house who wont come near cabbage with a  ten foot pole you can always substitute snap peas or broccoli. There are a million possibilities. 
I didn't even miss having traditional rice in this dish. The quinoa compliments all of the ingredients very well and added a nice variation. In fact when I platted dinner for my husband and myself, Ben looked at his bowl and said "oh wow, this looks like something I'm gone like!" Its safe to say that after we licked our bowls clean that it was indeed a dish that both of us like very much.

Vietnamese Fried Quinoa and Shrimp

1 lb shrimp
3 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame seed oil
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
2 cups quinoa
3 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken broth 
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon hot red pepper sauce
4 large eggs or 7 large egg whites
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 bunch green onions, trimmed and chopped 
5 cloves garlic, chopped
2 1/2 cups shredded cabbage
4 carrots, chopped
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Place your shrimp into a large zip lock baggie along with the soy sauce, sesame seed oil, vinegar and ginger. Let marinate at least 30 minutes in fridge or longer. Place rinsed quinoa into a pot with vegetable or chicken broth and bring to a boil. Once a boil is reached turn the heat down to a simmer and cover with a lid for around 15 minutes or until all of the liquid is absorbed; set aside. Combine soy sauce, sugar and hot sauce in a small bowl and set aside. Mix together eggs with 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Heat cast iron skillet or wok over heat and add two tablespoons of oil and half of the onions. Pour in the eggs and cook swirling the eggs as you stir intermittently, until they have set, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a platter and set aside. Add your marinated shrimp and juice to hot pan and cook until pink and cooked; set aside. Add 2 tablespoons of oil to pan and add remaining onions and garlic. Cook stirring for a few seconds. Add cabbage and carrots and cook, stirring for about 3 minutes. Transfer to a platter. Add remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan and add cooked quinoa. Stir for a few seconds and add soy sauce mixture. Add eggs, vegetables and shrimp. Before serving toss in fresh cilantro. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Biscoff Oatmeal Cookies

Lucky for me I am related to the ever so talented +Maria Lichty from Two Peas & Their Pod. She happens to be my sister in law and an incredible cook and baker extraordinaire! She specializes in creating recipes that are simple, fresh, and family friendly...and I might add delicious!! One of my families favorite recipes that she came up with are her Biscoff Oatmeal Cookies. Holy cow people these are addicting. I have made two batches in a 1 1/2 days time and I have nothing to show for it except an empty cookie container. 
There is nothing quite like the flavor of Biscoff Spread and if you have not had the fortunate opportunity of tasting it then I highly recommend you making a trip to your local grocery store immediately so you can cross this one off of your to do list. Though it has the same consistency of peanut butter, it is not made with nuts nor does it taste like peanut butter, but can actually be found on the same isle right next to your favorite peanut butter spread. So go ahead, make a batch and I dare you not to finish the batch before the day is done!

Biscoff Oatmeal Cookies

1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
1/2 cup all purpose flour, plus 2 tablespoons
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter at room temperature
1/2 cup Biscoff Spread
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat. In a medium bowl, whisk together the oats, flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the butter, Biscoff Spread, sugar, and brown sugar and beat on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat until smooth. Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly add the dry ingredients, beating only until blended. Chill the dough 30 minutes in the refrigerator. Form the cookie dough into rounded tablespoons and place them 2 inches apart on the baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until cookies are golden and just firm around the edges. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes and then remove with a spatula onto a cooling rack. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Pesto Bacon Grilled Cheese

Talk about a comforting sandwich! Good bread smothered with pesto, topped with bacon and wrapped up in a warm cheese blanket...say no more! In fact while making these for dinner I decided to whip out a couple extra just so that we would have some to eat for lunch the next couple of days. And boy am I glad I did, because one sandwich for dinner was not going to be enough for me! I needed to know that I had another one of these delicious indulgences waiting for me the next day!

Pesto Bacon Grilled Cheese

sandwich bread, I used sourdough
homemade or premade pesto
bacon, 3 large slices per sandwich
grated mozzarella cheese

Cook your bacon until golden and slightly crisp, set aside on a paper towel to drain while you prepare your sandwiches. Lightly spread butter on the outside pieces of your bread. On each of the unbuttered sides of your bread slather a nice helping of pesto. Place a layer of mozzarella cheese down over the pesto, then 3 pieces of bacon on top of the cheese.  Top with an additional layer of grated mozzarella. Place your remaining piece of bread over the cheese with the buttered side up. Heat a large pan over medium heat and cook your sandwich until a gold crust forms on the bread. Turn and repeat on the other side. Serve and enjoy!
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