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Friday Recipe Exchange: Lots of Kabobs

Kabobs

Happy Labor Day weekend. This will be a quick exchange before I run out the door. Oh, I’m not going anywhere for the weekend, we’re still working on potty training with Bixby. LOL. His latest update is here.

I decided on shish kabobs for the recipe exchange because they are a favorite for large get-togethers. I can prepare them a day ahead and then pop them on the grill when guests arrive. They cook up quick and everyone can get theirs cooked to their idea of perfection. And if you’re lucky and everyone is staying at your house, you can form an assembly line to put them together.

Pictured above is one of my go-to skewers, easy marinade and simple to assemble for a small family dinner or a big get-together. It’s equal parts vegetable oil, soy sauce, lemon juice, and toss in some crushed garlic cloves. Mix together and marinate cubed pieces of steak (sirloin works well) for at least an hour or overnight. I remove the steak pieces from the marinade and then toss the veggies with the marinade quickly before alternating meat, vegetables and pineapple chunks on skewers. The ones above really need some cherry tomatoes, too. Grill over high heat, turning frequently until steak is cooked to desired style.

Some other fun food on a stick:

Fajita Chicken and Vegetable Kabobs can be found here.

Grilled Chicken and Papaya Skewers are here.

Lamb Kabobs recipe is here.

And a variety of other Marinades can be found here, to create any number of skewers to grill.

What’s on your plate for the weekend? Grilling anything tasty?

For tonight’s featured recipe, I thought it would be fun to make sure dessert was included in the mix.

Spicy Fruit Kabobs

You can substitute or add any fresh fruit you’d like in this recipe. 

  • 1 cantaloupe or honeydew melon, seeded
  • 2 pears, cored
  • 2 apples, cored
  • 2 bananas, peeled & quartered
  • 8 wooden skewers, soaked in water
  • ½ cup warmed honey
  • ½ cup warm water
  • ¼ cup limejuice
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded & chopped
  • 1 to 2 tsp chili paste

13×9 glass baking dish, blender

Cut fruit into large chunks, alternate fruit on skewers, ending with banana chunks to hold fruit in place. Place in baking dish. Blend together honey, water, lime, jalapeno & chili paste until smooth. Pour over fruit. Let set during dinner (approximately 30 minutes at room temperature. Grill over low coals 5-7 minutes, basting with marinade. Serve immediately.

Banana Split Kabobs

(serves 4)

  • 12 fresh large strawberries, hulled
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 bananas, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 12 fresh pineapple chunks
  • pound cake, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • chocolate syrup
  • shredded, unsweetened coconut

4 long bamboo skewers, 4 dessert plates

Roll strawberries in sugar, coating lightly. Alternate fruit and cake on the skewers. Place on plates and drizzle with chocolate syrup and garnish with coconut. Serve with additional syrup for dipping if desired.

That’s it for this week. Have a safe and fun holiday weekend.  – TaMara

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Thursday Night Menu: Tropical Nights Edition

Had a little trouble deciding what to post tonight. We’ve been pretty busy at work and we are all a bit tired, when I asked the guys what I should post, ordering pizza instead of cooking won out.

I pulled three different menus before I decided on a little taste of Sanibel Island. I like the fresh flavors in this menu and I really enjoy tuna and swordfish.

The Butter Pecan Turtle Bars are as decadent as they sound, and a breeze to make.

On the board tonight:

  1. Fish Tacos
  2. Black Bean Tropical Salad
  3. Butter Pecan Turtle Bars

Fish Tacos

  • 1 large mango, peeled & chopped
  • ½ large tomato, chopped
  • 1 small cucumber, chopped
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, chopped
  • 2 tbsp limejuice
  • 8 taco size flour tortillas
  • 1 lb halibut, swordfish or tuna, 1” thick
  • ½ tsp Jamaican jerk seasoning
  • 2 cups shredded lettuce

bowl, foil, platter

Combine mango, tomato, cucumber, cilantro, green onion, jalapeno in bowl. Toss with 1 tbsp limejuice and set aside.  Wrap tortillas in foil and warm in the oven or on the grill (keep away from coals) Drizzle remaining limejuice over fish, sprinkle with jerk and grill or broil for 5 to 9 minutes, until fish flakes easily. Cut fish into chunks, fill each tortilla with 1/8 of the fish, fruit mixture and lettuce. Serves 4

Black Bean Tropical Salad

  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 1 avocado, cubed*
  • 1 to 2 jalapeños
  • ½ large tomato, chopped
  • ½ head red leaf lettuce, washed
  • 14 oz can black beans, drained

serving bowl

Seed & slice peppers & jalapenos. Add everything to serving bowl and toss with dressing.

*easiest way to slice an avocado is to cut in half, remove pit, cut cubes with a knife, then scoop out.

Dressing:

  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp limejuice
  • ¼ cup light olive oil
  • ¼ tsp crushed garlic

In jar or mixing cup, mix all ingredients together well.

Butter Pecan Turtle Bars

  • 2 cups unbleached flour
  • ¾ cup brown sugar, packed
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1 ½ cups pecan halves

Topping:

  • ½ cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2/3 cup butter
  • 12 oz milk chocolate chips

well oiled 9×13 baking dish, bowl, saucepan

Combine flour, brown sugar and 1/2 cup butter; blend until crumbly. Pat mixture firmly onto bottom of pan. Sprinkle pecan halves over the unbaked crust.

Topping: In small saucepan, combine brown sugar & butter. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture begins to boil. Boil for one minute, stirring constantly. Drizzle caramel over pecans and crust. Bake at 350° for 18-20 minutes or until caramel layer is bubbly and crust is light brown. Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle with chocolate chips. Spread chips evenly as they melt. Cool completely before cutting.

Shopping List:

  • 1 large mango
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1 small cucumber
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 3 green onions
  • 3 jalapeños
  • 8 taco size flour tortillas
  • 1 lb halibut, swordfish or tuna, 1” thick
  • 1 head red lettuce
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 1 avocado
  • 14 oz can black beans, drained
  • 2 cups unbleached flour
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 sticks of butter
  • 1 ½ cups pecan halves
  • 12 oz milk chocolate chips

Also: lemon juice, limejuice, Jamaican jerk seasoning, light olive oil, crushed garlic

Copyright 2014 What’s 4 Dinner Solutions Cookbook: Summer Edition

Easy As…Upside Down Cake

Slice of cake3This was better than I even imagined. I was craving something intensely blueberry and I had just made the Pineapple Upside Down Cake for a birthday. I decided if it was good enough for pineapple, it was good enough for blueberries. And boy was it. I had to tweak the recipe a bit to complement the blueberry flavor, adding lemon to the mix and I reduced the flour down so the blueberries were not overwhelmed by cake.

Blueberry Upside Down2Blueberry-Lemon Upside Down Cake

  • 8 oz frozen wild blueberries (or enough to completely cover the bottom of an 8×8 baking dish)
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon zest

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  • 1/3 cup shortening (I used butter)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup unbleached flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 tbsp of lemon juice + enough water to make 1/2 cup of liquid.

8×8 glass baking dish and mixing bowl

 Melt 3 tbsp of butter and add to baking dish with sugar, lemon juice and zest.  Mix well.  Spread blueberries evenly over sugar and butter mixture.

In bowl, cream shortening and sugar until fluffy.  Add egg and vanilla, beat until fluffy.  Sift together flour, baking powder and salt, add to creamed mixture.  Add lemon water and zest to batter, mixing well (it will be lumpy) and then pour over blueberries.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 40-45 minutes, until a toothpick test in the cake center comes out clean.  Cool 5 minutes and then invert on a plate.

ETA: click any photo to enlarge and uncompress.

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copyright Whats 4 Dinner Solutions 2014

 

Dinner Menu: Ravioli w/ Rosemary Basil Cream Sauce

A little bit of comfort food (at least Ravioli is in my house) for what has been a very cold and busy week. I make fresh pasta for special occasions – my spinach lasagna being one of them. I have only made fresh ravioli once, and once was enough. Much like making my own steamed dumplings, effort vs. reward is definitely unbalanced. Especially when with a little bit of experimentation, you can find really good fresh or frozen ravioli at a reasonable price. I usually stick with the cheese or cheese & spinach ravioli – most of the meat ones I find taste like mystery meat.

On the board tonight:

  1. Ravioli w/ Rosemary Basil Cream Sauce
  2. Tomato-Zucchini Confetti
  3. Tossed Salad
  4. Sorbet or Gelato

Ravioli w/ Rosemary Basil Cream Sauce

  • 1 cup heavy cream*
  • 1 tsp crushed dried rosemary (or one sprig fresh)
  • 4 – 6 fresh basil leaves, minced
  • 20 oz frozen cheese ravioli
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 3 tbsp green onion tops, chopped
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese

2 saucepans

Combine cream & spices in saucepan, bring to a boil, stirring constantly, reduce heat and simmer until reduces to ½ cup, about 15 minutes. Cook ravioli according to package directions. Drain and return to pan. Add lemon juice, salt, pepper & cream sauce. Toss. Add scallion tops and parmesan.

*You can absolutely substitute whole or non-fat milk for heavy cream and mix well with 1 tbsp flour

Tomato-Zucchini Confetti

  • 1 tbsp + olive oil
  • 2 medium zucchini, cubed
  • 2 medium tomatoes, cubed
  • 4 mushrooms, cubed
  • 4 green onions, chopped (set greens aside for Ravioli)
  • 2 tbsp chicken broth
  • 1/2 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 tsp dried basil, crushed (or 2 tbsp fresh)
  • ½ tsp dried oregano, crushed (or 2 tsp fresh)

skillet

Heat 1 tbsp of oil in skillet, add vegetables and garlic, sauté for 2 minutes, add chicken broth and spices, and simmer vegetables until tender. Remove, toss with olive oil and serve.

Shopping List:

  • Tossed Salad fixins
  • Salad Dressing
  • Sorbet or Gelato
  • 8 oz heavy cream or milk
  • 4 – 6 fresh basil leaves
  • 20 oz frozen cheese ravioli
  • 6 oz parmesan cheese
  • 2 medium zucchini
  • 2 medium tomatoes
  • 4 mushrooms
  • 4 green onions

Also: rosemary, lemon juice, salt, pepper, olive oil, chicken broth, garlic, basil, oregano

Originally posted December 2009

cropped-snowman-on-blue-background.jpg

Thursday Recipe Exchange: Roasted Butternut Squash-Apple Soup

First some housekeeping – there will not be a recipe exchange next Thursday as I will be headed to the beach for some needed R&R.

On to today’s recipes. About this time of year I receive a number of requests for squash and sweet potato soup recipes. I have several:  Chipotle Sweet Potato Soup, Sweet Potato SoupButternut Squash & Leek Soup and Winter Squash Soup (click on each for the recipes).

That brings us to tonight’s featured recipe. The base recipe came to me via an email. I looked over the recipe and thought it needed some punch. The first thing I did was roast the squash to help bring some depth to the dish. I added a little heat and finished with a splash of lemon juice to brighten everything when it was done. I don’t think of it as a stand-alone soup (like my very favorite Tomato-Spinach soup), but I think it would work well as a first course in any meal. I think it would be especially nice at a Thanksgiving table.

Roasted Butternut Squash and Spiced Apple Soup

  • 4 medium butternut squash, halved and seeded
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 large apples – tart works well, but I used my neighbor’s backyard apples which worked great
  • 1 tsp grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 12 cups (3 quarts) water or vegetable broth
  • splash of lemon juice

baking dish, dutch oven or large saucepan

Put about 1/4 inch of water in the baking dish, put squash face down and roast at 375 degrees until it is easy to put a fork through the skin. Turn over and continue roasting until tender and squash are golden brown. About 30-40 minutes. You can turn the heat up after you flip them to brown them, if desired. Remove to cool.

Meanwhile, core and slice apples into about 1 inch pieces. No need to peel or get fancy with the dicing since this is a puréed soup. Melt butter in the saucepan, add apple, onions and sauté until apples are soft and onions are golden. Add spices and coat the apple mixture. Scrape squash from skins and add to the apples, add water or broth. You can use chicken broth, but to keep it vegetarian I used vegetable broth. Let simmer for 30 minutes, purée until smooth, heat an additional 5-10 minutes, adding water if necessary and add a splash of lemon juice just before serving.

You can use a blender or hand blender to purée the mixture. If you use a blender, add a couple of ladles of soup to the blender, cover and blend slowly to start, to keep the mixture from expanding too much. I’ve seen hot liquid blow the lid off…you don’t want that. Blend in small batches. With a hand blender, keep it immersed and again blend slowly, to avoid splattering the hot liquid.

Roasted Green Beans with Sundried Tomatoes and Feta

Continuing with our roasting theme this week, I thought these sounded amazing. I think on the grill would be awesome.

Roasted Green Beans with Sundried Tomatoes and Feta

Serves 4

  • 1 lb green beans, cleaned and trimmed
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • ½ c drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes (rinsed, patted dry, and coarsely chopped)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 oz feta, crumbled

Lightly oiled 13×9 glass baking dish

Toss green beans with 1 tbsp of olive oil and spread in one layer in baking dish. Roast at 450 degree for 10 minutes, stir, roast for additional 10 minutes or until they are tender-crisp.

While green beans are roasting combine 1 tsp olive oil with remaining ingredients. Remove beans from oven and transfer to serving bowl, tossing with cheese-tomato mixture. Serve immediately.

Greek Chicken Wraps

Nothing beats a good Greek restaurant for a nice lunch meal. I am partial to pita sandwiches, but it can be difficult in my area to find good, fresh pita bread.  So tortillas make a good substitute.  In this recipe, you can use spinach or sun-dried tomato wraps to really spark things up.  Regardless these are easy and quite flavorful wraps.  Perfect for a holiday picnic by the lake.

Greek Chicken Wraps

  • 4 boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1” pieces
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp Dijon or stone ground mustard
  • 2 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 tsp dried oregano, crushed
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small cucumber, peeled & chopped
  • 4 oz plain yogurt
  • ¼ tsp dill
  • 2 oz crumbled feta
  • 2 oz sliced black olives (opt)
  • 4 burrito size flour tortillas, spinach tortillas are a fun choice
  • ½ green leaf lettuce, shredded

skillet  & bowl

Mix together chicken, lemon juice, mustard, 1 tsp garlic, oregano & pepper in bowl, coating chicken thoroughly, let sit for 30 minutes. Prepare cucumbers, add yogurt, dill and remaining garlic and mix well. Refrigerate until served. Wrap tortillas in foil and heat in a 350° oven for 10 minutes, turn oven off and let them stay warm until served. Heat oil in skillet on medium-high and add chicken and marinade. Cook until chicken is cooked through, about 5 to 8 minutes. To serve, add chicken mixture, yogurt mixture, feta, olives and lettuce to each tortilla and roll up. Use any remaining yogurt mixture to dip tortillas in.

Mmm…Roast Chicken

Slathered the bird with a butter/EVOO garlic herb sauce, under the skin and on it.  Roasted the bird on a bed of dressing.  I thought it a fair idea but the chicken grease (and all that butter and oil) turned it into a greasy slop.  I put the dressing under the broiler for a while to try to crisp the top some and that helped a little.  I managed to eat a spoonful without gagging.  The chicken was great!

Roasted some cauliflower while the chicken rested and made a lemony butter sauce (beurre blanc) that worked very well on the veggies and on the chicken.

Enjoy!

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Zucchini-Avocado Salad

This is the time of year I start wanting fresh vegetables from the produce department and knowing my choices are limited where I live.  But usually you can get fairly decent zucchini (choose small, thin ones for best flavor) and avocados (though you may have to ripen them in a paper bag – add a banana to speed the ripening along).   A nice light, fresh side to any dinner.  I’m thinking with fish.  I’ll post a nice fish recipe later this week.

Zucchini-Avocado Salad

  • 2-3 small zucchini, sliced
  • 8 green onions, sliced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • ½ green pepper, julienned
  • 4 oz can green chilies, drained
  • green lettuce leaves
  • Oil & vinegar dressing (bottled, or make your own: 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 tbsp red wine vinegar, dash of lemon juice, salt & pepper)

bowl, serving bowl, skillet

Heat oil and sauté onions & zucchini, about 3 minutes. Remove to bowl and refrigerate. Cut avocado in half, remove pit and cube, don’t pierce skin. Use a spoon to scoop out avocado, add to serving bowl, toss with lemon juice, add green peppers and green chilies,  add zucchini mixture and toss everything with dressing. Serve on lettuce leaves.

Mmm…Apple Tarts

I saw some little pie tins while browsing through the Amazon specialty baking gear section and thought they would be perfect for individual turkey pot pies. I have fond memories of those frozen chicken pot pies-the ones that go straight to the oven from the freezer.  Yeah, those, you know what I’m talking about.

Well, I ordered them but we ran out of turkey before they came.  Mrs J reminded me that we have some apples that have been sitting around for a few days and they would be perfect filling for some little fruit pies.  Full speed ahead!  Mrs J put these together, I can’t link to a recipe because she really just winged it.  The crust is the old familiar Alton Brown recipe that has been working great for various pies lately.  She used a couple of Granny Smiths, and a couple of Galas.  There is brown sugar, lemon juice, raisins, butter, and flour involved.  She went with a crumble topping-flour, butter, and brown sugar.  I’ll bet she will read comments and answer any questions you are surely left with.

Enjoy!

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Enjoy!

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