You Are My Sunshine

Natures Botanical Gardens, Spring Hill, Florida. Photo courtesy of Jen Carter Photography.

My Only Sunshine

Natures Botanical Gardens, Spring Hill, Florida. Photo courtesy of Jen Carter Photography.

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25 February, 2013

Easy Peasy Super Awesome Chicken Salad

Chicken Salad is one of those things I had no idea I liked - until a few weeks ago when my boss told me I would. I happen to work for a local office where the head of the office is also an amazing cook! After two years there I've pretty much come to the point where every now again I'll say "can you order it how you get it?" Or "what should I get". She never fails - it's always delicious. AND, she makes some of the most amazing sandwiches, and THE BEST tuna fish I've EVER had.

We order regularly from a local place that had some Chicken Salad Club Sandwiches that are TO DIE for. Toasted bread, lettuce, cheese, chicken salad - and we add hard boiled egg to them - because my boss said to - and again, it makes them even better.

Chicken salad doesn't SEEM very complicated. Of course, this is me - I could complicate the simplest of things and make them sound like brain surgery. So, to the "Eat, Love, Live....Repeat" official Facebook page we go for suggestions - which I got several!

Mom swooped in at the last minute with some additives suggested by my Auntie who happens to be one amazing cook. With that, off to Walmart I go.....

Here's what I used:

* breast of a rotisserie chicken
* mayo
* shredded carrots
* finely chopped celery
* sweet relish
* chopped jalapeƱos, I bought the already chopped ones in the pickle aisle
* salt and pepper

I measured nothing, just put a bit in at a time until I got it how I wanted it. Them I toasted some whole wheat bread, put a slice of American cheese on there and voila!! Just for the record, my jalapeƱos didn't make it spicy at all.

So there we go, one more cooking (or mixing in this case) accomplishment. I could get really used to this Suzy homemaker routine!

Enjoy!

Don't forget to check me out on Facebook and give a like, and as always, comments and suggestions are welcome!

Red
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23 February, 2013

Stir-Fried Sriracha Shrimp.... with what else!? RICE, of course!

Whew! Today was ONE. BUSY. DAY! I'm so GLAD it's over, well, sorta... We are nightowls in my house when Grace is gone for the weekend. Needless to say, there's nothing to do now, except all the things we can't run around and do - like laundry, and floors, and cleaning the kitchen (which, thank the Good Lord, is already done).

I have to add in here that my car has seriously been on it's last leg. I thoroughly debated on putting full insurance on it and setting it on fire, but since my life tends to run by "Murphy's Law", my husband was kind enough to go get a few parts and fix it for me this afternoon. I now have a new appreciation for things I previously took for granted - like power steering, and being able to turn my car off, then turn it right back on. I feel like I'm driving a Cadillac!

Can I just add to this that my husband got me a Coach purse today too!? I should put in here that when it comes to stuff like this, I buy everything second hand. So, we lucked out on this at one of our stops - brand new, complete with box and dust bag. I've been looking for one of these for forever, and I call this one destiny!

YYYYAAAAAYYYY!!!!
Okay, okay, enough of this and on to dinner!

I'm still on my quest to get away from chicken, so tonight was another shrimp recipe. I still had shrimp left from the Cheesecake Factory Cajun Jambalaya, so tonight we used that AND another bag of the frozen shrimp I picked up at Walmart for $5.00 each. It REALLY made this a super quick meal! Recipe follows:

STIR-FRIED SRIRACHA SHRIMPS

Spicy with a hint of Asian barbecue.
Ingredients:
1 pound medium-size shrimps (heads removed and peeled)
1 Tablespoon Sriracha
1 Tablespoon Oyster Sauce
Salt and Pepper
2 Tablespoons butter
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup green onions, thinly sliced
1 Jamaican long pepper, chopped fine
Procedure:
1. Marinate shrimps in sriracha, oyster sauce, salt and pepper for 5-10 minutes.

2. Place wok or skillet over medium-high heat, melt butter then saute garlic until softened and fragrant (1 minute).
3. Add the Jamaican long pepper and green onion and saute aromatics for another minute.
4. Add the shrimps into the sauteed aromatics and toss or “stir-fry”. Cook for no longer than 2 minutes or until shrimps curl-up (shrimps can overcook in a matter of seconds).
5. Serve with steamed rice or toasted baguette slices.

Makes 2-3 servings
I gotta say, this was NOT my favorite. It WASN'T bad. It just wasn't my favorite. It was good, we BOTH cleaned our plates, I just don't know if I would rush to make it again. My husband says it's because it didn't have a "sauce". Yes, I'm a sauce person. The shrimp was great, the rice was just rice. However, my husband enjoyed it and had no complaints. 
I wound up adding some extra Sriracha and some soy sauce, and it seemed to make enough sauce so that I could refrain from complaining. 
Another note: I didn't have the "Jamaican Long Pepper". I googled it and according to the internet you can substitute a red bell pepper for the Jamaican Long Pepper. This pepper is a sweet pepper, rather than a spicy pepper, so the bell pepper works just fine. I was out of red pepper, but happened to have one lonely yellow pepper sitting in there, so I just used that.

Thanks to Goddess Of Scrumptious Recipes!!!
You might enjoy this recipe more than I did. I'd be interested to hear any variations or changes on it!
As for me, I'm going to sit here with the hubby and my cousin-in-law and enjoy the fire!
Happy Saturday Night Everyone!!
Red
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The Cheesecake Factory Cajun Jambalaya Pasta

Okay... my husband insisted that I blog on this recipe. I gotta tell you - it's fabulous. It's even BETTER the next day.

I've taken to planning menus and shopping for those menus only. Saves me from buying a lot of extra items. I also don't stand staring in my refrigerator trying to decide what to cook that night. I've got a list to choose from. In order to avoid getting something out of left field that everyone looks at me like I've lost my mind when I put it on the table, I try to review my menu plans with the hubby and mini me so that if they've got any objections to my menu, they can be voiced BEFORE I invest in the ingredients.

Seems like lately I've been cooking a lot of Asian meals. I've also been cooking a lot of chicken. Please God, no more Asian meals - OR chicken!!

So, I've only eaten at the ACTUAL Cheesecake factory once in my entire life - and that was in Atlanta. They didn't have them here in Florida at the time, but I understand there is one in Tampa -but I RARELY schlep to Tampa, if EVER if I can help it.

Entrance this recipe. It sure looked yummy, and while it still has chicken in it, it's not much. It also has shrimp. It also has PASTA - which would be a nice change from the tons of rice I've had to invest in to go with all those Asian meals. That being said, let's get down to it.

CAJUN CHICKEN AND SHRIMP PASTA JAMBALAYA


As we say here in the South, it ain't real hard!

*Make Spice Mix
*Cut up chicken, sprinkle with aforementioned spice mix
*Saute Chicken/Shrimp, remove
*Boil Pasta
*Saute veggies in same pan as meat
*Add meat back in
*Plate Pasta, cover with meat/veggie mix
*Chew vigorously

Now for the REAL recipe:


INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 t White Pepper, 1/2 t Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 1/2 t Salt, 1/2 t Paprika
  • 1/4 t Garlic Powder, 1/4 t Onion Powder
  • 2 skinless, boneless Chicken Breasts
  • 1/2 lb. Large Shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 5 Qt Water
  • 6 oz Plain Fettuccine
  • 6 oz Spinach Fettuccine
  • 2T Olive Oil
  • 2 medium Tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 small Green Pepper, sliced
  • 1 small Red Pepper, sliced
  • 1 small Yellow Pepper, sliced
  • 1 small Onion, sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups Chicken Stock
  • 1 T Cornstarch
  • 2 T White Wine
  • 2 t chopped fresh Parsley

DIRECTIONS

  • 1
    Mix first 6 ingredients in a small bowl. Cut chicken into bite-size pieces. Use about 1/3 of seasoning to coat chicken. In another bowl sprinkle 1/3 seasoning on shrimp. Cook pasta to Al Dente and drain.
  • 2
    Heat 1 T olive oil in skillet over high heat. Saute Chicken for 2 minutes per side. add shrimp and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove from pan. Put pan with juices back over high heat and add remaining oil. Add tomatoes, peppers, and onion to oil. Sprinkle with remaining spice and saute for about 10 minutes.

    Your tomatoes cook down and make a tomato sauce in the end.
  • 3
    Add chicken and Shrimp back in and pour 3/4 cup chicken stock in pan. Cook over high until liquid is almost gone. Add remaining 3/4 cup of stock. Stir constantly scraping blackened stuff on the bottom of pan. reduce broth some and then turn to low. Combine cornstarch with wine in small bowl. Add to pan and simmer until thickens. Serve over noodles and top with parsley for garnish.


Here's some things I learned along the way... I absolutely cannot devein shrimp and make them look pretty. It's just one of those things I shouldn't do so long as I can get around it. SO, I bought a bag of frozen shrimp, thawed them, and took the tails off. I added them in when I put the chicken back in after the veggies cooked. They are already cooked - you just want them to heat up. SO much easier than deveining and all that madness. I used half of a 12oz bag that I got for $5.00 at Walmart.

I couldn't find the spinach pasta... It would have been so much prettier. So, if you can't don't worry about it - it's still delicious on plain old fettuccine.

When you chop the tomatoes, just whack them into some large slices. I pretty much quartered mine then cut those pieces in half and dumped them in. They will cook down into a tomato sauce by the time everything has sauteed so if you've got non-tomato chunk eaters - like my husband - they won't be there by the time you serve it.

It IS a little spicy. My mom thought it was too much for her, but she's sensitive to spice. We also thought it was even spicier the following day. CUT BACK ON THE CAYENNE IF YOU DON'T LIKE SPICY!

Oh and adding parsley at the end just made it look so much prettier.... I'm just sayin.......

Overall, it got high ratings. My super picky nine year old didn't LOVE it, but she ate what she had to - and she's not a fan of spicy. My husband and mom loved it, and I even got a text from my nearly 20 year old niece with hearts and everything that said she loved it.

I don't know if it can be made a head and frozen yet - I suppose you could do it and then just add shrimp in later and make your pasta the day of..... If anyone tries that before I do, please let me know.

This was definitely a big winner in my house and will be included regularly in our menu - cutting back on the spice.



Let me know your thoughts and variations on this! I love to see different ways to change things up!

Link to Original Recipe! Thank you tastebook.com!

Red
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