Thursday, May 31, 2012

Sticky Sweet Drummies

Memorial Day is the unofficial kickoff to summer.  A special thank you to those who have given their lives.  It doesn't go unappreciated!  It's because of The Brave that we are able to celebrate the way we do. 
Summer means many things, but for many of means grill time.  I love the grill for many reasons:
It's requires few dishes.
It's taste cannot be surpassed.
It's done outside.
It's fast.
It's a rush each time you hold a match to light the bugger. (my arm hair has grown back since last summer!)
It smells delicious! 

There are many more reasons to grill, but those were the ones that popped to my head today.  Why do you like to grill?

Have I ever mentioned that Summer is my favorite time of the year?  I love the heat, the sun, swimming, grilling, EVERYTHING that has to do with summer. I could easily live somewhere with 2 seasons: hot and warm.  Is anyone else with me on this?

Although today's recipe requires some indoor action as well, the resulting glaze is well worth it.  Are you drooling yet over these lovely drummies below?

It's pretty simple, read the recipe below. 
Prepare the marinade/glaze.

Pour over chicken.
Refrigerate and marinate.

Reserve marinade and grill drummies.
Simmer reserved marinade for 15 minutes until thick and gooey.
Glaze the grilled drummies with sweet and sticky goodness.

Grab a roll of paper towels and enjoy.
Wash down with an ice cold beer and tell a story.

Sticky Sweet Drummies*

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup brown sugar, packed

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1/4 tsp. dried rosemary 

5 garlic cloves, halved

6-8 chicken drumsticks

2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

3 tablespoons green onions, chopped

Combine honey, vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, rosemary, & garlic.  Stir until sugar dissolves.  Place drumsticks in a baking dish and pour marinade over the top.  Swirl around each drummie so it's coated in marinade.  Allow to marinate at least 15 minutes, then flip and marinate another 15 minutes, longer is better.

When it's time to cook, fire up the grill. Remove chicken from marinade and reserve the marinade.  Pour reserved marinade into a small saucepan and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes until marinade reduces down into a thickened glaze.
Grill drummies until cooked thoroughly.
Drizzle glaze over the top of cooked drummies.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds and green onions (if you have them...I didn't)

*Recipe adapted from Giada DeLaurentis "Sweet & Sticky Chicken Drumsticks"

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Food Stories Nominee & Catch Up

Two things on the agenda today:  Catch up & Nominate other blogger for Food Stories Award.

First off, the lovely Julia @ The Roasted Root nominated me for a Food Stories Award   ( )and in return, I will nominate a few of my favorite blogs.

1. Annie's Eats -- a great little blog that I've made multiple recipes from.

2. Chocolate Covered Kate -- a "healthy" dessert blog with some wild concoctions.

3. Cookie & Kate -- Celebrates whole foods and vegetarian fare!

4. My Little Celebration -- A super fun blogger that shares my name and my passion for food & fitness.

5. Chef in Training -- You've probably seen her on Pinterest. She takes wonderful photos!

Would you care to know a random thing about me?  
I hate dirty feet.
They make me cringe.
If I'm wearing flip-flops and am not on pavement or indoors, I'm probably thinking about how dirty my feet are.
I religiously clean & moisturize my feet before bed.
Yes, that's very random and a little you know.

Second matter of business, I have been away from blogging for a few weeks and have relocated the "wagon" to Colorado!  We've been here less than a week and I LOVE it!

I have visited an awesome street fair in Boulder, gazed at the Rocky Mountains, seen more bunnies/prairie dogs than I have in my whole life and gambled at my first horse race.  Very cool area with a solid combination of hippy and country...just my style.

I hope to have a couple recipes up this week.  Thanks for all of your support!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Shrimp Tacos with Cilantro Lime Dressing

I seriously love tacos.  They are such a cool meal; one of my favorites.  For starters, they are SO easy to make...just chop some veggies & cilantro, grate some cheese, cook up some filler (meat, fish, beans) and wrap it up in your tortilla of choice.  They are also very pretty and fun to photograph.  And of course, they are so darn tasty and everyone likes them!


I have many versions of tacos that I make: good ol' beef, shredded chicken/pork, shrimp, black bean, and fish.  Maybe I'll have a taco week on the blog sometime!
Here's a couple of my secrets to amaaaaa-zing tacos:
1) You must warm up the shells.  I prefer corn tortillas, but flour is good, too.  The easiest way to warm them up is to wrap a stack in a damp dishcloth and nuke them for 1-2 minutes. (Thanks KayCee for this trick!)
2) If you are a corn tortilla lover, like myself, you must double up the shells!  If you choose not to, your taco will end up on the front of your shirt or in your lap.
3. You must have fresh fixins'... think, pico de gallo, cilantro, a squeeze of lime, tomatoes, onions, etc.
4. You must season appropriately!! And I don't mean that salty "taco seasoning."  That stuff is icky.  I usually use chili powder, cumin(one of my fav spices), cayenne and a smashed up chili in adobo sauce. But for this recipe, I make a special dressing that you cook the shrimp in.  It's good drizzled over the top, or as dressing for a taco salad.  It's a knock off from the Nordstrom Cafe Cilantro Lime Salad.  YUM!
5.  And lastly, you must overfill your taco shell so it's practically impossible to roll up!  Greg and I do this every time, he's worse than me though.  It makes a gloriously delicious mess.

Cilantro Lime Dressing

1/3 cup seasoned rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon pureed chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro stems and leaves

1 pound raw shrimp, peeled and rinsed well

Combine all the ingredients in a blender and pulse to combine.  Place shrimp in a shallow dish and pour 1/2 the dressing over the top.  Reserve the remaining dressing to drizzle on the tacos.  Allow to marinate for at least 15 minutes.
Heat a little oil in a frying pan over medium heat; add shrimp (dressing and all) and saute about 5 minutes or just until shrimp is pink throughout.  Shrimp cooks very quickly, so please don't overcook, as they like to get tough and chewy!!
Warm the taco shells and enjoy!


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Chicken Marsala Skillet

You know chicken marsala?  You know one pot meals?  Well they just got married, made a healthy baby and it's name is Chicken Marsala Skillet.  And I have one word for it, YUM.
I love one-pot meals, not only because there's less dishes to do, but I love how the flavors build on each other.  
You guys are going to love this!  

Cook pasta according to directions, drain.  Reserve pasta water (for later)!
Heat some oil (1-2 Tablespoons) in a large skillet, season chicken with salt/pepper, then brown it thoroughly.  The secret to browning it well, is stirring as little as possible!  Don't disturb the chicken!!  Once it's brown and cooked through, remove from pan and set aside. 
Be sure to leave all the pan drippings in the pan, they provide lots of flavor.

Over medium heat, melt butter in the same pan, then add onions, mushrooms and garlic.  Saute for about a minute, making sure the garlic doesn't burn.

Add marsala wine and broth, stirring to deglaze the pan.
(You could always use another white wine if that's all you have on hand, but it would no longer be chicken marsala! You could also use all broth, if you insist, but that's really no fun.)

Bring this goodness to a steady bubble, and continue to simmer until liquid is reduced by about half.

Once your liquid is reduced, turn off the heat, add tomatoes, spinach, & goat a good sprinkle of salt/pepper.  Give it a good stir, until the spinach begins to wilt.
I think cherry tomatoes may be my favorite subject to photograph....

Then dump the drained pasta on top and toss together.
If it gets too dry, add a little of the reserved pasta water until your reach your desired consistency.  The amount you use will depend on how much you reduced the liquids.  I had to add very little, maybe 1/4 cup, or less.

Serve with grated parmesan on top!  Savor a little bit of heaven in this dish.  And be sure to wash down with a hefty glass of vino rosso.  Cheers.

Chicken Marsala Skillet

1 pound whole grain penne pasta (1 box)
2-4 chicken breasts (depending on how much meat you prefer), cut into 1 inch chunks
1-2 TB oil
1-2 TB butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 c. sweet onion, finely chopped
8 oz. crimini mushrooms, sliced or quartered
1 cup marsala cooking wine
1 cup chicken broth
1 bag spinach
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup goat cheese
Salt & Pepper
Parmesan for grating

Cook pasta according to directions, drain.  Reserve pasta water.
Heat oil in a large skillet, season chicken with salt/pepper, then brown it thoroughly (stirring as little as possible).  Once it's brown and cooked through, remove chicken from pan and set aside.  
In the same pan, over medium heat, melt butter, then add onions, mushrooms and garlic.  Saute for about a minute, making sure the garlic doesn't burn.
Add marsala wine and broth, stirring to deglaze the pan. Bring to a steady bubble, and continue to simmer until liquid is reduced by half.
Once liquid is reduced, turn off heat, add tomatoes, spinach, & goat cheese. Season with salt/pepper.  Stir until spinach begins to wilt.
Add the drained pasta on top and toss together.
If it gets too dry, add a little of the reserved pasta water until your reach your desired consistency.  Serve with grated parmesan on top.  Enjoy.