Monthly Archives: July 2017

Weeknight Beef Tenderloin and Veggies

Summer months around here can sometimes be hectic as I am sure most of yours can be as well. Last night I spent 3 hours weeding my garden beds. That sounds like I should have a HUGE garden; well I actually have technically 6 raised beds of various sizes; they are all pretty large with one; the one I like the least being huge. It’s not my favorite because I can’t sit on the side and reach for the weeds like my others; I have to walk into it avoiding all the plants to get all the weeds. I am definitely spoiled with my other beds and I like it. Because life is busy I don’t spend every day out there, I tend to weed 3 or 4 times throughout the season and literally pick EVERY weed out of each bed; which is why it takes me so long.
IMG_5320Anyway when life is busy it’s really nice to have a quick painless meal in your back pocket. There is no take-out delivery service in my area so I tend to cook most nights. I am fairly certain that even if there were I would still cook more since I love making something delicious and using up what I have in the fridge and pantry.
IMG_5314One dish meals are wonderful on so many levels, they go together quite quickly, there is  less mess, less clean up and usually they have the opportunity to meld all of their flavors together creating a quite cohesive dish. Plus I really like the quicker clean up. I would like to say that I don’t have to clean the kitchen since I am the one making dinner; but more times than not, I end up getting back in the kitchen to clean it more of the way I like it. The fam may do the dishes but I actually clean all the surfaces so it’s ready for the next time I want to create something yummy.
IMG_5316I had picked up one of those packages of pre-seasoned beef tenderloins to have on hand when we had all the family around a couple of weeks ago. I know they tend to have too much sodium in them, but they do serve their purpose and once in awhile is OK with me. This is a peel, chop and dump kind of recipe. Believe it or not I do not have a small rack that fits in any of my 9 x 13 pans crazy I know right? So this is when your sides become the rack for you. Peel some potatoes and veggies along with some onions for added flavor a little olive oil, salt and pepper and some fresh herbs like rosemary YUM!

Potatoes – chopped
Carrots – chopped
Onions – sliced
Fresh rosemary – chopped
Beef Tenderloin
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Spray or oil your dish, chop the onions and veggies and add them to your dish, sprinkle with olive oil, salt, pepper and the rosemary. Using your hands, or spoon to mix everything up together. Then place your tenderloin over the veggies. Cook not covered for 30-50 minutes depending on the size of the meat. Remove the meat when it is done and put the veggies back in the oven while the meat rests, another 10 minutes. Take out an enjoy!

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16 Bean Soup – pasta e fagioli

Last weekend my daughter and I were binge watching some Ina Garten episodes and we have already made 3 of the recipes. She is my favorite “I can make that” person to watch.  I have on numerous occasions watched an episode and then my mind starts racing to my fridge/freezer and pantry to see if I have everything so I can make it when I’m finished watching.

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They look beautiful; before they were cooked

The one I want to share with you today I had to go to the store for 16 bean soup mix I know a few of my close friends that read my blog are going to ask me what the heck is fagioli it is simply pasta and beans. I want to share with you a couple of my thought processes; just to proving once again that that I can be a total nerd!  First thought; it was a passing thought – don’t judge me “16 beans, you have to buy 16 different bags of beans to make a soup, that’s going to be HUGE?” OK there must be a 16 bean mixture you can buy.  I get to the store and I see 15 bean mixtures; another passing thought Oh Sure Ina’s store gets 16 beans; my store only gets to 15 whatever so a few bags away there it is a 16 bean mixture bag of beans. I’ve been to this area of my store numerous times and never even noticed them there.

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So I had everything else I needed but should I actually make a hot soup when we are having a heat wave this week? The quick answer is yes I really wanted to make it as it looked awesome! Result the fam loved it and I will most definitely be making it again. I also have to share that there was one bean that kinda scared me, the fava bean was HUGE so I made sure that when I pulled out the portion to smash; to thicken the soup I made sure they were in that pile. I’m such a baby!
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Pasta E Fagioli

1 bag of 16 bean soup mix – (Goya)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 package 6 ounces pancetta diced
1 large onion diced
3-4 cloves minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 cup dry red wine
4+ chicken stock
kosher salt & black pepper
1 cup miniature pasta – Ditalini
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1 table spoon red wine vinegar
a few fresh basil leaves – julienned


Directions
you’ll need to soak the beans the day before. In a large bowl cover the beans and add an extra 2 inches above; cover and place in the fridge. Day 2 drain the beans and rinse under cold water.  Place the beans in a large pot and cover with 8 cups of cold water. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for about an hour.  If needed skim off any foam and toss.
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In a stock pot or dutch oven over medium heat add the pancetta and onion, saute till browned, roughly 12-18 minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes, saute another minute. Add the tomatoes, wine and 4 cups of stock. 1 tablespoon kosher salt plus 1 teaspoon black pepper. Remove from the heat

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as I said, they were very colorful before being cooked

To thicken the soup a little drain the beans and add two thirds of them to the soup. Put the rest of them through a food mill or like to mash them. If you used the food mill discard the skins. Stir the bean puree and the pasta into the soup. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 20 to 30 minutes stirring occasionally; until the pasta is tender. If the soup is too thick add more chicken stock till you get the consistency you like. Stir in the parmesan cheese and the red wine vinegar. Serve with a swirl of olive oil, a little more parmesan cheese and some basil.

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Recipe from Ina Garten – Food Network

 

Fresh Raspberry and Lime Scones

The party we threw last weekend was a complete success! Minus the pop up thunderstorm and whipping winds about an hour before it was to start and the power outage that lasted a couple of hours in the beginning. We contemplated postponing it a day but in the end figured it was best to move ahead with our plans. We had spent the day before prepping most everything we could and the rest we would make due with the BBQ and stove top.
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The BBQ shrimp I wrote about last week was loved by all; actually all the food was so good that most of it went that day. There were a few ingredients that needed to be cooked up so since there were a few people here the next day so I held a small impromptu luncheon out by the grill. When you buy ingredients for a large or even small party there are always seems to be some leftover ingredients. I froze the leftover meat and we have been snacking on a few of the other leftovers but I had some fresh raspberries and a bag of limes that I wanted to address.
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In searching for what to do with them; I came across a scone recipe that sounded intriguing to me. I was curious how a cup of juicy raspberries would be in a dough. My daughter even made a comment that she thought they would make the dough too wet.  Well it was a little more wet that other scones I have made but the result was quite pleasant. The sweet raspberry and tart of the lime play very well together. I still have some limes leftover so I might be writing about something else made with limes soon.

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The wetness made them hard for me to keep them in perfect triangles

 

Scones
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
3 tablespoon sugar
zest of 2 limes
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoon cold, unsalted butter cut into 1/4″ cubes
1 cup heavy cream – I used half and half which is what I had on hand
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 cup fresh raspberries

Glaze
1 cup powdered sugar
3-4 tablespoon heavy cream or milk
1/2 teaspoon lime zest
juice of 1 lime

IMG_5303Directions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or Silpat.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar, lime zest and salt. Cut in the butter, using your hands, or a pastry blender. Mix just until the mixture resembles coarse meal.

Mix 1 cup of heavy cream with lime juice and pour over the ingredients. Stir with a spatula until dough begins to form. Careful not to over mix. Gently fold in raspberries, they will smash a bit and turn the dough a little pink but it does not affect the flavor.
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Transfer dough to a floured surface and knead by hand just until it forms a ball. Form scones by patting the dough into a 3/4-inch thick circle. Cut into 8 even triangles.

Place scones on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until scones are light brown. Cool on a wire rack.

Make the lime glaze in a small bowl while the scones are cooling. Whisk together powdered sugar, heavy cream or milk, lime zest and juice. Whisk until you reach desired consistency. Drizzle glaze over the scones.

recipe adapted from website Angean

BBQ Marinated Shrimp

I am writing this week’s blog on Friday morning before my house becomes so busy and full of a lot of people. A girlfriend of mine is coming over to help me prep for an anniversary party we are hosting for my in-laws. My feeling was that it needed to be a step up or so from the normal backyard BBQ I throw since it is their 60th wedding anniversary BBQ and that is quite the accomplishment in my book and deserves something a little special.
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In a little bit a couple of my sister-in-laws will be here along with my girlfriend JC oh and did I mention that JC is a trained chef; no pressure for me to be prepping along side her ugh!  I even felt obligated to clean my oven last week just because I wanted everything “perfect” for her. I doubt she would judge me for a dirty oven, but I wanted to make cooking in my kitchen a pleasant experience.
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When deciding what we were having I wanted some of my favorite sides. Potato Salad, Pasta Salad, Baked beans and BBQ Shrimp.  So I well I guess we are all going to work on cooking the pasta & potatoes. I cheated on the beans and doctored up a large can I had on hand already. We’ll need to marinate the shrimp and decorate some cupcakes that I made up yesterday. JC is going to be in charge of the chicken and steak tips. She mentioned making up a few for us to taste, I have no doubt that they will be delicious.
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The BBQ shrimp is a recipe a friend brought to a party many years ago and has been a staple at my parties ever since. I have shared it with many people over the years but I have never blogged about it before. Funny thing is I tell everyone where I got it but they still refer to it as my recipe. When I make it I still bring out the same page that on the top says Jack’s family recipe, it has many stains and blotches on it but it is still excellent and a crowd pleaser!
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BBQ Marinated Shrimp

1 cup olive oil
¼ cup chopped parsley
1 lemon, juiced
2 tablespoons hot pepper sauce
3 cloves garlic minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground pepper
2 pounds large, peeled and deveined shrimp with tails on

In a large bowl or ziploc bag, add all the ingredients except the shrimp, mix well and then add your shrimp. Let them marinate for a minimum of 2 hours or best overnight.
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Skewer them and cook on your grill just till pink which means they are done. They cook quick but also depends on how hot you have your grill.

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The cook gets to get at least a skewer to themselves. At least that is how it works at my house.

Almond Flour Blondies

I am a huge impulse buyer – KP stop laughing! My girlfriend KP gives me crap all the time for picking up something obscure and totally not what we were out shopping for. The area around the register is pretty dangerous for people like me; lucrative for the store though.
IMG_5279My daughter had made a few almond crust lemon curd tarts awhile back, at the time we couldn’t find almond flour in our little town so she had to make her own; she is so clever. So when I was out shopping and came across a large bag of Almond flour sitting at the end of an aisle I grabbed it.
IMG_5268Since I made this impulse purchase she hasn’t made any tarts; so now what am I supposed to do with it? Oh and I forgot to mention that I was at my club store when I “found” the bag so you might be getting a clearer picture that the bag I bought was a 10 pound bag of almond flour Yikes!
IMG_5271Since Almond flour is crushed almonds it is a little on the sweet side so I think it would only be good for something sweet; though I haven’t explored what to do with it extensively that is the way I am going with it.  I made an almond flour blondie that is sooooo good.  The only noticeable difference I found was that my blondie while ooey and gooey, it was also a little crumbly but that hasn’t stopped me from making them again.
IMG_5274Almond Flour Blondie

½ cup butter
¾ cup brown sugar
½ cup white sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoon vanilla
1 ¾ cup almond flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup white chocolate chips
½ cup chopped pecans (optional)

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If you need to soften your cold butter; slice it into smaller pieces it will soften quicker

Preheat the oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9×13 pan.
Using a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla and mix on high till they become light and fluffy. Takes about 3 minutes.
Add the flour, baking powder and salt. Mix until everything is incorporated. Stir in the chips and nuts if you are using them.
Pour the dough into the greased baking dish. Smooth the dough and bake for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 15-20 minutes slice and enjoy!
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