Peach Shrimp served over warm rice

Okay, I went for a semi-homemade meal today. (Hey, sometimes a girl needs a break!) I received several compliments, “This is by far my favorite meal. It reminds me of sweet and sour shrimp. Wow, five star.” Then he went in for thirds. I have to agree, it was quite good. The most time-consuming part about this recipe is how fast can you peel and devein shrimp. I looked at the clock and made it into a game. I’m not a fan of peeling shrimp, but hey, whatever works.  If you like sweet and tangy sauces, this is a great meal to have.

Ingredients:

1 pound shrimp: peeled, deveined, tails on for presentation if you like

2 tbs. butter

2 tbs. olive oil

3 cloves garlic

2 cans of Newman’s Own Peach Chunky Salsa (go to their website and locate a store, but I found it at the local Giant in the salsa section)

15 oz can of black beans: drained and rinsed

1 cup minute rice

Recipe:

1. Prepare the shrimp(ers). Place them in a collander and rinse with cold water. (Do not use warm/hot, it will start the cooking process).

2. Peel and devein shrimp leaving tails on.

3. Rinse shrimp again in cold water again to make sure nothing is left behind.

5. Pat shimp dry with a paper towel and set aside.

6. Make minute rice according to directions. (However servings you may need. A good rule of thumb, 1 cup per person.) Keep rice aside in pot with lid on.

7. In a saute pan, place 2 tbs. of butter and 2 tbs. of olive oil. Heat butter and olive oil over medium heat.

8. Place three fresh garlic cloves into the saute pan with the olive oil and butter. Cook for two minutes stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon.

9. Add shrimp to the garlic together for 5-6 minutes, turning the shrimp a few times.

Note: The shrimp will be nice and pink in color when finished.

10.  Drain shrimp and remove garlic.

11. Put shrimp on a plate and set aside.

12. In another large saute pan over medium heat, add peach salsa and beans. Cook a few minutes until salsa is nice and heated through.

13. Add shrimp to pan and cook for just a few minutes until everything is heated through together.

14. Serve over rice.

It is wonderful. All the flavors together are scrumptious. If you are looking for a sweet shrimp that will give your mouth a kick at the end, this is it!

Moroccan Risotto with Sweet Potato and Chickpeas

When I first started to write this recipe, I wanted to make a soup however as I added ingredients, it just made sense to make a risotto! Let’s just do a run down of risotto 101: Risotto is a class of Italian dishes, usually served first, prior to the main meal. It is a rice dish cooked in a broth (vegetable, chicken, fish etc.) until it has a nice and creamy consistency. It’s sooo yummy!

I have a love for different ethnic cuisines. Some of my favorites include: Indian, (amazing!), Thai and of course, Moroccan. I decided to go with Moroccan inspired flavors for this dish. This meal bursts with different levels of bold flavors, yet has a smooth, creamy consistency and is absolutely delicious! Well worth making again and again! From my family to yours – Enjoy!

Ingredients:

2 Tbs. butter

1 onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 sweet potato: peeled, chopped into 1″ pieces

1 carrot: peeled, cut into rounds

1 rib of celery: rinsed, cut horizontally then into small pieces vertically

32 oz. chicken broth (or vegetable broth, any kind you like)

1 cup Arborio Rice

15 oz. can chickpeas: drained and rinsed

14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, (preferably Hunt’s Oregano and Rosemary)

1 tsp. cumin

1 tsp. red curry powder

1/8 tsp. cinnamon

pinch of paprika

salt and pepper

cilantro for garnish

Let’s get a cookin’!

Recipe:

1. Prep your vegetables first

2. Place butter in a large pot and over medium low to medium heat saute onion, sweet potato, carrot, celery and garlic for about ten minutes until tender. (I add a pinch of salt here)

3. Add spices to vegetables, stirring for a minute.

4. Add a little bit of broth, scrapping up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan (major flavor!) Then add the rest of the broth a little bit at a time until all used.

5. Stir in canned tomatoes and rice. Bring to a boil. Once at boil, reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for thirty minutes.

6. Stir occasionally.

7. Add chickpeas for 5 minutes until heated through.

8. Serve with cilantro for garnish.

This is one risotto that is packed with flavor and will give you a delicious party in your mouth!

Loco Guaca Grilled Cheese Sandwich

One of my favorite comfort foods of all time, is a delicious sweet yet spicy, guacamole grilled cheese sandwich. By far, one of my favorites. If I need a guilty pleasure, this is where I go. My love for guacamole started on a trip to Camarillo, California where I went to visit my Aunt, Uncle and cousins for the week – and believe me, I fell hard for it. I can recall watching the workers at a restaurant make it fresh from scratch and bring it to our table. I wanted to gobble the whole bowl of it and place every inch on top of my nachos, but that wouldn’t be very nice of me, so I had to hold myself back. Now, I place guacamole on my chips, pita bread (baked in the oven makes very nice crunchy/healthIER chips) and of course, a grilled cheese sandwich. If you don’t mind, let me tell you how I make my perfecto loco guaca grilled cheese sandwich.

Guacamole Ingredients:

2 ripe avocados

1/2 small onion, minced (prefer sweet or red onion)

1 clove garlic, minced

1 small jalapeño, stems and seeds removed, minced

2 tablespoons cilantro leaves, finely chopped

1 fresh squeeze of lemon

1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt

A dash of freshly grated black pepper

1 Roma tomato, chopped

Grilled Cheese:

4 pieces of crusty white bread

2 Slices Colby-Jack Cheese

Let’s get our guac on!

Recipe:

1. First gather ingredients to make guacamole.

2. Cut avocados in half, open the two sides. Remove seed. Scoop out avocado from the peel, put in a large bowl. Note: (Professionals use a knife, a spoon works just as fine as well. Look for an avocado that is not too mushy but is soft and has a “bounce” back touch.)

3. Using a fork, mash the avocado.

4. Add the onion, garlic, jalapeño, cilantro, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Stir well. Top with tomato and stir.

5. Next onto the grilled cheese – yummers!

6. Head a pan or grill to medium-medium high heat.

7. Butter two slices of bread. When I say butter, I mean full out, add those calories butter!

8. Turn butter side facing down. Add generous amount of guacamole to the top of both slices.

7. Add cheese on top of guacamole.  Close sandwich with butter sides on the outside.

8. Place in pan and let the goodness melt!

9. Melt cheese for two minutes then flip to other side. Cut and enjoy this fabulous ewieness!!

Side Notes, cause I always have lots to say!

1. Choose a good white bread. I used an Artisan loaf from the grocery bakery section.

2. Don’t use too fresh of bread – you want a nice crust so I recommend waiting a day after purchase.

3. You can absolutely use a lime instead of a lemon! I used a lemon because I forgot to purchase a lime, but hey, it’s all good.

4. Store left over guacamole in an air tight. Place syran wrap over guacamole and try to get as many air bubbles out as possible closing off the sides. Place lid on container. Store for up to three days – when it starts to turn brown, I toss.

5. I always have a good medium high heat going to get that beautiful color to the sandwich, then flip for two more minutes. I turn the heat to a lower setting to make sure the cheese is all the way melted through.

This is a great filling, easy dish. Hope you love this loco guaco as much as I do!

Ginger Lemon Tea

As the winter season shows its coldness a little bit more, I turn to a soothing and comforting drink. A drink that is inviting and warms my soul right up. Passed down from Grandmother, I am sharing with you my love for tea, a beautiful ginger lemon tea. I was told it helps soothe a bellyache, (anything ginger helps) but I like this tea even when my belly is great.

Ingredients:

Fresh Ginger  (1/2 inch give or take)

4 cups water

1 lemon

Recipe:

1. Bring water to a boil over medium-high heat

2. Meanwhile, peel and thinly slice ginger (Ginger can be quite strong if adding too much. I use about a 1/2 inch for 4 cups of water. Use less if you want a milder taste. It’s up to you!)

3. After water is boiling, add ginger slices.

4. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for thirty minutes.

5. Pour into mugs, leaving ginger slices behind. (These can now be trashed). Squeeze a few drops of juice from a lemon into each mug then add a lemon round.

5. Serve warm.

Store the left overs in a pitcher and place into fridge. Warm it up again (stove or microwave) and serve in a mug. Add a splash of fresh lemon and slice at the end! It’s delicious every time!

Chive Compound Butter

Lately, I have been baking bread first thing in the wee light hours of the morning. Nothing too amazing, just a plain jane white bread, but the aroma…ahhh, the sweet smell of the bread baking gets me every time. I love when my house magically transforms into a bakery. These sweet loafs have been wrapped neatly and sent away as holiday gifts this year but not without including a special, deliciously scrumptious, compound butter. YUM! They are partners and besties – bread and butter.

Now, compound butters are by far the EASIEST to make but the special touch and simplicity goes a long way. Make any ordinary bread, extraordinary. Last night, I used chives to make , you guessed it, a Chive Butter Compound. You can add anything you want to your butter and more. Keep going, it’s not just for bread! Take a slice of butter and rub-a-dub all over your chicken and then bake your chicken or you can even add it to your fish! Compound butters are quite versatile and extremely delicious – experiment! Are you ready to dive in? First, let’s get the ingredients, ready?

Ingredients:

1. Stick of unsalted butter, room temperature

2. Chives (as many as you like, I use 2 tsp)

(giggle, giggle, that’s it….)

Recipe:

1. Place butter into a bowl and mash with spatula

2. Chop chives, as many or as little as you want and place into butter bowl. (I used roughly 2 tsp and made them slightly big so everyone can see what is inside their butter!)

3. Now stir baby stir. Gently combine those beautiful chives with the butter!

4. Roll out about a foot of syran wrap and place butter in the center. Wrap the butter into a cylinder and twist the sides and/or place the sides into knots.

5. Place in refrigerator for at least thirty minutes. Butter is good for several days.

For even another version of this delicious butter, try adding 1 small clove of garlic, minced into the mixture. It’s a great way to add even more bold flavor!