Sharon's Shenanigans

My crafting, cooking, dieting, and workout blog!

Food Challenge- Watermelon June 8, 2011

Filed under: Colorful Fruit and Veggie Challenge,Food,Recipe — Sharon @ 12:18 pm

 Summer time!  Watermelon is one of my favorites and I usually only indulge in the summer when it is nice and FRESH!  Love it!

Watermelon Margarita

Ingredients

  • 4 cups cubed watermelon
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 limes, 2 juiced and 1 cut into wedges for garnish
  • 8 ounces tequila
  • 5 ounces Triple Sec, divided
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder

Directions

In a blender, puree the watermelon and sugar until smooth. Pour the puree through a fine mesh strainer. Transfer the liquid to a pitcher and add the lime juice, tequila and 4 ounces of the Triple Sec. Stir to combine.

In a shallow dish, combine the kosher salt with the chili powder. In a second small plate, add the remaining 1-ounce of Triple Sec. Dip the rims of 4 margarita glasses in the Triple Sec, then coat them in the salt and chili mixture. Divide the margarita between the 4 glasses and garnish each with a lime wedge.

I found this new margaritta mix from Jose Cuervo that is only 100 Calories per serving.

So I cut up some watermelon and threw it in the blender with a half cup of water and a little sugar and then poured it threw a strainer.

Then I mixed a little dried chili flakes with the salt, not a lot! and rimmed the glass with salt and pepper.

OR

If your feeling Vodka is more your friend than check out this martini recipe!

~ WATERMELON MARTINI~

Much like the Cucumber Martini I made this is a great summer drink recipe too.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup watermelon juice (Blend in blender and press watermelon through a sieve or cheesecloth)
  • 1/2 cup (4 oz) Vodka (Citron 0r the Melon ones wold work well too)
  • 1/4 cup simple syrup (sugar and water)
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 3 tablespoons salt (optional- use sea or kosher)
  • 3 tablespoons sugar (optional- sugar in the raw works well)
  • ice
  • Watermelon slices, for garnish (optional)

Preparation:

Makes 2 servings.Mix together the sugar and salt if using. Wet the rim of a chilled martini glass with a piece of watermelon. Dip the rim into the sugar and salt mixture. Repeat for other glass.Place the watermelon juice, vodka, lime juice, and simple syrup into a cocktail shaker. Top with ice. Shake well.Pour contents through strainer into martini glasses.Garnish with a wedge of watermelon if desired.

 

Colorful Eating Challenge- Tomatoes June 4, 2011

Filed under: Colorful Fruit and Veggie Challenge,Recipe — Sharon @ 10:31 am

Caprese Salad

Who doesn’t like a caprese salad?  Well me, or I used to not like it.  I am actually coming around to the whole tomatoes thing!   I still can not have any on my sandwiches but I have learned to like small ones cut into bite size in salads.  I am ok with them cooked but fresh is a whole other flavor.      Look at me all grown up trying to eat vegetables and then I saw on the news or the “Today Show” about all those poor people in Germany with a new outbreak of  E coli-  scientists believe the E. coli somehow ended up contaminating lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers, and are advising people in northern Germany to avoid these foods.  Thanks “Today Show” for another reason I don’t want to eat salad!!  Thanks a bunch!!

The ingredients are very simple and you can use any kind of tomatoes and any size mozzarella but I like the cherry tomatoes and small mozzarella balls from the deli at Stop & Shop.

  • Tomatoes
  • Mozzarella
  • Basil (I used spinach because I was out)
  • Salt & Pepper
  • EVOO
  • Balsamic Vinegar

Slice the tomatoes or leave them whole if you can stand it.

Toss with salt and pepper and oil and vinager

Serve over a bed of spinach

You can either serve as a start salad or on the side of something much better like a big juicy cheese burger!

I saw a recipe that I want to try on Food network because they used roasted tomatoes instead and I think that would make a HUGE difference in this dish.    YUMMMMMMMM!

Ingredients

  • 12 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise, seeds (not cores) removed
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 16 ounces fresh salted mozzarella
  • 12 fresh basil leaves, julienned

Directions

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F.

Arrange the tomatoes on a sheet pan, cut sides up, in a single layer. Drizzle with 1/4 cup of olive oil and the balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with the garlic, sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.Roast for 2 hours until the tomatoes are concentrated and begin to caramelize. Allow the tomatoes to cool to room temperature.

Cut the mozzarella into slices slightly less than 1/2-inch thick. If the slices of mozzarella are larger than the tomatoes, cut the mozzarella slices in half. Layer the tomatoes alternately with the mozzarella on a platter and scatter the basil on top. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Serve at room temperature.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/roasted-tomato-caprese-salad-recipe/index.html


 

Colorful Eating Challenge – Asparagus May 24, 2011

Filed under: Colorful Fruit and Veggie Challenge,HOME — Sharon @ 2:23 pm

I have tried another Asparagus Dish that I wanted to share.  This one is really simple but looks elegant and taste amazing.

I cut the ends of the asparagus and chopped up some garlic.  The recipe didn’t call for garlic but I decided to add it.

I rolled out the puff pastry which is actually the most tricky part of this whole recipe.  Then I added a little EVOO. 🙂

I could not find Gruyere cheese that was shredded at Stop & Shop so I went with a block and put it in the cuisinart.

Uses for Guyere Cheese

Gruyère is generally known as one of the finest cheeses for baking, having a distinctive but not overpowering taste. In quiche, Gruyère adds savoriness without overshadowing the other ingredients. It is a good melting cheese,[1] particularly suited for fondues, along with Vacherin and Emmental. It is also traditionally used in French onion soup, as well as in croque monsieur, a classic French toasted ham and cheese sandwich. Gruyère is also used in chicken and veal cordon bleu. It is a fine table cheese, and when grated, it is often used withsalads and pastas. It is used, grated, atop le tourin, a type of garlic soup from France which is served on dried bread. White wines, such as riesling, pair well with Gruyère. Sparkling apple cider and Bock beer are also beverage affinities.- Wikipedia

Then layer the puff pasty with some cheese and salt and pepper and then add the asparagus.  I only had a little Parmesan cheese left so I went with mostly Gruyere.

I put the heads of the asparagus going in opposite directions.

It came out after 20minutes perfectly brown and melted cheesey delicousness.


Asparagus, Gruyere and Parmesan Tart
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 20 mins
Total time: 25 mins
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 piece of Puff Pastry (store bought is totally fine)
  • 1/2 cup Gruyere, shredded
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 1 bundle skinny asparagus
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Crushed Black pepper
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Thaw the puff pastry either by placing it in the fridge overnight or by laying it on the counter, on a piece of parchment paper, for about an hour.
  3. Trim the ends of the Asparagus by 1 inch to get rid of the woody stalk
  4. Once thawed unfold the flaps and slightly roll out the dough to get rid of the seems. Transfer the puff pastry dough while still on the parchment paper to a baking sheet. Sprinkle half the Gruyere and Parmesan on the puff pastry. Line the asparagus on top of the cheese. Scatter the rest of the cheese on top of the asparagus and drizzle with the olive oil. Bake for 20 minutes until the pastry dough has puffed and the asparagus is roasted and cooked through.
  5. Sprinkle with salt and cracked black pepper before serving.
 

Colorful Food Challenge- Alvacado May 10, 2011

Filed under: Colorful Fruit and Veggie Challenge,Food,Recipe — Sharon @ 7:40 pm

~  Sorry  I have been missing in Blog action lately~  I will try and be better!

Can you believe that I have never actually made Guacamole?

For Cinco De Mayo  I thought I would make some for the very 1st time and see how it came out.  I got the recipe from Allrecipes.com  This one seemed the simplest and did not call for spicy chili’s which is good because I do not like a kick in my Guac.  (Ha hahaa, that sounds funny ~ I am going to kick you in your Guac!)

 

Ingredients

  • 2 avocados

 

  • 1 small onion, finely chopped

 

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

 

  • 1 ripe tomato, chopped

 

  • 1 lime, juiced
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Peel and mash avocados in a medium serving bowl. Stir in onion, garlic, tomato, lime juice, salt and pepper. Season with remaining lime juice and salt and pepper to taste. Chill for half an hour to blend flavors.

I found some cool Blue Corn chips at and thought they would be a nice contrast to the Guacy Green….

You can’t have a good Cinco De Mayo without a few MARGARITAS!  I made some POM POM ones!  Tart!

IT WAS SO GOOD I ATE THE WHOLE THING, and didn’t even save room for the shrimp quesidilla I had planned to make!  Ohh well I had a “Seis” de Mayo the next day.

I think  this might have been the best guacamole I have EVER had!

 

Food Challenge- Eggplant April 26, 2011

Filed under: Colorful Fruit and Veggie Challenge,Food,HOME,Recipe — Sharon @ 11:38 am

~Easy Stuffed Eggplant~

Eggplant, red sauce, garlic, onion, Italian sausage, cheese and Panko.



This recipe was one of Ron’s so I can only explain how he did it I don’t have exact measurements but it was pretty simple.  First take of some of the skin off as it can be tough to eat, leaving s sort of zebra look.

 He sliced a little of the ends and then cut it in half the long way.

  Then score (cut small diamond about 1/2 inch deep) it so it cooks faster and it easier to scoop out once roasted.

Pour on a little EVOO and salt and Pepper and roast it in the oven on 325 for 45 minutes.

Then while roasting the eggplant cook off the sausage by sautéing onion and chopped garlic in a pan and adding sausage to brown.

Once that has browned and the eggplant is roasted scoop out the eggplant and add it to the sausage and red sauce.  Mix it all together and then put it back into the eggplant shell.

Top it with parmesan cheese and a little panko bread crumb and put it back  int the oven to toast for a few more minutes until golden brown. ENJOY!

Ron does not cook from a recipe usually so this recipe I found on Allrecipes.com was the closest to what he created.  obviously there are some differences but the same principle here and I think this recipe might be just as tasty and a little simplified using garlic powder instead of fresh.  You can eat the whole thing skin and all.  It was really filling and we didn’t need any bread but a small side salad would go nice.

1 (1 1/2 pound) eggplant, halved
lengthwise
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 pound bulk Italian sausage
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons dry bread crumbs
2 cups spaghetti sauce, divided
1 cup mozzarella cheese, divided
1 egg, beaten
Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
2. Brush cut sides of eggplant with olive oil and place, cut-side up onto a baking sheet. Roast in preheated oven for 30 minutes, then remove and allow to cool slightly.
3. Meanwhile, brown the Italian sausage in a skillet over medium-high heat; drain off the grease. Place into a mixing bowl, and season with garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and pepper. Stir in bread crumbs, 1/2 cup of spaghetti sauce, 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese, and the beaten egg; mix well.
4. Once the roasted eggplant has cooled enough to handle, scoop out the flesh to within 1/2-inch of the skin to create a shell. Roughly chop the eggplant meat, and fold into the sausage mixture. Divide evenly among the two eggplant shells, and sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese.
5. Bake in preheated oven until the filling has set, and the cheese is bubbly and golden-brown, about 30 minutes. While the eggplant is baking, warm the remaining spaghetti sauce in a saucepan over medium-low heat to serve with the eggplant.
 

Making Lemons into Lemon Martini Dinner Party! April 25, 2011

Filed under: Colorful Fruit and Veggie Challenge,Food,HOME,Recipe — Sharon @ 11:31 am

When life hands you lemons throw a lemon themed party!!  Things can get a little sour sometimes and when my friend Jen shared some bad news I decided to have her and her husband Todd over for a little “Lemon to Lemonade” dinner party.

Jen brought some Lemon Martinis and made them with a sugared rim.  They were really yummy.  I forgot to get the recipe  but they weren’t too tart and the sugar rim was a premade lemon drop sugar.

I set the table with some Lemon water and a we enjoyed a few lemon beers called “Summer Shandy”

Jen had brought some flowers that she arranged with lemons in the vase. The flower are currently on  my desk at work now and still look great a week later.

Ron made the first course which was a  shrimp with a lemon sauce over shaved carrots and chayote (which is a cucumber zucchini tasting veggie)

I made the salad course; it was a citrus salad with a pomegranate vinaigrette dressing on romaine hearts.

The main dish was supposed to be Lemon chicken with a mushroom sauce but after a few martinis I totally forgot to make the mushrooms.  I served it with a side of roasted red potatoes and zucchini and summer squash gratin.

We finished off the meal with a lemon souffle that was light but too tart and not really that tasty.  It was served in the hallowed out lemon so at least it looked cute.

Here is the Lemon Chicken Recipe ~Enjoy!

Baked Lemon Chicken with Mushroom Sauce
recipe image
Rated: rating
Submitted By: Joyce Sokoloff
Photo By: Dianne
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 40 Minutes
Ready In: 55 Minutes
Servings: 6
“Lemon-infused chicken is topped with a creamy mushroom sauce.”
INGREDIENTS:
6 skinless, boneless chicken breast
halves
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 lemon
1/4 cup butter
3 cups fresh sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
DIRECTIONS:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C).
2. Place the olive oil in an 8×8 glass baking dish. Place the chicken breasts in the dish, coating each side with oil. Squeeze the juice of 1/2 lemon over all. Slice the rest of the lemon and place a lemon slice on top of each chicken piece. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes until brown.
3. In a large skillet, melt the 1/4 cup butter or margarine. Add the sliced mushrooms. Cook and stir until the mushrooms are brown and have exuded their juices, about 6 minutes. Sprinkle with the flour and blend. Add the chicken broth, stirring to make a medium thick sauce. Allow to reduce, adjusting with a little more broth to make a creamy sauce. Add fresh parsley at the last minute. Spoon the sauce over the lemon baked chicken breasts. Delicious!

With this recipe I will mark LEMONS of my list of the Fruits and Veggies Challenge!!!!

 

Food Challenge – Bosc Pears April 20, 2011

Filed under: Colorful Fruit and Veggie Challenge,Food,Recipe — Sharon @ 11:53 am

Bosc Pears Poached in PinotNior

I got this quick and easy recipe from About. com  What is better than taking a harmless piece of fruit and soaking it in some delicious red wine?   Nothing, nothing is better.

A few simple ingredients makes a fancy dessert- Bosc Pears, lemon, vanilla, sugar, cinnamon and red wine.

Start by peeling and coring the pears

I then poured the rest of the ingredients in a sauce pan and brought to a boil.

I could not decide if I wanted to try the pears as savory or sweet so we did both.  On one I used whipped topping and on the other I sprinkled a little blue cheese.

This savory red wine poached pear recipe is a perfect dessert option for cold winter nights or as an elegant, “fancy” brunch dish. The recipe maximizes the pear’s natural sweetness, combining it with a fruit-forward red wine and highlighting both with a touch of cinnamon and vanilla. Truly decadent!

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

•4-6 Peeled, Cored and Sliced Pears (recommend Bosc or Anjou)

•1 1/2 cups of red wine (recommend Zinfandel, Shiraz or Merlot)

•3/4 cups of granulated sugar

•2 Tablespoons of lemon juice (can also add lemon zest if desired)

•2 teaspoons vanilla

•2 teaspoons of cinnamon

Preparation:

Combine all ingredients, except pears, and bring to a boil. Once the wine mixture is boiling, turn heat down to a simmer and add the pears. Simmer pears for 10-12 minutes and then turn pears and simmer for an additional 8-10 minutes – until they are tender and are easily poked through with a fork. Remove pears and let them cool. Boil wine sauce until the liquid has been reduced by half. Pour sauce over pears and serve with either marscapone, crème fraiche or Devonshire cream.

This dessert went great with a glass of wine and game of Scrabble with the Hubbs.

http://wine.about.com/od/howwineismade/r/poachedpears.htm