Sunday, August 30, 2015

Crockpot Sausage, Spinach, and White Bean Soup

We are only a few days away from the start of Husker football, which means my favorite season is almost here! FALL!!! I am anxious to pull out my sweaters, scarfs, and boots to watch the leaves change color. I also can’t wait to make endless pots of SOUP!!! This Andouille sausage, spinach, and white bean soup is hearty and I have been told it pairs well with a large cozy blanket and a book for a long lazy Sunday. Let me know if you agree and GO BIG RED!!! 

1 tablespoon EVOO
1 package of smoked Andouille sausage, thinly sliced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 medium onion, diced
3 carrots, peeled and diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
2 cans Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
2 bay leaves
½ teaspoon dried oregano
4 cups chicken broth
3 cups baby spinach
Salt & pepper

-Heat EVOO in large skillet over medium high heat. Add sausage, and cook, until browned, about 3 minutes per side.
-Place sausage, garlic, onion, carrots, celery, beans, oregano, and bay leaves into crock pot. Stir in chicken broth and 2 cups of water until well combined, salt and pepper to taste.
-Cover and cook on low heat for 7-8 hours.
-Right before serving, stir in spinach until wilted. 

Skinny Shrimp Scampi with Zucchini Noodles

           Over the weekend, I purchased a fun new kitchen gadget: A spiral cutter by Microplane. I bought it so I could substitute veggies for pasta. This specific tool has two razor barrels, which accommodate both slim and wide vegetables. With a simple twist, the spiral cutter creates colorful ribbon vegetable strands. It is perfect for summer squash, cucumber, and carrots.

            For its first use, I decided to make a skinny shrimp scampi and replaced traditional angel hair pasta for yellow and green zucchini noodles. I also elected to omit the butter calories. Cooking the zucchini noodles and shrimp with white wine, lemon juice, and minced garlic gave the dish a light, citrusy flavor. Surprisingly, I really didn’t leave the meal craving crabs.

            I am going to use my spiral cutter to make cucumber sunomono next (one of my favorite sushi side dishes), which is just a combination of Japanese cucumbers, salt, rice vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, and sesame seeds. Seems easy enough! Now if I could only work up the courage to make homemade sushi roles to pair it with...

2 tablespoons EVOO
12 jumbo shrimp, shelled and deveined
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
¼ cup white wine
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 medium zucchini, cut into noodles
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

-In large sauté pan over medium-low heat add EVOO and heat for 1 minute. Add garlic and crushed red pepper flakes and cook for 1 minute stirring constantly.
-Season shrimp with salt and pepper and add to pan and cook until pink. Transfer using a slotted spoon to a bowl leaving any liquid and excess garlic and red pepper flakes in pan.
-Increase heat to medium, scrape any brown bits from bottom of pan, and add the white wine and lemon juice. Cook for about 2 minutes then add zucchini noodles and cook for another 2 minutes stirring occasionally. 
-Return shrimp to pan to toss, season with more salt and pepper, garnish with parsley and serve immediately. 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Creamy Parmesan and Sundried Tomato Chicken

Who doesn’t love a quick and easy chicken recipe? I made this creamy parmesan and sundried tomato chicken for dinner a few months back and I was recently browsing my Pinterest food board and remembered I forgot to post the recipe to my blog! It made me sad because this dish was so delicious and took less than 15 minutes to cook! When I made it I actually was looking for something to cook without going to the store and realized I had all the ingredients. I think I just paired it with some brown rice but you could definitely chop up the chicken and mix with penne or fettuccini pasta for a great pasta dish. If I recall correctly, there was a pretty good amount of extra sauce and trust me you will not want to waste it!


1 tablespoon EVOO

4 (6 oz.) skinless and boneless chicken breasts

2 cloves garlic

¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

¼ cup dry white wine

¾ cup chicken broth

½ cup heavy whipping cream

¼ cup oil packed sundried

¼ cup parmesan cheese

¼ cup fresh basil

Salt & pepper


-Heat EVOO in a skillet over medium heat, pound and add chicken and cook until lightly golden brown on both sides, about 5 minutes per side, before setting aside

-In the same skillet add the garlic, red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute

-Add wine first, then add broth, cream, sundried tomatoes, and parmesan cheese, bring to a boil, then reduce and simmer until sauce thickens, about 3-5 minutes

-Mix the chicken back in, season with salt and pepper, remove from heat then mix in the basil

Monday, August 24, 2015

Blue Apron Continued

As I mentioned in my last post, I picked a few upcoming Blue Apron meals I wanted to try (see below) and bought the ingredients at a typical grocery store so I could get an idea of the cost difference between buying the groceries myself verses paying $10 per meal per person to get the ingredients delivered to my doorstep.

After doing this with two meals, I am now convinced that Blue Apron provides their service at a fair price. When totaling my itemized receipts from these two meals, the total was about $24 for each meal. Of course some of the ingredients can be used in future recipes but I still think the convenience of Blue Apron is worth $10 per meal per person. Anyone out there convinced yet?

Regardless, I think the Tomato & Goat Cheese Pie and Southern-Style Shrimp and Grit recipes are worth a try and worth having access to by having a Blue Apron membership! Both meals I would definitely make again. The only alteration I would make is to add more cheese to the cheese pie. A Wisconsinite wanting to add more cheese to an already cheesy cheese pie. Imagine that!

The Tomato & Goat Cheese Pie would be the perfect addition to your next at home dine in brunch menu. I made it for dinner one night and also had a piece as leftovers and I honestly think it tasted better the second time around. I think it gave the crust some time to absorb the juice and spices found layered in the pie.

I believe my craving for this Southern-Style Shrimp and Grits dish was a bit influenced by my anxiousness for my trip to Nashville with my good friend at the end of next month. I have been blessed with being able to experience quite a bit of Southern cuisine and can’t wait to spoil my taste buds again in the county music heart of Tennessee! Singing and dancing the night away out in legendary honky-tonks won’t be a bad time either! If anyone has any restaurant or bar suggestions out there please comment below. Meanwhile, I will be shining up my cowboy boots. I hope Nashville is ready for us, Whit! :)

Southern-Style Shrimp & Grits


10 Ounces Shrimp ($10.59)

¾ Cup Yellow Grits ($1.99)

3 Scallions ($1.25)

1 Clove Garlic ($0.42)

1 Ear of Corn ($0.49)

1 Lemon ($0.75)

1 Zucchini ($0.87)

2 Ounces Cherry Tomatoes ($1.99)

3 Tablespoons Butter ($3.49)

2 Ounces Cheddar Cheese ($2.58)

1 Teaspoon Smoked Paprika

EVOO, Salt, & Pepper

TOTAL: $24.42


-Thinly slice the scallions, separating the white bottoms from green tops. Peel and mince the garlic. Cut the corn kernels off the cob. Before you quarter and deseed the lemon, get 2 teaspoons of zest from the skin. Medium dice the zucchini. Halve the tomatoes. Grate the cheese. Pat the shrimp dry with paper towel and toss with the smoked paprika.

-In medium pot, bring 3 cups of water and a big pinch of salt to a boil. Once boiling, stir in the grits, lemon zest, and corn. Reduce heat to low. Cook, stirring frequently, 10 to 12 minutes, or until water has been absorbed and the grits have thickened. Remove from heat. Stir in the cheese and half the butter. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and set aside.

-While grits are cooking, heat 2 tablespoons until hot then add spiced shrimp. Season with salt and pepper. Cook 2 to 4 minutes per side. When cooked, transfer to plate. Wipe out the pan.

-In the same pan used to cook shrimp, heat 2 teaspoons of EVOO on medium until hot. Add garlic and white bottoms of scallions, season with salt. Cook for 1 minute. Add the zucchini and cook for 2 minutes or until softened. Add the cooked shrimp, tomatoes, remaining butter, the juice of all 4 lemon wedges, and all but a pinch of the green tops of the scallions. Season with salt and pepper. Cook another minute.

-Plate the dish by dividing up the cooked grits. Top with finished vegetables and shrimp. Garnish with the remaining green tops of the scallions.

Tomato & Goat Cheese Pie


1 Pie Crust ($2.16)

2 Tomatoes ($2.48)

3 Cloves Garlic ($0.42)

4 Ounces Sweet Pepper ($0.77)

1 Red Onion ($1.69)

1 Bunch Basil ($2.49)

½ Cup Crumbled Goat Cheese ($4.49)

1 Tablespoon Sherry Vinegar ($3.79)

½ Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese ($3.29)

¼ Cup Panko Breadcrumbs ($2.48)

1 ½ Tablespoons Tomato Spice Blend (All-Purpose flour, Mustard Power, & Dried Thyme)

EVOO, Salt, & Pepper

TOTAL: $24.06


-Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Peel and mince the garlic. Thinly slice sweet pepper into rings. Peel, halve, and thinly slice the onion. Cut the tomatoes into ¼ inch thick slices. Pick basil leaves off stems.

-In medium pan, heat 2 tablespoons of EVOO on medium heat until hot. Add garlic, onion, sweet pepper, and season with salt and pepper. Cook 2 to 4 minutes or until softened and fragrant. Stir in vinegar and cook another minute. Remove from heat and again season with salt and pepper to taste.

-Combine Parmesan cheese and panko breadcrumbs in small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Also combine equal parts of the flour, mustard power, and dried thyme in another small bowl.

-Start assembling the pie in this order: half the tomatoes at bottom of pie crust (season with salt and pepper), top with sweet pepper mix, half the spice blend, half the goat cheese, then basil. Repeat with remaining half of tomatoes, spice blend, and goat cheese. Top the pie with the Parmesan-breadcrumb topping and season with salt and pepper.

-Place the pie on a sheet pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the topping and crust are golden brown. Remove from the oven and let stand for 5 minutes before serving.