Feeds:
Posts
Comments

There are a few foods that are dinner staples in our house. We can’t seem to go a week or two without having them. Pizza, pasta and Mexican are three of the things you’ll find us eating frequently. (And coincidentally all feature carbs and/or cheese!)

We decided on pasta last night but wanted to try a new recipe. Typing “pasta” into the search box on Epicurious yields overwhelming results so in order to focus us a bit more, I gave Brandon The Gourmet Cookbook to browse through. He came up with a Penne with Arugula and Prosciutto that sounded great and featured a 20 minute start to finish time. This was perfect since we weren’t able to start on dinner until after 8 p.m.

We made a few modifications to the original recipe. The biggest was the addition of shrimp which we both agreed really took the dish up a notch. Overall, this is a very simple recipe but each element plays a big part in the flavor, especially the arugula. Don’t skip it.

While the pasta was boiling, I sauteed the shrimp in olive oil with a little bit of a lemon pepper rub (Dizzy Pig Shakin’ the Tree). Once the pasta and shrimp were done, I drained the pasta and dumped all the ingredients into the pot with the pasta. After a stir and a generous crank of salt and pepper it was time to eat.

I served this  dish with a hunk of bread and olive oil dipping sauce. At one point I said, “Mmm…I love carbs.” aloud. We’re happy to have another pasta dish worth repeating (over and over again) in our repertoire!

Pasta with Shrimp, Arugula and Prosciutto
(Recipe adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook)

Ingredients:

1/2 pound pasta (half box) pasta, penne, corkscrew, etc.
1/2 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
Seasoning of your choice for the shrimp (salt and pepper, lemon pepper, etc)
1/4 pound thinly sliced proscuitto, chopped
3/4 to 1 pound arugula, stems removed, chopped roughly (I used about 1/2 of a clamshell container)
1/2 cup finely grated parmigiano-reggiano
3/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 quarter lemon, squeezed
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water according to package directions. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water and drain pasta.

While pasta is cooking, sautee shrimp over medium high heat with olive oil and seasoning of your choice. This should take about 3-4 minutes, total.

Return pasta to pot and toss with prosciutto, shrimp, arugula, cheese, lemon zest, lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Add some of the pasta water if it seems dry.

Yield: 2-3 servings

Spiced Peach-Carrot Bread

I have been getting so much inspiration from Southern Living this summer. I’m not sure if maybe they’ve had a change in their food department or have just been focusing more on improving/freshening their food features but the recipes they have been publishing have been wonderful! I have a long list of things that I’d like to try from recent issues.

This Spiced Peach Carrot Bread was a “must make ASAP” and given the constant presence of peaches on my counter during the late summer months, I had all the ingredients on hand. I really enjoy quick breads and loved the idea of peach and carrot bread in lieu of the usual banana base.

I made some modifications to the original recipe. I doubled the spices, replaced some of the oil with Greek yogurt and added vanilla extract. The bread turned out beautifully and it’s so easy to prepare. You only need one bowl and no mixer! It was great on its own and it was especially tasty topped with almond butter for breakfast. This will definitely become a yearly summer staple.

Enjoy the last of the summer peaches (before we are bombarded with all things pumpkin and winter squash!) and make this recipe.

Spiced Peach Carrot Bread
(Recipe adapted from Southern Living – July 2011)

Ingredients:

3/4 cup chopped pecans
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups peeled and chopped fresh peaches
3/4 cup grated carrots
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
1/2 cup milk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare a 9 x 5 loaf pan with cooking spray.

Toast pecans either in the oven in a shallow pan for 8-10 minutes or on the stove top in a pan over medium heat. Stir occasionally. When they are fragrant and slightly darkened in color, they are ready. Allow to cool.

Stir together flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Add the peaches, carrots, oil, yogurt, milk, eggs, vanilla and pecans and stir until just moistened and combined.

Pour batter into prepared baking dish and bake for about 1 hour and 10 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 5 minutes before removing and placing on a wire rack to completely cool.

Yield: 1 loaf

Long time, no post, huh? I know I keep saying this but if you can just hang with me a little longer I promise that I will be back to posting 3-4 recipes a week. Promise.

Now, the occasion for this post…I’m participating in my very first virtual baby shower! A group of food bloggers are celebrating the upcoming arrival of Josie’s baby boy! I couldn’t be more excited for her. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you know how much I love Josie and her blog, Pink Parsley. We’ve never met in person but for some reason I just know that we would be such good friends if we were close to each other. Josie  lives in the Atlanta area so I’m hoping we can finally meet sometime very soon when I’m down there visiting my parents.

Since I’m a fellow Georgia girl, I wanted to make a Southern-themed recipe for the virtual shower. I actually grew up about 45 minutes from Vidalia, Georgia so when I spotted this Baked Vidalia Onion Dip in my Southern Living Cookbook, I knew it was the perfect thing! You can’t have a party without a dip, right?

The dip was so easy to assemble and I know it would be a crowd-pleaser at any get together (especially with football season coming up!). Since you sautee the onions first, it really tones down the onion bite and really brings out the sweetness in  them.

The original recipe did not call for a breadcrumb topping but I thought it would be a nice addition. We enjoyed the dip with crackers but you could also try tortilla chips. Play around with the cheese mixture – I used a combination of cheddar and an Italian blend but I think it would be especially delicious with pepper jack or Swiss.

Big thanks to Annie for organizing the virtual baby shower! Please check out her blog to see all of the amazing things that everyone contributed!

Baked Vidalia Onion Dip
(Recipe adapted from The Southern Living Cookbook)

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons butter
3 Vidalia onions, diced
2 cups cheese (cheddar, swiss, jack, a mixture, etc)
1 cup mayonnaise (light is okay)
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
Dash cayenne pepper, optional for a little added heat
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup panko tossed with 1 tablespoon melted butter (for topping, optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare a two-quart baking dish with cooking spray.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add butter and melt. Add onions and cook until softened and beginning to brown, about 5-7 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another minute.

In a separate bowl, stir together sauteed onions and garlic and rest of ingredients. Top with panko/melted butter mixture, if desired. Bake for 25 minutes and let stand 10 minutes before serving.

I am very easily persuaded when it comes to baking. Last Sunday Brandon suggested that I bake cookies or brownies for dessert and I immediately agreed that it was a fabulous idea. I started flipping through cookbooks to find a new recipe that I could blog about and I’m here to say that I found a winner.

I love the Southern Living Cookbook. It’s one of those cookbooks that never fails me…I can always find something delicious to make from it. The second I saw these white chocolate brownies, I knew that I’d found my dessert.

Brownies are a staple in our dessert rotation but always in the traditional chocolate form. I loved the idea of having a white chocolate base. Brandon had the genius idea of adding toffee. The results were perfect – the white chocolate was the star and the toffee added the perfect compliment. I loved the slight saltiness that the toffee provided.

Top with ice cream and chocolate sauce for extra deliciousness!

White Chocolate Toffee Brownies
(Recipe adapted from The Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook)

Ingredients:

1/3 cup unsalted butter
8 ounces white chocolate, chopped and divided
2 large eggs
2/3 cup sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup toffee

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease and 8 x 8 pan.

Melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Add 4 ounces of white chocolate and remove from heat. Do not stir the butter and chocolate. Allow chocolate to slowly melt.

Beat eggs at medium speed with an electric mixer until thick and pale, about 1-2 minutes. Slowly add the sugar, beating well.

In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Gradually add to egg mixer, mixing until just blended. Stir in white chocolate and vanilla. Fold in remaining chopped white chocolate and toffee.

Pour mixture into prepared pan and bake for 30-35 minutes.

Yield: 2 dozen squares

I love everything about summer dinners. Eating outdoors, using herbs from the garden, farmer’s market veggies and grilling. I enjoy entertaining during the summer. Everything is simple but fresh and very relaxed. We had friends over for dinner last weekend and I was able to spend the evening chatting rather than rushing around in the kitchen. The appetizer and side dish were made a head of time and the main and vegetable were done on the grill. It doesn’t get better than that!

While looking for side dishes that could be prepared ahead of time, I came across this Mediterranean Lentil and Couscous Salad. First, I have a serious fondness for anything that involves Mediterranean flavors and liked that that base of the salad was lentils and couscous. The inclusion of tomatoes, feta, arugula and fresh herbs really made this stand out. Second, I have an appreciation for recipes from Gourmet and usually find them to be winners.

I let the salad sit overnight to really let the flavors develop. It was a hit with our guests and the perfect side for a summer cookout. I enjoyed the leftovers for lunch the next few days!

Mediterranean Lentil and Couscous Salad
(Recipe source Gourmet magazine)

Ingredients:

1 cup French green or brown lentils
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 1/4 cups water
1 cup couscous (I used whole wheat)
1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 large garlic clove, minced and mashed to a paste with 1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
1 bunch arugula, stems discarded and leaves washed well, spun dry and chopped
2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
1 cup crumbled feta
1/4 cup fresh basil, julienned

Directions:

Place lentils in a small saucepan and cover with 2 inches of water. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes or until lentils are tender but not falling apart. Drain and transfer to a bowl. Stir in one tablespoon vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Cool lentils completely.

In a saucepan, bring water to a boil and add couscous and salt. Remove from heat and let couscous stand, covered, 5 minutes. Fluff couscous with a fork and transfer to a large bowl. Stir in 1 tablespoon oil and cool completely.

In a small bowl, whisk together garlic paste, remaining 2 tablespoons vinegar, remaining 3 tablespoons oil and salt and pepper to taste. Stir lentils and dressing into couscous. Chill salad, covered, at least 3 hours and up to 24.

Just before serving, stir in remaining ingredients, top with basil and season with salt and pepper. At this time I also added another drizzle of olive oil and a splash of vinegar but that’s totally optional.

Yield: 8 servings

White Bean Dip

Before I even get started on the recipe portion of this post, let’s talk about the current status of Bakin’ and Eggs. I am the first to admit that my posts have been few and far between. My schedule has been so insanely busy lately that I just haven’t had time to get in the kitchen and cook new recipes to blog about. We’ve been turning to a lot of old favorites and quick meals that while healthy and delicious, aren’t really blog-worthy. Perhaps the most sad of all is how little time I have had to bake lately. I really miss it. What time I do have, I’ve been putting towards updating my healthy living blog, Peanut Butter Runner.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel though. If you’ll just stick with me, I promise that I will resume to posting 3-5 recipes per week again soon. I am so ready to get back in the kitchen.

Now, on to the dip. I’m not the best when it comes to appetizer ideas. Give me a cheese plate and I’m a happy girl. We had friends over for dinner last night and I wanted to serve an easy, healthy, make-ahead appetizer. I thought of making hummus but while I still love to eat it, I’m a little over serving it to guests. I found this recipe for White Bean Dip from Giada and thought that it sounded like a great alternative to hummus.

The dip was so super simple to make and ready in under five minutes. It’s just a puree of white beans, parsley, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and salt and pepper. If you wanted to mix it up, I think that it would also be great with basil instead of parsley. I served it with mixed veggies and pita chips. It was a perfect make-ahead summer appetizer!

White Bean Dip
(Recipe source Giada de Laurentiis)

Ingredients:
1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1-2 garlic cloves (depending on how much punch you want to pack!), peeled and crushed
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup (loosely packed) fresh Italian parsley leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:
Place the beans, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and parsley in a food processor or blender. Pulse or blend until the mixture is pretty smooth but still has some texture. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Transfer to a small bowl and garnish with fresh herbs.

Yield: 6 servings

 

Bacon Ranch Potato Salad

My parents make great traditional potato salad. You know, the mayonnaise-based kind that includes celery, onion and hard boiled eggs. I’ve tried to recreate it a few times but it never tastes as good as it does when they make it and I really don’t love old school potato salad unless it’s that recipe. So instead of trying to master their version, I like to try different variations of potato salad.

We attended a family cookout for Memorial Day last night and I volunteered to bring Feta Potato Salad. I was in the process of making my grocery list when this recipe for Bacon Ranch Potato Salad popped up in my Google Reader. I immediately abandoned plans to make a tried and true recipe in favor of trying something new (not that the feta potato salad isn’t amazing…you must try!).

I knew my audience and Bacon Ranch Potato Salad sounded right up their alley…especially with a large number of kids in attendance. This recipe is relatively simple with boiled potatoes being tossed in homemade ranch dressing and crumbled bacon. Actually, my favorite thing about this recipe was that the ranch dressing was homemade with a short ingredient list of things that are usually in my kitchen. I would make just the ranch dressing part of this recipe for salads. It was delicious!

This new twist on potato salad was a hit with my family and is sure to be a winner at any summer cookout!

Bacon Ranch Potato Salad
(Recipe source Confections of a Foodie Bride)

Ingredients:

2 pounds red potatoes, unpeeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 cup light mayonnaise
1/4 cup plain reduced-fat yogurt or sour cream
2 tablespoons chives, chopped
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped (plus more for garnish)
1 green onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup buttermilk
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 slices thick cut bacon, cooked to a crisp and crumbled

Directions:

Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with 1-2 inches of cold water and 1 tablespoon of salt. Bring potatoes to a boil and cook until just tender, about 10 minutes.

While potatoes are cooking, whisk together mayonnaise, sour cream, herbs, green onion, garlic, lemon and buttermilk in a bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Drain potatoes and transfer to a serving bowl. Let stand for about 10 minutes and then pour half of the ranch dressing over the potatoes and half of the crumbled bacon and gently toss to combine. Refrigerate one hour and then toss with remaining ranch dressing. Top with the rest of the crumbled bacon and garnish with chopped parsley. Return to refrigerator until ready to serve.

Yield: 8-10 servings

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 428 other followers