Friday, October 17, 2014

October 17, 2014

It was a good week for recipes except we had one major flop - a dilly zucchini casserole.  It had a great ingredients list, but ended up with very little flavor.  It was a bust.  I suppose that is what happens when you try out tons of new recipes all the time...some are good, some are amazing, and some are terrible.

We did have 4 recipes earn keeper status this week, though!  We perfected that banana muffin from a week or two ago, and we found a fabulous peanut butter recipe!  Ryan was out of town early in the week so the kids enjoyed a south of the border mac and cheese one night.  And then late in the week Ryan and I loved a spicy tomato sauce with shrimp recipe!  All in all we had quite a variety of keepers, and peppered the week with some favorite tried and true meals like salmon, hurry up ham, and leftovers night.

Not sure what is on tap for next week - I have a huge midterm so I don't anticipate being too adventurous in the kitchen until that is complete.  Keep your fingers crossed for me for the test, and then hopefully I'll find some time to try out a new recipe or 2!

Happy Cooking!

New Recipes

Homemade Peanut Butter
South of the border mac and cheese
Banana muffins
Spicy Tomato Sauce with Shrimp

Homemade Peanut Butter

* 10 oz roasted peanuts
* 2/3 tsp kosher salt
* 1 tsp honey
* 1 tbsp peanut oil

1. In your food processor or blender combine the peanuts, salt and honey until crumbly.  Add in the peanut oil and process until you reach the smooth consistency you prefer.
2. Store in the fridge, and use as you would any other peanut butter.

Oh my word!  Talk about delicious!!!!  I've tried a few peanut butter recipes before, but this is by far the best we've tried.  My kids told me I should stop buying peanut butter and just make this from now on...that is a serious endorsement because my kids eat peanut butter almost every day!  I had the ingredients on hand, so decided to give the recipe a whirl.  I used dry roasted peanuts and that give it a fabulous flavor!

This recipe makes about 2/3 cup of peanut butter.

South of the Border Mac and Cheese

* 2 1/2 cups rotini pasta
* 1 can evaporated milk (12 oz)
* 1 can cheddar cheese soup (10oz)
* 4 oz cheddar cheese, shredded
* 2 tsp chili powder
* 1 can tomatoes with green chiles, undrained
* 8 green onions, sliced

1. Cook the rotini in boiling water as directed on the package, probably 8 minutes.  Drain.
2. Spray the inside of your slow cooker with non-stick spray.  Mix the pasta, milk, soup, cheddar cheese and chili powder together.  Pour in the slow cooker.
3. Cook on high for 1 hour and 15 minutes, stirring after 30 minutes.
4. Add the tomatoes and green onions, and mix.  Heat for another 10-15 minutes.
5.  Serve and enjoy!

Not a glamorous meal, but an easy to put together twist on mac and cheese.  My older kids and I loved the flavors of this dish, and you could even use a spicy cheese like pepper jack instead of cheddar if you wanted to add even more heat.  But we enjoyed it just like this - we hope you will, too!

Banana Muffins

* 3 cups AP flour
* 1 tbsp baking powder
* 1/2 tsp baking soda
* 1/2 tsp salt
* 1/2 tsp cinnamon
* 10 tbsp butter, softened
* 1 cup brown sugar
* 2 eggs
* 1 1/2 cups plain vanilla yogurt
* 4 ripe bananas, mashed very well (at least 1 1/2 cups of mashed banana)
* 3/4 cup chopped walnuts, optional

1. Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a  bowl.  Set aside.
2. Cream the butter and brown sugar on medium speed for 5 minutes.
3. Add the eggs, one at a time, until incorporated.
4. Slowly add the dry ingredients and the yogurt, going back and forth3 times, until all is incorporated.  Do not overmix - only mix until there are little to no streaks of flour remaining.
5. Fold in the bananas, and then if using, fold in the walnuts.
5. Divide the batter into greased muffin tins, filling almost to the top.
6. Bake at 425 F for the first 5 minutes, then lower the temperature to 375 and bake for an additional 15-18 minutes (a toothpick inserted into a muffin should come out clean).

We finally got this right!  We previously had used vanilla yogurt, but that began to overpower the banana flavor.  We added an additional banana, and swapped out nutmeg for cinnamon.  When we made these we left some batter without walnuts, and then added them into the remaining.  I definitely prefer the muffins with the walnuts, but the kids prefer without, so this was a great compromise!  I hope you enjoy these!  (These are definitely best the the first day or 2, so freeze some if you aren't going to eat them all right away, or make a half batch!  The recipe as written about made 17 muffins for me.)

Spicy Tomato Sauce with Shrimp

* 4 garlic cloves, minced
* 3 tbsp olive oil
* 1 1/2 lbs of uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
* 1 cup tomato juice
* 1 cup tomato sauce
* 1/2 - 1 tsp red pepper flakes
* 1/4 tsp salt
* 1/4 tsp pepper
* 4 tsp corn starch
* 1/4 cup white wine or chicken broth
* 2 tbsp minced fresh basil
* pasta, rice or zoodles of your choice, cooked as directed

1. In a large nonstick skillet saute the garlic in oil until tender.  Then cook the shrimp for 2-3 minutes per side. Remove the shrimp from the pan and keep warm.
2. Add the tomato juice, tomato sauce, pepper flakes, salt and pepper to the oil and garlic in the pan.  Stir and and combine well.
3. Mix the corn starch with the wine (or chicken broth).  Stir this mixture into the tomato sauce.  Bring the sauce to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 5-6 minutes.  Add the basil to the sauce and let the cook for 1 minutes.  Stir the shrimp and any accumulated juice back into the sauce and cook until the shrimp are fully warmed through again.
4. Serve the shrimp and sauce over pasta, rice or zoodles!  Enjoy!

Wow - super yummy!  I had mine over zoodles (spiralized zucchini), and Ryan had his over angel hair.  We both really enjoyed this.  I saved the leftover sauce and made fresh zoodles to use with the sauce for lunch.  And the I also used the sauce on my pizza for dinner.  Can you tell I loved it???  Give it a try and let me know how you enjoy it!

For the tomato juice, I actually used 11 oz instead of 8 oz, because I had small cans of tomato juice and each can is 5.5 oz.  So if you also have those little cans, feel free to add the extra to the sauce - it won't hurt it!