Thursday, January 26, 2012

Smashed Cheesy Cauliflower


i've been on all high on my "we're getting healthy around here" horse. which i realized, has two interpretations at the clay casa.

my idea=lets try to be healthy 24/5.

justin's idea=i had fish for lunch, so mcdonald's for dinner.

hey, it's all about balance right?!

so when the hubs asked what was for dinner last night, i had a wonderful teriyaki pork tenderloin ready for his grill skill {compliments of hormel}, along with roasted root vegetables & smashed cheesy cauliflower on tap. i've mentioned before how cauliflower is all on the scene lately, so i decided to try, what i've been told, is a great substitute for grits or mashed potatoes.

and it was damn good. like so good. like i could eat it every night & i'd be even more on track to achieving that kate moss figure come summer.

{smashed cheesy cauliflower}

ingredients {in order of use}
*serves 2-4
  • 1 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1 large head of cauliflower, florets finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup 2% milk
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup low-fat sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • optional: green onions or chives
1. in a medium pot, bring chicken stock to a boil. add cauliflower & reduce to medium-high heat. allow to cook for 8-10 minutes, or until tender.

2. pour the cauliflower & chicken stock into a blender & pulse for 2 seconds.

{1 mississippi, 2 mississippi}

*this will give you a half blended-half chunky texture. you can blend more if you want a more creamy texture, but i like a little chunki-ness in this recipe.

3. add cauliflower-mixture back to pot & bring to a medium-low heat. add minced garlic, milk & salt & pepper. stir to mix. toss in cheese & stir until melted.

4. serve warm, topped with green onions or chives!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Fiesta Wontons



i've said it before & i'll say it again...wonton wrappers are the gateway to a party in your mouth. these little guys are perfect for so many different recipes-ravioli, appetizers, leftovers...

you can find them in the fridge of your local grocery store {at publix, they sit with the pre-chopped veggies, sprouts, etc. & at kroger, they sit in the organic section with tofu & other really weird foods}. their website even provides a ton of recipes so you can get creative with the 40 squares of dough you just brought home.

i made this recipe for my monthly garden club meeting & was surprised at how easy & delicious it was. the mixture below would also be great doubled, rolled into soft taco shells & baked for an enchilada-style casserole. with the superbowl coming up, what a fun, low calorie way to please the crowd!



{fiesta wonton's}

ingredients {in order of use}
*serves 10-12
  • 3 tablespoons salsa
  • 1 tablespoon fat-free cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon dry taco seasoning mix
  • 10 ounces cooked chicken breast, shredded {*see first note}
  • 1/4 cup canned black beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1/4 cup corn, thawed if frozen
  • 1/4 cup shredded fat-free cheddar cheese
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 12 small, square wonton wrappers
*for cooking chicken breast, i prefer to cook in water with a chicken bullion cube. this gives it the best flavor!

1. preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. while preheating, mix all ingredients, through salt & pepper. set aside.

3. spray a small muffin pan with non-stick spray. place a wonton wrapper in each cup of the muffin tin, & press into the bottom & sides. lightly spray wrappers with non-stick spray. bake in the oven for about 4 minutes, or until the corners start to brown. remove muffin tin, set aside to cool & leave oven on.

4. spoon an even mixture, approx. 2 tablespoons, into each wonton. return muffin tin to oven & bake for another 8 minutes, or until hot & bubbly.

*serve with optional toppers: sour cream, tomatoes, salsa, cheese, etc.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Rosemary Tilapia in Mustard Cream Sauce with Parmesan Grits

*adapted from cooking light

i caved. i am now one of the lucky 10,000 shoppers that get to eat & greet with each other at Costco on saturday mornings.

{out of the way lady...that low fat cajun turkey meatball on a toothpick is mine}

that said, to be a Costco member you really must be able to exercise patience, resistance & ability to not stray from your list of NEEDS. my list of "all i NEED" generally makes a swift 180 into the "i totally forgot i NEEDED this until i saw it". for example, this trip resulted in the extra purchases of wine. avocados. veggie straws. vitamins...

but on my actual list of NEEDS was tilapia at costco. it's really a bargain-$15 for 8 filets that are gorgeously butterflied & asking to be bagged, frozen & cooked in your cozy home. or at least that's how i justified bringing home 8 tilapia filets. these are going to make for such easy, healthy & on-hand meals as i strive for that kate moss figure in 2k12.

first up, the filets...

{tilapia in mustard cream sauce}

ingredients {in order of use}
*serves 2
  • 2 tilapia filets {if frozen, thawed}
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons rosemary, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 cup whole milk or half-and-half
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1. place tilapia on a plate & sprinkle with salt, pepper & rosemary.

2. heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. add fish & cook on first side approx. 5 minutes, or until easy to remove. flip & cook for another minute on the other side. add chicken broth, mushrooms & cover. cook for 3 minutes. remove fish from pan & set aside.

3. add milk or half-and-half & mustard. whisk until well mixed. cook mushrooms until desired. place fish on top of mixture to heat. remove from heat & cover until serving.

{parmesan grits}
ingredients {in order of use}
*serves 2
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup 2% milk
  • 6 tablespoons quick-cooking grits
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
  • salt & pepper, to taste
1. bring chicken broth & milk to a boil. slowly stir in grits.

2. reduce heat to low, cover & allow to cook for 7-8 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. to serve, place grits on a plate & top with tilapia, veggies & sauce. enjoy warm!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Simple Steak Stir Fry


here's how i feel about chinese food. like sushi, it's just one of those meals you allow someone else to prepare. there's something about chinese food that cannot be recreated in your home.

maybe it's the lack of MSG in my kitchen?

maybe it's because i can't get the meat as mysterious as what appears in general tso's chicken?

maybe it's the lack of cats....

sorry, i took it too far.

whatever the reason, chinese restaurants have a good thing going...until about 30 minutes after you eat it. and you feel bloated & sick & you're pondering why the hell you ever went into china garden for that garbage anyway.

having felt that post-chinese hangover, but still loving the cuisine, i decided to give it another go. after all, that all-clad wok we have isn't gonna saute itself. this time, i went to my main soy man, kikkoman. he makes what looks like a taco seasoning packet, but it's for stir fry. hip hip horray! toss it with a few veggies & skirt steak {or chicken or shrimp} & you have a really healthy, low fat meal. unless kikkoman is on MSG's side...and then we have what this guy would consider the cocaine of food.

{simple steak stir fry}

ingredients {in order of use}
*serves 2-4
  • 1 pound flank steak, sliced into thin strips, agains the grain {or skirt steak}
  • 1/4 cup italian dressing
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger, divided {i prefer the kind in a tube in the veggie section}
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • sliced & diced veggies of your choice: broccoli, asparagus, onion, bell pepper, mushrooms, canned baby corn, etc. {or bagged, frozen vegetables}
  • 2 sprigs green onion, chopped
  • 1 packet of kikkoman stir fry seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • rice noodles or instant brown rice {cooked according to package}
1. in advance of cooking, marinate the flank steak. in a resealable container, add steak, italian dressing, soy sauce, 1/2 teaspoon minced ginger & garlic powder. mix with a fork & poke holes in steak so it absorbs the marinade. refrigerate for 2-4 hours.

2. in a wok or skillet, add oil & bring to a high heat. toss in the rest of the minced garlic. saute for 1 minute. add flank steak & cook for 3 minutes, stirring. add vegetables & toss to coat, cooking for 3 minutes.

3. in a small bowl, whisk kikkoman with 2 tablespoons of water. toss with steak & veggies & bring to a boil. cook until sauce stats to thicken & vegetables are cooked. toss in cooked rice or rice noodle, mix throughly & serve warm!

*i leave you with the great asian debate...is sushi soy sauce the same as chinese food soy sauce?

nope.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Sauteed Cauliflower & Brussel Sprouts


if you ever pick up a cooking mag or keep close company with hungry girl, you've noticed that cauliflower is quite the come back kid. i keep seeing it disguised as mashed potatoes, in mac & cheese, curried, roasted, braised, pureed, sliced, diced & served up any & every way.

i happen to love it mixed in with these baby cabbages & have blogged about them before in my brussels 'n bacon. below, i'm bringing you a new, easy spin on cooking them!

{sauteed cauliflower & brussel sprouts}

ingredients {in order of use}
*serves 2
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup cauliflower florets {or more}
  • 6-8 brussel sprouts
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon accent seasoning {it's worth buying-it's great on anything!}
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • shredded parmesan cheese {optional}

1. to steam vegetables, add chicken broth to a large pot & place vegetables in a steamer basket inside of pot. close lid & steam until tender with a fork...think, al dente. almost done, but not done done.
*if you don't own a steamer, you can put the chicken broth & veggies in a microwave-safe bowl, cover with saran wrap & steam for 4 minutes. caution-this will be hot as hell.

2. drain vegetables & allow to cool. when cool, slice brussel sprouts in half.

3. heat olive oil in a skillet to low-medium heat. add minced garlic, celery & toss until fragrant. add cauliflower, brussel sprouts & saute 2 minutes. add accent & red pepper flakes & saute for another 6 minutes, or until browning. top with shredded parmesan cheese.

*serve it as a side dish today & mix it with pasta for leftovers!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Ten-Minute Tiramisu

it's something i rarely do...and rarely enjoy. desserts. i just don't have a sweet tooth & would much prefer say, a bag of chips or tablespoon of salt. but when i decided to host a christmas dinner party of spaghetti & my irresistible italian meatballs, i knew i needed a complementary dessert.

so take back everything i just said...i actually really do enjoy tiramisu & didn't realize how EASY it is to make. i started by stalking giada's recipe & tweaking a few things to make it even easier. i made it ahead of time & served in mugs for easy eating. enjoy!

{ten-minute tiramisu}

ingredients {in order of use}
*serves 6
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 {8 ounce} containers mascarpone cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups espresso, cooled {easy trick-head over to starbucks & have them brew for you}
  • 2 teaspoons kahlua {easy trick-grab an airplane bottle from your local liquor store}
  • 24 ladyfingers {the pack i purchased @ publix looked like 12 but had 24 in it}
  • cocoa
1. in a large bowl with an electric mixer or electric beaters or extra-fast hand, beat egg yolks & sugar until pale & thick-approx. 5 minutes. add in mascarpone cheese & beat until well-mixed. add one tablespoon espresso & mix.

2. in another medium bowl, add remaining espresso & kahlua. dip each lady finger in the espresso for 3 seconds {letting them soak too long will result in them falling apart}. place the soaked ladyfingers in the bottom of a 9x13" dish, breaking them in half if needed to fill.

3. spread 1/2 of the mascarpone mixture over the lady fingers. arrange another layer of soaked ladyfingers & top with remaining mascarpone mixture. cover & refrigerate for at least 2 hours, up to 8 hours.

4. before serving, sprinkle with cocoa. enjoy!

*and if you purchase a larger bottle of kahlua, and i recommend you do, serve this dessert with white russians.

"uh, yea. white russian."
-the dude

I'm Back!


well well....a new year, a new blog start for {shugart & spice}! lets face the facts here...i fell off the blogger bandwagon. excuses are not in order so lets just move right on to a new recipe.

i made some of the most delightful black-eyed peas for our annual new years day feast! while i find most peas, well, BLAH, i jazzed these up a bit with some help from my favorite spice man, Emeril. i've mentioned it before but if you haven't picked up a shaker...well make it a point to start your 2012 with this incredible spice, Emeril's Original Essence. it's perfect for EVERYTHING...i mean EVERYTHING.

{one pot wonder: black-eyed pea succotash}

ingredients {in order of use}
*serves 10
  • 2 pounds frozen black-eyed peas {i even like the ones with green beans mixed in}
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 4 ribs celery, finely chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bunch of green onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups diced ham {i prefer a lean ham steak with no fat}
  • 1 teaspoon Emeril's Original Essence {or another creole seasoning}
  • 1 {10 ounce} can Rotel
  • salt & pepper, to taste
*wait for it...this is gonna get complex.

1. mix all ingredients. cover & cook for 6-8 hours.

*also of note...the dawgs play today & the bachelor starts tonight. which really needs a redeemer after we all had to endure the last season of ashley. btw-is she still with JP? wait, who cares.

and for some holiday highlights...

*bella

*christmas eve: husband, me & bella & pap

*the best wine in the world!
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