Thursday, May 27, 2010

Beach Berry Drink

8 fresh Organic blackberries; for each serving
1/4 ounce Organic lemon juice
1 1/2 ounce Organic vodka
1/4 ounce Agave Nectar

In a mixing glass, muddle blackberries with lemon juice.
Combine remaining ingredients in mixing glass. Transfer to a shaker that is filled 2/3 with ice.
Shake vigorously 8-10 times.
Strain mixture over fresh ice into rock glass.

This recipe only makes 1 drink, so I would triple! Very refreshing and yummy!
Recipe from Loews hotel bar - San Diego's signature drink.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Healthy Tex Mex Turkey Tacos

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 onion; diced
4  garlic cloves; minced
1 lb. ground lean turkey
1 package taco seasoning (I used a Hot & Spicy flavor) 
1 red bell pepper; seeded & chopped
1 jalapeno pepper; seeded & chopped
1 cup frozen whole-kernel corn 
1/3 cup light Mexican beer (or water)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (10-ounce) can Ro*tel; drained (or Mexican-style tomatoes)
1-1/2 cups of salsa
1/2 small can chipotle chiles; drained & chopped 
Corn Tortilla shells
Avocado, tomato, reduced fat Mexican-blend cheese

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Coat pan with olive oil.
Add the onion and cook 3 minutes.  Add garlic to skillet and cook 2 minutes more or until slightly soft.
Turn heat up to medium-high and add turkey; stir to crumble the turkey. Add taco seasoning and combine. 
Add red pepper and jalapeno pepper to the pan and cook for 3 minutes.
Stir in corn and next 8 ingredients (corn through chiles). Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 7 minutes.
Warm shells according to package directions and fill. 
Serve with avocado, cheese and tomatoes. 

Chad's rating: 9/10
Amy's rating: 10/10

Recipe was adapted from here.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Grilled Steak with Baby Arugula Salad

1 teaspoon fresh thyme
Salt and pepper
4 (4 ounce) flat iron steaks (I used 2 sirloin steaks)
1 lemon, halved
1 scallion, diced
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 package baby arugula
1 seedless cucumber, diced
1 package mushrooms, chopped
Shaved Asiago cheese

Heat grill pan over medium-high heat. Rub thyme, salt and pepper over each side of steaks. Add steaks to hot pan; cook until desired temperature. Remove steaks from pan. Add lemon halves, cut side down, to pan; cook 3 minutes. Cut steaks across the grain into thin slices.

Combine olive oil, lemon juice, mustard and salt and pepper in a bowl, stirring with a whisk. Drizzle over arugula. Add cucumber, scallions and mushrooms; toss to coat.

Arrange on plates and top with sliced steak and grilled lemon half. Top with shaved cheese.

Chad's rating: 9/10 - Would like to add Garbanzo beans next time.
Amy's rating: 9.5/10

Recipe adapted from Cooking Light June issue.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Emily Giffin

For those that don't know, I won a contest from Emily Giffin! Details here.
Emily is a New York Times Bestselling Author of 5 of my favorite books (all of her books!) Her latest book, "Heart of the Matter" was released on May 11th. I was lucky enough to receive an advanced, authographed copy from Emily before the trip. I LOVED this book and it is possibly my favorite Giffin book to date. Although, I may be biased since I have been all hyped up from excitement! If you have not bought this book yet, RUN out and buy it. I do suggest reading Emily's books in order though. So start with "Something Borrowed"; which is being made into a movie starring Kate Hudson, Ginnifer Goodwin and John Krasinski right now!

The contest included airfare, 2 night stay at - the brand new - Loews Hotel in Atlanta, gift card for $150 at Bistro Niko and VIP access to Emily's Launch party. My lucky +1 (Erica) and I had an amazing trip and no surprise the best part was meeting Emily! 

Erica and I walked into the VIP party and probably looked out of place. I say this, because we just were not sure what to do with ourselves and at this point there were only a handful of people in the room. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I spot Emily. She had her camera out snapping pictures and laughing with friends. I couldn't get over how normal she was and I didn't even met her yet! For some reason, I was expecting bodyguards to usher her into the room. As I was being entranced by all of this, Stacie Hanna - Emily's promotion planner - came up to us and Erica said "This is Amy, she won the contest!" Thanks to Erica, because I couldn't talk at the moment. Stacie was sweet and kept saying she was so glad that we came - who would turn down this invitation?!?! Stacie walked us over to Emily and then it all became real. Emily was all excited and gave me a big hug. She asked us what we were up to so far in Atlanta, talked a little bit about the contest, introduced us to people and complimented our dresses/shoes. Which by the way, Emily looked amazing! After we talked for a few, we started taking pictures. With my camera, another photographers' and even Emily's. She knows her way around a camera! 
After pictures, she signed books for the few lucky people that we bought books for. While she signed, we talked about "Something Borrowed" hitting the big screen. She dished about the cast and her time on set. Emily even gets to make a cameo in the movie! 
The crowd started to grow and we decided to share Emily with everyone else. :-) Erica and I mingled around the party meeting new friends. Towards the end of the night, we decided to get in line so we could again thank Emily and say goodbye. We took more pictures and chatted for a bit telling Emily that we already bought tickets to see her when she comes to Grand Rapids in June. Emily said "we will be like best friends by then." 

Emily is the one of the sweetest people I have ever met.  She is grounded, friendly, funny and so very personable. Which makes me an even BIGGER fan. I will never forget this trip!

Me with Emily and her new cover!

Yummy Cake!

Me, Emily and Erica

More pictures are on my facebook page and a few "PR Photos" here.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Pasta with Asparagus

1 lb Farafalle pasta (bow-tie noodles)
1 bunch fresh asparagus; ends trimmed and chopped in small pieces
1 pint grape (or cherry) tomatoes; washed and halved
1/3 cup olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic; minced
Salt and pepper
Fresh Parmesan

Boil a large pot of water. Salt water and add pasta; cook till al dente.
Meanwhile, warm oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and saute for a few minutes. Add asparagus and lower heat to medium. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until softened; stirring occasionally.
Add tomatoes and pasta. Turn off heat and stir together. Top with Parmesan.

Chad's rating: 10/10
Amy's rating: 10/10

This is a family favorite recipe that I have been meaning to post on here for awhile. So easy and tasty!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Spinach Lasagna Roll Ups

8 lasagna noodles, cooked according to package directions
10 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
15 oz fat free ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg
salt and pepper
1 jar Pasta Sauce (I used Roasted Garlic)
9 tbsp (about 3 oz) part skim mozzarella cheese, shredded (I may have used a little more)

Preheat oven to 350°. Combine spinach, ricotta, Parmesan, egg, salt and pepper in a bowl. Pour about 1 cup sauce on the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish.

Place a piece of wax paper on the counter and lay out lasagna noodles. Make sure noodles are dry. Take 1/3 cup of ricotta mixture and spread evenly over noodle. Roll carefully and place seam side down onto the baking dish. Repeat with remaining noodles.

Pour sauce over the noodles in the baking dish and top each one with 1 tbsp mozzarella cheese. Put foil over baking dish and bake for 40 minutes, or until cheese melts.

Chad's rating: 9/10
Amy's rating: 9.5/10 - so easy and yummy!

Recipe adapted from here. (This was a Weight Watcher recipe, so here is the nutrition info: WW points: 4 - Calories from 1 roll: 188)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Happy Cinco De Mayo!

I have the night off from cooking as Chad and I are heading to a local Mexican restaurant for some Cinco De Mayo fun!

Take a look at my Mexican Inspired dishes here.
One of my favorites was this Mexican Inspired Chicken.
The picture was back when I first started the blog and was using my cell phone as my camera. Sorry for the poor quality, but this dish is awesome!

Also, hop on over to my friend Ali's blog for a giveaway. $60.00 gift certificate to CSN Stores!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Chicken Francese

1 lb skinless, boneless, chicken breasts
All-purpose flour, for dredging and sauce
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons water
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 lemon, with rind, cut in thin rounds
1/2 cup dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

Put the chicken breasts side by side on a cutting board and lay a piece of plastic wrap over them. Pound the chicken breasts with a flat meat mallet, until they are about 1/4-inch thick. Put some flour in a shallow platter and season with a fair amount of salt and pepper; mix with a fork to distribute evenly. In a wide bowl, beat the eggs with 3 tablespoons of water to make an egg wash. Heat the oil over medium-high flame in a large skillet.

Dredge both sides of the chicken cutlets in the seasoned flour, and then dip them in the egg wash to coat completely, letting the excess drip off. When the oil is hot, add the cutlets and fry for 2 minutes on each side until golden, turning once. Remove the chicken cutlets to a large platter in a single layer to keep warm.

Toss the lemon slices into the pan and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until fragrant. Add the wine, broth, and lemon juice, simmer for 5 minutes to reduce the sauce slightly. Roll the butter in some flour and add it to the skillet, this will thicken the sauce. Stir to incorporate and dissolve the flour. Reduce the heat to medium-low and return the chicken to the pan; place the lemon slices on top of the cutlets. Simmer gently for 2 minutes to heat the chicken through. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with chopped parsley before serving.

Chad's rating: 9/10
Amy's rating: 9/10

Recipe adapted from Food Network - Tyler Florence
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