December 29, 2011

Marinated Shrimp

Marinated Shrimp
Serves around 4 as a heavy appetizer, 7 as a light appetizer

1 pound shrimp, steamed, peeled and deveined
2 lemons, 1 thinly sliced, juice of the other (around 3 tablespoons)
1 can jumbo black olives, sliced in half
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1 Tbs fresh chopped parsley
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 Tbs red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp ground mustard
1 bay leaf
Salt & pepper

Place shrimp, sliced lemon & onions, black olives and bay leaf in a gallon sized zip lock bag.  Combine the oil, lemon juice, vinegar, mustard & salt and pepper in a small bowl and lightly whisk together.  Poor the liquid over the shrimp and then sprinkle with parsley.  Refrigerate for at least 8 hours - 24 even better, turning the bag over every several hours.
Serve the shrimp in a bowl and then place that bowl inside another bowl filled with ice (fancy cooler). Don't forget to have appetizer picks and a small dish to dispose of them unless you are providing forks with your appetizers (I am very careful with these because of animals and children - I always use a thicker plastic pick rather than wooden toothpicks).

December 14, 2011

Slow Cooked Apples & Pork Tenderloin

The next couple of days can be the most hectic of the year. When we are home I find myself looking for healthy, tasty, & easy dinners. This dish will have your house smelling like the holidays with only a tiny bit of effort!  This will also be on our New Year's Day menu - Enjoy!!!  
Slow Cooked Apples & Pork Tenderloin
Slow Cooked Apples & Pork Tenderloin
Serves 4

1 1 & 1/2 pound pork tenderloin, washed and patted dry
1 onion, chopped
2 pink lady apples, unpeeled, cored and chopped***
1 Tbs butter
1 Tbs of olive oil
1/2 cup Chardonnay
3/4 cup Maple Syrup
3 Tbs Apple juice
1 Cinnamon stick
3 Sprigs of thyme
Salt & Pepper

Spray the surface of your crock pot with cooking spray & turn to low setting.
Melt butter in a black iron skillet over medium high heat and then add olive oil . Salt and pepper the tenderloin.  Once the butter and oil start to slightly smoke, sear the tenderloin for a minute or two per side, just slightly brown & add to your crock pot.  Add the apples and onions to the skillet and allow them to lightly soften, for about 5 minutes.  Add all remaining ingredients, except for thyme & cinnamon stick, to the skillet and allow it to come to a slight boil.  Cover the pork tenderloin with the apple sauce, add the thyme & cinnamon stick, cover and cook on low for 8 hours.
Remove cinnamon stick and thyme sprigs.  Serve over rice or egg noodles & Enjoy!

***If you can't find pink ladies - Honey Crisp, Golden Delicious or Jonagold will do too

Speaking of keeping it easy we have started a new tradition of  vacationing for Thanksgiving.  Our favorite spot is at a lodge on a lake in Georgia surrounded by a gorgeous pine forest. Below are a few of our favorite Thanksgiving scenes from this year.
When a Gingerbread House just won't do...
The Lodge ready for the Holidays
Beautiful walkways all around the Lodge
A Christmas tree Clark Griswold would approve of
Thanksgiving Carving Stations & Iron Chef Competition
Caviar Station
The Raw Bar
The Cheese Display
Dessert anyone??? (This is only 1/4 of the selection)
The end of our Thanksgiving Meal
A long walk after our meal - I had to stop by my favorite herb garden
We took Taddy to see the Linger Longer Express
Champagne cocktails at sunset to end the day - this is the best picture I could get with a 25 pound Scottie in my lap

December 8, 2011

Fiesta Soup

We had this waiting for us when we got back from getting Christmas Trees last Friday night. Easy & yummy!!!

Fiesta Soup
Serves 4-6

1 onion, chopped
1 lb ground sirloin
2 cups frozen corn
1 can dark kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 14 1/2 oz cans diced tomatoes with green chilies
1 3.8 oz can of sliced black olives
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
The following spices***:
   1 tablespoon chili powder
   1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
   1/4 teaspoon onion powder
   1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
   1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
   1/2 teaspoon paprika
   1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
Salt & Pepper to taste
Tortilla chips, sour cream, shredded cheese & pickled jalapenos for serving

In your dutch oven add a touch of oil at medium high heat, add onions and allow to soften for about 10 minutes. Add sirloin and allow it to brown. 
Now your cooking preference:
Crock pot method - add everything to your crock pot, stir well & set to low for 8 hours or high 4
Stove top method - add everything to your dutch oven (were you would have prepped your onions and sirloin if you were going this route), bring to a simmer and stir every now and then for an hour.

Serve over crushed tortilla chips and top with cheese, sour cream & jalapenos - and of course more chips.

*** You could always use the prepackaged pouches of "Taco Seasoning" if you wanted.  I tend to find it is much more economical to make my own out of my own spice cabinet.

Just because they are so darn cute - here are Walter & Weezie in their Christmas Sweaters (of course Walter has already torn his apart - thank goodness Jonathan got this shot before that happened!)

December 6, 2011

Classic Spinach Dip

Classic Spinach Dip

1 cup olive oil mayonnaise
16 oz light sour cream
1 lemon, zest from the whole & juice from at least half
10 oz frozen spinach, cook as directed and completely squeezed of water
1 carrot, grated & chopped
4 green onions, finely diced
1/4 cup finely diced green pepper
Several dashes of hot sauce
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
Salt & Pepper
Crackers & Carrot chips for serving

In a large mixing bowl add all ingredients.  Test for taste - personally I like a lot of black pepper with a pinch of salt.  Transfer your dip to an airtight container and refrigerate for at least 6 hours, overnight even better. (Test taste after a couple hours - you may need to add a touch more lemon juice). Serve in smaller quantities and refill as needed from remaining dip in the fridge.
I stored ours in mason jars - I am Southern.  What a great gift this would be!
I think I am on a retro kick - from poppyseed chicken to spinach dip, it does suit my mood lately.
I even took our Christmas decorations to this level....
My grandmother ordered this tree in 1962, I still have the original packing.  Today it is set up in our den.
Last but not least I must show our proud Scottie, Tad.  He accompanied us on our Thanksgiving trip & never have I seen people gush the way they did over him.  Honestly I think the other guests just missed their pets.