Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Baked Shrimp Scampi

This recipe is a great meal to make for a special occasion without a lot of fuss.


Baked Shrimp Scampi

1 pound shrimp, uncooked
4 tablespoons butter
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon rosemary, finely ground
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning
1 lemon, sliced
3 sun-dried tomatoes, diced

Preheat the oven to 425° F.

Peel and devein the shrimp, removing the tails. Place the shrimp laying flat in a 9 x 13 pan. In a separate bowl melt butter. Combine in a mixing bowl and toss gently with the olive oil, wine, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Allow to sit at room temperature while you make the butter and garlic mixture.

In a small bowl, mash the softened butter with the garlic, shallots, parsley, rosemary, red pepper flakes, lemon zest, lemon juice, egg yolk, panko, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper until combined.

Starting from the outer edge of a 14-inch oval gratin dish, arrange the shrimp in a single layer cut side down with the tails curling up and towards the center of the dish. Pour the remaining marinade over the shrimp. Spread the butter mixture evenly over the shrimp. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until hot and bubbly. If you like the top browned, place under a broiler for 1 minute. Serve with lemon wedges.

Serving suggestion: Serve shrimp on rice or noodles. Can pair with steamed broccoli or peas.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Lemon Bars

This recipe is my go-to recipe for a school's event or if I need to whip up a quick last-minute treat. And of course it is delicious!


Lemon Bars
Crust:
1 cup flour       
1/4 cup powdered sugar  
1/2 cup butter          

Filling:                    
2 eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons flour                                
1/4 teaspoon baking powder

Topping:                                              
Powdered Sugar

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Crust:
Stir together flour and powdered sugar. Cut in butter until mixture clings together.  Shape and press crust into an ungreased 8 x 8 inch baking pan.  Bake for 10 to 12 minutes.

Filling:
In mixer bowl beat eggs. Add granulated sugar and lemon juice.  Beat until smooth.  Stir in flour and baking powder.  Blend until combined.  Pour filling over baked layer.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.

Sift powdered sugar over top.

Allow to cool before cutting into bars.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Organizating Food For Meal Planning


Here it is again...  Dinner Time! This happens every day at the same time. Why does this daily event so often catch us unprepared?

Enter meal planning... But where to start?


Knowing where the food is in the house can be half the battle in meal planning. If you know what you have, then you can know what you can use to make meals for your family and those you love.

I have several areas in the home that we keep our "stockpile". I organize my food by placing frequently used foods in the kitchen cabinets and small pantry that we have. We have a normal refrigerator up stairs, in the kitchen. The extra food is placed on storage shelves in our basement
... our stockpile.

Also in the stockpile are all my canning successes! There is also a chest freezer in the basement we use mostly for meats, frozen fruits and vegetables.

When the cabinets and freezer are looking full, I thank God for all the rich blessings he has given us! But I have to admit, it is hard to see past all those bags and boxes in the freezer which can get a little overwhelming. Hence the need to organize.

I will make a simple food list of what we have on hand. Your list can be handwritten, or if you are a organization geek like me... consider creating a sortable spreadsheet on the computer. I simply list the locations of where the food is kept as the header of each column and then fill in the food below. I add an area to mark off the food as I use it up.

When I am done,  I am always surprised that there is enough food for several meals right here at home! We just needed to know where it was at.

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.  - 1 Corinthians 10:31

I also keep a running list of frequently enjoyed meals to gather inspiration from. Here are some meal suggestions that we love to make:

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Honey Oatmeal Bread

This sweet white bread is sure to be a hit with your family. It is also made with honey, which is a natural preservative to keep this bread fresh a few days longer.


Honey Oatmeal Bread
Makes 1 loaf

1 1/3 cup water (110 ° F )
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons dry milk
3 1/2 cups bread flour
1/2 cup steel cut oats
2 teaspoons flax seeds
2 teaspoons yeast
1 egg

In a large bowl, completely dissolve the sugar or honey in warm water and then stir in yeast. Allow to proof until yeast resembles a creamy foam, about 10 minutes.

Mix salt and dry milk into the yeast mixture. Add lemon juice. Combine with the flour. Add steel cut oats and flax seeds. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic. It should be slightly sticky but not so sticky that it clings to your hands. If it is, add a little flour to obtain the right consistency. If it's too dry, it'll break or flake apart in crumbs; use a little more water in this case.

Place in a well oiled bowl, and turn dough to coat. Cover with a damp cloth. Allow to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Punch dough down. Knead for a few minutes, and divide in half. Shape into a loaf, and place into a well oiled 9 x 5 inch loaf pan. Cover with a kitchen cloth or plastic wrap and allow to rise for 25-30 minutes, or until dough has risen 1 inch above pans.

Whisk egg and brush on the dough just prior to baking. Using a sharp knife, cut small slits into the top of the dough to create relief points as the dough bakes and expands.

Bake at 350 ° F for 30 minutes. Remove from pan and allow to cool on wire rack.


Honey Oatmeal Bread (Bread Machine Directions)
Makes 1 loaf

1 1/3 cup water (110 ° F )
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons dry milk
3 1/2 cups bread flour
1/2 cup steel cut oats
2 teaspoons flax seeds
2 teaspoons yeast
1 egg

Add water, honey and lemon juice to bread machine. Layer bread flour, salt, flax seed, oats and yeast.

Set bread machine to dough setting.

When dough setting is complete, remove dough.

Shape into a loaf, and place into a well oiled 9 x 5 inch loaf pan. Allow to rise for 25-30 minutes, or until dough has risen 1 inch above pans.

Whisk egg and brush on the dough just prior to baking. Using a sharp knife, cut small slits into the top of the dough to create relief points as the dough bakes and expands. 

Bake at 350° F for 30 minutes. Remove from pan and allow to cool on wire rack.

To freeze: Let loaf cool completely. Put in an airtight plastic freezer bag and place in freezer for up to six weeks.

To thaw: Take loaf out of the freezer and allow to thaw for at least 3 hours prior to use.
 

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Indoor Seed Planning and Planting


The snow is melting! The birds are chirping!

Another winter is almost behind us and spring is just around the corner. Here in Wisconsin, our winter has been brutal. There were far too many days where a Polar Vortex brought arctic temps down our way forcing many to stay-in and bundled up... even more than usual!

But there is a glimmer of hope in all this cold... it is time to start planning your garden.

First thing's first... There is no point in planting seeds for a plant which is not going to thrive in your area. Don't know which zone you fall into? Check out this helpful planting zone map to get the scoop on what plants fair well in your region. Ours is Zone 5b.


Now on to the fun part of picking out the seeds for your future garden and imagining all the delicious food you can make. Take an inventory of any seeds you didn't plant last year, beware as they may not grow. We have, however, done this in the past with mixed success.

If you are in need of some seeds... You can check out your local garden center.
Or my favorite is to order from Botanical Interests seed catalog. In my opinion, this is a great source for quality, high-yielding seeds. Plus we love getting the catalog in the dead of winter.

If you're just starting to learn how to grow indoors, your may want to pick some plants that are easy to start from seed:
  • Vegetables - Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Leeks, Lettuce, Onions, Peppers and Tomatoes.
  • Herbs - Basil and Chives.
  • Annuals - Alyssum, Cosmos, Marigolds and Zinnias.
  • Perennials - Shasta Daisies, Columbines and Hollyhocks.

Here is what we have planned to start indoors for the 2014 season:
Broccoli
Lettuce - Romaine
Onion - Ringmaster
Pepper Chile - Early Jalapeño
Quinoa - Brightest Brilliant Rainbow
Tomato - Principe Borghese
Tomato - Red Siberian
Watermelon - Moon & Stars

Let's get planting.
The back of the seed packet usually specifies how many weeks to begin seeds indoors prior to the last frost in your region. Check out my tutorial on starting seeds indoors for step-by-step instructions.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Tuna Noodle Casserole

My husband's very favorite dish of all time was his mother's tuna noodle casserole. Unfortunately, we do not have the recipe to duplicate. So after many many attempts, he finally agreed that this recipe is the closest to memory.
Today, this is also my oldest daughter's favorite dish too!


Tuna Noodle Casserole

1 medium onion, chopped
1 pound elbow macaroni
2 - 4 ounce cans of mushrooms, stems and pieces; drained
2 - 5 ounce chunk light tuna in water; drained
4 tablespoons butter
8 ounce peas, frozen
5 tablespoons flour
3 cups milk
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder or 1 teaspoon minced garlic
Shredded cheddar cheese
Bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350 ° F.

Prepare noodles according to package directions. Cook until al dente (the lower time suggestion). Pour noodles in 9 x 13 pan and set aside.

In large saucepan, melt butter. Once melted, add flour and whisk with butter. Will be clumpy. Add milk in small increments to butter/flour mix and WHISK! Stir in white pepper and garlic. Combine onions, mushrooms and tuna. Cook on medium-high heat for 10 minutes. Stir often. Sauce will thicken.

If sauce is too thin, whisk in more flour by slowly sprinkling in to prevent clumps.
If sauce is too thick, whisk in more milk.

Pour sauce over noodles and stir to combine. Sprinkle with shredded cheddar cheese and bread crumbs.

Bake for 30 minutes.

Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Serving suggestion:
My husband loves to crush potato chips up and sprinkle on top of the casserole just before eating.