Monday, July 28, 2014

Sweet Thai Chili Grilled Shrimp & Vegetables

We are huge fans of Red Thai Chili Sauce so when I saw it used in a recipe with grilled shrimp I immediately wanted to give it a whirl. This sauce has the perfect combination of heat and sweet making it one of our favorite condiments. We always have it on top of chicken stir-fry or use it as an Asian dipping sauce, we've even gone as far as putting on top of a Thai Chicken Pizza but since it's summer time I wanted to use it on the grill. I skewered shrimp, vegetables and pineapple, brushed it all with the sauce and put it on top of a bed of jasmine rice for a complete, quick & easy summer meal. 

8 Wooden Skewers
20-25 Large Shrimp - Defrosted, Cleaned & Tails off
1 Cup Pineapple - Large Chunks
1 Red Pepper - Large Chunks
1 Green Pepper - Large Chunks
1/2 Onion - Large Chunks
4 Tbsp Red Thai Chili Sauce
2 Tbsp Light Mayonnaise
1 Tsp Fresh Chives - Chopped & more for garnish
Pam Spray

Adapted from:

If you are using wooden skewers to grill it's important to soak them in water for about 30 minutes. I could never find a good way to do this until the other day when I decided to put them with the water in a gallon freezer bag. It worked perfectly, so much better than a large bowl with half the skewers sticking out. Obviously if you are using metal skewers this step is obsolete but be careful not to burn yourself as they get hot very quickly. 
While the skewers are soaking you can prep your shrimp and veggies. Although it looks cool to make skewers with both the shrimp and vegetables they have different cooking times so its easier to keep all the shrimp together and then have the vegetables on their own set of skewers. Put 4-5 shrimp on a skewer pushing them into the middle and allowing for room on either side of each shrimp. Place vegetables and fruit on skewers and set both aside.
Make sure your grill has been cleaned, spray it with Pam and preheat it to medium heat. Now it is time to make your Sweet Thai Chili Sauce. In a medium sized bowl combine the mayonnaise with the red Thai chili sauce and chives.
The shrimp will grill about 6-8 minutes a side until the have curled, are pink and opaque with some grill marks. The vegetables will take about 10 minutes each side. As everything grills you can brush the sauce on top. Make sure to keep some sauce aside to brush on to both the shrimp and the vegetables right before you eat. To make this into a complete meal serve the skewers on top of some jasmine rice and top with more fresh chives.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Antipasto Bites in Baked Salami Cups

 These antipasto bites are the perfect appetizer to serve at any party or BBQ you have this summer. The baked salami cup allows you to just grab them off a dish and pop them right in your mouth, no mess or silverware involved. The salty salami is crisp which tastes great with the fresh basil and soft cheese, so many flavors in one small bite! I served these over the weekend up in Connecticut at my cousin's 30th birthday party and they were gone in minutes.

24-30 Slices Hard Salami (4inches in diameter)
1 Cup Marinated Artichokes - Diced
1 Cup Roasted Red Peppers - Diced
4-5oz Part Skim Mozzarella Cheese - Diced
1/4 Cup Fresh Basil Leave - Minced
Drizzle Olive Oil

Adapted from:

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Using a muffin tin push a salami slice down into each opening so that it forms a little cup. Bake about 8 minutes, you will hear the grease popping when they are done and the edges of each slice will start to get brow. You don't want them too crispy or they will crack and spill their contents while they are being served. When they are done take them out of the oven and let them cool for a few minutes in the tin. Then to get some of the grease off of them place them upside down on a baking rack with a piece of paper towel underneath. 
While the salami cups are baking in the oven you can get your antipasto together. Dice up the marinated artichokes, roasted red pepper, basil and cheese. Drizzle just a little bit of olive oil over the bowl and toss to coat and combine the ingredients. Allow the mixture to sit in the fridge for a bit so the flavors mold together. Just before serving spoon a heaping serving of the antipasto into one of the dried and cooled salami cups. Keep both in the fridge when not eating.

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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Dark Chocolate M & M Sprinkle Cookies

I love that M & M's come in so many different flavors now. My favorite is dark chocolate.  Now they need to make a dark chocolate peanut version. These cookies would put anyone in a good mood.  Sprinkles and M & M's in one cookie is perfection. We will be celebrating a 30th birthday this weekend with my niece who is over 8 months pregnant and will be having a beautiful baby girl very soon.  These cookies were adapted from back of the package of M & M's.  Enjoy your weekend!!  

2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2-1/4 cups flour
1-1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 12 oz package dark chocolate M & M's
1/2 cup rainbow sprinkles

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl mix butter with both sugars until combined.  Add egg and vanilla and mix well.
Slowly add flour, baking soda and salt and stir until all ingredients are combined.
Fold in 12 oz bag of dark chocolate M & M's and sprinkles.  Chill for at least 30 minutes.

Drop dough by tablespoons onto greased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.  Bake for 8 minutes for chewy cookies or 10-12 minutes for crispy cookies.


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Monday, July 14, 2014

Biscoff Brown Sugar Bars w/Cookie & Cocoa Swirl Topping

It's the middle of July already. YIKES!  Slow down summer please!  This month's Secret Recipe Club assignment is Little Bit Of Everything. She is a midwestern woman who is in her 50's like me who likes to cook and travel and save spoons like my grandma used to do.  She has a bunch of great recipes but desserts are usually what catch my eye and this one did because of the Biscoff spread in the recipe. I topped them with a little of Trader Joe's Cookie & Cocoa Swirl to give them just a touch of chocolate flavor.  I always like to add chocolate in somewhere if possible.        

Ingredients for Biscoff Brown Sugar Bars:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 cup all purpose flour
1/8 tsp salt

3 large eggs
1-1/4 cups light brown sugar
1/2 cup biscoff spread
1/2 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup Trader Joe's Cookie & Cocoa swirl

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, combine crust ingredients on medium speed just until mixture is evenly mixed and moist.

Spoon into an 8 x 8 pan that has been sprayed with PAM.  Press mixture onto bottom of pan in an even layer. Press into pan with fingers.  Wet fingers if mixture is too sticky.  Prick uncooked crust 6-8 times with a fork than bake until golden brown around the edges about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile beat the eggs, 1-1/4 cup light brown sugar, biscoff spread and all purpose flour on medium speed until smooth.

When crust is done pour the mixture evenly over the crust and bake for another 30 minutes or until middle is set.

Cool completely.  Cut into squares.

Microwave 1/2 cup of the cookie and cocoa swirl spread if desired for 30 seconds.  Spread on top of each bar and let the topping set before handling.  You can sprinkle each bar with powdered sugar instead if you desire.


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Greek Orzo Salad

I love the Greek flavor profile and always need my fix regularly. Luckily a few weeks ago our local Greek Orthodox church had a festival which I attended to get us food two days in a row. Last week, I decided it was again time to ind luge in some classic Greek flavors so I threw together this orzo salad. I always love how the perfect bite has all different tastes and textures. The cool cucumber with the juicy tomato, the saltiness from the olives and the creaminess from the Feta cheese!! John and I had it for dinner with some grilled shrimp and chicken which made for a light and summery dinner. It also would be great as a side dish for a BBQ with your burgers and dogs.

1/2 Box Orzo (About 1 1/4 cups)
1 Large Red Pepper - Diced
1 Pint Cherry Tomatoes - Halved
1 Large Cucumber - Peeled, Seeded & Diced
1 Cup Kalamata Olives - Pitted & Halved
12 oz Reduced Fat Crumbled Feta Cheese
1/2 Cup Olive Oil
1/4 Cup Red Wine Vinegar
1 Tbsp Minced Fresh Oregano
1/2 Tsp Salt
1/4 Tsp Pepper

Adapted from - Christine's Yellow Kitchen

Start by bringing a pot of salted water up to a boil for the orzo and cook it according to the package. Drain the pasta and let it cool. While the pasta is cooking and cooling you can prep your veggies. Peel, seed and dice your cucumber, dice your tomatoes and dice up your peppers. The olives I bought were already pitted and sliced, I rinsed them off a bit so they wouldn't be overly salty. Put all of the vegetables in a very large bowl. Set aside.
Now it's time to make your dressing for the salad which is just a basic red wine vinaigrette. In a small bowl combine the olive oil, red wine vinegar, oregano, salt and pepper. If you don't have fresh oregano on hand it is perfectly fine to use dried oregano instead, use 3/4 Tsp. Set aside.
Once the pasta has cooled completely add it to the big bowl of vegetables and stir to combine. Pour the vinaigrette over top and toss so that it has covered everything completely. Allow the salad to sit in the in the fridge for a few hours before serving. Since we had this for dinner with grilled shrimp and chicken we just topped our bowls with the crumbled feta cheese before we ate but if I was serving this as a salad I would mix in the feta right before serving and leave a little to sprinkle on the top.

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Monday, June 30, 2014

July 4th Recipe Round-Up

With the 4th of July only a few days away we know many of you will be having BBQ's, traveling to parties or going down the shore to enjoy the beach and maybe some fireworks. With that in mind we put together a bunch of our favorite recipes that could help you celebrate the 4th. Below you will find a mix of fruity desserts, different kinds of salads and slaw as well as a few options for your grill.
Ahhh the summer!! It's finally in full swing and we are enjoying every possible moment of warm weather and sunshine. We spent this past weekend down the shore and had three perfect beach days in a row. Last night my parents and I took Owen to the beach to show him how to fly a kite. He loved watching it flutter in the sky. It was such a beautiful night with the sun setting and the waves crashing onto the shore.

Broccoli Grape Pasta Salad

Summer Green Bean Salad

We hope that all of you have a great week celebrating our nations holiday with your friends and family!! Have fun & Be Safe!!

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