Monday, April 25, 2011

Got Leftover Peeps? Make S'Mores!

If your mom is like mine, every Easter your basket contains Peeps in some way, shape or form. In our home, it's just not Easter without Peeps. We love them! (And by we, I mean me. The Hubs thinks they're gross. I personally don't understand some people's aversion to Peeps - they're sugar coated marshmallows in the shape of animals. What's not to like?)

This year we spent Easter with our besties C&B at our lake house. As I was at HEB shopping for groceries for our weekend feasts (which included a crawfish boil & Easter brunch), I knew Easter just wouldn't be the same if I didn't bring along the Peeps. Also on my shopping list were the items needed to make another lake house favorite...s'mores. It was on the candy aisle that I got the bright idea to use the Peeps in place of marshmallows. (For a moment I wondered if causing the bunnies & chicks to bloat by heating them over a fire before eating them was a bit morbid, but then I decided...nah, it will just be tasty)!

So, if you have any leftover Peeps - turn them into s'mores!!


* Graham Crackers
* Chocolate Bars
* Peeps!


I do have to note that our lake house area, like most of Texas, is under a strict burn ban due to the dryness & high winds. Therefore, we had to make grilled s'mores rather than the traditional roast-your-marshmallow-on-a-stick-over-a-fire kind.

1. Start by placing 1/4 of a regular sized chocolate bar on 1/2 a sheet of graham cracker. Top it with a Peep.

2. Very carefully place the Peep topped cracker on the grill over indirect heat. Place another 1/2 of a graham cracker on the grill to heat & use as the topper later.

3. Cover & wait until the chocolate is melted & the Peeps are nice & fluffy. Remove from the grill with a spatula & place on a plate. CAUTION: The graham crackers will be HOT!

4. Top Peep with the 2nd graham cracker half, squishing the Peep and sending the chocolate oozing out the sides.

5. Enjoy!! The messier, the better!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Corn & Potato Salad

Last weekend, The Hubs & I had our friends M&E over for dinner. The weather was PERFECT, so we decided to do some grilling and let our dogs play together in the backyard. (I'm not sure who enjoyed the evening better - us or the dogs).

We had eaten a HUGE dinner with M&E the night before at Taste of Texas to celebrate their upcoming wedding, so we kept our cookout light with grilled shrimp, a green salad & a new recipe from Southern Living - Corn & Potato Salad. It was delish!


* 1 lb. small red potatoes (I used 4 large ones)
* 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
* 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
* 2 Tbsp olive oil
* 1/2 tsp salt
* 1/2 tsp pepper
* 3 cups fresh corn kernels (about 6 ears - or 1 bag frozen)
* 1/2 large red bell pepper, diced
* 1/2 cup green onions, sliced
* 1 avocado, diced (optional)


1. Bring potatoes and salted cold water to cover to a boil in a large Dutch oven; boil 6-10 minutes or just until tender. Drain and let cool 15 minutes.

2. Whisk together cilantro and next 4 ingredients in a large bowl.

3. Add warm potatoes & corn.

4. Add bell pepper & onion; toss to coat. If using avocado, add right before serving.

5. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

My Tid-Bits:

* The recipe calls for small red potatoes, which you could boil whole. I used larger ones, so I cut them into bite size pieces and didn't boil them quite as long.

* If you decide to use frozen corn, like I did, pour it into some hot water for 4-5 minutes to defrost. Drain before adding to the salad.

* If you're looking for a quick, easy, tasty & fresh side dish - this is a great one!! I'll be making it again this weekend for Easter.

I hope that everyone has a wonderful, safe & blessed Easter weekend!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Grilled Pork Tenderloin

Lately, The Hubs & I have been enjoying the nice weather by pulling out the grill. I think we've grilled at least 4 times in the past week!

This recipe for Grilled Pork Tenderloin is adapted from the latest edition of Southern Living. It's pretty similar an earlier recipe for Honey Marinated Pork Chops, but uses tenderloin instead. It was SIMPLE to make & tasted great.

I served it with some grilled veggies and it made for a quick, tasty & healthy meal.


* 1 (1- lb.) pork tenderloin
* salt & pepper
* 2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
* 3/4 tsp. tried thyme or 1 Tbsp. fresh thyme, chopped
* 1 Tbsp EVOO
* 1 Tbsp honey
* 1 clove garlic, minced


1. Remove silver skin from tenderloin. Sprinkle generously with salt & pepper.

2. In a small bowl, combine mustard, thyme, evoo, honey & garlic.

Side note: Unless you'd like your hands to smell like mustard & garlic for the next week, I'd recommend putting on a rubber glove (or a sandwich bag will do) before proceeding with the next step.

3. Rub the mustard mixture all over the tenderloin. Cover & allow to sit for at least 10 minutes.

4. Grill the tenderloin for 10 to 12 minutes on each side or until it is done to your liking. (Recommended: 155 degree internal temperature).

5. Remove from grill, cover with foil & let rest for 5-10 minutes. Place on cutting board and cut into slices.

6. Serve with grilled mixed veggies!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Southwest Quinoa Salad

If you've never eaten or made quinoa before, you're missing out! Quinoa, which has grown in popularity over the past couple of years, is a nutrient rich grain that dates back to the ancient Incas. It's very simple to cook and can be a substitute for rice or even couscous in many dishes. And to top it all off, its tasty!

Quinoa can be purchased in just about any grocery store. It's typically right next to the rice. If you've never tried it before, this recipe is a good, easy introduction to quinoa.


* 3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
* 1 1/2 cups broth (chicken or vegetable)
* 1/2 tsp. chili powder
* 1 tsp. cumin
* 4 green onions, sliced
* 10-12 cherry tomatoes, quartered
* 1 cup corn , drained
* 1 cup black beans, drained & rinsed
* 1 giant handful cilantro, chopped
* 3 Tbsp EVOO
* juice from 1 large lime
* 2 cloves garlic, minced
* salt & pepper
* avocado, chopped (optional)


1. In a saute or sauce pan, roast (dry) quinoa over medium heat, stirring constantly, until a light golden color, about 5 minutes. Some grains will start to pop. Use a fine mesh strainer to rinse the quinoa with old water. Set aside.

2. In a medium sauce pan, bring broth, cumin & chili powder to a boil. Add the quinoa.

3. Simmer for 18-20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Allow quinoa to cool for 15 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, combine the green onion, tomato, corn, black beans & cilantro in a serving bowl large enough to hold all ingredients.

5. Whisk together the EVOO, lime juice & garlic. Pour over vegetables & toss. Season with salt & pepper.

6. Stir in the cooked quinoa.

7. Serve with diced avocado on top.

My Tid-Bits:

* This salad can be served alongside just about any grilled meat or seafood. As you can see, I made some grilled shrimp.

* It's also good for eating with tortilla chips. Mmmmm!!

* Be sure not to skip the rinsing of the roasted quinoa. It rinses away some of the bitter taste from the outside.

* For more info on quinoa, click here.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Slow-Cooker Pot Roast

When I travel for work, I feel kind of guilty leaving The Hubs home alone to fend for himself. Not that he can't - he's perfectly capable (as he reminds me, "I did survive on my own before we were married.") - but I just feel like I need to leave him things to eat for dinner. Often, its just a steak he can throw on the grill with an easy side, like salad or baked beans. But sometimes I'll prepare meals before I go.

A couple of weeks ago, I was going to be gone for 2 nights so I wanted to make something he could eat the first night & have leftovers the next. Pot Roast was a great option. Before I hit the road, I threw everything in the slow-cooker. When he got home from work that night, dinner was ready and there was plenty left for the next night, too. I think he'll agree that Pot Roast beats a sandwich or bowl of cereal any day.


* Beef chuck roast (2-3 pounds)
* 2 Tbsp. EVOO
* Salt & Pepper
* 1 Tbsp corn starch
* 2 Tbsp cold water
* 6 to 8 red potatoes, halved
* 4 carrots, sliced
* 1/2 medium onion, cut into large pieces
* 1 cup water
* 1 packet French Onion soup mix
* 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce


1. Trim excess fat from shoulder roast & cut into 3 large pieces, if necessary to fit in your slow cooker. Season generously with salt & pepper.

2. Heat oil over high heat. Add meat & brown on all sides, about 12 minutes total.

3. Meanwhile, mix cornstarch & 2 Tbsp cold water in glass. Pour into slow-cooker & add potatoes, carrots & onions.

4. When meat is browned, place on top of veggies in the slow-cooker.

5. Add 1 cup water to the pan to deglaze. Use a wooden spoon to get all the bits off the bottom. Add the onion soup mix & Worcestershire sauce. Simmer for 5 minutes.

6. Pour liquid over the roast & veggies.

7. Cover & cook on high for 6 hours or low for 10 hours. Serve immediately or turn the slow-cooker to low (or off) until ready to eat.

My Tid-Bits:

* Since I wasn't home when this was finished, I didn't get to try it myself, but The Hubs swears it was excellent.

* That's also why I don't have a final photo.

* If you have any hunters in your home, you can also use venison in place of the beef.


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Pepper & Parm Crusted Fish with Cherry Tomato-Basil Sauce

Y'all, I feel like I am SO behind on blogging. I have several recipes to share, but I'm having a hard time finding enough time to sift through the pics, upload, etc. I would promise to do better, but with baseball season starting this week, I'm not sure how much time I'll have. I will do my best to keep new recipes coming.

This recipe for Pepper & Parm Crusted Fish with Cherry Tomato-Basil Sauce is another quick & super easy one from the Rachel Ray magazine.

I'll be totally honest, the fish part was just okay. The Cherry Tomato-Basil Sauce, however, was AMAZING and makes this totally worth sharing. You could easily make this sauce & use it to top grilled fish, chicken or even a salad. In the words of Rachel Ray, "YUMMO!"



* 1.5 - 2 Tbsp EVOO
* 2 cloves garlic, minced
* 1 large shallot, chopped
* 1 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half
* large handful of fresh basil leaves, chopped
* salt & pepper


* 1/2 cup cornmeal
* 1/4 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
* LOTS of coarse black pepper
* 2 - 4 white fish fillets (cod, halibut, etc)
* EVOO for frying
* balsamic vinegar for drizzle


1. Heat 1.5 - 2 Tbsp EVOO in a skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic & shallot and stir for a couple of minutes.
2. Add the tomatoes & basil. Season with salt & pepper.
Cook over medium to break down the tomatoes, 10 to 15 minutes.

3. Mix the cornmeal, cheese & black pepper in a shallow dish. Coat the fish, one at a time, in the mixture.

4. Heat a thin layer of EVOO in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the fish & cook, turning once, until crisp & brown all over (8-10 min).

5. Place fish on paper towels to drain excess oil.

6. Top the fish with the tomato sauce and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.

7. Serve immediately and enjoy!

My Tid-Bits:

* I put some of the tomato basil sauce on my salad with some balsamic vinaigrette dressing and it was delicious!

* With each serving of the topping (4 servings in this recipe) having only 64 calories, you can easily create a low-calorie meal by using this to top chicken, grilled fish or a spinach salad.