Monthly Archives: March 2012

Cucumber and Corn Salsa

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My cucumber and corn salsa was always my go to side dish at school when I could not think of anything else creative to go with my usual quick and easy meal between class and the library– George Foreman grilled chicken or fish and minute rice.  Green beans or steamed broccoli just seemed too bland to add to my already tasteless boring meal of chicken and rice.  The salsa adds a burst of color and freshness, making the meal look much more appetizing.

The salsa is so simple and delicious!  And although I am out of school now, I still make this salsa quite frequently to go with chicken and fish that are cooked on an actual outdoor grill!  There are a few variations you can do, which I will list for you below! Enjoy!

Cucumber and Corn Salsa

Ingredients

  • 2 Cups of frozen corn, thawed (or 2 cups cooked corn on the cob that has been cut off the cob)
  • 1 medium english cucumber, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1/2 medium red onion finely chopped OR 4 scallions thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup Lemon Juice (Juice of 2 lemons) OR 1/4 Lime Juice OR 1/8 cup Lemon Juice + 1/8 cup Lime Juice
  • zest of one lemon OR zest of one lime OR zest of 1/2 lemon + zest of 1/2 lime
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 5 dashes of hot sauce (add more or less to your liking)
  • Salt and Pepper (to taste)
  • Cilantro (optional)
  • Pineapple, diced (optional)
Directions
  1. Add all cut vegetables into serving bowl.
  2. In a separate smaller bowl combine lemon/lime juice, zest, olive oil, hot sauce, salt, and pepper and whisk together.
  3. Pour mixture into vegetable mixture and toss until everything is well coated.
  4. Mix in cilantro and pineapple, if using.
  5. Serve and enjoy! (You chill in the fridge for a few hours, but if using the next day, wait to put dressing on until time to serve).

 

Molly Jean

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Baked Spaghetti Squash

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The first time I had spaghetti squash was about a month ago.  I think it is a GREAT alternative to any pasta dish, especially if pasta always seems to stand in the way of those few extra pounds you are trying to lose.  If you eat pasta two or more times per week, you can substitute spaghetti squash in place of one pasta meal.  You will cut out calories but still be able to enjoy your favorite other pasta ingredients, and feel a little less guilty 🙂  Plus there is so much more nutrition in Spaghetti squash than pasta.  Read my first Spaghetti Squash post to learn about what benefits this squash has to offer!

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Pasta bakes are one of many comfort foods to Americans.  The hearty pasta, mixed in with sauce, sausage or meatballs, and gooey cheese that makes for a nice bubbly golden brown crust.  But, Let’s face it– This can add up to a lot of calories!  It’s OK to indulge everyone once in awhile, but If you are a big fan of pasta bakes and it is difficult for you to resist every week, this recipe I am about to share is a MUST try!

I found this Baked Spaghetti Squash recipe from YummuyMummyKitchen.com.  Click on the link to follow the recipe or continue below to follow.  I changed mine up a bit!

Baked Spaghetti Squash

Ingredients (for 4 servings)

  • 2 Small Spaghetti Squash (or 1 extra large if you can’t find small!)
  • 1 batch of prepared sausage, meatballs, chicken, or whichever you prefer! (I used 1 package of Al Fresco’s sweet Italian Chicken Sausage)
  • 1.5 cups prepared Marinara (or more if that’s your favorite part of pasta dishes!)
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup parmesan
  • basil or parsley (to garnish)

Directions

1. Preheat over to 375 degrees F.

2. Slice each spaghetti squash in half, lengthwise.  Scoop out seeds, brush inside of squash halves with olive oil.

3.  Place squash on baking sheet, cut side down and bake for 45-50 minutes. (I put foil on my baking sheet so that it made for an easy clean-up).  Note that the cooking time may take longer if using a large squash (60-75 minutes)

4. Take squash out of oven and allow squash to cool for 10-15 minutes. Turn oven up to 400 degrees F.

5. Using a fork, scrape “spaghetti” up from the rind and fluff into strands.  Place strands into a bowl.

6.  Once all halves are scraped clean do NOT throw away!  These will be used as your serving bowls! Place back onto baking sheet.

7. Mix spaghetti squash, 1/2 cup parm cheese, cooked meat”.

8. Divide spaghetti mixture evenly into empty squash halves.

9. Divide sauce evenly on each half.  Top each half with equal amounts of mozzarella cheese and the remaining 1/2 cup parmesan.

10.  Bake in the oven about 10 minutes, or until cheese has melted and is bubbly.

11. Top with fresh basil or parsley and enjoy!

Just out of the oven!

Ready to chow down!

Up close and personal.

You’ve gotta try this!

Molly Jean

Beautiful Spring

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Beautiful Spring

It is quite chilly here in Cleveland today after the beautiful sunny 80 degree weather we had all last week!  But, with the sun shining,  it is a another great spring day in Cleveland!

I wanted to share some picture that I took last week from around the yard!

Daffodils

Chives

Parsley

Rosemary

Almost in bloom...

2 days later!

I did not have any foodie adventures this past weekend.  It was a weekend filled with sports, shopping, movies, and relaxing with little time for cooking creativity and brainstorming which restaurant to try next.

Friday night the Ohio University Bobcats played the University of North Carolina Tar Heels in the Sweet 16.  A group of us watched at Harry Buffalo in Lakewood, where a majority of the OU sports watch parties take place!  Despite the Ohio Bobcats’ loss, 73-65 in overtime, it was still a great game to watch.  I am still and always will be a proud Bobcat!

Jordan, Me, Emily- Harry Buffalo, Lakewood

Molly Jean

Grilled Vegetables and Steak Tacos

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Another 80 degree and sunny day in Cleveland means another day to use the grill!   I started the whole “Taco Tuesday” tradition about 2 months ago and try and do it as often as possible, depending on everyone’s schedule.  You wouldn’t believe how many ways there is to make Taco’s!  I’ve only repeated a taco recipe once, which was the Shredded Chicken Crock-pot Taco’s, that I shared with you in an earlier post.

My brother is home for spring break and one of his favorite meals is taco’s.  He was quite upset to hear that I have started this tradition without him being home.  So there was no question in that I would definitely be partaking in Taco Tuesday while he was home for break!

Grilled Vegetables and Steak Tacos

Ingredients

  • 3 Bell Peppers (any color- I used red, green, and yellow) sliced into strips
  • 1 medium sized onion sliced into big peices
  • 3-4 TBSP Canola oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Pinch of Cayenne Pepper (optional)
  • 1.5-2 pounds steak— I used strips of tenderloin that was already prepackaged at the store- most often used for stir fry (You can substitute Chicken or tofu if you would like.  Just cut into strips!
Directions
  • Turn grill on medium heat and place grill bowls directly on grill.  Spray bowls with cooking spray (Pam grilling works great!)
  • Slice bell peppers and onions and place in a bowl.
  • Add 2 or 3 TBSP Canola oil, salt and pepper (to taste), and cayenne pepper (optional) to vegetable mixture and mix.
  • Add vegetables to hot grill bowl (turn heat to medium-low heat if too hot).
  • Cook vegetables for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Season steak strips with salt and pepper in a separate bowl and add 1 TBSP canola oil.
  • After vegetables have been cooking for 10 minutes add the steak to the other grill bowl (if using a whole steak just place directly on the grill. If you do not have a second grill bowl you can add the steak to the vegetables and cook.  If concerned about food safety, cook vegetables until done and place in bowl, cover bowl with foil to keep warm, and then add the steak to that grill bowl.)

When both the steak and vegetables are done cooking, place in serving bowls and prepare your favorite taco toppings!  Here was our Taco Tuesday display!

Photo by Pat Kravitz via Instagram

Do you participate in Taco Tuesday?? What is your favorite taco recipe to make?

Molly Jean

Pizza on the Grill- Margherita

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This weather in Cleveland has been crazy!  78 over the weekend, 80 degree the past day or so- and in the middle or March!  Usually in the winter we don’t usually use the grill, except for grilling steak.  But we really don’t use the grill from November until maybe end of April beginning of May.

My favorite thing to make on the grill is pizza!  The grill almost give the pizza a stone-oven taste providing a unique flavoring that is missing from pizza when you just cook it in the oven.  So it was definitely time to take advantage of Cleveland’s beautiful weather!  It is the same recipe as last monday’s post for Margherita Pizza, but I used the grill instead of the oven!

First get your ingredients together

Tomatoes, Mozzarella, & Basil

Pizza Sauce & Dough

I rolled the dough out a lot thinner that last week so I could make more pieces (makes it looks like there is a lot more!!).  I rolled the dough out and cut it in half.

I placed the dough onto 2 different floured cooked sheets to take with me outside.  (The cookie sheets will also be a place to place your toppings after one side has been cooked).

Place the dough directly on the hot grill, medium-high heat.  It will begin to bubble, which is exactly what you are looking for to ensure it is done on that side.

Bubbles

Check for grill marks, light or dark-whichever you desire.  Take the dough off the grill and put the uncooked side down on the cookie sheet.  At this time you will close your grill and turn the setting to low.  Place your toppings on the cooked side of the pizza dough (sauce, tomatoes, mozzarella- basil will be put on after pizza is done).  After your toppings are on the pizza, place the pizza back on the grill. ***** Pizza will be heavy, You may need a large spatula or an extra hand!*****

Close the lid of the grill and allow the pizza to cook about 10-15 minutes, just like you would wait for a pizza cooking in the oven.  If your grill seems to be too hot, you can turn off the grill completely and let the pizza cook.  Keep an eye on the pizza making sure that the cheese is melting and the crust is not burning!  When it is done top with julienned basil, slice, and serve!!

Margherita Pizza on the Grill

You can make any type of pizza you would like on the grill.  Another favorite pizza of mine to cook on the grill is BBQ Chicken Pizza.   Making pizza on the grill is easy, but may take some getting used to- But,  I promise that it is worth it!

Molly Jean

Grumpy’s Cafe- Sunday Brunch

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I hope everyone had a wonderful St. Patty’s Day!! I spent most of the day at the Hyatt Regency Cleveland at The Arcade with family and friends.  Filled up on corned beef and irish soda bread!! Cleveland hit a record of about 500,000 people downtown for the parade and days festivities!  Look at all the people in The Arcade watching the fire men play the bag pipes!

The Arcade

Jordan had a long day of work ahead of him on Sunday …yes, a Sunday 😦 … So we decided to grab some brunch at Grumpy’s Cafe in Tremont!  We both had never been but have heard only good things!

We arrived around 10:30, thinking we would beat the crowd or that people would still be sleeping from the festivities the day before.  The place was packed!!  We were not expecting that many people to be there, and neither did the servers!  We were a little skeptical of our decision to come when we first walked in.  No one greeted us for about 5 minutes, even though many servers had walked past us.  We realized they were extremely busy and decided to be patient.  Finally one of the waitresses came and took down our name and said it would be about a 15 minute wait.  We didn’t mind.  It was another beautiful and sunny day in Cleveland, so we went to sit out on a bench outside the restaurant.  The wait ended up only being 5 minutes, so not too bad!

Grumpy’s does not serve alcohol but it is BYOB.  Coffee was a drink of choice for the morning.  Their mugs were like what you would find in your cabinets at home that you have collected over the past several years as souvenirs or gifts.  The mugs went perfectly with the decor and laid back atmosphere (although it was extremely busy!) of the restaurant.

Everything on the menu sounded delicious! Jordan did not order his usual steak and eggs and instead ordered the steak and mushroom omelette, served with Grumpy’s cajun home fries and toast. (so I guess it was still steak and eggs! haha) I ordered the “West 14th Special”, home-made corned beef hash with 2 eggs of choice (mine over easy) with toast.

Service was very slow.  The waitress was not even coming to our table to fill up our water and coffee.  Jordan was getting very “hangry” (anger caused by hunger).

Hangry face

She finally came over to refill our drinks and apologized to us and explained that they were down one server.  Soon enough our food was ready and it was time to chow down!

West 14th Special

You would think after St. Patrick’s Day I would be sick of corned beef, but this dish was a perfect way to end the holiday weekend!  Although the service was slow, I will give them the benefit of the doubt.  I definitely recommend Grumpy’s Cafe.  The food and atmosphere are great!  I would also like to point out that they have WiFi- So it’s a perfect place if you want to grab a bite to eat and get some work done! Or I noticed a couple playing checkers on their ipad while they were waiting for their food!

Check out the rest of the Brunch Menu HERE.

Molly Jean

Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread

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Whenever I was studying for an Oragnic Chemistry exam, the night before I would sit in Baker (student center at Ohio University) with a big old cinnamon roll from the food court.  For some reason it would help ease the pain in my brain from studying material that I truly will never understand.

Cinnamon flavor in any type of dessert or sweet bread is my weakness.  That’s why I was so thrilled when I came across a recipe for Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread, from Lovin In The Oven, who adapted the recipe from Sandwich Hoss.  The bananas were getting pretty bad and I hate seeing them go to waste.  So it was perfect timing that I found this recipe! You can click here to follow Lovin In the Oven’s recipe page, or continue to follow it on mine!

Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread

Ingredients

Ingredients

For the bread

  • 3 over-ripe bananas, smashed
  • 1/3 cup butter melted (I just put mine in the microwave for about 45 seconds)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1tsp baking soade
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

For the swirl

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 TBSP cinnamon

Directions

1. Preheat over to 350.

2. Butter and flour (or just use Pam) a 9×5 loaf pan (or which-ever size you have- you may have to adjust cooking time.)

3. Mix Bananas, butter, sugar, egg, and vanilla together in a large bowl.

4. Sprinkle baking soda and salt around on top of banana mixture and mix in.

5. Mix in flour slowly (I mixed 1/2 cup at a time).

6. In a small dish mix 1/3 cup sugar and 1 TBSP cinnamon- this is your cinnamon swirl!

7. Add half of the batter to your loaf pan and sprinkle a little more than half of the swirl mixture on top.

8. Pour in other half of batter.  Spread batter to the edges of the pan with a spatula and sprinkle top with remaining swirl mixture.

9. Bake in oven for 50-60 minutes. (Mine took 50 with a 9×5 loaf pan- if using a different size, keep and eye on it!)

Before

After

YUM!

Cinnamon Swirl Magic!

The bread was so good (especially straight out of the oven!).  I will definitely be making this banana bread recipe more often (especially when there are no walnuts in the house- which is what I usually add).

Time to go check on the corned beef I have in the oven for tomorrow’s St. Patty’s Day festivities! Have a great weekend everyone and a Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Molly Jean