Sunday, July 29, 2012

On the Menu: Grilled Shrimp and Green Bean Salad, Turkey Burgers with Rosemary and Onions, Fiesta Salad, Baked Chicken and Rice with Black Beans, Twice-Baked Potatoes

Ryan and I often question whether or not we are doing a good job as parents.  When our heads hit the pillow at the end of the day we both know we did our best at raising our children.  There are times where we feel completely rotten, like the other night when Tessa decided to throw a MAJOR tantrum, saying no to everything, throwing her toothbrush on the floor, etc.  I found myself close to tears after all was said and done.  I looked at Ryan and said, "I hate it when she does that.  I hate having to get after her."  It reminded me of times when my sister and I would misbehave and my dad would look at us and say, "Girls, don't make me have to be a parent right now." 

But, then there are the times when Tess will look at us and say (unprovoked), "I love my little family.  I love my little brother, my daddy, my mama, and Riley."  This, of course, melts our hearts.  We pick her up at preschool and even her teachers tell us about how much she talks about her family during the day and how much she loves us.  Ryan and I tell each other we must be doing SOMETHING right.

To all you parents out there:  Here's to making mistakes and hoping for the best!

****This recipe takes a lot of prep, so make it on a relaxing weekend or uneventful day (whatever those are) because the end result is SO worth it!  Tessa told me she loved her dinner when I made this.
Grilled Shrimp and Green Bean Salad adapted from Southern Living Annual Recipes
8 Wooden skewers
1 1/2 lb. fresh green beans, trimmed
2 lb. peeled, medium-size raw shrimp
Basil Vinaigrette, divided (recipe follows)
6 cooked bacon slices, crumbled
1 1/3 cups shredded Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup roasted, salted almonds (I just had roasted on hand)
Cornbread (optional)

1.  Soak wooden skewers in water to cover 30 minutes.
2.  Cook green beans in boiling salted water to cover 4 minutes or until crisp-tender; drain. Plunge into ice water to stop the cooking process; drain, pat dry, and place in a large bowl.
3. Combine shrimp and 3/4 cup Basil Vinaigrette in a large zip-top plastic freezer bag; seal and chill 15 minutes, turning occasionally.  Remove shrimp from marinade, discarding marinade.  Thread shrimp onto skewers.
4.  Grill shrimp, covered with grill lid, over medium-high heat (350 to 400 degrees) 2 minutes on each side or just until shrimp turn pink.  Remove shrimp from skewers; toss with green beans, bacon, cheese, almonds, and remaining 3/4 cup Basil  Vinaigrette.  Serve over hot cornbread, if desired.  Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Basil Vinaigrette
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
4 large shallots, minced (feel free to cut back on this-I love shallots, but they can be over powering)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp seasoned pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup olive oil

Whisk together first 7 ingredients in a small bowl until blended; gradually add olive oil, whisking constantly until blended.  Makes about 1 1/2 cups

***These are good for you and yummy!  Don't leave out the rosemary-it totallymakes this recipe!
Turkey Burgers with Rosemary and Onions adapted from Southern Living Annual Recipes
1 pkg. lean ground turkey breast
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 tbsp butter, divided
1 large sweet onion, halved and sliced
1 tsp chopped fresh or dried rosemary
Vegetable cooking spray
1 package goat cheese, sliced (I use Swiss, but you can also use blue cheese or Gorgonzola)
6 whole grain white hamburger buns
Toppings:  lettuce, Dijon mustard, tomato slices

1.  Gently combine first 4 ingredients.  Shape mixture into 6 thin patties; cover and chill 30 minutes.
2.  Melt 1 tbsp butter in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; add onion and rosemary, and saute 10 minutes or until onion is tender and golden.  Remove onion mixture from skillet.
3.  Melt remaining 1/2 tbsp butter in same skillet over medium heat.  Cook patties 6 mintues on each side or until no longer pink in center.  Place on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet or broiler pan coated with cooking spray.
4.  Top each patty evenly with onion mixture and 1 cheese slice. Broil 6 inches from heat 3 to 5 minutes or until cheese is lightly browned.  Serve on hamburger buns with desired toppings.
Makes 6 servings.

***I had a get together with my co-workers and I was asked to bring a side dish for our Mexican themed meal.  This was a great addition!
Fiesta Salad adapted from Southern Living Annual Recipes
10 cups torn romaine lettuce leaves
1 1/2 cups chopped tomato or cherry tomato halves
2 avocados, diced
2 green onions, chopped
1 cup tortilla chips, crushed

Toss together first 4 ingredients in a large bowl.  Top with crushed tortilla chips.  Makes 8 servings

***This looks so pretty in a bowl.  Ryan looked at it and said, "This has almost every vegetable imaginable in it."  Carrots sound a little odd, but make sense once you try it.  I even had the leftovers the next day for lunch in a tortilla.
Baked Chicken and Rice with Black Beans adapted from Southern Living Magazine Feb. 2009
1 (10 oz.) pkg. yellow rice mix (I used white rice b/c that's what I had!)
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper (or red!)
1/2 cup chopped carrot
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cups cubed cooked chicken
1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained
1 (10 oz) can diced tomatoes and green chiles, undrained
2 cups (8 oz) grated Monterey Jack cheese (I used a combo of cheddar and Monterey Jack)

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare rice according to package directions.
2.  Meanwhile, saute onion, bell pepper, and carrot in hot oil in a medium skillet over medium heat 10 minutes or until tender.
3.  Combine hot cooked rice, onion misture, chicken, beans, diced tomatoes and chiles, and 1 1/2 cups cheese in a large bowl.  Spoon into a lightly greased 3 qt or 13 x 9 inch baking dish; sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese.
4.  Bake, covered, at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

***My new favorite thing is twiced baked potatoes.  You can add so much to them if you want to.  I have even added cauliflower puree to the potato pulp to add an extra nutitional umph to them.  No, I wasn't trying to be sneaky!  Ryan knew I had done it and you couldn't even taste the difference!
Twice Baked Potatoes adapted from Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook 15th edition
4 medium baking potatoes
1/2 cup dairy sour cream or plain yogurt
1/4 tsp garlic salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
milk (optional)
3/4 cup finely shredded cheddar cheese
1 tbsp snipped fresh chives (optional)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Scrub potatoes thoroughly with a brush, pat dry.  Prick potatoes with a fork.  Bake for 40 to 60 minutes or until tender. 

Let potatoes stand for about 10 minutes.  Cut a lengthwise slice off the top of each baked potatos; discard skin from slices and place pulp in a bowl.  Scoop out potato pulp; add to the bowl.
Mash the potato pulp with a potato masher or an electric mixer on low speed.  Add sour cream, garlic salt, and pepper; beat until smooth (If necessary, stir in 1 to 2 tbsp milk to reach desired consistency)  Season to taste with salt and additional black pepper.  Stir in 1/2 cup of the cheddar cheese and, if desired, chives.  Spoon the mashed potato mixture into the potato shells.  Place in a 2 qt baking dish.
Bake uncovered in the 425 degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until light brown.  Sprinkle with remaining cheese.  Bake for 2 to 3 minutes more or until chese melts.

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