Thursday, July 13, 2017

A Summer Side Dish~Peppered Candied Bacon and Asparagus, Paleo, Gluten Free

Happy Thursday friends!  Today I am back with another recipe chosen for the meal plan this week by #2.  This time it's a side dish.  She didn't have to do much arm twisting to get us to try this one.  I mean, who doesn't love bacon? and if you don't I don't won't to know

Peppered Candied Bacon and Asparagus



Ingredients:

4-5 pieces of uncured nitrate free peppered bacon (keep 1 TBS of the rendered bacon fat for cooking)
1 TBS or more of coconut sugar (divided)
1 bunch of large asparagus (about 15-20 spears)
1 shallot (sliced)
1/4 tsp each sea salt/black pepper
1 tsp or more of lemon juice (optional but brings out the flavors!)

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 400*F.  Lining a baking pan with foil.

2. Place 4-5 pieces of uncured smoked or regular peppered bacon on baking tray.

3. Sprinkle with 1/2 to 3/4 TBS of coconut sugar.  Make sure it's evenly distributed on bacon.

4. Bake on bottom rack for 15-18 minutes.

5. Remove from oven.  The longer the crispier.  You can easily do this in the microwave too if you are short on time.

6. Spoon 1-2 TBS of the bacon juice into a bowl.  Let it sit for later use.

7. Once bacon is somewhat cooled, chop it into small pieces.  Set aside.

8. Next clean your asparagus and trim bottom stems.

9. Slice your shallot lengthwise.

10.  Place the bacon fat in a large skillet on medium heat.

11. Add in your asparagus, shallot, pepper, sea salt, and a little more coconut sugar if desired.

12. Saute veggies for about 10 minutes or until asparagus is more golden and only slightly crispy on the ends. (time with vary depending on the thickness of your spears)

13.  Remove from heat.

14. Place asparagus in a serving dish and add your candied bacon bits.

15.  Spoon any extra juice from the skillet over the asparagus/shallots/bacon.

16.  Feel free to add more pepper/lemon/salt here if desired.

This was a tasty side that would be perfect with any number of proteins.  We chose to serve along beef filets.

Enjoy!

*original recipe can be found here.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Another Pick by #2~Easy Seafood Paella

Y'all #2 has picked some amazing recipes for us to try this week.  Again another quick and easy dish, but full of flavor.

As you know, I am a fan of a ONE dish meal.  This actually takes two because you boil the lobster separate and need to save the water, but the rest goes in one pan.

Easy Seafood Paella



Ingredients:

4 small lobster tails (6-12 oz each)  ***Kroger had the frozen on sale this week.  You could sub jumbo lump crab as well.
Water
3 TBS olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 C Spanish rice or short grain rice, soaked in water for 15 minutes and then drained (we used Arborito)
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 large pinches of Spanish saffron threads soaked in 1/2 cup water
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp aleppo pepper flakes (we used crushed red pepper flakes)
Salt
2 large Roma tomatoes, finely chopped
6 oz French green beans (we trimmed and cut in half)
1 lb prawns or large shrimp or your choice, peeled and deveined
1/4 C chopped fresh parsley

Instructions:

1. In a large pot, bring 3 cups of water to a rolling boil.  Add the lobster tails and let boil very briefly (1-2 minutes) until pink. ***a bit longer if still frozen Turn the heat off. Remove the lobster tails with a pair of tongs.  Do not discard the lobster cooking water. When the lobster is cool enough to handle, remove the shell and cut into large chunks.
2. In a large deep pan or skillet, heat 3 TBS olive oil. Turn the heat to medium-high and add the chopped onions.  Saute the onions for 2 minutes then add the rice, and cook for 3 more minutes, stirring regularly.  Now add the chopped garlic and the lobster cooking water. Stir in the saffron and it's soaking liquid, paprika, cayenne pepper, aleppo pepper, and salt. Stir in the chopped tomatoes and green beans.  Bring to a boil and let the liquid slightly reduce, then cover (with lid or tightly with foil) and cook on low heat for 20 minutes.
3. Uncover and spread the shrimp over the rice, pushing it into the rice slightly.  Add a little water if needed.  Cover and cook another 10-15 minutes until the shrimp turns pink. Finally, add the cooked lobster chunks.  When the lobster is warmed through, turn heat off.  Garnish with parsley.
4. Serve the paella hot with your favorite white wine.

Original recipe can be found here.

While the original recipe says it serves 4, this makes enough for double that in my opinion.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

#2 Meal Plans~Pan-Seared Tilapia in Tomato Basil Sauce

I am back today with what I believe is one of the best dishes we have made in the past few weeks.  #2 created the meal plan this week, and I can't wait to share some new to us and to you dishes.

I think what truly made this dish was the fact that the tomatoes, jalapeno and basil all came fresh from our backyard garden.  Nothing better than homegrown in my opinion.

Pan-Seared Tilapia in Tomato Basil Sauce



Ingredients:

For the Tilapia:

2 TBS oil oil
1 1/2 pounds fresh tilapia, cut into 3-4 fillets
Salt and pepper


For the Tomato Basil Sauce:

2 TBS olive oil
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional, we used)
2 or 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1 small jalapeno, sliced
1/4 C vegetable stock
1/2 cup fresh basil, finely chopped
2 TBS fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp fresh lemon zest
salt and fresh ground black pepper

Directions:

For the Tomato Basil Sauce:

1. Heat oil in a large saute pan over medium heat.  Add crushed red pepper flakes and garlic and saute for 1 minute, or until garlic is fragrant.

2. Add the cherry tomatoes and jalapeno and cook, stirring occasionally, until they're soft and blistering, but still hold their shape, about 12 minutes.  Add in the vegetable stock, stir, allow the mixture to come to a light simmer.

3. Stir in the basil, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, and pepper and cook for 2 minutes. Transfer the sauce into a large bowl and set aside for later.

For the Tilapia:

1. Heat oil in the same pan over medium heat. Season both sides of fish with salt and pepper.  Place tilapia fillets in the oil and cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes on both sides, until it's cooked through.

2. Pour the tomato basil sauce over the fish and reheat quickly.  Serve all at once with additional chopped basil.

We served alongside rice.

Y'all the fish is melt in your mouth good.  And, the freshness of the homegrown herbs and veggies just elevates this dish even more.

Enjoy!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Spicy Thai Peanut Noodles~It's What's For Dinner

Hello, and happy late Monday.  I hope everyone had a great weekend.  We spent a good bit of it doing yard work.  All this rain has created some major drainage problems we are trying to correct.

Today I thought I'd share a quick and easy recipe with you.  This is a dish that once prepped (the time consuming part) comes together quickly.

Spicy Thai Peanut Noodles



Ingredients:

12 oz spaghetti (we use gluten free)
1 large red bell pepper, sliced into thin strips then cut into 2-inch pieces
1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded and sliced into thin strips then cut into 2-inch pieces
1 C matchstick carrots
3/4 C chopped green onions
1/2 C chopped cilantro
1/2 C lightly salted roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
Sesame seeds, for garnish (optional)

Peanut Sauce:

1/2 C creamy peanut butter
1/4 C warm water
3 TBS soy sauce (we used coconut aminos)
2 TBS honey
2 TBS Sriracha (more of less to taste)
2 TBS fresh lime juice
1 1/2 TBS peeled and minced fresh ginger
1 TBS minced garlic
1 TBS sesame oil (we used canola as I cannot have sesame)

Instructions:

Cook spaghetti according to directions listed on package.  Meanwhile prepare peanut sauce by combining all sauce ingredients in a mixing bowl, whisking until well blended and smooth.

I like to prep everything ahead of time as seen below.



Drain pasta and pour into a large serving bowl.  Toss with sauce then add bell pepper, cucumber, green onions, cilantro and peanuts and toss lightly.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve.

Original recipe can be found here.

Super tasty and easy. Enjoy.




Wednesday, July 5, 2017

A "Poppin" 4th with Skinnypop Popcorn~

Hello friends.  Happy day after 4th of July.  I pray everyone had a safe and fun holiday.  In typical Atlanta fashion, it rained on and off all day.  Boo.  But, that didn't stop us from having a little fun on our covered porch.

I was recently contacted by the Outreach Coordinator for Skinnypop Popcorn. They have put together a great list of cocktail and popcorn pairings to enjoy this summer.  Most of you know, we love our popcorn!  I couldn't pass up an opportunity to share a brand that we have come to love with my readers.

Please note, I am in no way being compensated for this post.  All opinions are that of my own.

What I love most about the brand is their packaging.  When selecting a bag you know exactly what you are getting.  No hidden ingredients, nothing I can't pronounce.

Dairy Free (in the case of their White Cheddar popcorn, a win for this dairy free family)
Non GMO
Gluten Free
Peanut Free
Tree Nut Free
Preservative Free
No Artificial Flavors
Zero Trans Fat
and DELICIOUS!









How fun are these simple pairings? Moscow Mule/Original, Blueberry Mojito/Sea Salt & Pepper, Blackberry Smash/Aged White Cheddar/Dairy Free White Cheddar, White Peach Sangria/Naturally Sweet, Coconut Margarita/ Pepper Jack/Jalapenó.

We decided to get a little creative ourselves.  We were thrilled to learn that Skinnypop White Cheddar Popcorn is dairy free.  And Rosé wine is so hot now.  So, why not combine the two?  Who doesn't love wine and cheese?

The table setting came together quickly with things I already had around the house.  I will share the recipe for the Rosé Lemonade at the end of the post.  The perfect cocktail for a hot humid summer day.

To anchor the table setting I used my galvanized tray and lanterns from Target.  For the centerpiece I used a small white pitcher from Home Goods that I tied a bit of red, white and blue ribbon around and filled with inexpensive carnations from Trader Joes.  The blue and white J napkins were a gift from a girlfriend.  We had blue Solo cups on hand as well as the red and white striped paper straws.  My #2 created the "Have a Poppin' 4th of July" flags on her computer for me.  We attached them to the straws with a bit of double stick tape.  The red and white popcorn bucket is an old Target dollar section find we use for movie nights. My go to glass pitcher and wine glasses finished it off. Y'all we pulled this off in 20 minutes.  




The Solo cups filled with the White Cheddar popcorn are the perfect portion size, and the cute little flags just add a festive touch.  This could be done with any number of the colored cups available for a variety of holidays.  Think the Naturally Sweet popcorn in red Solo cups with a bit of red, white and pink sprinkles on top.  Attach one of those yummy cinnamon gummy hearts to the straws and you've created a fun, sweet treat in no time.


I just loved the blush pink color of the Rosé Lemonade.  Sliced lemons in the pitcher and on the rim of the glasses just scream summertime. 



A closer look at the darling flags #2 designed for the occasion. 


A centerpiece doesn't have to break the bank.  These sweet carnations were under $5, and will last a few weeks.


Rosé Lemonade (original recipe found on kitchn)

Makes 8 servings

Ice
1 (750-milliliter) bottle dry rosé wine
3 cups lemonade (we used Real Time lemon juice-1 C juice, 1 C sugar, 6 1/2 Cups Water)
1 medium lemon, sliced (I used two so we could rim the glasses)
1 (12-ounce) can club soda

Combine the rosé, lemonade, and lemon slices in a large pitcher filled with ice.  Top with club soda.  Pour into 8 glasses, adding ice from the pitcher to each glass as needed.

***This recipe could easily be doubled to fill a drink dispenser making serving a breeze for a larger gathering.

I hope this will inspire you to try the many Skinnypop flavors that are available, and maybe create your own cocktail to go with it.

***photo credit goes to my talented #2