Food Fast, Not Fast Food!

Never got to food shop or prep food this weekend.  We took 3 of the grandkiddies to the Please Touch Museum in Philly (and had them overnight Saturday night).  They are such awesome kids!  All 3 of their birthdays are in the Summer/early Fall, so we decided to take them to the museum instead of buying them presents.  We do the same at Christmas (take them to the Disney on Ice Show).  Ava, our oldest gc said “This is so much better than getting some toy.”  I love her!!  We really haven’t seen them much at all this summer, so having a chance to spend the weekend with them was amazing.

My parents are down the shore for the week and Vincent went to West Virginia University for a few days to go to a concert.  So just Eddie, Hercules and me!  I went to the butcher (Trim Rite), the farmer’s market (Duffields) and to the Acme to do a quick food shop after work yesterday (Monday).  Made dinner for the two of us and our daughter and grandson stopped in to visit.  Missed the Magoo this weekend!

So for dinner last night I made some filet mignon…just seasoned with salt & pepper then seared on both sides on the stove and then finished off in the oven with some olive oil and dairy free butter.  I made crab cakes…just mixed together the can of crab, 1 T of dijon mustard, one egg, Worcestershire sauce, green onion, 1/2 red pepper, salt, pepper and old bay seasoning. I cooked them in a small amount of olive oil on the stove top.   I made some zucchini pancakes with 2 T of gluten free flour, an egg, Worcestershire sauce and a super large zucchini, shredded.  I mixed together and cooked in a small amount of dairy free butter and olive oil.  Then I just sauteed some mushrooms and onions.  Finally, sliced up some sweet potatoes, sprinkled with a bit of olive oil and Cajun seasoning and baked in the over on 375 for about 1/2 hour.

filet, crab, zucchini

Tonight I ran home from work and made…I guess a kind of gumbo?  I browned 4 chicken thighs and a package of chorizo, then took out of the pan.  Drained the grease then added a bit of olive oil and garlic, onion, red and green peppers and celery and cooked them.  Added a pint of grape tomatoes and cooked until soft…then I smashed them up.  I steamed some frozen wild caught shrimp in a little old bay (to defrost).   Peeled them and kept them to the side.  Added some chicken broth, red wine vinegar, salt, pepper, old bay and about 2 T of capers to the pan, put the meats back in, covered and simmered for 20 minutes.  I cooked 2 packages of brown rice in a bag.  I added a roux (gluten free flour and a bit of the grease from the chicken/chorizo) to the broth to thicken a bit, added the shrimp, covered again and cooked for about another 10 minutes.  Mixed in the rice, garnished with green onion & fresh basil.  I’m the only one home right now, so no fancy presentation tonight lol!  But my parents are coming home tonight and should eat and Eddie should be home later to eat.

gumbo

Gotta run….want to try & get to the gym tonight!  Peace all!

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Plan, Prep and Primavera!

SOOOOOOOO busy the past few weeks!  Friday after work I had a craving for bbq…and for chilling out on my deck.  Stopped at my butcher shop (Trim Rite Deli/Meats) and got a nice NY Strip steak and four bone in chicken thighs.  Came home and brined the chicken for about an hour, made home-made baked beans and sliced and grilled some zucchini, onion, mushrooms and peaches.  So good and just what I was in the mood for!

Baked Beans
1 can each butter beans, red kidney beans and white northern beans, rinsed.
A few slices imported ham, sliced
1 link sausage, cooked and sliced
1 onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup ketchup
1 T apple cider vinegar
1 T Worcestershire sauce
1 T yellow mustard
salt and pepper to taste
Heat olive oil in dutch oven, add ham and sausage and heat through/crisp up.  Add onion and garlic and cook on medium until soft.  Add peppers and continue to cook until soft.  Add all other ingredients, mix well and simmer on medium low for 1 hour.

Brine for Chicken
Fill ziplock bag half way with water.  Add kosher salt and sugar.  Then place chicken inside, seal and let soak for 1-2 hours.  Remove, drain and pat dry.  Rub with olive oil, salt and pepper, then cook on grill.

Had an awesome day/night yesterday.  Gym, hairdresser then out to dinner with our good friends.  Went to a restaurant in Gloucester called the Mansion…a friend is the new executive chef there.  He used to own the Creole Cafe, one of our all time faves…so excited to get incredible Creole food right near home!

Today was my only day to get ready for the upcoming (crazy) week.  So I went to one of the local produce places (Puglia’s) then the Acme to finish up the rest of my food shopping.  Came home and prepped stuff for breakfast, lunches, snacks and dinner tonight.

Sliced up 2 large zucchini, 1 large squash, 1/2 red onion, 4 green peppers, 3 carrots.  I opened and drained 2 cans of black pitted olives and sliced in half.  Sliced a carton of grape tomatoes in half.  Chopped 2 cloves of garlic.  Placed all except tomatoes on 2 stones, drizzled olive oil, salt, pepper and herb de Provence herbs on them, then roasted in 375 oven for about 40 minutes.

Washed and cut up a large cantaloupe for the week.  I cannot even describe how incredibly sweet and delicious the cantaloupe had been in South Jersey this year!  Incredible!

Sliced up a cucumber, placed some in the bottom of mason jar, the rest in a zip lock back.  Washed and chopped a head of romaine lettuce, placed a layer in mason jar, the rest in a zip lock bag.  Added some of the peppers sliced earlier in mason jar, a new zip lock bag, plus some black olives, too.

Made pasta primavera for dinner tonight, using some of the roasted veggies (one Eddie style, one regular)

pasta primevara

Pasta Primavera Two Ways
1/2 bag of brown rice pasta, cooked until al dente
3/4 box Barilla protein pasta, cooked until al dente
1/4 cup of locatella cheese

Boiled the rice pasta. Drained (reserving 1/2 cup of water) and mixed in bowl with some of the roasted veggies.  Drizzle some olive oil, add some of the reserved water, salt, pepper and Italian seasoning . Chopped fresh basil and sprinkled on top.

Boiled the Barilla pasta.  Drained (reserving 1/2 cup of water) and mixed in bowl with some of the roasted veggies.  Added cheese and some of the reserved water, salt, pepper and Italian seasoning.  Chopped fresh basil and sprinkled on top.

wild_shrimp

I also got a pound of wild caught shrimp, steamed with old bay, from the Acme, to add a little protein to dinner.  Yummy!

salad fixings for the weekchicken salad mason jar

Chicken Salad
1 rotisserie chicken, picked from bone and chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
2 T mayonnaise
1 T Dijon mustard
1-2 cups grapes, halved
Salt, pepper and fresh basil

veggie primavera breakfast brownies

Breakfast Brownie Primavera
7 eggs, beaten with splash of water, salt and pepper.
Folded in veggies roasted earlier (see above).  Sprayed brownie pan with oil, filled wells with egg mixture.  Baked on 350 for 30 minutes.

So I’m pretty much ready for the week!  Have dinners planned for the next few nights.  Busy weeknights are so much easier when I find time to plan and prep!

My Kinda Sunday Funday!

OMG…we have been so incredibly busy.  I felt like I never caught up last week from the week before (and the week before that).  I truly just needed a day to shop, cook and prepare for the week.  It makes me MUCH less cranky!

I slept in today and made a ham and cheese omelette to split with Vincent before I took him to work.  Super easy, nice protein and cleaning out some more left overs before I went food shopping.

ham_n_cheese_omelette

Dropped off the boy, went to the gym, then went to Puglia’s Produce Stand.  One of the absolute best things about living in South Jersey is the abundance of fresh local farms and produce.  I definitely stocked up!

For dinner I made barbecue chicken with homemade bbq sauce, ratatouille, mashed potatoes and a fresh strawberry balsamic sauce.

chicken_dinner

BBQ Chicken
9 chicken thighs (brined in kosher salt, water, sugar and fresh thyme for 2 hours)
1 1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp molasses
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp hot sauce (to taste)
Brined chicken in fridge for approximately 2 hours.  Drained, and patted dry with paper towel.  Sprayed grill pan with grape seed oil.  Grilled chicken on medium high heat until grill marks appear (approximately 10 minutes per side with grill press on).  Grill chicken in batches.

Sautee garlic and onion in olive oil until soft.  Add rest of the ingredients for sauce and simmer for approximately 20 minutes.

Baste chicken in sauce and bake on 375 for 15 minutes.  Flip chicken, baste again and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes.

bbq_chicken

Strawberry-Balsamic Sauce
1 large container of strawberries, washed and sliced.
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
olive oil (coat bottom of pan)
1 clove garlic, pressed
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper, ground

Heat oil in sauce pan on medium heat.  Add onion and garlic and cook until soft.  Add rest of ingredients and bring to a slow boil, then reduce heat and simmer for approximately 25 minutes (until sauce thickens and reduces).

strawberry_balsamic

Mashed Potatoes
5 large white potatoes, washed and cubed.
1/2 stick butter
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp salt (to cook) 1 tsp salt (to serve)
1/2 tsp black ground pepper

Place potatoes in salted water to cover.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook on medium heat until potatoes are fork tender (approximately 25 minutes).

Drain potatoes, place back in pot, mash with masher.  Add milk, butter, salt and pepper and mash/mix until desired consistency.

mashed potatoes

Ratatouille
1 extra large green squash (zucchini) washed and cut into chunks
1 extra large yellow squash washed and cut into chunks
1 Sicilian eggplant, washed and cut into chunks
2 red peppers, washed and sliced
2 green peppers, washed and sliced
1/2 red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 medium fresh tomatoes, cut into chunks
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup fresh basil

Heat oil in large skillet over medium high heat.  Cook onion and garlic until softens.  Add eggplant and sautee until starts to brown and soften.  Take eggplant out of pan, heat more oil and then cook squash and peppers until browned and soft.  Add back in eggplant.  Add tomatoes, vinegar, salt and pepper and then cover and cook on medium for 15-20 more minutes, until all flavors meld and vegetables are soft.

Snip fresh basil over dish when ready to serve.  Can also add sprinkle of locatella cheese before serving (if no allergies).

ratatouille

I made up some Mason Jar salads for lunches this week.  I layered cucumber sticks, chick peas, black olives, green leaf lettuce (washed and chopped) and the bbq chicken, picked from the bone and chopped.  I added some of the strawberry sauce in the lid to use in place of salad dressing.  Yummy!

mason_jar_bbq_chicken_salad_strawberry_sauce

Finally, I used some of the ratatouille for my eggs for my breakfast this week.  I beat together 8 eggs, chopped up about 4 cups of veggies and cooked and chopped 6 slices of bacon to add to the eggs.  Topped with 1/4 cup of fresh basil.  Added 1 tsp kosher salt and 1/4 tsp ground pepper. Baked in a casserole on 375 for 25 minutes (until set).  I’ll cut into 12 pieces and have some awesome breakfast for the next week (2 if I freeze, 1 if I share!!).

bacon_ratattouille_breakfastI’m lucky enough to have built in sous chefs (mom & Eddie)…the kitchen is already cleaned up & we’re ready to go for the week!  Spending a few hours on a Sunday planning, shopping, prepping and cooking really helps me to stay sane & focused during the week! No excuses this week!  I’m going to the gym at least a few days after work!!

Have a wonderful week and stay cool if you’re living here in the sahara zone!

Birthday Bashes and More!

We had a crazy week/weekend!  My dad’s 74th birthday was on Friday. We took my parents out to dinner to a cute little place in Woodbury…The Woodbury Station Cafe.  They had a woman named Julie playing guitar and signing during dinner who was really good and so nice.  They serve comfort/Americana type food, which is perfect for my dad!

We had seafood bisque to start, my dad had chicken parm, Eddie a shrimp salad and my mom and I had scallops over pasta.  They sent a plate of beignets out for my dad and they sang happy birthday (see the picture of Julie singing to my dad lol).  Nice food, people and close to home!  My dad loved it!

Saturday night my brothers and I tried to surprise my mom & dad with a dinner at Del Frisco’s Steakhouse in Philadelphia to celebrate my mom’s 70th birthday.  We kind of surprised them lol!  It was such a beautiful, amazing dinner.  The restaurant is so cool…an old bank with a vault that is used as a dining room now.  We had our own little private dining room.  Both of my brothers, my 3 nieces, one of my nephews and my one son and step daughter were all able to make it, as well as my parents’ best friends.  So happy we were able to get together and celebrate the best mother in the world!

Dinner was a shrimp appetizer, choice of two salads (a wedge or house salad), a choice of 4 different high quality cuts of steak, salmon or roasted chicken, the table had mashed potatoes and grilled asparagus and then a choice of bread pudding or cheese cake.  The quality of the food was outstanding!  And the wait staff were excellent.  They really helped to make the dinner a special event for our family.

11 of my mom’s siblings brought my mom & dad out to dinner on Sunday.  Eddie and I pretty much spent the day on the couch lol!  But it was a wonderful weekend spent celebrating two of the greatest people I know!

Goodbyes, good friends and good food.

We had a farewell party today for my friend in work.  She has made the awesome decision to work from home (blogging!!  I’ll ask her if I can link her Blog here so you can check it out!) and spending time with her beautiful family.  Our boss and I planned her party and made her some really good gluten free food (Denise follows a gluten-free diet).  All of the food and decorations turned out great!  Denise loves the saying “Bloom where you are planted” so that was our theme.  I feel so very lucky that I have this amazing job that I love, I have had the opportunity to get close with this group of people and hope that our friendship continues even if we do not work together anymore.

Here are a few of the things that I made for the party.

Gluten Free Dirt Cake
32 Gluten free chocolate sandwich cookies, crushed in processor
2 packages vanilla pudding mix
3 1/2 cups cold organic milk
1 12 oz container Cool Whip
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
Gummy worms

Crush the cookies in the processor. Set aside.  Whip together butter, cream cheese and confectioners sugar.  In a separate bowl, mix together pudding mix, milk and Cool Whip.  Combine the two bowls.

Layer the cookie and other mixture in a trifle bowl, topping with the cookies.  Place gummy worms and artificial flowers/signs if you’d like.

Grape and Brie Flatbread

1 package of gluten free pizza mix (including packet of yeast).
3 1/2 cups warm water.
8 oz brie, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 1/2 cups grapes, halved.
4 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp fresh rosemary.

Preheat oven to 350.

Prepare dough.  Allow to rise for 20 minutes, covered with plastic wrap.  Separate into 2 balls.  Using plastic wrap, roll out into 2 semi-circles.  Poke holes into dough.  Bake for 9 minutes on one side, flip over and continue to bake 6-8 minutes.  Place the grapes and brie on the dough, then bake for 20 minutes, or until cheese and grapes are soft.  Reduce the vinegar and rosemary in a sauce pan for 15 minutes.  Drizzle the reduction over the flatbread when done cooking.

Rustic Focaccia Flat Bread

1 package of gluten free pizza mix (including packet of yeast).
3 1/2 cups warm water.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning Mix
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1 can (3.25 ounces) pitted ripe olives, drained and sliced
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 plum tomatoes, thinly sliced
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
Additional Italian Seasoning Mix

Prepare dough.  Allow to rise 20 minutes, covered in plastic wrap.  Roll out onto large rectangular bar pan.  Mix together oil, 1 tsp Italian Seasoning Mix and the garlic.  Spread over the dough.  Spread 3/4 cup of mozzarella cheese over dough, the olives, the onion and tomatoes.  The sprinkle the Parmesan and rest of the mozzarella cheese on top.  Bake at 400 for about 25 minutes, or until cheese is melted and browning.  Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes before cutting.

Kale and Artichoke Dip

 

1 jar (12 oz) marinated artichoke hearts, drained (1¼ cups/300 mL)
1 can (8 oz or 199 mL) sliced water chestnuts, drained
8 oz (250 g) mozzarella cheese (2 cups/500 mL grated)
2 oz (60 g) fresh Parmesan cheese (1/2 cup/125 mL grated)
1/2 cup (125 mL) mayonnaise
1/2 cup (125 mL) sour cream
2   garlic cloves
3 cups (750 mL) fresh kale leaves, stems removed and torn into pieces

Chop artichokes and water chestnuts in processor.  Add to bowl.  Mix in cheese, mayonnaise, sour cream and garlic.  Microwave on high, covered, for 2 minutes.  Stir in chopped kale.  Microwave on high, covered for 2-3 minutes.  Stir again.  Place in oven and bake on 450 for 15 minutes, or until top starts to brown.  Serve with vegetables or gluten free crackers.

So I’m being a slacker tonight…no dinner cooked at the Savage house!  I’m one tired momma!

 

Birthday Bonanzas, Parties and More!

Getting ready for my parents birthdays the next 2 weeks.  Dad is turning 74 on 15th and mom 70 on the 20th!  They are truly my heroes!  They live their lives to the fullest, cherish each other, their children and grandchildren, their gazillion siblings and all of their friends.  I am so very lucky to have them in my life, and I’m so grateful that they are staying here with us while dad is having his treatments.  So I probably won’t be cooking quite as much this week or next (ahem, can you say birthday dinners?).

So this is how we rolled this week:

Back to work after a busy weekend, I wanted to have something easy ready to go for dinner.  Went to my butcher, Trim Rite, and got chicken breasts and sirloin steaks cut into strips.  I ran home after work, sliced up some peppers, mushrooms and onions I got at the farmers market and grilled them all on my double burner grill pan for Funday Monday Fajitas! Super easy and everyone likes them!  I usually serve with lettuce wraps, but Eddie actually ate with some of his gluten free bread tonight in place of the tortillas. And of course no cheese for you, Eddie Savage!

fajitas4
Funday Monday Fajitas!
fajitas3
4 peppers, sliced 2 onions, peeled and sliced 1/2 carton large white mushrooms, washed and sliced 1 T chipotle rub 1 T olive oil 1 clove garlic, chopped
fajitas2
2 lbs chicken breast, cut into strips 2 lbs sirloin steak, cut into strips 2 T chipotle rub 2 T olive oil
fajitas
1 package flour tortillas, warmed in microwave 1 package Sargento Mexican Mix Cheese 2 Cups medium salsa

Tuesday night is a bit crazy!  Prepping for my friend in work’s going away party.  Wanted to make some gluten free treats for her party.  I made an artichoke kale dip (which just has to bake tomorrow), a rustic focaccia pizza (gluten free dough) with tomatoes, onion and olives and a grilled grape, rosemary and brie flatbread.  I prepped them tonight and will run home at lunch tomorrow and bake them, then bring them into work.  I’ll post pix and recipes tomorrow!  Oh, and I need to make a cake tonight!

salmon and zucchini cakes

So just made a quick and easy dinner.  Salmon with a mustard rub and rosemary oil, zucchini pancakes and a grape tomato and black olive relish.

Salmon in mustard rub and rosemary oil

3 organic salmon pieces
Dijon mustard rub
salt and pepper
1 Tbsp rosemary canola oil
Lemon zest and juice

Heat pan over medium high heat.  Add oil.  Place fish, skin side down, in pan.  Sear for about 4 minutes.  Place pan in 350 oven and bake for 20 minutes. Zest and juice 1/2 of a lemon on fish after cooking.

Zucchini pancakes

1 large zucchini, sliced into strips
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 onion, grated
6 Tbsp barley flour (or regular flour if no allergies)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
pepper to taste
1 Tbsp non-dairy butter and 1 Tbsp Olive Oil per batch

Heat non-stick pan over medium high heat.  Heat 1 Tbsp non-dairy butter and 1 Tbsp olive oil in pan until hot but not smoking.  Place scant 1/4 cups of batter in pan, cook until brown on one side (around 2 minutes).  Flip and cook other side.  Wipe out pan and add more butter, oil and batter and cook until done.

Grape tomato and black olive relish

1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1 can black olives, pitted and halved
1 Tbsp hot pepper olive oil
1 Tbsp tangerine balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
fresh basil, sliced

Dress tomatoes and olives with oil, balsamic, salt, pepper and basil.