Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Memorial Day Winners!

So this year the Hubs decided he wanted to have a Memorial Day party at the house. No biggie. We sent out invites probably a month ago and apparently that sort of pre-planning results in a lot of party attendees! Ok, now its a biggie. We spent every waking hour on Thursday and Friday cooking and cleaning and preparing for the party. I was exhausting but oh so worth it. We had a great turn out despite the oppressive heat and humidity and it was so wonderful to have all our friends together. We really had a ball. For this cookout I came up with 2 great dishes that went over really well. One was an appetizer - Pizza Stuffed Mushrooms - and the other a dessert - White Chocolate, Coconut and Strawberry Shortcake Kabobs. Both were super easy to put together and were made in advance. I almost took pictures of them but didn't want to dig out my phone - I was afraid it might actually ring and distract me from all the fun, lol! Anyway, Here are the recipes for you to try.

Pizza Stuffed Mushrooms

3 packages white button mushrooms
2 Tbs olive oil
8-10 saltine crackers
2 Cups pizza sauce, divided
3 cloves garlic
2 Cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
20-25 pepperoni slices

Preheat over to 350F
Rinse mushrooms and remove stems. Place caps bottom side up in a baking dish
Remove woody parts of mushroom stems and mince remaining stems.
Mince garlic and combine with mushroom stems
Add olive to a saute pan and heat, add minced mushrooms and garlic and saute until soft.
Add 1 Cup of pizza Sauce and stir to combine
Crush saltine crackers and add to pan. Stir to combine and remove from heat.
Take stuffing mixture and fill each mushroom cap.
Top stuffed mushrooms with a spoonful of the reserved pizza sauce
Top stuffed mushrooms with mozzarella cheese and then with a slice of pepperoni
Bake uncovered for 30 minutes
Serve hot

White Chocolate, Coconut and Strawberry Shortcake Kabobs

2 pounds fresh strawberries
1 prepared angel food cake
1 bag white chocolate chips
1 cup sweetened coconut

Rinse and hull strawberries
Remove Angel Food Cake from packaging and cut into cubes
Thread strawberries and cake cubes onto skewers, alternating between them
Once skewers are prepared, gently melt white chocolate in a double boiler
Drizzle melted chocolate onto skewers
While still warm press coconut flakes into the chocolate and allow chocolate to harden
Watch them disappear!

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Stuff it!

I am cranky today. The weather has been damp and cold and shitty for a week solid, despite all my efforts I haven't lost a single pound, work is boring me to death, and now my husband informs me we may have to cancel one of our (already paid in full) vacations because his asshole bosses are giving him shit for taking too much time off (he has been having back pain issues and has been out for medical reasons lately). Fuckers. So, now here I am at work with no motivation to do anything and a very strong urge to just say, "fuck it" and walk out. Unfortunately, this whole adulthood thing prevents me from doing just that and the alternative is to spill my guts here in a last ditch attempt to regain my sanity. Some days the daily grind REALLY wears me down. Anyway, back to the topic at hand, which is always FOOD. I did go home yesterday with the full intention of making something post worthy. I got my inspiration from Marie over at "Proud Italian Cook". She makes such wonderful things. I really do love her blog. And the pictures. Well, let's just say that if you want an idea of what this recipe looks like, check out her pictures. It is no secret that mine suck. In fact, I intentionally did not take pictures of my recipe because I didn't think people would want to eat it if they saw my crappy picture of it, lol. I have been on a real veggie kick lately and wanted something that I haven't had in a while. When I saw Marie's recipe for stuffed eggplant I knew immediately I wanted to do something along those lines. I have actually been wanting to try stuffing eggplant since seeing Lidia B. do it on TV several months ago. Marie's version was lower in carbs so I went with her rendition (Sorry, Lidia!). Since, I was going to try to feed it to my husband I tweaked it a little by adding sweet Italian sausage and subbing the artichokes with sun dried tomatoes. Once it went into the oven, I came back to reality and knew he wouldn't eat it because. "it looked funny". So I took the unused sausage and made his favorite sausage and broccoli (I didn't have broccoli rabe) with pasta and parmesan. I was too tired to have to sell dinner to him. Just fricking eat it or die! For those of you who actually like to try new things, the stuffed eggplant was delicious and the recipe, as best as I can recall, is as follows:

Erika's Stuffed Eggplant

1 medium sized purple globe eggplant
olive oil
1/2 Cup fresh spinach
1/4 Cup marinated sun dried tomatoes, chopped
1 Cup loose Italian sausage, browned
1/2 Cup ricotta cheese
1/3 Cup shredded mozzarella

salt to taste

Pre heat over to 400 F

Silce eggplant in half lengthwise and carefully scoop out insides leaving the exterior intact. You should have 2 eggplant boats.

Coat eggplant boats as well as the scooped out eggplant "guts" in olive oil and place on a baking sheet. Roast for 20 minutes or until soft.

While eggplant is roasting, combine remaining ingredients in a mixing bowl to make stuffing.

When cooked, add eggplant guts to stuffing mixture and combine.

Scoop stuffing mixture into the eggplant boats and return to the 400 F oven for another 15-20 minutes until cooked through. Let cool before serving.

UPDATE: Ok, so this is definitely one of those dishes that tastes better leftover. Don't get me wrong, it was great right out of the oven but I had the leftovers last night and I swear it tasted even better. I also gave it a drizzle of balsamic glaze right before I ate it which REALLY made it outstanding. Go for the glaze, you won't be sorry!