Monday, September 29, 2014

Honey Garlic Grilled Egglant

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My hubby isn’t a huge fan of eggplant so I’m trying to find a way to make him like it. I remember growing up the only way I ate it was when my dad would fry it and we poured a cheese sauce on it. I’m still a little picky depending on how it’s cooked, but I do enjoy it grilled. Of course when you add a lot of flavor to it it takes the strange texture he doesn’t care for away from it.

We both (and my son) really liked this version so it’ll stay on the top of my recipe book for now when I’m craving eggplant. A bonus is they don’t take long to cook on the grill so by the time you’re done the steaks are done resting and dinner is served!

Honey Garlic Grilled Egglant

(Adapted from Treasuring Life’s Blessings)


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1 eggplant (2 if using small Italian ones)

1 Tbsp of honey

2 Tbsp of olive oil

2 minced garlic cloves

1 tsp aleppo chili *(optional)

2 tsp balsamic vinegar

salt & pepper

*aleppo chili is a middle eastern seasoning that isn't spicy but sweet & musky. You can substitute this with smoky paprika or regular or just omit it altogether. I only had regular paprika on hand that I used. But I'd like to try the smoky kind as I think it would go well.


Slice eggplant in 1/2" slices. I left the skin on as it contains a powerful antioxidant nasunin that is good for you. Because of the way it's cooked, I didn't find it to be tough or chewy at all. Lay out paper towels and place your eggplant slices on it and generously sprinkle both sides with salt. This will help the eggplant release a lot of it's moisture so it's not soggy after being cooked as well as removing any bitterness if there is any.


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In the meantime, mix all the ingredients above in a bowl. After letting the eggplant sit about 15 min, dry it off. Then dip the eggplant fully in the marinade (or brush both sides with it).


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On a preheated grill, take a piece of paper towel with some oil on it and using your tongs brush the grill grates with the oiled paper towel to prevent the eggplant from sticking. (never ever use a spray can of Pam to do this, highly combustible, just saying in case you wondered why I say to use an oiled paper towel.)


Grill over medium heat about 6 minutes or until browned a bit then flip. If you have any leftover marinade, use this to baste the slices. Grill until the other side is browned, watching your heat so you don't burn it.

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Friday, September 26, 2014

Spicy Sweet Watermelon Shrimp Skewer

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We have been on a watermelon kick this summer. With a growing kid that loves fruit I get the most bang for my buck buying watermelon! I love the idea of combining fruit and seafood and this is something I’m sure you won’t have to worry about if your guest just made this for dinner. It’s easy to prep ahead of time them just reheat the sauce while you are grilling the skewers. I served it over some cilantro rice which was nice with the extra sauce poured on. Can’t wait to make this again next summer!

Spicy Sweet Watermelon Shrimp Skewer

(Adapted from The Fit Fork)


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6 cups 1” watermelon cubes (divided)

1 tablespoon red chili sauce (like Sriracha)

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 pound peeled and deveined jumbo shrimp, tails intact

1 large red onion, cut into 1” chunks

Sea salt & coarse black pepper, to taste

Garnish: fresh cilantro


In a blender, add 2 cups watermelon, honey, soy sauce, minced garlic and any watermelon juice that has pooled in the bowl of your watermelon prep bowl (or substitute a tablespoon of water to get blender going). Puree ingredients until smooth.


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Transfer watermelon mixture to small sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer on low for approximately 15 minutes, or until mixture has reduced to about ½ remaining. Set aside.


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Meanwhile, thread raw shrimp, onion pieces and remaining watermelon cubes onto four 12” metal or soaked bamboo skewers, alternating ingredients (may substitute eight 6” skewers). Season with salt and pepper.


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Heat grill or stove-top grill pan to 400 F degrees. Place skewers on grill and cook for approximately 3 – 4 minutes per side, flipping once. Near the end of grilling, use a silicon brush to glaze skewers with the sauce. Remove from grill once shrimp is cooked through and no longer translucent. Watermelon and onions should also have some nice grate marks. (Hubby didn’t listen when I said to grill them on the grate and just put the foil under the leftover shrimp. Oh well)


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Drizzle with reserved sauce and serve alone, over cilantro rice a salad or your choice of side. Serves 4.


Cooks tip: Double the sauce recipe and save the leftovers in the refrigerator (up to a week) for a salad dressing or to jazz up a milder fish like tilapia.

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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Parmesan Chicken Manicotti

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I’m a huge fan of chicken parmesan so this was on my must try list. It turned out pretty good, I don’t know if it’s because I used a simple grilled chicken or it was just missing something. I didn’t follow the sauce recipe I just did what I usually do as a sauce when I make chicken parmesan. I also added some seasoned bread crumbs on top to add to the flavor which helped. Maybe just strange because it’s not the original haha, but I would make it again.

Parmesan Chicken Manicotti

(Adapted from Heart Mind and Seoul)


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7 pieces Manicotti, cooked according to instructions

1 cup part skim Ricotta cheese

½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese

1 cup shredded cooked chicken

1 egg

1 teaspoon oregano

salt and black pepper

1 can Italian style crushed tomatoes

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil leaves

¼ cup Parmesan cheese

6-8 basil leaves


In medium bowl, combine cooked shredded chicken, Ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, egg, oregano, salt and pepper together and stir until well mixed.


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Stuff each cooked Manicotti with about ¼ cupful of the chicken and cheese mixture carefully so that the Manicotti doesn’t tear.


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Add the crushed tomatoes in saucepan over low heat. Add 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan and 1 tablespoon chopped basil leaves and stir frequently, until it starts to bubble. Simmer until heated through.


Spray baking dish with cooking spray and place the stuffed Manicotti in it. Pour about 1 cup (or more) prepared sauce over the Manicotti. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and place basil leaves.


Bake at 350 degrees F for 35 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

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Monday, September 22, 2014

Thai Peanut Beef


This dish comes together really quickly which is a huge plus for me now a days. I love siracha sauce so I can adjust the heat level to our liking without dumping a ton of spices in. Can’t wait to make this again.

Thai Peanut Beef

(Adapted from creme de la crumb)


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1-2 lbs beef, cut into thin strips (suggestion: flank steak or stir fry beef strips) + 2-3 teaspoons oil

*if using more than 1 pound beef, double the sauce recipe below



¼ cup creamy peanut butter

2 teaspoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon brown sugar

2 teaspoons siracha hot sauce

optional: ¼ cup peanuts, chopped


Whisk together all sauce ingredients excluding peanuts, set aside.




Add oil to large pan or skillet and heat over medium high heat until hot. Add beef strips and cook 8-10 minutes, stirring throughout to ensure even cooking.




When Beef has browned around edges and cooked to desired doneness.




Add ½ of the sauce to the pan. Stir and cook 1-2 minutes longer.




Serve beef hot and top with remaining sauce and chopped peanuts. Garnish with sliced green onions if desired. (I forgot to reserve some sauce so that’s why mine looks thicker.)


Friday, September 19, 2014

Goat Cheese and Artichoke Dip

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I made this over the summer and you have to be a goat cheese and artichoke lover to enjoy this dip. I really enjoyed it, but others felt the goat cheese was too strong, it also didn’t help they aren’t a fan of goat cheese!

Goat Cheese and Artichoke Dip

(Adapted from the meaning of pie)


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8 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, thoroughly drained and squeezed with paper towels

1 to 2 garlic cloves, minced

5 ounces (give or take) of goat cheese, softened

½ cup shredded parmesan cheese

Dash of cayenne pepper

Dash of cracked black pepper


Let the cheeses soften a bit and then mix them all together thoroughly, along with the garlic and the peppers, using a fork or an electric mixer.


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Squeeze the artichokes with paper towels until you have gotten most of the liquid out of them. You will be surprised at how much water artichokes are holding even after you have drained them. Chop them up coarsely and then add them to the cheese mixture. Gently fold in the artichokes.


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Place the mixture into an oven-proof dish. I used an 8-½ inch round shallow baking dish, but you could easily use 2 smaller ramekins or some other dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes until it is hot and a little browned on top. Remove from the oven and serve.

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