Interesting Find – Frogmore Shrimp Cleaner/Shrimp Rockefeller

I don’t know about you but I have an abundance of kitchen gadgets, some I use frequently and some I have never used.  So, when I received an e-mail from Toadfish Outfitters in Charleston, SC I was a bit leery of another kitchen tool.  However, when it comes to cleaning fresh shrimp, my opinion quickly changed because I find cleaning, peeling and deveining shrimp a real chore.   They graciously sent me one of their shrimp cleaners before the holidays and today was the first chance I have had to give it a try.  After checking out their video, I was ready to tackle this new tool.  Well, I must admit my first attempt looked like the shrimp had gotten caught in my lawnmower blade!  I just knew I was doing something wrong, one more check of the video and I was peeling shrimp like a pro.  I have to tell you this is probably one of the best kitchen tools I have come across in a long time.  It is very easy to use and certainly makes cleaning shrimp a breeze.  I am happy to have this new tool in my kitchen,  Watch out, now you will see many more shrimp recipes because I can clean them in a flash!

Check out their How To Video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8LWjoeuSZjE

Shrimp Rockefeller

This is a good Throw Back Thursday recipe.  Shrimp Rockefeller was very popular in the mid-1960’s.  It is shrimp baked on a bed of spinach and topped with a sherry cream sauce.  I like to serve on a bed of orzo but it would be equally good on rice or pasta.  As good today as it was then.

Print

Shrimp Rockefeller

Servings 6

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 10 oz packages chopped frozen spinach, cooked and drained
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups warmed milk
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • white pepper, to taste
  • 2 - 3 tablespoons dry sherry
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, plus more to topping

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.   Bring a medium pot of water to a boil, add shrimp and boil for 1 - 2 minute or just until they are pink, immediately drain and rinse under cold water, set aside.  Cook spinach according to package directions, drain well, set aside.  Melt butter, add flour and stir with a whisk for one minute.  Slowly add warmed milk and continue cooking over medium heat until the sauce is thick and creamy.  Remove from heat, add salt and pepper, dry sherry and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.  Spread spinach in the bottom of a shallow casserole dish.  Top with shrimp.  Cover with the sauce.  Sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese.  Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes.  Remove foil and broil until brown and bubbly.  Serve.   

    This dish can be made ahead, by layering the spinach and shrimp, refrigerate.  When ready to bake, top with the hot sauce and bake as directed.

Cream Puffs

One recipe I always remember growing up was my mom’s Cream Puffs.  She was known for your jumbo cream puffs oozing with cream in the center and drizzled with chocolate.  She was always asked to make her Cream Puffs and if I was lucky, there would be one left that I could have for breakfast the next morning.  I took her recipe and made one change –   I replaced ice cream for the cream filling; you can select any flavor of ice cream and drizzle with caramel or chocolate sauce or a dusting of powdered sugar.  A special dessert to serve, perfect for your Valentine.

 

Print

Cream Puffs

Servings 6

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 eggs
  • ice cream, your favorite flavor
  • chocolate or caramel sauce or powdered sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a medium saucepan, bring water and butter to a boil.  Reduce heat to low, add flour all at once and stir vigorously until the mixture forms a ball, approx. one minute.  Remove from heat.  Add eggs all at once to the flour mixture in the saucepan, immediately with a hand mixer, beat on medium-high speed until the mixture is smooth and glossy. (My mom always used a wooden spoon to beat in the eggs by hand, but I have found the hand mixer to be much easier)  Spoon 1/4 scant cups of mixture onto parchment lined baking sheet.  This will make 6 puffs.  Bake 30 - 40 minutes until puffed and golden.  Cool completely.  Slice off top, remove any fragments of dough in the middle, fill with ice cream, drizzle with desired topping and serve immediately.

Baked Risotto with Italian Sausage and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Some might call this the cheaters way to make risotto – I call it the most magnificent way to make risotto!   If you have made risotto you know that it requires one hundred percent of your attention; constantly ladling in broth and stirring.  This recipe is so quick and easy – mix, forget, stir-in and enjoy!   I cannot tell you how delicious Baked Risotto with Italian Sausage and Sun-Dried Tomatoes is –  you will think you are in one of your favorite Italian restaurants.   This is one of my go-to recipes any day of the week.  Perfect for a weeknight meal or for entertaining.  I would love to hear your comments on this recipe – I think you too will be thrilled with the final results.  

5 from 1 vote
Print

Baked Risotto with Italian Sausage and Sun Dried Tomatoes

Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 3 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving
  • 1/2 pound Italian sausage, cooked and crumbled, hot or sweet variety
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup diced sun dried tomatoes in oil
  • 3 cups fresh spinach (optional)
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In an dutch oven heat the olive oil.  Add the garlic and rice and cook over moderate heat, stirring until very fragrant, approx 2 minutes.  Stir in the broth and bring to a boil.  Cover and bake for about 20 minutes, until the rice is tender.  Stir in the 1/2 cup of cheese, Italian sausage, heavy cream and spinach.  Stir until the spinach begins to wilt, cover and bake an additional 2 - 3 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper, to taste, stir until well combined.  To serve, drizzle with olive oil and top with additional cheese.

 

 

 

 

 

Quick Skillet Raspberry Pork Chops

Looking for a quick weeknight meal?  Quick Skillet Raspberry Pork Chops are one of my go-to recipes.  Ready in under 30 minutes and I can guarantee you there will be no leftovers  Last time I served these, I served them with cornbread and roasted vegetables – a winning combination.

 

Print

Quick Skillet Raspberry Pork Chops

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 4 - 6 boneless pork chops
  • 1/2 cup raspberry preserves
  • 3 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Salt and pepper chops on both sides.  Heat butter in a large skillet over medium high heat, brown chops on both sides.  Combine raspberry preserves, mustard and vinegar in a small bowl.  After the chops have browned on both sides, add raspberry mixture to the skillet.  Turn chops so both sides are coated.  Cover the skillet, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.  Serve accompanied with the sauce. 

Whisky and Coke Bites/Host a Cocktail Smackdown!

You just never know what recipe I will find in my stash!  Our very good friends host a Cocktail Smackdown each year and I thought it was the prefect venue to bring along Whisky and Coke Bites.  These are made with Bourbon Whisky, Coke and chocolate, a decadent combination.  My mom liked to serve small bites after dinner and I have to agree.  One delicious bite after a wonderful meal – my kind of dessert!

Print

Whisky and Coke Bites

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups butter, softened
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup coca-cola
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup bourbon whisky
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • glaze
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa
  • 3 tablespoons coca cola
  • 1-4 tablesoons bourbon whisky
  • 2 - 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease mini bundt pans, tiny muffin pans or  brownie bite pans.  In a mixing bowl combine butter and sugar, beat at medium speed until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, add vanilla, beat until well combined.   Mix flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt and set aside.  Combine cola, buttermilk and whisky and set aside.   Alternately add flour and liquid mixture to the butter mixture on low speed, end with dry mixture.  Scrape down sides of bowl frequently.   Spoon batter into prepared pans, bake  10 - 12 minutes.  Cool in pans 5 minutes, remove and cool on wire rack.  Depending on pans you are using, this will make 4 - 6 dozen bites.

    For the glaze, combine butter, Coke, 1 tablespoons whisky and cocoa with an electric mixer on low speed.  Slowly add powdered sugar.  Add additional whisky one tablespoon at a time until the glaze is of a consistency to drizzle over cakes.  Drizzle glaze over cakes. 

 

Now, more on the Smackdown.  If you are looking for a unique entertaining idea, I highly recommend hosting a Cocktail Smackdown.  It is a very creative idea and one I wish I had thought of!  Our great friends JJ and Eleanor get the credit for this amazing party.  Here is the premise, each couple brings a creative cocktail to share, a heavy appetizer, and a great story to go along with the cocktail.   This year we had color changing cocktails with a great story with roots back to a Hawaiian rum maker, spiced infused maple syrup and ginger beer in a bourbon cocktail called the Crabby Pilot with airplane ice cubes, Bloody Mary’s with pickle infused vodka, homemade pickled okra, and bacon salt-rimmed glasses, Painkillers with the story direct from the Virgin Islands and Grasshoppers a throwback cocktail as delicious today and they were then.  Below are a few photos that captured the evening.  What a great entertaining idea that is very interactive and a great night of stories.

Interesting Find – Swarmbustin’ Honey – Honey Bee Chicken and Honey Pecan Bars

I attend many food events and festivals and I am always looking for that special person or product that I think shakes up the food world.  When I came across the crew at Swarmbustin’ Honey (their website is a great read, lots of great information and knowledge building on bees), I knew this was a group that I wanted to get to know.  The first thing that drew me to their booth at the DC Metro Cooking Show was their vast assortment of honeys and the unusual flavors and varieties.  I use honey in my kitchen all the time as a sweetener and when I saw their Hot Garlic and Hot Pepper Honey, I knew I found a unique spot.  Not only do they feature products for cooking, they have everything any bee keeper would ever need.  I left their booth with an array of their products. Back in my kitchen I was thinking about the honey, especially the Hot Pepper Honey and Hot Garlic Honey, I drizzled their Hot Pepper Honey on my chicken cutlet; now I have a new recipe I named Honey Bee Chicken and oh my, what a taste treat that is.  Probably one of the best chicken recipes I have made.  A real taste treat and so easy to prepare.  And don’t pass by my Honey Pecan Bars, every time I make these I am asked for the recipe.  

Here I am with Walt Broughton and his boys

 

Check out one of Walt Broughton’s videos below

 

Print

Honey Pecan Bars

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 cups coarsely chopped pecans
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter, cubed
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2/3 cup butter
  • 3 tablespoons whipping cream

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Arrange pecans in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Bake 350 degrees for 5 to 7 minutes or until lightly toasted.  Cool completely,   Line a 9 x 13 inch pan with heavy-duty foil, grease lightly.  In a food processor, pulse together the flour, powdered sugar, and 3/4 cup butter until mixture resembles coarse meal.  Pat mixture evenly on bottom of the pan.  Bake crust at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.  Cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes or until completely cool.  Bring brown sugar, honey, 2/3 cup butter and whipping cream to a boil in a 3 qt saucepan over medium-high heat.  Stir in toasted pecans and spoon hot filling into prepared crust.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25 - 30 minutes or until golden and bubbly.  Cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes or until completely cool - cut into squares.   

    You can also prepare this recipe in an 11-inch tart pan with removable bottom.  When using the tart pan, pat the crust evenly on the bottom and up the sides of the lightly greased tart pan.

Print

Honey Bee Chicken

Ingredients

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts , pounded 1/4 inch thick
  • 3/4 flour
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 eggs lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon of water
  • 3/4 - 1 cup Panko crumbs
  • canola oil
  • Italian parsley, minced
  • honey, to drizzle over chicken

Instructions

  1. Place flour in a shallow bowl. Beat eggs in a second shallow bowl. Place panko, in a third shallow bowl.

    Season chicken with salt and pepper, then dredge in flour, shaking off any excess. Transfer to bowl with beaten egg and turn to coat. Lift from bowl, allowing excess to drip back into bowl. Coat with panko, pressing to adhere. 

    Heat 6 tablespoons oil in a large heavy skillet or a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Working in 2 batches, cook cutlets, adding remaining 2 tablespoons oil to pan between batches, until golden brown and cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer cutlets to a paper towel-lined plate and season with salt. Serve - drizzled with Swarmbustin Honey, sprinkle with minced parsley.

Spinach Artichoke Casserole

 I miss my weekly trips to the Farmers Market.  However, when the weather turn cold, I turn to my recipe box for some of my favorite recipes.  I have made this numerous times and it never disappoints.  Perfect with baked chicken, fish or pork.  Also delicious along side a grilled steak; it is very similar to a spinach side dish you might see on the menu at one of your favorite steakhouses.  This is also the perfect make-ahead dish, prepare earlier in the day, refrigerate and bake just prior to serving.  

Print

Spinach Artichoke Casserole

Ingredients

  • 2 10 oz. pkg. frozen chopped spinach
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus 2 additional tablespoons
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 16 oz. can water-packed quartered artichoke hearts

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cook spinach; drain and squeeze dry.  Saute onion in butter until transparent.  Combine sour cream, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, and cooked spinach in a mixing bowl.  Mix in onion.  Pour into a 1 1/2 quart baking dish.  Drain artichoke hearts, arrange over the spinach mixture.  Sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese.  Bake for 20 - 30 minutes until hot and bubbly.

      If you are preparing this ahead, you will need to increase the baking time if you are baking directly from the refrigerator.  I always take the casserole out of the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature approx. 30 minutes prior to baking.

Quick Italian Flat Bread

This recipe I found in my stash that I received year’s ago from a co-worker who’s grandmother was born in Tuscany, Italy.  This is perfect to serve on these cold winter nights with soups or stews.  Also, delicious served with sauteed greens such as swiss chard, spinach, or broccoli-rabe, place greens on one side and fold over the warm bread and enjoy.

 

 

Print

Quick Italian Flat Bread/Crescia Marchiglana Style

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons shortening
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup milk

Instructions

  1. Blend flour, shortening, baking powder and salt to a crumbly mixture.  Add beaten egg and enough milk to blind to a pie dough consistency. ( If you have a food processor, pulse the first 4 ingredients together, add the egg and milk, pulse until the dough forms a ball). Let rest for 10 minutes.  Cut dough into 4 pieces.   Roll out each piece to the size of a dinner plate.  Prick all over with a fork.  Roll out all the dough, placing plastic wrap between circles of dough.  In a large skillet, heat 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil.  Cook each bread until light brown, turn until brown on all sides.  Layer cooked breads between paper towels, add additional olive oil to the pan, if needed.  Serve warm.

Butterscotch Pudding

This is one of my favorite desserts growing up.  Not only did my mom bake all of our bread from scratch,  she also never used a pudding mix.  Her homemade pudding was fantastic, it might take a bit longer than the boxed pudding mixes, but it sure is worth it.  Serve with a dollop of whipped cream; it is heavenly!

 

Print

Butterscotch Pudding

Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions

  1. Mix brown sugar, cornstarch and salt in a medium saucepan.  Slowly add milk, stir until smooth.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils.  Boil and stir 1 minute.  Stir at least 1/2 of the mixture into the egg yolks, whisking as you incorporate the hot mixture into the egg yolks.  Blend egg mixture into the saucepan.  Boil and stir 1 minute.  Remove from heat.  Stir in butter and vanilla.  Pour into dessert dishes.  Cool slightly, refrigerate.