Shrimp-Avocado Tostadas

Hello, and happy Saturday! I’m using this weekend for catching up on my blog! I have five new “What’s for Dinner Tonight?” recipes to share with you, so get ready!!!

Here’s the first one: Shrimp-Avocado Tostadas! They were so refreshing and flavorful, and were a perfect way to end a beautiful spring day!

What’s for Dinner Tonight, Week 1

Monday:

Shrimp-Avocado Tostadas

(Adapted from Rachael Ray Magazine Dec/Jan 2005)

Ingredients

1 pounds thawed frozen deveined large shrimp, peeled and halved lengthwise
10 5-inch corn tortillas
Olive oil for brushing 1 ripe Hass avocados, halved and pitted
1 ½ tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 ripe plum tomatoes, cut into ¼” dice
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
½ cup thawed frozen shelled edamame
½ cup thawed frozen yellow corn
½ small head of romaine, trimmed and thinly sliced crosswise
1 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint
½ teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
¾ cup sour cream or Greek yogurt

Directions

In a large saucepan, bring 4 quarts of water to a boil.  Stir in the shrimp, turn off the heat and let stand until the shrimp are just firm, about 2 minutes.  Drain the shrimp in a colander, and then cover with 2 cups of ice cubes to cool. (Leave this part out if your shrimp are pre-cooked)

Preheat the over to 450 degrees.  Place 5 tortillas on each of 2 baking sheets (line with foil for easy cleanup).  Brush both side of the tortillas lightly with oil.  Bake 6 to 9 minutes, until crisp and a shade darker. Transfer the tortillas to a rack to cool; repeat with the remaining tortillas.

Cut the avocados into ½” dice and put in a large salad bowl.  Add 2 tablespoons of the lime juice and the tomatoes and toss.

Add the shrimp, cheese, edamame, corn and romaine; do not toss.

Whisk the vinegar with the mint, the remaining 1 tablespoon of lime juice, the sugar, salt and pepper.  Gradually whisk in the olive oil.

Drizzle the dressing over the shrimp mixture, toss and season to taste.

To serve, spread each tortilla with sour cream or plain Greek yogurt and top with the shrimp mixture.

YUM!

Spanikopita Burgers

My “What’s for Dinner Tonight?” recipe for Tuesday was Spanikopita Burgers! They were so juicy all of the flavors balanced out great! Topped with Homemade Tzatziki, and a side of Tator Tots, these were these were the perfect weeknight meal!

What’s For Dinner Tonight, Week 1

Tuesday:

Spanikopita Burgers with Homemade Tzatziki Sauce

(Adapted from Rachael Ray: 365 No Repeats)

Ingredients

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 small red onion
1 10-ounce box frozen spinach, thawed
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 ½ pounds ground chicken breast or ground turkey breast
¼ pound crumbled feta cheese
1 tablespoon grill seasoning
¼ seedless cucumber, peeled, trimmed and coarsely chopped
Juice of one lemon
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 rolls, split

Directions

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat.  Add the olive oil and butter.  When the butter melts, add the chopped red onion and cook for 5 minutes.  Transfer the onion to a large bowl to cool.

Wring the thawed spinach dry by twisting in a clean kitchen town over the sink.  Break up the block of spinach as you add it to the cooled onion.  Season with 1 teaspoon of the oregano.  Add the ground chicken and feta, then the grill seasoning and a healthy drizzle of olive oil.  Mix it all together then divide the mixture into four equal sections.  Form 4 patties, each 1 inch thick.  In the same skillet, cook the patties over medium-high heat for 5 minutes on each side.

Toast the rolls.  Place the chopped cucumber in a food processor with the yogurt, remaining oregano and lemon juice.  Add a little salt and process until smooth.  Slather the roll bottoms with the yogurt sauce and top with cooked burgers.

Enjoy!

These were great! The feta gave them such strong flavor, and the Tzatziki sauce was delicious as well!

Thai Chicken Pizza

My “What’s for Dinner Tonight?” recipe for Wednesday night was for Thai Chicken Pizza! The flavors in this were fabulous! It’s so different than your average cheese and pepporoni pie, so it’s a really great way to expand your palate a bit!

What’s for Dinner Tonight, Week 1

Wednesday:

Thai Chicken Pizza

(Recipe adapted from Rachael Ray)

Ingredients:

1 pizza dough, any brand
½ cup peanut satay sauce plus 2 tablespoons
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 package (2 cups) shredded provolone or Monterey Jack cheese
½ red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons grill seasoning
1 lb chicken breast tenders
1 tablespoon honey
4 scallions, chopped
1 cup bean sprouts
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
¼ cup chopped peanuts

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Form pizza crust on pizza pan or cookie sheet.

Top with peanut satay sauce; spread it around as you would pizza sauce.

Sprinkle the pizza with some crushed red pepper flakes then top with cheese and peppers.  Bake until golden and bubbly, 15 to 17 minutes.

Preheat a grill pan over medium-high heat (or use a sauté pan).  Combine vegetable oil, soy sauce, remaining satay sauce, grill seasoning and honey.

Add chicken and coat evenly with mixture.

Let stand 10 minutes then grill (or sauté) chicken tenders 2 to 3 minutes on each side until firm.  Slice chicken into very thin strips.

Top the hot, cooked pizza with chicken, scallions, sprouts and cilantro.  Garnish with peanuts, cut and serve.

MMM! This was soooo good! This chicken was super moist, and the peanut flavor was amazing!

Lime and Honey Glazed Salmon with Warm Black Bean and Corn Salad

My “What’s for Dinner Tonight?” recipe for Thursday was Lime and Honey Glazed Salmon with Warm Black Bean and Corn Salad! It was so good! The honey gave the salmon such a nice, subtle, sweet flavor, and it was delicious over the warm salad that had some nice spice to it!

What’s For Dinner Tonight, Week 1

Thursday:

Lime and Honey Glazed Salmon with Warm Black Bean and Corn Salad

(Adapted from Rachael Ray: 365 No Repeats)

Ingredients

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium red onion, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Juice of two limes
3 tablespoons honey
4 6-ounce salmon fillets
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
1 10-ounce box frozen corn kernels, defrosted
½ cup chicken stock or broth
1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 to 3 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
6 cups baby spinach

Directions

Preheat a medium skillet over medium heat with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil.  Add onion, garlic, red pepper flakes, cumin, salt and pepper.  Cook stirring occasionally for 3 minutes.

While the onions are cooking, preheat a medium non-stick skillet over medium-high heat with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  In a shallow dish, combine the juice of 1 lime, honey, salt and pepper.

Add the salmon fillets to the lime-honey mixture and toss to coat thoroughly.

Add the seasoned salmon to the hot skillet and cook until just cooked through, about 3 to 4 minutes on each side.

To the cooked onions, add the bell peppers and corn kernels and cook for 1 minute.

Add the chicken stock and continue to cook for another 2 minutes.

Add the black beans and cook until the beans are just heated through.

Remove the skillet from the heat and add the juice of the second lime, the cilantro and spinach.

Toss to wilt the spinach and then taste and adjust the seasonings.

Serve the lime and honey glazed salmon on top of the warm black bean and corn salad and enjoy!

This tastes awesome cold too, so it makes a great, easy left-over dish too!

Italian Flag Pasta Toss

My “What’s for Dinner Tonight?” recipe for Friday was my recipe for a simple pasta toss, I call Italian Flag Pasta because it has all the colors of the Italian Flag – Green, Red, and White! It’s super delicious, and such a quick, simple recipe to make even on your busiest nights!

What’s for Dinner Tonight, Week 1

Friday:

Italian Flag Pasta Toss

Ingredients

16 oz of your favorite pasta (I used mini bowties!)
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved (I used tri-colored cherry tomatoes)
1 cup mozzarella balls, quartered (I used mini ones and didn’t have to cut any!)
1 large bag baby spinach
1 lb chicken breast tenders
Salt and ground pepper to taste
Optional:  feta cheese, parmesan cheese

Directions

Cook pasta according to package directions.  While pasta is cooking, sprinkle chicken with salt, pepper and olive oil and cook over medium-high heat for 8 minutes or until done.  Remove and cover with foil.  After pasta is done cooking, ladle out 1 cup of the boiled pasta water and set it aside, then strain the pasta.  In a medium skillet, warm olive oil.  Add tomatoes and sauté over medium heat until soft.  Add the spinach and pasta water and cook for about 1 minute.  Remove from heat.  Toss with pasta and cheese.  Cover with lid until cheese melts.  Serve topped with feta or parmesan if desired.

Do you see why I call it Italian Flag Pasta?! The colors are so beautiful, and spinach, tomatoes, and mozzarella make the perfect trio!

Long time, no… type?

Hey everyone! Sorry about being not posting for so long – things in my life have been totally crazy, but I promise, I’ll try to be better about more regular postings.

I haven’t taken a break from cooking though! I’ve got some awesome recipes in store for ya! My mom and I have decided to start a new project called “What’s for Dinner Tonight?” To save money at the grocery store, and to challenge ourselves to try new things, we’ve been planning out our dinners for the week! We have SO MANY cookbooks and magazines that we go through and flag recipes to make, but then never get around to making them. Our goal is to pick at least one cookbook or magazine each week and find a recipe to use for each night! We’re really trying to expand our palates and try out different ingredients and cooking styles, as well as make things easier in the kitchen, since our lives can get so crazy! We really wanna stop just “winging it” and staring blankly into the cabinets and fridge because we have no idea what to make. I’m really excited to try out so many new recipes, and even more excited to share them with you all! This is our fourth day of menu planning, and so far all of the recipe’s we’ve tried have been FABULOUS!

So far this week: (Recipes to come!)

- Spanikopita Burgers with Homemade Tzatziki

- Shrimp-Avocado Tostadas

- Italian Flag Pasta Toss

- Lime and Honey Glazed Salmon with Warm Black Bean and Corn Salad

-  Thai Chicken Pizza

I’m also so behind on my product reviews, so I’ll be trying to get those up ASAP as well!

And don’t think I forgot about my photography! I’ve been absolutely loving the sunny weather and beautiful colors and flowers of spring!

Stay tuned! I’ve got some awesome posts coming! :)

Cherrylicious!

Hi Everyone! How’s your Sunday going? Can you believe tomorrow is March?!

As I said in my post before, February is National Cherry Month! So, since today is the last day of February, I figured I’d post a recipe featuring Cherries! I basically just came up with this recipe by throwing a bunch of random ingredients in a bowl, and baking it…. and it came out really good! Here it is:

Choco-Cherry and Spice Banana Bread

Ingredients

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup all–purpose flour

1 1/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

3/4 cup sugar (I used 1 /2 cup NuNaturals Sweetener Stevia Baking Blend + 1/4 cup brown sugar)

1 tbsp cocoa powder

2 mashed bananas

3/4 cup frozen cherries + 1 tbsp flour + 1 tsp cocoa powder

1/4 tsp vanilla (I used NuNaturals Vanilla Stevia)

1/3 cup egg whites

1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

1/4 tsp ginger

1 tbsp cinnamon

2 tbsp dark chocolate chips

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and spray pan an 8×8 pan with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, and baking powder.

In another medium sized bowl, mash together banana, cinnamon, and ground ginger.

Once combined, stir in egg whites, applesauce, and vanilla.

Set aside. Then, in a smaller bowl combine the cherries, flour, and cocoa powder. The flour will coat the cherries, and keep them from sinking too the bottom of the bread when baking, and the cocoa powder just ensures optimal chocolate flavor!

Next, combine flour mixture and banana mixture in an electric mixer, or by hand, until just blended.

Fold in cherries and chocolate chips. If you are using an electric mixer, do not use it for this part, or the cherries will become mush! Stir them in by hand.

Pour into prepared pan, and bake in oven for about 30 min, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean!

Slice, and DEVOUR! This is sooo good! The cocoa powder and spices blend perfectly together, and the bananas make it super moist! And you can’t forget about the big chunks of cherries and gooey chocolate chips – which are like little treasures hidden throughout the whole bread!

Now tell me that isn’t drool worthy?! Cherries are possibly my favorite things… ever. :)

There were also some featured products in this recipe:

NuNaturals NuStevia Sweetener Stevia Baking Blend, and NuNaturals Pure Liquid Alcohol Free Vanilla Stevia!

Overall Score: 5/5

This was my first time using the Stevia Baking Blend, and I really liked it! I really don’t like artificial sweeteners at all, and much prefer just using regular sugar in my recipes, but Stevia is a totally different story! It’s all natural, and isn’t harmful to your health like other artificial sweeteners can be! Here’s more info about it from the NuNaturals website:

NuNaturals NuStevia Sweetener™ Stevia Baking Blend™ is a revolutionary new ingredient that can be added to recipes to increase the fiber in cakes, cookies and other baked goods. NuStevia Sweetener™ contains multiple fibers that each work in different ways to help your digestive tract function better and stay healthy. NuStevia Sweetener™ contains both soluble and insoluble fibers. Insoluble fiber is good for increasing bulk while soluble fiber forms a thick gel. These fibers help your digestive system work optimally. The USDA recommends that adults take in a minimum of 30 grams of fiber daily. The typical American consumes only 10 to 15 grams of fiber daily making fiber supplementation necessary to maintain a healthy digestive tract. The fibers in NuStevia Sweetener™ are very gentle and will not cause gas or bloating. Our soluble fibers also have prebiotic effects. Prebiotics help feed the beneficial flora in your digestive tract.

By eliminating sugar from your recipe you are going to greatly reduce the calories in the recipe. NuStevia Sweetener won’t raise blood sugar levels the way sugar does so your can keep your blood sugar at healthier levels.

The ingredients in NuStevia Sweetener may help you manage your blood sugar levels more efficiently.

Needless to say, this product rocks!

I also have really been enjoying using the vanilla stevia! I love adding it to not only my baked goods like I did here, but I also love to stir it into my morning oatmeal, or some plain greek yogurt! Here’s more info about it:

NuNaturals has combined Singing Dog Vanilla with our delicious Stevia. Now you can have the delicious taste of vanilla bean extract with our amazing Stevia. Our Alcohol Free Stevia Extract contains 140 mg per ml and is in a base of vegetable glycerine.

For individuals that are sensitive to alcohol, here is a product especially for you. For everyone else, the unique sweet taste that the glycerine imparts makes this a favorite of many NuNaturals Stevia users. The Alcohol Free Extract has a taste that is mellower than the alcohol based liquids.

This has a great vanilla flavor, and definitely tastes all natural, unlike the imitation extracts that you can get at the grocery store!

If you’re looking for a good alternative sweetener, I highly suggest using stevia, instead of the other artificial chemicals out there.

Thank you NuNaturals for sending me these awesome samples, I absolutely love them!