Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Sun Dried Tomato and Tarragon Stuffed Mushrooms

I love mushrooms and they have always reminded me of my father. Every time he eats mushrooms he always likes to make the statement that mushrooms are a good substitution for eating meat. He continues for a few minutes giving us all the ways you can replace mushrooms for meat and how satisfying it could be. He repeats this as if he has stated it for the first time in his life, when in actuality I hear it at least a dozen times a year :) Although mushrooms are meaty in texture I am not sure I could substitute my meat for mushrooms all the time. But, I do love mushrooms and especially stuffed ones.

These mushrooms are so flavorful and packed full of really interesting flavors like tarragon, sun dried tomatoes, basil and cheese to name a few. And even though there is no meat incorporated into the stuffing, they sure are as satisfying and delicious as my good ol' dad says they are!

Sun Dried Tomato and Tarragon Stuffed Mushrooms

1 pound mushrooms
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
1 small onion, diced
2 cups finely chopped sun dried tomatoes
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 tablespoons tarragon leaves
4 tablespoons chopped basil leaves
fresh mozzarella cheese

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. place your mushrooms with caps removed onto a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and a little bit of slat and pepper. Bake for about 8-10 minutes if you are using small mushrooms. If using large portobello mushrooms bake for about 15 minutes. While mushrooms are cooking heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a pan and add the onions. Cooks on low heat for about 7 minutes, stirring every few minutes. Add garlic and sun dried tomatoes and cook for and additional few minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Once cooled, add the Parmesan cheese, basil and tarragon. Taste for needed salt and pepper. 

Pile the filling on top of your mushrooms and top with a slice of fresh mozzarella. Return to the oven and bake for about 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the mushrooms are hot. Garnish with fresh chopped basil and serve hot. Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Whole Wheat Pasta with Shrimp, Lemon, Parsley & Red Pepper Flakes

Sometimes simple recipes with just a few ingredients can be some of the yummiest and most flavorful! In fact this recipe is a staple in our household because of those simple facts. Most of the ingredients are pretty standard and are staples in our household which makes it a snap to put together in as little time as it takes my pasta to cook to al dente!

Now that's my kind of recipe...quick, delicious and easy! This recipe has just a few ingredients but when combined together are packed with flavor and will leave a lasting impact on your taste buds! Be sure to make extra; your family will be begging for more and as the flavors sit and continue to meld together they only get better! 

Whole Wheat Pasta with Shrimp, Lemon, Parsley & Red Pepper Flakes

1 box whole wheat pasta
6 tablespoons olive oil
6 tablespoons butter
6 small to medium cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 pounds shrimp, more or less according to your preferences
2 lemons
1/2 cup parsley plus more for garnish
salt and pepper to taste

Prepare pasta according to package directions, being sure to cook al dente. While pasta is cooking, melt butter and oil in skillet. Once oils are hot, add garlic and let cook for about 1 minute. Add red pepper flakes, stir, then add shrimp and cooked until just pink. Turn heat off and add the zest of one lemon, the juice of two, and parsley. Stir to combine and check for needed salt and pepper. Add cooked and drained pasta to your skillet, toss before plating and garnish with more parsley.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Easy Chicken Brine

I have always heard about brining meat and the wonders it does for flavor and texture but I have never been very interested in trying it. Im not sure what sparked my interest in it this week but I decided I would give it a try so I could either prove it wrong or become a believer. After cleaning up from our dinner meal for the night I simply put together my brine recipe and added my chicken and stuck it in the fridge for the following day. When it was time to start preparing dinner I simply removed my chicken breasts, rinsed them under water and stuck them on the grill. My husband, son and I sat at the dinner table each with chicken on our plate very anxious to dig in. Of course my son had already started attacking his food, but lets be honest, I couldn't use him as a gauge for whether the chicken was a success or not since I'm convinced he would eat just about anything. So my husband and I decided to slice off a piece and give it a try. The first thing that came to my mind was "I will never prepare my chicken any other way." Yes, thats right, it was a huge success, like big time! I had never had chicken so perfectly juicy and seasoned in my life. And heres the kicker...after taking my chicken out of the brine I put absolutely zero seasoning on it, zilch, nada, nothing! So all of the flavor I was tasting was coming strictly from the brine. 100% delicious, and it couldn't have been easier to throw together. Everyone has salt and water on hand and you can always play around with any of the other added ingredients. Give it a try, you might turn into a brining fanatic like me!!

Chicken Brine

4 cups water
4 tablespoons of grated or finely chopped red onion
4 tablespoons salt
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary or 1 heaping tablespoon of dried rosemary
1 lemon, thinly sliced
5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Place the water and salt in a large tupperware container. Stir until salt is dissolved. Add onion, garlic, rosemary, lemon slices and your chicken breasts. Seal the container and place in your refrigerator for 24-48 hours. When ready to cook, run each of your chicken breast under cold water and pat dry. BBQ the chicken breasts until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Headboard Anniversary

Yes, its that time, the 2 year anniversary of my favorite headboard ever! I am such a lucky lady to have such a  wonderful and handy husband. One day about a year ago I pointed to a photo of a wood headboard and said "I want this, can ya make it for me sweetie?!" Of course he could...and make it he did!! We had just pushed out our fence line in our back yarn and used new wooden boards to do so. That meant we had an incredible pile of old wooden planks that were already gorgeously aged. The timing could not have been better. Ben laid out the planks, made some cuts and voila, my favorite headboard was born. Maybe just maybe a little something to do with me loving my headboard so much might have included the fact that we purchased our first king size bed at the same time.

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