Calling All Bacon Lovers!

Want to enjoy some of your favorite foods (cough Bacon, cough) without all the guilt? Thanks to Cooking Light you can enjoy the delicious taste of your favorite foods in a healthier, lighter way! If you’re a bacon lover, you must check this BLT Panzanella Salad out. It’s packed with flavor, it’s light and fresh, it’s perfect for summer and and it’s a salad (that automatically means it’s better for you right??). That’s my justification and I’m sticking with it. 

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For this recipe you’ll need: 1 tbsp. unsalted butter; 3 oz. Italian bread, trimmed and cut into pieces; 4 large ripe heirloom tomatoes; 1 c. small cherry tomatoes, halved; 1/8 tsp. salt; 3/4 tsp. pepper; 2 tsp. balsamic vinegar; 1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil; 1 cup baby arugula; 3 tbsp. canola mayonnaise; 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice; 2 tsp. minced, fresh chives; 1/4 basil leaves; and 3 pieces of smoked bacon, cooked and crumbled.

First, melt the butter over medium-high heat; add bread and saute for 5 minutes or until crispy; remove from heat and stir in corn. Next, sprinkle tomatoes with a dash of salt and pepper, and let stand for 5 minutes. Then, combine salt, pepper, vinegar, and oil in a large bowl. Add bread mixture and arugula. Toss to coat. Next, combine mayo, lemon juice and chives in a small bowl. Finally, add tomatoes and drizzle with mayo mixture. Sprinkle with basil and crumbled bacon. Voila, there you have it, a delicious salad that takes no time to make! 

Now, there’s no need to deny your cravings–this recipe will definitely satisfy your bacon-lover  taste buds. Check this recipe out, and let me know what you think! But until next time, keep eating!

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ExCLAMation! The Perfect Summer Dish

I owe tonight’s recipe to Cooking Light. There is nothing better, after a long day of work and an even longer commute, to come home and cook a meal that takes only 30 minutes. One of the things I love about Cooking Light magazine is that they have delicious, fresh recipes that can be made in 30 minutes—and it honestly does take 30 minutes.  Clams with Israeli Couscous was on the menu tonight.

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For this recipe you need 2 teaspoons of olive oil, 1 cup finely chopped yellow onion, 1 cup finely chopped fennel bulb, 1 cup uncooked Israeli couscous, 1 garlic clove thinly sliced, 1/3 cup dry white wine, 1 ½ cups fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth, 1 cup unsalted tomato sauce, ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ ground crushed red pepper, 24 Littleneck clams (about 1 ½ lbs.), 3 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, and 4 lemon wedges.

 Simply heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat, add onion and fennel and sauté for about 3 minutes. Then add the couscous and garlic—sauté for about 1 minute. Add wine and cook until liquid is almost evaporated. Then stir in broth, tomato sauce (I foolishly forgot to buy plain tomato sauce at the grocery store so I had to improvise and use can tomatoes in juice), salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for about 7 minutes. Then you want to nestle the clams into the couscous mixture, cover and cook for about another 8 minutes (or until clams have opened up). Sprinkle with parsley and lemon juice (or a wedge of lemon if you prefer) and there you have it—a delicious meal in 30 minutes!

 Talk about fast food. And the great thing about this recipe is that if once you start cooking and realize that you forgot an ingredient (like in my case), you can make some minor changes and it will still be absolutely delicious.

If you’re in a time crunch and come home famished after a long day’s work—story of my life, I’m ALWAYS hungry—then check out the 30-minute meals section in Cooking Light (either the magazine or online) and I promise you won’t be disappointed. But until next time, keep eating!

A Shrimp Tale

I’ve found that if you’re looking for an easy, simple dinner, shrimp are your answer.  I personally prefer lighter food in the summer, especially when it’s unbearably hot outside. Tonight’s menu is shrimp: 2 ways. I decided to take a spicy bolder approach with curried shrimp over a pineapple salsa as well as a more classic approach of juicy, crunchy coconut shrimp. Both are easy and utterly delicious.

Let’s start with the curried shrimp served over a tangy, spicy pineapple salsa. For the salsa, you want to take pineapple (I used a cored one just to make it even easier), and chop that into cubes. You then want to seed and mince one jalapeno pepper, coarsely chop up some cilantro, season with a healthy dose of salt and pepper, mix up, and serve. Talk about easy. For the shrimp, all you need to do is defrost about 1 ½ lbs. of shrimp and toss with ¾ teaspoon of curry powder, salt and pepper. Add to a skillet and cook until done. I found this wonderful recipe from a Martha Stewart Everyday Living cookbook (or you can find it at: http://www.marthastewart.com/341234/pineapple-salsa?czone=food%2Fbest-grilling-recipes%2Fmenus-and-more).

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For the coconut shrimp, I relied on Gojee to find a recipe (I had never heard of this app before and let me tell you it’s incredibly helpful—definitely a must to check out). It led me to this awesome recipe for coconut shrimp. It’s quick and easy. I haven’t had coconut shrimp in a while and preparing this reminded me of how much I love them…..this will definitely become a regular meal of mine. For the recipe check out Mehan’s Kitchen at: http://mehanskitchen.blogspot.com/2010/01/coconut-shrimp.html.

Try both these recipes and let me know what you think! You can never go wrong with shrimp when it comes to a light and easy summer meal. If anyone has any other seafood recipes they are willing to share, please do! (And I’d be more than happy to re-post them on my blog!) But until next time, keep eating!

A Lobster Kind of Summer

One of my absolute favorite meals was had sitting at a picnic table in Maine. My great-grandmother had her lobsterman friend pull up one of his traps and she steamed lobsters that had been out of the ocean for all of half an hour (talk about fresh). The richest, tenderest lobster, that you ate with your bare hands, and dipped it in this fabulous melted butter sauce. You could practically taste the salt water! It was the perfect meal on a hot summer day! Sweet, ears of corn, that had a slight crunch, as a side dish, and Maine blueberries (that we handpicked in the field earlier that day) baked in a cobbler for dessert. Simple, incredibly fresh, and outstanding! Well tonight I had a meal that reminded me of those days: Maine lobster, artichoke, and Mornay (which I had no clue WHAT that was and later figured out, with some assistance from Google, that it is a cheese sauce) flatbread that was utterly delicious.

ImageAs I took the first bite, memories of my time in Maine started to come back to me. My great-grandmother would always tells us that if you eat too much lobster, you’ll get sick of it (I would ask myself—how can anyone possibly be sick of too much lobster???) It just didn’t make sense—and honestly I love lobster too much to prove her wrong. I always associate lobster with summer. It’s so fun to sit outside on your deck, a fresh, juicy lobster in front of you and a cracker for the shells by your side—oh and of course one of those always fashionable bibs! While they aren’t much of a fashion statement they are essential when consuming lobster.

Unfortunately lobsters aren’t the most practical food to cook in an on-campus apartment with windows that don’t open—seafood in general can always be very fragrant. So I’m left dreaming of those summer nights where we have lobster for dinner (and they can’t come soon enough). If you love lobster check out the Artisan Bistro, and order the Maine lobster flatbread—and while a butter sauce doesn’t accompany the dish, it was still extremely delicious. I hope there are some people out there that share my love for lobster—but until next time, keep eating!