Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Pinterest Shrimp

Real creative title, right? I didn't know what else to call it, and this is what I write on my menu board when I'm planning on making it. This is one of those recipes that pops up on Pinterest all the time! But it's also one of those really annoying pins that has all the directions under it, but when you click on the picture, it's just a picture. I know how to do the fancy reverse image search on Google, but decided to just play with this recipe on my own. It called for one package of "dried Italian seasoning." I assumed that meant one package of Good Seasons. This is one recipe where I'm confident using the copycat version of Good Seasons, so I'll post the recipe with both the package and homemade mix.
This is a favorite recipe for the grown-ups at my house. My kids really aren't big shrimp eaters (more for Mommy and Daddy, so I won't complain). At some point, Saturday nights turned into a night where my husband and I wait and eat after the kids go to bed. Those are the nights when I make more grown-up foods or just things my kids aren't wild about. I've made this recipe and variations on it a few times because it's easy and both my husband and I love it! When I make this, I pay the extra dollar per pound for the peeled and deveined shrimp. Peeling and cleaning shrimp is not one of my favorite jobs, so unless I'm doing cajun shrimp that really needs the shell to keep the dish from being too spicy, I use peeled shrimp. Experiment with this recipe as you see fit. If you like spicier shrimp, add a tablespoon of cajun seasoning. Add fresh garlic if you like a more scampi style shrimp.

The most important part of this recipe is bread! Either make or buy a nice, crusty loaf of french bread and warm it up right before you eat the shrimp. It does a great job of mopping up the garlicky, buttery sauce that goes with the shrimp.

Pinterest Shrimp
Serves 4

1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined (if your pan holds more, you can do 2 pounds)
1 stick salted butter
1 lemon, cut in half and sliced
1 package of Good Seasons Italian dressing mix or 2 tablespoons homemade mix (recipe below)
Crusty bread

1) Preheat oven to 350.

2) Once the oven is preheated, place a large baking sheet  and stick of butter in the oven. Allow the butter to melt. Check after 2 minutes, then continue checking every minute.

3) Place the lemon slices on top of the butter. Top with shrimp, then sprinkle the shrimp with the Good Seasons.

4) Bake at 350 for 15 minutes, or until shrimp are pink and curl.

5) Serve in bowls with warm bread on the side.

Good Seasons Copycat
Makes 1/2 cup

1 tablespoon garlic salt
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon white sugar
4 tablespoons dried Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon celery salt
1 tablespoon coarse salt

Combine in a jar and shake to mix. Store in an airtight jar.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Greek Chicken with Tzatziki

I've been making this dish quite a bit lately. Some variation of it has appeared on our table at least twice a month since March.  I've served it with rice pilaf and salad. We've had it on pita bread and made chicken gyros. It makes a great lettuce wrap with some sauteed peppers and onions on the side. My favorite way to enjoy this is with some roasted potatoes that have just a little bit of Greek seasoning on them and some crisp-tender red bell peppers. And lots of tzatziki. The tzatziki recipe I use with this is amazing. When I first started making it, I only made a half recipe. Those days are long gone. A full recipe doesn't last long in my house. We love to dip chicken, veggies, pita chips, and tortilla chips in the tzatziki.
For many years, chicken marinated in Italian dressing was a staple in my cooking (starting in college). But at some point I just got tired of it. Then I found this recipe...and it's turned into our new go-to chicken dish at the house. If you are looking for something different to do with chicken breasts, I highly recommend this recipe.

Greek Chicken
Serves 4
Adapted from One Perfect Bite

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 3/4 inch pieces
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons for pan
zest of one lemon (I use 1/2 teaspoon of lemon pepper)
1 tablespoons (6 cloves) minced garlic, or more to taste
2 teaspoons dried parsley
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika

1) Mix the olive oil, lemon zest, garlic, parsley, salt, black pepper, and paprika in a shallow dish.
2) Place the chicken in a large glass bowl or baking dish. Cover in marinade.
3) Allow chicken to marinate in refrigerator for at least two hours.
4) Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
5) Add chicken and saute for 5 minute, turn, and saute 5 minutes longer. Depending on how thick your chicken is, it may be done at this point, or you may need to continue cooking an additional 5 minutes, until chicken is no longer pink inside.
6) Serve with tzatziki.

Note: For some reason, I almost never have fresh lemons on hand. I buy a bag, never use them, and they go bad. So, I've started using lemon pepper instead of lemon zest in this recipe.

This is great with rice, on a salad, in a pita, with potatoes, any way you want to enjoy it! My next experiment will be combining it with orzo, feta, red peppers, and olives.

serves 8-12
Adapted from Food Network

2 cups Greek yogurt
2 cucumbers, unpeeled and seeded (if using a large, hothouse cucumber, just use one)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar (or any white vinegar)
1 teaspoon dried dill
3 cloves minced garlic
1 1/2-2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1) Grate the cucumber on a box grater and squeeze the water out of the cucumber shreds using a paper towel.
2) Place the yogurt in a bowl and stir in the cucumber. Add remaining ingredients and mix well.
3) Chill for 30 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Dill Dip

I never intended to take this much of a break from blogging, but my kids started getting older and I started spending more time in the car and less time in the house. I'm still doing quite a bit of cooking and gardening. Most nights, I still take a picture of what I've made in the hopes of finding 15 free minutes to write up the recipe. While we were on vacation a few weeks ago, I realized that I really do miss my blog, so I'm making a point to try and keep up with it. Hopefully this will be the first of many posts!

This is a favorite at our house around football season! It goes great with potato chips or veggies. I hadn't made it for a while, but we were recently in California, visiting my friend Cheryl (who gave me this recipe in college).  She made it for a cookout on the 4th of July. My 7 year old son gobbled it up and loved it. The original recipe calls for sour cream, but to make it healthier, Cheryl started making it with Greek yogurt. There is a ton of protein in the dip and I don't notice any difference in flavor. I would eventually like to use a homemade Good Seasons copycat in his recipe, but I'm still tweaking the recipe I use. Since the recipe is so good with the packaged Good Seasons mix, I didn't see a reason to experiment too much for our afternoon snack today.

Dill Dip
Serves 8-12

2 cups sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
1 package Good Seasons Italian dressing mix
1 1/2 tablespoons dried dill weed (or 3 tablespoons fresh)

Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes before serving. Serve with vegetables or potato chips.

This is also really good as a dip for french fries or oven roasted potatoes.