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Share a Spoon Theme - Garden Fresh

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Think Tank Momma

Share a Spoon Theme

Summer Garden Fresh

The Memorial Day weekend always marks the start of Summer for everyone.  Summers are full of children, laughter, sun, water and fun.  Being a Florida girl, it means my days are full of HEAT.  One thing is certain, when it's REALLY hot, veggies are about the only thing that sound good.

I had a Twitter conversation this past week with my girl @goodgirlgonered discussing the heat.  I said it was too hot to eat.  My ever faithful @TheBlueZoo told us it's never too hot to eat.  Also, she called us crazy.  We love Steph, we do, but one thing I know for certain is that Steph has no idea what the HUMIDITY will do to an appetite when the heat index is over 100 degrees in the South.

So...SUMMER.  Nothing I love more about summer than the fresh veggies.  Whether you grow your own, go to the Farmer's Market or just visit the local grocery store, Summertime brings out the best in fresh veggies!  Sweet tomatoes.  Cool cucumbers.  Colorful peppers.  Juicy sweet CORN!  My mouth is watering just thinking about all the crisp, fresh, yummy goodness!

This week, it's all about FRESH SUMMER VEGGIES!  I want your favorite recipes.  I don't care if it's salads, sides, grilled, cooked, whatever!  Just share your favorites!  See you Thursday for some GARDEN GOODNESS!

Share a Spoon - Memorial Day Picnic

Thursday, May 26, 2011

 Think Tank Momma

Share a Spoon

Memorial Day Picnic

Happy Thursday Smackers!  Ready for the long weekend?  I know I am!  I love long holiday weekends.  Mine are always filled with family, friends and fun.  It's definitely grill season here in FL.  I say that, but really, we grill here all year round most of the time.  It's the only great thing about FL weather.  Trust me, because most of the time it is waaaay too hot to enjoy much else outdoors, unless water is involved.

I have two recipes for you today.  They both include bell peppers.  Don't run off screaming that you don't like peppers.  BDC thought he didn't like them when we got married and I have made a convert out of him.  These recipes are a must try!  Plus, I have these pepper plants in my garden that just keep producing.  There are probably 40 or more peppers out there right now and the plants just keep blooming!

I think that a lot of people think that you can't take anything with mayonnaise to a picnic but really, that's simply not true.  Now, if you are making your own you might have an issue, but the mayo you buy at the grocery store is fine for picnics.  There is enough vinegar in it to keep it from spoiling for a picinic.  Just pack a cooler.  Be smart about not leaving things baking in the sun.  You can have your potato salad, macaroni salad, etc.

Our favorite here off the grill is sausages.  WE LOVE THEM!  It doesn't matter what kind.  Kielbasa, bratwurst, Italian, Cheesebrats, we don't discriminate.  I told you, even when we picnic, we find a place that has a grill.  What we love on top of those sausages is Peppers and Onions!!!

Peppers & Onions

2 Sweet Onions Sliced thinly
4 Bell Peppers (your choice of colors) Sliced thinly
1 garlic clove minced finely
3 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
2 Tablespoons vinegar
1 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
salt and pepper

In a large skillet over medium high heat melt butter and olive oil.  Add sliced onions.  Sprinkle with kosher salt and let them cook for 4-5 minutes.

Add the bell peppers and garlic and cook until they start to soften.  Add tomato paste.  Stir well.  Add the vinegar.  Sprinkle in the crushed red pepper. (You can omit this or cut amount in half if you don't like a little spice).

We take these with us when we picnic.  I cook them prior to leaving.  We either pack them in a cooler with hot food which will retain the heat if you fill it with all hot foods, or I make an aluminum foil pack for them.  Just throw the pack on the grill at your destination for a minute to warm them through.

Black Eyed Pea Salad

1 can black eyed peas, rinsed and drained
1 cucumber peeled, seeded and diced
1 large tomato seeded and diced
2 green bell peppers diced (you can substitute whatever colors)
1 shallot minced finely
1 clove of garlic minced finely
1 teaspoon fresh chopped oregano
1 teaspoon fresh chopped basil
3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
1 Tablespoon Honey
Salt and Pepper

In a small bowl add the minced garlic, shallot, oregano, basil and vinegar.  Set aside.  Allow the vinegar to sit with the herbs for 5-10 minutes.

In a large bowl combine the peas, cucumber, tomato and bell peppers.

Add the honey and olive oil the the vinegar and herbs and whisk until combined.

Pour the dressing over the veggie mixture and toss the salad.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Refrigerate and serve cold.

This salad is so good!  Trust me, you'll love it!!

Now it's your turn.  Share your favorite picnic, grill, or Memorial Day recipes!!

Share a Spoon Theme - Pack It Up

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Think Tank Momma

Share a Spoon Theme

Next weekend many people will be traveling for the Memorial Day weekend.    There will be picnics, grill parties, lots of family togetherness, friends, libations and food.  Sounds fabulous right?

We usually have a family shindig which includes grilled something, whether it be hot dogs, sausages, burgers, kabobs, or steaks.  We usually grill something.  Even when we decide to go for a picnic, we usually pick a park where there are grills available.  Pack a cooler full of sides and drinks and call it PICNIC!

So, for this week's theme I thought we could all share our favorite foods for the Memorial Day festivities.  Hopefully we'll all get some fun sides, drinks, grill ideas, and desserts for next weekend!

So pack up your favorite picnic recipes this week and bring them to Share on Thursday!

Share a Spoon - Stuffed Pepper Casserole

Thursday, May 19, 2011

 Think Tank Momma

Share a Spoon


This week's theme takes me back to my child hood.  We ate so many meals growing up that included ground beef.  My mom didn't use ground turkey or sausage for anything I can remember.  It was always ground beef.  She put it in spaghetti, casseroles, soups, burgers, etc.

One of my favorite things she made growing up was something she called Spanish Rice.  Really it's more like Stuffed Peppers without actually stuffing the peppers.  It's a simple dish with big flavor and takes me right back to childhood.  It's comfort food for me, if you will.

Stuffed Pepper Casserole

1 large sweet onion
3 green bell peppers
1 clove grated garlic or 1 tsp. ground garlic powder
1 lb. ground beef
1 28oz can Tomato Puree or Crushed tomatoes
2 cups Sharp Cheddar Cheese

In a small sauce pan bring two cups of water to a boil.  Add 1 teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 cup of long grain rice.  Cover and reduce to low for 20 minutes.

In a large oven proof heavy bottom pot heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat.  Saute chopped onion with salt and pepper.

Add garlic and chopped green peppers.  Cook for 2-3 minutes.

Add the ground beef and season with salt and pepper.  Cook the ground beef over medium heat until well browned.  Roughly 5-7 minutes.

Stir in the cooked rice.

Add the tomato puree.

Stir in 1 cup of the cheese.  Allow the cheese to melt.

Top with the other cup of cheese.

Bake uncovered in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and browned.

That's it.  We were really excited about having this dish this week.  All those peppers came out of my garden this week.  They were amazing!  I have bell peppers coming out of the garden every other day or so.  This was a great recipe to use them in!

Alright Smackers, it's your turn to share your favorite ground beef recipes!

Share a Spoon Theme - Grind it Up!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

 Think Tank Momma

Share a Spoon Theme

"Ground Beef"

Ground beef is one of the most versatile things you can have in your freezer.  You can make soups, casseroles, burgers, chili, tacos....the ideas are endless!  Everybody can always use some quick recipes to use up that ground beef.  It's one of the most affordable things you can buy in bulk, or when it's on sale.

So...dust off your recipes this week and SHARE your favorite group beef recipes!

Share a Spoon - Crunchy Ranch Chicken Tenders

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

 Think Tank Momma

Share a Spoon

"Cereal, It's not just for Breakfast!"

Stephanie over at The Blue Zoo came up with this week's theme.  She has been one of my most faithful Share a Spoon contributors, and friends over the past year.  I puffy heart her!  She makes really awesome cookies as an aside!  Yep, we swapped cookies in a cookie swap.  I was super excited that Steph and I got partnered up because I know she can bake!

Now, I know that everyone has had some version of the recipe I'm going to share today, but, I think my additions to the original will make your taste buds do a happy dance!  You Smackers know that I am not big on frying things.  This recipe will please your cravings for something crispy without all the guilt of deep frying.

Crunchy Ranch "Oven-Fried" Chicken Tenders

2 lbs Chicken tenders
2 cups low-fat Buttermilk
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Salt and pepper the tenders.  Sprinkle with the cayenne pepper.  Add the chicken to a large zip top plastic bag and cover with the buttermilk.  Massage the chicken to evenly distribute the seasonings.  Refrigerate for 2 hours.

3-4 cups Cornflakes cereal
1 package powdered Buttermilk Ranch dressing
3 eggs (or equivalent egg substitute) plus water for egg wash
Flour for dusting.

Blitz the cornflakes and Ranch powder mix in the food processor until the cornflakes are crushed.

Set up three shallow dishes.  In one put the flour.  

In the second, whisk the eggs with 1/4 cup of water.  Add a dash or two of hot sauce if desired.

Last set up is the ranch cornflakes.

Remove the tenders from the buttermilk.  Drain all excess liquid.  Lightly dredge in the flour.  Shake off all excess flour.

Dip in the egg mixture.  The flour will help the egg wash adhere.

Roll the tender in the cornflake mix.

Place the tenders on a prepared baking sheet with aluminum foil and cooking spray.  (or use the non-stick aluminum foil)

Cook on 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes.  (Depends on the size of your tenders and your oven baking times.)

Cook's Note:  This recipe can easily be adapted for boneless skinless chicken breasts.  Just make sure the breasts are all evenly sized and not too thick.  You'll need to cook the breasts a little longer as well.  If you use large(ish) breasts, decrease the heat to 325 degrees and cook for about an hour.  This will allow the chicken to cook through without burning the coating.

There you have it Smackers!  Next time you see that Cornflakes cereal on sale B1G1 free and you have coupons, and you think to yourself, no one will eat that, remember, there are plenty of things you can do with those Cornflakes!!

Now, leave me some love.  Then go type up your favorite cereal recipe.  Then link up with us!!  As always, I'm open to suggestions.  Let me know what YOU want to host here on Share a Spoon.

Share a Spoon Theme - Cereal

Monday, May 9, 2011

 Think Tank Momma

Share a Spoon


I was looking back through some email requests to make sure that I covered everything you Smackers have asked to see here on Share a Spoon, and what do you know...I found a theme for this week.  My faithful Share a Spoon contributor and amazing friend Stephanie over at The Blue Zoo suggested a theme we haven't done yet.

Steph says "Everyone uses cereal in some sort of recipe whether its a savory dish, or cookies, or a snack mix. Cereal is more than just quick breakfast!"  She's right too.  People put Corn Flakes on top of casseroles.  People crush it up and use it on chicken like bread crumbs.  Rice Crispies make yummy marshmallow treats, but many people use their favorite sugary cereals for fun snacks.  Chex Mix is famous for the ultimate snack mix.

So...this week, share your favorite recipe with us that includes a breakfast cereal!  Sweet, savory, snack, doesn't matter as long as it includes cereal!  If you make your own cereal with fruits, nuts, grains, etc....share that if you like too!

I know I'm late with the theme.  Cut me some slack, it was a crazy weekend, Mother's Day, and I'm never late.  ;P

Share a Spoon - Cinco de Mayo Chimichangas

Thursday, May 5, 2011

 Think Tank Momma

Share a Spoon FIESTA

It's Cinco de Mayo!

Google Images

Grab a sombrero and your favorite cerveza and let's party!  There's nothing I like better than authentic Mexican food.  Not kidding.  I love Mexican.  I could probably eat it every single day and never get tired of it.  Not. even. kidding.

BDC's favorite family food ever is Chimichangas.  His family used to base their favorite Mexican restaurants on the quality of the Chimichangas.  My first Chihuahua baby?  His name is Chimi.  As in the Mexican delight...chimichanga. I know, we're ridiculous.  It's not my first choice, given that it's fried.  However, there is something delightful about a crispy fried flour tortilla filled with fabulously seasoned meat!  

So I thought I'd share my take on Chimichangas this week.  Remember, it's a celebration.  We'll let the fried factor slide.  The fifth of May only comes once a year after all!

Chimichanga Shredded Beef Filling:

4-5lb chuck roast
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 limes zested and juiced
2 jalapeños seeded and chopped
3 cloves garlic minced finely
salt n' pepper
1 onion halved and sliced thinly
2 cans chopped chiles drained
olive oil
beef stock

Rub chuck roast with olive oil (approx. 2 tbsps.).  Sprinkle with chili powder, salt and pepper.  Poke deep holes in roast with sharp knife.

Chop jalapeños.  Mince garlic.  Zest limes and juice them.  Mix well.   Stuff holes with the mixture.  

Slice onions thinly and place on the bottom of slow cooker.  Top with seasoned  beef roast.  Cover with one box of beef stock.  Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Shred beef with two forks.  Drain liquid.  Add 2 cans of drained green chiles.  mix well.

Now you'll need 10 burrito sized flour tortillas.
2 cups Monterey Jack shredded cheese
shredded beef from above recipe

Mix equal parts beef and cheese into each of the ten tortillas.  Roll like burritos and secure with tooth picks.

Deep fry at 350 degrees until tortilla is golden brown.  Remove and drain on paper towels.

Top with shredded lettuce, guacamole (click for recipe), sour cream or Mexican crema, and your favorite Salsa.  Serve with your favorite Mexican rice and refried beans.

This is what we'll be eating tonight.  How about you?  Mexican recipes to share?  Favorite Margarita recipe?  Salsa Verde?  Link up with us and Share your favorite Fiesta inspired meal!!

Wordless Wednesday - Glamorous

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

It's been too long since I shared Belly's smile with you all.  Let me just say...she is a HAM!  As soon as the camera comes out, she throws her head back, bares all her teeth and says "Cheese"!  It's hilarious.

Happy Wednesday ya'll.  Don't forget tomorrow is Share a Spoon Fiesta!  We're having a Cinco de Mayo party up in here!!!