Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Tuscan White Bean & Risotto Salad

This summer I have successfully minimized using my oven unless absolutely necessary. I did use my stove top for recipes such as Penne with Chicken Sausage, Broccoli, and Mushrooms and my Florentine Stuffed Chicken. But overall, most recipes were grilled, salads, or a good ol' Crock Pot recipe. Now that it is cooling off a little, my oven is getting a well deserved welcome again. I kind of missed using my oven.

This evening's meal is a hybrid of fresh, canned, and roasted ingredients. You can serve this dish as an entree for a complete meal or as a side dish. Check out the lovely color from my baby heirloom tomatoes!

Celebrate late summer produce with this colorful salad. Roasted summer squash, zucchini, and eggplant paired with creamy white beans, tomatoes, and risotto are light dressed with a light vinaigrette. This is salad is a vegetarian meal in itself.

Tuscan White Bean & Risotto Salad
(Makes 6 entree servings)

For the salad
1 cup arborio rice
2 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
2 14 oz. cans Great Northern Beans or other white bean, drained & rinsed
1-2 zucchini, sliced
1-2 yellow squash sliced
1 eggplant, chopped into 1/2-in cubes
1 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in halves
1 clove garlic, pressed or finely minced
1/2 cup sliced roasted red peppers
2 tablespoons fresh Italian flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh basil, finely chopped

For the vinaigrette
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, pressed or finely minced
Salt & pepper to taste

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or spray with non-stick spray. Arrange the zucchini, summer squash, and eggplant on the baking sheet and roast in the oven for 20-30 minutes or until the vegetables begin to lightly brown.

Meanwhile, bring 2 1/2 cups water to a gentle simmer in a small pot. Heat another medium sized pot over medium heat, add the rice. Swirl to shake the rice and cook until the rice begins to toast and turn a very light brown. Add 1/2 cup of the water. Stir in a figure eight until the rice until the water is absorbed. Continue adding water and stirring until all of the water is used. Add the Parmesan cheese to the rice, remove from the heat and set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, garlic, salt and pepper until emulsified. Set aside.

In a large bowl, toss the rice, roasted veggies, beans, tomatoes, roasted red peppers, garlic, parsley, and basil. Pour the vinaigrette over the rice and veggie mixture and toss until everything is evenly coated. You can serve immediately or cover and chill in the fridge until you are ready to serve.

Monday, August 27, 2012

BBQ Chicken Flat Bread

Over the summer, my dear friend Heather made a request to create some recipes for gluten-free flat bread wraps. I asked her if she had any suggestions for a good gluten-free wrap. Most of the wraps I have tried in the past, are a little tough, fall apart in the middle of eating, or just tasted a little too funky for my pallet. She told me that she had found a brand called Sandwich Petals. All summer I searched for Sandwich Petals, but was unsuccessful  until now. Hy-Vee currently carries Sandwich Petals and they live up to my expectations! They are great as a wrap and crust for this BBQ Chicken Flat Bread.

Not only am I infatuated with this wrap, I am also pleased to share this recipe because I am using left-over chicken from Sunday's dinner. A gluten-free wrap serves as a base for smoky BBQ chicken, caramelized red onions, and shredded cheese. Garnished with a little fresh cilantro, this crispy flat bread is perfect for a quick weeknight meal.

BBQ Chicken Flat Bread
Makes 4 individual flat bread pizzas

4 gluten-free wraps such as Sandwich Petals
2 cups roasted chicken, shredded
1/2 cup gluten-free BBQ sauce (divided)
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 cup 2% shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped

Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees. While the oven pre-heats, heat a non-stick pan over medium-low heat. Spray the pan with non-stick cooking spray and add the onions. Cook, stirring occasionally for 6-8 minutes or until soft and the onions begin to brown and caramelize. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Lay your wraps on a large baking sheet coated with non-stick spray. Bake in the oven for 5 minutes or until the wraps begin to turn light brown. While the wraps are crisping, mix the chicken with 1/4 cup of the BBQ sauce in a bowl until combined. Set aside.

Remove the wraps from the oven and flip the wraps to the other side using a large spatula. Top each wrap with a couple of tablespoons of the remaining BBQ sauce. Next, divide the chicken mixture among each wrap and top over the BBQ sauce. Top each wrap with 1/4 shredded cheese and the caramelized onions. Place the flat breads back in the oven and bake until the cheese begins to bubble (about 5-8 minutes). Remove from the oven and sprinkle each flat bread with cilantro.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Save Your Left-Overs

Good morning! I hope that everyone is enjoying their weekend so far. We have had a very productive, but relaxing weekend. Yesterday, we finished grocery shopping for the week, got several loads of laundry done, and I made it to the gym. For those of you who know me, I've been trying to get to the gym all week. I am very proud of myself for finally making it in for a good 30 minute run. 

While we still have some house cleaning and about three more loads of laundry to do, I am hoping to get a majority of my meals prepped for the week. I try to do this about every Sunday. I wash and chop all veggies for lunches and meals. I cook all grains that I know we will be using, roast veggies, caramelize any onions that I might use, and prepare lunches to take to work throughout the week. The few hours I put into what I call my "stream lining" saves me a lot of time that I can allocate to other responsibilities or activities. It also helps me to take meals such as this...

a deli roasted chicken with mashed potatoes, and green beans with caramelized onions to my recipe I plan to introduce tomorrow, BBQ Chicken Flat Bread Pizza. Save you left-over chicken tonight for tomorrow's recipe!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Quick Meals Menu Post

We are in full back-to-school mode in the Nickel household. Long gone are the casual, slow-paced summer days. Even some of the trees are beginning to change from their green summer hue reminding us that fall is quickly approaching. Due to our busy, busy schedules I thought it would be helpful to adapt and create a week's worth of fast, easy menus that will also help you stretch your budget a little further. Here is a great example; you know those lovely roasted chickens in your grocery's deli section? Surprisingly, the price usually is equivalent to buying a whole chicken and roasting it yourself. Unless whole chickens are on sale that week. A deli chicken will run you around $5 to $6 and the work is already done for you. Additionally, there are some great uses for the left-over chicken the next day.

Start the week off with a lovely dinner of juicy, roasted deli chicken. Don't throw away any left-over meat from Sunday's bird however, as  I plan to stretch your buck by making some BBQ chicken flat breads for Monday and Tuesday. Mid-week, we are going meatless and celebrating seasonal late summer vegetables with a creamy, yet zesty risotto salad. Finally, to top off a the work week and enjoy and extended Labor Day weekend, I have a marinated pork tenderloin I plan to throw on the grill served with a savory, but sweet side of grilled fresh figs. Here is the rundown:

Sunday 8/26          Roasted Deli Chicken with Mashed Potatoes & Green Beans

Monday 8/27         BBQ Chicken Flat Bread with Spinach Salad

Tuesday 8/28         Left-overs

Wednesday 8/29    Tuscan White Bean & Risotto Salad

Thursday 8/30        Left-overs

Friday 8/31 or        Rosemary Pork Tenderloin with Grilled Prosciutto & Fig Skewers
Saturday 9/1

Here are the items you will need:

1 roasted deli chicken
2 lbs. pork tenderloin
1 bag mixed baby greens or lettuce of your choice
1 bunch cilantro
1-2 zucchini
1-2 yellow summer squash
1 eggplant
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes
1 red onion
1 head garlic
2 lemons
1 bag flat bread wraps such as Flat Out or Agave Garlic Sandwich Petals a gluten-free option for myself
1 jar roasted red peppers
2 14 oz. cans Great Northern beans
1 box arborio rice
1 bottle BBQ sauce
1 bag 2% shredded cheddar cheese
1 jar grated Parmesan cheese
Olive oil
Rosemary (I plan to use fresh from my garden, but dried is fine)
Basil (I plan to use fresh from my garden)
Italian flat leave parsley (again, I plan to use fresh)

I look forward to sharing all of these recipes with you this week! Stay tuned for an awesome week!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Good Morning Menu Post

I don't know about you, but I am so happy the weekend is finally here! The weather is absolutely outstanding today. We are headed to Iowa later this morning for Justin's parents' 40th wedding anniversary. Happy Anniversary Doug and Marilyn! Since I do not have much time this weekend for menu planning and my usual grocery shopping, I thought I'd put together a menu of some of the most popular recipe posts this year. Hopefully, this will give some of you a chance to try an old favorite or try something new! 

Sunday 8/19          GF French Dip Sandwiches with Oven Fries

Monday 8/20         Left-overs

Tuesday 8/21         Chipotle Chicken Salad with Tortilla Chips & Salsa

Wednesday 8/22    Left-overs

Thursday 8/23        Deep Dish Quinoa Pizza with Salad

Friday 8/24 or        Buffalo Chicken Burgers with Corn Slaw and Sweet Potato Tots
Saturday 8/25

I hope you all have a fantastic weekend! 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Chicken Picatta

I feel as though it has been a while since my last blog post. It is only Tuesday, exactly one week back to school, and I feel as though summer is far in the distant past. So was the last time I made Chicken Picatta. With so many chicken recipes to choose from, my Chicken Picatta recipe tends to get shuffled to the back of my recipe binder. I am always really happy when I do think of making it; however, as it is pretty tasty.

Chicken breast with a light corn starch, salt, and pepper dusting is pan "fried" using a light coating of non-stick cooking spray. While the chicken finishes cooking in the oven, I make a tangy sauce using lemon juice, white wine, capers, and artichoke hearts. This meal is great for any night of the week, but elegant enough for entertaining.

Chicken Picatta

1/4 cup corn starch
Salt & pepper to taste
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 white or yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, pressed or finely minced
1 cup quartered artichoke hearts, drained
1 cup reduced sodium chicken stock
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons capers
1 bag baby spinach

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Heat a large non-stick skillet to medium-high heat. Combine the corn starch, salt, and pepper in a gallon-sized resealable bag. Add the chicken, seal the bag, and shake until the chicken is evenly coated. Spray the skillet with non-stick cooking spray, remove the chicken from the bag, and cook the chicken until golden brown (about 3-4 minutes). Turn the chicken and cook an additional 3-4 minutes or until the other side is browned. Remove the chicken, place on a baking sheet coated with non-stick spray, and bake for another 10 minutes or until cooked through. While the chicken is baking, add the onions and garlic.  Cook for 3-4 minutes or until the onions soften and become translucent. Add the artichoke hearts, chicken stock, wine, lemon juice, and capers. Simmer, stirring constantly, until the sauce reduces and becomes slightly thick. Add the spinach and cook until the spinach begins to slightly wilt. Remove from heat. Remove the chicken from the oven. Serve the chicken over the spinach and top with the sauce before serving.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Saturday Menu Post

"Back to school. Back to school. To prove to dad that I'm not a fool. I've got my lunch packed up. My boots tied tight. I hope that I don't get in a fight. Ohhh! Back to school..." ~Adam Sandler in Billy Madison.

I can't help thinking about this movie whenever the back to school season rolls around. New schedules, new clothes and supplies. It's like New Year's Day for kids and those in the field of education. It can all be a little stressful; but, that doesn't mean all that hard work you spent getting healthy over the summer has to go down the pool drain. With some careful planning and healthy choices, you can maintain that hot summer bod. For example, I like to stock up on portable snacks I can keep by my desk for moments when hunger strikes. String cheese for protein. Apples for crunch. Veggies and dip for a salty, filling snack. You can also make extra portions of meals from the night before to pack for a healthy lunch the next day. It is all about keeping things simple and planning ahead.

This week's menu is packed with super foods and can all easily be doubled if you want to keep left-overs in the freezer for another quick meal or for lunch the next day. I'm starting the week off with a light chicken picatta served over a bed of spinach. I'm doing a little preparation this weekend to put together my next meal: veggie meatloaf. This meatloaf stretches your dollar by using only a half pound of lean ground beef bulked up with a large serving a veggies. While I'm prepping over the weekend, I also plan to prep veggies for some chicken sausage kabobs we can throw on the grill in the middle of the week. Finally, to top off the first week back to school, I'm planning on a simple grilled steak with an Italian style salad. Good, clean eats that can be doubled and prepared ahead of time so you can have a quality evening. My goal is to make it to the gym 3-4 times this week instead of working away in the kitchen. Here is the lineup and what you will need:

Sunday 8/12         Chicken Picatta Salad with Garlic Bread

Monday 8/13        Veggie Meatloaf Muffins with Mashed Potatoes & Green Beans

Tuesday 8/14        Left-overs

Wednesday 8/15  Chicken Sausage Kabobs with Baked Sweet Potatoes

Thursday 8/15       Left-overs

Friday 8/16 or       Grilled Steak & Salad
Saturday 8/17

Grocery and pantry items you will need:

1-2 pounds flank steak, or other lean cut
2-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (depending on if you want to double the recipe for lunch)
1/2 pound 90% lean ground beef
1 package sun-dried tomato chicken sausage links
1-2 bags spinach
1 box mushrooms
1 bag baby carrots
1 stalk celery
1 green bell pepper
1 pound small potatoes (red skinned or Yukon gold)
5 small sweet potatoes
1 head garlic
1 small red onion
2 small white or yellow onions
1-2 lemons
1 bunch flat leaf parsley
1 bag lentils
1 8 oz. can pineapple chunks
1 14 oz. can quartered artichoke hearts
1 bag frozen green beans
1 box reduced sodium chicken stock
1 bottle dry white wine
1 carton egg substitute
1 bag or box gluten-free rolled oats
Skim milk
Extra virgin olive oil
Dijon mustard
Corn starch
Dried oregano
Garlic powder
Salt & pepper

Penne with Chicken Sausage, Mushrooms, & Broccoli

Hello all! How was your work week? Are you as happy as I am for the lovely weather this weekend? It is just spectacular today! It will make all of those little weekend errands we have to do today much more pleasant. If you are busy as we are today, you may want to include this lovely pasta dish on your menu. I had intended to post this mid-week; however, I am back to work and have had yet to make it home before 6:00 p.m. While there was not much time for blogging, this dish pulled together quickly despite the time pinch.

This dish is loaded with super friends broccoli, mushrooms, and lean chicken sausage so there is no need for loads of additional pasta noodles. Make this dish if you are looking for a quick meal that is satisfying and ready in about 20 minutes.

Penne with Chicken Sausage, Mushrooms, & Broccoli

1 cup brown rice noodles
3 cups water
1/2 pound ground Italian chicken sausage (I used Isernio's)
2 cups sliced mushrooms (I used baby portobello)
12 oz. bag frozen broccoli florets, thawed
2 cloves garlic, pressed or finely chopped
1/4 cup reduced sodium chicken stock
1/2 cup pasta water (reserved)
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
Salt & pepper to taste

Fill a medium sized stock pot with 3 cups water. Bring to a boil and add the 1 cup brown rice noodles. Cook according to package directions and reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water before draining the noodles.

While the noodles are cooking, bring a large non-stick skillet to medium heat. Add the chicken sausage. Cook, stirring frequently until the meat is loosened and browned. Place the sausage in a small dish and set aside. Add the mushrooms to the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally until golden brown (about 3-4 minutes). Add the garlic and broccoli and cook for another 4-5 minutes or until heated through. Add the sausage, noodles, pasta water, chicken stock, and Paremsan cheese to the pan. Toss together until the cheese is melted and the liquid has become thickened to a creamy sauce. Season with the red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper to your taste and serve.

For those of you who follow my weekly menu posts, I will be posting later today along with this week's final recipe Steak & Summer Salad. Have a great Saturday!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Lighter Balsamic Dressing

I know it is only Tuesday, but I am pretty proud of how well the first week of the Drop 10 challenge is going. I was a little worried about today, as it was our first day to officially report back to school. It is now becoming a tradition that we are welcomed back with an awesome omelette bar. I was thrilled to see egg whites as an option! Not to mention the array of veggies and salsa available for topping. I also made it to the gym without talking myself out of it. Post workout, the Bear and I enjoyed a large salad made with spinach, artichoke hearts, chickpeas, red onion, cucumber, tomatoes, and grilled chicken topped with my Lighter Balsamic Dressing. Check out this lovely bowl of goodness...

Did I mention that there is spinach under there? I've been so in love with the cucumbers Justin got me from a colleague at work combined with the juicy tomatoes I bought at Costco over the weekend that I realized you can't see any of the super food spinach. I swear there is spinach under there:)

This dressing doubles as a great marinade for chicken, fish, or beef. It is super easy to make and store in the fridge. I plan on using it for salads, dipping veggies for a snack, and as another marinade later in the week. This vinaigrette is so versatile you won't need another recipe.

Lighter Balsamic Dressing

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 teaspoon herbes de Provence
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 pinch of crushed red pepper flakes, more or less depending on how spicy you would like your dressing

Whisk all ingredients together in a resealable container or jar until emulsified. Cover and store in your fridge for up to two weeks. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

Baby Steps Update

The week before last, I gave you all an update on where Justin and I are at with our adventures in trying to have a family. Yes, it is a deeply personal experience I am sharing with the world. I know some might be asking themselves, "Why is she posting this all over the Internet?" Well, this is for a couple of reasons. One reason is to keep family and friends who do read the blog updated. I also feel that it is important for anyone who has been through this or might be experiencing the same issues a means of support and valuable information. It has taken me some time to digest the whirl-wind of appointments, tests, and results. This has all been even harder to share personally with others without breaking down into tears or deterring my eye contact from a conversation because I am on the verge of possible tears. I am actually finding it easier to type this all out and share it via my little food blog versus verbally telling the story.  I'm not looking for sympathy, but empathy. I feel, for some reason out of some journalistic integrity, information needs to be shared for no one is alone in the human experience. 

After we got Justin's test results back, my doctor felt that further testing needed to be done on me. I went in for a procedure called a hysteropingogram. My x-ray results displayed that something was occurring on my left side. Originally, the radiologist told me that I was not ovulating on my left side. We departed the office thinking that I had a bum ovary. This left us with a lot of questions because the copious amounts of blood work I've had up to this point have always tested positive for FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone) and positive for ovulation. On top of blood work, I have even bought numerous ovulation predictor kits over the course of three years all of which tested positive for ovulation. Later, while we were on vacation, my doctor called to further discuss the results. This answered a lot of our questions. Both of my ovaries are working; however, my left fallopian tube is blocked. While my body is trying to ovulate and is producing all of the hormones necessary to do so the poor little egg is not getting where it needs to be in order for conception to be possible on the months my left side chooses to operate. The right side is all fine and dandy. Good news, there is a chance!!! Bad news, the blockage will need to be investigated and fixed or there are some health risks. We will also need a little assistance from a fertility specialist in order to figure out when the right side is working and up the ante on our chances for a baby. Long story short, we're having to work a little harder than others. I am just happy that we have some answers. There is hope:)

Good Times & BBQ Black Bean Burgers

This weekend my good friends Jessica and Hilary came to visit. I feel so lucky that we've gotten together twice this summer! We shared many good stories, laughs, and libations. I feel so blessed that we have stayed in touch over the years. You know you have great friends when you can pick up conversations right where you left off and finish each others' sentences:)

I apologize for the blurriness. This photo was taken via my new phone so we could upload it to Instagram. Love, love, love Instagram! 

After last months binge on my three d's (dips, desserts, and drinks), cream cheese, mayonnaise (not the light kind), and everything else that pairs with a dip, I am officially back to clean eats. My gut is already thanking me. One of the dinner selections on the menu were these lovely black bean burgers.

I'm beginning to feel like a majority of my burger photos include a side of sweet potato fries. These were homemade using a little bit of non-stick spray, salt, and pepper. I first baked them for about 15 minutes on 425. Then, I set my broiler on low and crisped the top of the fries for another five minutes. This worked out great! No tricky flipping of the fries involved!

The burgers were somewhat of a success. The meal included a lovely array of super foods. Sweet potato fries, spinach, mushrooms, and black beans all contain power boosting vitamins, iron, and healthy resistant starches. Justin said out of all the bean burgers I've made, these had the best flavor. Not too shabby for a healthy, vegetarian meal.

BBQ Black Bean Burgers
adapted by Self's Bean &'Bello Burger

1 cup portobello mushrooms, chopped
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
1 15 oz. can black beans, drained & rinsed
1/4 cup gluten-free BBQ sauce
2 tablespoon ground flax seed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
4 gluten-free sandwich buns

Place the mushrooms and red onion a food processor and pulse until roughly chopped. Add the remaining ingredients to the sandwich buns, and pulse until roughly chopped and combined. The mixture should look like any ground meat. Remove the mixture from the food processor and place in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 10-15 minutes so flax seed has time to bind the ingredients together. 

Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Spray with non-stick spray. Remove the bean mixture from the refrigerator. Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, scoop the bean mixture into the heated pan. Depending on the size of your skillet you should be able to cook 2-4 burgers at a time. Cook for 5-6 minutes or until lightly browned, then flip the burgers and cook the other side for another 5 minutes. Repeat with the remaining mixture until all burgers are cooked. Place the burgers on the buns and top with all of your favorite burger toppings.

Just an FYI for anyone following our baby-making adventure, I will be posting an update sometime today. It is taking me a little while to digest and figure out how to share our recent information. Until then, happy Monday!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Saturday Menu Post

It feels like a really, really long time since we've had our last menu post. None the less, it is good to get back into the routine:) I don't know if you noticed, but last month was filled with a lot of cream cheese, bacon, and mayonnaise. Sometimes not the lighter versions either. I feel like the weight I worked so hard to lose in June crept back to my midsection in July. Not to worry or feel down on myself though! After the success I experienced in March and April with the Drop 10 challenge, I ended up buying the book over vacation. It is chuck full of valuable strategies, nutrition, and recipes that all include super foods. After trying a new one last week upon our return, I must say they are pretty tasty too. No deprivation, no starvation. That is what I love about the plan. This week's menu is based all around Drop 10 super foods and their super powers.

Sunday 8/5          Black Bean Burgers with Grilled Sweet Potato Fries

Monday 8/6        Mediterranean Salad with Grilled Chicken

Tuesday 8/7        Left-overs

Wednesday 8/8  Brown Rice Penne with Chicken Sausage & Broccoli

Thursday 8/9      Left-overs

Friday 8/10 or    Steak & Summer Salad with Garlic Bread
Saturday 8/11

Here is a list of grocery and pantry items you will need. I am including them all in one, departmentalized list as my pantry is a little bare. I am also including fruit that is on the super food list for snacks and smoothies.

1 bag apples
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
1 lemon
1-2 bags baby spinach
1 bag baby carrots
1 yellow or white onion
1 red onion
1 head garlic
1-3 sweet potatoes
2 boxes portobello mushrooms
1 bag whole wheat buns (for the Bear)
1 can great northern or cannelloni beans
1 can black beans
1 box reduced sodium chicken stock
Balsamic vinegar
Olive oil
1 pound chicken breast
1 pound Italian chicken sausage
1-2 pounds flank steak, or other lean cut
1 box brown rice penne pasta
1 bag gluten-free rolled oats
1 bag frozen broccoli florettes
1 bag frozen corn
1 bag frozen blueberries
1 bag frozen strawberries
Hebes de Provence
Chili powder
Garlic powder
String cheese
Parmesan cheese

Have a great weekend!

Friday, August 3, 2012

More on Lake Life

I really got used to life on the lake. I even started pretending I had a boat. Actually, not just a boat, a yacht! Ha ha! If the person who owns this boat ever reads this blog, I thank you for the photo opportunity. I know this might have been close to trespassing, but I only borrowed your boat for a picture:)

When we weren't playing around near the docks, lounging by the pool, or dragging each other to different tourist locations, the Bear and I were just enjoying each others' company. Something we haven't been able to do, just us, in a long time. I also made these delicious crab cake sandwiches!!

Even though the Lake of the Ozarks is nowhere near the ocean, there is a surprising array of fresh seafood available in the grocery stores and restaurants. Just because I was gluten-free I was not going to let it stop me from enjoying one of may favorite seafood dishes, crab cakes. Yes the bun and breading on this little guy is all g-free baby!

Lake Lump Crab Cakes

For the crab cakes:
1 can lump crab meat, drained
1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
2 tablespoons diced red bell pepper
2 tablespoons diced red onion
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup crumbled gluten free table crackers (I used Shar brand), divided
2 tablespoon canola oil

For the corn salsa:
1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed
1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
1/4 cup diced red onion
3 strips cooked center cut bacon, crumbled
1 avocado, diced
1 Roma tomato, diced
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon lime juice (about half a lime's worth)
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

In a bowl, mix together the crab meat, Old Bay, red bell pepper, red onion, mayo and 1/4 cup of the table crackers. Set aside so the crackers have time to absorb the excess water in the mixture.

In another bowl, toss all ingredients together for the corn salsa, cover so the avocado does not brown, and set aside.

Heat the canola oil in a non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Pour the remaining 1/4 cup cracker crumbs on a plate. Divide the crab mixture in half and form two patties with your hands and dredge each patty in the cracker crumbs. Gently place in the pan and fry for 3-4 minutes or until golden brown. Flip the patties and cook for another 3-4 minutes or until golden brown.  Line a plate with paper towels and place the crab cakes on the plate to absorb any excess oil. Place each patty on a bun and top with the corn salsa. You could also go bunless if you please!  I hope you enjoy these as much as we did!

Lake of the Ozarks

This was our view outside our condo every morning...

and the Paradise Parasailors...

The parasailing trips would start at 8:00 a.m. and go until dusk. It was pretty much 180 degrees of lake front viewing all day everyday.

This is my weak panoramic photography attempt. Actually, it isn't too bad for the first time ever using this option on my phone.

We also learned a little about the lake's history through a tour on the Tom Sawyer paddle boat.

Justin was just absolutely thrilled I made him ride 90 minutes on a boat that only went 7.5 miles per hour. Ha ha! I will post more about our trip later today. I have yet to unpack and get organized to go back to school next week. Have a great day!