Shrimp Crostini

AKA as Shrimpy a La Jess

The easiest gourmet recipe ever.  You will be an all-star and it takes less than 15 minutes.

  • J’s Awesome Salsa
  • Fresh or defrosted medium or large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • French bread or baguette
  • Olive oil

Heat salsa in a medium sauté pan over medium low.  Whilst warming, slice bread into slices at an angle and brush with olive oil.  Toast face down in a pan or place on parchment-lined baking sheet and toast in the oven (each oven is different, so you may prefer to broil for 2-4 minutes or bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes)

Once salsa is hot, add the shrimp and gently cook for 3-5 minutes, or until shrimp is bright pink and fully cooked through.  Gently toss shrimp in sauce.

Stack 2-3 toast points on each plate and sprinkle paprika around the plate edges for presentation.  Top points with the shrimp and sauce and serve immediately.

Enjoy!

Delicious Ham & Potato Soup!

This is inspired by one of the highest ranked and reviewed recipes from allrecipes.com!  Once we tried it, we knew that this is one of the best soup recipes ever! The only modifications we made was to cut out excess salt and reduce butter by a tablespoon.  This is definitely a recipe doubler!
  • 3 1/2 cups peeled and diced potatoes
  • 1/3 cup diced celery
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped onion
  • 3/4 cup cooked ham
  • 3 1/4 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons chicken bouillon
  • fresh cracked pepper to taste
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups milk
Combine the potatoes, celery, onion, ham and water in a stockpot. Bring to a boil,
then cook over medium heat until potatoes are tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Stir
in the chicken bouillon, salt and pepper.

In a separate saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Whisk in flour with a
fork, and cook, stirring constantly until thick, about 1 minute. Slowly stir in milk as
not to allow lumps to form until all of the milk has been added. Continue stirring
over medium-low heat until thick, 4 to 5 minutes.

Stir the milk mixture into the stockpot, and cook soup until heated through. Serve
immediately.

Mayo be Gone

We love light and clean, but I also crave wicked classics that call for mayonnaise, such as homemade chicken salad.  Light or fat-free versions of mayo not only taste disgusting, but are also often loaded with chemicals.  Some call for substituting low-fat sour cream, which has produced mixed results.  What’s a foodie to do?

Enter non-fat greek-style yogurt.  My savior.  Clean, natural, and tastes like sour cream with a bit of a kick.  And no fat!  Makes much heart-healthier items such as ranch dressing, beef stroganoff (YES!), dips, chicken and potato salads. . . the list goes on.

We have both Fage and Chobani brands.  Learn more here: US News & World Report

J’s Shrimp and Wonton Soup

I was working from home and craving wonton soup so I went to the fridge and the freezer to see what I could put together with a little creativity.

On top of chicken broth, mushrooms, green onions and soy sauce, I found a bag of leftover homemade veggie wontons in the freezer that I thought I’d toss in.  It wasn’t until I dished up a hot, steamy bowl, that I discovered I had accidentally added my goat cheese ravioli, which is also made with wonton wrappers.  The result was a wonderful, comforting soup that shouldn’t be shunned because of the addition of dairy to this soup.  There are no measurements here, just throw in what you have and experiment.  Let me know what you think!

  • Chicken Broth
  • 1-2 tsp light soy sauce
  • sliced mushrooms
  • sliced green onion
  • dash of ginger powder
  • cornstarch
  • Leftover Goat Cheese Ravioli
  • chopped shrimp (peeled and deveined)

Bring broth to a boil  and add soy sauce and wontons straight from the freezer.  Bring to a rolling boil for 3-4 minutes, add veggies and ginger and reduce heat. Stir some cornstarch into a little cold water until dissolved and add to pot.  Add shrimp and simmer for 4 minutes. Serve hot.

(chicken) Sausage & Egg Breakfast Casserole

Update!  March 2010 and 25 pounds lighter since I originally posted this recipe in July 2009.

I have now discovered a cleaner way to make this casserole that’s super healthy and 70% lower in fat.  We follow the basic recipe below, substituting the usual suspects with chicken sausage (the only sausage we eat now), egg beaters, fresh mushrooms, mushroom broth reduction (in lieu of canned soup), shredded white Irish cheddar and omitting the fried onions.

Sorry guys, you had to go.  I look too good naked to ever take you back.

The Original Sausage & Egg Breakfast Casserole Recipe

Looking for that comfort food recipe that will make you famous in your community? The meal that people will ask you for time and time again, “Oh this is lovely! What’s the recipe?”  Behold THE breakfast casserole.

The most requested meal for the last 20 years in our household!  Though we only generally make it for Christmas morning, as I’m now grown and a thousand miles away from the coup, I still like to whip this up a couple of times a year.  Wicked, for sure, but very satisfying!  Best of all is that you can make this the night before (best that way) and just whack it in the oven when you wake up.

This one is a keeper and as infamous as Dotty’s Bicardi Rum Cake.  Try this out, and your friends and family will come back to you again and again!  Courtesy of Southern Living’s  1986 Annual Cookbook.  Yup, from 1986.

  • 2 and 1/4 c. seasoned croutons (or one box Pepperidge Farm seasoned croutons)
  • 1 Pound of ground sausage, cooked until browned and crumbled. Drain.
  • One 8 oz can of sliced mushrooms, drained (ok, I use fresh mushrooms)
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 2 and 1/4 c milk
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup (we use Campbell’s Restricted Sodium Diet version. Who needs all that salt??)
  • 3/4 t. dry mustard
  • 1 can of French’s Friend Onions (this is optional and really what makes this recipe wicked and indulgent)
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar

Spread croutons in a greased 9×13″ pan. Sprinkle cooks and drained sausage over the croutons. Sprinkle mushrooms over sausage. Combine eggs, milk, soup and mustard, mixing well. Pour mixture evenly over the sausage and croutons.  Sprinkle with onion rings (optional) and cover tight with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Remove from fridge and let stand on the counter for 30 minutes. Bake uncovered at 325 degrees F for 50-55 minutes. Center should appear “set” and not liquid.

Sprinkle cheese over the top and return to the over for an additional five minutes or until melted.

Variations: in place of sausage, try cubed ham or crumbled bacon.

Screw Powerbar, Make Your Own Energy Bar

Great article from roadcycler.com.  These bars cost about 50-65 cents each to make, a lot more affordable than the $2 powerbars in the stores.  Makes a GREAT dessert if you have a craving for chocolate after dinner

We break the bars into quarters as that seems to be enough fuel for us.  If you make full-sized bars, the nutrition breaks down to the following:

  • 472 calories
  • 14 g fat
  • 13.7 g protein
  • 54.25 g carbs

In our second installment of the ongoing “Screw [insert big corporation], do it yourself” articles, we will break down a few ways to make your own supremely healthy energy bar. I have scoured the internet for recipes, and fired up the oven to test out the best way to make a good energy bar on your own. There are a lot of good recipes to chose from, but I have done a bit of modding to make the ultimate bars.

Let’s start off with a simple, but fantastic recipe. For those of us who like to keep it simple, this one is great. It requires very little time, or cooking skill.

Start off breaking up your favorite dark chocolate bar (70% cocoa or more) into tiny chunks. Then mix 1 cup of natural peanut butter and 1 cup of honey in a non-stick pot under medium heat. Cook this until fully mixed, and slightly runny. Next, add 3 cups of old fashioned uncooked, non-instant oatmeal and mix well. Take this off the heat and let cool for 2 minutes. Add the dark chocolate to the mix while still warm. Press this into a 9″ x 13″ pan. Put in the fridge until completely cool, and cut to desired bar size. Enjoy.

This bar is so beautifully simple and tasty. It is one of my favorite quick bars. You get good fats and protein from the peanut butter, some good fiber from the oats, a quick boost from the honey sugars, and some antioxidants and caffeine from the chocolate. Beautiful.

Easy No-Knead Bread

I was reading an article by Michelle Gienow in this week’s Orlando Weekly about SOLE food.  She mentioned a wonderful recipe for no-knead bread, and the following recipe comes from the New York Times.

Adapted from Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery

Time: About 1½ hours plus 14 to 20 hours’ rising

  • 3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
  • ¼ teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1¼ teaspoons salt
  • Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed.

In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.

Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.

Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

Yield: One 1½-pound loaf.