Improv Challenge: Grilled Scallops and Orange with Honey-Ginger Glaze

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The two ingredients for May's Improv Challenge, orange and ginger, reminded me of spring. Well, anything citrus does. Although, I'm not sure Mother Nature has gotten the hint that it's supposed to be warm and sunny instead of chilly and rainy. Has the weather been ridiculous where you are too?



We finally got a rare, bright and sunny day and I wanted to take full advantage of that and make a bright and sunny recipe as well. I still have a few packages of scallops in the freezer that my aunt gave me last fall that I knew I needed to use up soon and when I saw this recipe I knew it would be perfect.



Grilled Scallops and Orange with Honey-Ginger Glaze
Source: Skinnytaste
Servings: 2
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Ingredients:

    • 12 large sea scallops

    • 1 large navel orange

    • 1 tbsp. honey

    • 1 tbsp. Fresh grated ginger

    • salt and pepper

Directions:
1. Heat a grill or grill plate to high heat.
2. Rinse the scallops in cold water and pat dry with a paper towel. Season both sides of the scallops with salt and pepper.
3. Cut off the ends of the orange, then slice into ½ inch thick slices. Take 4 of the slices and cut in half, then in half again, making 4 small orange wedges. Squeeze 2 tablespoons of juice from the remainder of the orange.
4. In a small bowl, combine the orange juice, honey and ginger.
5. Alternate between putting a scallop and an orange wedge on skewers.
5. Spray non-stick spray on grill rack/plates. Grill scallops for 2 minutes on each side, then baste with the orange-ginger-honey mixture and grill for another 30 seconds to 1 minute. Serve immediately.





I've never grilled scallops before this recipe but that is going to change in the future. It takes no time at all and unlike pan-searing them where you're never sure if they're caramelized enough on the bottom, these are definitely done after a minute or two.



I served this with fried rice but it would also be great with a salad or other lighter options. I can't wait to make this again!


How to Roast a Spaghetti Squash

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Squash was not a vegetable (or is it a fruit because of the seeds?) that ever graced the dinner table when I was a kid. I never had zucchini or yellow squash, butternut or spaghetti or even acorn squash until well into my twenties.

The first time I tried zucchini I had it in a stir fry and realized that it basically has very little flavor and a very high water content. I only tried butternut squash in the last two years or so, never sure of what to do it with and highly concerned about cutting through it.

And then spaghetti squash. I had no idea what to expect from that pretty, yellow oblong squash. I finally decided to try it last year and realized I had been missing out. Spaghetti squash is named as such for how the squash pulls apart like strands of spaghetti. It's very mild in flavor and you can easily substitute it for angel hair, spaghetti, even fettuccine and linguine! If you're trying to eat healthier, it's the perfect choice, seeing as 1 cup is only 42 calories and 10 grams of carbohydrates.

Confession: I still haven't tried an acorn squash, but it's on my list for the fall.

There are lots of different ways you can cook spaghetti squash but I prefer to roast it. So let's get started.



You'll want to buy a squash that's at least a medium shade of yellow. (Mine is a little on the pale side.) Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Mine take 14 minutes to heat up and it takes me about that long to get the squash ready to be roasted.



Cutting through a squash is not easy. I let the squash roll around until it finds its natural resting place where it's a bit flatter, then I stab it in the center with my sharpest knife and rock it back and forth until I can start cutting through that outer skin. Cut through lengthwise, pulling it apart with your hands if you need to. (I don't advise doing this after a workout focused on your arms, like I did.)



Now you need to remove all of the seeds and the center portion. I go around the edges of it with a knife and then switch to a spoon to scoop out the insides. You can save the seeds and roast them like pumpkin seeds if you'd like.



Drizzle both halves of the squash with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil. You can also season it with salt and pepper, but I prefer to skip this step and season it after I have it added in as part of a recipe. Line a baking sheet with foil (I skipped this, but you'll appreciate the easier clean up) and place the squash on it. You can do open end up or down, it doesn't really make a different.



Roast the squash for 40-45 minutes. Now is a great time to catch up on a DVR'd show that you missed. (I emptied litter boxes, swept and mopped floors, cleaned out my purse, cut up some strawberries and enjoyed a post workout smoothie. You wish you were this exciting.)

Remove the squash from the oven and allow it to cool for at least 10 minutes or until you can easily handle it. Grab a big bowl and a fork and start pulling the fork through the flesh of the squash, pulling away the strands. Repeat until you have nothing but the outer flesh left.



Now you can add the squash to a recipe or stick it in the fridge to be used later in the week over meatballs and sauce, veggies, whatever you want!




How to Roast a Spaghetti Squash
Source: Cookaholic Wife Creation
Servings:about 3 cups
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Ingredients:
    • 2 ½ - 3 lb. bright yellow spaghetti squash

    • 1-2 tbsp. olive oil

    • salt and pepper, if desired
Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil.
2. Place the squash on a cutting board and cut into it lengthwise, halving it.
3.Use a knife to cut away the seeds and flesh from the inside of each half and then scoop out with a spoon. (Seeds can be saved to be roasted.)
4. Drizzle olive oil over both halves of the squash and place it on the prepared baking sheet.
5.Bake for 40-45 minutes or until you can easily pierce the flesh with a fork.
6. Let cool for 10 minutes or until you can comfortably handle touching the squash. Have a bowl on standby and drag a fork through the flesh, pulling away the strands. Transfer them to the bowl and repeat on both halves of the squash until just the outer skin remains.






Now what? Come back tomorrow and check out the recipe I made using this squash. 

Honey Sesame Glazed Chicken Breasts

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If you meal plan, I'm sure you've had a night like mine. You started off the week pretty well, you remembered all of the ingredients at the store and everything has been going pretty good. And then you get home to make dinner one night in the middle of the week. You're tired, you just want to cook something and sit down.

So you bring up the recipe and start pulling out the ingredients only to find that you have somehow missed some necessary ones. Your eyes dart to the front door and for all of 30 seconds you debate putting your shoes back on, throwing your phone into your purse, grabbing your keys and then driving to the grocery store for those ingredients.

And then reality sets in. You're not leaving. You're tired. You don't even feel like cooking to begin with, much less trudging back out for something you forgot.

But you need to eat. And you likely have some other mouth(s) to feed. So you skim through some recipes you have saved, looking for something that uses the already thawed chicken and something that you have all of the ingredients for.



Honey Sesame Glazed Chicken Breasts
Source: Cooking Light
Servings:2
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Ingredients:
    • 3 tbsp. Unsalted chicken stock

    • ¼ cup honey

    • 1 tbsp. Dark sesame oil

    • 1 tbsp. Whole-grain mustard

    • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

    • ½ tsp. Kosher salt

    • ½ tsp. pepper

    • 2 tbsp. Toasted sesame seeds

    • 8 oz. package green beans

    • ½ tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

Directions:
1. Combine the chicken stock, honey, 1/2 tbsp. sesame oil and mustard in a small saucepan over medium high heat, stirring with a whisk until the mixture comes to a boil. Then reduce the heat and cook for 10 minutes or until syrupy, stirring occasionally.
2. Season both sides of the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Add the remaining sesame oil to a skillet over medium-high heat. Place chicken in the skillet and cook 6-8 minutes on each side or until cooked through.
3. Pour the sauce over the chicken and sprinkle with the sesame seeds.
5. Microwave or steam the green beans according to package directions. Toss with a pinch of salt and pepper and the melted butter. Top with any remaining toasted sesame seeds and serve along with the chicken.




Usually when you have a night like that dinner just turns out okay. It served its purpose of putting food in your stomach but it was just a meh recipe. That is not at all true with this recipe. Tom and I both turned to each other as we quickly shoveled bite after bite of this into our mouths and said "this is really good."

For a recipe that only took 20 minutes I was completely impressed with the flavor and knew this one was staying on the make-again list.

I've decided to start using a new label on some of my recipes. You know those dishes you make where everyone in your house absolutely loves it and you could eat it over and over again? I decided I would start tagging those recipes with the label "CW Favorite". You'll also be able to find them on the recipe index under Cookaholic Wife Favorites!

Have you made this recipe? I'd love to see how it turned out. Share a photo on Instagram and tag #cookaholicwife!

Vanilla-Mint Whiskey Sweet Tea

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When I first started drinking, I stick to the vodkas and rums to make simple mixed drinks. Eventually that branched out into drinking wine which then somehow turned into drinking beer. And now I tend to reach for a bottle of beer before a bottle of wine, but when I want a mixed drink I now find myself gravitating toward bourbon and whiskey.

I have no idea what caused the change, but I really love those flavors. I knew I wanted to make a simple no-fuss drink for the last time we had people over and I was thinking along the lines of a spiked ice tea, when I caught an episode of Farmhouse Rules and Nancy Fuller was making this recipe. I knew I needed to give it a try.





Vanilla-Mint Whiskey Sweet Tea
Source: Farmhouse Rules
Servings:1 quart
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Ingredients:
    • 6 cups water

    • 6 sprigs fresh mint

    • 6 black tea bags

    • 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped

    • ⅓ cup sugar

    • ½ cup bourbon

    • lemon slices

    • additional mint for garnish

    • ice cubes

Directions:
1. Combine the water, mint, tea bags, vanilla bean, and sugar in a large pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil for 10 minutes then remove from the heat and steep the tea for another 10 minutes.
2. Remove the tea bags and mint sprigs and strain mixture into a large pitcher. Let cool to room temperature and then refrigerate until ready to serve.
3. Before serving, add ice cubes and 1 oz. bourbon to each glass. Pour the tea over the ice and garnish with a lemon slice and a mint sprig.





This was strong but it was delicious! I ended up adding the lemon slices and a few leftover orange slices I had directly into the tea to help with the sweetness.

Did you make this recipe? I'd love to see it! Share it on Instagram and tag #cookaholicwife!

SRC: Carnitas Pizza

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I know that Cinco de Mayo is a holiday more celebrated in the US than in Mexico, but that doesn't mean much to me. Mexican food is delicious. I could easily eat it multiple times throughout the week and never get sick of it.



With the holiday just recently passed, I knew it would be the perfect choice to make for the Secret Recipe Club reveal. This month I was assigned to A Spoonful of Thyme, which is written by Kate. I may have gotten sidetracked a few times by all of the gorgeous outdoor pictures she shares on her blog before finally deciding on the carnitas pizza recipe.



Carnitas Pizza
Source: A Spoonful of Thyme
Servings:1 pizza
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Ingredients:
    • 3 cups carnitas, warmed (see below for recipe)

    • pizza dough of your choice

    • 1 tbsp. olive oil

    • 1/2 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced

    • 1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced

    • 1/2 white onion, thinly sliced

    • 1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped

    • 1/2 cup tomatillo salsa or salsa verde

    • 12 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese

    • 1/4 cup pickled banana peppers

    • chipotle-avocado crema (see below for recipe)

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Roll out the dough and place on a pizza pan or baking sheet.
2. Add olive oil to a skillet over medium  heat. Add the bell peppers, onion and jalapeno. Saute for 20-30 minutes or until caramelized.
3. Spread the salsa over the pizza dough, leaving a 1-inch crust. Then top with mozzarella cheese, pickled banana peppers and the caramelized vegetables. Bake for 12-15 minute or until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is melted.
4. Remove from the oven and top with the warmed carnitas and drizzle the chipotle-avocado crema on top. Slice and serve.

Carnitas:
4 lbs. pork shoulder cut into 4-inch slabs
kosher salt
1/3 cup water

Preheat the oven to 375. Liberally salt all sides of the pork slabs. Arrange in a large roasting pan and pour the water around the meat. Cover the pan tightly with foil and bake for 1 hour.
Raise the temperature to 450 and uncover. Bake for another 30 minutes then roast for 20 minutes more, turning the meat every 7-8 minutes to get it golden brown.

Chipotle-Avocado Crema:
2 chipotles in adobo sauce
1 avocado, pitted
1/2 cup Mexican crema or sour cream
juice of 1 lime
kosher salt, to taste

Combine ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. Adjust seasonings if necessary.

You know that feeling when you are full but what you are eating just tastes so good that you can't stop eating it? You'll have one of those experiences with this pizza. I sure did!




An InLinkz Link-up

Have you made this recipe? I'd love to see how it turned out! Share your photo on Instagram and tag #cookaholicwife!

Orange Chiffon Bundt Cake

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I have a bit of an obsession with my Bundt pan. As I've mentioned before I wanted one for a long time and then once I got one I kind of stopped making cakes. Now that I've reorganized my kitchen cabinets (for 9,543,786,128th time) I've made it much easier to access the pan and I keep finding more recipes.

Citrus = spring to me and since the weather can't seem to decide if it wants to be warm and sunny in the 70's or cool and cloudy in the 60's, this bright and flavorful cake does a great job of making it feel like its a nice spring day when you might not actually be having one.









Orange Chiffon Bundt Cake
Source: Taste of Home
Servings:16 slices
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Ingredients:
    • 6 eggs, at room temperature

    • 2 cups all purpose flour

    • 1 ½ cups sugar

    • 1 tsp. salt

    • ½ tsp. Baking powder

    • ¾ cup fresh orange juice

    • ½ cup canola oil

    • 2 tbsp. Orange zest

    • ½ tsp. Cream of tartar

    • For the glaze:

       
    • ½ cup butter

    • 2 cups powdered sugar
    • ½ cup butter

    • 2-4 tbsp. Fresh orange juice

    • ½ tsp. Orange zest

    • ½ tsp. Salt (unless using salted butter

Directions:
1. Spray the Bundt pan with non-sticking cooking spray. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites.
3. In another bowl, combine the egg yolks, orange juice, oil and zest. Whisk until combined. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the egg whites with the cream of tartar and mix on high speed until stiff peaks form. (The whites will be slightly glossy and when you stop the mixer the peak on the beater will not fall)
4 Meanwhile, combine the flour with the yolk-orange mixture until no lumps of flour remain. When the egg whites are stiff, gently fold them into the rest of the batter.
5.Pour the batter into the prepared Bundt pan and swirl a knife through the batter to remove any air bubbles. Bake on the lowest oven rack for 45-50 minutes.
6. Remove from the oven and immediately invert the pan over a plate. Allow to cool completely, then flip the pan back over and run a knife around the edges to loosen the cake. Flip the pan back over on a serving platter to release the cake.
7. Prepare the glaze by melting the butter then whisking in the remaining ingredients until it is thick enough to pour over the cake. Drizzle the glaze over the cake and serve.




As you can see from the picture, I still haven't mastered the art of making a glaze thick enough to not run all over the plate after it goes down the sides of the cake. I had a slight mishap with the center of the cake sticking to the pan, which is why I chose to cover it with the orange slices. No one had any idea and thought it was just an additional pretty decoration.

Using the fresh orange juice in this cake makes it incredibly moist and the zest really made the orange flavor known. 

Kale BLT Salad

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BLT sandwiches are hands-down one of my favorite sandwiches, ever. You just can't go wrong with crispy, salty bacon, crunchy fresh lettuce and that fresh acidic taste of a ripe tomato. The combination is great on bread of course, but can also be turned into a lettuce wrap or even a salad.

To make it more of a meal, I chose to add in hard-boiled eggs and to me, no salad is complete without cucumbers. I chose kale over lettuce in this case because its heartier and I wanted to put the dressing on this salad in advance. Lettuce like romaine, arugula, iceberg, etc. would all end up wilting after it sat too long in the dressing. By using a green like kale, the dressing actually helps to break down the hearty, toughness of the kale making it easier to eat.

Kale BLT Salad
Source: Cookaholic Wife Creation
Servings:1
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Ingredients:
    • 2 cups kale, stems removed

    • 2 hard-boiled eggs

    • 2 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

    • ¼ cup cucumber slices

    • 6 cherry tomatoes, halved

    • Tessemae’s Cracked Black Pepper dressing

Directions:
1. Cut or tear the kale leaves into smaller pieces and place in a bowl. Pour the dressing on top and toss to coat. Allow to sit for at least 15 minutes to soften the kale. (You can allow the dressing to marinate into the kale leaves overnight if desired)
2. Add the eggs, bacon, cucumber and tomatoes to the bowl. Toss to coat, adding additional dressing if desired.



One thing the Whole30 and Paleo adventures I have gone on have taught me is that you don't need to eat certain foods for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Eat what you want at any meal you want. I had this salad for breakfast.

I've recently started tracking macros, so if you're doing the same here is the breakdown for this recipe:
Calories: 324 Carbs: 13 Protein: 20 Fat: 25 (Based off 1 tbsp. dressing)

Prosciutto and Mozzarella Panini

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My godmother and uncle have a house in Bethany Beach and we go to visit them as much as possible in the summer. My cousin and I were there for a weekend and one night they had hosted a dinner party. One of the dishes my aunt had made was a salad with prosciutto. We went out for our own dinner and came back right as they were finishing dinner. My cousin and I decided to clean everything up and I nearly had a panic attack seeing all of the prosciutto left in the bowl.

Seriously. My eyes went wide and my breathing went all shallow just thinking about how much of that delicious salty, cured meat was going to be thrown away. I even said something to my godmother later on about it and she laughed saying she felt the same way when she saw it in the bowls.

So to avoid freaking me out, eat all your prosciutto!




Prosciutto and Mozzarella Panini
Adapted from: Cooking Light
Servings:4
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Ingredients:

    • 12 oz. loaf french bread

    • ¼ cup canola mayonnaise

    • 4 tbsp. Fresh basil, chopped

    • 4 oz. fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced

    • 1 jar roasted red peppers

    • 6 oz. prosciutto

Directions:
1. 1. Heat a griddler or grill plate over high heat. Spray with non-stick cooking spray.
2. 2. Slice the loaf of french bread in half to fill with ingredients.
3. Spread the mayo on both sides of the bread and then sprinkle the chopped basil on top. Follow with the mozzarella cheese.
4. Pat the roasted red pepper dry, then finely dice and place on top of the mozzarella. Layer the pieces of prosciutto on top and close the sandwich.
5. Slice in half and place on the griddler or grill plate. Cook 5-7 minutes or until toasted and the cheese has melted. Slice each sandwich in half again and serve.




The original recipe called for using tomatoes instead of roasted red peppers but even roma tomatoes, which have a lower water count than others, can still make a sandwich soggy when its heated up so I opted to use roasted red peppers instead. I also doubled the amount of prosciutto to really bring out the flavor of it in this dish.

Honestly, it could have used more. The bread was a little overwhelming in comparison to the other ingredients, but overall it was still an absolutely delicious sandwich. You could also hollow out the top and bottom of the bread if you wanted to reduce the bread to other ingredient ratio. 

Welcome to the New Layout!

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Hi there!

If it's your first time visiting in a while, you'll notice I have a completely new layout! It's much more simple and concise and I hope you love it as much as I do. It's also responsive on mobile and tablets which is kind of necessary in this world.

I am currently reworking the Recipe Index, now that I can have an awesome drop down menu so please bear with me through the mini construction process. You can still find all of my recipes by using the Recipe List link at the top, the Labels on the right sidebar or the Blog Archive, also located on the right sidebar.

I've went through each page and a variety of posts to check them, but if you find anything that is no longer working (a link, image, entire post, etc.) please email me or leave a comment and I'll get it resolved as soon as I can.

Huge thanks to Luca from LucaLogos for the redesign!


Asparagus and Gruyere Tart

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I've had this recipe saved to make for I don't even know how long. Tom is not a big fan of asparagus so I rarely get to try out new recipes with asparagus as the star unless it's a holiday, we're having people over, or something I can make for lunches.

He really surprised me with this recipe. I didn't think he would even try it, but he did and said that he really liked it. I think that's because of the gruyere cheese. It pairs so nicely with the asparagus and flakiness of the puff pastry that you really can't eat just one serving of this appetizer.



Asparagus and Gruyere Tart
Source: Closet Cooking
Servings: 6-8
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Ingredients:
    • 1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
    • 2 tbsp. dijon mustard
    • 2 cups shredded gruyere cheese
    • 1/2 lb. asparagus
    • salt and pepper, to taste
    • olive oil 
Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Roll out the puff pastry to a 16x10 rectangle.
3. Use a sharp knife to score a line 1-inch from the edge of the pastry. This will create a raised edge of puff pastry when it cooks. Use a fork to prick the center of the pastry. This will stop it from rising too much in the oven.
4. Spread the dijon mustard on the inside of the cut, then sprinkle with the Gruyere cheese.
5. Rinse the asparagus and remove the woody ends. Pat dry, then arrange in an even layer down the length of the pastry.
6. Season with salt and pepper. Use the oil to brush around the outside edge of the pastry.
7. Bake for 15-25 minutes or until the asparagus is roasted and the puff pastry is golden brown.
8. Let rest for a few minutes before slicing into squares and serving.



I'm kind of sad that I only managed to get one piece of this. It was a delicious piece but I really would have loved to had another. I love this kind of recipe because it looks fancy and like you took a lot of time preparing it, but that's not true at all. Aside from the baking, the longest part about this recipe is waiting for the puff pastry to thaw!


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