Food!!

Green overnight oats

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You’re probably thinking this is another overnight oats recipe, but don’t judge too soon. It’s so nutritious that your body will thank you. I know having greens in the morning may make some of you turn green, but after you try this I promise you that you will want more greens for breakfast. Enjoy!

Ingredients:
1/2 cup oats
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 cup spinach or kale
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1/2 ripe banana
1/2 cup frozen mixed berries

Preparation:
Blend milk, chia, banana, spinach and berries for 1 minute. Add oats into a mason jar or bowl with lid, then pour blended mixture on top of oats. Refrigerate overnight.

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Food!!

Chocmeister banana pound cake

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My kids love chocolate, so when I was presented with the opportunity to partner up with one of our favorite brands (Peanut Butter & Co.) we were all over joyed.  Peanut Butter & Co. has created a chocolate hazelnut spread with 25% less sugar and more protein than the leading brands of chocolate hazelnut spreads.
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Developing this recipe was fun. Pound cake is always a favorite in our household. By add the Chocmeister spread and bananas to the batter it made it that much better. The only problem you will have is trying to keep away from the pound cake when it comes out. A great way to enjoy leftovers (if any) is to place slices on the grill and enjoy with a scoop of ice cream. 

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Serving 8 to 12 people 

Prep time: 25 min Cook time: 60 minutes 

1 stick unsalted butter, room temp
2 cups sugar 
5 eggs, room temp 
3 cups cake flour
1 1/2 cups milk 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
3 bananas, peeled and sliced 
Dash of salt
Preparation: 
Preheat oven to 325 F degrees. 
In a large bowl, using a mixer, combine the butter and sugaruntil creamy. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well. Add the flour, milk and Chocmeister mix for 1 minute. Stir in vanilla and a pinch of salt. 
 
Next grease 2 loaf pans. Place a couple pieces of banana on the bottom of loaf pan then pour batter. Top with extra slices of banana. Repeat for the second loaf pan. 
Place in the oven for 1 hour. Remove let cool, slice and enjoy. 
Food!!

Saffron Risotto with Shrimp

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Some people hear the word risotto and they think that’s it’s just too complicated to cook. Well it really isn’t that complicated, but time consuming maybe. In the end you will not be disappointed. Risotto pairs beautifully with shrimp, fresh herbs and seasonal veggies. This dish will be perfect for your next gathering.

Ingredients:
1 small shallot, diced
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
Salt & pepper, to taste
2 cups arborio
1 cup white wine, (Preferably Sauvignon Blanc)
6 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons evoo
1 cup frozen peas
1 lb large to extra shrimp, peeled and deveined
Pinch of saffron
Zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Preparation:

In a heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add the shrimp seasoned with, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Cook until the shrimp for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the shrimp from pan and set aside.

Add the butter to the pan. Add shallots. Cook until translucent about 3 minutes. Next add the garlic cook for 30 seconds. Add the rice. Stir until well coated and translucent (about 2 minutes). Add the wine. Cook and stir often, about 2 minutes. Add the broth and season with salt and pepper. Increase the heat and bring to a boil, stirring continuously. Reduce heat to medium low. Simmer for about 15 minutes until creamy.

Finally add the peas cook for 1 minute next add the shrimp back to the pan. Stir and add fresh parsley. Serve.

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Food!! · Travel

Key West Largo

Key West

A favorite destination for Ernest Hemingway, Jimmy Buffett, and many more, Key West

is known for its palm lined streets and fish that is fresh enough to draw any committed

culinary traveler. With a distinct mixture of cultures, the island is not only home to a

strong seafood scene, but a tantalizing fusion of cuisines. At night, the street a lit up

with vibrant sidewalk cafes that lure in passersby with delicious scents of their

specialties. Live music and hopping bars are the perfect pairings to watch the sunset

into the Gulf of Mexico.

The Florida Keys is home to five districts, each with their own personality and

attractions that make visitors feel like they are a world away. The southernmost

paradise, Key West, is just miles from Cuba and is home to an enviably temperate

climate and a delicious array of fresh seafood set to a beautiful backdrop. Bringing

together a multitude of cultures that have made Key West home during its history, Key

West’s food scene has delicious flavors, like African and Cuban, that are difficult to find

anywhere else in the US.

As a guide to the restaurant and seafood landscape, Paul Menta of Three Hands Fish

gave us the lowdown. A professional chef and community advocate, with long locks and

a chill attitude that makes him seem more like a pro kite surfer, which he also is, Paul is

the perfect person to talk to to find out the secret dining spots of Key West. The Philly

native began his culinary career in Spain and France and eventually came to Key West

to continue his love for competitive kite surfing. An athlete, distiller, chef, and

entrepreneur, Paul has made it his mission to tap into all Key West has to offer.

His most recent venture, Three Hands Fish is a community supported fish market in Key

West. Its members, chefs and homecooks,

have access to the freshest fish, shrimp,

stone crabs, and lobster that come in on the docks. As Paul describes it, the first hand

is the hand of the fisherman, the second the market, and the third is when the fish

makes it into the hands of the individual or restaurant. Paul is proud of his market as it

brings local, traceable seafood to the people with plenty of variety to avoid over fishing a

specific species.

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Key West has seafood unlike anywhere in the world and the crucial ingredient is the

water. The Gulf of Mexico mixes with the Atlantic ocean making a perfect nursery for a

plethora of fish, crab, and lobster. Not to mention, the fishermen of the region have

come together to create a sustainable plan for the future of their industry, naturally

controlling overproducing

populations that threaten to take over the ecosystem.

“Not only are visitors able to jump on the boat for themselves and go fishing in some of

the clearest waters, but they are able to sit back and relax, knowing they can find the

same fresh fish in local restaurants,” says Paul.

If you are looking for a taste of the freshest seafood right on the dock, Paul suggests

visiting The Stoned Crab restaurant. This restaurant serves up some of the best of what

Key West is known for, the stone crab, but they also do it in a stunning setting with an

unbeatable view of the water. The moment you set foot in the restaurant you will feel as

if you have traveled back in time to the 1950s. Housed in a resort built in 1956, the

restaurant keeps alive the tradition of the fishermen bringing their catches straight to

their dock, something that is no longer happening in other areas. And if you are looking

for a place to stay, Paul recommends Ibis Bay Resort, which is home to The Stoned

Crab and also has a retro feel. Stop in for fun cocktails and great seafood the restaurant

catches themselves. Head here for stone crab, lobster, Key West shrimp, and more

local fish. Be ready for a good time at The Stoned Crab!

For the diehard

cooks, go for a ride on a private charter to catch the freshest fish for

yourself. Paul recommends Lucky Fleet, chartered by Captain Moe, to take you on this

adventure and help guide you in hooking the best seasonable seafood. Moe has been

fishing the waters around Key West for over 30 years and knows his way around.

Whether you are an avid deep sea fisher or this is your first time, Captain Moe will take

you on a great adventure not just a boat ride. From sailfish to tuna or grouper, they will

lead you to the right spot.

To learn how to prepare the seafood you just caught, take a class at Isle Cook where

Paul himself will teach you how to cook local recipes and healthy meals with seafood.

“Being a chef and commercial fisherman I can tell you there is no better teacher of how

to use, care for, store, cook and eat a product than a fishermen. They have ideas and

techniques that most chefs would die for….but they have to ask…..so we spread the

word to them,” says Paul.

When visiting Key West, be sure to try fish you wouldn’t otherwise be able to.

Considered local to Key West are the Hogfish, Mangrove Snapper, and as of late the

Lion Fish. Paul’s favorite? The Hogfish. This fish is caught by spear fishing, which is a

fun challenge to try. Speared yourself or not, Paul suggests serving the fish whole and

affectionately calls it the Key West Turkey, stuffed with lobster, onions, and herbs.

While you may have heard of Key West’s conch fritters, which is fried conch meat that

actually native to the Caribbean, Paul prefers to make grouper fritters. Fisherman of Key

West are able to catch the grouper right off the coast, so this is a true local specialty.

Similar to the conch fritter, the grouper is mixed with onions carrots and a traditional Key

West seafood seasoning by Key West Spice Company that is made of celery seed, salt,

paprika, and red pepper. It is simple, but fresh grouper doesn’t need an overpowering of

flavors. Once the batter is made, Paul fries the fish balls until golden and enjoys them

inside of a sandwich or as an appetizer by the water.

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Grouper Fritters

Author: Paul Menta

Ingredients

● 1 pound Grouper

● ½cup Onions

● ½cup Carrots

● 1½Tablespoons Key West seafood seasoning

● 1 Egg yolk

● 2 Tablespoons Key lime juice

● ½cup Flour

● Coconut oil, for frying

Instructions

1. Chop up, or use food processor, grouper.

2. Fine dice, onions, carrots and mix with grouper.

3. Add key west seafood seasoning, about 1½ tablespoon

4. Mix all together with 1 egg yolk and 2 tablespoons of key lime juice.

5. Add ½ cup of flour until mixture starts to form a batter.

6. Use a spoon to make balls, fry in coconut oil till brown or bake in the oven

on sheet tray.

7. As a sandwich filling instead of an appetizer, make the rounds larger.

 

Food!!

Kerrygold Mac and Cheese

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Mac and cheese to me is a staple of comfort food. I haven’t made homemade mac and cheese in a while, so I wanted to give it a try with one of my favorite brands of cheese and butter Kerrygold. I used Kerrygold aged cheddar and creamy dubliner cheese wedges. For the base of the sauce I used the unsalted Kerrygold butter. This is perfect for this weekend’s festivities of Labor Day. Your guests or host will not be disappointed. 

Ingredients
7 oz Kerrygold aged cheddar, shredded
8 Kerrygold dubliner cheese wedges 
2 tablespoons Kerrygold unsalted butter 
1/2 cup all purpose flour 
3 cups whole milk, hot 
1 cup heavy cream, hot 
Salt & pepper, to taste 
1 package orecchiette pasta
Pinch nutmeg 
1/2 cup crispy pancetta, more if desired 
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped for garnish 
Preparation: 
Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add salt. Add the pasta and cook for 10 to 11 minutes, until al dente. Drain well. Set aside.
Next melt butter in a large saucepan and whisk in the flour. Cook for 2 minutes over low heat, stirring constantly with a whisk. Slowly whisk in the hot milk and cream. Cook for 2 minutes, whisking constantly, until the white sauce is thickened and creamy. Now take off of the heat, add the Aged Cheddar and dubliner wedges, salt,pepper to taste and nutmeg. 
Take the cheese sauce and pour over drained and cooked pasta. Stir until everything is well incorporated. Top with pancetta and parsley. 
Food!!

Spinach and Kale Pesto

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Entertaining guests in the summer months is one of my favorite past times.  I love making fresh pesto especially with fresh ingredients from my garden or farmers market. I have always loved a traditional pesto and so does my family. For a little more nutrition, I added spinach and kale to the mix. This pesto can be used for a variety of things and is super flavorful. I used my pesto on top of crostinis topped with aged provolone. It’s a simple appetizer for any party and a crowd pleaser. 

Ingredients: 
1/3 cup fresh parsley 
1/2 cup baby kale
1/2 cup baby spinach 
Salt & pepper, to taste 
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, more if desired
 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest 
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese 
2 tablespoons pine nuts 
2 Garlic cloves, peeled 
Provolone cheese, optional for garnish
 
Ingredients baguette:
 Whole wheat baguette, sliced 
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil 

Preparation:
 In a food process add all of the above ingredients. Blend until desired texture. Set aside. 
 Brush olive oil on sliced baguettes. Place in the oven to toast about 5 minutes. Spread pesto on top of baguette with a shaved piece of provolone cheese. Enjoy with some vino. Cheers! 

Check out the other great dishes from this week’s Food Network Blog #SummerSoiree below:

The Lemon Bowl: Lemony Pistachio Basil Pesto
Dishin & Dishes: Kale Pesto and Mushroom Stuffed Porterhouse Chops
Creative Culinary: Pesto Potato Salad with Parmesan Walnuts
Weelicious: Kale Pesto
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Garden Salad With Basil-Pesto Vinaigrette
Red or Green: Corn On The Cob With Basil-Jalapeno Vinaigrette
Homemade Delish: Spinach and Kale Pesto
Domesticate Me: Ratatouille Quinoa Bake with Pesto and Buffalo Mozzarella
The Mom 100: Crusted Loin Lamb Chops with Mint Basil Pesto
Taste with the Eyes: Fresh, Fabulous, and Frugal – Carrot Top Pesto
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: Chicken Breasts with Coconut and Cilantro Pesto
Healthy Eats: Green Is the New Black: 5 Must-Try Pestos
FN Dish: 6 Non-Pasta Ways to Go Big with Pesto

Food!!

Cheesy Zucchini and Summer Squash

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Let’s get cheesy with zucchini and summer squash. Tis the season for vegetables that keep on giving.  We plant zucchini, and it’s one of those vegetables that we end up with so much.  This recipe is a great side dish to any meat or poultry platter.  It gets even better when you add some Gruyere cheese, which in my opinion is the perfect cheese to add to anything baked.

Ingredients:

2 summer squash, cubed
1 large zucchini, cubed
1 small onion, chopped
2 cups Gruyere cheese, shredded
1 cup seasoned Panko crumbs
2 tablespoons butter, melted
Salt & pepper, to taste
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons fresh oregano

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large bowl add zucchini, summer squash, 1 cup of cheese, onions, oregano and salt and pepper. Toss everything. Place on to a baking dish. Top with remaining cup of cheese. In a small bowl mix melted butter with Panko crumbs. Crumble on top. Place in the oven and bake for 35 minutes or until golden brown crust has formed.

Check out the other great dishes from this week’s Food Network Blog #SensationalSides below

The Lemon Bowl: Spelt Salad with Apples, Cheddar and Scallions
Jeanette’s Healthy Living: Loaded Mashed Cauliflower Casserole with Bacon and Caramelized Onions {Low Carb}
Creative Culinary: Cilantro Serrano Rice
Virtually Homemade: Stove Top Mac and Cheese with Apples and Bacon
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Mary Lane’s Pasta With Pesto Tomato Sauce
Red or Green: Cheesy Polenta with Spicy Leeks
The Wimpy Vegetarian: Cheesy Beer Bread with Quinoa, Millet and Jalapeño Peppers
Homemade Delish: Cheesy Zucchini and Summer Squash
Daisy at Home: Bell Pepper Pizza
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: Indian Cottage Cheese & Bell Pepper Quick Stir-Fry
Weelicious: Cheesy Turkey Meatballs
Swing Eats: Frico: Parmesan Cheese Crackers (gluten-free)
The Mom 100: Leek, Mushroom and Goat Cheese Quiche
FN Dish: 6 Ways to One-Up Side Dish Favorites with Cheese

Food!!

Grilled Pineapple spinach salad

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I’m excited to be part of the Food Network dish series called “Sensational Sides.”  In this post I wanted to share a delicious green salad with grilled pineapple.  Adding fruits to the salad gives it that extra delicious flavor.  This is great as a side or for a main course.  Try grilling different fruits and adding it to your salad on occasion; you may be surprised at the flavors.

I wanted a tropical feel to this salad so I made a coconut dressing.  All of the flavors compliment each other perfectly.

Ingredients:

8 ounces baby spinach
1/2 red onion, sliced finely
1/4 cup mint, chopped
1/4 cup crumbled bacon
1 avocado, chopped
1 pineapples, peeled, cored and sliced
1/4 cup Coconut oil, melted

Dressing recipe:
1/4 cup pineapple juice
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt & pepper
1/4 cup raw agave

Prepare grill or grill pan. Brush pineapple slices with coconut oil. Lay pineapple on grill. Cook for about 3 minutes until golden.

In a small bowl whisk all the dressing ingredients and set aside.

In a large bowl add spinach, onions, avocado, mint and bacon. Add the dressing and toss everything together. Top with grilled pineapples.

Check out the other great dishes from this week’s Food Network #SensationalSides below
Creative Culinary: Mixed Greens with Smoked Mozzarella and a Warm Roasted Garlic Dressing
The Cultural Dish: Three Quick and Easy Salad Recipes
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Salad Greens with Sun Dried Tomato Vinaigrette
Red or Green: Salad Greens with Basic Balsamic Vinaigrette
The Heritage Cook: Chopped Steakhouse-Style Salad (Gluten-Free)
Weelicious: Southwestern Salad
Taste with the Eyes: Teacher Appreciation Farmers Market Salad
Swing Eats: Kale Salad with Lemon, Pecorino Romano, and Toasted Walnuts
Virtually Homemade: Spinach and Bacon Salad
Domesticate Me: 8 Gorgeous Green Salads for Spring
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: Arugula and Grapefruit Salad
Dishin & Dishes: Tangle Thai Rainbow Salad
Homemade Delish: Grilled Pineapple Spinach Salad
FN Dish: Why Side Salads Are the Best Salads

Food!!

Homemade Garlic Bread

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Being that my father is a baker, we always had bread around the house growing up.  One of the things he would make would be homemade garlic bread.  Everyone knows this pairs up great with a pasta dish and a glass of vino.  This recipe is simple and the fresh herbs really stand out.  Once you try this you will never want frozen garlic bread again.  Enjoy!

Ingredients:
1/3 cup fresh parsley
1/3 cup fresh basil
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
4-5 large garlic cloves
Salt & pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons butter
1 french baguette, cut in half

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a food processor pulse garlic, parsley, basil and s&p; until you get fine little crumbs.  Set aside

Now in a small skillet on medium to high heat add olive oil.  Next add your fresh herb mix.  Cook for about a minute, you don’t want garlic to burn.

Take the bread and cut in half.  Place on top of a baking sheet.  Smear the butter on the slices.  Next take your olive oil and herb mix and smear it on top of the butter.

Turn your oven now to broiler.  Add the bread.  Should take 5-6 minutes until bread is toasted and golden brown.

Food!!

Gnocchi

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This recipe just takes me back to childhood. I remember seeing my grandmother make gnocchi for the first time. This recipe is egg free so anyone that has an allergy to eggs worry no more. Making gnocchi can be a fun family cooking experience. I love to get my kids involved. After making this gnocchi you can pretty much make any sauce you would like, you can even do a brown butter and sage sauce. I hope you enjoy!

Ingredients:

2 cups all purpose flour, more for dusting board if necessary
4 Idaho or russet potatoes, peeled and shredded.
Salt, to taste

Preparation:

Take a fork and pike potatoes all around. Wash and place potatoes in the microwave for about 14 to 15 minutes. I don’t use the microwave a lot but I feel for this recipe it helps the potatoes not retain so much water.

If you don’t have a potato ricer feel free to use a grater to grate the potatoes. Make a well in the middle of the flour, add the grated potatoes and salt. Begin by folding everything together. Knead for 4 to 5 minutes until well incorporated and smooth. Cut the dough into 4 pieces. Roll out each piece into a rope with desired thickness. Cut into small pieces about 3/4 inch. Next take a fork and roll the pieces on there to get little ridges.

Take a baking sheet with a clean dish towel and dust some flour on it. Lay the pieces of gnocchi on top. Place gnocchi to the side while you bring a pot of water to a boil. Make sure to season your boiling water (salty like the sea). Add gnocchi to the water and be careful not to over crowd the pot. When gnocchi floats to the top it’s pretty much ready. Toss the gnocchi with favorite sauce, cheese, basil and enjoy.

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