Monthly Archives: February 2009

My Foodbuzz True Delights Contest Entry-Spicy Shrimp and Cashew Fried Rice

As a part of Foodbuzz’s partnership with Quaker, they developed a foodie recipe contest.  All entries had to feature at least one of the nine key ingredients in the new Quaker True Delights Granola Bars, of course, the predictable thing would be to submit a sweet rather than a savory recipe, but as anyone can tell from reading this blog, I don’t bake that much.  Not that I don’t like too, I just don’t like what happens when DH and I eat a dozen cookies, half a cake, and six brownies, a piece!  So, not too long ago, I made beef fried rice and on a whim, threw in a handful of cashews.  We totally adored it, and recalling that dish, I decided to develop a fried rice combo for the True Delights contest.  The addition of the cashews, some fresh scallions, and hoisin sauce, really jazzed up my basic fried rice and made it pretty contestworthy, if I  may say so myself.  By the way, the grand prize is a trip for two to Chicago for the Outstanding in the Field event!  So cool!  Hope you try out this recipe and wish me lots of luck!

Note:  Because it’s for a contest, this entry is not in my usual measurement-free format, but as usual feel free to change anything to your liking.



18 Small Shrimp
1 1/2 cups cooked White Rice
1/2 cup Cashews
2 ribs of Celery
1 large Carrot
1/2 of a medium Onion
2 cloves of Garlic
1 bunch of sliced Scallions
2 tbsp. Fresh Ginger
1 cup Fresh or Frozen Peas
1 Egg
1 tbsp Hoisin Sauce
1/2 cup less 2 tbsp of Soy Sauce
1/2 tsp. Ground Ginger
1/2 tsp. Crushed Red Pepper
2 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Kosher Salt, to taste
Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste


Heat olive oil in a skillet (remember it’s fried rice so don’t be too skimpy with this), you want your pan to get very hot. While it heats up, chop all your veggies, excluding the peas. I use a microplane for the garlic and the ginger, just because I prefer it very fine.

Once the pan is hot enough (the oil should shimmer when you swirl the pot), add your veggies and sautee until onions are translucent. I also season the veggies with salt and pepper (layering the flavor).

Once the veggies are nicely sauteed, add the shrimp to the pan and cook until just pink.

While the shrimp is cooking, you can roughly chop a couple tablespoons of the cashews, for garnish.

Then you should push all the veggies and shrimp aside and scramble the egg into the pan. You can either scramble the egg in a bowl and quickly stir it in or you can crack the egg into the pan and stir it in very quickly (I forgot to scramble it ahead thus, I discovered that the second option works just fine). Once the egg starts to cook, you can incorporate it into everything else.

Again, move everything over to one side and add the cashews, so they can toast up a bit. After about a minute, stir them into the rest of the mixture.

Then you can add the rice to the pan. You should be sure to crumble it up with your fingers instead of throwing in the whole block. Now’s the time to add in the ground ginger, pepper flakes, hoisin and soy sauce.

Stir everything together until all the ingredients are thoroughly incorporated.

Add in the peas and continue cooking until the peas are just heated and tender.

Remove from heat and stir in scallions, less about two tablespoons.

Serve in warm bowls with a sprinkling of scallions and a few of the chopped cashews. Enjoy!


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Filed under Ethnic, Make Your Own Takeout, Seafood, Silly Stuff

Healthified: Midweek Medley Meatloaf

So, last week, DH actually did all of the grocery shopping because I was tied up at work.  Like a typical guy, he stocked up on ground beef (to give him credit, he also got lots of my faves…lol).  In an attempt to healthify my standard meatloaf, I decided to use vegetables for at least half of the mixture.  I think I succeeded, the final result was absolutely delicious, true to the original, and had lots of color.  DH really loved it, and meatloaf is one of his favorites, so I think I passed the test.  Anyway, I can usually make a meatloaf from start to finish in less than an hour, so it’s always a viable option for a midweek meal.  The trick is not to use a loaf pan.  I always use a regular baking dish, because it allows more of the heat to circulate around the meatloaf, thus cooking it quicker.  Give it a try, it’s really a very well-rounded, protein-rich choice to refuel your body midweek.


Ground Beef

Bell Pepper




Tomato Sauce

Worcestershire Sauce

Dijon Mustard

Quick Oats

Kosher Salt

Black Pepper


Cheddar Cheese (I always use extra-sharp)


Start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees, then finely chop all of your veggies.


Place the vegetables in a large bowl with the beef, an egg, a good shake of oats, tomato sauce, mustard, worcestershire, herbs, salt and pepper.

0031Now, if you’re anything like me, you will remove your rings and dig in with your paws, but if you must, you can use an apparatus.  That takes too long for me, plus, it’s easier to tell if everything is well incorporated when you’re using your hands.  Anyhoo…gently mix until everything is combined.  Then, transfer to a baking dish and use your hands to form the meat into a loaf shape.

0041Transfer to the oven, and cook until top is nicely browned and the loaf has rendered quite a bit of its fat.  At this point, you can remove from the oven and top with cheese.

0052Return to the oven and bake until cheese is a crust of brown, bubbly, goodness.  Then remove from the oven and allow to rest for a few minutes before serving.

007Drain the fat from the pan, slice, and serve.  I served with buttermilk cheddar mashed potatoes and steamed peas and carrots…a classic, all-American meal.  ENJOY!



Filed under Beef, Healthified, Uncategorized

Sort Of South Of The Border Shrimp Wrap

I realize that this is kind of a spring forward to summer, but I needed a quick lo-cal, midweek meal, and this very tasty wrap fit the bill.  Working at a florist means that certain weeks of the year require long hours and lots of preparation.  Needless to say, the week of Valentine’s Day is always one of them.  I knew I wouldn’t have the time to cook, most of the week, but I needed to have some blogging material for this week.  Problem was, I forgot to take any protein out to defrost.  My quick fix?  Frozen raw shrimp.  I usually just pull them out a few minutes before I start cooking, and quick thaw them by submerging them in cool water.  If they are taking a little longer than I need them to, I change the water once or twice to keep it warmer than the temp of the shrimp themselves.  In this recipe, you’ll notice that I use the same method to thaw frozen vegetables to use in salads or other cold dishes.  Anyway, this wrap really hit the spot.  It was filling, healthy, and flavorful.  Even DH was happy, after complaining at the mention of shrimp salad…lol.  I’ve decided to submit this one to Joelen’s Foodie Films Event.  The featured film is Tortilla Soup, which of course calls for Mexican-inspired dishes, and although this one’s not exactly traditional, it does feature a lot of traditional Mexican flavors and they were certainly the inspiration for this dish.  Hope everyone will check out all the film-inspired recipes, at the end of the month.  Her site is amazing!


Shrimp (frozen or fresh)

Red Onion

Radish (or any crunchy veggie of your choosing)

Corn (canned, fresh, or frozen)

Fresh Parsley

Bell Pepper

Mayo (I used Lite)

Fresh Lemon Juice

Kosher Salt

Freshly Ground Black Pepper



Cayenne Pepper

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Flour Tortillas (mine were whole grain)


Start by thawing out your shrimp, and if you are using any frozen veggies, those as well.  If your shrimp are not peeled, do so as soon as they are defrosted enough to be easily removed.  You can also remove your tortillas from the fridge now, so they can come to room temperature.

0011Heat a large skillet over medium-high flame with just a drizzle of olive oil.  While the pan heats, chop all of your veggies and toss into a large bowl.

0063Add  the peeled shrimp to the hot skillet, and sprinkle with salt, pepper, cumin, paprika, and cayenne pepper.

002Sautee until the shrimp are just pink, stirring once or twice.  This will happen very quickly.

003When the shrimp is just cooked, squeeze half of a large lemon over the shrimp and use a spatula to scrape up all the seasoning and browned bits from the bottom of the pan.

0051Remove the shrimp and allow to cool enough to handle.  Then cut each shrimp into small 1/2 inch size pieces.

0081Toss the shrimp into the bowl with your veggies.

0101Squeeze in the other half of lemon, and add in about 1/2 a cup of mayo.

011Stir well to combine all of the ingredients.  Once everything is combined, do a taste test.  You may need to add more mayo to really homogenize the salad, or even a little more of your spices.  Start light with the mayo, you can always add more, but it’s pretty impossible to take away.

0121Spoon a small amount of salad onto each tortilla shell.  Remember not to overfill, or you won’t be able to close the wrap.

0131Fold up both ends and the longer sides as you would for a taco, and serve with crispy garlic oven fries, or even just some good old-fashioned potato chips.



Filed under Ethnic, Seafood, Silly Stuff, Uncategorized

Tastemaker Review: Quaker True Delights

0062And, I sure was delighted with the generous sampling of Quaker True Delights Granola Bars, that I received from FoodBuzz.  I was able to try each of the three flavors, Dark Chocolate Raspberry Almond, Honey Roasted Cashew Mixed Berry, and Toasted Coconut Banana Macadamia Nut, and even share some with a few of my pals.

The verdict:  although the names are slightly verbacious, each one packs a healthy dose of fruity, nutty, sweetness.  With only about eight grams of sugar, they still managed to satiate my sweet tooth, and even better, they’re only about 140 calories each and boast 3 whole grams of fiber, making them a fantastic dessert alternative.

The Dark Chocolate Raspberry Almond and Honey Roasted Cashew Mixed Berry both achieve a wonderfully balanced interplay of sweet and tangy flavors, with just the right amount of crunch.  But, much to my surprise (as I’m usually not a huge fan of macadamia nuts and couldn’t quite imagine a banana granola bar) the Toasted Coconut Banana Macadamia Nut was by far my favorite.  The coconut was crispy, the nuts were fresh and super-crunchy, and the banana was not at all overpowering.  Quaker really succeeded in playing these tropical flavors against each other.  Just thinking about it is making my mouth water!  I know it’s just a granola bar, but that coconut banana variety really got me!

As much as I’d love to crack open another box, the price tag is a bit hefty.  Five granola bars will run you about $3.50.  I don’t usually buy granola bars, so wasn’t sure how that compares, but a quick google search confirmed my thoughts.  Without an organic label, Quaker’s price point is pretty pricey.  But, hey, give ’em a try anyway.  If you’re a snacker, have a sweet tooth, or need to have dessert, it’s probably worth it.  Afterall, I’ve never had a chewy granola bar that I liked more!



Filed under Silly Stuff, Uncategorized

Super Slammin’ Super Bowl Buffalo Wings

As in most of America’s households, Super Bowl Sunday is a special occasion in my home.  It’s a day full of food, booze, good company, and patriotism.  Of course, for a foodie like me, it’s just a great reason to cook tasty food for people I care about.  As retro as it might seem, I really enjoy serving up some tasty snacks to my husband while he indulges in hours of sofa dwelling and shame-free machismo.  I never let the day pass without frying up a batch of classic buffalo wings.  I’m a total purist when it comes to wings, and I’ve used the same recipe that my mom gave me, five years ago, every year since.  The only alteration that I’ve made over the years is to the brand of hot sauce.  My mom always used Frank’s Red Hot, but over the years, I’ve discovered that my absolute favorite sauce is Texas Pete’s.  It packs a lot of burn with equal amounts vinegary tang and peppery goodness.  Here’s my recipe for Classic Buffalo Wings and Blue Cheese Dip.


Blue Cheese

Lowfat Buttermilk

Reduced Fat Sour Cream

Light Mayo

Fresh Lemon Juice

Chicken Wings and Drumettes

Kosher Salt

Black Pepper

Canola Oil

Hot Sauce



You want to start out by preparing your blue cheese sauce, so that it has a chance to sit, chill, and meld.  You can either purchase blue cheese crumbles or break up a block.  It’s cheaper in the block, so that’s what I usually do.

004Add mostly buttermilk and a couple tablespoons each of sour cream and mayo (adjust amounts to reach desired thickness).  Season with salt, pepper, a squeeze of lemon juice, and a dash of hot sauce.

005Stir well to thoroughy incoporate all ingredients.  Transfer to a serving bowl and chill until ready to serve.

006For the wings, heat about 3-4 inches of canola oil in a deep pot, on high.  While the oil heats, season the wings with salt and pepper.

008When the oil is very hot (use the shimmer test, again), using tongs, carefully add enough of the wings to fill the pot and allow to cook until a deep, dark golden brown.  We like them extra crispy, so I usually let them fry until they are a rich honey color and the meat is beginning to pull away from the bone.

010Turn occasionally until desired color is reached, then remove, and allow to drain on paper towels.  Repeat this process until all of your wings are cooked.  While they are cooking, in a saucepan, melt equal parts butter and hot sauce and stir to combine.  Place the cooked wings in a large bowl and pour the heated sauce over them.  Toss well to thoroughly coat each wing.

012Serve on a large platter with some fresh celery and carrot sticks and your homemade dipping sauce.

013Now, grab and ice cold beer and ENJOY!


Filed under Chicken, Make Your Own Takeout, Party Time

My First Blogging Award!

A few days ago, rlberry of Savory Safari honored me with the Lemonade Award.  This is one that is passed along by other bloggers to recognize blogs that are conisdered refreshing.  I was completely elated and ridiculously excited when I found out, and I send many, many thanks to rlberry.  I hope I can live up to her expectations.


This award is meant to be shared and passed on, so there are a few rules –

– Add the logo to your blog
– Add a link to the person who gave you the award
– Nominate up to 10 other refreshing blogs and list the links. Then, leave a message for each nominee informing them of the award.

Thanks to all of my winners for providing me with countless hours of entertainment and knowledge.

Here they are:

Vintage Victuals-Because Laure is a lot like me.

Good Eats ‘n Sweet Treats-Because Jaime has created a site featuring a wealth of tasty dishes and fantastic photos.

Angie’s Simple Cooking-Because I want to eat everything Ang cooks!

Gastroanthropology-Because I absolutely love following Adrienne’s adventures in cooking.

Delicious Meliscious-Because Melissa is lots of fun!

Cook Appeal-Because Elizabeth offers a professional’s insight on food, in an oh so casual manner.

Much success and many good eats to all my fellow foodie bloggers!


Filed under Awards, Silly Stuff