Sunday, April 7, 2013

Grilled Greek Salmon with Tzatziki

So, I've started a new "healthy-eating" track in an attempt to get in better shape and improve my overall lifestyle.  But, I decided that's NOT going to stop me from making delicious food that's healthy too!  Hey, it's possible!  And this fish proves it!  I got the original idea from Pinterest for a similar recipe (original recipe can be found here on The Fit Cook's blog).  I adapted it a little bit, but it's very similar.  Instead of all the spices she lists, I used Cavender's Greek seasoning, ground cumin, salt, paprika, and lime juice.  Topped it with some store bought Tzatziki (Greek yogurt with dill and cucumbers...if you've never had this stuff you're missing out!  I ate it on everything when I was in Greece!).  I bought mine at Publix in the deli section where the Hummus is located.  Now, I will note, I don't exactly use true measurements when I cook (different story when I bake though!).  So, my measurements consist of "a little of this", "a lot of that", "a dash of this", "a pinch of that" until it looks and smells right.  I realize that's AWFUL for giving recipes to people, so I will try my best to guess-timate how much I used of everything!  The original recipe had you broil the salmon, but I opted for grilling it in my grill pan instead.  The result was moist, yummy goodness!  Granted, since the fish wasn't evenly cut, I had to cook it longer than expected.  It took about 10-12 minutes for it to cook all the way through on the thickest part.  Even so, it still was cooked perfectly even on the thin parts, just more crispy (which I love!).  It's quick, it's easy, and it's YUMMY!  If you're trying to eat healthier (or just want a delicious, quick meal), I'd highly recommend giving this a try!  I will DEFINITELY be making it again!

Grilled Greek Salmon with Tzatziki
Serves: 1
  • 1 piece of Salmon
  • Extra-Virgin Olive Oil (enough to coat the fish lightly)
  • Cavender's All-Purpose Greek Seasoning (enough to coat the top- approximately 1/2 Tablespoon)
  • Ground cumin (approximately 1-2 teaspoons)
  • Dash of Paprika (approximately 1/2 teaspoon)
  • Pinch of kosher salt (approximately 1/2 teaspoon)
  • Dash of garlic powder (approximately 1 teaspoon)
  • Juice from half of fresh lime
  • 2 tablespoons Tzatziki (store bought or you can make your own if you prefer)

Heat grill pan (or grill) over medium heat. 

Coat salmon lightly in olive oil.  Sprinkle on all seasonings and squeeze half of the lime juice on top of fish.

Place fish in grill pan (or on grill) skin side down.  Grill for 8-12 minutes, depending on thickness of fish, until cooked all the way through.  I flipped mine once, but that's probably not necessary.  Squeeze on a quarter more of the lime juice when there's about 2 minutes left.  My fish skin also stuck to the pan (even though it had oil on it), but don't worry if yours does too.  The fish itself cooks fine still and didn't fall apart.  It was still cooked all the way, I just didn't have to deal with eating around the skin on the bottom!

When cooked all the way through, transfer to a plate.  Top fish with the rest of the lime juice and Tzatziki.  I served mine with a salad and had snacked on some hummus with cucumber slices before.

Bon Appetit!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Homemade Marinara Sauce

After one bite of this sauce you won't be buying the jarred stuff anymore!  This is the BEST recipe for marinara sauce I've ever had...and it's SO easy to make!  You can make a big batch of it at once and then freeze the rest for later.  I originally made this a couple months ago and had a small batch left that's been in the freezer.  I popped it out of the freezer tonight and defrosted it for 2 minutes and it came right out of the container.  Then I just reheated it up in a sauce pot for about 5-10 minutes.  I actually got the recipe for this sauce from Gina over at Skinny Taste blog...that girl knows how to make some GOOD FOOD.  And she adapts it to be "figure friendly" and healthier.  But the taste is still there!  This sauce is so versatile.  You can top it on chicken parmigiana, spaghetti, dip it for cheese sticks, etc.  I just wanted a quick dinner so I put it on top of some Bertolli stuffed tortellini I picked up at the store while grocery shopping for some pretty fantastic crock-pot recipes for the next 2 weeks!  I seriously am sold on this sauce.  It just uses canned crushed tomatoes, so it's really just as easy as using the jarred stuff...but you know what you're putting in it...and it's a lot lower on sodium!  And the smell while it's simmering is unbelievable!  I could smell it all the way upstairs!  Mmmm....  The original recipe can be found here, or you can scroll below to see the adaptations I made to it (there weren't many!).  Hope you enjoy it as much as I do! 

Quick Homemade Marinara Sauce  
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves (fresh) garlic, smashed- (I just used jarred minced garlic for the equivalence of 2 cloves.  I always have that on hand and it worked just as well!)
  • 28 oz can crushed tomatoes (Tuttorosso brand is's very smooth, no blending needed)
  • 1 small bay leaf (I used 2)
  • 1 teaspoon oregano (dried)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil (I just used still tasted great!)
  • salt and pepper to taste
In a medium pot, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add garlic and saute until golden, being careful not to burn. (Note: I used the jarred minced garlic, so I just barely let it saute since it was already "golden" in color.  Approximately 1 minute...maybe less.)  Add crushed tomatoes, salt, pepper, oregano, and bay leaf. (Also add basil if using dried).  Stir and reduce heat to low.  Cover and let simmer 15-20 minutes.  Remove from heat and add fresh basil (if using).

That's it! 

Bon Appetit!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Shrimp Po' Boy: Fat Tuesday Eats!

For those of you that don't know, Fat Tuesday is THIS Tuesday!  Last year I waited until the last minute to decide to cook up something in honor of Fat Tuesday.  Give me a holiday with food...and I want to celebrate it!  So, I realized I couldn't completely ignore Mardi Gras, now could I?!  After searching for recipes that looked entirely more complicated and time consuming than I had time for (I literally waited until that night to even get anything to make!), I was hungry and just wanted something quick...but delicious (as always!).  So, instead of relying on Google searches, I decided to think upon my OWN experience from my trip to Nawlin's a few years ago.  WHAT was the BEST, most CLASSIC, and TASTY thing I ate there that would also be EASY to replicate???  The lightbulb went off...SHRIMP PO' BOY!!!  That was the FIRST thing I ate when I visited New Orlean's...and it was by far the most amazing po' boy I've ever eaten since!  So, I took the easy road out and bought a box of frozen fried popcorn shrimp, some hoagie rolls, some chipotle ranch dressing from Wal-Mart (their brand too!), lettuce, and tomatoes.  Within a matter of 15-20 minutes I had whipped up what turned out to be a pretty tasty meal!  I was beyond impressed with how good it turned out for how simple of a meal it was.  No, it's not the most healthy meal.  No, it's not COMPLETELY homemade (semi-homemade is STILL better than fast food though!).  But YES, I WILL be repeating this again this year!  The shrimp could probably be made healthier if you bought them fresh and cooked them in a skillet instead of having them fried.  But c'mon...that's NOT how they serve 'em Nawlin's style!  If you're gonna celebrate FAT Tuesday, you may as well celebrate it!  I think this year I'm also going to attempt a real remoulade sauce instead of using the chipotle ranch.  Stay tuned for how it turns out!  So, I know what tasty dish I'LL be feasting on come about you???!!

Shrimp Po' Boy
Serving Size: 1 person (that's the way a single girl rolls!)

10-20 fried popcorn shrimp (really, however many you want to pile on!)...I just use the frozen boxed kind! can also saute them in a skillet if you prefer non-fried shrimp
1 hoagie roll
2-4 Tablespoons (or to taste!) Marketside (Wal-Mart brand) Chipotle Ranch dressing (found in the produce section)...or use remoulade sauce (stay tuned for the recipe!)
3 tomato slices (optional)
Iceburg lettuce leaves (however much you prefer)

Cook the shrimp according to directions on box (or cook per your preference, if using fresh shrimp).  Warm hoagie roll in microwave for approximately 10-15 seconds (toasting it didn't allow it to be as pliable once all the stuff was piled on!).  Slather each side of the hoagie with chipotle ranch dressing, using more or less per your preference (I err on the side of "more please!").  Top the bottom half with lettuce (if using), tomatoes (add salt and pepper at this point if you like your tomatoes with some!), and then top off with the shrimp.  Drizzle some more chipotle ranch dressing on top of the shrimp, if preferred.  TRY to cover with the top half of the hoagie.  Eat and enjoy!

Hope you have a happy and tasty Fat Tuesday!

Bon Appetit,

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

French Onion Soup with Porcini Mushrooms

I have this amazing friend named Kacie that knows how much I love to cook.  She knows because she's frequently (ok, always) the one that partakes of my creations (as long as there's no chocolate involved...weird, right??--Love you!).  For Christmas she gave me the most perfect gift: a cooking class with her at Charleston Cooks! here in Greenville.  I got to pick the class and I picked the "winter comfort food" class.  The menu consisted of: French onion soup with porcini mushrooms, white cheddar mac & cheese with bacon crumble, balsamic roasted broccoli with parmesan, beef and red wine shepherd's pie, and chocolate pudding cake.  It tasted as good as it sounds!  And it was so much fun!  They showed us how we'd be cooking each recipe then divided the class up and had us all make the recipes on our own.  Then we all got to eat it and had wine included with our meal!  That is my kind of night!  By far, the entire class' fave dish was the French Onion Soup with Porcini Mushrooms.  It was savory and succulent and melt in your mouth AH-MAZING.  Now, my Dad makes a pretty killer French onion soup, but this one was fairly easy (minus the extended time to properly caramelize the onions) to make and I could've eaten the whole pot!  The mushrooms added such a different take on the typical french onion soup, and it was a perfect addition!  You could really taste the vermouth in it too, adding yet another perfect flavor to a classic.  We used gruyere and parmesan cheese melted on top of a baguette...which in itself was amazing, and even more delicious in the soup!  I am DEFINITELY adding this to my recipe stash...and I think you should too!  So, without further ado, here is Charleston Cooks! recipe for French Onion Soup with Porcini Mushrooms.

French Onion Soup with Porcini Mushrooms
Serves 8

1/2 stick unsalted butter
6 yellow onions, peeled and sliced thinly
3 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
8 ounces porcini mushrooms, stems removed and cleaned
1 cup dry vermouth (red wine)
2 cups chicken stock (don't use bouillon)
2 cups beef stock (don't use bouillon)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
8 slices of baguette
1 cup gruyere or Swiss cheese, grated
1/2 cup parmesan cheese

Melt butter in a large saute pan over medium heat.  Add the onions, garlic, and mushrooms to the pan with a pinch of salt.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until all the onions are brown and softened, about 45 minutes-1 hour.  Add the vermouth to the onions and simmer until reduced by 1/2.  Stir in the chicken and beef broth.  Add the mustard and simmer for 10 minutes.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Spread the bread out on a sheet pan in a single layer (it's handy to put it on a wire rack on top of the sheet pan).  Top the bread with 1/2 of each of the grated cheeses.  Place in the oven and bake until cheese is melted, about 10 minutes.  Remove from the oven.  Change the oven setting to broil.  Divide the soup into 8 individual, broiler-proof bowls.  Place a piece of cheesy baguette on top of each bowl and add remaining cheese (I think this step was left off by the people who made ours at the class!).  Place under the broiler.  Broil until cheese is bubbling, about 1-2 minutes.

Bon Appetit!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Southern Shortbread: The Beginning

I've had a "regular" blog for a few years now...but I kind of let it slip away as I realized all of my five (and that's being nice...) readers probably really weren't all that interested in my ho-hum day-to-day life.   However, I started thinking about how often my friends typically ask me for a recipe...or to re-make a recipe...only to discover I have NO. CLUE. what meal they're talking about!  You see, I L.O.V.E. to cook and bake.  Being a single gal, that usually results in cooking for my friends.  Sometimes I follow a recipe, but most of the time I just kind of make stuff up...and it usually ends up pretty delicious!  But, then when I'm asked to make it again...or I WANT to make it again...I either don't remember making it in the first place, or totally forget what ingredients/spices I added to a dish.  SO, I plan to make this my attempt to document those meals that really jump out.  The one's you eat and it's melt-in-your-mouth goodness.  The one's you say "I have GOT to make that again!"  I'm a self-taught cook.  By no means do I have ANY professional training, but I DO have a Southern grandma who taught MY Momma how to cook...who in turn gave me my basic skills.  My grandma ("Mo") was one of the best cooks in their small little town.  Everyone LOVED Ms. Joy's cooking (and baking!) and she had a LOT of good recipes!  My Mom would always let me hang around the kitchen whenever she was cooking.  I enjoyed watching her cook.  As I got older, she began to let me help her.  Just small things at first.  Cook the pasta.  Stir the spaghetti sauce.  Cook the rice (sidenote: my first solo attempt at cooking rice was a DISASTER.  I quickly learned you actually have to put water in the rice steamer for it to uhhhh, cook.  I'm a genious.)  When I went off to college, I got a little more adventurous.  I started combining ways my Mom cooked the food with spices and changes that I thought of on my own.  Maybe Food Network contributed to my creativity in the kitchen...or maybe it was just in my genes.  Whatever it was, it's made for some pretty tasty meals in my adulthood!  Not to be vain, but my husband (whomever he may be!) is set to be a very happy man!

If you haven't figured it out, the name behind my food blog is a tribute to my Southern and Scottish heritage.  A tribute to my roots, per se.  My Southern grandma and my grandmother that was born in Scotland.  Not only did I grow up Southern, but I also grew up celebrating my Scottish heritage.  Every Christmas my Dad would make his mom's Scottish shortbread recipe...and it's the most amazing thing ever!  My heritage is rooted in cooking in more ways than one.  So, what better name for a food blog?? And I guess, in a way, it also forebodes what types of recipes will be on here.  I love baking AND cooking.  I love cooking traditional good 'ole Southern food, but also gourmet international food as well (French, Mediterranean, Moroccan...the list goes on!)...but I also love to whip up a made-from-scratch batch of cupcakes too!  Southern Shortbread is a mix of all things good...just like the recipes on this blog will be!

I hope this turns out to be beneficial.  That I can pass along some delicious recipes that you'll love as much as I do.  I guarantee you I make things that aren't anything to write home about...and those will be the things that do NOT make it onto the blog!  Ha!  I guess if my Mom ends up being my only reader, I'll at least have the recipes for my own reference!  Here goes!