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Zucchini Carbonara

 

You know how sometimes you get these food cravings, that just won’t go away until you can fulfill it. Mine is usually Chinese… from a buffet… Hey, everything in moderation, right?? 🙂

Well, I don’t know what brought it on, but I have been thinking about spaghetti carbonara for months. I knew that I wasn’t gonna cook a big pot of pasta just for me to have a bite of it, although I bet the guys would like it because, Bacon… and Cheese. I mean, come on!

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Growing up, my Mom used to make it with pasta, but since that whole spiralizer and zucchini nonsense I was talking about last week, I just had to give this a try!

If you don’t know about, or have never had spaghetti carbonara, it’s SO SIMPLE and Delicious! Just a few ingredients, that you probably have in your kitchen already.

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Since I still don’t have a “noodle maker”,  for the zucchini “noodles” I used my vegetable peeler and it worked great. A little tricky at the end, but I made due. Started on one side and went all around, peeling it down until I got to the seeds. Sorry I didn’t get pictures of that part.

This whole dish came together in about 10 minutes, and it was SO GOOD! All the flavor, and none of the guilt! 🙂

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ZUCCHINI CARBONARA

Serves 2

1 Large Zucchini (shaved, noodled, spiraled, chopped, sliced, diced – Any way you want it)

2 slices Bacon (cut in bite size pieces)

1/4 onion (sliced)

1 egg

1 Tbsp Parsley

1/8 cup Parmesan Cheese

Cajun Seasoning or Salt and Pepper

 

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Start by sauteing bacon and onion in a touch of olive oil over medium heat. Cut zucchini while that’s working.

When your bacon is cooked and your onions are softened, add the zucchini to the pan, tossing to combine, turn down the heat to low and cook for just a couple of minutes to heat the zucchini through.

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Next add cajun seasoning (or just salt and pepper) parsley, egg, and parmesan.. stirring between each addition. Turn off the heat when all of that is combined, so you don’t make scrambled eggs.

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As the egg starts to cook and the cheese starts to melt into the warm “noodles”, it creates a thick and silky sauce.

Let it sit for a few seconds, then it’s ready to serve. The zucchini still had a nice bite to them and my craving was totally satisfied.

I hope you try this and enjoy it as much as I did 🙂

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Not potato “potato” salad and other ramblings

Well, hello again world! I’ve been on a little hiatus from blogging. No reason in particular, just running through the motions of life, and then whaddaya know, a year has already passed by.

Just a quick little catch up on what’s going on around these parts… I recently started a new job at my old job, ha. I’m at a place that I used to work a year or so ago, but know I’m the head honcho. Running the building and keeping everybody happy… I hope 😉   Married life is FABULOUS! AND, I’ll have a 2nd grader in just over a month! I can’t believe it y’all. He’s becoming such the little gentleman!

 

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Aaaaanyway… who wants to talk about food??!!

This recipe is perfect for this time of year, especially with the 4th of July just around the corner.

Potato salad is a BBQ staple, but who really wants all those carbs anyway? Cauliflower is all over the place these days, taking the place of rice, or in mashed form, roasted and here as a guilt free potato substitute!  Here’s a fantastic way to have your “potato” salad and eat it too 🙂

not potato ingredients

 

INGREDIENTS:

1 head of cauliflower – cut into florets and steamed

2 boiled eggs – cut into small pieces

1-2 stalks of celery – diced

about a heaping TBSP of light mayo and a tsp of yellow mustard (add more or less according to your taste)

salt and pepper to season.

 

 

THAT’S IT!

 

 

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Combine everything in a bowl, stir it up and voila!!

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Everything you love about potato salad, without any of the guilt.

Great with any BBQ’d meat

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and especially wonderful with a good bowl of gumbo 😉  (If you don’t know about potato salad and gumbo, you have GOT to try it out!)

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Hope to see you again real soon 🙂

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New Orleans “BBQ” Shrimp

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There’s nothing really BBQ about this. No sauce, no grill, don’t really know why it’s called that, just is 😉 I kind of made up this version, based on a bunch of different recipes that I saw.

BBQ SHRIMP

2 lbs fresh shrimp (head off/tail on)
1/2 c melted butter
1/2 c Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp Hot Sauce
2 Bay Leaves
Cajun Seasoning (Tony Cachere’s)
1 lemon, sliced

Place cleaned shrimp in oven safe casserole or pyrex dish and season with Tony’s. Mix together next 5 ingredients and pour over shrimp. Put sliced lemon in dish and mix all together.
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Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes, stirring a few times, until all shrimp are pink and cooked through.
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Now it’s time do get down and dirty. Make sure you have a roll of paper towels handy and a loaf of french bread to sop up all that glorious juice.

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Cajun Jambalaya – Chicken, Pork and Smoked Sausage

Another Fight Night…. Another Menu Plan 🙂

I knew I wanted to do something a bit different this time,  and I planned a whole meal around Louisiana grub! I wasn’t sure how it would be received, but I was pleasantly surprised that everyone seemed to love it!

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My first EVER. from scratch Jambalaya, Corn Maque Choux, Green Beans wrapped in Bacon, of course my Velveeta/Rotel Dip, cause I think they might never come back if I didn’t have it, haha and some green cuppycakes since it was St. Patty’s day weekend. I think it went over well with the crowd, because I had nothing left.. AT ALL.. at the end of the night 🙂

I was a bit nervous, because I knew I had to do my heritage proud, but the only Jambalaya I had ever made came out of a box… (I know.. shoot me now..) But I was determined to make this one to remember. Honestly, it couldn’t be simpler.

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If you have a little bit of time and just some basic ingredients.. you can do this. And the great thing about it, is that you can customize it to your taste. Throw some shrimp in there, use a whole chicken… next time I’m definitely adding some Tasso! I actually recently saw a recipe for “low carb” Jambalaya that incorporates zucchini instead of the rice, trying that one out soon, for sure!

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CHICKEN, PORK AND SAUSAGE JAMBALAYA

1 lb Boneless Skinless Chicken breasts (cut into 1″ cubes)

1 pkg Turkey Smoked Sausage (cut into rounds/halves/quarters.. whatever shape you fancy)

2 lbs Pork (I found some beautiful boneless sirloin steaks, but again, whatever you prefer… cut into 2″ cubes)

I large onion.. diced

1 large green bell pepper.. diced

1/2 red bell pepper.. diced

2 stalks celery.. diced

Cajun Seasoning (Tony’s is my favorite)

4 cups long grain rice

8 cups water

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Season meat generously with Cajun seasoning and brown in batches. Saute onions, bell pepper and celery until semi soft. Add meat back to pot and stir.

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Just cover with water ( I used about 3 cups or so). Bring to boil, and reduce to simmer. Cover and let the meat braise for 2 hours.

When that’s finished, strain braising liquid from meat and measure the liquid, so you can add the remainder of water to equal 8 cups. Then add 4 cups of rice, another few rounds of Cajun seasoning and stir well. Over med-low heat, cover the pot, and let it cook for another 20 or 30 minutes (DON’T PEEK!) until the liquid is absorbed.

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Stir to fluff, and eat your heart out! Top with green onions if you so desire

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Banana Soft Serve

Do you ever wonder what to do with your bananas when they start to turn brown and nobody in the house will eat them?

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Or are you looking for a new Cool and Creamy treat? Well, my friends, this one’s for you!

This has quickly become my new favorite breakfast, and just in time because the weather is finally starting to warm up here.

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All you do is slice up your ripe bananas, throw them in the freezer, and take out what you want when you want!

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It is SO SIMPLE and SO HEALTHY. 3 easy ingredients, blended together for a wonderful bowl of dreaminess, that you don’t have to feel the least bit guilty about!

I’ll end that thought with a little Banana song that my Granny taught me when I was a wee little girl, that I will never forget

“I’m Chiquita Banana, and I’ve come to say… Banana’s have to ripen in a certain way. When they are flecked with brown and have a golden view, banana’s are the ripest and the best for you.

You can put them in a salaaad, you can put them in a pie..yie. Any way you want to eat theeeem, it’s impossible to beat them.

Banana’s like the climate of the very very Tropically weather, So never put banana’s, in the refrigerator. No no no no”

 

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BANANA SOFT SERVE

1 Sliced Frozen Banana

1Tbsp Plain 0% Fat Greek Yogurt (or your  personal favorite variety)

Handful of ice

Place all ingredients into a blender and Blend until smooth!

I use my handheld immersion blender, but use whatever is your favorite

“Don’t stop till you get enough”… 🙂

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Carnitas… Mexican Pulled Pork Tacos

This, my friends, is all about the Meat. Succulent pork, seasoned with Mexican spices and braised for hours in it’s own juice. Ain’t nothin’ wrong with that!!

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I have made these a few times now, and they just get better. This time I had the help of a nice, new little Cast Iron Dutch Oven we got for a wedding present.

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I’m telling you, this dish couldn’t be simpler and it’s SO TASTY!. If you have a couple hours, want some Latin flair, or just need an alternative to put in your Taco Tuesday repertoire, try this out 🙂

Now, I make my own “Mexican” Spice/seasoning blend. About a tablespoon of each… Salt, Black Pepper, Chili Powder, Cumin, Ground Mustard, Onion Powder, Garlic Powder and Paprika.. Cayenne pepper is optional, but I put it in everything ;).  I have an empty bottle that I put the remaining mixture that I don’t use, for any ‘ole time I want it

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Now, I think the “typical” cut of pork used for this is Shoulder or Butt, but to keep things on the lighter side, I prefer a Sirloin roast or even tenderloin which basically has no fat.  Trim up your pork, cut it into about 2 inch pieces, season well with your spice mix and brown on all sides in heavy bottom pot.

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P.S. … Don’t overcrowd your meat when trying to brown it, it’ll steam instead and that’s not what you want… Brown Food is Good Food, so you may have to do it in two or three batches, it’ll be A’ight 🙂

One you have browned all your pork, put it all back in the pot and cover it about 3/4 of the way up with water.

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Bring to Boil, Reduce to Simmer… and let it go for at least 2 hours, stirring occasionally. When all that is said and done, remove pork from pot

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It’s going to want to fall apart on you, but let that pork know who’s boss 😉

With the braising liquid that is left in the pan, crank the heat up to med/ med-high and let reduce about 20 minutes or so. You want it to be of almost a syrupy consistency

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When THAT magic has happened, return the pork back to the pot, and coat with all that reduced goodness, while breaking the meat apart.

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Traditionally served as tacos, but pick your Flavor, Saver… Ummm what?? 😉

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Hope you guys like this as much as we do!! 🙂

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The rightfully named.. Condiment Queen

Just in case you were wondering…. It’s totally true… and this is only the door of my fridge.

Dressings, “sauces”, mustards, Bloody Mary Mix…..and so on

Not to mention my salsa and marinade collaboration…

Funny thing.. I went to a friend’s house recently, and all she had was Mayo, Yellow Mustard and Ketchup…. I was lost, haha. Where was the rest of the flavor????

Another funny thing… I grilled up some burgers for the neighborhood, and had no less than 5 mustards out for various artists to choose from, and still told them that there were 12 more in the fridge to choose from..

Hoarder of condiments?? I think not.

Flavor saver.. Abso-friggin-lutely 😉