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Showing posts from 2020

Cottage Pie with tips from Chef Gordon Ramsay

Damn this dish is delicious! I was planning to serve the leftovers tonight but there aren't any, the fam devoured it. Next time I will double the batch!  I used Chef Gordon Ramsay's recipe for shepherd's pie, simply switching out ground lamb for ground beef. I would love to hear from my friends across the pond, and if they have a family favorite recipes or tips, but for me this was the best cottage pie I have ever had. Scroll down to the bottom for the recipe. Ramsey offered several tips to make the perfect cottage pie. First grating the carrot and onion versus chopping them. Seasoning the mash with fresh rosemary and thyme. He highlights in the video "It's all about the mince." Pouring in several "glugs" of red wine and adding splashes of Worcestershire sauce created a steamy sauce that filled the house with a "get in my belly" aroma.  The next tip was life changing. Use a potato press for the mashed potato topping. I had never used one be

Leveling Up our Maryland Pride

For over four years, after removing a large crop of weeds, we had this big round patch of dirt on our front yard.  However, rather than just grass it over, we lived with the eyesore because I had big plans for that circle.  This whole time I have been telling our neighbors, many of which are Terp faculty, staff, alumni, or family, that I planned to replicate the Maryland "M" on our front yard. Well, 2020 was the year we finally got it done, and just in time for Maryland's Homecoming.  And the best part is it lights up at night! First Scott (aka Dr. Evil at UMD) created a template that laid out exactly how many bricks I would need to create the M in the front circle.  I got the bricks with three holes in them so that there could be lights in each hole and the whole M would gently glow.  Luckily, our friend and neighbor Reggie, who is an architect, brought up the concern of pooling water when we told him about our idea of using lights, so we changed our initial design to in

Throw a Can of Libby's 100% Pumpkin in Your Favorite Chili Recipe

Next time you are making your favorite chili, throw a can of 100% pumpkin puree into the mix. Why? Pumpkin is a superfood jam packed with with antioxidants, disease-fighting vitamins, and fiber ( Greatist , 2013). I love letting my chili simmer for a long time, so instead of having to tend to it all day over the stove, I throw it together in my crockpot in the evening and let it cook on low overnight. The tomatoes develop a richer flavor the longer they simmer and when done, you have the convenience of leaving the chili in the crock and setting it to warm until you are ready to serve. If you are looking for a crowd-pleasing chili recipe, my current go to is  World's Best Chili Recipe (AKA Bill's Chili)  from  Cupcake and Kale Chips.  Here is a slightly adapted recipe for the crockpot with my addition of a 15oz can of Libby's Pumpkin. Ingredients: 2 lbs lean ground beef 1 lb stew beef, cut into about one inch chunks 1/4 lb bacon, diced in small pieces 1 small red bell pepper

Creamy Cajun Chicken Alfredo

So this sweater weather has me craving comfort food, especially Cajun Chicken Alfredo.  This quick and easy recipe adapted from Tasty did not disappoint! We are on round two tonight!  Ingredients: 4 cups penne pasta, cooked 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil 1 Cup Cooked Andouille Sausage, sliced 2 chicken breasts, thinly sliced 1 Tablespoon Cajun seasoning 2 cups heavy cream 1 cup parmesan cheese 1/4 cup fresh parsley Directions: Cook penne pasta as directed on box. Heat oil in a large pot (I prefer a wok) over high heat. Cook the sausage, chicken, and garlic until the garlic turns golden and the chicken is no longer pink. Sprinkle the Cajun Seasoning and stir to evenly coat the sausage and chicken. Add the cream and bring to a boil. Add the pasta, stirring until evenly mixed. Add the parmesan, stirring until cheese melts and the pasta is coated with a thick sauce. Turn off the burner, add the parsley, and gently mix. Serve and enjoy! Makes approximately 4 servings. GNG Tip: If you prefer makin

FoodSaver: A GNG Must-Have

In early June, in preparation for possible extended quarantine and food shortages, we decided to get an extra freezer. Unfortunately, the freezer was too big to fit in our storage room, so it's home for now is in our dining room. Sometimes you just got to roll with it, and really, who cares? It's not like we are having company over right now, and our priority it function over Feng Shui.  Luckily, on our summer commute route to our borrowed beach house in Calvert County, there is specialty grocery store, Nick's of Calvert . Nick's has a phenomenal high quality butcher counter, and the best part is that you can buy in bulk and save a bundle! Over the summer we made multiple trips to Nicks to slowly stock our freezer.  The last thing I wanted to do is invest in filling our freezer and a few months later pull things out to find freezer burn. It was time to dust off my FoodSaver. My partner is crime in the meat packing process was my mom. Early in the morning, we would throw

To-Kill-A-Lime Tequila Lime Sauce by Lidl

By far, my favorite homemade recipe for grilled shrimp is Grilled Herb Shrimp  by Barefoot Contessa. I was tempted to hop in the car and run to Giant and grab what I needed to make the marinade, but why bother when I could save a trip and the prep time and use a bottle of To-Kill-A-Lime Tequila Sauce already in the pantry? I marinated the shrimp in a Ziploc bag for a few hours before firing up the grill.  They turned out wicked flavorful. I served them with Rice Pilaf by Lidl and a simple salad. I can't wait to use this "zesty Mexican-inspired" sauce as a marinade for steak and shrimp fajitas and fish tacos! I used the time it would have taken to make the marinade from scratch to catch this shot instead!  This time, I'm glad I took the easy route!

No Bake Chocolate Avocado Pie

While out here on the Chesapeake Bay, my focus is on delicious no fuss food so we can maximize our time on the beach. This also means that I may not always have time to catch the perfect photo but  promise the flavor will not waiver.  Living in a bathing suit all summer inspires me to find SOME meals that are on the lighter side. This quick and easy No Bake Chocolate Avocado Pie recipe did not disappoint. It took less than 10 minutes to make with the help of a Keebler Chocolate Ready Crust and Reddi Wip whipped cream. Here came the true test. What would my very picky eater Morgan think? He didn't feel like posing for the picture, but his plate says it all! No kidding, when I looked over and saw him scarfing down the pie I ducked behind the breakfast bar and did a little dance. Score!  No Bake Chocolate Avocado Pie Ingredients 3 large ripened avocados 3/4 cup 100% maple syrup or agave  1/4 cup high-quality unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Ghiradelli) 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract 1/4 t

SHÉHÉRAZADE Shawarma Marinade by Lidl

Yesterday's forecast called for severe storms in the early evening. I wanted to prep a quick and easy dinner in the morning so we could have time to play in the bay before the storm hit. Now was the time to try the SHÉHÉRADE Shawarma Marinade by Lidl and make Shish Kabobs. I quickly cut up a package of chicken thighs and threw them in the fridge to marinate for the day. I also had on hand a box of Rice Pilaf by Lidl and while that was cooking, I made a crisp Indian Cucumber Salad (Kachumber)  via The Spruce Eats . The dressing was so simple. Freshly squeezed lemon juice, cumin, salt and pepper... that's it.  This creamy Lebanese Garlic Sauce inspired by  Jo Cooks  was a cinch to make. It took less than 5 minutes to whip together and is fricken delicious! Garlic Sauce 1 Cup Vegetable or Canola oil 1/3 Cup freshly squeezed lemon juice 6-8 peeled garlic cloves 1 egg white (optional) 1 tsp salt Place all ingredients into a food processor or blender, cover, and process until smooth.

I'm Loving Lidl's Sauces and Marinades

Last Saturday we packed up and headed to our borrowed beach house for the summer.  Before heading out, I stocked up on a bunch of Lidl's Sauces and Marinades for quick and easy meals at the beach. Lidl has a great variety to choose from, and look at the prices!!! So far we have tried Ya Mon Jerk Style Marinade, To-Kill-A-Lime Sauce, Nashville Style Barbecue Sauce, and Bailando Habanero Mango Sauce. All have been bold and flavorful. Scott especially enjoys the Nashville Style Spicy Barbecue Sauce, which definitely has a kick to it.  On our first night I served up this grilled steak marinated in the To-Kill-A-Lime Sauce, with a refreshing Watermelon Cucumber Salad, and fresh grilled corn. So good!  The next night I used the Nashville Style Spicy Barbecue Sauce for BBQ Chicken.  This spicy BBQ chicken went great with grilled fingerling potatoes and a chilled Blackberry Goat Cheese Salad. The then I turned up the heat even more with the Bailando Habanero Mango Sauce. .  It reminds me

Onesie Cupcakes

Onesie cupcakes are my absolute favorite baby shower gift. They are adorable, affordable, and easy to make. The cupcakes are made out of onesies and baby socks.  Check out this 30 sec YouTube tutorial! I prefer packaging them in cupcake boxes for easy transport and you can hide the extra socks! Michael's and JOANN Fabrics usually have an assortment of cupcake boxes to choose from.

Carlty Bryer's Wicked Good Fig Cake

Carlty Bryer. The Man. The Myth. The Legend.  These pics are from last summer but the memory of his "just out of the oven" fig cake served with a cold scoop of Breyer's vanilla ice cream is fresh on my mind. He couldn't wait to pluck the ripe figs off the tree at the beach house and make this wicked easy cake inspired from a recipe in The Fannie Farmer Cookbook. Whether you are lucky enough to have fig tree in your back yard or can find them in your local grocery store, Carlty's quick and easy fig cake is a must have recipe. It's FIGGIN awesome! Download the Printer-Friendly Recipe Card  Carlty Bryer's Wicked Good Fig Cake

Next Wave Mussels

We are about to take teleworking to a whole new level, getting ready to pack up and spend the next two months at one of our favorite hidden spots on earth. Over 60 days of toes in the sand on a secluded beach, sunrise and sunset walks to the light house searching for shark teeth, warm night time swimming in the Chesapeake Bay, and beach side breakfasts and BBQ's. Just to be clear, while this may sound like the Lifestyle of the Rich and Famous (we do have an old guy with a charming Mainah accent) we are able to swing this on an educator and mental health therapist's budget thanks to our dear family friends with a beach house. The only thing I love more than being in the kitchen is being on the beach, so quick and easy meals are essential. One of our favorite quick and easy bayside meals is Mussels over Linguine in a Garlic Butter Sauce. Thanks to Next Wave Seafood , we can whip up this meal in less than 15 minutes and under $10. Next Wave Mussels in a Garlic Butter Sauce o

Vegan Ricotta

This Ricotta recipe is nuts, literally! I had no idea that you could make a Ricotta substitute out of almonds. Wow! I just used this recipe to make my Roasted Butternut Squash Lasagna and the result was unbelievable. I would not have known that it wasn't actual Ricotta cheese if I hadn't made it myself. This is a must have recipe for Vegan, lactose-free, dairy-free, and plant-based diets. GNG Tip: Using blanched slivered almonds instead of raw almonds is a huge timesaver. If using raw almonds, you need to soak the nuts in hot water for 3 hours before processing.  What makes this recipe unique from most of the Vegan ricotta recipes out there is the addition of truffle oil. I found this golden nugget tip at Yummy Mummy Kitchen . I purchased Truffle Oil by The Truffleist which was a hefty $25 at Whole Foods. It may seem like a lot, but it's worth it and you get a lot of mileage out of a bottle! I have included substitutions for the truffle oil on the recipe card if