Okay, the Polar Vortex has finally graced us with its presence!  It is supposed to be a bone-chilling 71 degrees here today.  Ugh.  I really want to wear proper layers (not my current ensemble of a thin sweater with a sleeveless white blouse underneath).  Or boots.  Or long sleeves on a morning run.  Sigh.

Regardless, I’ve lately felt like cooking for a Fall that doesn’t really wholly exist. Enter this soup.

Shrimp Marinara Soup with Crumbled Feta

It sounds like an odd concept – using jarred marinara sauce as a base, but I had faith in the folks at Cooking Light!  (I think I used Newman’s Own, but can’t remember. Sorry! Any good-quality sauce will do.)  The soup turned out to be a really fast and delicious soup that is so easy!  I used sliced green onion rather than parsley for my finishing touch with the feta cheese and it was a really good substitution.   Serve with thick bread to soak up the liquid and enjoy!

Shrimp Marinara Soup with Crumbled Feta

Yield:  Four Servings

2 tsp. olive oil

1/2 tsp. dried oregano

1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

3 large garlic cloves, minced

1/4 cup dry white wine

2 cups unsalted chicken stock

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup uncooked orzo

2 cups lower-sodium marinara sauce

12 oz. large shrimp, peeled and deveined

2 Tbsp. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (divided) or thinly sliced green onion

1 ounce feta cheese, crumbled (about 1/4 cup), divided

1.  Heat a large saucepan over medium heat.  When heated, add oil and swirl to coat.

2.  Add oregano,  red pepper, and garlic; sauté 30 seconds.

3.  Add wine and cook for 1 minute.

4.  Add chicken stock and water to pan; bring to a boil.

5.  Stir in orzo and cook 6 minutes or until al dente.

6.  Stir in marinara and shrimp.  Cook about 4 minutes or until shrimp are pink and cooked through.

7.  Place 1 1/2 cups soup in each of four serving bowls; top each serving with 1 1/2 tsp. parsley or green onion and 1 Tbsp. crumbled feta.

Source:  Cooking Light, May 2014, p. 74

Happy Friday!

The reality of this is that I made this one day when I came home on my lunch hour.  I had the plan all laid out, made the drink, photographed it, put it in the fridge, and it tasted it when I got home.  D came home first at asked me if I was drinking at lunch again (ha ha) and I said no, it’s R & D.  :)  The things I do for this little blog…

Electric Raspberry Martini

A nice little sort of sweet, fruity, and yummy martini.  The raspberry in the vodka really comes through.  I used Smirnoff Raspberry Vodka mini bottles that I got at Total Wine (love that place, they have EVERYTHING).

On a crazy Friday, it’s kind of nice knowing you have a delicious, chilled cocktail waiting for you when you walk in the door.


Electric Raspberry Martini

Yield:  1 cocktail

3 fresh raspberries

2 oz. Raspberry Flavored Vodka

1 Tbsp. simple syrup

1/4 oz. Grand Marnier

1.  In the bottom of a chilled martini glass, muddle the fresh raspberries.

2.  Combine remaining ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice.  Shake vigorously and strain quickly  (note: the vodka mix should pour a milky white from aeration).

3.  Sip and enjoy!

Source:  Houston Chronicle, October 13, 2004

October Goals Recap

Checking in for a goals recap! I haven’t done one in awhile because the last few months have been tricky and disruptive and I didn’t feel like trying to accomplish One. More. Thing.  You know what I mean?  I did pretty well with October – I only got to 2 out of three cookbooks, but I made bread!  So I feel like that was good progress. :)

The newspaper recipes I tried were:  Electric Raspberry Martini (Houston Chronicle, October 13, 2004)Spicy Glazed Salmon (Houston Chronicle, March 6, 2013 The photo didn’t turn out very well, so I didn’t post the recipe, but I loved it and have made it again using my Pineapple-Habanero Jelly instead of the peach preserves.  SO good. I’m thinking you good make this under the broiler too…; and Sneaky Snickers Cookies (Houston Chronicle, October 27, 2009).

The magazine recipes I tried were:  Apple Cream Cheese Bundt Cake (Southern Living, September 2011 via Glorious Treats) that was Fall on a plate.  A delicious spice cake with apples and nuts, cream cheese “frosting” inside the cake and a praline glaze outside – heaven!; a delicious and fast Shrimp Marinara Soup with Crumbled Feta (Cooking Light, May 2014) that is a great weeknight dinner option; and Grilled Shrimp Tostadas with Lime (Cooking Light, July 2014) that were good and topped with a chipotle-black bean salsa and an avocado-yogurt cream.  Yum!

For Cookbook Roulette, I only got to 2 out 3 of the cookbooks.

The first cookbook I chose was

Jamies's Italy

Jamie’s Italy by Jamie Oliver

We made “Le Migliori Polpette di Tonno” or The Best Tuna Meatballs.  The recipe sounds so odd – chopped fresh tuna, cinnamon, pinenuts, oregano, and some other stuff, made into a meatball, and served with tomato sauce over linguine.  But it is sooooo delicious.  Not kidding.  Make these.

The second cookbook I chose was


Barefoot Contessa at Home by Ina Garten

I checked this book out from our local library while I was there returning some of the Misses books.  I just love libraries…  Anyway, I saved a bunch of recipes to try that sound like basics/classics but also really good.  The only recipe I’ve made so far is the Orange-Honey Glazed Carrots (p. 133) which I chose, frankly, because I had all the ingredients at home and was feeling too lazy to go to the store.

The carrots were good, not great.  I sliced mine thinner than the 1″ instructions and I had to cook longer than called for to get the right “al dente” texture.  Good in a pinch and I am still looking forward to exploring other recipes in the book!

Bring it November! :)


Over the last weekend, it actually felt like soup weather here, and I have been feeling the pull of Fall and wanting to make warm, comforting soup.  I think I am also the only person who loves the end of Daylight Savings Time and really enjoys both the daylight in the morning hours and the dark cocoon of night that accompanies it.

This was a super good, very easy to pull together due to the canned ingredients (creamed corn, tomatoes – I used Rotel), and is so yummy!  I made this on a weeknight, after homework, and the most time-consuming part was the chopping of four ingredients.  Hello mini-chop (I have a reeeeaaallyyy old version of one of these)!  Done!

Shrimp, Corn, and Potato Soup

See that bread on the side there.  I made that too.  Yep, sure did.  :)

The original recipe calls for 1 1/2 pounds of shrimp.  I only had .90 pounds of frozen shrimp in the freezer, so I subbed the remaining .60 pounds with scallops and it worked out perfectly. I liked the different texture, actually, and would include them again the next time I make this.  I amended the recipe with approximations below.

Hope it feels more like Fall where you are!

Shrimp (and Scallops), Corn, and Potato Soup

Yield: About 3 Quarts (8 servings with a 1 1/2 cup serving size)

Cooking spray

1 3/4 cups chopped red onion

1 cup chopped green bell pepper

1/2 cup chopped celery

1 garlic clove, minced

2 cups chopped baking potato

2 (14 oz.) cans fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth

1 (16 oz.) package frozen whole-kernel corn, thawed

1 (14 3/4 oz.) can cream-style corn

1 (10 oz.) can diced tomatoes and green chiles, undrained

1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

2/3 lb. scallops

1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions

1.  Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  When heated, coat with cooking spray.

2.  Add onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic.  Sauté 5 minutes or until tender.

3.  Add potato and next 5 ingredients (potato through tomato paste).  Stir to incorporate.

4.  Bring to a boil; cook 5 minutes.

5.  Stir in salt, black pepper, and shrimp; cook 5 minutes or until shrimp are done.

6.  Divide among serving bowls.  Sprinkle with green onions.

Source:   Adapted from Cooking Light, June 2004

Happy Halloween Everyone!

I have a little blog crush on Glory from Glorious Treats.  I have made a couple of things from her blog, and find so many cute things that are on my “to-do” list. Like if I ever learn how to frost cookies with royal icing, I will make so many things that she posts because she is fantastic.

Anyway, having made the Watermelon Rice Krispie Treats, I knew how to do this recipe and dove right in.

Candy Corn Rice Krispie Treats

I put them on these Wilton Lollipop Sticks (the 8″ sticks, which I cut in half), but colored paper straws are good also.

They turned out solo cute!  My only wish would be to make the white part whiter, but how?  What needs to be added?  Otherwise, they are a cute Fall / Halloween treat. I’ll be taking these to a Halloween party tonight for all the kiddos.  Maybe if I dazzle them with a cute dessert, they won’t notice that I’m only in jeans and a t-shirt, not a costume? Right?

Candy Corn Rice Krispies Treats

Yield:   2 8″ round pans  (12 – 16 wedges)

For the yellow ring:
4 1/2 cups rice krispies cereal

5 cups mini marshmallows

3 Tbsp. unsalted butter

For the orange ring:
2 3/4 cups rice krispies cereal

3 1/2 cups mini marshmallows

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter

For the white center:
2 cups rice krispies cereal

2 1/2 cups mini marshmallows

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter

Yellow food coloring
Orange food coloring  (I mixed equal amounts of red and yellow to make orange. Thank you kindergarten!)

The process is much easier if all of your ingredients are laid out, assembly line fashion.

To make the Yellow Ring (outer circle/edge):
1.  Prepare two 8″ round pans by coating with non-stick cooking spray or greasing with butter.  (I sprayed…)

2.  Place 41/2 cups of Rice Krispies cereal in a large bowl, set aside.

3.  Melt 5 cups marshmallows and 3 Tbsp. butter in a large bowl in the microwave for 3 minutes, or until very puffy.  Remove from the microwave and stir adding in the yellow food coloring until desired color is achieved.  (You can do this on the stovetop too, if desired.)

4.  Pour yellow marshmallow mixture into the bowl of Rice Krispies.  Stirring quickly with a butter-coated spatula,  mix until thoroughly combined.

5.  Divide the mixture between the two prepared cake pans, and press along the sides of the pans to form a ring.  (Work quickly so the cereal mixture doesn’t cool and harden.)  Make a ring around the edges about 1 1/2″  tall and 1/3 of the pan width wide as each color should have an equal thickness.   Note:  If you spray your hands with cooking spray or use a little butter on your hands, the sticky cereal won’t stick to your fingers as you press it into the pans.

To make the orange ring (middle circle):
1.  Repeat the same Steps 1 through 5 as with the yellow ring, but using the ingredients/quantities listed above.  I used equal drops of yellow and red food coloring to make my orange.

2.  Divide the orange mixture evenly into a ring in the center of the two cake pans.  Press down until evenly spread with a smooth top.

To make the white ring (inner circle):
1.  Repeat the same Steps 1 through 5 as with the yellow ring, but using the ingredients/quantities listed above and no food coloring.

2.  Press evenly into the space left in the center of the pan.

3.  Allow to cool completely before cutting, at least 30 minutes.

4.  To cut: invert each pan onto cutting surface and cut into eight equal pieces.

5.  To serve on cookie stick or paper straw, create a hole with a wooden or metal skewer and then insert stick/straw.

Source:  Adapted from Glorious Treats


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