Caviar Kisses

caviar @2CookinMamasLooking for a great standout appetizer or a romantic treat for two?  This recipe is sure to be a big hit!  Go ahead & splurge a little – today is National Caviar Day!

For even more flair – pair with your favorite champagne from France.

Caviar Kisses

Serves 8

Ingredients:

  • small cucumber, scrubbed well
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 Tablespoon dried dill weed
  • fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 jar red salmon caviar
  • fresh dill sprigs, garnish
  • 8 thin slices whole wheat bread
  • butter

Directions:

Slice cucumber into 1/4″ rounds.  In small bowl mix sour cream, dill, and pepper.  Place one teaspoon of the sour cream mixture on each cucumber round.  Top with caviar and dill sprig.  Toast bread, cut into shapes using your favorite cookie cutter, and butter.  Place toast shapes around outside of serving platter, cucumber rounds in the center, and serve immediately,.

Christina Russell @2CookinMamas

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Two Amazing Tropical Smoothies

We just returned from the El Dorado Royale Resort in Tulum, Mexico where one of their featured lunch restaurants, Health Bar, had an out-of-this-world smoothie bar.  Here are two of my favorites that I will be trying to recreate at home.  Now, where can I find some cactus?

Tropical Shakes @2CookinMamasTropical Protein Shake:

Strawberry, Banana, Mango, Pina Colada & Protein Powder

Fiji Tropical Smoothie:

Jugo de Toronja, Nopal, Apio y Perejila or Grapefruit, Cactus, Celery, & Parsley

Salud!

Christina Russell @2CookinMamas

Rattlesnake Pasta for Meatless Monday

Rattlesnake PastaWe try to have seafood at least 3 times per week and I always seem to go back to pasta with shrimp for one of those meals. This recipe was inspired by the Rattlesnake Pasta that we order when we dine out at J. Alexanders. If you ever get the chance to visit one of their restaurants try their dish made with chicken instead of shrimp and a creamier, more caloric but delicious, sauce and a side of their Alexander salad. Of course, any of their dishes are superb and the staff is friendly and efficient.

rattlesnake sign

My recipe is a healthier version of  Rattlesnake Pasta but watch out because the spicy bite  of the sauce definitely lives up to its name. You can vary the amount of spiciness to your liking by lessening the amount of cajun spice, red pepper flakes and jalapeno you add to the dish. Enjoy!

Rattlesnake Pasta

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 pound spaghetti
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3/4 pound shelled and deveined medium shrimp, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/4-1/2 jalapeno, minced
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon minced rosemary
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper, depending on your preferred level of hotness
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock or white wine
  • 1/4-1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Directions:

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and return to pot with lid to keep warm.

While pasta is cooking, heat olive oil in a large skillet. Coat shrimp with Cajun seasoning and add to skillet. Brown shrimp on both sides, about 1 minute per side, then add tomatoes, garlic, jalapeno, rosemary and crushed red pepper. Cook for 4-5 minutes, crushing tomatoes slightly to release juices. Add spaghetti and broth or wine to skillet then season with salt and pepper. Toss together, add Parmesan cheese and mix well. Cook over medium heat, tossing occasionally for 2-4 minutes, or until sauce is slightly thickened. Serve immediately on plates garnished with rosemary sprig

Serves 2-3.

Wine Pairing: When pairing wines with spicy dishes lean towards those with low alcohol and a bit of fruity sweetness such as Sauvignon Blancs, Rieslings, Chenin Blancs and Roses. If you pair this meal with a higher alcohol wine, the spice in the dish will appear even hotter (whew!), if paired with an oaky Chardonnay, the wine will seem to be even oakier and if your wine is more of a tannic red it will seem bitter to the taste. So stick with those above that will tame some of the spiciness and help you enjoy both the meal and the wine.

Linda's Signature

Cocoa Almond Milk Iced Latte

A decadent latte with 1/2 the calories!

Cocoa Almond Milk Iced Latte

Prep – 10 minutes – Chill – 1 hour – Serves: 8

Ingredients:  Cocoa Almond Milk Iced Latte @2CookinMamas

  • 2 cups cold water
  • 1/2 cup espresso (or French) roast coffee
  • 2 cups organic almond milk (unsweetened vanilla, chocolate, or plain)
  • 2 packets instant hot cocoa mix (gluten-free mixes available)
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • Ice cubes

Directions:

Brew coffee, with 2 cups cold water, in drip coffeemaker according to manufacturer’s instructions.  Stir in milk, cocoa mix, and almond extract until well combined.  Refrigerate mixture for 1 hour.  Serve over ice.

Only 50 calories per serving!!!

Christina signature 3

Almost Meatless Monday – Shrimp & Chorizo Skewers

Shrimp and Chorizo SkewersOK, I cheated a little on calling this a meatless Monday dish but you can easily make it meatless by substituting vegetables such as onions and bell peppers or even pineapple for the chorizo. Now, I don’t know why you would want to do that as the chorizo gives such a nice spicy kick to the shrimp and when it is all crisp from the grill it makes it even better. But whatever way you have it, this is one easy but delicious recipe!

Shrimp & Chorizo Skewers

Ingredients:

  • 18 shrimp, peeled & deveined (leaves tails on)
  • 18 1/4″ slices chorizo
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon dry sherry
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Fresh chopped parsley for garnish (optional)

Directions:

Prepare shrimp. Mix remaining ingredients, except for chorizo & parsley, in a large ziploc bag. Add shrimp, seal and place in refrigerator to marinate for at least 30 minutes.

At this time, if using wooden skewers, place in water and let soak for 30 minutes to prevent burning once placed on grill.

When ready to assemble, cut chorizo into 1/4″ thick rounds. Thread one shrimp then one piece chorizo alternately onto skewers. I used very long metal skewers and wound up using 5 skewers.

Once assembled, place on grill for approximately 2-3 minutes per side or until shrimp are pink and chorizo is slightly charred.

Serve over rice, either long grain & wild rice or a nice rice pilaf, and garnish with chopped parsley.

Makes 3-4 servings.

Note: You can also serve these as appetizers by cutting the wooden skewers in half and placing one shrimp and one piece of chorizo on each skewer and cooking as above. This will give you 18 small appetizers.

Wine Pairing: When eating Spanish chorizo the best wines to accompany this spicy sausage are the Spanish riojas and tempranillos, both spicy, juicy and smoky in their own right. Two great selections to try are either the 2009 Manon Tempranillo or the 2008 Bodegas Dios Area Rioja Crianza.

Linda's Signature

Celebrating the Red, White, & Blue!

americashatHappy Birthday America!

We celebrate you today with all recipes red, white, & blue!

watermelonstarsWatermelon stars!  Pretty simple – just cut watermelon into 1/2″ thick slices and use a star cookie cutter to make cutouts. Serve in a bowl or around your main dish.  You can also infuse them in a pitcher of water for a yummy & refreshing drink.

Independence Day Sangria! 

Punchbowl.com

Punchbowl.com

Ingredients:

  • Handful blueberries
  • 6 sliced strawberries
  • 2 pineapple slices (cutout like stars)
  • 1 cup Triple Sec
  • 1/2 cup berry flavored vodka
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup simple syrup

Directions:  Combine all ingredients, stir, and refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours prior to serving.

whitechocolatestrawberriesWhite Chocolate Covered Strawberries!  Melt white chocolate and dip strawberry until 3/4 of berry is covered.  Then dip tip of strawberry in blue sugar crystals.  Don’t have blue sugar?  Just add food coloring!

Christina signature 3

Crockpot White Chicken Chili

With so many chili recipes out there, it’s hard to find the perfect one.  So, I combined three of my favorites into this easy & delicious meal made right in the slow cooker.

Wine Pairings: St. Michael Eppan Pinot Grigio and White Wines Borges Douro Reserva 2005 & Mas de la Dame 2009

crockpotwhitechickenchili

Crockpot White Chicken Chili

Prep Time: 30 min – Cooking time: 8-10 hours

Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound chicken breast, cubed – fresh or frozen
  • 2 – 15 oz. cans white beans
  • 1 – 15 oz. can of white corn
  • 1 sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 package taco seasoning
  • 1 – 8 oz. canned chopped mild green chilis
  • 1 – 10.75 oz can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 – 14 oz. can of chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp. lime juice
  • 1/2 cup fat-free sour cream, optional topping
  • 1/2 teaspoon Tabasco, optional topping
  • chopped cilantro, shredded cheddar cheese, tortilla chips, for garnish

Directions:

Place cubed chicken in bottom of slow cooker and top with beans, corn, and onion.  Mix garlic, taco seasoning, chilis, soup, broth, and lime juice in a medium bowl and pour over the chicken mixture.  Cover Crockpot and cook on low for 8-10 hours.

Prior to serving, shred any remaining chicken cubes with a fork or use a potato masher.  Add toppings and enjoy!

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Breakfast Tex-Mex Quesadillas

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day – make it yours too with this delicious Tex-Mex recipe.breakfastquesadillas

Breakfast Tex-Mex Quesadillas with Creamy Salsa

Total Time: 30 minutes – Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 8 slices bacon
  • 1/2 cup chunky salsa
  • 1/4 cup fat-free sour cream
  • 1.75 cups shredded Mexican-blend cheese, divided
  • 1/2 cup red onion, diced
  • 6 large brown eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp. vegetable seasoning
  • 4 – 10″ whole wheat flour tortillas
  • Cilantro & diced tomatoes, optional for garnish

Directions:

Cook bacon, following package directions, until crisp.  Set aside.

Combine salsa, sour cream, and 1/4 cup cheese in small bowl and place in refrigerator.

Preheat large pan on medium-high heat.  Spray pan with non-stick cooking spray and cook onions for approximately 3-4 minutes or until they begin to brown.

Stir in eggs, 1/2 cup cheese, and vegetable seasoning and cook until eggs are firm.

Equally divide egg mixture on 1/2 of each tortilla.  Top with 1/4 cup cheese and 2 slices of bacon.  Fold in half and return to pan two at a time, lightly coated in non-stick cooking spray.  Cook 2-3 minutes per side or until golden brown.

Take out creamy salsa mixture from refrigerator and serve with warm, gooey quesadillas.

Christina signature 3

Zucchini – Whatever Floats Your Boat!

Margherita Zucchini BoatsI have developed a taste for zucchini lately and have been looking for new ways to fix this nutritious and delicious veggie. Did you know it was a member of the summer squash family and delivers loads of Vitamin C, Vitamin B-6 and potassium? It even delivers smaller amounts of Vitamin A, magnesium, calcium and iron and all for only 33 calories for the entire zucchini!

Of course, now that I told you how low in calories this vegetable is, I am going to up the count by adding some delicious cheese but still keep it on the healthy side with the addition of tomatoes and fresh basil. You will find it quite similar to a margherita pizza but with a lot less calories!

Margherita Zucchini Boats

Ingredients:

  • 3 zucchini
  • 4 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons minced garlic, or to taste
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • 2-3 Roma tomatoes, sliced thin
  • 1/8-1/4 cup Panko or breadcrumbs
  • 1/4-1/2 lb. sliced fresh mozzarella
  • 2-4 Tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick spray or line with aluminum foil.

Slice zucchini in half lengthwise and, using a teaspoon, scoop out seeds and just a little extra so that it can hold the other ingredients. Place on prepared cookie sheet. If you need to, cut a little off the bottom of each zucchini half so that it sits flat.

In a small bowl, mix 3 Tablespoons olive oil, minced garlic, salt & pepper. Brush over the top of each zucchini. Arrange the sliced tomatoes on top of the garlic spread then sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Bake in oven for 30 minutes.

Zucchini BoatsRemove from oven and place slices of mozzarella around tomatoes and sprinkle with a little of the chopped basil and Parmesan cheese. Drizzle remaining olive oil over the top and place under broiler until cheese has melted and browned. To serve, top with remaining basil and Parmesan cheese.

Serves 6.

Note: The amount of ingredients you use is up to you and your family’s tastes. I like to use quite a bit of garlic and fresh basil when I prepare this dish and sometimes add some red pepper flakes to the olive oil-garlic mixture for a little extra kick. Enjoy!

Linda's Signature

Holy Guacamole!

Looking to change up your guacamole recipe for summer?  Well, grab your avocados and tortilla chips and get ready to fall in love with one of these delicious and unique dips.

BLT Guacamole
Picture via ovenloveblog.com

BLT Guacamole

Serves: 4-6 – Total Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4 ripe avocados
  • 4 strips bacon, cooked crisp & crumbled
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons bottled hot sauce
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • Juice from 1/2 lime
  • 2 small tomatoes, seeded & chopped

Directions:

Place first 6 ingredients in medium bowl and mix together well.  Stir in tomatoes and serve immediately.

Pineapple Chipotle Mango Guacamole

Pineapple Chipotle Mango Guacamole

Pineapple Chipotle Mango Guacamole

Serves: 4-6 – Total Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup canned crushed pineapple, drained, juice reserved
  • 1/2 medium sweet onion, minced
  • 4 ripe avocados, mashed
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1 medium ripe mango, seeded, peeled, & diced

Directions:

Drain crushed pineapple and reserve the juice – set aside.  Combine next 5 ingredients  in small bowl and add in 2 tablespoons of reserved pineapple juice.  Gently mix in mango and crushed pineapple and serve immediately.

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