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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Surf and Turf goes Italian

Hello Everyone!  My mom finally made it home and my dad and I had a wonderful birthday celebration waiting for her!  We had toyed with the idea of going out to eat.  However with the rain my parents and I decided to cook at home and stay dry!  However with the grill being outside I am not sure how dry my dad stayed!  Tonights birthday menu featured Steak, Maui Maui, and Shrimp!  With Parmesan Edamame Risotto, and an Undone Caprese Salad for sides! Yes some very Italian inspired side dishes!   My dad was in charge of grilling while I was in charge of the salad and the Risotto!  I have mentioned before that I just love cooking for people, and I enjoyed collaborating a meal with my dad for my moms birthday!

I am going to share these recipes quickly because there is cake to be eaten,
and presents to unwrap!
Lets start first with the bigger of the two dishes the Parmesan Edamame Risotto:
Inspired and mainly made from this Eating Well Recipe.  The original recipe was for Shrimp and Pea Risotto.  Being as my dad is allergic to shellfish, and we already had a main entree I just used the recipe as a guide for flavor.  And yes I did sub in Edamame for regular peas, the peas my parents had in the freezer looked a bit dried up!
Here is what I used:
1/2 Cup Aborio Rice (Risotto Rice)
2 1/2 Cups Chicken Broth
1/2 Medium Onion
2 Garlic Cloves
1/2 Cup Edamame
1/2 Cup Dry White Wine
1/2 Fresh Grated Parmesan Cheese
Pinch of Salt
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

Lets get started.  I have made Risotto before but always feel overwhelmed when I make Risotto for some reason.  I think because Risotto is such a time consuming process, oh well here it goes!
First start by getting your Chicken stock boiling.  The recipe called for hot stock!
While the chicken stock was heating up I began heating my oil to saute my onions in.
Saute your onion till translucent and soft, add your garlic and cook for 30 seconds.  At this point you add your Risotto Rice and stir to combine.
You want your Risotto Rice to be nice and covered in your onions and olive oil!

Now it is time for you to add your chicken broth and your white wine.  You add a splash of wine, and 1/2 cup chicken stock at a time.  I had to add stock and wine five times before both liquids were done!
My dad was kind enough to grate my parmesan cheese for me!
Do not be alarmed that your risotto looks a little soupy!  The risotto rice will absorb everything I promise!
As your adding your last amounts of chicken stock and wine stir in your edamame.
Top with your cheese.
Stir to combine and put in a pretty serving platter!
And side dish one is done!
Just look at these Heirloom Tomatoes,
Aren't the colors just beautiful.

Those Heirloom Tomatoes are the basis for this delicious undone Caprese Salad.  This salad is really very simple to assemble!
What you will need:
1/2 Quart of Heirloom Tomatoes (sliced in half)
1 1/2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Basil Cubes
A dash of pepper
As Much Fresh Mozzarella as you like
and a drizzle of balsamic Vinegar

What you will do:
Slice your Tomatoes in Half and sprinkle with salt.
For the olive oil basil dressing simply combine, Olive Oil, Basil, And Pepper.
Drizzle olive oil over your tomatoes and stir to combine.
 I let the tomatoes sit at room temperature to allow all the flavors to combine.
Top your salad with fresh mozzarella and serve!
My dad was busy at the grill making these, 
into a fantastic entree!  He grilled a steak for himself!  On the Shrimp I sprinkled Chili Powder, Garlic and Black Pepper.  The Maui Maui was Garlic Powder, and Lemon Pepper.

Yum, fresh caprese salad, risotto and fresh grilled seafood!  Oh Yum!  Accompanied by Great Harvest garden vegetable bread.

Yum Oh Yum!
And cupcakes made it home from Omaha!

Boy oh Boy!
We are off to celebrate!  See you tomorrow, and remember to live Happily Ever Healthy!

Healthy Baking, and Cooking Substitutions

Hello Everyone!  We are officially at the middle of the week, can you believe it?  And while my days are all pretty much monotone I still enjoy knowing that the weekend is a few short days away.  I mentioned this yesterday but today is my mom's birthday, she is still in Omaha with my sister but is returning to Minnesota this afternoon.  We will definetly be celebrating tonight!  And right about now Mark is in his interview, I cannot wait to hear how it goes!

Since I had the same typical oatmeal breakfast (you know the massive amounts of peanut butter, banana, and oats) I decided to blog a bit about healthy baking/cooking!  I have not done a lot of baking for the blog but what little I have done I always try to make healthy substitutions.  Same goes for normal cooking, I try to make a recipe as healthy as possible with out sacrificing taste!  Check out these recipes where I use healthy Substitutions! My  Sugar Top Muffins
Tuna Salad with Pasta,
and my Tzatziki CousCous Salad!
Here is a great resource I found.  This substitution guide comes to you from Anna of fANNEtastic Food!
Click Here!
What I love about this substitution guide is that the guide is easy to read.  Plus she gives you a few substitution suggestions for each item.  Take butter for example, she gives you three different substitution options to follow!  Go check it out when you have some free time!
Here is a list of substitutions and ideas I regularly use in cooking/baking!
1-When I am baking I almost always substitute oil for unsweetened apple sauce.
I also find when I bake with applesauce that I can reduce the amount of sugar, since applesauce lends some sweetness in a natural form!  (Try to use organic if you can!)
2-When making a salad that is usually loaded with Mayo I always sub in greek yogurt!  Partly because I do not like the smell of Mayo (I never have).  But greek yogurt is lower in fat and calories, and you won't lose out on that tang or creaminess that Mayo provides!
3-When making a pasta dish that is loaded with toppings I usually cut the pasta portion in half.  I will make less pasta and make up for the difference in added veggies.  I add more veggies for many reasons, not only are you adding vitamins/minerals to your dish but your getting an array of texture, color and flavor (and I am obsessed with veggies)!
4-Use fresh herbs whenever possible!  Fresh herbs and spices are one of my favorite things to add to a dish.  You can add a punch of flavor without harming the nutrition of your dish!  Some of my favorite fresh herbs and spices to use are Cilantro, Basil, Sage, Garlic, and Cayenne Pepper.  I am like my mother and often do not cook with salt, I let my guest add the salt to their individual plates if they so desire.
5- And finally don't be scared to experiment with flavors!  I do this all the time in the kitchen, I enjoy seeing what flavor combinations work and which ones I cannot stand!  Don't be scared to try new things!  You will never know if a substitution will work in a recipe till you try it!  And if you mess up its ok, you learn from your mistakes and try again!!
I hope you find these little tips helpful!  Now go start experimenting in your kitchen!  Have a wonderful day, I will see you this afternoon but until then remember to live Happily Ever Healthy!

PS is anyone else on Blogger having trouble uploading pictures this morning?  I promise to add pictures as soon as I can upload them!