Friday, October 16, 2020

Roasted Garlic Shrimp and Parmesan Polenta with Crispy Garlic Bread Crumbs


This is my entry for The Jersey Tomato Co Off The Vine Recipe Contest and it is killer!! Growing up in the New Orleans area, I am no stranger to shrimp and grits and this is my Cajun/Italian take on it. Roasted garlic, wine and bacon make the perfect base for the sauce that's loaded with cajun seasoned shrimp. That sauce is then poured on top of a creamy parmesan polenta then topped with Garlic Bread Crumbs for the most insanely crunchy garlicky texture on top. 

Roasted Garlic Shrimp and Parmesan Polenta with Crispy Garlic Bread Crumbs

1 Tablespoon butter

1 Tablespoon oil 

1 ½ teaspoons minced fresh garlic

½ cup panko breadcrumbs

1 Tablespoon minced fresh parsley

2 Tablespoons olive oil

8 slices bacon, chopped

24 ounces shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 Tablespoon cajun seasoning

½ cup dry white wine 

1 (25oz) jar The Jersey Tomato Co. Roasted Garlic Sauce

3 Tablespoons butter

3 cups whole milk

3 cups chicken stock

1 ½ teaspoons salt

1 ½ cups yellow grits or polenta

¾ cups parmesan cheese

½ cup fresh basil leaves, roughly torn

Place the butter and oil in an 8-inch skillet, over medium heat, until the butter is melted. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Add the breadcrumbs and cook until lightly browned and toasted, about 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the parsley and set aside.

In a large skillet set over medium heat add the olive oil and bacon and allow to cook, about 8 minutes, until crisp. Using a slotted spoon, remove the bacon from the oil and place on a plate to use later. Remove all but 2 Tablespoons of the oil from the pan. Season the shrimp with the cajun seasoning and cook until almost cooked through, about 2-3 minutes. Place the shrimp on the same plate with the bacon. Add the wine to the pan and allow to reduce by half. Add the Roasted Garlic Sauce, reduce the heat to low and allow the mixture to simmer.

While the sauce simmers, make the polenta. In a large stock pot set over high heat, bring the butter, milk, and chicken stock to a low boil. Slowly whisk in the salt and polenta, until the mixture is soft and thick, about 5-8 minutes. Remove from the heat, whisk in the parmesan cheese, cover, and set aside.

Stir the bacon and shrimp into the simmering sauce mixture and allow to heat through.

To serve, divide the grits among bowls, spoon the shrimp mixture over top and sprinkle with fresh basil and garlic bread crumbs.

Makes 6 servings


#JTCOffTheVine @TheJerseyTomatoCo #shrimpandgrits

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Everything Bagel Bacon & Egg Salad Stuffed Avocados


As much as I love brunch, I’m not in love with waking up early to prepare it. This 5-ingredient dish is so quick and easy to throw together and packs so much flavor into a tiny gorgeous package, no one will know it only took you 10 minutes to make!

If you’re gluten free and want to make this more substantial, serve it over some spring mix lettuce. If you are a carb lover, serve it with some bagel chips or crusty baguette slices. If you‘re super lazy like I am in the mornings, serve it with mimosas and your guests won’t want to leave! Either way, if you make this, I promise you won’t be sorry.

 Everything Bagel Bacon & Egg Salad Stuffed Avocados

6 hard-boiled eggs, chopped

6 slices cooked bacon, crumbled

2/3 cup mayonnaise

1 Tablespoon Everything but the Bagel Seasoning, divided

6 small ripe avocados


In a medium mixing bowl gently stir together the chopped egg, bacon, mayonnaise and 2 teaspoons of the bagel seasoning.

Cut the avocados in half, remove the pits, peel and place on a serving platter, cut side up.

Spoon the egg salad mixture into the avocado halves and sprinkle with the remaining Bagel seasoning.

Serve immediately.

This is my entry for the Hellmann's Deli Club Brunch Mini Challenge

#minichallenge #HellmannsBrunch #hellmannsdeliclub

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Big as Texas BBQ Bloody Mary


When I saw that Smithworks Vodka was hosting a Bloody Mary contest, I knew I had to enter! Part of the fun of a Bloody Mary is the garnishes and I loaded my Big as Texas BBQ Bloody Mary with a Chicken Fried Steak Slider, a Deviled Egg, Fried Chicken Wing, celery stick (can you even have a Bloody Mary without one?), jalapeno garlic stuffed olives, pickle and a marinated artichoke heart! 

Big as Texas BBQ Bloody Mary 

1 Tablespoon BBQ sauce

1 Tablespoon BBQ seasoning

 1 cup Zing Zang Bloody Mary Mix

3 ounces Smithworks Vodka

1 Tablespoon BBQ sauce

Juice of ½ a lime

Splash of EACH: Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, pickled jalapeno brine, soy sauce, olive juice

 Top with the best snack/skewer/toppers that ever did exist: Chicken Fried Steak Slider, Deviled Egg, Fried Chicken Wing, celery stick, jalapeno garlic stuffed olives, pickle, marinated artichoke heart

 Dip the rim of 2 glasses into the BBQ sauce, then the BBQ seasoning. Fill with ice.

 In a pitcher stir together the Bloody Mary Mix, Smithworks Vodka, BBQ sauce, lime juice, and a splash of EACH: Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, pickled jalapeno brine, soy sauce, olive juice. Pour the mixture into the glasses, top with snack/skewer/toppers and enjoy!

Monday, September 14, 2020

Loaded Muffuletta Fries


Loaded Muffuletta Fries!! It was the first Saints game of the season yesterday and I think my entry for the Grown In Idaho “Super Fry Fan Recipe Challenge” was the perfect snack to have while watching the game! 

Super Crispy Crinkle Cut Fries are loaded down with a provolone and mozzarella cheese sauce, crispy fried salami cubes, ham, olive salad mix and green onions – it’s all the flavors you love about the traditional muffuletta but piled on top of crispy fries!!

Loaded Muffuletta Fries

 Mixed Olive Salad:

½ cup mixed olives, coarsely chopped

½ cup giardiniera (pickled mixed vegetables), chopped

¼ cup Italian dressing

2 Tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

Provolone Cheese Sauce:

1 Tablespoon butter

1 Tablespoon flour

2 cups whole milk, warmed

2 cups grated provolone cheese 

2 cups grated mozzarella cheese 

1⁄4 cup grated parmesan cheese

1 Tablespoon cornstarch

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1⁄4 teaspoon pepper

1 bag Grown in Idaho Super Crispy Crinkle Cut Fries

½ cup diced salami

½ cup diced ham

¼ cup sliced green onions

In a small mixing bowl, stir together the chopped mixed olives, giardiniera, Italian dressing and parsley. Set in the fridge to chill.

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in the warm milk, and cook, stirring constantly, until all the lumps are gone and the sauce has thickened (about 5 minutes). Toss the cheeses with the cornstarch. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the cheeses, salt and pepper. Stir until the sauce is smooth. 

Prepare the Super Crispy Crinkle Cut Fries according to the package directions. 

Place the cubed salami in a small frying pan over medium high heat. Cook until crisp and set aside. 

When the fries are crisp and hot, pour the cheese sauce over the top. Sprinkle with the crispy salami, ham, olive salad and green onions. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Cilantro Lime Crema Deviled Eggs


I have super exciting news AND a new recipe to share today. First off, my “Mexi-Cajun Jambalaya Arancini with Cilantro Lime Crema” won this week’s “Most Creative Entry” prize of $100, lots of foodie goodies from Don Pancho Foods and Pork Barrel BBQ It’s always so exciting to hear that your recipe was appreciated and I was so honored to read the judges comments! Now here’s hoping I make it to the Grand Prize win next week!! 

Even though I can’t enter any more recipes in the Don 
Pancho recipe contest, I couldn’t keep these to myself. They’re just too good not to share and would be the perfect addition to your Labor Day menu!!

Who doesn’t love deviled eggs? They’re always welcome at my house and they’re always the first plate emptied! I took this Southern staple south of the border today with this super simple twist! Cilantro Lime Crema and avocado is the base for my deviled egg filling and it makes the most delicious easy appetizer!

Cilantro Lime Crema Deviled Eggs 
12 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and sliced in half 
1 large ripe avocado, peeled and pit removed 
1 ½ teaspoons garlic salt 
¾ cup Don Pancho Cilantro Lime Crema 
1 small jalapeno, sliced thinly 

Place the egg yolks, avocado, garlic salt and ½ cup of the sauce in a medium mixing bowl and mash with the back of a fork until the mixture is completely smooth. Place the filling in a quart sized plastic bag and cut the tip of the bag off. Pipe the filling into the egg whites. Drizzle the filled eggs with the remaining sauce, top each egg with a slice of jalapeno and serve.

Monday, August 31, 2020

Honey Harissa Grilled Chicken Tacos with Lemon Mint Crema


 Today I'm sharing my third and final entry into the Stella Rosa recipe contest. My Honey Harissa Grilled Chicken Tacos with Lemon Mint Crema are so fresh and full of flavor! Sweet and spicy grilled chicken is topped with quick pickled onions, crunchy cucumbers and a greek yogurt mint sauce and they're served in grilled tortillas (I like mine super charred)

Why should Tuesday have all the fun? Let's start our week off with taco night!

Honey Harissa Grilled Chicken Tacos with Lemon Mint Crema

¼ cup honey 
2 tablespoons harissa paste 
1 teaspoon coriander 
1 teaspoon cumin 
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar 
2 teaspoons garlic salt 
1 ½ pounds chicken breast, cut into 2 inch cubes 

1 cup water
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar 
1/4 cup white distilled vinegar 
1 tablespoon sugar 
½ teaspoon caraway seeds 
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt 
1 small red onion, thinly sliced 

Zest of 1 lemon 
½ cup plain Greek yogurt 
1 Tablespoon mayonnaise 
¼ cup mint, chopped 
¼ teaspoon salt 
1/8 teaspoon pepper 

10 corn tortillas 
1 English cucumber, cut into small sticks 
½ cup cilantro leaves, chopped


In a large bowl combine the chicken, honey, harissa paste, coriander, cumin, apple cider vinegar and garlic salt. Stir the mixture around until the chicken is evenly coated and allow to marinate for at least 2 hours, or preferably, overnight.

Bring the water, apple cider vinegar and white vinegar to a boil in a small sauce pot and place the sliced red onions in a glass jar or bowl. Whisk in the sugar, caraway seeds and salt until the salt and sugar dissolve. Pour the mixture over the onions and set aside to cool.

Place the lemon zest, yogurt, mayonnaise, mint, salt and pepper in a small mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Place in the fridge to chill.

 Pre-heat a grill to medium high heat and remove the chicken from the fridge, allowing it to come to room temperature. Working in batches, cook the tortillas on the grill until brown and charred around the edges. Once charred, remove the tortillas from the grill and wrap in foil to keep them warm. Thread the chicken onto metal skewers and grill for 5 minutes. Flip the chicken over and continue to cook until the chicken is fully cooked, and juices run clear, about 3-5 minutes more.

To assemble the tacos, break apart the chicken with two forks creating bite sized chunks. Fill each tortilla with an even amount of cucumber sticks, shredded chicken pieces, pickled onions, chopped cilantro and drizzle with the lemon mint crema.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Grilled Spinach Feta and Kalamata Chicken Patties with Creamy Harissa Sauce


This is my second entry for the Stella Rosa wines recipe contest and it is a stunner! Super simple to make, only 12 ingredients and BIG on flavor! Lean ground chicken is packed with fresh spinach, crumbled feta and kalamata olives then grilled and served with grilled lemon and a spicy creamy sauce. What's not to love?! 

These are fabulous as-is but equally good next to a salad, with rice or wrapped in a tortilla. I always make the mixture and form the patties in the morning and place them on a wax paper lined cookie sheet so they're ready to be cooked when we are but they're so quick to throw together they can easily be made and cooked in less than 30 minutes!

If you're not familiar, harissa is a North African chile paste that happens to be one of my favorite new finds! If you can't find it, no worries, just sub sriracha or chili garlic paste but I promise you, if you make the effort to get some it'll be well worth it!  

Grilled Spinach Feta and Kalamata Chicken Patties with Creamy Harissa Sauce

4 cups fresh spinach, finely chopped 
1 cup feta cheese crumbles 
½ cup diced kalamata olives 
2-pounds ground chicken 
1 teaspoon garlic salt 
1 teaspoon pepper 

1 Tablespoon harissa 
½ cup marinated roasted red bell peppers 
½ teaspoon cumin 
1/3 cup mayonnaise 
1/8 cup Greek yogurt 
1 lemon 

Heat a gas grill to medium high heat.

 In a large mixing bowl, combine the spinach, feta, olives, ground chicken, garlic salt and pepper. Form into 8 equal sized patties and set on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet to chill in the fridge.

 In a mini food processor or blender puree the harissa, roasted red bell peppers, cumin, mayonnaise and Greek yogurt until smooth. Set in the fridge to chill.

 Slice the lemon in half and place on the hottest part of your grill, cut side down. Allow the lemon halves to get well charred and remove from the heat. Place the patties on the grill, cover and allow to cook 5-6 minutes, flip and continue to cook for 4-5 minutes, or until patties are fully cooked through.

 Squeeze the grilled lemon over the patties and serve with dipping sauce.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Grilled Charcuterie Panzanella Salad

Charcuterie boards are really having a moment right now and I am so here for it! I always, without fail, have a charcuterie board out when entertaining. It's so easy, can be made ahead and has a little something for everyone! Anything goes when I'm putting together a board - clean out your fridge, pantry and veggie drawer! Cheeses, meats, crackers, bread, olives, pickles, veggies, fruit- it's all delicious and really beautiful when placed together making you look impressive with very little work put into it.

When I saw that Stella Rosa wines was hosting a recipe contest looking for grilled dishes to be paired with their wine I knew what I was doing! Grilled Charcuterie Panzanella Salad - it's all of your favorite items from a fabulous charcuterie platter grilled to give it a little extra crisp and smoke and then mixed into this gorgeous salad that pairs perfectly with wine!

If you're not familiar with Panzanella, don't be scared by the name. It's just a traditional Italian salad made with bread, tomatoes and basil. So instead of going the traditional route, I grilled everything and loaded it with all the best from a charcuterie platter! Whether you use it as a side dish, or the main event, I promise you'll love it! Cheers! 

Grilled Charcuterie Panzanella Salad

2 Tablespoons fig preserves

2 Tablespoons sherry vinegar

4 Tablespoons olive oil

6 ounces ciabatta bread

½ cup jarred marinated artichokes, with 1 Tablespoon of the marinade

2 thick slices (3 ounces total) Italian hard salami

1 (6 ounce) ham steak

½ cup mini mozzarella balls

½ cup cubed manchego cheese (or any other sharp firm cheese)

1 cup mixed olives

½ cup cornichon, cut into ¼ inch pieces

4 Tablespoons golden raisins

½ cup multicolored baby tomatoes

3 Tablespoons fresh chopped basil


 Heat a grill to high heat.

 Whisk together the fig preserves, sherry vinegar and olive oil in a large mixing bowl.

Brush both sides of the bread slices with the marinade from the artichokes. Place the bread slices on the hot grill for 2 minutes, watching closely to prevent burning. Flip the bread over and allow the other side to toast and get grill marks. Remove from the heat and cut into ¾ inch cubes.

Place the ham and salami on the grill and allow them to cook and get grill marks on both sides, about 5 minutes. Remove from the grill and cut into bite sized pieces.

Add the grilled bread, salami and ham chunks to the vinaigrette and toss to evenly coat. Add the artichokes, mozzarella, manchego, olives, cornichon, golden raisins and tomatoes and stir. Pour the mixture onto a serving tray, sprinkle with basil and serve with lots of wine. Cheers!

 4-6 servings


Sunday, August 23, 2020

Corn & Andouille Beignets with Don Pancho Cilantro Lime Crema


Here's my entry for the Don Pancho “I put Cilantro Lime Crema on EVERYTHING.” recipe contest! They are looking for creative ways to use their delicious Cilantro Lime Crema  for a chance to win a grand prize package worth more than $600!
My first entry is a combo of two of my favorite things - Cajun flavors and Tex-Mex. As many of you know, my dog's names are Roux and Beignet, so I obviously have a soft spot for the pillowy fried treat.

 This time, instead of going sweet, I went savory and created my "Corn & Andouille Beignets with Don Pancho Cilantro Lime Crema" which uses the crema in the batter and as a cool dip to dunk them in. Sweet corn, spicy andouille and the cilantro lime crema combine in a crispy on the outside, light on the inside fried ball of goodness. Be sure to have plenty of Cilantro Lime Crema and I think you'll like them as much as my family did!

Corn & Andouille Beignets with Don Pancho Cilantro Lime Crema

2 cups flour

½ cup cornmeal

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

6 Tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon cajun seasoning

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup buttermilk

½ cup Don Pancho Cilantro Lime Crema

2 large eggs

1 large (about 4 Tablespoons) sliced green onion

1 cup diced andouille sausage 

1 cup roasted corn kernels

1 cup Don Pancho Cilantro Lime Crema, for dipping

In an electric fryer or large high sided skillet fitted with a candy thermometer, bring the oil up to 360 degrees over medium high heat.

In a small mixing bowl whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, sugar, cajun seasoning and baking soda. In a separate large mixing bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, Don Pancho Cilantro Lime Crema, eggs, green onion, andouille and corn. Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture and stir until just barely combined. 

Once the oil is hot, using a small cookie scoop carefully drop balls of batter into the oil. Fry for about 4 minutes, turning halfway through, until golden brown and cooked through. Transfer to a paper towel lined cookie sheet and allow to drain. Serve immediately with Don Pancho Cilantro Lime Crema for dipping.

Makes 40 beignets

Monday, August 17, 2020

Cheesy Skillet Meatball Gnocchi


Well, it's happening. virtual school is starting tomorrow for my kids in what will be the continuation of the weirdest year ever. I think we're all a little nervous about how it'll pan out but I continue to be amazed at how resilient my kids can be, so here's to hoping it all goes smoothly!

No matter how tomorrow goes, I think we could all use a ridiculously easy, delicious one pan supper that will make you look like a rockstar while only taking less than 30 minutes to put together in our back pocket. Here's my "Cheesy Skillet Meatball Gnocchi" - little cauliflower potato dumplings from the freezer section are crisped in a skillet then topped with frozen meatballs, your favorite marinara sauce and loads of cheese. Bake until gooey and dig in! Literally couldn't be simpler.

I can guarantee you that this will disappear fast. If you are feeling extra fancy, throw a loaf of french bread or a green salad on the side!

Cheesy Skillet Meatball Gnocchi

1 Tablespoon vegetable oil

1 (10 ounce) package frozen cauliflower gnocchi

30 frozen fully cooked (1 inch) meatballs, thawed

1 cup jarred marinara sauce

8 ounces Frigo Fresh Mozzarella Cheese, sliced

¼ cup chopped fresh basil

2 Tablespoons Frigo Fresh Grated Parmesan Cheese

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat. Once the pan is very hot, add the oil and spread the gnocchi out in an even layer and allow them to sit undisturbed for 3 minutes. Once the bottoms are browned and crisped, flip the gnocchi over and cook for 3 more minutes.

Once the gnocchi have crisped on both sides add the meatballs to the pan, nestling them in between the gnocchi. Spoon dollops of the sauce evenly around the pan and place in the oven and for 10 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven and top with the mozzarella slices. Place back in the oven for 5 minutes, or until the cheese gets soft and melty. Sprinkle with the basil and Parmesan cheese and serve immediately.

Friday, August 14, 2020

Watermelon Greek Salad Salsa


Hi there! It’s been a mess for a hot minute, but I am finally getting it together and I am beyond excited to be back in the kitchen creating new recipes and contest entries! The lovely folks at The Watermelon Board are looking for new twists on recipes from their site, so I decided to take their recipe for Watermelon Greek Salad and put a twist on it! Here’s my “Watermelon Greek Salad Salsa”

The sweetness of the watermelon is fantastic with the briney olives, salty feta crumbles and fresh mint! It’s so refreshing, cold and delicious it will help you forget that it’s 1,752 degrees outside!! 


Watermelon Greek Salad Salsa

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 ½ tablespoons white balsamic vinegar

¼ teaspoon garlic salt

1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint

2 cups watermelon, cut into small cubes

1 cup diced English cucumber

½ cup diced red onion

1/3 cup Kalamata olives, chopped

¼ cup crumbled feta cheese

Pita chips, for serving


Whisk the olive oil, white balsamic vinegar, garlic salt and chopped mint together in a large mixing bowl. Gently stir in the watermelon, cucumber, red onion and olives. Pour the mixture into a serving bowl, top with feta and serve with pita chips.


 #WatermelonRecipeContest #recipecontest #chipsandsalsa #watermelonrecipes

Roasted Garlic Shrimp and Parmesan Polenta with Crispy Garlic Bread Crumbs

This is my entry for The Jersey Tomato Co Off The Vine Recipe Contest  and it is killer!! Growing up in the New Orleans area, I am no strang...