Friday, May 29, 2015

Caponata Empanadas

I love caponata- it's a little sweet, a little salty and loaded with veggies.
I am all in!
 Spread on crostini, on a sandwich, on pizza- I love it all. In a perfect world, I would be making caponata to use up all of the extra veggies from my garden before they go bad. In reality, plants wither at the sight of me and my garden consists of a large bed of mint leaves and one gigantic rosemary plant.
 So, if you're like me and can only grow weeds, take advantage of the summer sales at your grocery store and make some caponata. And then stuff it into adorable little hand pies to impress your last minute guests with!
These mini hand pies are delicious and the perfect thing to serve with a glass of wine as an appetizer or as dinner along a salad. The caponata can easily be made in advance and the baked pies reheat beautifully!
Caponata Empanadas
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 cup diced red onion
1 small eggplant, peeled and cubed (about 4 cups worth)
½ teaspoon salt
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 Fresno chili, minced
1 cup chicken broth
½ cup diced roasted red bell pepper
¼ cup sliced green olives
2 Tablespoons capers
1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon brown sugar
2 Tablespoons raisins
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
2 Tablespoons parsley, chopped
1 Tablespoon flour
2 boxes prepared pie dough (4 pie shells total)
1 egg, lightly beaten
In a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat, cook the oil, onion, eggplant and salt for 10 minutes or until the onion and eggplant are softened. Add the garlic and Fresno chili and sauté 5 minutes.  Add the next 8 ingredients and allow to cook for 10-20 minutes, or until the chicken broth has evaporated and the vegetables are softened. Remove from heat, stir in the chopped parsley, and set aside to cool.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Lightly flour a work surface and unroll the pie crusts. Using a 4-inch cookie cutter or glass, cut out 40 circles of pie dough, re-rolling the scraps to use it all up.
Brush the edges of the dough circles with beaten egg. Mound about 1 Tablespoon of the filling in the center of each circle. Carefully fold circle over to form a half moon shape. Using a fork, dipped lightly in flour, press tines along the open edge to seal. Transfer to the parchment paper lined cookie sheets and bake at 400 degrees for 18-20 minutes.
 So flaky and delicious!
Serve warm. Makes 40 mini hand pies.
Also, don't forget to enter my giveaway so you can win a selection of delicious Saucy Mama products! All you need to do is leave me a comment or share the post on facebook to enter. Winner will be picked Monday!
Click HERE to enter

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

My Saucy Mama Entry and a Giveaway!

When I saw that Saucy Mama was hosting a recipe contest and that the prize was entry and spending money to be a competitor in this year's World Food Championship I jumped at the chance! I was floored when 6 bottles of their delicious sauces and mustards were delivered to my door just a few days later. Y'all, they are DELICIOUS! It was hard for me to narrow down which of them I would use in my entry but I think you'll love what I came up with!
I ended up brushing the Apricot Ginger Mustard on the tuna steaks to help the sesame seeds stick to it. Then I made a super fresh herb slaw and used the Miso Orange Dressing to bring it to the next level of goodness. I wanted something crunchy on top kind of like French fried onions but a little different......that's where the beer battered nori comes in! A bit of crunch and richness that pairs perfectly with how light and fresh the rest of the dish is.
Sesame Seared Tuna with Saucy Mama Slaw and Beer Battered Nori
For the Slaw:
1 cup julienned Asian pear
1/2 cup julienned daikon
1 cup shredded carrot
1 small fresno chile, sliced thinly
2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro
2 Tablespoons chopped thai basil
2 Tablespoons chopped mint
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup Saucy Mama Miso Orange Sesame Dressing

Combine all ingredients in a medium sized mixing bowl. Stir to combine and place in the fridge to chill until ready to serve.

For the Beer Battered Nori:
3 cups canola oil
1 (8x8 inch sheet) Nori
1/2 cup self-rising flour
6 oz beer
1/2 teaspoon salt

Heat the oil in a high sided deep sauce pot fitted with a candy thermometer. Using kitchen scissors, cut the nori into 2 1/2 inch by 1/2 inch strips. Place the flour in a medium mixing bowl. Dredge the nori strips through the flour then set aside. Add the beer to the flour and whisk, forming a lumpy batter. Once the oil reaches 375 degrees, coat the nori strips in the beer batter and fry, in batches, for 2-5 minutes or until golden brown. Remove the nori strips from the oil once they are browned and crisp and season with salt.

For the Seared Tuna:
2 teaspoons canola oil
2 10-ounce tuna steaks
2 Tablespoons Saucy Mama's Apricot Ginger Mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 Tablespoons white sesame seeds
2 Tablespoons black sesame seeds

Heat the oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Brush the tuna steaks with the mustard, sprinkle with salt and then press the sesame seeds onto the mustard. Sear the tuna steaks for 2-3 minutes per side. Remove form the pan and slice into 1/4 inch slices.

To serve:
Place an equal amount of the slaw on 4 plates, top with sliced tuna and top the tuna with the fried nori. Serve immediately. Serves 4
Seeing as though it wouldn't be fair to tell you how delicious their products are and then to tempt you with my creation but not let you taste it, Saucy Mama has offered to send one lucky reader a selection of 3 sauces or mustards of their choice! All you have to do to enter is go to their website HERE and tell me which products you'd pick if you win in a comment on this post. For an extra entry, share this giveaway on Facebook and leave me a comment telling me you did so. Winner will be drawn at random and announced on Monday, June 1st. Good luck!

Little's Lunches 22

I hope everyone had a great Memorial Day weekend! For us, we had some very scary weather and ended up needing to clean up the storm damage on our property in between taking shelter in the closet from what felt like the constant ringing of tornado warnings. No Bueno.
Even though what we had to deal with was no fun, I know many in the surrounding communities fared much worse than we did. The stories that are trickling in are heart wrenching and it makes you just want to grab your kids and hug them and never let them go!
OK, no more depressing talk- there are only 7 days of school left!!!!! That statement gives me a mixture of excitement and terror. What do you have planned for summer?
Here's what I packed in our lunchboxes last week:
 Monday: sliced ham, potato salad, veggies and ranch, fruit salad and a pickle
 Tuesday: Peanut butter on raisin bread, mixed veggies and ranch. I know this doesn't look like much, but the raisin bread I had was really thick, so I knew that a good smear of PB would fill the kids up!
 Wednesday: Cheese quesadillas and guacamole, veggies and chocolate berry granola. I am on a huge granola kick lately, and this stuff is delicious! I got a big bag from Costco and have been snacking on it all week!
 Thursday: sliced ham, potato salad, sugar snap peas, cucumbers, baby tomato, honeydew and granola
Friday: Ham sandwiches on honey wheat bagels, veggies and granola
I also got my prize from the Bai smoothie contest delivered this week! I think we will be set for drinks for a long time. If the other flavors are half as good as the coconut I'm in for a treat!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Bai's Bunny Patch Smoothie

Friday morning I was having my coffee and browsing facebook when I noticed that Bai had posted the winners of their smoothie contest on their home page. Lucky for me I was one of them! I won the Most Creative prize with my carrot cake inspired smoothie. When I tasted Bai for the first time I really loved the coconut flavor and I immediately started thinking of how I could transform it into a smoothie with the flavors of my son's favorite dessert- Carrot Cake 
They sent me the cutest email too:
After sorting through over 150 winners, we just could not ignore your recipe. Congratulations on winning "Most Creative" in our Bai 5 Smoothie Challenge.
Along with eternal glory, you've also won:
$100 gift card to Whole Food's and 10 cases of Bai (booya!)
Nothing like finding out you're a blending champion to kick off the weekend right?
Georgie & the Bai Team
Bai's Bunny Patch
 1 bottle Bai5 Molokai Coconut
1/4 cup pitted dates
1 Tablespoon wholemeal flax seed
1/2 cup baby carrots
2/3 cup frozen pineapple chunks
1 frozen banana
2 cups ice
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Blend all ingredients together until smooth.

1 Tablespoon toasted coconut for topping

Top with toasted coconut. Serves 2.

If you'd like to see the other winning recipes follow this link


Monday, May 18, 2015

Little's Lunches 21

Happy Monday! We had a jam-packed week filled with fun, I hope you did as well!
We had family and friends in town visiting all week, a few BBQ's, a concert, a crawfish boil and even a tornado warning! Never a dull moment!
Here's what I packed in the lunchboxes this week:
Monday: Tortellini Pasta Salad, mushrooms and carrots with Ranch, flatbread and sunflower seeds with dried cranberries
Tuesday: Grilled Chicken Sandwich on a Whole Wheat bun, baby carrots and bell pepper slices and Bunny Grahams
Wednesday: My parents were in town (yay for free babysitters!) so they went and had lunch at school with the kids and then that night Louis and I got to go to the Dave Matthews Concert. It rained on and off the entire time, but we had a blast anyway
 Thursday: Ham, pita chips, pickles, bell peppers and carrots with cilantro ranch dip, coleslaw and prunes
 Friday: Broccoli salad, crackers, half of a puff pastry mini-letta swirl, sunflower seeds, applesauce, baby carrots and olives
On Saturday, we hosted the office crawfish boil for the 5th year in a row! We had a TON of food and I was exhausted on Sunday from all of it, but we had a great time! The day before, when I was doing the massive grocery run I somehow scratched my cornea in the middle of HEB and had to have my mom drive me straight to the eye doctor so I was a little frazzled and didn't get a ton of pictures of the food that day, but here's the rundown of what we served:
Beer, Wine, Margaritas, Iced Tea, Sodas and Juice Boxes
Boiled Crawfish with mushrooms, sausage, corn, potatoes and garlic
bacon wrapped jalapeno peppers stuffed with Cajun sausage
bacon wrapped jumbo shrimp stuffed with cream cheese and jalapeno
Homemade Salsa and guacamole with chips
Beer Cheese Spread with pita chips
Veggie Tray
Fruit Tray
Grilled Hot Dogs for the kids
Grilled Boudin and Alligator Sausage
Po Boys- Ham and Cheddar, Ham and Swiss and Italian Cold Cut
Crawfish Cupcakes
 WHEW!! I really felt like I bought out HEB and Costco but I think everyone enjoyed themselves!What is your go to dish to serve at parties? I'd love to hear it!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Mini-letta Swirls

I have always liked Muffulettas, and growing up in the New Orleans area, I have had my fair share of them. I'm pretty sure almost every single wedding, shower or party I went to growing up had some form of them served. Whether it was the huge whole loaf version or the cute little mini ones, they were always available. It combines so many things I love together- carbs, cheese, salty briny olives and a few delicious Italian cold cuts. It wasn't until I was in college that I had my first toasted Muffuletta and ever since then I don't want mine any other way!
When brainstorming what I could make for an appetizer recipe contest, it wasn't hard to decide on this version of one of my favorite sandwiches
The cheese gets melty and gooey, the bread is traded up for puff pastry, and with the olive salad as a topper instead of just an afterthought, I can load mine with as much as I want!
  Mini-letta Swirls
1 Tablespoon flour
4 teaspoons sesame seeds
1 17.3 ounce package Puff Pastry Sheets, thawed
12 ounces provolone cheese slices
6 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto
8 ounces thinly sliced salami
1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning
1/3 cup black olives, chopped
1/3 cup green olives, chopped
2/3 cup Giardiniera, chopped
2 Tablespoons Italian dressing
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
Sprinkle the flour and sesame seeds evenly on a flat surface such as wooden board or countertop. Unfold each sheet of puff pastry onto the flour and sesame seed mixture and gently press so the seeds adhere to the dough.  Layer each sheet evenly with the provolone, prosciutto and salami. Sprinkle each evenly with the Italian seasoning. Starting at the long side of the dough, roll up like a jelly roll. Tuck the ends under to seal. Using a serrated knife, slice each pastry roll into 12 slices and place, cut side up, on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until browned and golden.
While the muffuletta swirls are baking, make the olive salad topping. In a small bowl, stir together the chopped black olives, green olives, Giardiniera and Italian dressing. Serve on the side as a topping for the swirls.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Little's Lunches 20

Happy Monday!
I hope everyone had as good of a Mother's Day as I did! My hubby and kids spoiled me the whole day and I loved every minute of it! I got to sleep in, and enjoyed my coffee by myself in a quiet house, then they took me to brunch were I had all of my favorite things- mimosas, pork belly, oysters and chocolate mousse.....and no dishes to wash! It was perfect!
This week for lunches we had:
Monday: edemame and baby carrots, ranch, Potato Salad, broccoli and cucumber, coconut bites and cooked apples
Tuesday: Spinach Cheese Squares (recipe here), crackers and cheese, blackberries, strawberries, baby carrots and cucumber slices
Wednesday: Hard Boiled Egg, crackers, broccoli and olives, cooked apples, coconut bites, blackberries and strawberries
Thursday: Peanut Butter and Jelly on a whole wheat bun, blackberries, coconut chips and broccoli salad (recipe here)
 Friday: Broccoli Salad, pita bread, jicama sticks, ranch, blackberries, cucumber slices and hard boiled egg

Monday, May 4, 2015

Little's Lunches 19

Happy Monday! I had a great weekend filled with beautiful weather and a lot of relaxing, I hope you did too! We had baseball games, marshmallow roasting in the backyard and Louis and I even got to sneak away and have a winery date on Sunday!
My little bunny friend is still coming around and getting fatter each time I see him. Isn't he the cutest thing ever?!
Saturday night we grilled fajitas and had dinner and roasted marshmallows outside. It was delicious and I could have eaten just the grilled veggies by themselves and been happy. I used the Homesick Texan's recipe for fajitas and used it on chicken; it was delicious and so simple to make!
Monday: for lunch, we were stuck in the car all day through hail, a brutal tornado warning that gave me a panic attack and at least 1 hour of sitting stopped on the top of a bridge trying to get home from Louisiana. We snacked most of the day and stopped at Bucee's for sandwiches.
 Tuesday: Peanut butter Tortilla roll ups, baby carrots with ranch, coconut cashews, mandarin oranges for B and dried apple chips for M
 Wednesday: Black Bean and cheddar grilled cheese sandwiches, baby carrots, chex mix and coconut cashews
 Thursday: Shrimp and Crab Spring Rolls with Thai sweet chili sauce to dip, edemame and carrots, blackberries and cinnamon cooked apples
Friday: Wheat Pita Bread with Greek Yogurt Spinach Dip, coconut pomegranate chews, edemame with carrots and blackberries
I also found out on Friday, that I WON the grand prize for the Healthy Solutions Blogger Contest! Thanks so much to everyone who went and left comments on my recipe!
I also was very excited to receive my prize from the Avocados from Mexico contest!
Let's see how long I can keep this device from being loaded with kid games!

Pickle Baked Chicken Tenders with Creamy Chili Honey Sauce

Thanks to Hellmann’s 100% Recycled Plastic Bottles and the “Real Taste, Less Waste” challenge I get to share with you a kitchen hack that...