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Sunday, October 21, 2012

Ginger and Cilantro Baked Tilapia (Chicken)

Made with Tilapia

Made with chicken breast

I love Tilapia. The rest of my family...not so much. I can't even get my son to go anywhere near it. So, I am ALWAYS on the lookout for good Tilapia recipes. If they can also be made up to be made with chicken...even better.

I stumbled on this recipes on Pinterest and knew that I had to try it. had originally pinned it and I am thrilled they did. It is a good one. I partnered with regular white rice which soaked up the sauce. I can't tell if it had more of a Mexican flare to it or an Asian one...but really, I don't care!

So, here we go!:


1 pound Tilapia (or thin cut chicken breasts)
KOSHER salt and coarsely ground pepper
1.5 t. jarred garlic
1 T. chopped fine fresh ginger
1 jalapeno pepper finely chopped
1/3 cup rough chopped cilantro
1/4 cup whit whine
2 T. soy sauce
1 t. sesame oil
chopped green onion and chopped cilantro to garnish


1) Heat oven to 475 degrees. Pat the fish/chicken dry and season lightly with salt/pepper. Place in a baking dish.

2) Put the garlic, ginger, jalapeno and cilantro in a food processor and add wine soy sauce and sesame oil. Process until blended.

3) Pour over fish/chicken and place in oven. Bake fish for 15 minutes. Going the chicken route? Cook for 25 minutes. Brush sauce over fish/chicken a couple of times during baking process.

Chicken ready for the oven

4) Serve over rice with additional green onions/cilantro.

Cafe Rio Slow Cooker Chicken with Cafe Rio Cilantro Rice


Anyone who has followed the Pub and Grub for the shortest length of time know that the Blackburns LOVE some Mexican food! So, when I found this recipe on the Six Sisters site AND it used a crock pot, I knew it was on the Chicago Bear sofa tailgating menu! Now, this makes a TON of these tortillas and I think next time I would halve the recipe, but it was a winner in our home.

Wanna go healthy? Use low fat sour cream, cheeses and whole wheat tortillas!


3 lbs chicken breasts
8 oz Italian dressing
1 T. cumin
1 T. chili powder
Burrito sized tortillas

Garnishes: sour cream; salsa; shredded lettuce; chopped tomato; chopped green onion; cilantro rice (recipe below); cheddar or Mexican blend cheese; avocado; warmed black beans


1) In a bowl, combine Italian dressing, cumin and chili powder.

2) Place chicken breasts in a crock pot and pour sauce over chicken. Stir to cover.

3) Cover and cook on high for 5 hours. Shred chicken and return to crock pot. Keep warm.

Cafe Rio Cilantro Rice:

2 cups uncooked rice
2 cups chopped cilantro
1 cup salsa verde
1 bunch chopped green onions
4 cups water
Pinch of salt


1) Mix the cilantro with 2 coups of water in the pan you are going to cook the rice with and 2 more cups water and the salt, salsa verde and green onions.

2) Bring to a boil and stir in the rice into BOILING water. Cover and turn the heat down.

3) Steam for 30 minutes and stir before serving.

Grilled Garlic and Herb Shrimp


I absolutely love these lil bad boys. My family can chow down on these sweet little morsels of shrimp goodness.

Various herbs, lemon juice and brown sugar make a spectacular marinade that the shrimp soak up like a sponge.

Now, a note on the shrimp...You can use raw peeled shrimp. I have always been taught that it is better to cook shrimp on the grill with the shell still on and to peel at the meal. This is because shrimp can go from spectacular to rubber pretty dang quickly. The shell helps to buffer some of that time and give for mistakes. I have found in my years of cooking shrimp for this to be true. While I could probably use peeled shrimp at this time, I still continue to prefer the shell on. In my humble opinion, it keeps the shrimp "juicier". It might be a tad messier and inconvenient, but I have just worked past that. Just have a bowl available to put the shells in and maybe some wetnaps for after the meal.

I have served this several ways. A big bowl of them for sofa tailgating or with a crock pot baked potato or with a rice pilaf and salad. Your choice!

Partnered with my crock pot loaded baked potatoes

So, here we go:


2 t. ground paprika
2 T. minced or jarred garlic
2 t. Italian seasoning
2 T. fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 t. ground black pepper
2 t. dried basil leaves
2 T. packed brown sugar
2 lbs. LARGE shrimp peeled and deveined or shell on (your choice)


1) In a large pan or a container cover wooden skewers with water. Allow to soak for one hour.
2) Whisk together the first 8 ingredients and pour over shrimp. Stir to coat evenly and allow to marinade in the fridge for a minimum of 2 hours (I do 4 hours.).
3) Skewer shrimp onto skewers. I normally get 5 shrimp on each skewer. Be sure to leave spaces between each shrimp to ensure even cooking.
4) Place on grill of your choice. Try not to have them over direct heat. I let mine cook about 5 minutes each side. This is why it is important not to have them over direct heat!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Overnight French Toast Casserole


When I say how much I love PINTEREST, it is because I come across recipes like this! Now, I love me some french toast and this reminded me why I love it so much! This had a fantastic blend of flavors and then topped with the crunch of pecans and a Cinnamon/brown sugar "glaze".  Serve it with a warmed maple syrup and it is heaven on earth.

Now, it takes 12 hours to prepare so be sure to do the planning to make it. I served it with Paula Deen's "The Lady's Perfect Scrambled Eggs" and bacon. So good.

Consider it for a brunch, breakfast or,  like me, breakfast for dinner.

So, here we go!


1 Loaf Soft Crusted French Bread sliced 1.5 inches thick
4 T. butter, melted
3/4 cup brown sugar
8 eggs slightly beaten
1 cup WHOLE milk
1 T. vanilla
1 t. ground cinnamon
1/4 t. ground ginger
1/8 t. salt
1/2 cup chopped pecans, chopped more finely
maple syrup and powdered sugar


1) Combine melted butter and brown sugar, place in a 10 x 15 pan.

2) Arrange bread slices in pan overlapping them if necessary (but try not to)
3) Combine the next 6 ingredients in a large bowl.

4) Pour over bread, top with pecans and wrap with saran wrap. Place in the refrigerator for 12 hours.
5) Take pan out of the fridge 10 minutes prior to baking and preheat oven to 350 degrees.
6) Bake for 35 to 40 minutes. If it starts to brown too quickly, tent with tinfoil.
7) Serve slices with powdered sugar and maple syrup.

Mozzarella Sticks

Adapted: Taste of Home

Looking for something different than the traditional crumb coated mozzarella sticks? Egg roll wrappers, Baby! These were really, really different. They were really, really cool and chowed down at the Blackburn home. Now, they aren't something that we will eat all the time due to being fried, but I am always looking for different dishes for Chicago Bears sofa tailgating. These definitely fit the bill!

So, here we go:


12 pieces string cheese, unwrapped
12 egg roll wrapper
Oil for deep frying
Marinara sauce


1) Wrap a piece of string cheese as instructed:
  • Place egg roll wrapper in a diamond shape on cutting board in front of you. (Keep other egg roll wrappers covered by a damp cloth)
  • Place string cheese at the closest point to you and start rolling away from you.
  • Once string cheese is half way up, fold in corners on left and right and finish rolling
  • Wet final tip and seal on roll
2) Heat oil to 375 degrees in an electric skillet

3) Fry sticks a couple at a time for roughly 45 seconds each side and drain on paper towels. Serve with Marinara sauce.

Paula Deen's "The Lady's" Perfect Scrambled Eggs

Beautifully partnered with overnight french toast!
Look at that fluffiness!

When Ms. Paula calls things perfect...boy are they perfect! This is the ONLY way I will make scrambled eggs now this lil boys are just so perfect.

They are rich, creamy, cheesy and just plain dynamic! I have made them so many times at this point that I have them memorized. They are just a step above your everyday scrambled eggs but still so simple.

So, here we go!:


8 eggs
2 HEAPING tablespoons sour cream
1 tablespoon water
Salt and coarsely ground pepper to taste
2 tablespoon butter
1/2 to 3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese


1) Beat the first 4 ingredients in a medium bowl

2) Melt butter in a pan. I spray with cooking spray just because I hate cleaning up burnt on egg.

3) In the HOT pan, pour the egg mixture in and turn heat to low. Scramble the eggs. When just about finished, top with cheese and continue to scramble. Serve while hot.

Easy Bacon and Cheese Quiche

Adapted: Allrecipes
I love quiche. Give me an easy quiche that I can just whip up and I am even happier. I stumbled upon this recipe and thought it was easy. I then made a mistake in putting it together and found it is even easier to make!
I partnered it with a salad and rolls and it was the perfect light dinner. The only bad side is that there were no leftovers.
So, here we go!:
1 (3 oz bag) bacon bits
1/2 cup chopped onion
5 oz shredded Swiss cheese
3 oz grated Parmesan cheese
1 (9 inch) DEEP DISH frozen pie crust
4 eggs lightly beaten
1 cup half and half
1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place all ingredients but pie crust in a large bowl and mix until blended
2) Cover a cookie tray with aluminum foil (trust me on this one) and place pie shell on it.
3) Bake in oven for 15 minutes and turn oven down to 350 degrees. Cook for additional 35 minutes or until the top of quiche is set and starts to brown.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Greek Pasta with Sausage and Cheese


I stumbled upon this recipe on Pinterest and have loved it ever since. I love the flavors of Greek food and the combination in this dish are unbelievable. My husband had several helpings of it and even my son, who isn't a fan of blue cheese, was chowing down on it. It has a deep, rich flavoring to it. I partnered it with demi baguettes with olive oil and Parmesan cheese and a very light Greek salad.

This dish came together quickly, as well. Although the recipe called for Greek pork sausage or sweet Italian sausages, I used the Italian sausage just for the simplicity of purchasing it. Furthermore, I doubled the amount that the original recipe called for. I also increased the pasta somewhat so that it wasn't so "saucy".  I pulled the fresh oregano from my garden and there is no flavor like it!

So, here we go!:


2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
12 oz sweet Italian sausages, cut into 1-inch pieces
Kosher salt, to taste
8-12 ounces penne pasta
1/2 cup white wine
1 ounce blue cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh oregano leaves
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


1) Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook the pasta until al dente. Before draining pasta, reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water.

2) While pasta is cooking,  heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a second pan, add the sausage and cook until golden brown, stirring frequently.

3) Once the sausages are browned, add wine and turn the heat to high. Reduce the liquid (about 2 minutes) lower the heat and add the blue cheese, cream, and oregano. Once the cheese is melted, add the pasta along with some of the pasta cooking water as needed to create a creamy sauce.
4) Season with salt and pepper. Place on plates.  Garnish with Parmesan, on side.

Cookbook Review: The Mexican Slow Cooker by Deborah Schneider

Book: The Mexican Slow Cooker: Recipes for Mole, Enchiladas, Carnitas, Chile Verde Pork and More Favorites

Author: Deborah Schneider

Release date (if applicable): Published

Synopsis: Ms. Schneider offers a collection of authentic Mexican recipes which have been somewhat adapted for the slow cooker. Among these are soups, main dishes, side dishes and even desserts.

My rating: 5 Stars

My opinion: As an absolute lover of Mexican cooking, I have made several recipes from this cookbook and absolutely love this book. I will be purchasing this cookbook.

The recipes are fresh and, for the most part, restaurant quality. Furthermore, they are laid out with very simple, easy to follow steps. However, there is much more prep time in these recipes than I have seen with other slow cooker cookbooks.

I do have to disagree with the Goodreads description of this book as being a "fix it and forget it" cookbook. It is not. For the most part the slow cooker is used for a portion of the cooking time, but further stove or oven "finishing" is needed for a chunk of the recipes. Also, there is a much "prep" time required for recipes. This isn't a cookbook to look at like a Stephanie O'Dea cookbook. On that note, though, the recipes in this book aren't Stephanie O'Dea quality recipes. These are recipes that, minimally,  I would gladly use in my entertainment dinners and that, as I stated before, are restaurant quality. This is why I have stated that this book isn't for a novice cook.

ETA (11/01/2012): In continuing to make recipes from this cookbook, it has come to my attention that the author has misused cooking temperatures in the crock pot. She frequently directs to use a low cooking temperature however using a low temperature throws off the cooking time. Use either a high cooking temperature and maintain the cooking time directed in the book OR use low setting, BUT double the cooking time. Normally, I would rip apart a cookbook that makes this serious of an error, but continued feedback from the dishes made in this book is that they are restaurant quality. I contacted the author through Goodreads PM, but she failed to follow-up with me.

Source: Library       

Would I recommend? : Not to a novice cook, but to a more experienced one, I would.

Stand Alone or Part of a Series: Stand alone