Monday, June 27, 2016

Homemade Hummus

      I love hummus! I love all kinds of hummus especially to dip my vegetables in or on a sandwich instead of mayo. It is so tasty! I typically buy it from the store because for some reason I thought it would be hard to make, or it was a tedious process, or it could be sometimes I feel lazy, but whatever the reason I will probably never do it again. I was wrong guys. Homemade is so much better than from the store. It is so easy and so delicious and there is a world of possibilities of flavor combinations. I know I sound like I am gushing but guys I am so happy! The best part is, you know exactly what is in your hummus because you made it.

     Be prepared to see hummus recipes a lot this summer since I have learned how easy and fast to make at home. Lately, all I have been craving are fruit and vegetables. I think it is because of how hot it has been but that's okay. They are so good for you and really delicious.

    This recipe is just a basic garlic hummus recipe. I did not want to get too fancy my first time just in case it was a disaster. I don't know why I worried so much about making my own. This took all of 5 minutes to make and I have already made another batch because I devoured this one. Next time you are in the mood for hummus I urge you to make your own.

Homemade Hummus
Melissa DeWees
  1. 1 15 oz. can of garbanzo beans drained and rinsed
  2. 3 T olive oil
  3. 1 lemon juiced
  4. 1 tsp. cumin
  5. 2 T tahini
  6. 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  7. 2 cloves of garlic
  8. fresh cracked black pepper to taste
  9. 1/8 - 1/4 c of water
  • Add all ingredients except for water. Blend until smooth. Slowly added the water until you reach your desired consistency. 
  • Taste and adjust salt and pepper if necessary.
  • Enjoy!!!! 

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Asian Style Meatballs

     Wow! Was this past weekend hot here in Arizona. In spite of the heat we have been experiencing I still find myself in the kitchen cooking meals almost daily. I guess even the heat can't stop the creative juices from flowing which is a good thing. Last month I shared my version of an Italian meatball and if I do say so myself, they were tasty. This past week I was perusing the contents of my freezer and saw some Italian sausage and thought why not make meatballs again but instead of Italian style why not try something new.

    I started thinking about what I was in the mood for and it came to me, Asian style. I wanted my meatballs to be very flavorful and tender, I mean who doesn't. I then looked at my pantry to see what spices and sauces I had on hand. I have been trying to use what I have instead of always going to the store and picking up more things. I noticed some weeks I don't even use things before they spoil and that is a waste especially when I have been trying to save money. A couple of months ago I took a trip to the local Asian market and picked up a bunch of sauces and spices and never used them. This was the perfect time and the perfect dish for them. These meatballs were delicious and definitely left you wanting more. My husband and I ate as many as we could and the rest I saved for lunch the next day.

   I let a couple of my co-workers try them and they loved them. In fact, a couple of them insisted on the recipe because they wanted to make them for dinner. This proved to me the meatball recipe was a winner. I hope you feel the same way when you try them for yourselves.  You will not regret it. I bet you will over the leftovers. They are that good!

Asian Style Meatballs
Melissa DeWees
Ingredients for meatballs
  1. 1 1/2 lb. ground Italian sausage
  2. 1 T fresh grated ginger
  3. 1 tsp. black pepper
  4. 2 T fish sauce
  5. 2 tsp. garlic chili sauce
  6. 3 cloves garlic minced
  7. 2 shallots diced
  8. 1/4 c fresh cilantro chopped
  9. 2 eggs
  10. 1 c bread crumbs
  11. 1 tsp. black sesame oil
Ingredients for the sauce
  1. 1 c Hoisin Sauce
  2. 1/2 c rice wine vinegar
  3. 3 tsp. garlic chili sauce
  4. 2 cloves garlic minced
  5. 3 tsp. fish sauce
  6. 1 tsp. grated ginger
  7. 1 tsp. black sesame oil
Directions for meatballs
  • Preheat oven to 375 F
  • Combine all of the meatball ingredients in a bowl together and mix well.
  • Roll meat into 1 inch balls and line on a baking sheet.
  • Bake for 12-15 minutes until no longer pink and set aside.
  • While meatballs are in the oven make the sauce.
  • Combine all sauce ingredients in a pot and bring to a simmer.
  • When the meatballs are done add to sauce and toss them to coat completely.
  • Serve with either rice or your favorite sides.
  • Enjoy!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Tasty Shrimp Salad

      I do not know about you guys but I am already tired of the heat. Here in Arizona we have been experiencing a terrible heat wave and there does not seem to be an end in sight. When the weather is extreme like this my appetite tends to decrease and things that were comforting in the winter months are not as appealing to me in the summer. Lately I have been craving fresh fruits, vegetables and salads especially for lunch.

     The other day I was thinking about a salad I have not eaten in a long time but is very common back in Savannah. It is not very popular here, in fact, I do not know of a place where you can get it which I think is a shame. It evokes memories of my childhood when you could go down to the docks and buy fresh seafood off the boats. Those were the days.! I don't know if you are aware but seafood tends to by on the pricey side here in this state. Something about us being surrounded by desert. Haha!

     If you are wondering what kind of salad I am talking about, I will not keep you in suspense, it is Shrimp Salad. This salad is very similar to chicken or tuna salad but instead of making it with those items you use shrimp. I used to love going to this little café with my friends and ordering it as a sandwich. It is perfect on a sub roll or a little toasted bun. If you have never had it before I hope you give it a try. It is so delicious and not heavy at all. I lightened my version by using mainly Greek yogurt in my recipe. I am not a huge fan of mayonnaise which is used in the traditional recipe. I love to eat this on crackers or as a sandwich but it is delicious on a bed of lettuce as well.

Tasty Shrimp Salad
Melissa DeWees
  1. 1 lb. of boiled shrimp
  2. 1/2 onions diced
  3. 2 celery stalks diced
  4. 3 eggs boiled and chopped
  5. 1 cucumber diced and seeded
  6.  1/2 c Greek yogurt
  7. 1/4 c chopped parsley
  8. 2 T mayo
  9. 1/2 tsp. celery salt
  10. 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
  11. 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  12. 1 tsp. salt
  13. 1 T Dijon mustard
  • Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl.
  • Refrigerate for at least 2 hours to let the flavors meld together.
  • Adjust seasoning if necessary.
  • Serve over a bed of lettuce or on your favorite toasted roll.
  • Enjoy!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Easy Tomato Soup

       Sometimes it amazes me that I like some tomato based foods but I can't stand fresh tomatoes. I just don't know what it is but fresh tomatoes really gross me out. Not only are the insides slimy but the smell is off putting to me. I have tried to eat them but once they hit my tongue I immediately start to gag and have to spit it out. Maybe its the texture, maybe its all in my head, who can say? I am glad I don't hate all tomato foods. I think I have mentioned before I do like cooked tomatoes or tomatoes that are transformed to not taste like tomatoes in pasta sauce or pizza sauce or even my salsa recipe.

     I always assumed I would not like tomato soup and refused try if for years. I finally caved in one day when many of my friends kept insisting tomato soup with grilled cheese was an amazing combination. Boy was I glad I finally gave it a try! It did not taste like fresh tomatoes and the texture was silky and smooth. In a word it was delicious.

     It makes me think what other things I think do not like  but actually do in reality. Hmmm. Maybe I really do like menudo when I always thought it was disgusting and it smells terrible. Food for thought. Pun intended. Haha. In all seriousness the soup is easy but tasty and it really does taste good with a grilled cheese.

Easy Tomato Soup
Melissa DeWees
  1. 3 cans of diced tomatoes with juices
  2. 2 T olive oil
  3. 1 carrot sliced
  4. 1 celery sliced
  5. 1 onion diced
  6. 1 1/2 T basil dried
  7. 2 c chicken broth
  8. 1/2 tsp. celery salt
  9. 1/2 onion powder
  10. 1/4 c heavy cream
  11. 2 cloves of minced garlic
  12. Salt and pepper to taste
  • Add the olive oil to a heated soup pot and then add the vegetables.
  • Sprinkle with salt and pepper and sauté until softened.
  • Add the garlic and cook until fragrant.
  • Add the diced tomatoes with juices, add chicken broth, celery salt, onion powder, basil and salt and pepper.
  • Bring to boil and lower to a simmer and simmer for about 40 minutes until flavor meld together.
  • Puree until smooth and add the heavy cream and bring back to a boil.
  •  Enjoy with your favorite sandwich.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Greek Yogurt Marinated Chicken

         I think I may have mentioned before chicken is not my favorite protein to eat. I think if I was not allowed any other kind of meat for the rest of my life I would just become a vegetarian. Well, maybe not but I definitely would not eat it often. This is because I usually find chicken, especially breasts to be dry and unappealing. With that being said I do like the drumsticks and thighs because to me they are usually more juicy and flavorful than the breasts. I think today I may have found a solution to this issue.

     In an effort to save a little bit of money, I decided this week I was going to cook only what I have in the house and not run to the store every other day. Looking through my freezer I noticed I had quite a few chicken breasts. I bought them when they were on sale and just prepackaged and froze them. I don't know if you have noticed but food is getting to be mighty expensive lately.  In fact, a few of my friends and I were just having a discussion about doing a $30 budget for a week challenge. We wanted to see if it was possible to live off $30 but still eat good food. I think we are going to do it in a few weeks after we work out the details. I know a couple of our rules are going to be we cannot live off of ramen noodles packages and we can't eat at work. We can only eat what we purchased for the week. It should be interesting. I definitely will let you know when we do it and will tell you about our experiences.

      Back to this chicken. I was so pleased with how it turned out. It was juicy and flavorful and may change how I think about chicken. I marinated the chicken in a yogurt based marinade for a couple of hours. In case you did not know, yogurt breaks down the protein in chicken causing it to become juicy and tender. You do not want to marinate it too long because it may denature the proteins in chicken too much and you might end up with mushy chicken. I let mine marinate for 2 hours and it was perfect. The marinade itself only took a few minutes to put together so if you are short on time this would still be a good option. I believe even if you only had 30 minutes to let it marinate it would still be tender. Next time you are in the mood for chicken, give this a try.

Greek yogurt marinated chicken
Melissa DeWees
  1. 1 lb. of chicken breasts
  2. 1 c Greek yogurt
  3. 1/2 tsp. salt
  4. 1/2 tsp. pepper
  5. 1 clove of garlic minced
  6. 1 shallot diced
  7. 1/4 c fresh parsley chopped
  8. 1 T olive oil
  9. 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  10. 1 tsp. herbes de provence
  11. 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  12. 1/2 lemon juiced
  1. Whisk all of the ingredients except for the chicken in a bowl.
  2. Salt and pepper the breasts and add to the marinade.
  3. Let it marinate for as little as 30 minutes or up to 4 hours. If you marinate longer than 30 minutes put it in the refrigerator.
  4. Heat grill while letting the chicken return to room temperature.
  5. Grill until meat is cooked through.
  6. Enjoy with your favorite sides.