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quick shrimp skewers

Here’s another great appetizer for summer. If you don’t want to heat up the kitchen, use a grill basket and cook the shrimp outside.

Mixed Herb Pesto Shrimp Skewers

Mixed Herb Pesto Shrimp Skewers

3 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1 cup pine nuts, toasted
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup fresh Italian parsley leaves, packed
1/4 cup fresh tarragon leaves
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
4 garlic cloves, peeled
2/3 cup olive oil

2 pounds frozen uncooked peeled and deveined medium shrimp, about 60 total, thawed
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Pesto: Place basil, pine nuts, Parmesan, parsley, tarragon, mint, and garlic in a food processor. Blend until herbs are finely chopped. Add oil with the machine running, trough the feed tube, and blend to coarse puree. Season pesto to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to small bowl.

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May 21, 2014   No Comments


some tapas

On Saturday night we had our Spain Reunion Dinner.

the table

Peggy & Jim and Lorraine & John plus Dave & I spent a relaxing evening drinking sangria, nibbling on tapas and dining on my paella.


I’ll share recipes with you all week. I shall begin with the star of the evening – the paella!

paella pan

Begin this recipe the day before to marinate the chicken overnight. Up to 4 hours before serving, brown the chicken and cook the onion, garlic and tomato base in the same pan. You can finish the dish when your guests arrive by bringing the base back up to heat and taking turns stirring as you enjoy your tapas and sip sangria.

A couple disclaimers before I get to the recipe. I forgot to add the peas. I had a bag of fresh peas in the fridge and just forgot, much to the dismay of my husband, who loves peas. Sorry!

And the final photo was taken at the dinner table which was outside, in the dark, and I should have used a flash. Oh well, it will have to do.

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April 22, 2014   4 Comments

Shrimp Canapes

entry welcome

Saturday night was our 10th annual neighborhood Progressive Dinner. The theme this time was “Speakeasy” and we had so much fun with it.


We started with appetizers at Ronnie’s beautiful home, then split up to have dinner at the various host homes and finally gathered back together at our house for desserts.

wine barrel decor

This was what greeted guests when they entered our house.

lemom drops

At Joanne’s, my “dinner host” home, I enjoyed a wonderful meal where we indulged on Lemon Drops and…

chicken a la rose

… not only delicious, but beautiful Chicken a la Rose, made by Kim…


… along with Waldorf Salad and Rosemary Potatoes…

jazzy background

… all in a perfectly jazzy dining room! Pictured are Flapper Ronnie, Cool Cat Scott (with his faux cigarette) and Flapper Kim. Can you even imagine a more perfectly themed dining room than this one, with its life-sized jazz band mural?

ronnie's table

It all began at Ronnie’s and her beautifully set hor d’oeuvres table!

I made the appetizers for Ronnie’s house and she provided the desserts for mine. I made Piglets in a Warm Puffy Blanket, Bacon Wrapped Cheesy Mushrooms, Spinach Deviled Eggs, and the following recipe for Shrimp Canapes.

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March 3, 2014   5 Comments

I’m back…

Connor and I had a blast in Disneyland and California Adventure. When I say a blast, I not only mean a great time but a heat blast too.

main street USA

It never fails, I leave this Godforsaken desert to find some refreshing cool air and the heat follows me! It was 95 every day we were there. The weatherman is predicting a lovely 75 degrees for Tuesday! It’s not right!

polenta bruschetta

Oh well, fall is coming soon… I hope. Until then, I have the quickest and the easiest appetizer for you …. plus a few Disney vacation photos at the end of the post.

polenta pesto bruschetta ingredients

Most grocery stores carry the tubes of prepared polenta … and prepared pesto too. Although, I used some frozen arugula pesto I had on hand. I brought this to a surprise party on Sunday that our dear friend, Amy, threw for her husband, our dear friend, Scott.

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September 9, 2013   1 Comment

sizzlin’ fajitas

Connor is between semesters at school so he is home for a couple of weeks. On Sunday, I asked him to decide what we’d have for dinner and he didn’t hesitate – he requested fajitas.

fajita fixins

It’s been ages since I’ve made ’em, so I went all out and cooked up not only traditional beef, but also shrimp and chicken. The best part about that… we had plenty of leftover beef and had tacos on Monday night. Yay for leftovers!

flap meat

Connor and I shopped at Food City for our meal. In our search for skirt steak, we happily stumbled upon flap meat. Flap meat can be difficult or next to impossible to find at standard grocery stores like Safeway, so when I come across it, I can’t help but get a little excited.

Flap meat comes from the bottom sirloin, and although it’s from a similar region as flank steak or skirt steak, it’s a different cut. The flap is not very tender, but it is well-marbled and very flavorful. It’s sometimes called flap steak or bavette and is an excellent meat for carne asada and fajitas.

If you can’t find flap, use either skirt or flank steak for this recipe.

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August 27, 2013   2 Comments

shrimp & squash couscous


We are currently enjoying the good life the Log Mansion in Wisconsin with Jeff, Jen, and their boys. Prior to arriving here, we went from Toronto, Canada to Niagara Falls, New York to Rockton, Illinois.

falls pano

Neither Dave or I had been to the Falls before. We were blown away by their power and beauty!

maid of the mist

This is a recipe my mother-in-law and I made while we were visiting her in Illinois. She’d found it in Ladies Home Journal. I’ve made a couple changes to the original by using both green and yellow summer squash instead of just zucchini and by adding tomatoes, otherwise it is pretty much as written.

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July 17, 2013   4 Comments

Cinco de Mayo Shrimp

El Cinco de Mayo

These shrimp are not only perfect for Cinco de Mayo but equally so for a quick weeknight meal or a big party.

We’re looking forward to going to the James’ annual Cinco de Mayo party tonight! See you soon, Lisa! Eieieiei Ariba!


Guajillo [gwah-HEE-yoh] chiles are dried peppers with a bright tangy taste and kick of heat. Find them in the grocery store alongside the other Hispanic ingredients.

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May 5, 2013   2 Comments

skinny puttanesca

Traditional Puttanesca sauce is made with chopped garlic and anchovies that are sautéed in olive oil. Chopped chili peppers, olives, capers, canned tomatoes, tomato paste and oregano are added along with salt and black pepper to taste. It is simmered for at least 30 to 40 minutes.


My lighter fresher version is anchovy and olive oil free and uses fresh chopped tomatoes that are cooked briefly and tofu Shirataki noodles with zero calories and only 3 carbs per serving. The dish comes together in 15 to 20 minutes, depending on your chopping skills and speed.

I began making it at 5:45 and had it on the dinner plates by 6:00… taking the photos took another couple minutes… as always!

One last note, I forgot to add the olives. And, darn it, they were missed! I’ve added them to the recipe, so don’t forget them.

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April 9, 2013   2 Comments

Shirataki noodles


My dear friend Karen recently turned me on to a gluten-free noodle product. The noodles are made from either tofu or white yams. The brand is Shiratki and they can be found locally at Sprouts and Fry’s. At Sprouts the everyday price is $1.69 each, at Fry’s a bag is regularly $2.29. They are found in the refrigerated section, near the tofu.

(Thanks to a kind comment from LCDC, I learned that the brand of the noodles I found is House Foods and that Shirataki is the type of noodle. I happily stand corrected. Thank you, LCDC!)

yam noodle

I was skeptical at first, considering they come packaged in water and look a bit slimy … but they were delicious! Shirataki noodles are quite a bit more expensive than dry noddles, but considering they are precooked, quick to use, and the yam variety has zero calories, the tofu style – only 20 calories… it may be worth the extra dough.

They have a long (about 3 month) expiration date, so if you find them on sale, stock up!

tofu noodle

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March 9, 2013   3 Comments

taco time

Yesterday was National Taco Day, so naturally, we had tacos for dinner. Shrimp tacos to be exact.

Shrimp Tacos with Cabbage Slaw and Avocado Salsa

Cabbage Slaw
1/2 head green or red cabbage, thinly sliced
1/2 cup non-fat Greek yogurt
1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup pickled red onions
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon chipotle chili powder

Avocado Salsa
5 small or 2 large avocados
Juice of 1 lime
1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
2 medium tomatillos, husked, rinsed, and coarsely chopped
1/2 small red onion, peeled and finely diced
1/2 red bell pepper (fresh or roasted), finely diced
Kernels cut from 1 cob of corn
1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
Salt and pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined

6 corn tortillas

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October 5, 2012   1 Comment