Monday, September 24, 2012

Lime Glazed Shrimp and Pineapple Kabobs

I am always looking for simple, flavorful meals to include in my weekly menu plan. Whether it be clipping recipes out of newspapers or the updated Pinning recipes on Pinterest, I seem to have a steady supply of new to me recipes to try. The unfortunate thing is that some of these recipes will sit in a pile (or a pin board) for months, even years, before I try them. I was doing really good for a while where I was trying a new recipe each week and if we liked it, I would add it to my recipe collection and if it was not a hit, well, then we got rid of it or made notes on how to tweak it for next time.

One recipe that I clipped from some paper, at some point, was for Shrimp and Pineapple Kabobs. The use of lime and hot peppers just sounded delicious to me. It also seemed like a very quick to prepare meal that I could create with ingredients that I have on hand - Pineapple in the pantry and Shrimp in the freezer. Of course, you can use fresh pineapple and even shrimp that hasn't been frozen.

Lime Glazed Shrimp and Pineapple Kabobs

3 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons lime juice
4 teaspoons butter
1 tablespoon ginger
2 teaspoons minced jalapeno chiles
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 pounds shrimp peeled
1 can pineapple chunks in juice

Combine the brown sugar, lime juice, butter, ginger, jalapeno, and salt in a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes until syrupy.

Arrange pineapple and shrimp on skewers (I use stainless steel ones, but the bamboo ones would work).
Spray with some cooking spray to prevent sticking.
Grill kabobs, brushing with the glaze, for about 2 minutes on each side, until the shrimp is cooked through.

I like to serve it with a side of rice. To give the rice a little extra pizzazz. I like to add some of the pineapple and juice to the rice, while it cooks. When it comes to warm pineapple, you simply can't have enough!


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Banana Ice Cream

I'm not sure when I first heard of it or where really for that matter, but lately I have found myself very intrigued with the Yonana. The idea that you could take a banana that has been frozen and turn it into soft serve ice cream just sounded really good to me. Of course, it is another kitchen appliance that I am not sure that I really need. After all, I seem to be challenged with space to store things and talk about a specialty item - it makes banana ice cream (okay, they have other recipes, but still).

I had a free day on Labor Day, so I decided to try an experiment. I took two soft bananas, mostly brown skin and sliced them and put them into the freezer. I wasn't sure whether to try blender or food processor, but since I only had two bananas the food processor made more sense to me. I put the bananas into the bowl and started to swirl them around. At first, it seemed to be a failed experiment. The bananas were breaking apart, but they weren't really pureeing. I used a spatula and scraped and turned and returned to processing. Still, wasn't quite getting there - maybe I needed to let them soften a little from their frozen state? I wasn't patient enough to allow for that, so I added a tablespoon of milk and tried again. Now, they were becoming smooth and whipped.

I grabbed two spoons out of the drawer and handed a spoonful to my husband that had just arrived home and to my daughter who was anxious to try it. They both liked it. My husband couldn't believe that it was just bananas. I gave my daughter a small bowl with a bit of chocolate drizzle.

I put the rest in a bowl and put on a lid and stuck it in the freezer for part two of my experiment. My son came home a little while later and after dinner, I let him try the ice cream too. Much to my delight, when I pulled it back out of the freezer, it was still a soft, scoopable texture.

Banana Ice Cream
2 - Bananas, sliced and frozen

Add frozen bananas to food processor. Process until bananas puree and whip.
Add 1 Tbsp Milk if needed to help the puree process. Serve.

The two bananas made enough ice cream to let us all taste it and each of my kids to have a bowl of ice cream. It was reasonably quick to prepare - I had only put the bananas in the refrigerator this morning, it doesn't take long to freeze them. With it just being bananas, it isn't too bad for you either, even with a little chocolate syrup drizzled on top.

I probably won't clutter my kitchen with another gadget, but will certainly enjoy banana ice cream again. I might even try adding to it - maybe some strawberries, or peanut butter, or chocolate chips.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

There is nothing that can quite compare to the smell of cinnamon rolls baking in the oven. There is something so inviting about that warm smell of cinnamon filling the house. When we have company, or a breakfast gathering, one of my favorite treats to make is cinnamon rolls. They might sound overwhelming on the surface, but it really is quite easy to whip up a batch of homemade cinnamon rolls. This recipe takes about 75 minutes from start to ready to eat and the result is a wonderful, soft fragrant treat.

Homemade Cinnamon Rolls
Servings 12

3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup butter
3 1/4 cups flour divided
2 1/4 tsps instant yeast (1 packet)
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup water
1 egg
1 cup brown sugar packed
1 Tbsp Cinnamon
1/2 cup butter softened

Heat milk in a small saucepan until it bubbles, then remove from heat. Mix in butter, stir until melted. Let cool.
In a large bowl, combine 2 1/4 c flour, yeast, sugar and salt. Add water, egg and milk mixture. Beat well. Add remaining flour 1/2 c at a time, stirring after each addition. When the dough starts to pull together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, about 5 minutes. Cover dough with damp cloth and let rest 10 minutes.
In a small bowl, mix together the butter, brown sugar and cinnamon.
Roll dough into a 12x9 rectangle.
Spread the brown sugar mixture over the dough. Roll up dough and pinch seams to seal.
Cut into 12 rolls. Place in a lightly greased pan.
Cover and let rise for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375F.
Bake for 20 minutes.
Serve with frosting or plain. For ease, I find that a tub of frosting is quick and easy. It is best to apply warm so that it melts in.

Sometimes, to mix things up a bit, I will add thinly sliced apple pieces with the sugar mixture.
Then, you can roll it up and cook as above. I like the added touch of the apple flavor and a bit of crunch, too.

The cinnamon rolls keep well and stay soft. We always reheat them when we serve them later - another advantage of not frosting them all.