Poor Man’s “Shrimp” Cocktail

I know I’ve complained before about not being able to eat any seafood and how much it angers me because I love both shrimp and crab.

Well, I’m delighted to say that I found quite a good substitute for the time being. I was reading an issue of Bon Appetit magazine and they shared this recipe for shrimp cocktail. Instead of using shrimp, however, they used cauliflower. I was perplexed to say the least.

I have to be honest and say that I’ve never liked cauliflower. But desperate times call for desperate measures and I was willing to try anything that would pass for shrimp cocktail. So, I figured why not give it a shot. The ingredients were cheap, great for a my empty wallet, and it was a relatively simple recipe.

I was very hesitant in trying the first bite; it smelled delicious but I’m obviously still a baby when it comes to eating certain vegetables. But I ate it and it was so good, I just had to share it. If I had eaten this with my eyes closed, I would have been 100% convinced that I was eating shrimp. Not only did it have the same taste as shrimp cocktail; the cauliflower had the same texture of it as well.

This is a great appetizer idea for anyone with allergies or a low budget. It’s super easy and tastes delicious. I do have to warn you, though. While steaming the cauliflower, no matter how good the ‘broth’ that it’s in smells, do not try to taste it. My boyfriend learned this the hard way and he spent a good five minutes spitting into the sink. The broth is meant to provide loads of flavor to the cauliflower, not to be eaten or drank in any way.

Poor Man’s “Shrimp” Cocktail
(Adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine)

1/2 c. old bay seasoning*
1 onion, quartered
6 garlic cloves
2 lemons, cut in half
1 lb. cauliflower, cut in florets
(Cocktail sauce for dipping)

*Bon Appetit’s recipe called for crab boil seasoning. I could not find this anywhere and decided to try my luck with just old bay seasoning. It turned out well for me.

Combine old bay, onions and garlic in a large pot with 12 cups water. Squeeze the juice from the lemons into the pot and add the halves as well. Put the pot on high heat and boil; cook for about 10 minutes. Remove the garlic, onions and lemons from the pot and bring the liquid to a boil once more. Taking the pot off heat, add the cauliflower and cover. Let stand until the cauliflower is crisp-tender, about 10 minutes. Drain the cauliflower and lay out on a sheet; let cool completely before serving. Best served chilled and with cocktail sauce.

Also, I halved the recipe in the magazine and didn’t add any salt; I thought the old bay seasoning would be enough and it was, at least, for me.

I think I’m finally starting to like cauliflower.


English Muffin Loaf

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

And perhaps my favorite meal of the day. If given the opportunity, I would eat breakfast for every meal throughout the day; cereal for breakfast, scrambled eggs for lunch and maybe some pancakes for dinner. That sounds like the perfect day to me.

One of my favorite things to eat in the morning, especially now that I’m away at school, are english muffins. I love toasting them and smearing on butter and cinnamon; it’s practically heaven in breakfast form. However, if there is ever a food that would trump all other breakfast foods, it would be this english muffin loaf.

It’s so indescribably delicious that I really have no other words to say except make it right now or as soon as possible. These loaves could not be any simpler to make and they are perfect for a quick breakfast on-the-go. It has all the flavor of an english muffin packed into easy to slice loaves.

English Muffin Loaves
Makes 2 loaves

6 c. flour
2 packages yeast
1 tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
2 c. milk
1/2 c. water

In the bowl of a stand mixer (with a dough hook) combine 3 cups of flour, undissolved yeast, sugar, salt and baking soda. In microwave safe bowl, heat the milk and water together until very warm; add to dry ingredients and beat well. While beating, gradually add the remaining 3 cups of flour. A ball of dough should form and should be sticky. Spoon the dough into 2 loaf pans that have been greased and sprinkled with cornmeal. Sprinkle the tops of the loaves with cornmeal as well; cover and let rise for 45 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 until golden brown.

Be careful, it’s hard to stop after just one slice. I could easily eat an entire loaf throughout the course of the day.

BBQ Turkey Burgers

For the first time in a long time, I took a nap. What started out as just laying down for 15 minutes turned into a full-blown three hour nap. Hence the reason this post is so late.

But since I probably won’t be able to fall asleep later tonight, I’ll be able to plan out many future posts and recipes ideas. Which is good for you but bad for me; I’ll be cranky tomorrow. And tomorrow is a big day.

Not only is it the day before the Superbowl which, honestly, I could care less about…but it’s also the day my boyfriend and I are going to explore New York City. We were able to get some great off-Broadway tickets to the musical Rent and I’m super excited. Not just for the show, but to eat some great food in the city as well.

I’ve been craving a good burger and milkshake. I’m positive that New York City won’t let me down. And if you’re craving a good, healthier burger then these burgers won’t let you down. They are juicy, packed with flavor and so easy!

What I really enjoy about these is that you don’t have to use them as a typical burger. I grilled one, crumbled it up and ate it in a tortilla as a taco; it was delicious. I still have some leftover and I think that they would also be great as a salad topper. So you can get really creative with them.

BBQ Turkey Burgers
Makes about 6 burgers

1.25 lb ground turkey (I used Jennie-O extra lean)
1/3 c. BBQ sauce
1/4 c. onion, diced
1/3 c. cheddar cheese, shredded
Hamburger buns, lettuce, onions, etc. for topping

Mix all ingredients together. If desired, sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Once mixed, using your hands form small, palm sized patties. (My hands are small, so you may get larger patties).

Place patties on a plate or baking sheet, refrigerate for at least 20 minutes to hold them together a bit more. Cook or grill the patties until cooked through, I used a George Foreman grill. Serve on buns or over lettuce with additional BBQ sauce or cheese.

I think I know what I’m eating for dinner.

Buffalo Chicken Salad Cucumber “Sushi”

I use the term ‘sushi’ loosely.

Until recently, I was starting to really become a fan of sushi. I loved dipping the rolls in wasabi and soy sauce. However, over spring break last year I had a reaction to some kind of fish and I am now under strict orders to not eat seafood until I know, for sure, what I am allergic too. This means no more sushi for me.

Last week I saw a post on Eat Yourself Skinny that made me so incredibly mad that I’m not allowed to eat seafood. Almost to the point where I was going to make and eat them anyway and just have my epipen on standby…but I’m sure I would have upset several people if I had ended up in the emergency room.

This buffalo chicken salad turned out pretty great. I was eating it straight out of that bowl and would’ve eaten it on just about anything. I had to stop myself for fear that I wouldn’t have enough left for the photographs.

These are super easy to make and pretty affordable too. I think that they would be a huge hit at a Superbowl party or any party for that matter. I had planned to eat them for dinner last night until I got home from class late and, having forgot about them, scarfed down two bowls of cereal. While putting the milk away, I saw them sitting innocently on the shelf; after feeling sad for a second, I quickly ate two*.

Buffalo Chicken Salad Cucumber “Sushi”

2 c. shredded, cooked chicken breast
1/3 c. celery, diced (about 1 stalk)
1/3 c. light mayo
1/4 c. hot sauce
2 med. cucumbers, cut in thick pieces

Mix chicken, celery, mayo and hot sauce in a bowl. If you are looking for more spice, add more hot sauce. When the chicken is all mixed together, cut the cucumbers in thick slices. Using a small spoon, scoop out the middle of the cucumber; be careful not to scoop through the bottom. Then spoon chicken mixture into cucumber cups and serve. If desired, serve with blue cheese or ranch dressing on the side.

*Followed by two more. I guess it’s a better choice than cookies, right?

Peanut Butter & Fluff Tagalongs

I hope you’re prepared for the most addictive cookie in the universe.

As far as I’m concerned, pretty much all of the girl scout cookies are addictive. Luckily for me, I tend to grocery shop at odd hours and therefore never run into anyone trying to sell me cookies. Actually, maybe I should say unluckily; my life is seriously lacking in the thin mint department.

Let’s forget about thin mints for the moment and get back to my obsession with all things peanut butter. I’m not lying when I say these taste exactly like a tagalong cookie and I can very easily eat twelve without feeling that guilty.

These will satisfy all of your sweet/salty cravings and with just four ingredients, I don’t understand why you’re not off making them right this second. You can obviously omit the marshmallow fluff for a more traditional tagalong cookie but I wanted to be fancy. And you can’t get fancier than marshmallow fluff.

Peanut Butter & Fluff Tagalongs

• Ritz Crackers
• Peanut Butter (any kind)
• Marshmallow fluff
• Chocolate chips or bars (dark, white, milk, etc.)
• Sprinkles (optional)

Make small peanut butter and fluff sandwiches with the crackers. Melt chocolate in microwave or double boiler. Using a spoon or fork, carefully dip and coat the cookies into the melted chocolate. Place on wax or parchment paper, sprinkle with sprinkles or crushed up crackers and wait until the chocolate hardens. (You may want to speed up that hardening process by placing them in the fridge and leaving them there until serving. They melt easily).

These should be on your Superbowl dessert table because amongst all the yelling, grunting, cheering and beer spilling, it will be nice to eat something so refined (except when you start fighting over the last one).

Fifteen Minute Fettuccine Alfredo

Let’s talk pasta.And creamy, cheesy alfredo sauce. Because, let’s be honest, the two kinda belong together. What’s so great about this alfredo is that you can literally have it on the dinner table within fifteen minutes.

I have quite a large italian family, so I’ve eaten my far share of fettuccine over the years. For Christmas Eve, my Aunt would always make this amazing dinner with all the fish, seafood, etc; pretty much your typical Italian Christmas Eve dinner. However, she would always make several pounds of fettuccine also.

There were so many of us children that we would hog most of the fettuccine at our table. Because what ten year old is going to eat calamari? Well, I’ll tell you that I had no plans of ever touching anything other than this fettuccine because it was so good. And at the age of ten, fish really freaked me out.

I eventually outgrew my fear of eating fish. Albeit, I never ventured that far in my seafood eating adventures. Especially now that I may have developed an allergy to fish/seafood, it’s still unknown as of now. It’s totally okay, though, more pasta for me!

Fifteen Minute Fettuccine Alfredo
Makes about 4 servings (or more)

1 c. half & half
1 egg
1/2 c. Parmesan cheese
1 stick butter, melted
1/4 c. parsley
1 lb. fettuccine or any type of noodle

Cook pasta according to the instructions on the box. While pasta is cooking, melt butter in microwave. Add the rest of the ingredients; mix well and microwave 1-2 minutes. Stir, repeat 2-3 times until it thickens up a bit.

Once pasta is done, drain the water from the pan. Either leave the pasta in the pot or transfer to a bowl. Pour alfredo sauce over top and mix well to distribute the sauce. Serve and enjoy!

If you’re planning on serving this to a large amount of people, it’s really simple to double, triple, quadruple the recipe. I’d say the amount of alfredo sauce is equal to one pound (box) of pasta. So if you’re cooking two pounds, double the recipe and so on…

Excuse me while I wipe alfredo sauce off my face.

Peanut Butter Tandy Cakes

Wanna know a secret?

I could probably live solely on peanut butter…

And maybe some butterscotch krimpets. When I first moved onto campus as a freshmen, my grandmother would send me boxes and boxes of butterscotch krimpets. Now that I think about it, I probably haven’t eaten a Tastykake butterscotch krimpet since then.

Enough about the krimpets, though, they couldn’t hold a candle to Tastykakes peanut butter kandy kakes. It was always a good day when my mom would put those babies into my school lunch. A close second definitely being oatmeal cream pies (because who doesn’t love Honey, I Shrunk the Kids?).

I made these right after new years. I’m sure my family was so glad I sabotaged helped out with their new years resolutions while I was on winter break. I mean, my resolution was becoming more comfortable in the kitchen; and these tandy cakes? I think it requires more effort to not eat them than to actually make them because they are literally so easy.

I remember so many birthdays and parties that these little cakes made an appearance and I’ve never witnessed anyone not liking them. But, then again, it’s almost impossible to not love chocolate and peanut butter.

Peanut Butter Tandy Cakes
Makes about 24+ servings, depending how you cut them

4 eggs, beaten
1 c. milk
2 tbsp. oil
1 tsp. vanilla
2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
2 c. sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
1 c. peanut butter
8 oz (or 6 pack) Hershey bars

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 10 x 15 dish with butter or Pam. Combine the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla in a bowl, mix well. In another bowl, sift flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Pour the flour mixture into the egg/milk mixture and mix until blended. Pour into greased pan and bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown.

When cake is taken out of the oven, drop the peanut butter onto the cake while hot. Spread evenly as peanut butter melts. Freeze for about 30-45 min. Melt the chocolate in the microwave or in a double broiler and spread evenly over the cake. Cut it into squares and refrigerate until serving.

I dare you just eat one.