Lemon Drop Martini? Do you even have to ask?

 

We are all re-discovering the simple pleasures in an elegant and tasty cocktail and this one in particular is a glamorous beauty.  You’ll only need a few ingredients to make this classy cocktail for yourself.

Lemon Drop Martini by Melanie Knight

  • 2 oz Grey Goose Vodka
  • 1 tbl fresh squeezed lemon juice + 1 slice lemon for garnish
  • 1 oz simple syrup- you can make your own or store bought
  • ice to chill the beverage
  • big sugar crystals (from cake decorating section)

Directions- Moisten the edge of your martini glass with lemon juice (any glass will do- but keep it classy) and roll in the sugar crystals to coat the rim of the glass.  Place the vodka, lemon juice, simple syrup & ice in a container with lid ( I use my Magic Bullet cups with lid) and shake to chill.  Pour the chilled mixture (minus the ice) into the martini glass and garnish with the lemon slice (cut a slit on 1 side from the edge to the middle).  Cheers!

Simple Syrup

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar

Bring water to a boil, slowly stir int he sugar until completely dissolved.  Let cool to room temperature before using.  Can be store in airtight container in the fridge.

 

 

Chili Cheeseburgers? Bring it on

Time to indulge because no one is promised tomorrow.  So why not live it up like Riverdale’s Jughead Jones and enjoy a decadent chili cheeseburger?  This was my first chili cheeseburger and it was good.  It also makes a lot of chili- so I had that with tortilla chips for several days after.

Down Home Chili Cheeseburger by Emeril (tweaked by Melanie Knight)

  • 1 1/2 lbs. 80% lean ground beef
  • 1tbl olive oil
  • 1cup thinly sliced onion
  • 1 tsp creole seasoning- burgers
  • 1/2 tsp creole seasoning-onions
  • sea salt & ground pepper
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire
  • 4 slices cheddar cheese
  • 4 whole wheat hamburger buns
  • Down Home Chili

Chili Recipe

  • 2 tbl olive oil
  • 1 cup onion chopped
  • 1 tbl minced garlic
  • 2 tbl chili powder
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp creole seasoning
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 1 14oz can diced tomatoes
  • 2 tbl tomato paste
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp beef stock granules (I used this instead of simmering for hours)

Heat the oil over med high heat and saute the onions, garlic, chili powder, cumin, creole, salt & pepper until the onions are softened- 4 mins.  Add the beef and beef stock granules until the beef is cooked through.  Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, brown sugar and bring to ta boil.  Reduce and let simmer 20 mins (if too thick- add a 1/2 cup water).

Burgers-

Form the burger into 4 patties & season with the creole seasoning (1tsp), salt & pepper and Worcestershire.  Grill on an electric skilled on med high heat 3-4 mins on each side until done.  Top each burger with cheese and let melt.

Season the onions with olive oil & the creole seasoning(1/2 tsp), salt & pepper and sauté until lightly golden on the electric skillet.

Assemble the burger on a bun-top with chili & onions and enjoy!  Mine was awesome with a side of ketchup & mustard.

Living on the edge? Raw Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough is as risky as I get

Well, life in the apocalypse is like fighting an invisible enemy and every where you turn- you could get komplanko’d.  So what’s a girl to do?  This girl made chocolate chip cookie dough because- well- why not?  Choose for yourself- but right now- the only risk I’m willing to take is eating raw egg in my home made cookie dough- so yes- I am a thrill seeker and I live on the edge.

The recipe is as old as time and I’ve yet to come across a better one- send me one if you want me to do a taste test!

Original Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies- modified my Melanie Knight

  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 sticks room temp unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1tsp salt (Himalayan)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (if you plan to bake the cookies HA HA HA).  With an electric mixer-Beat the butter, eggs, vanilla, white & brown sugar, salt until creamy.  Slowly add in the flour and sprinkle in the baking soda.  Slowing mix in the chocolate chips.  Eat at your own risk- but this is where I stop and enjoy.

If you do want to bake cookies- spoon rounded tablespoonfulls 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 9-11 mins.

 

 

 

To Die For Teriyaki? Only if it’s easy- Yes please! Moo

Well- your wish is my command!  Homemade teriyaki is very simple:  soy sauce, brown sugar and ginger.  We had just spend the day cleaning out the garage and I DID NOT feel like cooking- so I was just going to eat snacks (guacamole & chips anyone?) but I have been relishing in the joy of being home and cooking.  So, I was scrounging around in my kitchen and could not come up with anything special.  Everything seemed to take way too long and I was already tired, then it hit me.  It was a beautiful day- so why not make shish-kabobs and enjoy the rest of the day grilling in the late afternoon sun.  I sounded around and found 2 chicken breast, half a bag of shrimp and a leftover steak from the day before.  I also had a bell pepper on its last leg, some sweet peppers, a can of pineapple juice and a sweet onion.  Bam- we were going to get our tropical paradise on.

To Die For Teriyaki by Melanie Knight

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tsp ground ginger

Yes- that is it…really!  I made 2 batches:  1 for the meat & 1 for the veggies to marinate in.

Directions for shish-kabobs:  Mix up your teriyaki marinade, set aside.  Cut your chicken or steak into 1 inch cubes- then let them marinate in the sauce while you cut your veggies.  For veggies- cut into bite sized chunks & then let them marinate in the sauce while you work on skewering the meat.  I always put the same meat on the same skewer so I know the entire stick is cooked (all shrimp, chicken, steak on separate skewers).  Next mix the veggies in the next batch of teriyaki & skewer the veggies. Grill & enjoy!

Steak & Chicken Fajitas? WELL then YES! Hi

Variety is the spice of life and even though I could eat peanut butter & orange marmalade sandwiches for the rest of my life, my family cannot.  So I made Steak & chicken fajitas.  The hardest part was the chopping veggies up- so you can skip the poblano pepper if you want and just use the frozen onions & peppers.

Steak & Chicken Fajitas by Melanie Knight

  • 2 chicken breasts, cut into strips
  • 2 steaks, cut into thin strips
  • 1tbl cumin
  • 1 tbl coriander
  • 1 tbl chili powder
  • 1 poblano pepper chopped (optional)
  • 1 bag frozen onions & peppers
  • 1 tbl cilantro paste (or 1 tbl dried cilantro)
  • 2 tbl chopped garlic
  • 1 tsp salt (Mediterranean)
  • 1tbl tomato paste
  • 1 can tomatoes & green chiles- drained
  • 1tlb lime juice
  • olive oil 1/4 cup
  • Optional:  shredded lettuce/ tortilla chips/ sour cream/ guacamole/ salsa/ shredded cheddar cheese

Directions- season the chicken & steak with cumin, coriander, chili and set aside.  Heat oil in a large sauce pan over med-high heat and add the chicken & steak.  Stir frequently until chicken & steak are cooked.  Remove from heat.  Add in garlic & poblano pepper- sauté until done.  Add in cilantro, salt, frozen peppers & canned tomatoes.  Bring to a boil and let the liquid reduce down.  I spooned out liquid to speed this up.  Add the chicken & steak back & stir in.

Serve over a bed of lettuce & top with your choice of guacamole/ salsa/ cheese/ sour cream.  I used all of the above & ate mine with tortilla chips. Enjoy!

Skinny Pina Coladas? Yes Please!

So, March 28th was supposed to be the Carolina Cup- a Southern tradition of preppie tailgating.  Supposedly there is a horserace- but I’ve never even seen a horse there.  Instead, we spent the day cleaning house, then cleaning out the garage.  We finished at 6 and I jumped in the shower.  It was still a beautiful day outside, so I put on my Lilly Pulitzer dress and decided to make a skinny pina colada.  Why a skinny version of my beloved drink?  Because I am an emotional eater and COVID-19 is just an easy excuse to stress eat.  So- skinny pina colada to the rescue.

Skinny Pina Colada by Melanie Knight

Ingredients for 1:

  • 1 cup ice
  • 2oz rum
  • 1tsp coconut extract
  • 2oz pineapple juice (I used the juice from a can of pineapple rings)
  • 2oz heavy cream (or half & half)
  • top with whip cream

Mix in a blender until the ice is like a slushy (mine was more of a drink that a slushy).  Poor into a decorative glass, put on a festive dress & enjoy!  Cheers sweetie!

Say YES to Coconut Cupcakes! The ultimate comfort food during this Corona Virus crisis.

Hi friends!  Hope you are all finding ways to stay sane during our unprecedented country shutdown.  For me, I’m working my way through my Essential Emeril Cookbook- so I’ll share the yummy goodness with you!  I made half of the recipe in a useless attempt to control all my ‘snacking”- but 11 cupcakes were better than having access 24.  These were better the day they were made than the second day.

Coconut Cupcakes with Coconut Buttercream Frosting & topped with Toasted Coconut– by Melanie Knight inspired by Emeril Lagasse

Ingredients- 12 cupcakes

  • 1 stick unsalted butter- room temp
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tbl egg whites
  • 1 1/2 cup cake flour
  • 1/2 tbl baking powder
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1/2 tsp coconut extract
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Frosting

  • 1 stick unsalted butter- room temp
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp coconut extract
  • 2 tbl heavy cream

1 cup toasted coconut (optional- but the crunch is worth it)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a cupcake pan with paper liners- set aside.

Cream butter, sugar, egg, egg whites, coconut & vanilla extract, coconut milk.  Slowly mix in flour & baking powder.  This batter was delicious- eat raw cake batter at your worn risk!  Fill baking cups to 2/3 full- batter is enough for 12 cups cakes.  Bake for 25-30 mins- or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean.  Remove from over.  I “speed cool” by putting these in the fridge on a hot plate holder- because I am impatient.  While these chill- I make the frosting & toast the coconut.

Toasted coconut- spread coconut our on a baking sheet & toast at 325 degrees fro 10 mins

Frosting- cream butter, powder sugar, coconut extract & heavy cream until combined

Frost your cooled cupcakes and top with toasted coconut.  Enjoy!  These were so delicious I am making a second batch today.

 

Tasty Salmon & Veggies

This was an easy recipe to make and smells delicious.

Tasty salmon in a package with veggies from The NFL Gameday Cookbook

  • 1 small zucchini julienned
  • 1 yellow squash julienned
  • 1 carrot julienned (I used shredded)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Olive oil as needed
  • Salt & black pepper as needed
  • Four 6oz fillets – salmon
  • 1 med tomato diced
  • 4 green onions- sliced
  • 4 basil leaves (I used dried basil sprinkled)
  • 2 lemons- thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 4 squares of aluminum foil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix olive oil, zucchini, squash, carrots, garlic. Divide into 4 & place in center of foil. Top with salmon, salt & pepper, basil, tomatoes, green onions & 3 lemon slices. Add 2 tablespoons white wine & close each packet. Bake for 20 mins or until salmon is flaky.

Ms. Katherine’s Kahlua Chocolate Cake

Years ago, we created a cookbook at work to raise money for a charity. My co-worker, Stacey Werner-Brink shared her grandmother’s recipe. Katherine Werner (1908-2007) had experienced the first Ford motor car, the loss of the Titanic, two world wars and the first man to walk on the moon. My cake is in the oven now and it smells like heaven. Stacey bakes here as gifts, but I might just eat mine all by myself.

Kahlua Chocolate Cake by Katherine Werner

  • 1 box Duncan Heinz Swiss chocolate cake mix
  • 1 large box vanilla pudding mix
  • 4 eggs beaten
  • 1 16oz container sour cream
  • 3/4 cup oil
  • 1/3 cup Kahlua
  • 6oz chocolate chips

Mix ingredients (not chips) until blended, then fold in the chocolate chips. Bake in 2 greased bread pans and bake at 350 degrees until a toothpick comes out clean- 50-60 minutes. Must sit 24 hours before eating (I don’t think I can wait).

Tip: slice and freeze, then you can heat up and serve with a scoop of ice cream. Perfect for holiday gifts.

Delicious deer balls…I mean venison meatballs

Delicious Deer Balls Venison Melanie Knight.JPG

I never know how to cook venison, so this year I’m looking for some recipes to add to my collection.  This one was delicious.  My husband said it tasted like mini meatloaf.  You be the judge.

Delicious Deer Balls (Venison) by Melanie Knight- inspired by http://www.deerrecipesonline.com- Spicy Deer Balls

Meatball Ingredients

  • 2 lbs ground deer burger (venison/beef mix if you have it)
  • 2 eggs
  •  4 tbs ketchup
  • 1 1/2 cups dry instant oatmeal (pulverized in a blender)
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp chopped garlic
  • 3 tsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup chopped onions

Sauce Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup fig preserves
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 tbs lemon juice
  • 2 tbs brown sugar

Directions-Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Sauce:  Mix all ingredients and simmer on low for 5 minutes, set aside

Meatballs:  Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.  Mix all ingredients, then form meatballs about 1 to 1.5 inches in diameter.

Place meatballs on the baking sheet- not touching.  Cover each meatballs with a spoonful od sauce.  Bake for 30-45 minutes.  Makes about 30 meatballs.  Had these as my entire dinner.  These would be perfect for Thanksgiving or Christmas appetizers.