Friday, July 30, 2010

Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette

Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette 3 Krista Kooks

While shopping through Sam’s Club the other day, the sous chef and I came across La Madeline’s salad dressings.  Yep, they sell the Caesar and Balsamic in bottles there.  Well, my sous chef began to salivate a little, and I assured him that I could make fresher and healthier salad dressings/vinaigrette at home from scratch as I have in the past.

Thus, a few nights ago, I tried another new one!  After this salad was served, it didn’t take long for the sous chef to finish and plead for another salad.  Haha!  He asks, “Did you take a picture already?” Chomp chomp chomp. “Because you HAVE to blog about this one!  It’s soooooo good!”  So there ya have it.  It’s a winner salad dressing!  Yes, and I liked it too :)



1 cup packed cilantro

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup lime juice

1/4 cup orange juice

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

Pinch of minced garlic


Puree cilantro, olive oil, lime juice, orange juice, salt, pepper and garlic in a blender or food processor until smooth.Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette 2 Krista KooksI use the Magic Bullet to puree our dressing :)  You can half this recipe if this is just serving 2 people.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Shrimp, Peas and Rice

Shrimp, Peas and Rice Krista Kooks

When I saw the title of this recipe, I was highly unsure of why this dish would yummy to eat.  It’s not that any of 3 taste bad, but I wasn’t sure why they would all be together in one dish.

Well, I’m officially wrong because this was the best thing we have eaten in a while that was extremely easy to make!  What we loved about it even more was that it makes a great 'take-to-work’ dish for lunches.  Make this for your family tonight, and I promise you’ll be asking why you didn’t double the recipe for leftovers.  Best part is, it’s rather healthy!

Source: Gina's Weight Watcher Recipes
Servings: 4


1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 cup uncooked long grain rice

2 cups fat free chicken broth

1/2 cup frozen peas

1 tablespoon light butter spread (I used Smart Balance light)

2 tsp plus 1 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp grated Pecorino Romano cheese

1 tbsp chopped parsley

salt and fresh pepper


In a medium size heavy pan melt butter spread. Add rice and saute about a minute. Add chicken broth and peas and bring to a boil. When all liquid is absorbed reduce heat to low and cover. Cook on low for about 15 minutes, until rice is cooked through.

In a large skillet, heat 2 tsp olive oil over medium heat. Season shrimp with salt and pepper and add to hot pan. Cook about 2-3 minutes, until shrimp is cooked through. Remove shrimp from pan and set aside.

Add 1 tbsp olive oil to the skillet and add rice. Add grated cheese, shrimp, and parsley and saute another minute, mixing well.

Shrimp, Peas and Rice Krista Kooks 3

Monday, July 26, 2010

Crab Quesadillas

Crab Quesadillas 2
I think I warned you previously that I had lots of seafood recipes ready to provide you :)  I wasn’t lying!  I found this recipe on, although it is an recipe. 

I’ve also discussed before that it’s wise to check the reviews on recipes before making it, and I failed to follow my own advice this time.  Had I done so, I would have read people warning against using the orange zest and orange juice in the quesadillas.  For me, that is the flavor that ruined it.  That said, the sous chef LOVED it!  Hence the reason I’m posting this recipe.  I mentioned previously in my Orange Chicken post about how the orange flavor was much more received by the sous chef than I; the same situation applied here.  Thus, if you think you are ok with things being orangy, leave it in.  If not, take it out, and I think you’ll be just fine.

The recipe below is adapted to accommodate leaving out the orange flavor, if you desire.


1 cup shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese
2 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
4 scallions, chopped
1/2 medium red bell pepper, finely chopped
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons chopped pickled jalapenos (optional)
1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest (optional)
1 tablespoon orange juice (optional)
8 ounces pasteurized crabmeat, drained if necessary
4 8-inch whole-wheat tortillas
2 teaspoons canola oil, divided


Combine Cheddar, cream cheese, scallions, bell pepper, cilantro, jalapenos (if using), orange zest (if using) and juice (if using) in a medium bowl. Gently stir in crab. Lay tortillas out on a work surface. Spread one-fourth of the filling on half of each tortilla. Fold tortillas in half, pressing gently to flatten.

Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Place 2 quesadillas in the pan and cook, turning once, until golden on both sides, 3 to 4 minutes total. Transfer to a cutting board and tent with foil to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining 1 teaspoon oil and quesadillas. Cut each quesadilla into 4 wedges. Crab Quesadillas 4

Friday, July 23, 2010

Corn Salsa with Lime

Corn Lime Salsa
So this corn salsa from Gina is much like the Roasted Corn, Black Bean and Mango salad I made previously.  Obviously there are some added ingredients in the later, but the prep is much the same.  This particular corn salsa is like that of Chipotle’s corn salsa.  Sadly I must say that I wish I had made Chipotle’s recipe.  This recipe isn’t bad by any means.  It’s still tasty.  We actually ate it as a side along the crab cakes.  Later that week, I also used some of the leftovers of this corn salsa on top of some baked tilapia.  It’s just my recommendation, however, that you select the Roasted Corn recipe above or the Chipotle recipe above.

The recipe also calls to make 6 cups, which I could never have consumed in our household, so our recipe below is halved.

Source: Gina's Weight Watcher Recipes
Servings: 3

2 cups (10 oz) cooked sweet yellow corn, cut
1 vine ripe tomatoes, diced
1/4 red onion, diced
1/2 scallion, diced
1 jalapeƱo, diced (remove seeds unless you like it really spicy)
1 tbsp chopped cilantro
3/4 limes, juice of
chipotle chili powder, to taste
salt and fresh pepper to taste

Combine all the ingredients and refrigerate for about an hour. Makes about 3 cups.Corn Lime Salsa 4

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Baked Lump Crab Cakes with Red Pepper Chipotle Lime Sauce

Crabcakes Krista Kooks 5 Yuuuuuuum!  I went crazy picking out seafood recipes recently, and this is the first of those recipes.  It should be obvious why I picked it first; so delicious!  Also, the Red Pepper Chipotle sauce is soooo amazing!  The sous chef and I both agreed that it would make a great friend to some fish as well. 

These make a great dinner as I wasn’t even able to finish 2!  The sous chef had to finish off my last few bites :)  I wanted very much to eat them all, but they are just very filling.  The recipe below serves 4 crab cakes, but you could make them smaller to make bite size crabcakes; say 16 crab cakes would make these small enough for bite size.  Making them smaller might alter your cooking time though, so be aware.Crabcakes Krista Kooks 4 Source: Gina's Weight Watcher Recipes
Servings: 4 • Serving Size: 1 cake

Crab Cakes
9 ounces lump crab meat, picked free of shells
1/2 cup (about 13) reduced fat Ritz crackers, crushed
1 whole egg plus 1 egg white, beaten
2 finely chopped scallions
2 tbsp finely chopped red bell pepper
1 tbsp low fat mayonnaise
2 tbsp fresh cilantro (or parsley)
1/2 lime, juiced
salt and pepper to taste
cooking spray
Zesty Chipotle Lime Sauce
1 tbsp roasted peppers (jarred)
1/4 cup light mayonnaise
1 tsp minced canned chipotle chilies in adobo sauce
1 tsp fresh lime juice

In a small blender (or magic bullet) puree mayonnaise, lime juice, roasted pepper and chipotle pepper.

In a large bowl, combine crushed crackers, eggs, scallions, pepper, mayo, cilantro, lime juice, salt and pepper. Mix well, then fold in crab meat, careful not to over mix so the crab remains in large chunks. Gently shape into patties using a 1/2 cup measuring cup.

Chill in the refrigerator at least 1/2 hour before baking.
Preheat oven to 400°. Grease a baking sheet with cooking spray. Bake about 8-10 minutes on each side, until nicely browned.

Drizzle red pepper chipotle lime sauce over crab cakes and serve.
Crabcakes Krista Kooks

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Cheesy Barbecue Casserole

I know, I know.  Could I have been gone ANY longer?  It feels so crazy to not have posted in over a month.  I’m so sorry!  I have some more fun stuff coming up, so hopefully I can redeem myself :)Cheesy BBQ Casserole Krista Kooks 4 I know I’ve never really discussed my obsession with BBQ on this blog, but I can assure you that I join several other Southerners in the “I could just eat BBQ sauce only” club.  I love it on everything!  Thankfully, my cooking interest has led me to understand that their are flavors outside of BBQ sauce.  Nonetheless, this recipe was calling my name when I opened up this cookbook.Betty Corcker Pasta The sous chef and I really enjoyed this recipe!  There were no leftovers :)  I also substituted ground turkey for ground beef for a healthier option.  Oh….and I may have increased the amount of BBQ sauce that the recipe called for ;)

Betty Crocker Cheesy Barbecue Casserole
3 cups uncooked ziti pasta (11 oz)
1 lb lean (at least 80%) ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 cup milk
1 cup barbecue sauce
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (4 oz)
1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese (6 oz)

Heat oven to 350°F.  Spray 2-quart casserole with cooking spray. Cook and drain pasta as directed on package.

Meanwhile, in 12-inch skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until beef is brown; drain.

Stir pasta, 3 tablespoons of the parsley, the milk, barbecue sauce, mozzarella cheese and 1 cup of the Cheddar cheese into beef in skillet. Spoon mixture into casserole. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup Cheddar cheese.

Bake uncovered 30 to 40 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon parsley.Cheesy BBQ Casserole Krista KooksCheesy BBQ Casserole Krista Kooks 3


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