Thursday, June 28, 2012

Fried Favorites

Cakes, Cookies and Chocolate are not my thing.  I taste them if they are offered and sometimes indulge in full servings if I am in the mood, but I don't seek them out.  I don't get sweet cravings.  I don't have to keep pieces of chocolate around to satisfy frequent sugar fixes.  Don't be too impressed, don't assume I have an iron will, and don't think for one second that I don't have "bad for you" cravings.  I do!  They are just of the saltier, crunchier variety.  When I am eating healthy and want to divert from that course/cheat, I always want fried food.  That is my ultimate weakness!

Because of this I am always excited when recipes like these appear in my favorite publication, Cooking Light.  It gives me a way to indulge without complete guilt - and I love it!  This recipe was very delicious.  I wasn't as excited about the mayo based dipping sauce (another thing I am not a big fan of is mayo) as my husband, but it was very good and the perfect compliment to the crunchy shrimp.

Pan-Fried Shrimp with Creole Mayo
Adapted from Cooking Light July 2011



  • 2 1/4 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons Creole seasoning (such as Emeril's Essence), divided
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup fat-free milk
  • 3/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
  • 1 1/2 pounds peeled and deveined large shrimp
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons canola mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot sauce



1. Combine flour, 1 teaspoon Creole seasoning, and salt in a shallow dish.

Pour milk into a shallow dish. Place breadcrumbs in a shallow dish. Dredge shrimp in flour mixture; dip in milk. Dredge shrimp in breadcrumbs;

shake off excess breading.

2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add half of shrimp;

cook 2 minutes on each side or until done. Repeat procedure with remaining oil and shrimp.

3. Combine mayonnaise, remaining Creole seasoning, Worcestershire, and hot sauce in a small bowl;

 stir with a whisk.

 Serve Creole mayonnaise with shrimp.

Click Here for My Adapted Printable Recipe

Monday, June 25, 2012

Crisp Cider and Cheddar Cheese


When I was given the privilege to review Michelob Ultra's New Light Cider, I knew I wanted to do it justice. I am a huge fan of the original Michelob Ultra Beer and was excited to participate in a review of their latest product. The problem was that I have never been a fan of the more traditional ciders and I feared I couldn't give an honest non-biased review. So I put some thinking into how I could provide the best possible review and not end up chatting away about how I never loved ciders in the first place and yada, yada, yada. Well I quickly decided the best way to make this product review worth while was to turn it into a group affair. I put together a quick impromptu mommy/lady only happy hour on the Sunday before Memorial Day and invited my most trusted advisers. I sent out a group text inviting all the women over for 4pm to test out the new cider. Being the foodie that I am, I couldn't serve just the ciders alone so I made a quick grocery run and purchased a small variety of cheddar cheeses to accompany the chilled apple beverages. I put together a cheese board consisting of three different cheddar cheeses, some honey drizzled apples and some crisp wafers. I set the board out on the counter and waited for the clock to strike 4pm!

Once all of my guests arrived, I gave them a quick introduction to the cider explaining that Michelob ULTRA Light Cider has 120 calories per serving – that’s one-third fewer calories than an average of the leading regular hard ciders. I also mentioned that Cider is naturally gluten-free and that this is the first cider Anheuser-Busch has produced and distributed in the U.S. After I finished my short spiel, I served each lady a perfectly chilled cider and I started to "take notes". The women started talking before they even took their first sip. Some remarked at the strong apple scent prior to even tasting their first swallow. Once they started drinking, some of the comments were that it was "less sweet" than other ciders they have had, that it was "very refreshing" and it would be the perfect "pool-side beverage". Other women were surprised at how unlike beer it tasted and that it didn't really seem like a beer at all. I think the Michelob ULTRA name may have confused some of them as they expected to taste something more like a flavored beer. I then went on to explain to them that the brewing process for cider follows that of beer, with the main difference being the ingredients used: cider uses apples, while barley and hops are generally the main ingredients for beer. Michelob ULTRA Light Cider is made with all-natural ingredients, including apples, and is naturally sweetened with stevia. And although the brewing process is somewhat similar, Michelob ULTRA Light Cider is an ideal alternative to white wine, champagne and traditional ciders. Some of my happy hour participants mentioned that they thought it was more like a "wine cooler" than like a beer and that it was very light.

The overall reception to the New Michelob ULTRA Light Cider was positive. The ladies at my last minute happy hour seemed delighted with the beverage and happy to try something new. They all believe it is the right drink for the upcoming hot summer months and several of them have purchased the product at a later date post my little happy hour!

Please visit the sponsor's site for more information on this fabulous product.

Please visit Michelob ULTRA Light Cider page on to see more product reviews.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Who says Summer can't be Comfortable?

It doesn't have to be Fall for me to crave comfort food.  I am ready to eat rich heavy foods anytime of year.  Light summer fare is nice and refreshing and great in the Southern heat, but I can always find a reason to indulge in comfort food no matter what the temperature outside may be.  And my favorite comfort food by far is gooey cheesy baked pasta.  This is a great recipe because it provides the satisfying intensity of the melted cheese and warm pasta, but it utilizes fresh summer veggies for the perfect marriage of seasonal stars.  This is a regular in my household.  It is easy to prepare, super satisfying and loved by all members of my crew - including my 20 month old!

Baked Ziti with Summer Vegetables
Adapted from Cooking Light July 2011


  • 8 ounces uncooked ziti
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 
  • 2 cups chopped yellow squash 
  • 1 cup chopped zucchini 
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cups diced tomato; canned and drained (Italian Style)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided 
  • 1/4 tablespoons dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces) part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten 
  • Cooking spray 


1. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain.

2. Preheat oven to 400°.

3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan. Add squash, zucchini, and onion; sauté 5 minutes.

 Add tomato and garlic; sauté 3 minutes.

Remove from heat;

stir in pasta, 1/2 cup mozzarella, herbs, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper.

4. Combine ricotta, remaining salt, and egg.

Stir into pasta mixture.

Spoon into an 8-inch square glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray;

 sprinkle with remaining mozzarella. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until bubbly and browned.

Click Here for My Adapted Printable Recipe 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Fishing Friend

A co-worker of my brother's recently went on a deep sea fishing excursion and gifted my little brother with some of his catch from the trip.  Since my brother doesn't cook, we ended up as the lucky recipients.  I wanted to find a great recipe to use the fish in and I thought this one sounded very unique.  The cumin and the chipotle were both very potent flavors, and although this preparation was tasty I think it would have benefited a less fresh fish.  The red snapper we were given was so fresh that we should have done something more simple with the filets that would have highlighted the freshness.  I would definitely make this recipe again using store bought fish though.  It was very tasty and super easy!

Baked Red Snapper with Chipotle Butter
Adapted from Cooking Light May 2003



  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 (6-ounce) red snapper filets
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 tablespoon butter, softened
  • 1 canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce, finely minced
  • Lemon wedges


1.  Clean the fish and cut into filets. (This was partially done by the fishermen and finished by my husband.  Forrest said it would have been a lot easier had he not had been using a bread knife!)

2.  Preheat oven to 400°.

3.  Combine first 4 ingredients;

sprinkle evenly over fish. Place fish on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray; bake 12 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.

4.  While fish bakes, combine butter and chile.

Spread butter mixture evenly over fish. Serve with lemon wedges.

Click Here for My Adapted Printable Recipe