Thursday, August 30, 2012

Tailgatin' Food!

If you are anything like me, the advent of football season is like Christmas, Easter, Halloween, my 21st birthday and the tooth fairy all rolled into one special time of year.  It is a time to be celebrated, to be cherished, to be awaited.....all.year.LONG!  

As a girl born and raised in the South, and the granddaughter of a sports writer, I have long been watching college football and since the arrival of the Tennessee Titans, I have become a NFL fan as well.  

Basically, my entire fall is consumed by the pigskin.  

My language goes to pot.  My ladylike behavior is thrown out the window and the octave at which I scream at the tv goes off the charts!

All of that aside, my friends and family gather together like it is Thanksgiving to watch all our favorite teams play.  Depending on the teams playing this sometimes gets ugly!

As a Georgia fan in Tennessee there is one thing on which my UT friends and I can always agrees....we will cheer for whoever is playing against Florida!

  The protocol of Sunday dinner is even temporarily loosened when one of our favorite teams is playing the prime time game, an exception usually only made when the President speaks or world events are happening....orrrrrr when there is a good red carpet event and award show on tv, but still, these are important events!

Here in the South there is only one event more important than the game and that is the tailgate! Well maybe not more important but it is close second for sure. 

In my family, we take this very seriously!  There are color-coordinated cups, there are tablecloths, tents, chairs with our teams logo on them, flags and magnets all over the car, coolers filled to the point that closing them seems futile, and food.....sooo much food!!!

Here are some of our favorite tailgating treats....I hope you enjoy and GO DAWGS!!!


Happy searching!
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Fish Tacos

One of my favorite treats in the whole world is going over to my brother and sister-in-law's house for dinner. The three of us have the best time together and it is truly a relationship that I cherish with all my heart!  

Sometimes I find myself in the terribly ugly laugh where noises aren't really coming out, I can barely breathe, when a noise finally escapes it is usually a snort which later moves into a full on belly-laugh with tears streaming down my face in hysteria and when I try to remember what made me laugh in the first place I can't always pinpoint one specific thing.  

Those are the kinds of "funny" that are the best in life!

Recently Maggie, our friend Ellie, and I all decided we needed to gather together to watch So You Think You Can Dance as it is, in all legitimacy, one of the best shows on television and we wanted to make sure none of our witty commentary was wasted on the dogs!  

Clearly, Allen just happened to be there and watched with us.....thought secretly I know he loves that show too!  Probably more because of Cat Deeley than the dancing but whatever.

Maggie had made these fish tacos once before and thought they were delicious so she planned on making them for us as we watched what was sure to be incredibly entertaining TV!  

As is typical with certain dishes in my life, I was pretty sure I "didn't like" fish tacos, though I had, in all honesty, never actually had one....oooops!  

You see there are some things in my mind that just don't go together and fish + tacos is one of those combinations.  Or at least it WAS!  

In my narrow little taco-thinkin' mind, tacos didn't come filled with fish, they weren't really even supposed to come with chicken or ground turkey.....they were filled with beef....PERIOD!

Needless to say, as it usually happens, Maggie's cooking changed my mind in an instant!  

Maggie had already made some delicious (and spicy) slaw from the cabbage in the garden and made the rest of the meal after we arrived so I jumped on the chance to document so as to include it here, for you my dear readers, on this very blog!

Maggie's Fish Tacos
ingredients for 8 tacos:

8 white corn tortillas
2 tbsp butter
3 or 4 fresh tilapia fillets
½ cup nonfat plain yogurt
¼ cup light mayo
3 limes (1 for dressing, 2 for tacos)
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 chipotle pepper (in adobo sauce)
½ tsp adobo sauce
pinch of salt
1/3 head green cabbage
1/2 head red cabbage
1 cup matchstick (thinly sliced) carrots
fresh cilantro
avocado (optional)
Remove seeds from 1 chipotle pepper and dice.  Add diced pepper and a healthy handful of cilantro and ½ tsp of adobo sauce into a small mixer (or blender), mix until finely chopped. Add yogurt, mayo, vinegar, small pinch of salt, and squeeze of 1 lime. If you like it a little spicier add another ½ tsp of adobo sauce. Slice thinly the green and red cabbage, mix in the matchstick carrots. Pour chipotle lime cilantro dressing over slaw and blend it all together. 
 Prepare tilapia by grilling or sauté in pan with 2 tbsp butter 2-3 min on each side on medium high heat until cooked through. 
 
Run a knife through the tilapia to separate it.
 Layer on top of a warmed corn tortilla and give it a squeeze of lime. 
Spoon chipotle lime cilantro slaw on top.
 
Emory helped me put mine together!
 
Needless to say we had a great time and a wonderful dinner!
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Monday, August 27, 2012

Risotto with Sun Dried Tomatoes and Pesto


As I have mentioned previously we had the most wonderful birthday dinner for my mom this year.  For each family member's birthday we typically "celebrate" the Sunday closest to their actual birthday.  The birthday celebrant gets to pick the menu, open presents and pretty much get whatever he or she would like....within reason of course!

This year part our "extended family" got involved to celebrate Mom's birthday and when you get these two families together it is going to be nothing short of fantastic!  Mom requested we all submit recipes we had never tried before from which she would decide the menu.  With a million cooks in the kitchen we all added our little bit to a meal that in the end was truly epic.

Part of that meal was this side.  It grabbed my attention the second I saw it and apparently did the same for mom because it was one of the sides she chose.  Dad did the cooking, I did the supervising, and everyone else did all the laughing!

This will certainly be in the rotation of summer favorites as it combines all those wonderfully fresh ingredients so abundant this time of year!

Roasted Red Pepper & Pesto Risotto

5 cups fat-free reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 shallot, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
2 ounces goat cheese
1 cup grated Asiago cheese
1 (12 ounce) jar roasted red peppers, diced
1/2 cup basil pesto
2 ounces fresh baby spinach
   
Bring broth to a boil in medium saucepan. Reduce heat to low; cover saucepan.

Heat olive oil in a wide medium saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots; cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in rice, and cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently. 
 
Add 1 1/2 cups warm broth. 
 
Boil gently until broth is absorbed, stirring frequently. Add another 1 cup broth; stir until broth is absorbed. Add remaining 2 1/2 cups broth, 1/2 cup at a time, allowing broth to be absorbed before adding more and stirring frequently until rice is tender and creamy, about 25 minutes. Add goat cheese, asiago cheese, roasted red pepper, and pesto, stirring until the cheese is completely melted. 
   
Toss in spinach and stir until fully combined and wilted. Transfer to bowl to serve.
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